JoNova

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


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Skeptically mapping why Big-government research is often a waste of money

This study on “skeptics” came out in the weeks just before the Australian election. I had quite some fun with it, then promptly forgot it. (You’ll see why soon).

But Amelia Sharman, of The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, seems genuinely interested, claiming skeptics haven’t been studied much, suggesting skeptical blogs are quite important, and wait for it, discovering that the thing that makes the most central skeptical blogs popular is that they are interested in the science.

Despite all the rumors that we are an organized funded campaign of political ideologues, she discovered we are not densely connected, not-centrally-organized, and what ho, we value a command of scientific knowledge. If perhaps she was hoping to uncover some secret structure that would reveal a coordinated chain of command, she must have been disappointed.

To her credit, she called it as the results described it. However that post-modern education leaves poor Sharman wandering in the dark.

I feel like such a killjoy. Usually when academics reach out to the skeptics to “study” us, it is to attack us. So I ought to be grateful that Amelia Sharman is one of the few who appears to be doing it more nicely — even impartially (sort of). It’s a big step up. But I can’t help it, the skeptic in me is … skeptical. It should be a badge of honor. Here JoNova is listed with the ground-breaking Watts Up and inestimable Climate Audit:

A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That.

What an honor. Bravo Bravo. I’m touched.

Figure 1: The climate sceptical blogosphere, where round nodes are category 1
(openly sceptical) and square nodes are category 2 (self-proclaimed ‘openminded’)

Jo, Anthony and Steve are some “central” grey dots in the black scribble. (Ask how much has your knowledge of the universe been increased.)

Despite the notoriety invoked by the conclusion – I’m dubious: The language is sloppy, the data iffy, the main variable has a low signal to noise ratio, and cause and effect is back to front. This is not science, nor is it about science. It’s barely sociology. (Sorry Amelia.)

Firstly, we’re mapping the skeptical world using what… blogrolls? Maybe that works for big corporate bodies with committees that keep those things up to date, who have time to consider and ponder, but, and I hate to say it, but for this this solo operator my blogroll is something I think about 0.0001% of the time. I just don’t use it. I forget it’s even there. A link could go defunct and I might notice two years later. Some people who deserve a link had to prod me, which means I’m bound to be missing valuable sites. There is information in there, true, let me just say (trying to be kind) it’s better than reading tea-leaves. Though the result resembles them and if you ask me what this means, I’d say it means tax dollars should be better spent.

Secondly, the magic mud that is post-modern science makes an appearance early on. This next passage essentially says that climate science can never be resolved. It’s not a rational debate. We can’t measure success, or know which side is right, but there is a pointed note telling everyone that skeptics say that climate change is just another attempt to diminish their freedom. This is coded way to suggest that skeptics are ideologically opposed and not very rational.

In contrast to controversies such as the health impacts of tobacco smoking which is no longer widely publicly disputed, the scientifically abstract nature of climate science and its inherently values-laden character means that scientific evidence alone is  inadequate to drive policy decision-making (Hulme 2009). Hoffman (2011b) argues that the climate debate may have entered into the realm of what Pielke (2007) coins “abortion politics”, that is, a situation where no amount of scientific information can reconcile the different values held on a certain topic. While a speaking truth to power model would suggest that climate change could resolved by systematically uncovering factual knowledge, this “rational-instrument” approach whereby science is seen as providing ‘verifiable facts about reality on which rational policy decisions can be based’ (Gulbrandsen 2008: 100) is inadequate. The range of potential policy responses to climate change each hold deeply embedded ideological implications, with Hoffman providing the example of attendees at a climate sceptics’ conference in 2010 stating that ‘the issue isn’t the issue’; instead, that ‘climate change is just another attempt to diminish our freedom’ (2011b: 3).

In short  thanks to academia, Amelia has been sold a bag of rocks. The climate is not “values laden”. The rain falls or it doesn’t, there is no parallel reality where it is raining on free marketeers but not raining on socialists. It’s not about whether the rain has the right to fall, or whether we should be pro-choice about rainfall. With atmospheric physics there is an answer. If climate science cannot be resolved by observations, then it is not science.

One day we will know how much effect CO2 has, we’ll also know whether the world got warmer. Right now, we’re not even sure whether man-made emissions drive the atmospheric level of CO2 directly.

But there is some light and the project is in a league above Lewandowsky. Thank you Amelia who says skeptics have an “important contribution” on the public debate.

While it is possible that these climate sceptical blogs are not making a significant impact on public discourse outside the online environment, this seems increasingly unlikely, as blogs are increasingly recognised as important contributors to the public debate about climate change (Guimaraes 2012).

Structure? What Structure?

The paper uses “Social network analysis (SNA)” telling us that it “is a useful method to examine blogospheres as it provides a coherent mechanism to interrogate their structure.”  All I can say  is that “Structure” is the wrong word. We are looking at a random distributed network. If anyone was hoping to find the Grand-Poo-Bah of climate skeptics at the centre of the string-art puzzle in Black and White, I have bad news.

There is no private JournoList (or SkeptoList) where we discuss strategic moves and adopt new key phrases in the PR war. There is no hub where original content gets produced by Exxon researchers and dished out in waves to each key site. The skeptics network is organic,  evolving, competitive, cooperative, and above all aimed at finding the truth. That’s why it’s winning.

Strip back the jargon and this next paragraph tells us that  skeptics do their own thing (I could have told her if she’d asked). We aren’t natural networkers, and there is no coordinated government grant or Koch run agency that keeps skeptics linked. Not that Sharman raised that possibility. But anyone reading counter arguments to skeptics would hear it over and over.

Of the 171 blogs, 114 list links in a blog-roll. Only one blog (found via the initial scoping process using WebCrawler) is not linked somehow to the remainder of the network. The geodesic distance of the entire network is measured at 2.71, that is, only 2.71 blogs on average separate each blog from another. While this may seem like a densely connected network, employing UCINET’s density algorithm shows a  density rating of only 0.0561. The density of the network examines the proportion of  possible ties that are present. A density rating of 1 means that every blog would be directly connected, with a density rating of 0.9 or less considered to be low  (Faust 2006). This result means that of all possible ties (i.e. every blog linked to every other blog) only 5.61% are present, suggesting, as can be seen in Figure 1 which visualises the blogosphere using an ego network display, that other clusters of relationships, for example through particularly central nodes, may be more important.

 

Wherefore art thou data?

The paper uses Adwords data to guess the traffic, and “Table 8 shows that WUWT is the most visited site, followed by JoNova and Climate Audit”.  For the record, those stats are inaccurate.  According to google analytics (which has tracking code on all my pages ) I get 50,000 unique visitors a month (not 22,000 as reported). Since you asked…

Who knew: Skeptics like to read about science?

Did it take a whole research project and thousands of dollars to find that the most popular blogs in the skeptic world write about science?

The most noteworthy finding of this research however is that the blogs identified as the most central predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate.

And in a flash of banality – skeptics like linking to the science that they like reading.

The three blogs identified as the most central are also the top three most linked-to sites according to Freeman’s indegree rating.

But it doesn’t reconcile very well with the idea that skeptics are ideologues driven by politics, eh?

Skeptics are fixed on scientific detail, and value people with scientific expertise:

The climate sceptical blogosphere appears to thus be preoccupied with a particular type of climate scepticism—“scientific  scepticism”—and is less focused on other types such as ideologically-motivated scepticism which more explicitly highlights ‘attitudes and worldviews…[and] political ideology and personal values’ (Poortinga et al. 2011: 1022). The expertise that appears to be the most valued in this alternative knowledge network—command of scientific knowledge and willingness to use it to critique mainstream climate science—is thus also different to that valued in other networks of alternative knowledge.

“Alternative knowledge” my foot – be afraid, be very afraid. For this marks the stain of postmodern thinking. There  is only one climate, and there are no alternatives. On climate sensitivity, one team is right, and the other wrong, or we are both wrong. There is no alternate world where skeptics and alarmists are both right.

Conspiracy theory? What conspiracy?

The paper suffers from a loose use of English, in this case the dictionary meaning of a phrase is replaced with the name-calling use. Apparently I write sub-themes of “conspiracy” (special ones that involve no conspirators):

As the categorisation results suggest, JoNova discusses a broader range of topics (for example, fake gold bars and full-body scanners at airports), yet still has a clear interest in the scientific element of climate scepticism. The key sub-themes identified were conspiracy theories (of which climate scientists’ funding was a predominant element) and the behaviour of members of the media when discussing climate science.

But the only “conspiracy” offered as an example is a quote from this post, where I point out that bloggers are more scientific than George Monbiot. This post was about FakeGate, where George was defending Peter Gleick’s theft of private information from a non-profit group for no scientific benefit.

JoNova’s conspiratorial quote?

‘The “richest of ironies is that Monbiot relies on models and opinions, while the skeptics that he looks down upon want observations and data, true to the original tenets of the scientific method. Despite not apparently knowing what makes science different from a religion, he calls skeptics “anti-science deniers”’.’

I don’t even need to explain why this is not an example of a “conspiracy” unless George is conspiring with himself. Most of the time I write about systemic failures of scientific training, investigative journalism, or distortions that occur due to monopolistic funding. The problems are often cultural. Accusing someone of “conspiracy theories” has become the handy put-down for anyone who criticizes big-government. It’s use has become inane.

The Grantham Institute should buy a dictionary.

Cause and effect assumptions are back to front

It’s not that we are skeptics who happen to be interested in the science. Instead, it is because we are interested in science, and noticed problems with government climate science, that we became skeptics…

I do not even understand the sentence in bold (my bold).

