Science, dissent, polarization and ideology

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Judith Curry has followed up her post about a positive feedback between politics and science, with which I strongly disagreed, with a number of other posts trying to explain where she’s coming from.  The latest, “no ideologues, part III”, makes a lot more sense than her previous “dogma” posts, and sounds a lot less adversarial. This post is based on my comments over at her blog (here and here).

Her thesis is that climate scientists, the UNFCCC and the IPCC seem to adhere to a certain political ideology. In the case of the IPCC that seems a bit of an absurd notion, but in the case of individuals it seems almost self evident that everybody has some sort of political ideology. She writes:

It is fine for people (and scientists) have political ideologies.  The problem comes in when you use politics to defend your science, and you use science to demand policies. This whole thing seems to me to boil down to the traditional clash of values between the greens and the libertarians.

So does this make more sense?  I think a fairly large number of scientists will sign up to believing this ideology, but few will want to be regarded as ideologues.  Are we getting closer her to clarifying this?  I think so (hope so).

I am wondering to what extent her critique would be better described as the overly defensive attitude and ‘circling of the wagons’ strategy of many mainstream scientists and perhaps the community as a whole. She has described it as such before, and to a certain degree I agree.

She gives Michael Mann (who else?) as an example of voicing a political ideology that exemplifies that of the wider community/UNFCCC/IPCC. The headings she provides above citations from Mann give a certain twist to his words though, and provide more fodder to the label ‘political ideology’. Which may give the appearance of wanting to put his words in a certain light. (perhaps for ideological reasons? – just kidding)

E.g. In #2 on the list Mann talks about what can still be done, whereas in her heading Judith characterizes it as what needs to be done.  #5 has a large disconnect between her heading (action is needed) and Mann’s retelling of historical environmental threats.

She is right though that overall, Mann’s words as quoted are not purely in the realm of science, but nor are they intended to I think. It would be helpful if scientists are more clear as to when they’re talking about science and when they’re talking about something else (their personal opinion about the public debate, politics, ethics, etc). Hansen and the late Schneider are good examples of that IMO. Some may respond that those differences are very obvious already: Why spell them out. Which has (more than) a nucleus of truth as well of course.

I wrote about distinguishing these kinds of issues in a conversation I had with Tom Fuller a while ago, about what the next generation questions regarding climate change are:

Let’s distinguish the following main issues:

- To what extent is climate change occurring, and to what extent is it man-made?

- To what extent is that (going to be) a problem?

- What can or should we do about it?

The first questions are strictly scientific; the middle has a judgment value to it (besides being also based on the forever tentative answer to the first question), and the latter is primarily a political/moral judgement (and has more to do with technology and policymaking than with climate science).

We have made much more progress in addressing the first question than in addressing the last one. The limiting factor in addressing the issues relating to climate change is IMO not a lack of knowledge about the exact nature of the changes; rather, it is the unwillingness of society to deal with (the consequences of) this knowledge. Even if, within realistic boundaries of the uncertainty, climate change is less bad than currently expected, we need to dramatically step up our policy response.

Needless to say, that last sentence is a value laden statement, based on my understanding of the science combined with my value system, risk perception and risk aversion. Or perhaps that is not needless to say? (that’s not a rhetorical question btw).

Judith responded by saying that what she has a problem with is when people or institutions use their ideology “to stifle dissent and scientific debate”. Well, who wouldn’t have a problem with that?

That’s the broad brush again. The dissent from the mainstream scientific view takes a lot of different forms. E.g. there are the arguments such as voiced by Bob that AGW is bunk because of the hockeystick and surface temperature issues (my paraphrasing). I hope you’ll excuse me for not taking such criticism all that serious, where a minor detail is blown up as if it falsifies a whole theory, not unlike claiming that gravity doesn’t exist because that bird in the sky disproves it (argumentum ad absurdum; I’m aware that gravity is a better established (though also still not 100% known) topic than climate change).

These kinds of arguments are very common, whereby the conclusion (AGW is wrong) is miles and miles apart from the reasoning that supposedly led the writer to that conclusion. Which leads me to think that maybe, just maybe, they may have been really arguing in the other direction: from their desired conclusion to an narrative that fits with it. Because in the direction as the argument is stated, it doesn’t make sense.

Am I stifling scientific dissent by saying this? I would hope you agree with me that I’m not. I’m arguing against a (to me) nonsensical critique of the science, which IMO isn’t actually a scientific critique at all (though it’s dressed up to look like it). I.e. I’m not stifling anything and the dissent I’m primarily arguing against is hardly scientific (or charitably only partly scientific).

What most mainstream scientists get so worked up about are these nonsensical critiques on the science and the amount of traction they seem to have gotten.

If you have examples of where *scientific* dissent and debate is being *stifled* (no emails please), I’d like to hear about it.

As I stated before, I agree that in this highly polarized environment scientists have sometimes gotten too defensive in their reaction to the various critiques, because of course, some of the criticism does make sense, and even if the conclusion doesn’t, perhaps the premise purportedlyleading up to the conclusion contains some grains of truth. It doesn’t hurt acknowledging that.

Postscript: Simon Donner has an excellent post on the role of the blogosphere in these kinds of climate discussions and how it relates it to the themes of introspection, de-polarization and letting down our defenses. This is the road towards bridge building.

Aikido: The way of harmony. That’s me doing the throwing (in full harmony of course).

Update:

Michael Tobis has a related post, citing an interesting lecture by Mike Mann:

“We have to make it clear that the ice sheets are not Republicans or Democrats – they don’t have a political agenda as they disappear,” said Michael Mann. MT asks: “why the politicization of the non-political parts of the question?” That would be a good question for Judith Curry to ponder.

Chris Colose, who also chimed in over at Curry’s blog, has a post on her ‘dogma’ and ‘ideology’ framing. He finishes by saying:

Finally, we’re going to be endlessly stuck at a cross-roads if discussion is stifled, (…) but a glance into the refereed literature clearly shows this is not the case. (…) We’re also going to be stuck at a cross-road if you perceive the progression toward unanimous [I would have said "broad"] agreement by the informed as a sign of dogma as opposed to robustness of the conclusion. [link added by me]

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60 Responses to “Science, dissent, polarization and ideology”

  1. Rocco Says:

    Funnily enough, every single example of the supposed “UNFCCC/IPCC ideology” she presents is demonstrably true.

