It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Looking for Consensus in All the Wrong Places

There's lots of bother about what the climate community agrees or disagrees to and to what extent.

This all follows on from Naomi Oreskes' investigation into the existence of a consensus in the literature basically on the question as to whether the future holds an unusual amount of climate disruption. (It does and the literature is consistent with near unanimity on that question.)

But whether there is, as is commonly claimed a "97%" consensus depends crucially on who you include as a scientist, what question you are asking, and how you go about asking it.

I think the most consistent and interesting pattern is that the more a person specializes in climate as a physical system, the more alarmed they are by our future prospects. At least two surveys have shown this.

Doran & Zimmerman 2009
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant? 2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures? 
... 
In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.

This result is further confirmed by a more recent and more extensive study conducted by Verheggen et al. There's much of interest there, but I'd like to focus on the following, which examines the distribution of opinion among the group that the prior study would consider the most expert.

Here we see that the gradient of concern vs expertise arguably goes even to the most expert. The more you have published, the more likely you are to consider the anthropogenic component of warming to date to be "strong". And that's worth considering.

When science discovers something alarming, how does the alarm propagate? It makes sense that the best informed people would be the most alarmed if the cause for alarm is real, while if it is dubious or baseless, the distribution would be very different.

But why examine the consensus itself? Why have there been these various follow-ons to Oreskes' study? It seems to be largely driven by a group of naysayers who wish to insist either that there is no such consensus at all, or that consensus is an illegitimate basis for argument.

 This should all come as something of a shock to people interested in public health, where a formal consensus process has long been the mechanism of interaction between science and policy. For instance, "In the United States, for example, the National Institutes of Health promotes about five to six consensus panels per year, and organizes this knowledge by means of a special Consensus Development Program, managed by the NIH's Office of Disease Prevention (ODP)."

 So why doesn't climate science have such a consensus process? That should settle all this argument and allow us to move on on the basis of formally selected information. It seems like a good idea. Indeed, right-wing commentator Peggy Noonan suggested exactly this in 2006:
During the past week's heat wave--it hit 100 degrees in New York City Monday--I got thinking, again, of how sad and frustrating it is that the world's greatest scientists cannot gather, discuss the question of global warming, pore over all the data from every angle, study meteorological patterns and temperature histories, and come to a believable conclusion on these questions: Is global warming real or not? If it is real, is it necessarily dangerous? What exactly are the dangers? Is global warming as dangerous as, say, global cooling would be? Are we better off with an Earth that is getting hotter or, what with the modern realities of heating homes and offices, and the world energy crisis, and the need to conserve, does global heating have, in fact, some potential side benefits, and can those benefits be broadened and deepened? 
Also, if global warning is real, what must--must--the inhabitants of the Earth do to meet its challenges? And then what should they do to meet them? You would think the world's greatest scientists could do this, in good faith and with complete honesty and a rigorous desire to discover the truth.
You know what would be a great pity, though? What if there had been a consensus process of just this sort in place for decades, and nobody noticed. Fortunately the world is not that silly, is it?

79 comments:

Tom said...

In 2008, Hans von Storch and Dennis Bray surveyed 375 scientists from 34 countries who had authored papers in peer-reviewed climate journals. 65% had worked in climate science for more than 10 years and 66% had authored more than 6 papers. 78% of them were working in the physics of climate science, on model development, data acquisition, etc.
And 66% were either ‘very much convinced’ (35%) or ‘convinced’ (32%) that ‘most of recent or near future warming is/will be a result of anthropogenic causes. Furthermore, 62% were ‘very much convinced’ (35%) or ‘convinced 28%) that ‘climate change poses a very serious and dangerous threat to humanity.’

Tom said...

Atmospheric scientist Bart Verheggen teamed up with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency to conduct a larger survey of climate scientists in 2012 . (Disclosure—I offered some advice to Verheggen on how to field the survey.) 1,868 scientists participated. The research went out of their way to insure that those skeptical of climate science were included in the survey. Some of the skeptics had not published in peer-reviewed journals—many had, as had all of those recruited in other ways.
More or less replicating the von Storch findings, Verheggen’s study found that 66% of the respondents felt that more than half of the global warming since the middle of the 20th Century was anthropogenic in origin. Those who felt that way were far more confident in their perception than those who felt that humans had been responsible less than 50% of the current warming period. This is a solid consensus about recent climate change.
Again, the survey has not been frequently cited by Alarmists—66% just isn’t sexy enough. So Alarmists went to work to create a false picture of a consensus that would satisfy their needs.

Tom said...

Three well-known papers in the past decade have attempted to use literature reviews and publication searches to ‘prove’ that almost all scientists support the consensus view of climate change.
All three papers are fatally flawed. Indeed, from the outside it looks as though the searches chose the only methodology that would provide them with results that they said they wanted before they started the research.
For Prall et al and Cook et al the foregone nature of the conclusions was explicit–they wrote on various websites that they were conducting the studies with a predetermined end. For Oreskes it was implicit, but easy to see, as she structured her research carefully, not to show the breadth of opinion on climate change, but rather to conceal it.

