JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Environmentalists who value science over ideology

Over the last ten years I’ve abandoned all the green groups that I was a member of, because they failed to use logic and reason and appeared more religious than scientific, so I’m delighted to have found one that holds as it’s first priority that “policies are set and decisions are made on the basis of facts, evidence and scientific analysis.” Say hello to The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF).

I’m speaking next Tuesday at their annual conference in Canberra, “Environmentalism: A Climate of Conflict”. [Link ]

AEF Conference BannerOne of my favourite politicians, Denis Jensen will also be speaking (he’s the only Member of Parliament with a science based PhD). I’m also honored to join the great Professor Garth Paltridge, who recently wrote “The Climate Caper”. He’s is an atmospheric physicist, and was Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, among many other eminent positions.

My speech:

How poor science communication hurts the environment

When science communicators pretend to be impartial but only give us half the story it wreaks far more damage than any paid biased advertising ever could. The unsuspecting public assumes science journalists have a meaningful code of ethics, and that they have been trained in logic and reason. When journalists repeat PR from bureaucrats without investigating it, they mislead the public, they fail as auditors, and they rubber-stamp policies that should have been discussed and debated.

How can we figure out which factors in the environment need our attention if we rely on fashion-think, circular reasoning and ad hominem attacks to choose the agenda?

False issues drive out the real ones.

Well meaning, evangelistic coverage of science is patronizing, condescending, and an insult to the intelligence of the public.

It’s time standards of science communication were lifted.

People are welcome to come to the AEF conference, members for  $95, non-members for $150.

Let me know if there are other equivalents overseas. I want to spread the word!

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37 comments to Environmentalists who value science over ideology

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    John Nicklin

    It’s nice to know that there is such an organization. Good luck with your presentation.

    Friends of Science is another organization.

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    Oh it’s just another “Denialist” Club! Shame on you Joanne! ;)
    /tongue out of cheek

    Good luck with the presentation!

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    Denny

    Let me know if there are other equivalents overseas. I want to spread the word!

    Yes, Joanne, over here in the U.S. it’s called the “U.S. Senate”! Would love to see you stand before these people and you speak your mind! I wish you a good time, for I know you will. You’ll be with fellow members, “Realists”! Good luck and “Thank You” for this Post! As My Memo states,

    “Let It Be Known to Others that Need to be Led”!

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    kuhnkat

    Denny,

    only PART of the US Senate, primarily Conservatives and those who would lose their seat if they ticked off their constituents, can be included. The rest are simply insane IMO.

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    Steve Schapel

    Having led a sheltered life, this is the first time I have seen the term “fashion-speak” used in this way. And I like it!

    Today I was looking for the timetable of trains from Brisbane Airport. For every route, the site tells you how much CO2 you will save. Sheesh! Surely, when organisations do this, they are driven by fashion-speak too.

    Anyway, good on you, Joanne. I hope the conference is a success, as well as your session.

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    Denny

    kuhnkat:

    only PART of the US Senate, primarily Conservatives and those who would lose their seat if they ticked off their constituents, can be included. The rest are simply insane IMO.

    Very good point! Primarily those you would choose have been “Realists” for some time…Yes, there are a few Democrats that could be persuaded. The problem is the rest follow the “Closed Minds” like those of Al Gore, Pelosi, Waxman, just to name a few. If you’ve been following “that” crowd then you can see the “confusion” like Joe Romm is going thru…but He is a “Diehard Alarmist”. I just hope Australia can lead the way for the “Realists” and knock down the opponents at Copenhagen.

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    danappaloupe

    That’s great. I hope some this conference includes some new peer reviewed research, unlike those other conferences that confuse scientific debate with politics and are retarded by groupthink.

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    Simon Mountford

    We really need something like this in the UK. Our PM is completely convinced of the “facts” of global warming and sounds like an old testament prophet urging action in Copenhagen or the planet is lost.

