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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Science associations give science a bad name

In this story from The Australian, we have the ludicrous double-irony of subscribers paying to read a story that disguises how their own taxpayer dollars are used against them to fund the  propaganda that’s used to justify milking them for more taxpayer dollars….

Sometimes, you’d think media releases from science associations and universities were Commandments from God.

If football associations put out media releases that tried to whitewash the news of clubs rampantly breaking rules, or of officials letting them get away with it, or of umpires placing bets on the outcome of games they rule over, the sports journos would bake the officials, grill the umpires, and lampoon the clubs. But, when the topic is “science”, and the spokespeople have polysyllabic titles, they are untouchable.

Admittedly, there is that other effect: advertising. The Higher Education Supplement is designed to sell advertising space to universities, and asking the top dogs biting-hard questions is probably not the way to win big contracts (the journalists might be cynical, but Australian universities are a $12 billion dollar industry). And look in the last budget: There’s a neat pink icing on the cake in the graph below, thanks to the man-made theory of global warming. That pink icing is worth $100 million dollars to Australian universities annually, and most of that money for clean energy research heads to members of science associations (and not to the legal, architectural, arts, or physical ed. departments).

Higher Education Funding Australia

New Higher Education Funding Australia

In “Climate Wars Give Science A Bad Name”,the Australian lets the universities and science associations get away with unquestioned promotion of nonsense.

Many of their utterances would evaporate under the weight of a single half-baked question.

Ms. Arabia, in charge of FASTS (the super committee for committees of Australian scientists), thinks (like Judith Curry) that the answer to all the problems for the man-made theory of global weather, and the woes of science popularity, is not to fix science, but to do better PR, as if spin is the answer to everything.

Look out for the big fake bear hug aimed at skeptics.

Anna-Maria Arabia, executive director of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), called yesterday for concerted action by the funders, producers, advocates and consumers of science to “restore confidence in the scientific process and profession”.

Ms Arabia said scientists welcomed public debate and embraced scepticism.

“In fact scientists would welcome a debate on current climate change that challenges the science with science. A scientist never regards peer-reviewed research as being beyond criticism.”

Scientists welcome skeptics? Like by saying “the debate is over”? Luke Slattery missed the perfect opportunity to ask:

And what exactly did FASTS do to encourage the debate? Did it:

  1. Invite skeptics to speak at any FASTS seminars?
  2. Coordinate meetings with prominent funded unskeptical scientists and their unfunded skeptical counterparts?
  3. Request that members stop throwing baseless insults (e.g. “denier”)?
  4. Defend skeptics right to demand the data?
  5. Pressure unskeptical scientists to release it?
  6. Censure scientists who manipulated the peer review system?
  7. Thank the highly-trained skeptics who have done valuable pro bono work?

(No, No, Never, No way, Nope, Unlikely, and What are you talking about?)

Margaret Sheil, chief executive of the Australian Research Council (ARC), said she was deeply concerned about the backlash generated by emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, the criticisms of Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, head of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, and poor research on the rate of glacial melting in a 2007 UN report on climate change.

So we can take it that the ARC supports researchers who conceal data and methods, and get caught?

Professor Sheil said she feared that these black marks would spread to a “broader negative public perception” of science.

And she’s right. It will, especially if science councils confuse the Scientific Method with Marketing & PR 101.

“Anecdotally, we now see tabloids and talkback radio, and even some broadsheet newspapers, perpetuating these criticisms and the notion that `scientists just made stuff up’,” she told the HES.

And until the scientists accused of making stuff up actually explain how they got their answers and data, and did their calculations, it seems the tabloids have a better idea of what science should be than the Australian Research Council.

“These sort of comments reflect a widespread lack of understanding of the nature of scientists and science more generally.”

Exactly.

Universities Australia aren’t concerned about the way modern science has collapsed in a hole, but they are concerned about their reputation.

UNIVERSITY leaders are pressing for a public campaign to restore the intellectual and moral authority of Australian science in the wake of the climate wars.

So the new term for whistle-blower scientists defending the oldest and most basic tenets of science is “warmongers” (I’ll take your FOI, and raise it to an ICBM).

Peter Coaldrake, chairman of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of Queensland University of Technology, told the HES yesterday he was “concerned about the way the climate change debate has flowed”, and would address the role of science in the formation of public policy at his National Press Club address next week.

He may well be concerned at the way the debate has flowed.

We’re concerned about the way science has flowed (apparently right down a high finance bore-hole toward a neolithic intrusion). You’d think he ought be concerned when scientists are being called names, and the scientific method is being publicly flouted by “scientists” who are in receipt of truckloads of government money:

“It worries me that this tabloid decimation of science comes at a time when we have a major national issue in terms of the number of people taking science at university,” Professor Coaldrake said.

See, and we thought the point of universities was to be centers of research excellence in the quest for human knowledge. Really it’s about how many EFTSL’s  (Effective full time Student Loads) you can squeeze into that neolithic intrusion university. (Can we dig another bore-hole back to the Stone Age?)

The “scientists” they discuss have admitted the e-mails were real. So these guys said hide the decline, delete the data, purge the skeptical papers. The tabloids haven’t decimated science; a few top-ranking scientists have spent ten years destroying science’s foundations. And dozens of scientific-sounding institutions didn’t complain.

As taxpayers and subscribers, we pay for the research that is misdirected, for the propaganda to cover the poor research, and for the newspapers to print the propaganda.

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77 comments to Science associations give science a bad name

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Jo,

    After teaching part time for 17 years in a Community College District I’m not at all surprised that University emphasis is on the money (Effective full time Student Loads). It’s something I’ve seen first hand. It’s in part the inevitable consequence of the University needing to keep itself financially sound. But it’s gone far beyond that now. If I can simplify it, there’s a giant ego trip involved.

    I’ve long believed that sooner or later every organization starts to serve itself instead of the purpose for which it was founded. I think clearly academia has gone a long way in this direction.


