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Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal? As if.

Photo: Guardian

Fred Pearce from New Scientist thinks that there was a real meeting between climate skeptics and “scientists” last week in Lisbon, but therein lies the problem right from the start. The climate skeptics are the scientists, and in the end, hardly anyone else turned up. The unskeptical “scientists” who lose data, hide results, and break laws of reason, not surprisingly, ran a mile from a face to face meeting with the likes of  Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrickSteve Mosher,  Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Peter Webster. Gavin Schmidt is not stupid, he knows he can’t win, and that there is no middle ground. He has little to gain from attending a meeting like the one held in Lisbon Portugal last week.

The meeting was the brainchild of University of Oxford science philosopher Jerry Ravetz, an 81-year-old Greenpeace member who fears Al Gore may have done as much damage to environmentalism as Joseph Stalin did to socialism. Post-Climategate, he found climate science characterised by “a poisoned atmosphere” in which “each side accuses the other of being corrupt”. Mainstream researchers were labelled “ideologues on the gravy train”, while sceptics were denigrated as “prostitutes and cranks”.

As I keep saying, Climategate is a virus that will not go away. It shocked environmental journalists, earned them dark looks from editors and everyone else in the office, and now we see that a greenpeace member obviously didn’t find all the whitewash committee declarations convincing. But note how far we have come, what a turnaround for Pearce — here’s a former petty-name-caller, now calling skeptics, “skeptics” instead of the usual insult and suggesting they were denigrated. Not long back, he was one of the ones leading the denigrating. Did he think no one would notice?

Here’s Pearce — mid 2008:

In any case, we can expect the deniers to make the most of this opportunity to pour cold water on the whole climate change narrative.

And back then we can see “Pearce-the-journo” knew more about the climate than say, Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT. It was all so simple eh?

Physicists have known for 200 years about greenhouse gases. They first calculated the likely global effect 100 years ago. They have been measuring the accumulation of these gases for 60 years. The world has been warming strongly for 30 years, and nobody has come up with a half-way plausible explanation other than the most obvious. It’s the greenhouse gases, stupid.

Pearce still sees the world through his “greenhouse” mirror–and so he reports things back-to-front:

His [Ravetz] dream of an instant rapprochement in Lisbon didn’t come off. The eventual make-up of the workshop, paid for by the European Commission, was too lopsided in favour of the sceptical camp.

Lopsided in “favour” of skeptics?  That’s a funny way to describe a meeting where the other team was invited, but was too scared to turn up. Nothing is more important than climate change, right, but for the most part, the volunteers made the time to come unpaid, and the paid hacks found excuses to stay away.

One day Pearce will realize that the skeptics almost universally have little financial vested interest, and that this is the largest whistleblowing groundswell of scientists ever, and he’s not only missed the biggest science communication news in decades, but he’s been actively working against science for years.

Leaving out the cranks, what’s to be resolved? Few at the meeting doubted that climate change was a real issue that the world had to address, but they said the science had been corrupted.

Try figuring out what that means. Pearce still thinks of real skeptics as “cranks”, but then somehow also thinks that they would say something as meaningless as” climate change is a real issue”… Now most of those present were skeptics, and either skeptics are cranks, or they are “sensible” (but “sensible” according to Pearce also makes them not so skeptical) so which is it?

Poor Freds very un-impartial observer status colours his view at every step. Skeptics could raise points that cut to the core of how modern science works, but Pearce sees it all through the eyes of someone who “knows” he’s right…for him this was never a meeting of two sides of a story, but merely a chance to appease some people who disagree with “his truth”.

Much time at the meeting was taken up bitching rather than conciliating. Several complained about how hard it was to get papers published if they ran counter to climate-change orthodoxy. They agreed with von Storch that peer review was riven with conflicts of interest.

Now if Schmidt had complained he was having trouble being published, would Pearce call that “bitching”, or would that be a (!) Headline Event About Corruption in the Peer Review Process?

While his writing doesn’t tell us much about the current science of the climate, he makes a useful barometer of the current Groupthink Pressure Index, which thankfully is a lot lower than it was in 2008.

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131 comments to Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal? As if.

  • #
    BobC

    One wonders how long Pearce can continue ignoring the cognitive dissonance his position requires;

    On the one hand, he believes that climate change is the world’s biggest problem, and it’s just a matter of presenting the science to those dumb “deniers”

    On the other hand, only the skeptics will show up to discuss the science, the “real” scientists prefer to avoid answering hard questions and instead prefer to make press releases.

    Sooner or later (one hopes) he is going to realize that his working hypothesis is unable to remotely explain the behavior of the actors — but the skeptic’s position does. What will he do then?

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  • #
    John Brookes

    As I keep saying, Climategate is a virus that will not go away.

    More like Monty Python’s black knight!

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    John Brookes

    Imagine a conference to try and reconcile physicists with relativity cranks? I can tell you right now that no physicists would turn up. Relativity cranks are all sure that Einstein was wrong, but they are all sure in different ways. There would be quite enough opinions in the room without the physicists being there.

    Funny thing though, if you read enough AGW skeptics comments, then when you read a genuine relativity skeptic, it all seems so familiar. All the relativity skeptics need is an Einsteingate…

    Anyway, here are a few samples:

    ‘The Einstein Hoax’ is intended for those who have been suspicious of the premise that reality is so subtle that it can only be understood in terms of sophisticated abstract mathematics to which only the elite were privy.

    However, the deeper the author probed, the more disillusioned he became. It became more and more apparent that the effects represented were quite easily understood at the intuitive, or common sense, level and that the reason that they appeared mysterious was that those who purported to be experts did not actually understand the subject matter and that their assertions of its incomprehensibility were rationalizations to cover their own limitations. It turns out that the subject matter is readily understood by anyone with a good ability to visualize physical reality and who is familiar with Physics and Calculus at the college freshman level.

    Then, contrary to the rules of evidence which would be employed in a court of law, the academic community forced the acceptance of the idea that, since both theories had demonstrated that our absolute velocity through space could not be observed, the Aether had no significance and was not to be used as the basis for a physical theory.

    However, the politics of the scientific community was not served by crediting Fitzgerald with the conceptual breakthrough since his approach did not suit its goals. As a result, Dr. Einstein was given that honor and was eventually proclaimed a deity of the new religion while the true contributors were relegated to footnotes in textbooks.

    In due course, this material was shown to a physicist whose specialty was Special Relativity. The man’s reaction was astonishing. He did not take the intellectually reasonable although undiplomatic step of telling the author that he was an ignorant fool, instead he went into a rage and accused the author of being “dangerous heretic who must be suppressed”. (It is fortunate for the author that this isn’t the 16th century.) His violent emotional reaction was akin to that of the Muslim Ayatollah who allegedly condemned the author of the “Satanic Verses” to death. The reaction could only have come from an individual whose quasi-religious beliefs were threatened. They were not the reactions of a man who accepted Dr. Einstein’s dictum that the search for truth must take precedence over the teachings of established authority regardless of the prestige of that authority.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Einstein failed to recognize that Tensor Calculus cannot be used to derive a relativistic theory unless no mathematical error (update) is made (as discussed later) and incorrectly employed that mathematical technique in the theory’s derivation. Its use for such a purpose introduced a mathematical error of a type which, if persistently made by a student of Elementary Calculus, would result in a failing grade for the course.

    All of those observers would receive a different number! (If any reader accepts such a result as possible, the author would like to meet him. There is a bridge over New York City’s East River that he has been trying to sell for some time.)

    As a result, physicists are prevented from raising embarrassing questions either because of the lemming effect characteristic of all religions or because challenging the true faith would end their careers. Since the author is neither a lemming nor is he dependent upon the goodwill of the defenders of the true faith, he is free to challenge that faith and assert that a proper gravitational theory must yield the following results:

    [Brooksey! It's innovative the way you discuss climate science by referring to some other field. You do realize that for any possible outcome of skeptical scientist vs unskeptical scientist, there is a historical precedent to fit? Reasoning-by-irrelevant-analogy is never going to sort out if the feedbacks are positive. -- JN]

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    Mark B.

    “Mainstream researchers were labelled “ideologues on the gravy train”, while sceptics were denigrated as “prostitutes and cranks”

    Perhaps I’m reading too much into this bit- but halfway through the post it occurred to me that ‘ideologues’ is the nice way of saying ‘cranks’ and ‘on the gravy train’ is a polite euphemism for, in the sense used above, ‘prostitutes.’ The insults leveled are just precisely the same in the case of skeptics and warmists, but Pearce chose to separate the groups and rephrase the same two insults in worse terms for skeptics.

    Am I after all reading too much into this? If not, is this sympathy with our unpopularity and a difference in treatment? Or an accidental revelation of Mr. Pearce’s thoughts about skeptics? To each question, I can’t rightly say I have confidence enough to answer. Perhaps it is of no consequence, but I wonder.

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  • #
    Pooh, Dixie

    John Brookes:February 4th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    “More like Monty Python’s black knight!”

    And/Or “Dead Parrot”.

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  • #
    Orkneygal

    John Brookes-

    Here’s my theory.

    The reason the IPCC types stay away from open debate is by staying away they won’t have to explain-

    1) The missing Tropical Troposopheric Hot Spot
    2) Trenberth’s missing heat

    At least in physics there is observational data in the real world to support relativity. In climate science, the observational data is the theories behind AGW are not supported by the observations.

    No wonder they stay away and hide behind their government grants, pal reviews and one sided blogs.

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  • #
    brc

    John Brookes @ 3

    Talk about hard way harry – you don’t need all that text to post a straw man argument about relativity deniers. Just quickly bang something out about cigarette smoking, or 911 Truthers or something like all the others. You’re working too hard man. When climate change is able to be actually proven like relativity the debate truly will be over.

    As for the article – it’s a bit rich declaring the ‘debate is over’ when one side of the debate routinely fails to show up for it, even when they’re allowed to tilt the bias as much as they can.

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Mark B: #4

    … Pearce chose to separate the groups and rephrase the same two insults in worse terms for skeptics.

    To answer your question, no, you are not reading too much into this.

    I come to exactly the same conclusion as you.

    His comment was either intentional propaganda (professionally done), or a Freudian slip that reveals his real thinking. Either way, you have “outed” him as being no more than a hack. When people have to resort to such tricks to score points, we have won by default.

    Some people will read this, and not pick up on the mechanism, but they will still recognise some sort of dissonance in what he is trying to say, and that is yet another nail in the coffin.

    He is left in the position of trying to defend something that he now knows in indefensible, but what else can he do if he wants to keep his job and maintain what is left of his reputation?

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    brc: #7

    Hey, don’t knock it! There was a time when John didn’t do any research at all …

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  • #
    TomFP

    The Lisbon meeting was an attempt by the warmists to get permission to do to science what they have found we will no longer permit them to do by stealth.