Michael Tobis said...

As I said, these things depends sensitively on what you ask, and how you ask it, and who you include.

The only sensible approach is to have a consensus process with scientific credibility established within the field and read the reports. (That will not tell you if the field is correct, but it will tell you what the field believes.)

Too bad there are no such reports, right?

Tom said...

So when such an organization, like the IPCC, says that previous concerns about extreme weather are premature at best, you of course support them.

Michael Tobis said...

I don't always agree with the consensus, especially on fast changing matters. But I know what it says and don't deny that it exists or that it is important.

Tom said...

The percentage of climate scientists who think that half or more of the current warming is caused by humans has remained stable at 66% for close to a decade. That is a real consensus.

The literature reviews are a response to the disappointing 66% percentage. It isn't sexy enough.

Focusing on publications as an indicator of expertise may seem useful, but I do not believe number of publications is reliable. Then you have to track quality of publications, which is subjective, so you look for citations. But you don't know if the cite was to agree or disagree with it and nobody is going to look. Or you take the cheap and easy way of looking at the credibility of the journal a paper is published in, which means we all must accept Wakefield on vaccines because it got into Lancet. Then you have to judge whether or not a scientist in the private sector who doesn't have time to publish is more or less expert than an academic whose livelihood depends on publishing something, anything, everything.

So if you want to say that your scientists are better than my scientists, that brings us right back to the yah-boo debate.

Just count the totals and then note the segmentation. That's what real researchers do.

Tom said...

The protocol would be:

66% of respondents think that half or more of current warming is caused by humans.

However, there are variations in level of agreement within segments of the respondent base.

Scientists with a larger number of publications were more likely to think half or more of current warming is human caused than their colleagues with fewer publications.

Scientists with more experience were...

Scientists in North America were...

Etc.

That is how responsible report writing is structured. Top line, then full examination of variation within groups.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Tobis said...

Like I said, it depends who you ask, and what you ask them. When I was active I didn't encounter any physical climatologists who weren't active on the internet that even HEARD of most of the cockamamie ideas you see on the internet.

Pretty much everybody who actually works in the field knows that CO2 is crucial on many time scales and that anthropogenic forcing dominates the present variation.

These polls are damned peculiar, whether they come out the way you like or not. Ordinarily if you want to know what a scientific community thinks, you just ask them to nominate a committee to write a report. Then you don't ignore the report.

Tom said...

Well, I do this stuff for a living. Both von Storch/Bray and Verheggen built surveys that are fit for purpose. Both came up with the same results.

You can say if you like that climate scientists didn't understand the questions. You can say if you like that they didn't tell the truth.

But either assumption would raise huge issues about the credibility of climate science. The other possibility is all the people you talk to are more or less like you and the people who are not like you are not part of the same conversations.

andthentheresphysics said...

Lots of us do things for a living. Some of us try to avoid appealing to our own authority. Like MT, I've struggled to find a colleague who disputes the mainstream view and I can't even find someone who knows another who does. I also can't find any who agree with the various ridiculous ideas promotoed on blogs. Admittedly, I'm a physicist, rather than a climate scientist, but much of the expertise is similar. I've also been asking why more don't bother trying to address the misinformation being presented. Mostly the answer is that they really can't be bothered and have better things to do. I'm starting to think that they're right.

Michael Tobis said...

Since there is almost nothing in the stolen emails worth bothering about (aside from a couple of embarrassments from Phil Jones) the motivation for reading the book is thin, even if the whole topic weren't so enervating.

If I had chased Tom down out of the ether he might have a point - I'd have some obligation to consider his book. But it was he who chased me down, so I don't have the obligation. So I'll stick to my guns. I don't waste more brain cells on this miserable bit of character assassination than I have to. I remain deeply upset that this didn't backfire badly on those stealing and willfully misinterpreting the emails. But there's little I can do about it now.

I hope some historian with a stronger stomach than mine takes it on someday so that the blot of fake scandal eventually gets lifted. Meanwhile I accept no obligation to stir that foul-smelling pot again.

Tom said...

Well, ATTP, I have corresponded with a number of scientists who are eminently qualified and while they don't believe the 'ridiculous stuff on blogs' they are in fact not convinced that half or more of the current warming period is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. People like John Christy, Roger Pielke Sr. and Judith Curry are among them.

They and I know they are in the minority. There is a consensus.

But some of the 'ridiculous stuff on blogs' is about a 97% consensus. Some of the stuff on blogs insists on treating outlier estimates of sensitivity as inevitable--on both sides of the PDF.

You can pretend that people like them, Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson and Ivar Giaevar don't exist. Or you can write more ridiculous stuff on blogs saying that they're cranks, or senile or blind.

But one-third of the published climate scientists in two surveys five years apart come close to their point of view.

Which is perhaps too many to start throwing around the denier word.

Michael Tobis said...

"Mostly the answer is that they really can't be bothered and have better things to do. I'm starting to think that they're right."

