How Not to Debate Science on TV

By Keith Kloor | March 20, 2012 1:35 pm

Several weeks ago, global warming was debated on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher show. Now let’s first be clear on something: When it comes to science, Maher is a riddle of contradictions. He’s a fierce proponent of evolution (he’s been given an award named after Richard Dawkins) but he’s also a serial spouter of anti-vaccine and anti-western medicine nonsense.

In short, he makes prominent skeptics queasy.

As it turns out, Maher is not the most nimble debater on climate change. On a recent show, two of his guests included former GM chairman Bob Lutz and Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. The three of them got into it over global warming. The best thing that could be said is that it was entertaining. Watch the clip (and try not be distracted/blinded by James Carville’s polo shirt).

You might have noticed that the title at the top of the video reads “Neil deGrasse Tyson schools former GM exec Lutz on climate change.” I’d say that Tyson landed a few good one-liners (as did Maher), but as Peter Beattie convincingly argues in this essay, neither of them schooled Lutz on climate change. In fact, Beattie calls the performances of Tyson and Maher a “a prime example” of “how one should not go about defending science.”

I’m thinking many of you will agree, irrespective of your stance on climate change.

  • Tom C

    Bill Maher is a fierce proponent of the idea that biological evolution proves there is no God, which is probably why he got a Dawkins “award”.  But this is a metaphysical interpretation (assumption, really) and has nothing to do with science.

    If I disagree with Maher’s (and your) metaphysics, and claim that it does not follow from the scientific facts, it does not make me a bad scientist, just a careful philosopher. 

    You always fail to make this distinction.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Tyson is a wonderful person to generate enthusiasm about science, and he certainly knows plenty in his immediate field(s), but he’s not terribly great on climate in general.

    I recall him saying something on a Reddit Q&A a few months back that basically fell into the “can’t predict weather, can’t predict climate” fallacy. I think it was in the context of not being able to predict exoplanetary climate or something along those lines, but nevertheless it remains fallacious.

    Maher is a crank who wraps himself in science opportunistically to attack his perceived enemies.

  • sharper00

    The problem has always been that understanding science and arguing it convincingly in a real time setting are not skills that necessarily go together. Indeed if you’re willing to be a pure snake oil salesman like Monckton it gets easier because ultimately producing a convincing argument is easier if you’re not constrained by reality or uncertainty. 

    How then do you go about defending science? Well a necessary qualifier is “From whom?”. The kinds of people that believe Monckton can’t easily be helped, the best you can do is to make sure the information debunking him is out there for people that have any actual curiosity on the topic. 

  • BBD

    sharper00

    [...] the best you can do is to make sure the information debunking him is out there for people that have any actual curiosity on the topic.

    Ah, but according to some here, pointing out the lies and jabberwocky is an attack on ‘free speech’.

    There’s just no pleasing some people.

  • sharper00

    #4

    “Ah, but according to some here, pointing out the lies and jabberwocky is an attack on “˜free speech’.” 

    The same people likely believe the planet is cooling, Arctic ice is increase and that [Pet Theory of the day] is better proved than “CAGW”.

     The question should really never be how to reach unreasonable, irrational people. They’re unreasonable and irrational, the frustration of trying to change their minds is more likely to just make you unreasonable and irrational. 

    Science has never and probably never will be defended via live “debates”. We already know how woeful those are with comparatively simpler topics like foreign policy. People tune in and make up their minds based on irrational criteria like who has the most pleasing voice or the nicest smile. Even if you convinced everyone of the scientific position of the day, science still loses.

    You defend science the way it’s always been defended, by giving people the tools to see the world and the universe around them with their own eyes. 

  • Edim

    The indoctrination is astonishing! Warmists deny climate change.

  • Nullius in Verba

    It was entertaining, yes. Neither side really argued very well. Tyson probably came out of it best from a ‘TV’ point of view, because of his smooth and confident delivery, and he got some of the philosophy right – but his climate-specific arguments were pretty bad, and if he’d tried that with Monckton he’d have got taken to the cleaners.

    Fortunately for him, he was up against Lutz, who did at least know most of the counterpoints (at a pretty basic level) but didn’t get them out clearly, asserting rather than arguing them. And he made several tactical errors that a quick opponent could have picked up on. In particular, while correctly arguing that short-term weather doesn’t prove anything, a lot of his examples were short-term weather. And challenging them to produce a single IPCC prediction that had come true was a real mess-up that could have been devastating had anyone had one ready, although he got away with it with these opponents. It might have been argued that the IPCC doesn’t make predictions, it makes projections, but that would likely be too subtle a point to make for TV, but ignoring that the IPCC has made enough predictions that some of them will have come true just by random chance, even if they’re totally wrong. It was idiotic.

    Nevertheless, it was a debate of sorts, it was conducted politely and with respect (mostly, and the laughs were for entertainment), and it did let both sides have their say and let viewers decide for themselves. That’s definite progress, I’d say.

    And as for the weakness of the arguments, if you have enough such debates, the arguments from both sides would strengthen. If they had to defend the claims against openly permitted scepticism, you’d soon see an end to the weather-is-climate alarmism, and sceptics would soon learn not to oversell the problems.
    I would hope that, irrespective of your stance on climate change, both sides would see that as an improvement.

  • JimR

    I found it amusing that when Lutz asked for one prediction from the IPCC that had come true Maher said it was all worse then predicted. Definitely an example of how not to go about defending science.

  • BBD

    NIV



    And as for the weakness of the arguments, if you have enough such debates, the arguments from both sides would strengthen.

    No. Sceptical arguments do not withstand scrutiny. Fact-checking always shows them to be flawed, incomplete, mistaken or dishonest.

    The problem with live debates is that science gets trumped by snake-oil (eg Monckton). This is why ‘sceptics’ prefer live debate and scientists tend to avoid it.

    And this is doubtless why you are arguing for more live debate.

  • kdk33

    Ah, but according to some here, pointing out the lies and jabberwocky is an attack on “˜free speech’. 

    BBD, that’s not true.  There are two claims you’ve made that are attacks on free speech.

    1) you want know WHO is offering an opinion – specifically you want to ‘out’ HI’s donors.  this is a direct (and denagerous, IMO) restriction on free speech for the many reasons covered in previous threads.

    2) you claim that lying is worse than Gleick-ing.  Gleick committed a crime, so you want to make lying a crime.  This is also a restriction on free speech.  More dangerous even than #1, because now you get to set up a ‘truth squad’ to identify, and presumably, punish liars.

    If you back off of 1&2, then you are free to point out lies and misdirections to your hearts content.  You can even do it anonymously.  You can pool your resources with OP and  Marlowe and buy a commercial pointing out the lies. 

    Get it?

  • BBD

    kdk33

    Yet more of your rubbish.

    1/. Transparency is not an ‘attack on free speech’. This has been pointed out to you by me and others many, many times.

    2/. I did not claim that ‘lying is worse than Gleick-ing’. That is a lie. I said that you must condemn liars – eg Singer – if you are going to condemn Gleick. Or you are a hypocrite. Which you are.

    You won’t even admit that Singer is a liar when provided with incontrovertible evidence of his mendacity. 

    This is an indicator of how far sunk you are in dishonesty, denial and hypocrisy.

  • BBD

    Oh, and I nearly forgot: when are you going to overturn the understanding of atmospheric physics by explaining how the natural greenhouse effect maintains the average surface temperature at ~15C without positive feedbacks?

    I really can’t wait much longer.

  • Dave H

    > Transparency is not an “˜attack on free speech’.

    Indeed. While some people here seem to have quite a narrow view that it is an attack on a particular free-market model of politics, transparency is actually a defence against the stifling of free speech in this specific case.

    kdk33 wants to claim that by exposing Heartland’s donors their right to free speech is infringed. This makes no logical sense – those donors are absolutely free to say whatever they like. It is this conflation of an anonymous and politically-motivated financial transaction with individual freedom of expression that is bizarre and unsupported.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Demanding that free speech for some is ‘allowed’ only provided certain arbitraryly set up and enforced conditions by the government or elites (which do not wish to be criticized) is exactly what a totalitarian regime would do to stifle free speech.

    And actually was/is also done  everywehre where people were/are (and often should be) afraid of freely speaking their minds.

    And yes, these kind kind of totalitarian means have been argued fervently by BBD. And that his motives aren’t really and primarily  ‘transparancy’ is also quite obvious. The proper word for this is hypocricy ..

    He also often wants to be the one who decides what shoud be accepted(!) as truth, and who should be labelled ‘liar’. Noticably in a field of which he understands very little. Again, ‘transparancy’ is not the prime motive.

    As I said, those methods have been around for a long time. As long as the ones in power really would have liked to know who supports them and more importantly who doesn’t.

  • kdk33

    Sorry fellas, you are wrong.

    If you are willing to do away with the secret ballot, then maybe we can talk.  Otherwise, bullocks.

    Simple example.  Let’s say BBD moves to the south.  We don’t much cotten to warmistas and name-callers down here.  Let’s say he shares his opinion about the ‘facts’ of global warming and the ‘liars’ in the republican party. 

    Now, BBD has a boss.  His kids have teachers.  He lives with neighbors.  Moreover, the local government is thinking of expanding a roadway that runs next to his house.

    If is allowed to remain anonymous, then all these are unaffected.  If not.  Well, BBD get’s passed over for promotion, his kids are harrassed at school, the neighbors dump trash on his law, the local government siezes his property to expand the road, thus totallly devaluing his home, which he cannot now sell.

    Get it?

    Putting names on a list before people are allowed to spaek is a very bad idea.  At least in democracies.

  • Roddy Campbell

    Nullius in Verba has it right.  ‘Nevertheless, it was a debate of sorts, it was conducted politely and with respect (mostly, and the laughs were for entertainment), and it did let both sides have their say and let viewers decide for themselves. That’s definite progress, I’d say.’
     

  • BBD

    kdk33

    We’ve been through this before. And just as before, you attempt to divert the discussion into some hypothetical nonsense about private individuals and teeny donations and private opinion.

    When in fact the conversation is about large sums of money used – anonymously – by corporations or extremely wealthy individuals (aka Anonymous Donors) to warp public policy to suit their own ends.

    I am simply not going over this again. You are argumentatively bankrupt and simply repeating old nonsense.

    In summary: you have nothing. As usual.

  • kdk33

    BBD,

    Why are you so rude?

    We’ve been through this before.

    Yes, we have, but you misrepresented what was said before.  I just wanted to clear that up.

    And just as before, you attempt to divert the discussion into some hypothetical nonsense about private individuals and teeny donations and private opinion.

    These aren’t hypotheticals – there was nothing hypothetical about any of the examples I offerred.  This is exactly what happens.  These are, in fact, the reasons that you cannot have the policies you prefer.  Not of we are to maintain a free society.

    When in fact the conversation is about large sums of money used ““ anonymously ““ by corporations or extremely wealthy individuals (aka Anonymous Donors) to warp public policy to suit their own ends.

    Yes, it is common leftist clap trap to differentiate ‘ordinary people’ from ‘rich people’.  Sad, really

    I am simply not going over this again.

