Clarification

My purpose in reading at various blogs and posting at a few is as follows:

Until about 2005, I pretty much accepted the AGW dominant scientific paradigm. It wasn’t that I invested a lot of time on it, but I did read the occasional article in New Scientist or other online science zines and accepted pretty much that the earth was likely warming, that it appeared that most of this warming was due to increases in GHGs, and that the significant portion of that GHG increase was due to fossil fuel use.  If nothing was done to mitigate emissions, potentially harmful effects could occur.

I ran into a couple of contrarians who pretty much dismissed the dominant paradigm out of hand, claiming instead that the whole global warming science was really a front for a wholesale redistribution of wealth from the developed to the developing world. It was, they said, a quest for one world government via the UN. It was an attempt to institute some socialist agenda. It was a hoax. It was a fraud. The hucksters were Mann, Bradley and Hughes, Jones, Briffa and others.  They referred me on to Steve McIntyre’s blog and Watts Up With That. From there I read Real Climate and a few others, once I was introduced to the hockey stick controversy.

So, my purpose is to try to understand for myself what is what. Is CA skeptic central whose goal is to uncover evidence of a massive fraud or is it the denialist industry’s mouthpiece, doing no real science but instead casting doubt over the science via smearing the scientists?

Note that this question is not about the science — it is not a science question. It is a question about the players in a politicized debate.  It requires examining social and economic and political actions and motives.

I would ultimately like to know the right answer — is it warming? Is the warming the result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels? If we do nothing to limit emissions, will we see sea level rises, temperature increases, glaciers melting, increased droughts and severe weather events, etc.?

But I am not capable of making a judgement on the question of what is the truth at this point in time. Instead, I have to look at the debates, look at the players, try to understand what their interests and motives and actions tell me about what they are doing and its significance.

Now, motives are notoriously hard to determine except for the clairvoyant among us, and I am not one of them. Hence I have to look not only at what is written at CA and RC and other blogs, but what is done based on that. I have to judge based on actions described therein in order to get any sense of motive. I have to look at backgrounds and economic interests and political ideologies to gauge if someone’s word is trustworthy.

Now some people claim that motive is not a scientific term and thus it tells us nothing about the science.

As a non-scientist, I am unable to determine if Briffa’s papers are adequate or whether Mann’s stats were truly bad, or whether Jones’ data is unusable and suspect. I read both sides and it appears that both sides claim victory.

How is someone like me going to decide?

Ultimately, the climate will tell. As a policy analyst, I know that waiting for absolute proof of AGW is not acceptable. I have to weigh the pros and cons, risks and benefits.

That’s part of what I am trying to do.

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About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

117 Responses to “Clarification”

  1. You write that as a policy analyst, waiting for absolute proof of AGW is not acceptable. This is a soft appeal to the “precautionary principle.” Willis Eschenbach wrote a very good post on this at Wattsupwiththat. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/31/climate-caution-and-precaution/

  2. Interesting article and I will give it a go for a post topic in the near future because I am interested in this, having just gone through such an exercise due to the H1N1 pandemic.

    Let me start off by saying that Eschenbach is very selective in his definition of “PP” and I think self-servingly so. Having a background in health policy and research, I am familiar with the PP and so have a different understanding. I have a much broader understanding of the application and origins of the PP than him and think it is very applicable in the case of global warming.

    More on this later.

  3. Sorry Susann, if you cannot have some kind of a stab at the science, I don’t think you have a role to play in the debate. Trying to guess people’s motivations, from there taking a punt at whether they have integrity or not, and then deciding which way the science falls, is what I would call a “PPE” (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) student’s approach, but it’s just a more formalised way of dividing the world into good guys and bad guys. It will never tell you whose science is right, if there is such a thing, or failing that, whose theory is more robust and gives a better explanation of the facts in front of us.

    • David — are you a scientist? If not, what area of climate science do you feel competent to judge the literature and the papers and why? If I could focus on anything it would be dendro since I have an undergrad bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, including botany, ecology, and genetics. I guess I feel that even given that education, I am far from able to judge the dendro papers in terms of whether the findings are valid or not. Apparently a lot of non-scientists are quite willing to do so, but really, why do people do 11 or 12 years of post-secondary education and then years of research if none of that is necessary to judge the science?

      My interest in CA is this: has it produced anything useful to settling the question of whether AGW is real, a threat and if there needs to be action to address it?

      I see some people claiming that McIntyre’s efforts have broken the hockey stick, yet others claim it’s still intact. I see some people claim that the CRU data is suspect, but others claim that GISS is fine and says generally the same thing as CRU data. I see some people at CA claim that its all a big fraud, yet others point to research on glaciers, ice, sea surface temperature, sea level, satellite data, etc. and say that warming is supported by many lines of research not linked to CRU.

      I’m just trying to sort through the claims and counter claims and to do that I need to know the principal players.

      • “I am far from able to judge the dendro papers in terms of whether the findings are valid or not. Apparently a lot of non-scientists are quite willing to do so, ”

        You can read the dendro papers on the divergence and decide whether or not the science supports using data series that diverge. That’s a methodological question that is decided on the basis of analytical styles, not the underlying science.

        You have a theory that says trees that currently correlate to temperature have always correlated. You have series that breaks this law. You have the scientists saying they have no explanation for this. Do you:

        1 throw out the theory
        2.Throw out that particular tree ring series.
        3. Truncate that series and only use the data that fits the theory.

        Which do you do? And how do you explain what you did?

        “My interest in CA is this: has it produced anything useful to settling the question of whether AGW is real, a threat and if there needs to be action to address it?”

        Stupid. That’s not the goal of CA. Has CA produced anything useful on the question of health care?

        “I see some people claiming that McIntyre’s efforts have broken the hockey stick, yet others claim it’s still intact.”

        Best to start with what mc says.

        ” I see some people claim that the CRU data is suspect, but others claim that GISS is fine and says generally the same thing as CRU data. ”

        well if you READ THE MAILS you will see what Jones says about GISS. duh. But yes generally, they say the same thing. But the issue ISNT GENERALLY. the issue is specifically. Again with your broken mental style.

        “I see some people at CA claim that its all a big fraud, yet others point to research on glaciers, ice, sea surface temperature, sea level, satellite data, etc. and say that warming is supported by many lines of research not linked to CRU.”

        Again with the stupidity. I see people at RC claiming that its a fraud. I see people everywhere claiming all sorts of crap. Think for yourself. Also, “many lines” DO support CRU. That’s NOT THE POINT. the point is the temperature series is the longest and supposed to be the best line of evidence. What does it say. PRECISELY?

        “I’m just trying to sort through the claims and counter claims and to do that I need to know the principal players.”

        No, you need to know the principle issues, principle data, principle methods. It’s more tractable than understanding people. PLUS, you’ve proved to me a horrible judge of people. You can’t even avoid being snipped at CA. The last person who holds that distinction was certifiable.

  4. Your comment at CA on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:15 PM was deleted, probably because the thread of comments started by Kenneth Fritsch that it was in was off-topic, as it was entirely about you rather than the topic of Steve’s post:

    …I’m not a natural scientist. I’m here to read what’s said about the science, yes. But I cross check what is said here over at RC and other AGW blogs.

    Perhaps you should think of me as possibly doing a participant observation study or content analysis of CA to see what I can discover about it as a phenomenon. There’s a lot of really interesting material here – is this the start of a new social movement? Non-professional auditing of science by interested laypeople and techies? It’s potentially very interesting research to a social scientist.

    Am I to assume, then, that your intent at CA is to change the parameters of the maze and watch how the mice react? I had hoped you were exposing yourself to alternative points of view in order to form a more objective basis for your beliefs, as I often do with respect to RealClimate. If not, then you might be thought of as a “troll” in some quarters.

    You see the difficulty inherent in making assumptions regarding one’s intent and/or motive. The range of opinion on AGW theory is not as black-and-white as portrayed in your post, and is more than a simple matter of “oil-company shills”* versus “hoaxers and frauds”. The basis of civil debate is the presumption of good faith on the part of one’s opponents, and those who fail to make such a presumption should never be construed as speaking for all of us.

    In fact, if there exists an explanation that does not presume nefarious intent where none can otherwise be inferred, then Occam insists we consider such an alternative first. Furthermore, if the scientists sincerely believed that what they were doing was right and was in what they believed to be the best public interest, then at worst they (with the possible exception of Dr. Jones) were merely guilty of bad judgment as opposed to outright ethical transgressions.

    I would suggest that it might be instructive for a social scientist to consider how the concepts of experimenter’s bias, group-think and the culture theory of social movements could help form an understanding of the actions revealed in the CRU e-mails that does not require an assumption of malicious intent on the part of the scientists involved, possibly reaching a middle ground that concedes mistakes were made without questioning the integrity of the scientists.

    You may also want to review Crichton for a slightly different point of view from a more public policy-oriented perspective.

    * In the interest of full disclosure, while I am not currently an “oil-company shill” per se, I could certainly use the extra income. If there are any “big-oil” companies reading this who can afford yet another “shill” on their payrolls, please contact me forthwith.

    • Ya when Mc had to go to AGU in 07 we raised the money for him. Same when he did the starbucks hypothesis. His old computer is a friggin joke. He doesnt own a cell phone. Modest house. He’s rolling in cash, ya. And he’s so stupid, he kept all of his stock in mineral companies when they are threatened by AGW laws. He’s protecting that nest egg with a great hedge strategy: fight against AGW.

      Err for the record susann I’ve taught at university. liberal arts. Then worked for an evil defense company. then worked for consumer electronics. Opps then a very progressive company, green and all

    • “The basis of civil debate is the presumption of good faith on the part of one’s opponents, and those who fail to make such a presumption should never be construed as speaking for all of us.”

      One must assume you either don’t spend much time on CA or don’t care much for civil debate.

      http://climateaudit.org/2005/10/29/is-gavin-schmidt-honest/

      The majority of McIntyre’s posts revolve around the theme of using innuendo (some more overt than others) to trash actual climate scientists.

  5. Susan, Climate science is now heavily mathematized. Nothing wrong with that, because the advanced of physics in the last 300 years is mainly theoretical and heavy mathematics. I am not sure whether you’re aware of this fact, but since theoretical and mathematical physics had produced unmatched capability in predicting and describing physical reality to date (last 150 years or so), mathematical physics also bring in (or predicting) physical observables that are clearly unphysical (ie, violate causality). This is the issue with skeptics. How do we know that our climate models represent the true nature of physical reality? Or perhaps that our models are just telling us something that don’t correspond to physical reality at all, but just simply mathematical constructs? This is the issue, is it mathematical construct only or are they truly correspond to physical reality.

    To clarify my point, just watch this youtube video animation of the “double-slit-experiment” (DSE), which is the epitome of quantum mechanics (QM). Late Great Richard Feynman, once quoted, that if anyone can come up with a theory that explains the DSE in a non-contradictive way (ie, in a causal manner), that theory ought to replace QM. The predictive power of QM in uncovering of physical reality is so immense that it hasn’t been proven wrong in its entire history (80 years or so), since its birth. However, its mathematics give rise to clearly unphysical phenomena, just watch the DSE below:

    “Dr Quantum – Double Slit Experiment”

    In the experiment (you can see one like that in any physics lab), the particle (electron in this case) goes thru the 2 slit-holes at once. This means in generally that an object can be at 2 places at once. Why do physicists think that way? Well, because the QM wave-equation, give solutions that say that some of the particles do actually go thru the 2 holes, simultaneously. Does this sound like God to you? Sure is, if anyone can claim that physical objects can be at 2 places at once, then you know that somehow, it is no difference to religion. Being at 2 places at once is clearly unphysical and must be rejected on philosophical grounds (ie, metaphysics). But why physicists think that the particle actually goes thru the 2 slit-holes simultaneously? Simply because the math says. Any experimental confirmation that this is actually what happens? Nope. Why? Well, if you watch the animation, is that once the experimenter puts a detector near one of the 2 slit-holes to detect which particle that goes thru which hole (either hole A or hole B, etc,…), it meant that the particle only goes thru one hole and not both. So, the math says, that some of the particles go thru both holes, but this mathematical prediction is physically untestable. It is similar to setting up an experiment to test whether God exists or not. Such experiment if it is ever designed is physically untestable.

    Note here, so that you can differentiate usefulness of QM theory itself and its mathematics and claiming that QM represents the true nature of physical reality, because they’re different. Guess what? There are physicists today who are skeptics about the physical validity of the QM theory itself. Those skeptics don’t question the predictive power of QM, they question its philosophical interpretation (like that in the youtube animation), whether in fact if the particle can be at 2 places at once (because the math says but actually never been experimentally proven), which is philosophically nonsense. The QM skeptics have tried to search for a new theory that doesn’t give rise to unphysicality (ie, God-like behavior). Some of them have been proposed over the years and one of them is MU (multiple universe) theory and others. MU eliminates the unphysicality of QM , such as being at 2 places at once, but the MU theory itself still lead to unphysical outcome. MU explains the DSE, like this. Each particle (in the youtube animation) simply goes thru one hole only. A virtual identical particle (from another universe) just pops into our universe, at the moment the real particle from our universe just about to go thru the slit-hole (either A or B), and this virtual particle (of course undetected by our universe’s instrument) go in thru the other hole, where both particle (virtual & real) emerges out from the slit-holes and interfere which is being observed at the back-screen. The predictions of QM and MU of physical observables are the same (except one experiment that they slightly differ), so it is a matter of taste only for the physicist to choose which theory to use, because they’re no different in describing observations. The problem with MU, is that whenever a quantum event takes place somewhere in the universe , such as the DSE, the universe itself splits into 2 identical ones, but they’re forever cut-off from each other. This leads to infinite universes, since there is always quantum event taking place in the universe at every milli-second or so. There are Susann (copies of yourself) living in parallel worlds (may one million of them) out there but forever cut-off.

    Well, MU was suppose to get rid of nonsense in QM, but MU itself brings in more nonsense. Infinity is a nice concept only in abstract mathematics, but it cannot or must not be something that exists in physical reality.

