Climate Change: An Emetic Fallacy

May 12, 2011

personally I prefer mine with fruit....

personally I prefer mine with fruit….

Yesterday I was at Downing College, Cambridge, for a Climate Change conference organised by Professor Alan Howard, the scientist/philanthropist/entrepreneur known, inter alia, for having devised the Cambridge diet and for funding the magnificent lecture hall in which the event took place. (For more reporting – and some brilliant cartoons from Josh who sat right next to me sketching in a most impressive way – see Bishop Hill; and many, many thanks to the Howard Trust for organising it.)

The big difference between this and almost any other Climate Change conference is that it was the first – in Britain, anyway, so far as I know – to field a solid team of scientists from both sides of the debate. The Warmists included Professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit, Professor Andrew Watson – also of the UEA and Professor John Mitchell, former chief scientist at the Met Office. The Sceptics – Realists if you prefer – included Professor Henrik Svensmark, Professor Nils-Axel Morner, and Professor Ian Plimer. Any mention of “Climategate” announced Prof Howard at the beginning would result in immediate ejection: he wanted to keep this event civil and scientific.

So no, I didn’t go up and introduce myself to Phil Jones as the man who made him world famous. I think he may have given me a long, hard, hollow stare at breakfast yesterday morning; and there was a dodgy moment during a coffee break where he perched his cup near me, suddenly noticed the danger, and fled elsewhere. But I certainly wasn’t going to bother him, not least because I think he cut a rather pitiable figure. His talk – essentially on why the CRU’s adjusted temperature figures are kosher – was slightly nervy and resolutely dull. I got the impression he now wishes climate science were just an apolitical backwater in which yer average PhD could happily eke out his career untroubled by the kind of controversy which has all but ruined Jones’s life.

Some of the presentations were excellent. It was particularly good to hear Professor Svensmark make his compelling case (which no one on the other side could successfully refute) on cosmic rays and cloud formation. But overall, I shared the disappointment expressed by one of the final speakers, Czech President Vaclav Klaus that there had been almost no honest, open debate between the two sides. One side made its case; then the other put its contradictory case. But apart from a bit of snide questioning and the odd sniping shot from the wings, there wasn’t much by way of robust exchanging of ideas. It was more – as Klaus noted – a series of monologues.

You’d have to be very naive, though, to conclude that the fault lay on both sides and that if only they could communicate with one another we’d all attain the sensible middle ground position where wisdom, truth and sweet reasonableness resides. That would be to fall for what I call the “Dog S*** Yoghurt Fallacy.”

It goes like this: one side of this debate thinks that the best thing to put in yoghurt is fruit; the other side is of the view that what really needs to be added to yoghurt is a nice bit of dog poo. Now suppose we were to compromise. Suppose the latter faction were to concede sufficient ground to agree that only a tiny quantity of dog poo should go into the mainly fruit-rich yoghurt, would this constitute a victory for commonsense?

Of course it wouldn’t. Even if just the smallest, smidgen of a fraction of dog poo were to go into that yoghurt it would still be irredeemably tainted. Similar rules apply to the current debate on global warming. On one side – what you might call the fruit side – you have those scientists, economists and, yes, bloggers who maintain that CO2 is a generally beneficial trace gas which encourages plant growth and poses no risk of catastrophic global warming. On the other side – the dog poo side, obviously – you have “scientists”, politicians, spivs, rent-seekers, cranks, whackos, eco-loons, EU fonctionnaires and such like who believe that CO2 poses a major problem to global climate and must be taxed and regulated to oblivion.

Which side is right? One of the very few things which emerged from yesterday’s debate with pellucid clarity was this:


The Warmist scientists are quite capable of talking a good game about their belief system, even to the point – almost – of being persuasive on the subject of their computer “projections” of future global temperatures.

But then, so too are the Sceptics. You’d need to be very set in your belief system indeed to come away from one of Professor Ian Plimer’s feisty, funny engaging lectures and not be convinced that the whole idea of AGW is a complete crock. Same goes for Professor Nils Axel Morner’s hilarious, crazy-Swede lecture on his experiences measuring sea-level rises in the Maldives (there hasn’t been any: whatever the Maldives president and his underwater cabinet tell you). Same also goes for Prof Svensmark: really his cosmic ray theory is gloriously compelling.

