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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The rise of the unskeptical scientist

I’ve done it, I’ve finally solved the dilemma of how to refer to scientists who actively promote a crisis due to carbon, but can’t provide the evidence that carbon causes major warming. Not Team-AGW, not alarmist, A far better one has come to me.

Once upon a time, a scientist and a skeptic used to be one and the same thing. Actually, it still is. The motto of The Royal Society — the longest lived scientific association in the world, is Nullius in Verba — “On no one’s word” (take no one’s word for it).  The Climate Industry marketing has tried to turn “skeptic” into a dirty word. So in perfect symmetry, if we are Skeptical Scientists, they are obviously:

theUnskeptical Scientists

(or “Unskeptics” for short).

What could be more appropriate?

It covers all bases; is true to its form, and if you think being a skeptic is so unattractive, it’s flattering —right? I can see them queuing up now to print the badges proclaiming themselves as the proud people who are not skeptics. So in the spirit of helpfulness I’ve done them up their very own T-Shirt and Badge —copyright free.

Badge for Unskeptical Scientists.

It’s time to reclaim the term skeptic. It is, after all, just what a scientist is. It’s time to rescue the brand of the word skeptic, and rebadge those who are not… skeptical.

Badge for Unskeptical Scientists.

It reflects their PR campaign right back at them.

These images are available for anyone to use. Click here for a larger size.   :-)

Download: Unskeptical Scientists Trust Committees (the red and white rectangle above)

Illustrator “Trust Committees” 660kb ….Tif “Trust Committees” 115kb

Powerpoint “Trust Committees” 300kb

Download: Unskeptical Scientists Have Faith (the circular one above right)

Illustrator “Orange Unskeptical Badge” ….Tif “Orange Unskeptical Badge”

Powerpoint “Orange Unskeptical Badge”

There are other coloured versions available too.


Link: The Royal Society. For all their faults, even though they harassed Exxon for no good reason, they were the ones who insisted Briffa post his data.

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63 comments to The rise of the unskeptical scientist

  • #
    Phillip Bratby

    Or to those of us who speak the Queen’s English …. unsceptics or unsceptical scientists.


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  • #
    Dean Turner

    Yes, this is so true. A good look at the state of mind of the current ‘scientific’ mob. It’s as if they really really want carbon dioxide to be the culpritbut just can’t find any evidence, so 200 page reports, computer games and character assassination will have to suffice.

    The biggest problem I have encountered with people is that they don’t understand what evidence actually is. People rave on about correllation. “Temp’s rising and so is Co2, so they MUST be related!” All of these assumptions are repeated by the media to such an extent that it is no wonder the average Joe can’t figure things out.

    As for this new breed of unsceptical scientists, it’s a real shame. Hopefully science can evolve from this chaos into a more thorough and respectable form of investigation.


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    jamel

    Perhaps you should refer to them as UNsceptical scientists?


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  • #

    Excellent Jo! I look forward to using the term on some of the unsceptical sites!!! (Wow – I notice that ‘unsceptical’ is not recognised by my spell checker – nor is unskeptical!)


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    [...] Jo Nova, a freelance science presenter & writer, wrote this: I’ve done it, I’ve finally solved the dilemma of how to refer to scientists who actively promote a crisis due to carbon, but can’t provide the evidence that carbon causes major warming. Not Team-AGW, not alarmist, A far better one has come to me. [...]


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  • #
    Bryn Thomas

    I like it. The unsc(k)eptic, a variation of “the undead”, the zombie that keeps on coming. Now where is that stake for the heart or my silver bullets?


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  • #
    Mattb

    where do those who still think pilmers book is credible fit in? The selective sceptics?

    But you are right sceptics is not the right word, but you get cross when folks use the right word.


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  • #
    proletarian robot

    Hey Matt,

    I like that term: “Selective Sceptic”!!

    Here are a few more “selective sceptics” to to go with Pilmer: Gavin Schmidt, Michael E. Mann, Eric Steig, Raymond S. Bradley, Stefan Rahmstorf, Rasmus Benestad, Caspar Ammann, Thibault de Garidel, David Archer and Raymond Pierrehumbert


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  • #
    40 Shades of Green

    Reminds me of the famous Police Force motto.

    In God We Trust… Everyone Else We Check Out.


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  • #
    Steve

    I don’t engage in extended online debates about climate change, so I hadn’t noticed that the definition of skeptic had been turned on it’s ear. The epithet I’m used to is “denialist”.