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    MadJak

    I’m sorry to have to say this guys,

    But if Clive Hamilton is an example of what Australian Academia produces, then we have some serious problems within Australian Academia.


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  • #

    Well, you have to give the climate religion credit for being creative. The day their leaders agree to tell the truth about global warming will probably be at their prison parole hearing. Hopefully, they won’t be eligible for parole for decades to come!


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    Bob Malloy

    Once again Jo you have hit them with the perfect combination. If you don’t soften your blows or put more padding in your gloves none of them will want to play outside anymore.


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    Tel

    Seems like Anna-Maria Arabia is also a reasonably senior Fabian:

    http://www.fabian.org.au/1103.asp

    I suspect that Marketing and PR are the only way she will ever see this particular issue. For a Fabian, every decision starts from Socialism and works back toward whatever we were talking about.


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    MadJak

    Tel@5,

    Looks like she’s about as senior in the fabian society as you can get.

    In an article published in The Guardian on 14 February 2008, (following the apology offered by Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to the “stolen generations”) Geoffrey Robertson criticised Fabian socialists for providing the intellectual justification for the eugenics policy that led to the stolen generations scandal.


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  • #
    Dave N

    The ultimate truth is: bad science gives science a bad name. Post-normalism seems to be becoming the norm in the climate arena; *that* is what needs to be stopped.


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    Joe Veragio

    Jo, My intial reaction to this critique was surely she’s being just being just a bit unfair,

    but after reading the piece in the Australian – it’s even worse than you suggest.

    How the grand sounding epithets are flowing.

    How ‘science is under attack’ from the the nasty tabloids/populism/cashed-up lobby groups .

    Ian Chubb, vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, does put his finger on something ‘though , with:-

    “many scientific conclusions in the field of climate change rested on a balance of probability rather than incontestable proof”

    That is something the Climate Science community, completely failed to acknowledge in communicating ‘the Science’, with their condescending – science is settled – all the leading scientists agree – concensus, claptrap.

    That mis-representation was perhaps the greatest dis-service to the science.

    It has to be remembered, that many even well educated people don’t have a great appreciation of probability.

    We have to remember policy makers are looking for Answers from our experts, not caveats & qualifications.
    These tend to get lost in translation, in the process of summarising for policy makers.

    The sceptics have an even greater challenge now, to counter the professional PR that will be deployed to try and rehabilitate the discredited institutions of science, that were content to sit back & let this happen.

    We need professional communicators of science, who can honestly demystify the complexity and capture the essence, rather than PR spin merchants continuing to treat the populace with contempt.

    When I first came across your site I was so impressed by the clarity which you bring to these complex subjects.

    After hearing Lord Monckton , who has a penchant for getting to the essence of a matter & communicating it, but can still lose people with his endearing flamboyance.

    Together ‘though, you are unstoppable.


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  • #
    Another Ian

    Anyone gone back and had a read of

    “Parkinson’s Law or the pursuit of progress”

    lately?


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    Roy Hogue

    “many scientific conclusions in the field of climate change rested on a balance of probability rather than incontestable proof”

    Joe @8,

    Forgive my being contrary here but if I had heard that I would still be skeptical. Probability is the province of actuaries and casinos. It’s not suitable for making public policy. Now if they had real statistical evidence that showed a high probability then that’s something different. But here we’re faced with just someone’s opinion — and based on cooked data as well.

    By the way, I would not need incontestable proof. That’s pretty hard to do. I would settle for evidence that could stand up under scrutiny over time and not fall apart at the first look. If I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me but that’s what we skeptics have been asking for and have never been given.


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  • #
    Colin Davidson

    Jo,
    I really liked the term “Warm-Mongers” and will use it from now on.


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    Louis Hissink

    Madjak #2

    We in the mining industry call them “merde”


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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    Tel,#5

    The Fabian connection is the clincher in all of this.


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    Peter of Sydney

    MadJak I agree. Clive is not only an extremist but is dangerous to the wealth and health of this country. Fortunately for us he’s not going to become a leader.


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    Donald (S-E of SA)

    The condecension by the Warmists to now invite debate is breathtaking. Having shown they could not lie straight in bed, now they want everyone else to jump in with them – no thanks.
    Let them be relentlessly pursued by constant analysis of their statements and dodgy papers, and let them be forced to answer their fraudulent behaviour as it unfolds.
    The true nature of their chicanery is further exposed by Gore’s disgraceful piece in the NYT last week – where he suggests the force of law be used to bring dissidents into line – to save the world of course, not to mention his income stream.


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Roy Hogue: #10

    Roy, please forgive me if I misquote you in recombining your thoughts:

    … if they had real statistical evidence that showed a high probability … I would settle for evidence that could stand up under scrutiny over time …

    So we might accept a margin of doubt that is 99.9%, or 99%, or 95% or …? I am not comfortable with the notion that the acceptance criteria are somehow negotiable.

    I have always liked the famous Einstein quote, “No amount of experimentation can prove me right, but a single experiment could prove me wrong”. That works well in the physical sciences, and I know that Eddy always demands empirical proof.

    With the softer sciences however, I am prepared to accept that it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to obtain empirical proof from experimentation, so another approach is required.

    If I understand it correctly, the post-normal approach is to derive one or more consensus views that adequately explain all of the evidence currently at hand, and then search for additional evidence that will either support or negate each of the views, eventually leaving a single consensus view.

    This view becomes the “accepted wisdom” until such time as somebody comes along with new evidence that negates the current view, forcing the creation of a new consensus that can accommodate the new evidence. Ad infinitum.

    The role of the sceptics in this process, of course, is to actively seek evidence that will topple the current status quo, thus helping the science to develop and progress.

    There is no proof in this process, but the level of understanding tends towards “a conclusion”, in a somewhat logarithmic fashion.

    The problems with climate science are a) the process is used back to front: i.e. there was an existing “conclusion”; b) there was only ever one serious consensus view; c) extrinsic evidence that did not support the consensus (cloud formation) was ignored; d) intrinsic data that did not support the consensus (colder sites) were manipulated; and e) the role of the sceptics – who are actually integral to driving the pursuit of knowledge – were not only ignored, but actively attacked and vilified.