  2. gryposaurus Says:

    I just posted this at Chris Colose’s blog, but it is just as apt here I think:

    “This entire business about scientists being ideological and getting too involved in political advisory is very convoluted on that blog. The actions of meaning of how scientists, or groups of scientists, interact with the public is not all that complicated. For instance, it is not ideological to advise that society reduce or sequester emissions if we would like to avoid possible problems in the future. This is a basic fact based on the evidence we have in hand and the lack of scientific alternatives for mitigation and adaption. The next step up would be advising on how to reduce emissions. This is the category that Hansen would fit into, but not many scientists really get involved in asking for specific policies. . To be ideological, a scientist or association would need to align their policy with some other group of ideals, philosophy, or comprehensive vision; ie conforming a policy with Marxism and using emissions policies to fight the bourgeois, or else dump policies that do not fit in with the overall political goals. This isn’t even Hansen. He has changed his policy ideas several times of the last few decades. How she came up with this mish-mash of feedback loops and all this other stuff makes for great theater, but it hardly a cure for whatever ails the science.”

  3. sharper00 Says:

    The problem I have is that the undesirability of the conclusions are hard to disagree with (who’s for stifling dissent?) but every attempt I’ve seen so far to actually justify those conclusions have not only fallen far short, they’ve indicated to me that Dr Curry doesn’t have a rational case for the arguments she’s putting forth and is instead reacting out of a dislike of those on realclimate and/or in the climategate emails.

    An example of this is the “Water vapour mischief” post

    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/23/water-vapor-mischief/

    The original version ended with a statement along the lines of “But don’t worry, realclimate says the models are fine” and produced some of Gavin’s responses to “TimTheToolMan”‘s extremely vague and leading questions about models.

    As I commented at the time it was a needlessly antagonistic and frankly irrational interpretation of the dialogue.

    Given that she point blank refuses to support the argument scientists are stifling dissent somehow it’s a little bit hard to take the criticism seriously or see how real elements of the debate (“deniers”, special interests etc) can be dealt with if even acknowledging they exist is off limits.

  4. MapleLeaf Says:

    Gryposaurus,

    “How she came up with this mish-mash of feedback loops and all this other stuff makes for great theater, but it hardly a cure for whatever ails the science.”

    Well stated. And I think the rest of your post is pretty much on the mark too. All these leading and baseless accusations and innuendo by JC show that this is clearly become way too personal for her. Why? We’ll probably never know, but b/c this is personal for her, she is making a hash of it.

    Sharper00,

    I cannot believe that JC uncritically accepted TTT’s vague, baseless assertions made at RC and then tried to make a mountain of the situation. GS tried to get TTT to be more specific, but like JC when pushed to provide some specifics, TTT just provided even more vague assertions. As far as I can recall TTT never came out and said what the alleged problem with the model’s was…did he?

    This is situation is going to get serious, and I have no longer have any patience with the antics, theatre and games of the likes of JC. That is why came down so hard on her recently. But in retrospect I probably just reinforced her paranoia about climate scientists (not that I am one mind you).

    IMHO, and after my experience there, anyone really interested in the science is well advised to stay away from JC’s blog. It honestly pains me to say this, but her blog is just another place for the WUWT anti-science crowd to hang out. Curry is the only person who can change that, and the fact that she has permitted it descend into the mess that it is, is entirely her fault.

    Bart,

    Simon makes some good points. FWIW, and IMHO, I think that you and John Cook avoid many of the pit falls made by hosts of other climate blogs. It can’t be easy……so you guys represent something to aspire to.

  5. Rattus Norvegicus Says:

    When you go and read the BAS interview, it is easy to see that most of the questions centered around the politics of climate change and not the science, so of course it is easy to pick up political quotes. I don’t see much in the interview except that he is in the, for want of a better term, right hand tail of the beliefs about what the evidence of climate change is telling us. This assumes that the middle of the curve is represented by the findings of the IPCC and that the left tail is represented by Watts, CEI, SEPP and those sorts.

  6. sharper00 Says:

    @MapleLeaf

    “I cannot believe that JC uncritically accepted TTT’s vague, baseless assertions made at RC and then tried to make a mountain of the situation. GS tried to get TTT to be more specific, but like JC when pushed to provide some specifics, TTT just provided even more vague assertions.”

    I don’t think she did but I also think her criticisms basically ignore the content of arguments as well the behaviour of skeptics.

    The reason I bring it up is because it’s a situation where I have equal access to the facts as JC. As far I can see Gavin handled the topic perfectly, he engaged it in great detail over on The Air Vent while giving cranks making grand claims about models being invalidated thus also basically invalidating all of climate science the bum’s rush. She, however, apparently views the whole thing in a negative light.

    Since she makes similar claims concerns the IPCC on the basis of her personal experience and other special knowledge like emails she can’t reveal then I have no reason to think she’s any less accurate.

    I guess when people say stuff like “If a potential flaw in the understanding of climate is found does that mean every other thing is also flawed?” climate scientists are supposed to say “Interesting point” or similar.

  7. MapleLeaf Says:

    Sharper00,

    I think we both can agree that TTT was very vague at RC; I had no idea that GS engaged the crowd (incl. TTT) at the Air Vent. But it seems that you are referring to JC’s thoughts of what happened at Air Vent, not at RC. Sorry, my fault not yours…

    Anyhow, her sarcasm was unnecessary. Additionally, I doubt very much Gavin Schmidt thinks the “models are fine”, he is very well aware of their strengths and limitations, especially of the GISS AOGCM.

  8. sharper00 Says:

    MapleLeaf,

    I’m actually talking about both the Air Vent and RC. I mention both because I think the style used was appropriate in each case. In JC’s original post she used the RC thread with TTT sarcastically to show what I assume a scientist being “dismissive”. If this is the kind of dismissiveness the IPCC etc are guilty of then it seems like it should continue.

    Given the style on her blog of basically never saying anything is wrong and her list of reforms which basically turn IPCC documents into “Well some people say the Earth is warming but other people say it isn’t and other people say the Earth doesn’t even exist because we all live in a hologram” it’s really hard to see how scientists could ever actually comment on an issue at all without being in trouble.

  9. MapleLeaf Says:

    Thanks for clarifying sharper00. I agree with your assessment.

    This exchange has reminded me that I’m not good at multi-tasking. Thanks for your patience.

  10. dhogaza Says:

    In JC’s original post she used the RC thread with TTT sarcastically to show what I assume a scientist being “dismissive”.

    TTT is one of those that think that radiative transfer theory, and the underpinning theory underlying climate science, violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Why wouldn’t a scientist be dismissive of such a person?

    Headscratch? JC – clue me in?????

  11. Rattus Norvegicus Says:

    As far as I can recall, TTT’s doubts were based on a paper submitted to “Atmospheric Physics Discussions” which was rejected. The comments were pretty brutal. She had previously published a paper claiming to dismantle Emmanuel’s work on hurricane dynamics, but I couldn’t find a whole bunch of cites for it. Gavin was not complementary.

