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8 reasons to dump that cheating doctor (Trenberth et al are wrong in the WSJ)

Hand back your science degrees Trenberth et al.

Thirty eight of the worlds top, most consequential climate scientists sought to slap down the Nobel prize winner, astronaut and glitterati of science, and all they could come up with was a logical fallacy and a single paragraph of incohate, innumerate, and improbable evidence. It’s hand-waving on stilts.

Is that the best they can do?

Trenberth and co try to rebut No Need to Panic About Global Warming, but those 16 eminent scientists quoted evidence and pointed out major flaws in the assumptions of the theory. They described forms of scientific malpractice, and called for open debate. In comparison, the 38 climate “scientists” offered hardly more than argument from authority, “Trust Us: We’re Experts” they said as if the lesser beings, who were mere Professors of Astrophysics, Meteorology, and Physics, were too stupid to know the difference between a doctor and a dentist. I mean, sure the 16 skeptics could be wrong, but if the evidence is so overwhelming, why can’t the 38 experts find it?

Q: What kind of doctor is a scientist who can’t reason?

 A witchdoctor.

First — the Fallacy

1. “Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition?”

If my dentist tells me that my heart surgeon was caught emailing other surgeons about how to use tricks to hide declines, that he broke laws of reason, that his predictions are basically all wrong, or that his model of understanding is demonstrably wrong, then I’m listening to the dentist.

Try this out: My dentist has no vested interest, but has provided years of trusted service and medical training — and he warns me there are doubts about my heart surgeon and I need to get a second opinion (say from a Dr Lindzen, Dr Christie, or Dr Spencer*). So I tell him to “go jump”, “what would he know”, and keep returning to the same heart surgeon even though my blood pressure doesn’t change and the pills cost $3 billion a month. Sure.

Eight reasons to dump your doctor:

1. His predictions fail.

2. He uses fallacies to reason — like “argument from authority” instead of empirical evidence.

3. He’s been caught cheating “hiding declines”, trying to get dissenting doctors banned from publishing their work, and worrying what will happen if his patients realize how little he knows: “They’ll kill me probably.”

4. He refuses to debate his radical treatments publicly. “It’s beyond debate”.

5. He calls people names — “denier”

6. He doesn’t appear to understand the scientific method – when data disagrees with his theory, he throws out the data and keeps the theory.

7. When you ask him for evidence that the treatment works he keeps saying “Trust me, I’m an expert”.

8. The numbers don’t add up. Where’s the cost-benefit sums? (Like this or this?) His treatment plan means the nation needs to lower it’s quality of life now, … so … our children’s children will live ten minutes longer in 2100?

Second – the hand waving attempt at evidence


1. “long term warming has not abated”. Since when? With no timeframe this is meaningless. The world has not warmed significantly in a decade. It started warming long before our CO2 emissions ramped up. The world was warmer 1000 years ago, and for most of the last 8,000 years. (See this graph from this page).

2. “In fact, it was the warmest decade on record”. Our records are woefully short (120 years) and badly disorganized, the original raw records are lost, 89% of the current stations are thermometers near air conditioners or car parks, or near tarmac. See point 1.

3. “Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter”. Correlation is not causation. Another logical error. Where is the cause and effect link? It’s been warming since 1680, but Napoleon didn’t drive to Moscow in an SUV.

4. “And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean.”  Marvel at out how CO2 the atmospheric gas traps heat in the deep ocean.

5. “Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.” Blah blah blah. Spot the evidence. Translated this says: Sometimes we see things that fit with our view, actually, we can’t even say that, we can just say that the real world doesn’t invalidate our “understanding”. It’s as weak as that. They have nothing.

Those who are not Scientists

All of those named below belong in the National Academy for Sorcery (NAS), for they are not real scientists. A real scientist argues with observations and theories that match predictions, and data has primacy over theory. A witchdoctor argues that “Storms are coming. Trust me, for I am one of the Chosen Ones. Pay us your tithe and I will stop the tempest! “

Distinguished Senior Scientist

Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Richard Somerville, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University

Rasmus Benestad, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Gerald Meehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences; Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Princeton University

Peter Gleick, Ph.D., co-founder and president, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security

Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Climate Institute, Washington

Michael Mann, Ph.D., Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University

Steven Running, Ph.D., Professor, Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana

Robert Corell, Ph.D., Chair, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment; Principal, Global Environment Technology Foundation

Dennis Ojima, Ph.D., Professor, Senior Research Scientist, and Head of the Dept. of Interior’s Climate Science Center at Colorado State University

Josh Willis, Ph.D., Climate Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Matthew England, Ph.D., Professor, Joint Director of the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia

Ken Caldeira, Ph.D., Atmospheric Scientist, Dept. of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

Warren Washington, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Terry L. Root, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

David Karoly, Ph.D., ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Donald Wuebbles, Ph.D., Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Camille Parmesan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, University of Texas; Professor of Global Change Biology, Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK

Simon Donner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada

Barrett N. Rock, Ph.D., Professor, Complex Systems Research Center and Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire

David Griggs, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, Australia

Roger N. Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Australia

William L. Chameides, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, School of the Environment, Duke University

Gary Yohe, Ph.D., Professor, Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, CT

Robert Watson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Chair of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Steven Sherwood, Ph.D., Director, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Chris Rapley, Ph.D., Professor of Climate Science, University College London, UK

Joan Kleypas, Ph.D., Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

James J. McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

Stefan Rahmstorf, Ph.D., Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam University, Germany

Julia Cole, Ph.D., Professor, Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

William H. Schlesinger, Ph.D., President, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Eric Rignot, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Professor of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine

Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France

*people with long publication records, prizes, awards, and a track record of honest work, excellent data and good reasoning.

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