Friday, January 9, 2015

On Appeals to Authority, “Climategate” and the Wizard of Oz: a Personal Journey from "Trust Me" to "Show Me"


In the comments section of an earlier posting I have been in discussion with a prominent former modeller (Dr. Michael Tobis) and the author of a blog on climate science (…and Then There's Physics). My initial posting included the following line

The show me crowd looks at the “good science” and points out that many historical predictions of doom and gloom (that previously met the test of good science) have been shown to be overheated or just plain wrong.

Dr. Tobis responded by suggesting that:

I read the assertion implictly as a claim that **formal predictions** were made by in **peer reviewed articles** regarding **physical climatology** climate that have **proven false** [his emphasis].

In reading his words I can see that my language could have been cleaner in that it could be inferred that the “doom and gloom” refers only to the very distinct field of climate modelling rather than to my intended target, the more generalized field of activist scientists who have made a living predicting doom and gloom in the climate and/or human ecology fields. I am talking about well-known scientists like Dr. Paul Ehrlich who has made a career of predicting disaster 10 -15 years down the road. For a really detailed look at the general condition, I can recommend two truly excellent books by a Canadian journalist with a strongly scientific bent named Dan Gardner. His two books Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway and Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear are must reading for anyone interested in science policy and how we currently communicate science and complexity to the public. Both emphasize how important it is not to torque your message if you want an effective long-term (rather than immediate and temporary) response.

So you may ask why I concern myself with the failure of good scientists to renounce bad behaviours by activist scientists and to correct poor messaging? Well on a personal level, it is what drove me away from a trust in the peer reviewed science to my currently more nuanced (read less-trusting) mode. Essentially it was responsible for my transition from the community of “trust me” to the community of “show me”.

To recount my personal journey we start with me in the early 1990’s when I was a firmly in the “trust me” camp with regards to the field of climate change. As I have mentioned elsewhere, while a graduate student I was required to take courses in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria. Due to their location on campus (at that time they still did not have offices on the campus proper but rather outside the main science block) I was temporarily assigned desk space in an office area shared with the grad students and post-docs working on one of the first generation climate models. I drank coffee with them, drank beer with them and listened as they worked out how to take complex natural systems and convert them to computer code. This was in the mid 1990s when computer power and memory were at a premium and the models were necessarily primitive. I was impressed by the dedication and intelligence of the people working in the field. While there the professors I met were of the highest quality and unimpeachably ethical (and to my mind still are). Meanwhile in my home department I watched my professors diligently working on their role as peer-reviewers. Each peer-review took hours and showed a dedication to an unpaid and unheralded task that I found noble.  

My doubts, like those of many of my colleagues, were sown in the fall of 2009 with the release of the “Climategate” emails. Like many of my colleagues I was intrigued by their release and read avidly about and into them. The best analogy I can see for before and after the Climategate email release is the perception, through the course of the movie, of the character of the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz. At the start of the movie the Wizard is a glorious figure, trusted by all and believed to be virtually omnipotent and working for the good of the people of Oz. Based on their faith in his wisdom and honour, Dorothy and her friends were willing to go on a perilous quest and take ridiculous risks. It was only when Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal the real Wizard that impressions changed. The Wizard went from being a mystical demi-god to a badly flawed man, certainly skilled and knowledgeable in his way, but flawed and human after all. At first the viewer is angered by the flaws in the Wizard and that he put the characters through such terrible ordeals for no real reason. But by the end of the film the Wizard is , to some extent, redeemed. At the conclusion he is viewed as a flawed man, no better than any other and no worse than many. Most importantly, the story taught viewers not to trust the voice from on high but to look for the man in the corner speaking into the microphone.

So how are the two related? Well I am not going to discuss “Mike’s Nature Trick” or “hide the decline” or any of the other catch-phrases that can be argued about based on their context. Rather what got to me were the (in my opinion) egregious examples of behaviour outside the norms of science:

I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!

If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise.

and the general attempt get Chris de Freitas fired from his position at the University of Auckland.

These behaviours struck at the very core of my ideas of “good science”, where information is shared, colleagues are collegial, replication is the goal and the drive exists for incremental improvements on the knowledge-base by building on the works of others. This release was a seminal moment for the burgeoning climate field and an opportunity for the leaders of the field to demonstrate their mettle. Unfortunately, instead of renouncing the bad behaviour, they ignored it, made excuses for it or condemned Toto for pulling open the curtain. I cannot condone the actions of “the hacker” but it is not possible to go back to before the curtain was opened and Oz revealed. To completely mash up my analogies, much like Nixon at Watergate, the actions of the small number of miscreants named in the Climategate emails didn’t crush my faith in the system of “good science”; rather the attempt to cover-up their actions by the people, most trusted with protecting the integrity of the system, was what drove me fully into the “show me” community.


Having seen behind the curtain, my innocence has been lost and I no longer accept appeals to authority in this field. I need to be convinced every time a new paper comes out and that convincing means releasing enough information so that work can be replicated. What seems unclear to good people like Dr. Tobis and …and Then There's Physics is that the only way to recover from a hit like the Climategate emails is to be cleaner than clean. To form a truth and reconciliation committee to clean out the bad and highlight the good work that has been, and is being, done. Instead, the bright lights in the field have doubled-down on their bad behaviours.  A prominent scientist call his academic colleagues “anti-science” and “delayers” and I read not one person challenging him on it? I hear a lot of people say that “Climategate was in 2009" and it is time to “get over it”. But it is hard to get over something that the perpetrators won’t even admit took place?  A faith once lost is hard to find again and the leaders of this field have done nothing to help me regain my faith.

78 comments:

  1. > Having seen behind the curtain, my innocence has been lost and I no longer accept appeals to authority in this field.

    A list of the fields from which you accept appeals to authority might be nice.

    My hypothesis is that for each of in that list, I will be able to make you lose faith in a few seconds search.


    Faithfully yours,

    W

    ReplyDelete
  2. I accept, with little reservation, results I read in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Canadian Journal of Chemistry and pretty much everything from the NRC Research Press. These journals, while imperfect, provide scrupulous peer review and are quick with errata's and corrections.

    I also accept appeals to authority in the fields of Mathematics and most mathematically-based high-end physics where I lack the skill or knowledge to challenge assertions but believe that the institutions, given time, have a good record of smoking out bad science.

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  3. Trust, as is often said, is hard to gain and easy to lose. Once lost it is very difficult to regain. The complete lack of condemnation of the behavior revealed by the UEA emails by leaders in climate science (indeed, in science in general) did more damage to scientific credibility than any other even I have seen in my lifetime. It was a PR catastrophe... and one that was completely avoidable. Recognized leaders had only to call out the miscreants and it would have been over. The lasting (and damaging) perception is that those leaders did not and do not actually think the miscreants were in fact miscreants. Terrible error.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. expect more in the next month... maybe more because the golem of groupthink last longer.

      by the way, AGW real or not is solved. If you don't know why, and don't know you are lucky to be aware, you are lost in groupthink.

      Delete
  4. > I accept, with little reservation, results I read in the Journal of the American Chemical Society [...]

    That's not a field, but a Journal.

    Some scary stories in chemistry:

    http://retractionwatch.com/category/by-subject/physical-sciences-retractions/chemistry-retractions/

    Some more in Maths:

    http://retractionwatch.com/category/applied-mathematics-letters-retractions/

    Thanks for playing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. and in playing the game you completely miss the point. The robust efforts by these disciplines to root out bad actors and get retractions is why we do not read about "chemistrygate" or "mathgate". Why we do not see high-profile chemistry professors calling their colleagues "p-orbital head", "electron dense" or "transient in nature" on Twitter. Anyone can go to retraction-watch and find a half-dozen retractions in a field but as I note above retractions demonstrate the robustness of the system not its failure. It is when a discipline fails to force retractions in light of clear evidence that one must wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting post. By coincidence I just wrote a post on other bloggers with similar stories

    https://ipccreport.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/converts-to-scepticism/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Of course Willard, all fields of science are affected by these problems, some are a lot worse than others. Medicine recognizes it has a problem and is trying to do better. The problem here is that climate science is in denial that there is a problem, aided and abetted by a politically active and strong alliance of NGO's, politicians, and activists and yes some biased blog proprietors.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Groupthink is very common.
      about the same time as it started with IPCC, in 1989 a similar groupthing caught the physicist who failed, lied, fraudes, insulted, cherry-picked, protected their failure from review, firewalled opponents to publication, ruined careers.

      really what happened with climategate is STANDARD.
      I am sure that reading the real, not romantic, story of germs, of quasicrystals, of x-rays, of planes, would show the same corruption.

      the principle of groupthink, start as you explain, by a good science, a rational position taken with limited but solid data.

      then when the errors is clear, yet much ego and money is commited, there are two possibilities.

      if the actors are independent, able like entrepreneurs to make money with the truth, independently from peers, then they move to realism.

      however if the losses are big, if the group can punish the dissenters, then the members start to fall into groupthink. they refuse to consider evidences, they terrorize the dissenters, they bloc broadcast of reality, and this violence increase with appearance od data that dissent. it finally explode only when some foreigners can mage money or glory with the reality.

      climate unlike other technology, allow no winner. on the opposite some parasites, green business, state regulators, IPCC, researchers, win power with the delusion...

      all is rational and well modelized by Roland Benanou in "Groupthink: Collective delusions in organizations and markets"
      http://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/Groupthink%20IOM%202012_07_02%20BW.pdf

      Delete
  8. > The robust efforts by these disciplines to root out bad actors and get retractions is why we do not read about "chemistrygate" or "mathgate".