“Thus building on Merritt and Jones’ (2000) suggestion of climate sceptics as “agents of persuasion”, this research has shown that these central nodes are key protagonists in a process of continual expert knowledge de-legitimisation and contestation. Interestingly however, and in opposition to the Cumbrian sheep farmers in Wynne’s classic investigation of expertise, these bloggers do not appear to recognise their  ‘dependency upon the scientific experts as the certified public authorities on  the issue’ (1992: 299).

I must be reading this incorrectly, the only interpretation that makes sense is that the authors think skeptics are either so stupid or delusional they don’t realize who the real experts are.  Do I have a “dependency” on certified public authorities? It doesn’t feel like it. As a taxpayer it feels like they have a dependency on me.

I presume that Certified Real Experts (TM) are the ones that lose data, hide methods, and never debate publicly?

With a bit of research, it appears the classic study by Wynne, turns out to be about a bunch of poor farmers who believed the experts and lost a lot of money because the experts were wrong. A strange study to use.

But this makes skeptics seem almost useful:

“It is possible that these central blogs in particular are not only acting as translators between scientific research and lay audiences, but, in their reinterpretation of existing climate science knowledge claims, are filling a void by opening up climate science to those who may have been previously unengaged by the mainstream knowledge process and, importantly, acting  themselves as alternative public sites of expertise for a climate sceptical audience.

Are bloggers like peer reviewed journals?

…bloggers are acting as gatekeepers and interpreters in an alternative knowledge network that is running in parallel to the ways in which, for example, scholarly journal editors carry out the same function in the mainstream academic knowledge network (McGinty 1999)

Ah the ideological dark side where effect becomes cause:

Another possible reason is that these blogs are providing a basis upon which scepticism motivated by underlying worldviews or ideological values (such as disagreement for the need for government intervention) can be scientifically justified (G. Cook et al. 2004). It is possible that this contributes to a situation whereby these blogs serve as an “echo chamber”, within which users are ‘consuming news that mesh with their worldview and ideology’ (Boykoff 2013: 15), thus contributing to Hoffman’s (2011a) concept of a logic schism within the climate debate.

Here’s the simplest interpretation… a small cadre of well paid scientists make ambitious, inept climate models that billions of dollars of decisions relies on.

Thus, while the science-policy interface is often considered to be the most active part of the climate debate (Hulme 2009), this research has shown that in the blog  environment, it is the actual nuts and bolts of the climate models, data and assumptions that are the key topics of interest. This research has also contributed to the literature on online knowledge networks by showing that these central blogs are attempting to break open Latour and Woolgar’s (1986) “black box” of science, with the lack of deference given to mainstream climate science possibly attributable again to the medium of contestation in this case. The internet enables a dramatically different type of social interaction between what Nowotny (1993: 308) terms ‘knowledge experts and protoexperts’, with the minutiae of the building blocks of scientific argument, particularly visual representations such as graphs and diagrams, laid bare for detailed, and rapid, critique. Ravetz (2012) even goes so far as to argue that the  blogosphere has actualised post-normal science, with debates about quality— particularly quality related to scientific work—a central tenet of the climate sceptical blogosphere.

 What does this mean? Actualized post normal science?

…the climate sceptical arguments emphasised in these central blogs may receive a disproportionately larger audience than is perhaps warranted when compared with the knowledge claims made by the majority of mainstream climate science (Boykoff 2013).

How influential are skeptical blogs? You will never know will you? What if the Skeptics Handbook was read by only a few, but very influential columnists — and it gave them the basics and the confidence to fill in details they were leaning towards anyhow. What if they emailed me privately every now and again. What if my blogs are read by a few national cartoonists, or maybe a comedy writer here and there, it would be very hard to track if or how those ideas and memes turned up in popular media wouldn’t it?

Or how about politicians? What if my site was followed by five or ten politicians at the highest levels, and they never admitted reading it, but they did their research and followed the debate so that they could design policies with back doors and minimal costs? That wouldn’t turn up in google stats either.

What if I went to dinner with people who were influential in business and they took on those arguments, but never mentioned my name? How would anyone know? Network researchers following blogroll links are stumbling around in the dark.

* The Grantham Institute was funded by a private donor, but oversees the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) which is funded by the ESRC(The Economic and Social Research Council which is a non-departmental government body.)

 REFERENCES

Amelia Sharman (2013) Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere, Open access paper can be seen here.

Star comment so far goes to Diogenese #14.2

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Skeptically mapping why Big-government research is often a waste of money, 10.0 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/jwbapor

157 comments to Skeptically mapping why Big-government research is often a waste of money

  • #

    Here’s what I think this paper is all about….

    “We the super intelligent, super educated elite find these “sceptics” (hardee har har old chap) such an interesting curio, that we thought we’d study them.
    It is important for our pluralistic, multicultural, multisex, multireligion, kumbaya singing progressive society to learn about these outliers, who -although demonstrating some level of basic intelligence -don’t even realise that they are dependent on the settled, proven beyond dispute hard core apolitical science of climate”.

    Hey Amelia…get stuffed you stuck up (self snip)
    Expert knowledge deligitimizing my arse


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      scaper...

      I opine that the malady is a definitive text book case of sha(r)manism.


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    • #

      You do have a way with words. I was thinking the same but unable to expound my views so eloquently.

      Skeptics are not well understood by those who have been instructed to respect their elders. My parents told me to listen to my elders but to always seek the truth which often caused problems until one also possesses the skills to argue one’s case.

      Amelia assumes the experts are right and fails to challenge them based on facts she might have gleaned from the three blogs.


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    • #
      observa

      Here’s what I think this paper is all about….

      Perhaps if I’m really nice and courteous to them with lotsa big words they’ll go easier on me than Flannelmouth and I’ll get to keep my cushy number.


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  • #
    Peter Miller

    I did not see much on motives here.

    As a scientist, my greatest motive in being a sceptic is a deep abhorrence of bad science and I enjoy seeing it torn down by logical argument and observation. Obviously the purveyors of alarmist ‘climate science’ vigorously object to this, ignoring the fact if they followed good scientific practices in the first place they would not leave themselves open to attack.

    I do not believe leading sceptics are motivated by money – if so, where does that money come from? It certainly is not from Big Oil, plus Jo and other leading sceptic writers are often forced to pass out the begging bowl amongst their readers.

    Alarmists have at least 1,000 times the amount of funds at their disposal as sceptics, so money – and more important, the continuation of that money flow – is obviously high up on their list of alarmist motives. That, of course, requires a continual flow of scary and sensational headlines, aided by i) routinely manipulated data, ii) the pal review process, and iii) massive efforts to censor any valid criticism.

    Alarmists suffer from a delusion called ‘Save the Planet Syndrome’. In contrast, sceptics are deeply concerned about the hugely damaging economic consequences of implementing alarmist policies, the most obvious being fuel poverty and energy unreliability.


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  • #
    Rod Stuart

    Where oh where have all the adults disappeared?
    There certainly are none it seem in academia.


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Jo I’m a bit skeptical about this one.
    Is this supposed to be an attempt to psychologically profile “climate change skeptics” or is it the usual ad hominem laced slur, funded by AGW proponents thinly disguised as a study?
    The style it’s written in seems very familiar with UNESCO or Agenda 21 extracts which like this study will use entire paragraphs or indeed pages of information that is actually not informative but is nonsensical in it’s entirety.
    In effect if someone is “educated” by this post modern style of writing there would be no education taking place, just indoctrination.


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  • #
    Phil

    What planet are these people on? Talk about viewing the world arse-backwards.

    The idea is to start with the science which leads to the conclusions, not to start with a conclusion and argue the “science”. Or maybe it is different in “post-modern science”, (whatever that is).


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  • #
    Barry Woods

    I gave Amelia a 2 hour interview, for her PhD, a few weeks ago, a number of other UK sceptics have as well
    (me I’m a lukewarmer) she does appear to be completely genuine, and a totally nice person.

    Only by talking to anybody/everybody, regardless of perceived ‘side’, will the extremists in the debate, fall by the way side.


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  • #
    Ian H

    What does this mean? Actualized post normal science?

    No idea. Looks like a classic case of “Actualized post normal vocabulary.”


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    • #
      Tim

      ‘Geodesic distance’ – ‘ego network display’ – ‘central nodes’- ‘actualised post-normal science’… a classic example of academic/public service newspeak.

      The writer feels special and the plebs – (sorry, ‘lay audiences’) that are indirectly paying for them think the writer must be correct, because they are reeeally intelligent.


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    • #

      “What does this mean? Actualized post normal science?”

      Since post normal science is not dependent upon observation, experiment, or reproducibility but only on a consensus of relevant scientists, it means the writer of the phrase has asserted that a consensus exists. There need be no actual evidence for the consensus beyond the assertion that it exists at the 97% level. If actually measured, the relevancy of the scientists is based upon a very malleable specification that is adjusted to meet the required and predetermined 97% result. That being the case, mere assertion that said consensus exists is sufficient proof of existence. No further effort is required.

      Normal science will identify the assertion as based upon assuming that which is to be substantiated by evidence.

      Post normal science responds with “You think science is about you discovering the truth? Silly boy. Truth is what the consensus says it is. Hence, you must wait for the consensus of your betters to determine the truth before you can know the truth. Said truth is subject to change without notice.”

      Meanwhile, back at the lab, a summation of zeros will always be zero no matter how many zeros you sum.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        This, “We agree, therefore it is the truth”, approach to “knowledge” is not new. It is as old as civilisation, and is the basis of most religions. In fact, if somebody can produce empirical evidence for a religion, it would cease to be one, because religion is dependent upon a common belief system within the consensus of its adherents.

        Phrenology is another pseudo science / belief system that, on its web site states, “Phrenology is a true science, which is there to benefit humanity.” It will claim (somewhere – I haven’t looked) that it is based on the Descartes philosophical statement, “Cogito ergo sum“, “I think, therefore I am”.