In other words there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty out there about the chaotic system which causes climate. But here’s the rub: global policy makers are acting as if there isn’t.

And the reason they’re acting as if there isn’t because, essentially, they have been hijacked by the scientists on the Warmist side who – behaving far more like political activists than dispassionate seekers after truth – have exaggerated the strength of their case, even to the point of tweaking their data and suppressing contradictory research, in order to ensure that their “correct” interpretation of reality is the one that prevails.

This was the whole point of the Climategate scandal and why it mattered. And since Climategate – as we saw from the entirely unapologetic, nay struttingly arrogant in some cases – behaviour of the Warmist scientists present absolutely zip-all has changed.

Hence Dr Klaus’s frustration. Apart from being the only European leader (apart from Hungary’s) worth his salt, Dr Klaus is also an economist and a former serf of a Communist state.

He said: “The arrogance of global warming activists and their fellow travellers in politics is something I know well from the past. They wish to suppress truth, control the market and dictate policy and I, who have spent most of my time living under communism feel obliged to warn against it.”

28 Responses to “Climate Change: an emetic fallacy”

  1. Daragh McDowell says:May 12, 2011 at 12:57 pmSo are you actually going to report on this ( or just pretend it didn’t happen?
  2. James Delingpole says:May 12, 2011 at 1:43 pmYou are an amusing, angry fellow Daraaaaghh to be sure you are you are so it is. And who do you think funds the Carbon Brief? The Tooth Fairy?
  3. James W says:May 13, 2011 at 5:39 amDaragh – howabout Al Gore’s links to ‘big oil’?

    On the whole……..I’d trust the blokes who don’t wish to over-regulate and over-tax our lives, and on balance these seem to be ‘realists’/’sceptics’.

    Of course the climate is changing, it has done since the Earth was born – but I sincerely doubt that our emissions are responsible………..I’m far more worried about the effect on man’s intervention in respect of major lakes and river confluences, and of course the denudation of the oceans and fish stocks.

    Thing is the big beasts of AGW are not at all interested in these problems – probably because there are no sinecure academic posts to be had because governments can’t tax and regulate schemes to clean up the oceans and cease diverting waterways.

    The battle should be fought over water not air…….but there’s nothing in it for opportunistic political arseholes like Chris Huhne and Caroline Lucas, MSM wankers at the BBC and Grauniad and lastly opportunistic academics in the States and East Anglia plus that fucking shameless Indian geezer.

    Band-wagon jumping Cameron is a disgrace too.

  4. Martin Wyatt says:May 15, 2011 at 4:22 pmI am a scientist and an engineer.

    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about – why does that not cause you to pause and think – or does your pay cheque require yiu to simply say outlandish things to get attention?

    The effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is very basic physics and has been known for over 100 years. 98% of all serious scientists agree on the seriousness of the situation we face. The 2% who don’t are left squabbling if it is serious / very serious / terminal.

    Do you have children? do you feel no responsibility for them?

    You can find any mount of rubbish on the internet to justify ‘climate change denial’ – don’t believe any of it unless you can quote me some serious science from a leading climatologist / physacist (and one not paid for by a lobby grour) – do you think this is all just a joke or that all scientists are wrong or that it is some great socilist conspiracy – grow up!

    To put cost ahead of survival is unconchionable – yes I am cross, journalsits have great power – they should use it with responsibility.

  5. James Delingpole says:May 15, 2011 at 7:50 pmYou’re an engineer, you say, Martin? You’ll forgive my scepticism. It’s just that almost every engineer I’ve ever met takes a diametrically opposite position on AGW from the one you’ve taken. Including Prof Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Professor of Technology at Cambridge, whom I bumped into last week. Why? Well, engineers tend to work in the realm of the practical. If they make mistakes, people die. If they run over budget, clients scream. That’s why they – most of them: you seem to be the exception – tend to be so sceptical of AGW. Nobody out there, not even sceptics – believe it or not – disputes the “basic physics” of the greenhouse effect. But even if you were to double atmospheric CO2 the forcing effect on global temperatures has been estimated at 1 degree C. Not scary. Not when you think you getter a bigger av temperature rise travelling from Newcastle to Newquay. But why am I telling you this? You haven’t done your homework. You haven’t read round the subject. You haven’t even taken the trouble to apprise yourself of the – widely available, much written about – explanation as to why your “98 per cent/ 2 per cent” (though actually it’s 97 per cent 3 per cent) factoid is based on a survey skewed to the point of utter meaningless. If your half-baked analysis of my article were an engineering project, the bridge would have fallen down, hundreds would have died and you’d have lost your job. Please, next time you’re going to make intemperate comments on an article you’ve barely digested and clearly failed to understand, do your homework first.
  6. JimmyGiro says:May 16, 2011 at 12:03 amIf it’s true that more than 95% of all ’scientists’ believe in AGW, why do climatologists make such a big deal of peer review? After all, if they know it already, then why even publish?

