When Global Warming Isn't Scandalous

By Keith Kloor | October 27, 2011 11:38 am

Many climate skeptics perturbed about the BEST results are complaining that the media has gleefully hyped the story. There is certainly evidence of widespread coverage in newspapers and the blogosphere.

But the story has been virtually ignored by cable TV and mainstream broadcast outlets. Last night, Jon Stewart had some fun comparing that dearth with all the play given a certain climate news event two years ago.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Weathering Fights
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook
  • ul

    Hmm, what had the  climategate emails to to with the global temp ? Wasn´t it all about the proxi reconstructions ?

  • Jeff

    Muller’s analysis didn’t “debunk” Climategate. It didn’t touch the actual interesting questions of the uncertainty surrounding the magnitude of future warming and its effects. Yet along with Stewart there were tons of writing that conveniently left that part out.
    The media can cover the story as much as it wants to, though it would be preferable if they’d cover it accurately.

  • Tom Fuller

    Much like the Climategate scandal, the BEST release doesn’t change enough to warrant headlines or extensive coverage.

    Climategate didn’t change the science. BEST didn’t really change anybody’s thinking about temperature changes.

    Both events have consequences that will or have changed important elements of the debate. But if I were gatekeeper of a national media organization I would probably have given the same level of coverage to both events as actually occurred.

    Those of us playing fantasy football with all of this sometimes forget how different we are to the rest of the public. 

  • sharper00

    #2

    “Muller’s analysis didn’t “debunk” Climategate.”

    It debunked the idea that Jones and others had manipulated the temperature record. 

    “It didn’t touch the actual interesting questions of the uncertainty surrounding the magnitude of future warming and its effects. “

    This reminds me of enquiries following Climategate. Skeptics  accuse climate scientists of engaging in fraud, corruption and manipulation on an unparalleled scale such that the entire AGW thing is hoax. When the investigations make a broad search for said hoax and fail to find it skeptics complain they didn’t really mean it was a huge hoax just that the issues of transparency and data availability need to be dealt with.

    Skeptics accuse the temperature records of being fraudulent for years. Muller more than half believes them and sets about doing a ground-up independent analysis. At the beginning skeptics become excited at the prospect of some or all of that reported warming going away. When the existing temperature records are validated skeptics complain simultaneously he didn’t tackle the interesting issues (which are clearly not of interest to anything but a tiny minority of skeptics) and of course that Muller is part of the conspiracy.

    It’s a shame the Pielke’s, Spencers and Lindzens are all too busy with their pet theories for extremely low climate sensitivity to tackle these issues.

  • harrywr2

    Journalism has often been referred to as ‘the first draft of journalism’.
    ‘Scoop Journalism’ is nothing more then the first draft of a hypothesis.
    They rarely issue corrections or follow up on a story because if they did they would spend an awful amount of time saying ‘we were wrong’.
    Personally I haven’t watched ‘television news’ in 6 or 7 years. Almost nothing they report on can be adequately reported with the necessary nuance in the time frames allotted.
    Daily print media has similar challenges. I don’t buy the newspaper anymore for similar reasons. Sometimes the ‘Sunday’ paper will allocate sufficient time and space to properly examine an issue.

  • Tom Fuller

    Climategate wasn’t a huge hoax. It was a grubby effort to suppress details of flawed work in the 1990s and subsequently. It was obviously wrong to hide the levels of uncertainty in paleoclimatic reconstructions from policy makers. It was obviously illegal to delete emails and advise others to do so in advance of an FOIA request.

    But of course that doesn’t have anything to do with either climate change or the vast bulk of science that attempts to examine it.

    Sadly, it is the consensus team that conflates the two–anybody criticizing Phil Jones is saying that climate science is a fraud. That comes from the Consensus side. 

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom (6),

    Are you serious? “…it is the consensus team that conflate the two…saying that climate science is a fraud. That comes from the consensus side.” 

    Are you saying that climate skeptics across the spectrum (some of them well-known) didn’t conflate climategate with being a hoax? And did you watch the clips that Stewart played? All the conservative pundits pointedly asserted that climategate either revealed climate change/climate science as a hoax, or that it was tantamount to being fraudulent. 