    Another reason is that the "gate" brand is a political weapon, and that mathematics tend not to have that much political traction. Not that it can't:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2000#Florida_recount

    Another hit for "chemistry" and "fraud":

    http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2008/March/25030801.asp

    ***

    It would be interesting to know more about how you know about these "robust efforts," Blair. What makes you think that there's no skeletons in the mathematicians' closets? Oh, right: you don't have access to their emails. Since there's a site like Retraction Watch, "robust efforts" are made.

    You're just rehearsing the good ol' Road to Damascus story. In a post about appeals to authority, you start by underlying the ones of MT and AT. Your blog is already repleted with appeals to your own authority.

    Climategate. Your faith is shattered. It will never come back until some demands are being met.

    Do you know about emotional blackmail, Blair?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Qu’on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j’y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.

    -Richelieu

    I am absolutely not interested in so-called "climategate". Whether the science stands or falls does not depend on whether those producing it are saints. That's not what science is. I do not like Richard Muller precisely because he engages in these very "denounce or be denounced" tactics, but I think his work is admirable.

    But I will say that one of your examples seems particularly troublesome to me. regarding excluding publications from consideration by IPCC, whether that is contemptible or understandable or even praiseworthy would arguably depend sensitively on whether the work should have successfully passed peer review in the first place.

    Should IPCC allow for injection of frank nonsense into the discourse just because a journal has been sloppy, or because a pseudo-journal exists? Maybe so. I guess it depends to some extent on whether you are interested in the rules of the game on one hand or in the conveying of crucial information to the policy sector on the other.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The IPCC has regularly allowed for the injection of frank nonsense from NGO's.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/18/lynas_greenpeace_ipcc_money_go_round/

      http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/01/21/grey-literature-ipcc-insiders-speak-candidly/

      https://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/ipcc-grey-literature/

      The IPCC gold standard!

      Delete
    2. I for one am not at all surprised Michael Tobis is, "...absolutely not interested in so-called "climategate"."

      He has already declared on this blog his lack of interest in anything pertaining to climate that has happened in the last 20 years.

      Delete
  10. So your example of an issue for the field of chemistry is a report prepared for the Royal Society of Chemistry, identifying the culprits, including admission errors, indicating their penalties and highlighting actions by the body overseeing them to ensure the fault is not repeated? This represents a triumph in demonstrating how this sort of thing should be handled? The were no cover-ups, the investigation was done in public, the miscreant was being punished and it was being broadcast to the world by one of the premiere scientific bodies in the field.

    As for my blog being "repleted with appeals to your own authority", I would argue that it is filled with personal anecdotes and the results of my personal research/study/interests. I provide opinions and supplement them with information that can be easily confirmed via a Google search (and therefore not linked) and selected links for info that is not as easy to find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blair,

      You are being trolled off course.

      Delete
  11. Another great example of the "robust efforts" in mathematics:

    > More than 2 years after the 500-page proof has been made public, the mathematical community still hasn't been able to decide whether it's correct or not.

    http://www.newappsblog.com/2015/01/mochizukis-proof-of-the-abc-conjecture-still-in-limbo.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. > The were no cover-ups, the investigation was done in public, the miscreant was being punished and it was being broadcast to the world by one of the premiere scientific bodies in the field.

    Thank you for indirectly stating what could very well be the conditions under which you'd have faith in climate science in general, unless once the faith is lost, etc.

    An interesting quote from the article about the Chiranjeevi affair:

    > Rathnam hopes his university will not be judged by Chiranjeevi's actions. 'We have a number of people here who do good work,' he says. 'They should not be penalised. It is not fair.'

    Does this case of copy-pasting remind you of the Wegman affair, by any chance, Blair?

    ReplyDelete
  13. First sentence has two things stated as facts both of which are wrong. It's enough to make a bunny think you are pulling it out of your butt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the first sentence I make two assertions, one is pulled from Dr. Tobis's credentials own web site and the second is that (…and Then There's Physics runs a web site?
      Are you asserting that Dr. Tobis' description of himself on his own website is incorrect?
      Are you asserting that …and Then There's Physics does not have a web site?

      Delete
  14. Once again you seem completely oblivious to the point. The mathematician provided a 500-page proof!. He/she provided the entire basis of his/her argument in a form that can be checked by his/her peer group. The difficulty is that the check involves thousands of hours of heavy-duty math and it is being done as we speak. Nothing is being held back, no one is saying "you can't see my code", no "Freedom of Information Requests" had to be submitted to get the data. It was all provided as a matter of course and is being reviewed as quickly as possible given the complexity of the task and the limited number of individuals capable of doing such a detailed evaluation?

    ReplyDelete
  15. " The lasting (and damaging) perception is that those leaders did not and do not actually think the miscreants were in fact miscreants. Terrible error."

    Maybe. Maybe they think it would be a worse error to countenance the publication of private emails as a legitimate form of discourse.

    Academics do have legitimate interests in secrecy, particularly insofar as their relationship to students is concerned, but also because, in a misguided effort to make academia more like a marketplace, academics have to compete for credit for their achievements and for grants.

    The injustice of having this huge public dump of email far outweighs the rather tepid handful of revelations found among them. The outrage of the academic sector is far more directed at the hacking, the willful misinterpretation of its content, and the baseless implication of some organized scandal, than in the handful of tepid transgressions revealed.

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    1. I have always been rather puzzled by efforts to equate 'the injustice' of disclosure of dubious (or worse) behavior with that dubious behavior itself. These things seem to me unrelated. Most people who use email in their work understand that it is unwise to assume absolute privacy in their email messages, and indeed, many employers make that fact clear to their employees. The prudent everywhere understand that an assumption of absolute privacy is unwise. But putting that small issue aside, the public may or may not appreciate the academic sensibilities and interests you point to, but they for certain understand that the activities disclosed in the UEA emails were not at all what they expect of scientists. The real scandal is that climate scientists seem utterly unaware of or unconcerned with the public perception of their field. They ignore the public reaction to disclosure of inappropriate behavior to the detriment of their field, and risk loss of public support for climate science. Climate scientists may consider the public incompetent to judge the behavior of people working in the field, and incompetent to evaluate the quality of what the field produces, but I can assure you they are in control of the funding, and quite competent to decide what is and is not going to be funded.

      Delete
  16. Blair, first rule of Climate Club is don't mention Climategate. Second rule...

    I don’t know why warmists can’t grasp that you are entitled to your own opinion and that you’re not about to collect citations for every generalised impression you have. They will argue the minutiae of everything rather than deal with the general gist of your arguments. Arguing that other sciences might have flaws in them is an odd way to exonerate climate science. Their view is that climate science must be allowed to make mistakes unquestioned because the issue is so important. The opposite is true. The more critical the science, the more rigor it should be exposed to.

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  17. " Nothing is being held back, no one is saying "you can't see my code", no "Freedom of Information Requests" had to be submitted to get the data. It was all provided as a matter of course and is being reviewed as quickly as possible"

    If this is what you mean by "show me" you're not being serious and I'm not going to bother with you any further.

    I agree that openness in science is a good idea. Climate science is not an outlier on this.

    Code is generally not published, when published is not portable, and when portable is not ported. The events in question go back to papers published in the mid 90s based on graduate student work in the 80s, when keeping track of floppy disks was a real issue.

