the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Trust

Posted by Jeff Id on February 24, 2010

Blogging has been very difficult since Climategate.  So much wind is taken out of the discussion when everything ends the same way.   A lot of bloggers have written their opinions on what the event meant to them, in my opinion it has a lot of different meanings.  It has permanently changed the landscape of climate science.  No longer will we have to hear about the perfect integrity of the scientists in blogland.  We no longer need to question why good papers have been blocked from publication.  After the initial Copenhagen proposal, Chavez’s Copenhagen speech, and raucous applause of the audience, we don’t need to wonder about the political intent of the “scientists” and world governments any longer.

Today at 10am EST,  tAV and several other blogs will carry a post by Dr. Judith Curry on the issue of regaining trust in climate science.  It’s going to be interesting to see how it’s carried by other blogs/papers.  Trust is a word that I’ve seen many climate scientists use to describe what they aspire to in the debate, yet trust is completely beside the point.  Trust is faith and has no place in science.  Trust is not something to be given to a paper, community or blogger.  Trust is what you reserve for close friends and family.  In science, there is only openness, reproducibility and understanding.

Recently, I had a phone conversation with another blogger regarding Mann08.  When I made the point that the 08 paper was so obviously bad, that the selection of preferred data was proof of intent, the reaction was one of surprise rather than agreement. In another instance Gavin Schmidt misapplied a wavelet analysis to a criticism of a Nichola Scafetta paper in a surprising way.  In an early revision of her post for today, Dr. Curry described the errors in Mann’s work as ‘relatively minor errors’ – this was later removed.  I am beginning to wonder if my take on this is wrong.  I wonder now if they are simply not mathematically inclined enough to understand just how bad these paleoclimate works are.  Mann is good though, he’s found too many way’s to achieve the same data sorting result.  He must know!!- I tell myself, how could he not?  Gavin is a mathematician by trade, yet he really did blow the Scafetta wavelet analysis and I really could have fixed it immediately for him.  He simply said, I’m not perfect and went on with his massive ego after a few days of contriteness.  But the error was not small, it was conceptual at it’s core and really took the shine off his abilities in my eyes.

Do they really not understand?  Are they honestly missing the paleoclimate boat this badly or is it fraud?

Then we see the words ‘trick to hide the decline’ show up in the emails.  The scientists scramble to explain it away as nothing, focusing on the word ‘trick’ and ignoring the rest.  It’s spelled out right there where anyone who can read a Dr. Suess book can figure it out.  Panels of investigators are formed with blatantly false claims of independence.  Mann is almost completely exonerated despite guilt on so many issues. The obvious goal of these false panels MUST be to sweep the situation aside as expediently as possible otherwise some effort to appear independent would have been made.

Perhaps one or two heads will be chopped off, but the goal of these groups is to leave intact the hundred plus billion dollar global warming industry. And more importantly though, is the continuation of the socialist world governing political movement.

That leads back to the very unusual request for “trust of science”.   Trust of people with a proven bias in handling data, financial incentives, anti-prosperity politics,  who have only three months ago been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  It’s absolutely not a matter of trust, it’s a matter of understanding what the climate science movement has become, a deep understanding of what it is at it’s core, a knowledge of the types of anti-prosperity hardships it proposes in exchange for its crystal ball predictions of a worse fate.

It is not trust that climatology requires, climatology requires verification.  Climatology requires political balance in the solution rather than wild and falsifiable predictions of disaster to put in place emergency leftist global governments.  Climatology exposed its hand this year in the various Copenhagen proposals and while it did, its pants fell down.

So many climate science articles are completely insensitive to the political aspect of what was just recommended by environmental activist climate PhD’s in Copenhagen.  Leftists themselves, they are completely deaf to the wildly extremist acts which are being proposed.  Copenhagen was nothing less than an anti-prosperity, unelected,  socialist new world order.   Almost in lockstep, scientists and world governments have continued their inexorable march to power seeking to direct and tax every aspect of our lives.  The robust chants of consensus and never ending refrains of doesn’t change the conclusion shouted before them.  They have no intention of letting little things like fraud and corruption get in their way.

If the consensus scientists want my trust, they need to start by not lying about what they are.