    What I describe above (apart from the final paragraph) is an analysis approach used by many police and intelligence organisations. It was purportedly first proposed by Sir Frances Walsingham around 1560. Sir Frances was Spymaster and Advisor to Queen Elizabeth I of England. It is not new!


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    David Cooke

    There’s currently a lot of discussion (even within state government departments) on a perceived need to promote science and develop science-based policy. This usually centres on maintaining or regaining the ‘credibility’ and ‘authority’ of science, but glosses over the need for probity in science. One might point out that if scientists were transparently honest, we would gain credibility as a matter of course.


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    MadJak

    David@17,

    Interesting, however, I think the decks need to be cleared of the scientific hacks first, otherwise joe sixpack simply will not listen, IMHO.

    Too much advocacy and politics has been rammed towards Joe sixpack over the years and packaged up as being “Settled” science.


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    Binny

    I’ve said this before. The current situation reminds me of the way the Churchs attempted to deal with paedophile priests. They tried to deny and cover-up the sins of the priests in a mistaken effort to protect the reputation of the Church. In a lot of ways the resulting collapse of faith in the Churchs. Has boosted the Enviro religions and resulted in the cult of AGW.


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    John Sayers

    I think the problem is that they are not exposed to the information we read all the time on the sceptic blogs. Like the recent release of Steve McIntyre’s paper destroying Briffa, Jones and Mann and explaining the true meaning of hide the decline.. Try and tell them about it and their eyes glaze over and they deny it exists, I had one guy suggest I let him know when McIntyre finally produces some science and Dr Spencer was just a blogger!

    They still believe An Inconvenient truth – they accept hurricanes are increasing, sea levels are rising etc – just like that Greenpeace lady Monckton exposed at Copenhagen. And whilst we have journalists and academics like Tony Jones and Clive Hamilton we are done for. There’s no hope of getting through to joe sixpack. Just today I was listening to some academic tell farmers on the country hour that they will have to change their farming practices because of global climate change. Fortunately all the farmers in my neck of the woods are all mad crazy sceptics. :)


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    Roy Hogue

    Rereke,

    Those two statements are not meant to stand together. They were separate thoughts. However they both stem from my wondering if a proof in an absolute and objective sense is possible here. I’ll give you an example, not perfect but all I can think of at the moment: it’s not possible to look at any given case of lung cancer and be sure what caused it but when the correlation between active smoking and lung cancer in smokers gets as strong as it is we accept that the case is proven. I threw that in without a lot of thought — that kind of statistical correlation may not be possible here. I’m not sure. On the other one: The AGW crowd has stated specific evidence that would be present if CO2 was doing any significant warming. Joanne has done a considerable expose on it in The Skeptics Handbook. And I believe that skeptics themselves have agreed that it would be so. Yet the warmers cannot find that evidence and have contorted themselves every which way trying to show that their hotspot is there but can’t do it. Now I think that this would be strong enough evidence if it could be found that it would justify supporting more research on the subject. Instead we get nothing but the usual people pointing out papers offering proof by authority and worse. And that’s all there is behind what I said.

    Also as I said, if I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me and if you think I’m wrong you are hereby invited to do so. I come here as much to learn as for any other reason.

    Now you say and I want to comment to find out what you think:

    The role of the sceptics in this process, of course, is to actively seek evidence that will topple the current status quo, thus helping the science to develop and progress.

    There is no proof in this process, but the level of understanding tends towards “a conclusion”, in a somewhat logarithmic fashion.

    Is not looking for evidence to shoot down a negative the same thing as trying to disprove it, which we know we can’t do? I see people pointing out flaws in the AGW cause left and right. Is this the same thing you’re talking about?


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    Bernd Felsche

    A quick search for “Anna-Maria Arabia” comes up with:
    Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

    The new Executive Director of FASTS will be Anna-Maria Arabia.
    Anna-Maria is currently infrastructure advisor to Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. She also worked for some years as an advisor for Kim Beazley and Anthony Albanese when Labor were in opposition.

    Previous to her work in politics, she was an assistant director in the Department for Health and Ageing; a research officer in the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; and a Project co-ordinator at the Embassy of Italy.

    Her academic background is in science, with a focus in pharmacology and neuroscience and was a doctoral candidate at Melbourne and Baker MRI.

    In addition, FASTS appears to be a political lobby, puporting to represent 60,000 members.
    It’s a trade union by another name.


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    pat

    jo, if u r doing something for abc, PLEASE demand that all media only refer to ‘man-made global warming’ or ‘man-made climate change’.

    since AGW segued into the generic ‘climate change’, it is RARE to hear anyone in the media preface it with ‘anthropogenic’ or ‘man-made’.

    this has to be the starting point. one hears and reads daily that sceptics don’t believe in/deny ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’. it is so utterly dishonest. i cannot understand how the MSM has been allowed to to get away with it, without the scientific associations complaining!

    as you know, there are even sceptics who believe in AGW to varying degrees, but not to the prescriptions.

    being called a ‘denier’ is simply a symptom of a greater wrong, and the MSM must be called out on this, and be forced to add ‘man-made’ every time they bring up the subject.

    meanwhile, u can’t watch bbc’s ‘click’ or ‘fast track’ or most other progs, cos somehow the next thing u know they’re off on a ‘climate change’ tack. ABC is just as bad and, altho ‘new dimensions’ seems to have ended on Radio National, last nite there was some fellow going on and on and on about the himalayan glaciers completely melting by the end of the century blah blah. turn on ‘landline’ or any number of other programs and the story is the same.

    the moment i hear anyone in the media use generic terms, i switch off.


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    MadJak

    ==>> Pat <<== what he said.

    I cringe when people talk about denying climate change. It's a contradiction in terms and has obviously been devised to deride us and lower the conversation to a level where clive hamilton is more comfortable talking about it.