    And why do all these ’scientists’ still think it’s a science issue, rather than an economic one? It seems that the uncertainty of climate predictions is inversely proportional to the hundreds of billions of Euro, calculated by European bean counters, that we the people are worth screwing for.

  7. Martin Wyatt says:May 16, 2011 at 9:14 amI am an engineer – don’t just use your position to insult me.

    You are simply wrong – none of the ‘facts’ you quote are facts they are ‘assertions’ – you of course did not answer a single point I raised – just gave the usual guff.

    Go ask the government chief scientist, the previous chief scientist, the chief scientist of DECC or DeFRA – ask the president of the Royal Society – you are a clever ascerbic writer and no doubt this all gets you even more coverage from the nutty, ill informed conspiracy theorists everywhere. We ignore peer reviewed science at our peril – if we are to govern by emotion and tribal politics and not by logic and mature consideration of the facts we will indeed end up in a serious mess.

    OOps – I have done it again – allowed myself to be wound up by your deliberate, stock in trade invective. More fool me.

  8. Martin Wyatt says:May 16, 2011 at 9:33 amPS I know Michael Kelly and whilst you of course name drop you dont say what he said – He certainly does not agree with your position – perhaps you could ask him to drop me a note of his conversation or refer me to one of his published works on this matter which backs up your position?

    PPS can you give me a link to your assertion re the 97/3 split being ’skewed beyond the point of utter meaningless’ (come on – get off the fence – what lies beyond uttter meaningless?)

    Actually the 98/2 split was a result of a peer review poll of the views of the top 100 climate scientists worldwide – it was covered in New Scientist – I assume not on your reading list – not the 97/3 you disparagingly refer to – to quote yourself ‘do your homework first’

  9. Nige Cook says:May 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm“The effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is very basic physics and has been known for over 100 years.”

    – Martin Wyatt

    The “greenhouse effect” is a falsehood since we don’t live in a cloudless, oceanless greenhouse; cloud cover increases with ocean temperature, which gives negative feedback, cancelling out the CO2 effect on air temp. Try Roy Spencer’s peer-reviewed data on this.

  10. JimmyGiro says:May 16, 2011 at 7:20 pmMartin Wyatt (the scientist and engineer) wrote:

    Actually the 98/2 split was a result of a peer review poll of the views of the top 100 climate scientists worldwide

    If you performed a ‘peer review poll’ of 100 priests, you may discover a small percentage of atheists, and a larger percentage of believers in god.

    Will such a survey prove the existence of god, or merely demonstrate that most priests believe in a deity?

  11. Nige Cook says:May 17, 2011 at 9:14 amFeynman’s anti-peer review definition of science, which I used to quote at the top of my domain, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”, is now quoted at the beginning of a UK parliamentary discussion of peer-review by Donald W Braben (Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, 2 March 2011):

    Written evidence submitted by Donald W Braben (PR 18)

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”, Richard Feynman, US Nobel Prize winner, 1966.

    Summary: Peer review is widely acclaimed as “the gold standard” for evaluating research proposals and papers for publication but it has serious flaws. It has a wide range of uses, all inter-related, and none should be considered in isolation. Peer review:

    · Is used more intensively by the UK than almost any other nation

    · Is based on opinion and consensus

    · Is usually anonymously and secretly applied

    · Has the power of veto

    · Constrains scientific freedom

    · Leads to concentration on well-defined fields

    · Favours nations with the highest investments in research

    · Fails the “Planck Test” (see paragraph 23)