  12. Marco Says:

    “Complementary”?

    ;-)

  13. Heiko Gerhauser Says:

    Hi Bart,

    following on from my previous comment; is there a difference between what the public think about the risks of climate change and necessary action, and what experts think?

    Experts could be economists (Nordhaus, Richard Tol) or climade modellers (Hansen) or policy and risk analysts (Pielke Junior).

    In the other thread there was an interesting link that led me to this post:

    http://jeffreyellis.org/blog/?p=5494

    It’s a topic we’ve discussed before, namely when do non experts have good reason to doubt the foundational beliefs of a field? Easy with astrology, less easy with technical analysis of stocks, and very hard with economics or climate modelling.

    Now I am referencing this, because I know that a lot of the work on climate risks and preferred levels of action has been done by economists with risks translated into Dollar amounts and the preferred level of action translated into an optimal carbon tax. And this I also know is often criticised by non economists (Michael Tobis would be a good example, you’ll have read what he’s got to say on the topic). And the basis for that criticism is questioning the “foundational beliefs of a field” (as per the language of the above link), namely economics.

    And I accept that there are reasons to be unhappy with expressing everything in Dollars. In their stead, though, there must be some quantification I feel.

    You write above that you feel the level of policy response needs to be stepped up dramatically, even if climate change is less bad than currently expected.

    Here again I wonder about hard numbers for “badness” of climate change or the level of policy response. And if badness is not to be expressed as % of GDP in 2050 or 2100, and level of response not as Dollars per tonne of CO2, how should it be expressed?

    I also run into this difficulty when positing that what the public believe about the risks and the level of action is the same as that of scientists. It’s pretty well supported, when accepting conventional climate economics as per Richard Tol. Because I can then look at what the optimal carbon tax is in (peer reviewed) studies and compare with what the public is willing to pay and I see a similar spread, with a small fraction seeing the optimal tax as zero, the majority as low (less than 50 Euros per tonne of carbon say) and a minority (per Richard Tol, none peer reviewed) seeing it as gigantic (1000 Euros per tonne of carbon or more).

    I also think it’s true though, when risks are not expressed in Dollar amounts, but in hard numbers such as kJ per day and capita of food production in 2100 with business as usual emissions or with emissions gradually reduced to zero by 2100, or number of people dead due to flooding, or the number of dead due to warfare and terrorism, or the number of polar bears in the wild in 2100.

    Finally, I want to applaud you for trying to build bridges, it’s amazing how corrosive partisanness can be. I also saw this link:

    http://jeffreyellis.org/blog/?p=5941#more-5941

    I guess it’s got something to do with our evolutionary past, the way that tribes, that is close knit communities of about 50 people with those people very closely related, behaved, and how these tribes evolved to be altruistic within tribe and often willing to exterminate other tribes.

    To me it seems the tribes of skeptics (interestingly often engineers and Republicans) and believers (often scientists and Democrats) are pushed into tribal behaviour, which eg means being unduely lenient on the motives and trustworthiness of members of your own tribe and unduely harsh on the other tribe.

  14. Sou Says:

    Rather than be curious about Curry herself, I am curious about why sensible people are so fascinated by her nonsense. It seems a fool’s errand to constantly try to make sense of what she says and does, jumping on every slight glimmer of rationality only to find it fleeting.

    She’s made her intentions clear (sow distrust of science, divide people), even though her intentions are at odds with what she says (build bridges).

    Let her be. There are much more important matters to focus on in regard to how much climate change we are prepared to tolerate and how we propose to cope with it.

  15. Bart Says:

    Hi Heiko,

    Thanks for another thoughtful comment! You’re right that somehow risks ought to be quantified, though I’m not sure if that’s possible beyond the physical realm of providing probabilities of a specific outcome. Going beyond that and trying to attempt to capture the entire risk (of a wildly varying nature and timescale) into one aggregate and objective number (be it dollars or euro’s or a to-be-defined risk currency) seems inherently impossible. This is partly because one’s value system and circumstances influence how this risk is perceived. To a Bangladeshi a certain risk of sea level rise means something entirely different than to a Swiss. Libertarians and Greens weigh the risks of higher costs and higher risks to our physical environment very different. The translation from the ‘objectively’ obtainable chance of occurrence of certain events to an aggregate risk number is not a universally valid function. Connected to this is the issue of discount rate. Weitzmann (economist) has argued that a traditional cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is not appropriate for the kinds of problems such as climate change, with a small chance of a catastrophic outcome. The choice of discount rate has a tremendous influence on the outcome of such CBA’s, and there is no objective basis to chose one over the other (e.g. to just use the same rate as is used in decadal time scale investment type decisions as for century/milennium time scale issues where the hospitability of the planet is perhaps at stake). Should a small chance of mass extinction and melting of Greenland and West Antarctica in, say, 500 years be discounted to almost zero (as per the usual economic discount rate I believe)? That’s not a question of doing a simple CBA and comparing the dollar signs. How do you value the future vs the current, how is your sense of responsibility vs freedom, how do you weigh small probality – high impact events, those are the issues there, and they are inherently tied to one’s value system.

    Just some of my musings…

  16. Louise Says:

    Sou

    With regards to why bother with Judith Curry – I suspect it’s because she will be referenced in both the MSM and the Blogosphere as a ‘Climate Scientist standing up for the TRUTH that is being supressed by all the other fraudulent and incompetent, IPCC worshipping, supposed scientists’

    I think it is also important to see if she can be coaxed into actually stating a few facts that she just must be aware of that will stop many of the skeptics looking to her as their new leader. As it is, skeptics with every weird and wonderful theory are flocking to her site and feel that she supports their views.

  17. Sou Says:

    Louise, Curry has let a few things slip about her motives in the past few months. (She wants attention.) That’s why I don’t think it’s worth while pursuing her. She is just another person flogging misinformation IMO. Based on her behaviour, there is no reason to think that she wants anything other than to be the ‘new leader’ of the skeptics, or at least revered by them. I doubt she will succeed (they’ll use her while she’s willing). Meanwhile she’s getting her 15 minutes of fame in the blogosphere and giving a boost to the waning anti-humanity movement.

    It’s tempting to believe she is rational and able to be ‘coaxed into actually stating a few facts’. But her words and actions show that this is just not going to happen. (If anything, she’s getting worse and more entrenched in her mischief-making as time goes on.)

    Efforts to help the world respond to climate change are better placed elsewhere in my view.

