the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Amac on Tijander and Hockeysticks

Posted by Jeff Id on August 2, 2010

Blogger Amac, spent some time and collected hockey stick links regarding Mann 08 from all over blogland.  See link below.

Blog Links: Mann ’08 and the Korttajarvi (Tiljander) Varve Proxies

14 Responses to “Amac on Tijander and Hockeysticks”

  1. amac78 said

    Thanks for the cite, Jeff. That list is meant to be comprehensive, though I’m slow (by blog standards) at adding fresh posts. I’d appreciate a mention of any candidates for addition in the comments.

    When I started compiling these posts, I expected to find at least a few good arguments in favor of Mann08’s treatment of the Tiljander proxies. Given the number of pro-AGW Consensus blogs out there, it seemed implausible that there would be no reasonable explanations on offer.

    Yet that is the number, to date: none.

  2. Layman Lurker said

    Amac, you might be *the* expert on the subject of Tiljander – ie: not just the science but the nuance and spin etc. Are you thinking of writing an article in light of Gavin’s comments at RC? Now would seem the appropriate time.

  3. kim said

    Stoat to catch a rat.
    Truth, a cruel mistress indeed.
    Scales fall like hard rain.
    ==========

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3 The god of physics has little mercy for mortals.

  5. M. Simon said

    Physics is in deep trouble:

    http://inertiaquestion.blogspot.com/2010/07/inertia-question.html

    It is not just climate science. The inertia question has been open for 150 years. Feynman touched on it 40+ years ago Chapter 28 of Book 2 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

    Yet this whole question is considered fringe science.

    At least 50% of inertia is thought to be electromagnetic (Feynman). So where are the experiments? Just a few “fringe” scientists spending their own money.

  6. Kenneth Fritsch said

    It appears to me that the major issue here with the bristle cone and the Tijander proxies is that Mann et al. purported to show that the reconstruction was “robust” back 1300 years, but they did this by first removing the one questionable proxy and then the other but never both at the same time. If you do something like this in a sensitivity test one does have to wonder about the science ethics involved, even though it might stand scrutiny if one were comparing it with a defense lawyers argument sans that for the prosecution.

    Regardless of what has been revealed by a “proper” sensitivity test, the scientist/advocate approach appears to continue to work whereby the claim is made in a scientific publication, the media dutiful spreads the message, the team moves on, and the media ignores any future criticism about the validity of the claims. As a scientist, Mann takes one for the science/advocacy team by invoking arguments that almost all scientists would have a difficult time living with.

  7. Jeff, I’d love for you and AMac to team up re flushing-out Tiljander issues. Geoff Sherrington says at CA

    Because the number of non-excluded proxies is being reduced, it might be an optimum time to look at a critical part of the remaining proxies. I’d be very keen to see a series of graphs/tables relating proxy response property to temperature, that is, the core calibration step. It’s far too much to ask Steve to divert onto this. My excuse is that I have severe family health complications and I am a bit removed from the key publications in any case.

    If a couple of specialist CA writers can cut and paste the calibration graphs, I’m sure that many of us would be helped by gaining an appreciation of goodness of fit, assumptions, caveats, etc. I think many of us need this because the discussion has become so detailed that a quick step-back overview would be most helpful.

    and I’d like to see recons including the stepwise proxies too. Flush the lot out to show the pea under the thimble. Oh, and add the problems with the instrumental record for good measure.

    Personally I think we have here a run-up to Climategate number 2 – Paleoclimategate – how to flush out the …err… blockage with Mann-made science to where it needs to go… IMO this is the focal point of, the key to, all the rest of the bad science and the gagging of good science, and if it falls, the rest should tumble like dominoes.

    Get a good article together, with the math (you) and the spin (AMac) and the media should pick it up.

  8. stan said

    In theology, Calvin is known for his 5 theses. They weren’t necessarily the five points he considered most important, they were the five issues which had provoked the most disagreement from others. Same thing bothers me about the team and Steve arguing about the reconstruction statistical games. The quality of the signal in a lot of proxies is really dodgy. Even if the team didn’t play the stupid Mannian stats games of fold, spindle and mutilate, there would be a host of serious questions about how much reliance to put on anyone’s reconstructions (no matter how honest).

    The media and the public (what few pay any attention at all) tend to focus on the specifics of the arguments between Steve Mc and the team. There seems to be an implicit assumption that, if the team could rebut Steve Mc, the reconstructions are quality science that accurately represent past temps. Instead, I’d prefer that they realize that Mannian games are just the tip of an enormous iceberg of serious questions.

  9. j ferguson said

    -8 Stan, I worry about this a lot. My worry is that the “battle” if it could be called one is being fought on issues whose understanding is accessible to the moderately technically aware, maybe not the more substantial ones.

    And this is in no way demeans the effort involved or the quality of thought applied by the people who have been looking into the effects of different code and assumptions on the temperature reconstructions – brilliant work.

    But it is hard for me to believe that this proxy stuff is really an important basis for understanding the bigger issue, is it getting hotter, is it going to get hotter, are we doing it? And if yes to the above, will our stopping or diminishing what we are doing to a realistic degree actually affect anything?