    Ravetz is a genial old chameleon, whose deeply dishonest writing is so mind-numbingly opaque as to permit ad hoc interpretation convenient to any circumstances. First we’re told it’s merely a DESCRIPTION of a regrettable state of affairs in science by a writer wedded to the traditional scientific method – next it’s being used to legitimise the substitution of “quality” for evidence.

    Interestingly, though, tallbloke is calling the PNS folks on their stuff.

    One feature of PNS (and one reason it is so obnoxious) is that it only works, even in theory, where all parties agree there is “a problem”. (Underlying the Lisbon meeting was the hope that sceptics would walk in thinking there was no problem, fall under the emollient spell of PNS, and walk out finding they have accepted the existence of “a problem”. A small step to acceptance of “The Problem”)

    Another feature of PNS is that it can only work, so far as I can see, in arguing over a single major hypothesis – in this case CO2>CAGW. But tallbloke seems to be saying, “OKaay, I’ll play your game – now let’s see a structured attempt to study CAGW counter-theory, (all the fields neglected in the rush to convict CO2) and see how it looks viewed through your PNS prism.” If he can stick to his guns and insist that the PNS mob are as good as Ravetz’ word on traditional method, he may yet confront them with the absurdity of their creed. Because unless the warmists are all absolutely right, and no rival theories stand up, there will then be multiple lines of evidence and opinion, each to assign “quality” to, in respect of extent, attribution, and impact.

    They will find themselves, I think, in a boolean snakes’ honeymoon, having to argue simultaneously about “problems” which exclude one another. They will find themselves, incidentally, in much the same position of the natural philosophers of old, and will learn why they discovered the need for the null hypothesis, the doctrine of parsimony, and the rest of the scientific method. Perhaps they will then truly appreciate its value.

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  • #
    John Brookes

    TomFP: You are so right. Whatever you do, don’t get drawn into the idea of a structured attempt to counter CAGW. That would imply assessing the counter AGW arguments for validity, and then discarding the ones which fail. You can’t let that happen, because it is a lot easier to recycle a discredited argument than it is to come up with a new one which doesn’t conflict with the ones you currently rely on.

    For example, you couldn’t argue that the climate automatically stabilises itself (through negative feedbacks) at the same time as you argue that the climate has been much more variable in the past than it is now (whoa, did someone turn the stabilisers off?). See how this structured argument thing works – you end up without a leg to stand on!

    So stick to the techniques which work for you. Hitch your wagons to any idea skeptical of AGW, and don’t worry if all your wagons end up heading in different directions. Keep insisting that the climate scientists are corrupt. Keep pointing out scary “world government” scenarios. And if the world keeps getting warmer, point out that that is exactly what you were expecting it to do anyway. And don’t let anyone say that extreme weather events are in any way linked to AGW – because that would just be scaremongering.

    So go out there and get em!

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  • #
    Mark

    Oh dear, John has had to go and buy yet another mattress.

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  • #

    On a political level, I had two reservations about this particular meeting. Firstly, it was a meeting of skeptics and moderate climate scientists. The latter are I suppose warmists but their composition does not contain the alarmists who have the positions of authority and influence. It’s the alarmists who’re in the driving seat. Essentially, the moderates are not only the wrong people to negotiate a peace treaty with but also they’ve not got the political power of the extremists.

    Secondly, I think the moderates represented continue to be disingenous. They’re quite happy to let the alarmists spread the scares without saying a word to contradict them, even when they know what the alarmists are saying is scientific nonsense. If they just for once stood up and called out a prominent extremist’s latest diatribe, I’d have some respect for them.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/is-there-a-moral-dimension-to-being-anti-environmental/

    Pointman

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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    John Brookes @ #3

    “Imagine a conference to try and reconcile physicists with relativity cranks? I can tell you right now that no physicists would turn up. Relativity cranks are all sure that Einstein was wrong, but they are all sure in different ways. There would be quite enough opinions in the room without the physicists being there.”

    I take it you are ignorant of science per se? Any physicist who puts the idea that space bends is involved with metaphysics, not physics. Einstein belittled physical experiment, preferring “thought-experiment” in its stead, and apart from his excellent explanation of the photo-electric effect, for which he truly deserved his Nobel Prize, he drifted into metaphysics by making physical reality subordinate to mathematics.

    Mathematics isn’t science nor is it scientific – it is instead a symbolic language to manipulate ideas. It is an entirely imaginative construct that must always be subordinate to physical reality.

    Problems arise when the roles are reversed, and bizarre intellectual artefacts result, one which is CAGW.

    And while I’m on a surge, please consider the distinction between a religious mind, and a scientific mind. The religious mind interprets things in terms of it’s ultimate authority – and accepts phenomena that fit its dogma while rejecting those that don’t.

    The scientific mind has no dogma except one – that all scientific theories are provisional, dependent on extant knowledge at the time some idea, or other, is proposed. When confronted with contradictory facts the scientist questions the dogma, the religious the facts.

    This is the essential difference between the religious mind, and the scientific mind.

    But distinguishing between a scientific mindset from a religious mindset is the problem – one cannot exist without the other.

    So why are those of the religious mindset so hell-bent in forcing the rest of us to change out actions?

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  • #
    cynic

    Thanks Mr. Pointman, you clarify the problem with the meeting (What follows is my incoherent ramble).
    AGW has for quite some time been a purely political issue. The damage that it has caused to Science and the environment has been severe.
    The political argument will not be resolved by two groups of moderates having a largely unpublicized meeting. Nor will it be resolved by good science.
    The science is now seemingly irrelevant.
    The weather, including Northern Hemisphere winter and cool (and very wet) Southern hemisphere summer seems to be the the best hope for rationality sneaking into the political debate.

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    Mark

    “So why are those of the religious mindset so hell-bent in forcing the rest of us to change ou(r) actions?”

    Because that’s the only thing they know, Louis. Applies to the political types as well, eg. Greens. They can’t stand to think that anyone thinks differently to them.

    Those like JB are their useful idiots but are the first to be rubbed out when the fanatics take power. Proof? Just read the history of the French and Russian revolutionaries. They all had the same paranoid/homicidal traits so it became a matter of “do unto others before they do unto you”.

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  • #
    John Brookes

    Fair go Louis Hissink@14, both Special & General Relativity are works of genius. The idea that Einstein made reality subordinate to mathematics is ridiculous. If these theories didn’t fit experimental observation, then, mathematics or not, then they would be need to be superseded or modified.

    But I did wonder whether there were any relativity skeptics on this blog.

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  • #
    Mark

    Someone doesn’t know that Einstein couldn’t make his General Theory work. Nor could anyone else.

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  • #
    bananabender

    Some clown named Lars claimed on the NS site that Macintyre wasn’t a “real” statistician despite a 40 year career in the field. Lars then claimed that he, as a zoologist, was also statistician because he had published papers involving statistics.

    McIntyre won the Canadian national high school mathematics competition in 1965(beating a future Nobel laureate in economics)and was offered an MIT PhD scholarship in mathematical economics.

    Lars statistics knowledge probably doesn’t go beyond calculating arithmetic means.

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  • #
    John Brookes

    Oh boy, 2 Einstein skeptics in one place!

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  • #
    bananabender

    We need a Royal Commission. I greatly doubt Warmists like David Karoly would be so confident that “the science is settled” under oath.

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  • #

    Special relativity has been tested by many experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_special_relativity), and since it did so well, it is a well-respected piece of work.

    CAGW on the other hand is not so blessed by its contact with observations, and is currently morphing into an unfalsifiable ‘theory of everything that happens to the weather’. Snow for example, was expected to become rare in some locations, until we had a series of snowy winters in the northern hemisphere, and now these, we are told, are to be expected. Similarly the spectre of drought in Australia is being replaced by that of floods. Either would do, after all, if your primary purpose is to scare people for your own advantage.

    It is painful to be referring to CAGW so close to a mention of such giants as Einstein and his theories, but let us buckle down to it. The predicted hotspot in the troposphere was the nearest the computer modellers came to having a perihelion of Mercury moment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity). But it never happened. When we went to look, it wasn’t there.

    The hurricanes, the glaciers, the ice-sheets, the polar bears, the deserts, the corals, the acidification, the plant migrations, the human migrants, the reconstructions, the weather stations, the adjustments etc etc …. the list of topics goes on and on, in which grounds can be found to query the science, the integrity, the PR, and even the common sense of those agitated by computer models programmed to give CO2 a dramatic role in the air, and in our politics: http://notrickszone.com/climate-scandals/

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  • #
    John Brookes

    Yeah John Shade. As an AGW proponent looking for supporting evidence, I’d start with warming temperatures and rising sea levels. Tick. Maybe reduced ice cover, and retreating glaciers. Tick. Human fingerprint on atmospheric CO2. Tick. Record hot temperatures outnumbering record cold temperatures by a ratio of 2 to 1. Tick. Hell yeah, you could even go as far as to make models and realise that without CO2 you couldn’t account for recent warming (except that its been cooling for the last 10 years – or whatever anyone wants to say).

    Haven’t got to grips with the hotspot thingy yet.

    Still, I’m waiting a few more years – its pretty hot now, with no particular reason (if you ignore CO2), so if it keeps being hot with no particular reason (except CO2), then I’m assuming its CO2.

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    bananabender

    re:John Brookes:
    February 4th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Einstein and Hawking are arguably the two most overrated scientists in history. They are both more famous for being eccentric “freaks” rather than their actual science. Equally capable scientists like Niels Bohr or Roger Penrose are far too normal to interest the media.

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    John Brookes

    Of course Einstein was overrated bananabender. He was just a pretty ordinary bloke who while holding down a full time job in the patents office sat down in 1905 and wrote papers on the photoelectric effect, special relativity,and brownian motion. Its generally agreed that sooner or later others would have worked this stuff out. But general relativity, that was a tour de force, and its likely that it would have been 20 years or more before others even got close.

    So Einstein is an eccentric freak. What, because he didn’t particularly care for clothes? My favourite scientist of the modern era is Richard Feynman, and he was a bit freaky too. But like Einstein, he was a genius.

    However, you’ve set me some homework – I shall see if I can find a good biography of Niels Bohr. It never hurts to learn some more.

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  • #
    John from CA

    That’s to bad, the purpose of the meeting was to hold a low key meeting to demonstrate that Skeptics and those who support the IPCC consensus can have a civil debate. It was supposed to be the first of many open forum discussions. Since the other side didn’t show, I guess there aren’t many left who support the IPCC consensus. I guess the science is finally settled ; )

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  • #
    BobC

    I shall see if I can find a good biography of Niels Bohr. It never hurts to learn some more.

    The film version of the play, “Copenhagen” (by the BBC) is pretty entertaining and thought-provoking. It re-analyzes the famous meeting between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in 1941 (in Copenhagen, naturally). Heisenberg was working on the Nazi A-bomb and had an SS officer accompanying him. At the time, Bohr knew of the Manhattan project. At one point, Bohr’s son stood in another room with a shotgun, in case a kidnap was attempted. It was pretty touchy, with the scientists (and former friends) dancing to a delicate, but unacknowledged tune. It was shortly after this that Bohr decided that he and his family needed to escape from Denmark.