    ;)


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  • #

    Rereke Whaakaro:
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:47 am

    “…and I know that Eddy always demands empirical proof.”

    Yes I do. I like to keep things simple. Since there is no empirical proof of AGW all I need to do is deal with the fallacies that fly from the foaming mouths of trolls who can’t provide that which is nonexistent. How could they provide proof? Would they duplicate the Earth and do a double blind study?


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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    Roy Hogue: #21

    Roy,

    I suspected that I might be in trouble – sorry.

    Is not looking for evidence to shoot down a negative the same thing as trying to disprove it

    Not exactly. The process I am describing (which I believe is the process that should be being used, but isn’t) does not have any absolute proof, nor does it have any disproof, at least not as binary alternatives.

    What you have is a “most likely” scenario (or hypothesis if you wear a lab coat). I come along with some evidence that does not fit, which forces you to revisit and revise your understanding to accommodate the new evidence. So I am not trying to disprove what you have already done, I am just demonstrating that there is something that you don’t know, or there may be some assumptions you have made that may not be valid.

    Of course, you might be able to demonstrate that my new evidence is erroneous, and is therefore immaterial, and that happens. But what you should not do is to reject the evidence out of hand, neither should you attack me for presenting it in the first place.

    If you want an example from established science, think of evolution.

    The AGW crowd has stated specific evidence that would be present if CO2 was doing any significant warming. Joanne has done a considerable expose on it in The Skeptics Handbook. And I believe that skeptics themselves have agreed that it would be so. Yet the warmers cannot find that evidence and have contorted themselves every which way trying to show that their hotspot is there but can’t do it.

    And this is where they are corrupting the process. They can’t have it both ways.

    If I make a prediction based on the current hypothesis and the results are correct, then the hypothesis is supported. But if the results of the prediction are false, then the hypothesis is not supported and needs to be reworked. But that is precisely what they do not do. Instead they ignore it and call people names.

    The issue is that policy makers have used an earlier iteration of the hypothesis and in so doing have cast it in concrete. Decisions have been made, reputations are on the line, and nobody wants to make a U-turn.

    In a way, I feel sorry for the scientists. They are not stupid people, they know their science still contains gaping holes – we point them out all of the time – but they might just be powerless to do anything about it because their masters forbid it.
    .


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  • #
    pat

    the kind of ammunition that the public needs:

    1 March: UK Times: Ben Webster: Green fuels cause more harm than fossil fuels, according to report
    Using fossil fuel in vehicles is better for the environment than so-called green fuels made from crops, according to a government study seen by The Times…
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7044708.ece

    26 Feb: WaPo: Sunil Sharan: The green jobs myth
    For the purpose of creating jobs, then, a “clean-energy economy” will not offer a panacea. This does not necessarily mean that America should not become green to alleviate climate change, to kick its addiction to foreign oil or to use energy sources more efficiently. But those who take great pains to tout the “job-creation potential” of the green space might just end up inducing labor pains all around.
    (The writer, a director of the Smart Grid Initiative at GE from 2008 to 2009, has worked in the clean-energy industry for a decade)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022503945.html


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    Sandy

    After working in the Science field for 40yrs,nothing about scientists attitudes surprises me in the least. I have found most to be totally self opiniated..bordering on God,have NO commonsense or management skills..total tunnel vision(me…me…and me)They are obsessed with proving they are one up in the competition with their fellow Scientists,and society owes them a living with unlimited funding.
    I agree with Roy #1 it is now all about $$$$$ and how much funding that it attracts.
    The quality of the work is secondary.
    I am very critical of Universities (all $$ driven today..forget the quality and standards)
    I’m really sick of todays new graduate attitudes steming from this.
    They come into the workforce with “inflated egoes” and expect to be “head of the dept” without even the hint of “sweeping the floor or understanding the working fundamentals of the company,hospital etc they have been lucky enough to be employed in.
    The Universities must take the full blame for this.
    Another blantant problem is the theory taught.. a hugh percentage does not work out in practical terms.
    This is evident in more than just Science related careers….Trade graduates are a total
    menace..as many employers or experienced people find they are now wasting their workhours convincing graduates WHY a particular direction mode in workpractise is impossible or will fail. Costing the employer more time and money.
    There needs to be a total overhaul in scientific and training pathways..they have lost direction ..and unfortunately I dont see the problem being solved overnight due to profit seeking Universities.
    Rudds Education Revolution makes me cringe even more.!!


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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    Eddy Aruda: #25

    How could they provide proof? Would they duplicate the Earth and do a double blind study?

    I thought they had. Wasn’t that were Venus came from? :-)


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  • #
    Speedy

    Madjak

    Great post – and thanks for wading into the Clivites last week. Love your work. I couldn’t get time away from work to have more than a couple of digs…

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    Speedy

    Sandy

    In theory, everything works in theory. But in practice, it doesn’t.

    AGW operates on a tokenism that makes their actions (“use one piece of toilet paper”) subjectively important but objectively meaningless. In theory, reducing toilet paper consumption will make a difference, but in reality all it results in is a smelly bottom.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    Speedy

    Eddy

    We don’t need a second earth to falsify AGW. If we have James Hansen telling us a runaway greenhouse occurs when CO2 exceeds 460 ppm (or 480, whatever) and we have paleoclimate records showing CO2 levels greater than 1000 ppm in the middle of ice ages, then even a stupid man like me can see that CO2 is not a major driver of climate. God save us from clever people!

    I am a simple man, and Occam’s razor is my weapon of choice.

    Reminds me of another quote:

    “When you wish to produce a result by means of an instrument do not allow yourself to complicate it by introducing many subsidiary parts but follow the briefest way possible, and do not act as those who, when they do not know how to express a thing in its own proper vocabulary, proceed by a method of circumlocation and with great prolixity and confusion.” (Leonardo da Vinci, Codes Atlanticus, f. 206 v-a [550 v] c 1497.)