    It may be that post McIntyre, I know the tree-ring stuff is weak. But for him, I might not have been able to write the preceding paragraph.

    But I still worry that there’s a significant body of work our there that supports the AGW theory if not the CAGW which never gets discussed.

    My apprehension is from ignorance so maybe not much store should be put to it.

  10. amac78 said

    A year ago, if asked, I would have said that I trust climate scientists “a whole lot” in their field of expertise. Not particularly less or more than molecular biologists or paleontologists.

    My answer now is that I my trust of them is “very low.” My engagement with the Tiljander proxies has been eye-opening, and very discouraging.

    The meta-issue is Inerrancy.

    Popes, imams, etc. can have big problems with seeming mistakes. God said X, the Holy Texts say Y, prior Authorities say Z… but now there seems to be a problem with X, Y, or Z. What to do?

    Science isn’t supposed to be like that. Practicing scientists make mistakes all the time. They know that they make mistakes all the time. Per Feynman, the point is to be as open as possible to correcting the errors. The best hypothesis is the one that is clearly falsifiable, as well as important.

    Mann08’s authors made a series of errors in assembling their proxies. That’s no big deal. Well, they were so sloppy that it’s a moderately large deal. But not a really big one.

    The big deal–the one that is still playing out, almost two years after Mann08 was published in the 5th-most-prominent peer-reviewed journal–is that Mann08’s authors refuse to acknowledge the error, correct it, and move on.

    Actually, the really big deal is that other paleoclimatologists — and climatologists of other stripes, too–have closed ranks in support of Mann and his coauthors.

    Which is more important: what your lyin’ eyes tell you, or the urgent fact that Mann08 cannot — must not — be found to be in error?

    Mann08 should never have gotten through peer review. Its editors at PNAS should have been red in the face the week it was published, and demanded a correction. Mann’s peers should have taken him aside and talked to him. Mann’s students should have raised the issue at lab meetings. Other paleoclimatologists should have published rebuttals.

    Hasn’t happened.

    Inerrancy. Cargo cult science.

    The same professionals that avert their eyes when it comes to Mann08 — or join in for its defense — tell me that their GCMs are skillful, and validated, and useful in prediciting future climate’s responses to rising CO2.

    Oh, and by the way, part of their validation is through “hindcasting”… tuning their results to the climates of the past… as reconstructed in papers… like Mann08.

    Climatology needs to look in the mirror, and understand what has gone so wrong. Ditch the claims to Inerrancy. Ditch the lockstep Consensus. Reject the trendy, policy-focused postmodernist cant. And re-learn what it’s like to be a physical science, full of argument, bruised egos, hypotheses in the midst of being falsified, independent thinking, and new ideas coming out of left field.

    Until then: No Sale.

  11. sleeper said

    Re: amac78 (Aug 3 15:01),

    IMO, the only hope we have with this bunch is that they keep shooting themselves in the foot, as they have been apt to do lately, with the resultant wider spread loss of credibility they so richly deserve. They only see genius/savior when they look in the mirror.

  12. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    amac78 #10,

    You remain remarkably passionate about this… which suggests you care a great deal about ‘the science’. But if you wish to not be driven completely crazy by the tactics used, it is prudent to remember that those who argue with you on this subject (and other subjects related to ‘climate change’) are mainly motivated by politics, not science. The ‘inerrancy’ you talk about is clearly contrary to any normal understanding of a physical science, and so seems bizarre and irrational when viewed from the perspective of physical science. But when viewed from the perspective of political advocacy, it makes perfect (and perfectly rational) sense.

    You should no more expect constructive engagement on the technical failings of Mann 08’s use of the Tiljander varves than expect constructive engagement between people on opposite sides of abortion rights, or any other contentious political issue. Your goal of bettering climate science is orthogonal to the overall goal of climate science itself, which is probably best described as “social progress” rather than scientific progress. Which is why I now classify ‘climate science’ not as a truly physical science, but rather as a ‘politically informed’ science. Note that the two most widely read climate science blogs, Real Climate and Climate Progress, are both funded by left wing political advocacy groups, Fenton Communications and the Center for American Progress. This is not a coincidence.

    So save yourself the trouble of arguing with people who will never honestly engage you on the technical merits. Better to educate people about what ‘climate science’ really is: left wing political advocacy.

  13. Jeff Id said

    #12, I wish it weren’t true. Imagine if Mann simply wrote — oops, tiljander makes X amount of difference for CPS but for EIV any flipping is based on the regression.

    How much different would he appear.

    AMac started from a point where many are today. They don’t know of the extreme corruption created by today’s government financing of climate science. How could they.

    This whole blog turned into a serious climate blog rather than a political rant outlet simply because of Mann 08. It gives a means to do math outside of my work (which I like), and let off steam.

    Mann08 pasted a friggin’ blade on 95 percent of the proxies BEFORE CPSing for the best ones.

  14. AMac said

    Update: A more complete view of the Tiljander proxies is now up at my blog, here. With colorful pictures!

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