    The AGW problem is just a repetition of “so many people can’t all be wrong”. If so many people can’t all be wrong, then clearly there are no political parties, no wars, no disagreements, no alternative ideas. We all think the same way. That’s the message of “peer”-review. You’re assuming that “peers” exist. Peers only exist if you’re part of a groupthink religion of consensus to begin with. You can’t ever have a “peer” if you’re unfashionable. How can that every be true if anyone ever has anything new to say? How can any fact ever be discovered and published if it first has to have support from bigoted “peers”? More important still is the fact that genuine criticisms from outside the box are never born as fully-developed rivals but are vulnerable babies in need of care, assistance, and nurture until they mature into fully-developed rivals. As Michael Faraday said when someone sneered at electricity in its infancy, “what use is a new born baby?” It’s even more important with theories. The AGW lobby’s approach is that of King Herod: kill off funding threats before they mature.

  12. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 12:35 pmJames,

    Another engineer here to add to your list here of “climate change believers”. And I’m a chemical engineer. The worst kind of engineer. The kind that traditionally goes round finding oil, coal and gas, and then encouraging people to burn as much as possible. Additionally, Steve Koonin, previously BP’s chief scientist, i.e. a man that worked for a company that makes its money by encouraging people to produce CO2, agrees that climate change is due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Even Exxon Mobil are now stating that they believe our CO2 emissions are a cause for concern, and they have a reputation for funding climate sceptics!

    You are in no position to claim that you have read around the subject when you yourself have claimed that you’ve never read any of the peer reviewed material! This whole refutation of anthropogenic climate change is because you are scared. You don’t want to admit that it is happening because that would mean you actually have to alter your lifestyle. I’d actually respect you more if you said “yeah, climate change is our fault, and I don’t give a shit, I rather like killing foxes, burning oil and generally being irresponsible.”

    Yours facetiously,


    P.S. “But even if you were to double atmospheric CO2 the forcing effect on global temperatures has been estimated at 1 degree C. Not scary.” This is the average increase, and if you had any basic grasp of statistics and the normal/Gaussian distribution, then you’d know that a 1 degree shift would cause a substantial increase in the number of high-temperature weather events. But you haven’t, because you haven’t read around the subject. Since you like “peer-to-peer” material so much, I suggest you look here:

  13. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm“Daddy, what do you do for a living?”

    “Well son/daughter I spread fallacious rumours about the future of our planet, your future planet, and try to make people very angry. When they argue against me, instead of engaging them in mature, sensible debate I make sarcastic rude comments that in no way support my original argument.”


  14. James Delingpole says:May 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm@Matthew Spraggs: From your debut blog “I’ve never blogged before, at least not publicly, so at the moment this is a bit of an experiment.”
    Don’t give up the day job, matey.
  15. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 5:44 pmWasn’t really the plan. And thanks for proving my point further ;-) . Have a good one!
  16. Nige Cook says:May 17, 2011 at 9:04 pmOrentago, if you like wikipedia, see the obfuscation of its discussion of the feedback mechanisms:

    No mention that the whole basis for all the IPCC ~3C warming forecasts for 2100AD is not CO2 but H2O vapour assumed to evaporate and amplify (positive feedback) the much smaller CO2 effect!

    No mention that NOAA data from 1948 indicate negative feedback, with (a fall by about 1% in integrated column water vapour in clear skies).

    No mention of Spencer’s peer-reviewed paper showing strong negative feedback from cloud cover increases after heating of the ocean (which covers 71% of the Earth, unlike a “greenhouse”).

    No inclusion of the buoyancy of sunlight absorbing humid air which rises to form clouds that shade and thus cool the surface and the air below, providing homeostasis which compensates for CO2 emissions!

    No mention that the tree ring temperature data is fake since tree growth isn’t a pure function of air temp but depends on cloud cover and rain!

    No mention that the satellite temperature rise data is fake since it fails to survey surface air temperatures under cloud cover, where negative feedback occurs!

    See the negative feedback in the analysis of the 15 strongest tropical intraseasonal oscillations: Roy Spencer et al., Figure 4 of Spencer, et al., “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, August 9, 2007.

    For every 1C warming of the ocean, the cloud cover increase was enough to cause a fall in solar radiation at the surface of 6.5 watts per square metre.

    The 1 C temperature rise itself was only due to a solar radiation rise of 3.3 watts per square metre, thus strong negative feedback was caused, i.e. if you cause a small temperature rise by say adding CO2, the negative feedback from increased cloud cover will be enough to more than cancel out the effect of CO2!

    The Emperor’s New Clothes are not very impressive, but it’s startling how many people are resistant to facts they don’t want to hear about. I vote that Delingpole should include a chapter on negative feedback in his next book.

  17. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm“Orentago, if you like wikipedia, see the obfuscation of its discussion of the feedback mechanisms:

    Yes, clearly obfuscation, given there’s an entire article devoted to the subject detailing most of the topics you’ve covered, and many of the individual topics have their own articles and are classed under positive feedback. Hmm…

    “No mention that the tree ring temperature data is fake since tree growth isn’t a pure function of air temp but depends on cloud cover and rain!”

    I’m no expert, but I hear they also measured the oxygen isotopes present in ice cores to determine historic temperature changes, which are independent of rain and cloud cover. Also the tree ring data isn’t fake, it’s invalid. Fake means it never existed, which it clearly did because the trees are there.

    You go on and on about how feedback counteracts the presence of CO2, but looking at prehistoric temperature and CO2 data shows a strong connection between CO2 levels and temperature. If there was such a high degree of damping, one wouldn’t expect such a close relationship.

    If there were so many negative feedback effects in the climate system, it would be very very very stable. Such stability is rarely encountered in nature. Look at the weather. Look at the complexity of a food web and the drastic shifts that occur if one species’ population decreases dramatically.

  18. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 8:20 amThere’s no discussion of H2O negative feedback there at all on that page. H2O is assumed to produce negative feedback in 100% of the ubiquous IPCC models, because it’s a powerful greenhouse gas, 30 times stronger than CO2 in gaseous form.

    No mention anywhere there that H2O has fallen by 1% since 1948 (NOAA data), equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, which is enough to more than compensate for the measured 25% rise in atmospheric CO2 since 1948!

    No mention of Spencer’s published, peer-reviewed result from 15 weather oscillations that the ocean evaporation due to warm air causes negative feedback, because the moist air rises and condenses into cloud cover (instead of staying put at sea level and simply heating the air further without rising, which is the nonsense believed by 100% of IPCC models, which all assume positive feedback from H2O evaporation).

    It’s fakery to pretend tree ring data indicate air temperature, when cloud cover and global dimming effects are a more important contributor to changes in the rate of tree growth.

    Even Phil Jones admitted (in January’s BBC Horizon pro-AGW propaganda movie) that since 1960, it’s not been possible to correlate tree ring growth with temperature. Where Jones goes wrong is in not investigating why the tree ring growth is slower after 1960; it’s because of global dimming due mainly to increased cloud cover.

    If there were so many negative feedback effects in the climate system, it would be very very very stable.

    No, because the earth rotates and 71% of the Earth is ocean and 29% is land; negative feedback is due to evaporation of water from warmed surface waters (only the top 50-100 metres mixed layer of the ocean is warmed, extending down to the thermocline depth). The constant change in the areas being irradiated with sunlight as the earth rotates, and the effect of dry soil areas where there is no negative feedback, produce instabilities. CO2 will cause very slight warming in dry land areas, where there is little water to evaporate and thus little positive or negative feedback from H2O unless clouds are blown overhead from ocean areas. Over and nearer to oceans, get more negative feedback from cloud cover.

  19. Orentago says:May 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm“No mention anywhere there that H2O has fallen by 1% since 1948 (NOAA data), equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, which is enough to more than compensate for the measured 25% rise in atmospheric CO2 since 1948!”

    Right. First of all you claim that H2O creates negative feedback, then you say the 1% decrease offsets the CO2 increase. Make your mind up!

    Anyway these are relative statistics that give no indication of the quantities involved. Additionally I present you with this: Steady atmospheric H2O increase of 1% per year for the past half century. Anyway let’s ignore that for a moment and get back to your figures.

    I’ve done a little digging around myself and present you with the following back of an envelope calculation:

    Mass of Earth atmosphere: 5.14*10^18 kg
    Current mass fraction of water in upper stratosphere: 0.000373%
    Current mass fraction of CO2 in atmosphere: 0.0577%
    From these we get current masses of H2O and CO2 as 1.92*10^13 kg and 2.97*10^15 kg respectively. Using your figures the changes from 1948, I can calculate a decrease in water vapour of 1.94*10^11 kg (corresponding to 5.81*10^12 kg of CO2) and an increase in CO2 of… drum roll please… 5.94*10^14 kg! So a net increase in GHGs of 5.88*10^14 kg of CO2 equivilent GHGs. Why stop there? I mean the global warming potential of methane is 21 and for nitrous oxide it’s 300. Perhaps I’ll leave you to do the numbers on those and we’ll see if you get it right this time.

    For someone with a thorough understanding of quantum field theory (hence group theory, complex analysis etc etc) you don’t seem to grasp numbers very well. Don’t worry, I won’t be buying the book ;-) .

  20. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 7:30 pmH2O vapour (not water droplets) causes positive feedback because water molecules absorb infrared radiation very effectively. H2O in condensed droplet form causes negative feedback, due to scattering sunlight back into space and hence cooling the surface below (each water droplet acts as a reflector, which does not happen for water molecules in vapour form).

    Your “calculation” based on stratospheric H2O content is bull, because most of the water isn’t in the stratosphere but is at low altitudes, and in any case heating in the stratosphere has no effect on surface air temperatures. Hot air rises buoyantly, so it doesn’t mix downward.

  21. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 7:37 pmFor the reliable NOAA data set showing a 1% fall in total atmospheric column H2O vapour content (not just stratospheric moisture) since 1948, equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, see page 58 of the presentation by climatologist Dr Miklós Zágoni: The addition of CO2 has increases the cloud cover H2O (negative feedback) at the expense of H2O vapour, which has simply warmed and risen to form cloud.
  22. Orentago says:May 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm*Sighs.* It’s not equivalent because you haven’t used exact quantities. Anyway it’s pointless arguing with you. From what I gather you annoyed a lot of people on a few years ago with your lack of understanding of basic principles.

    Best of luck with the book etc anyway.

  23. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 10:22 amI’m not arguing over “exact quantities” in this subject because of the variability; we’re dealing not with measurements and with qualitative understanding. Understanding “basic principles” is not the same thing as taking them for dogma. As I’ve explained elsewhere, everybody falsely assumes the Pauli-Fierz assumption of spin-2 for gravitons is a proved fact. What’s happened with superstring theory dogma is precisely analogous to what’s happened with AGW dogma, which is a repition of the great phlogiston, caloric, mechanical aether, Piltdown Man, and other scams.

    Educational pundits have confused the consensus of expert opinion with fact. The whole reason why these scams persist is that they don’t rely purely on strong leadership. They have massive number of acolytes who are liars behind them. The dirty little secret of the Nazi regime was that Hitler told millions what they wanted to hear about eugenics, and they wanted to believe it. The first rule of marketing is to tell people what they want to believe, not what the facts really are, which is usually less inspiring.

    Let’s assume that AGW is a complete lie. Who will profit? How will it cement Guardian reading intellectuals together into a marvellous new version of Marxist revolutionism? These people want to do bad things for a good objective, “the ends justify the means”. This is precisely the eugenics argument behind WWII. Any critic of eugenics was not to be argued with, but dismissed as someone who failed to understand the basic principles of the subject. It might well be pointless for you to argue with me because you’re simply deliberately self-deluded.

  24. Orentago says:May 19, 2011 at 3:38 pmRight… We have a conspiracy theorist in our midst… Next you’ll be claiming the Earth is flat and we never went to the moon. Besides, I haven’t heard anyone describe superstrings as proved. It’s still hypothesis. Unfortunately progress in theory is currently outstripping progress in experiment as we simply can’t get the energies to test the theory thoroughly. As for gravitons, I gather the current trend goes something like “IF they exist, they can only have spin 2″, based on the rank 2 stress-energy tensor in GR. Neither of these things are dogma and are still open to scrutiny.

    With regards to quantities it IS important. For example, your 30% reduction mitigating the 25% rise thing. If the 30% reduction correlated with a relatively small amount of water being removed, and yet the 25% rise correlated with a large volume of CO2 (hypothetically speaking), then you can’t really say one will cancel out the other.

    Yes it’s just like the Third Reich: note that in this case however there’s no Brown Shirts, no Night of the Long Knives, no SS, no rallying cries for a new world order, no Gestapo, no mysterious disappearances etc etc (or analogous things).