    The play starts with the ghosts of the three characters, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Bohr’s wife Margrethe, taking public transport (from where, one wonders?) back to Bohr’s old residence in Cophenhagen where they recap and explain what they really were trying to say. Great theater.

    A real history book that is not often read is “Hitler’s Uranium Club: The secret recordings at Farm Hall”. The British captured all the scientists working on the NAZI bomb and sequestered them at a farm in the countryside for 6 months after the war (after which they were released). The pretext was that they needed to be debriefed on their atomic work during the war, but the real reason was that every square foot of the farm (inside and out) was bugged, and everything they said to one another was recorded. It was here that Heisenberg and the others constructed the story they would tell to the world. These recordings were classified (and very few even knew they existed) until 1992. Very interesting reading, if you are into this kind of history.

    To clarify bananabender’s statement: Einstein may have been overhyped in terms of public acclaim, but scientists like Bohr and Heisenberg considered him an equal.

    BTY: There is a lesson for AGW here as well: Heisenberg was a brilliant scientist, but he made a basic, simple error in calculating the size of the critical mass which diverted the NAZI bomb project into an unproductive direction (fortunately). (He would later claim that he did this on purpose, but we now know, from the Farm Hall recordings, that this was spin.)

    The reason the error was not corrected was that Heisenberg was isolated from the community of scientists that would challenge him, and the authoritarian structure of German science prevented any subordinates from bring it up.

    AGW scientists have also tried to isolate themselves from criticism, and have become a clique that reviews each other’s work. (Michael Mann refusing to accept criticism from experts in statistics, for example, even though Mann’s understanding of the field is obviously flawed.) The politicians and others with vested interests have tried to create an almost Lysenko-like suppression of outside critiques, with the predictable result that the AGW field has become disconnected from reality, to the point of claiming that anything that happens “proves” their theory. (Not realizing, apparently, that a theory that explains everything but predicts nothing has zero information content.)

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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    February 4th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Imagine a conference to try and reconcile physicists with relativity cranks? I can tell you right now that no physicists would turn up. Relativity cranks are all sure that Einstein was wrong, but they are all sure in different ways. There would be quite enough opinions in the room without the physicists being there.

    You DO need to read some history, John. Conferences like you imagine were common in the early 20th century. Niels Bohr and Einstein, in particular, had some famous debates (mostly about quantum theory, true). These conferences were normal physics conferences, where scientists had diverging opinions.

    Had the physicists on one side of these arguments arbitrarily labeled the physicists on the other side as “cranks” (in an attempt to avoid actual debate), THEN you would something analogous to the present situation. Perhaps you neglected to read the first paragraph of the post, but the skeptics who showed up included scientists with equally significant credentials as the pro-AGW ones who chickened out.

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  • #

    Louis Hissink @ 14,

    But distinguishing between a scientific mindset from a religious mindset is the problem – one cannot exist without the other.

    Is this religious dogma or a scientifically established fact?

    If it is a scientifically established fact present the EVIDENCE. Otherwise it is nothing but glorified pontification without reference to reality – aka religion.

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    BobC

    John Brookes @ 3: Why don’t you source your “crackpot quotes”? You obviously aren’t quoting from serious critiques such as physicist Thomas Phipps’ Heretical Verities: Mathematical Themes in Physical Description, or former CU Professor Petr Beckmann’s Einstein Plus Two — both books demonstrate that the results of Special Relativity can be duplicated from different sets of assumptions than Einstein used and which are (so far as is known) paradox-free.

    Quotes from these mostly mathematical works by serious scientists wouldn’t be quite as useful for your attempted illogical putdown, though. (How do you embed equations in these blog responses, anyway?)

    Neither of these works can legitimately be labeled “crackpot” (although that hasn’t stopped some from doing so). Since they reproduce Relativistic results, they obviously aren’t falsified by experiment — but then, neither do any current experimental results support them over SR.

    Choosing between them should be a matter of preference or style. Of course, that isn’t the way it works out — there are always those who want to avoid discussion by labeling those who disagree as “crackpots” (or worse).

    Some theories escape this “deification” process, however: Although disagreements over the meaning of quantum theory are extreme and strongly held, the discussion of them hasn’t fallen to the level of labeling.

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    klem

    “Mainstream researchers were labelled “ideologues on the gravy train”

    Actually I know a scientist who is a vocal outspoken climate skeptic but he openly admits that to continue his work he always links his research proposels to ACC. He admits it, he knows it goes against his principles, but he does it anyway to secure the funding. He is on the gravy train but he is not an ideologue, he is a pragmatist. He does what he needs to do to continue his work. I wonder how many of these scientists are out there?

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    BobC @ 31,

    The confusion that I have seen from the field of theoretical physics is that the first mathematical DESCRIPTION that appears to work is taken as the ONE-TRUE-IDEA. It is as if the equation is expected to CREATE reality rather than simply describe it. The ONE-TRUE-IDEA does not die until the passionate holders, with political power, of that idea die. Such ideas die hard.

    There are often numerous alternate mathematical descriptions that give the same result. Mathematically they are considered to be equivalent expressions. They are simply different ways of saying the same thing. In the same manner, one can use different sequences of words to describe something. That something remains what it is dispute the variety of descriptions that are possible or that have been produced (ie. A Rose by any other name still smells as sweet).

    Fundamentally: A map is not the territory, a model is not the thing. A description is only a description becase Magic is inoperative in this universe.

    A simulation is a special kind of description in that it is dynamic. However, it is its own reality and can correspond to any other reality if and only if it describes that other reality accurately with precision. THAT is very difficult to accomplish except for very simple systems. Yet, even when accomplished. A simulation is only a simulation and its output is only a simulation of reality. It is not real in the same sense as the object or process being simulated. It is ONLY a description and cannot create the reality it describes.

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    grayman

    Fred Pearce starts out on the fence and he is balancing very well, then leans just a little to the sceptic side. Then regains his balance then back over to the warmist side and finds he can balance quite well leaning way so stays that way. That is the meaning i have of it. Despite it all i thank him for trying to get a debate going that would be not so much mending fences as actually getting people talking and working to the betterment of science. I do hope he trys again, at least some one has gone the extra mile in that respect. Hope all are well in eastern Australia, have not seen the news lately to know?

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    BobC

    John Brookes @ 11:
    John, I think you have completely missed TomFP’s point — he was arguing FOR the application of the scientific method to little-understood problems:

    “… the need for the null hypothesis, the doctrine of parsimony, and the rest of the scientific method”

    as contrasted to your more primitive (and logically false) notion that a bad theory must be assumed correct until a better theory comes along. The point of the above quote is that you can decide a theory is WRONG, without the need of having an alternative theory. This is what the scientific method achieves — and you fail to grasp.

    Your list of prescriptions for TomFP are rather funny — this one in particular:

    And if the world keeps getting warmer, point out that that is exactly what you were expecting it to do anyway.

    So, you’re advising TomFP to do what the AGW warmists do — claim that whatever happens it proves that he’s right? It would be a pity if skeptics adopted those tactics — that would be the last of the fact-based commentary, and we would only be left with two sides trading insults and non sequiturs.

    Your confusion is evident in this sarcastically intended statement:

    Whatever you do, don’t get drawn into the idea of a structured attempt to counter CAGW. That would imply assessing the counter AGW arguments for validity, and then discarding the ones which fail.

    Assessing arguments for validity and discarding the ones which fail empirical tests is the essence of the scientific method. Unaccountably, however, you seem to exempt CAGW from this kind of scrutiny — almost as if to you it is some sort of religious revelation.

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    BobC

    John Brookes (@24) claims as evidence of AGW:

    Record hot temperatures outnumbering record cold temperatures by a ratio of 2 to 1. Tick.

    Tsk, tsk. John, weren’t you just (#11) accusing skeptics of “recycling discredited arguments”?

    So, I guess I’ll have to discredit this dumb argument once again:

    Just a year ago, a scientist at NCAR published a study that proclaimed that “the decade of the 2000′s had the largest ratio of high temperature records to low temperature records ever! (In the US.)

    Yep, that was true. Check out this graph, however, and you’ll see that it was also a deliberate deception. Sure enough, the ratio is the highest of all decades since the 1880s — but the 1930s had 6 times as many high temperature records as the 2000s. (These, BTY, are unbroken records.)

    So (as of 2009) the 1930s had 6 times as many unbroken high temperature records as the 2000s — but the NCAR author tried to fool the unwary into believing that the 2000s somehow beat the 1930s for high temperature records, by only talking about ratios.

    When unbroken, all-time temperature extremes were compiled by Univ. of Colo Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen, he found that 50% of the all-time temperature records (per state) were set in the 1930s alone. Only 29% of the all-time high records have been set since 1950, and a trivial number in the 2000s.

    Responding to the NCAR study’s deceptive analysis, Keen concludes: “The bottom line is that if one wishes to express climate change by the varying number of temperature extremes, there has been no climate change for over 100 years.

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    BobC

    Lionell Griffith @33:

    I’ll bet you would like the book “Relativity Visualized“, by physicist Lewis Carroll Epstein. Masquerading as just another of the herd of “Relativity for the Layman” books, Dr. Epstein, amazingly, reproduces all of the significant results of both Special and General Relativity from a simple geometrical hypothesis (unrelated to Einstein’s Postulates and which, for some reason, he labels a “myth”). He does this, besides, using nothing beyond high school geometry and algebra.

    I doubt that many of his unsuspecting readers realize that this book, in its own way, is as subversive of the “revealed canon of relativity” as the more directly named “Heretical Verities“, by physicist Thomas Phipps.

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    Neville

    Good column today from Andrew Bolt to easily counter the nonsense from the bedwetters.

    Why would anyone want to waste even more billions on this fantasy?

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_yasi_proves_only_that_we_panic_too_fast/

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    Bruce of Newcastle

    John Brooks #26

    John – good to see you bring up Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein in the one post. As you know Dr Einstein rubbished entanglement as ‘spooky action at a distance’, entanglement being one feature of Dr Bohr’s new quantum mechanics (I will admit I had QM inculcated into me 5 times at uni, and maybe half of it stuck, but then I’m only a chemist).

    So, one of the celebrated physicists of the age was wrong in one respect. I submit to you that climate scientists can be likewise wrong, particularly when the data is inconvenient to their personal worldview.

    I know I’ve posted this before, and I’ll keep posting, because data doesn’t lie (even if we are capable of misinterpreting it). Solar cycle length shows a strong correlation with average temperature over the following solar cycle. We do not conclusively know why. Not understanding why does not eliminate the correlation or causal relationship between these independent variables. What is clear though is this relationship explains most of the temperature record, with additional contributions from CO2 (2XCO2 = ~0.6 C) and the oceanic cycles (AMO, IPO, SO etc) plus UHIE, pretty much explaining the rest.