  18. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Sou – those efforts have achieved little or nothing so far, Kyoto expires in two years at which point we go formally backwards because developed nations are then off the hook. What ideas do you have for how the persuasion should be different/better?

    I think we’re all bored/confused by being shouted at by people who, with the best of motives think disaster is round the corner and something must be done, but can’t explain to us what they actually want done, by who, when, how much it will cost, how we will get the Chinese and Indians on board, and what it will achieve in emission reductions in both absolute terms and versus a bau scenario.

    Re Curry she’s said a lot, and sometimes it reads intemperately, but quite a lot of what she says rings bells with me, and with people like von Storch and Zorita even though they disagree with other parts.

  19. MapleLeaf Says:

    dhogaza, Rattus and Sou,

    Trenberth also has serious issues with the work that JC and JeffId were getting all excited about. As per usual, the fuss was not over a null issue, but it is a storm in a tea cup, and people like TTT and JeffId were getting way too excited. We are not facing a paradigm shift here, not even close.

    Anyhow, sad that JC does not have the savvy to figure out the flaws in the papers in question–Trenberth has, but instead uses the situation to make snide remarks and yet more insinuations of nefarious goings on.

    IMHO, Sou probably has offered the best advice yet. We all suspected that this is what JC was going to do on her blog, and she verifies that prediction pretty much daily. Maybe we should let “Hot Air” etc. self implode…besides there are far more important things to deal with as Sou points out.

    That all said, someone like Rattus or dhogaza or Sou going over there once in a while to shine some light (good luck trying to get a straight answer from her on anything) on some of her more egregious nonsense would be good-and would to remind her that people are observing and taking notes of her bad behaviour.

    PS: The tactics being used now by Curry, are strikingly similar to those used by Dr. Bernadine Healy during the (ongoing) vaccine wars. According to Specter,

    “She [Healy] often tries to present herself as a calm voice of reason between two equally emotional camps”

    Maybe Curry fancies herself as Healy, only problem is that Healy’s musings on the vaccine debate have done much more harm than good, and only fueled the the rhetoric of the anti-vaccine groups. Maybe something for Curry to keep in mind….unless to do harm is JC’s intention, then never mind.

  20. MapleLeaf Says:

    Roddy,

    “Re Curry she’s said a lot, and sometimes it reads intemperately, but quite a lot of what she says rings bells with me,”

    Of course it does, she is telling you (feeding you) you exactly what you and other ‘skeptics’ and contrarians want to believe and hear. Sometimes she does not even have to tell you guys, all she just has to dog-whistle– your ears perk up, your mind fills the gaps and presto, mission accomplished. Very simple.

  21. dhogaza Says:

    IMHO, Sou probably has offered the best advice yet.

    The only problem with this is that expect her to elevated to a status somewhere between Galileo and Joan of Arc by the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and that her nonsense will be used to “prove” fraud etc by these. Let’s face it, her attacks in regard to the IPCC and mainstream scientists like Mann are far more malicious and fact-free than, say, anything said by Spencer, IMO, as bad as he’s been at times. Spencer, at least, doesn’t try to show that the most basic bits of climate science are false or unknown or hand-waving fantasy, etc. He focuses his attacks on the details of feedbacks, etc.

  22. dhogaza Says:

    is that expect

    There’s a missing “I” there, i.e. it’s my own opinion, yours may differ, of course :)

    And, as a US citizen, this is probably more important to me than to many of the people here …

  23. MapleLeaf Says:

    So what to do dhogaza?

    I do not have the time to argue with JC and the crowd at “Hot air” Etc. And let’s face it, I am but one person and a nobody at that. Besides I just do not have the time required to do a proper job of it right now.

    “And, as a US citizen, this is probably more important to me than to many of the people here …”

    Are you volunteering, as an engaged US citizen to do your civic duty ;) Hope that did not sound snarky, that was not my intention–imagine we’re talking over a beer :)

    And yes, for all his faults, Spencer is an angel compared to JC. And he at least had the guts to stand up and defend the greenhouse effect, and say it how it is.

  24. dhogaza Says:

    Are you volunteering, as an engaged US citizen to do your civic duty ;)

    Well, I live in a state that elected a democratic governor and returned all 6 of our democratic incumbents in national office that were up for re-election (along with the single republican). “6” is a hint that I don’t live in that monster to the south that also elected a democratic governor and defeated an effort to overturn its climate mitigation/green energy legislation by 21%.

    To a certain extent, like many people on the “left coast”, I feel that my duty consists of making sure that our states continue to work hard to do our bit towards mitigation. Our incoming governor has made environmental issues his top concern (when he was governor previously, he made health coverage his major issue, which led to the Oregon Health Plan, which provides at least minimal services to the poor). There’s no doubt as to what he believes to be our number one environmental issue.

    On the national level, I don’t see what can be done by those of us living in the west coast’s “reality bubble” other than to continue to push our senators and representatives to take a hard line on climate change. But my representative and both senators will do that without my prodding (though one senator lacks seniority and the other, while well-meaning, is something of a political wimp).

    Arguing with Judy isn’t going to change her mind – that’s my belief. When she first cropped up with her nonsense at RC I went after that nonsense, but her response there and elsewhere has been to say “people are picking on me, therefore I’m right” and to dig in her heels, rather than acknowledge error except in one or two trivial instances.

    It’s clear to me, though many disagree, that she’s ideologically-driven in the same sense that “I’ll lie for jesus” types like Michael Behe are ideologically-driven in their attacks on mainstream biology.

    Without honesty, how can there be dialogue on the scientific issues? If she were honest, she would *start* by saying “I don’t know”. Instead, she starts by saying “I know better than the specialists who are hiding uncertainty, etc” and when confronted, retreats to “the details don’t matter, I’m right about the big picture”, etc etc – the gish gallop of which you’re very aware.

  25. Eli Rabett Says:

    If someone says that water vapor feedbacks are not well known, Eli would say, they are not perfectly known, but they are bounded, and with the exception of a few holdouts (Lindzen, Spencer maybe Pielke Sr.) they are well enough known that just about everyone who looks at the issue believes that CO2 sensitivity lies between 2 and 5 C and most probably are close to 3 C (Eli agrees that they are not well enough known to use numbers like 2.8 C). There is a lot of observational and theoretical backing for that and it can be discussed.

    If someone says that there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect, what do you do except roll your eyes and tell them that they need to go study some physics?