    Science is coming around on this, and climate science is too. Using what are reasonable emerging standards in 2015 to attack work done in the decade leading to 1998 is grossly unreasonable, and is an explicit attack on work done in good faith under the prevailing standards of small, ill-funded sciences at the time. Nothing is being hidden; and a failure of bit-for-bit replicabilty only proves that bit-for-bit replicablity was not a standard at the time the work was done.

    The work is reproducible in that subsequent analyses are entirely consistent with the past work being attacked. The implication that anything other than serious work done in good faith is happening is an unsupported calumny.

    I have coarser words for you but I'll have the sense to sit on them.

    Go assassinate somebody else's character if you find sport in it. We have bigger fish to fry.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Code is generally not published, when published is not portable, and when portable is not ported. The events in question go back to papers published in the mid 90s based on graduate student work in the 80s, when keeping track of floppy disks was a real issue."

      Step right up folks and see the hand waving, hand waving here, that's right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls the finest hand waving in the county, presented here for your illumination and entertainment.

      Delete
  18. The demands are increasing with each of your comments, Blair. From faith we go to cover-ups, and now to FOIAs.

    Do you consider econometrics as part of maths? I hope you do. Here's an interesting episode:

    > Nelson pointed out a serious mistake with your [Richard Tol's] data. You brushed her off. You were wrong. There really was a serious mistake. It sat in your paper for 5 years. Now, even after the fact, you do not thank Nelson, you do not apologize to Nelson, instead you blame Stern for inconsistency which is pretty ridiculous given that you’re the one who made the mistake. Not cool, not cool at all.

    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change/#comment-167841


    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change/#comment-167776

    To this date, Richard swears that this "doesn't matter."

    How do you feel about that one, Blair?

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    Replies
    1. Actually, your comments have done nothing but reinforce my original points. Your examples have made my case admirably by bringing up a case of a well-handled problem, a case where fully reproducible information was provided and your most recent example cannot even be considered tangentially related to your point. Do I consider econometrics part of maths? No I do not, I consider it is a field of economics that makes use of mathematics in its analyses...next....

      Delete
    2. > Actually, your comments have done nothing but reinforce my original points.

      Which means that unless I get you something more conspirational, you won't budge.

      Or perhaps you will, if I add that Mochizuki is not playing by the rules of the math racket, by refusing to give talks to explain his work?

      You forgot to opine on Wegman's affair, incidentally.


      ***

      > Your examples have made my case admirably by bringing up a case of a well-handled problem [...]

      In what way does the Gremlins episode is well handled?

      For five years, Richard knew about his Gremlins, but ignored the criticisms of a fellow researcher.

      Gremlins about less than 25 data points.

      When he issues a correction, he claims that it doesn't matter, whence it's quite clear that it does matter to the lukewarm narratives sold, for instance by the Cophenhagen Consensus and the GWPF.

      Faced with Gelman's criticisms, he brushed everything aside as if nothing happened.


      ***

      > I consider it [econometrics] is a field of economics that makes use of mathematics in its analyses...next....

      The Auditor might disagree with you on that one. It's like saying that bioinformatics is still biology.

      That you picked maths as a scientific field was a nice tell, BTW. We can almost predict that you'll require engineer-level derivations of the CO2 doubling.

      Delete
    3. you are right, there is nothing exceptional in climategate manipulation of peer review, self censorship, violent dismissal of dissentig opinion, tentative to close dissenting journals...

      See for example HTSC as described heres.
      author who observed HTSC had to write it in footnote

      http://www.mosaicsciencemagazine.org/pdf/m18_03_87_04.pdf


      add to that LENR, Quasicrystal, Wright brothers, germs,

      all was finally proven because of technical application and strong character, despite academic.

      thomas Kuhn describe it well ,

      Delete
  19. > I would argue that it is filled with personal anecdotes and the results of my personal research/study/interests.

    I would argue that we're seeing on every page your credentials, and that on your "About Me" blog post, you state: I’m sorry if the above sounds a bit like bragging, but what I am trying to establish is that in the field of hydrocarbon spills and clean-up I am not a novice.

    http://achemistinlangley.blogspot.com/2014/12/about-me.html

    I think that this qualifications qualify as more than "personal anecdotes," Blair.

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    1. You take exception to my "About me" for the blogging platform? That is absolutely a new one. I wrote that because my initial postings (when my blog was initiated) dealt specifically with hydrocarbons and I have not had call to update it. Thanks for the giggle.

      Delete
    2. > You take exception to my "About me" for the blogging platform?

      No, I take exception to your "personal anecdotes" dismissive, whence it's quite clear that you appeal to your own authority as a chemist, a biologist, and someone who is "not a novice" about oil spills and clean-ups. Therefore your argument is unresponsive, and my point stands.

      Also, what's the name of the blog, again?

      ***

      Look. I don't mind one bit that you do appeal to your own authority. It's your blog, after all, and you're free to do as you please. That you tell your own story about how oil pipes are safe and all that jazz is your prerogative.

      However, please own what you're doing. This is your Damascus moment. Climategate changed everything you thought about climate science, except perhaps for the fact that lukewarmism accepts the science, usually.

      There's no need for any Damascus moment to belong to the "show me" tribe.

      ***

      You do not show me much by responding like that.

      Delete
    3. To be clear, I say pipelines are safer than the alternatives. In a world of compromises one should seek the safest, least environmentally damaging way to address a societal need. In the transportation of bulk quantities of hydrocarbons across a diverse and mountainous landscape the research is clear: pipelines are safer than oil-by-rail, tanker truck, barge or even bucket brigade.

      As for my "Damascus moment", your biblical scripture is wanting. I describe my transition in my post. It was not in the heat of a single moment of divine revelation but as described the result of observations over a period of time. As I’ve written previously my current position is based on my interpretation of the evidence because I lack trust in those who I should be able to trust to give me an honest answer.

      What I find most interesting is that you care so deeply about what is in my heart and feel the need to show me how wrong I am. In my personal life, I embody everything you could hope for from a “true believer” in the cause. I live a low carbon lifestyle while working in my non-professional life to advance the cause of renewable energy. My professional life, meanwhile, is spent cleaning the environmental messes of our industrial past. My personal actions and behaviours couldn’t be more desirable by the standards of the debate and yet there seems a need to dictate the contents of my heart as well. Sadly every time certain members of the community post vicious statements on twitter I become less and less likely to place my faith in their professional opinions.

      Delete
    4. > As for my "Damascus moment", your biblical scripture is wanting.

      I was referring to this expression, Blair:

      http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/road_to_Damascus

      We could discuss the Scriptures if you please, but I doubt that what you yourself call your "faith" refers to them.

      ***

      > I describe my transition in my post.

      Your "transition" is portrayed in three steps. In the 1990s, hardware was expensive, but scientific life was hunky-dory. Then, Climategate. Doubts are sown. Then whitewashes. Bam. The Wizard pulls the curtain.

      Was the pulling of the curtain a process too?


      ***

      > As I’ve written previously my current position is based on my interpretation of the evidence because I lack trust in those who I should be able to trust to give me an honest answer.

      Sure. This means you agree with the consensus claim from which you started, but now can say that you yourself looked at the evidence. And this evidence leads you to mention doom and gloom predictions, activists, Erhlich, how we can't predict the future, concerns about message torque.

      All these memes accumulated over the years have been triggered after the CG inquiries, because only then you took a more lukewarm look at the evidence.

      I predict an imminent cue to impacts.

      Delete
    5. Never,

      When you choose to use a biblical allegory, then best you understand its context. All your Wiki link tells me is that you do not understand the context of the quotation. Paul’s transition was not a journey, per se, it was an instantaneous revelation that occurred at a specific time during a journey.

      As for my transition, your reading comprehension is deeply flawed if that is what you read. I present a journey of a thousand steps, not three. That you fail to recognize that displays your limitations not mine.

      As for my journey, I never lost faith in the basics of chemistry, geochemistry or the other physical sciences. As such my understanding of the fundamentals of climate change never changed. My trust in the “community of scholars” in the field of climate change was what changed.

      Delete
    6. > Paul’s transition was not a journey, per se, it was an instantaneous revelation that occurred at a specific time during a journey.

      Thank you for chasing that squirrel, Blair.

      First, the revelation was not "instantaneous" but "immediate" (NIV): in this immediacy, Paul had time to gather some evidence. He "suddenly" (GNV, KJV) saw some heavenly light; he fell to the ground; God spake to him; he "then" (GNV) talked back to Him; Paul was blinded by God's light for three days; etc.