    Please don’t.  Just don’t misrepresent what was said earlier.

    You are argumentatively bankrupt and simply repeating old nonsense.

    No, I am right and you are wrong.  You just lack the moral clarity to know.

    In summary: you have nothing. As usual.

    Whatever.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    “In summary: you have nothing. As usual.” says BBD, and “You are argumentatively bankrupt and simply repeating old nonsense”, both quite well summarizing his efforts and arguments when his perspective is not ‘accepted’.
    And as so often from the left, their obsession is about other peoples money. 

    How the heck is a private donation to another private institution, for running their little organization, paying their utilities and meager salaries, which in turn sometimes hands out even more measly sums  to other private individuals for writing  a report or assessing materials they deem interesting and relevant … 

    .. how the heck is that supposed to “warp public policy”!? 

    The accusation is so far fetched, and so ill informed about how and where policies are shaped, that almost only the loopy left clings to such conspiracy theories. 

    Corporations, and rich individuals wanting to influence politics, politicians and policy, go about this in very different ways. 

    And I’m absolutely certain that neither BBD nor any of his fellow Gleick supporters and other AGW-activists are the least interested in any ‘transparency’ when it comes to their own side. Most likely they haven’t even thought the thought. The monies being moved around behind the curtains, where it comes from, how it is funneled there, by whom, where to, and for what purposes. 

    BBD seems to be totally stuck in some naive fairy tale narrative about how ‘the evil side’ and if somebody who still has some cash left also engages in a public debate (which is absolutely paramount to a functional democracy) then it just has to be evil. 

    I think he has said pretty much exactly that about Heartland (and the fact that the doe what the officially states they do). And he has said quite a lot more … 

    But nonsense still is only that BBD … even if repeated louder and louder, with more insults. 

     

  • BBD

    kdk33

    Yes, we have, but you misrepresented what was said before.  I just wanted to clear that up.

    No. I misrepresented nothing. You are lying again. Don’t like that? Let’s see your evidence for this accusation of misrepresentation.

    Why am I ‘rude’? Because the never-ending stream of distortions, strawmen, self-serving evasiveness, dogmatism, denialism, dishonesty and hypocrisy can get a bit wearing sometimes.

    No, I am right and you are wrong.  You just lack the moral clarity to know.

    Although there are moments of grim humour.

  • BBD

    Jonas

    I do not read your comments. Don’t bother.

  • OPatrick

    This shows one thing, television debates of this form are worthless for improving understanding.

    Of course Nullius in Verba thinks that this ‘polite’ debate is progress, it suits the agenda of those who only want to increase the sense of doubt. The two sides appear comparable, that’s a win for one side because the two sides are not comparable. 

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Yes BBD so you say. Probably the best strategy given your capacity to debate anything, from philosophy, to politics to science .. 

    Its funny that you still pretend (or even want to believe) to be in some position of authority.

    Self delusion, that’s called. 

     And regardless of if your honest about ‘not reading’ or not, I will counter that total crap you often spew when I see it. And everybody else can see when I do. 

     

  • kdk33

    Don’t like that? Let’s see your evidence for this accusation of misrepresentation.

    Geez, BBD, you’re not having a good day.

    Ah, but according to some here, pointing out the lies and jabberwocky is an attack on “˜free speech’

    The above quote – lifted directly from your #4 is a lie.  In fact, I restated my ogjections to your policies, but pointed out that:

    you are free to point out lies and misdirections to your hearts content.  You can even do it anonymously.  You can pool your resources with OP and  Marlowe and buy a commercial pointing out the lies.
    ——————————————————–

    Now, you will no doubt retort that I am dodging, ducking, strawman, lying, and whatever other insults you can think up.  Have at it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #22,
    “Of course Nullius in Verba thinks that this “˜polite’ debate is progress…”
    Which part is it you object to? The ‘polite’ bit, or ‘debate’?

    Shutting down polite and reasonable debate suits the agenda of those who have no argument, and know they’ll lose if they hold one. They can only win by shutting out and ridiculing opposing voices, lest they appear ‘comparable’.

  • BBD

    kdk33

    Yes, we have, but you misrepresented what was said before.  I just wanted to clear that up.

    Where’s the evidence that I misrepresented what was said before about transparency applying to large donations not little people like you?

    I asked for evidence, and all I get is more self-serving rubbish. How very strange.

  • OPatrick

    It’s not debate, nor do I think being superficially polite is particularly important, which doesn’t mean I advocate rudeness, but I do think we should be direct.

    I’m not suggesting shutting down reasonable debate, that is your telling spin on my words. As discussed on an earlier thread I want to see reasonable debate, with reasonable rules to ensure the reasonableness. 

  • BBD

    NIV

    They can only win by shutting out and ridiculing opposing voices, lest they appear “˜comparable’.

    I expect OPatrick objects to your false symmetry. I seem to recollect this coming up recently. I certainly object to it, which is why I responded to you earlier on this thread.

    We’ve briefly discussed the unsuitability of live TV as a medium for climate debate on a previous thread. The point I made then remains unchanged: in order to prevent ‘sceptics’ from creating the false impression that there is a symmetrical scientific debate about AGW their statements have to be subject to a rigorous fact check. This invariably reveals the fatal flaws, but of course by then it’s too late. The only way to prevent Moncktonism trumping science is a documentary format where statements made by both sides are analysed in detail for errors and misrepresentations.

    Then we get to see just how ‘comparable’ sceptical arguments are to the mainstream scientific position.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    Your argument seems to imply either that

    1. There is no doubt, that the uncertainties are miniscule, that no more major questions or issues need to be resolved, and that ‘the science’ essentially has ‘the answers’ (a position also favored by stupid BBD)? Or

    2. Or that there is, but that the media, the wider public, the politicians, authorities and various ‘experts’ etc all are well aware and properly informed about all this. And hence  and additionally, that their perception of ‘doubt’ is on par with the the state of reality which also happens to be correctly assessed? Or

    3. That all the questions (in pt 1) are not answered or resolved to the degree that  any doubt about uncertainties etc could be discarded, but that it is inappropriate of those who are aware of such, to point this out in public, and debate what this implies. Or at all debate what is the most responsible policy response to what we know (and don’t) about the climate? Or possibly

    4. Because, what is the right thing to do is already known to those who matter. And is irrespective of whatever the answers are to various legitimate questions?

    I ask, because I hear quite often that if someone discusses and points at all the major difficulties, uncertainties, unresolved objections, or just brings up other hypotheses not mentioned by the ‘climate orthodocy’, very often the response is very acid, alluding to fossil fuels, industry shills, tobacco lobby, right wing nuts etc. And other smear tactics found in Oreskes and Conway’s  book. 

    As if it were forbidden to bring up the very obvious fact that the understanding and knowledge is far from as cemented and certain as the green lobby groups and  activist want to claim. 

    So why are you opposed to bringing up what you call ‘doubt’? 

    Of the four possible reasons (I could come up with, above), I think all of them are poor arguments for trying to prevent ‘doubt’ being brought up in public debates. But maybe I have missed one, or maybe you can argue more convincingly for why you (and others on your side) should try to banish discussions about uncertainties and doubt .. 

    Can you? 

  • BBD

    OP – sorry, our comments crossed – I didn’t refresh the page.

  • OPatrick

    Jonas N @29
    So why are you opposed to bringing up what you call “˜doubt’?

    I’m not. What I’m opposed to is the use of media such as live television chat shows to purvey that doubt where it is not feasible to challenge it effectivcely. In those media if your aim is to increase doubt you will win. 

    I want a debate, I don’t want to shut debate down.

  • OPatrick

    BBD, in case not already obvious I can confirm your expectations in 28. (On recent evidence I may also pay attention to your 21.)

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick, you wrote:

    “Of course Nullius in Verba thinks that this “˜polite’ debate is progress, it suits the agenda of those who only want to increase the sense of doubt

    The two sides appear comparable, that’s a win for one side because the two sides are not comparable”

    It certainly looks as if you tried to establish that one side, the one that “only want[s] to increase the sense of doubt”(!) is somehow unduly favored in this format, and that purveying ‘doubt’ should be considered as a ‘loss’ (presumably to the other side then?)

    I must repeat my question: What part of ‘doubt’ do you think that the public should not hear about (in this format)? And why? Based on what rationale (i proposed 4 possibilities above)?

    If doubt is what one side actually harbors, and if ‘doubt’ very appropriately is what is warranted regarding the science (even if not equally shared), how can you call it ‘to lose’ if that surfaces in a media debate? 

    It still very much sounds like you want to ‘protect’ the audience from getting ‘the wrong impression’ in this format. Implying you better than they can rule on what should be the ‘right impression’.

    As you very much know (as does the audience): Nobody gets to present their case in full, or challenge the other part properly, and for as long time as they’d want.  

  • Nullius in Verba

    #27,
    I liked your previous comments on it – but you keep on reverting back to the old approach of excluding all opposition, and you keep trying to spin my wanting a better form of debate as intent to deceive.

    We start with having a polite debate, we develop by gradually driving out the more ridiculous arguments through them being recognised and countered, and move up to the more mature and educational debate supported by research and careful thought. It would be lovely to jump straight to the end game, but we can barely manage the first step yet.

    #28,
    Yes, I noticed your response earlier, but I really couldn’t be bothered.
    You used to be more reasonable about it, but lately it’s degenerated to endless assertion of falsehoods and nastiness and the stubborn refusal to consider any alternative. Sometimes I find that sort of thing entertaining, sometimes boring. I’m in a bored mood at the moment.

    If you like, we can pick some debate like the MBH98/99 Hockeystick, subject both your mainstream science and our scepticism to rigorous fact checking, and see if the fatal flaws of the sceptic arguments are invariably revealed. Are bristlecone ring widths correlated to local temperature? Was the PCA incorrectly short-centred? Were the proxies mislabelled, extrapolated, incorrectly pasted from column to column? Did it pass the r-squared correlation cross-validation test, as claimed? Was it robust to the removal of tree rings, as claimed? Did scientists lie and dissemble for years rather than admit any error?

    In any fair debate, not rigged by politics and ideology, mainstream science here would lose and lose and lose again. Which is precisely why for all these years they have been so careful not to let such a debate take place. That’s why the idea of holding a polite, unrigged debate on the evidence is opposed at every turn. That’s why they keep turning to ad hominem and appeals to authority and exclusion.

    People keep proposing it just to watch you find some new way of shooting yourselves in the foot by arguing against. Free speech, open debate, polite respect; and we get to see time and again who is opposed to all of those. It’s almost too easy.

  • kdk33

    Poor BBD.  You’re so insulting people that you are unable to converse coherently.

    One more itme, just for the audience.  You sad: Ah, but according to some here, pointing out the lies and jabberwocky is an attack on “˜free speech’.

    This is a lie, nobody ever said that.  I cannot provide evidence of something never said.  What i can do is point out what the actual objection was.  And that is what I did in #10.  I further emphasized that you are free to point out the lies and jabborwocky

    Since youve been found out to be not-truth-telling in regards to your original claim about pointing out the lies and jabberwocky., You now shift to wanting evidence about what was said before about transparency applying to large donations not little people like you?