It's really not an effective use of time from a practicing scientist. But somebody has to do it. And there aren't that many people who can see through them. The law of BS applies - it takes at least an order of magnitude more effort to refute BS as to create it, and what's more, in a specialized field, there are many more people qualified to produce BS than to create a balanced sense of the state of things.

I agree, though, that alarmist BS is appearing and deserves equal attention. It's a pity we are stretched so thin.

The icing on the cake is that people are paid to produce BS and hardly anybody is paid to refute or otherwise defeat it.

The only reason we are doing as well as we are in this toxic setup is that we are, you know, basically right.

Michael Tobis said...

"But one-third of the published climate scientists in two surveys five years apart come close to their point of view."

This so grossly overvalues the attribution question that my head threatens to explode.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Tobis said...

Tom ups the ante. I will quote the less tendentious parts.

"Tobis, when you did this before I posted up large sections of the book. You said they were not bad at all but you didn't trust me to post representative portions of the book.

You said you would read the book if someone gave it to you. I emailed you the book. You didn't read it."

He did email me the text. I did agree to read it, but in fact I never had the stomach for it. I've lost track of it - probably deleted it. It was a mistake on my part to agree to read it.

Without quoting, he says I still criticize a book I haven't read. I hope that I don't. But I don't like the idea of a book based on stolen correspondence. I have looked, and I see no evidence in the correspondence of a greater crime to justify the theft.

Tom said...

Ah, censoring once again. I hope this is a final good-bye.

andthentheresphysics said...

Tom,
You can pretend that people like them, Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson and Ivar Giaevar don't exist. Or you can write more ridiculous stuff on blogs saying that they're cranks, or senile or blind.

But one-third of the published climate scientists in two surveys five years apart come close to their point of view.

Which is perhaps too many to start throwing around the denier word.

I've neither called any such people cranks, senile, or blind, nor use the denier word. It would be quite nice if you responded to what I actually said, rather than to some perception of what I would like to say, or might have said. Until I actually do so, I haven't done so. My point was that a very large majority of relevant scientists accept the basic mainstream position, in particular that most of the warming since 1950 is probably anthropogenic. Finding examples of those who think this might not be the case, does not make this untrue.

Michael Tobis said...

There's plenty of places for people to vent their anger on the internet. I don't intend to provide another one.

Steve Bloom said...

All sailor and no boat. :)

There's a whole cottage industry of such books, none of which are worth reading. I think the title (the book is self-published, so the title was selected by the authors) is more than sufficient to condemn it without reading.

I had never looked at Bart's study, but based on a quick scan it doesn't seem to support Tommy's claims.

'Respondents who were labeled as “unconvinced” indicated more often than other respondents that they had expertise in one or more of the WG1 fields and they indicated more expertise fields in general.'

Interesting to see that effect among scientists (although probably this would include the bulk of the non-scientists who apparently were included at Tommy's suggestion).

That raises the question of the value of asking a WGII/III scientist a WG1 question, as that scientist's own research isn't going to inform the answer. Respondents might or might not answer in terms of their understanding of what WGI or the relevant field has to say.

Steve Bloom said...

To add the probably obvious point to that last, if it's a question they can't answer based on their own expertise they might reasonably indicate low confidence or not answer at all.

Re Tommy's concern about extreme weather, for any rapidly moving field the ARs are only a place to start since at the point of publication they lag the science by a couple years or so. The IPCC's assessment of extreme weather seems to still be dominated by stationarity and frequentism, an error they will need to correct. It's already looking to be a very interesting summer in that regard.

Willard said...

> I have corresponded with a number of scientists who are eminently qualified and while they don't believe the 'ridiculous stuff on blogs' they are in fact not convinced that half or more of the current warming period is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. People like John Christy, Roger Pielke Sr. and Judith Curry are among them.

While I have no problem believing this is the case for John Christy (he's one of the few in the SkS database with anti-consensus positions), I have yet to see clear statements from the two others regarding this. I'm asking Senior as we speak:

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/assessing-anthropogenic-global-warming/#comment-58727

As for Judy, it depends upon a very strict interpretation of her 57-42 argument:

> Whether it is 51% or 99% would seem to make a rather big difference regarding the policy response. It’s time for climate scientists to refine this range.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/08/24/the-50-50-argument/

I keep switching the numbers when naming her argument because of that quote.

I also have no idea why 51% or 99% would make such a big difference regarding the policy response.

Michael Tobis said...

For the record, here is the complete text of Mr Fuller's email. The reader is invited to speculate how I misrepresented it.

"Tobis, when you did this before I posted up large sections of the book. You said they were not bad at all but you didn't trust me to post representative portions of the book.

"You said you would read the book if someone gave it to you. I emailed you the book. You didn't read it.

"And yet you still write crap about it. You're insulting and wrong.

"Before you write crap about a book you have never read, ask yourself if what you have to say will improve on silence. Please err on the side of civility.

"Oh, no--I forgot. You can call me stupid, dumb and unintelligent, claim I don't understand climate science, claim I don't understand any science at all, compare me to Jack Abramoff and say our book is character assassination.

"Because you are one of the elect and are empowered to fight for climate purity. Special rules for special people."