      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9

      Second, this interpretation has been contested:

      > A 2012 paper in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences suggested that Paul’s conversion experience might be understood as involving psychogenic events. This occurring in the overall context of Paul’s other auditory and visual experiences that the authors propose may have been caused by mood disorder associated psychotic spectrum symptoms.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle#Nature_of_the_conversion_experience

      Third, we need to be able to refer to states to be able to speak of events like "transitions." This means we accept a discontinuous conception of time, and that however "instantaneous" you might wish to portray Paul's conversion, your change of faith alternated from one alternative to the other at a specific moment which in principle took the time for your judgement to traverse the relevant synapses in your brain.

      Another alternative, of course, is that your story is a useful fiction for the sake of rationalizing your position. Whatever its status, there are still some gaps in your story. For instance, when did you hear about Erhlich?

      ***

      Thank you also for telling me that your process included a "thousand steps." Where have you told that in your story exactly? Perhaps I should have said "stages" instead of "steps." I was referring to specific moments in your narrative, and referred to the very words you used:

      (1) "This was in the mid 1990s [...] I was impressed [...]"

      (2) "My doubts, like those of many of my colleagues, were sown in the fall of 2009"

      (3) "instead of renouncing the bad behaviour, they ignored it, made excuses for it or condemned Toto for pulling open the curtain"

      Interestingly, you also claim that you can't go back what you call a "curtain" once it was "opened" and Oz "revealed."

      Now, in what sense should we interpret this "revelation" Blair?

      Delete
    7. Blair,

      This neverendingdistraction is winning. Please initiate emergency ignore procedures.

      Delete
    8. So to clarify, your argument is about "instantaneous" versus "immediate" when discussing a text translated from Hebrew to Aramaic, to Greek and finally to English. The fact that the English translations use various words and that the two earliest languages, at the time, of course had neither word and conceptually could not distinguish the two concepts, should mean nothing to you. Your ability to somehow distinguish them in 2015 shows your own version of divine inspiration.

      As for my transition, I noted that it was neither immediate, nor instantaneous. I used the word "sown" very specifically to infer the planting of a seed that results in the growth of a plant. I indicate that through following the story and reading into and about the emails I came to the conclusion that the actors could not be trusted. I remain amazed that you seem to ignore what I have written in order to somehow look into my heart. Looking into my heart is not necessary, I have written my thoughts for all to read.

      Delete
    9. > So to clarify, your argument is about "instantaneous" versus "immediate" when discussing a text translated from Hebrew to Aramaic, to Greek and finally to English.

      That's another interesting squirrel to chase down, Blair. We could go back to the Aramaic and the Hebrew version is you please. I have a friend who specializes in these. The notion of light in that passage is quite interesting.

      One of the arguments that I put forward was that you were incorrect to claim that in the biblical context, Paul's conversion was "instantaneous revelation." I duly submit that it is a verbal trick you used to distract us from the fact that the expression has currency in the English language as a sudden change of belief.

      Another argument would be that for you yourself speak of "faith," "conversion" and even "revelation" while taking exception to the reference to the road to Damascus amounts to a double standard which eo ipso would put you into my "show me" box, were I to apply your greenline test.

      Since you are a chemist, a biologist, and someone who is "not a novice" about oil spills and clean-ups, does it mean I should put all of them in the same box?

      ***

      > As for my transition, I noted that it was neither immediate, nor instantaneous. I used the word "sown" very specifically to infer the planting of a seed that results in the growth of a plant.

      A cursory reading of the biblical passage shows that Paul's "transition" was far from being immediate either. It is his "conversion" which was. The allusion to the planting of a seed only describes the second part of your Damascus moment, Blair. Let me remind you how you complete your "transition":

      This release was a seminal moment for the burgeoning climate field and an opportunity for the leaders of the field to demonstrate their mettle. Unfortunately, instead of renouncing the bad behaviour, they ignored it, made excuses for it or condemned Toto for pulling open the curtain. I cannot condone the actions of “the hacker” but it is not possible to go back to before the curtain was opened and Oz revealed.

      You're disputing the word "immediate" whence your own "conversion" has been likened to when Dorothy sees the Wizard behind the curtain. Are you suggesting that Dorothy's realization was not immediate?

      ***

      Let's see against how her revelation unfolds:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

      As you can see, the viewers can see the curtain falling at around 0:15.

      The Straw Man taps Dorothy's shoulder at 0:18.

      Take a good look at 0:19.

      At 0:20, she already signals to her two other companions what she just realized.

      Now, who plays the role of the Straw Man in your metaphor?

      ***

      If that does not suffice, let me remind you what you said about the curtain:

      Having seen behind the curtain, my innocence has been lost and I no longer accept appeals to authority in this field.

      You have seen behind the curtain. Would you say that seeing is "immediate" or something that is more like a planting growing over its lifetime?

      ***

      Finally, you're saying that your innocence has been "lost." Do you think that once innocence is lost, there's no coming back? If that's the case, then there's an interesting connection between that theme and the one of the seed:

      Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
      Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
      Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
      With loss of Eden, till one greater man
      Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,


      http://www.paradiselost.org/8-Search-All.html

      ***

      In your Damascus story, there are other seeds of interest, Blair, e.g.:

      the more generalized field of activist scientists [...] well-known scientists like Dr. Paul Ehrlich [...]

      Has this seed became a plant with CG I and II and what you call their cover-ups?

      Delete
    10. Ok Willard, I get it you are punking me. There is no conceivable way that a reasonable reader could see an analogy of the Wizard of Oz and decide that the analogy depends on the timing of scenes in the original movie. That a language of a society that had not yet developed mechanized time-keeping could have words in their language to distinguish time at the sub-second level?

      As I re-read your posts, I see that you create a straw-man and then tenaciously defend the use of the strawman while completely ignoring the fact that the post exists and the language of the post is clear.

      So yes, feel free to infer what you will. I will stick to the details I have written.

      Delete
    11. > There is no conceivable way that a reasonable reader could see an analogy of the Wizard of Oz and decide that the analogy depends on the timing of scenes in the original movie.

      Yet you're claiming that *my* "biblical scripture is wanting" and that I should "understand its context" when I was simply referring to an English expression that has currency. Let's just say that your "Wizard of Oz is "wanting." If you *see* the context, nobody can say that you used a metaphor that represents a process of a "thousand steps" all the way down to the last stage of your "conversion."

      Your understanding of that "allegory" is wanting, just like is your understanding of the curtain process in the Wizard of Oz.

      There is no more "suddenness" in Paul's "conversion" than when you see the Wizard behind the curtain, which should correspond to the moment you despaired from seeing Mike & Phil condemned.

      ***

      > As I re-read your posts, I see that you create a straw-man and then tenaciously defend the use of the strawman [...]

      That one is simply brilliant, Blair.

      Bringing the Bible on the table was a strawman. Bringing the context of the Bible was a strawman. Twice you tried to "clarify" my position and strawmaned it. Your "a thousand steps" rebuttal was a strawman both of your text and of my summary of its steps or stages.

      I'm not sure who's punking who here.

      Delete
    12. While an undergrad I took the opportunities provided to me to take several courses on comparative and Canadian literature. One of my literature professors informed us in our lecture that one of the most annoying questions a student can ask a professor is “since the author of the piece is still alive has anyone asked her what she meant by her piece?” The reason the question so frustrates the professors is that in order to do their jobs they have to make suppositions and assumptions about what writers are thinking when they were writing. Nothing annoys a professor more than having all those assumptions dashed when the author can simply state categorically, and in no uncertain terms, what she meant by a piece of prose. All that hard work ruined by a silly author who goes and tells you what they actually intended their prose to mean!

      In this case, I am the author and I have told you what I meant. I have clearly indicated that mine was not an instantaneous, sudden or rash transformation. The use of the expression “pulling back the curtain” while it can imply a sudden event, is used in the literature all the time to represent both quick and slow changes. You have created this imaginary scenario in your mind (much like a lit prof) and have spent the last several days trying to tell me what I meant by my prose. Well as the author, I am here to pop that balloon. As I wrote very clearly in my text, my transition was not an immediate, instantaneous or rash one. It happened over a period of time based on my reading of and into the emails and was reinforced by the reaction of the gatekeepers to the revelation of the information.

      As a further note, as I have also written elsewhere, this was not a sudden dose of “scepticism” but rather a wake-up call about the faith I had placed in the individuals (I use the word trust) involved in the enterprise. Like every student of science I was taught to have an appropriate level of scepticism whenever I open a journal article. What I did not realize was how base, petty and intellectually insecure some of these “great minds” actually are. The mean-spiritedness of some of the bright lights (as typified by their communications on twitter) certainly reinforces the feelings I had when I first read the emails.