    Of course, this was not yoru original lie.  You’re attempting a not-too-nifty quick-change of subject, a not very clever rouse. 

    A pity.

  • OPatrick

    Joans, there is a difference between ‘doubt’ and ‘increase doubt’. If you have something to say about my comments please say it, don’t make up comments that I have never made to criticise.

    Nullius in Verba, where am I wanting to “exclud[e] all opposition”? What I want is to ensure that debates happen in a medium where the arguments can be judged fairly and where the different goals of the ‘two sides’ do not provide an unfair advantage.

    To that end I don’t think the live debate on television between two opposing positions is an effective forum, except for anyone who only wants to increase doubt and confusion about a subject – which suits the agendas of people who do not want to see any changes in our current course, as change is harder than carrying on as we are.

    I also think that the main-stream media should be doing a better job exposing the dishonesty of those who seek to increase doubt unjustifiably. That is not the same as wanting to exclude all opposition. I think opposing voices would have less power when placed in their proper context. I think they would be treated with scorn and contempt if people fully understood what they are doing. I think these voices would eventually stop. But I don’t think they should be excluded.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    “there is a difference between “˜doubt’ and “˜increase doubt’”

    OK, but so what? 

    You brought up ‘doubt’ and expressed a problem with that one side did so in a debate. You have still not explained why and how that is.

     

  • BBD

    NIV


    Yes, I noticed your response earlier, but I really couldn’t be bothered. You used to be more reasonable about it, but lately it’s degenerated to endless assertion of falsehoods and nastiness and the stubborn refusal to consider any alternative. Sometimes I find that sort of thing entertaining, sometimes boring. I’m in a bored mood at the moment.

    There’s no sceptical ‘alternative’ that withstands fact checking. Hence the reliance of sceptical ‘argument’ on Moncktonism in live debate and the blogosphere rather than the literature.

    In any fair debate, not rigged by politics and ideology, mainstream science here would lose and lose and lose again.

    A transparent hyperbole. The Mannean hockey stick is the only topic where you lot get anywhere – but it’s an irrelevance. A classic case of sceptics attempting to manufacture false equivalence. The HS doesn’t invalidate decades of work by thousands of researchers. And that’s the real end of the HS ‘debate’.


    That’s why the idea of holding a polite, unrigged debate on the evidence is opposed at every turn.

    No it isn’t. It’s because sceptics rely on misrepresentation and rhetorical trickery to create a false impression that they have scientifically robust arguments. For example, I can easily imagine a sceptic bringing up the Mannean hockey stick to ‘win’ a ‘debate’, despite the utter irrelevance of a flawed and obsolete paleo reconstruction to the current state of knowledge.

    This is the real reason scientists won’t ‘debate’ with sceptics. And you are stuck with it. Take away the misrepresentation and the rhetoric and the sceptical case implodes.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    there is something desperate, frantic and very religious about BBD’s recurring assertions … 

    He  just ‘knows’.. because he does … he even ‘knows’ what motives all the scientists have .. and the sceptics. 

    Mind reading, and knowing the ‘truth’ in advance. 

     “Take away the misrepresentation and the rhetoric and the sceptical case implodes”

    Or better: Look at the actual temperatures, how the vary, have varied, and compare it to the claims of the CO2-cultists, and the climate scare implodes. As always happens with the inflated alarmism coming from that corner.

  • OPatrick

    Jonas, I don’t know that there is any point in this given that your posts above suggest you have not paid attention to anything I have actually written so far, but….

    The point I am making is actually entirely independent of whether the degree of doubt about the science that some want to portray is justified or not (though obviously I believe it isn’t and that what uncertainty there is on balance makes the problems more concerning rather than less).

    Live television debates such as these are a bad way of communicating issues under any circumstance, worse when two unequal sides are portrayed as balancing each other and particularly egregious when the two sides have different goals. The point I am making is that if one side’s aim is to increase the perception of doubt then this format suits them because it is much easier to argue doubt than confidence.

    I think it is fairly clear that vested interests (and I include in that individuals who don’t want to change their lifestyles) do have the aim of increasing doubt, rightly or wrongly, so I don’t think that live television discussions, or the equivalent he-said-she-said newspaper articles, are a constructive mode of debate.

    Incidentally, I mentally took away the misrepresentation and rhetoric in your final paragraph of 39 and your case imploded. 

  • BBD

    OP
      ;-)

  • kdk33

    Live television debates such as these are a bad way of communicating issues under any circumstance

    That explains presidential politics.  I always wondered.

    worse when two unequal sides are portrayed as balancing each other

    Yes, some pigs are more equal than others.  For sure

    and particularly egregious when the two sides have different goals.

    My god.  A debate between sides that disagree.  Say it isn’t so.

    The point I am making is that if one side’s aim is to increase the perception of doubt then this format suits them because it is much easier to argue doubt than confidence.

    Thus the need to silence those doubters so the good guys can win.

  • OPatrick

    Again kdk33 you’ve made no attempt to engage with the points I am making and instead attempt to twist them to mean something they clearly don’t.

    The ‘different goals’ I am referring to is not about disagreement but the entirely different types of objectives the two sides have. One side, I argue, is content to increase doubt, the other wants to increase confidence.

    Again, I am not calling for a closing down of debate, I want a debate. But I want a real debate, not a false one. 

  • BBD

    OPatrick

    Again kdk33 you’ve made no attempt to engage with the points I am making and instead attempt to twist them to mean something they clearly don’t.

    I thought he only did that with me and now it turns out he’s doing it with everyone. I’m bitterly disappointed.

     

  • kdk33

    I think BBD and OP can be summed up as so.

    We are right.  Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.  Liars aren’t fair.  Any debate with liars isn’t fair – someone might believe them.  Moreover, liars should go to prison.  For disagreeing with us.  Because we are good.  And everyone else isn’t.

    Did I miss something?

  • OPatrick

    I think that that you thnk that says rather more than you think it does.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    I tend to give people the benifit of the doubt, and rather ask first before making a judgement. Eeven with you. An I have been paying attention. That’s why I asked why you thought ‘doubt’ was problematic.

    As far as I can see, your point has been that it is an argument from those which whom you disagree. Fair enough. Is this a problem? Even unexpected?

    However, the uncertainties, the patchy science, the vastly missing empirical support, let alone confirmation of the more contested parts of the hypothesis are a reality. You need to acknowledge that. Or at least that this is the prevailing position among those who are concerned with the science, maybe to various degrees. But still: It’s reality, and for good reasons.

    I still wonder why you think that this is an issue that should affect the format of a debate? I propsed for possible reasons for you to have such issues with ‘doubt’:

    1. There really isn’t any anymore
    2. There is, but no info/debate is needed
    3. Uncertainties are real and relevant, but the public shouldn’t know
    4. They don’t matter, the only delay. Action/policy is needed/desired.

    These were the reasons (for you) I could come up with not to let ‘doubt’ be a part of a debate, or avoid formats where it is addressed. If I missed another one, please inform me.

    But I noted some other disconcerting formulations. In #36, you implied that:

    - Doubt equals confusion
    - Those who adress ‘doubt’ (bring it up) are dishonest
    - You don’t want to exclude all opposition (but some?)
    - Some deserve ‘scorn and contempt’
    - Different goals are egregious, and ‘unequal sides’
    - Vested interests (on one side?) are bad.

    Look, everybody realizes what side you are rooting for. Not even your beliefs or rationale for that are questioned. But the entire time, you seem to argue that the outcome of a debate also should reflect your beliefs. ‘Expose’ them as call it. You even argue that the media should run your errands here. In a debate?

    You seem to argue that the format of the debate somehow favors ‘the wrong’ side, which you already have deterimend. Although the time constraints limit both sides equally. And you want to ‘expose’ the bad side, and hope to sway the public by putting them in ‘proper context’. But you sound like you don’t want them to be present, present their side or counter their critics.

    It’s like you want to hit somebody, because he deserves it, and ask ‘can somebody hold his hands, so he doesn’t defend himself, or even hits back’

    Sorry O’Patrick, but it doesn’t sound any better than that. And if you mean it, you probably do.

    But I still want to know whata your issue is with uncertainties, or ‘doubt’ as you call it. And everything else that is missing before mankind is capable of understanding how and why climate changes and varies.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    Do yourself a favour, and don’t try BBDs tactics of just stating what you believe or want to be tru as settled, fact and determined.

    It really really does not help you, or your side.

  • kdk33

    Again kdk33 you’ve made no attempt to engage with the points I am making and instead attempt to twist them to mean something they clearly don’t.

    I don’t think so, but I’ll give you chance.
    The “˜different goals’ I am referring to is not about disagreement

    So the different goals are not disagreement?  Really?

    but the entirely different types of objectives the two sides have.

    Yes, that’s why it is a disagreement, hence the rationale for debate.

    One side, I argue, is content to increase doubt, the other wants to increase confidence.

    Yes, thet two sides disagree.  That is rather much the point.
    Again, I am not calling for a closing down of debate, I want a debate. But I want a real debate, not a false one. 

    That’s funny.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    One more comment O’Patrick

    I think one of the ‘problems’ (you perceive) is based on this description of yours:

    “One side ..  is content to increase doubt, the other wants to increase confidence”

    which pretty much captures the essence of your ‘doubt’-issue, I think. And indeed, I too believe this is the problem. Because one side has spent enormous effort on pounding that ‘settled-science’ meme. That the debate is over, that all agree, the consensus etc, you know.

    And as you say: One side wants to instill that ‘confidence’. Because it has done so in the past. And been very effective at that. Nobel prize, Oscar, movies for kids in the classrooms, repeated endelssly in the media etc, you name it.

    It is fully understandable for that side (which vastly overstated its case, especially in the media) to be concerned about ‘doubt’ being mentioned and both uncertainties and missing science being brought up.

    Because, as you say, it will hurt them. It is difficult to counter that effectivley, ‘place it in proper context’ (as you say) without backing away from from earlier (other’s?) outrageous claims, and conceeding valid points to the opposition. The opposition they (many) earlier wanted to portray as only fringe nutcases and payed shills etc.

    I think that’s in effect what you are describing. There is really no easy way to back away from earlier long pounded talking points, without taking a beating, losing face in the public eye.

    For the most obvious reasons. Because (the public may think):

    ‘If they told us this for years, and we believed it, and it wasn’t true, what else have they been feeding us ..’

    And they migh note (and remember) other peculiarities too. All the other memes touted so frequently in public. And that Al Gore is a big hypocrite when it comes to his own lifestyle. And also afraid of debating anyone not sold on his version, or being interviewed.

    But again, you can hardly blame the secptical side for having caused this situation. Its nothing more than ‘what goes around, comes around’

    Is this what you perceive as ‘unfair’ today in a debate?

  • OPatrick

    Jonas, kdk33 – I can only assume your goal is to drive off anyone who is interested in meaningful debate by means of exasperation. You are demonstrating no insight at all into the arguments I have put forwards.