  26. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Bart Says:
    November 10, 2010 at 12:45

    An excellent comment, Bart. This points to the reasons why climate change has prompted such heated debate. IMHO it should be prompting heated debate. My reasons are as follows:

    1. There is still a great deal of debate about both the extent to which climate change is anthropogenic and the contribution of various anthropogenic causes. For example, James Hansen has in recent times suggested that soot is playing a greater role than previously thought. Pielke Sr views land use change as being a significant contributor. The role of aerosols is some way from being settled.

    2. There is still a wide range of uncertainty about climate sensitivity to CO2, as noted by Eli in the post above. Allied to this, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how long it will take to double atmospheric CO2, partly because of uncertainty about the future course of emissions and partly because of uncertainty about future rates of CO2 takeup by the biosphere. The time taken to reach climate “equilibrium” (I put this in quotes because we all know that there is no such thing in relation to climate, but we also all know what I mean) after CO2 levels are doubled is also highly uncertain.

    3. As you noted in your post, there is a wide range of opinion as to what the proper response should be to the range of possible scenarios. This depends partly on which scenarios one views as more likely, partly on one’s political views, partly on what action one considers likely on the part of others and partly on technical questions such as appropriate discount rates.

    Given all the above, it is inevitable that there will continue to be heated debate about the issues (note the plural) for some time to come. However, this does not mean that no action will be taken in the meantime. As noted by dhogaza above, some states in the US are already well on the way. Unfortunately, some of the results do not look to promising at the moment. I’m thinking particularly of the high unemployment in California. However, it is perhaps too early to be passing judgement. Give it another ten years and see how things are then.

    The wide range of opinion makes it much more difficult to make policy changes that will have broad support. One avenue that seems most promising is the “no regrets” policy approach. Focus first on policy changes that make sense to everybody (or at least most people) regardless of their position on the various undecided issues. This gives a head start while allowing time for the uncertainties to be narrowed.

  27. MarkB Says:

    “With the failure to engage with the anomalous data…it seems all too clear to me now that mainstream science is strongly influenced by a form of “Intellectual Correctness”. This seems to stifle honest debate and discourage curious people (like me) from asking serious questions.”

    Sound familiar? No – it’s not a global warming contrarian speaking. This is a statement made on a website promoting various conspiracy theories, from 9/11 to the Moon Landing.

    http://www.checktheevidence.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=50&Itemid=59

    I think Chris Colose summed it up nicely with:

    “We’re also going to be stuck at a cross-road if you perceive the progression toward unanimous [I would have said "broad"] agreement by the informed as a sign of dogma as opposed to robustness of the conclusion.”

    People often make these sorts of provocative statements to gain attention and in lieu of a robust argument.

    Did scientists “stifle dissent” and engage in “dogma” when they snubbed the Flat Earth Society”, creationists and those who think the Moon landing was a NASA fabrication?

    Every time I’ve seen the robustness of the core conclusions on global warming challenged, the challenge fall flat. Curry’s Italian flag stuff is a perfect example. It strikes me as being the height of arrogance and ignorance (Dunning Kruger?) to put forth a highly illogical argument and then accuse the “mainstream” dogma, but it’s all too common rhetoric for those seeking attention.

  28. William T Says:

    Alex:
    “One avenue that seems most promising is the “no regrets” policy approach. Focus first on policy changes that make sense to everybody (or at least most people) regardless of their position on the various undecided issues.”

    Not sure that there are any policy changes that would meet this criterion. Any policy that will actually make any kind of difference entails a cost to some part of the economy which will be resisted. i.e. if the goal is to reduce imported oil then policy needs to “tip the playing field” towards other sources of energy. That falls foul both of economic “libertarian” purists and of fossil fuel industry etc. Both are big players in current politics

  29. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Hi William,

    yes, it is difficult to suggest such things. I put forward (very tentatively) this list I just posted over at Judith Curry’s: mini nuclear reactors for isolated communities might be something that makes sense to most people. Improved vehicle fuel efficiency is hard to argue with. Higher energy efficiency standards for new housing (and commercial buildings) is another one. Appliance efficiency is another. Upgrading the grid is probably another.

    I agree that there will be some libertarian purists who disagree with all of these. However, I think most people could be convinced.

  30. Rattus Norvegicus Says:

    In the “Your worst fears” department, Judith Curry is going to be testifying for the Republicans.

  31. dhogaza Says:

    mini nuclear reactors for isolated communities might be something that makes sense to most people.

    Well, yes, if they exist and aren’t just wet-dreams …

    Has it ever occurred to you that there might be a reason why suit-case nuke magic powerplants don’t exist?

    Yeah, of course, we have submarines, with highly-trained engineers and of course all those isolated communities have highly-trained engineers, too, and of course, nuke subs cost pennies compared to say … a cessna.

    (I’m being intentionally sarcastic here).

    As far as your list of supposed problems with basic science … yes, sensitivity to CO2 doubling is like 2-4.5C, and some of the reasons you list are true.

    But … if you think sensitivity is only at the 2C rather than the most likely 3C is some sort of savior, you’re mistaken.

  32. dhogaza Says:

    There is still a great deal of debate about both the extent to which climate change is anthropogenic and the contribution of various anthropogenic causes. For example, James Hansen has in recent times suggested that soot is playing a greater role than previously thought. Pielke Sr views land use change as being a significant contributor. The role of aerosols is some way from being settled.

    And, of course, it’s interesting that you say this. You cite arguments on anthropogenic sources of climate change in support of your first clause stating that there’s debate regarding the extent of which climate change is anthropogenic.

    Sorry, you don’t get to skate on this.

    And the reality is that the inexorable march of CO2-forced warming will move forward, even if the stuff you cite means it’s closer to (say) 2.5C per doubling rather than 4C.

    You do realize that the roadblocks you throw up, if proven correct over time, simply solidify the centrist IPCC estimate of CO2-doubling sensitivity, right?

    You’re a bit like Tom Fuller, insisting that he accepts that sensitivity to CO2 doubling is 2.5C, which (in his mind) makes him a semi-denialist, not realizing how close he is to the mainstream (GISS Model E yield’s 2.7C).

  33. dhogaza Says:

    In the “Your worst fears” department, Judith Curry is going to be testifying for the Republicans.

    Not my worst fears, but rather my expectation (just scroll up a bit).

    Not only testifying, but being elevated as a sort of Galileo-Joan of Arc mating.

  34. dhogaza Says:

    So I left this at JC’s blog, regarding her triumphant announcement of being called up by Republicans to testify in favor of climate science being a fraudulent hoax:

    So, will you admit when you’re wrong when you’re cross-examined by the majority committee member, or insist that “details don’t matter” and accuse them of being “mean girls”?