      Delete
    13. Blair,

      That you bring on the table the authority of your old professors, your own authority as a student of science and your authority regarding your intentions are duly acknowledged.

      None of this is relevant to what I said so far, which does not relate to your narrative intent. The suddenness you claim in Paul's Damascus moment rests on an incorrect interpretation. The "thousand steps" in your conversion is absent from your story. The "stem" metaphor applies to the process, but not to the conversion where "it is not possible to go back to before the curtain was opened and Oz revealed."

      I don't doubt your intention regarding the continuity of your conversion. Even if we accept that your "faith" progressively changed, you need to accept that your story relies on a state after and a state before: the "trust me" and the "show me". (I don't doubt that your professor would note that the two me's do not cohere.) Once you accept the existence of belief states and posit a transition between two states that are incompatible and opposed, you simply can't pretend that there is not an immediacy in between the transition between the two states. This would be ontologically incoherent.

      It is quite legitimate to call that process a Damascus moment. There is nothing in that expression which must imply a supernatural intervention. The expression has been secularised. There was a turning point in your story. This turning point provides a landmark for your change of what you called "faith." A unique, radical, and irreversible watershed acting as a catalyst, which "revealed" the Wizard behind a curtain.

      There was you before, in the "trust me" box, and now there is you in the "show me" box, forever. However hard you may try to pretend that I don't get what you're saying, I think I have shown you that I understand quite well what you're saying. Instead of reciprocating, you threw squirrels at me, the latest being what you really really meant.

      ***

      Nevertheless, what your old professor says is quite interesting: "since the author of the piece is still alive has anyone asked her what she meant by her piece?". Is it something you did with the CG I and II emails? Somehow, I doubt it.

      Now, imagine the number of fields I could distrust just on the basis of our interaction.

      Delete
  20. You have to admire how Eli, with a drive-by bit of troll idiocy, Tobis, with his endless cavils about trivia and now Neverendingaudit stooping to ad hominen are proving the original point so forcefully.

    The behaviour of the supporters of the more alarmist end of CO2 warming really is quite telling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whole post is about Blair's conversion, Mark. If that's not an appeal to an authority, I don't know what is.

      Just like ad homs, not all appeals to authority are fallacious. As soon as Blair appeals to his own authority, it can be questioned:

      > Ad hominem arguments are the converse of appeals to authority, and may be used in response to such appeals, for example, by pointing to the feet of clay of the authority being pointed to.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

      Besides, I don't even question Blair's authority. I merely point out that he's portraying himself as one.

      It's not complicated, when you think about it. You still need to think about it, though, instead of going through cavills, trivia, stooping, proving the original point, or else.

      Delete
    2. MT is a lot of things, including Eli's good friend, and a very clever and nice guy, but he is not in any sense a prominent former modeler. He is a former modeler. Prominent? No,alas

      Delete
    3. Well, I was once (simultaneously) a nice boy and a Jewish boy but I was never really "a nice Jewish boy" (of whom a nice Jewish girl's mother would approve).

      Similarly, I am arguably prominent and arguably a modeler, but have never really been a prominent modeler.

      That is, whatever prominence I have is not as a direct result of climate modeling.

      Delete
  21. Michael:

    "Whether the science stands or falls does not depend on whether those producing it are saints."

    This may astonish you, but one doesn't have to be a saint to follow the scientific method! Just because Mann, Jones and co. struggle to do so, it doesn't follow that it's some sort of superhuman feat.

    "....would arguably depend sensitively on whether the work should have successfully passed peer review in the first place."

    I confess to having a certain morbid admiration for the double-jeopardy system you've set up here (in your mind). You ignore skeptical papers that fail peer review; but when they do pass peer review, you *still* ignore them on the basis that... wait for it... you don't personally opine that they should have passed!

    LOL... Brilliant stuff. Airtight epistemological gatekeeping.

    "I guess it depends to some extent on whether you are interested in the rules of the game on one hand or in the conveying of crucial information to the policy sector on the other."

    You mean, it depends on whether we're interested in being honest or being effective? ;-)

    It's revealing—and deeply misguided—that you describe it as a choice between alternatives. It isn't. Unless you want your "information" to be worthless spam, you must first satisfy the rules of the game (or as we prefer to say, "the scientific method").

    Buying in to the false Schneiderian dichotomy may well have been the first and last mistake climate scientists ever made.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Soon-Baliunas - Chris de Freitas episode is enough to turn your stomach. There is no coming back. Tobis and, nevaudit might not have read all the emails concerned out of respect for their favourite science and scientists but I have, as have others. There are many respected names in there - not one of them steps up to say 'hey guys, let's cool it a bit'. People underestimate the power of closed-forum groupthink cascades

    The environmental sciences are unique in having other human endeavours as enemies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Soon & Baliunas was not perceived so badly, you may have a point, Shub. Many reviewers resigned in protest, as you may recall:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

      Even then, I'd suggest that you have not seen enough of academic publishing. Gatekeeping is everywhere, including blogs. It's even a civic duty, included in the TOS of most platforms. No need to read any private correspondence to know any of this.

      The Soon & Baliunas episode underlines that contrarians had not much to show for themselves publication-wise, at least at the time, and that they tend to forget that the main gatekeeper in that story was de Freitas himself. The problem with letting go of this card is that the whole idea of "climate science is corrupt, therefore I lose faith" becomes quite moot, at least as far as the publication process is involved.

      "Oh my stomach" indeed.

      - Willard

      Delete
    2. I'm afraid the years have not been kind on your memory of the events surrounding the Soon-Baliunas history, willard.

      The resignations were instigated. In a cloud of groupthink, dominoes can topple easily.

      Who cares about the paper? We are talking about de Freitas' job here. Is that something that is routinely done too, willard? Getting people fired from them jobs because you don't like their ideas?

      Do you know the names of the people getting copied in those emails? Unless we can turn up messages from them advising some reason, caution, moderation and a liberal stance, I wouldn't trust the 'science' coming from *any* of them. I would go over what they say with a comb. You can't be dishonest in one thing and honest in another. You can still be technically right, of course, dishonesty doesn't make you dumb.

      People think just because someone is 'right-wing' (whatever that means) you can do whatever to them.

      Delete
    3. > The resignations were instigated. In a cloud of groupthink, dominoes can topple easily.

      Your sociological explanation is duly noted, Shub. Here's another one:



      On 28 July von Storch drafted an editorial stating that "the review process of CR failed to confront the authors with necessary and legitimate methodological questions which should have been addressed in the finally printed paper", and proposing a new system in which all new papers were to be sent to the editor in chief rather than directly to individual editors as previously. While Kinne agreed that the Soon and Baliunas paper should not have been published as it was, he did not accept von Storch's proposal and wanted prior agreement from all the other editors before von Storch's editorial was published. When von Storch found that some of the other editors thought the Soon and Baliunas paper was acceptable, he "concluded that we have different standards", and suspected that "some of the skeptics had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common.". He felt that "editors used different scales for judging the validity of an article. Some editors considered the problem of the Soon & Baliunas paper as merely a problem of 'opinion', while it was really a problem of severe methodological flaws. Thus, I decided that I had to disconnect from that journal, which I had served proudly for about 10 years."

      Hans von Storch resigned on the same day, 28 July, and condemned the journal's review process in his resignation letter: "The review process had utterly failed; important questions have not been asked ... the methodological basis for such a conclusion (that the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climate period of the last millennium) was simply not given." Clare Goodess also resigned later that day.



      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

      Not only Hans von Storch was quite lukewarm regarding the quality of the Soon & Baliunas, he was also critical of MBH and of MM05b. There's no need to have your antediluvian memory, dear Shub, when what one can read a single Wiki does not cohere very well with your sociological explanation. No wonder you armwave it.

      Since Brent claimed having reviewed "the evidence," should we expect a future post on Soon & Baliunas?

      Delete
    4. I told already, willard, you are only dealing with what is visible outside whereas I have seen those sources *and* read the emails.

      This is from Mike Hulme, then with an UEA email address:

      "Whilst we do not know who reviewed the Soon/Baliunas manuscript, there is sufficient evidence in my view to justify a "loss of confidence" in the peer review process operated by the journal and hence a mass resignation of review editors may be warranted. This is by no means a one-off - I could do the analysis of de Freitas's manuscripts if needbe."

      and

      "CSIRO and Tyndall communication managers would then think that a mass resignation would draw attention to the way such poor science gets into mainstream journals."