    How you can claim this conflation is coming just from the consensus side beats me.

     

  • sharper00

    #6

    “Sadly, it is the consensus team that conflates the two”“anybody criticizing Phil Jones is saying that climate science is a fraud. That comes from the Consensus side. “

    Hmmm yes this is an interesting argument I see often. A huge segment of the skeptic population screams about fraud and corruption while some others claim concern about data availability etc.

    Scientists observe they are being accused of fraud and corruption and say so. Skeptics respond by redirecting those observations to anyone that disagrees with the scientists and imply it’s really all their fault.

    At no point, of course, do the skeptics do anything to quell ridiculous accusations against scientists. Indeed in just the last week I learned that Professor Muller is corrupt and dishonorable, having tricked well meaning skeptics into sharing “their” data on false pretenses. 

  • EdG

    Saw Stewart’s rant and thought he hit new lows with his misrepresentations and predictable bias. All made sense when his guest showed up and they talked about the supposed ‘anti-science’ right wingers and how dumb they are. You know, ‘science’ is so hard to understand and all that.

    In any case, the conveniently named ‘BEST’ research did not debunk anything, let alone the implications of Climategate. A reality check on what is really happening is the fact that Nature, usually an unblinking AGW parrot, not only did not trumpet the BEST press release but actually printed a letter from Singer that says it all.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/27/nature-pans-best-and-muller-pr-antics-prints-letter-from-dr-singer/

    So, Jon Stewart can squawk ignorantly all he wants but this irrelevant research paper changed nothing. And who knows what it will look like if it ever gets peer reviewed and published.

  • Keith Kloor

    EdG (9)

    You call that a rant by Stewart? I call it hilarious. This is one of those revealing moments in the debate (we’ve had a few in recent months). 

    I’ve got a post percolating on the meaning of it all. I think you’re going to love it. :) 

  • EdG

    #8 – “At no point, of course, do the skeptics do anything to quell ridiculous accusations against scientists.”

    Two points.

    First, nobody is saying that ALL scientists are corrupted.

    Second, some scientists, like some in any profession, are corrupt. In the case of the AGW project, a handful at the top are responsible for making it appear that they all are:

    http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    The worst thing about this whole AGW debacle is how much damage it has done to the credibility of ALL environmental sciences.

  • sharper00

    #9

    “a letter from Singer that says it all.” 

    Indeed. You can read a post on WUWT which is about how skeptics never questioned the temperature record, never said there wasn’t any warming and then you can read another post a couple of days later with Singer saying there’s no warming and the temperature record is useless. 

    “this irrelevant research paper changed nothing.”

    Oh I agree. People that accept the science found little new, people that don’t accept science when it reaches disagreeable conclusions found even less. 

  • EdG

    Well, “rant” may not have been the right word but he sounded like he had a brain transplant from Al Gore. He clearly had zero understanding of what it all meant beyond the predictable Team talking points – which he swallowed hook, line, and sinker.

  • NewYorkJ

    “ClimateGate”, as defined and clearly displayed in the Stewart video through the various media clips, is proof that global warming research is fraudulent and the whole deal a hoax, manipulated by evil climate scientists, with the real contrary evidence destroyed.  FoxNews, for example:

    Among his e-mails, Professor Jones talks to Professor Mann about the “trick of adding in the real temps to each series…to hide the decline [in temperature].”

    Hiding data, destroying information, and doctoring their results raise real questions about many American academics at universities such as Pennsylvania State University, University of Arizona, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    Usually academic research is completely ignored by the general public but in this case proposed regulations, costing trillions of dollars, are being based on many of these claimed research results.

    Also around the same time, various media outlets were doing their best to use cold regional winter temperatures as evidence that it wasn’t really warming.

    So in that sense, the BEST results debunks ClimateGate.  Deniers spent months telling us that CRU research and data is bogus, but it’s warming, and at roughly the same rate (or slightly higher) than the analysis at CRU indicates.