16 Responses to “Trust”

  1. Scott B said

    I completely agree with you on the “trust in science” issue. It shouldn’t be about trust. It should be about facts. What we know and how sure we are of it. I do have issue with the political rhetoric though. I wish those on the right fighting AGW this hard would have shown the same skepticism when the right further reduced our freedoms, invaded our privacy, and drug us into useless wars over the last decade. They used the exact same tactics of fear-mongering and derision to push that through that the left is using now. IMO, our government problems aren’t a left vs. right issue. It’s an authoritarian vs. libertarian argument. Those in power or who can get in power, regardless of party, all believe government is a tool to enforce their will on the people rather than a tool to provide the basic framework that allows people to prosper.

  2. jstults said

    Give me your trust said the queen on her throne
    for I bear the burden of ruling alone
    Trust me to lead and to judge and to rule
    and no man will think you a fool.

    But trust is the sound of a grave dogs bark
    trust is the sound of betrayal in the dark
    trust is the sound of a souls last breath
    trust is the sound of death

    The Color of Trust

  3. UpNorthOutWest said

    Well said. This isn’t about “trust.” This is about, “Here are my findings. But if you don’t believe me, here’s the raw data and my methodologies. Knock yourself out. I have no stake in the ultimate conclusion, other than furthering scientific knowledge.”

    I know, I know. But I can dream, can’t I?

  4. Hmmm said

    The root cause may come from their science-fantasy that they are saving the world. It makes their lives more interesting than it otherwise would be.

  5. Duster said

    This discussion of “trust” and “expertise” or “authority” are periodic problems in science of all kinds. The climate business is merely the obvious one since some oxen are going to gored – hmmm, no pun intended there – regardless of the eventual outcome. It stems in part from simple human laziness and the massive work it often takes to “replicate” background science before one can build on it. Instead we often decide to assume a predecessor’s arguments are valid and build on them. If that predecessor’s work was problematic – bodged data, poor math, badly chosen statistical methods, those problems replicate in our own work. They continue to do so until the disjunction and reality becomes so extreme that the entire body of work simply becomes useless.

    The issue at the heart of all of this is that dependent work and results would have been fine if the root ancestor had not been a liar in the first place. Entire generations of scientists are then embarrassed by their laziness because they permitted their discipline to mutate from an empirical study to a tradition of just-so stories. This is where Kuhnian “paradigm” shifts occur and it often means reworking from first principles and can require redelineating just what those principles are and how they actually work outside of a laboratory.

  6. Tony Hansen said

    ‘It is not trust that climatology requires, climatology requires verification’.

    Why do so many not get this point?

  7. vince said

    ‘Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.’

    Oliver Cromwell

  8. Chuckles said

    “There’s nowt I trust ‘cept me and thee, and I’m not so sure about thee.”

  9. KimW said

    I think that this quote by Oliver Cromwell also applies,
    “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

    In a letter to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. 1650.

  10. Ausie Dan said

    I agree with openness and relicability.
    But trust is needed as well.

    Now, I have downloaded the tidal records for Sydney Harbour taken at Fort Denison (aka Pinchgut) montly since 1914.
    I have charted the data and have myself seen that it has a linear trend.
    It has risen stradily at the rate of 8.4 centimetres per 100 years.
    There is no sign of any acceleration or exponential increase, even in the latest figures, that you would expect, if the IPCC warnings about CO2 caused ocean height increase were true.

    However, I did not make those monthly readings myself. I have been forced to take the figures on trust. I have trusted the public servants who did make the readings and those who compiled them, digitised them and made them available to me.

    My trust was strengthened because I have lived close to the harbour for most of that period covered by the data and have not observed any catastrophic increase in the level of the water in the harbour. But nevertheless, I have to take the data on trust.

    I only shop in shops where I can trust the management to follow their enlightened self interest and be honest in their dealings with me.
    Neverthe less, I comparison shop and count my change carefully.

    Trust is necessary for community to exist.
    We must trust scientists.
    Each individual cannot do everything for his or herself.
    BUT the climate scientists have lost our trust.
    This MUST be restored forthwith.

  11. Gary P said

    There has to be a basic level of trust in a scientist for someone to take the time to read his work. After reading about Real Climate not allowing skeptical comments I have never looked at their site except for a couple of links that I did not know would take me there. I do not trust them, so they are not worth my time for anything they have to say.

    I use to read Scientific American cover to cover. Since they have lost my trust I will not even pick up a copy at the bookstore to look at the cover. It is probably impossible for them to regain my trust short of Steve McIntyre linking to an series of articles by them investigating AGW fraud, and the pathology of scientific misconduct. It does not mean I will believe them but I might take the time to read what they say.

  12. Myrddin Seren said

    Jeff,

    By coincidence, here might by a “mainstream” view of the same issue – coming at it from pretty much an opposite direction:

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

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/climate-wars-give-science-bad-name/story-e6frgcjx-1225833598122

    Categorising the range of issues as a “War” is pretty simplistic and adversarial.