    Are both QM or MU represent the true nature of physical reality? Nope, on a philosophical argument. Are they useful? Yes, their predictive power are unmatched. You can ask the same thing about AGW. Is the mathematical predictions of the climate models useful ? Yes, definitely. Are the models represent the true nature of climate physical reality, since the model purely say that man is responsible and mind you, climate science doesn’t do live experiment with the whole earth as its laboratory but only past data back-testing to the models? Well, this is where skeptics step in, right there.

    You should read the following paper (it should be easy for the general public ), just avoid/skip few equations in there, which still makes it readable. This paper, showed that the consensus amongst physicists, is that QM is the correct interpretation of physical reality. This means that the interpretation that an object can be at 2 places at once, must be accepted by faith as true reality , even though there has never ever been experimentally verified, but simply because the math says. Philosophically, it should be stated that this consensus in non-sense and irrelevant. Physicists should just stick to using the QM theory because it is useful, but not to step in and declare that QM corresponds to reality, because the theory is clearly unphysical.

    “The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Many Worlds or Many Words?”
    http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9709032v1

    I hope that I have given you some perspective of why other scientists/physicists are skeptics about AGW claim. It’s got nothing to do with association with oil companies or any of those nonsense.

    • Francois Ouellette Reply January 3, 2010 at 10:19 am

      “I am not sure whether you’re aware of this fact, but since theoretical and mathematical physics had produced unmatched capability in predicting and describing physical reality to date (last 150 years or so)”

      Actually, while physics and other sciences are pretty good at predicting the outcome of SIMPLE experiments (like that 2-slit experiment you describe), our knowledge of how to predict the behavior of systems with even a low degree of complexity is quite poor, to say the least. The science of complex systems is only a few decades old, and VERY rudimentary. We hardly undertstand something as common as turbulence! Even 3-body systems have no analytical solution! So you don’t even need quantum mechanics, just plain classical physics is unable to describe very common, but slightly complex, phenomena.

      • Complexity — that’s why my biology prof called our discipline the king of sciences – it studies life, and life is far more complex than mathematics, physics, chemistry etc because you need all of them plus to understand biological living systems. Climate is right up there next to biology.

        Heresy I realize to physicists and mathematicians… 😉

        • And social science is far more difficult than natural sciences because the subject matter is the conscious human and his/her creations and behavior. 🙂

          That’s the real heresy.

          No wonder people claim to only want to talk about the math or stats over at CA…

          • I am sure that you’ve heard of :

            “System Biology”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_biology

            It is a multi-disciplinary field and this is one of the areas in biology that physicists are involved in. Those that come from complex systems modeling, such as from statistical mechanics, etc,…

          • Huh,

            We don’t “only want to talk about math and stats.” where do you come up with these notions about our wants and desires? First off, who is this “we” you want to refer to ( it’s part of your mental style ) There is no “we” at CA. The first thing you need to do is cladistics. Go search the comments. Look for a commenter named “kim” what do Kim and I share? look for boris, what do boris and I share? bender? UC? romanM? Steffan? You won’t get it. Your mental style makes it impossible for you to get it or see it.
            Take the red pill.

            There are small factions of “us” who do want and desire to discuss things non mathematical. Sometimes we do. But we’ve learned something you haven’t. Do you attend many cocktail parties? do you know how to talk to people? Do you know when the right time to discuss certain issues is? do you know what is not allowed? do you know that if you want to discuss taboo topics that there is always a time and place to do it? if you have the social skills? You lack social skills to put it bluntly.

            Lucia started her own blog. Why? do you know why? It’s pretty clear. if you understand why she differentiated herself from steve, you will understand steve better. You will understand him better, because lucia understands what steve is keen on and what he is not keen on.
            She runs a different show. some of the audience is shared. why? Anthony started his own blog. Why? how is he different than steve? why does he get more traffic? Why are his demographics different? What are the demographics of CA? of RC? of WUWT. It will surprise you. probably stun you. Why don’t you fit in our universe? why does lucia fit and judith curry fit?
            why do fights erupt around you? can you figure that out? probably not. How is jeffId different from steve? Why did he start his own blog? What does that tell you about steve?

            You see the difference between my way of understanding and yours? You see how I started with no categories. You see how I started with observations? mental style. You start with a structure and fit the facts. “we” start with observations, and see what the data show. There is no “right” style. That’s not my point.

            • We don’t “only want to talk about math and stats.” where do you come up with these notions about our wants and desires?

              Jeeze – I was being facetious. I was referring to the whole not wanting to talk about policy or politics business. They are really messy fuzzy stuff that you can’t safely capture fully or quantify in an algorithm or equation.

              First off, who is this “we” you want to refer to ( it’s part of your mental style ) There is no “we” at CA.

              Doesn’t seem like that — what I see when visiting is Steve posts, “LOOK AT HOW EVIL THOSE SCIENTISTS ARE!” and the chorus says “WOW! THOSE SCIENTISTS SURE ARE EVIL!”

              Ok, exaggerating for the sake of satire, but from the point of view of an outsider, who has poked around at a few blogs, I am amazed at how similar CA and RC are with respect to this “moderator posts and chorus cheers” style. As well as an “in” and “out” crowd — which tends to fall along the party lines.

              Which is pretty funny, because both sides seem to despise the other and hold the other up as Satan incarnate.

              Yes, yes, Mosher, I am exaggerating once again. I don’t mean that precisely, as in the precision expected of an engineer, but really to an outsider it is most peculiar.

              Maybe you’ve been too long in country and don’t recognize this.

              The first thing you need to do is cladistics. Go search the comments. Look for a commenter named “kim” what do Kim and I share? look for boris, what do boris and I share? bender? UC? romanM? Steffan? You won’t get it. Your mental style makes it impossible for you to get it or see it.

              I guess I won’t bother trying since my deficient mental style, whatever that is, makes it impossible.

              So given that my ability to understand is hindered by my mental style, I take it that you are just here to bash me to — what — get off steam?

              Take the red pill.

              I would but I suspect you’re color blind…

              Do you attend many cocktail parties? do you know how to talk to people? Do you know when the right time to discuss certain issues is? do you know what is not allowed? do you know that if you want to discuss taboo topics that there is always a time and place to do it? if you have the social skills? You lack social skills to put it bluntly.

              Yeah, yeah. I don’t kiss ass and ingratiate myself. Sorry.

              why do fights erupt around you? can you figure that out? probably not.

              No, you see my mental style prevents me from even recognizing that fights break out around me. How I ever managed to get married and work at a responsible job for this long I’ll never know, blundering through life as I am…

              You see the difference between my way of understanding and yours? You see how I started with no categories. You see how I started with observations? mental style. You start with a structure and fit the facts. “we” start with observations, and see what the data show. There is no “right” style. That’s not my point.

              What was your point again?

              Let’s see — I have a mental style dysfunction that prevents me from understanding things properly and a social dysfunction that prevents me from the gift of gab at cocktail parties and even though you don’t think there *is* a right mental style, mine is obviously not right or I’d see the light.

              Hey — thanks for that!

              • If I may, and not seeing any email, I would humbly submit here my opinion (without any willingness to discuss it further, because we’ll end up with very narrow comments and bad design might very well be the greater sin), that most of the antagonism felt at CA around your character might have two distinct origins : (1) the commenters do not like Steve being questioned for his editorial practices (which actually refutes the false choice between “mindsets”); (2) the space taken was enormous, most of the times repetitious, whereas it might have been more prudent to give the parting shot to the other commenters, with the expectancy that the readership would still get your point, more so if they themselves get monotonous and caricatural.

                • That’s quite interesting. CA aficionados don’t like it when an outsider comes to the blog and questions Steve’s posts, but they come to my blog and feel free to suggest I am mentally deficient, stupid, and blind, etc. 😉 Very interesting…

                  Yes, I did respond to people, probably too much, but it was because I assumed they want to discuss the issues. That’s what I thought this thing called “discussion” was all about but I guess my mental style deficiencies prevent me from understanding that in a discussion, you are supposed to make your point and then despite what other people say you wrote or meant, you are to shut up and cede ground. Hmm.

                  I was not used to Steve’s very close moderation and attempts to control the discussion, thinking that people at CA pride themselves on not being RC. I guess that only when you agree with Steve is it considered On Topic.

                  • Please stay patient while your tolerance is being tested, bearing in mind all the energy your new endeavour will soon take, and thank you for the width improvement,

                  • on the contrary we do like it when outsiders come. Judith curry comes to criticize, Rob Wilson, its healthy. What is unhealthy is what you do. off topic ( go to unthreaded)
                    coatracking ( go to unthreaded) motive hunting ( go to unthreaded) piling on ( go to unthreaded) flaming ( go to unthreaded)

                    You get it? far worse critics than you have showed up and stayed, learned the rules of the road. SOME HAVE BEEN THERE FOR YEARS. read susann.

                    Recently steve has tightened his moderation. guess why?

              • “Jeeze – I was being facetious. I was referring to the whole not wanting to talk about policy or politics business. They are really messy fuzzy stuff that you can’t safely capture fully or quantify in an algorithm or equation.”

                Wrong. you were not being facetious. Steve snips policy for an entiely different reason. Its NOT that you can’t capture it in an algorithm you dope. Look at the discussion of FOIA. no algorithm there. Steve doesnt like policy for an entirely different reason. But YOU cannot see it.

                “Doesn’t seem like that — what I see when visiting is Steve posts, “LOOK AT HOW EVIL THOSE SCIENTISTS ARE!” and the chorus says “WOW! THOSE SCIENTISTS SURE ARE EVIL!” ”

                Again, that’s what you see because that’s what you look for. Has steve ever called them evil? Hmm I think not. Personally, I don’t think the scientists are evil. I think they have a garden variety of human flaws, just merely human. but you want to lump all opions into one frame. That’s your style.

                “Ok, exaggerating for the sake of satire, but from the point of view of an outsider, who has poked around at a few blogs, I am amazed at how similar CA and RC are with respect to this “moderator posts and chorus cheers” style. As well as an “in” and “out” crowd — which tends to fall along the party lines.”

                You really don’t see how the comments at RC are constructed. You should read the mails. Mann tells you how they do it. If you think they are similar you have some real perception problems.

                “Which is pretty funny, because both sides seem to despise the other and hold the other up as Satan incarnate.”

                Seriously, in all the personal mails sent to me by Mc and watts and lucia and jeffid and several posters at CA I’ve never seen one of them

                A. claim fraud
                B. say they want to take the RC crowd out in a dark alley
                C. laugh at briffa sickness like Jones cheered dalys death

                Need I go on? You’re at a disadavantge since I spend hours a day for the past 2 years reading all this stuff. Surrender dorthy.

                “Maybe you’ve been too long in country and don’t recognize this.”

                Sorry, maybe you visit with preconceptions. You dont read enough and you have a mental style that is selective toward confirming facts. Most soft science types do.

                “I guess I won’t bother trying since my deficient mental style, whatever that is, makes it impossible.”

                Oh dear susann, I thought you would like an impossible challenge. You don’t? hmm, lemme guess your a B+ student and government worker. You like security. You’re afraid of taking on the science cause you dont want to make a mistake.

                “So given that my ability to understand is hindered by my mental style, I take it that you are just here to bash me to — what — get off steam?”

                No just a brain break. You’re fun. Do you see how you cant get my motives. My true motive is to try out arguments. To see how they look on the page. To see how you react to them. When They go in the book, they will have the benefit of being tested.
                Plus I like to tease girls. or not.

                “I would but I suspect you’re color blind…”

                Nope wrong again.

                “Yeah, yeah. I don’t kiss ass and ingratiate myself. Sorry.”
                Susann. Don’t be stupid. Go read the yamal threads. Tom P did not kiss ass or ingriate himself. Go read any thread with Nick stokes. Go read a thread where JohnV appears.
                Go read threads where rob wilson appears. or Juekes or judth curry. The lorax thread.
                Ass kissing is not a requirement. But you do need to follow the rules of the discussion.
                Steve does all the work for the blog. Not like WUWT where there are moderators. he hates when topics go off thread. he hates when people discuss politics, flame wars start. THEN a scientists like rob wilson looks at the thread and says ” fuck, I am not going to post there.” So, we TRY TRY TRY to stay on topic, avoid certain issues, so that we dont degenerate. I told you this before long ago. UNTHREADED or start your own blog.
                Glad to see you did the latter.

                “No, you see my mental style prevents me from even recognizing that fights break out around me. How I ever managed to get married and work at a responsible job for this long I’ll never know, blundering through life as I am…”

                Huh, what a non sequitor. Do you talk about your sex life at work? why not? If you did and people asked you to stop would you? have you been tested for aspergers?

                “What was your point again?”

                You made it for me, thanks.

                “Let’s see — I have a mental style dysfunction that prevents me from understanding things properly and a social dysfunction that prevents me from the gift of gab at cocktail parties and even though you don’t think there *is* a right mental style, mine is obviously not right or I’d see the light.”

                No, you have a mental style that makes you see things certain ways. Sometimes that style has adaptive value. Sometimes not. It’s not the gift of gab you lack, you dummy. It’s CALIBRATION. you can’t seem to calibrate others reactions to you. You misconstrue motives. See things through false categories. you can’t take suggestions. That doesnt mean their isnt a place for you in a marriage or in a job, ( whatever reason you brought that up, weird )

                Hey — thanks for that!

                • Mosher, please pick a few more, I don’t know, creative terms because I hear “dope” and “stupid” and “dummy” and teasing girls on the playground from other little boys when I pick up my son and well, I expect a higher calibre of taunt here.

                  • You still don’t get it. The funny thing about mixing substantive criticisms with stupid taunts. When you step your game up, I’ll step up the taunts. or not.

        • Physicists are everywhere now these days Susan. Complex system modeling is similar to what statistical mechanics physicists are doing (many body system or interacting units).