    I fail to see much distinction between consensus and fact. Of course if you want to get metaphysical then you can argue there are no facts. Leaving this aside and taking fact to mean anything that is almost certainly true, I fail to see the difference between consensus and fact. There’s a general consensus that the world is roughly spherical, that it goes round the Sun, that germs cause disease, the list goes on. Point is that if you can show that there is some statistical significance in your data and provide a plausible explanation for the observed correlation, and no on can find fault with your method or analysis etc (the consensus part) then the best you can do is accept the correlation and the hypothesis as being fact (“whatever is left, however implausible…” etc). Part of it becoming “fact” requires consensus!

    Of course there are going to be paradigm shifts now and then that challenge everything: Copernicus and Galileo, Pasteur, Einstein, Schrödinger et al, Lorenz, the list is long, but you get the idea. Heuristically, these shifts have always involved a dramatic change in perspective. The current challenges to various theories: climate change, MMR vaccines, AIDS and more are nowhere near as radical, and are more nitpicking over details. Facts and consensus may change because new areas are explored and new boundaries are crossed, not because someone picked a hole in someone else’s paper: that’s how theories are refuted, not accepted.

    In short, we stand on the shoulders of giants, we don’t go around treading on their toes. Newton’s work, in spite of Einstein, for example, gives us accurate predictions on day-to-day mass and length scales (let’s leave Mercury out for the moment).

    Think I’ve made my point as best I can. Look forwards to your response.

  25. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm“For example, your 30% reduction mitigating the 25% rise thing. If the 30% reduction correlated with a relatively small amount of water being removed, and yet the 25% rise correlated with a large volume of CO2 (hypothetically speaking), then you can’t really say one will cancel out the other.”

    Look at the facts: the NOAA graph shows a large amount of fluctuation in water vapour since 1948, but overall the linear trend is a decrease by about 1% over 60 years. This is not an “exact” number when you take account of fluctuations from one year to the next; but the key point is that it falsifies the simple notion of positive feedback. Even if the “exact” amount of negative feedback contains uncertainties, at least the NOAA data do not support any of the positive feedback from water vapour since 1948. In order for positive feedback to occur, there must be an increase in water vapour as CO2 emissions rise. Seeing that most of the ~3C predicted IPCC temperature rises for 2100 AD is assumed to be postiive feedback from water vapour, where the hell is the evidence? The data show the opposite.

    “As for gravitons, I gather the current trend goes something like “IF they exist, they can only have spin 2″, based on the rank 2 stress-energy tensor in GR. Neither of these things are dogma and are still open to scrutiny.”

    Wrong, the string theorists who are used for peer-review insist on spin-2 gravitons as dogma because string theory’s main selling point is incorporating a spin-2 graviton mode. I go into the rank-2 (2nd order differential equation) issue here: Basically, GR uses rank-2 equations because it describes forces in terms of spacetime curvature (2nd order differential equation), but Maxwell’s field equations are 1st order and satisfied by spin-1 field quanta. Assuming the simplest possible exchange of field quanta, a purely attractive gravitational field would imply spin-2 gravitons. However, as I pointed out in 1996, you can get repulsive gravity using spin-1 gravitons to do the job of gravitation plus cosmological repulsion (acceleration), which predicted dark energy accurately ahead of its observational discovery. Dr Campbell and Dr Zemelis rejected my paper on 25 Nov 96 predicting the dark energy and a~Hc acceleration because of string theory (spin 2 dogma), as did the editor of QCG after sending my paper for peer-review, and also the editor of PRL. The rank-2 argument is trash because it’s just one mathematical model; you can use rank-1 Maxwell type field lines instead of spacetime curvature to describe gravitation instead of rank-2 tensors. Rank-1 equations are just 1st order gradients (divs and curls). Alternatively, you can remold Maxwell’s equations into rank-2 spacetime curvatures with no rank-1 divs and curls. Thus it’s possible to model a field by different ranks of differential equations, so it’s untrue that spin-1 photons imply rank-1 field equations and rank-2 equations imply spin-2 gravitons. Ignoring this to hype string theory spin-2 groupthink is unphysical obfuscation. However, we can expect “shoot the messenger” politics here.

    “Yes it’s just like the Third Reich: note that in this case however there’s no Brown Shirts, no Night of the Long Knives, no SS, no rallying cries for a new world order, no Gestapo, no mysterious disappearances etc etc (or analogous things).”