    Leonardo could well have been offering advice to the IPCC – or maybe our own beloved Kevin Rudd!

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    @ Speedy

    When you say “our” Kevin Rudd I assume you are addressing your fellow Aussies. It could be worse, you could have Barack Obama. Perhaps we can do a trade: Obama for Rudd and a draft choice to be named at a later date. “..a stupid man…” No way Speedy, you’re pretty quick! If there are any flies on you they are paying rent! You are correct in that we don’t need a second Earth to falsify the AGW scam. Seriously, how is it possible to prove the theory of AGW correct? What method could you possibly use?

    Rereke Whaakaro

    Good point about Venus. Al “The Center of the Earth is millions of degrees” Gore compares Earth to Venus to “prove” that the AGW theory is true. What that Green Carpetbagger fails to mention is that the atmosphere of Venus is over 90 times denser than the Earth’s atmosphere. That is the reason it is hotter. Also, the Venusian atmosphere is practically void of water so no positive feedback is possible. The Ponzi scheme was named after its inventor, Dr. Ponzi. I wonder, in the future will scientific frauds hatched to bilk taxpayers be called a Gore scheme?


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    Baa Humbug

    Eddy Roy Rereke Speedy et al

    Some recent reading has cleared my mind. In regards to proving/disproving AGW, Inspector Harry Hu of Get Smart fame said it best….”Two possibilities Mr Smart”.

    1-) Agw does not do predictions, hence it is not a scientific theory.

    IPCC AR4 Frontmatter pp vii Scope of the Report.

    “In considering future projections of climate change, this report
    follows decisions made by the Panel during the AR4 scoping and
    approval process to use emission scenarios that have been previously
    assessed by the IPCC for consistency across the three Working Groups”.

    Chapter 10 of AR4 is titled ‘Global Climate Projections’ and chapter 11 is titled ‘Regional Climate Projections’.
    Hence in the truest sense, what we have here is NOT A SCIENTIFIC THEORY.
    Of course alarmists will dispute this and say that IT IS SCIENCE. If that is so, then we must throw out all this “projection” nonsense and assume that AGW does indeed make predictions, hence….

    2-) AGW is a scientific theory and as such it must make specific predictions that permit the theory to be falsified.

    We can go from all the way back to James Hansens infamous testimony in 1988 with his predicted temperature charts to the most recent IPCC AR4 predictions to find that none of them have come true. Do I need to quote Trenberth-Travesty?
    Sea levels? false
    Hurricanes? false
    Polar Bears? false
    (Insert your favourite here)? false

    So Mr Smart, we can see that either AGW is not a scientific theory at all, in which case it should be consigned to the ranks of fortunetellers in travelling gypsy caravans.
    Or if we accept that AGW is a scientific theory, mother nature has proven the theory false. No need for skeptical human intervention Mr Smart.

    Why thats amazing Mr Hu, I got to tell the chief, “hey chief, bring down the cone of silence, this is amazing.”


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    @ Baa Humbug

    So, has Al Gore been hiding in the cone of silence? If he is I hope he stays there!


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    Speedy

    Eddy

    Yes, “our” Australian (damn and blast) Kevin Rudd. But you can have him…

    Tell you what. You can have Kevin, Penny and we’ll throw in a set of steak knives and a box of cane toads. It doesn’t get better than that! Unfortunately however, your most generous offer re. Mr. Obama is regretfully refused…

    I should, however, correct you on one item you mentioned. I sincerely believe that Global Warming exists. We have evidence from physics to show that CO2 absorbs infra-red radiation at a wavelength of about 14.5 microns – energy that, by rights, would otherwise be lost to outer space. If that energy is trapped in the atmosphere, then the earth will get warmer. However – the AMOUNT of extra warming due to higher than current CO2 concentrations, is, as we say in Australia, two thirds of three eights of sweet bugger all. There is only a limited amount of radiation at 14.5 microns reflected from the earth’s surface, and once that’s been (practically) absorbed to extinction, adding more CO2 has no measurable effect. So yes, global warming exists in theory – it’s just that we’ve got a really really hard time trying to measure it’s effect amongst all the background noise in the data and dampening feedbacks. (Gets off soapbox, takes good manners pill)… Sorry about that – I’ve been reading Clive Hamilton again and it’s given me palpitations…

    The most sinister thing about global warming advocates is not that they tell lies – it’s that they tell a good deal less than half the truth. By telling Joe Public that CO2 is a heating the atmosphere – but failing to inform Joe Public that the degree of heating is insignificant – the advocates are engaging in deception.

    To me, their brand of conscious and calculated deception is tantmount to evil – especially when uttered in the name of science.

    Best Wishes,

    Speedy


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    A little OT but fascinating! I have said before that if you use only rural data stations the warming disappears. The claims made in the following link need to be verified but if validated will really anger the average citizen because it is so simple to grasp http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/02/ncdc-urbangate-how-urban-crap-was.html.


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    Speedy

    Dear Mr. Humbug

    The global warming advocates are lucky in that they have a very “dynamic” understanding of what science is – they even think they can vote on it! So they have no problems resolving the paradox you have identified – because they are not constrained by the bounds of rational thinking! We don’t seem to enjoy this privilege…

    If they were constrained by logic, how could global warming advocates resolve the outlandish predictions (projections, sorry) by the IPCC, James Hansen, Al Gore etc against the physical evidence around us that demonstrates how stable our climate is – at least for the duration of this current interglacial!

    A logical review of the science would lead one to be concerned by the challenge of global cooling. Firstly, it’s the cold that kills people. Secondly, our next ice age is about due. On the bright side, we can say that Global Warming won’t be a problem in the future.

    I’ll leave you on that happy note…

    Regards,

    Speedy


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    Tel

    There’s currently a lot of discussion (even within state government departments) on a perceived need to promote science and develop science-based policy. This usually centres on maintaining or regaining the ‘credibility’ and ‘authority’ of science, but glosses over the need for probity in science. One might point out that if scientists were transparently honest, we would gain credibility as a matter of course.