          Here are some examples:

          “Sociophysics”
          http://www.isi.it/progetti/sociophysics08/

          “Worrying trends in Econophysics”
          http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0606/0606002.pdf

          Adaptive Complex system modeling is an exciting field. I specialize in numerical modeling for developing commercial software applications and most if not all the mathematics used in the IPCC report I know them. I developed those algorithms to be used in the various analytical commercial software products that I have got involved in. There are also some new state-of-the-art math from the field of machine learning, data-mining, pattern recognition, etc, that I have noted that climate scientists haven’t been aware of their existence yet.

          Climate is a complex system and so as economic system, but my point above, is that we have treated math as the word of God, more like the children “Simon Says” game. The mathematical solution says “jump”, then we all jump, if it says “object can be at 2 places at once”, then we all say, yeah, that’s a fact of reality. I understand this domain of mathematical modeling quite well, because I have often encountered mathematical solutions that are no way realistic at all.

          Physicists working on modeling biological complex system is already started. The math is quite heavy, where usually only the level of PhD knowledge can cope with the mathematical complexities. Undergrad science/math/physics people wouldn’t understand them.

  6. Susan, Climate science is now heavily mathematized. Nothing wrong with that, because the advanced of physics in the last 300 years is mainly theoretical and heavy mathematics. I am not sure whether you’re aware of this fact, but since theoretical and mathematical physics had produced unmatched capability in predicting and describing physical reality to date (last 150 years or so), mathematical physics also bring in (or predicting) physical observables that are clearly unphysical (ie, violate causality). This is the issue with skeptics.

    I’ll get to the substance of your post tomorrow and it is usually against good judgement to cite ones quals, as one’s words should suffice, but I did want to say that besides biology, I took – and even passed! – courses in calculus, physics, astronomy, biochemistry and chemistry (both organic and inorganic) and computer science as part of the requirements for the BSc so I am quite aware of the importance of mathematics for modern science.

    I also studied graduate level statistics, the sociology of science in my graduate work, political science and public policy, including the history and logic of science, even read Popper and Kuhn, Feyerabend and Kant. So while I am not a scientist, I have a fairly good grounding in it and understanding of it in the larger sense.

    If that isn’t coming through in my posts, well, maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I do work full time and have a family and this is supposed to be enjoyable. 🙂

  7. I found this climategate ‘thing’ extremely fascinating; it is to me simply unbelievable. I am a carpenter, and a very good one, fortunately for me I am not a scientist. You may see me as kind of an outsider, as some kind of quite limited ‘neutral’ observer of the whole thing. What I found fascinating is how ‘sciences’ is being done. From all my reading I still can not decide on which side of the fence I should sit. I feel like a rat being caught in a bamboo tube with both ends closing. I feel as if there was a vertical line, right in front of me, and if I look at my left I see climate changes causally related to co2, and if I look at my right, I see no climate change causally related to co2. This puts me in a position where I am simply contemplating the vertical line, but what am I seeing? No clear picture, like being lost in a very dense forest, it is dark, no moon, no stars and no compass, asking myself ‘What shall I do, where shall I go’.

    Human mind does not like darkness, uncertainties, ambiguities, preferring light, certainties and non ambiguities. To me from a limited and exterior perspective I see this debate as being sort of ‘the viewpoint is the view’, ‘the view being the viewpoint’. Left viewpoint giving a left view, right viewpoint giving a right view. The what you look from being sort of what you look for to look from and what you look for to look at, thus becoming a fix and sterile the view is the viewpoint; a vicious circle. It seem that we look for to look from so that we can look for to look at. I see intent to see, to say. To me this comes as a total surprise because I expected sciences to be exempt of intent bias. I saw sciences as being ‘pure’, ‘objective’, and the more I read, the more I see ‘subjectivity’ as playing an extremely important role in shaping the view, the what is being look at. The theory or mythology being what we look from, what we look for to look from and what we look for to look at.
    I did not know until quite recently that some very obscure and quite complex mathematical formula were required to process what could be call empirical data.
    I was naïve, I was thinking up until now that no ‘human’ intervention were necessary and that raw data was what was being showed to us ‘layman’, but of course I did not know that raw data without human intervention would simply be meaningless ‘noise’. And I am asking myself more and more the same question; ‘if this happens in heavily funded climate sciences, could the same thing happens in other scientific discipline’?
    To me it is the very foundation of the arrogance of some scientist (and it just might be a lot of them) and of sciences that is deeply shaken by all of this.
    I am learning much more about ‘human psyche’ that I am learning about ‘is there a dramatic climate change’. There simply seems to be one valid answer, we do not know. And the way I see this, is that very few people are ready to admit that we do not know.
    What is happening now is of historic importance, how many are ready to say ‘I do not know’? Most skeptics and alarmist that I have read so far seem to suggest strongly that they do know. Yes there are climate changes (temperature), no there isn’t any climate change, yes but it isn’t causally related to carbon, yes and it is causally related to carbon. To me the very word ‘climate’ means change. As with dendrochronology, I truly have no trust at all in all of it, there are so many factors involved that I do not see how can anybody could ‘objectively’ and with any kind of certainty say what was the average temperature 200 years ago in the .0x degree per years, just by analyzing some tree rings. It is quite interesting, amusing, a funny curiosity, but highly speculative. We have a hard time calculating what the average actual temperature for a single country is now, how in the hell can anybody say with any kind of self confidence what the temperature was 200 years ago, it is so specific, so dependant on so many factors. The point is that ‘we’ need extremely specific data, very precise data in order to really appreciate change in the climate, we are not talking in 10e C, differences, we are now talking in .0x degree which some ‘scientists’ are attempting to plot on a graph. As with temperature trends, there seem to be so many different ways of ‘imagining’ how to plot the right one, that with the exact same data, drastic difference appears according to the statistical algorithm you choose to take. I am only a carpenter, but realize both the limits we have in attempting to reconstruct past temperature and the complexity inherent in the climate. But I do accept for myself those limits and was hoping to find some ‘valid’ answer out there from less limited people.
    From what I have read so far: tree rings are amusing curiosity, Average global temperature is a myth, green house effect related to co2 are a physical impossibility, Catastrophic glacier melting down another fictions, etc. Or maybe no, maybe we can reasonably plot the temperature, maybe there is a causal relation between co2 and temperature, and maybe the glacier are melting in a unprecedented and dramatic way.

    This bring me to another question, what is chaotic? The Climate? The research on the climate? Or Human being?

    The most important factors in Climate change research seem to me to be a fear in increase in global temperature. Some looking for ‘it’ in the past, others looking for its ‘causes’, and others looking for its probable impact on the planet.
    We assume that temperature should not vary more than x degree, but we know that it previously did, and will certainly do so in the future. Climate means change, or even better; change changing, climate means non-linearity, climate means dynamism, and climate means uncertainties, ambiguities, and finally it means non Aristotelian logic. Yes or no, this or that, this side or that side, if not then this or that, I think has no room here, we just can not think about the climate, about change in the same way we did. I do think that the climate is inviting us to think in a non-linear way and in a non polar way. And I think it is inviting us to accept that we do not know and possibly just can not know. It is inviting us to start not from a preconceived assumption, theory, model, scenario, mythology, any fix viewpoint, but from the unknown and as the unknown. It is inviting us to look at both view and viewpoint in a challenging and dynamic way. It is asking us to look back at both viewpoint and view, at questioning both view and viewpoint without resting it on nothing at all, in a continuous and dynamic way. The known trying to grasp the unknown, the known assuming that it can know the unknown. It is not only what we are viewing that is challenge here, it is also how this viewing is being done and the viewing itself. Both view and viewpoint must be endlessly question. I repeat myself, but the polarity that we are used to, the this or that, the if not this then that, is being question seriously with climate research.

    Climate change research is certainly one the most important issue that human being are facing, but we should continue to do this research, keeping in mind that there are possibly no issue at all while doing it. And this requires fluidity in both view and viewpoint. We must go even beyond Kuhn paradigm shift, the time for fix and rigid perspective yielding to another equally fix and rigid perspective has no room in climate research. We must match the climate, its non linearity, its dynamism, its fluidity in both view and viewpoint.

    Climate research; many worlds or many words, or maybe just too many worlds of words on both side of the fence.

    alain

    • Although I have some science background and public policy background, i am not directly involved in climate policy or research or any organizations that support either positions, I too am an outsider in this. This quote resonates:

      “For now we see through a glass, darkly.

      The climate is a very complex system and we are bold to think we can model it and come up with valid data, but we must IMO try. Our first attempts will be incomplete and inaccurate, but we must try. That’s how we got to the moon, which was probably very simple when compared with modeling the climate.

      I would suggest that the kind of science we see glimpses of in climate science is probably BAU for a lot of science disciplines, but we never get to see inside of them. Plus, you have to remember this science discipline has been “politicized” so that it no longer resembles the kind of science it would have been without politicization. That’s what people don’t realize — these scientists have not been able to work in a normal science environment. When they get death threats and need police escorts, you know it’s not normal science.

      I don’t claim to know which side to take. I am tempted to chose the dominant science paradigm side just because I do have a lot of trust in the scientific method to believe it’s all a hoax, despite some errors here and there. But I’m really trying to suspend that decision until I feel more comfortable with the main arguments on both side and the quality of the evidence each presents.

    • Alain, as a skeptic myself, that’s the position that I take as you succinctly put it:

      “I do not know?”

      I abhor warmists who claim that skeptics have motives because they’re tied closely to the petroleum industry , which is nonsense and I also abhor skeptics who say that warmists have an agenda to control the world (libertarian skeptics) and re-distribute the wealth. My skepticism is about the claim that the math established AGW. As a numerical model software developer myself, I have seen many algorithms that turned out to be useless in its application to real world data, despite the claim of its inventors/authors that the algorithm is robust.

      • Maybe susann will understand why a good fraction of CA regulars are former or current modellers. Why they are engineers as opposed to scientists. why they tend to have strong backgrounds software, aerospace, gis, signal processing. why they don’t like simplistic answers like “denialists are funded by Oil” or warmists are just socialists.

        • Maybe susann will understand why a good fraction of CA regulars are former or current modellers. Why they are engineers as opposed to scientists. why they tend to have strong backgrounds software, aerospace, gis, signal processing. why they don’t like simplistic answers like “denialists are funded by Oil” or warmists are just socialists.

          That’s fine, but Mosher, there *are* scientists and others who accept money from fossil fuel interests to “spread doubt” just as there are AGW supporters bashing the ecosocialist agenda calling for a one-world government and the redistribution of wealth. These are not just cliches, but are based on actual living breathing people who are involved in a political battle over public policy. Science is supposed, in a perfect world, to stay above the fray, but it can’t help but get caught up in it. Everyone involved in this has interests and biases that shape their understanding of the issues and lead them to certain positions on the issues. That’s inescapable. The problem is that many people are unaware of their own biases and how they affect their evaluation of the issues. They truly think they are only after the “truth” or “the facts” or “good science” and don’t realize or understand how even that is loaded.

          There are scientists who are involved on *both* sides (if you will, skeptics vs. warmists) who are legitimate and there are interested laypeople on both sides who are sincere in their positions, and at the same time, there are elements working on both sides using politics to attain their own agendas.

          While I am interested in the science, to the extent that I can understand the issues, analyzing the political, economic and social and the policy elements are where my primary experience is and I can’t help but be drawn in that direction when observing CA and RC and others.

          • Susann,

            You write: “That’s fine, but Mosher, there *are* scientists and others who accept money from fossil fuel interests to “spread doubt.”

            No, there aren’t. There used to be. But fossil fuel interests have not funded any research for years. In fact, most of the big oil companies realize they can make money by trading carbon credits so they have jumped on the AGW bandwagon. Of course, that does not stop Michael Mann from claiming anyone who criticizes him is funded by the oil industry. But like a lot of things Michael Mann says, it just isn’t true.

            • No, there aren’t. There used to be. But fossil fuel interests have not funded any research for years.

              Interesting, Ron. Do can you point me to any data you have on that?

              Regardless, for my purposes — hoping to understand the politics of this whole debate — the fact that fossil fuel corporations did try to influence the public’s perception of AGW science is still significant. I’m also interested in who funds advocate scientists as well but I’m tackling one thing at a time.

              • Several years ago, Exxon and other oil companies announced they would no longer fund climate research. There really wasn’t any need because no decent climate researcher would take any funding from them anymore.

                Since that time the oil companies have decided they were not going to win the political battle and so they started looking how they needed to change their businesses. They are investing more in alternative energy. Several big oil companies favor a cap and trade system. Exxon favors an emissions tax.

                See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123146091530566335.html

                • Some AGW supporters challenge their claim that they stopped funding all climate change deniers. Yes, I know you “skeptics” don’t trust Greenpeace and yes EXXON denies the charges, but GP claims that EXXON spent $2M to fund 40 groups that they labelled “skeptics”.

                  Now, if you’re going to ask me to read Lindzen and other “skeptics” I should be entitled to foist AGW supporters on you. 😉

                  • Susann, did you bother to read the WSJ article I linked for you? It actually tells you the business strategy of Exxon, BP and others.

                    Yes, I know what AGW supporters say. Have you ever checked out their claims? I don’t think you will find them convincing. What you will learn is that Exxon has given money to various foundations, think tanks, etc. These think tanks and foundations get lots of financial support from all kinds of corporations and private individuals. Certain foundations and think tanks tend to be skeptical on climate alarmism. But if you look at all of the money Exxon has donated to foundations and think tanks, I am certain you will find not all of them are skeptical. But the AGW supporters seem incapable of looking at this in an unbiased way.

                    What changed several years ago was that Exxon and other oil companies stopped directly funding climate research. They have not funded research for years. Some of the think tanks they support may be skeptical, but that is not the same thing. Right?

              • Ah Susann you are making the claim that there are oil funded scientists. Burden of proof dear.

                Regardless, the silly thing is this. Mann and you and others defend against a foe that doesnt exists or is just plain stupid. What you have yet to figure out is the army of davids.

                Even there you dont get it because you try to fit Mc and Watts into YOUR PARADIGM of action, hidden interests and astroturfing.

                Since I’ve done a few years of threat analysis let me clue you in. Asymeterical warfare.
                rules for radicals. pajama’s media. use those paradigms.