  35. Neven Says:

    Good point! ;-)

  36. Alex Heyworth Says:

    dhogaza Says:
    November 11, 2010 at 07:12

    Well, yes, if they exist and aren’t just wet-dreams …

    “Already operating in a remote corner of Siberia are four small units at the Bilibino co-generation plant. These four 62 MWt (thermal) units are an unusual graphite-moderated boiling water reactor (BWR) design with water/steam channels through the moderator. They produce steam for district heating and 11 MWe (net) electricity each. They have performed well since 1976, much more cheaply than fossil fuel alternatives in the Arctic region.” From here: http://www.eoearth.org/article/Small_nuclear_power_reactors

    Also http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/ and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703444804575071402124482176.html. I’m sure there are more.

  37. Alex Heyworth Says:

    dhogaza Says:
    November 11, 2010 at 07:18

    And, of course, it’s interesting that you say this. You cite arguments on anthropogenic sources of climate change in support of your first clause stating that there’s debate regarding the extent of which climate change is anthropogenic.

    Sorry, you don’t get to skate on this.

    Not sure why you think I made those points to support that there is debate regarding the extent to which climate change is anthropogenic. I didn’t. They do impact the extent to which past warming can be attributed to CO2, and the appropriate policy reaction would be different if they were significant warming contributors.

    And the reality is that the inexorable march of CO2-forced warming will move forward, even if the stuff you cite means it’s closer to (say) 2.5C per doubling rather than 4C.

    So? My whole point is that there are a number of areas of uncertainty, and depending on how these pan out, different policy reactions will be appropriate.

    You do realize that the roadblocks you throw up, if proven correct over time, simply solidify the centrist IPCC estimate of CO2-doubling sensitivity, right?

    You’re a bit like Tom Fuller, insisting that he accepts that sensitivity to CO2 doubling is 2.5C, which (in his mind) makes him a semi-denialist, not realizing how close he is to the mainstream (GISS Model E yield’s 2.7C).

    Again, you seem to be totally missing the point. Do you think that all these uncertainties have only one right answer and that the policy questions also have only one right answer? That is certainly how you are coming across. If so, while you are entitled to your opinion, I can only suggest that it is based on prejudice, not facts.

  38. Heiko Gerhauser Says:

    Hi Bart,

    it’s a very interesting issue to discuss and I appreciated our discussion over lunch. One thing you wondered about was whether Tol or the Stern review were more mainstream, which got me to digging into Stern again, and also at Nordhaus’s take on that review:

    http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/tsc220/hallam/NordhausSternReview.pdf

    I also had a look at wikipedia on Stern, who interestingly quote Weitzmann, saying the review got the right conclusions on the wrong basis (too low damages being compensated by poor economic modelling I’ll paraphrase).
    Looking at the review again I noticed that they do not estimate an optimal carbon price. Rather they say BAU is going to cost us 20% of GDP (a long time in the future, in the present it’s more like zero damages), and emissions reduction 1%, so it’s a good deal.
    Nordhaus gives two numbers as following from the review for the carbon price when put into his economic models, with the more realistic one being 36 Dollars per tonne of Carbon and the less realistic one being 360 Dollars per tonne of Carbon.

    The difference between these two numbers I found enlightening, because I’ve been wondering for a while about how a zero discount rate survives the fact that a tiny damage to thousands of generations would then seem to justify reducing consumption to zero right now. The solution to the riddle is apparently to put in real rates of return to investment and a consumption elasticity (or savings rate preferences). What Nordhaus says is to get the high carbon price on Stern’s estimates, you need to assume a sharp reduction in the rate of return on investment or a much higher savings rate than now.

    What Michael Tobis fears I think can be put into economic models, it’s damages (from everything not just CO2 emissions) being such that they depress real rates of return and that soon.

    And I see how one can put up a scenario like that, where the sum of agricultural, ecosystem, terrorist and other issues, puts a severe brake on real returns to investment after 2020. I used to say that people after a nuclear war say would have other things to worry about than a 20 m sea level rise, but I don’t think I should be so readily dismissive. Particularly, when BAU were to get us to a point, where runaway warming could become a real issue with poorer future generations not having the resources to stop it.

  39. Bart Says:

    Alex,

    Yes, there is still a large amount of uncertainty (not to be confused with knowing nothing however; see also Eli’s point above). This uncertainty goes both ways though, and esp if damages increase stronger than linear with increased temps (probably the case), then the probability of extremely negative outcomes increases very very strongly with increased uncertainty. Thus, the more uncertainty, the more reason to act to reduce the risk.

    But indeed, as you and I agree, there are a personal values that influence how one deals with this question. I regard the appropriate discount rate to be heavily influenced by such values and ideas about risk, and thus not a purely “technical question”; far from it.

  40. Roddy Campbell Says:

    MapleLeaf Says: November 10, 2010 at 19:37

    Maple you “quote” me mendaciously, which you have not done before that I’ve noticed. My whole sentence – you truncated – was “Re Curry she’s said a lot, and sometimes it reads intemperately, but quite a lot of what she says rings bells with me, and with people like von Storch and Zorita even though they disagree with other parts.” And I note that parts of what she has said have also resonated with other people, eg Kloor, who are not uninformed commentators, and Pielke Sr, who are long-standers in the field.

    Your rather childish comment referring to me as a sceptic who responds to dog-whistles also applies to VS and Zorita on your logic. And Kloor, and Pielke Sr, in fact anyone who finds that some of the points she has made are reasonable.

    “….. she is telling you (feeding you) you exactly what you and other ‘skeptics’ and contrarians want to believe ….”

    You should cut out the ad homs against her, and against anyone like me you disagree with on blogs – it lessens the force of your reasonable points, and won’t win people over to your arguments. Just a tip.

  41. Deech56 Says:

    Rattus wrote (November 11, 2010 at 05:25): “In the ‘Your worst fears’ department, Judith Curry is going to be testifying for the Republicans.”

    Thanks for posting. This is interesting. She was the only panelist allowed by the Republicans (that will change next year) and she is apparently surrounded by rational people. Santer and Alley will be there, so while she has been called, she is only one voice. Sure is a better choice than Monckton.

    Hopefully Mean Joe Romm (sarc) will cover this.

  42. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Bart, a sound point. There is however, a way to a low carbon future which doesn’t involve additional cost.

    One of the interesting points made in the comments on the post I linked to on the Technology and Solutions thread (http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/) is that it is perfectly possible to reduce the costs of nuclear power to below those of coal, by accepting lower safety standards than those applied in the US and EU (but still leaving nuclear as a much safer option than coal). I suspect that countries who do not have nuclear power yet, but are interested, have already worked that out. There will be 20 new nuclear power using countries in 10 or so years’ time. Unfortunately, mine will not be among them (in fact it will be the only holdout in the G20).