As you see, I quoted him directly and confessed to one of the things of which he accused me. However, I did not find this posting to qualify as improving on silence.

Michael Tobis said...

If Mr Fuller sees fit to discuss me, I will see fit to discuss him.

I'd strongly prefer neither, but it's neither or both.

Again, it's all very unfortunate. Fuller could make a positive contribution if he saw fit to be a bit kinder and a wee bit less arrogant and more open to correction.


Tom said...

As you have posted my comment I will restore your deleted comments on my blog.

This is you, erring on the side of civility:

"Now where the heck does he get that from? OK, kids, be polite. He pulled it out of his, um, hat. Right. Hat."

This is rude and ignorant me in response: "Now, this is where the conversation would normally break down. I would insist that I caught you in a fatal error in logic--that you, with no background in journalism or market research proceeded to pronounce authoritatively on it, but you are willing to forbid me to write on climate change, because you suspect my scientific background is inadequate. You would get angry, I would get spiteful and we would retreat to our respective corners.

Let's go beyond that."

Go to hell. That rude enough for you?





Michael Tobis said...

No, that would be a fine standard to uphold, trying to escalate politeness rather than rudeness. A valiant effort. I wish you'd keep it up and make me look the worse for it.

This, on the other hand, is quite rude enough, and untrue:

https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/divesting-from-fossil-fuels-and-leaving-them-in-the-ground/comment-page-1/#comment-7976

Tom said...

Who's character did I assassinate? What did I write?

neverendingaudit said...

FWIW, I read the book, MT. Brandon too, it seems:

I figured I’m probably familiar with everything it would cover, so I wouldn’t learn much from it.

I was wrong. It turns out the book has many factual claims I had never considered.


http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/

Tom said...

Yes, willard. Brandon wrote about 30 comments about our use of commas. Funnily enough, he never once mentioned that we assassinated anybody's character.

As you are using Brandon as a reference, I assume you assign a high level of credibility to his book attacking Michael Mann and the Hockey Stick.

You say you read the book. Surely you can find an instance where we assassinated somebody's character.

Perhaps this?

"But—and it’s a big but—although we are harsh in our criticism of the actions of this group of climate scientists and paleoclimatologists known as The Team, readers need to understand two things:
1. Our criticism does not extend to criticism of the theory of global warming. Both your authors believe global warming exists, is a problem and needs to be addressed. We just don’t think it poses a catastrophic threat to civilization. We explain in detail below.
2. Our criticism should not be construed as criticism of the majority of scientists investigating our climate, its effects and possible changes to it in the future. We have communicated with a large number of climate scientists, and they are not at all like The Team in either attitude or behavior.
We are tough on the scientists we call The Team, and we think deservedly so. But we want to stress from the outset that we do not for one minute believe there is any evidence of a long-term conspiracy to defraud the public about global warming, by The Team or anyone else. What we find evidence of on a much smaller scale is a small group of scientists too close to each other, protecting themselves and their careers, and unintentionally having a dramatic, if unintended, effect on a global debate."

Tom said...

Or this?

We see the frustration the scientists felt in getting the media and the public to understand the science as well as the desire to fight a rapid reaction battle against a host of critics who used the Internet to post their “refutations” of accepted science. This is a common theme that runs throughout the Climategate story. Working climate scientists publish their findings in the peer-reviewed journals of science: Nature, Science, and others. The process of publishing is long and tedious and open to manipulation as we shall see.
On the other side, often combating them, are a variety of voices from outside this mainstream publishing world. It’s an internet world where anyone can post their ideas immediately, without review or rather with a wide-open unfettered review by hundreds or thousands or millions of readers. The culture shock is evident, and not just in Schmidt’s email. A process that formerly took months to get a polite reply from a colleague was being challenged by a world where the scientist would be confronted by dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts from people ranging from scientifically qualified to people who had never opened a book before picking up a pen. Scientists who might “flame” another scientist in private mails were exposed to an internet world where the “flaming” was out in the open.

Tom said...

Or this?

"As lukewarmers, people who believe in global warming but not that it will be catastrophic, we feel a bit of distance from both sides. We don’t think that this kills the case for anthropogenic global warming. Indeed the emails reveal as much passion on the part of the scientists as it does pathos--part of their misbehavior seems rooted in the fierce conviction they were right, after all."

Whose character did we assassinate with this? "But errors there were, and the first scalp has been claimed with the temporary stepping down of Phil Jones as Director of the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia, pending an independent review of the Crutape Letters saga. No joy here--at the end of the day, if all The Team fall by the wayside, the really culpable parties--the politicians and pundits who pushed them to claim for their science what they could not in truth provide--will move on to the next topic, the next disaster, the next crisis demanding that we put more faith and invest more power in them."

Or this? "As to other motives—fame, ambition, ego, etc., we choose not to speculate. People differ, and are different at different times. The likeliest guess is that most of them thought they were doing the best they could at any given moment, but their best simply wasn’t good enough to meet the demands of a global policy issue."

Steve Bloom said...

Yeah, Tommy, that. It's not crude, but it's not subtle either.