    If one refines “ClimateGate” to be just a few scientists engaging in academic misconduct, that’s debunked by all of the investigations, results of which also received scant TV coverage.  That aspect is unfortunately missing from the Stewart video, although perhaps he covered it at the time.

    If one refines “ClimateGate” to be Phil Jones not handling FOI requests ideally and not being accomodating to a few contrarians, fair enough (even though the contrarians in question brought that on themselves to a large degree), but is that worthy of media spending months covering and cashing in on?  Nope, so it needs to be drummed up into something much more.

  • Keith Kloor

    “The worst thing about this whole AGW debacle is how much damage it has done to the credibility of ALL environmental sciences.”

    First of all, with regards to the Morano-like characterization, what is the “debacle” exactly? Secondly, can you provide some support that this supposed “debacle” has soiled the credibility “of ALL environmental sciences.”

    Ed, you have this tendency to paint with a broad brush and make these sweeping statements. Fine. But how about providing some credible examples, not links to other skeptic pages.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, I don’t even know what a McRib is, so perhaps I’m not qualified to proceed. I just watched the Stewart clip and it is funny.

    But I also remember two years ago when we were all wondering where the coverage was for Climategate. How little play it got outside the Fox henhouse, how little impact it seemed to have at the time. Stewart’s clip at that time was even funnier, as I recall. And I confess I forgot that idiots like Beck tried to climb onto the hobby horse before being distracted by the next squirrel that came into view.

    Nonetheless, people who have criticized failings in process and procedure are frequently accused of denying that global warming is occurring and poses a public policy issue. Perhaps this thread will prove me wrong. Perhaps. 

  • EdG

    #12

    WUWT posts many posts on many things from many sources so no doubt you will find a corresponding diversity of opinions there.

    But, for this skeptic, the question of whether there has been warming since 1850 has never been an issue. I am not a Little Ice Age denier, so I would fully expect some warming as we rebound out of that point in the CYCLE.

    The question is what causes it. That is the point which Stewart (et al) conveniently ignore.

    From Singer’s letter to Nature:

    “You evidently haven’t read the four scientific BEST papers, submitted for peer review. There, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project. They conclude, however: “The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.” I commend them for their honesty and skepticism.”

    Speaking of WUWT, this is sweet:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/27/climate-scientists-and-their-excuses/

  • EdG

    #14 – From Singer’s ‘says it all’ letter:

    “Why are you surprised by the results of the Berkeley Climate Project?  They used data from the same weather stations as the Climategate people, but reported that one-third showed cooling “” not warming.

    They covered the same land area ““ less than 30% of the Earth’s surface ““ with recording stations that are poorly distributed, mainly in US and Western Europe.  They state that 70% of US stations are badly sited and don’t meet the standards set by government; the rest of the world is likely worse.
    Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean “” according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons.   This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data.  And did you know that the climate models, run on super-computers, all show that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface.  What does this tell you?”

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Sharper00

    >skeptics complain they didn’t really mean it was a huge hoax just that the issues of transparency and data availability need to be dealt with.

    One difficulty with your claim is that skeptics aren’t one single person.  I’m not even sure which group of people you label ‘skeptics’.   Some critics of behavior in the climategate emails– for example Mosher and Fuller– always said the issues were of transparency and data availability.

    Clearly, the BEST results don’t contradict anything Mosher has been saying– he’s been beavering away at his own reconstruction. His own reconstructions show warming. So does the reconstruction by Jeff Id– the blogger on whose blog temperature data appeared.  Zeke  has been showing reconstructions confirming warming– and I’m pretty sure my blog was the first to make an “above the fold” public “peep” about the emails. (Previously, things were more or less unnoticed in comments at Jeff’s The Air Vent.)

    These disagreements have been evident in conversations at my blog and some others. 

    Mind you, there is no denying that some other people said or insinuating there everything about climate science (temperature record, models, reconstructions etc.) is  hoax or at least believing that if the temperature were recomputed somehow the temperature rise would go away.