    That the one can overturn the many has occurred continually in science: Kepler, Barry Marshall, Wegener, Newton, Galileo, Bohr himself. When a hypothesis explains the data better than the consensus then the consensus is overturned.

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    PJB

    This is hardly an olive branch. It is one of the last nails in the CAGW coffin. The cemetery is also shrinking as the number of “Consensus” climatologists shrinks daily. (See the 18-strong GW grant applicants that sent a letter to the US Congress.) They actually have the temerity to ask that the science be analyzed! By politicians! No wonder they want to help define the new paradigm in policy.
    I have never been so ashamed to be a scientist. I will be so glad when CAGW is classed with Piltdown Man and other hoaxes and scams.

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    janama

    So we are now the Flat Earthers according to Mike Carlton.

    Flat-earthers, it’s time for a cold shower
    February 5, 2011

    PARDON me for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious but for those who have not been paying attention much of the planet has been devastated by extraordinary weather in the past year.

    We have had our floods in eastern Australia and, as the doughty Anna Bligh called it, the most terrifying cyclone of all. Floods have also swept China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and southern Africa, killing thousands and leaving tens of millions homeless.

    Kenya is suffering a long drought that threatens widespread famine. A vast area of South America is also in severe drought, although record January rains in Brazil triggered mud slides that killed more than 700 slum dwellers near Rio de Janeiro.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    Massive and unseasonally early snow storms pummelled Europe and North America before Christmas, taking more lives, and this week again the US has been hammered by what the US National Weather Service called ”a historic killer blizzard”.

    Given this catalogue of global disaster, would now be a good time for the climate change flat-earthers to shut up and listen, do you think? Just for a day or two, or even five minutes?

    They won’t, of course. The global warming denialists ignore the great body of world scientific opinion. When the Queensland catastrophe leaves the headlines the local lot will be at it again, barfing up their crackpot notions.</blockquote

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/flatearthers-its-time-for-a-cold-shower-20110204-1agt8.html

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    Josie

    Well Janama(41) you know the old story about a quacking, duck like looking/walking thing.

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    Llew Jones

    One thing this thread does show is that CAGW skeptics are au fait with the history of science which most likely translates into, at least a broad understanding, of climate science. Thus it gives one confidence that they are also likely to know what they are talking about and their arguments are worth pursuing. That is something that cannot in general be said for those who inhabit pro-CAGW sites. Most proudly display their ignorance of science and climate science in particular.

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    Roy Hogue

    It’s a pretty bad show when half the party doesn’t show up. Still afraid of debate I guess. It shows what persistently getting the word out can do that anyone was even willing to sit down with skeptics.

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    Jannes Kleintje

    These believers in climate change( under whatever name) behave like Jehova witnesses. There is simply no reasoning with them.
    Because if they would open up to the reality then they would also have to admit that they have started a war against one of the main building blocks of their own carbon based life form. In other words, they have started a war against all earthly life. They either firmly believe that they will be the superior species of the lot or they do indeed have the intention to destroy all life on earth by destroying the carbon cycle. I would not be overly surprised if it were the latter. These cult people tend to believe even the most far fetched fantasies.
    Nevertheless, they have got to be stopped or they drag all of us with them into their own version of hell.

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    mc

    janama@41

    Just read Mike Carlton’s SMH article.
    That kind of hate filled bile and hyperbole is simply irrelevant to any rational and valid debate on the subject.

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    janama

    I agree mc – it’s very typical of the rusted on AGW believers. They now tell us that 1998, 2005 and 2010 were equal hottest years since records began. They don’t seem to realise is that they are also confirming that 1998 and 2010 were the same temperature therefore the world hasn’t warmed for the past 12 years despite the huge expansion of China and India!!

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    Lawrie

    Janama @41,

    Poor old Mike must be suffering from a lack of relevance. His only audience are the brainwashed who read the SMH which like the Age is losing ground rapidly. Preaching to the diminishing converted. Just shows his lack of historical knowledge. What’s the saying? “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it”. The left studiously ignore history since it holds answers which the left don’t like.

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    Mark D.

    Janama @ 41 linking to Mike Carlton (whom I do not know)

    Carlton says:

    Liberty be damned. In the 50 years since, successive presidents have funded and encouraged some of the worst tyrants of our time, for as long as they were professed anti-communists and usefully ”our guys”. Diem of South Vietnam, Marcos in the Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, Verwoerd in South Africa, Pinochet in Chile, the Shah of Iran and the vile Saudi royal family spring immediately to mind. And Hosni Mubarak, and even Saddam Hussein, for a while. Who could forget the pictures of Ronald Reagan’s special envoy, none other than Donald Rumsfeld, embracing Saddam in Baghdad in 1983?

    Janama, Please tell Mr. Carlton to Fuck off. I do not agree with his points at all about being a “flat earther”. The rest is just a pile of barf. He could pretend to know what “worst tyrant” is worse than the one left to fade into history but I’ll suggest he does not. He might as well rail against the US for defending the world against those “best tyrants”. Remember? Hitler, Mussolini, and the empire just to your north?

    Like I said tell Carlton to Fuck Off.

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    Bob Malloy

    Mark D.:
    February 5th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Janama @ 41 linking to Mike Carlton (whom I do not know)

    Not missing anything there Mark. He’s just a would be if could be blowhard that thinks he knows it all.

    Mike Carlton
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Mike Carlton is an Australian media commentator and broadcaster. He formerly co-hosted the daily breakfast program on Sydney radio station 2UE with Peter Fitzsimmons and later Sandy Aloisi. He is a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, having been sacked from the position on 29 August 2008, for refusing to write his column during a strike by journalists at Fairfax Media.[1] He subsequently rejoined the newspaper in 2009.[2]

    Carlton is noted for his criticism of conservative public figures such as former Prime Minister John Howard, former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer [3] and radio personality Alan Jones, and for his criticism of conservative governments, including the United States’ Bush administration.[4]

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    G/Machine

    Janama #41, Mark D #48

    Janama, you just spoiled my weekend. (your previous link to George Carlin, Saving the World on Youtube… will forgive you )

    Mark D, Not a word too many or out of place. Well done.

    Why didn’t Carlton present his never before seen scientific
    paper at Cancun, or recently at the Lisbon love-in. We might
    start getting the Royal Society quoting from it by and by. They
    are sticklers for the truth too, aren’t they ?

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    Mark

    Would you believe I actually heard the jerk defend a convicted pedophile. Said he would have no problem living in the same street. Sheesh, he’s just sired another child at 60+.

    On another note, surely we don’t need F~bombs and the like to express ourselves here. Like many others, I rejoiced the day he was sacked from 2UE so let’s leave it at that.

    Finally, just watching Sarah Palin on Fox. The chattering classes are really gonna go after her – oh, wait, they do already, don’t they. Still, I reckon she can take care of herself quite nicely.

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    Louis Hissink

    Lionell Griffiths @ #30

    The appeal to authority in explaining a particular phenomenon is balanced by the non-appeal to authority. That is, the religious mindset appeals to authority while the scientific mindset appeals to no authority.

    I’m not sure I’m the one with a problem.

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    mc

    PS.

    Mike Carlton has as much hope of persuading any reasonable person of his belief in AGW with the kind of rabid, foaming at the mouth verbal vomit he presents in his SMH flat earth smear, as he has of cooling the earth by pissing on the sun.

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    Bulldust

    Well I forced myself to read Mike Carlton’s vent out of some sort of masochistic streak… nothing better to do on my birthday I guess. Not like I celebrate the day at my age >.>

    I notice he stops short of directly insulting Monckton which is a wise move because milord would have him and the paper in court in short notice, don’t worry about that.

    Let’s not stoop to his level… he has an email address you can vent to (bottom of the article), but expect a snake like him to quote you out of context, so beware… his style reminds me of the irrelevant rants Greer has had of late… spectacularly on the nose when Irwin passed away. Some people have no class, at all.

    I keep up the fight against the hoards of CAGW regulars on this thread, which is still alive at the ABC for some reason:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/43560.html

    Zibethicus is such a frothing-at-the-mouth loony it is quite entertaining, in a sad way. I’d hate to think anyone is that obtuse in real life, but I guess some people are.

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    Louis Hissink @ 52,

    I quoted your comment in context at 14:

    But distinguishing between a scientific mindset from a religious mindset is the problem – one cannot exist without the other.

    and said this:

    Is this religious dogma or a scientifically established fact?

    If it is a scientifically established fact present the EVIDENCE. Otherwise it is nothing but glorified pontification without reference to reality – aka religion.

    You responded with this in 53:

    The appeal to authority in explaining a particular phenomenon is balanced by the non-appeal to authority. That is, the religious mindset appeals to authority while the scientific mindset appeals to no authority.

    I’m not sure I’m the one with a problem.

    How does this present the evidence for “one cannot exist without the other”? This phrase clearly states that the two mindsets need each other to exist. Your recent comment is unresponsive to that transparently clear error in your comment. One CAN exist and has existed without the other.

    The religious mindset has likely existed since the beginning of humanoid self awareness. It has most clearly existed through out recorded history while the scientific mind set has existed in only a few cultures for rather short periods of time – most notably over the past 400 years. Unfortunately, the scientific mindset is in fact fading while the religious mindset lives on in all of its malignant glory. See AGW-Climate-Change-Climate-Disruption as a recent case in point.

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    bananabender

    re:
    John Brookes:
    February 4th, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Learn some history before you spout such absolute nonsense.

    Einstein’s tenure at the Swiss Patent Office was an undemanding sinecure arranged so he could devote himself to completing his PhD.

    The idea that Einstein developed his theories in isolation is utter nonsense. Poincare, Lorentz, Hilbert, Preston and de Pretto had all done prior work on relativity which Einstein was unequivocally aware of. Yet Einstein listed no references on his relativity paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. Einstein even (unbelievably) claimed to have never read any of Poincare’s papers.

    The 1919 confirmation of Special Relativity by Sir Arthur Eddington is now known to be an unequivocal fraud.

    Einstein became a huge celebrity largely on the basis of his leftist, pacifist and Zionist sympathies.

    IF Einstein was around today he would probably be working at CRU or NASA GISS proving the existence of AGW.

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    MikeO

    “Finally, the claim is sometimes made that if computer models were any good, people would be using them to predict the stock market. Well, they are!

    A lot of trading in the financial markets is already carried out by computers. Many base their decisions on fairly simple algorithms designed to exploit tiny profit margins, but others rely on more sophisticated long-term models.”
    Fred Pearce New Scientist.

    This was written in 2007 and of course these financial models accurately predicted the 2008 GFC! If you believe you also probably believe also think there are fairies. There is one difference between financial models and GCMs. The former probably affect the market and are self serving.