      Clare Goodess is at the UEA.

      In other words, mass resignations were pushed and planned to produce the intended effect.

      Everytime I read these emails, the feeling is the same: disgust. Please don't post more newspaper clippings and external sources when it is such sources and the emails together that tell the whole story, which is a different one from the official line.

      Delete
    5. > Please don't post more newspaper clippings and external sources when it is such sources and the emails together that tell the whole story [...]

      I'm not sure what you mean by "such sources" - are you referring to the external sources to which I'm not supposed to link, or to reality in general?

      Shutting yourself down in the emails may be suboptimal for many reasons.

      First, it won't help decide if Soon & Baliunas was worth publishing. For that, you need to read the paper(s).

      Second, this is only a semi-automatically curation of emails, which means we mostly hear the Miracle Worker's story. For instance, I don't think we have the "email discussion about this amongst concerned paleoclimate experts here at UEA, in the USA and in Oz and NZ" to which MikeH refers. It does not seem to refer to all the researchers who claimed that Soon & Baliunas distorted their data. Perhaps Blair can tell us that, since he reviewed the evidence in a thousand steps.

      Third, evidence of "groupthink" is a double-edge sword, e.g.

      > You may or may not have seen/read the article by Soon and Baliunas (from the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysics Lab) in the Jan 31 2003 issue of CR (vol.23,2). A variant of this analysis has just been published in the journal Energy and Environment. The authors/editor made a big media campaignto publicise this work, claiming it showed clearly the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the 20th century and that the IPCC (and other) analysis claiming the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium was plain wrong. In the UK, the Sunday Telegraph ran the story.

      Interestingly, we read the same story in the Wiki, which undercuts a bit your "but external sources" defense.

      Fourth, adding Mike Hulme to the lot is welcome, as we always need for another "champion," if you know what I mean. Perhaps you ought to remind Blair how Hulme reacted to CG I and II, and how this undercuts the scope of his narrative. Perhaps you'll need to refer to external sources for that.

      Fifth, if I can only quote from the Miracle Worker's curation and that reading the emails disgusts you, there are fair chance that you're asking to be disgusted.

      ***

      I am not sure if Hans received 2272. Do you have a source to verify that?

      Delete
    6. [1] Soon and Baliunas was 'worth publishing' ?

      Again, you've swallowed the arguments of the Team and appear to have no independent perspective on this question. 'Worth publishing?' is not a question at all with S&B - what bothered the team was that the paper was being used in political circles, carried the Harvard tag, and questioned IPCC, i.e., Mann's conclusions. This had to be countered by raising questions about the worthiness of the paper. Have your read the laughable joke response Mann and his group put together in Eos - the poor saps couldn't write two coherent sentences in criticism. Worthy and worthless papers get published all the time. Do you find vigilante pitchfork gangs forming in the dark for every paper that is not 'worth' publishing?

      [2] curated emails
      No 'curation' of emails will exonerate what Mike Hulme, Barry Pittock, Jim Salinger, Mike Mann etc etc did in the emails available.

      If you cannot pull up a Mike Hulme email like the one I quoted, and defend it to its substance, the argument is finished. I am not interested in arguing about secondary sources with someone who hasn't done the research. You began by claiming the resignations were 'in protest', then tried to interpret their likely instigated nature as a 'sociological phenomenon' and now you say the person who released the Climategate emails has robbed you of emails that could have shown your theory correct.

      There are lots of people involved that give good counsel with respect to the SB paper. Their advice was not listened to. Sure, it is possible that emails exist where the Team exonerates itself in a blaze of self-reflection and moderation. But such imaginary emails are not reflected in the translated actions. The same individuals could have come out in public and spoken out their thoughts. That didn't happen. What we got was orchestrated resignation.

      Delete
    7. > You began by claiming the resignations were 'in protest',

      Unless you can argue that people can't organize protest, I don't think you have refuted my point, Shub. In your list, you forgot on Storch. You have yet to mention where von Storch appears in this "organization."

      ***

      > Sure, it is possible that emails exist where the Team exonerates itself in a blaze of self-reflection and moderation. But such imaginary emails are not reflected in the translated actions.

      Are you suggesting that Hulme, Pittock, and Salinger are members of the Kyoto Flames, Shub?

      Does the second sentence allow me to go beyond the emails? I thought your forbid me to do so. Then I will simply point out that how de Freitas, Soon & Baliunas, the Idsos, Legates, Energy and Environment's editorial board, the Torygraph's journalists involved and other actants coordinated their efforts should be of interest by those who study groupthink.

      ***

      Speaking of self-reflection and moderation, here are some "thoughts for considerations" excerpted from 1999:



      a. I think we need to be very careful not to be implying that everything in the peer-reviewed literature is correct--even if the processes are followed meticulously. [...] Where the process seems to be being subverted, one would hope that the subscription base will lapse, the set of submissions from leading authors will diminish, or the responsible party will learn about the problems and concerns through letters and even surveys of scientists' views about the journal and fix the situation.

      b. In all of this, what we need to indicate is the strength of our efforts is the process. [...] What gives the IPCC its stature is the process that it uses to get to where it gets--with a brodaly based set of authors and very wide-ranging and careful reviews involving experts from the scientific community around the world. [...] However, for IPCC to clima its process leads to the most authoritative presenation of the issue, it is essential it consider not only the peer-reviewed literature, but also the various claims and perspectives of "The Skeptics"--basically, the IPCC has to be careful not to be seen as ignoring or hiding disagreements, but actually facing and explaining them. [...]

      c. What I think has been a bit unfortunate is that we (the scientific community) do not seem to really have an effective forum where all the various viewpoints can be published together on an ongoing basis and a really active (but civil) exchange of views can take place. [...] I really think we need to find a place where these discussions can occur [...]

      d. If one is going to find some forum for a real exchange of views, it seems to me one challenge will be to come up with a sponsoring entity, moderator and rules that might attract both sides to it [...]

      e. Meanwhile, rather than think about suing someone about seeming insults, I have taken the suggestion of several people whom have been criticized before me, and have simply added to my resume, for example, that ExxonMobil sent a letter to the Bush Admin in early 2001 urging my dismissal (along with getting rid of Bob Watson from IPCC, Rosina Bierbaum from OSTP, and Jeff Miotke [...]

      f. That those of you being attacked are being attacked should be seen as a recognition of the importance of your work--were it not important they would be ignoring it. And if your papers are sound (as you all argue they are--and seems the case to me), the misdirected and false claims of "The Skeptics" will ultimately have no lasting effect, even if in the short term some politicians pay them too much attention and induce some short-term harm and delay. [..]



      Is your stomach alright after having read this, Shub?

      If you want to know who wrote that, I can hint you that it's a climate scientist. Not that this will ever pull back Blair's curtain.

      Delete
    8. Shub,

      the only reason you're winning the argument is your shameless resort to cherry-picking! You selectively focus on the emails that exist, deliberately ignoring all the hypothetical ones that could potentially convey a very different impression indeed if they existed.

      What hope does Willard have against such classic denier tactics?

      Delete
    9. > deliberately ignoring all the hypothetical ones that could potentially convey a very different impression indeed if they existed.

      The "1999" in my previous comment was not referring to a year, Brad.

      Thank you for your concerns.

      Delete
    10. Shub, there is no way you can construe von Storch as a "member" of "the team". Von Storch's principled behavior in this episode, even though he is by no means a climate alarmist, and who has been explicitly critical of the hockey stick, invalidates this whole line of attack on the CRU hacking victims.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

      Delete
  23. OMG, (neighbour in Langley from N.West skeptic) you've awakened a sleeping gyrant (a word that seems apt to describe the The Great Tobis and others of his ilk)

    Just for the record, for those who might have missed The Great Tobis' contributions to this particular "debate", I offer the following:

    In Sept. 2010, we were treated to Michael Tobis’s “gate-crushing” crusade

    And a few months later, quite possibly awed by assertions from (inter alia) Kevin Trenberth, Tobis dutifully recycled Trenberth's unsubstantiated avowals. See: Kevin Trenberth: False memory syndrome?

    Nowadays, IMHO, one should expect no more - and no less - from Tobis' "contributions" to any discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why does neverendingaudit think that trying to demonstrate that science as a whole is flawed makes climate science exempt from criticism? That the Climategate behaviour was not a temporary aberration but a norm.

    You're not selling it to me.

    Tobis can barely admit that there were mistakes and even if they were, that was yearrrrrs ago. Rabett continues to pretend he's two people... one of whom is a bunny.