    But the two groups aren’t all the same people and they disagree with each other and always have.  So you will easily be able to find “skeptics-A” who two years ago said everything about climate science was a hoax and and find others people “skeptics-B” who truthfully say that they always thought climategate was about transparency and so on.

    Mind you, I suspect you can probably find someone who previously said climate change is about the temperature record being a fraud and who now says it’s about transparency.  But there were plenty of people who  I suspect you call “skeptics” who have always said the problem they saw in the climategate emails was lack of transparency and the process.

    >Skeptics accuse the temperature records of being fraudulent for years.

    I would be unsurprised if some of the people who two years ago claimed the temperature records were fraudulent , wrong or unreliable continue to do so.   Seems to me that Fred Singer is continuing saying it is at best wrong or unreliable.

  • EdG

    Keith. For starters, here’s something from Gallup, presumably not a ‘skeptical’ source, that shows what this AGW wolf crying has done to the credibility of ‘climate science.’

    “In response to one key question, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question.”

    “the percentage of Americans who now say reports of global warming are generally exaggerated is by a significant margin the highest such reading in the 13-year history of asking the question. In 1997, 31% said global warming’s effects had been exaggerated; last year, 41% said the same, and this year the number is 48%.”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/126560/americans-global-warming-concerns-continue-drop.aspx

    That impact alone makes it a ‘debacle’ for the long term.

    In terms of other environmental sciences, I shall look for more examples later. But for starters, a directly linked example: how credible do you think the ‘polar bear researchers’ in AK are now?

  • NewYorkJ

    Fred Singer: Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean “” according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons.

    There’s no warming trend in the satellite record?  Is this crank still living in 1997?

    Ed G: But, for this skeptic, the question of whether there has been warming since 1850 has never been an issue.

    The BEST project goes much further and addresses the magnitude of warming and impact of factors like UHI and siting, issues that some hacks claim makes the record unreliable.  The BEST project simply confirms the magnitude of warming and various debunkings of the other issues, which has already been in the peer-reviewed literature for some time.

    Ed G: And who knows what it will look like if it ever gets peer-reviewed and published.

    That’s rich.  Most of the material that questions significantly the magnitude of global warming is not published in any peer-reviewed journals, including the garbage from D’Aleo and Watts that got media coverage.  Moreover, this crowd tends to claim peer review is bogus.

    Ed G: The question is what causes it.

    That’s not seriously in question either.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

  • Keith Kloor

    Lucia (19)

    This debate is filtered through the loudest, most biased voices–from both sides. So there are unofficial, de facto spokespeople that frame the public discourse. So, for example, on one side, we have Al Gore, Joe Romm, McKibben, etc. Then, on the other we have Anthony Watts, Morano, Monckton, etc.

    These guys not only suck up all the oxygen, but they also leave little room for all the grays in between the black and whites.

    Of course, this dynamic is nothing new to climate politics. All such major issues (be they about religion, science, or politics) get put through the partisan meat grinder. 

    It’s nearly impossible to have nuance when political point scoring is the norm.

  • NewYorkJ

    Ed G.: That impact alone makes it a “˜debacle’ for the long term.

    While you’re making false attributions, you might want to show the latest Gallup poll (2011) on the exaggeration vs underestimated issue.  One might be left to wonder why you didn’t use the latest poll when using the phrase “long term” in your conclusion.

  • EdG

    #24 – OK. Just googled that poll. Please do provide the results of the latest poll, and we can all learn something.

    I will check back but must deal with other things for a while. 

    P.S. Link to wikipedia as the last word on the causes of climate change? Really?

    P.P.S. #23 – Right on. Think this polarization was encouraged by the AGW project starting with the adamant insistence that it was pure black, that the debate was over/the science was settled, and that anyone who questioned that established orthodoxy was a ‘denier.’ Poked a stick in a hornet’s nest.

    But I certainly would not put Watts in your list of extremists. I am trying to remember even one comment he has made that is in the same league as some of the hysterical pronouncements of Gore, Romm, or McKibben. Can you?