  43. Bart Says:

    A perfect quote from the late Steve Schneider, via email to Andy Revkin:

    To be risk averse is good policy in my VALUE SYSTEM — and we always must admit that how to take risks — with climate damages or costs of mitigation/adaptation — is not science but world views and risk aversion philosophy.

    He is (unfortunately was) the go-to guy to illuminate the complex interactions between ‘objective’ science and one’s personal value system. Too bad he’s not here anymore to comment on Judith Curry’s musings in this area.

  44. adelady Says:

    Dealing with risks. Picked up this quote from John Holdren ……..

    “We must avoid the unmanageable, and manage the unavoidable.”

    Neatest statement about mitigation and adaptation I’ve seen.

  45. Marco Says:

    People may want to take note of Curry’s framing of that meeting:
    “What is more interesting who was NOT invited. The list does not seem to be dominated by people that have been associated with the IPCC TAR and AR4.”
    Which, according to her, means:
    “Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?”
    (I think we can safely ignore that this is framed as a question)

    Of course, Santer was involved in the SAR, and got used as an example by Judith herself(!!) of the “cadre of scientists” that benefitted from IPCC dogma. Quickly forgotten that little remark by her (not by some others, she’ll get that thrown in her face a few more times).

    Also interesting, Richard Alley was a drafting author for the SPM of WG I for AR4.

    Feely? Lead author for AR5 (and reviewer of AR4)

    That is, ALL those in panel II are ‘linked’ to the IPCC. In fact, ALL climate scientists at the meeting, but for Judith herself, are ‘linked’ to the IPCC.

    The others are mainly there to explain communication of science to the public (panel I) and to explain how organisations deal with ‘uncertainty’ in planning for the future (panel III minus Curry). Appears to me she does not even understand what the meeting is really about, and why certain people have been chosen by the Democrats as witnesses. I also think she’s in for a nasty surprise when Titley starts to talk and answer questions.

  46. MapleLeaf Says:

    Marco,

    I too noticed that she mangled her spin on the composition of panel II. I honestly do not know where she come sup with this stuff.

    Please tell me that you brought this to her attention?

  47. MapleLeaf Says:

    Roddy @November 11, 2010 at 11:39,

    Sorry if you think I misrepresented what you said. That was not my intention. What resonated with me in that statement by you is the art I quoted, I spoke to that. And you strike me very much as a ‘skeptic’– please tell us what you are then a “warmist”, “alarmist”, “lukewarmer”, “skeptic”, “denier of AGW” or “contrarian”. For the record, I am a realist.

    I do not think either one of us knows for sure how Zorita et al. honestly feel about JC’s rhetoric and musings. So let us not bee too presumptuous or extrapolate too much.

    If it has been lost on you, I have been asking JC to clarify her position on certain important matters, for her to be more clear and have also asked her some pertinent questions in view of her actions and statements of late. If she were clear, and did not repeatedly engage in innuendo and insinuation, there would not be a need to ask nearly as many questions or request clarification. I have also been very critical of her techniques, methods and style of communication. You too have volunteered that she has said some “intemperate” things.

    And as for engaging in dog-whistle politics, Curry does do that– and that is very irresponsible and dishonest. Regardless, despite what you may think, I too find some of her points reasonable, although they are very few and very far between.

    Critiquing someone (no matter how severe the critique) is not necessarily an ad hominem. An ad hominem is saying something like “JC smells (also not true of course), so I do not believe what she has to say on climate science”.

    If I have erred and inadvertently made ad homs against Curry, they were not intentional, and I will apologize to Curry if that would make her feel better.

    You need to remember Roddy, she has a captive audience comprised predominantly of people who are only too willing to believe that someone of authority is going to confirm/reinforce their conspiracy theories. Really, have you not read her blog? And she is doing just that…..and you seem to be a willing player.

    Today I have had one last kick at the bucket to try and resolve some inconsistencies in her claims about her not ever being contacted by politicians.

    I’m sure that you would demand the same level of honesty and accountability had, for example, Trenberth been making such claims in public. Especially if he were presenting himself as an “honest broker”. Curry elected to go on the record saying the things she has, now she has got to answer to them. It is that simple and not at all unreasonable, and I am not the only one who feels that way.

    Anyhow, perhaps at this point we should agree to disagree.

  48. MapleLeaf Says:

    Roddy,

    And just some last thoughts on this.

    When someone in JC’s position of authority and expertise make many unreasonable points, with a few reasonable points sown throughout, it does three things. First, it muddies the waters, that person is essentially abusing their status and position as an authority figure; Second, it undermines their credibility, because it draws questions as to motive and ability of the person to speak to the subject at hand; Third, people are typically not informed enough on a complex and diverse subject such as the climate system to distinguish between the reasonable and and unreasonable points, and pretty soon they all become one in their minds–that is the unreasonable points receive a very disproportionate and unacceptable level of credibility and prominence in people’s minds.

    I’ve told JC that while her intentions may be honorable, but it could be that the reality is that she is just a hopeless communicator. Right now we need much better communicators, and that includes the IPCC.

    In the meantime, we continue to emit GHGs, CO2 goes up and the positive energy imbalance continues to increase.

  49. Bart Says:

    Adelady,

    Good quote indeed, I’ll probably use it again. Thanks.

  50. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Maple – you seem to have had a long week! :)

    “….you strike me very much as a ‘skeptic’– please tell us what you are then a “warmist”, “alarmist”, “lukewarmer”, “skeptic”, “denier of AGW” or “contrarian”. For the record, I am a realist.” – hang on, I have to have one of those labels, you can just be ‘a realist’ – come off it! Can I be a realist too please? Lighten up.

    I believe in AGW, but am sceptical/critical of the definity (is that a word) of WG2 and 3. I am more interested in impacts and policy response than raking over the MWP, Hockey Stick, ‘unprecedented’ and WG1 again and again. I wrote a polemical post for Jeff Id here http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/a-letter-from-london/ which will give you some of my views, written in a post-election UK context. Don’t nitpick it to death. I feel the unremitting alarmist focus on CAGW (which is what I’ve observed for the last decade) damages dispassionate analysis of other environmental issues. When I read that Mexican migration to the USD is affected by AGW, or that malaria will increase due to AGW, I reach for my Browning. These are tenth order effects, if that. In my humble.