"I hope this is a final good-bye." Ahahaha. The number of times you've said something like this here or at P3 must be well into the double digits.

Michael: Again? Srsly? Will you never learn?

Tom said...

Hi Sierra Steve
Well, Tobis published my comment so I came back.

I just thought you'd like to know how many members of the Sierra Club have become former members after hearing about you. So far it's six--but I have hopes for more.

Steve Bloom said...

Same old Tommy.

Willard said...

> But errors there were

Wegman said it best:

[W]e have had our work scrutinized to a degree that is well beyond what might normally be
expected.


http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/strange%20tales%20v%201%2001.pdf

Steve Bloom said...

Hmm, I missed the Laden/Revkin thread before it closed. Can you append a comment if you think it's useful?

Willard said...


> Brandon wrote about 30 comments about our use of commas.

Brandon wrote at least 66% of his comments on something else than syntax. For instance, there's this one:

The emails and documents were communications between a small team of elite climate scientists and paleoclimatologists that had heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change. They had radically changed the IPCC’s views in fact, and had almost convinced the world that temperatures had never been higher than they are today, and that they were climbing rapidly.

Regardless of the answer to that question, are we seriously supposed to believe all of the people involved in these e-mails “heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change”? There were dozens of people. Did they all work together to “radically” change the IPCC’s views on climate change? What this some sort of conspiracy amongst them all?

And I get Michael Mann’s hockey stick was dramatic, but did people looking at a graph which extended back only 1,000 years really think the graph proved “temperatures had never been higher than they are today”? Is that how the world works now?

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5020

Reducing Brandon's analysis to the use of commas is an half-truth at best. Brandon's point are about how the facts get manipulated in Groundskeeper Willie's narrative. There's a concept that involves misleading half-truths or manipulation of facts. Which one, again?


Willard said...

> Brandon wrote about 30 comments about our use of commas.

Brandon wrote at least 66% of his comments on something else than syntax. For instance, there's this one:

The emails and documents were communications between a small team of elite climate scientists and paleoclimatologists that had heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change. They had radically changed the IPCC’s views in fact, and had almost convinced the world that temperatures had never been higher than they are today, and that they were climbing rapidly.

Regardless of the answer to that question, are we seriously supposed to believe all of the people involved in these e-mails “heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change”? There were dozens of people. Did they all work together to “radically” change the IPCC’s views on climate change? What this some sort of conspiracy amongst them all?

And I get Michael Mann’s hockey stick was dramatic, but did people looking at a graph which extended back only 1,000 years really think the graph proved “temperatures had never been higher than they are today”? Is that how the world works now?

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5020

Reducing Brandon's analysis to the use of commas is an half-truth at best. Brandon's point are about how the facts get manipulated in Groundskeeper Willie's narrative. There's a concept that involves misleading half-truths or manipulation of facts. Which one, again?

PS: Seems that ems and strongs don't work.

Tom said...

Look at the roles they performed on behalf of the IPCC. Lead authors. Reviewing their own work and shutting out opponents. Look at the picture behind Houghton at the press conference announcing the release of AR3.

I await your unbiased appraisal of the total number of Brandon's comments that were on substance versus the total number that were regarding grammar.

Willard said...

In this paragraph:

The rest of the section is made up of barely grammatical sentences and accusations toward people with no names or details provided, meaning they’re impossible for people to check. I can’t say the authors are wrong in their accusations, but it’s incredibly lame to make vague, unverifiable accusations about unspecified people in order to smear a group, especially in a book.

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5171

more than 66% of the words refer to something else than grammar.

Willard said...

Y U NO implement real HTML tags, Blogger?

Let's try again.

In this paragraph:

The rest of the section is made up of barely grammatical sentences and accusations toward people with no names or details provided, meaning they’re impossible for people to check. I can’t say the authors are wrong in their accusations, but it’s incredibly lame to make vague, unverifiable accusations about unspecified people in order to smear a group, especially in a book.

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5171

more than 66% of the words refer to something else than grammar.

Willard said...

It's worse in context:

The original ‘Hockey Team’ was named by Real Climate back in 2005, in the early days of triumph after the publication and subsequent popularity of the Hockey Stick Chart. This early team consisted of Michael Mann, R.S. Bradley and M.K. Hughes. They have since disavowed the name.

But this is not true. I don’t know that anyone has disavowed the name, but I don’t know that they haven’t. What I do know is the “early team” did not just consist of the three authors Mosher and Fuller list. That would be stupid. The point of saying there was a “Hockey Team” was to show the work done by those three people was supported by an entire “team” of papers.

Not only is this a stupid idea, it is an idea even the most basic of research would show is false.

[...]

But instead of doing any research, Mosher and [Groundskeeper Willie] just made **** up and sold it to their readers.

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5189

Willard said...

More on the Team:

The Team as it is today still includes Michael Mann, Bradley and Hughes, but others have come on board. They include Keith Briffa, Phil Jones, Gordon Jacoby, Schweingruber, Rutherford, Crowley, Cook, Osborn and perhaps others who float in and out. For the purposes of our story, the principal characters are Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Keith Briffa.