    So I did a quick internet check, and the common definition top hit was “someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs”! That isn’t a skeptic, that’s an @ssh#le.


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  • #

    More great stuff, Jo! :) These are awesome.


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    BobC

    I have a theory about unskeptics: Many of them can’t think logically — or logically enough to draw their own conclusions from data. Hence, they depend on other’s to tell them what to believe. The ability to draw logical conclusions from data is a positive trait in the various engineering professions, as engineers must above all make things work, and logic is the necessary component for debugging. Scientists, however, more often deal in understanding and theory rather than actually making things. This makes independent logical thinking dangerous — finding a flaw in a theory thought to be “settled” directly threatens all theories that depend on it and will almost certainly draw a vicious backlash.

    This is not a new phenomenon. There is an old book I had in college with a title like “Alternative Interpretations of Data Based Conclusions”. It is full of examples from the peer reviewed literature of scientific articles whose data cannot support the conclusions drawn by the authors.


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  • #

    proletarian robot:
    November 17th, 2009 at 9:04 am

    You forgot the “Proxy-Priest” Benjamin Santer. ;)


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  • #
    Denny

    proletarian robot: Post 8,

    Here are a few more “selective sceptics” to to go with Pilmer: Gavin Schmidt, Michael E. Mann, Eric Steig, Raymond S. Bradley, Stefan Rahmstorf, Rasmus Benestad, Caspar Ammann, Thibault de Garidel, David Archer and Raymond Pierrehumbert

    You also forgot James Hansen, Dr.Kevin Trenberth, Dr. (Mr.) Joe Romm…. :)


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  • #
    kuhnkat

    Steve,

    “So I did a quick internet check, and the common definition top hit was “someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs”! That isn’t a skeptic, that’s an @ssh#le. ”

    Would you like to rent my tractor for a hard pull??


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  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Hi MattB, I’d be interested to know which parts of Plimer’s book you find “not credible”? Please be specific.

    Have you read the whole book and checked all 2000+ references personally?


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  • #
    abt

    Mattb is so careful with his critique of Plimer’s book that he can’t even spell the author’s name correctly. It is Plimer, not Pilmer. Typical of the thoroughness of the Unsceptical.


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  • #
    MattB

    of course – I typo a name and therefore what I say is false. Great work atb.


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  • #

    Matt,

    so which part of Plimers book is not credible?


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  • #
    abt

    Mattb, go on, ‘fess up. I bet you even pronounce it “Plimer”. Not a typo at, just wrong.


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    Glenn

    Again, thanks for the ammo Jo. Matt – I can’t help thinking you intentionally mis-typed “abt” as “atb”, given the context – but if it was unintentional, I think abt’s point is proven. Be that as it may, I refer to a recent discussion on the wattsupwiththat site, wherein it was observed that the ability to accurately spout facts and figures merely proves that one has a good memory, whereas the ability to accurately explain the meaning of facts and figures demonstrates intelligence – ergo, sloppy reproduction of facts and figures does not necessarily demonstrate a lack of intelligence. Not sure where you are on this scale, but I’m not holding the Pilmer/Plimer transposition against you. :)


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  • #

    MattB:
    November 17th, 2009 at 6:45 pm
    of course – I typo a name and therefore what I say is false.

    No, you just haven’t offered any actual evidence or countered Plimer’s book with anything resembling a logical argument. I don’t hold your typos against you, just your shoddy logic and inability to produce evidence, but at least you’re normally polite. Don’t get sucked into a “nyah, nyah” fight.


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  • #

    I’ve been reading the 1976 third report to the Club of Rome titled RIO: Reshaping the International Order. Overall premise: only a world govt can solve nuclear disarmament, Third World poverty, and environmental decay. Their proposed solutions include a laughable number of new international bodies to plan, regulate, and tax just about everything. In other words, bureaucracy & taxes will save us!

    At any rate, I find this quote illuminating regarding the transformation that appears to have taken place in the culture of science in recent years. Remember, this is 1976:

    “In the past, specialists [this term is used interchangeably with scientists] have often been reluctant to engage in political debate or to share their knowledge and fears with the general public. Given social dilemmas, they have often preferred to adopt neutral rather than value positions, to tacitly advise rather than openly advocate. This generalization no longer holds true. In many branches of science there are radical movements. Increasingly, both in the rich and poor worlds, scientists are involved in active advocacy which they see as an intellectual and ethical duty.” [bold added by me]

    from chapter 7, section 5 (p. 132 in my Signet paperback edition)

    In other words, it is being admitted that “many branches of science” had already been politicized by radical elements by the mid-70s.