        So, hang on tight folks, we are currently accelerating towards the end of the era of rational thought.

        Nobody knows what will happen when we finally go over the edge, so I had better have another glass of that excellent burgundy while it is still real.


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        • #

          Without reason, man cannot know. Without knowledge, man cannot act effectively. Without the freedom to act upon the knowledge he has, he cannot sustain his life. Thus, when we go over the edge into the anti-rational, life will be short, painful, and brutish. Expect the dark ages to look like a paradise by comparison.


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  • #
    Barry Woods

    focus on the positive?
    (us ‘sceptics’ can’t convert Amelia to ‘the dark side of the farce’ – in ‘one giant step’ )


    The most noteworthy finding of this research however is that the blogs identified as the most central predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate.

    I’ll email Amelia this comment/joke


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  • #
    tom0mason

    Amelia Sharman has it all wrong.
    We are the original decentralized, disorganized structure (that certain terrorist organizations attempt to emulate), and as such we play random games against the official outpourings of the climate consensus network. These games include letting off random logical bombs, linking relevant mathematical formulae, and littering the blogosphere with verifiable scientific facts. Sometimes we just snipe from the sidelines.

    As we are better funded by big oil, gas, and coal, and evil moneymaking industries the world-over,(plus of course the Koch brothers) so naturally we can afford better paid and more imaginative thinkers to give us our starting theorems. These theorems are randomly maintained in a loosely cohesive structure within academe and private businesses. From these basics we randomly take a subject topic and hone it into evermore elaborate and complicated axioms, theorems, postulates, and corollaries. In doing this good work for our paying masters, we muddy the waters of official consensus science, and keep all these wicked industries going.

    The alternative idea that the current state of the art in climate science is just a political tool and shot full of holes just unbelievable, isn’t it?

    BTW Jo, Big Oil says sorry for the lack of payment recently, the checks is in the post.
    :-)


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  • #
    MemoryVault

    Oh wow!!!

    Another fence-straddling Judith Curry wannabe, with a dash of vintage Lewandowsky thrown in for taste, but with even bigger words and even more complexicated, post-modern, gobbedly-gook phraseology, and even more of it per column-inch, to boot. Who’da thunk it possible?

    .
    Nine comments in two hours.
    It’s the weekend, Jo.
    Time to cut your losses on this one, and go straight to an “unthreaded weekend”.
    Stats count, even if you’re not selling advertising space.


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  • #
    handjive

    Above Quote:

    “Despite all the rumors that we are an organized funded campaign of political ideologues, she discovered we are not densely connected, not-centrally-organized, and what ho, we value a command of scientific knowledge.
    If perhaps she was hoping to uncover some secret structure that would reveal a coordinated chain of command, she must have been disappointed.”

    Donna Laframboise once compared the skeptics to the rebel alliance in Star Wars.

    Indeed, we rebel against the consensus, the Evil Green Empire, the pigs from Animal Farm.


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    • #
      Tim

      “If perhaps she was hoping to uncover some secret structure that would reveal a coordinated chain of command…”

      Maybe that could be the rationale for her funding. Perhaps they were also looking to expose an evil and psychotic cult of nihilistic denier mercenaries lurking in the wastelands and sniping at the towers of the great Consensus High Command.


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  • #
    AndyG55

    Fig 1 looks like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.. on a bad hair day !


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    Brett

    The key sub-themes identified were conspiracy theories

    How about giving them some?

    It’s little furry mammals causing global warming. With the introduction of rabbits around the globe and quickly increasing in numbers closely resembles the graph of increases in temperature. The drop off mid century was from Myxomatosis, before the populations recovered and continued to increase. the recent hiatus is due to the Calicivirus.
    Why else would a Mammalogist be debating a matter of Carbon Dioxide?
    He’s a bunny lover and wants to protect them.

    How’s that?


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  • #
    AndyG55

    The very first list on the .pdf file

    There it is in black and white..

    “2. Climate change governance for a new global deal”

    Then in the introduction , we have this little gem !

    “Evidence supporting the reality of climate change and its anthropogenic cause is
    overwhelming in the peer-reviewed literature (J. Cook et al. 2013; Doran and
    Zimmerman 2009).”

    ROFLMAO !!!!!

    Does this person REALLY expect to be taken seriously ?


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    • #
      AndyG55

      ps.. I stopped reading at that point and deleted the .pdf :-)


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    • #
      diogenese2

      some translation necessary from the original bollox, in which I am fluent.
      “evidence ……is overwhelming” = I have never looked at any.
      “little is known about the climate sceptic blogosphere” = because I have never read any of the blogs.
      “forthcoming research will address this issue in detail” = my next tranche of funding has arrived.
      “Traditional frameworks of scientific knowledge production limited its creation to official spaces such as universities” = I am completely ignorant of the development of the advanced technology which enables me to exist.
      The last paragraph sums it up nicely “more research is required” = I have no project agreed for next year.
      As the person (a UK taxpayer) who paid for this prolix disembowelment of the bleeding obvious I felt duty bound to read it. Unbelievably, it was more depressing than England’s batting. In 1939 one Ernest Wright wrote a 50,000 word novel without using the letter “e”. Brilliantly clever – utterly bloody pointless – like this paper.


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    • #
      Spetzer86

      Which, while I completely agree with you, could be construed to meet this statement:

      “It is possible that this contributes to a situation whereby these blogs serve as an “echo chamber”, within which users are ‘consuming news that mesh with their worldview and ideology’ (Boykoff 2013: 15)”

      So, do we not read/listen because it offends some part of our worldview or because it’s so obviously absolutely stupid?


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      • #
        diogenese2

        Not really Spetzer, she accepts that these blogs deal mostly with issues of science, many of which are key papers supporting the GW narrative. How would THIS paper come to your attention except through Jo? Chapter 1 is a decent “idiots guide” to the existence of dissent, though I am still puzzling as to who her target audience is?
        I like, at the end of chapter 1 “attempts are made to disrupt traditional understandings about how knowledge is formed and accepted as legitimate”. This sounds like “I accept the argument from authority – why shouldn’t skeptics? And her authorities are – Cook 2013, Doran and Zimmerman 2009!
        Out for a duck!


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  • #
    Numberwang

    “Alternative Knowledge” is whatever they teach at university programs that end in “..Studies”


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  • #
    Tiresome

    Seems like Jo’s pendulum has swung a long way from green daze. Some of us don’t oscillate as wildly. Might be something in the anger?

    Meanwhile other POVs http://www.ted.com/talks/mariana_mazzucato_government_investor_risk_taker_innovator.html


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    • #
      Reed Coray

      Anyone who doesn’t get angry over the arguments used by CAGW proponents to justify massive changes in societal behavior is either brain dead or a CAGW proponent. [Note, not all brain dead people are CAGW proponents, but all CAGW proponents are .........]


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Mariana Mazzucato makes an excellent point about Government in being in the best position to fund the risk of innovation. But I notice that she makes no comment about the other side of that equation, which is the Government wishing to direct (or “encourage”) the various initiatives in innovation.


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      • #

        Rereke, I used to agree. Now I’m not so sure. Government funded risks in science are similar to government funded risks in business. A committee is not good at picking winners. Look at the Human Genome Project — they government consortium took ten years with a $5bn budget, and Craig Ventner came in and did it in half the time for $100m.

        We’d be better off in a lower taxing more efficient economy where there was more directed philanthropy. An individual picking winners with their own money has a better grip on the risks than a committee placing bets with funds they forced from people they don’t even know.


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          AndyG55

          IIRC, CSIRO used to have an “undirected” budget, and used to do some pretty interesting work.
          It started to go downhill as soon as the budget became more “directed” when they put a non-scientist bureaucrat in charge.


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            Speedy

            Andy55

            Had an interesting conversation with some CSIRO types this week – they were in one of the remaining “useful” arms of that body. (i.e. They actually are trying to invent things, as opposed to excuses for their political masters).

            They have had a gutful of Megan Clarke as well; she apparently is setting them up for failure. They either fleece industry with ridiculous charge-out rates or they get closed down. Which would leave CSIRO to their core business – inventing evidence for climate change. They were very cheesed, but a comment that stuck was “we would like the public to know the real story.” Don’t expect them to appear on the ABC anytime soon.

            Maybe they’ll get a better hearing (anon, of course) on this blog?

            Cheers,

            Speedy


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            PeterS

            AndyG55, your name sounds familiar to me. I knew two scientists who started with that name when I was working at CSIRO in Sydney many years ago. I too noticed it all started to go downhill just prior to when I left. From what I know from a recently retired scientists from there, CSIRO is much worse and lost a lot of credibility, and has become too political. I suspect it’s the same at other establishments, like NASA and JPL, although they still do some useful work. I’m not sure why it’s all gone downhill but I suspect two reasons are egos and money. I long for the time when people simply did scientific research for the sake of it, and not for the money. Alas the world today won’t allow that to happen as it costs a lot of money even to die. The secular world is broken.


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              Speedy

              Peter S

              It would seem that the CSIRO has become host to alarmist parasites and political opportunists. The guys I was talking to some weeks ago were not very complimentary about their masters. Most of them are too scared to speak out – the CSIRO doesn’t seem to welcome open debate about such things. Strange, for a scientific organisation…

              Cheers,

              Speedy


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              bobl

              Peter,

              The CSIRO took a dive about the same time the universities were destroyed, by dawkins under the Hawke Labor government. What they did was effectively require that research became self funding, there was a massive switch to applied science away from pure science.

              Problem with directed funding like this is that it requires you establish the outcome, prior to doing the research. Sound familiar? Indeed this is a constant problem in ARC grants. Most researchers seek funding for the project they just finished in order to fund the project they want to do next.