    Keith, can I recomend that repeated misrepresentation of others’ posts be considered as moderatable.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    You can assume that, and that would be dead wrong. And I don’t really see any ‘meaningful debate’ from you.

    You’ve stated your views. Those are not hard to understand. But think your arguments are poor. And contradicting. And extremely one sided. And mostly based on what outcome you’d prefer.

    I still haven’t really understood your issue with ‘doubt’. That’s why I asked.

    “You are demonstrating no insight at all into the arguments I have put forwards”

    That’s not true. I am pretty certain I understand what you hope for. Even why. But your arguments for that are terribly loopsided. And that is why I ask follow up questions. BTW, do you feel that you have “demonstrated .. insight at all into the arguments I have put forward”?

    Just askin’

    And you who sweepingly acuse one side of a very pertinent debate as being dishonest, deserving scorn and contempt, maybe you should be careful about crying ‘misrepresentation of others’

    Just sayin’

  • BBD

    OPatrick @ 51

    It’s absolutely bloody maddening isn’t it? Based on painful past experience, I recommend selective blindness. Works for me…
      :-)

  • Steve Mennie

    @ 45 kd33…
    In response to your query “Did I miss something?”…..I would suggest that you have managed to miss everything.

    The debates at this site often ramble all over the universe into esoteric little corners and irrelevencies but ‘auditing’ them is generally a useful and informative exercise that helps me clarify my own thoughts with regard to the issues involved.

    Not so with this last exchange.

    The root of the problem may lie in KK’s referring to the Bill Maher clip as a ‘debate’. It was a short piece from a late night entertainment show wherein participant are expected to get in some ‘good shots’ and no one thinks that the end result will have anything to do with moving the discussion forward. Its not a debate.. Its entertainment.

    So we shouldn’t even be giving this much time to considering a context that only allows (is designed for) the delivery of  good one liners or ‘gotcha’ statements and questions. I know that if I was truly interested in broadening my knowledge of AGW I wouldn’t be stayin’ up late to catch a debate on the Bill Maher Show.

    To be charitable, I’m quite certain that you are not nearly as obtuse as you appear in your post #45 kd33.  I suspect (hope) you (and Jonas N) are being intentionally so although I can’t understand your motive.

    OPatrick and BBd…my hat is off to you. You have the perseverance of saints. Although you must become very frustrated remember that these exchanges are important and valuable for readers and silent ‘lurkers’ like myself. Most of the time, at least.

  • kdk33

    Keith, can I recomend that repeated misrepresentation of others’ posts be considered as moderatable.

    Yes, this seems to be your underlying premise.  Anyone who disagrees with you should not have a voice.

  • kdk33

    OP,

    What you and BBD don’t understand is that your arguments are actually quite transparent.  OP, you aren’t raising anything like deep insight.

    You observe that one side wants to increase doubt and another increase certainty.  OK.  One side says lookit: climate isn’t understood well enough to undertake action.  The other side says lookit: we know climate well enough to do something now.  That is the debate.  Both sides are free to offer their evidence, forward their arguments, even lie (and the other side is free to show them to be liars).  Both sides are free to offer solutions and what they think those might cost.  It’s a free country (for now), speak your peace.

    Yet you whine.  Oh, it’s easier for the other side than my side so we should have ‘special’ debating rules.  Oh, the other side are liars, they don’t play fair.  Oh, the other side has bad intentions and shouldn’t count.  They smoke cigarettes.  And on it goes.

    In the end, you can’t win the debate on the merits, so you are both resorting to ad hominem, restrictions on free speech, childish special pleading.

  • kdk33

    In response to your query “Did I miss something?””¦..I would suggest that you have managed to miss everything.

    Yes, please name one.

  • BBD

    Steve Mennie

    OPatrick and BBd”¦my hat is off to you. You have the perseverance of saints. Although you must become very frustrated remember that these exchanges are important and valuable for readers and silent “˜lurkers’ like myself.

    Thank you. Makes all the bang-your-head-on-the-wall worth it :-)

    Most of the time, at least.

    Ahem.

  • OPatrick

    Yes, thank you Steve - as with BBD I appreciate your words. But sadly I don’t have the perseverence of a saint, not even close. I come here because I want to engage in discussion with people I disagree with, not just those whose views I already share. But that can only work if there is at least a common foundation of … something, I don’t really know what.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    O’Patrick

    Here, you are under no constraints of time and space. You can make the best arguments you want, take your time, think it over. And the rules are the same for all:

    All you have is letters, words, sentences and their meaning on the screen. For everyone to see. Why don’t you use them well?

    As for your:

    “Keith, can I recomend that repeated misrepresentation of others’ posts be considered as moderatable.”

    That is kind of the point here. You plead for ‘special rules’, even here, and rules not you don’t want to abide by yourself (‘misrepresentation’). BBD does the same, albeit with a different angle (he calls it ‘transparency’). You need to realize that such requests do sound a bit immature. And easily become the issue, if you stick to them .. 

    Further, I think I made a perfectly sensible comment about youe qualms about ‘doubt’ in #50 and why your side will lose wrt that issue. I never even got an answer. I didn’t get any answers regarding my other questions either. 

    If you do want a discussion, esp with those who have other views than you, you need to up your game a bit IMO.
     

     

  • Nullius in Verba

    #59/#60,“I come here because I want to engage in discussion with people I disagree with, not just those whose views I already share.”“If you do want a discussion, esp with those who have other views than you, you need to up your game a bit IMO.”In a sense. The main thing that needs to be done is to accept that other people can have different opinions, and for this to still be intellectually legitimate. If agreement with some part of the climate catechism is a prerequisite for discussion, we’ll never get anywhere. But if in wanting to talk to people of different opinions one can accept that they have different opinions, perhaps beyond the bounds of what some consider acceptable, and not likely to change, then we can have a dialogue. The aim is not agreement, persuasion, or victory, but understanding.Discussion with people I disagree with is my aim, too. I don’t mind if they disagree; it’s the quality of the argument that matters.

  • kdk33

    I just want to see if

    The really cool formatting tools actuallyworkKeith must have upgraded his service.I wonder what outdent means

    I wonder what he had to pay.

  • kdk33

    No.  I think they do not work.

  • BBD

    NIVI don’t mind if they disagree; it’s the quality of the argument that matters.Sceptics have a serious handicap then. See # 38.

  • BBD

    This comment widget is buggered.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD is trying to ‘convince’ others to ‘accept’ his assertions (#38) by simply repeating them. Making a bunch of claims (all devoid of substance wrt to any climate issue) wich are both easily falsified, and even are mutually contradicting. NoI think the AGW-alarmists (both the experts appearing in the media, and those (quite few n.b) scientists suscribing to the scare) avoid debating because their case (which never was really strong, always relied on models and future projections, constantly further postponed after the next failed prediction) is getting weaker by the hour (every time new observations come in), and because it is crumbling beneath their feet. As is the public support and trust. Quite naturally and as it should be. And there have been a number of public debates, not heavily rigged to favor one side, with an even playing field. Both more popular ones, and scientific. And essentially every time, the sceptical side comes out stronger after such a debate. BBD just seems to be in full denial of reality. And I think it is exactly that kind of sweeping dismissal and stupid hyperbole (in #38) which has gotten the alarmist side on the defensive, and now vulnerable at any venue including both sides on level terms. (see #50)I think O’Patrick is much closer and realistic: He realizes that any unrigged debate (in TV) does not favor the alarmists. Which I think is a fair observation. I don’t fully agree with the reasons he gives, and think his ‘misrepresentation’ of ‘one side is good, and the other side is evil’-narrative is childish. But his point, that the alarmist side cannot any longer easily win there, by just rehashing old talking points (consensus, settled science, 97%, right wing, fossil fuel, ridiculing sceptics etc) and even may lose further with such tactics is an apt description. I welcome this development, it is long time overdue. And in spite of assertions to the opposite (from a dwindling number of alarmists/supporters) it is going continue in that direction, I’m pretty certain. And those who genuinly want to argue climate alarmism, and policy based therupon, can whine and grit their teeth about it, plead for support from ‘above’. Or they can come back with better arguments, better science, and addressing all the weaknesses that exist and have been pointed out to them for a long time …

  • BBD

    So, Jonas, what body of work do you base your ‘scepticism’ on? Particularly, which studies do you draw on to support your belief in a low climate sensitivity?**You are so certain, so dogmatic (as you constantly accuse me of being) that I have become interested in the basis for your assurance.**Please, do share.

  • BBD

    Keith, if you get a moment, can you ask your website people if they could fix the comment editor so that it preserves paragraph breaks?

  • Steve Mennie

    I second BBD”s request Jonas. I would like to see the basis for your pugnacious confidence as well.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    More contradicting one self (see #21)?                                                                                                                                           Or a change of heart? You would need a U-turn, and stick to the new direction for quite a while to convince anybody.                                                                                                                                I think you still owe me an explanation to why/how you (established your) asserttion that the PDO cannot have contributed to (at least part) of the late 20thC observations.                                                                                                                                   And how you before the fact managed to distinguish between what (in a scalar measure) was signal and what was noise.                                                                                                                                     Or how the problems wrt to any UHI-effect, have anything to do with ‘energetically inssufficient’.                                                                                                                                     Or. You need to step back from the pretence of knowing so much, if you really didn’t. And appologize for the insults you spewed when this became more obvious, and you tried to get out of the corner you hade painted yourself into.                                                                                                                                     (And you need to be a bit more humble about the laws of physics, hard sciences, the scientific method, and how things are done there, hypotheseses proposed, supported, criticized, falsified, and what it takes to make general and firm assertions. Reading abstracts alone, won’t get you there)                                                                                                                                        You wanna give it a try? No problem. Convince me that you are serious, that you’ve learnt something, eg since #64. And I might take you up on the climate sensitivity. (But I’m afraid, it will still be on a level where you won’t find easy ‘rebuttal’-phrases/links at SkSc)I just submitted the same comment before. It disappeard!?

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Steve M, I have no clue about what you refer to as “pugnacious confidence”. It seems you are not properly reading what I actually say or claim.  In this thread´, why don’t you stick to what is at hand. The media debate, and what has been discussed around that. If there is anything you agree/disagree with, nothing stops you from putting forth your own view and arguments.  In this thread, you have on comment #54 somewhat on topic, implying others to be ‘intentionally obtuse’, praising others. I didn’t find it worthwhile to take you up on that ….

