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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Climate scientists move to atom-bomb number system, give up on exponentials

POSTED in the Satirical Tomes:

News that could have been, but wasn’t.

Climate modelers announced today that in future they would report everything in Hiroshima-atom-bomb-equivalents, or Habe. The President of Climate-Scientists-Anonymous said the old system of joules was boring, and no one understood what ten-to-the-twenty-two meant anyhow. “We leave that stuff to the computers” he said.

“The planet has been building up temperatures at the rate of four Hiroshima bombs of heat every second, and it’s all our fault, say climate scientists.”

— Neda Vanovac, Climate change like atom bomb (interviewing John Cook )

Skeptics said they preferred exponentials, but could debunk alarmists with any units. Science Blogger Jo Nova said if Neda Vanovac had called “I would have told her that while John Cook’s figure sounded like a marvelous marketing gimmick, scientifically it was meaningless. For starters, the Sun blasts 1,950 Hiroshima’s worth of energy over the Earth every second (h.t to Wellerstein). So we got four more? Did Cook forget to mention that, or was he just trying to scare people?”

Jo explains that Cook’s units are a parody of science: “The atomic-bomb delivered all the energy in [...]

Dear John, you want “deniers” to help you do a fallacious survey eh?


Thanks for the invite to assist with the crowd sourced online survey.

Unfortunately I just can’t see this working.

1. The survey is profoundly anti-science, it’s exactly the kind of thing I debunk on my blog. Consensus is the stuff of politics, not science. Science is not a democracy, and we don’t vote for the laws of physics, which are either right or wrong and not “97% popular”. Hence, any answer you get in this survey (and it appears you already have the answers) has got nothing to do with understanding the climate of Earth. It may possibly be helpful in psychosocial analysis of groupthink in modern science, or the effect of monopsonistic funding on scientific progress, but that brings me to problem 2, even if it were useful for that, you are not the researcher to study that. See point 2.

2. You still refer to us as “deniers” in much of your work. You admitted there was no such thing as a “climate denier” a few months ago (albeit after five years of using the term), but you have not adopted a more useful name, or apologized for abusing the English language. Clearly you think skeptics are [...]

Lewandowsky, Cook claim 78,000 skeptics could see conspiracy survey at Cooks site where there is no link

The MoonLanding paper is finally here. Eight months after Lewandowsky was so sure he had a “peer reviewed” conclusion that he announced his results in The Guardian and The Telegraph , the paper has finally been published.

Lewandowsky et al claimed to show skeptics are nutters who believe any rabid conspiracy like the “moon-landing was faked”. Their novel method for discovering the views of skeptics involved surveying sites frequented by those who hate skeptics.

The survey questions included conspiracies likely to appeal to a small percentage of conservative or free market thinkers, and largely left out conspiracies that would appeal more to supporters of bigger government (like the idea that the rise of “climate denial” was a big-oil funded conspiracy). It studied big-government conspiracies and ignored big-corporate ones. There are gullible conspiracists who also believe in global warming, but there was no danger this survey would find them. The survey bias was so obvious, even alarmist commenters said they feared few “denialists” would take it. The results that were headlined in newspapers were based on a tiny sample of ten respondents to an anonymous online survey. Not surprisingly Lewandowsky’s university (UWA) received many complaints about ethics, methods, and the dismal [...]

John Cook of (un) SkepticalScience, admits “climate change denier” is inaccurate. Will he stop name-calling?

I don’t think John Cook realizes how his latest article affects virtually everything else he’s written.

(Repeated on the SMH too.)

How accurate is a book when even the title describes a group of people who don’t exist? Will Cook stop abusing English?

So he finally admits the banal, that there is no rational explanation for calling skeptical scientists “climate deniers” or “climate change deniers”. Bravo. (No one denies that climate changes, or thinks the Earth has no climate.). But this is terminology he uses everywhere, and it describes a group of people that don’t exist. Has he only just noticed?

We think through our language, and when we use sloppy, inaccurate words, we get sloppy inaccurate results. Abusing our language is what people do when they don’t have a rational argument.

Misleading language is de rigueur for Cook. Even the name of his “SkepticalScience” website is the anti-thesis of accurate English. He’s not skeptical of “official science” in the slightest, and with a gaping hole in his logic (see below), not too scientific either.

Look out for the “fake” tag, too. Since when did a representative of a university call another university academic a fake? Since Cook did. [...]

The IPCC 1990 FAR predictions were wrong

Have the 1990 IPCC predictions been proved completely, unarguably and utterly wrong? Yes.

They predicted that if our emissions stayed the same, temperatures would rise by 0.3 C per decade, and would be at the very least 0.2, and the most 0.5. Even by the most generous rehash of the data, the highest rate they can find is 0.18 C per decade which is likely an overestimate, and in any case, is below the very least estimate, despite the world’s emissions of CO2 continuing ever higher.

Climate Scientist Matthew England called that “very accurate”. Since when did 0.18 = 0.3? (Shall we call it “climate maths”, or just call it wrong?) The IPCC had a whole barn wall to aim at, and a battalion of government funded gold plated AK-47s to hit the target, but they still missed.

Both England and the ABC owe Minchin an apology.

The un-Skepticalscience page uses a pea and thimble trick to argue the IPCC 1990 predictions were right (“Lessons from Past Climate Predictions: IPCC FAR”). As usual John Cooks site looks “technical” but uses complexity to hide the way they redefined the prediction in order to pretend it wasn’t wrong. Excuses excuses. Intellectual wordsmiths [...]

Skeptoid – like a skeptic but not quite

Here’s a new sign of the times.

Almost no one has gone from skeptic to believer on global warming. The conversion flow is nearly all one-way traffic. But on the Skeptoid site, author Craig Good is a “convert” of a sort, and I have to give him credit for writing the most sensible advice yet for believers of man-made global warming (see below).

But before anyone gets too excited, the two key questions here are: how much of a skeptic was he, and what did it take to change his mind? Answer, not much and not much.

This is not a big believer-awakening-moment of the Mark Lynas type, or another Judith Curry sort of conversion. Both of those were active, involved and outspoken in the climate debate. Craig Good’s entire skeptical position can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so yes, he qualifies as a skeptic, of the gut-hunch-it’s-wrong-but-haven’t-read-a-single-skeptical-paper-type skeptic.

If there are grades of skeptic from 1 to 10, he was only a 2.

So here’s the flash of insight, that’s never been seen before from alarmist circles

This is great stuff (if blindingly obvious):

To my friends on the Left: Do you want [...]