  • sharper00

    #19

    lucia,

    “One difficulty with your claim is that skeptics aren’t one single person.  I’m not even sure which group of people you label “˜skeptics’.” 

    No it’s not a difficulty with the point I’m making. Jeff (#2) complains that Muller didn’t tackle the “interesting” questions (or the ones of interest to him). My point is that Muller and the climategate investigations have similarities in that they responded to the general impressions you’ll get when you start listening to the AGW skeptic movement.

    Having satisfactorily demonstrated those impressions were wrong both Muller and the investigations are attacked for not responding to the arguments of different and contradictory subgroups within the skeptic movement i.e. “Well of course Jones didn’t fabricate warming, but what about FOI…”, “Well of course the temperature records aren’t manipulated, but what about…”

    But the two groups aren’t all the same people and they disagree with each other and always have. ”

    Of course they’re not but skeptics will claim one big happy family as soon as a climate scientist starts addressing it. If a scientist should happen to refer to “deniers” the movement will choose to believe he means Mosher and Fuller, not the individuals that argue endlessly that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist. If a climate scientist should talk about being accused of fraud and corruption the movement will choose to believe they mean you instead the people accusing them of fraud and corruption. 

    Mind you, I suspect you can probably find someone who previously said climate change is about the temperature record being a fraud and who now says it’s about transparency.”

    Tracking individuals in the blogosphere is difficult and time consuming. What’s much easier and much much more useful is tracking thought leaders such as Watts when he publishes books saying the temperature record has been manipulated and is unreliable one year and then claims “nothing new here” when BEST flat out demolishes that argument the following year.

    The fundamental problem is the skeptic movement is an oppositional one (i.e. not-IPCC, not-“the team”) and thus is comprised of a wide range not just of opinions but a wide range of goals, methodologies and motives.

    If you have a set of objectives which don’t include making the whole problem disappear then I think it’s unlikely the movement as currently structured will ever help to satisfy them. The “it’s all a fraud” and “C02 cools the planet!” voices are simply too loud and too influential. 

    People on the “science team” all agree that science is the best way to go. They may not all have the same opinions or values but there’s a broad agreement on how to view the natural world thus when science goes a particular way they follow it. It provides a well known framework by which the entire group can have their viewpoints altered i.e. do science. There’s no equivalent for the skeptic movement, many will never ever accept anything but what they already know to be true.

  • peetee

    Yes, certainly… skeptics aren’t a ‘single person’… some make outrageous claims about IPCC projections being falsified. Others project their ‘concern’ by writing trumped up books about Hackergate. Whatever sells, hey “skeptics”?

  • BBD

    Keith @ 10
    I’ve got a post percolating on the meaning of it all. I think you’re going to love it.


    This is blatant and shameless lobbying, I know, but do please mention the elephant in the room.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Keith
    This debate is filtered through the loudest, most biased voices”“from both sides.
    I agree.
    This also gives John Daily lots of fodder. After all, 2 years agoe when Fox covered climategate, the didn’t get quotes from the critics who say things like, “This important thing about the emails is that it highlights the lack of transparency.”   Many vocal critics were saying that. And they were saying that both to those who insisted the whole temperature record was (wrong | unreliable | fraudulent) and to those who insisted the the climategate emails showed nothing wrong in the process at all.

    Sharper00
    My point is that Muller and the climategate investigations have similarities in that they responded to the general impressions you’ll get when you start listening to the AGW skeptic movement.
    Well, whatever your ‘point’ is, once again you use the word “skeptic” end tell us what you impression one gets if you listen to them. You are using this word, and I have to tell you, I have no idea who you consider to be a “skeptic”.  That means it is impossible for me to begin to say whether anyone who really listen gets this general idea from the skeptic movement.  In your view, is Mosher a skeptic? Fuller? Me? Id? McIntyre?  Because I would suggest the view you say one would get by listening to us is not the one you claim. 
    “Well of course Jones didn’t fabricate warming, but what about FOI”¦”, “Well of course the temperature records aren’t manipulated, but what about”¦”
    Look, if by “skeptic movement”, you mean “what posts at blog X say”, why not just say “what posts at blog X say”?  Then, we can talk about whether what’s posted at blog X is consistent. But otherwise: The fact is there were plenty of critics during climate gate who never once said Jones fabricated warming, or that the temperature records were manipulated. 
    . If a scientist should happen to refer to “deniers” the movement will choose to believe he means Mosher and Fuller, not the individuals that argue endlessly that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist. If a climate scientist should talk about being accused of fraud and corruption the movement will choose to believe they mean you instead the people accusing them of fraud and corruption
    There is a simple cure for this: When people ask you who you mean by deniers or skeptics and who you are accusing, state  flat out that you don’t mean Mosher, Fuller or me.  Point your accusations more specifically. 