              To fix science, the universities and the CSIRO we absolutely do need to reintroduce philantrophic, no strings attached funding for science that is done just to learn new things, new things that may or may not have any commercial benefit. Valid research may have a positive or a negative outcome in either case we learn ie CAGW is bunkum, hmm, ok then, that’s nice, let’s publish that finding and move on to something more interesting.

              CAGW is useful in the directed funding world because it has prima facie value to the government, but of course only if your outcome, (that as above, must be predetemined, and stated in your application) is that which your funder wants – this works great if you want your researcher to invent the Compact Disk, but not so great if you want to figure out how the climate works.

              In short the problem is that in order to get funded researchers must precommit to a particular directed outcome, and that is arse about to the way it needs to be – true scientists should be unconcerned about the outcome, the quest is for knowledge.


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    TinyCO2

    I thought Amelia had made great steps towards understanding us. You’ve got to consider where most warmists start from to appreciate how far she’s travelled. My major gripe was that it didn’t seem like she’d tried the obvious first step of just talking to sceptics. If she’s now interviewed people like Barry Woods then she’s light years ahead of the crowd.


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      diogenese2

      No Tiny, the first step is even to accept that their may be something amiss with the GW narrative. The political element, the gigantic degree of corruption and chicanery that exists in plain view,the blatant pursuit of special interest, this should all give some clue that scepticism is warranted.
      I am reminded of Oliver Cromwell’s despairing plea to obdurate Scottish covenanters, ” I beseech you in the bowels of Christ,consider that you may be mistaken”.
      It is the lack of “scepticism” that will destroy the “cause”.
      Note that whilst COP19 disintegrates under its own contradictions Germany is preparing to abandon “energiewinde” its entire renewable energy programme by a small alteration in the financial structure. Where they go, the EU must follow.
      We have entered the endgame. And you were first! Arise Australia Fair!


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    Joe Born

    Basically, I can’t get too exercised over the paper, but I commend it for recognizing the place of Ms. Nova’s blog in the skeptical firmament–a place the extent and quality of her efforts richly merit.


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    dp

    What an empty headed ditz she turned out to be. I wonder what her day job is. It appears to me she should be out bidding on defaulted storage lockers somewhere in Texas. See http://www.aetv.com/storage-wars/ for details on yet another American television blight and explanation of that last comment.


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      PeterB in Indianapolis

      To all of you who are not Americans… Let me give you the brief description of all of the Storage Wars programs (original in California, with spin-offs now located in Texas and New York).

      Totally staged “reality” program where the “stars” of the program bid on abandoned storage lockers, nearly always to inevitably discover one or two “hidden treasures” (which have been planted by the producers) in amongst the piles of junk. The treasures are then “appraised” and the profits (or losses) of the “stars” are calculated at the end of the show (using the inflated “appraised” values and making no accounting whatsoever for expenses, overhead, what the item would REALLY sell for, etc.).

      The sad part is, they produce it in such a way that it is actually fairly entertaining to watch, especially compared to most of the other crap on US television.

      So all in all, I would say kinda vaguely entertaining, even though it is obviously not “real” “reality” that they are showing….


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        AndyG55

        Its alright.. we have at least one regular on this blog (you have to look in threads a few weeks old) who is totally into that sort of “REALITY”.

        Except, he is not even vaguely entertaining.


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    John R Walker

    Most people I know came to CAGW scepticism from science not the other way round. So why should anybody be surprised that sceptics do science?


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      PeterB in Indianapolis

      Of course skeptics do science. Anyone who ISN’T a skeptic is doing religion, not science. The very nature of science is to attempt to falsify the other guy’s (or your own) hypothesis.


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    James

    Scepticism is a very healthy survival trait that offers plenty of options. Blind obedience is a pathology that leaves only two options – with or without lubricant!


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      James

      In light of psycho analysis of skeptics, I found this piece on the typical psychological characteristics of cults interesting to read. How many of these characteristics can you find that are also displayed by the Church of Climatology?

      Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised

      Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

      Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.
      Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

      ‪1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
      2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
      ‪3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
      ‪4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
      ‪5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
      ‪6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
      ‪7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
      ‪8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
      ‪9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
      ‪10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
      ‪11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
      ‪12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
      ‪13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
      ‪14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
      15. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


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    Reed Coray

    I get the feeling that the authors of documents describing the behaviors of groups of people (translation, social science documents) simply go to a website such as http://www.merrydowncontrolware.co.uk/mcl/mfun01001.html and pick words from the various columns. Ms. Sharman has does nothing to change my feeling.


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    Mike Spilligan

    The tone of this study (as reasonably inferred from Jo’s post) calls to mind 19th century anthropologists “studying the natives” and their “curious ways and beliefs”, then concluding that those were probably best for them but not to be copied elsewhere. Their books have been gathering dust in the British Museum for a century and more, but I doubt Ms Sharman’s study will get that far.
    On the matter of interest in science, I find this Blog the best for erudite comments from a knowledgeable readership.


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      Sweet Old Bob

      And sometimes delightfully rude comments from a knowledgeable readership!


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        ROM

        Sweet Old Bob
        [quote]
        “And sometimes delightfully rude comments from a knowledgeable readership!”

        + 1

        Or maybe the below comment is highly applicable to Jo’s commenter denizens as well.

        As was said many years ago after a visitor came along to one of our family Xmas parties; “People PAY to go to a show like that ! ”

        [ 6 siblings plus wives / husbands plus numerous offspring all genetically programmed to argue and debate about anything and everything with much hand waving and loud voices.
        We still all talk to one another. ]


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    Bob

    Great article, Jo. That’s knocking it out of the park.

    I have a couple of comments on the content. First, Google, and I suppose other search services, use links on other web sites as one of the metrics upon which to rate yours and other sites. The more links you have out there, the better you look to Google, and the more likely your blog will come up in a search about any particular subject.

    Second, the researcher’s apparent dependence on experts is a risky proposition. As most people know, experts have gotten a bad name in some areas.

    For example, John Ioannidis shows that 80% or more of observational studies in the medical field are wrong. I believe that experimental studies (control groups, etc) fare somewhat better. So, when you read that the latest study says that coffee is good or bad for you, it is probably wrong!

    In literature on the stock market, and the ability of financial experts, about 75% to 80% of professional money managers do not even do as well as the overall market averages (S&P 500).

    Viewing expert opinion with suspicion is a well recognized strategy to use for one’s financial and physical health. How can we say different about climate science?


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    Andrew McRae

    “we’re not even sure whether man-made emissions drive the atmospheric level of CO2 directly”

    :D Speak for yourself.

    I had an argument with “Bart” on WUWT the other week about that topic (starting here). But let’s not have that argument today. I put that link there only so anyone who wants to read at their leisure why a “climate skeptic” such as myself would argue human activity is causing the CO2 rise.
    Back to our sociological topic then…

    Sharman says:

    Another possible reason is that these blogs are providing a basis upon which scepticism motivated by underlying worldviews or ideological values (such as disagreement for the need for government intervention) can be scientifically justified (G. Cook et al. 2004).

    I reckon that is indeed happening. Even if it’s not the original reason one delves into the climate debate, having a government mandated price on carbon carbon dioxide certainly spices up interest in just how confident we can be about the severity (or existence) of the problem a price aims to solve. It’s not really ideological, it’s just wanting value for money – the extra money we are spending involuntarily.

    It is possible that this contributes to a situation whereby these blogs serve as an “echo chamber”

    The reciprocal linkages of ideologically aligned blogs can contribute to this phenomenon, yes, but the only factors stopping any of us from reading what RealClimate™ and SkepticalScience™ have to say about the matter are a combination of peer pressure to hate the enemy and the poor reputation that SkS has for presenting fallacious arguments and tip-toeing around inconvenient facts while hoping their audience doesn’t notice any of the above.

    I’d go one step further and say that SkS is not an echo-chamber, since their tactic is to provide counterarguments to anything that climate skeptics say. Their goal is to mass-produce warmbots by uniform programming. That’s why they have a list (do I even dare link to it, oh go on, you only live once) of “Skeptic Myths” with an easy-tweet button right beside each Consensus response. Parroting at the speed of light and spamming before thinking. It’s all quite impressive. SkS is indeed a well-oiled natural climate change denial machine.
    But because of their goal they have to seek out skeptical arguments to (mis-)understand them and put up a response of some sort. They have green-coloured glasses and motivated reasoning, sure, but they are not locked in an information bubble. It’s worse, than that. Their bias unconsciously prevents themselves from understanding the significance of certain pieces of data even when they are forced to present it.

    Their article on albedo reduction is a case in point, where they described the Earthshine albedo reconstruction (Fig 2) as “problematic” ;) and they continue to use an old version of Palle’s chart. Yes the data is problematic for people with warm-coloured glasses. That’s why they quote RealClimate in denying that this line means anything real. A denial of science right there, but climate skeptics are the “deniers”? My what black kettles we are. A more widely read person would discover the later 2007 JASTP edition of Palle’s paper shows the albedo uptick in 2003 was due to lack of data that year and 2004 was not far above 2001, with the albedo trend slowly increasing again. Why not show the latest data available on SkS? It’s a hallmark of bad science that the data collection is stopped as soon as the stats gathered to date support the preferred conclusion.
    SkS are propagandists.

    Jo says:

    What if they emailed me privately every now and again.

    Looking forward to 2018 and publication of The Secret Nova Diaries. :)
    Is this really a wise move though? Admitting you’re feeding several well-known columnists on the climate debate is only going to stoke the fires of the warmist sociologists looking for the hub of the “Climate Denial Machine”. They want to trace the “denial” pills back to the dealers!
    Seems people can’t talk to each other without “being part of a machine”.
    Where’s the investigation of the Two-Foccacias-And-A-Latté-Thanks-Luv Machine?