    I respectfully submit that we are reaping this harvest now, especially with regard to the AGW issue.


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  • #
    Tony

    The opposite to sceptical is GULLIBLE


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    [...] batch that the these sloppy scientists should ware in public in order to warn the common people: Read The Rise of the Unsceptical Scientist on the JoNova web site. [...]


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  • #
    MattB

    To be quite honest I’d assume that any honest skeptic would at least be across the critiques of Plimer’s book, and I think that we can all be grown up and not expect anyone who mentions the book’s errors to be expected to attached a summary of critiques. Like when people say “The discredited Hockeystick” I don’t expect them to then add a few paragraphs explaining why they think it is discredited. Even if they are just parroting what they have heared I know where to find the actual arguments about the hockeystick without trying to expose whether they actually do or do not understand the science.

    As I’ve explained before I frequent this site and other non-greenhouse theorists’ sites because I want to fully understand the arguments of that side of things… you could try the same and go and read some critiques of Plimer’s book – despite Plimer’s strange insistence that no one has made a scientific critique.

    But if you are genuinely interested you may prefer to read from expert opinion, rather than my own clumsy interpretations, here is the good Prof. Barry Brook’s take on things (noting that these guys essentially live in the same corridor of Adelaide University as I understand it). http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/

    Which includes a link to another critique by Prof Ian Enting from Uni of Melbourne.

    I’ll ‘fess up that Pilmer was not really a typo in the sense that I typed it wrong, but in that I am well aware it is Plimer but it is just one of those things that is ingrained. If I had a dollar for everytime anyone spelled my surname Buckles I’d be a very wealthy man indeed.

    Anyway I have to go research Archibald now as apparently he is giving a talk tonight at dad’s tennis club to the grey rinse conservatives of City Beach.


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  • #
    MattB

    Did anyone notice in Post 20 that abt (and good pick up Glenn on my typo humour) wrote:

    “Mattb, go on, ‘fess up. I bet you even pronounce it “Plimer”. Not a typo at, just wrong. ”

    LOL!!!! see here he means bet I even pronounce it “Pilmer”, because it would not be funny if I pronounced it “Plimer”, as that would be correct. So in getting nit-picky about a misspelling the genius that is abt gets it wrong himself… rather he gets it right when he meant to get it wrong…

    funny stuff.


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  • #

    This is something I have been railing against for some time. I just recently blogged about the same thing, although in medical circles: Find it here.
    I quite like the term “Zombie science”, for when disproven hypotheses refuse to lie down and die, and continue to lurch around gathering momentum, kept alive by an unholy combination of funding and personal investment.
    Cheers,
    Paua.


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  • #

    Jamel,

    yes.

    “…what’s the difference between an unskeptical scientist and an UNskeptical scientist?”

    Answer:
    They’re both a failure, but one is a success at his job.


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  • #

    Mattb,

    sincerely, no I do not know what parts of Plimers book are wrong. Thanks for the link.

    Oh But Barry Brook says its all rehashed and wrong so it must be eh?

    He also says: “I actually think it’s rather silly to debate the science, because this the role of the scientific community as a whole, and in doing so they’ve reached a view that this is a serious problem — but one-on-one debate is what the media demands.

    Brooks is too scared to debate. He has no good answers or he’d be happy to stand up in public and kill it off. He can’t.

    Brooks is a bad joke.

    I’m half way down his loooong page and I still have not heard him mention one scientific error. Editing errors, possible overstatements of just how many facets of the AGW charade Plimer can kill in one book.

    “He quotes a couple of thousand peer-reviewed scientific papers when mounting specific arguments. What Ian doesn’t say is that the vast majority of these authors have considered the totality of evidence on the topic of human-induced global warming and conclude that it is real and a problem.”

    So Plimer quotes 2000 peer reviewed papers but ignores the opinions of scientists? Sounds like he’s doing exactly what any real scientist would.

    If there was a scientific guild in this country, it should recind Brooks’ degree (whatever it is).

    So Mattb, if you can’t explain where exactly in a scientific sense Plimer is wrong, could it be that there are no scientific errors?

    Jo


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  • #

    Paua , thanks!

    Zombie Science – kept on life support with the help of billions of dollars.