  • BBD

    If you would just indicate which studies underpin your scepticism, particularly your belief in a low CS, that would be great. The rest of the waffle can be skipped. Thanks

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    See #71 .. you have quite a bit to go ahead of you …

  • BBD

    JonasThen don’t answer me, answer Steve Mennie. The question remains the same: which studies form the basis for your scepticism? Particularly which ones proposing low climate sensitivity? This is a simple and straightforward matter and I cannot understand why you don’t just list the papers you feel provide the scientific underpinning for your views.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #74,“I cannot understand why you don’t just list the papers you feel provide the scientific underpinning for your views” – Perhaps because you can’t understand that people can form opinions by other means than reading papers and believing everything they say? Science is not underpinned by papers, but by evidence. – There is no solid empirical evidence for any particular climate sensitivity, nor solid empirical evidence proving (even at a quantifiably high probability) that observed warming is mostly anthropogenic. It’s all based on unvalidated computer models, grossly incomplete records and proxies, extrapolation, speculation, unaccounted-for uncertainties, and “expert judgement”. It’s based on the “multiple lines of evidence” argument in which many studies, each of which is individually dubious, can vote for a collective conclusion. It’s based on Cargo Cult science. – We don’t believe in extraordinary claims without evidence. – Steve Mennie’s question is a reasonable one, but it’s not quickly answered. One has to follow the debate for a while to pick up all the strands. One part is about the way climate scientists have behaved – hiding data, cherrypicking spurious correlations, blocking opponents from publication, messing up the statistics, and refusing to acknowledge mistakes. Another part is about the activists and the media; taking sides, using selective reporting of weather-is-climate disaster stories, promoting dramatic and unjustified alarmism, promoting ineffective ‘gesture’ solutions that cause damage without benefit, simplifying the science and exaggerating its certainty. Another is scepticism born of a long history of enviro-scares, and failed predictions that are conveniently forgotten. My own scepticism is based on having looked for the evidence to support the alarmist claims, and not having found any. The studies that supposedly underpin it all prove unreliable on close examination. – BBD, with ‘pugnacious confidence’, told us earlier that rigorous fact-checking “invariably reveals the fatal flaws” in scepticism. Just as one example, I offer the Mann’s Hockeystick for such a fact-checked debate. Oh, but no; ‘invariably’ means apart from that one. And that’s typical of this debate. – It’s actually an unusual concession. The mainstream climate scientists continued to promote it long after its flaws were exposed, and I confess I had been expecting BBD to continue to support them. He certainly used to. But as I said earlier, if you actually hold real debates often enough, the weak arguments get driven out by continually getting a good kicking, and the overall quality of arguments gradually improves. We’re a long way behind the curve, and the media’s stuttering attempts are pretty poor so far, but it’s progress. Apparently some people don’t welcome that.

  • BBD

    NIVThanks for providing a classic example of empty ‘sceptical’ rhetoric hinging on the claim that: It’s based on the “multiple lines of evidence” argument in which many studies, each of which is individually dubious, can vote for a collective conclusion. It’s based on Cargo Cult science. So, how do you know that all these studies are ‘dubious’ exactly? And why should anyone accept that you – a non-expert – can overturn the whole scientific understanding without reference to a single published paper – just on the basis of an ‘opinion’ you have formed? All the sceptics have to do is make a robust and coherent scientific case. You appear to argue that this is unnecessary. I think that’s a cover for the fact that they can’t. Or there would be a solid body of work demonstrating that the radiative atmosphere is not as climatologically significant as supposed. Among other things, this would need to reconcile known climate variability in response to minor changes in solar forcing with a low climate sensitivity. You can see why I might be interested in some references, surely? And thanks for bringing up the hockey stick again, both illustrating that it’s all you have and reminding us that it doesn’t make any difference to the current understanding of AGW. Actually, you once said to me that there were “good sceptic papers” making the case but refused to illustrate your claim with references. Just like Jonas. Interesting.

  • BBD

    The mainstream climate scientists continued to promote it long after its
    flaws were exposed, and I confess I had been expecting BBD to continue
    to support them. He certainly used to.

    This is simply not true. I have never endorsed the Mannean hockey stick. Why are you making false statements like this? Doesn’t look good.

  • kdk33

    which studies underpin your scepticismOh, sea level rise, storms, floods, droughts, hurricanes, himilayan glaciers, polar bears, a posteriori attribution claims, and yes there is the pesky little temperature thingy.  Perhaps because you can’t understand that people can form opinions by other means than reading papers and believing everything they say? ExactlyAnd why should anyone accept that you ““ a non-expert ““ can overturn the whole scientific understanding without reference to a single published paper And confirmed.de out.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD have you made up your mind yet? If you wanna see waffle, just read you #38 again. I indeed do express opinions too, but never state them as indisputable facts. And I don’t need to be disingenuous. Simply because I don’t need to. And I avoid overstating my case or opinions, or stating them as and making up facts. Because then I don’t have to cover up for them with more of the same. Posting links to papers you haven’t understood makes you look stupid. Posting links to papers you haven’t even read make you look dishonest. An epithet you’re very keen to label others with (often completely wrong and unfounded). That doesn’t make you look smart either. But your behavior is your decision. Only, others will note it, and judge you accordingly. I for one, already have …. 

  • BBD

    Goodness me Jonas. Lots of anger there. All I asked for was some references to the studies – the actual science – on which you base your scepticism. Why can’t you provide them?

  • Steve Mennie

    Jonas..I used the experession ‘pugnacious confidence’ to refer to your comments @ 66 as you seem to be ranting rather than commenting. By that I mean that you use terms like ‘cargo cult’ when referring to climate science…accuse BBD of “making a bunch of claims, all devoid of substance wrt to any climate issue”…and that he is in “full denial of reality” and it is “exactly that kind of sweeping dismissal and stupid hyperbole (in#38) etc. etc.This sort of language I would call pugnacious..combative and and somewhat belligerent. And you display such confidence in your opinion that the entire subject of AGW is somehow over and done with without citing any evidence to support your opinion/belief. Perhaps you have already done so in earlier postings to the site that I am not aware of. If so please direct me to those postings.Is it really too much to ask that you point to some credible material to justify your confident dismissal of AGW in light of the seeming mountain of evidence pointing in the other direction?I hasten to add that I do not have a science background and like most laymen attempting to understand this complex and potentially fearsome phenomenon, I get lost in much of the arcane material. But from what I have read and watched etc. (from both sides of the debate) the most sensible and plausible evidence is coming from the pro side (for want of a better expression). At the same time, I’m ready to be convinced that it is all baloney…after all life is fraught enough without having to work AGW into the mix. So please give me some evidence that I’m on the wrong track and that it’s just a hoax.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Steve M I’ll try to answer some questions. (Sorry if there is bad formatting/no paragraphs):1. I didn’t use the term Cargo Cult 2. My #66 is not ranting, it expresses why I believe that the climate scare side is losing ground, and avoids debating. My comment is spot on the topic here!3. “Sweeping dismissal and hyperbole” is what a large part of the supporting side has tried. And, nota bene, not only anonymous ill informed blog commenters, but all the way up to (previously) respected scientists and other bodies etc. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘denier’, anti science’ or ‘industry founded smear campaigns’.4. BBD’s claims you can see in #38, and he seems in denial of that the scare side is losing ground both in the public eye and about the science. 5. I didn’t claim “that the entire subject of AGW is somehow over and done with” or any ”
    confident dismissal of AGW  ”, but I maintain the direction of ‘losing ground’. 6. Possibly, you conflate ”
    mountain of evidence” for AGW, with indeed mounting evidence for warming (since ~18th century). From your comments, it also seems that you may conflate a possible A-signal in GW, with AGW being the explanation for all/most of what we see (since 1975, or so) and/or with CAGW, which is fringe version (but which gets most media coverage, and attracts the loopiest supporters)7. I have indeed discussed various parts in detail before. 8. I have not claimed that “ it’s just a hoax”. It seems you (too!) want to weave in all kinds of your own projections when discussing things. Not really addressing what is said. Here, we are talking about the media debate. I cannot see that you address anything I have discussed there. (Rather, it looks like you want to give BBD some ‘supporting fire’ for his very different cause)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #76,“So, how do you know that all these studies are “˜dubious’ exactly?” - * – First, by looking at a number of them and figuring out what they were doing. Second, because that was the IPCC’s opinion too. And while I wouldn’t necessarily take the IPCC’s word for it, I would expect them to take a rosy-tinted view if they could. - * – “And why should anyone accept that you ““ a non-expert ““ can overturn the whole scientific understanding without reference to a single published paper ““ just on the basis of an “˜opinion’ you have formed?” - * – Because I’m not a believer in Argument from Authority. This is pure Argumentum ad Verecundiam – do look it up. - * – I’m enough of an ‘expert’ to read and understand, and I’m not overturning any scientific understanding. The ‘mainstream’ scientific understanding is that unequivocal attribution is impossible, the studies cannot account for all the uncertainties, and a bunch of partisan scientists who are well-known to make insufficient reference to contrary views have added up a lot of speculation to come to a confidently-expressed conclusion by ‘expert judgement’; i.e. substituting their opinion for quantifiable evidence. - * – “All the sceptics have to do is make a robust and coherent scientific case. You appear to argue that this is unnecessary.” - * – It isn’t necessary. Published papers are a work in progress, so so long as you are not claiming it to be ‘settled science’ it just has to be competently done. That goes for both sides. - * – If a hypothesis is to be accepted, it has to have a robust and coherent scientific case. For a hypothesis to be rejected, no alternative robust/coherent hypothesis is needed – all you have to do is show the original hypothesis is not robustly/coherently supported. - * – So all we have to do to be sceptics is show the case for the CAGW hypothesis is not robust. - * – “Among other things, this would need to reconcile known climate variability in response to minor changes in solar forcing with a low climate sensitivity.” - * – You are assuming the climate is one-dimensional. That the only input is a single number: climate forcing – and the only output another single number: global mean surface temperature. You’re also assuming that you know what the value of the climate forcing was in the past, and that the ratio of the two is constant. And you’re assuming that when the numbers in your model don’t add up, and there has to be another unknown factor, high sensitivity is the only possible candidate. - * – There are potentially lots of ways to reconcile them. The climate system is nonlinear and very complicated, and we don’t understand very much of it.

  • kdk33

    NiV highlights one of the more basic fallacies in the climate scare story: that GAT is a more or less complete description of “warming”.  It isn’t.It is, AFAIK, mainstream science that the warming will mostly occur at high latitudes (where it is cold), in the winter time (when it is cold), and at night time (when it is cold); and less so at other times (when it is hot).  No matter what numerical value you attribute to climate sensitiviy, if it is realized in the manner describe above, then it is a lot less scary.  If not, I assume we will hear no more of polar amplification.

  • Steve Mennie

    Jonas N…My apologies for the cargo cult remark..I see it was Nullius in Verba who used the term..(speed-reading).Could you point me to one or two of the public ‘unrigged’ debates where the warmist side comes off badly?kd33 @ 84…”AFAIK, mainstream science that the warming will mostly occur at high latitudes (where it is cold), in the winter time (when it is cold), and at night time (when it is cold); and less so at other times (when it is hot)”…I’m not sure I follow you here

  • BBD

    Jonas NNot a single shred of supporting scientific evidence for your position then. Not one reference to the published literature. Nothing. Just empty rhetoric and misrepresentation.