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      ROM

      Andrew; Re the SS.
      I guess you have read Steve Mc’s Climate Audit’s latest post and particularly the comments including Anthony Watts on the SS and it’s secret forum in his post; “Behind the SKS curtain”
      Yep! Dropping the “k” in that SS was deliberate on my part after reading S.Mc’s post and the comments.

      A couple of quotes via Climate Audit from the SS’s secret forum;

      I have no idea how one deals with this– to be candid, McIntyre or Watts in handcuffs is probably the only thing that will slow things down. Note that i did not say “stop”. These guys are relentless, and have many faithful followers.

      Real data and statistics are a subtle subject. I try to stay away from both, as far as possible.

      To the depths of depravity in SS ;

      McIntyre need to go down, it is quite that simple.


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        Andrew McRae

        Your presumptuousness could have been left hanging, but I have now remedied the situation. Why does it not surprise me that my interpretation of their public web site is consistent with their private conversations.
        Robert Way keeps strange bedfellows.

        As scientists aren’t we supposed to take the high ground and just go where the facts lead us?

        Bernard! Bernard! When did you acquire a taste for such luxuries?


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    Manfred

    As described in her working paper, Sharman’s efforts have been reviewed by at least one internal referee before publication by her own institution.

    This is very telling.

    One doesn’t have to wade very far into her appalling effort to reveal the nonsense. As a reviewer, editor or indeed supervisor, I would have probably have returned the article to her after reading the end of the opening sentence of her introduction:

    Evidence supporting the reality of climate change and its anthropogenic cause is overwhelming in the peer-reviewed literature.

    The two papers she cites to support this statement are:

    Cook, John, et al. (2013), ‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’, Environmental Research Letters, 8 (2), 024024.

    Doran, Peter T. and Zimmerman, Maggie Kendall (2009), ‘Examining the scientific consensus on climate change’, EOS, 90 (3), 22-23.

    Neither of these papers represent original scientific research that support the assertion of her first statement. She is in the business of myth perpetuation. From this alone, it is clear where the rest of her flannelette is going.

    The whole piece reeks of opinionated intellectual arrogance and it furnishes the ad hom label that we reside in non-mainstream ‘alternative’ universe of scientific knowledge production.

    Jo, I’m really not sure whether it merits the attention is appears to be getting here. It is unmitigated rubbish from start to finish.


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      Manfred, if no one points out why its unscientific, how will they know? I don’t see what we lose by discussing it. Sharman’s did at least seem like an honest effort, even if her supervisors, teachers, and referees are no better informed about the scientific method either…


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        AndyG55

        “even if her supervisors, teachers, and referees are no better informed about the scientific method either…”

        And that is very much the MAJOR ISSUE. !


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        Manfred

        Jo, nothing ‘lost’ by discussing it – just not sure whether it merits our devoted attention. It appears to me that at this stage she is the author of an institutional ‘in house’ publication, and we are providing them with an interested, critical audience, which I’m not sure the work really merits.

        I highlighted the first sentence of the introduction because it is so lamentably poor – citing the ‘consensus’ as prima facie scientific evidence of AGW. There is utility in showing this up for what it is, fair enough. Everyone aspires to their Warhole moment. We donate notoriety and therefore applause. It’s from the non-mainstream alternative knowledge producers, the “skeptical-science” people. This is the recognition that this useless lot crave and it validates their efforts. Like Stephan Lewandowsky, these folk thrive on stirring the pot.

        Incidentally, don’t set the bar too low AndyG55. Sociologists and psychologists are well capable of excellent science. I think Dunning and Kruger proved that in spades.


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    Manfred

    OT but an update about Green Pus and their Russian friends:
    Unsurprisingly, the UN has come to the rescue. Shame they couldn’t act with the same degree of alacrity in the Sudan.
    I should add that the BBC World Service described the acts of the activists as ‘courageous’.

    UN Court orders Russia to free Greenpeace activists
    A UN maritime tribunal ordered Russia on Friday to release a Greenpeace ship and its 30 crew members in return for a €3.6 billion ($5 million) bond to be paid by the Netherlands.

    The UN-mandated International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled Friday that the Russian Federation “shall immediately release the vessel Arctic Sunrise and all persons who have been detained upon the posting of a bond or other financial security by the Netherlands”.


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    Andrew McRae

    As a tangential example of how big-government wastes money on climate nonsense, please smirk and chortle at the latest offering from FenBeagle:
    DECC Jumper (a poem).

    Wind turbines never sounded so good.


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    handjive

    Unfortunately, it is not all good news.

    Climate Deniers Must Pay $90,000 For ‘Not Acting Reasonably,’ Court Rules

    A New Zealand group dedicated to downplaying the existence of climate change has been ordered to pay close to $90,000 in court fees for bringing a “faulty” lawsuit that had sought to invalidate data that proved the country’s temperatures were on the rise.
    .
    Here is some background: NIWA Unable To Justify Official Temperature Record


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    It never seems to occur to these people to examine the mainstream alarmism claims. It never seems to occur to these same people that data should not be hidden, that theft should not take place, and that open debate – fully televised – is a healthy way to proceed.

    I know if I believed I could “save the world” I wouldn’t cling to “my” data to make a buck out of it down the line. I would have it out in the open so everyone could see and understand.

    This is all very simple logic. It’s scary how brainwashed these “examiners” are. How long do they have to stare at something before they realize it’s right under their nose? Sheesh!


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    Robert

    I think it is relevant that most “sceptics” have a greater interest and knowledge of science than believers in the AGW theory. For instance, just look at some politicians: Bob Brown, a non practising medico; Christine Milne, a teacher in history; Adam Bandt, a lawyer; Julia Gillard, another lawyer; Kevin Rudd, a former diplomat, Bill Shorten, a former union official: Malcom Turnbull, a lawyer and banker; Penny Wong, Sarah Hanson-Young and so it goes on. There are only a couple of folk in the parliament with a science or engineering degree which is a clear case for the need of affirmative action on matters scientific as well as gender.

    Unless the politicians have a understanding of science, apart from Dr. Jensen, they are reliant on advice and recommendations of others, but why would you accept the advice of Drs. Flannery and Karoly over that of Dr. Carter and many colleagues of the same opinion? Just look at some of the hyperbole that came out of the now defunct Climate Commission, which in my opinion was little more than a group of carbon tax salesmen.

    You have to look at the evidence and with 17 years of no significant global warming, large amounts of Antarctic ice, another cold winter coming in Europe (French TV yesterday, snow everywhere, down to Aix-en-Provence), no mathematical relationship betweens levels of carbon dioxide and global temperature, and so on.


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      ghl

      Robert
      “but why would you accept the advice of Drs. Flannery and Karoly over that of Dr. Carter and many colleagues of the same opinion”
      Because they want to. That is why they chose them.
      If the rich folk are running a particular scam, pollies run with it. Otherwise, a PM for instance, who for his electoral prospects decides to drop cap and trade, may find himself out of his job a fortnight later.


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    JCR

    What’s fascinating is that this paper was ever let out by the Grantham Institute in the first place. The institute, funded by investment banker and rabid warmist Jeremy Grantham, is one of the most rabidly pro-AGW crowds around.


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    Olaf Koenders

    It seems Amelia’s attitude and abilities show us exactly why climate science is in such a shoddy state.


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    Eddie Sharpe

    Liz is known for liking the Gee Gees, but I wonder what she thinks of this one.
    What kind of treacherous , socialist Gee Gee would speak out against the Monarch she is still employed to represent ?

    Quentin Bryce backs a Republic


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      Yonniestone

      Bill Hayden GG 1988-1996 a self described Democratic Socialist and vocal supporter of an Australian Republic who obtained the position from Bob Hawke as an apology for shafting him for the Labor leadership in 1983, so the Drovers dog did as many do in politics and quit his principles to take a cherry job.
      Interesting is his rejection of the republic model offered in the 1999 public referendum and supported a directly elected leader.


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    John Smith101

    Jo says, “What does this mean? Actualized post normal science?”

    Post normal science (read post-modern science) was postulated by Jerry Ravetz and honed by Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research located at the University of East Anglia, home of the CRU (Climategate) email leaks.

    I think everyone engaged in the climate debates needs to understand what is meant by post normal science. Here is a taste (sorry, cannot remember source):

    “The concept of post-normal science goes beyond the traditional assumptions that science is both certain and value-free…The exercise of scholarly activities is defined by the dominance of goal orientation where scientific goals are controlled by political or societal actors…Scientists’ integrity lies not in disinterestedness but in their behaviour as stakeholders. Normal science made the world believe that scientists should and could provide certain, objective factual information…The guiding principle of normal science – the goal of achievement of factual knowledge – must be modified to fit the post-normal principle…For this purpose, post-normal scientists should be capable of establishing extended peer communities and allow for ‘extended facts’ from non-scientific experts…In post-normal science, the maintenance and enhancement of quality, rather than the establishment of factual knowledge, is the key task of scientists… Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators…scientists have to contribute to society by learning as quickly as possible about different perceptions…instead of seeking deep ultimate knowledge.”

    The IPCC’s reports into CAGW are post-normal science.

    To understand what the “actuality of [what] post normal science” is to begin to understand the non-rational thinking behind the CAGW climate debates. Of course, in the main, post normal science is piffle.

    However, there is an excellent posting by Jerome Ravetz at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/09/climategate-plausibility-and-the-blogosphere-in-the-post-normal-age/, as he attempts to (partially) whitewash the (then) CRU (Climategate) scandal. There is also an excellent counter point of view at http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/ Readers are also recommended to view the comments at both sites, especially Willis Eschenbach (23:53:22) at whatsupwiththat. What ensues is perhaps the best scientific discussion I have read this Century to date.