    For all I know he may be right. My problem is that I simply don’t know. All I see and hear is that most people are utterly convinced, but the ones who think seriously cast huge doubts over the whole story.

    And then you have to decide to become a green or a denier. No loaded comments there then.

    The UK is supposed to be proud that we are “leading the way”; instead I feel ashamed that we seem to have thrown caution (to say nothing of honesty and investigative journalism) to the wind.

    Thanks for your site. I’d love to have you come to the UK, but no idea what forum would receive you.

    I am not a scientist, just a normal citizen who wants to know the truth.

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    Denny

    danappaloupe

    That’s great. I hope some this conference includes some new peer reviewed research, unlike those other conferences that confuse scientific debate with politics and are retarded by groupthink.

    I doubt much is going to happen! The Alarmists are trying to post “scare” tactics all over right now, trying to gain support. I know Senator Inhofe is going to confront the Alarmists on the AGW issue. The Czech. President Vaclav Klaus will be there to denouce it as always. We hope from America that the Australian Government won’t have much to go on either since it failed once.

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    Denny

    Simon Mountford

    Iam not a scientist, just a normal citizen who wants to know the truth.

    Simon, that’s how we “all” got started, wanting the truth from the beginning. All I can say is this Site has a great handle on what’s going on in Climate Change. If you have “common sense” with some scientific background helps. If not just read, read, read, ask questions and read somemore. One word of warning though….if you go to any of the “Alarmists” Web Sites don’t ask questions that CHALLENGE their authority! If you do, you will be banned from posting. Joanne doesn’t do that here nor do other Realist sites. May I suggest using the term “Realist” should you decide to take the “Realist” position. Once you do , you will understand why! Start asking Simon, Joanne isn’t the only “knowledgeable” person here to help….It good to start at the beginning…just “Think” things out,listen and learn…

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    Simon Mountford

    Thanks Denny for that advice.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised about the various camps that exist. I guess that’s how we are as human beings, I support Manchester City football club for example and like to call myself English, two identities I enjoy being part of and sharing with others. But I like to think that I am intelligent enough to recognise that a Manchester United fan or an Australian is equally entitled to support that club or enjoy that nationality without denigrating him or her as an individual.

    That is what has surprised me about what I have read so far about global warming. The tribal element is fine but playing the man rather than the ball always tells you that the other team has no answer.

    I like the more positive label of realist. Unfortunately I am more linguist than scientist, but I do love asking questions. I think it is such an obvious way to learn.

    I also understand how hard it must be to let go of your fixed opinion. I once heard somebody ask a mathematician about -1 squared. Apparently it is not possible. But if this could be done, would that mean all your other assumptions about the world would have to change? Yes, indeed they would.

    So scientists with reputations who are still interested in truth are truly honourable human beings.

    Thanks again. I look forward to thinking, listening and learning.

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    Glenn

    Well, I was there for Jo’s speech today. She mentioned she’d changed some things from what she intended after speaking to the organisers last night, and that probably explains the slightly disjointed and breathless feel it had. (Sorry Jo, not trying to offend, just offering criticism as one performer to another.) It was like a climate reality check presentation for the uninitiated, adapted for people well across the issues (and the case studies). Lots of familiar material from the Skeptic’s Handbook, and some new stuff – great slides, humour and sarcasm. Jo said she hadn’t seen Anthony Watts’ item on the upside down graph – as a case-study of manipulation of data to serve a predetermined position it’s unequalled.

    The overriding message of the presentation was that we’ve gotta play the science theatre game to break through – science fact is boring to Joe Public, and if an argument against AGW isn’t a clean win it isn’t credited. The problem is that the warming faithful will not ever concede defeat, so a clean win is not possible, and a breakthrough on data alone can’t succeed. That’s where science theatre comes in. Reveal the emperor has no clothes and you make people smile. Humour breaks down barriers and makes people more receptive to new ideas. And once it’s acceptable to laugh at the emperor, the hard questions can be asked without being dismissed out of hand.

    Top result from today (IMHO) was Dennis Jensen MP asking for material from several delegates (including Jo) in preparation for the ETS debates in the coming week. Both Jensen and the Hon Kevin Andrews MP got coverage for their contributions to the conference – but the MSM, confusing reporting with opinion (as usual), sent the speeches to the crazy corner. (Cue Virginia Trioli.)

    Good to see you Jo, and I hope we score an invite to dinner with Linda when you’re here early next year!

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    John Nicklin

    Simon

    Delving into science for those that don’t have a basic education in the sciences can be daunting, much like delving into the nuance of languages. But a deep understanding of science is not a necessity. It has been said that if you can’t explain a theory to a bar maid or your granny, its probably not a solid theory. Many of the theories about global warming/climate change are so convoluted that they are not understandable to anyone. Theories should be concise and should have some logical flow. When you read a new theory, if it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably not a good theory. When you see a theory being held up as proof of something, distrust the agent. Theories are formulated to explain what we see or postulate.

    In science, a theory is rarely proven to a point where it becomes a law. Newton’s theories became the Laws of Gravity, because they could not be falsified. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution are still theories even though we are relatively certain that they can’t be disproven. A theory needs continued proof, it needs to be repeatable by independant researchers. If one thousand researchers can replicate a proof for the theory, it becomes more solid as an explanation of what we see in the world around us. If one researcher fails to replicate the proof, the theory fails to explain and it must be rejected.

    In science, a researcher is obligated to provide their data and methods to those who wish to replicate the experiment or study. If a researcher fails to provide (or won’t provide) the data and methodologies used in a study, the results of the study cannot be tested and are, therefore, invalid until the study can be relicated.

    In science, we use models to help explain what we see, they do not prove that something is real since they are, at best, approximations of the real world situation. Models are only approximations because they rely on many assumptions about real world conditions, conditions that may or may not be fully understood at the present time. If you see models being used as proof of something that will happen in the future, beware.

    I am always reminded of something that a comedy group once said, “everything you know is wrong.” If you look back through history, you can see, more often than not, that what we once held as absolute truth has since proven to be false. We once believed that the sun revolved around the earth. We once believed that heavier than air flight was impossible and that the sound barrier could not be broken. These were all stated with scientific certainty.

    As a person involved in linguistics, you may be better equiped to read between the lines. What are they not telling you. By “they” I mean anyone who is trying to convince you that something is true beyond a doubt. This goes for both sides of the current AGW debate. The Royal Society in the UK has a motto Nullius in Verba, loosely translated as “don’t take anyone’s word for it.”

    BTW, the square of -1 is 1. The square root of -1 is theoretically impossible to compute, like dividing by zero.

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    John Nicklin @ 13: If one researcher fails to replicate the proof, the theory fails to explain and it must be rejected.

    It takes far more than simply failing to replicate the proof. One must also prove that the failure is not due to some oversight, mistake, misunderstanding, or intentional fraud. This is especially true for the clearly and repeatedly demonstrated to be consistent with what is kind of theory.

    I suggest the basic flaw in your thinking about the epistemology of science is that you believe you cannot know anything for certain. One test is not enough but how many are enough? By your theory of theory, there is never enough because the next test could possibly fail. You won’t know until you run the test. Even then you can’t be sure because you could have been mistaken in the readings of your instruments blah…blah…blah. There need be no reason for you, you simply cannot trust anything. Do you trust the fact you can’t trust anything?

    I suggest an alternate theory of theory. Be careful how you formulate your theory. Do not extend it beyond the known and demonstrated. If you do, its not a theory, its an hypothesis. That is OK as long you understand its an hypothesis that needs testing and not a demonstrated theory.

    The second part of establishing a theory is demonstrating that it does not contradict any other known evidence or similarly validated theory. If it does not clearly integrate without contradiction with all other theories that have been integrated without contradiction, it has been falsified. Caution, simply because you think, believe, feel, or want something to be so is not sufficient. It must be verified actually to be so. Ditto on relying on any number of authorities or multiply cited peer reviewed papers. What actually is takes precedent over any other reason to accept. Reality is real and is the only thing that is real. Fantasy is not reality.

    Finally, Popper is poppycock. You cannot know based upon that which is false. The most trivial reason that even for Popper’s falsification, it must be true that the theory was falsified. By Popper, since you have not yet falsified the falsification, you cannot know its truth value. From that you can fall into the trap of infinite regression.

    Popper’s second error was the belief that you had to know everything before you could know anything. Tthat is simply not possible. I suggest the entirety of the industrial revolution along with the creation of modern technological civilization is a testament that we do know something even though we do not know everything.

    You can only know what isn’t by knowing what is. What isn’t, simply does not exist, has no properties and cannot be detected or measured. Existence is not a property of an entity separable from the entity. Existence IS identity. If an entity exists, it has an identity. If not, it doesn’t.

    This approach to science is far more demanding than mere falsification. It requires the entire structure of all of man’s knowledge from first awareness to his highest abstraction be consistent, demonstratable, and demonstrated both in fact and in logic.

    Ideas are important. Fundamental ideas are most important. Make an error in your fundamental ideas, however slight, and everything that follows goes off track eventually.

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    Hi Glenn, glad you could make it today. Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t think Joe public finds science fact boring.

    The evidence is important for us as skeptics – it is the only way to know if we’re right – but that it’s almost impossible to win a public fight on the science with irrational people. To explain why you won a point on atmospheric physics, you have to explain atmospheric physics… it takes a long time. And yes, since irrational people will never concede defeat, ultimately many people are not sure how to judge a competition.

    People have lots of other things to do in their lives. We all want the quick and easy, cut and dried answer.

    I’m glad you like the point on Science Theater – that came through strongly the night before at the late pre conference meeting, and I realized it would be more useful to a crowd of well informed people. Hence the adaption of a speech with sigh… a lot of slides. Twenty minutes speeches are much harder than 40 minute ones. :-) There’s too much to say!

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    John Nicklin

    Lionell

    I won’t disagree with you. I think you read more into may comments that I intended, if that is the case, it is my error in not communicating in the best possible fashion.

    My point was that even though thousands may agree with a premis, a well thought out, rigourously executed, and thouroughly documented refutation of that premis is enough to call the premis, call it a theory or hypothesis if you like, into question. Consensus is not proof. That said, if repeated study continues to build a better understanding of the premis and continues to add to the proof, then the hypothesis or theory becomes stronger, but remains, at best, a theory which may be falsified at a later time.

    I agree that we need to be clear on our fundamental ideas. I do not think that we have reached that state in our current ideas about climate science at this time.

    Do I believe that there are ideas which have merit and have stood the test of time and inquiry? Yes. Do I believe in the scientific method? Yes. But all that said, I am open to new ideas that flow from further study of those fundamental ideas. That is primarily what brought me to the skeptical side on climate change and why I visit sites like JoNova, where people aren’t slagged off, or censured, for their opinions.

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    John Nicklin @ 16,

    If I read too much into your words, I apologize.

    I still see missing the idea that any given chunk of knowledge must be integrated within the full range of similarly integrated knowledge without contradiction. This is usually summed up by the word “context”. What I see most missing is the connection of the AWG theory to that context without contradiction. The AGW theory may be internally self consistent, it may even be consistent with the data used to support it, it may even be persuasive to a large number of people, but without that theory being fully integrated into the totality of man’s knowledge WITHOUT CONTRADICTION, it is nothing better than an hypothesis and likely much worse.

    What we on this list and other lists have done is to show that the AGW Theory does not integrate without contradiction, that the data used is flawed, that the interpretation of the flawed data is itself flawed, that the so called consensus does not exist except within a small core self reflexive group, that the so called peer review is largely within that core group. Any one of these findings is sufficient to bring the theory into question. The sum total requires the theory be reformulated from the ground up and be subjected to the most stringent tests possible. It certainly does not justify the takeover the world’s economy that is planned for this December by the UN nor any government ceding its sovereignty to the UN for any reason whatsoever.

    Unfortunately, this analysis leaves the political issues on the cutting room floor. The AGW Theory is not science, its politics and religion. As such, even though we demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that it is false and it is not science, it still can do much mischievousness to the global economy and to our individual rights, freedoms, and ,ultimately, to our lives.

    We have made the case. It is beyond honest and informed doubt. Yet the threat still exists that high level decisions will be made based upon false premises that would destroy modern technological civilization if allowed to be implemented.

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    John Nicklin

    Lionell,

    No need to apologize, it was my error in not fully qualifying my comment. You are correct that I missed some further clarification and I agree with your summary. All things must be integrated within the context. It is that lack of context that brought me to the skeptical viewpoint about 3 years ago when I started looking at the “facts” being put forward by the AGW proponents in context with other knowledge.

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    Simon Mountford

    Lionell,

    I’ve just finished reading Nigel Lawson’s book on global warming. I don’t want to spoil the story for anybody who has not read it (and I have to say I’ve read it twice and am still not feeling completely clear about it all).

    But (thanks John, here is my linguistic ability to read between the lines) the author seems to suggest that a lot of politicians talk is just that – what we might colloquially refer to as hot air (not inappropriate given the subject matter here).

    Yes there does seem to be a lot of danger in insisting loudly on solutions to a problem that may or may not exist (it seems it is not proven, as per your debate on theories; by the way what is the difference between theory and hypotethesis in science?)

    Fortunately the politicians don’t seem to have the courage of their (seemingly wrong-headed, certainly unproven) convictions: if they did would they not desist from building a third runway at Heathrow or raise taxes on fuel to such an extent that we would genuinely start looking for alternative sources of energy?

    In that sense I am a little comforted that the solutions they deem necessary won’t actually be implemented and the nightmare scenarios you fear might not occur.

    Or am I just an incurable optimist?

    (I’ve just noticed the time: middle of the night in Australia. Fine for me (6.20pm in England), but koala sleepy time I’d have thought – go on, tell me that koalas are nocturnal!)

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    Simon Mountford

    John and Lionel,

    I need to re-read your debate a couple more times to get it fully but I’m sure glad there are kind people willing to make an effort to explain to non-scientists (and to ensure that you agree about what science is among yourselves) – so thank you for that.

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    John Nicklin

    Simon,

    I would hazzard to say that Lionell and I would agree on what science is and is not.

    As to theory and hypothesis, from Wikipedia;

    A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations. A scientific theory does two things:

    1. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and
    2. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class.

    In the scientific or empirical tradition, the term “theory” is reserved for ideas which meet baseline requirements about the kinds of empirical observations made, the methods of classification used, and the consistency of the theory in its application among members of the class to which it pertains. These requirements vary across different scientific fields of knowledge, but in general theories are expected to be functional and parsimonious: i.e. a theory should be the simplest possible tool that can be used to effectively address the given class of phenomena.

    A hypothesis (from Greek ὑπόθεσις; plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for an observable phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning “to put under” or “to suppose.” For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot be satisfactorily explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words “hypothesis” and “theory” are often used synonymously in common and informal usage, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory – although the difference is sometimes more one of degree than of principle.

    Lionell may like to add to this definition.

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    Simon,

    Here is my take on the difference between Scientific Theory and Hypothesis.

    The Science part focuses on natural explanation with a reliance on observation, experiment, evidence, and coherence with reality. It is a ground up, integrated, mutually consistent, body of verified and demonstrated knowledge. Only the edges of that knowledge are uncertain. Go outside that knowledge, it is not only uncertain, its unknown. Fortunately, that edge can be expanded into the realm of the unknown can can make it known.

    A Scientific Theory is a description of how a chunk of nature works. Each element of the description has been demonstrated to have an existing mechanism that is at work within the specified context. The theory has been shown not to contradict any other similarly validated scientific theory or fact. Usually, the theory has additional mathematical expressions that give quantitative predictions. The predictions have been verified to be correct within the bounds of the specified context and experimental accuracy. As long as one stays within the bounds of the specified context, the theory holds. See Newton’s Laws of Motion as a case in point.

    Scientific Hypothesis: A description of how a chunk of nature might work. Each element of the description has supporting evidence that it does or may have a mechanism at work in the defined context. The hypothesis is usually shown not to contradict sound scientific theory (see above) within the context of the given theory. However, there may be a conjecture that goes outside the context of existing theory. For example Einstein’s theory of gravity is coherent with Newton’s theory of gravity except for very high speeds, very large distances, and huge masses not conceived as part of Newton’s theory context. Einstein extended his theory to the limit of the speed of light and all of the universe.

    Postulating random entities, events, and mechanisms without foundation in the current context of scientific knowledge, is not the making of a scientific hypothesis. Its myth, fantasy, science fiction, and the like but has little relationship to science except for the words used.
    The generalized “it might be that…after all you can’t prove its not so….” might be substance for a news stand tabloid but it too is neither science theory nor hypothesis.

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    Steve Schapel

    I am very sad. I was otherwise indisposed when a Greenpeace door-knocker came calling, and my wife sent them on their way. I would have loved to have a discussion with them.

    The point made here about “Science Theatre” is pertinent. This Saturday, a bunch of local groups are getting together for “350 Climate Change Action Day”. They’re expecting a big turnout. They got a full page of articles in our local newspaper. They’re doing placards and posters, bike-riding parades, stalls, entertainment, games for the kids, and heaps of stuff, all as part of their efforts to influence politicos to do the right thing in Copenhagen in December.

    I know that some of these people don’t know that atmospheric CO2 is already more than 350ppm. I know a lot of them think that 350ppm is the same as 35%. I know most of them think that there is hardly any polar ice left. I know most of them think polar bears are frequently drowning. I know nearly all of them think the Earth’s temperatures are increasing dramatically, and that Tuvalu is going under, etc, etc.

    Very few of them would be able to account for where they got their information. None of them would be able to point to empirical evidence to support their precious beliefs. But that won’t stop them turning out in droves, having a fun time, ratcheting logic and rationality down yet another notch, and getting their pictures on the tv.

    So, thank goodness for the likes of Joanne, or anyone able to go beyond the dry facts. I’m starting to realise that this is more than just an academic exercise of who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s a serious battle, with a lot at stake.

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    Steve Schapel

    No sooner had I posted my previous comments, than I come upon this article.

    Another example of the theatrical AGW tactics by Nasheed, being countered (or attempted so) by factual/rational argument by Mörner.

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    Simon Mountford

    Steve,

    There was a well-known actor called Keith on TV yesterday evening in England (he was taking part in a “celebreties get to know the poor of Leeds and see how they can help them” series). Part of his role was to shop for the family he was staying with. He is seen in the supermarket looking at the pack of apples to discover where they come from. “South Africa” he says, “too many miles travelled” and puts them back on the shelf. The “poor” boy with him, commenting later to his friends, says “Keith doesn’t shop like normal people. He reads everything before he puts it in the shopping trolley!”

    It was a scene that I suspect plays itself out everywhere now. How have we got to a point where people seriously think that they are somehow being immoral if they buy apples because they have travelled a long way? Is the logical consequence of this thinking not to go back to the days when a trip from the village (in which you were born, grew up, worked and died) to the next village was a major event? Or would the next village constitute too many food miles as well?

    The point I am making is to agree with you Steve that people are acting in their everyday lives without knowing the basis on which they act and thus the impact of the IPCC / Copenhagen etc are huge; in my example people act as if food miles was an established evil and that reducing them will save polar bears and ice caps (maybe it will, but it seems there is little evidence to say so). Yet it seems to me no more, in reality, than a sop to their conscience, to make them feel good. Do they consider where every component of their motor car was sourced? They do not.

    Essentially (though I know nothing really about climate change compared with most of those of you who come to this site and elsewhere) it seems that the dilemma that realists face is to change the mindsets of people who, in an earlier age, would have believed that the earth was flat because that was the prevailing view. And derided and thrown eggs or tomatoes at those who disagreed. Plus ca change.

    Good luck with the street theatre!

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    Simon Mountford

    Steve,

    Ooops! I misread the street theatre thing – I thought this was a realist counter event.

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    Janet Thompson

    Simon, you state early on that you don’t know what forum would receive Joanne. You’ll be surprised to discover how many people are just like you…you only need to create YOUR OWN forum! I’m the mother of 4 young children, and have helped to organise another great speaker on this topic…Professor Bob Carter…to come to Western Australia and speak. We started out with two locations, and that turned into 4, and today we got interest in a 5th location. These are spread out over a fairly large area. There is a lot of interest, and I’m hoping that “confused” people come along, as Professor Carter, like Joanne Nova, helps clarify things. They give form to “that bad gut feel” that many people have!

    I had the privilege of hearing Joanne Nova speak last week in Perth, and my 2.5-hour one-way drive was worth it! Have a GREAT conference with AEF, Jo!

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    Janet Thompson

    Wow, I love you guys! I have read the rest of this forum, and I’m proud to be “seen” on the same “scene” as you all. If I weren’t so un-emotionally-affected, I’d cry from the sheer happiness I feel… Uhh, think.

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    Janet @ 28,

    Though it feels at times as if you are alone, you are not. There IS functioning intelligent life on this earth. Its struggling with the same forces of irrationality that you experience. In the long run, we will win because we are on the side of reality. The interesting question is: how to survive the short run? Right now we are giving it our best shot by convincing the few and the willing and giving them intellectual ammunition to fight the good fight. Is it good enough soon enough? Time will tell.

    At the age of 72, with several significant medical deficits, I don’t really have a very long, long run: 5, 10, 20 years max. Hence, I have a strongly vested interest in winning in the short run. I really do not want to return to the state of man before the stone age because I would survive even that long. Its stand, fight, and live free, or die hard.

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    John Nicklin

    Steve,

    While the alarmists are quick to state “facts” without regard to their veracity and often do not know where their information comes from, they are generally disposed to insisting that you must quote only perr reviewed literature when you counter their statements.

    Simon,

    The actor that won’t buy apples from South Africa will probably also spout platitudes about how the developed countries are not supporting the developing ones. Not buying apples from another country deprives that economy of much needed funds. We are not supposed to buy their products, but instead, we are supposed to have our governments send money through wealth transfer schemes. Its a convoluted reasoning at best.

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    Simon Mountford

    Janet, you know what, I might just start something like this.

    I’d like to have both sides there if possible, reasonable people from each side. Does anybody else know anybody in London who is reasonable on either side of the fence?!

    I need to look around first, maybe there are things happening here already. Thanks for the shove anyway – and well done to you for doing something like this yourself off your own bat!

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    Simon Mountford

    Steve,

    When you put it like that it does sound quite mad. I read an old article in the Economist this morning of a report that Kofi Annan had authored suggesting increasing aid to poorer countries by a hundredfold – and the author of the Economist article asked whether, given that so much aid is already squandered, this was wise. Especially as the the report had said that the figures on which the report was based could be “wrong either way.”

    I must admit I had rather assumed that scientists and people in power wanted to base policy advice and policy decisions on facts or at least reasonable positions rather than fairly wild stabs in the dark and guesswork; Iraq and WMD killed that notion, now it appears the same nonsense may be happening with AGW.