          • “there *are* scientists and others who accept money from fossil fuel interests to “spread doubt” just as there are AGW supporters bashing the ecosocialist agenda calling for a one-world government and the redistribution of wealth. These are not just cliches, but are based on actual living breathing people who are involved in a political battle over public policy.”

            Seriously. Name one. or more to the point, the dominant frame of AGW is that the consensus science supports AGW. There is no credible science opposing radiative physics. So, I call bullshit on the fossil fuel funded research. MORE IMPORTANTLY, the real challenge to climate science has come from their OWN ACTIONS. Actions which they took because they view the world through your paranoid frame.

            “Science is supposed, in a perfect world, to stay above the fray, but it can’t help but get caught up in it. Everyone involved in this has interests and biases that shape their understanding of the issues and lead them to certain positions on the issues. That’s inescapable. The problem is that many people are unaware of their own biases and how they affect their evaluation of the issues. They truly think they are only after the “truth” or “the facts” or “good science” and don’t realize or understand how even that is loaded.”

            Well thanks for the apple pie mom. If you want to fight bias in the science then clearly and forcefully join Judith Curry and me and call for full access to the data and code behind the temperature series. Like you Curry sees Oil interest phantoms, unlike you she is a real scientist who is a full fledged believer in AGW. If she can find a common ground with mcIntyre and me in calling for open access, then you can.

            “There are scientists who are involved on *both* sides (if you will, skeptics vs. warmists) who are legitimate and there are interested laypeople on both sides who are sincere in their positions, and at the same time, there are elements working on both sides using politics to attain their own agendas.”

            Really? I’m shocked.

            “While I am interested in the science, to the extent that I can understand the issues, analyzing the political, economic and social and the policy elements are where my primary experience is and I can’t help but be drawn in that direction when observing CA and RC and others.”

            When I first started at CA I too spent a bunch of time talking about policy and politics ect. Snip snip snip. I then just picked an area that I could understand and studied that.
            Then on threads where I dont get the stats I ask questions. You can resist the urge, trust me.

            Reply

  8. You ask
    “How is someone like me going to decide?”

    It is not that hard. Science is replication, and Steve has done the hard work – you can easily replicate what Steve has done.

    Climategate only confirmed what those who had been following Steve’s calculations already knew. For example we all knew that the IPCC had adjusted the proxies to match what Hadley-CRU claimed the instrumental record showed before we read that it was called “Mike’s Nature trick … to hide the decline.

    We do not have the inside dope on GISS, but it shows lots of Hadley CRU symptoms – inexplicable surface station adjustments, curiously missing stations.

    The climategate documents directory merely confirmed what we already knew about the Hadley CRU “instrumental surface temperature record”. A similar revelation from inside GISS would most likely reveal the same horror show.

    • Love the icon, BTW! One of my favorite sages.

      The problem I see is that most of us non-scientists are not able to judge if the “errors” and “adjustments” made in climate science are a serious issue with respect to its reliability and validity. It’s all well and good to point to errors and data handling and say that it’s sloppy and could be modernized and standardized, but it’s quite another to say that because of errors and data handling and adjustments to raw data that it’s all a hoax or a fraud.

      One strategy of denialists is to raise doubt about the evidence so that laypeople no longer trust science and scientists. That way, the politicians can point to “public opinion” and justify not acting. That is something I am very cognizant of as a person who has studied the politicization of science issues in my graduate work.

      • “The problem I see is that most of us non-scientists are not able to judge if the “errors” and “adjustments” made in climate science are a serious issue with respect to its reliability and validity. It’s all well and good to point to errors and data handling and say that it’s sloppy and could be modernized and standardized, but it’s quite another to say that because of errors and data handling and adjustments to raw data that it’s all a hoax or a fraud.”

        There you go again. False choice. Here is what you know.
        You know that good science depends upon the ability of others to check your work and reproduce your work. You know that this process works to remove the biases of personal interest, personal bias, profit interest, political interest. Does it perfectly remove these? hardly. So you know that to insure the best science you had better adhere to these principles if you have any hope whatsoever. On the climate science, lets say the temperature record, what do you know.
        You know the record cannot currently be fully audited. You know that records have not been maintained. You know that the underlying code for adjustments has not been shared.

        Does that mean there is fraud? You can’t tell, its stupid to even ask that question susann. its stupid to ask that question because you can’t determine fraud or hoax. You can’t determine anything now. Why? because they made a hash of the data. How big of a hash? You dont know. You cant know.
        basically, all you can do is suspend judgement. So, you dont have to decide if there is fraud. You dont have to decide if the errors are big or small. you can’t. Suspend judgement. We don’t know. We do know that C02 causes warming. We do know there are paths we can start down to limit this. We can take actions down those paths, while somebody with integrity and independent oversite goes and does the work that Jones was supposed to do.

        “One strategy of denialists is to raise doubt about the evidence so that laypeople no longer trust science and scientists. ”

        An one strategy the scientists used ( SEE THE MAILS) is to hide REAL UNCERTAINITIES in the data so that they could achieve their goals. so that they could present a “simple” message to politicians. basically, it’s product marking. The skeptics product was doubt. The scientists positioned against this product, by selling “consensus” and by selling “robust” results, and by selling “highly confident”, when in fact there was no consensus between Briffa an Mann on the MWP ( see the mails) when in fact the results were not “robust” as shown in Amman07, when in fact there is very little confidence ( ie wide CIs) in the climate recons.

        “That way, the politicians can point to “public opinion” and justify not acting. That is something I am very cognizant of as a person who has studied the politicization of science issues in my graduate work.”

        Read through the mails and see who politicized. more importantly see who PERSONALIZED the science. personal interest is just as corrosive as political interest.

        But these can be corrected for: free the data; free the code.
        distrust those who dont.

        • Let’s not forget “free the debate” between “[F]ree the data; free the code” and “distrust those who don[‘]t”.

          • Thanks willard. The actual slogan of the lukewarmers is; free the data; free the code; open the debate.

            Now today C span calls on congress to open their debate on health care as obama promised. My hope, the principles that guide my choices, are the principles of open access and open debate.

        • There you go again. False choice.

          Steven, what interests me is understanding this from a larger socio-political-economic perspective. I am looking at this from someone analyzing it as a phenomenon — not just whether the science is “right” or “a fraud” but the very fact that we are having this debate at all. I am very interested in how the public and public opinion have become the battleground.

          The problem the average layperson faces is who do I trust — the scientists or the skeptics? I know you claim that is a false choice but that is the choice the average person is left with. Denialists know this — so do the advocate scientists or else neither would be working so hard to discredit each other in the public eye.

          Most laypeople do not know enough science to judge it and so they rely on the media or pundits for their opinions. That is where this gets played out — in the media and on the part of pundits for each side. The goal — public opinion and through that public policy.

          As to your “free the code” mantra. Well, I agree that openness in science is key to its healthy functioning. All science should be as open as possible, given the particulars and any public policy should be premised only on science that has been soundly vetted and its data and methods available for scrutiny.

          However, some climate science is not being conducted under the terms of “normal science”. It has instead been undertaken in a very politicized environment that has made it secretive, protective, insular, and at times petty — to its own detriment. There are scientists getting death threats for God’s sake.

          How did it come to this? Is it a rogue band of scientists hiding their uncertain research in an effort to bamboozle the government to sell their product get big grants and achieve a political agenda? The reality I suspect is far more complex than that.

          The fact that the science is taking place in a politicized environment is key to understanding it and the context as a whole.

          This doesn’t mean it is wrong, necessarily. But it means we have to now examine it very closely and ensure that it can function the way science has been meant to do — free of political interference or economic bias so that it can re-enter — conditions of normal science.

  9. Francois Ouellette Reply January 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Susann,

    I wish you success in your attempt at understanding the social forces at play here. That is an area that is of interest to me too. I think that CA was a very interesting phenomenon from the start: how the Internet could be used to bypass the usual scientific publication path. But unfortunately, it has slightly degenerated since then. While there is not the kind of censorship that you find at RealClimate, it is nevertheless almost impossible now to have a serious discussion if you are not a cheerleader. Steve’s definition of OT, and of what should be snipped is highly subjective, as you have probably realized by now. But hey, it’s his blog.

    In particular, Steve M claims not to discuss motives, but the entire blog is based on the implicit assumption that there is a motive behind the scientists’ claims and behavior. Why would one discuss FOI requests and climategate e-mails in general if one is not interested in motive?

    What I personnally find quite fascinating in the entire debate is the use of the concept “science”, which both sides use as a rhetorical weapon. That despite 50+ years of sociology of science that showed that there is no such thing as that ideal, mythical and naive concept of “science”, and especially “scientific truth”, that other elusive treasure that philosophers of science have so far unsuccessfully tried to uncover. As long as the proponents on both sides cling to the idea (or make us believe) that there is such a thing as disinterested science, we are obviously getting nowhere.

    So one has to make a clear distinction between “useful knowledge”, based on correct theories and models of the universe, and the stuff that you find in “scientific publications”, that is stuff that is approved by the establishment of that social institution that we call “science”. Not that there is no overlap, but there is just no guaranteed one-to-one correspondence.

    In principle, of course, the members of the scientific institution claim that they only publish stuff that meets certain criteria. The problem is that they are self-disciplined, and mostly dependent on state support. So you’ve got stuff like the H-index and the impact factor that sort of interfere with these criteria. And there is the ever present psychological motivation, the quest for fame that many scientists pursue as a compensation for their rather poor salary. When that clashes with questions of public interest (like whether or not we should reduce our oil consumption), the outcome can be very confusing and messy.

    That being said, I do have an OPINION on global warming theory, informed by my reading of a few hundred papers in the field, and by my background as a physicist. Mostly I think that there are a lot of important issues that need to be resolved before we can make any predictions whatsoever. As it stands, the theory could be completely turned on its head with some minor discoveries. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that such a thing happens. So I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it. But I would also act accordingly.

    So if I was a chief of state, or simply in charge of funding research, I would actually make sure that dissenters are funded just as much, or even more, than the most severe alarmists. I would give them all the means they need to prove their point. What better way to make sure that they’re wrong (if they are!).

    Case in point: continental drift. The “consensus” was that the theory was wrong. But actually the consensus was really the opinion of the scientists at the top of the geological science establishment (I have my opinion on their motives). Since they controlled the publication system, it soon became impossible to do any work along the lines that Wegener had proposed, and after his death, the theory fell into oblivion for almost 30 years. Yet, and despite the claims that one constantly hears about lack of evidence etc., it already was a better theory in 1933. There was plenty of good evidence to support it. More work on it would just have solidified it even more. Note that in that case, no monetary interest was involved, and still there were enough “motives” for some geologists to crush the theory, and literally ban it from the publication system.

    Are we seeing the same thing here? The simple answer is that nothing has changed in the scientific institution to prevent that to happen again. In fact, it is probably even worse today. So the question is not how to determine whether the scientists on both sides of a theory have motives (they always have), but how can we institute rules that prevent these motives from tilting the balance of evidence one way or another. The current rules of the scientific institution are, IMHO, just not good enough, especially in matters of public interest.

    That said, I wish you good luck with your blog!

  10. Thanks for your post!

    In particular, Steve M claims not to discuss motives, but the entire blog is based on the implicit assumption that there is a motive behind the scientists’ claims and behavior. Why would one discuss FOI requests and climategate e-mails in general if one is not interested in motive?

    Yes, and well put. The entire project appears to be premised on McIntyre’s suspicions based on his career as a minerals director/official etc. His comments in interviews that the hockey stick graph reminded him of the BRE-X scandal got my spidey senses tingling — it’s as if his whole project is premised on the assumption that something fishy is going on and the BRE-X reference suggests it’s a fraud. He appears to be on a mission to prove it and thus focuses on scientists, and while he claims not to be interested in their motives, that screams to me when I read his coy comments and references to “the team”. He seems to look for deliberate alterations and deceptions. His unwillingness to take a firm stand is his right, but it does lead one to speculate. Hence, my interest in his background and his motives as well as the political orientation of his “aficionados”

    What I personally find quite fascinating in the entire debate is the use of the concept “science”, which both sides use as a rhetorical weapon. That despite 50+ years of sociology of science that showed that there is no such thing as that ideal, mythical and naive concept of “science”, and especially “scientific truth”, that other elusive treasure that philosophers of science have so far unsuccessfully tried to uncover. As long as the proponents on both sides cling to the idea (or make us believe) that there is such a thing as disinterested science, we are obviously getting nowhere.

    Be careful where you post heresy like that! 😀

    As someone who has both a natural science and social science education and training, I straddle the fence between both worlds. When I finished my BSc and began an honors degree in social science, my new SS profs boasted to my former NS profs that they were stealing me! There was even competition among the two groups over students. One issue I see is that natural science students often receive an uncritical view of science throughout their education. I didn’t learn about science qua science until I did a graduate education in social science and read some of the founders and thinkers and philosophers of science.

    Yes, it would be entirely possible to overthrow climate science as the dominant scientific paradigm were some new discovery to come along and refute the role of CO2 in current warming – some mysterious yet-unknown discovery about natural cycles, solar influences, etc. However, given our success in understanding how our anthropogenic production of CFCs in the mid-20th C affected the ozone layer, I am not as worried that there is a spurious correlation between CO2 and warming in general and current warming in particular.

    And I do think that the wise young politician (the old ones can probably continue being irresponsible since they won’t be around to pay the political price) should at least plan for warming and perhaps invest in alternative energy or develop cleaner fossil fuel energy sources., as well as plan for mitigation. As well, the negative effects of warming in some vulnerable areas demands that politicians and planners, well, plan. We’ll do pretty well up here in the north I expect, but in the south and other areas vulnerable to drought, not so much.

    Even if the warming from a doubling of CO2 and associated feedbacks is minimal – say on the order of <2 degC, there is still ocean acidification to consider. Plus, there is the issue of peak oil. We are going to have to transition to alternatives at some point, even if we exhaust all fossil fuels that are accessible to our current extraction and development technologies (and assuming new ones in the future). So even if there are problems in the science and it is still quite uncertain, there are two other forces in action that are compelling us to address our carbon use and reliance besides warming — ocean acidification and peak oil, not to mention the pollution associated with continued exploitation of fossil fuels.