    As for prediction I am recording the BOM temperature forecasts. I am amazed at the size of errors so far I have an error of 9 to -2 it is seldom correct.

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    MikeO

    Damn the internet gremlin

    This was written in 2007 and of course these financial models accurately predicted the 2008 GFC! If you believe that you also probably believe there are fairies. There is one difference between financial models and GCMs. The former probably affect the market and are self serving.

    As for prediction I am recording the BOM temperature forecasts. I am amazed at the size of errors so far I have an error of 9 to -2 it is seldom correct.

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    Bulldust

    Having played with models somewhat I can take a simple series of data with a fairly recognisable trend… say consumption of aluminum (as they would call it over there) in the USA and generate forecasts that vary by orders of magnitude. This is very easy to do. The more complex the model, the more sensitivity the model will have to the various parameters. Much like the butterfly effect, small tweakings of the initial conditions yield dramatically different end results.

    Only people unfamiliar with statistical modelling put faith in these black boxes that can generate any result you please. As my brother used to say (after he did his MBA in Geneva a few decades ago), there was a guy there with a model that predicted the oil crisis price scenario… he also predicted oil prices staying the same, dropping, and a number of other outcomes. Anything is possible with such beasts.

    To think that the climate models are somehow omniscient and not subject to such frailties almost makes me giggle. Not saying anyone here thinks this, with the possible exception of a few CAGWers we get from time to time.

    Trust me… I am a modeller /nod ROFL

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    Rereke Whakaaro

    Bulldust: #60

    I think you are wrong about models. They are build on sound mathematical principles; and they always give the correct answer within known tolerances.

    I have recently, for example, developed a model that proves that seven times nine equals sixtythree (except for very small values of nine, and assuming that seven remains an odd number). ;-)

    Hey, who drank my whisky?

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    David, UK

    John Brookes:
    February 4th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Yeah John Shade. As an AGW proponent looking for supporting evidence, I’d start with warming temperatures and rising sea levels. Tick. Maybe reduced ice cover, and retreating glaciers. Tick. Human fingerprint on atmospheric CO2. Tick. Record hot temperatures outnumbering record cold temperatures by a ratio of 2 to 1. Tick. Hell yeah, you could even go as far as to make models and realise that without CO2 you couldn’t account for recent warming (except that its been cooling for the last 10 years – or whatever anyone wants to say).

    Haven’t got to grips with the hotspot thingy yet.

    Still, I’m waiting a few more years – its pretty hot now, with no particular reason (if you ignore CO2), so if it keeps being hot with no particular reason (except CO2), then I’m assuming its CO2.

    Are you for real? I don’t think so, and I’m suspicious. You list a load of changes (ice mass, temps, sea level) and conclude that because they are changing it is therefore the “fault” of humans? You expect everything just to stay static? What about the past few billion years? Was CO2 the culprit then?

    “Human fingerprint on atmospheric CO2?” I don’t even know what you mean by that. Do you mean the hypothetical “hotspot” that no one has found after 30-odd years of looking for it?

    You “haven’t got to grips with the hotspot thingy yet”??? Dirrrr?

    And finally because you (we) are so ignorant of how climate works and so build some models which are programmed to assume CO2 is the driver whilst ignoring all other inconvenient or unfathomable factors, you’re “assuming it’s CO2″???

    I hate to say it – but because your clichéd comments are so lame (even by Warmist standards) I’m now suspecting you’re not a genuine Warmist at all but are actually a sceptic troll. If this is the case, please don’t bother because the Warmists look foolish enough without parodying them.

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    Mark

    RW #61

    You forgot to include that 7 must remain a prime number! Just sayin’…

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    Fenbeagle

    An interview with a representative of the power industry. Yet another example of bias by the BBC? (Beagle Blog Cartoons)….You decide
    http://fenbeagleblog.wordpress.com/

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    John Brookes

    Thanks for the interesting stuff on Niels Bohr BobC. It reminded me of Richard Feynman’s autobiographical books. In one of them (“Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman”, I think) he tells of a meeting at Los Alamos where Niels Bohr and his son are canvassing opinions from the assembled scientists. Later Bohr’s son seeks out Feynman and asks him to join them for separate discussions. Asked why, he replies that while everyone else was busy nodding at the pronouncements of the great Niels Bohr, Feynman was focussing on the physics and asking sensible questions.

    Anyway, “Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman” is well worth a read.

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    LevelGaze

    JB@65
    What’s with you now? You’re beginning to sound like a sly skeptic!

    While I’m at it…
    LH@14
    I’ve seldom heard such dreadful rubbish. I really think you’re in dire need of a good night’s sleep. :-)

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    PeterS

    Interesting to note that a cold snap is now chilling northern Mexico. Clear signs the climate is cooling, which even the latest NASA surface readings are starting to agree with. At least six people have died so far. The cold weather has shut down units at 17 power stations across northern Mexico, the Federal Electricity Commission said. I suppose this will increase the AGW alarmists’ belief that global cooling is due to global warming. Yet if we look over the past 100 years the average temperature of the world has done bugger all. So, what’s all the fuss about?

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    Roy Hogue

    Fenbeagle @64,

    I’ve decided — your remarkable sense of humor drives the point home with uncanny accuracy.

    I have never seen the breakdown of internal power usage but of course any generating plant will use some of its output to meet its own internal needs.

    Here in Southern California wind turbines have been pretty much limited to two mountain passes where the wind blows a lot but not all the time. We don’t have the problem of deicing the things in the winter so we can save that 20% of output, even when there’s no wind. So if my math teacher was right, with no wind we save 0.2 X 0 = 0% of output when the wind doesn’t blow. Wow, 20% improvement by accident of geography. And they’re so pretty too, all turning in lockstep like synchronized dancers.

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    Roy Hogue

    Rereke Whakaaro @61,

    February 5th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Bulldust: #60

    I think you are wrong about models. They are build on sound mathematical principles; and they always give the correct answer within known tolerances.

    I have recently, for example, developed a model that proves that seven times nine equals sixtythree (except for very small values of nine, and assuming that seven remains an odd number).

    Hey, who drank my whisky?

    And I got knocked for proving that 2 = 1?

    At least I gave you the math so you could check it out. Where’s your model? ;-)

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    DirkH

    Does anyone have an idea why the EU paid for this meeting? They are hell-bent on covering the continent with low-density energy collectors and HVDC transmission lines, squandering all the money they don’t have. They need AGW as an excuse for this. Was this an attempt to neutralize the skeptics?

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    DirkH

    MikeO:
    February 5th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    ““Finally, the claim is sometimes made that if computer models were any good, people would be using them to predict the stock market. Well, they are!

    A lot of trading in the financial markets is already carried out by computers. Many base their decisions on fairly simple algorithms designed to exploit tiny profit margins, but others rely on more sophisticated long-term models.”
    Fred Pearce New Scientist.

    This was written in 2007 and of course these financial models accurately predicted the 2008 GFC! If you believe you also probably believe also think there are fairies. There is one difference between financial models and GCMs. The former probably affect the market and are self serving.”

    A few remarks:
    -The people who used computer models very likely got out early when the crash began – trading models often implement a trend follower of some sort so they realize a trend has broken AFTER it happened; and a new trend has begun, so you can get out (or in, depending on the direction).

    -Trading models can best be compared to weather forecasting. Nobody who runs a trading model uses it to predict the stock market in 2100. We have rather good weather forecasting models for the short range, we have no viable model to predict the climate in 2100, so the situation is similar. The GCM’s are bunkum.

    -Trading models, like weather forecasting models, are imperfect but useful in the short range.

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    Joe V

    The Guardian’s still at this concilliation thing.
    Playing the – let’s show the world we’re really reasonable people – card, when they know they’ve been rumbled. Until such time as they take down that offensive, smug, supersilious Monbiot’s Royal Flush piece ‘though, we’ll always know what they’re really about.

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    Richard C (NZ)

    Fred Pearce’s headline sums up the oversimplification and miss-characterization of the debate:-

    “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal”

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/climate-sceptics-scientists-at.html

    It’s more like:-

    “AGW sceptical climate scientists, astrophysicists and related party AGW sceptics attempt peace deal with AGW aligned climate scientists”

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    Bulldust

    Roy Hogue:
    I wonder if the Greens are keen to do studies to show how many birds are killed by operating wind turbines. They probably don’t want to know I guess… it’s their precious utopian, renewable energy.

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    pat

    meanwhile, the carbon cowboys are still on the fence:

    4 Feb: Guardian: Terry Macalister: European carbon market reopens but traders stay away
    Suspicion that carbon trading system is not secure enough remains after cyber attacks
    The ETS is seen as a vital tool in the fight against climate change and the fraud is a setback to attempts to sell the cap-and-trade scheme to the US, Australia and elsewhere.
    Britain, France and three other countries resumed trading but it took three hours before any trades had been reported on the Paris-based BlueNext platform, while larger exchanges such as that of London-based ICE remained shut.
    New York’s Green Exchange, backed by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, also remained closed for business, with officials there saying it could weeks before they felt confident the system had been suitably cleansed…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/04/european-carbon-trading-resumes

    listening to the sunday morning gardening program on radio today, a Weather Channel guy comes on, and is asked about “climate change” and the current aussie weather. deep down in La Nina, there may be a signal for “global warming” he says and, if u look at the last 50 years of industrialisation, it’s obvious there’s “global warming” and we could do our bit by not driving our cars unnecessarily.

    too bad millions of cars are naturally being sold in china and india as they grow their economies, which would cancel out any reduction in car usage by a few aussies

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    Richard C (NZ)

    Gavin Schmidt’s objection to the Lisbon meeting is telling

    I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    “the scientific community” in his world view being only those that reflect his views

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    Mark D.

    G/Machine @51:

    Mark D, Not a word too many or out of place. Well done.

    Why thank you Mr. Machine!
    I realize I was a bit pumped up after stealing Rereke’s whiskey (@61) and hereby apologize to the tender ears that come by (especially Mark @ 52), for my exploding F-bomb. I notice though, that there are substantial readers in agreement (thumbs up) and that makes my day. :)

    Thanks too Bob Malloy for your words of support @ 50. I can’t get my head around the idea that ANYONE would say: “liberty be damned.” (Mr Carter) and not expect and deserve criticism for it.

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    Nano Pope

    A Feynman fan are we, John Brookes? Perhaps you should add this to your reading list then: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html

    Also, I’m not as sure that Einstein was wrong as he was.

    “You imagine that I look back on my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But from nearby it looks quite different. There is not a single concept of which I am convinced that it will stand firm, and I feel uncertain whether I am in general on the right track.” – Albert Einstein.

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    Mark

    G’day Mark D.

    If you’ve ever been on a shooting line with some archery mates you would know that my ears are far from tender. Bombs of all manner to the nth power abound and if there’s a breeze then it’s certainly no place for your maiden aunt to be.

    That said, I don’t think profanity serves any purpose here.