    And given the amount of taxpayer dollars flowing towards Australian universities already, I presume ‘public campaign’ means – paid for by the Feds.

    There is probably a whole raft of things that could be chewed over in this piece, but no comments section. I guess ‘That’s War’ for you.

  13. Duster said

    Ausie Dan said
    February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm:

    In science trust has some implications that I have not seen discussed in much detail. First, often repeated, “no scientific assertion should begin or end with the words, ‘trust me.’” In any science it is not the scientist but the data that are trusted. If you are confronted by a colleague who says, “I can’t believe your results,” the appropriate response is, “here’s the data. Analyze it yourself [Jackass].” Raw data is, by custom, available to allies and to critics because replication builds reputation. Refusal of access to data is a red flag that the individual either does not trust the data or doubts their analytical results – doubts themselves.

    Second, any scientist has either sufficient trust in him- or herself and their ability to analize and abstract meaning from the data they work with, or they should not be in science in the first place. A scientific discipline is no place for fragile egos; you have to be ready to argue your case, hear and understand a critic’s, and -perish the thought- if necessary, change your mind. Not all “science” proceeds by paradigm change- just a lot of it and not necessarily the best. My own opinion is that Kuhnian paradigm shifts occur because of bad science propagated by weak egos. Periodically a discipline has to pass through slash and burn episodes to clear the weeds out.

    So, when you see behaviour such as that of Mann or Jones: defensiveness, petty aggression based upon personality, invocations of authority, naming calling and innuendo, rather than debating the actual scientific issues, a refusal to let anyone else use “their” data, you are seeing profound personal insecurity. The fact is, they know as well as anyone else who really stops and kicks the tires, sights along the fenders, and checks the camber of the wheels, that the failure of the various climate models is unequivocal evidence that they, personally, as scientists, lack understanding of how natural climate works. They are “experts” in a theory that doesn’t work. Now, how embarrassing is that?

  14. dribble said

    Scott B: “IMO, our government problems aren’t a left vs. right issue. It’s an authoritarian vs. libertarian argument. Those in power or who can get in power, regardless of party, all believe government is a tool to enforce their will on the people rather than a tool to provide the basic framework that allows people to prosper”

    I agree with Scott B completely on this issue. Climate blogs get very boring when they devolve into right wing rants against leftists, progressives, (or whatever the enemy of the right happens to be called) who are apparently using ‘climate change’ to further their secret agenda for world domination.

    Extreme left wing views are virtually identical with extreme right wing views. They are both fascism by another name. Surprisingly, many climate skeptics are not right wing, and tend to be turned off by political rants.

  15. Peter Pond said

    Jeff

    When Climategate first broke, I wrote in a couple of blogs that SCIENCE would be the loser (because the trust of the people in Science would stop). For the past couple of years I have followed the AGW saga and I feel that I have got to know many of the blog owners quite well (from their writings).

    One of the reasons that I like your blog, despite my having what I think would be quite different political views from you, is that I consider you to be WYSIWYG (another way of saying that you are open). There are a few others like you whose opinions I value, and whose approach to the science is what I would have expected from all scientists (and I particularly like Lucia, misspellings included).

    We need to go forward, but realistically this will not happen until enough AGW-supporting “scientists” state publicly that the science is not settled and more work is needed.

    Here in Australia, the recent words of Prof Jones, admitting that recent temp increases are not unique, have not hit the MSM at all. Rather, the AGW crowd is ploughing along in a “business as usual” fashion, with the MSM acting like an echo chamber.

    As a layman bystander, I just want science that I CAN trust – regardless of what conclusions it comes to.

    Thanks for your work towards that end.

  16. AMac said

    Jeff Id,

    Re: Mann ’08, on a current thread at Lucia’s AGW Consensus advocate David Gould agreed that (1) the four Tiljander proxies are uncalibratable, and (2) two of the four proxies were used upside-down in Mann ’08 (start here).

    While he didn’t work through the problems himself but “took my word for it,” this is a first. I am unaware of any prior instance of an AGW Consensus advocate drawing reasonable conclusions about Mann’s use of the Tiljander proxies, in public.

    Further down, AGW Consensus advocate “Boris” slams the hated McIntyre and other skeptics for doubting Mann, concluding that it’s “put up or shut up time.” I offer him a guest post to defend Mann ’08. We’ll see where that goes.

    Signs of progress in the debate, perhaps.

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