    By the time we see the Fourth Reich Nazis herding us into concentration camps, it will be too late. Eugenics preceded Hitler and inspired Hitler. If eugenics “science” had been ridiculed earlier, much of Hitler’spower base and evil would have been undermined before it began. The problem with “Godwin” arguments is that they suppose the evil of the Nazis was apparent to all and sundry before WWII began, and it is “obvious” when a science is a danger. Not so. AGW has not found its Hitler yet, but it’s well into the eugenics “science” dictatorship already. I’m not against AGW as a theory, just against it being lying used as “peer-reviewed” or “consensus science” by politicians bent on creating a new world order. There are two kinds of science: (1) the groupthink stuff designed to churn out papers, suck in research grants, and (2) the more unfashionable stuff which is needed to probe for errors, omissions, contradictions, etc.

    “I fail to see much distinction between consensus and fact.”

    A proved mathematical theorem or experimental or observational data point with estimated error limits is a “fact” until or unless an error is found in it. A consensus of opinion is unfounded upon fact, or is founded upon alleged fact which is provably wrong.

    E.g., CO2 emissions on earth warm the planet like CO2 pumped into a greenhouse. This is incorrect because 71% of the earth is water, and sky is high enough to allow evaporated water to rise to form increased cloud cover. To take an absurd exaggeration to see the physical mechanism, suppose the oceans start boiling. Very soon you’d get clouds of steam over the entire oceans and beyond, which would shadow the surface and cause cooling of the surface (negative feedback). This mechanism still works in a scaled down way for more moderate oceanic temperature rises due to CO2, and this mechanism doesn’t exist in the case of a greenhouse. Do any of the IPCC climate models include such negative feedback? No. They all assume that sunlight warmed moist air stays as heat-absorbing water vapour and doesn’t rise to form light-reflecting cloud cover. That’s not a fact. It’s a wrong consensus.

    Galileo said 400 years ago: “I find it absurd to explain natural phenomena by false causes.” His words today ring true for the entire AGW liars enterprise.

  26. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm(As the Galileo quotation implies, even he found that he had to cross swords with critics. The solar system had been proposed by Aristarchus of Samos in 250 BC, get his arguments convinced nobody and were “refuted” by Ptolemy in his textbook of earth-centred-universe dogma in 150 AD. Ptolemy specifically claims that solar system models are wrong because the earth would have to spin around daily, which he claims would – by Aristotle’s laws of physics – cause problems at the equator which would rotate at 1000 mph, causing 1000 mph winds and cloud motion, which are not observed.

    This we have a compound problem where a false theory can be fiddled to meet the facts and can be defended by dismissing as false the correct theory, doing this by using false arguments. Newton’s laws of motion were needed to answer Ptolemy’s 150 AD criticisms of solar system theory, and they were only published in 1687, long after Copernicus’ rebirth of the solar system in 1500. So it an historical fact that you can put forward a correct theory and be “ridiculed” for being wrong, if your opponents use laws that are wrong.)

  27. Orentago says:May 19, 2011 at 8:41 pmIf you’re taking fact to mean that then the only fact is that I think (Descartes) and any discussion pretty much becomes meaningless.

    We’re clearly never going to agree on this. So I’ll try to live more sustainably and you can go and write your book and we can reconvene in 40 years and see what’s happened.

  28. Nige Cook says:May 20, 2011 at 10:55 amFact: there is negative feedback evidence. See Spencer’s presentation

    “We’re clearly never going to agree on this. So I’ll try to live more sustainably and you can go and write your book and we can reconvene in 40 years and see what’s happened.”

    We’re not even going to agree that facts exist, since you won’t face them. There’s no greenhouse effect if you’re living in the real world where clouds form from evaporated ocean water when the temperature starts rising a bit due to CO2. I’ve always lived sustainably anyway, cycling and running wherever possible. It’s kinda fascinating to see the paranoid and morally superior “ends justify the means” justification for believing in pseudoscience and vilifying as immoral anyone who doesn’t share your dogmatic belief in the absence of facts. To you science is a political consensus of expert opinion. In that case, why not abolish laboratories altogether and decide on all cancer treatments and all knowledge by political processes? If factsdon’t exist, you can save a lot of money searching for them, and spend it instead lining the pockets of carbon credit traders.

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