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    Bulldust

    Can’t stand to switch on the TV anymore these days… within minutes and flicking a couple channels I see Andrew O’Keefe trying to argue the CAGW case against his guest (Pru someone or other). Seriously the chap should stick to topics in which he has expertise… how to survive in the gutters after getting off your face on a night out… He is starting to look more and more uncomfortable as a TV host, borderline insulting the guests half the time and giggling incessantly at himself the other half. His co-host and guests are struggling to hide their contempt.

    I wonder if it is analogous to when the taxi driver tells you to buy a stock meaning the ship has already sailed. When the likes of Andrew O’Keefe are spruiking CAGW it must be dead in the water.

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    Denis of Perth

    If I was a ‘true believer’ like Bob Brown.Coal or Christine.Communist Milne I would be strenuously arguing against rebuilding infrastructure in areas where Gaia has spoken.

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    incoherent rambler

    From whats up with that (tarpon), a quote I had to share:

    You can fake the science, but hiding the ice and snow is not going to work.

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    Mark

    Amen to that Bulldust.

    I haven’t watched any TV news since I don’t know when. Utter, trivial rubbish. Just had a bit of a heat wave in coastal NSW. Nothing unusual for February but already it’s being spruiked as the “hottest evvaaah”.

    Wonder which bodgied up temperature set they’re basing the claim on.

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    Brian G Valentine

    Mr Pearce LOOKS very much like John Holdren of the US, and Mr Pearce’s words SOUND very much like Mr Holdren’s.

    In fact if you neglected to say where Mr Pearce was from, and published Mr Pearce’s picture together with his statements, and identified him as John Holdren, no one would question it.

    Here in the US, it is now fashionable to “tell it like it is” and call anybody who doesn’t agree with what Mr Trenberth and Mr Hansen has to say, “deniers.”

    Trenberth made a big point of pointing out “denier” notoriety at a recent AMS meeting.

    Moreover a group of climate “scientists” including Trenberth and Santer recently penned a letter to the US Congress to tell them that carbon dioxide molecules aren’t Democrat or Republican but “deniers” are more or less enemies of the state and the only salvation for the world is to listen up pronto to hyperventilated alarmism.

    So much for calls to tone down the rhetoric.

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    incoherent rambler

    Ref B G Valentine:

    I wonder which country will be first to arrest a “denier” as an enemy of the state?

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    Brian G Valentine

    Not soon enough to please Mr Mann and Mr Trenberth, I dare say.

    They must fantasize about such a world:

    None to question a thing they say

    None to question their “integrity”

    None to stand in the way of their calls to construct a “scientific meta-government” that will regulate the “dangers” that the unwashed masses could not begin to fathom

    No more video parodies to sue over

    No more heart-wrenching, hand-wringing stories of [delusional] “fears” of “retribution” from “thugs” who “don’t like to hear the truth” [Ben Santer, who wants to blame Marc Morano for his unfounded fears for his own safety instead of Santer's own paranoia]

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    bananabender

    I’m afraid I can’t buy into the whole Albert Einstein uber-genius caper. I accept that he was a one of the leading physicists of the 20th century but hardly the greatest mind of all time as usually portrayed in the mainstream press.

    No other great 20th century physicist attended a teachers college.

    Every other great theoretical physicist was remarkably precocious – Richard Feynman taught himself advanced university level mathematics by age 12. However Einstein didn’t even pass his matriculation exams at the first attempt. Excuses are regularly made that Einstein was an unenthusiastic student – so was Stephen Hawking. Yet Hawking still effortlessly graduated with honours from Oxford at age 20.

    Einstein couldn’t obtain a teaching position or hold down a job. It is claimed that he was too independent or dificult. However eccentricity is is considered quite normal for physical scientists. Robert Oppenheimer, for example, attempted to poison his chemistry tutor. But Oppenheimer was still allowed to remain at Cambridge.

    Einstein was still struggling with his PhD at 26 – an age at which most of the greats were already university lecturers or even tenured Professors (eg Dyson and Feynman) at major universities. Einstein wasn’t offered a teaching position until he was 29. He was 35 before he obtained a Chair at Humboldt University.

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    Brian G Valentine

    Einstein was at least smart enough to know himself – and thus know he could not be an administrator or leader, turning down the first presidency of Israel.

    Oppenheimer was to full of himself as to not know himself, having been weapon director at Los Alamos then self-appointed policy guru to President Truman, whence Oppenheimer took himself down with it. Had he not been so arrogant Oppenheimer would understand he did not have the ability to run an organisation.

    The greatest physical chemist who ever lived, and the first American PhD pf physical science, Josiah Willard Gibbs, did not hold a faculty appointment at Yale. He was an unpaid lecturer to his death.

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    John Smith

    Is the title of this article supposed to be a joke or what?
    How about the fact that the global banking cartels are now moving to jack up the price of electricity worldwide? (You read that right worldwide in case ANYONE thought I was kidding)
    http://www.infowars.com/alex-jones-calls-out-obama-for-treason/
    People this is a war we’re fighting here and the whole of humanity is at stake here not just science.

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    Orkneygal

    After reading what’s being typed around the blogosphere, from Dr Curry’s blog, WUWT, Tallbloke’s place, RC, Romm’s house of horrors, etc., it seems that Fred Pearce has found a way to alienate commentators from every part of the spectrum.

    Looks to me like the New Scientist has a major accomplished a major publicity coup.

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    incoherent rambler

    John Smith you are right that the stakes are high.
    As science wanes, the western societies that have advanced on the back of science will have some adjustments to perform. Dark Ages anyone?

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    rukidding

    I thought that scientists were there to do science and the politicians were there to make policies but it appears now scientists want to do the lot.
    Well my advice would be give up your job and run for office.

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    CameronH

    John Smith at 89. The banking cartels, whoever you think they are, do not control the price of electricity. In Australia electricity is sold by the generators through the National Electricty Market (NEM). Traders for the generators bid into the market on a half hourly basis and the price is determined by the lowest bid. As generation supply gets short the bid price goes up, and with it the price to the end consumer.
    The big problem in Australia and most western countries, is a shortage of generation capacity. This shortage is a result of both state and federal government active prevention of the construction on new reliable and inexpensive (coal) generation capacity based on lobbying by the largly anti capalitist and socialist green groups.
    The governments have been trying to fill this gap with heavily taxpayer subsidised wind and solar generation neither of which are capable of providing efficent, inexpensive, or reliable electricity generation. All of therse subsidies also end up added on to the end price that the consumer pays.
    They have done this because they are ignorant. Almost nobody in any of the parliaments in Australia has had a real job in some type of productive industry where real world activity happens and none of them have any understanding of any of the natural sciences. This lack of real world experience coupled with the trendy and worthless education they would have received at what passes for educational establishments today makes them extremely gullible with respect to the psuedo science that is presented to them by the wankers at the universities and the CSIRO. Having worked in the science and engineering field in industry for 30 odd years before my retirement, I can confidently say that nobody in any successful industry ever goes to a university for scientific information. I still can not understand why the government still persists in consulting with this failed set of institutions. I could go on here about the collusion between the banking industry and the government, through the auspices of the Reserve Bank of Australia, to prop up a failed keynesian economic model, but that is another story.
    So, after all of that, it is nothing to do with any banking cartel. It is solely the responsiblity of incompetent governments and their incessent meddling in things of which they are ignorant. I am sure that they are hopeful that the populous can be easily diverted into blamming the banks as an extremly usefull scapegoat.

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    Brian G Valentine

    I thought that scientists were there to do science and the politicians were there to make policies but it appears now scientists want to do the lot.

    They can’t stop themselves! They become so enthralled with themselves and the importance of their “discoveries” that they become compelled to implement their ideas because most people are too stupid to understand how “important” their ideas are.

    The amazing thing is how many people are willing to go along with it

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    grayman

    Hello to all, O/T But P Gosselins blog No Tricks Zone has a climate bet for charity on this decade being warmer or cooler than last decade, check it out it is for a childrens charity and payment is due in 2020 depending which side wins. Good cause and allinhttp://notrickszone.com/join-the-climate-bet-for-charity/ fun.

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    Roy Hogue

    Bulldust @74,

    I wonder if the Greens are keen to do studies to show how many birds are killed by operating wind turbines. They probably don’t want to know I guess… it’s their precious utopian, renewable energy.

    I have seen some complaining about the bird-kill. So they’re far from homogeneous on the matter.

    I think the solution is to put these turbines in caves where the only thing flying would be bats. When I was in Vietnam (too many years ago to count), one night I watched a bat fly back and forth around and through the moving blades of an overhead fan without ever being touched. And those blades move a lot faster than the wind turbine’s. It was amazing to watch. These little critters are the real pros!

    So putting the turbines in caves would fix the danger to anything flying. It would solve another problem as well — they wouldn’t be a monumental eyesore blighting an otherwise spectacular desert environment. In the long run they’d also be about as useful down in caves as they are now. QED: problem solved.

    Remember, you saw it here first. :-)

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    Percival Snodgrass

    Now you know why the push is on to put large amounts of wind turbine off-shore, then you can’t see the smashed albatrosses, various types of sea eagles, etc.

    All the bodies fall into the sea and becomes fish food, and that covers up the evidence.

    World Wildlife Fund – emphasis on fund.

    What has surprised me is the various Audobon Societies (bird fanciers ) around the world which appear to be silent about bird destruction. Apparently there are allowable bird losses for each installation.

    But if you or I took a shotgun and shot a wedgetail eagle or a kite, it would make the news & newspapers and the penalties would be horrific.

    Another item is that wind turbine blades do have effects on radar systems accuracy – think civil aircraft, military aircraft and security from smuggling of goods and people.

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    wes george

    Is it true that the AGW hypothesis can not withstand the scrutiny of a public debate?

    The bottom line is that Gavin Schmidt and other long-winded proponents of climate catastrophism are ditching all opportunities to have a fair, enlightened debate in a public forum.

    One assumes that if Gavin believed he had the real climate facts to prevail in a debate with skeptics, he and dozens of other consenusalist scientists, would rush to the debate table at every opportunity… But no…Gavin’s excuse for not attending amounts to saying the public is too stupid to understand the science, therefore a debate would simply confuse matters. Nothing like avoiding open debate to add clarity to science! Gavin, the high priest of opacity, demands public obeisance rather than public inquiry.

    This is just the latest in a string of events exposing the rout of the CAGW paradigm. It’s hard to imagine a more serious indictment of CAGW’s veracity than to have its leading lights run away from public debates.

    If the climate skeptics keep turning up in droves for debates with empty chairs, one wonders how long the Warmists can hang on to their remaining shreds of self-respect?

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    Mark

    Good post at WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/on-being-a-scientist-a-manual/

    As noted in the comments, wonder if Schmidt, Trenberth, Jones et al would like a copy.

    Probably not.

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    Mark

    wes #98:

    Unfortunately for us wes, the warmist mob will be only too happy to keep it up as long as our pollies keep voting them money. They don’t give a stuff for any semblance of propriety.