    I like your reference to continental drift and the whole change in paradigm and the need to retain a skeptical attitude. It's hard in the politicized environment of the climate debate to avoid being a cynic.

  11. I fear that very few scientists have sufficient training and expertise in statistics to offer qualified opinions on proper applications of statistics. It is not just a question of having taken college course work in statistics; it is having a sound comprehension of statistics. Anyone can use statistical methods, but understanding what one is accomplishing with the statistics and whether or not the correct statistical methods have been selected are the issues. Meteorologists and climatologists now find themselves in fields dominated by statistics because supercomputers permit the applications of advanced statistical methodology to scientific theories, something not possible say just 20 years ago. It is one thing to know the science; it is an entirely different matter to understand the statistics necessary to advance the scientific theories to practice.
    How many climatologists or meteorologists have …. say a masters degree in statistics in their background? Not many I fear. The actual degree is not the relevant point, it is the comprehension.
    I am well acquainted with one individual who is a scientist but also has a thorough comprehension of statistics; he “lives” theoretical statistics in his current profession. I recently gave him a paper on which I was a coauthor and which involved an advanced statistical method that was well entrenched in the profession. He wrote back to me a few days later, saying, well, this statistical method of yours is designed to generate the particular answer that you wanted. Hmmmm. Designed to give the desired answer!
    If you don’t comprehend statistics, you can’t play at the ballpark … you can only be a spectator. But a spectator with a decent background in science and mathematics should be able to follow the game plan rather closely. I’m a spectator at Climate Audit; I don’t attempt to play the game — I recognize my limits. However, I had a solid background in physics, mathematics and astronomy during my early life (plus meteorology is a serious hobby), and I can follow the play by play close enough to recognize that there are all-star players on the field in this particular game. Some of the cast of players also have their own climate blogs.

    • You are correct to point out that so much of science and indeed social science involves statistical understanding.

      No one I’ve read on either side of the divide claims that Steve McIntyre is not good at statistics and maths.

      For a while during my undergrad, I considered doing an MA/PhD in plant genetics but when I realized how much stats work there was, I changed my mind. 😀 I thought science was about doing experiments and getting results and discussing the implications — the idea of spending all that time doing stats in order to get anything out of the data was depressing. It seemed so far removed from the actual science. Of course, now I’ve grown to love data and seeing what it says, and some people truly love the stats part of it, and more power to them. I do get excited when our database is updated and we get to do analyses, but I am also glad that someone else does the stats work.

      I do believe that most fields that rely on stats do have courses geared to the discipline — I took stats for biology majors in my undergrad and then stats for social science in my graduate work. Currently, we have research officers who do all the stats for us policy types, so while I have a background, it’s like any skill — use it or lose it. I have an online stats reference text I bookmarked for the times I need a reference to help me understand what’s being discussed in some papers.

      Still, I don’t have enough skill in it to judge whether the problems with the “hockey stick” statistics are enough to sink the paleo ship or whether they are just minor and have had had no overall effect. Both sides claim victory and so far as I can see there are no truly disinterested parties to go in and adjudicate.

      • If you cannot see that “hide the decline” was scientific fraud …. what can I say? (Do you understand the “divergence” issue?) The fraud was even extended with Yamal and YAD06, via cherry picking and hiding the data to prevent exposing the ridiculously small sample size.
        Generation of Hockey Sticks is just a mathematical trick; you should be able to find multiple climate blogs that discuss how this is done. Try this as a start:
        http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/how-to-make-a-hockey-stick-paleoclimatology-what-they-dont-want-you-to-know/
        Then there is the massive data manipulation behind the temperature models; adjusting raw data (if you have to adjust the raw data, it ain’t science), cherry picking data stations (deleting rural stations and selecting airports), smoothing artifacts, homogenization artifacts, reference point selection, ….. gross. I suspect that when raw data from ALL available stations in GHCN is employed in temperature models — without adjustments, homogenization, and smoothing — no significant warming will be found since the recovery from the Little Ice Age, circa 1850 to present.

        • If you cannot see that “hide the decline” was scientific fraud …. what can I say? (Do you understand the “divergence” issue?) The fraud was even extended with Yamal and YAD06, via cherry picking and hiding the data to prevent exposing the ridiculously small sample size.

          I have read both sides explain “hide the decline” and “Mike’s Nature trick”. I am not convinced it is evidence of fraud.

          “Mike’s Nature trick” as I understand it, refers to the splicing of instrumental temperature records to the paleoclimate proxy records so that the whole time period can be revealed because the proxy records were truncated at 1960 due to the divergence issue. Trick here is claimed to mean “neato procedure to achieve a result”, not “prestidigitation” in the sense of deceiving.

          As to “hide the decline”, from what I have read over at RC, it refers to the divergence problem — a lack of response to temperature increase in some species of trees at certain locations. The decline does not reveal an actual decline in temperature, but the lack of response to temperature among some trees in particular locations.

          From what I have read, the scientists at RC claim this was discussed in the actual papers of the time so they argue it was not deceptive and certainly not fraud since the only thing hidden was the divergence of certain trees that do not serve a good proxies.

          • Susann,
            “To hide the decline” means to keep readers uninformed about the Divergence Problem so they will not know tree-rings are not thermometers. It is very embarrassing for researchers to admit that a tree-ring that is supposed to be a thermometer of the past is not reliable in the present. If it is not reliable in the present, why are you convinced it was reliable in the past? If you want to divine globally averaged temperatures 1,000 years ago, why should I believe a tree ring is any more reliable than a crystal ball?

            These are the questions Phil Jones and Michael Mann wanted to avoid. That’s why they hid the decline.

            • Except, Ron, from my reading in dendro and of the papers in question, which admittedly isn’t nearly enough to claim expertise, not all trees showed anomalous growth patterns in the last few decades of the 20th Century. While scientists don’t fully understand why, there are a number of possibilities being explored. This does not mean that all trees are bad thermometers since trees in other regions did show a positive growth response to increased temperatures. It is another puzzle to solve. This issue has been examined in the literature for several decades and many papers written on it so it is not a secret that scientists are trying to “hide”. They have a few candidates for the source of divergence, which may be ozone levels, global dimming, drought stress and site specific factors.

              My own take on this is that until the research is being settled on why there is a divergence and what the causes are, tree ring chronologies that show divergence should not be used in temperature reconstructions. I am sure that if this whole discipline hadn’t been politicized as it has been, this issue would have been just one more interesting scientific question that dendros would be examining. But as I have said before, I don’t believe climate researchers have been operating in a “normal science” environment for quite a while.

              • Susann, few policymakers read the peer-reviewed literature. The Divergence Problem has been noted in the literature but not as many times as you might have been led to believe. Keeping the Divergence Problem in the background and safely hidden away in the journals was a perfect plan.

                The links to which the dendros have gone to cover up the Divergence Problem is amazing. In one of Rob Wilson’s papers he wrote: ““A search through the ITRDB, found surprisingly few temperature sensitive TR data sets that came up to at least 1995.” Why?

                Michael Mann used to claim they could not update the proxies (meaning recore the same trees to bring the proxies up to date) because the trees were in rugged territory and difficult to get to. Steve McIntyre and a few friends proved different. In the “Starbucks Hypothesis” experiment they showed researchers could have a Starbucks in the morning, locate and identify the trees needing to be cored, core them and get back to Starbucks before it got dark. http://climateaudit.org/2007/10/12/a-little-secret/

                Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer on paleoclimate. Keith Briffa of the CRU emails was a lead author. McIntyre commented that the IPCC chapter on paleoclimate should not truncate the data but go ahead and show the divergence, discuss it and deal with the science. Briffa rejected the comment saying it would be “inappropriate.” They simply do not want policymakers to know the same trees they are told are reliable in the past are not reliable in the present.

                The problems with tree-ring thermometry have been known for a while. It is the reason Craig Loehle published a 2,000 year global temperature reconstruction without using tree-rings. Guess what happened? The Hockey Stick disappeared and the Medieval Warm Period showed up again. Amazing. See http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/mscp/0958305x/v19n1/s9.pdf?expires=1262583832&id=54209826&titleid=533&accname=Guest+User&checksum=5A80F5BC56164C361BACC946FB5655F5

                • Susann, few policymakers read the peer-reviewed literature. The Divergence Problem has been noted in the literature but not as many times as you might have been led to believe. Keeping the Divergence Problem in the background and safely hidden away in the journals was a perfect plan.

                  Yes, few do, if by policy makers you mean politicians. Those who draft policy often do, and those who do the research for policy often do, and often the policy makers rely on scientific advisors to cut to the quick — which is all the policy drafters and makers want to know. A lot of detail and nuance — possibly very important detail and nuance — is lost. From my experience, most politicians are generalists and do not have the time or expertise necessary to judge the scientific literature. They rely on advisors to do that for them.

                  In effect, that appears to be what Jones and others were doing — pulling together what they considered to be pertinent data into an easily digested graphic meant for more public consumption.

                  Graphics do that — they simplfy the vast datasets into a very rudimentary visual format which hide all the analysis behind the lines or bars on the graph.

                  The truth is that the policy makers don’t want to be briefed on the minutiae — just the pertinent facts for their purposes. Three bullets on the most important conclusions or messages.

                  So you can see there is ample opportunity for the nuances to be lost.

                  Politicians have multiple competing interests to manage when making policy — their party’s agenda, the policy problems being debated in public, the public’s expectations for action, stakeholder interests, personal career issues, etc. The science is only one part of the whole equation and not always the most important part. On occasion, there is a “despite the science, we must /must not do something” approach.

                  • Susann,
                    You are switching subjects on me here. I am not talking about policymakers ability to grasp nuance. I am talking about the fact the scientists have not fully discussed or even examined the Divergence Problem. They have avoided it by not bringing the proxies up to date. A few papers crept into the peer-reviewed literature, but not many. These do not fully expose the problem. The problem has been known to the researchers but has been carefully avoided. Why? I don’t know. I cannot attribute motive. But when Rob Wilson says very little work has been done in the field since 1995, that is startling.

                    Not only have researchers avoided doing field work. They also took an active role in “hiding the decline” by splicing on temperature data to proxy data. This is a fraudulent act.

                    Here is what Michael Mann wrote on RealClimate – see his embedded response to comment #5:
                    [Response: No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum…]
                    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-regarding-the-hockey-stick/

                    What we learn from the CRU emails is that not only did Mann do it first, but Phil Jones followed Mann’s example and Mann knew it. “Hiding the decline” from policymakers is a big issue. They were caught. Their claims now that “the divergence problem was in the literature” for everyone to see doesn’t hold water. The policymakers do not read the literature. And as you admit, the policymakers do not want to know the nuance but they should want to know when they have been deceived.

                    • They also took an active role in “hiding the decline” by splicing on temperature data to proxy data. This is a fraudulent act.

                      Is it a fraudulent act? I don’t know — it seems that they were constructing a graphic to illustrate the temperature reconstruction.

                      Here is the email:

                      From: Phil Jones

                      To: ray bradley ,mann@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, mhughes@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
                      Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
                      Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
                      Cc: k.briffa@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,t.osborn@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

                      Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
                      Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
                      first thing tomorrow.
                      I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
                      to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
                      1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
                      land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
                      N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
                      for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
                      data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
                      Thanks for the comments, Ray.

                      Cheers
                      Phil

                      As the header shows, they were discussing the construction of a diagram for the WMO Statement on the Status of Global Climate Change in 1999.

                      They clarify what is included in the graphic in the actual piece — the 1999 WMO statement:

                      Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long instrumental records. The data are shown as 50-year smoothed differences from the 1961–1990 normal.

                      So if they committed a fraud, they admitted to it in plain sight. Please explain to me how this splicing of the instrumental onto the paleoclimate record is a fraud?

                      As to the divergence problem being hidden, it is a problem that is being and has been explored in the literature so I don’t see how researchers are hiding it. D’Arrigio et al cites over 100 references in their 2008 paper on divergence.

                      The WMO Statement is a communications piece. It is not a scientific article, but a full-color brochure developed to communicate information to the public. There are no footnotes or citations or references. This is not a research paper. It is a high level summary.

              • Francois Ouellette Reply January 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

                Susann,

                I think the point here is: if you have a tree that behaves anomalously during a few decades, you should simply not use it for a temperature reconstruction. That is because you don’t really know which period is the “anomalous” one!

                From reading a sample of the climategate e-mails, it is clear that there was no real consensus on that issue among dendros. But the character that emerges from all that is that of Michael Mann, the new kid on the block, the new superstar of climate reconstruction. Mann, as a fresh Ph.D., made a LOT of mileage out of his MBH “hockey stick” paper. He was even named scientist of the year (or maybe decade?) by Scientific American.

                So here comes Mann with his newfangled statistical techniques that none of the other dendros really seem to understand. But he uses his newly acquired fame and status to bully everybody else into his new view of a non-existent MWP. Read some e-mail exchanges during the 1998-99 period. Even in 2003, some of the dendros admit, in private e-mails, that they still don’t believe in Mann’s view. But he can do that because he is now so influential in the community (he even recommends Phil Jones as a fellow of the AGU). Mann is, from the start, the one who is the most violently, almost pathologically anti-skeptic. He sees big-oil conspiracy behind every criticism.

                But I think all that bullying actually is a sign of fear, like when a dog feels threatened. So it may well be that he is fully aware of the flaws in his theory, but he stands to lose so much of his reputation that he won’t let go, and he will keep attacking and attacking.

                I may be wrong, but I have lived long enough in the scientific community to recognize a big ego when I see one.

                You can make your own mind. Just do a search of the e-mails with the key word “reconstruction”, and read.