  • BBD

    NIVSo all we have to do to be sceptics is show the case for the CAGW hypothesis is not robust.But no-one has ever even come close, have they? Have they, NIV?The climate system is nonlinear and very complicated, and we don’t understand very much of it.Oh come on. The old ‘it’s too complicated’ crap. I expected better from you (although come to think of it, I’m not sure why). The *facts* go against you: we know that the radiative atmosphere is climatologically significant, that RF from anthro CO2 emissions is emerging as the dominant forcing and that the most likely value for ECS to 2xCO2 is about 3C. You can deny this until your ears fall off, but it won’t go away. And you look increasingly ridiculous and isolated as you go on. And in your heart of hearts, beneath all the rhetoric and trickery and nonsense, you know it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #85,“AFAIK, mainstream science that the warming will mostly occur at high latitudes (where it is cold),…”See IPCC FAR WGI Ch5 figure 6.5 (b) (second from last page here http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_chapter_05.pdf).This shows the original prediction from 1990 of the projected effect of global warming. You can see both Arctic and Antarctic warm significantly more than the tropics, and if you look at the earlier graphics (fig 5.4) you’ll see it mainly happened during local winter. After it became obvious it wasn’t happening in Antarctica, the models were changed so Antarctica was no longer predicted to warm as much. The reason for the polar amplification was said (p140) to be sea ice feedback – warmer temperatures led to less sea ice led to less sunlight reflected led to more warming, and thinner ice led to less insulation led to more heat loss in winter. But nowadays we know the Arctic sea ice reduction is mainly due to changing winds blowing the pack ice south (Arctic summer temperatures haven’t changed), and the Antarctic sea ice is not reducing.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #87, Projecting much, BBD?

  • BBD

    Dodging much, NIV?

  • BBD

    Since you’re here, let’s have a look at some more of your crap.#One part is about the way climate scientists have behaved ““ hiding data, cherrypicking spurious correlations, blocking opponents from publication, messing up the statistics, and refusing to acknowledge mistakes.# False equivalence – this is all about the hockey stick. We need to look at the relevant science. Where’s the evidence that the atmospheric physicists are all either in error from the RTEs on up or conspiring to fake their results? Or that all the temperature data sets are being systematically manipulated (including Spencer’s UAH TLT reconstruction)? This is, frankly, tinfoil nonsense that wouldn’t pass the fact-check but trips off the toungue in live debate – and gets heard by the audience. It’s Moncktonism. Here you are doing it again:#a bunch of partisan scientists who are well-known to make insufficient reference to contrary views have added up a lot of speculation to come to a confidently-expressed conclusion by “˜expert judgement’; i.e. substituting their opinion for quantifiable evidence.# Once again, conflation of the few with a multi-disciplinary consensus, and once again, false equivalence. Moncktonism. Rhetorical trickery. This has *nothing* to do with the *science*. If you had a scientifically valid argument, you would not need to resort to this sort of thing.#My own scepticism is based on having looked for the evidence to support the alarmist claims, and not having found any. The studies that supposedly underpin it all prove unreliable on close examination.#So you say but do not demonstrate. Empty rhetoric again. Your unsupported opinion. I prefer references. So do most people. And there is a good reason for that, which your position is forcing you to deny at the expense of your credibility. This can only end one way. Smart chap like you must have worked that out by now.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #91, Strawman. Incorrect assertion and ad populam. Argument from Authority.

  • BBD

    You are completely stuck, aren’t you? Reduced to evasive witter.

  • BBD

    Take away your hockey crutch and climategate and focus on the science (and insist on a referenced argument from you) and… nothing. How did climategate change our understanding of the climatological effects of the radiating atmosphere? Which papers have been withdrawn as a result of the theft? Which temperature time-series have been substantially revised ditto? I cannot say this enough times: you have nothing. And you know it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #93,
    Stuck with what? Your #87 objected to the claim that climate is complicated and not fully understood. Are you claiming it’s simple and you understand it fully? It then just repeated the assertions about the conclusions from the unvalidated climate models.

    Your #91 shifts ground from “all sceptical arguments are flawed” to “only the relevant physics matters, sceptics are claiming everything from the radiative transfer equations on up have been falsified” which is moving the goalposts and a strawman. I haven’t claimed the RTEs have been falsified. Your second asserts that I had confused the few with a multi-disciplinary consensus, which is incorrect. The consensus statement you refer to was generated by the few, in the way I said. And relying on ‘consensus’ is argument ad populam again. And then the third section you demand references for an absence of evidence, and you go on to tell me that most people prefer references which again is argument from authority. You finish off both comments with some bluster about how I’m isolated and ridiculous and losing credibility. Well, I wouldn’t be a sceptic if I was bothered about isolation, and I wouldn’t use the pseudonym if I was bothered about credibility. Besides which, from where I’m sitting it looks like rather the reverse to me. There are plenty more people who think like me, and find this sort of thing credible. You wouldn’t get so wound up about it if that wasn’t true.

    So I’ve really no idea what argument you think you’re making that I’m getting stuck on.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #94,

    And now you’re saying that I don’t have anything unless the bent scientists revealed by Climategate themselves withdraw their papers and revise their data?!

    That’s the point. If they withdrew and revised results discovered to be wrong, as proper scientists should, we might have more trust in what’s left. But they don’t. They’ll bluster their way through, and be supported by the Establishment in doing so, and damn the evidence.

    That’s the flaw in Argument from Authority. For believers it’s unfalsifiable.

  • BBD

    #And now you’re saying that I don’t have anything unless the bent scientists revealed by Climategate themselves withdraw their papers and revise their data?!That’s the point. If they withdrew and revised results discovered to be wrong, as proper scientists should, we might have more trust in what’s left. But they don’t. They’ll bluster their way through, and be supported by the Establishment in doing so, and damn the evidence.#Conspiracy theory, accusation of serious scientific misconduct and an unreferenced and baseless dismissal of the scientific consensus by a non-expert. What are we to think? Perhaps that you have nothing except rhetoric at your disposal?

  • harrywr2

    #94How did climategate change our understanding of the climatological
    effects of the radiating atmosphere? Which papers have been withdrawn as
    a result of the theft? Which temperature time-series have been
    substantially revised ditto?
    None…and that would be something sceptics would point to. If the main scientists who are tasked with giving the world a ‘detached view’ of the state of the science have been shown to have ‘crossed the line’ into ‘advocacy land’ then their science can’t be trusted. My cousin works for a venture capital firm as a ‘minder’. The founders of ‘start up’ companies are ‘true believers’ in the viability of their product/business idea…and as such can not be trusted. It doesn’t matter whether the founders of start ups are ‘good honest people’…by definition they are ‘true believers’ and will blind themselves before admitting that maybe their idea wasn’t so great after all.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #97,

    It doesn’t require a conspiracy, and dismissal of arguments from authority require no references.

    (Although I could offer Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding if you’re really desperate for one.)

    Perhaps you have nothing but Argument from Authority ad Populam at your disposal?

  • BBD

    No, Nullius, there’s that rather large body of science that no sceptic has ever even come close to falsifying. Radiating atmosphere; increased RF from CO2; well-supported estimate of ECS. You need more than rhetoric or diversionary waffle about logical formalism to make this go away. So why the reliance on rhetoric and waffle about logical formalisms?

  • BBD

    And how the hell did you get paragraph breaks in your # 99? It’s rigged, I tell you. Rigged.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #100,

    Are you seriously claiming now that sceptics dispute every single aspect of climate science? Why the reliance on strawmen and logical fallacies?

    #101,
    :-)

  • BBD

    You are avoidng the issue again. Where’s the scientific basis for your belief that ‘CAGW’ is an ‘alarmist’ myth? I’ve looked long and hard and I can’t find one and you refuse to disclose yours. Rational debate cannot proceed unless you provide a coherent and robust scientific counter-argument. Where is it?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #103,

    OK, let’s start with the validation of the climate models, on which most of this is founded. Can you find for me where it is shown that the models are sufficiently accurate to predict local climate far outside the range of conditions that have been observed? Do they accurately predict local climate – i.e. the statistical distribution of the weather? Do they accurately predict the spatial distribution of the changes, including the absence of a tropical hotspot? Do they accurately predict the temporal distribution, such as the lead-lag behaviour reported in Spencer & Braswell 2010? Has it been demonstrated that the fit is better than can be expected given the number of adjustable parameters? How many adjustable parameters are there, and how well are their values known? How well do climate models deal with clouds, precipitation, convection, and extreme weather? How much effort has been devoted to trying to construct appropriately tuned models with low CO2 sensitivity, to demonstrate the difficulty?

    This is the sort of thing I would expect to be thoroughly and accessibly documented before anyone took any of the projections seriously. Model validation is a standard requirement in any other field. And yet I keep finding admissions that the models don’t actually model the climate in detail all that well, but that somehow this ‘doesn’t matter’. This assertion seems based more on ‘gut feel’ (or ‘expert judgement’ as they call it) than any quantifiable evidential basis.

  • BBD

    All you need to do is account for the entire observed climate change (cryospheric, SST, OHC, GAT, regional SAT etc) with a coherent, robust *scientific* explanation that falsifies the consensus on the effects of RF from CO2. ‘Most of this’ is happening irrespective of the models. So explain. 

  • BBD

    With references.

  • Bob Koss

    #85 Steve Mennie, **NPR has one of those debates you requested.  **http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9082151 **”In this debate, the proposition was: “Global Warming Is Not a Crisis.” In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided.”

  • Bob Koss

    I included the asterisks to hopefully aid in readability, but now see they must be removed from the end of the URL in order to access the debate.

  • kdk33

    BBD,If you want to do ‘science’ by counting citations, you are certainly free to do so.  But it is puzzling why you bother to debate anyone.  Simply assert that more magazine articles say climate doom than say otherwise - noone will disagree with you – then call this your basis for scientific understanding.  Case closed. **-**  It would save a lot of time. 

  • BBD

    AR4 WG1 = ‘magazine articles’? And all the previous and subsequent literature published in reviewed journals too? Who knew? But seriously, where is the coherent and robust scientific basis for your scepticism? Wheel it out. The hour is getting late.

  • BBD

    ‘No reason to get excited’,
    The thief he kindly spoke.
    ‘There are many here among us
    Who feel that life is but a joke.
    But you and I, we’ve been through that,
    And this is not our fate.
    So let us not talk falsely now,
    The hour is getting late.’

  • kdk33

    In the data, BBD.  **-**  Sea level rise **-** Storms **-** Floods **-** Droughts **-** Sea Ice **-** Temperature. **-** Human Prosperity.  **-** There just isn’t anything ‘scary’.

  • OPatrick

    Bob Koss @107 the npr debate is a clear example of a format that is entirely worthless for increasing understanding. Throughout the debate the two sides throw in references without any realistic possibility of judging the credibility of those references. Almost every point ends with a disagreement between the two sides without any resolution or any idea how such a resolution could be reached.As an aside I’m also sceptical of the reported audience swing. I don’t believe that anyone who actually had an opinion on this issue before the debate would have changed their mind as a result of listening to it. The audience reaction throughout the debate, for example to Phillip Stott’s stand-up sceptical comedy introduction, suggests they were strongly partisan. I suspect some gaming of the voting system. How easy is it to claim one position at the start and a different one at the end?