    To summarise: in the world of post-normal science with its “extended facts” and reliance on “grey literature” Mike Hulme was quoted in “The Guardian” newspaper (sorry, no date) as saying that, “…’self-evidently’ dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth-seeking . . . scientists – and politicians – must trade truth for influence.” Readers can draw their own conclusions.


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    ROM

    Off topic completely and if this foretells the future it frightens the hell out of me.

    From the german NoTricksZone blog

    Austrian Meteorologists Stupefied Into Silence! Data From Alps Show Marked Cooling Over Last 2-3 Decades!

    Some places have seen “massive cooling”

    According to an expert review conducted by the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), the Austrian state weather service, using weather data from the last 20 years or more: “Winters there indeed are shown to have gotten colder over the last 20 years, and in some places quite massively. The last two winters at Kitzbühel were in fact the coldest of the last 20 years.”

    Jung then writes that also four other high elevation stations in the Alps were assessed: Zugspitze in Germany, Schmittenhöhe in Austria, Sonnblick in Austria and Säntis in Switzerland. Result:

    They all yielded the same amazing result: Winters in the Alps over the last decades have become significantly colder, the data show.”

    Jung writes that data from extra long datasets from 20 to 30 years were examined, “just like climatologists always insist.”
    &
    Near the end of his Huffington Post essay, Jung comments that it appears that “climate warming has become a religion. Those belonging to it do not tolerate new findings“, even those that stem from solid observations and measurements.


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    Flat Earther

    Years ago I heard a quote that went something like “more has been written about the art of management than is actually known”.

    I am sure that this applies to climate science and, in particular, to “post modern science”, in spades.


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    ROM

    If you think Climate Science is bad, well it has a long time competitor.
    Just substitute “climate scientists” for “economists” in most of these quotes.

    If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.
    George Bernard Shaw
    &
    Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.
    John Kenneth Galbraith
    &
    I’m not an economist and we all know economists were created to make weather forecasters look good.
    Rupert Murdoch
    &
    Years ago, I noticed one thing about economics, and that is that economists didn’t get anything right.
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    &
    Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions”
    (Paul Samuelson)


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    pat

    Fiona sees progress, SMH also calling it “progress”:

    23 Nov 03.48 AEST : Guardian: Fiona Harvey: US backs timetable for global climate deal at Warsaw talks
    American envoy throws weight behind timeline for targets in a move that could break deadlock
    Todd Stern: “The new draft [text on this part of the talks] is in our judgment an improvement on the previous one. It still does not do all the things it needs to do: there could be stronger language indication an effective timeline to drive forward, to give greater clarity about what initial commitment should be put forward … so that everyone from the press, thinktanks, civil society can review and analyse the process…
    As the talks looked set to continue into the night, many participants were saying that some progress had been made…
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/22/us-timetable-global-climate-deal-warsaw-talks

    3 hours later, Fiona sees failure?

    23 Nov 06.58 AEST: Guardian: Fiona Harvey: Warsaw climate change talks falter as EU and developing countries clash
    EU chief chastised for expressing frustration with failure to agree timetable on emission cuts and attempts by some to opt out
    United Nations talks on climate change were on the brink of breaking down on Friday as a group of developing countries launched a furious attack on the European Union over plans to set out a timetable towards a global deal on greenhouse gas emissions…
    In a dramatic intervention late on Friday, Venezuela’s head of delegation, representing a group of “like-minded countries” including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, accused the EU of “damaging seriously the atmosphere of confidence and trust in this process”. Claudia Salerno said: “We are shocked by the brazen attack against our group by Hedegaard – it is incredible that she has chosen to accuse our group of blocking progress.”…
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/22/warsaw-climate-change-talks-emissions-cut-timetable-eu


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    Brett

    Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing
    ” Our findings suggest that annual motion of land-terminating margins of the ice sheet, and thus the projected dynamic contribution of these margins to sea level rise, is insensitive to melt volumes commensurate with temperature projections for 2100. ”
    “However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt–induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios. “


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    pat

    no doubt ABC, Greens etc will be screaming about how “obstructionist” Obama & the US are:

    23 Nov: Reuters: U.S. lawmakers urge transport chief to shield airlines from EU plan
    (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Richard Chang)
    Lawmakers urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Friday to use his authority to protect domestic air carriers from paying for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit as their aircraft fly over European airpsace.
    Leaders of the House transportation committee sent a letter to Foxx, asking him to enter into negotiations to ensure U.S. airlines are “held harmless” from a proposed EU amendment requiring foreign air carriers to buy carbon permits in the European emissions trading scheme to cover portions of flights over EU airspace…
    “We believe that the EU’s proposed amendment to the ETS violates the sprit and letter of the ICAO agreement, as it would be unilaterally applied to portions of U.S. flights to and from the EU.”
    Last November, President Barack Obama signed a bill that would direct the transportation secretary to shield airlines from the EU ETS if he or she determined it was necessary for the public interest…
    The EU passed a law in 2009 charging all airlines for emissions for the full duration of their flights into and out of the bloc, but it was suspended last year amid complaints from countries including the United States, China and Russia and replaced with a scheme that applied only to routes wholly within the EU.
    The European Commission last month proposed reinstating the law, but weakening it to force all carriers using EU airports between 2014 and 2020 to pay for the greenhouse gases they emit in the bloc’s airspace via Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
    At the ICAO General Assembly that concluded in October, the majority of nearly 190 countries agreed that countries or regions could run their own emissions pricing schemes until 2020 but would need the consent of other countries…
    If the EU proposal is not approved by April, the law will be restored in its original form, meaning airlines will have to spend even more on carbon permits to cover their entire flights.
    A German member of the European Parliament, Peter Liese, warned this week that if the weakened proposal is not approved, threats of an aviation trade war will resurface as the more stringent original law resumes.
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/11/22/aviation-emissions-idINL2N0J71TZ20131122


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    pat

    can’t resist posting the following before heading back to the cricket. turned on ABC radio for all of a minute last nite & got this Gretchen moment, then turned off:

    ABC interviewing ABC again. Natasha with Gretchen.

    AUDIO: 3:30: Natasha to Gretchen: Why trees?
    Gretchen: I have a real passion for the environment; i have a real passion for the way we relate to issues of climate change, and protection of the environment, but i find, quite often, we approach these things from a scientific perspective, & i think there’s a deep psychological aspect to the way we connect with our diminishing species, whether they be birds, or trees, or landscapes:

    AUDIO: 22 Nov: ABC Life Matters Talkback with Natasha Mitchell: Talkback: Trees I’ve loved
    Guest: Gretchen Miller
    (plus others)
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/talkback3a-trees-i27ve-loved/5107430

    surely having ABC broadcast the “new dimensions” program every week is enough pain for the listener, without the likes of Gretchen:

    March 2013: ABC: Trees I’ve loved, Trees I’ve lost
    Gretchen Miller is producing an RN documentary about our relationship with trees, and wants to hear your stories.
    Some people hate trees…
    In the project project, Trees I’ve loved, trees I’ve lost — a joint ABC Pool and 360documentaries initiative — we’re calling for your stories of trees. Thoughtful, poetic, reflections: whether in love or in loss…
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/trees-i27ve-loved/4565322

    some negative critiques in the comments:

    AUDIO: 27 Oct: ABC 360documentary: In King Coal’s Kingdom
    Producer Tom Morton / Timothy Nicastri
    For many of us, the Hunter Valley conjures up a glass of Semillon or Shiraz. It might surprise you to learn that the Hunter is also one of the top thoroughbred horse breeding areas in the world, home to billion dollar investments from horse fanciers like Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
    But the real ruler of the Hunter Valley is King Coal. Along with his fluoro soldiers he is marching up the Valley. Sixty-four per cent of the Upper Hunter is now under exploration licences for coal mining and winemakers, horse breeders, local residents and even some mine workers think the coal industry is out of control.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/king-coal/5029506


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    gbees

    Interestingly Sharman tweets:

    Amelia Sharman ‏@Amelia_LSE 23 Oct
    Really looking forward to this film coming out – fascinating study of belief and certainty @rightbtw http://www.rightbetween.com

    “Right Between Your Ears explores the timeless topic of how people believe, how we turn beliefs into certainties, and mistake them for the truth – through the eyes of people who believed the world would end and then discovered they were wrong.

    Ironic isn’t it that Sharman awaits a film which describes those of the catastrophic AGW crowd perfectly!


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    John Smith101

    An example of post-normal science in action: scientific programmes of research involve two phases: the theoretical and the experimental. Firstly a theory is developed to represent the outcomes of an hypothesis; secondly an experiment is then required to test the truth of the theoretical outcome. If there is disagreement between the two then there are either deficiencies in the theory and/or in the experiment. To sort out these differences new experiments may be conducted and the theory modified to correctly account for all the factors involved. The post-normal “scientific” approach of the IPCC has been to effectively change the basic scientific process from one of ‘observation – interpretation – conclusion’, to one of ‘concept or idea – modelling to show the concept could be true – lobbying to endorse the concept’.

    This approach has corrupted the scientific process by replacing initial real-world observations with possibly unreal notions or beliefs based on models’ simulations. Over time the selective use of information with a particular tendency will create beliefs biased in that direction.

    As Underdal has stated in Andressen et al (2000), Science & Politics: An Anatomy of an Uneasy Partnership, “The need to make decisions on the basis of uncertain knowledge is typical of much environmental politics. As it is expressed in a [not so] recent book on Science and Politics in international environmental regimes, “precautionary action will usually have to rely at least as much on tentative hypotheses and unsubstantiated beliefs as on ‘core knowledge’”.