    As I’ve said before, the only thing these people will understand is the political equivalent of being belted around the ears with a trusty length of 4X2.

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    wes george

    You know, Mark, as a student of history, one comes to anticipate the Hegelian worm will eventually turn every political paradigm into its equal and opposite force. Therefore, it’s always best practice to base your politics in reality. Obviously, climate alarmists have the historical awareness of a newt.

    Some day the alarmists may well face indictments very much like this one:

    Well, Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

    –Bill Gates on the Lancet’s publication and promotion of links between autism and childhood vaccinations, which turned out to be false and dangerous.

    * * *

    One might as well substitute a famous climate advocate for Dr. Wakefield and Green anti-dam, anti-carbon, anti-human policies for “the people who go and engage in anti-vaccine efforts.”

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    John Brookes

    Thanks Nano Pope@78 for the link to Freeman Dyson. Now there is a skeptic one can like. He knows what we know, and knows what we don’t know. He did not bother to raise a single stupid argument.

    His criticism of models is reasonable – he may be right, or he may not. History will tell.

    I’ve wondered what Feynman would have made of global warming, and am not convinced he would have seen it as a problem. But we need some people as bright as Feynman working on the problem.

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    wes george

    …he may be right, or he may not. History will tell.

    John, what is it about science that you just can’t grok?

    Of course, “history will tell”, that’s tautological. History will tell all. But science isn’t about waiting for history to tell. Certainly, we can judge the AGW theory on the facts we have today. If we can’t, then it’s not science. Got that?

    In science one makes a statement called a hypothesis and then submits it to testing against real observations then submits one’s results to the whole community where one’s results can be duplicated or not, as the case may be. Got that?

    No one makes a scientific statement and then says, Oh, Well, can’t be proved, only History will Tell. Oh, and by the way, we recommend that you re-organize the entire basis of the global economy on mushy logic. Only history will tell if we are right or wrong. Duh…

    Gotta do better than que sera sera, mate.

    The Precautionary Principle (as if there is such a thing) would dictate that we must not rashly wreck the global economy based on a hunch that only “history will tell” if correct. That’s simply a way to kill millions and commit hundreds of millions more to endless grinding poverty.

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

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    rukidding

    Wes George.
    My reading of Gavin’s refusal was that,in not these words,that the science was settled and the only thing that was left to do was to determine what action if any to take and as the conference was not going to discuss policy it was pointless him attending.
    He then said on his blog he has never said the science was settled and he is not a leading scientist in the field.
    Go figure.?

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    John Brookes

    Well Wes, when you’ve got two sides arguing, I find it hard to think that one side is definitely right. My take is that the AGW crowd are basically right, with a big probability that many small adjustments will need to be made. There is a much smaller probability (in my mind) that it will turn out that current AGW science missed the main point (in which case you guys will be right).

    A key point, AGW or not, is that we need a smaller population, which will make it easier not to ruin the planet that nurtures us.

    Oh, and I don’t believe it will be that hard to have a low carbon future. Just imagine telling someone in 1850 that horses would, within a hundred years, cease to be a means of transport. They would have been appalled.

    [lucky for us the powers that be in 1850 placed a heavy tax on horses enabling us to shift to newer forms of transport eh John.] ed oggi

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    Mark D.

    John John John

    A key point, AGW or not, is that we need a smaller population, which will make it easier not to ruin the planet that nurtures us

    .

    By what Evil will you cause this to happen?

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    Mark D.

    John John John

    Oh, and I don’t believe it will be that hard to have a low carbon future. Just imagine telling someone in 1850 that horses would, within a hundred years, cease to be a means of transport. They would have been appalled.

    Just imagine telling someone in 1950 that within sixty years a political faction would be insisting that horses are better than carbon based fuels.

    I am APPALLED!

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    Mark

    Mark D,

    You don’t understand, John is trying to bore us into submission.

    In the interim, a little humour.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/tumblr_lg09y2iQJa1qzpwi0o1_500.jpg

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    Llew Jones

    Those ruddy Baptists it was ours, the skeptic prayers, that brought the snow to teach those alarmists a thing or two. I’m sure Spencer would approve of our intercession:

    “As someone who has lived and breathed meteorology and climate for 40 years now, I can assure you that this winter’s storminess in the little 2% patch of the Earth we like to call the ‘United States of America’ has nothing to do with your SUV.

    Natural climate variability? Maybe.

    But I would more likely chalk it up to something we used to call “WEATHER”.

    Let me give you a few factoids:

    1) No serious climate researcher — including the ones I disagree with — believes global warming can cause colder weather. Unless they have become delusional as a result of some sort of mental illness. One of the hallmarks of global warming theory is LESS extra tropical cyclone activity — not more……….

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    Llew Jones

    Mark D.@107

    You have good reason to be appalled because it is based on an appalling failure to come to grips with the “heaven on earth” outcome produced by the Industrial Revolution. Particularly for those who are heirs of it in the fullest sense i.e. the developed economies. I’m sure there are others better equipped than I to show that the fruits of the enlightenment particularly its science have and could only have been realised through the sort of industrialisation that followed.

    China, India and Brazil (a likely industrial competitor with the US) have absorbed that lesson and are securing all the energy sources including coal, oil and hydro that made the US the world’s industrial powerhouse. They know what makes for heaven on earth and are happy to slacken off on the use of those fuels only when they reach the same average Western per capita energy use.

    It is sheer arrogance to tell others or try politically, as the Greens do, to de-industrialise those societies whose total well being depends on a range of relatively cheap energy sources. Coal reserves, for example, will last for a couple of hundred years at the present and projected world usage. That sort of lead time allows for development of different energy systems. Oil and gas are other energy sources whose reserves also provide a fair lead time for replacement. Hydro is a renewable that will be used in those countries that are able to ignore protests from the Green’s via their anti-dam dogma e.g. The Three Gorges Hydro on the Yangtze.

    The “Greens” are not really concerned about CO2 per se but are ideologically opposed to the industrialised society. CO2, for them, is the signature of all their ideological hatred and perhaps, unwittingly, the alarmists play into dangerous hands. The Greens fondly imagine they can head us back to some sort of virgin pre-industrialised society.

    That outcome would be an horrific, hell on earth, for the present 6.8 billion and the 9.8 billion people who will inhabit our earth by about 2050.

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    John Brookes

    Just checking earlier comments, and I have set a record! Yes, my post@3 got 69 thumbs down :-) It just goes to show that with a bit of practice and hard work, success will come your way.

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    John Brookes

    And look! Some kind soul has just given my latest post a thumbs down. I know it won’t be a record breaker, but every little gesture helps…..

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    bananabender

    Roy Hogue:
    February 7th, 2011 at 4:04am

    When I was in Vietnam (too many years ago to count), one night I watched a bat fly back and forth around and through the moving blades of an overhead fan without ever being touched. And those blades move a lot faster than the wind turbine’s.

    The “slow” speed of a rotating turbine is all an optical illusion. The blade tips are actually traveling at up to 200m/sec (800km/h) at the tips. This is 20-50x faster than the blades of the overhead fan.

    This is why so many birds get killed. The blades appear to be turning very slowly until the bird gets close. Without warning the bird is then confronted by an object the size of a 747 wing traveling toward it at 800km/h.

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    bananabender

    Brian G Valentine:
    February 6th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Oppenheimer was to full of himself as to not know himself, having been weapon director at Los Alamos then self-appointed policy guru to President Truman, whence Oppenheimer took himself down with it. Had he not been so arrogant Oppenheimer would understand he did not have the ability to run an organisation.

    Utterly wrong. Oppenheimer was attacked by Senator Joe McCarthy for alleged communist sympathies. Oppeneheimer’s problem was political naivety not arrogance.

    The greatest physical chemist who ever lived, and the first American PhD pf physical science, Josiah Willard Gibbs, did not hold a faculty appointment at Yale. He was an unpaid lecturer to his death.

    Totally wrong again. Gibbs graduated from Yale aged 15. He was awarded the first American engineering PhD for his thesis on spur gears in 1863.

    Gibbs was appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics at Yale in 1871. It was normal practice not to pay academic appointees early in their careers. In 1880 Gibbs was granted a very generous salary of $2000 pa. He held this position for the rest of his life.

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    BobC

    David, UK:
    February 5th, 2011 at 7:23 pm [On John Brookes]:

    I hate to say it – but because your clichéd comments are so lame (even by Warmist standards) I’m now suspecting you’re not a genuine Warmist at all but are actually a sceptic troll.

    Well, that would certainly explain why he sticks around. John is definitely the Rodney Dangerfield of this blog.

    He serves a useful purpose, however. The political makeup of the commenters on this blog spans the gamut from far left to far right, and occasionally threads devolve into political sniping (which I find entertaining, but is at cross-purposes with Joanne’s blog). John’s posts are something we can all agree to disagree with, so he keeps us focused.

    We’ve had other trolls here who try mightily to beat us down with the sort of lame arguments you reference, but they eventually get discouraged and leave. John has staying power.

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    BobC

    Speaking of John:

    John Brookes:
    February 7th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve wondered what Feynman would have made of global warming, and am not convinced he would have seen it as a problem. But we need some people as bright as Feynman working on the problem.

    Since the funding proposals are all peer-reviewed by the same clique of climate scientists who peer-review each others papers, anyone bright enough to ask hard questions is frozen out of the funding process. (Dyson certainly would be, if he were rash enough to submit a proposal, considering the harsh criticism he has received from the climate community for daring to make critical comments.)

    This selection process eventually dumbs-down the climate scientists and pushes the bright people into the skeptical camp. This, alone, explains why the pro-AGW scientists run from any real debate on the facts with the skeptics — they know they’ll lose.

    ******************************

    Maybe I’m not being fair here: Maybe the selection process divides scientists into those who will follow the science regardless of where it leads (the skeptics) and those who will bend the science to serve what they see as morally superior goals (CAGW promoters). Freeman Dyson outlines the dilemma succinctly in his book Infinite in All Directions (1988, p259):

    As a scientist I want to rip the theory of nuclear winter apart, but as a human being I want to believe it. This is one of the rare instances of a genuine conflict between the demands of science and the demands of humanity. As a scientist, I judge the nuclear winter theory to be a sloppy piece of work, full of gaps and unjustified assumptions. As a human being, I hope fervently that it is right. Here is a real and uncomfortable dilemma. What does a scientist do when science and humanity pull in opposite directions?

    If this is the case (and it helps explain the radical meltdown of James Hansen), then it also explains why CAGW promoters won’t debate the science with skeptics — they know they are fudging the science and will be called out.

    (Of course, there is a subset — perhaps even the majority — of scientists who simply don’t want to lose their jobs.)

    To make the decision to deliberately fake the science to support a moral agenda, you have to be arrogant enough (or ignorant enough) to believe that you are exactly right about the morality. A decent sense of history here should give one caution about that attitude — moral crusades have often ended badly (sometimes very badly).