    I ask people all the time who they mean and they won’t do it.  I’m right there in the conversation, ask if they think someone with my beliefs is a denier or skeptic and whether they are saying I said those things– and they evade that.
    I think it’s unlikely the movement as currently structured will ever help to satisfy them.
    Quite honestly, I don’t think the “movement” is “structured”. Though I guess whether it is or not depends on who you count in “skeptics”.

  • BBD

    NewYorkJ @ 21

    Fred Singer: Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean “” according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons.

    You are correct, of course, and right to ask:

    There’s no warming trend in the satellite record?  Is this crank still living in 1997?

    UAH/RSS 1979 – present (common 1981 – 2010 baseline); trend:

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/rss/offset:-0.1/plot/uah/trend/plot/rss/offset:-0.1/trend

  • sharper00

    #27

    “Well, whatever your “˜point’ is”

    Oh gosh, you put point in quotes. 

    “once again you use the word “skeptic” end tell us what you impression one gets if you listen to them.”

    I don’t think it’s very complicated. I am providing an explanation whereby the actions of Muller and the climategate enquiries can be described by them having formed certain impressions of what skeptics were saying and having acted on them.

    Who I am and who I consider to be a skeptic are irrelevant. What is relevant is which arguments, attributed to or claimed by skeptics, are prominent.

    Some individual skeptics feel that their concerns are not being addressed. I’m pointing out that’s as much to do with the totality of the movement they’re involved with as anything else.

    “Look, if by “skeptic movement”, you mean “what posts at blog X say”, why not just say “what posts at blog X say”?”

    Muller didn’t start BEST because of blog X or blog Y. No doubt CA and WUWT were highly influential but I see little reason to limit discussion just to those.

    Various governments didn’t end up investigating whether a small cabal of scientists had committed fraud because of blog X or blog Y either.  

    “There is a simple cure for this: When people ask you who you mean by deniers or skeptics and who you are accusing, state  flat out that you don’t mean Mosher, Fuller or me.  Point your accusations more specifically.  “

    The people that would need to ask those questions are people like Tom Fuller in #16 before forming conclusions about whom is being addressed. Instead they prefer to form beliefs that bolster their own argument rather than beliefs that have a chance of reflecting reality.

    I feel that your focus on “which skeptics” is a prelude to “no true Scotsman” where groups holding views contrary to your own can be removed or differentiated. I don’t consider it by any means outrageous to suggest someone reading WUWT for the first time would quickly find themselves forming all sorts of silly conclusions like “The data is manipulated” and WUWT is pretty moderate in that regard. 

  • BBD

    Sharper00

    I don’t consider it by any means outrageous to suggest someone reading WUWT for the first time would quickly find themselves forming all sorts of silly conclusions like “The data is manipulated” and WUWT is pretty moderate in that regard.

    This is true. Well, it happened to me, at least. And it took an embarrassingly long time for me to admit that I had been misinformed.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    sharper00
    I’m going to stick to the parts of your response that don’t seem to represent wild subject changes. I wrote a comment engaging accusations about skeptics you– not someone else– posted.

    >Who I am and who I consider to be a skeptic are irrelevant.
    Irrelevant to what? 
    You are here in comments and appear to be making your own criticism of skeptics telling us what the group you call skeptics do. I am not asking who you are. You can be as anonymous as you like. But which people you think are skeptics is most certainly relevant to your claims about what skeptics do or think.  