                • So here comes Mann with his newfangled statistical techniques that none of the other dendros really seem to understand. But he uses his newly acquired fame and status to bully everybody else into his new view of a non-existent MWP. Read some e-mail exchanges during the 1998-99 period. Even in 2003, some of the dendros admit, in private e-mails, that they still don’t believe in Mann’s view. But he can do that because he is now so influential in the community (he even recommends Phil Jones as a fellow of the AGU). Mann is, from the start, the one who is the most violently, almost pathologically anti-skeptic. He sees big-oil conspiracy behind every criticism.

                  I have read the emails. As I have said, this is a highly politicized environment people are operating in. Mann’s apparently bullyish behavior got him places — I was as surprised as any that a newly minted PhD was so prominent. Those who get to the top do so by in a number of ways but often it is a combination of the following — the strength of their work and/or the strength of their personality — primarily ruthlessness.

                  Many who are examining the CRU emails see it according to their personal biases and through their own lenses.

                  As a social scientist and staff member in an organization, what I see in the emails is nothing more or less than what I see in the non-academic world. Strong personalities influence those who are more laid-back. The ambitious get their agendas realized more often than the less-ambitious. The play of power diffuses throughout the whole, insinuating itself into every nook and cranny to shape the outcome.

                  Yes, Mann appears to be a very strong personality doing much of the leading. He is a key player. He may be distasteful personally but basically correct. Alternatively, he may be deliberately deceptive, merely inept, or a true believer who is blinded by his biases – or all three. I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet.

                  • Fair comment. Is it fair to say that ruthlessness within the context of the IPCC could lead to inappropriate suppression and manipulation of science?

                    • Absolutely. There is no safeguard in the IPCC that ensures or can ensure perfection in the process or product. The organization can institute measures to try to diminish bad science and encourage good science, but really, it’s only as good as the process and people involved.

                  • Francois Ouellette Reply January 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

                    Susann, you say:

                    “I was as surprised as any that a newly minted PhD was so prominent”

                    But that happens all the time. It often takes only one really good paper published at the right time. It happened to me, when I started my carreer (not that I became as famous as Mann, but it really gave me a boost).

                    In this case, the question is: why Mann, why that paper? Answer: Mann delivered exactly what the audience wanted: a clear, graphic “proof” of global warming. The fact that few really understood his technique actually helped: it made it appear sophisticated, and much better than the usual “traditionnal” dendro stuff. So while Mann’s work was received rather coolly within the dendro community, its public reception was astonishing, and that is what propelled him.

                    Personnally, I am amazed that Mann hasn’t fallen into disgrace already. I thought the NAS and the Wegman reports would be the final nails in his coffin, and that the others in the field would distance themselves from him. Maybe the Climategate will do that. I’m sure there are a lot of uncomfortable feelings within that community now that all those e-mails have been revealed to the public.

                    I don’t know if you are aware of Latour’s actor network theory, but the story of the hockey stick and the MWP would fit so well within that framework, I would not be surprised to see it become the topic of a couple of sociology Ph.D.’s. The e-mails in themselves are a wonderful source for someone interested in the sociological aspect.

                    Now if you want my own personnal opinion of his (Mann) behavior, I would say that there are some things revealed in the e-mails that clearly go beyond the boundaries of ethical behavior, even considering the rather lax boundaries that form the current practice in the scientific community. I’ve seen a lot of behind the doors politics within journals and committees, but never of that kind. Again, I hold Mann mostly responsible for dragging the others into behaviors that made them lose a lot of their integrity. I don’t think those people are dishonest. Some (like Ed Cook) come out real clean, as they express their distaste of the politics and try to stay away from it.

                    People always ask whether this means that AGW is a hoax. But that is not the question. The real question here should be: why do the proponents of AGW feel that they must go to such lengths to establish their theory? Why is it that policy inclinations can interfere so much with the work of the scientists? We know it is inevitable, but what measures are taken to minimize that interference? Mind you, the other side is not better. But one would think that we would have learned to deal with those issues. Rather, it sems to be getting worse and worse.

          • I should also point out that the trees that are not responding to higher temperatures now are some of the same trees they said were good thermometers long, long ago.

            The problems with tree-ring thermometry are not unknown. It is the reason Craig Loehle published a temperature reconstruction without the use of tree-rings. Guess what happened? The Hockey Stick disappeared and the Medieval Warm Period was warm once again. Amazing. By the way, an error was found so Loehle and McCulloch published a correction. See http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mscp/ene/2008/00000019/00000001/art00009 Just click the button for a free pdf of the paper.

          • I should also have pointed out that some of the trees which do not respond to warmer temps today are among the same trees they rely on for the past.

            Problems with tree-ring thermometry is not unknown. It is the reason Craig Loehle published a 2,000 year temperature reconstruction without tree-rings. The paper had a couple of errors, so he and Hu McCulloch published a correction in 2008. See http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/mscp/0958305x/v19n1/s9.pdf?expires=1262577231&id=54209128&titleid=533&accname=Guest+User&checksum=370CEB1D516656801EAA769C5E6751E1

            • I should also have pointed out that some of the trees which do not respond to warmer temps today are among the same trees they rely on for the past.

              In my view, until they understand the causes of divergence, using divergent trees is inadvisable. Excluding the non-responders makes logical sense to me. Once they have convincing evidence on the cause of divergence, then maybe they could use them as long as the adjustments are clearly explained and justified.

              • You say that you have graduate level stats. Then you should understand things like population statistics, population sampling, selectivity bias, etc. Since part of the “politics” of AGW (for sure at CA) revolves around Mann’s analytical methods, some study of these methods would help in your quest to understand the politics, motives, etc.

                Your statement: “Excluding the non-responders makes logical sense to me” is a common logical falacy. Apriori sample protocols with critieria to select for theoretical “responders” is sound scientific practice. However, ex-post exclusion of “non-responders” can result in selectivity bias. Are the “non-responders” merely random noise in a homogeneous population? Are they part of an identifiable sub-sample or a bi-modal population? Is it a “non-responsive” population with associated noise that coincidentally correlates with temp?

                To produce a sound, confident temp reconstruction from proxies, certain conditions arising from these questions must be satisfied. Failure to do this will result in selection of false “responders” (noise) by correlating with temp, and/or exclusion of false “non-responders” (signal). By correlating with temp the blade of the hockey stick is defined by the method it’s shape is pre-determined. The artifact would be in the pre-insturmental period (the shaft) caused by a perversion of the true noise/signal ratio. IOW, more noise and less signal.

                If we assume for the sake of argument that there was an MWP, the net result of the above is a tendancy for the amplitude of this signal to be dampened in the reconstruction. The extent of this effect depends on the degree of bias.

                Here is a post at Lucia’s which demonstrates this phenomenon: http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/tricking-yourself-into-cherry-picking/
                There are many other posts at Jeff Id, CA, David Stockwell, etc, which demonstrate this.

                Since we know that improper proxy selection will introduce bias which tends toward a hockey stick shaped reconstruction, the integrity of the input proxy data must be demonstrated satisfactorily as a condition of sound science. In order to satisfy this condition, all proxy sampled data would need to be retained with full metadata documentation. This would allow for relevant hypotheses pertaining to data questions to be tested before embarking on the reconstruction. If properly done, certain data *might* be able to be excluded and the calculated uncertainties of the excercise carried forward into the reconstruction.

          • >Mike’s Nature trick” as I understand it, refers to the splicing of instrumental temperature records to the paleoclimate proxy records so that the whole time period can be revealed because the proxy records were truncated at 1960 due to the divergence issue. Trick here is claimed to mean “neato procedure to achieve a result”, not “prestidigitation” in the sense of deceiving.100 years prior to Mauna Loa).

            Bye.

          • Susann

            there are three examples of hide the decline.

            1. in the TAR, where they hid the decline to as not to “dilute the message”
            2. WMO
            3. Ar4.

            In Ar4 McIntyre specifically requested them NOT TO HIDE THE DECLINE as an expert reviwer.

            What is “the message”

            A. tree rings can be used to reconstruct temperatures.
            B. that reconstruction shows a MWP lower than today.

            What is the decline?

            For some tree ring series researchers have noted that they “diverge from temperature”
            The cause of this is a mystery to this day.

            NOW, here are your options.

            1. As briffa notes you could do the reconstruction with all the data, BUT that will raise
            the MWP and he doesnt want to do that. he thinks that would make the MWP too warm. So that option is disgarded. off message.

            2. You could question the temperature data. YES, in fact in one paper Wilson didnt like Jones temperature data for canada so he built is own damn temperature series.
            Didnt know that did you? read the blog.

            3. Briffa could throw the whole series out. Thats your suggestion. problem? you would have fewer data points and a less certain answer. cant have less certainty that not ON MESSAGE.

            4. You could call into question THE WHOLE SCIENCE of tree rings. Some have, he choose not to. WHY? why hide this option, why not discuss this. ITS OFF MESSAGE.

            5. You could throw away the “divergent data” and create a nice neat picture .

            Oh, and to REALLY HIDE THE DECLINE, to really hide this data, you delete the actual data from the archive. Didnt know they did that did you?

            • OT

              Steven,

              Can you point me somewhere on CA or any blog that discusses control theory as applied to climate? That is what first got me interested in the subject and suspicious of the “consensus”. Burt Rutan gave a presentation that did a flyby (pun intended) on the subject but nowhere else. It seems to me, a novice, that given the output, past climate, something can be inferred about feedbacks.

              • Doug,

                Here are some papers that I brought up at CA about 2 years ago I think, which deal with the application of feedback control system theory for climate modeling:

                #1) “Climate sensitivity: Analysis of feedback mechanisms”. (from year 1984 by Hansen et al)
                http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1984/1984_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

                #2) “Inferring instantaneous, multivariate and nonlinear sensitivities for the analysis of feedback processes in a dynamical system: The Lorenz model case study”. (from year 2003 by Rossow, et al)
                http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2003/2003_Aires_Rossow.pdf

                Paper #1) is too simplistic (ie, linear control), which is unrealistic to be used for modeling of a dynamic system like climate. Paper #2) is advanced, but it is still not using the full-fledge modeling capability of control theory from perspectives of engineers which are much much more complex than any system feedback models that climate scientists use. There shouldn’t be any surprise, since feedback theory didn’t originate in climate science but in information theory & electronics.

    • Dave L said…
      “[I fear that very few scientists have sufficient training and expertise in statistics to offer qualified opinions on proper applications of statistics. It is not just a question of having taken college course work in statistics; it is having a sound comprehension of statistics. Anyone can use statistical methods, but understanding what one is accomplishing with the statistics and whether or not the correct statistical methods have been selected are the issues.]”

      Amen Dave. At ClimateAudit, it highlighted recently a quote from Jones, about the Box-Jenkin statistics, which appeared that he didn’t understand anything about this algorithm at all. A peer reviewer for a journal who doesn’t understand the mathematical technique being used in a paper, should immediately pass the review of that particular publication to another reviewer who does. The downside here is the reviewer who’s incompetent, will do a poor job, since he/she cannot fully understand the content of the paper that he/she is reviewing because of his/her lack of knowledge of the mathematics.

      I’ll give an example. If the authors of the following climate data analysis paper, submitted their paper to the usual “climate research related journal”, none of those reviewers for those journals would understand the math. WHY? Because the NTF (Non-negative Tensor Factorization) algorithm is new and it hasn’t been known to the climate science community. The paper was published in the LNCS journal (Lecture Notes in Computer Science). So, the reviewers for this journal (or other related Springer journals such as pattern recognition, machine learning, data-mining, etc,…) know their stuff. This means that they understand the algorithm themselves and they can read and make comments of the paper.

      “A Parallel Nonnegative Tensor Factorization Algorithm for Mining Global Climate Data ”
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/u4x12132j06r40h3/

      This is the difference between understanding the algorithm and being familiar with the use of the algorithm. Someone can be familiar with the use of a particular algorithm because there are commercial software tools out there where the algorithm is implemented and available in that tool, but the user has no clue about the detail mechanics of the algorithm. The person who developed the algorithm or invented it or know the mechanics of how it function, can understand its shortcomings and how to tune its parameters, etc,…

      Even if Jones had used a tool that the Box-Jenkin algorithm was available, the theory of its development/derivation is quite complex, and for him to pretend that he can do a good review of the paper that use Box-Jenkin is hypocrite. Being familiar with its use and knowing the mechanics of Box-Jenkin are 2 different things. He should have passed the review of that paper to someone else who knows BJ algorithm.

  12. Susann.

    You have a way of framing questions that shows an utter misunderstanding of the issues at hand. You can’t even begin to understand the issues with your ill-posed framing

    “Is CA skeptic central whose goal is to uncover evidence of a massive fraud or is it the denialist industry’s mouthpiece, doing no real science but instead casting doubt over the science via smearing the scientists?”

    What is it with you and false choices. Steve has never held that there is any evidence of fraud. Incompetence perhaps. Willful ignorance. perhaps.
    The goal isnt to uncover fraud. The goal is to ‘audit’ the work. Does steve have some preconceptions about what he might find? Sure, but fraud is not on that list: sloppiness is, lack of adequate documention is, shoddy methods is, but evidence of outright fraud is not on the list. Steve and I have had this conversation many times WRT the GISSTEMP code, and the CRU code and the mails. We don’t expect to find fraud.

    And look at your other choice: denialist industry mouthpiece. There is no denialist “industry” to speak of. Yes, CEI and heartland. They use steve’s material, But they don’t direct his approach, his focus, his method his anything. Personally, he and the other long time regulars at CA don’t think very highly of those two rather transparent organizations. What you don’t get is that CA is a very loose collection of people who share some salient features. They problem you have is understanding all the meme’s that allow CA to cohere. There are a series of oppositional categories that will allow you to make sense of CA, but I’m not going to do your work for you. There is also a fundamental similarity in mental style that many CA regulars share. You go figure that out.

    You’re approach to understanding CA is hampered by your initial categorization. Your framing. Let me just give you a clue. Steve Mc is politically liberal. I am a libertarian. What principle do we share that allows us to work together and not fight over politics?
    Anthony Watts is a skeptic. I’m not a skeptic, what principle allows him and I to work together without fighting over his skeptical beliefs? I had dinner a few weeks back with Watts, and 4 other skeptics. I’m not a skeptic. They all know I believe that AGW represents the best science. What principle allows us to come together? What’s the one thing that we all agree on?

    here’s another clue:

    Mental style: what mental style do watts, pielke sr, oke, mcintyre, and eschenbach all share? How is different from Jones’s and hansen’s mental style?