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    MattB

    C’mon Matt really. You have to “research Archibald”??? Surely you mean, Archibalds speeches, or his writing?

    Archibald, the man BTW happens to be a very nice, very sharp, independent thinking guy. Generous too. Not that that proves anything about the science…

    It’s one of the treasures of being a sceptic that I get to meet people like David. (And Boy did we have fun on THAT boat – that won the 3rd Annual Iowahawk Earth Week Cruise-In).


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    MattB

    Too scared to debate??? Brook even links to one of their debates “Drawcard on the Sunday morning was the Climate Change Debate, with professors Ian Plimer and Barry Brook, both of the University of Adelaide.”

    You should read the link to Prof. Enting’s critique. Brook clearly links to that for specific science (as Enting has alreay done it) and his own page for sure is more a commentary.

    And no jo – I also can’t really explain how a mobile phone works and it would be foolish to conclude mobile phones don’t work based on whether I can explain it.

    In case you didn;t make it to the bottom of the page Brook gives a link to your other favourite Deltoid. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/the_science_is_missing_from_ia.php


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    MattB

    Jo I find it quite absurd that you could possibly infer from my post that I was going to investigate Archibald’s personal life.


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  • #
    Jeff Foss

    Brilliant, JoNova! And congratulations on the success of your book.

    You might like my own book, _Beyond Environmentalism: A Philosophy of Nature_, particularly Case Study 7, in which I deconstruct Global Warming Theory. You can find the book on Google Books, and have a look if you have time. I am off to Copenhagen for COP15, where I will be presenting my case against Global Warming at a talk sponsored by Environmental Youth Alliance (www.eya.ca)–of all people, their International Director, Karun Koenig, thinks my book is an important critique of the environmental movement. Wish me luck!

    Yours, Jeff


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    MattB

    Jeff??? An anti-AGW voice invited to COP15 by some sort of environmental youth and fairly radical movement – prepared to look deep in to the soul of environmentalism??? *shhh* that goes against the right wing diatribe against the unthinking left and the mates-only club of COP15.

    I tend to think that they will enjoy your critique, while disagreeing with you on the science of AGW. Certainly from what I’ve seen I’d agree with much of your critique of the movement and the way it has handled the AGW issue, but I do feel it is a bit dated as certainly as an environmentalist I’ve never seen humankind as a disease over nature, and am convinced we are perfectly natural… which of course does not preclude us from doing some pretty stupid things that don;t really help our own cause.


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  • #
    Joel

    Joanne,

    after reading your post 30, I had to check whether I had the right link! Your loyalty to Plimer is touching, but I think his credibility is past its use-by date.

    Yes, scepticism is a good thing, but then there is sticking your head in the sand. Good luck with the rebranding-head-burying-as-scepticism thing.


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    Tel

    Jeff I wish you luck, the book is a step in the right direction.

    I had a peek at your book on google and I notice that you go to the trouble of retelling the story of the Garden of Eden myth, so I’m sure you will fit right in with the crowd.

    Of course, technology just keeps clocking forwards, one way or another. The winner in the end will be whatever works (just like every other stage in human history, and doubtless before that) so all things have a place in this process. When infant mortality is upwards of 50% then birth defects don’t matter as much. When average live expectancy is 45, asbestos seems a lot safer. Now that we have longer lifespan and lower birth rate we inevitably turn into a society of fusspots.


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  • #
    allen mcmahon

    Matt B
    I was there when Brooks debated Plimer, Brooks got creamed and it was great to watch. Brooks waffled on about the IPCC, consensus etc and failed to respond to the points Plimer raised. Brooks was to tape the debate but suprise, suprise due to a technical failure no audio. The muted comments on BNC following the debate also spoke volumes. I doubt Brooks will ever debate AGW again.

    If you are going to comment on Plimer you should read his book and make up your own mind rather than relying alarmist crap.


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  • #

    And no jo – I also can’t really explain how a mobile phone works and it would be foolish to conclude mobile phones don’t work based on whether I can explain it.

    OK so you admit you trust Brooks and “Deltoid” to do your analysis for you? They say there is a mistake so there must be one. Right? You are sure Plimer has been debunked, but you can’t name a single error. (And you think that equates to the “Hockey Stick” embarrassment….?)

    Matt, with all due respect, perhaps you pick up on their puffery and fake certainty, and just assume they are right, but if you can’t name an error, why should I bother reading a long doc? I’ve read half the other page you linked to and they hadn’t listed one scientific error. If they had a serious one, why would they hide it under all the other stuff?

    As a rule I try not to read stuff from people who can’t think, it’s just communication pollution.

    Matt #34 And as for your comment about Archibald – you launched ad hominem attacks on Monckton a while back, it’s hardly absurd to think “I have to go research Archibald now” really reads as “I have to go research solar cycles…” ?

    But I’m glad to hear you were not thinking of tripping down that stone age path.


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  • #

    Joel #37.

    I haven’t had to defend Plimer. No one has said anything other than hearsay.

    Your turn to name Plimers scientific errors. Numbering would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your best wishes. Good luck with rebranding yourselves as Unsceptical Scientists.


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  • #
    Matt Buckels

    Jo it is up to you whether you choose to read a 48 page dissection of Plimer’s book by a well credentialled Uni of Melbourne professor. Why you would want to know my take on it is beyond me to be honest. you are right I actually try and reduce the communication pollution by referring you to a quality argument. In all seriousness you cannot possibly read enting’s critique and not seriously doubt Plimer. If Plimer were to address the critique maybe he could put up some decent counter arguments, but all I’ve seen him do is dismiss them off hand.


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  • #

    Matt, that’s a much more reasonable answer, but a link to Brooks or Deltoid was not.

    Have you noticed that, once again, your reasoning for something (reading an article) comes not because you remember a single valid criticism (tho it may be there) but because it is long and written by a professor. Does it not bother you that argument from authority stands higher in your consciousness than any other argument?


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    Joel

    “Your turn to name Plimers scientific errors. Numbering would be appreciated”

    You’re on the same side as Plimer, and in the same industry (spreading lies), …

    [snip right there... which is a shame, because otherwise you've done alright.... time to back up your insulting bluster with some evidence or apologize. I'll email your comment back to you so you can re-submit it, if and when you discover some manners. --JN]


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    bob

    Plimer backed Beck’s co2 reconstruction. Enough said.


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    Matt Buckels

    48 pages of detailed critique a mere mouse click away Jo… why would you want Chinese whispers from me? I’ve read all 48 pages and I’m convinced – is that an argument from Authority. Misrepresentation and manipulation of graphs, use of clearly discredited graphs and references, absurd comments like the volcano CO2, referencing articles that have no relevance to the conclusion he draws… I’m not going to delve in to all those references, but maybe if a well credentialled expert wrote a 48 page document supportive of Plimer and rebutting all the Enting’s points I’d have a read too..

    If it was authority I was interested in I could just side with Plimer he has a decent gig at Adelaide and some good qualifications, and he wrote a book and has been on the telly.

    Lets just be clear here Jo, this argument is not about who is right about climate science in the end, but if you are going to go about defending Plimer’s book then in my eyes it means you are not as sceptical as you like to make out. A 48-oage critique of his book in the end is not a scientific assessment of climate change science, merely a critique of a book. I certainly don;t draw the conclusion that Plimer’s book being error riddled means that climate science is 100% correct.


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    Rod Smith

    BobC: #12

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Brilliant! You have shone light on some of the silliness I have heard from highly educated people about a number of subjects.

    At the same time you may have spotlighted why much of the faculty written software I have been forced to look at was very poorly done.


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    Charles Bourbaki

    Matt B – Good grief! Citing Deltoid in reference to Prof Plimer’s book. Here’s some of the well known climate scientist Dr Lambert’s rebuttals in the link;

    p22 – claims hockey stick is a fraud
    p87-99 – claims hockey stick is a fraud
    p349 – claims the hockey stick is “infamous”
    p382 – claims the hockey stick is a fabrication
    p 487 – …hockey stick, asserting it is the “most discredited study in the history of science”.

    Presumably Dr Lambert is comfortable with the proxy selection, the lack of archived code, the refusal to provide data, the resolution of the “divergence” problem by splicing and the manifestly incorrect use of PCA in the peer reviewed paper of MBH98/99.

    However I actually do agree with him about the last one on p487. Prof Plimer perhaps should have said “one of the most discredited studies in the history of science”


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    MattB

    Charles I really only put the Deltoid link in because Jo is not a fan of Tim’s. I don’t think he is a Dr Lambert – if you google there is another Dr Tim Lambert out there.


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    Papertiger

    Well I won’t go into 48 pages because it took me a long time to read H+E in the first place.

    Lets just deal with Brooks.
    His first criticism “Forgery is typified by Fig 3 in the Introduction of Plimer’s book.”
    Barry doesn’t like that Ian used a hard copy of the GISS world temp graph from The Great Global Warming Swindle.
    He then points out that it doesn’t agree with current GISS products.
    Well of course it doesn’t. J Hansen and company have been carefully selecting thermometers from lower elevations and warmer locations over the last five years to maintain the fiction of global warming. Worse they continually rewrite history, changing pre 2000 historical temperature readings with each new iteration of their world graph, always lowering temps from the past.
    This is a problem that any saved copy of a GISS graph will have after a few years. The simple fact is that if you ask GISS what the temp in 1938 was the answer shouldn’t depend on when you ask the question.
    If Barry has a problem with GISS data displaying the permanence of jello, he should take that up with Hansen.
    Another thing, Plimer uses Fig 3 for a specific purpose; to show that over the course of the 20th century the world temperature didn’t behave as it should if CO2 were the main driver of climate, even using the most unskeptical of the unskeptical scientist’s data.
    Instead if dealing with Ian’s point, Barry blaims Plimer for the chief among GISS’s many sins, as if this were even germaine to the point.
    If Brooks were an honest man he could make the argument that there was no cooling between 1940 and 1975. He’d be wrong, but at least he’d be honest. As it is he can just STFU.

    Alright. That was Barry Brook’s first criticism. Presumably it would be his best.
    Right out of the gate and all he succeeded in doing is showing how dishonest he is.

    I’ll skip the rest. Let someone else torture through it.


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    asmilwho

    Regarding the Royal Society’s motto see this article from May 2007:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3357/

    “Lately, however, the Royal Society has dropped any mention of ‘on the word of no one’ from its website… Lord May of Oxford, erstwhile president of the Royal Society and former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, offers us a whole new translation: ‘respect the facts.’

    The Royal Society’s ‘motto-morphosis’ – where it has gone from saying ‘on the word of no one’ to demanding that we ‘respect the facts’ – points to an important shift in the way that scientific authority is used to close down debate these days.”

    And in fact all links to “nullius in verba” on the Royal Society website turned up via Google lead to a “page not found” error.


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    Charles Bourbaki

    Charles I really only put the Deltoid link in because Jo is not a fan of Tim’s. I don’t think he is a Dr Lambert – if you google there is another Dr Tim Lambert out there.

    I Googled. Here is a Uni of NSW page with a Dr Tim Lambert.
    Here is his Uni of NSW home page with a link to Deltoid at the bottom.

    You would think someone with a PhD in computing could see that Prof Mann’s PCA was flawed. An undergraduate course in Linear Algebra should be enough.


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    MattB

    Maybe you are right – I can only find sites that don’t mention the Dr thing, even on the UNSW website.


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    Tel

    You would think someone with a PhD in computing could see that Prof Mann’s PCA was flawed. An undergraduate course in Linear Algebra should be enough.

    Maybe not the exact same course but…

    http://www.timetable.unsw.edu.au/current/COMPKENS.html

    Note the lack of Linear Algebra, any other type of algebra, measurement theory, signal processing, or similar disciplines. However, it is a good course for computing, and all the subjects are good subjects. We are facing increasing specialisation. Given typical human limitations if you are going to have experts in any subject, then those experts are going to need to be ignorant about a whole lot of other subjects.

    I strongly suspect that the rise of the “Unskeptical Scientist” is closely related to the rise of specialisation. Modern scientists need to work as a team, not like the Victorian gentleman dabbler of a few generations back. In a team you need to trust the other team members so everyone can focus on what they are good at — an efficient structure but not robust to errors.

    By the way, linear algebra with more than a small number of dimensions is not taught in Australian high schools, but matrix algebra does turn up in older textbooks, it got displaced by technology subjects. Personally, I’m a supporter of diversity in schools and I believe that standardised curriculum is a bad idea, but when it comes to making sausages supervisors tend to count the product more often than they taste the product (if you get my gist).


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    MIke

    In the midst of the rank stench of pseudo intellectual smugness and word play intermingled with selective references to supposed scientific errors I can’t help but feel I’ve come across just another source of opinion based journalism propped up by an enthusiastic audience of circle jerking armchair geniuses.
    Firstly I’m sure i don’t need to remind any of you that should you feel the compulsion to scientifically discredit any published work the one and only method to do so and be taken seriously is to formally challenge published work by submitting responses to a journal aka “peer review”.
    Just like the borderline criminal over exaggeration of Australia’s refugee problem, the media has bastardised and manipulated both sides of the climate change debate to a point where the air is so thick with bullshit that the average educated adult can’t tell his elbow from his arsehole. Thats the way the JoNova’s like it, allowing them to stroll up the familiar moral high ground and plant their flag for all to see while they cheerfully pass out sarcasm like bowel motions after a vindaloo.
    While i seriously doubt there is anyone left in here even mildly willing to consider the merit of using a risk management approach to address anthropogenic climate change (which also happens to address the issues of energy security, deforestation / biodiversity loss and investment in developing nations on an increasingly crowded planet) or considering genuine responses to serious and valid skeptic arguments, i offer the following links:
    Genuine Q&A on climate change issues
    http://www-personal.buseco.monash.edu.au/~BParris/BPClimateChangeQ&As.html
    Referenced responses to common skeptic arguments
    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610


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    I’ve come to this late, but brilliant, Jo, brilliant!

    The term you suggest, unsceptical, implies a pointed correction while being restrained, non-insulting and true. What more could a scientist want?

    Sceptics (British spelling — skeptics is US) everywhere can celebrate your proposal to reclaim the excellent word “sceptic”. In the original Greek, sceptical meant to look out, or consider; in the late Latin it meant inquiring or reflective. From the Shorter Oxford, the meaning I like best is “a seeker after truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite convictions.”

    I shall be using unsceptical in place of alarmist whenever possible and elevating sceptic to a place of honour.

    Cheers,
    Richard Treadgold,
    Convenor,
    Climate Conversation Group.


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    ian hilliar

    excellent post as always,JO, but is not the opposite of “skeptical” “gullible” ?


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    Charles Bourbaki

    I can’t really believe this is true and as a sceptic I remain sceptical. If must be thoroughly scutinised, audited and checked. But if it is found to be true it is absolute dynamite.

    Link. Read onwards from Steven Mosher’s comment at #102


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    Joel can’t find it in himself to apologize (offline and private is OK Joel) which is a shame. I know other events have overtaken this info on Plimers book, but here’s the Deltoid list of “problems”, and much as I expected, there’s no significant scientific errors.

    Someone from the other side has gone through it carefully and this was all they could find. There are things Plimer could have done better. The GGWS graph for example. And some more cites would have been useful. But there is no blow here, nothing that shows Plimer is intrinsically wrong on the science. The list is useful editing help though. Perhaps Plimer should send his next book to the Melbourne Prof, because he could have made it even better than it is.

    But seriously, no one would call a book “discredited” because it only has 2000 references, and it needed 2008. No one would call it discredited because he calls the hockey stick a “fraud”. Note Michel Mann does not want to test that in court? Mann knows he doesn’t stand a chance of proving it libellous. Deltoid is an apologist for corrupt science.
    This list would look more convincing if it had citations of the converse. A lot of these points are just plain wrong. Polar bears have increased since 1960; There is a good correlation with solar cycles and low clouds after 1980; Name that mystery paper in Chapter 9 of AR4. (No one else has).

    p11 No source given for figure 1 but is based on a graph in AR4WG1 Technical Summary. The massive drop in temperatures comes from using the temps for the first half of 2008 to represent all of 2008. It looks very different if you graph the actual 2008 temp

    p14 Claims IPCC has no evidence to support its conclusion of 90% certainty that at least half of recent warming is anthropogenic. Nowhere does he even admit the existence of the evidence in Chapter 9 of AR4 WG1

    p19 repeats Paul Reiter’s false claims about the IPCC authors on the health effects of global warming

    p21 Repeats SEPP smear of Santer

    p22 Claims hockey stick is a fraud

    p25 Figure 3 is infamous graph from the Great Global Warming Swindle. Graphs ends in 1987 but horizontal scale makes it look like it goes to 2000. Even Swindlers had to fix this one.

    p26 Figure 4: Start point of graph is cherry picked to mislead

    p87-99 claims hockey stick is a fraud and the NRC panel that vindicated it was a cover up.

    p99 False claims that GISS was forced to withdraw claims about global temperature. Plimer confuses USA temperatures with the global ones.

    p131 Figure 15 Dodgy sunspot temperature graph from GGWS. Ends in 1980, if continued sunspot-temp correlation goes away.

    p198 claims Arctic sea ice is expanding

    p198 claims drowned polar bears were actually killed by “high winds”

    p198 claims polar bear numbers are increasing

    p199 claims malaria is common in cold climates. No cite!

    p209 Claims undersea volcanoes can have a profound effect on surface temps

    p217 Claims Pinatubo eruption released “very large quantities of chloroflourocarbons, the gases that destroy the ozone layer.” Cites Brasseur and Granier who actually say the opposite:

    after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the input of chlorine to the stratosphere was probably small.

    p281 Claims alpine glaciers are not retreating. Cited source actually says that glacial retreat is not accelerating.

    p286 Claims the IPCC has “no evidence” to support its statement that glaciers are retreating.

    p322 Cites Morner on Maldives.

    p325 Says that even if we burn all fossil fuels we won’t be able to double atmospheric CO2.

    p349 the hockey stick is “infamous”

    p366 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!

    p367 Confused about by the fact that the Earth warms the atmosphere and asks how this means GHGs can cause warming. How does he think a blanket works?

    p370 Claims 98% of GH effect is H2O. No footnote!

    p371 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!

    p376 Claims that if temperature measurements are rounded to the nearest degree, the average of many measurements is only accurate to the nearest degree.

    p377 Claims that surfacestations.org proves that temp measurements have a warming bias

    p378 Implies that surface record does not include measurements in the oceans

    p381 claims molten rocks significantly warm ocean. No cite!

    p382 “In fact, satellites and radiosondes show that there is no global warming.[1918]” Woohoo! at last a cite. Trouble is, it says exactly the opposite of what Plimer claims

    p382 claims hockey stick is a fabrication

    p388 claims no such thing as an average temp, citing Essex and McKitrick nonsense

    p391 claims Hadley Centre has shown that warming stopped in 1998. Hadley says:

    Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand.

    p391 claims IPCC ignores 2/3 of the cooling effect of evaporation citing Wentz et al, but Wentz says no such thing

    p413 claims volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans. No cite! This one was in GGWS. Plimer’s a geologist. You’d think he would at least know something about volcanoes.

    p420 figure 52 is Beck’s bogus CO2 graph

    p421 claims only 4% of CO2 in atmosphere is from humans. No cite!

    p425 claims anthropogenic CO2 produces only 0.1% of global warming. No cite!

    p425 claims IPCC have exaggerated CO2 forcing 20 fold.

    p437 “Chapter 5 of IPCC AR4 (Humans Responsible for Climate Change) .. is based on the opinions of just five independent scientists”. Wrong chapter number, chapter title, and it has over 50 authors.

    p442 claims Lysenko parallels the global warming movement

    p443 repeats Monckton’s claims about An Inconvenient Truth without mentioning that most were rejected by the court

    p444 claims IPCC reports are written by just 35 scientists who are controlled by an even smaller number

    p452 cites Oregon petition

    p452 cites Peiser’s false claims about Oreskes

    p467 claims that the 38 scientists who asked Durkin to correct the errors in GGWS did so because that deemed it to present an “incorrect moral outlook”. One of the error that they wanted Durkin to correct was the bogus graph that Plimer puts on page 25.

    p474 claims hockey stick is dishonest

    p477 quotes Khilyuk & Chilingar whose thesis is that humans aren’t responsible because our CO2 emissions, measured over the history of the planet, are less than that of volcanoes. Also cited on p479 and p492.

    p484 claims IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM “showed cooling for 100 of the last 160 years”

    p485 claims Montreal Protocol used precautionary principle to ban CFCs but we didn’t ban chlorination even though chlorine destroys ozone!!! [Not in the stratosphere it doesn't]

    p486 misrepresents Revelle

    p486 cites false WorldNetDaily claim that Gore buys offsets from himself

    p487 cites Melanie Philips as an authority on the hockey stick, asserting it is the “most discredited study in the history of science”

    p472 claims Pinatubo emitted as much CO2 as humans in a year. No cite! And obviously wrong if you glance at Mauna Loa data.

    p472 termite methane emissions are 20 times potent than human CO2 emissions. No cite!

    p492 false claim that DDT ban killed 40 million


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    I’ve moved some of the comments here to The Hacked CRU thread.

    But keep discussing!


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    Jim Creighton

    Then you could have: “Faith Based Scientist” and its corollary, “Faith Based Science”.
    However, “unsceptical” is more respectful, and less divisive, suggesting the possibility of reconciliation.


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    [...] bit of surfing before calling it a night and I ended up at Jo Nova’s site where she has a rather funny and smart smackdown of unskeptical [...]


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