  • Steve Mennie

    Have to say I agree with OPatrick @113…I was immediately put off by the fact that Creighton was on the panel..I’m not really sure what a fiction writer has to contribute other than his personal opinion and as OP said, the back and forth without any resolution nor any possibility of judging the weight of references was a disappointment.However, as I fell asleep around the half-way mark, I’ll listen again today to see what I missed.This climate ‘debate’ was like most ‘debates’ (which seem more and more to follow the political model) seemed to be mainly spectacle with no real attempt to further one’s knowledge…mostly heat and not much light.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Did my last comment disappear? Or held up?        OPatrick (and Steve M too), you sound like you are whining. You sound like you only want to play if you already beforehand know that you’ll ‘win’. And you argue incessantly that rules need to be changed to ensure that.       Little kids argue that way.  

  • Steve Mennie

    Jonas N…I’d be the first to admit to being inept at expressing myself in a manner that truly communicates …but I don’t see how you can interpret my comments as ‘whining’.  First of all, I’m not comfortable with the concept of ‘winning’ or the idea of ‘arguing’ as you have used it. (As well, you previously described my comments as ‘providing supportive fire’ for BBD – another illusion to some sort of fire-fight.) I feel that these allusions to ‘battle’ are not really appropriate…or helpful. I really am most interested in the exchange of thoughtful, supported (or supportable) information and my goal would be to broaden my understanding regarding AGW – not ‘winning’ an argument. I often find that the discussion on this site devolves into something akin to a high school debating society where commentors (commentators?) jockey for position slinging mud and Latin in equal measure. The result is that the underlying questions with regard to AGW become lost in the attempt to score points and ‘win’. So I would say that no, I’m not interested in ‘playing’ only if I know beforehand that I’m going to ‘win’…but I am interested in playing if I feel there is a chance of actually gaining some information that will help me understand the situation and to better evaluate proposals for mitigation or adaptation to what is – potentially at least –  a grave threat.

  • BBD

    Steve Mennie: The result is that the underlying questions with regard to AGW become lost in the attempt to score points and “˜win’. True of course. And efforts were made on this thread to get at the basis for the sceptical argument. You can review the results and draw your own conclusions.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Steve M, I was mostly addressing OPatrick (I thought that was clear). Bu you do complain about the poor selection of debaters <b>on the other side</b>!?                Personally, I think the selection on the pro-climate-scare side was poor, and that the most knowledgeable among them (Gavin) did not make a good case, as if unaccustomed to the situation, the format. I think he spent his time poorly.                                                     But it was a debate where both sides where allowed to participate on plane playing field.                    There have been others thereafter (this was five years old). Some more technical, some more general. Generally they don’t (attempt to) answer all (or many) questions. Rather they try to establish, back and forth, what the playing field is. What is essential and what is not, what the debate should be about. And they disagree.           What else do you expect?                      You say: “ really am most interested in the exchange of thoughtful, supported (or supportable) information and my goal would be to broaden my understanding regarding AGW ““ not “˜winning’ an argument”. And my earlier point was, that this would would be possible if the question hadn’t been politicized. And if the pro-AGW side would have stuck to doing proper science, and dealing with the questions that arose. Instead of trying to ‘win the battle’ …                Now, they are in a cul-de-sac, and whatever they do, will hurt them. I think that is why you see so many of them trying at all costs avoiding public honest debates. Because they most certainly will  have a hard time convincing people that aren’t already convinced, while risking losing those who sided with them based on faith and perceived authority.                                  There is interesting discussion going on about the topics. In various fora. But you will note the same thing there: The pro-AGW-side is very reluctant to participate if it not also is allowed to make the rules. Unfortunately, ClimateGate revealed how bad this has become even within the ‘serious climate science’. IPCC reports, of course are the same thing.           If you are interested, your best bet would be to listen to the best arguments from one side, and listen to the other side’s best arguments and criticism, and make your own judgement. You will not find a dispassionate authority who will make that ruling for you. Open debate is still the best arbiter. And you may want to notice who shuns it … 

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Keith Kloor, please do something about the formatting. Anything is better than this .. 

  • OPatrick

    Jonas N, in a sense you are correct - I only want debates in a format that I am confident my side will win, because I want debates that don’t unfairly advantage one side. I want debates where rhetoric isn’t the only tool that matters. I want debates where those who seek to increase confusion are not guaranteed to be able to achieve their aim.

  • BBD

    It’d be helpful to know what exactly Jonas *is* arguing. On what referenced, coherent scientific basis his scepticism rests.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    OPatric        Again your trying to equate lack of knowledge, understanding, certainty .. to raising doubt …. even adding confusion.                                 As I said, your argument is from the viewpoint that the end result already  known and that any ‘debate’ only should confirm this.              And you will be completely wrong: Because one side has overstated knowledge, its understanding, the certainty of the assertions etc vastly. You are in fact demanding that this is not mentioned.                          Because your agenda is not understanding the nature of the real world. It is (at best) catering to your own beliefs, having them confirmed, and having it presented to a wider public in that way too. And not letting any sceptics dilute that message by pointing out ‘doubt’ (or as you say ‘increasing confusion’).           As i said in #50, I have a good idea about why that (your) ‘fear’ is justified. And I’m quite certain that too is why many pro-AGW debaters are so afraid of an open debate. You (and BBD) only confirm this by complaining over that (technically ‘how’) other voices are allowed in the public arena …                                                 It’s quite depressing to see how afraid the ‘consensus/the-science-is-settled’ supporters are of actually arguing this, their most cherished argument and appeal to authority ..  

  • BBD

    #quite depressing to see how afraid the
    “˜consensus/the-science-is-settled’ supporters are of actually arguing
    this, their most cherished argument and appeal to authority ..  #
      Well anything more solid than your say-so would help, Jonas. Or is yours the only authority of reference here?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #116,

    “I really am most interested in the exchange of thoughtful, supported (or
    supportable) information and my goal would be to broaden my
    understanding regarding AGW ““ not “˜winning’ an argument.”

    A laudable aim. If you don’t mind some friendly advice, it helps to support the position of an impartial seeker after knowledge by not taking sides too early, by being explicit (and perhaps a bit more specific) about what you want to know, and by acknowledging information given from either side.

    Stuff like “To be charitable, I’m quite certain that you are not nearly as obtuse as you appear in your post” gives the impression of taking sides and seeking to win the argument. So does asking after the “pugnacious confidence” of one side but not the other.

    You asked about warming at high latitudes and in winter, and you got an answer, which you didn’t acknowledge. You asked about example debates, and got an answer, which led you to complain about Creighton being on the panel, say you didn’t think it offered any insight, and that you fell asleep half way through. You didn’t mention any of the technical arguments. You’re relentlessly negative about one side throughout. It understandably gives the impression of being a partisan, and not interested in the contents of the debate. Would you agree?

    There’s nothing wrong with being a partisan. But if you want to broaden your understanding, you do have to listen to other views without the partisan filters, at least temporarily.

    Single, short debates of this sort cannot give a detailed understanding of such a complex subject in an hour or whatever. They function as high-level maps of the issues: the main arguments and counter-arguments, and where the controversies are. If you hear only one side you tend to believe it all; if you hear both, you know what questions to ask. You can research them later, if you feel the need.

    As OPatrick implies, a debate in which one side gets to speak unchallenged, the other excluded and ridiculed with no platform to reply, tends to favour the position selling certainty.

    Given your apparent partisan prior position, I rather doubt that looking at debates with sceptics will help you “broaden your understanding”. You’ll presumably dismiss anything outside your narrow expectations, as you’ve dismissed those arguing with BBD and OP here. If you’re serious, you might like to start again.

  • BBD

    NIV: #There’s nothing wrong with being a partisan. But if you want to broaden your understanding, you do have to listen to other views without the partisan filters, at least temporarily.# If there was a plausible scientific basis for scepticism, it would be visible. There would be fierce debate over such a vexed question within mainstream scientific discourse. There isn’t. The idea that a few ‘top scientists’ in ‘the Team’ could suppress this debate is tinfoil. But that, essentially, is what you are arguing. 

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD, it looks like you are reading comments you claimed not to read. And even demanding answers to questions you don’t understand (even when reading). Your behavior seems a bit strange, erratic ..                                                                                                   But my best answer to you is still #70. If you want to go anywhere, that’s where you need to start … Anybody who believes in #38 (as repeated in #64), puts this forward as his best case..  is completely uninteresting

  • BBD

    No science, Jonas? None at #70 either. If you have a case, you need to make it. Coherently and referenced.

  • jeffn

    “There would be fierce debate over such a vexed question within mainstream scientific discourse. There isn’t.”
    #125, BBD

    This is an interesting point. The fact is that there is really isn’t any reason to fiercley debate a non-issue. There may be a “fierce” political debate around GMO food, for example, but not among scientists.

    My sense is that most, like Freeman Dyson, don’t really care about AGW and have learned the hard way not to say that around the true believers and hysterics. It’s like dinner with that vegan niece, just nod your head and mumble something affirmative or she’ll go on for hours about factory farming.

  • OPatrick

    Jonas N, I don’t understand why you keep writing things like “You are in fact demanding that this is not mentioned” when I am doing nothing of the sort. I don’t want to stop any ‘sceptic’ saying anything, I just want a debate format where positions need to be justified, assertions supported and misrepresentation can be adequately pointed out. I’m not sure why you find this such a frightening prospect (actually that’s not entirely true, I think I understand fairly well why you’re so adverse to it).

  • OPatrick

    jeffn, do you think the evidence for the existence of GMO foods has been exaggerated as well?

  • OPatrick

    Nullius in Verba you write “As OPatrick implies, a debate in which one side gets to speak unchallenged, the other excluded and ridiculed with no platform to reply, tends to favour the position selling certainty.” I’m sure it’s true that any debate format in which one side gets such an advantage will favour them, whatever they are selling, but I’m not clear where I have implyed this.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #125,

    There is a fierce debate. It’s just not exposed in public.

    #127,

    Your question was already answered above at #83. The burden of proof is on the one with the hypothesis, not the sceptic.

    It would be like claiming that gravity occurs because of the quantum effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, and when people poke holes in that theory demanding that they give a complete unification of quantum mechanics with gravity in refutation. With references.

    I had a go at starting a conversation with you about it at #104, and you ignored it. It would have been pointless anyway with you, because you’re invested in the outcome.

    #131,

    That’s a description of what we’ve got now. As we transition from a format where one side has control to one where both sides get a say, you object because it aids the one selling uncertainty. The implication is that not making the transition aids the one selling certainty. Yes?

    The more sophisticated sort of debate you want is further down the same road. You have to start with being able to have a debate before you can add cool features like inline fact-checking.