    ‘I do not think either one of us knows for sure how Zorita et al. honestly feel about JC’s rhetoric and musings. So let us not be too presumptuous…’ – I was lifting their comments from Klimazwiebel, they disagreed with much, agreed with some – snippets are:
    Pielke Sr – ‘My experience agrees with Judy’s characterization of the IPCC process.’
    Zorita – ‘For me the media played a very important role. In my limited experience with them, they did tend to distort and highlight the most alarmist aspects and downplay any mention of uncertainty. Some scientist did voluntarily used the media as a loudspeaker.’
    von Storch – ‘But the request for more research about the social dynamics of the IPCC, of positive feedbacks as described by Judith, is meaningful for me. One of the reasons for demanding that involvement into the IPCC process should be strongly term-limited is just aiming at avoiding such positive feedbacks. We need more analysis of the social dynamics behind the IPCC process, more on the “rewards paid out” in doing the IPCC job.’

    They were not uncritical of what JC said, but there were parts they agreed with, which was my point – too many people are tribal, black and white. What’s wrong with saying she’s right on this, wrong on that? That’s what vS and Zorita did. And what Romm, Tobin, and so on can’t bring themselves to.

    ‘If it has been lost on you, I have been asking JC to clarify her position on certain important matters…’ – I have seen some of your questions, I would disagree that they are at all important, but so what.

    ‘You too have volunteered that she has said some “intemperate” things’ – she’s said a lot in a very short time, and taken a lot of flak too – some has been incautiously worded. As Gavin Schmidt said, climate scientists aren’t Mother Teresa.

    ‘If I have erred and inadvertently made ad homs against Curry, they were not intentional, and I will apologize to Curry if that would make her feel better.’ – it’s more your style than specific instances, the never-ending suspicion of motives and character. I have no idea how she feels. My point was not how she feels about your comments and style, but that it doesn’t win converts – maybe you don’t mind.

    ‘You need to remember Roddy, she has a captive audience comprised predominantly of people who are only too willing to believe that someone of authority is going to confirm/reinforce their conspiracy theories. Really, have you not read her blog?’ – yup, I have read it all. I enjoy it, it illuminates, from her perspective, which I take to be an imperfect but honest one, how she sees the last decade or two of climate science. I learn from it, about views, about science, and about perspective. I learn from Orestes too. One can be an open-minded sceptic you know! For example I have learned, from those two, that I have been too casual about poo-pooing the extent of special interest groups lobbying on the issue – I’m not that experienced in US politics. I still don’t think it’s as big a deal as some of the warmist liberals seem to, judging by how they use ‘Republican’ as a term of capitalist anti-science abuse, but I could be wrong.

    ‘Today I have had one last kick at the bucket to try and resolve some inconsistencies in her claims about her not ever being contacted by politicians.’ – Yes, I saw – I saw no inconsistencies that might have mattered or were interesting.

    ‘……….. people are typically not informed enough on a complex and diverse subject such as the climate system to distinguish between the reasonable and and unreasonable points, and pretty soon they all become one in their minds–that is the unreasonable points receive a very disproportionate and unacceptable level of credibility and prominence in people’s minds.’ – I’m not so sure about that, it depends who is reading it. I don’t think you should rank yourself so much higher than a lot of the other readers of her blog. I think people are brighter than you do; although it gripes me to see the misinformation on likely impacts that the IPCC and scientists have allowed to be presented in the media, and how unthinkingly accepting the young are, for example, of alarmism (it may be right, may be wrong, but QUESTION IT, do some work yourself if you want to have a view is my position), that’s the way it goes. I would say that the public have been fed an overly certain and alarmist analysis in the absence of any coherent policies to do anything about it anyway – they have been over-simplified to.

    ‘I’ve told JC that while her intentions may be honorable, but it could be that the reality is that she is just a hopeless communicator.’ – I’m sure she’s very grateful.

    ‘In the meantime, we continue to emit GHGs, CO2 goes up and the positive energy imbalance continues to increase.’ – I guess so. I rather wish I could be around in 100 years to see what the place looks like. Being an optimist and a cynic and an anti-neo-Malthusian (http://www.grist.org/article/2010-07-11-on-world-population-day-take-note-population-isnt-the-problem) I think it won’t look anything like WG2 thinks it will. We could be wearing top hats and dying of consumption like we were 100 years ago. Or not.

  51. MapleLeaf Says:

    Roddy,

    We are, surprisingly, in agreement on more things than you might think.

    Yes, it has been a long week. Long weeks and months in fact arguing with contrarians on the web. IMHO, it is a complete waste of time. And who am I kidding?! I am a nobody in this and naive of me to think that I might make a difference. So time to place more focus on the more important things in life, like playing with my children.

    I just hope that the powers that be make informed and prudent decisions as to how we and future generations tackle AGW mitigation and adaptation.

    All the best.

  52. Marco Says:

    Maple: I did not bring it to her attention. I see no reason to do so. I just see it as an example of Curry reinforcing her own ignorance. Previously she essentially admitted to blindly following the IPCC (and ‘thus’ believing other climate scientists had done so, too), now she is blindly following her new faith.

  53. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Bart, you might find this essay on the origins of Western dogmatic frameworks interesting: http://www.the-rathouse.com/bartdogmatic.html

  54. crackpot Says:

    Bart,
    did I understand it correct: you are an Aikido master? If so, I would be pleased to invite you to give a seminar at our Taekwondo Dojo.

    Charyot!

  55. Bart Says:

    Crackpot Harry,

    I’m not a master by any means. A practitioner, yes.

  56. HR Says:

    Since you are up front about Hansen expressing his opinion I was wondering whether you are always clear about where his science ends and his opinions begin. I struggle with this but then I suffer with my own biases.

  57. HR Says:

    Marco

    An earlier post here got me thinking about what climate expert meant. I’ve been a biologist for 25years but I know next to nothing about how the brain works, little about cellular immunity and zip on the mating habits of Praire Dogs.
    You seem to expect too much from Curry. Can anybody be described as an expert on all the ideas contained in the IPCC document? Curry was fairly clear (and honest) on the subject you describe. I don’t remember her expressing it in quite the way you do.

  58. Bart Says:

    HR,

    Yes, I find Hansen quite clear in providing that distinction.

  59. Marco Says:

    HR: I actually do not expect much from Curry as in expecting her to understand the whole of climate science. However, I do expect her, as a scientist, to back up any claims she makes, and correct herself when those claims turn out to be false or are not sustainable. She repeatedly has failed to do so.

  60. crackpot Says:

    Bart,

    I am surprised with you doing Aikido.

    We were all into Taekwondo before my son Yvar died.

    What we learned still helps us, these philiosophies do more than physical self defense.

    Maybe we (You and me) are allowed to enter the Dojang with our dissimilar ideologies to battle for the truth.

    Charyot!

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