    >The people that would need to ask those questions are people like Tom Fuller in #16 before forming conclusions about whom is being addressed. Instead they prefer to form beliefs that bolster their own argument rather than beliefs that have a chance of reflecting reality.

    On this thread, you — not someone else– made accusations about what skeptics do or think.  I’ve asked you who you think skeptics are and your answer seems to be that who you think they are is irrelevant.  I find it odd that in addition to explaining that you don’t need to answer my question, you think Tom should ask the question.  Seems to me that if he did, you would then explain that who you think skeptics are is irrelevant. 

    >I feel that your focus on “which skeptics” is a prelude to “no true Scotsman” where groups holding views contrary to your own can be removed or differentiated.
    Huh? The ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy would be saying something like “No one who believes in AGW would ever criticize X’. 

    You made some specific criticisms about skeptics. I have pointed out that I don’t know whether your allegations are fair because I don’t know who you consider to be skeptics.  I’ve asked you to say who you consider to be a skeptic. That is: Who are you accusing of behaving the way you say skeptics behave. 

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    THIS is what Singer wrote, and what is reverberating in the skeptic echo chamber:
    From Singer’s letter to Nature:
    “You evidently haven’t read the four scientific BEST papers, submitted for peer review. There, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project. They conclude, however: “The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.” I commend them for their honesty and skepticism.”

    And THIS is what the BEST authors *actually wrote*:
    “If the long-term AMO changes have been driven by greenhouse gases then the AMO region may serve as a positive feedback that amplifies the effect of greenhouse gas forcing over land. On the other hand, some of the long-term change in the AMO could be driven by natural variability, e.g. fluctuations in thermohaline flow. In that case the human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated. “”

    IOW it’s *two* contrasting possible scenarios* being *speculated* upon. In only *ONE* of them,  ‘the human component may be somehwat underestimated’.  The authors don’t come down on either side.

    Singer either didn’t read the papers closely either, or more likely, was spinning them dishonestly.  Just like Watts et al.
     

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    (oops, of course make that OVERestimated in the final ‘graf)

  • jeffn

    So, Steven, it’s shifted from “worse than we thought” to “maybe natural, not sure.”
    If skeptics are beaten any harder they mightstart to giggle! Who’s going to reintroduce cap-n-tax based on your post? Don’t all jump at once!

  • sharper00

    #31

    “But which people you think are skeptics is most certainly relevant to your claims about what skeptics do or think.”

    As above I think the people that claim to be skeptics are skeptics and I’ve named two sites specifically. My comments are aimed at people already familiar with the skeptical blogosphere, I’m not going to use the comments section here to write a treatise on how it breaks down. People can decide that my comments fairly reflect the skeptical blogosphere as they see it, does not fairly reflect it or they lack enough knowledge to decide.

    “I find it odd that in addition to explaining that you don’t need to answer my question, you think Tom should ask the question.”

    I find it odd you directed the “Ask for more detail” not at the person who formed the conclusion without asking for more detail but at the person who criticised that conclusion. It’s odder still both that this point appears to escape you and that you think whether me needing to answer questions is related to Tom’s need to ask questions such that one can be traded for the other.

     “I have pointed out that I don’t know whether your allegations are fair because I don’t know who you consider to be skeptics. “

    I think it’s very unlikely you need an anonymous commenter on a blog to provide you a “Who’s who” list before you can decide if it was common for climate science to be dismissed as obviously  entirely fraudulent after climategate and for the enquiries into it to be dismissed for only searching for obvious fraud.

    I don’t think you understand that the argument is not hypocrisy but that the loudest voices are those making the craziest claims so if you’re a skeptic and you’re annoyed that Muller addressed the crazy claims not whatever you wanted him to address then the target of your ire should be the crazy claimants not Muller.