    You miss the point that when governments say “science-based policy” what they actually mean is borrowing the public acceptance of science and using that to make their own pre-conceived ideas sound a bit more authoritative. Everything is a lever to be pulled for these guys, or a cow to be milked. At no stage do they start thinking about revising their own decision making process.


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    @ Speedy

    I agree with you. I do not believe that humans can have anything but a trivial effect on climate by emitting CO2 because CO2 is already absorbing almost as much IR as it can. I thought Jo’s recent article on the subject was succinct and to the point.


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    Speedy

    Eddy

    We’re in violent agreement again, it’s just that I like to emphasise the difference between denying something exists and denying something is significant. And if someone wants call me a “denier”, then all I do is put myself in the shoes of Maximillian Kolbe (concentration camp priest and saint) and quietly tell them what I do and don’t believe, and why. The beauty of this approach is that I then have the right to ask them for correction. Very similar to Jo’s handbook, it puts the onus back on them to provide the proof – and they never do!

    That post at # 37 was very disturbing and maybe Jo can post it here. If it is verified, can you think of a rational reason why anyone would need to adjust rural ground temperature readings to comply with UHI-affected readings? It’s like something out of the BBC’s “Yes, Prime Minister”!

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    Speedy

    Eddy

    And getting back on thread (eventually), the link in your #37 is an excellent example of something that is not good for the name of science. What to do?

    Option 1. Fix up the science.
    Option 2. Hose down the press release and hire some PR people.

    The scientists will want to follow Option 1, the politicians and administrators will go with Option 2. Who do you think is in charge?

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    MadJak

    I think it’s very clear that the hard core other team are digging their heels in and setting up their defences. KRudd has nailed himself to the ETS. Barry is similarly committed (and doesn’t appear to care if he doesn’t get re-elected).

    So what are the chances of the various reviews not becoming whitewashes? What will happen, do you think if they do turn out to be whitewashes? I get the impression that everyone except the unstable characters in the other camp are waiting for the whitewash reports to be released. Obviously they have no new powder to use until then.

    Obviously, the truly democratic nature of the blogosphere – on the very internet al gore invented – has been the major influence to getting some exposure of the issue, but what next?

    And more to the point, what can be done to get the real story of climategate into the mainstream mindset before the whitewashes are released – or alternatively to support any of the reports that happen to not be a whitewash?

    Can we call on Exxon to finally step up to the plate and do some mainstream advertising? Oh, that’s right, they’re probably funding the warmist camp to cash in on the scam like the rest of big business.

    O/T from here…

    Speedy@30:
    Thanks for that. Was it just me that picked up that in the comments for clives rant entitled “Who’s defending science”, that the sceptics were doing all the defending of the scientists as the Scientologists tried every stunt clive was complaining about to call the said scientists kooks and deniers etc?

    It was a lot of fun, but time consuming waiting for the ABC comments thing to come up….


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    John Sayers

    I received an email from an old engineer from Sydney who was interested in the files of Torok’s Aussie temp adjustments that I had found. He investigated them and reversed the adjustments to the max and the minimum that Torok had performed.

    This is the result.

    http://users.tpg.com.au/johnsay1/Stuff/greg.jpg

    as you can see the warming is in the minimum temps as you would expect due to UHI effects in the evening.

    In fact this is what Dr Torok had to say about the UHI effect.

    http://reg.bom.gov.au/amm/docs/2001/torok_hres.pdf – Note he works for the Tyndale Centre at UEA.


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    Bruce

    What’s Happening at the ABC??

    Are the ABC really going to give sceptics a say??

    See comment at the bottom of this post.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/26/2831623.htm?site=thedrum


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    Willis Eschenbach has a nice new post at WUWT which sets bounds on climate sensitivity. Pity there’s been few commonsense rough estimates of this before although one of the Idso’s has done this and Willis’s numbers are in the same range.

    Roy Hogue: “I’ve long believed that sooner or later every organization starts to serve itself instead of the purpose for which it was founded. I think clearly academia has gone a long way in this direction.”

    This is known as Pournelle’s Iron Law


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    Louis Hissink

    Henry Bauer has written a thoughtful post http://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/scientists-as-idiots-savants-science-studies-200/ – It might help explain the problem that is climate science.


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    ANGRY

    SUBJECT: BRAINWASHING OF SCHOOL CHILDREN BY CHAIRMAN RUDD !!

    SUBJECT: Climate, Sorry Day in curriculum overhaul

    This is UNBELIEVABLE!
    Brainwashing school children about Australian History and about this global warming HOAX.

    This Chairman rudd is truely evil!

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26790746-5003402,00.html

    THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED!!!!


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    ANGRY: #48

    Professor Goodrum said global warming would be raised and investigated.

    Perhaps they will raise and investigate it as an historical example of how a few misguided people, backed by a gullible media, can scare an unsuspecting population witless … or perhaps not.


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    Baa Humbug

    Bruce:
    March 1st, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    The first of the drumline skeptical series is by Alan Moran and is up now


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    Bruce

    Hi Baa Humbug,

    Thanks for the link @ post 50. I read Alan Moran’s piece & thought it was well written and balanced. There seemed to be about equal numbers of comments supporting Alan’s view as opposing it.

    However, I think that the fact that the ABC is allowing this sort of debate is a really positive development.


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    Bush Bunny

    Before I sign off for the night, Have you read the latest findings of Dr Pachauri and his influence with TERI Europe, with
    Sir John Houghton, a fellow trustee, etc. And his so called conflict of Interest as reported in the Indian press?

    When Lord Monckton was criticised on ABC Media watch, TERI Europe went into denial and defensive over reports of them not declaring their true income and DR P’s income to the Charity Commissions UK. Well when the Media Watch replied to Lord M’s accusations and that Sir John was contacted and he denied he was ever a trustee of TERI Europe. I Googled TERI’s Trustees and there he was on top of the List as a Trustee! Now when you Google it NOW he’s there still but down graded to an Adviser, wish I had saved the original on my disc. If I remember rightly Dr P was not mentioned. However having Sir John as a good Christian (?) as a Trustee might have given them some credibility. Something stinks eh?