[A] bit better, but these people have always been on The Team. So have a number of other people that don’t get mentioned. More importantly though, this list doesn’t come close to covering all the people involved in the Climategate e-mails. That means when [Groundskeeper Willie] smeared everyone in those e-mails by saying:

The emails and documents were communications between a small team of elite climate scientists and paleoclimatologists that had heavily influenced the IPCC’s view of climate change. [...]

They were just [acting suboptimally]. Either they were lazy with their accusations, which is horrible, or they intentionally smeared people they knew were uninvolved with these accusations, which is even more horrible.

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5190

***

I leave the concept of substance to others, like Mr. Shellenberger:

https://twitter.com/nevaudit/status/616647659269582848

Modernity killed the concept of substance.

Willard said...

More from our dynamic duo from the "army of Davids":

It’s no understatement to say that almost every major paper written about the issue of the Urban Heat Island and every reconstruction of the climate of the past has relied on the foundational work of Phillip Jones. It’s a cornerstone of climate science.

Um, yeah, no. It’s no understatement to say that. It’s an overstatement. A massive one. While Jones’s work certainly influenced some things, it is ridiculous to say all the papers on these subjects “relied” upon his work. It’s even more ridiculous to say his work was “a cornerstone of climate science.”

The only way a person could innocently write something like this is if they had no actual knowledge of climate science.

(Naturally, Steven Mosher currently goes around insulting people who say anything like what his book says here.)

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comment-5192

Tom said...

Nice to see you doing some honest work, willard, even if it's just what you so quaintly call
quote mining.'

Tom said...

Still waiting for evidence of character assassination.

Willard said...

> it's just what you so quaintly call quote mining.

I don't recall having using the expression "quote mining."

Notice the double bind:

(a) If I don't focus on misleading half-truths or manipulated facts, Groundskeeper Willie will continue to harp about substance;

(b) If I focus on misleading half-truths or manipulated facts, Groundskeeper Willie may harp about quote mining.

***

> Still waiting for evidence of character assassination.

Character assassination involves misleading half-truths and manipulated facts, what I've covered so far is not far from it. Not being able to identify the Kyoto Flames' members is already quite cute. Putting all those people involved in the Climategate e-mails in it is not very far from a smear. Is a smear a form a character assassination? Inflating the role of the central characters (while portraying the book as not selling a narrative -- sometimes one head is better than two) to dramatize the conspiracy is not that subtle.

In any case, Groundskeeper Willie should beware his wishes. The juicier parts are at the end of the book, which Brandon has not covered.

Tom said...

Please feel free to do so on Brandon's behalf, willard. You need some OT.

Michael Tobis said...

As personal testimony I had never heard of Phil Jones before the CRU hacking. In the climate community MBH 98 was regarded as an intriguing result but not one of great scientific relevance. It was clear that IPCC made it prominent in order for lay people to understand the seriousness of the situation. But it had cery smalk effect on ehat we were thinking about.

Jones was never a key figure. Mann is important now, but McIntyre had as much to do with that as IPCC did.

Tom said...

On what did you base your accusation that we assassinated the character of someone--anyone in our book?

Willard said...

Page 179:

The Real Crime of [CG]

[...]

The criminals are not limited to The Team, the climate scientists and paleoclimatologists whose email and files were leaked to the public.

[...]

The crime us malpractice. Deliberate and conscious malpractice.


***

That, I believe, is checkmate.

Mal Adapted said...

Tom: "Ah, censoring once again."

Playing the victim card again, huh? xkcd has the last word on that.

Tom: "I hope this is a final good-bye."

Well, Tom, it takes two to tango, but only one to walk away.

Michael Tobis said...

To whom it may concern. Revisiting the stolen CRU emails is redundant and not an interest of this blog. My own ethics is not a topic of onterest of this blog, though I am willing to discuss any cogent complsints offline. Thank you for your interest.

Unfortunately pre-moderation has proved necessary. I do not moderate ad hominem as a matter of principle, and continue to welcome constructive snd polite conversation from anyone.

Michael Tobis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Bloom said...

Mike is important mainly because of the breadth and significance of his work, much of which is outside paleo. In addition, he has a certain notoriety that McIntyre can be said to be responsible for to some degree (mainly indirectly, by motivating Mike to get out there and communicate the science).

I think you're selling Phil a little short, although definitions of significance will vary. Certainly I had heard of him. He had about the public profile one would expect from the director of a significant climate research group.

Michael Tobis said...

Regarding Mile, yes, he'a a serious and competent scientist. But his importance as a partisan is an artifact of the partisans who attacked him. He didn't enter science with political goals in mind. He just refused to crumble under the onslaught of illegitimate pressure.

Regarding Dr Jones I don't know that much about him. I am confident he is being mischaracterized in similar ways. But from what I have seen he probably shouldn't have had a prominent role in administration.

It's not like climatology never makes mistakes in who it promotes. Witness Dr Curry.

I have more to say about this but for now, the naysayer's overattachment to the attribution question is the honest but misguided part of their obsession with Jones and his mailbox.