    Blair, are you sure sceptics should be giving climate scientists the benefit of the doubt?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > That the Climategate behaviour was not a temporary aberration but a norm.

      You mean a norm among climate scientists in general, TinyCO2?

      That implicates way more scientists, papers, and emails than you'd presume.

      ***

      > You're not selling it to me.

      Here's some other stuff instead:



      ndrea Rossi’s E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy — has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.” The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by “nuclear reactions” — a conclusion that boggles the researchers: “… It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies.”



      http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/191754-cold-fusion-reactor-verified-by-third-party-researchers-seems-to-have-1-million-times-the-energy-density-of-gasoline

      Do I get your attention, now, TinyCO2? I've got lots of potential buyers waiting on the line. You need to act now.

      Delete
    2. What difference would it make if I were to assert (falsely, I currently believe, but consider what if you had convinced me) that there were huge transgressions by several prominent scientists?

      The world is or is not in huge trouble. Nothing in the transcript changes the evidence a whit. I a, much more interested in that question than in the pecadillos you pose.

      I understand that you do not trust us. So you want us to show you. Fair enough.

      But any effort to show is met with astonishing indifference. The conversation always comes back, as Willard says, to "yes, but Climategate".

      Open data? Published code? Ignored ignored ignored ignored. A lost file from 1988? Scandalous!

      I am not interested in your stolen emails relative to the question of whether the entire biosphere is being systematically damaged, and not just damaged, but damaged at an ever greater rate. Pardon me, but that seems more important.

      I am interested in whether my understanding, gained over years of study at leading scientific institutions, is somehow wrong despite its coherence with itself and evidence. All of the counterarguments have been shallow, clearly uninformed and aimed at the uninformed, and thoroughly incoherent. What am I to do about this?

      All I realistically try to do can do is show you, as you ask.

      I would like to show you, but what if your distrust of me is so severe that I can show you nothing?

      Okay, then, Dr. Muller has done the requisite denunciations. And so you can trust him, right? Here is what he says:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sme8WQ4Wb5w

      "If you say ‘it’s something else and I don’t know what it is’ my answer is ‘something else that happens, by accident, to perfectly match the carbon dioxide increase? Are you serious?’"

      The answer, of course, is no, not serious at all.

      Muller is your test. He denounced Mann, Briffa et al in just the style McIntyre would approve. And he still is convinced that CO2 is causing warming. Will you "look at" what he has done? Or will you try to find an excuse to look away? Maybe he has some bad habit you can dredge up to embarrass him and excuse your indifference to what he is saying?

      As ATTP explains, this is not "skepticism" by any stretch of the imagination.

      https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/climate-skepticism/

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    3. for those interested this test is paid by Swedish DoE (Elforsk) , and the boss support the result and ask to launch research efforts in the domain.
      Norway have invited McKubre and Essen to talk of the status of LENR to prepare a hedging plan.
      Bill gates visited ENEA and Vittorio Violante the LENR coordinator (who already organized a meeting in EU parliament in 2013)...
      Airbus join LENR Cities ecosystem and there is a conference currently in Oxford where an Airbus representative will talk...
      LENr startup Brillouin CEO was proudly showing a meeting with Pekka Haavisto, a Finish green ex-minister, and with steven Chu in Statoil resort.

      ICCF19, the cold fusion conference, obtained the "high patronage of the prime minister office"
      ...

      and oil price is collapsing.

      all that will make AGW debate void, as CO2 will not be emitted because too expensive. all the green business parasites will be desperate , and will try to oppose at least few more month to exit properly and let others take the debts.

      Delete
    4. You think that ‘showing’ is all about waving more and more papers. It’s not. Even without Climategate it would have been impossible to get the kind of action you want on AGW with the evidence you have now. Copenhagen was dead in the water even before the emails were released. It takes almost nothing to get politicians to go to a fancy conference to eat and drink for a week but to get them to write a blank cheque on CO2 reduction is something else entirely. When politicians do set targets they do so with almost absolute ignorance of whether their promises can be met or not. When the bills start rolling in and the people get restless they back of as fast as they can. Still mouthing all the right words of course. How many years of failed conferences have there got to be before you ask ‘why is nobody listening to us?’

      People (even I) like to use silly analogies when talking about AGW. It’s counter productive. There has never been a problem like AGW before, at least not in a time when people had freedom. To seriously cut CO2 would take an extraordinary change in the minds of most people. Just making them aware there might be a problem is not good enough. They need to KNOW it’s true, not just be told. They need to both realise what the immense personal costs would be and be willing to pay them. Any progress so far has been built on lies that it doesn’t take that much to save the planet. Low costs don’t need high proof.

      You cannot harangue climate scepticism away. You can’t keep trying the same tactics that have failed over the last ten years to stop more sceptics from arising. You can live in your own little world of bitching about us and watch the CO2 rise or you can try and work out where you’re going wrong. I don’t think you’ll even contemplate it because I don’t think you’re really worried about AGW. Like Willard says it’s a game. All that matters is being the winner in the battle even if you ultimately lose the war.

      Delete
    5. I agree with much of what you say, Tiny.

      "You think that ‘showing’ is all about waving more and more papers. It’s not."

      I think everybody understands that by now. The thing is that when someone declares themselves the sort of skeptic who wants to be "shown", there's an assumption that they'll be willing to look at the evidence. It's peculiar, all this demand for openness in cases where openness is for one reason or another not forthcoming. Because when there is openness, there is no interest in what is shown. It's not a matter of "waving papers"; in fact this is not a close call, and anyone taking the time to examine the evidence will see it. The longer we wait before zeroing out net emissions, the worse the price our descendants will pay. It's actually pretty obvious once you know the ropes.

      "It takes almost nothing to get politicians to go to a fancy conference to eat and drink for a week but to get them to write a blank cheque on CO2 reduction is something else entirely. When politicians do set targets they do so with almost absolute ignorance of whether their promises can be met or not. When the bills start rolling in and the people get restless they back of as fast as they can. Still mouthing all the right words of course."

      Absolutely agree.

      "How many years of failed conferences have there got to be before you ask ‘why is nobody listening to us?’"

      We've been asking that for years. Perhaps there is no way to avoid the trainwreck. But some of us think we have to try our best. It does seem awfully inadequate sometimes.

      " Any progress so far has been built on lies that it doesn’t take that much to save the planet."

      To some extent that is true. It certainly is a lie, and it certainly gets a lot of play. If you look at my position
      https://medium.com/@mtobis/co2-on-trial-41d6534e8ff6
      you will see that I hate this tactic.

      We have to tell the truth. It will be expensive, and it will be complicated. It will not be a return to some green hobbit-hole idyll.

      Promises of an easy road will not work. "Moving the needle" will not work. The whole world needs to understand that we have a worldwide collective problem. This includes people for whom "collective" is anathema. We need a social consensus to match the scientific consensus, like the social consensus against smoking at least, if not the one against slavery. This is a very long way off.

      The problem we're discussing here is that dedicated so-called skeptics seem determined to make it further off. I don't know what they get out of it, except the few who are actually paid to stir the pot.

      "You can’t keep trying the same tactics that have failed over the last ten years to stop more sceptics from arising."

      The playing field is tilted against the good guys in many ways. We don't have a lot of alternative tactics available to us. Our one advantage is a cruel one - that we are more or less right, and that sooner or later everyone will regret not listening to us earlier. I'd rather forego that victory, though.

      " I don’t think you’re really worried about AGW."

      That's where you're wrong. I have to discipline myself not to be emotionally upset about it every waking minute. I'm not alone in this.

      "All that matters is being the winner in the battle even if you ultimately lose the war."

      Look, a lot of people are heavily ego-involved, no doubt about that. But it is a peculiar war. We stand to lose every battle except the last one because our opposition has self-defeat built in.

      The important thing is to tip this thing as soon as possible. I have no illusions that it will happen anytime soon. People in the political trenches seem convinced one has to claim that victory is nigh. It isn't. But sadly, victory is inevitable.

      Delete
    6. As a climateball move, "show me" seems to boil down to the following tactics.

      1) accuse climate scientists of hiding stuff and exaggerating and otherwise acting in bad faith. (When pressed we see people offer up 19th century geographers and eccentric biologists as examples.)

      2) Suggest that the authority of the climate field is invalidated by a handful of controversial events (leaving aside the malice and ill-will and willful misunderstanding that was the context both of those events and the revelations)

      3) Suggest that if there is a real problem, the climate community will have to work harder to make its evidence visible and understandable

      4) Ignore any attempt to communicate evidence, mocking it as pedantic.