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    Janet Thompson

    Simon, it’s kind of interesting…that two-sides balanced approach. I decided that people have already heard Al Gore’s side ad nauseum, and I would not waste my audience’s time with more of the same. I look at it like this: I AM providing the balance. The mainstream media, for some unforseen reason, has not been willing to present both sides of the argument. Thanks to the Internet, I researched this myself (I must admit, I was dubious about AGW from the beginning, as it was the same people spouting doomsday propaganda when I was in primary school). I found that the only people online that would truly get down to the science (and not just trash people), were ones like the people in this forum. I discovered the truth, and I am loath to give more podium time to the un-truth. Al Gore and his multi-millions can buy more podium time. I, with my limited (literally doing this on credit, hoping for a great turn-out!) capital, am only willing to sponsor truth.

    Now, having said that, I do a bit of public speaking, and have offered to debate any Al Gore disciple that is put on a stage for any event in my state. Not once has that offer been taken up. Must be because I’m not a climatologist. Oh, hang on, neither is the parrott they are putting up spouting Al Gore’s drivel. These people refuse to discuss the facts. They have 100% based their come-backs on ad hominem attacks. That’s why forums like this are so exciting and uplifting. True teaching and search for truth happening here, and I congratulate you all.

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    Janet Thompson

    Simon, I’m friends with Gabriel Rychert on FB. She is a sceptic, and there are a few others from England.

    In reading these posts again this morning, I’m assured that my husband and I need to develop the talk we toyed a few months ago with developing: Statistics 101. Integrated into that talk could be your discussion of law vs. theory vs. hyphothesis. You guys are NOT going to believe me, but there are “researchers” that present at peak industry conferences that do not know what p is. I kid you not. If those guys don’t know, how can the audience be expected to? Is this just an Aussie thing? I know I was never taught stats till uni. There is a huge need for general education, so that people CAN think on their own, rather than relying on the latest person they heard, or on the person with the most personality.

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    Janet Thompson: You guys are NOT going to believe me, but there are “researchers” that present at peak industry conferences that do not know what p is.

    I believe you. I have been a technical software engineer for over 40 years. Almost 40 years ago, I encountered an entire MAJOR industry in the US that believed that the average of the “best” two out of three readings from a QUALITY CONTROL instrument was best practice. “Best” meaning sum the two readings that were the closest together and divide by two. After much pains taking effort, I finally convinced one engineer that it would be far better to call the two furthest apart readings “best” out of three. Their excuse for not averaging all three was that it was to hard to sum the three values and divide by three. It was even worse than this. One customer who was part of the largest firm in that industry at that time insisted on being able to change the measured values before they were printed by the computer. Mind you, this was an elemental analysis that was being used to certify the chemical composition of their products. Products that people’s lives depended upon it being what it was certified to be.

    After that experience, I no longer expected to find people who really understood how to measure, estimate variation, and know what to do with it. I simply wrote the software to tell them what to do and which buttons to push. I no longer expected them to be able to think. My Ideal instruction manual consisted of: “See the green button. Push the green button. Watch the machine go.” Sometimes even this was too complicated.

    Fortunately this was and is not the case for all industries but generally there is an abysmal understanding of the statistical nature of measurement and what to do about it. Otherwise the hockey stick charts would not have survived more than two minutes of casual consideration.

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    Denny

    Steve Schapel:

    I am very sad. I was otherwise indisposed when a Greenpeace door-knocker came calling, and my wife sent them on their way. I would have loved to have a discussion with them.

    Steve, maybe this will help you out! Might even make you feel “better”! :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONd-Yk48R8E

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    Denny

    Simon Mountford:Post 31

    need to look around first, maybe there are things happening here already. Thanks for the shove anyway – and well done to you for doing something like this yourself off your own bat!

    Simon, may I suggest to you this Web Site which is BBC based!

    http://climaterealists.com/

    They do tell about U.K. people involved on the “Realists” side! I suggest you research past posts to get the jest of things! Today they had a lot of U.K. related articles…you might even be able to connect to someone there. Have to get the word out but the Political arena there is pro-AGW!

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