    Little wonder then that by politicising the scientific process those people who support the CAGW hypothesis will brook no dissension, principally by silencing sceptics through ad hominem attacks, for an unsubstaniated hypothesis to drive political discourse requires belief, and adherance to that belief.

    The CAGW hypothesis, as presented to the public, appears to form part of a Hegelian dialectic process. The peculiarity of Hegel’s world view is that it is the conflict of ideas that brings about change. The result of this conflict is to create a synthesis between two extremes that leads to a final outcome: this has been expressed as ‘thesis/antithesis’, ‘create the crisis/offer a solution’ or ‘problem/solution/outcome’, ie manufacture cognitive dissonance.

    His dialectic, in summary, can be described, with reference to CAGW, as: setting a problem, eg CAGW; offering a solution, eg reduce ‘greenhouse gases’; resulting in an outcome, eg save the world from runaway global warming or catastrophic climate change by the implementation of carbon trading, and the global goverance required to administer such an arrangement – this latter point nowadays the not so hidden agenda behind CAGW (see the UN’s Agenda 21, and other protocols; in fact, the 15th COP “Copenhagen” conference’s Copenhagen 2009 Draft Report was [to be] the blueprint to globally implement this Hegelian post-normal science narrative. Thank heavans for Mr FOIA and the leaking of the Climategate emails.

    People’s actions are normally influenced by their knowledge base but they generally act on their beliefs. It is therefore possible to manage a person’s actions by corrupting their knowledge base with distorted, erroneous or ignored data, or by distorting or ignoring historical truths. This has been the role played by the protagonists, activists and propagandists within the fabric of the post-normal science milieu. Their influence has been far reaching contaminating, not only normal science but also (in part) school education, academia, news reporting, the ABC, many NGOs, and the various rent-seekers who will profit from a trade in carbon, and the power that comes with its associated governance and regulation.

    Climate science, though an important battleground, is only one of many such grounds. To summarise Paul Kelly wrote in the March 21, 2007 edition of “The Australian” about the then British Chancellor Gordon Brown who said: “My ambition is to build a global carbon market founded on the EU emissions trading scheme and centred in London” to which Kelly added, “The bill will create statutory carbon budgets that will be managed with the same prudence and discipline as financial budgets. For Brown, the carbon will be counted like the pound sterling.”

    Kelly summarises this position as the “debate is no longer just about the environment. It is about economics, culture, ideology and foreign policy. The old debate about climate change believers and sceptics is dead (being kept alive only for political gain). The new debate is about policy solutions.”

    (Sorry about the long rave but to understand the climate wars it is imperative to understand the post-normal science narrative.)


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    • #
      john robertson

      Yeah, in one word, not science, Rubbish.
      Standard socialist/progressive tactic change the meaning of words, to enable theft.


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      • #
        John Smith101

        It is rubbish I agree John but I think it is a mistake to assume that it is [just a] standard socialist/progressive tactic – they are just the useful idiots, ground troops if you like. It goes far beyond that; beyond Left/Right, Labor/Liberal. This form of “communtarianism” (some would say Communism but the blending of the corporate world/ environmental groups/NGOs/academia/government has closer approximations to fascism) is, in part, driven by the forces of globalisation. The unfortunate aspect is that post-modern thought ALREADY pervades much of the thinking in the groups listed above. People these days, in many regards, are taught not how to think but what to think; the recent ABC coverage of the bushfires is a good example.


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        • #
          john robertson

          Sorry John,I actually agree with you,the practise of wilful distortion is deliberate,with all malicious intent.
          I see it as an identifying characteristic, of the modern kleptocracy.
          The fine art of robbing the many, to reward the few.
          As with ticks in the natural environment, these leaches will not let go voluntarily.
          Our societies are overloaded with the regulatory parasitic, useless functionaries and outrightly destructive groups, what cannot go on, won’t.
          Looking to the past,I found Alex Torquay’s description of France before the revolution, to be an accurate description of government/peasant relations today.
          The words may change but human nature seems almost constant.
          This CAGW is the classic power grab,masquerading as social do good.
          There will always be evil,crazy people, obsessed with controlling everyone else.
          Usually to assuage their personal insecurities.
          They can be identified by their certainty that they can run your life better than you can.
          A sure sign of their insanity.
          Current government is full of committees of these characters.
          Forget the madness of crowds, welcome to the madness of committees.
          Dumber than two rugby teams after their 6th beer.


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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Don’t apologise, John, That was an excellent summary and explanation — definitely something to bookmark.


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  • #
    pat

    it’s over:

    23 Nov: Reuters: U.N. climate talks blocked over aid, steps to 2015 deal
    By Alister Doyle and Michael Szabo
    Almost 200 nations were deadlocked on Saturday over how to step up aid to ease the impact of global warming on developing nations as part of the foundations of an elusive U.N. climate accord due in 2015.
    The Warsaw meeting, which had been due to end on Friday but extended into Saturday morning, had little to show after two weeks except for a deal on new rules to protect tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow…
    A draft text merely urged developed nations, which have been more focused on spurring economic growth than on fixing climate change, to set “increasing levels” of aid…
    A text on Saturday said that all nations should submit “intended nationally determined commitments” by the end of the first quarter of 2015, if they could***…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/23/us-climate-talks-idUSBRE9AL0J320131123


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  • #
    pat

    Canberra residents overwhelmingly depend on Big Government:

    23 Nov: SMH: Larissa Nicholson: Canberra residents overwhelmingly back action on climate change
    Nearly 90 per cent of Canberra residents think climate change is a genuine problem, a new ACT government-commissioned survey shows…
    They found 79 per cent of respondents thought it was the moral duty of the ACT community to take action on climate change, while 68 per cent said they contributed to the problem and should take more remedial action. But only 40 per cent said they were aware of the ACT government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions.
    Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said the survey justified the government’s policy to reduce carbon emissions in the ACT to carbon neutrality by 2060 and to invest in renewable energy…
    ???Asked what more the government should do, the most common responses were to provide more frequent, efficient or affordable public transport and better education on climate change…
    http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/canberra-residents-overwhelmingly-back-action-on-climate-change-20131122-2y1ua.html


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  • #
    RoHa

    “Wherefore art thou data?”

    You are asking why the data is data? Why wouldn’t it be data?


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  • #
    Reinder van Til

    Everyone with a free mind and independent spirit is a skeptic.


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    Eugene WR Gallun

    Jonova you say

    What if my blogs were read by a few national cartoonists or a comedy writer here and there —

    Dammit you left out the poets — you think we don’t read your blogs?? I am miffed.

    Eugene WR Gallun


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  • #
    Eugene WR Gallun

    Actualized post normal science

    Basically it means that she thinks that the discussions online (by both skeptics and thermagedionists) are “post normal science” in action. Debate by all sides. Everyone having their say. The dialectic realized.

    More fool her.

    “Post normal science” as used by the left means — what do with the “settled science” — the politics that follow after conclusions are reached by the (supposedly) non-political scientists. For post normal science to take place the science must be already settled. “Post” essentially means “after” — “after normal science”. Post normal science is not about science at all but about politics. What to do politically with that settled science.

    Therefore when the left totes “post normal science” the premise is that the science is settled and the only thing left to do is decide on the appropriate political actions to be taken.

    You will understand this better if you realize that this is what went on in the old Soviet Union. There Marxism was the settled science. The post normal science was all about debating how best to implement Marxism. Dissenters to Marxism were not allowed in the debate (They were forced to find outside channels to disseminate their anti-Marxist opinions risking their very lives to do so).

    So the Thermogeddenist are the ones engaging in “post normal science” — the science, in their minds being settled. They are the ones who have been informing the politicians about what laws need to be implemented. The skeptics had been totally cut out of the loop — until they created their blogs and ran an end run around “post normal science”.

    To make it clear — the skeptic blogs are not engaging in “Post Normal Science”. They are totally outside it. The phrase “actualized post normal science” shows a total misunderstanding of what post normal science actually is.

    Eugene WR Gallun


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  • #
    ROM

    Sorry folks but another off topic post. This one an indication of increasing public opprobrium towards renewable energy and I think a harbinger of things still to come in spades for renewable energy and many other utterly ineffectual and society damaging climate change, tax payer rip off scams.

    As everybody knows the wind farm scammers have been killing birds and bats en masse and through corruption in high places and the apparent connivance of the so called green NGO’s such as Greenpeace and the WWW and the wild life bureaucracies that have been completely penetrated by the greens, all of these have quite hypocritically remained remarkably quiet about the wholesale destruction of bird and bat life by windfarms. The wind farm scammers have escaped almost all penalties and legal redress for their apparent contempt for and failure to meet the standards of wild life preservation required of all others in the community.
    That could be about to change as public sentiment aroused by the unreal costs imposed for renewable power and the continuing reports of health problems created by nearby wind farms plus the increasing recognition by the public of the huge wealth transfers from the poor to the exceeding wealthy investors in renewable energy through the government mandated excessively high prices paid for renewable energy, all of which is steadily eroding public support for the so called renewable energy industry.
    The Bald Eagle is America’s National bird symbol hence the emotion attached to the Bald Eagle in the USA
    In the 1960′s it was down to 450 breeding pairs and was considered close to extinction. A breeding program has now increased the breeding pairs to about 4500 pairs and it has been taken off the endangered list.

    From the BBC;
    US firm Duke Energy pays out over wind farm eagle deaths

    A huge US energy supplier has agreed to pay out $1m (£620,000) over the deaths of golden eagles at two wind farms.

    Duke Energy Renewables agreed to the sum after pleading guilty to charges over the deaths of 14 eagles in the past three years at the Wyoming site.

    It is the first time the Obama administration has taken action against a wind energy company in such a case, the AP news agency report.

    The fines will go to wildlife and wetlands conservation bodies.