Neven said...

To whom it may concern. Revisiting the stolen CRU emails is redundant and not an interest of this blog.

I believe the point is this (and if it isn't, it's my point): if someone professes to be a so-called lukewarmer and thus doesn't deny the possibility that AGW could have serious consequences, costing lots of money and lives, he doesn't write a book about the Climategate non-scandal. Why? Because that's a climate risk denier strategy to give the general population the idea that AGW is a hoax, and thus could never pose any risk whatsoever.

The Climategate non-scandal doesn't change the science wrt AGW one bit, and so it's entirely irrelevant and unimportant. To write a book about it, and keep harping about it, means you're not a lukewarmer, but a climate risk denier troll whose sole goal is to spread doubt.

It's that simple.

Tom said...

I'll try again. If you haven't read the book you don't know what you are talking about. willard has read the book and found precious little to criticize. You haven't read the book and you are just making stuff up.

Neven said...

I'll try again. Tom, you're not a lukewarmer, because serious lukewarmers are alarmists. You're a climate risk denier.

Last week I was on your blog and saw you promote paid shill material which basically amounted to saying: the droughts and floods cancel each other out, just like surplus Antarctic sea ice compensates Arctic sea ice loss, and just like there's no hunger in the world because there are more obese than malnourished people.

You don't really believe AGW entails serious risks. And even if it does, it will work out by itself. We'll solve it without ever thinking there was a real problem, and everyone on the planet will be rich. We just need to prevent those commie environmentalist from screwing everything up and throw us back to the middle ages.

And so we call ourselves lukewarmers because it'll allow us to poison the debate for a while longer. But we're really climate risk deniers willing to force everyone to take our gamble at the highest possible stakes. I mean, what could happen?

Michael Tobis said...

Willard is not in the mood to play, he tells me, and directs our attention to

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/02/in-process-review-of-climategate-the-crutape-letters/#comments

Brandon is a bit uptight about grammar and punctuation, which given that this was a quickie book, is a bit tedious. But what he says about the substance is enough for me.

So let's drop it, shall we?

Tom said...

You haven't read the book either. If you want to drop it, why didn't you say something to Neven? Why do the baseless attacks always slip through--always, no matter the subject--but the replies earn a rebuke?

As for Brandon, like some other fool on the internet he got all mad at Steven Mosher and started looking for mud to throw at the wall. None of it stuck. Yes, the, book, had, a, lot, of, commas.

Tom said...

And if you are trying to tell me you read Brandon's commentary but didn't read the book he was commenting on, you're worse than a fool.

afeman said...

I saw the 61 comments and thought, oh, Tom showed up. Yup.

Michael Tobis said...

afeman, yeah, sigh...

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, Brandon's reviews were sufficient to convince me that there was nothing worth noting in the book that I haven't heard already. Your sputtering about Jones likewise. Jones was foolish, but not especially important. None of this would have happened without McIntrye's harrassment.

And now I've gone over my annual quota of commenting on this whole business. Of zero.

I remain outraged about this fake scandal. The fact that there are so many other fake scandals that fit the same pattern nowadays doesn't make it easier to take.

Climatology led the world in various ways: computational science, and chaotic dynamics come to mind. But being a pioneer in being victimized by a bullshit trumped up scandal is a form of leadership we could do without.

So kindly f*** entirely off with this malicious idiocy.

Tom said...

Cook. Lewandowsky. Prall. Oreskes. Mashey.

What do they have in common?

1. They are not climatologists

2. They are the ones that I go after.

We also criticized Jones for two things. One was asking colleagues to delete emails, not climatology.

The other was not notifying the scientific community that the station histories in Jones 1990, Nature, were not as he had represented them. Not climatology.

I criticize you for the same reasons. You talk talk talk about the politics of climate change. When I criticize your mistakes you insinuate that I am banging on about climatology. It's a continuation of the old Konsensus Kook game where people who question the value for sensitivity are accused of denying the greenhouse effect.

How blessedly convenient that you can continue to avoid the primary literature that you so desperately want to trash. I'll thank Brandon next time he shows up to slam Mosher. Of course he has a long way to go before he matches your level of vitriol, ignorance and stupidity.

So you can f*ck off too. If this is what it does for your brain I will continue to postpone retirement.

Mal Adapted said...

Tom: "...you're worse than a fool."

Well, I'm offended. MT redacted "fool" when I called you one a while back, for denying that some AGW deniers are professional disinformers. I think he likes you better.

Can I call Tom a fool now, MT 8^D?

andthentheresphysics said...

Tom,
Not only did MT ask you to drop it, it is a fake scandal. It has virtually no bearing on physical reality. It has also contributed to the delay in making sensible decisions regarding climate change. You wrote a book that supposedly validated this fake scandal (and I don't need to have read the book to have some knowledge of how it's been used). You'll have a legacy that'll you'll need to live with, and there is little you can do about this now.

Michael Tobis said...

Mal: not, not really.

Tom said...

ATTP, as Ygritte said to John Snow, 'You know nothing.'

