sceptics vs. academics

This is part of a long term project to try to understand why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions. Having met both sides, and tried to understand their motivation and outlook, I am thoroughly convinced that both approach the subject in what they think is the right way and both are horrified at the “antics” of the other. If I have said anything that can be taken as derogatory, that was not the intention. I am sorry but I have done my best to describe what I see.

[From early responses it is clear I need to define more precisely what I mean by sceptic and non-sceptic. Broadly, those supporting the IPCC conclusions that we are heading toward catastrophic warming would be on one side and those who are sceptical of this on the other. For a more precise definition of sceptic I would consider sceptics to be those who generally agree with the statement outlined in the: “The Sceptic View“]

I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE COMMENTS FROM BOTH “SIDES”.

Sceptic Non-sceptic
(Academic/ “warmist”)
Employment sector Commercial & non-governmental Academia, public sector & campaign charities
Employment Electronic engineering, chemical engineering, energy engineering, general engineering, weather forecasting. Environmental science, life sciences, climate science, civil service, journalism, campaign charities & general sciences.
Main focus Prediction & hard facts. Understanding & empathy.
Viewpoint Individualistic, libertarian & conservative (not politically)
Public sector, Guardian liberal.
Viewpoint of Natural variation Natural variation is around us everywhere and dominates natural systems. Many things vary naturally and we capture these in our models. With enough data, measurement errors can be processed  data so that we can ignore them.
Model of natural variation. Measurement = Nat.Var.
after careful work …
Measurement =
f(t) + Nat.Var.(t)

Theory = Natural system.
(After enough data measurement errors -> 0)

Main Expertise Prediction, design & decision making
Theory, understanding and/or modelling through hindcasting. Communicating ideas.
Main Aim Best decision Best explanation
Attitude if prediction/model doesn’t match new data. Poor quality like this cannot be tolerated by professionals. Good decisions require good models which include normal variation.
Those involved should sort the problem out or find another job.
That is to be expected because this is how we improve our models.
Attitude if they don’t understand what is happening Real life is like that and you learn to cope. That is a dreadful admission. How can you say you can’t explain what is happening. A careless attitude like this cannot be tolerated.
Those involved should sort out their problems or find another job.
Attitude to long term forecasting. Forecasts get worse and natural variation increases the further away we try to predict from measured data. Errors become smaller with more data so over the long term measurement errors can be ignored.
Extra discipline skill set. Holistic, multi-skilled, complex, time & resource limited.
Includes practical economics, understanding how people react in real situations and how they reach decisions in the real world.
Used to complex systems with non-linear, non-deterministic behaviour, real time decision making, safety critical. Able to cope where there is not enough time or resources.
Single subject.
Focused on own area of expertise. Secure job with time to get to grips with subject. Reliant on peers to provide good data. Avoids messy, non-linear, non-deterministic systems operating in real time. Is almost never involved in commercial situations where there is too little time and resource (to involve academia).
Problem solving approach Bottom up
Start with the brass tacks facts, assess the situation to a professional standard & if there is time make make sense of it.
Top down.
Start with the overall picture & fills in the details as understanding improves. Ignore all extraneous detail which cannot be modelled.
Experience in decision making Real time, high cost, critical to company’s survival and/or safety critical. Resource & information limited. Which journal/newspaper to send latest work to?
What to do next to get next grant?
What quality means
Getting it right first time Work accepted by peers, newspaper, manager as “novel enough” & interesting enough for publication

Addendum

Approach
What is normal and is there any sign of anything abnormal happening which requires attention?
How do we model the system and what do our models suggest will happen?
Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses
Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation.
Model simulations based on theoretical considerations supported by interpretations of selected paleo-climate proxy data

Changes

1.0 after fair comment that the the text was patronising re the non-sceptic view of natural variation it has been changed as follows:

Columns: “Academic (warmist)”
changed to
‘Non-sceptic (Academic/ “warmist”)’

Model of natural variation under “non-sceptic”:
“(Ignoring measurement errors)”
changed to
“(After enough data measurement errors -> 0)”

Viewpoint of Natural variation
“Natural variation? You mean measurement error.”
changed to
“Many things vary naturally and we capture these in our models. With enough data, measurement errors can be processed  data so that we can ignore them.”

This entry was posted in Academia, My Best Articles, Sceptics, science, Survey. Bookmark the permalink.

236 Responses to sceptics vs. academics

  1. > sceptics tend to be obsessive about the facts

    Easily said, but in this instance you have no facts. “the 0.5-0.6C figure … that is what was agreed by sceptics as representing our views. It is a statement of our views… it is generally felt by sceptics that the figure quoted is too high”. No facts at all, just a vague set of views.

    By contrast, the IPCC will give you precise statements and clearly referenced discussion (e.g. 2.4.1.3 discusses UHI).

    If the IPCC decided to alter the observed record upwards by 0.2 oC, and when asked to justify that alteration simply said “it is a statement of our views” you would, correctly, rip them to shreds. But they don’t do that. Why do you feel free to modify the temperature record based on no facts?

    > I have had experience of engaging in discussions with non-sceptics and finding that all I am doing is chasing from one paper to another to another in a long string of one author citing another who cites another.

    Scientific papers are harder to read than blog posts. But I find it hard to believe that decent discussions of the UHI effect are so hard to come by; I’ve just pointed you at the AR5 one, and it would be easy to point you at the AR4. Or you can read wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island#Global_warming; yes, I wrote some of that).

    • William the main issue of relevance to this discussion is whether or not it accurately represents the views of sceptics on the subject.

      You are right to be sceptical whether those views are credible, but a far more important question particularly in relation to this blog is why there are so many claims that “sceptics deny global warming”. That is the assertion that our views is that: “there has been 0C warming”.

      This is not true (at least amongst those who participated in the consultation) and it is all the more strange as the “sceptic view” is much closer to the IPCC than it is to the “denialist” myth.

      I would be interested to hear your views. I can think of a number of possible reason:

      1. Those volunteering to help work on the statement were unrepresentative.
      2. That questioning the extent of warming is interpreted as denying the warming
      3. That those using the term are engaged in a disinformation campaign against sceptics.
      4. The a few vocal people outright deny … and that this is wrongly perceived as representing the views of all sceptics.

  2. John Shade says:

    This table, and this quest are superb initiatives. I sometimes think that the only plausible good that can come out of this astonishing period of panic over CO2 is an improved understanding of how such things can take hold. Thereby reducing the chances/delaying the onset of the next one.

  3. Stacey says:

    Also posted at Climate Etc
    If someone tells you they have conclusive evidence that X will cause Y and you carefully consider their evidence and come to the conclusion that their evidence does not prove X will cause Y; you are not a skeptic you are just being sensible?
    No one has to be skeptical about the alarmists position as the evidence not once but many times shows their position to be wrong.

  4. Pingback: Sceptics vs Academics | Wotts Up With That Blog

  5. beththeserf says:

    In the Humanities departments of Academia, I think meme, you can put the blame
    on her, is stronger than feedback loops fer hypotheses than when you operate in
    the world outside and actions have physical consequences. Theories are easier
    to innoculate in the Academy and evidence is subject to different interpretations.
    People like Erlich are not sacked no matter how often they get it wrong. (

    Beth-the-serf-escapee-from-the-humanitees.