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    Baa Humbug

    I’m having so much fun at the ABC Drumline site. Alarmist after alarmist I reply with “show me the empirical evidence CO2 is causing runaway warming”

    I think i may be labelled a TROLL. Good god no, a troll? me? hehe hehe hehe


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    Roy Hogue

    I suspected that I might be in trouble – sorry.

    Rereke,

    You’re certainly not in any trouble with me. If I’ve said something anyone thinks is not right I’d rather have it corrected than let the mistake get a free pass.

    Is not looking for evidence to shoot down a negative the same thing as trying to disprove it

    Not exactly. The process I am describing (which I believe is the process that should be being used, but isn’t) does not have any absolute proof, nor does it have any disproof, at least not as binary alternatives.

    I understand your point now that you’ve explained it.

    And now I must get to work.


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    Frank Brown

    I read the article and comments on the ABC Drumline site…good grief! Now AGW caused the Haite and Chile earthquakes, aparently they “heat up the plates”. Good luck with these guys JN.


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    Rainbow

    Skeptic or Sceptic ?


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    Bush bunny

    Rainbow! Skeptic is the US version. Sceptic English.
    Like favour – favor and other words, that I find annoying sometimes when my puter spits out I have spelt things wrong, as it’s been programmed to be favoured towards American spellings like nite and night.

    But the word means the same in any English based language that
    the Americans converted (fair enough) to their use in some spellings of words. Others color or colour.

    Dictionary explanation: sceptic US skeptic – One who instinctively or having habitual doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.

    Like for example – CO2 emissions are the cause from human activity to create climate change that can cause human extinction. LOL LOL LOL


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    Roy Hogue

    But the word means the same in any English based language that
    the Americans converted (fair enough) to their use in some spellings of words. Others color or colour.

    Bush Bunny,

    May I very respectfully and politely disagree a bit with that statement that Americans “converted” anything?

    When the original 13 colonies that ultimately became the United States were first settled it was by immigrants from England. And they spoke exactly the same language at that time. Over the years since then the language has changed on both sides of the Atlantic. In a time when there was no easy communication from one side of the “pond” — as the Brits are fond of saying — to the other, it’s no surprise that various spellings and other things came out differently.

    Our Constitution in its original King’s English was once available along with it’s translation into modern U.S. English on the Supreme Court web site. After growing up with modern English it was a bit of a shock to see how different the English of our founders really was. Unfortunately when the National Archives took over the responsibility only the modern version is posted.

    I remember reading somewhere that England and the U.S. were the only two nations to be divided by a common language. It was tongue-in-cheek of course, but a bit of truth in it too.

    Rest assured: Americans know that Aussies and Brits are staunch allies and friends regardless of language differences.

    Roy


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Louis Hissink: #53
    Lionell Griffith: #62

    Good morning.

    Firstly, Louis, I have not previously acknowledged your comment in post #16: my apologies.

    This discussion has been interesting, and useful for me. Thank you.

    I think the debate is around the semantic meaning we place on the word “truth”.

    I totally accept the mathematical concept of truth (my early professional training was in communications engineering).

    But my understanding is that, in the physical sciences, “truth” is always provisional, depending on future research. Newton/Einstein, et cetera, and on the accuracy with which it can be determined. “Truth” then becomes defined as what is currently understood, or what is currently accepted by the scientific community. It is not absolute, as in the mathematical sense.

    The social sciences “truth” is even more tenuous because it is often dependent upon extrinsic factors that may or may not be apparent in all circumstances.

    In a geopolitical/military context, “truth” is yet more tenuous because it is often hidden by falsehoods, masquerading as “the truth”.

    As truth becomes less definable, the methods for determining “the truth” become less rigourous. You cannot mount a controlled double-blind experiment on a political philosophy, for example.

    The process I have described in previous threads is, I think, applicable certainly to the last two of the above classifications (that is not the right word, but I can think of no other). I also contend that it may be applicable to the physical sciences in areas where we are totally reliant on observations, rather than experimentation. Some areas of volcanology comes to mind, as an example.

    Climatology is another contender, because although it is based in the laws of physics, the complex relationships and physical scale involved are not amenable to experimentation. And, in the specific case of CAGW, climatology is currently sitting firmly in the geopolitical realm.

    It is my observation that the people involved in providing scientific input to the IPCC reports may have misused science in attempting to meet imposed deadlines. There are certainly multiple agendas’ involved – some of which are being discussed in the blogosphere, and some of which are not.

    And although you may find the idea offensive, it appears that multiple versions of “the truth” are on offer. I would just like to know which one, of the many, is the most probable.


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Roy Hogue: #58

    Hello Roy,

    It was Webster wot dun it y’er honor. (please note American spelling of honour).

    Webster codified American English from the then polyglot “english” spoken by immigrants from England, Ireland, France … It is my understanding that the current American English spellings are very close to being a snapshot of the language at that time (with new words added, of course). The American spelling is much easier to learn than the current UK English spelling. UK English has lots of “exceptions to the rule”.

    UK English continued to absorb words and spellings from other languages, as it has always done. This is why there are twenty different ways to say something in English, with none of them being precisely what you want to say.

    It was Winston Churchill that described the USA and the UK as being, “… two great nations, divided by a common language.”


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    Rereke Whaakaro: I think the debate is around the semantic meaning we place on the word “truth”.

    If that is the case, then we have a prior issue: the meaning of “to mean”. If “to mean” means only referring the foggy, approximate, subjective, mushy, intention we kind of feel, then meaning and truth have no content that can be used in rational thought or communication. That is nothing beyond the once common plea “you know” that littered the speech of the unfocused.

    The context of this blog is Science. The subject matter of science is that which exists: its substance, its attributes and its behavior. Such things are external to one’s internal intent, feeling, or conception. Truth, in this context MEANS that relationship of the content of one’s mind that corresponds with what is actually the case in that external reality.