That's only partly because you didn't read the book you are criticizing. Same as Tobis. Same as Mal.

Just like Eli trashing journalists, you want to blame the messenger. But, as always with you lot, you don't understand that the net effect of what we did was constrain the scope of the scandal.

Mainstream media coverage of Climategate disappeared pretty much the day the book was published saying the scandal didn't call into question the tenets of climate science. That's why Richard Betts said it was 'a valuable book.' That's why it was safe enough for the Brits to use it in a Parliamentary hearing.

When I said that climate science was untouched by Climategate on Pajamas Media TV, the interviewer basically cut the interview short and went away.

"God is on their side because he hates idiots."

andthentheresphysics said...

Tom,
I'm not criticising the book. The content of the book is essentially irrelevant. I don't need to have read the book to be fairly certain that you'll be regarded as helping to generate a fake scandal that contributed to making addressing climate change more difficult. You don't need to like this, for it to be true.

Neven said...

I vaguely remember Mosher playing a role on Climate Audit in riling up the FOIA situation, but where were you at the time, Tom? I only remember you from after that. Did you also partake in the McIntyre witch hunt?

Oh, and what ATTP said, of course: "You'll be regarded as helping to generate a fake scandal that contributed to making addressing climate change more difficult."

The book did nothing to take away the propaganda message of scientists fudging the data, shutting the honest, objective skeptics out, and fueling the big IPCC hoax. I mean, how else can one interpret „we show why it will swamp the conventional wisdom on climate change“? Your book was promoted on blogs and websites that are anti-science (like WUWT) and do nothing but repeat the meme that AGW is a hoax.

Of course, the book is not straight out climate risk (and science) denial. Any person with half a brain knows that this is a dead end. If you want to delay meaningful action on climate change you have to confuse the jury by focussing on a glove or some such. So that's what the book does, a bit of concern trolling and talk about how rape is awful, and then convince the jury that the victim brought it onto him/herself. And thus anything the lewd, sinful victim says or does, and anyone associated with him/her, cannot be trusted.

FUD, straight out of the tobacco playbook.

If you would apologize for trying to cash in on the fake scandal, and tell folks like Watts and McIntyre to f*** off, I might start to trust that you are sincere, Tom, and not just a more sophisticated climate risk denier and policy delayer.

Tom said...

Yes, ATTP, of course. You didn't read the book, you didn't follow the scandal, you don't even know the issues involved. You're the first I'd ask about this.

Tom said...

Hey Neven, I thought Lewandowsky's ideas about conspiracy ideation were aimed at skeptics. Are you trying to prove that Konsensus Kooks are even more vulnerable?

andthentheresphysics said...

Tom,
None of that is remotely relevant to my point.

Tom said...

You had a point? You write "The content of the book is essentially irrelevant." And then you tell me you had a point?

Sorry. The real world doesn't work that way, despite the fervent wishes of you Konsensus Kooks.

I personally don't know how I will be regarded in the future although I doubt if the future will regard me much at all.

There's an old story about a British academic who spent his entire career trying to prove that the Iliad was not written by Homer, but by another Greek with the same name. Perhaps you two are acquainted?

Despite your attempts to prewrite history, the facts of the matter are plain. Our book documented facts that correctly and accurately described the misbehavior of a handful of scientists. We correctly and accurately placed those events within the context of a scientific discipline that is important and well enough done to survive the misbehavior of those scientists.

You can argue that skeptics used our book to further their case. But ATTP (and Tobis, and Rabett, and Romm, and...) they use your writings to make their case as well. So do I to help further the Lukewarmer perspective.

But that's because you are poor thinkers and poorer writers. You serve up softballs for everyone to knock out of the ballpark. Worse, you are so defensive and insecure that you cannot tolerate discussion, leaving you frozen in time and attitude, drearily repeating the same errors of fact, interpretation and opinion.

Do you ever notice that bloggers like James Annan and Bart Verheggen don't get the same stick as you? Do you ever notice that skeptics don't quote them to make their own case? Do you ever wonder why?

andthentheresphysics said...

I personally don't know how I will be regarded in the future although I doubt if the future will regard me much at all.
Indeed, this may well be the case.

There's an old story about a British academic who spent his entire career trying to prove that the Iliad was not written by Homer, but by another Greek with the same name. Perhaps you two are acquainted?
Not that I'm aware of.

Despite your attempts to prewrite history
I haven't tried to rewrite history. I made a suggestion (that may be wrong, given your comment I've highlighted above) about how you might be perceived in future. This point is not related to the content of your book.

But that's because you are poor thinkers and poorer writers. You serve up softballs for everyone to knock out of the ballpark.
Hmmm, I seem to encounter people who claim to have done this. I'm not convinced I've seem many actually do this. It's mostly strawman type stuff, or just made up.

Do you ever notice that bloggers like James Annan and Bart Verheggen don't get the same stick as you? Do you ever notice that skeptics don't quote them to make their own case? Do you ever wonder why?
I hold them both in quite high regard. I've no idea why they don't get the same kind of schtick as me. I've rather lost interest in trying to work it out.