the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for August, 2014

Motivated Rejection of …..

Posted by Jeff Id on August 31, 2014

You can make a whole blog (a boring one) simply for the purposes of showing false claims by political activist climate scientists.  The claim below is quoted from a Daily Mail article I ran into surfing the internet.

Dr Hawkins said: ‘There is undoubtedly some natural variability on top of the long-term downwards trend caused by the overall warming. This variability has probably contributed somewhat to the post-2000 steep declining trend, although the human-caused component still dominates

The error in his statement is that the human-caused component still dominates.

Anyone with any background in climate change science knows full well (or should) that the human component of observed warming is completely 100% unknown.   Currently, it is statistically and mathematically inseparable from natural warming.  The only thing we can do to separate human and natural warming is model the contributions mathematically and subtract.  Today, climate models have failed by over-predicting warming.   Since models have over-predicted warming by so much, all modeled differences between CO2 and natural warming effects are now nonsensical.  We don’t have a value.

Dr. Hawkins, who I have no immediate knowledge of, isn’t changing his scientific opinion based on facts though.  Unfortunately for science, the non-factual opinion is hardly unique.   Bart Verheggan, who’s blog is linked on the right, did a study which I found interesting in that it is similar to John Cook’s recent 97% debacle in that it polled climate scientists to ask their opinion on various global warming questions.

One question was:

What fraction of global warming since the mid-20th century can be attributed to human induced increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations?
– More than 100% (i.e. GHG warming has been partly offset by aerosolcooling)
– Between 76% and 100%
– Between 51% and 76%
– Between 26% and 50%
– Between 0 and 25%
– Less than 0% (i.e. anthropogenic GHG emissions have caused cooling)
– There has been no warming
– Unknown due to lack of knowledge
– I do not know
– Other (please specify)

From Bart’s post:

Consistent with other research, we found that the consensus is strongest for scientists with more relevant expertise and for scientists with more peer-reviewed publications. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), agreed that anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) are the dominant driver of recent global warming.

This seems to agree with what we would expect, however there is a problem.  The conclusion that human created GHG is THE dominant factor in global warming has absolutely no numerical foundation in the science.  One wonders just what makes these scientists so certain!   Yes there are papers on the matter of attribution, but those I have read are  universally model based.   There is nothing wrong with the concept of climate models, except that the ones relied on are now known to be non-functional.    They have failed by overestimating global warming….dramatically.

As the models are known to have failed, the scientists in the survey who still claim humans are the primary cause for the very minimal warming we have observed, are acting as activists rather than scientists.  The real answer is that we just don’t know. It is possible that these people have committed themselves in the past so strongly to the cause that a change in position is personally something they cannot handle.  Being wrong isn’t much fun after all.  Being publicly wrong on your field of expertise is worse I suppose.   However, I believe that their political activism is more to blame than personal embarrassment over the failure of a climate model likely created by someone else.

Basically, because the question asked here can only be based on subjective opinion and not scientific fact, the questions of this survey are more interesting as a social study of the people involved.  I see it as a referendum on the objectivity of the scientists in the field.

In addition, Bart reports that those more published in the field are more likely to claim that warming is primarily human induced.   Were it simply a matter of personal embarrassment, wouldn’t a person with 10 publications have as much invested as one with 40?   Perhaps not, but we also have knowledge that the field prefers those who advocate for political change and those are the scientists who receive the funding and cushy jobs with lots of research assistants to allow them the time to publish lots of papers.   Claims sometimes made that are contrary to this fact are nonsense.

My reading of this aspect of his paper is therefore different.  Bart Verheggen shows that the more popular individuals, that he claims have “more relevant expertise”, are more likely to make the claim that humans contribute more than 50% of warming is caused by GHG.  A claim that is objectively unscientific.

We have a very big problem in our science when such a large fraction of the group is willing to claim an unscientific position in their field of study for unexplained reasons.

Since their belief is decidedly not evidence based, or they would certainly publish the proof, we can only conclude that it must be a faith.   In this case, the group has expressed a non-factual faith that somehow humans must be the primary cause of warming.  What drives this faith is not discussed in faith terms, and therefore must be a personal matter for each of them, driven by a wide variety of unseen truths believed but not discussed.  Perhaps a group of fuzzy math papers or perhaps some other un-vetted statement they have heard from colleagues has seeded the thought.  It is a faith, an unbreakable truth under which physical laws of reality must bend to comply.  It is the only explanation for the fact that we regularly see climate observations fly in the face of the conclusions, yet the conclusions stand unaffected.

Off topic

It is interesting to me that these same people don’t understand capitalism.   My wild guess estimate is that 95% of climate scientist experts believe in evolution, yet generally don’t support free market capitalism, when they are actually the same thing.   Each one representing a system reacting to conditions of the environment for maximum benefit.  There is no such thing as truly free market and the value being optimized in both cases is different.  Capitalism optimizing money and evolution optimizes survival but I don’t really understand how people hold polar opposite views on both matters.  It seems to me that socialists shouldn’t believe in evolution, and capitalists should.  The matter isn’t black and white and people are funny things so the evidence on which people make decisions regarding their core beliefs is beyond my understanding.  I’m off topic a bit bit it leaves me wondering.

A link between politics and faith

Still, IPCC scientists in general regularly express the most powerful central government solutions imaginable.  Discussions of limitations on environmental property rights, energy generation, transportation, speech of skeptics and even limiting reproduction are common themes in their world.  The horrific outcomes of history do not seem to moderate the general beliefs of the community that more central government control of the population,  is somehow a solution to human climate problems.

The belief in extraordinarily powerful governmental solutions to environmental concerns is also a faith they hold.   It flies in the face of any rational observation of the performance of government, but for some reason it goes hand-in-hand with the same individuals who promote the faith-based form of climate science.  It is clear from climategate emails and observations of universities across the country that socialists are the preferred employee for government organizations.  The reinforcing effects of the governmental money source on political beliefs in these institutions creates a significant political imbalance in the population of scientists.

This self-sorting of people (climate scientists in this case) who hold generally extreme views of economics and government may lead to a general tendency for faith-based science.  A claim could reasonably be made against what are often derogatorily termed religious conservatives, which in general, the climate science group openly despises. There is no governmental incentivized mechanism which funds religious conservatives into a multi-billion dollar global climate change sized industry speaking on a single topic.  We could imagine a similar conservative faith-based science being forced upon us in that case as well, but that problem isn’t government funded and therefore is not a serious threat.

Other demonstrably false faith-based claims regularly made by main stream climate scientists:

Skeptics are oil funded;Hurricanes and storms increasing;Polar bears dying out;Economic disaster;Food supply shortages;Drought or excess rain;various green energy solutions;sea ice vanishing; — the list is quite a bit longer than this but you get the idea.  These claims are all false.

The problem extends beyond that though.   It pervades the field with false papers on historic temperatures taken from proxies, Antarctic warming, sea ice futures, shrinking fish, drought and hurricanes on and on and on…  Literally false papers.

The evidence of their unstated faith is extensive.  What is also in evidence is that you cannot argue a faith on a rational level.  Like a religious argument, you are slamming into their personal defense mechanism which places walls between rational consideration and belief.

The petri dish

While it may seem unreasonable or even derrogatory for me to write the words above, this is not some ad-hominem attack on climate science but is rather my objective view of their bulk behaviors as an outsider. We have discussed before the fact that engineers and scientists in other fields get reasonably quick feedback when their ideas don’t live up to expectations.   In climate science, the feedback is over decades of time, and often well exceeds the skyrocketing careers of the individuals making their projections.   There is no feedback to the individuals for their product, so the product which looks the best for its purpose, is the product deemed best.  It is only after decades that we realize that favored climate models who’s output predicted extreme warming, failed to match observation.   Climate scientists aren’t used to being wrong.   They don’t have a history of strong negative feedback on which to alter their understanding.    Their reaction to this major failure of models has been a combination reticent correction and confused belief in future observations magically (unscientifically) coming into line.

Our reality

The combination of pressures seems to have bred a generally narcissistic and overconfident group of people who fail to observe that the rest of the technical world is not buying into their global warming doom scenarios.  Our failure to buy in is not due to lack of explanation, or technical expertise, or the implied fact that everyone but them has a self-organized but opposite political belief, but is rather due to the lack of scientific foundation these governmental organizations present in their argument.    There is simply no evidence that global warming is severe, dangerous or anything but beneficial.

Despite the wide consensus on global warming disaster in climate science, I believe a polling of the technically literate world would result in discovery that the vast majority of the scientifically literate public are highly skeptical of global warming doom.



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José Duarte on Cook

Posted by Jeff Id on August 30, 2014

José  Duarte has a post up that Carrick called my attention to at the Blackboard.   The article is basically a chastisement of the false externally motivated science in the context of Cook’s recent publication on the 97% consensus.  I call it externally motivated as a way to describe the numerous papers across so many fields of science that have pre-ordained conclusions designed into their methodology, such that they support the authors undisclosed personal interests in some manner.  Climate science is the current poster child for today’s particularly grotesque post-modern form of motivated science, it is hardly unique in either this century or by field.  We have seen much of the same in medicine, drug testing, economics, political science and psychology across history.   It is a sad fact that publications across many fields are rife with the nonsense.

The following quote is probably a little unfair to Jose’s article because his content is well considered, and this paragraph is a bit off from the central point, but since the Lewandowsky incident I’ve come to believe this same thing about certain people.

I honestly think at least part of the issue here is intelligence and knowledge. It think this is a pervasive issue in the climate debate, but is rarely called out, and it’s easy for it to be lazy ad hominem. Intelligence can be a real, functional constraint. For example, I think some climate science skeptics simply aren’t smart enough — they’re not smart enough to understand climate science or its methods. They’ll never understand what these “computer models” are doing, or why calling something a computer model doesn’t invalidate it. I think if the Higgs boson had political implications of the sort that AGW is presumed to have, some of those same people would express similar arguments against the existence of the Higgs or the validity of its detection, saying that it’s all “computer models”, or that we can’t really “see” it. In such a case, I think it would come down to them not being smart enough to understand the methods, or the nature of that particular reality. Reality isn’t structured such that any scientific field will be understandable to any outsider with an IQ of 100 or better — it would be arbitrary to assume that it was. The people who conducted the Cook study don’t understand rudimentary epistemology, or what counts as evidence of anthropogenic climate change. Cook’s e-mailed response to my call for retraction also struck me as that of someone who just isn’t equipped to deal with these sorts of issues. Nuccitelli’s comments in the forum about the white males study is more evidence that these people aren’t equipped for this.

In an only peripherally related incident, I was truly shocked when Eric Eich, the then editor of Psychological Science, told me the following in reference to one of Lewandowsky’s published misrepresentations of my opinion:

Dr. Lewandowsky has agreed to remove your citation not because it was misleading–he does not believe it was–but because I think it is best replaced by a source other than a blog post.

So in order to protect a clear political piece disguised as science, Lewandowsky took the position that my opinion was not what I thought it was (silly me), in fact my opinion was what THEY thought it was and therefore the otherwise fraudulent accusations were accurate.   BUT!!! the problem was that I had represented my position on a blog.  For his purpose in this single specific case, scholarly articles on psychology could only use data from non-blog sources.  Talking, interviews, tape, newspaper, journals, songs, musings, etc… etc.. and so on ….. as long as it isn’t blogs.

Teasing aside, the political or personal pressures that Lewandowsky and Eric Eich felt must have exceeded the restrictions of publishing rationally defensible statements.   This does not prove a lack of intelligence, as inaccurate thoughts are often motivated by unspoken factors. Lewandowsky, on the other hand, seemed unable (also perhaps unwilling, I’m not a mind reader) to grasp that my position on temperature data was based on reason, and is basically mainstream in the climate science field.   Although I did write it in my normal excitable fashion, rational readers had no trouble working out the truth.  It has been since that time that my general opinion of his scientific ability has formed, and it is separate from any personal feelings based on his actions.   I have read several of Lewandowsky’s papers on other topics as well and I truly believe Lewandowsky is incapable of understanding the nuances of a more serious science than he pretends to practice.

He is far from alone as I also believe Phil Jones suffers from the same numeric limitations.  It’s not his fault, it is just what I believe from his work and what I have read from the CG emails, particularly on curve fits.

From the evidence, Nuccitelli is a good candidate for the low-grok club but I’m even less familiar with any other work he may have done.   There certainly is a lot of illogical nonsense in his writing which is a poor sign for him.   The Cook paper being eviscerated in the link above by Jose can stand alone though as it is such a horribly incompetent example of “work” that it isn’t hard to imagine the Cook et cetera team had any skill, background (or moderate weekend training) in the methodology they employed.   It’s unfortunate really, because I think the general conclusion that there is a belief of anthropogenic climate change amongst climate scientists, is hardly controversial.  Were the paper correctly done, they would have likely discovered a different and somewhat lower number that would hold the same sort of political weight.  In other words, the flawed methodology was unnecessarily biased for the political messaging purposes they conceived.  Basically Low-grok all around.

Unfortunately, and it is unfortunate, these thoughts I hold lead to an easy dismissal anything these people come up with.   I find myself laughing at their work when I run across it rather than taking it seriously.  It’s also unfortunate, because the press is non-believably poor at differentiating the relentless advocacy papers from actual science, and has an even worse time differentiating blatantly flawed science such as Mann’s proxy-sorting algorithms.  The public has no chance to understand reality with that sort of motivated filter between them and the articles being published.  Dismissive thinking is a trap nobody should fall into, but the battle against it is hard to win when the subject of the dismissal is such a willing volunteer as Cook.

Anyway, Jose’s article is much better written and conceived than these musings and is worth the time.   His article gives me hope that some form of self-reflection of motivated authors can be brought about which would limit some of the nonsensical political papers disguised as “science”.   Just a little hope though as the laws of incentivization will likely always pressure some people to report scientific truths outside of the boundaries of the rationally observed universe.




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Time for a little healthy skepticism

Posted by Jeff Id on August 27, 2014

I have finally completed a huge and mathematically difficult design project that has been on my plate for the last couple of months and have a little time for blogging.   I’m thoroughly excited about the project and like so many things I do, I dug in hard and worked until I was fully burned out on it.  Seems to be my style.

Anyway, the multi-billion dollar international global warming industry is continuing on despite the major shots the science has taken in recent years.  The denial of reality by the activist scientists has already reached astounding proportions and seems to be growing with the realization that their predictions of the future are no more valid than Mrs Cleo’s prediction of bankruptcy.  Predicting the future seems a rough business.

There have been a few notable posts on the matter, Anthony Watts carried one which featured climate change advocate Richard Betts quoted as writing “Bish, as always I am slightly bemused over why you think GCMs are so central to climate policy.”.   I’m literally gobsmacked by the insanity of a claimed scientific position that climate models might not be THE central evidence for a position of climate policy.  It leaves one wondering what a lead author of the IPCC might consider in lieu of a model for prediction of future climate.

In short, the industry’s failure is in full view and nobody, scientist, advocate or homeless person can claim that the earth is warming to disaster, because there is now quite literally zero evidence to support the position.  There are plenty of scientists holding on for the “big warmup” that will somehow save the models.  There are even a couple of “scientific” publications digging very deep into the data mash to tweak parameters in line.   I won’t reference them, particularly the one by Gavin Schmidt, because they are trash and tripe and not worth reading.   What they do represent though is yet another symptom of government funded research gone awry with advocacy, a sick industry with little hope for salvation from the wrath of the god of physics.

Climate science meets engineering reality, finally.

And it is the climate models that failed.   They overpredicted warming by CO2 so dramatically that we were able to statistically detect the failure decades before anyone really expected to.   Despite Betts ridiculous and untenable position on climate models, there is no other mechanism by which we can predict climate than models.   Now before people jump on the concept that climate models can’t work, that is a flatly false position to hold.  They absolutely can work. They can even work reasonably well for predicting global temperature trends at their current sophistication level.  Unfortunately, the sensitivity to CO2 warming is incorrect and even when it is corrected we won’t know how far current models will accurately predict into the future.  Like local weather models which predict rain reasonably well two days out, observation and comparison is the only way to know if it worked.

And that comparison of observed temperature to today’s models — failed.  All dead.

I’ve got bad news for you though folks.  You cannot kill an industry that easily.   There is simply too much money at stake for these people to lose their jobs – as they well should.  There is a politically ironic comparison which seems to me fits the context.  The tobacco industry, in its heyday, tried to publish “science” showing that tobacco didn’t cause cancer.  It took years to beat the truth out of that little issue, and in the end the truth did come out.   Yet the industry still lives on.   There is simply too much money and too many people relying on that money to shut down an industry like that overnight.

It will be interesting to see how far it goes, but the quotes rolling out of climate science are consistent with a socialist left wing political agenda based on top-down control and completely inconsistent with the science.  A duck is a duck in my world.

One wonders just how far they can go with this broken message before the unthinking public recognizes that there aren’t any climate disasters to talk about.   The feedback between government funded fake science, and reality is tremendously slow.   We may actually achieve all of the expense and government regulatory control with literally zero societal benefit.   In fact, a new book has been released which highlights the clear fact that CO2 is a highly beneficial gas and its warming effects do nothing but good for life on Earth.   A position I have grown to hold over the years.  If my reasonable and previously mainstream scientific view is correct, these energy regulations and costs will create negative impacts both on the economy and the biosphere when compared to a world without them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wind, solar and biofuel energy, when unsubsidized by government, the subsidized form is a story for another day.  However it seems clear that the highly scrubbed CO2 and water emissions from an old fashion coal plant are quite likely a net positive for life on this planet.  The mild warming and additional building blocks CO2 provides for plant life both appear to be very positive developments from everything I have studied.  The extremist left-wing political resistance to healthy economic growth and individual wealth and power stand starkly unsupported at this time.

Of course I could be wrong and climate models are actually not needed to see the climate future, and tobacco doesn’t cause cancer.

Cathartic as always!



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