    What if, for example, the threat of nuclear war has prevented the world from being enslaved under Communism? And unilateral nuclear disarmament by the West (which is what Carl Sagan and the supporters of the Nuclear Winter theory wanted) would have resulted in that enslavement?

    What if the bland assertions that restricting carbon fuels won’t seriously affect the world economy are disastrously wrong, and the projections of millions of deaths in the Third World are correct? After all, the people making these assertions of little effect are not economists, and their projections of future climate have so far been far from the mark. (Wouldn’t the Precautionary Principle say to take these predictions with a grain of salt? :-) )

    “Honesty is the best policy” is not a maxim to be taken lightly. Once one begins to deceive, the deceptions themselves and the law of unintended consequences rapidly take control. Dyson understands this; Hansen does not.

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    John Brookes

    BobC:

    What if the bland assertions that restricting carbon fuels won’t seriously affect the world economy are disastrously wrong, and the projections of millions of deaths in the Third World are correct? After all, the people making these assertions of little effect are not economists, and their projections of future climate have so far been far from the mark. (Wouldn’t the Precautionary Principle say to take these predictions with a grain of salt? :-) )

    If it turns out that a low carbon future is untenable, then you just stick with business as usual, and cope with the effects of a warming world. Its a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. You guys consistently argue that the warming world (if it is still warming) is the lesser evil.

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    John Smith

    CameronH @ 93
    If you’re unconvinced that the banks have enormous influence over the government thanks to their huge amounts of money then remember this quote.
    “Give the power to control the currency and I don’t care who writes the laws.”
    Mayer Amschel Rothschild
    So money definitely talks mate and I find it difficult to overestimate how much influence the banks have over the attempt to place a carbon tax on population in fact so much so that I’d say the bankers are the government and the elected officials are all puppets.

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    Mark

    Anyone else notice that the last paragraph of BobC’s post went completely over JB’s head.

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    wes george

    Hear, Hear, Bob C!

    Personally, I think we do this blog a disservice when we give Johnny thumbs downs. Aye, I’ve thumbs up his every post in protest!

    Why? Because Johnny is doing this blog a great service by directly providing us anecdotal insights into the cognitive processes of an AGW true believer. He might distort every fact he encounters, but it’s the properties of his mind—the flawed lens through which all is sorted—which is so fascinating. To reliably provide such insights is enough to ask of any poor sod.

    Admittedly, there is no way to determine if Johnny is representative of the AGW faith as a whole, but he’s the best and last of the once numerous flock that dared grace these pages with Warmist moralizing, folklore and myths, and they are valuable gems indeed. Worthy of our serious consideration.

    For this, I salute Johnny’s Herculean efforts on this blog! Thumbs Up from me, mate! ;-)

    Thankfully, the Internet is forever.

    I have little doubt that future historians will dissect these threads for clues to unlock the mysteries of our age, and herewithin, they’ll discover hapless John Brookes, a name that will burn in infamy as a minor footnote in some obscure appendices of some obscure tome on the top most dusty shelf of some forlorn library until, of course, the climate doomsday arrives to wipe the slate of humanity clean. Clean as the day Noah sent out his dove….Or not, as the case may be…

    Or as Johnny likes to say:

    “Only History will Tell!”

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    wes george

    If it turns out that a low carbon future is untenable, then you just stick with business as usual, and cope with the effects of a warming world. Its a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. You guys consistently argue that the warming world (if it is still warming) is the lesser evil.

    Now back to analyzing Johnny’s gems.

    1. To start with skeptics don’t argue that a warming world is the lesser of two evils, but that the world isn’t going to warm significantly at all. At least not outside the natural envelope of variability.

    The argument that a warmer world than today isn’t a bad thing is a secondary point non sequitur to the primary case against AGW. However, it is of interest to note that it is a fundamental assumption of history that during periods of warmer climate, civilization thrived, times of milk and honey, when music, literature and invention advanced. “Colding” is the great threat to human progress, the bringer of famine, disease and war. It is an ahistorical perspective to assert that warming is catastrophic.

    2. As for Johnny’s “business as usual” meme, this signals one of the greatest CAGW myths—that civilization is a static organism that requires some kind of economic electro-shock therapy administered by a non-elected technocratic elite in order to progress safely towards the future. Ahistorical nonsense.

    In fact, our civilization IS evolving FASTER today, both technologically and culturally than at any time EVER in the history or prehistory of human existence. It needs no manufactured shocks to rock it forward, it’s leaping forward into the future so fast that the event horizon for anticipating that future has collapsed back to a mere few years hence. In such a dynamic system it’s irrational to claim to know what “business as usual” will produce even a decade or two into the future. Much less to claim “business as usual” will not progress technology or culture forward by itself.

    Furthermore, the history of civilization and technology show that solutions to looming problems always arrive in a “just in time” fashion and almost always from the most unanticipated sources. Necessity is the mother of invention. Certainly not a UN-mandated bureaucracy.

    Technocrats are often good at spotting looming problems, but always recommend false and counter-productive solutions, which are usually self-servicing, authoritarian and debasing to human dignity. For example, growing third world populations have long been identified as a global problem. The solutions our UN elites offer are birth control, free abortion, propaganda campaigns and ultimately one-child policies.

    In fact, the solution to over-population turns out to be the extension of economic freedom and basic market economies into country where only serfdom and collectivism exist. Once women achieve the economic freedom to supply for their own existential needs, they no longer choose to have ten children… Since extension of the kind of economic freedom we in the West take for granted to African peasants doesn’t often intersect with the self-interests of the global technocratic elites, it is usually overlooked as the solution to over-population… That leads this ramble to my last point:

    3. Ironically, all of the prescriptions so far put forward to accelerate technological evolution beyond a hydrocarbon energy-base by our Warmist elites seem designed to cause quite the opposite effect. Instead, the prescriptions seem designed to consolidate power in the hands of a few against the many and to lock in the status quo both socially and technologically at about today’s level forever.

    Sadly, daft Green prescriptions for zero economic growth, onerous taxation schemes, trade tariffs and the limiting of all sorts of individual liberties in order accelerate “progress” come as little surprise.

    Talk about business as usual…

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    John Brookes

    Thanks for the kind words Wes!

    Anyhow, I came across this little gem today, from Harpers Bazaar in 1964! You can read the following, just substituting “AGW skeptic” for “paranoid”.

    A final characteristic of the paranoid style is related to the quality of its pedantry. One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.” The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it.

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    John,

    Paranoid?
    Could be someone who fears a trace gas will cause cataclysmic death and destruction even though there is not one empirical study to support the conclusion… But maybe that’s just delusional?

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    wes george

    How ironic is it to have a member of a doomsday cult claim that those skeptical that “The End is Nigh” are paranoid?

    * * *

    I’d understand if John used some more appropriate metaphor.

    Perhaps we skeptics are “whistling past the graveyard” or are a pack of silly pollyannas. But paranoid? That description seems to better fit those who claim the sky is falling. Maybe we are all paid shills of the Single Flush Toilet Cartel. But paranoid?

    Van Jones, Obama’s first choice for “green energy czar” is a vocal true believer in the CAGW doomsday cult to this day and also a sincere believer that George Bush blew up the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001 in order to start a war for oil. Duhhhh. Paranoid, anyone?

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/van-jones-obama-czar-forced-resign-over-being-911-039truther039-teach-prin

    How pathetic if all Johnny has got is ancient polemics from 1964 where we must imagine the rational skeptical minds of 2011 are paranoid in some kind of up side down fantasia, just like rednecks in Georgia circa 1964? If this is evidence of anything it is that Johnny has lost the plot…

    It’s also evidence that the whole basis of the Leftist/Warmist nexus is delusional nostalgia for a long past epoch of creativity, which we all celebrate, yet which Leftists cling to as their special moral heritage much like a bible and a gun. It justifies all the hate and injustices they perpetuate upon society today, because, well “climate justice” is just like anti-child labour and sufferage campaigns of the 1900′s, right?

    Today is Feb 8, 2011. I wasn’t even born in 1964. The battle between the Warmist doomsday cultists and the masses of ordinary thinking people isn’t exactly the same as the Freedom Riders versus the KKK in the Deep South of America in 1964. Although, there are similarities. It’s just that Johnny is seriously confused about which side is fighting for freedom and which side represents the forces of statist oppression and prejudice.

    Decide for yourself who represent the paranoid lynch mob and who are the freedom fighters. Go ahead. Take a look at the dead pan face of oppression if you dare. You’ll find that its frighteningly banal…no monsters, no Hannibals the Cannibal, just a bunch of nice, ordinary people who have fantasies about killing their neighbors…Ho, ho. All in good fun, of course…you know, just like the good post-bellum aldermen of the deep south who organized the KKK. Fine, respectable people them folks…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film

    …then again, maybe Johnny’s got a point. Maybe we should be paranoid!

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    John Brookes

    Oh well, I just liked the article so much I had to share. Some climate skeptics fit the bill, but most don’t. The trouble is that you lot don’t tend to weed your garden, so some rather weird plants grow there.

    But I’ve dredged up something from 1964, so something a lot more modern, the Koch brothers don’t have a sense of humour.

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    John Brookes

    Bugger. My new avatar started working. Up until now you may have held romantic illusions about how I looked, but now there is room for one less thing in your imagination. A less handsome or interesting version of Jeremy Clarkson perhaps?

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    Mark D.

    From Wiki:

    Paranoia is a thought process thought to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself.

    Let’s see….anxiety and fear….
    What “side” of the argument says Co2 will cause massive relocation of people, and disappearance of many species?

    Warmists (check)

    Pot – kettle, I believe.

    As for “weeding” John, I’d like to read your list of skeptical weeds.

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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    February 8th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Bugger. My new avatar started working. Up until now you may have held romantic illusions about how I looked, but now there is room for one less thing in your imagination. A less handsome or interesting version of Jeremy Clarkson perhaps?

    Now, if you would drive a large truck to the North Pole — that would get our respect! :-)

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    Mark

    Now this would have to hurt!

    http://www.co2science.org/education/truthalerts/v14/TruthAboutClimateChangeOpenLetter.php

    I can guess the response from some quarters.

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    Louis Hissink

    Lionell Griffith wrote:

    “How does this present the evidence for “one cannot exist without the other”? This phrase clearly states that the two mindsets need each other to exist”

    Hot does not exist in the absence of cold.

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    BobC

    John Brookes: @117
    February 8th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    If it turns out that a low carbon future is untenable, then you just stick with business as usual, and cope with the effects of a warming world.

    So, is that before or after millions of unnecessary deaths in the third world? What would it take to convince you that it is untenable? The example of DDT is not comforting here: The environmentalists who pushed for the ban were apparently quite comfortable with the effects in Africa — the deaths of 10′s of millions of (mostly) children.

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