  6. This is Professor Mick Hume who is, or was at the time, a climate hawk (I accept that as a term both sides can say). It is from an article in, naturally, the Guardian and my reading of it is that he and others on the same agree that what he calls “post normal science” know perfectly well that what they are doing is not traditional science but simply finding what their paymasters want said and saying it.

    “Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking”

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

    If that is what the hawks say they truly practice (I know none who publicly disagreed with Hume) then there seems little point in assuming they have much concern for (normal) truth.

  7. Beth Cooper says:

    I think that MFgeo’s insightful observations should be reposted in yr thread at
    Climate Etc, Scottish Sceptic.

  8. > the main issue of relevance to this discussion is whether or not it accurately represents the views of sceptics

    No, not really, though I can see why you might wish to restrict it to that. Rather, it strikes to the heart of your desire to be seen as looking for “hard facts”. You can’t make that claim if key parts of your “statement” are nothing but statements of opinion. Again, compare to the IPCC.

    This brings me back to your “If you had not noticed sceptics almost never say what they think is happening but instead spend all their time criticising others” which is indeed correct: you have the luxury of opposition, all you’re doing is saying “the IPCC is wrong”. You don’t really have a coherent position of your own to defend. But, you’re not opposing the IPCC with hard facts, just feelings. Its also the answer to your why-is-it-so-hard-to-get-a-statement-out-of-the-“skeptic”-side: because there is no “skeptic” position (other than “the IPCC is wrong”, but that’s not a position).

    The key question of this post is what you started with:

    “why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions”

    And the temperature record is a pretty good example of that. The IPCC collates the published science and says the temperature record is such-and-such, with these known errors, and the linear trend is whatever. And then your “side” comes along and says “nah, don’t like that, cut 0.2 oC off it any maybe we’ll be happy”. I hope you can see why scientists, and the IPCC process, finds your approach unacceptable.

    • Ted Swart says:

      Why do you say:
      ‘there is no “skeptic” position (other than “the IPCC is wrong”, but that’s not a position)’
      The IPCC supporters contend that the extra CO2 is a significant and preponderant cause of dangerous global warming. And you would no doubt say that this is a “position”.
      We sceptics say that this is false and the evidence for it is underwhelming since it relies on models that are manifestly useless at forecasting the future.
      So why, pray tell, is this not also a “position”

      • Errrm, I say “you have no position other than that the IPCC is wrong”, and you reply that the IPCC position is wrong. In what way aren’t you simply confirming what I said?

        There is no one “skeptic” position because there are a whole range of such, from the utterly wacko (there is no greenhouse effect) to the unreasonable (the temperature hasn’t really risen) to the arguable (the temperature has indeed risen, and we’ve caused it, but future warning will be less than you’d expect) to the not particularly unlikely (anthro CO2 will indeed cause future T rises as the IPCC suggests but the economic effects will be smaller than others think).

        I really only speak of the IPCC WG I stuff, for which your insertion of the word “dangerous” isn’t really appropriate (the AR5 WG I SPM doesn’t mention the word danger(ous)).

        Your assertion(which you present with no evidence, or links to evidence) that the attribution question is dependant on models, and that the measure of those models is their ability to forecast the future, isn’t right.

    • “all you’re doing is saying “the IPCC is wrong”. You don’t really have a coherent position of your own to defend. But, you’re not opposing the IPCC with hard facts”

      The sceptic position that the IPCC’s claim that the Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 appears rather well supported by hard facts.

      Indeed after several years of refusing to look at these facts, merely describing them as “voodoo science” the IPCC have now accepted this is factual.

      Mr Connolly as a member of the arguably misnamed “scienceblogs” where alarmists use obscenity, deliberate lies and censorship in place of scientific debate to promote climate hawkery, perhaps you might acknowledge that your claim above was counter-factual.

      • > The sceptic position that the IPCC’s claim that the Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 appears rather well supported by hard facts.

        Won’t do. This was trivia (yes, really). It wasn’t even in the WG I report. If you really want to keep harping on this (you can, if you like) then it shows the weakness of your position. You really ought to have better things to say.

        > Indeed after several years of refusing to look at these facts, merely describing them as “voodoo science” the IPCC have now accepted this is factual.

        It didn’t take several years. The error was acknowledged quickly. Also, it wasn’t described as “voodoo science” – you’re mixing that up with something else.

        > Mr Connolly

        Dr Connolley, to you.

        > as a member of the arguably misnamed “scienceblogs” where alarmists use obscenity, deliberate lies and censorship in place of scientific debate to promote climate hawkery, perhaps you might acknowledge that your claim above was counter-factual.

        You’re welcome to post at my blog, if you like (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/). No-one is banned there. I’m banned at WUWT, for pointing out his fantasies (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/05/02/so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-1/). A good many others are banned from there too. My last couple of comments at ClimateEtc have mysteriously disappeared too.

        • Neil & William – let’s not let this descend further please.

          • FBN has accused me of “obscenity, deliberate lies and censorship”. I’ve done precisely what, that you put us on the same level?

          • No, I’m accusing “scienceblogs” as a whole of doing so, and correctly as you know since, on your section of the site, I have expressed my opinion of the people doing it. I am happy to stipulate that you have never used obscenity against me and censorship significantly less than the average. I will step aside from this thread now.

          • Nope, never had a comment from you. Perhaps you used a different persona? It can be hard to remember, when you don’t use your real name.

          • FIRST – PLEASE NEIL (and I assume others), DO NOT ATTACK WILLIAM!!

            Second: William I appreciate you making the effort to come here and as such I am sorry we haven’t been more civil.

            However I can see this going down hill, so I would appreciate it if we kept to the subject which is why sceptics and non-sceptics look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions.

            Mike

  9. Ted Swart says:

    Come on William you are being evasive. You cannot say the sceptics have no position and simultaneously maintain that their only position is that the IPCC is wrong. As far as I can tell the wrongness of the IPCC position is precisely the common thread for all sceptics.
    You say that the views of sceptics are over the map but the same goes for the AGW believers. Their model forecasts are all over the map and even the initial portion of the AR5 report freely admits that they really do not know what the future holds. Have a look at one of the spaghetti graphs if you don’t believe me.
    As for my contention that the models are useless how do you explain the fact that the models did not forecast the temperature hiatus in advance, And, what about a supposed increase in tornado/hurricane frequencies that has never materialized? And what about the warmists focus on the shrinking ice in the Arctic whilst ignoring the growing ice in the Antarctic (leaving aside the fact that the ice in the arctic is currently 50% greater than it was a year ago).
    It so happens that I set up the first radiocarbon dating laboratory in Africa in the 1960s and we radiocarbon daters knew all about the extra CO2 in the atmosphere, from the burning of fossil fuels, long before most scientists. We called it the Suess effect. Little did we imagine that others, following in our wake, would lay claim to the notion that the extra CO2 causes a substantial rise on the Earth’s temperature.
    I have been a sceptic ever since I first heard about the the AGW meme for two simple reasons:
    1. The forecasts of how much the temperature would rise, because of the extra CO2, were and still are all over the map.
    2. Meteorologists are unable to forecast the weather with any degree of certainty much beyond one week into the future — despite access to top of the line supercomputers. And, any claim that it is possible to forecast the climate many decades into the future seems, intrinsically, far-fetched — particularly since the AGW believers lay claim to being able to do this with sufficient precision to make sensible suggestions as to how we should reduce our CO2 production rate.
    Nothing that has happened since then has in any way persuaded me to stop being a sceptic and much has happened to reinforce my scepticism.

    • I think William is making the point that we say the IPCC are wrong without giving our own suggestions as to what is right.

      This may well be a cultural difference. In academia it is seen as a good thing to propose ideas. In engineering ideas aren’t valued unless they work.

      What WIlliam appears to want is for sceptics to propose something better than the IPCC but sceptics are unwilling to go down the root of suggesting ideas that even thought they are better still aren’t at an acceptable standard for sceptics.

      But perhaps an analogy will help. If e.g. we ordered a meal in a restaurant and it did not taste right … we would be right to say “this isn’t right” … but that doesn’t mean we should then be expected to cook something better.

      But perhaps that analogy only makes sense to sceptics who work with customers?

      • > What WIlliam appears to want is for sceptics to propose something better than the IPCC

        No, not at all. You’re still missing the point. What I’m saying is that the “skeptics” are not a unified group; they have no common position. What you’re calling “skeptics” are in fact groups S1, S2, .., Sn. These groups have little or nothing in common other than “the IPCC is wrong” and labelling themselves as the people who like hard facts (everyone seems to be able to agree about that, about themselves). Si also believes that Sj is wrong (forall i != j, naturally).

        The reason you rarely see Si noting their disagreement with Sj is that no-one really cares. Indeed, typically Si doesn’t even know what Sj’s position is. How could they? No Si actually ever documents a clear and testable position; all you ever see is Sj’s complains about the IPCC/consensus.

        There are plenty of science-type folk already proposing changes to the IPCC (e.g. http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/02/08/the-ipcc-dissolve-it-or-not/, although that was written after I left science).

        • I found that comment useful. However I’m still not sure what you mean by “S1, S2, … Sn”.

          The main three main groups are:
          1. Engineers and scientists who are well enough informed on the science to make a critical assessment but would not be confident in creating their own models. These people are interested in a range of ideas from solar to feedbacks to problems in the instrumental record. They create the majority of articles on WUWT and other blogs. They are pretty homogeneous in their view that the IPCC confident is vastly overstated.
          1a. a much smaller group (possibly only a handful worldwide) who don’t agree about greenhouse warming. Their argument looks substantial, but I’ve never had the time to look at it properly and never seen a proper critique so I can’t assess it.
          2. Scientists who are critical of some aspects of the IPCC and who make their views known on sceptical blogs.
          3. Non-science followers (who take most of their views from the above)
          4. Republican politicians and right wing journalists
          5. Lord Monckton (who deserves a class of his own given his strident views)

          • > The main three main groups are

            You’re talking in highly subjective terms about the kinds of people who inhabit the various groups. I’m not thinking like that, and I’m not at all sure its useful to think like that. After all, you really can’t make those assessments from the outside – you’d need to actually examine their competencies, and that would have to be done on a person-by-person basis.

            I’m more interested in what they’ve actually said: what position they themselves put forward; and what arguments they use to justify that position. What-they-actually-say is my basis for saying there is no one coherent “skeptic” position.

  10. Derek Alker says:

    Please excuse me, but, it would appear to me that your basic premise is that there are only two sides to this discussion. This is because the two sides have “agreed” the basis of the discussion, ie, there is a greenhouse effect that man by his activities CAN affect. Ok, take a deep breath, sit back, relax, now ask yourself WHAT IF there is no greenhouse effect?

    In point of fact to not question greenhouse effect “theory” (it is actually a failed hypothesis) is unscientific. Yet, that is the basis from which the two sides of the discussion you describe talk about their science from. They are, if there is no greenhouse effect two sides discussing pseudo science, whilst the third side to the discussion is simply ignored. Probably because the two sides described will all look rather silly at the end of the day when it is realised there is no greenhouse effect in the first place.

    I hope more realise the above is a possibility that can not be ignored. Hopefully see more of you soon on the (growing) 3rd side of the discussion.

    • I think the two sides are between those who want open honest discussion using evidence from well resourced researchers able to investigate all aspects without fear or favour as to whether it supports the “consensus”. And those who feel that only those supporting their viewpoint should be heard, funded or listened to.

      It’s basically the same as sex.

      A-sexual organisms lack diversity. They flourish in stable environments with little change. But sex is a means to create biological diversity. It appears to be totally pointless because it appears all organisms are perfectly adapted to their environment … but that is only because every (a-sexual) organism that failed to have the genetic diversity to adapt …was out-competed and died.

      • Derek Alker says:

        Certainly AGW will die out, that is happening now.

        I take it the asexual reproduction of organisms simile is that a paradigm change is needed? If so, we agree.

        I agree sceptics are generally “nicer” but both sides do just dismiss and ignore any questioning of GH “theory” and that IS unscientific. A point neither of the sides you describe like being pointed out, but the truth is the truth, and out it will.

        It is also worth noting that at least some of the really clever people on both sides you describe must know it is all false. The “theory” is so full of unphysical holes, the data has been so deliberately corrupted, the arguments are so contorted and misleadingly constructed, they can not have failed to notice and that changes the intention of their replies and actions quite considerably. Sorry, but that is the case, to the best of my understanding and knowledge.

        • The paradigm shift is that we need to nurture more diversity in climate. Government can’t pick winners and neither can the IPCC. Instead they can ensure a range of potential ideas have a chance to be investigated and discussed. That not only ensures ideas that have not been considered get a chance to get past the “a blogger said this is a post” phase to a stage where a fully documented idea is open for discussion – but it also keeps the “front runners” on their toes.

          If climate science were an evolutionary environment it could be described as a mono-culture of a single dinosaur species with almost no genetic diversity which could be about to be wiped out of history by the “rats” running between their legs.

          The best defence of a species to competition – is diversity. Sex was the mechanism that provided that diversity in early lifeforms – a lesson that seems to have been forgotten by those repressing alternative views in climate.

          • Derek says:

            Obviously I agree we need much more diversity in climate science. I also agree that niether Government, the IPCC, or the UN can or should be allowed to limit what is discussed as they patently do at present. That is why I support PSI. Peer review on open media.

            Yes, I agree that present “climate science” will be only remembered as embarressing at best in the very near future. 20 to 30 years wasted on a failed hypothesis, all the while whilst ignoring basic thermodynamics.

            The species you refer to has been very manipulative at reducing diversity, especially that which questions the basic tenents. That is the line of defence that has been employed. Limiting what can be or is allowed to be discussed, and controlling what is published in journals. Hence anyone of a view outside of that which is acceptable HAS to use the blogosphere, the mainstream is simply not accessible. It is not a lesson forgotten, or not remembered, it is an option that is not allowed.

          • Derek says:

            This cartoon sums things up rather well. Climate science made simple, rather than politics though..
            http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g43/DerekJohn_photos/Climate_discussions_made_simple_zpsb30d93cd.jpg

  11. Ted Swart> the sceptics have no position and simultaneously maintain that their only position is that the IPCC is wrong

    This discussion would proceed more smoothly if you’d read the words I’d written. I said “you have no position other than that the IPCC is wrong”. So, I didn’t say you had no position. I said you had no position other than “the IPCC is wrong”. The convenience of the position for the “skeptics” is that you can keep any number of people under such a wide roof, and they don’t need to agree anything amongst themselves.

    > my contention that the models are useless how do you explain…

    No, your contention was that the attribution of past change to human-caused CO2 was unreliable, because of what you see as the models inability to predict the future. I said that wasn’t right. That was a bit too subtle for you. I’ll need to be a bit more explicit. There is a whole pile of different stuff under “attribution”, all of which points in the same direction. Only some of that relies on the models, and very little of that bit relies on their ability to forecast the future.

    > 2. Meteorologists are unable to forecast the weather…

    Oh come on, not that one again. That’s a trivially wrong argument. You must know that, so why bring it up? Counter-analogy: we can’t forecast waves a day in advance; we can forecast the tide years in advance.

    > leaving aside the fact that the ice in the arctic is currently 50% greater than it was a year ago

    This is another trivially wrong argument. I can hardly bear to explain to you why its so badly wrong. But if you disagree, if you think its actually a topic worth discussing, then I can explain in tedious detail why you’re wrong.

    You’re scatter-shotting stuff. You need to concentrate on one or two arguments you actually care about. Otherwise the discussion becomes impossibly fragmented.

    Derek Alker> WHAT IF there is no greenhouse effect?

    Part of the discipline of science is learning what questions are worth asking. To some extent, this can be done by being familiar with the pre-existing literature; and indeed, with basic maths and physics. You will find an idealised description of it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealized_greenhouse_model. If you’re able to understand the maths, then you’ll realise that it is correct. If you’re not able to understand the maths, then you need to find something else to talk about.

    > 3rd side of the discussion

    You’ve misunderstood that too. The “sides” aren’t scientists / “skeptics” / don’t-believe-in-the-GHE-ists. The “sides” are scientists / (enormous array of different “skeptics” very few of whom agree amongst each other).

    You’re also wrong to see the science position as a unified bastion; it only seems that way to you because you’re so far away from. Nonetheless, most on the science side would accept the IPCC as a reasonable summary in its entirety. Again, I’m talking about WG I.

    • Derek says:

      Excerpt from link.
      “The greenhouse effect can be illustrated with an idealized planet. This is a common “textbook model”:[2] the planet will have a constant surface temperature Ts and an atmosphere with constant temperature Ta. For diagrammatic clarity, a gap can be depicted between the atmosphere and the surface. Alternatively, Ts could be interpreted as a temperature representative of the surface and the lower atmosphere, and Ta could be interpreted as the temperature of the upper atmosphere. In order to justify that Ta and Ts remain constant over the planet, strong ocean and atmospheric currents can be imagined to provide plentiful lateral mixing. Furthermore, any daily or seasonal cycles in temperature are assumed to be insignificant.”
      Day and night at earth’s surface disprove P/4.
      There is no evidence whatsoever for an atmospheric back radiation warming effect at earth’s surface.
      Who does not understand the “theory” is a failed hypothesis???

      • Derek says:

        Also, who does not understand earth can not be represented by a two parrallel plane model type??? Stars can, but earth, no, it is not the same all over.

        • Derek says:

          “You’ve misunderstood that too. The “sides” aren’t scientists / “skeptics” / don’t-believe-in-the-GHE-ists. The “sides” are scientists / (enormous array of different “skeptics” very few of whom agree amongst each other).”
          Misdirection, plain and simple. The article above describes two sides that both accept there is a GH effect, so your comment is incorrect and a misdirection.

          • Derek says:

            “most on the science side would accept the IPCC as a reasonable summary in its entirety.”
            You will be claiming a 97% consensus next…

  12. To everyone who has contributed to this both on Climate Etc and my Blog Scottish Sceptic, I would like to thank EVERYONE for their contributions.

    Unfortunately, given the huge volume of comments I cannot hope to respond to everyone personally. To give an example of the quality of responses, I have been selecting passages that seemed notable and put them into a list. I am only a fraction of the way through and on my fourth page of notes.

    Many support my working hypothesis that there is something in the culture, training or our work experience that causes us to interpret the evidence differently but that hypothesis has also been challenged by many comments which also seem to have merit and need proper consideration.

    So, it will take time to process the comments.

    My conclusions so far are:

    1. Although the table was far from perfect (particularly on the description on the non-sceptic side), it does seem to encapsulate some real differences supported by many respondents.
    2. There are several other avenues of investigation which need to be considered which do not fit neatly into the table.
    3. This soft information needs to be backed up with hard stats. Therefore after I have had time to consider the responses I intend to find a way to obtain hard stats, probably by an on-line survey. I appreciate this will be difficult so I need to seek advice.
    4. I was hoping to update the table as I went along but I have been overwhelmed by the number of response so this has not been possible. Therefore I have read all the responses I shall update the table and put a copy on my blog and here if Judith permits.

  13. Pingback: Thanks for the responses | ScottishSceptic

  14. Jon Leach says:

    Great post and a fascinating inquiry. A few other areas that occurred to me while reading this – I am also trying to understand the phenonemon of the debate/dispute as well as the phenonemon of the climate that the debate sits on top of. I hope you persist with this (possibly from a more neutral POV ? ;-)

    1. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Yes, great book. Did it at university. But there is a bit of a tendency for both sides to position them as the “ultimately proved right” Galileo of the piece. But the “talking at cross purposes” (from one of your contributors) ‘cos of different paradigms is a good insight to what’s going on here (or even watts up with this). BTW remember guys, Galileo was wrong after all as Newton proved. No, it was Einstein who showed Isaac up for being an idiot. But then there is all that Dark Matter, sheesh….

    2. Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind”. Now give the guy a break as he self-labels as a liberal (i think). But his overall insight is that “we don’t think as much as we think we think”. Rather we have some core instincts that we then post-rationalise (or write on blogs). That’s why we think we think. We don’t. His theory is that the right-leaning mind is fundamentally animated by a core instinct of “purity” whereas the left-leaning mind is animated by a core instinc of “fairnness”. Both of these are evolutionarily adaptive (being obsessed with purity stopped our primitive forebears from catching nasty bugs; being obsessed with fairness enabled them to work together as high performing groups). Many have observed (as I think you do in your chart) that the political leanings of an indivdual correlates with their beliefs on this topic. Underpinning these, perhaps, are the instincts. Its very uncomfortable to think you are soiling your own (planetary) nest. Its very uncomfortable to think you are damaging your (plantary) tribemates. So best to find a set of thoughts that support the OPPOSITE view…. and argue with those who disagree. This may be instinctie. But as we are sentien beings….. we could try to rise above this and achieve purity AND fairness (possibly even working as a group?). Your project might help on this…

    3. Breuning’s “Beyond Cynical : Transcend your Mammalian Negativity”. A rather obscure book but a fascinating theory that while “pessimism” feels bad “cynicism” feels good! Now there is a vast amount of cynicism found in this field (and on both sides, as you put it). Breuning’s explanation is that the unhappy hormone of cortisol that is triggered by rivals “having a go” (aka “having a blog”) can be relieved by being cynical. Indeed being cynical, makes you happy because it releases happy hormones! Hence, she claims, the feeling of being back on familiar ground as you say “yet, again this has happenned…” releases dopamine; the feeling of cuddling up with your gang as you go “look guys what they have said this time” releases oxytocin; and most powerfully of all expressing your superiority over “those idiots” boosts your serotonin levels. Trying to trigger these hormones is what really motivates us. Now this cyncisims ll great fun, but not human kind at its best… {and your attempt to include journalists from left or right in a broader classification is a good instinct. These guys are paid to make their readers feel good by offering a pre-packaged cynical response to any “news”. They are literally professional cynics, by this framing. Sometimes you can feel there absolote joy they get from spleening their cynicism. Whether this dispensing of short term pleasure to the hopelessly addicted is any more helpful to society than the behaviour of drug dealers, i will leave to future historians}.

    4. Grumpy Old Men. Could we pass a law that says that all posters need to give not only their degree and profession etc. but also their age and sex (and possibly sexual orientation – Nate Silver’s homosexuality is a data point for some, i believe). I would love to know how the players in this debate break down between older men, younger men, older women, younger women. I have a sense – and, as i say, i would love to see the data – that a lot of this is about men of a certain age, perhaps retired, perhaps not as powerful as they used to be, perhaps not as, ahem, potent as they used to be…. are raging against “these young fools” in charge. This might be a better explanation of their beliefs than anything else. Perhaps something to add to your chart. Obvs i’m not saying “all” – indeed it was a post from a woman, Judith Curry that took me to this page – and plenty of angry young men are no doubt putting us all right on both sides. But it would be nice to know. Its a bit like studying the demographics of UKIP or Occupy (note the studied neutrality of my examples, oh yes) – who are these people and are there deeper explanations of their beliefs?

    Anyhow, enough for now, and good luck with your project

    Jon

    PS since you ask : Male. 50. Straight. Guardian most often but the Telegraph and Mail for balance. Naive faith in Wikipedia (check out what else Chrisopher Booker has “denied”, guys! LOL). Voted Labour last 4 times. Natural Sciences, Cambridge. Advertising, PR and playing piano in brothels. Husband of an expensive wife, father of a teenage brood, and I will have my revenge in this world or the next. (NB not all of this is true, but i feel i must retain some mystery)

    • Jon thanks.

      Those are interesting points and useful to hear, but political motivation doesn’t come across in the comments so it is the least attractive explanation. As I highlighted earlier, non of the key words like abortion, capital punishment or feminism feature at all strongly on WUWT. There is in fact more mention of cream, wool and supermarket.

      There is very little evidence that politics either attracts or interests those who post on climate blogs.

      It is as if you have listened to a blog by train spotters and concluded that their obsession with public transport means they are socialists.

      Indeed, as one commenter said … his perception was that as soon as academic decided they didn’t want to play an active role in the day-to-day politics of their departments … they were far more likely to become sceptics.

      So, instead of politics being a cause of being a sceptic, there is evidence that a lack of interest in active politics tends to lead people to be sceptics.

      And this I think is why people on the other side are obsessed with the politics of sceptics.

      • Jon Leach says:

        Thanks for your reply and i did like your textual analysis of WUWT.

        What you could also do is a similar test on a site like Sceptical Science (the yin to the yang in this field, i believe). This might find the same pattern…. It would at least give you a fuller picture.

        To be honest, my hypothesis is that a political slant IS found in both sides (i.e. if true, neither should be allowed to claim “objective neutrality” and accuse the other of having political motivations. This is not helpful for “discourse”).

        So another test would be to explore the general language used.

        Hence for both sites i would check frequency of a whole list of political phrases like “leftie, liberal, interventionist, centrist, socialist, pinko, world government lover, etc. etc.” and also “capitalist, libertarian, conservative, gun loving loon,etc etc.” I’d need to create a file of the normal words used in the right/left divide. I guess the thought is that olitics is not necessarily “the issues” (which you checked up on) but the general orientation tha would be revealed by the language.

        But as it happens, the thing i REALLY want to measure is the quantity of cynicism and contempt on both sides. Your writing seems to have very little of this BTW but the on WUWT the language used on a few recent posts about the IPCC seems to be positively gleeful in its contempt for the report, the response to it etc. etc. Given what the IPCC said at face value is bad news (the planet is being damaged) and, even if you scoff at that, by the sceptics view, the IPCC is a big powerful insitution that will persuadegovernments to do bad things. I mean it was bad news, any way you look at it, for the sceptics. Or am I missing something?

        So why are the sceptics so bumptiously happy? What is the psychology of this? Or, and this is Breunings point, what is the neurochemistry of this? They seem to be surfing a massive, serotonin fueled high in the face of this bad news (look at how chipper James Delingpole is about the whole thing. By contrast, Judith Curry, a woman, has a much more sober, less power-crazed response. Is this about a certain sort of man, i continue to wonder?).

        (Just for balance, I have equally seen great contempt/cynicism shown about the sceptics response to the IPCC. But i want to take observer bias out of this and measure the thing objectively).

        So what i would love to do – as some sort of pop-scientist – is measure the degree of cnicism/contempt on both sides. Is this equal or is one side more cynical? If more on one side, what is going on here…

        Sorry, don’t mean to bang on. I’m just speculating about all this as i find it fascinating…

        Anyhow, good luck with your work

        Jon

        • Jon, sorry I didn’t reply earlier (PC problems – now on borrowed PC)

          The political hypothesis has been suggested a few time, however having been in these conversations on sceptic boards, I’ve seen plenty of dislike for democrats, but nothing to suggest people are sceptics BECAUSE they are republican.

          To give an example. In the UK I know two politicians who have been regularly mentioned. One is Peter Lilley … who I guess is conservative. The other is Lord Donaghue who, being in the Lords could be any party or none.

          And this is typical of most sceptics, because one of the distinctive features of sceptics is that they are interested in the facts, and what someone says, nor who they are – they do not argue “from authority” and so who you are is relatively unimportant compared to what you say.

          I agree a broader survey would be more informative, Thanks for the list of words.

  15. Jeff Norman says:

    Mike,

    I am enjoying your table and the discussions in the comments. Thank you.

    As a skeptic not only do I like seeing and pondering the data, but I truly enjoy a good story with a feasible plot line, even if it is science fiction. For example I can understand that increased CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs heat energy warming up the troposphere reducing the heat flux from the surface and thereby heating up the surface. It is a description of a process that I can buy into.
    But when the troposphere doesn’t warm this story breaks down for me. Having non-skeptics claim that no the troposphere has warmed up but I do not have the sense to see it or that it doesn’t matter anyway just puzzles me.

    I think that Steve McIntyre has stated his desire for an engineering style process description. I feel this is important because if you cannot describe the process effectively then all you are doing is describing an observation and attributing properties to it that may not be justifiable.

    For example, a non-skeptic says that the deep ocean heat content has gone up and this is the missing heat. A skeptic asks how did you even measure that and how did the heat get down there so quickly. The non-skeptic replies with downwelling. From my point of view it’s as if the process descriptions provided for many of the warmist effects are maliciously vague providing all kinds of wiggle room for when things start to break down.

    I might venture that another difference between skeptics and non-skeptics is that a skeptic will sit on a plane looking out the window marvelling at how vast the world is, while a non-skeptic will look down the aisle and marvel at how small and crowded the plane is.

    • > A skeptic asks how did you even measure that and how did the heat get down there so quickly

      No. That’s what a “skeptic” does. A skeptic actually goes out and reads the scientific literature where this is all described in excruciating and boring detail. Only once you’ve done that can you ask intelligent questions. Its hard work, though, which is why its so much easier just to ask someone else to spoon-feed you.

      • catweazle666 says:

        “A skeptic actually goes out and reads the scientific literature where this is all described in excruciating and boring detail.”

        [Citation required]

        Actually, i suspect you are making stuff up, as there is not to my knowledge currently no coherent, credible hypothesis – never mind theory – as to precisely how and why serious quantities of thermal energy suddenly decided to change from warming the atmosphere to warming the deep oceans – entirely ignoring the principle of convection, i might add, and further, without producing a characteristic increase in sea level rise commencing at the time it suddenly decided to alter its behaviour.

        Not to mention that the relative thermal capacities of air and water tend to indicate that any such increase in temperature would be lost in the noise, of course.

        • > there is not to my knowledge currently no…

          Argument from personal ignorance is worth nothing, unless you happen to be someone deeply familiar with the literature. You aren’t (yeah, yeah, you’re a total anon so how can I know? Well, I’m just taking a wild guess, feel free to prove me wrong by suddenly displaying said deep knowledge, but I won’t hold my breath).

          http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter03.pdf

          is the obvious place to start.

          • catweazle666 says:

            A shame you don’t link to the version with the graphs (I wonder why…).

            You (and other visitors to the blog) might otherwise have found Fig. 3.A.2 instructive.

            In any case, that chapter does not describe the subject at issue in excruciating and boring detail, leaving more questions asked than answered, and possessing more than its fair share of conjecture, as I’m sure you’re aware.

            The hypothesis that Trenberth’s “Missing Heat” suddenly dived into the deep oceans is clutching at straws, as you are well aware.

      • Jeff Norman says:

        This skeptic has found that the scientific literature is generally very expensive to access for someone not directly engaged in research. This skeptic has also experienced the frustration of eventually accessing a paper to find that the claims made in the paper are not supported by the secrets hidden in the paper. MBH97 comes to mind. One is left with guessing how they actually measured that.

        Thank you for the link. I was greatly amused reading how they are drawing conclusions based upon a comparison of the ARGO data to the Challenger Expedition.

        • > MBH97 comes to mind.

          MBH98 is trivially publically accessible (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/articles/mbh98.pdf), so that can’t be the one you mean. I don’t know what you mean by ’97. And like it or not, the results of the paper do indeed follow directly from the described methodology and datasets.

          See-also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_graph

          > One is left with guessing how they actually measured that.

          I’m sorry, I can’t parse that. What did you mean?

          • Jeff Norman says:

            That’s the one, MBH98. Point to William.

            Sure MBH98 is free now. But it wasn’t when it first came out. When did it become valueless?

            How did they manage to measure temperatures before thermometers were invented and in a way that was more accurate than using thermometers and in a way that improved the further back in time you measured temperatures? Not really described in the paper as freely seen now.

          • > How did they manage to measure temperatures before thermometers were invented

            They didn’t. The temperatures were measured *after* thermometers were invented, by using proxies. MBH98 provides a list of sources; you can look at those which if followed further would provide a disucssion of how the proxies are related to temperature. Or you can do what everyone who can’t be bothered to read the primary literature does, which is to read wiki; in this case https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_(climate).

            > and in a way that was more accurate than using thermometers

            It isn’t; the proxies are less accurate than direct thermometer measurement.

          • My own experience measuring temperatures in rooms, ovens and on process equipment told me that even in a very easily controlled environment it was incredibly difficult to get reliable and consistent measurements and that the whole “average” was very sensitive to the exact position of sensors. For very small ovens used in laboratories we have a display to the nearest 0.01C but there was no way it would be accurate to better than 0.1C.

            At one point I looked at producing known temperature standards for calibration of thermometers. The idea was to use a phase change of a substance to create a feedback loop for an oven and keep it to a very tight temperature.

            That is when I discovered that even a decade ago, a lot of the temperature scale is undefined. It was literally “temperature x is set by this phase change of this material, temperature y by this other … the temperature is that given by a platinum resistance thermometer curve between the two”. In other words, the temperature was just an arbitrary value extrapolating a resistance curve.

            So, I know the problems of taking temperatures. Even with the best equipment in very tightly controlled conditions with regular calibration it is extremely difficult.

            And then I came to the world of make believe with is global warming and I found people like William telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and they were 99.99% confident they could measure temperatures globally to 0.0001C by looking at tree rings. OK, I exaggerate, but I suspect those figures are as ridiculous to you as the global warming claims are to me.

          • > And then I came to the world of make believe with is global warming and I found people like William telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and they were 99.99% confident they could measure temperatures globally to 0.0001C by looking at tree rings. OK, I exaggerate…

            Yes, you exaggerate; or more accurately “make things up”. Neither I nor the IPCC have said anything resembling what you say. How does putting obvious falsehoods in other peoples mouths advance the conversation?

          • Jeff Norman says:

            Really?! They used proxies? You must forgive me for suspecting you think I am a moron.

            And yet the paper you linked shows Figure 5 which says they used proxies that gave them high confidence (95%) that their 1400 results were accurate within ±0.2°C (or there abouts) and that this confidence interval was the same up to 1600, despite the drop in available data in 1450 when RPC no.2 petered out. Surely this means their data became more accurate and hemispherically representative the further you go back in time. But we can never know because the paper doesn’t say. Again, when did this paper become valueless?

            You are such a [snip – please do not name call].

            But we all owe William a vote of thanks for coming here to demonstrate exactly how skeptics and non-skeptics talk past each other.

          • Derek Alker says:

            Apologies I tried posting this earlier, but it would not for some reason?

            Mann et al and the “hockey stick” plot. – Tree rings are a composite record of many, many factors, that all vary, both globally and locally. Water availability, nutrients, sunshine, etc, etc, etc. To attribute any variation, in a particularly knarly tree species (bristle cone pine in this case), to only one factor varying IS NOT SCIENCE. To then hide the statistics, weightings used, data sets used and those rejected IS NOT SCIENCE.
            The “hockey stick” is valueless because it IS NOT SCIENCE.

            Well, it is not science as I understand it should be.

          • > You are such a [snip]

            To our host: if that’s the kind of language you tolerate from your regulars, please just say nothing, and we’ll know that civility isn’t important here.

          • No, I just spotted that and it is not acceptable here.

          • Jeff Norman says:

            And I take offense at being referred to as somebody’s “regular”.

      • I see an interesting discussion developing so I’ve created this article http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/the-ocean-ate-my-heat-and-global-proxies/ as I was beginning to have problems following the discussion.

  16. William Connolley: “its because you’ve taken the commonly accepted published record and arbitrarily lopped 0.2 oC off it. Obviously, I’m not going to simply agree to that – you’d need to present a closely-reasoned and well referenced justification. But as far as I can tell, you don’t have one. So not only do we not agree, but we can’t meaningfully discuss you disagreement, because you won’t justify it.

    William, this is a statement of the figure which most sceptics will accept as reasonable. It is a statement of our views and as such its truth or falsehood is whether it accurately states our views. The original discussion is here: http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/revised-statement-of-sceptic-view/#comment-1435

    This followed a discussion which I think came after this article: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/07/how-reliable-are-global-temperature-anomalies/.

    All it actually says is that there are far more reasons why the figure should be lower than the IPCC figure than higher but the scale of that error does not massively change the fact it warmed.

    If you want a more accurate figure … I will be happy to supply it, but I would need some funding.

    • > If you want a more accurate figure … I will be happy to supply it

      You’re missing the point, and I’m not sure how I can make this clearer. You’re claiming to be the people-of-hard-facts, and you assert “Current estimates of about 0.8 C temperature rise in the past 150 years are very likely too high. There is compelling evidence of malpractice, urban heating and poor instruments & siting. A figure of 0.5-0.6C warming appears more likely.”

      You need to be able to provide that “compelling evidence of malpractice” and so on, when asked for it. Or withdraw the statement.

      You can’t claim to be people-of-hard-facts and then, when asked to back up those facts, say “oh no, those bits weren’t facts, they were just a ‘statement of our views'”.

      As to the change from 0.8 to 0.5-0.6: I followed your first link, in which Philip Lee says only that he thinks 0.8 is too precise; he doesn’t suggest that its biased, only that it should have greater error bars (note that one of his complaints, “There are no error limits associated with the 0.8 deg. C rise estimated” is a complaint against your formulation of the rise; the IPCC, of course, gives error bars). PL doesn’t give much detail, but even if he was 100% correct there would be no justificaiton for your response, which was ‘I would prefer to say: “our best guess is that the temperatures rose around 0.5-0.6C”, but that would be an expression of an opinion not a fact.’ So at that point you know your 0.5-0.6 isn’t fact and has no justification. Nothing I can see in the rest of that thread changes that.

      As to the WUWT post, well, its not very convincing (do you think the post is convincing? I must admit not to have read it terribly carefully; these things generally aren’t worth it. But if you tell me that you have read it carefully, and are prepared to defend it, then I’d be prepared to read and attack it, if that reading justified same). But as near as I can tell its arguing for a value of 0.4 oC. Which is another number, but its not compatible with your 0.5-0.6, so I don’t see how it supports your number.

      I don’t see any evidence there (or here) of a critical engagement with the existing literature.

      • As a statement of the sceptic view, it really doesn’t matter what you think of it. It has been posted on quite a few blogs without serious argument from sceptics.

        The people who contributed toward it did so in their own time based on the evidence they gathered. As far as I know none of them had any financial interest in the result. Indeed, you are very lucky to have knowledgeable people willing to give up their time and work with each other to produce that figure.

        Yes, the process could be better, but to do that would require people to donate far more of their time and to facilitate that to happen would require us sceptics to get funding.

        To put that in perspective, I am writing this on a borrowed PC because my other laptop which I had long enough to wear out two keyboards now cannot cope and the screen has gone on the blink. Obviously I’m not suggesting we are as bad as the 50% of Scots who are now in fuel poverty and very likely to add to the 23,000 extra deaths each year because of these unnecessary green taxes – obviously I could be worse off, but as neither you nor anyone else is paying me, I don’t have to justify this figure to you.

        However, if you want a better figure and justification for the figure from sceptics and you are willing to put in the resources to make that happen, then let’s talk.

        I would need traveling expenses, expenses for an office, probably a new car (ours is leaking oil and like the PC may suddenly stop working) and I would need an income so that my wife could cut down her hours. And yes, if I got that, yes I am confident I would come up with a better justification for the figure and a more accurate assessment of the actual figure.

  17. OK, after a good deal of looking I have found the discussion on global warming which informed sceptics who contributed to that figure. The article is Global warming is a pussy cat.

    The relevant sections are these:

    WUWT COMMENTERS SAY
    As the above graphic indicates, WUWT Commenters who provided their own estimates generally agreed with my allocation, with the interesting exception of AGW, where the average is 0.18ºC, nearly double my original allocation of 0.1ºC. Natural Cycles averaged out at 0.33ºC, a bit lower than my original 0.4ºC. Data Bias averaged out at 0.28ºC, a bit lower than my original 0.3ºC. While this is not a scientific poll, it certainly shows a wide variety of Climate Science opinion is alive and well here at WUWT.

    There seems to be general agreement here at WUWT that the official climate Team has exaggerated the extent and danger of Global Warming by adjusting past temperature data in a manner biased (perhaps by about 0.3ºC) towards supporting their dire projections for the future. We believe the actual net temperature increase (perhaps about 0.5ºC) since 1880 is nearly all due to natural processes, including cycles of the Sun, ocean oscillations, and other causes not under human control. But, we are reasonable skeptics who do not deny that human actions are responsible for some, relatively small amount (perhaps about 0.1ºC) of the rise in temperatures.

    Other links I found that might be useful to understand our views are:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/01/reasons-to-be-a-global-warming-skeptic/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/03/why-william-d-nordhaus-is-wrong-about-global-warming-skeptics-being-wrong/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/11/the-long-awaited-surfacestations-paper/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/03/has-the-crutem4-data-been-fiddled-with/

    • When you last pointed me at a WUWT post, I said “As to the WUWT post, well, its not very convincing (do you think the post is convincing? I must admit not to have read it terribly carefully; these things generally aren’t worth it. But if you tell me that you have read it carefully, and are prepared to defend it, then I’d be prepared to read and attack it, if that reading justified same)”.

      I notice that you haven’t replied “Yes! I do defend it”. So I take it that you don’t. I say the same about all your others (indeed, I say it about any WUWT post).

      > might be useful to understand our view

      You’re missing the point; I’m not really interested in understanding your views; I’m interested in seeing a strong justification for you 0.5-0.6 oC figure. And its no good saying “give me money and I’ll find you a better justification” or a better figure. You’re putting that figure out *now* as an expression of your views.

      You say “What quality means: Getting it right first time”. Is your figure a “quality” figure? Is it “right first time”?

      > It has been posted on quite a few blogs without serious argument from sceptics

      That’s fine, if all you want to do is talk to other “sceptics”. But it won’t work if you want to go outside your walled garden. Remember, your key question is ‘why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions’.

      Explicitly: I don’t need to write down my justification for whatever temperature record I accept, because I’m happy going with the std.accepted_value. If I need to, I can point to any number of papers that show you carefully how it is constructed. But you have your own figure, and that different figure, because its yours, needs careful justification. The bare minimum would be a carefully written blog post stating exactly how you derived your 0.5-0.6 (the current state, having asked you, appears to be a succession of scattered comments). If your 0.5-0.6 figure is derived purely from “gut feel”, or from some kind of “voting” process, or some kind of “averaging” blog comments, then you should say that clearly.

      • “You’re missing the point; I’m not really interested in understanding your views; I’m interested in seeing a strong justification for you 0.5-0.6 oC figure. ”

        The justification for that figure is that it is the figure we agreed most represented our views.

        The main justification for value is that we have seen plenty of reasons to believe the figure is lower and few if any to suggest it is higher. In other words the IPCC figure is not credible.

        However, like a jury, who finds the case against a criminal is not proven, you are trying to suggest that it is now up to us to prove who done it. We have more than enough evidence to know the figure is wrong … but unless or until we have the resources to assess the information thoroughly and impartially, in a way that it has not been done so far, I would be reluctant to say more than “this is our view”.

        However, there is no reason why we couldn’t go through this exercise and produce a more credible figure with full justification. BUT IT WILL COST.

        If you have credible finance I will put together a project proposal.

        Are you willing to put up the finance?

        • > The justification for that figure is that it is the figure we agreed most represented our views.

          I know. You’ve said that several times now. I understood you the first time. What you don’t seem to understand in return is that no-one is really interested in your “views”; people are interested in what you can justify. The IPCC provides a rigourous and fully referenced justification for its version.

          > Are you willing to put up the finance?

          No, of course not. Apart from anything else, I have no evidence that you’re capable of doing the work.