      A hermetically inescapable trap.

      Eppur si scioglie.

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    7. Michael,

      "1) accuse climate scientists of hiding stuff..."

      You mean, the way Phil Jones accused Mike of hiding the decline?

      If you ever learn the first rule of holes it will be a sad day for the comedy world.

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    8. Michael,

      your scientific illiteracy is a gift that keeps on giving. The gift of laughter.

      "2) Suggest that the authority of the climate field is invalidated by..."

      It has no "authority," Michael.

      Because it is a science, Michael.

      (Nominally, at any rate.)

      The concept of "authority" is a nonsense in science. I'm sure it makes perfect sense to you, but then... that's why we're laughing.

      Delete
    9. Mann never hid anything and Jones never said he did. If any scientist should be on the hook for this relatively minor matter it should be Briffa.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm

      I don't really think Jones or Mann were crucial players until y'all decided to crucify them.

      "Suggest that the authority of the climate field is invalidated by"

      The original post refers to "faith in the system of “good science” " and it is in this sense that I mean authority. Science is a collective enterprise, and it proceeds on trust as much as on verification. If one goes about verifying every little thing without exception, one is hard pressed to move beyond what Descartes (the last person who could grasp all of Western culture and science) managed to know. Outsourcing is crucial.

      Our host says he doesn't want to do the outsourcing anymore on climate. That is his right. He is welcome to dig deeper. That's part of the system too. But when he says "show me" and then refuses to look, that becomes another matter entirely.

      If you don;t like a word someone uses, it is polite to ask for clarification before jumping straight to mockery. But I shouldn't expect a more polite reception, because that leap to contempt, after all, is what "Climategate" is all about.

      Delete
    10. "Mann never hid anything and Jones never said he did."

      Jones *wrote* that Mann had hidden something. And that he (Jones) had just finished using the same trick himself.

      I'm afraid a link to the apologetics of a non-scientist (who claims science operates by the same epistemology as Christianity) isn't capable of altering the semantics of East Anglian English.

      "If one goes about verifying every little thing..."

      Nobody has ever demanded to verify every little thing.

      But every little thing must be verifiable by SOMEBODY. Hence the reproducibility that is the sine qua non of all science—and which MBH98-9 lacked, making them grey literature useful only for lining rat cages.

      "But when he says "show me" and then refuses to look, that becomes another matter entirely."

      And when we say "show me" and Michael Mann says "Giving them the algorithm would be giving in to the intimidation these people are engaged in," it becomes another matter entirely. A matter other than science, that is.

      "I don't really think Jones or Mann were crucial players until y'all decided to crucify them."

      Remind me: did we decide to crucify them before or after Mann's career-making graph was reprinted 6 times in a single IPCC report? Before or after Mann was appointed personal science advisor to the President of the US?

      And by "remind me," I mean remind yourself.

      "If you don;t like a word someone uses, it is polite to ask for clarification before jumping straight to mockery."

      Polite perhaps, but no fun.






      Delete
  25. TinyCO2,

    I addition to your contributions about climategate, the e-mails revealed the previously suspected behaviours to be true and in some cases worse than anyone reasonable thought possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what was revealed is well known in consensus science.
      terror agains dissenters done over journal, with support of high impact journal, weak review of "good author", minor scientist whose findings are replaced by the one of lead authors, tweaking of results by graph tactic... nothing new.

      the problem is also well understood in epitemology, like Kuhn and Feyerabend.

      it is factually impossible to differenciate good and bad science inside a human system when there is consensus of terror which can prevent data to be accepted...

      this is the concept of "incommensurable". given that groupthinked scientists know how to bend the model, to adjust the data, to cherry pick data, to choose the methos that match, to compute the coefficients that reach the goal, one can prove a false thing...

      only when something work really and visibly, like a plane or a powerplant can truth be deparated from myth.
      even independent testing are rejected as manipulation by groupthinked scientists. is is like talking with a paranoid guy...

      see how they invoke conspiracy while most skeptic bloggers are simply short with money, facing people with billions of budgets like green peace, WWF, friend of earth... it culd be laughable like a truther conspiracy, but that is mainstream and NyT sell the soup.

      it is hopeless, forget it. at least for the academic, until they have public fund.

      as Szpak of Spawar said, "scientists will believe whatever you pay them to believe."

      Delete
    2. > the problem is also well understood in epitemology, like Kuhn and Feyerabend.

      In Feyerabend, perhaps. Even then, some may argue that his anarchism also applies to CEOs, exceptional individuals, and everyone else you'd like to protect with your caricature, Alain. However, to get that out of Kuhn, you'd have some work to do, since it would be a cognitive feature, regardless of funding.

      Show me.

      Delete
    3. I agree that the main problem supporting groupthink is not money, but cognitive assets.
      anyway it is economical rationality, as described by Benabou. people defend their belief in their assets (money, funding, glory, self-esteem).

      Kuhn explain as you seem to say that the resistance to revolution is because people have been preformated to think inside a paradigm, and only value the evidence which support the paradigm.

      it seems independent from interest, but this way to ignore evidences, even if implemented as education, is a groupthink. professors as described by Benabou protect their students from the risk of reality, causing reevaluation of everybody asset values.

      cognitive or economic theories are dual explanations of the same reality.
      people when having invested much in a paradigm, a system of beliefs, assets, educate and terrorize people including themselves to avoid having access to reality which will show their ruin.

      in fact it statrt rationally, by protecting brain from things that have no chance to be interesting... it become denial when some facts dissents, but one can preted it is just protecting brain from loss of time.
      It is so frequent to see deluded science mindguard facing dissenting , instead of asking for new experiments to clear the affair, see them ask to save money by not funding any research...
      This is my way to separate deniers from critics. Critics ask for more science, deniers for less science.

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  26. Michael Tobis, You are right about Muller. He has high credibility because he called out the errors and bad behavior. So why don't you increase your own credibility and own the Mann problems? Mann is still published (2015) his original hockey stick with the instrumental record spliced onto his flawed flat blade. Hard to believe, but he feels safe from criticism by people like you perhaps.

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  27. Blair,

    Sometimes I think you get matters of substance wrong.

    But once you get past the usual "Climategate" pseudo-scandal, I am starting to think of this blog as very cogent work. It's obviously prolific as well. Very impressive.

    I hope you are amenable to argument, since I think you are wrong about some things. I'd prefer to have conversations with an actually engaged skeptic. I haven't encountered one who really is capable;e of fair-minded discussion in a long time. But even if you disappoint me in the give and take, which is yet to be seen, your writing is mostly worth reading.

    I'm considering sticking around. Again, I hope for some give and take.

    But there's one thing I won't discuss again. That's "climategate".

    I'd prefer if "yes but climategate" is recognized for the purely polemic and aggressive tactic that it is. But I'd tolerate just not discussing it at all.

    If you think anything of consquence was "revealed" by the CRU hacking there is no possible mutual learning on that topic, because I disagree. I think that it's just another "Benghazi", a fake scandal drummed up out of confusing events by purely politically motivated people.

    Further nitpicking the few emails that have any "legs" just rewards this tactic of calumny and distraction insofar as I am concerned.

    This is not to defend any statement ever made or every graph ever drawn by the dramatis personae or their associates. But I think if you want to actually promote the discussion in the way that you do and you want any actual member of any of the WG I communities to engage with you on it, the least you could do is accept that the statute of limitations has expired on emails exposed before Copenhagen 2009, and that in general trawling an ocean of stolen correspondence for things that can be interpreted badly is not a sensible way to conduct important and subtle policy discourse.

    I want this topic to go away on this site. It won't. Climate blog commenters probably have decades of "yes but climategate" in them. I simply won't engage them.

    But if you want participation from people who really know the ropes on the WG I material, it is not a good plan to keep slapping us in the face with what we consider a reprehensible and deeply unethical attack on a scientific community that is already dealing with an awkward and in some ways unexpected burden - communicating the inexorably increasing seriousness of the climate risk.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Breaking news:

    > In this post, I am going to tell a story of one paper and its authors which misrepresented my paper and refused to acknowledge the fact. It’s also a story about the section editor of Journal of Algebra which published that paper and then ignored my complaints. In my usual wordy manner, I do not get to the point right away, and cover some basics first. If you want to read only the juicy parts, just scroll down…

    https://igorpak.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/how-not-to-reference-papers/

    Until that affair gets settled, perhaps Blair will take all theorems of mathematics with a grain of salt?

    W

    ReplyDelete