    • steven mosher said, on January 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      “Mental style: what mental style do watts, pielke sr, oke, mcintyre, and eschenbach all share? How is different from Jones’s and hansen’s mental style?”

      Hmmm …. Could I take a stab at that (based on my approx. 7 weeks of lurking and reading)?

      Those in the first group demonstrate a commitment to – and healthy respect for – the scientific method; and they practice what they preach by being open to constructive criticism. Those in the second group do not.

    • Mosh, I think that you make a good point about “framing”. Why does motive even matter for technical articles where code and data are posted? Perhaps if Susann can lay a foundation for the motive concern by pointing out a pattern of logical or technical failures on Steve’s part.

      • yes. The funniest mail is when M&M05 comes out with dendros data and full source.

        What does Mann scream? Fraud. Err Mike, the data is team data. the code is there.
        In fact Amman and Wahl used mc’s code. Some fraud heh? Well, mann goes off on this motives tirade all the time. Maybe he has a hormone problem. Odd. I never see Lucia going off on motives, but then she can understand the science, so it cant be a female thing.

  13. Susann,

    You claim you have to look at the words and actions and backgrounds and interests to make your decisions. Fair enough you want to make your decisions based on things that are not exactly scientific or easily turned into a falsifiable decision.

    Let’s talk about McIntyre versus mann.

    1. Background.

    The Science of reconstructions is fundamentally a statistical process. Tree ring data is processed by a variety of statistical methods into a series called a chronology. That Chronology is then calibrated against a temperature series and then an inverse regression is performed to reconstruct the prior temperature. You don’t need to do field work ( take cores) to understand the math, but it helps. You don’t need a degree in biology, but it helps. You do need an understanding of statistics. You do need to understand how to collate and maintain good records. Scoreboard:

    A. Field work: McIntyre yes; mann no
    B. Biology: Mc No; mann No.
    C. Stats: Mc Yes: Mann no. In fact, Mann said calculation r^2 would be a mistake,
    something his supporters would later disown. In fact Mann miss used a de centering
    technique, something it’s inventer would later correct him on. Also, read the mails
    Briffa, Rind, Cook, Wigley ( and others) all questioned manns work and his objectivity in evaluating McIntyre.
    D. Maintaining good records: Mc yes; Mann no. Don’t ask me to explain the fiasco’s
    in this regard.

    2. Words and actions.
    Read the mails. Mann screams fraud with no evidence whatsoever. Mc has never. His readers have, but you are talking about the man here, not his readers. Mann wants to start a file on one editor to have him removed. Mann discusses controlling comments so that skeptics can’t have a voice on their site. Mann discusses everybody boycotting a journal that published a paper he didnt agree with. Want more?

    3. Politics:
    Both are liberal. Go figure.

    4. Interests.
    You think steve may be motivated by monetary concerns. You’re wrong, but you can’t know what I know ( how steve supports himself and the extent of his mining interests) I think mann is motivated by his personal desire for fame and his fanatical beliefs about organized opposition to climate science. For the sake of argument, lets assume that steve does hold some stock in mining interests. You honestly think that his method of hedging this against future devaluation is to dedicate himself to a blog? Very simply, if steve’s interest flows from his interest in mining companies, he has a much easier path to protect that interest. Rather than dedicate a huge amount of time to writing a blog that doesnt pay on the hopes that his writing will somehow stop the huge climate machine, he’s got a very simple option. Mann on the other hand cannot divest himself of his interest in his own place in the history of science. This is why I claim that personal interest will always trump financial interest. At some point hired guns realize that they can switch teams or switch feilds and protect their interests. Mann is “all in” on the hockey stick.

    So, basically if I look at the mann and not the science, I gotta go with Steve. Thanks.

  14. I think Susann forgot to read the fine print:

    http://climateaudit.org/blog-rules-and-road-map/

    Since Climategate, a whole bunch of irregular users are discussing polemics at C.A.(i.e. susann), Steve M. appears to be slightly agitated by the regular rapping across the knuckles of repeat offenders. I hope the absence of regular folk is due to the holidays and not because of the new crowd.

    AS Steve Mosher pointed out, Steve McIntyre has never attributed motive to climate scientists, in fact, in the recent Fox news special, Steve said that he believes in warming but is unsure to what extent it is a problem.
    It always seems to be others casting aspersions. I just hope it gets back to its regular format soon. It is a unique blog when it functions properly.

    • Steve McIntyre doesn’t need to attribute motive to scientists because he lets his aficionados do it for him. That way he appears to keep his hands clean. But as someone else said earlier, the whole blog is all about motive.

      • Hey, whatever floats your boat but name a blogger, in fact name a human being who doesn’t exhibit motive?
        Do his motives inspire inquisition or are his inquisitions a cloak for motive?

        Obviously your and my motives will appeal to one of these statements.

        But if it’s conjecture you’re talking about, frankly, you can do a lot worse than climate audit.

        • But if it’s conjecture you’re talking about, frankly, you can do a lot worse than climate audit.

          I read at CA to see if claims about it made by the other side are valid and whether the material covered says anything of significance about the science of anthropogenic global warming. I post if I feel I have a point to make or a question to pose.

      • Actually, Steve snips comments about motive all the time. He snips comments for piling on. He snips comments that are angry. Possibly you have seen some comments before they were snipped. If you ever see a comment you think violates Steve’s rules, let him know. Steve or one of the other moderators may very well snip or delete the comment. I think CA does the best job of any blog on the net in the area of focusing on the science and not attributing motive. Sometimes, the motive is pretty plain to see but when it is, there is no reason to comment on it.

        • Yes, last time Susann was at CA her discussions devolved into many snipped comments, whole patches of threads being zambonied. Steve asked her which comments offended her and he snipped them. She left a path of destruction and torn up threads that are impossible to read. When I caught her out on contradictions she refused to fess up. On the current threads at CA I reminded steve of the past destruction her presence created.
          I trust he took note of it.
          Susann’s underlying motive like many trolls is to divert steve and others from the work which we can do ( audit the science) because she cant do that. So she diverts conversations to her own agenda, which is at cross purposes with the goal of CA. Hence the flame wars that attend her presence, almost exclusively I should add. She doesnt see this because she doesnt spend enough time interacting there and she wont do the hard work of reading the whole blog cover to cover. 1000 posts. Maybe, 2-3K pages total. Took me a few days and policy isnt even my job. Lazy lazy lazy.

          At one point steve did dedicate an entire thread to questioning his motives. the famed Lorax thread, where one poster was allowed to run his own thread dedicated to motives,
          steve’s motives. Let me recount what happened. The poster was anonymous. he claimed to only be interested in the truth. Ok red flag on that. Red flag on the anonymous part. So I said nobody should trust the motives of an anonymous person. Same with Susann, I don’t trust her motives. It’s very humourous that those who question motives, dont allow access to their motives. In fact, it scuttles their whole endeavor. back to the Lorax debacle. Anyways, Lorax makes a post or two where he stupidly alludes to something about his background. Just a sliver of info. A word. In a later post he lists a bunch of publications. And one of the publications has this word in it. Presto, we figure out who he is. Guess what? he worked at a university that Anthony watts had published an embarassing picture of. Steve had carried anthonys story. So, Mc made fun of a particular university. Some professor there gets all butt hurt and starts in on steve’s motives. He gets his very own thread to attack steve. THEN, when people figure out who he is, he claims that he got hate mail. We ask him to post the header to the file so we can track the bastard down, if he exists. Then, Lorax asks for the whole thread to be deleted and it was. So, either Lorax lied about being threatened or he was threatened by a warmer posing as a skeptic or threatened by a skeptic. The thread has been trash binned at Lorax’s request. Were you there for the Lorax thread susann? If not then STFU about steve’s willingness to host a whole discussion dedicated to trashing his motives.

          SO, Susann has no frickin idea why motives are banned. discussions of motives lead to threads that incite people to say and do things they otherwise wouldnt. It’s essentially an uncivil irrational approach to discussion. In one case they led to one poster claiming that he had been sent an email threat. Susann, you want to know steve’s motives? Well one of them is safety. Do you get it? In particular there are also things the team have done to comprimise steve’s safety. I’m not even going to tell you what, but they did comprimise his safety. I’ve discussed in private measures he can take to protect himself, but against certian threats he has no defense, other than self defense.

      • The “whole blog” eh? This kind of comment does not rise above that of a gossip columnist. Susann states at CA:

        “Show me the beef or else make clear that you’re only speculating and don’t have all the evidence.”

        “It seems to me that a considerable amount of time lately, but especially in the wake of the CRU event, is being spent on the scientists, their ethics and motives, rather than on the data or the other lines of evidence. It’s all very National Enquirer in feel, and while I do understand that attraction of speculating on Mann’s ethics, it is not really relevant to the data.”

        For someone who makes statements such as these I expect more than a little thought before tossing out comments like this.

        • The “whole blog” eh? This kind of comment does not rise above that of a gossip columnist. :

          Motive underlies all our actions, hence Steve’s blog, like my blog, like your comments, are about motive at their base. Motives are the reasons that cause people to act. There are stated motives and underlying or hidden motives. Stated motives have to be measured against actions. It’s much more difficult to come to an appreciation of underlying or hidden motives. Some people aren’t even aware of their own underlying motives, because they may be blinded by ideology or faith or just not all that self aware. Some people choose to hide their underlying motives for strategic purposes.

          My stated motive for this blog is to try to sort out what is going on in the climate debate / war from a socio-historical-political perspective. I look at CA in order to see if I can find evidence to clarify whether it is what it is claimed to be by its detractors and promoters. That means I will be looking at what Steve posts and what blog aficianados post and see if I can compare what is claimed with what is actual.

          I have my own set of political leanings and biases, just as any do. I would class myself as an initial AGW supporter who was introduced to skeptic and contrarian and denialist ideas and is trying to determine if there is anything to their criticisms of the science of AGW and how significant what they have found is or if they are just throwing up a smokescreen of unfounded doubt in order to delay action for political/economic or ideological reasons.

          • Again with the twisted framing

            You’re stated motive, and we’ll stick with that, is to see if people have thrown up a smokescreen of doubt. That framing gets you an answer you will like. It will because you will ignore evidence to the contrary. The real question is this: Did the scientists claim more certainty in Ar4 chapter 6 than the record warrented. That question will get you a different answer. Do the skeptics sell doubt? Of course. From a product marketing positioning strategy the scientists counter this by trying to sell certainty, they don’t want to sell doubt even though doubt and uncertainty is at the core of science. So if you ask the question
            Did the scientists sell new and improved certainty? Yes.
            Do the skeptics sell old fashioned doubt? Yes.

            Motives are revealed by the questions you ask, sometimes.

            In anycase if you want to see how the scientists pressured Briffa to sell more certainty in AR4 than they could sell in the TAR,, READ THE MAILS. Did overpeck encourage briffa to come up with something MORE COMPELLING THAT THE HOCKEY STICK: yes.
            Did briffa nd others resist this? Yes. Did they pressure a journal editor to push a paper though the process so that Briffa could blunt McIntyre’s MM05? yes. Did that paper come to press well after the deadlines? Yes. Did overpeck tell Briffa that they had no room to show confidence intervals ( the measure of certainty?) Yes.

            The burden of proof in on the science. Did they release the data? Nope. Should that cause doubt? Yes. Do they release methods? Nope. Should that cause doubt? Yes.
            Did they try to remove editors? Yes. Did they succeed? Yes. Did they quash papers? yes.
            Did they refer to grey literature or even non existent literature to counter peer reviewed
            skeptical papers that were peer reviewed? Yes. Did they pressure subordinates who were reviewing papers to “take their comments on board?” Even when the reviewer told the superior that he wanted to do the review without interference? Yes.

            In short susann, the skeptics did not need to manufacture doubt. The scientists did it for them. In their effort to sell certainty, they created a market for doubt.

          • Sorry, but if you want to say the obvious – that people are “motivated” to write a blog, or that motives underly all actions – then that is what you should have stated. Your statement implies the blog is “about” attributing unstated motives to Mann etc.

            Given what Steve has uncovered it is only natural to speculate about motives and I’m sure that Steve does as well, but he recognizes speculation for what it is, exhibits admirable restraint, and encourages others to as well.

            In the end it is not motive that matters, but rather the science. Therefore CA is primarily “about” checking and exposing data and methodological issues in climate science.

      • And so Susann comes onto a blog where the stated policy is to avoid motive hunting. She knows in that in the past when she engaged in motive hunting her posts were snipped and the posts of others were snipped. She knows that snipping posts costs steve Time and effort. So, she comes in and starts complaining about motives. Of course this gets people to start talking about motives, the snipping starts. They she comes out and says
        “its ALL ABOUT MOTIVES” and then when you actually go back and look you find a few comments about motives. Steve’s snipping isnt perfect. So you point out that the whole blog is NOT about motives, and susann wil say she was exaggerating to make a point, or she will blame steve for instigating comments about motives, while she herself instigates comments about motives. She’s Just an observer. Right.

    • SamG,

      Susann is not interested in the whole body of McIntyre’s work. She has a selective approach to reading and perceiving. She can’t even see that this is her mental style. I’ll say this. In all of his posts steve never directly attributes motives. He can on occasion hint at them. he can on occasion ask what possible motive there could be. he does have rules that preclude making direct attribution of motives. Of course, despite this, people speculate on motives either on his blog or others. is his post the proximate cause? of course, but He will trawl through posts and snip motive related posts. he hates doing this work. It annoys him. It wastes his time. In the past he and I have talked about ways to handle this problem. If he misses a snip all you have to do ( AND SUSANN KNOWS THIS) is to point to the post and the snipping tools come out.

      On my most cynical reading of Steve I would say this. He has a talent for insinuating about motives or calling attention to motives, but he avoids making direct claims about it. You just dont know. Somebody denies you data and you gotta wonder. Why? But he never directly states what he thinks the motive is. I’ll give you one example: CRU code and data. Susann doesnt know what steve bets the real motive is.
      I know what he thinks because we talk about it. Its not what most people think. But we dont talk publically about what that motive is ( Err I will in my book ) because that motive doesnt make the science right or wrong. The motive is irrelevant, to us at least. Nothing in the science turns on that motive. Except that motive keeps us from checking the science. So the existence of this ulterior motive just puts us in doubt on a PRACTICAL BASIS.

      So, steve has a knack for exposing these episodes where the scientists behavior raises questions about motives. Go figure? A scientists behaves oddly. Steve points it out. people, being people, go crazy hunting motives. And Susan wants to blame steve for pointing out facts that make people go “WTF?”

      Here is the reaction I have had with many residents of liberal SF. When They ask me what the book is on I explain simply that the scientists would not share their data. Now these are people who believe in AGW. Without exception they look at me and say?
      What are they hiding? is AGW true? Now, Did I create doubt? Did I trick them into motive hunting? or did the scientist. In all cases I just respond, I dont know why they would not share there data. There are many possible reasons. here are a few, but in the end you really cant know and it really doesnt matter. What matters is changing the way science information is disseminated and shared. When Gavin shared the GISS code in 2007, at my urging and at the urging of judith curry and Mcintyre, I told gavin that nobdoy would find any huge mistakes in GISSTEMP code. To date Ive been right on that. A few minor errors have been found and fixed. They shared the code. the code got better. It let me be a lukewarmer.

      • …and that’s the thing. Posters at C.A. are of mixed persuasion (but probably mostly skeptic).
        If Steve didn’t snip, C.A. would be another opinionated AGW-bashing blog and with all due respect to Anthony Watts, many of his posters enjoy language that Steve forbids.

        There are reasons for prohibiting such language.
        First, speculation and hearsay are very attractive to the antagonist.
        Second; Anybody can have an opinion without a scrap of evidence.
        Three; debate makes people emotional, in fact, people go there to seek motive or have their feelings hurt (victimization).
        Four. Opinions become entrenched. Scientific principles force people to be objective (which may be boring enough to disenfranchise instigators.)

        Motive in itself is not a bad thing, even Susann can see this. When it forces a desired outcome, masquerading as something else…..then we have a problem.

        And by the way Susann. Steve isn’t perfect. He may let a prohibited comment fly or even exhibit favouritism but as long as scientific inquisition prevails, you can let up on his motives.

        ….go pick on Michael Moore!

        Already, we have seen the facts go awry because the science is so poiticized

  15. As I said earlier, I am not a scientist, and I must rely on sciences in order to have a reasonable idea about where we should go with all this ‘climate change’. Now if valid, this new mythology (world of words) will undoubtedly affect every body on this planet. It will ‘cost’ everybody something, not only financially but also in many other ways. If so, then the whole process must be completely and utterly open. Some folks are just asking us to follow them, in fact they are asking each and everyone of us, the whole planet to trust them. I say fine, I am willing to follow you, but then one day I am finding out that data are not share, code are not share, data are lost or simply erase, etc.
    Wake up call!, What? So I look around on the web, spent 3 to 4 hours every days since many months, to find out that it is probably so, but we are not 100% sure, (I know, there isn’t a thing such as 100%) but still, they want the whole planet to follow them base on ‘it is probably so, without giving ALL data, ALL code, etc. I am sorry, the stake is much too high, in fact it is unprecedented, it does involve the whole planet, each and every living ‘thing’ on this planet.
    At this level, you want us to follow you, then be open, be open in an unprecedented way also. If you can not, then and here I am going to be very polite ‘go take a walk’, you are not serious.
    The stake are high, be open, simple, take all necessary time, accept dissidence, etc, if you can not, then I am sorry it is simply impossible for me to even start considering any seriousness in any of your statements.
    What this non-sharing tells me, is a complete lack of seriousness, of integrity, on one side you say it is urgent, unprecedented, on the other it is not serious enough for you (CRU, etc) to truly, honestly share in a totally open way, what may be the ‘end of a world as we have known it’.
    Wherever there is a catastrophe in the world, tsunami, earthquake, etc, people, the whole world immediately comes to help; they give openly, share resources, food, etc.

    What ‘you’ are taking about is in fact much worst than one or two tsunami, and you do not want to share anything, you do not want to give openly? So maybe it is not as dramatic and catastrophic as you say.
    When I see a dangerous situation, I act, I respond immediately, I do not talk.
    Do so, and I will follow you, do not talk to me about it, show me the danger openly. Telling me is abstract, show me is concrete; Just show me! No more superficial arguments, go to it with integrity and seriousness on all side.
    Just show me!

  16. Steve that was a nice accurate summing up of the men and the Mann. I have been lurking through this mire for over 4 years and the only way for me to decide the maths was via the conduct of the men involved. Mann’s lack of candour regarding his science and data was decisive. The leaked emails proved this to be so. Susann is only spending time on the topic so as to continue in her AGW beliefs. Sweating over the bloody maths and the details is time consuming and essential. Truth matters.

    ray

    • Unfortunately Susann has picked a battlefeild she is ill equipped to fight on. She doesnt have a knowledge of the primary texts ( even if one assumes that the text reveals the motive in any kind of unambiguous way) and she comes at the problem with predetermined categories of understanding, a mental style that forces her to find things that confirm the categories she employs. Second she doesn’t know steve on a personal basis as I do. basically, I work from a different set of texts than she does. Its like this: I have the authors personal correspondence ( emails and phone calls over the years, dinner etc ) so she really looks incredibly stupid to me, simply because I know things that she doesnt, over two years now. In all seriousness she has a better chance understanding the SCIENCE than she does understanding peoples motives. But she picks on motives because the study of motives is “soft” she can say what she likes and most people can’t contradict her. let’s put it this way. The science always has uncertainty. And to understand the problem of whether the certainty of AGW is OVERSTATED or not, Susann turns to the study of motives, she turns to a study of motives that provides less certainty. In climate science people do the same thing. If you question the land record, they run for the ice.

      • Mosher, getting obnoxious by shamelessly using all the rhetorical tricks around makes the reader “wonder why”, to phrase it in a way to make sure nobody will be ascribing any motive, while the reader connects the dots or fills in the blanks all by himself.

        • Go figure Steve lays out the pieces to a puzzle and people connect the dots. Well Duh.
          here’s a thought, put steve out of business overnight by giving all the pieces to the puzzle.

          Example: Giistemp was on the front burner as a puzzle UNTIL nasa released the code. Then what? Then what? no more missing pieces no more puzzle. no more puzzle no more posts. no more posts about missing pieces no more invitation to motive hunt.

          I told gavin if he gave the code his trouble would vanish. Same with crutemp. same with reconstructions. Cough up the data and code. no missing pices, no puzzle. no puzzle no need to hunt for motives to complete it.

          Why is the data not released? lots of reasons: pride, fraud, lost it, fuck you its mine,I wanna make more papers from it, Im not so sure it will bear examination, stubborness, laziness, loads more.

          • One is left to wonder what kind of puzzle coupled with an occasional hint or an occasional why-question can induce as much speculation as to become tiresome: only a scientific one, unveiled in a true scientific spirit, as we are usually being portrayed, with or without an occasional interjection expressing disdain.

  17. Why do you misrepresent CA?

    “Is CA skeptic central whose goal is to uncover evidence of a massive fraud or is it the denialist industry’s mouthpiece, doing no real science but instead casting doubt over the science via smearing the scientists?”

    Obviously it is neither. See Steven Mosher’s comment 3.12pm above, which you haven’t answered.

    “the whole blog is all about motive.”

    No, none of it is about motive. It’s all about the technical details of the science and the analysis of the data.

    With these dumb comments from you, I am surprised that people are being so polite to you.

  18. This comment is a response to
    shewonk said, on January 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

    For some reason, no “Reply” button is not visible for this post, so I will reply here. We were discussing Phil Jones and his use of “Mike’s Nature trick.”

    So you think, if it is a fraud, it was committed in plain sight? Really?

    Based on the description you quote, would you know they spliced the temperature data onto proxy data? If so, how could you discern where the splice occurred? Can you discern from the description why a splice was necessary? Because I cannot answer any of those questions.

    Based on the description alone, I would guess there are two lines on the graph. One for proxy data and one for instrumental data. Of course, the instrumental data would not go back as far, maybe to 1850.

    You ask how I know splicing data is fraudulent? Because Michael Mann denied splicing the data. He denies doing it and he denies knowing of any other researcher who did it. He called the charge an industry-funded specious claim. He knows it is a fraudulent act. But it was true! They were caught.

    You say you cannot see how scientists were hiding the divergence problem. Aren’t you startled by the words of Rob Wilson, a big-time global warming dendro, that very little field work has been done since 1995? Field work is very easy to get published. And people cite you for a long time. If a dendro wants to get published, all they have to do is go core a few trees. Yet everyone avoided fieldwork like the plague.

    • Ron — the document was created specifically for public consumption. It has no references or citations or footnotes. It is created specifically to convey high level information to a non-science audience. It is not intended to convey the underlying scientific basis for the statements. There is a different standard of proof required for a scientific paper in a referred journal vs. a document meant to summarize information intended for the public.

      By your measure, a considerable number of government documents are fraudulent because there is very little or no direct proof of any of the statements made.

      This is where I see real problems with some statements made by skeptics. Things appear to be taken out of context and used to promote falsehoods, either deliberately or as a result of lack of understanding.

      • Susann,
        The Jones document was created for public consumption. I’m not sure that is relevant to whether or not it was deceptive, but I will grant the point it was for public consumption. Mann’s splice was in Nature, a scientific journal. When asked about it, Mann denied the splice. That’s fraudulent. Perhaps if he had not denied the splice, someone might argue that he made a poor choice and would point out that no statistical literature would support his decision. In a word, it would be an error. But once asked about it and then denying it, that makes it fraudulent.

    • Ron,

      Hide the decline isnt what I would term a fraud. The scientists were creating a document for policy makers. There are several problems with this.

      1. They had a preconception about what the policy makers “wanted to hear”
      2. Overpeck specifically challenged lead author briffa to come up with something
      more compelling than the hockey stick.
      3. Briffa argued that they had no more certainty than the did in the TAR.
      4. Wigley, Rind and others found merit in MM05, Rind argued that briffa should
      not simply brush uncertainty under the rug as the AR4 was supposed to communicate
      what wasnt known as well as what was known.
      5. Briffa was pressured to soft sell uncertainty.
      6. Overpeck, Wahl, Amman jones and Mann pressured to get Amman07 into Briffa’s
      hands so that MM05 could be discounted. Later after publication of all the analysis its
      clear that Amman07 supports MM05. Amman07 missed the publication deadlines, but
      was used anyways.
      7. The decline was hidden in AR4. Including it would raise concerns.
      8. The issue of divergence which cuts the legs out from under tree rings was breifly
      alluded to in the officlal text.

      In short, the scientists wanted to show that uncertainty about the past had dimisnished from the publication of the TAR. The lead author thought otherwise. They gamed the peer review publsihing process to put papers in his hands to counter his concerns. He complied and publsihed a graphic that did not illustrate a major cause of concern in the veracity of climate reconstructions. Not only did they hide the decline they actually also erased the data from archives.

      It’s not fraud. It’s product marketing. Spin. Since the health of the planet is at stake I’d say they violated truth in packaging guidelines. Does it make the science wrong? How can we know? They just created doubt. shame on them.

      • Steven,
        Okay, so it wasn’t fraud. It was a conspiracy to commit fraud.

        But it was okay, because it was created for policymakers and they are unable to deal with uncertainty or grasp nuanced concepts like the same trees may be reliable thermometers for ancient times but not so reliable today. I got it.

        • Ron,

          If you understand susanns twisted logic you’ll see why its best to avoid those decriptions.

          She believes mcintyre has raised doubts.
          She cant judge whether the doubt is justified or not.
          Therefore ( twisted logic)
          She will examine CA to see steve’s motives and his readers motives.

          If she doesnt like what she sees then she will feel justified in ignoring the doubt.

          CA has bad motives, therefore the doubt is falsified.

          Which, is just like the following stupid argument.

          The scientists had bad motives, therefore the science is falsified.

          What susann doesnt see is that structurally her argument is just the same as the argument she wishes to dismiss.

          Now, she could just say ” you cant judge the quality of the science or the quality of the doubt by merely looking at motives, therfore I have to suspend judgement.”

          You see, susann cannot suspend judgment. She can’t because she believes she must make a decision about action. No action or waiting or abstaining is not an option for her. It’s not an option for her because of the frame she lives in, the “work” she does, which is really just her excuse for not thnking.

  19. A ‘keeper’ thread; definitely need to save this one, convert it to a pdf and distribute …

    Thanks ‘Susann’; you really bring out “the best” in Moshpit.
    .
    .

    • Dude, I’m way toned down from back in the day when steve used to snip me so much I called him the Mohel. As the site got more popular it became obvious that troll bashing was taking a toll on steve’s time. So I caged the moshpit. It’s a funny character. Once people at RC even had a bunch of posts about me and my beliefs on abortion and my work in china. and all these wizards of motive pinned me down real well. Tools. later they apologized for getting it wrong. And then one realized, hey.. this guy acts out of principle, sometimes against his best interest. well duh, that’s what principles sometime do.

    • piling on 😉

  20. Thanks ‘Susann’; you really bring out “the best” in Moshpit.

    Yeah, his posts are real “keepers”. Glad to know you think they’re his best. I’ll keep that in mind.

  21. Ron,

    After thinking about it for A while I’ll say this. We have probably cause to investigate the crime of fraud.

    • Steve,
      I knew you would come to your senses. A decent prosecutor, like Vincent Bugliosi, would get a conviction. Have you read his book?

      In a completely unrelated matter, did you know citizens have the legal right to convene their own grand jury? It’s true. A grand jury does not have to be called by District Attorney or other elected official.

  22. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this web site needs much more
    attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

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