          > We have more than enough evidence to know the figure is wrong

          Then, as I said, you need to provide a credible summary of that evidence. References to scattered blog comments most of which reference other comments and none of which provide any clear analysis really don’t cut the mustard.

          • William. Can I put it this way. Our view is the IPCC have done a shoddy job on the cheap using crap (biased) labour.

            You are now asking us to repeat the shoddy job done on the cheap using our better labour.

            What I’m saying is that we have no interest in doing another crap job like the IPCC.

            But if you want a good job then we will do it but we will require enough money & resources to do it properly. And if you don’t understand that concept, it goes a long way to explaining why the job was so badly done in the first place.

          • Quiet Waters says:

            I’m intrigued as to how the exchange here with Connolley compares (or doesn’t) to some of the statements in the table above. Namely:

            Main focus: Prediction & hard facts.
            Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses: Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation.

            Despite several promptings there is still no “Empirical data”, “hard facts” or “reproducible experimentation” forthcoming for the claim. Instead there is a demand for money to do the research. Surely if all you were interested in was “hard facts” and “Empirical data” then that work would have already been done in order to justify the claim of “it is the figure we agreed most represented our views” rather than the wooly (and very definitely not hard or empirical) “The main justification for value is that we have seen plenty of reasons to believe the figure is lower and few if any to suggest it is higher. In other words the IPCC figure is not credible.”

          • What we are saying is that the climate researchers have failed to do their job properly.
            We have more than enough evidence to say this.
            What we are asking is that the climate researchers do a proper job.
            The response from the climate researchers & other people in government & NGOs who have no idea at all, has been to reject the evidence that the figures are biased and instead to attack us for daring to highlight the evidence that the figures are biased.

            All this 0.5-0.6C represents is our estimate of how wrong the climate researchers are. It is a statement of our judgement about their failings.

            But unless or until someone does a proper job we will not know what the real figure should be.

            And as I keep saying, if you want us to come up with the figure, then give us the money and we will do the job. But if you want to keep doing the job, DO IT PROPERLY.

            BUT THAT PRESUPPOSES WE BOTH UNDERSTAND THE SAME CONCEPT OF “DOING A JOB PROPERLY”.

            So, this is why I’m trying to find out what the differences are. Perhaps the real answer is that the job we sceptics think should be done isn’t one that should be rightly asked of academics. And likewise, perhaps academics have to be honest and say it isn’t a job for which they have any experience.

            In other words, perhaps we all have to be a bit more tolerant and look for solutions as to how to do a proper job rather than us complaining that you are not doing it right and you getting all shirty for us saying so.

    • I am very aware who this is.

      • Jeff Norman says:

        Hence the caveats about using Wikipedia.

        • I stopped worrying about wikipedia when I started an archaeology course and the first thing we were told is “don’t trust wikipedia”. And as I did the course, I learnt how even a quick search on any subject would bring up a range of arguments and that the only articles I trusted in Wikipedia were those that summarised the evidence available elsewhere.

          • > the only articles I trusted in Wikipedia were those that summarised the evidence available elsewhere

            Very wise. Like, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming.

            “I don’t trust wikipedia on GW” is a mantra the “skeptics” chant, but its not based on any solid complaints; its based largely on fear and a dislike of the material.

            For example, the temperature record as presented on wikipedia is sourced to the scientific literature. Were you to attempt to add “oh, but *I* think its should be 0.2 oC lower, because that’s what I and my friends thing” it would be removed – correctly.

            Note how, in this regard, wikipedia is doing better than you are: your 0.2 oC is *not* properly sourced, let alone to the scientific literature.

          • If the only people allowed to edit an article on the catholic church are Catholics, it could be entirely factual but totally misrepresent the church by “forgetting” to mention anything like the child abuse stories.

            Likewise, the reason the UK parliament works, is because we pay a group of people to critique the “official” government position. Paradoxically it makes the government policies better if there is strong opposition.

            I think it was some Chinese general who said something like “the value of a general is measured by the strength of their opposition”.

            Everyone like me who would have vastly improved those articles you wrote were told to go away. We did … and as a result much of your work has been wasted because the articles are mentioned time and time again by sceptics as the reason they became sceptics. So I’m not sure they helped make the case for global warming as they don’t seem to persuade anyone except the editors that wrote them.

          • > We did …

            Did you? Which article, when, under what name? I’ve noticed elsewhere than when I ask this question of “skeptics” they tend to back off, and say “err, when I say ‘we’, I didn’t mean to include myself”.

            So, please be clear: are you speaking of your own experience or are you channeling someone else? What information did you attempt to add or subtract?

            Indeed, have you even read the GW article? If you had, you’d notice the balance.

          • There are some subjects that are best left alone and if I say anything more about Wikipedia I will have to start attacking you personally. Therefore I will politely decline your invitation.

          • No, that’s a cop-out. If you tried to make a change, you could tell us what it was.

            You could certainly answer “please be clear: are you speaking of your own experience or are you channeling someone else? What information did you attempt to add or subtract?” Answering that cannot possibly be an attack.

    • William Connolley:No, that’s a cop-out. If you tried to make a change, you could tell us what it was.

      I’ve spend enough time engaging with you to know that if we start talking about Wikipedia it will just end in acrimony.

      • That’s another cop-out. You made a baseless assertion and when asked to justify it, you refuse to put up.

        I think you’ve never tried to improve any of the GW type pages. Anthony Watts was reduced to inventing fantasies to justify his hatred of wiki.

        • William, you have put so much time and effort into Wikipedia, that no matter how I tried, any comment I make will be taken as an attack on you. It is therefore not possible for us to talk about Wikipedia without you taking the conversation personally. I made a mistake bringing it up.

          • JBL says:

            Can you explain how it could be possible that answering the question “What Wikipedia page did you try to edit, and what information did you attempt to add or subtract?” could possibly be an attack on anyone? Or withdraw your claim to have any experience editing Wikipedia?

            (Incidentally, editing Wikipedia is not very hard. But the culture of Wikipedia is very strange, and it takes a long time to get used to its ins and outs. People who haven’t spent time editing Wikipedia probably shouldn’t act as if they know what it’s like.)

        • Derek Alker says:

          From,
          https://www.facebook.com/groups/ClimateRealistsResource/

          Brandon Stone
          Wait what….now the wiki is showing the medivel warm period was cooler than today?

          “Medieval Warm Period was cooler than recent global temperatures.[8]”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period
          Eric M. Bram Wiki wars. Check this article, which demonstrates that the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon, and that the peak warmth of the Medieval Warm Period was least as great as, and possibly even a bit greater than, the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.

          http://www.co2science.org/subject/m/summaries/mwpsoutham.php
          14 hours ago · Edited · Like
          John Edward Voelker That Wiki article was last updated 1 hour ago.
          Most of the references are the IPCC.
          History is being rewritten as we speak.
          Skeptical Science is rewriting Wikipedia also.
          12 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
          Mike Lorrey william connolley is back at it, is whats going on
          12 hours ago · Like
          Eric M. Bram Wiki now says that some sources say it was cooler, some that it was warmer.
          12 hours ago · Like
          Jeramy Hinfelaar and there is the problem with wiki. Any idiot that finds a reference can change it.
          12 hours ago · Like

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  20. Old woman of the north says:

    I think it boils down to whether people are ‘romantics’ who want the world to an ideal place – as it ‘ought to be’ or ‘realists’ who accept things as they are and try to find practical solutions to problems.

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