    The charges were brought under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects golden eagles as well as other species.

    According to one study by federal biologists in 2013, wind energy facilities in 10 US states have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles since 2008, AP said.


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      AndyG55

      I want the Greens and other wind turbine supporters to be FORCED to go out and clean up all avian life chopped by these horrific devices..

      Every bat, every bird.

      And I mean the inner city latte sippers. They are the ones responsible for this mess. !

      Get them out of their cafes and being forced to see what they are really causing. !

      I also want them to be forced to camp under a wind turbine for 2-3 weeks, get some of their own medicine.


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      Roy Hogue

      Let’s see here. We must have these wind farms according to our beneficent masters — renewable energy is so good for everyone you know. But then when they do the inevitable and chop up a couple of birds the same masters that push renewable energy levy heavy fines? Of what matter are a few eagles when the future of the planet is at stake?

      Sounds about right if you have two left arms and two left legs. :-(


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    Eugene WR Gallun

    Yonniestone says — Eugene how about a quick verse or two?

    Huh? Someone is actually asking to hear a poet’s poetry? Oh, wait, I am being set up, right?
    But I have always said — Poets rush in where angels fear to tread. This is a work in progress.

    All that is written is still provisional. I mark with X’s lines that I have not even roughed out.

    Al Gore — American Bloviator

    Forever, forever its all Al Gore
    Now, in the future and always before
    Spinning himself with the words he can whirl
    The earth is his oyster, he is its pearl

    – Carbon dioxide is filling the air!
    And there’s no escaping — ITS EVERYWHERE!
    Its up in the sky, its under your bed
    Its deep in your lungs, comes out of your head!
    The polar caps melt from CO2′s heat
    The seas will be rising twenty five feet
    The Ocean Conveyor ceasing to flow
    Where water goes stagnant algae with grow!
    A growth in plant life that carbon promotes!
    Green seas where sargasso seamlessly floats!
    If acid rain scared you — THINK ABOUT THIS!
    Oceans acidic and warmer than piss!
    The teddy bears — Wait! — the polar bears drown
    As carbon goes up, survival does down!

    Whatever Al says he fully believes
    First before others himself he deceives
    Then sure of THE TRUTH his dictums are hurled
    Like God, by The Word, creating the world!

    –The skies! They are falling upon your head!
    Sharkanadoes will leave a million dead!
    (That’s in a movie. I make movies too
    Seeing’s believing so all of its true!)
    Weather is weirding at quickening pace!
    Our footprint of carbon on Gaia’s face!
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X

    Al’s actions say more that words can explain
    An angel with wings! — his own private plane
    Mansions and autos, a party time yacht
    Al owns such but preaches — others must not!

    Eugen WR GAllun


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  • #
    JJB MKI

    When can I get paid for ‘studying’ sceptic blogs?


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    Tel

    But there is some light and the project is in a league above Lewandowsky.

    Gosh! Setting the bar high.

    Thank you Amelia who says skeptics have an “important contribution” on the public debate.

    Getting more important every year as the wheels fall off the Global Warming bus. Clever researchers maintain the ability to claim some link to skepticism at a later date.


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    Karl

    Serious blogs where facts are presented makes a big difference in mitigating superstition, run away opinions and fictous memes.

    Thank you for an excellent blog!


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    I was intrigued by Amelia’s Figure 1 (the splat porridge on the wall thing), so I looked it up, and as I suspected, it is a form of bubble diagram analysis, eg adjacencies, linkages etc.
    I wonder who the node on the top left represents? No adjacency, no links. Bit sad eh.
    The skeptical world certainly comes out looking decidedly non-hierarchical, nice complex semi-lattice.
    Ok Amelia, now, where’s the analysis for the non-skeptical side?


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    • #
      Flat Earther

      In the children’s book Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte, the philosophising spider, goes on at the end to actually spin a web, which she describes as her “opus major”.

      I can’t help being struck by the similarity. Move over Charlotte, here comes Amelia’s web.


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    John West

    171 skeptical blogs!


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    bobl

    Post normal science, where large groups of experts form a collective opinion on the truth of a hypothesis in situations where objective truth is unknowable, consequences are extreme and action is urgent.

    Synonym: Dogma

    Should be called pre normal science as it’s a throw back to pre science times where weight of authority, for example the Catholic church established a subjective truth and imposed that viewpoint on the populous.

    Sometimes expressed as the viewing of normal science through a prevailing social context where an objective truth is replaced by a subjective truth sanctioned by political correctness. Read the prelude to the national syllabus to get a feel for this.

    For example post normal science would describe homosexuality as genetic, despite the failure of science in identifying a responsible chromosome on the basis that society is better served by the recognition of homosexuality as a valid subspecies of human rather than an aberrant learned behavior.


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    Roy Hogue

    Despite all the rumors that we are an organized funded campaign of political ideologues, she discovered we are not densely connected, not-centrally-organized, and what ho, we value a command of scientific knowledge. If perhaps she was hoping to uncover some secret structure that would reveal a coordinated chain of command, she must have been disappointed.

    Judging from the success of those who are connected by a single party line and strictly controlled, perhaps we might be more successful if we did the same. But I don’t like selling my soul to the devil (or anyone else). And neither do any of you. But I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind until I wrote it down and pushed the “Post Comment” button.

    Jo, you caught an unintended complement apparently. So as the saying goes, “Take the money and run.”


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    michael hart

    Bishop Hill ran a post on this around September. I don’t really think my opinion has changed since then:

    I find the ratio of words to data off putting. Without appropriate comparators in the tables with numbers, it is difficult to assess the data presented in an appropriate context. I shouldn’t have to wade through the text to find meaning in the data. What is figure 1 (the only figure) supposed to tell me? It just looks like a web spun by a spider on PCP. Sorry.


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  • #

    When the doctor meets the darlecs they say

    “we will exterminate”.

    When one of the believers writes a paper they say:

    “Evidence supporting the reality of climate change and its anthropogenic cause is overwhelming in the peer-reviewed literature”


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    Jo doesn’t understand:-

    ->“Thus building on Merritt and Jones’ (2000) suggestion of climate sceptics as “agents of persuasion”, this research has shown that these central nodes are key protagonists in a process of continual expert knowledge de-legitimisation and contestation. Interestingly however, and in opposition to the Cumbrian sheep farmers in Wynne’s classic investigation of expertise, these bloggers do not appear to recognise their ‘dependency upon the scientific experts as the certified public authorities on the issue’ (1992: 299).<-

    In Wynne's contribution May the Sheep Safely Graze? he describes he responses of sheep farmers in Cumbria, who had been subjected to administrative restrictions because of radioactive contamination, allegedly caused by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986. The sheep farmers suffered economical losses, and it turned out that the source of radioactivity was actually the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing complex. Thus, the experts who were responsible for the duration of the restrictions were mistaken.

    This particular case illustrates how the exercise of scientific interpretation controlled the farmers and furthermore how scientific knowledge neglects specialist lay knowledges, as it defines lay resistances as based on ignorance or irrationality. It also indicates the social basis of scientific knowledge and its public credibility.

    It is therefore an interesting example picked by Amelia. The Cumbrian sheep farmer incident is one where the experts explicitly were wrong. They also appear to have ignored the expertise of “practitioners”

    However whereas the Cumbrian farmers recognised the scientists as experts, in the case of climate sceptics we do not – we are more fellow travelers on different roads rather than the Lords in their carriages splashing the common folk as they past.

    If this is indeed her meaning, then Amelia seems to have understood us or as I put it on our blog: “Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri (be sceptical of the experts)”.

    Of course, analysing sceptics by a social metric is like analysing poetry using a ruler: it might produce a measurement, but that measurement doesn’t in itself tell us much.

    I haven’t had time to read all Amelia’sv paper, but from the bits I have seen, I do wonder if Amelia is a closet sceptic. If not, then she is remarkably impartial particularly compared to people like Lewandowsky.


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    James

    Just thought this is worth a re-post.In light of psycho analysis of skeptics, I found this piece on the typical psychological characteristics of cults interesting to read. How many of these characteristics are displayed by followers of the Church of Climatology?

    Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised

    Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

    Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.
    Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

    ‪1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    ‪3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
    ‪4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    ‪5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    ‪6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    ‪7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
    ‪8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    ‪9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    ‪10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    ‪11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    ‪12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
    ‪13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    ‪14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    15. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


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    Geoffrey Cousens

    Wonderful expose,Jo.A great quote I noticed last week from Pro.Fred Singer;climate science is really all about”taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries”.


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    This paper was discussed at Bishop Hill.

    Opinions were mixed, as here.
    Yes, as you say, it is encouraging that some people in the social sciences are at last starting to study climate scepticism with some degree of objectivity, after all the idiocy from Oreskes and Lewandowsky & co.
    But yes it is amusing that it’s news in the field that sceptics focus on science.

    The cause and effect error that you mention seems to be very widespread. For example, it’s sometimes claimed that the there are more sceptical voices in the media and that this might be one of the causes of increased scepticism!


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    Latimer Alder

    Organised and controlled sceptics??? Somebody is out of their tiny little if they think that’s true.

    Even trying to organise a pre-Xmas drink is like herding cats!

    But if anybody (of whatever views on the climate spectrum) fancies a pub meet in or near Oxford, UK, please see

    and note your interest. Everybody welcome, but self-funding, I fear.


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    Sorry I missed this discussion. I’ve my own take on Amelia at
    geoffchambers.wordpress.com
    Sorry I can’t be more precise, but wordpress has gone all coy. I disagree with Jo about almost everything, but let’s be nice to Amelia. She’s all we”ve got.


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    [...] Nova had a writeup about it last November while the paper was being submitted for publication, which is worth reading [...]


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