    Whether an individual skeptic made crazy claims and then criticised Muller for addressing them isn’t particularly relevant (though I named Watts specifically and you ignored it for whatever reason) and hence whom I consider to be skeptics is not relevant.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Sharper00–
    It’s odder still both that this point appears to escape you and that you think whether me needing to answer questions is related to Tom’s need to ask questions such that one can be traded for the other.
    I criticized things you said in your comment 4. In that comment, you responded to Jeff, quoted him and made some claims about “skeptic”.  You were not responding to a question from Tom. As far as I can see, Tom asked no question prior to your comment 4.
    I asked you a question, you don’t answer, and instead say that Tom should ask a question. Sorry, but what the huh?
    you can decide if it was common for climate science to be dismissed as obviously  entirely fraudulent after climategate and for the enquiries into it to be dismissed for only searching for obvious fraud
    You didn’t say “it was common for climate science to be dismissed as obviously  entirely fraudulent”. You characterized what skeptics did. I am asking you to tell us who you consider skeptics and who you do not consider skeptics.
    hence whom I consider to be skeptics is not relevant.
    If you claim skeptics as some amorphous group did X, then who you consider to be skeptics is relevant to whether or not your claim is accurate.  As far as I can tell, quite a few people who are called skeptics– and likely who you call skeptics– not only did not do X in any way shape or form.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    It might be a good time to recall the suggestion to identify specific assertions, behaviors, claims, doctrines, instead of naming persons, groups, or types that might assert, behave, claim or endorse these.  Philosophers have learned this the hard way. The second sentence is voluntarily formulated to undo what is prescribed in the first one and is meant as a joke.

    Talking about specific people will not do.  First, because it leads to personalization.  Second, because it leads to the no true Scotsman defense.  Third, because there can’t only be two reasons.

    There is an immediate benefit of letting go of any talk about skeptiks.  Nobody will ever talk about skeptikism: it’s too remote from the original doctrine.  They might prefer to talk about contrarians, or dissenters, as Carrick prefers.  

    Talking about contrarians seems like what Sharper00 has in mind.  But Lucia would then be right to say that contrarianism comprises many opinions: nihilism, pyrhonism, lukewarmism, dragonlayism, ironsunism, etc.  It’s very tough to identify a behavior typical of such abstract groupings.

    I’m not sure if it’s because of lack of cohesion among the opposition, or if it’s because it’s part of the playbook, or if because in the end, nominalism wins and no abstract entity exists. 

    What matters, at least to me, is the speech pattern, not who indulges in it. 

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    jeffn,
    The desperate way you guys shuck and jive and shift the goalposts is just hilarious.  First Muller is your skeptical champ, and now you write as if his speculations sum up mainstream climate science?
    To answer your loaded question properly:  ‘it’ — namely, *Muller’s* view, which is what I quoted — seems to have shifted the *other* way, from the more skeptical end of the spectrum, towards ‘maybe it’s AGW after all’.

    Now how about some of you skeptics — I don’t care what species, you’re such a various bunch! Lucia says so!  — address my point?  It appears to me that Singer and Watts are  either ignorant of what’s actually in the paper, or are purposely quote-mining it.   Care to defend them?



     

  • Tom Scharf

    I hereby accept the temperature record since 1850 as being at or near BEST analysis.

    Everyone happy?

    What has changed? Have any of KK’s last year of posts been about the viability of temperature record?

    So I give the Warner’s a win for this one. UHI looks to have minimal impact. Accepted.

    Now about the estimated CO2 forcing and attribution and model skill…

  • NewYorkJ

    lucia: If you claim skeptics as some amorphous group did X, then who you consider to be skeptics is relevant to whether or not your claim is accurate.  As far as I can tell, quite a few people who are called skeptics”“ and likely who you call skeptics”“ not only did not do X in any way shape or form.

    Tell that to Jon Stewart.  Doesn’t pass the laugh test.  Sorry.  No.

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    Tom scharf @40
    “I hereby accept the temperature record since 1850 as being at or near BEST analysis. ”

    …meaning it’s also at or near the HAD and GISS analyses.
    You know, the ones ‘skeptics’ were calling faked, cooked, incompetent since, oh, forever (but with a big spike around late 2009).

    Ready to scold them yet?
     

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »