Checklist for the credibility of scientists, especially climate scientists

1. Do you distance yourself from the claims by scientists who deliberately exaggerate the rate of warming and the dangers of climate change?

2. Are you prepared to support the efforts of people who want better investigation of  dubious claims (which may be fraudulent), and the push to make raw data available for checking?

Clearly there is a great deal more fraud and bordeline practice than I realise, being a child of the relatively innocent sixties when many of us regarded science as a quasi-religous quest for the truth, regulated by the strictest standards. Thanks to Jim Rose in the comments.

Also see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/news/events/frey.pdf in an excellent academic fraud literature round up found that at one U.S. University:

• 17% of post-doctoral fellows said they would select or omit data to improve results; and
• 81% would select, omit or fabricate data to win research grants.

As one American elite sportsmen said, if you are not cheating, you are not trying. hard enough.

3. Are you prepared to publicly rebuke the non-scientists like Al Gore and Tim Flannery who exaggerate the dangers of climate change?

4. Do you acknowledge the positive effects of mild warming?

5. Do you think there will be more than one or two degrees of warming over the next 100 years?

6. If  you accept the  high range of warming, say four degrees over the century, (one degree of warming in 25 years) can you explain why we have to take drastic action now instead of waiting to check  the actual rise over 20 or 3o years?

7. Can you explain in layman’s language the difficulties and complications of using models to forecast temperature, rainfall, etc?

8. After you have got on top of 7 can you explain why the Garnaut report used a worst case scenario  as the basis for his recommendations?

9. Do you acknowledge that criticism and skepticism are the lifeblood of science?

 10. Given 9, can you explain to a lay audience why critics and skeptics who  operate on a base of evidence and reasonable arguments should be heard (politely)?

10. Do you acknowledge that the reputation of science depends on the integrity of scientists in their willingness to control fraudulent practices, and upon the effective functioning of  the institutions of science like conferences and the peer review process?

11. Do you accept that the integrity of scientists and the institutions of science have been challenged by the rise of Big Science (and uncritical “normal” scientists)  and by the government funding of Big Science?

12. Are you prepared to resist that challenge, if you can do so without prejudice to your career?

13. Are you prepared to resist that challenge, even if it does prejudice your career (or if retired, your standing in the field)?

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109 Responses to Checklist for the credibility of scientists, especially climate scientists

  1. Fleeced

    You’re just a denying denialist who denies the truth of the consensus!

  2. Jim Rose

    Popper has one question testing scientific objectivity: what evidence will make you give up your position?

  3. Test for the credibility of Rafe:

    1. does he admit that he may be wrong and he doesn’t have to worry about being here to see the consequences if he is in error?;

    2. does he admit he has been told many times that the reason for starting reductions for CO2 now is that it is a slow process and delaying the process for another decade or two almost certainly makes reaching the total emissions limits recommended by the majority of climate scientists to keep warming within a certain lower range harder and more expensive?

    3. does he admit that persistent belief that “climate alarmism is motivated by socialist ideology” has itself become an ideological meme that prevents people like Rafe looking at the state of the science objectively?

  4. Gabrielle

    lol You’re hysterical today, Steve. Keep writing.

  5. entropy

    1 I am happy to allow that I might be wrong, unlike the majority of the climate crusaders; I fully intend to be still around by the time we will know one way or the other (PS is that a… death threat directed at Rafe? giggle).

    2 I have been told that to act now is the cheapest option many times. That does not make it right. In fact, even if climate change is something that will happen, I bet action later rather than now will not only be more effective, but cheaper. That’s one of the wonderful things about technology and the greater wealth and capacity that future generations will have if we don’t hamstring them now.

    3. Ideology could be something preventing people from looking at the issue from both sides, Steve. I am curious though, why one side gets a pass and the other doesn’t.
    And by the way, it is perfectly feasible to consider climate change a pressing problem, but recognise that the majority of prescriptions are a crock, in some cases no doubt the last gasp of the socialist dicks who have always failed to implement their vision, and who see it as a new opportunity (see Rhiannon, Lee). Has it ever crossed your mind that the cure could be worse than the disease?

  6. Frank Roberts

    My list:

    1. Why is abatement more acceptable than adaption?

    2. Why if we can live in Sydney with temperatures in winter of 8-15 degrees and in summer 20- 33 degrees why is it a problem for the world to deal with 2-4 degrees (estimated) by a worst scenario model that may be flawed

    3. Why if Climate change has always existed (eg no ice ages now)what makes us think that like Canute we can control it?

    4. Why has the world fear global warming now when 4o years ago we feared global freezing?

  7. Rafe

    Frank, some answers may come from a bit of history starting in the 1970s provided by Paltridge the next section of his book. You have to graft that onto the platform laid by the spectacularly successful anti-nuclear movement in the preceding decades.

  8. cohenite

    There is not one scintilla of evidence to support AGW.

  9. PSC

    Rafe, you appear to be claiming a scientist has committed a fraud.

    Who precisely?

    On what date?

    What did they do?

  10. wreckage

    Inverted tree ring proxies to better match the direct temperature readings? Invented “decoupling” whereby at an undefined point and for undefined reasons, a proxy that is no longer producing the desired outcomes is declared to have magically become irrelevant, but only for such time periods as it does not produce the desired results?

    All fraud if done in accounting.

  11. wreckage

    Oh, clouds in at least one model were “approximated” as doing the exact opposite of science’s current best assessment of what clouds do (WRT heat exchanges).

    I’d call the assumption of positive forcings at best unproven and at worst fraudulent, and the references to “tipping points” as anything other than artefacts of the modelling process the same.

  12. murray

    As a (non-climate) scientist, privately employed – yep, yep, yep, yep, possibly, nope, nope, nope, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, outside of my field so probably.

  13. PSC

    All fraud …

    It’s not a hard question.

    Who did it and on what date?

    My followup question is, if it is fraud, and you can identify who did it and on what date, why have you not submitted a complaint to the relevant employer/institution, stating that a scientific fraud has taken place?

    If you have submitted the complaint, were the papers withdrawn/the person in question disciplined or dismissed?

  14. Entropy

    Well a very recent example is that polar bear dude…….just sayin’

  15. Rafe

    PSC, I do not doubt that there is fraud to be found, after all it is known to occur more widely than one would expect in the best of worlds. I have some possible answers in mind but before going further down that track I will tweak a couple of the questions and invite you to give us your answers to the list.

  16. daddy dave

    It’s not a hard question.
    Who did it and on what date?

    What rock have you been sleeping on? Deleting the tail end of the tree ring series in order to “hide the decline.”

    I’m surprised Rafe didn’t also mention the use of environmental activist groups as primary sources of scientific data.

  17. Rafe

    Yes I was going to mention an example of that but I am almost brain dead right now and I am going to give myself an early mark and get PSC to answer some questions as well as asking them:)

  18. JB Goode

    Test for the credibility of Steve from Brisbane
    Do you admit that one of the very few people on the planet qualified to call himself a ‘denier’,
    Richard.S.Lindzen. Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Atmospheric physicist,an Ipcc lead author and publisher of over 230 ‘peer reviewed’ papers,actually exists?

  19. JB Goode

    Rafe
    While you are tweaking a few questions can you please tweak number 11 from ‘Do you accept that the integrity of scientists and the institutions of science has been challenged’
    To ‘Do you accept that the integrity of scientists and the institutions of science have been challenged’
    We don’t want you sounding like Julia Gillard now,do we?

  20. AndrewL

    So for Question 1 scientists should also distance themselves from the likes of Lindzen and Spencer that are politically campaigning to the talk down the dangers of climate change? I guess from the question scientists should only back a consensus position?

  21. PSC

    Why is it so hard to say something like: “Joe Bloggs committed fraud when he published paper XYZ in March 2009, he fabricated ABC piece of data”?

    I’ve heard numbers of claims about how this and that is a hoax, and this and that is fraud. I’ve personally fouled up analyses in my life, e.g. by accidentally analysing the wrong data – that’s not fraud, that’s a foul-up.

    What precisely is the fraud and who did it? Why is it so hard to answer that question?

  22. wreckage

    I see no fraud; only a sky eclipsed by the large rock beneath which I make my abode.

  23. The troll formerly known as Tom N.

    [email protected], you may be more succinct, but you don’t need three questions to expose Rafe’s lack of cred. All you need is “Is the only place you are taken seriously Catallaxy?”

  24. JC

    Tommy,

    are you cleaning up the CV for when the new government arrives in town?

  25. JC

    PSC

    See what Climateaudit has uncovered over the years.

  26. Rafe

    PSC, why do you find the questions so hard to answer? Perhaps you are not a scientist?

  27. Jim Rose

    on fraud See http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005738 by Daniele Fanelli

    The study claims to be the first meta-analysis of surveys asking scientists about their experiences of misconduct. It found that, on average,

    • About 2% of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once and

    • Up to one third admitted a variety of other questionable research practices including “dropping data points based on a gut feeling”, and “changing the design, methodology or results of a study in response to pressures from a funding source”.

    • In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, fabrication, falsification and modification had been observed, on average, by over 14% of respondents, and other questionable practices by up to 72%.

    Also see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/news/events/frey.pdf in an excellent academic fraud literature round up found that at one U.S. University:

    • 17% of post-doctoral fellows said they would select or omit data to improve results; and
    • 81% would select, omit or fabricate data to win research grants.

    As one American elite sportsmen said, if you are not cheating, you are not trying hard enough.

  28. Cynicmonster

    Fleeced:

    You’re just a denying denialist who denies the truth of the consensus!

    The consensus among Aussie voters is to have an early election to allow a mandate on CC, or do you deny that…?

  29. Jim Rose

    does anyone know when the consensus mantra started?

    how the debate moved from a debate to agree or you are denying a scientific consensus.

  30. Jim Rose

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus gives the following example of paradigm shifts:

    • the theory of continental drift was soundly rejected by most geologists until indisputable evidence and an acceptable mechanism was presented after 50 years of rejection.

    • the theory of punctuated equilibria proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge which is still debated but becoming more accepted in evolutionary theory.

    • the theory of prions—proteinaceous infectious particles causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases was at first rejected because pathogenicity was believed to depend on nucleic acids now widely accepted due to accumulating evidence.

    • the theory of Helicobacter pylori as the cause of stomach ulcers.

    This last theory was first postulated in 1982 by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren and was widely rejected by the medical community which believed that no bacterium could survive for long in the acidic environment of the stomach.

    Marshall demonstrated his findings by drinking a brew of the bacteria and consequently developing ulcers, subsequently curing himself with antibiotic medication.

    In 2005, Warren and Marshall were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work.

    See also http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/when-to-doubt-a-scientific-consensus for an excellent round-up that notes that in Newsweek’s April 28, 1975, issue, science editor Peter Gwynne claimed that “scientists are almost unanimous” that global cooling was underway.

    Times changes, and research grants change with the times.

  31. PSC

    Rafe you want a direct answer to your question. In my view you’re playing a stupid “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” game.

    I’ve read climate audit. There have been several different inquiries into the McIntyre stuff now. No-one has found serious scientific misconduct, i.e. falsification/fabrication of results or stealing results/plagiarism. To my knowledge McIntyre himself has never made a claim of fraud – if you can point me to where he has used the word, I’d be grateful. To my knowledge he’s only ever accused people of obstructionism and incompetence. Independent inquiries have found poor data retention procedures.

    I’m very happy to distance myself from the poor data retention practices of climate scientists.

    I’ve asked now several times now, show me a specific example of fraud. Not “something on climate audit”. A specific example, and who it is that you think has perpetrated the fraud, and what precisely you think the fraudulent activity is.

    I find it very telling that you can’t. All we get is words like “fraud” from you, and “hoax” from others, lots of innuendo, but no hard accusations.

  32. Rafe

    Would you like to answer the other questions?

  33. JC

    PSC

    Go read McIntyre’s piece on Yamal (the most important tree in the world). LOl

    He doesn’t accuse “the team” of outright fraud because he’s a gentleman, but fraudsters and crooks they are.

    As for examples of outright fraud, try this one.

    Dr. Pachauri, the head of the IPCC and attempted to use his buddy’s crap on the Himalayan mountains running out of ice.

    Fraud is a criminal act and at this stage none of the Teamsters have been convicted of any crime. So if you’re offended with the term, lets use something else. Perhaps bullshit artists would work. How about conmen?

  34. HandyMan

    Jim, that article from The American misquotes the ’75 Newsweek article on climate cooling. Here’s the full text from Newsweek. What it actually says is: “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” First, it refers only to meteorologists and second that they are “almost unanimous” that agricultural production would fall if the trend continued (but of course). You might also be interested to know that “On October 23, 2006, Newsweek issued a correction, over 31 years after the original article, stating that it had been “so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future”.

    There was never a global cooling consensus among scientists, just one outlier magazine article now decades old, discredited and disowned by the mag that published it. It really is time to drop this silly claim.

  35. Jim Rose

    PSC,

    I agree that premising scientific agreement on fraud and better access to research grants and jobs is not the best path.

    Kuhn’s work on paradigm shifts and scientific revolutions is a better path to understand current disagreements.

    He argued that scientific paradigms preceding and succeeding a paradigm shift are so different that their theories are incommensurable: the new paradigm cannot be proven or disproven by the rules of the old paradigm, and vice versa.

    As a neutral example, the field I followed in great detail was the economics of industrial organisation.

    The Chicago school of antitrust took from the 1960s to the 1990s to displace the market power under every bed, and monopoly as the reason for every unexplained market practice dominant paradigm and there are still many hold-outs.

    I found Australia to one of the last outpost of the older order – ever dedicated to protecting consumers from the scourge of lower prices and from the hustle and bustle of new and better goods.

    A paradigm shift was required in defining what competition was and whether competition was a state of affairs or a dynamic process.

  36. daddy dave

    He argued that scientific paradigms preceding and succeeding a paradigm shift are so different that their theories are incommensurable: the new paradigm cannot be proven or disproven by the rules of the old paradigm, and vice versa.

    Kuhn wasn’t completely right.
    Paradigm shifts also happen because newcomers who don’t have much invested either way evaluate the options and think the new paradigm is objectively superior.

  37. Jim Rose

    HandyMan,

    I am shocked – the process of mass media summarisation leads to the loss of information:

    • In my first job, the major national newspapers were circulated around the office.

    • As a humble graduate recruit, I was at the bottom of the circulation lists, so the newspapers that arrived at my desk were often weeks out of date.

    • I noticed that the first newspaper reports were often factually wrong in many respects.

    Thanks for the excellent links.

    Newsweek said that ‘But they [Meteorologists] are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century’.

    Thomas Schelling identified reduce agricultural productivity in under-developed countries as the principal cost of global warming and the correct motive for action.

    When I pointed to the 1970s reports on his blog, John Quiggin was good enough to count-up the number of scientific articles that were for, against and neutral.

    They summed to a mere 100 articles or thereabout in totla, with more for global warming, ten less for cooling, and an equal number neutral in their predictions.

    I do not know if Quiggin uses article counts to decide his views of macroeconomic theory and policy and privatisation – I have not checked, nor plan too. I don’t.

  38. Rafe

    The persistence of paradigms depends partly on the institutional entrenchment and funding mechanisms, also on the phenomenon of scientists who are over-specialised and not interested or able to follow their problems outside a limited area, to think outside the square (the paradigm).

    That has been aided and abetted by the positivist/logical empiricist philosphy of science that dominated for several decades from the 20s/30s to the 60s/70s. Unfortunately it seems that the challenges to that school from Lakatos, Kuhn and the POMOS did not improve the situation.

  39. Jim Rose

    HandyMan,

    On 24 June 1974, Time published its front page article, Science: Another Ice Age? accessed at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

    The article ends:

    “The earth’s current climate is something of an anomaly; in the past 700,000 years, there have been at least seven major episodes of glaciers spreading over much of the planet. Temperatures have been as high as they are now only about 5% of the time.

    But there is a peril more immediate than the prospect of another ice age.

    Even if temperature and rainfall patterns change only slightly in the near future in one or more of the three major grain-exporting countries — the U.S., Canada and Australia — global food stores would be sharply reduced.

    University of Toronto Climatologist Kenneth Hare, a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, believes that the continuing drought and the recent failure of the Russian harvest gave the world a grim premonition of what might happen.

    Warns Hare: “I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row.”

  40. daddy dave

    Unfortunately it seems that the challenges to that school from Lakatos, Kuhn and the POMOS did not improve the situation.

    I think they overcooked it. There’s got to be some acknowledgement that rational evaluation does go on, even if it’s hampered by vested interests, inertia, and incomplete knowledge.

  41. PSC

    Go read McIntyre’s piece on Yamal (the most important tree in the world). LOl

    I’ve read it. There’s no accusation of fraud. The accusation is: “[not] fully thinking through the very limited size and potential unrepresentativeness of the 12 cores.”

    Aside from that, I believe Briffa gave a response, which included the following:

    We wish to stress that McIntyre himself has made no such assertions. At no time does he suggest that either of his versions of the chronology represents general Yamal tree-growth changes “more realistically” than in our earlier work.

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    The only direct accusation of fraud I’ve found with a little bit of googling over this is this an article from James Delingpole which describes the paper as a “massive lie” – it took a while even he did not use the word “fraud”. He has also stated that he does not read scientific papers because “it’s not my job”. I think it’s a bit rich to accuse someone of fraud and lying about something in a national newspaper without bothering to read their work.

    JC – you seem to be arguing that McIntyre believes there is fraud, and knowing that a fraud has occurred would not say it’s a fraud because he’s a gentleman. A simpler explanation is that he either believes no fraud has occurred, or he does not believe there’s sufficient evidence of fraud here.

    Would you like to answer the other questions?

    The questions are clearly intended as a sequence, and not intended to be read individually, but build up to a rhetorical point. Question 1 amounts to “have you stopped beating your wife yet”.

    Despite several requests, you’ve not been able to identify anyone who beats their wife.

    Given the sequence of questions presupposes the existence of climate-scientist-wife-beaters, and I don’t believe there are any climate-scientist-wife-beaters who have even been individually accused of wife-beating, much less convicted, I will decline.

  42. PSC

    By the way when I googled for “Yamal fraud”, the second link was this:

    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/2009/10/yamal-fraud-i-have-found-it.html

  43. JC

    PSC

    Mcintyre thinks Biffra and the teamsters are crooks. sordid little crooks. To suggest otherwise is delusional.

    We wish to stress that McIntyre himself has made no such assertions. At no time does he suggest that either of his versions of the chronology represents general Yamal tree-growth changes “more realistically” than in our earlier work.

    That’s just laughable.

    Shorter Biffra. McIntyre agrees with me. lol

  44. PSC

    Mcintyre thinks Biffra and the teamsters are crooks. sordid little crooks. To suggest otherwise is delusional.

    If this is true, then the only sensible interpretation is that he has no evidence for their beliefs – either he’s honourable enough only to state things for which he has direct evidence, or very conscious of the laws of defamation.

  45. JC

    Yamal FOI Appeal

    As I reported a month or so ago, the University of East Anglia refused a request under the Environmental Information Regulations for the regional chronology combining Polar Urals, Yamal and other shorter chronologies, referred to in a Climategate email. Their refusal is here UEA Refusal.

    The refusal took place on March 28 and I plan to submit an appeal within 60 days. I’ve uploaded my draft appeal and would welcome any comments in the next 2 hours or so, following which I will send


    Yamal and Hide-the-Decline

  46. JC

    Here, Psc. Here’s an open accusation by McIntyre against Gavin Schmidt.

    Bucket Adjustments: More Bilge from RealClimate

    NASA blogger Gavin Schmidt has once again fabricated claims against Climate Audit’s posts on bucket adjustments.
    http://climateaudit.org/2011/07/11/more-misrepresentations-from-realclimate/

    But he doesn’t use the word fraud, so what Gav did must be okay then, right?

  47. wreckage

    Hang on, basing a temperature over time sequence on 12 trees is OK because it can’t be prosecuted as fraud?

    That’s the standard for science these days???

    Are you even trying to win this argument, PSC?

  48. HandyMan

    Jim, since you realised as a young man that “the process of mass media summarisation leads to the loss of information”, I don’t understand why you link to an even earlier Time mag article about climate. Media coverage is at best an unreliable indication of any much other than the media took a passing interest in something. The best guide on scientific questions is why scientific research and data is turning up and on that measure the overwhelming verdict is that the globe is warming as a result of human activity (even if lots of folk around here think that either they know better than scientists – despite never having been within a country mile of climate research themselves; or that scientists the world over are involved in a giant scam to con everyone so they can get research grants – as if they couldn’t get research grants to study any other subjects they conspired to fool the world about.)

  49. Jim Rose

    HandyMan,
    There you go again, appealing to authority.

    A neutral example of the price of scientific dissent is David Card’s work on minimum wages and youth unemployment. He said in an interview:

    “I have subsequently stayed away from the minimum wage literature for a number of reasons.

    First, it cost me a lot of friends.

    People that I had known for many years, for instance, some of the ones I met at my first job at the University of Chicago, became very angry or disappointed.

    They thought that in publishing our work we were being traitors to the cause of economics as a whole.

    I also thought it was a good idea to move on and let others pursue the work in this area. You don’t want to get stuck in a position where you’re essentially defending your old research.”

  50. HandyMan

    There you go again, appealing to authority

    Jim, I don’t about you, but I’m not a dentist. If I need dental work, I go to someone who is. And, I’m not a doctor, but if someone in the family has a medical problem, that’s who I go to. Nor am I a mechanic (though I can do most of the regular stuff myself), again .. when the need arises, I go to someone who is. To that extent, guilty as charged! When necessary, I fall back on authority. If I want to know something about climate science, I go to actual climate scienctist.

    I wouldn’t think of taking my child to a homeopath if he was sick. Nor would I think of taking a blind bit of notice of what Rafe, Allen Jones or any of the other climate cranks around the place have to say on the subject. If you want to be guided by them … fine. On that measure, I expect to see you in a Reiki therapist’s waiting room next time you break a bone. Good luck with that.

  51. Rafe

    Nice work HMan, resort to ad hom abuse to dismiss the story of a senior scientist in the field who observed closely what was happening over many years. ARE YOU ACCUSING GARTH PALTRIDGE OF BEING A CRANK?

    PSC either cannot or will not answer the questions thereby sacrificing credibility.

    The first two questions were changed long ago to refer to “deliberate exaggerations” and “dubious claims which need to be investigated in case they are frauds”. So I don’t need to produce examples of fraud, though you would have to be more naive than me to think that there are no examples to be found.

    Come on PSC, show a bit of ticker, show us what you are made of and answer the questions!

  52. PSC

    Ok, so new we’ve stopped asking about fraud.

    Let’s try question 1 again, altered so very “long ago”.

    1. Do you distance yourself from the claims by scientists who deliberately exaggerate the rate of warming and the dangers of climate change?

    This question implies the existence of a scientist who deliberately exaggerates the rate of warming.

    Can you give me a concrete example of this deliberate exaggeration?

    Most scientific misconduct protocols I’ve read would call that kind of deliberate exaggeration fraud by the way.

  53. Jc

    Can you give me a concrete example of this deliberate exaggeration?

    I have. See the doc. Pach for example.

  54. Rafe

    Try Al Gore and Tim Flannery.

    Why are you too afraid to answer the questions?

  55. PSC

    Ok, since when was Al Gore or Tim Flannery a climate scientist?

    But I’ll offer the general comment that I think Tim Flannery has materially overstated his case on particular points a few times. I don’t think Gore has.

    Rafe, since you’re in the game of altering questions, why not try the following because I think it’s what you mean to ask:

    1. Do you believe there is substantial misrepresentation of results and substantial flaws in analysis in the climate science field, done for the purpose of materially exaggerating the danger of anthropogenic climate change?

    1a. If you do believe this, do you condemn the misrepresentation and those responsible?

    Do you see how these are now fair questions?

    I answer the first “no” and the second “n/a”.

  56. Jim Rose

    Handyman,

    There is a difference between hiring a skill and assessing an opinion.

    My doctor just stopped prescribing daily aspirin because opinions have shifted on the pluses and minuses. We must keep an open mind.

    Consider the overwhelming consensus among researchers that biotech crops are safe for humans and the environment

    This conclusion is rejected by the very environmentalist organizations that loudly insist on the policy relevance of the scientific consensus on global warming.

    People seem to pick and choose when to bow to scientific opinion and expert credibility.

    The scientific consensus can be wrong. That is what Kuhn’s book is about.

    Several scientific consensuses before 1985 turned out to be wrong or exaggerated, e.g., saccharin, dietary fiber, fusion reactors, stratospheric ozone depletion and even arguably acid rain and high-dose animal testing for carcinogenicity.

    Environmentalist organizations are all for the precautionary principle except when it applies to food and drug safety laws and natural medicines and marijuana!

    HT: http://reason.com/archives/2010/06/29/agreeing-to-agree

  57. Jim Rose

    Rafe,

    In 1992, former Vice President Al Gore reassured his listeners, “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.”

    • In the real 1992, Gallup “reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren’t sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun.

    • Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.”

    HT: http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/when-to-doubt-a-scientific-consensus

  58. HandyMan

    resort to ad hom abuse to dismiss the story of a senior scientist in the field

    Rafe, I’ve made no mention of Paltridge any where at any time and he was not mentioned at any point in the discussion I was having with Jim. Nor does your post mention Paltridge. The only people I referred to as climate cranks were yourself and Jones and that is an entirely apposite term to describe any layperson who purports to know better than scientists working in the field; who pursues the Great Big Conspiracy Fraud claim that scientists are scamming the world re AGW.

    As for Paltridge (a gentleman of retirement age no longer working in the area), he doesn’t deny climate science outright, simply says that “with luck”, it won’t be as bad as those working in the field think it will likely be.

    Now here is a challenge to your intellectual honesty on this subject: how about producing a “checklist for the credibility of climate sceptics”? There’s a post I look forward to reading. Perhaps you could begin by asking on what basis do they refute the stated position of all the world’s leading science academies? You could follow up by asking in what other areas of life do they ignore the precautionary principle? Any one who looks right and left before crossing the road uses the precautionary principle.

  59. PSC

    Rafe, I’ve made no mention of Paltridge any where at any time and he was not mentioned at any point in the discussion I was having with Jim

    Don’t worry HM, Rafe edited that out of his comment long ago and just forgot to tell you.

  60. HandyMan

    Several scientific consensuses before 1985 turned out to be wrong or exaggerated, e.g., saccharin, dietary fiber, fusion reactors, stratospheric ozone depletion and even arguably acid rain and high-dose animal testing for carcinogenicity.

    Jim, that is a direct quote from Ron Baileyis a “recovering climate sceptic” having belately accepted the reality of AGW. Second, that check list of alleged failures of scientific consensus is dubious to say the least – I be interested to see research article debunking the dietary fibre, the hole in the ozone layer and acid rain. Third, for every consensus failure, what you and other sceptic overlook are the millions of consensus success that have created the modern world we live in and move through every day.

    And I did like this quote from Bailey’s article: “Last week, the prestigious journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published an article that tried to assess the relative credibility of climate scientists who “support the tenets of anthropogenic climate change” versus those who do not. One goal of the study is to “provide an independent assessment of level of scientific consensus concerning anthropogenic climate change.” The researchers found that 97–98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field are convinced of man-made climate change. In addition, using publication and citation data, the study found that the few climate change dissenters are far less scientifically prominent than convinced researchers.”

  61. HandyMan

    Rafe edited that out of his comment

    I hadn’t noticed that PSC, but I did notice that he had changed his reference to “the Guano Report” as he had originally written it, to “the Garnaut report”. Just as well I suppose if you are going to accuse others of ad hom attacks.

  62. Jim Rose

    If there has been no substantial misrepresentation of results and no substantial flaws in analysis in the climate science field, done for the purpose of materially exaggerating the danger of anthropogenic climate change, then climate scientists are cut from a finer moral cloth than the rest of us.

    The special interests that use climate change research and commission climate change research must have taken a day off.

    The lack of emphasis on the real risks such as to developing country agricultural productivity, and the focus instead on what happens to middle class voters rich in countries who can weather most any storm, suggests selective reporting.

    Anyone who has watched sport on TV may have noticed foul play. Drug taking is not unknown in sport too.

    Are scientists special? As per an earlier post, in surveys asking about the behaviour of scientific colleagues, fabrication, falsification and modification had been observed, on average, by over 14% of respondents, and other questionable practices by up to 72%.

    Research into climate change is a billion dollar industry. Follow the money!

  63. PSC

    I hadn’t noticed that PSC

    Sorry, a backhanded joke that failed in hindsight, and unfortunately I can’t retrospectively edit away my historical idiocy.

  64. Eyrie

    Well as a meteorologist who was working in atmospheric science in 1976-77 I well remember the likes of Stephen Schneider claiming we were cooling and an ice age was possibly imminent. The meme even made it into contemporary science fiction – see the late, great Poul Anderson’s “Winter of the World”(1975) and John Gribbin(science writer) and Douglas Orgill’s “The Sixth Winter”. Science fiction writers are generally conversant with the acientific thinking of the day (the better ones anyway).Yes, there was some kind of consensus on this at the time. It wasn’t as strong as that of the warmists nowadays but that was because they hadn’t figured out how to make money from it as ice ages are hard to stop and anyway it still isn’t absolutely clear how they begin and end. I remember thinking about space mirrors as the US had not long before had the capability to put 100+ tonnes in orbit at a time(Saturn 5).

  65. daddy dave

    Well as a meteorologist who was working in atmospheric science in 1976-77

    It only counts if you work in a department with a sign above the entrance saying “Climate science”. Meteorologists are notoriously skeptical of AGW, and therefore don’t know what they’re talking about.

  66. daddy dave

    that was sarcasm, by the way. In case it wasn’t clear. and not directed at you, either, Eyrie.

  67. Jim Rose

    In ‘The Climate Science Isn’t Settled Confident predictions of catastrophe are unwarranted’ at
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html
    RICHARD S. LINDZEN makes the undeniable points that:

    “The general support for warming is based not so much on the quality of the data, but rather on the fact that there was a little ice age from about the 15th to the 19th century.

    Thus it is not surprising that temperatures should increase as we emerged from this episode.

    At the same time that we were emerging from the little ice age, the industrial era began, and this was accompanied by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. CO2 is the most prominent of these, and it is again generally accepted that it has increased by about 30%.”

    I ask why is it that so much effort was put into denying the little ice age?
    See http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11645-climate-myths-we-are-simply-recovering-from-the-little-ice-age.html

    Why suggest that ‘the Little Ice Age may have been more of a regional phenomenon than a global one?’ Who gains?

    Lindzen makes the case that in the past 20 years, the only thing IPCC researchers have conclusively proven is that their climate models are faulty since even they have to admit the models do not account for naturally occurring variability and therefore cannot explain the lack of warming during the past decade.

    Scientists agree that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide — from all sources, not just humans — would increase temperatures by about two degrees Fahrenheit.

    Lindzen explains that IPCC models predict higher temperatures on the assumption that clouds and water vapour exacerbate the effect of carbon dioxide, a phenomenon called positive feedback.

    At the same time, the IPCC admits that clouds are “a source of major uncertainty in current models.”

    Lindzen explains that there is no scientific consensus as to whether clouds and water vapour produce positive or negative feedback.

    Lindzen ends with this:

    “Our perceptions of nature are similarly dragged back centuries so that the normal occasional occurrences of open water in summer over the North Pole, droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level variations, etc. are all taken as omens, portending doom due to our sinful ways (as epitomized by our carbon footprint).”

  68. Jim Rose

    I never have any success with the blockquotes command

  69. Jim Rose

    Lindzen makes a very good point about the perpetual claim of universal scientific agreement.

    This claim of universal scientific agreement:

    • was part of the media treatment of global cooling (in the 1970’s) and

    • has been part of the treatment of global warming since 1988 (well before most climate change institutes were created).

    Lindzen then observes that the consensus preceded the research in both cases.

    I ask who gained?

    HT: http://newcapital.squarespace.com/storage/articles/is%20there%20a%20basis%20for%20global%20warming%20alarm.pdf

  70. Rafe

    These guys are trying to stop me from finishing the summary of the book, but it is not going to work:)

  71. HandyMan

    The meme even made it into contemporary science fiction

    Well that proves it Eyrie!! Should we look to sci-fi to keep up to date on the latest in science?

    This claim of universal scientific agreement: • was part of the media treatment of global cooling (in the 1970’s)

    Bollocks. There never was a consensus or “scientific agreement” about global coolling. But since Jim and Eyrie confidently claim there is, then they will quickly be able to support their claim by providing the long series of links or references to science journal articles on the subject; complete, no doubt, with a list of science bodies who support this view and were urging governments around the world to act.

    Jim and Eyrie, you time to produce this evidence starts Now. Go …

  72. HandyMan

    Eyrie has a head start on Jim because he was “a meteorologist working in the field” at the time. Should be a doddle for him. I for one am looking forward to reading these “global cooling” science articles. (Discredited articles from the popular press do NOT count.)

  73. Jim Rose

    handyman,

    the quote was that universal scientific agreement was part of the media treatment of global cooling.

    It was not that there was such universal agrement as I documented in another post noting that when I pointed to the 1970s media reports on his blog, John Quiggin was good enough to count-up the number of scientific articles.

    They summed to a 100 articles or thereabouts, with more for global warming, ten less for cooling, and an equal number neutral in their predictions.

    There would be thousands of articles now because climate science has graduated from a million dollar industry to a billion dollar industry.

    My point was about the reports of general agreement being ahead of the research.

  74. HandyMan

    My point was about the reports of general agreement being ahead of the research.

    Which has to be the classic example of a point without a point. The only reports of a “general agreement” were a couple of isolated articles in the popular media, by now long discredited and forgotten by all except a few climate cranks who raise them to discredit climate science.

    There was no cooling consensus or agreement, ever, as you and Eyrie have demonstrated by your inability to point to a body of scientific research making that case or to any scientific body urging action on it. It is a complete furphy and you’d do well to concede that. Or at least drop it.

  75. daddy dave

    There never was a consensus or “scientific agreement” about global coolling.

    There’s not a consensus about global warming among working earth scientists. It may be a widely held view. It may be a view held by ‘most’ working earth scientists. But that’s not what th word consensus means.

  76. Alan

    Rafe, can you answer, in layman’s terms, these questions?

    1. Why does carbon dioxide absorb more infrared radiation than oxygen?
    2. Why does more dew or frost form on the roof of a car than on the doors?

    You wouldn’t pay much attention to the econmomic opinions of someone who doesn’t know the difference between price and cost. I’m trying to assess whether you have a grasp of the fundamentals of climate science.

  77. zbcustom

    PSC. There is certainly a smoking gun. Check out Mistakes in Scientific Studies Surge ~The Wall Street Journal.

    The Lancet’s Dr. Horton dismisses that notion. He says journals hit by fraud and error are becoming more conservative about publishing provocative research. But he also says journals and research institutions don’t have adequate systems in place to properly investigate misconduct.

    The apparent rise in scientific fraud, said Dr. Horton “is a scar on the moral body of science.”

  78. Gabrielle

    There was no cooling consensus or agreement,

    Well not in the terms of the hysteria today. Back then the IPCC didn’t exist. There was no global climate control authority. There were papers written and scientific bodies did raise the alarm.

    Here’s a list.

    Chief proponent was Stephen Schneider.

  79. daddy dave

    Here’s a list.

    Upon seeing the evidence that he so shrilly demanded, Handyman will now change his mind and admit he was wrong.

    /sarc

  80. HandyMan

    First we had a point without a point. Now we have pedantry without a point. Whatever word you want to use, there was no widespread scientific agreement about cooling, ever. There is now widespread scientific agreement about AGW, has been for years. And will be unless and until the real world research and data causes a rethink. The talking points repeated endlessly by denialists won’t make a difference either way. (Expect that it encourages denialist group think for those who live in a denialist echo chamber.)

  81. Jim Rose

    handyman, a few articles?

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling#Concern_in_the_1960s_and_1970s

    Quiggin’s count was about 40, 30, 30 scientific papers for, against and neutral, as a recall .

    See http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/Myth-1970-Global-Cooling-BAMS-2008.pdf for a possible source.

    It is good on the gap between the popular literature and scientific literature.

    What has happened since the 1970s to make the mass media a better science reporter? Their reporting of the economics of climate change is poor.

  82. daddy dave

    There is now widespread scientific agreement about AGW, has been for years.

    So you’ve backed away from ‘consensus’ then?
    That’s good, I’m not complaining, and thanks for conceding the point.

  83. daddy dave

    Admitting you were wrong about one thing doesn’t make you wrong about everything, by the way. I’ve changed my mind on heaps of things, from discussions here at catallaxy.

  84. Jim Rose

    dd, good point!

    exactly when did ‘now widespread scientific agreement’ start? Name dates.

    Thomas Kuhn wrote a great book on the rise and fall of widespread scientific agreement in various fields.

  85. HandyMan

    Upon seeing the evidence ..

    There is not one shred of evidence in that “list”. Every link that I followed took me to media articles .. including one to the Moonie-owned, wingnut “Washington Times”. Everyone a useless lame-stream media article in a list compiled by a site that describes itself as: “A Biblical Response to One of the Greatest Deceptions of Our Day”

    Satirising that as a comment meant to be taken seriously in a scientific discussion is impossible. It simply doesn’t pass the laugh test. Worked for daddy dave though. Which tells us all we need to know about his intellectual rigour.

    Now, I’m off to bed (far better things to do). But I expect a list of scientific papers and journal articles on this cooling agreement to peruse in the morning.

  86. Jim Rose

    BTW, whatever happened to the hockey stick?

    It had pride of place 10 years ago.

  87. HandyMan

    Has Kuhn also written a book about the rise and rise of the thousands of scientific agreements across numerous disciplines that have created the modern world as we know it?

    Jim, why don’t you forget about Kuhn and come up with some research papers on this great cooling consensus of yours? Either that or concede the point and drop it?

  88. HandyMan

    whatever happened to the hockey stick?

    Enough with the distractions and arm waving Jim. Evidence …. that which completely eludes you!

  89. Gabrielle

    Every link that I followed took me to media articles

    So the books and the scientific papers listed where what? media articles? And on those articles that cited warnings from the NAS and NASA and climatologists what were they? Lies?

  90. Gabrielle

    JC

    Your carbon slave is starting to act up again.

  91. Tal

    Gab,come over to the Open Forum the margaritas are on me 🙂

  92. HandyMan

    And on those articles that cited warnings from the NAS

    and NASA and climatologists what were they? Lies?

    Gab, you do know how the lamestream media works, don’t you? It does not publish science research papers. All it needs is one or two scientists who think they are onto an idea .. and off they do. Like that Newsweek article which the mag itself has apologised for. They are not necessarily lies, but they are NOT scientific research. And any old nutter can write any old book. There was no science cooling consensus. It is a deluded denialist talking point accepted by nobody but deluded denialists.

    But if you can cite even say ten science research papers of the thousands that would be required to make a “scientific consensus”, I’ll discuss the point with you. But you won’t. Because you can’t. Because they don’t exist. Because you are a deluded denialist who swallows deluded denialist talking points.

  93. daddy dave

    There is not one shred of evidence in that “list”. Every link that I followed took me to media articles

    I found some source material but through search engines as the links didn’t work (maybe an old page).

    Satirising that as a comment meant to be taken seriously in a scientific discussion is impossible.

    There were original research articles to be found – but even with the high number of ‘cooling’ news articles, featuring working scientists giving choice quotes, it seems rather odd that nobody from the scientific community contradicted them at the time.

    Look I know you’re just repeating the received view. The climate change lobby believes they have successfully airbrushed the ‘global cooling’ stuff from history. A more honest approach would be to dismiss earlier theories and say “we know more now. We have better data and better models.”
    After all, nobody dismisses heliocentrism on the grounds that the consensus was once for geocentrism. (Sure the time frame’s longer but you get the point).

  94. Gabrielle

    And any old nutter can write any old book.

    You mean like Schneider,

    Schneider was the founder and editor of the journal Climatic Change and authored or co-authored over 450 scientific papers and other publications. He was a Coordinating Lead Author in Working Group II IPCC TAR and was engaged as a co-anchor of the Key Vulnerabilities Cross-Cutting Theme for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) at the time of his death

    , who was predicting cooling but chnged back to warming mid 1970’s? Like him?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with changing predictions/theories, afrer all isn’t that what science is about? Not consensus.

  95. JC

    Your carbon slave is starting to act up again.

    Yes, Gab, he’s back alright.

    Because they don’t exist. Because you are a deluded denialist who swallows deluded denialist talking points.

    Metro, anymore of these sorts of stupid fucking insults will result in the obvious. You end up getting all worked up and then fire off threats of legal action because your feelings were hurt.

    Look, you oaf, get back on the pedal pusher and connect it to to the electricity grid. I have the heating going.

  96. daddy dave

    Not that there’s anything wrong with changing predictions/theories, afrer all isn’t that what science is about? Not consensus.

    Exactly.
    Actually the most damning thing in the whole ‘global cooling’ issue is not that some scientists thought there would be global cooling 40 years ago. Seriously, who gives a fuck? Scientific theories get overthrown all the time.

    The most damning thing is that these guys don’t behave like standard scientists, aren’t adult about it at all. Instead of explaining that “we know more now” they shout and bluster that nobody ever thought otherwise!

  97. Gabrielle

    Because they don’t exist. Because you are a deluded denialist who swallows deluded denialist talking points.

    maybe so, heck even the climatologists agree they don’t know everythong about the climatic global system. Any wonder the IPCC reports are heavily littered with words such as may, likely, slight possibility etc.

    Before becoming a “denialist” as you so kindly label me, I was behind global warming theory 100%.
    I’ve since read a lot more, became sceptical about the science, projections and predictions and have recently changed my mind.

  98. Gabrielle

    Spellcheck’s day off on Sundays.

  99. JC

    A more honest approach would be to dismiss earlier theories and say “we know more now. We have better data and better models.”

    We know at least James Hanson was in that camp. He believed the world was cooling until he adopte the new theory, that it was warming.

    You now have idiots like my carbon slave, Metromick suggesting that wasn’t true. As I teenager I recall reading Time Magazine containing those stories (even as special) combined with the Club of Rome predictions that the world was going to be a cold hungry place.

    Metro Fuck off with your Ghordian bullshit, as your opinions don’t threaten this assertion, you boofheaded idiot.

    Oh and I also recall Time Magazine discussed how the Pentagon was preparing plans for such a world and it would deal with social unrest as a result of a resources depleted, cold world.

    Now I know the Pentagon prepares lots of plans etc, but it wouldn’t have done so unless it perceived the science at the time was forecasting a potential threat.

    Recently the Pentagon also prepared plans on how to deal with a much warmer world, as a result of warming predictions.

    This doesn’t mean shit as the Pentagon has to take account serious potential threats.

    Metro, you’re a fucking idiot.

    Handyman… lol.

  100. JC

    Instead of explaining that “we know more now” they shout and bluster that nobody ever thought otherwise!

    I know they’re such lying scumbags.

    Also keep in mind that climate science in those days was a small dusty office populated by science geeks too geeky for the rest of the science departments mostly done at very elite universities that could afford to have 1/2 dozen of those uber geeks on the payroll.

    Climate science was exactly the choice topic to study at the time, so their noise volume was much lower than it is now.

    If I recall the king and queen of the global cooling theory came from Columbia university. Forget their names. I think they were a husband and wife team.

  101. Jim Rose

    HandyMan,

    what would you do if the consensus became a mere majority opinion? Does this matter?

    Those that refer to the 1970s simply remind of the dangers of simplification and arguing from authority in lieu of scientific reasoning and data or even elementary logic.

    I am sure that I was assigned essays at high school to write about the dangers of global cooling. I am also sure that you will focus on this aside and not the main points of this eveining

  102. JC

    Jim

    In all honesty I think those guys predicting global cooling at the time seemed to have a decent argument as far as theory was concerned. Of course in the 70’s we have the giant volcanic explosion which really did cool the world for a few years… I think it was perhaps Pinatubo or St. Helens, I forget which and can’t be bothered to look it up.

    What they believed was happening was that we humans were throwing up a load of particulates as a result of heavy duty pollution that had the effect of cooling the atmosphere.

    I think there could actually have been a case for that at the time, so it wasn’t a hugely documented theory.

    Also, unless I’m mistaken the time when James Hanson turned into a warmer was when we began to materially reduce that pollution and simply emitted carbon.
    Cars at the time were thought to be a huge polluter because of the absence of catalytic converters and more primitive refining of fuel.

  103. JC

    Oh shit .. damn IPAD.
    This should read
    I think there could actually have been a case for that at the time, so it wasn’t a hugely discounted theory.

  104. daddy dave

    I should add that the reason people bring up the ‘global cooling’ thing is that it’s a data point in a very different time series:
    it’s evidence that there are sporadic outbreaks of catastrophism and fearmongering from people within the scientific community, and that colleagues either endorse this or stay silent at the time.

    If the scientific community is prone to this, then that influences how people perceive predictions of catastrophe and doom for the planet.

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