    Why is this view important? We are alive. To stay alive we must take action. Those actions must be consistent with what we are, our relationship with reality, and reality itself or we will soon not be alive. This is a fundamental truth no matter what you think of it, need it to be otherwise, nor how useful it would be for you for it to be otherwise.

    The net of the above is everything that exists, including ourselves has an identity. That identity is not separate from the existence, it is the expression of that existence.

    Entities can act and react only consistent with their identities. They cannot mystically change to what aren’t and can’t be nor act according to what they are not. This is why, once we know the truth, we *KNOW* the truth. It may not be easy but it is possible.


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    ANGRY

    Here is where Al Gore FALSELY claimed to have invented the internet:-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpxtKcLSFWw

    This is the TRUTH:-

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_invented_the_Internet


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    Roy Hogue

    Rereke,

    Webster eh? Now maybe I know who to blame for all the exceptions to the rules. We have them by the barrel full. I hated English courses.


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    Roy Hogue

    Rereke,

    It’s my understanding that there were essentially two forms of English for a long time, High and Low. High English was spoken by the gentry and Low by the common man. Eventually the High English was abandoned in favor of the Low because of its greater simplicity, not so flowery, etc. So on thinking about it, most who came to this country were from the common man on the street back home and already spoke the language that Webster redefined. When Webster published his first work in 1806 (I looked it up) that was what he knew and had to work with.

    I owe you one because even though I had known about the High and Low forms of English from a long time back I didn’t think about it. Thing most wanted always buried the deepest I guess.

    So thanks for the info.


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    Lawrie

    Sorry if this has already been reported elsewhere but some really good real news. The giant Peabody mining company has issued a writ against the US EPA over it’s endangerment finding (CO2 is a pollutant) and emissions are to be controlled. It was always going to take a private company to find the truth in court rather than the soft enquiries Jones and Mann have had to face so far. Since some people might be exposed as frauds during the course of this trial jail time may well be the ultimate prize. Watch out for rats leaving sinking ships because I’m sure Peabody will have little trouble finding experts who question AGW. Truth be known they already have them. You don’t take on a Government agency unless you are sure of the outcome.

    The full write up is at http://www.climategate.com/worlds-biggest-coal-company-brings-us-government-to-court-in-climate-fraud


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Lionell Griffith: #61

    Well Lionell, I don’t want to chop logic with you.

    I understand that the context of this blog is Science. More specifically, the context of this blog is about accessible Science. You have to cut some slack in the use of language on an accessible site.

    I am sure that what you say regarding the finite and indisputable definitions of “Truth”, “Meaning”, “Life”, “the Universe”, and “Everything”, are totally correct and “Nice”(1).

    But down here in the trenches, we are trying to apply science to make some sense out of the multiple versions of “the truth”(2) that are on offer, as I said before.

    ———————
    (1) See this reference for why I use this word here.
    (2) Please note the use of quotation marks. My previous post also made this distinction.


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Roy Hogue: #64

    You don’t owe me anything Roy, we are even. I had not made the connection between high and low English and the differences in spelling.

    That makes a lot of sense.

    It was the English “upper class” who introduced a lot of French words into the language (both polite, and not so polite), and consequently introduced French spelling styles like the “OU” in “colour”. But of course, the “upper classes” would have no reason to give up what they had to go somewhere “uncivilised”.

    Nice one.


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    Bruce

    Hi Lawrie @ #65.

    Really great news.

    I suspect Lisa Jackson might “retire” soon!

    See link below:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/no_legal_option.pdf


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    toby

    Yeah! Go for it! What has science ever done for us anyway?

    We need more down-to-earth, commonsense people who know how to shear a sheep, play footie, drink beer and believe everything they read in the Australian.

    Scientists? Dammed elitists!


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    Baa Humbug

    toby:
    March 4th, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Yeah! Go for it! What has science ever done for us anyway?

    Toby, if you link to or identify who or what you’re commenting about, we can make better sense of it.


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    Bush bunny

    Lawrie thanks for that that is an advance. I’m sure they won’t be alone, and the CCT traders will be having kittens.

    O’T Well I can understand different spelling between US and UK or Australia etc., but that comes from accents before people were articulate. Especially in UK. I find thick Southern Irish, or some border people around the lakes in UK, quite hard to understand sometimes, if they speak quickly. Same as Southern Americans. And they are all speaking an internationally known language. Just there accents
    change the sound of some words. Anyway I am using the libraries computer so must get off, back again tomorrow. Keep the good work up.


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    Brian G Valentine

    These “scientific” associations generally derive their “policy” from a handful of Pinkos on their governance boards; they do this to ingratiate themselves with leftist Governments and generally do not reflect the majority views of their Membership, as far as I can see.

    In most cases association management will just hand membership their “policy” – so that their contribution to “going green” remains somehow “relevant.”

    It won’t last long.


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    Bush bunny

    I learned from the Honest Climate Debate site, 5th March BBC
    News, the UK Met Office will no longer be issuing long term
    weather forecasts (They got wrapped on the knuckles over suggesting it would be a mild winter NOT! And for the last 3 summers it has been wet…not the BBQ summers they predicted.

    They would only be delivering forecasts one month in advance as
    longer term ones are not reliable?


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    Lawrie

    Bush Bunny

    Seasonal forecasts beyond their ability but 100 years hence, highly accurate. Seems our people at BOM studied at the same school. Worst fire season ever in 2009-10 but NO. Continuing El Nino so the worst drought in (recent?) history to continue unabated. St. George still flooded. Oh they are so accurate and reliable. The guy from New Zealand who forecasts according to among other things the various solar cycles is far more accurate and costs next to nothing.


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    Bush bunny

    ESL: Jo I think you have a spammer here. There’s another similar one with a different named author
    from Manilla.


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    Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I\’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I\’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I\’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for newbie blog writers? I\’d certainly appreciate it.


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