  • OPatrick

    “That’s a description of what we’ve got now. ” No it isn’t. That’s a description of what you claim to think we have now.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    OPatrick,you have been whining about that one side brings up uncertainties, instills doubt, increases confusion. You label this as ‘rhetorics’. And you’ve been doing that for days, complaining about the format where this can happen.                                                                       What you need to understand is that ‘uncertainty’ is at the very base of the scientific discussion. Particularly for a young and immature field like ‘climate’. Almost nothing is properly understood. Almost all involved mechanisms are tentative at best. The entire idea of a ‘climate sensitivity’: a scalar representation of climate as a number, which is governed by another number (‘forcing’) through yet another value (‘climate sensitivity’) is an oversimplification to the extreme. Every step of the simplifications made to arrive at such a rudimentary description is potentially a gigantic ‘uncertainty’.                                                     If this isn’t addressed, if you want to avoid such fundamental matters being brought up, you are not interested in debating reality. And as you indicated in #120, you are interested in ‘debates’ where your side stands a chance of looking better than their case actually is (here only wrt one point).                                          I acknowledge that desire (even understand why your side would rather have it that way). But this has nothing to do with an level honest debate about the issue. I think you are still whining (regardless of if you feel, I sometimes don’t (para)phrase your ‘objections’ absolutely perfect). Anyway, who are you to request that such debates (over real differences, about real things, scientific and political) should be held in certain ways, avoiding issues you feel are not good (for your side)?

  • OPatrick

    Jonas N, I haven’t been ‘whining’ about uncertainties, my position, yet again, is that debates such as these suit those who want to unjustifiably increase doubt and confusion. If your aim is not to confuse and if you think that the doubt is justifiable then there is no reason for you to object to my possition. Your points about uncertainty are unrelated. I don’t want to avoid any issues being brought up. I don’t want to avoid any issues.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    It seems my comment didn’t get trough. (Reposted, I was told I had already posted it). This has happened before, and I don’t know the reason. I’ll try this one and will repost again, later.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    (New try:)
    Yes you are, Patrick
    ________________________________________________________________________Who are you to claim that unresolved uncertainties are ‘unjustifiable’ to bring up!?  It would be more appropriate to say that the claimed certainties, the confidence is ‘unjustifiable’. I can tell you (albeit you will not hear it from ‘your side’) that there is no science underpinning the high confidence claims made by the IPCC AR4, which you probably have heard many times. Further, you need to cope with that a debate is between sides who disagree! Thus means by definition (!) that each side thinks that some positions of the other are not justified. Either not based on facts (that claims are false) or that they don’t value facts the same way, and what conclusions/policies they warrant..  
    ________________________________________________________________________I don’t object to your position. But I think it is silly. I am glad we are slowly moving awa from when all media, parties, politics, debates and public discourse only reported the activist’s position. You have told me that you don’t like debates where both sides equally can put forward what they feel is their best case. You have used all kinds of words describing how this is ‘unfair’ based on your perception of the ‘other side’ (dishonest, increasing doubt and confusion, unjustified etc). My answer is
    ________________________________________________________________________Deal with it! Get used to it! Accept the fact that your side needs to make a much better case than ‘consensus’ ’97%’ ‘but the IPCC says … ‘ or ‘the model simulations tell us … ‘ etc. Which it used to get away with, especially in the eyes of the uninformed public
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Whining about the format, about that your (side’s) words arent accepted as gospel (anymore) will just make you look even weaker. There is no ‘justice’ when it comes to public opinion. Believe me, for many years, a large portion of the public did indeed believe that there was/is/will come a ‘climate crisis’ and that politicians all over the world tried to do their damnest to abate it. But you can’t maintain such a idiotic narrative indefinitely. And that’s good, it is long since overdue ..
     

  • OPatrick

    “Who are you to claim that unresolved uncertainties are “˜unjustifiable’ to bring up!?”  I haven’t claimed that.  ”You have told me that you don’t like debates where both sides equally can put forward what they feel is their best case.” No I haven’t.

  • kdk33

    debates such as these suit those who want to unjustifiably increase doubt and confusion.   ***-***Any debate allows both sides to ‘unjustifiably’ further their cause. That is what the debate is about – both sides think the other is wrong: unjustifiable by definition.  Now, if you want to have a debate that prevents the other side from saying/promulgating the unjustifiable…. it will be a monologue.  ***-***As has been said many times, it is the doubt, the uncertainty, that is central to the debate.  Warministas say:  climate is understood well enough to justify certain policy.  Realists say:  climate is not understood well (ie there is doubt) so policy isn’t justified.  ***-***

  • kdk33

    AR4 WG1 = “˜magazine articles’? *** Actually worse than that:  a summary of magazine articles. ***-*** One of the premises you’ll need to get your mind around is how little weight some of us place on appeals to authority.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    OPatrick … you have been whining and complaining and pouting about that the other side gets to have their say! Deal with it! And now you are whining because I read what you write, and tell you that you are whining. If you are saying anything at all, is that a debate with equal opportunities for boths sides suits the side who can handle this better. How can it be any other way? Deal with it. And quit whining!

  • BBD

    NIV: There is a fierce debate. It’s just not exposed in public. That’s complete and utter crap. You have now been reduced to fabricating nonsense in support of your ‘scepticism’. This is why we need fact checkers for you lot. All the lies.

  • BBD

    kdk33: AR4 WG1 = “˜magazine articles’? *** Actually worse than that:  a summary
    of magazine articles. ***-*** One of the premises you’ll need to get
    your mind around is how little weight some of us place on appeals to
    authority.
    Complete and utter crap. We are talking about WORKING GROUP ONE here. You know ‘the one with the science in’. You are going to need to get your head around the fact that making stuff up, failing to understand the basics, having nothing by way of a coherent scientific argument and a tenuous grasp on reality adds up to *jack shit* in grown-up land. When someone in your position says – in all seriousness – that they place very little weight on ‘appeals to authority’, by which they mean real science as opposed to the clap-trap you lot believe in, the rest of us laugh. Loud and long.

  • BBD

    More abusive trolling from Jonas, I see. A man with a big mouth and absolutely *nothing at all* by way of a referenced, coherent scientific case. Just a very nasty case of the Galileo delusion. Jonas – I am laughing at you, too.

  • Nullius in Verba

    It appears this thread has gone off the rails again into abuse and unpleasantness. If you can’t debate it with civility, you’ve lost the argument anyway.

  • JimR

    Yes, that has been happening a lot here. The comments on this blog used to be very informative but now seem to quickly sink to personal remarks.

  • BBD

    Nice try at deflecting attention from the fact that you haven’t got an argument NIV. Not a coherent, referenced scientifically robust one, anyway. I’ve noticed this tactic with you before: when you are losing ground you either vanish or start huffing about the standard of debate. It’s the standard of your argument that is the problem. And you know it.

  • BBD

    And since you are being slippery when caught in a lie, I’m going to pursue it. You claim – falsely – that there is a ‘fierce debate’ within climate science that is ‘hidden from the public’. Now, I’m calling this a lie. You can prove me wrong, or you can retract it.

  • BBD

    Oh, and not tired old crap about the hockey stick, NIV. I want evidence that – per your false claim – there is a ‘fierce debate’ within climate science about AGW that is being ‘hidden from the public’. If you are going to air conspiracy theories, you are going to have to back them up, convincingly and in detail.

  • Steve Mennie

    BBD…I really don’t know how you do it. I’ve had more rewarding exchanges with my fridge.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD, regardless of how much you bark and bitch, you won’t impress anybody who knows the least bit of real science with your rants. You simply don’t know what science is. Instead you are talking about references (publications). Your dead wrong on so many counts, and completely ignorant on others. You needed help reading and understanding your own linked references, and couldn’t handle what they actually did and said. And challenged the least little bit about some detail you simply disintegrate. Telling you something you haven’t heard from your authorities (whatever that is), reveals almost immediately that you are totally lost in the world of physics and real science. And this goes even for the simplest bits, like ‘energetically insignificant’ wrt the UHI effect. Or winter to summer H2O levels proving (!) high sensitivity to CO2!? Preemptive guessing what ‘noise’ should be done away with. We’re not talking science here, not even advanced physics. Just basics of what the issues are. And every time you try, the result is the same, brainless barking like above, often riddled with sheer nonsense. ___________________________________________________________But do continue, I don’t mind. I expect as much from the climate scare hang-arounds. People like you are one of the reasons OPatrick feels that any level debate favors the realist side … 

  • BBD

    Steve Mennie: BBD”¦I really don’t know how you do it. I’ve had more rewarding exchanges with my fridge. Anger.

  • BBD

    Jonas. Waffle. Where is your coherent, referenced scientific argument for your so-called scepticism? Okay, I know you don’t have one because it doesn’t exist, but it’s fun watching all the different ways you dodge the question. Although the amusement is wearing thin now. But the point is made, isn’t it Jonas? You have nothing, do you Jonas? Nothing at all.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD .. *you are scientifically illiterate. That’s why you are incapable of discussing even your own linked references. I can’t help you with your shortcomings, especially not against your will.                   *What you produce is waffle. Copied abstracts of references you haven’t read. Which you wouldn’t understand if you did.           *We’ve even tried reading them a few times. Disaster for you, every time.      *You know, BBD, you’ve been given helpful explanations from quite a few. About the absolute simplest things about how science works. Really, the absolutely simplest basic concepts. And they blew right past you. You didn’t even recognize them. Just went on with your stupid blathering. *As I said, you sound like an ill informed bureaucrat who had his training in some soft field, who now is allowed to play with some science database, and copies various words and phrases. Thinking they are the ‘science’. Which once more shows you have absolutely no clue. Just like your few and equally clueless friends at Deltoid. Barking and guessing and hoping, desperately. That somebody else has a clue. *Pathetic, the lot of you! 

  • kdk33

    BBD,I think you are off your meds.  Bad boy, bad boy.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #147, #148, #149, etc. etc.

    You lost the argument back when you started swearing at people.

    If you can’t act like an adult and conduct a civilised debate, I don’t have any interest in participating. You can interpret that how you like.

    #150,

    Oho. Have you, now?

    But seriously, the question is not how he does it, but why. If there’s no reward, why do it? And in particular, why interfere with the conversation of people who do find it rewarding by constantly interjecting?

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    I agree … it seems to be getting worse. *BBD have you yet understood why ‘energetically insignificant’ is completely, and I mean really completely and totally irrelevant for any UHI effect? Why it signifies how little you have understood of the issue?*If you have, please inform us. If you haven’t, or if you are to proud to admit how ill informed that was, then don’t. *You know BBD, your problem is that on an internet forum, all your comments stay and remain and can be read again. 

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    NiV, I noticed how you’ve tried explaining some of the very basics of what science is about to our resident troll. It seems he really, and I mean really really did not get one single syllable of it. I have tried similar things before. Helping him with the simplest things, spoon feeding him. With what the UHI effect was about, that you can’t look at the numbers and ‘decide’ what part is noise and can be disregarded. Or what measurements of atmospheric IR do show, and what they don’t. I realize now, I was aiming way too high. Even the concept of a scientific hypothesis seems to be way over his head. Not to speak of what one implies, and what it doesn’t. PS I don’t mind the insults. It’s what I expect. The funny thing is that even ‘esteemed’ ‘climate scientists’ can sound like him. The impress as much, don’t you think.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #157,Jonas, if you keep poking him, he’ll keep on getting worse. Amusing as it might be to wind him up, I think the disruption annoys Keith, and might provoke him into starting to moderate with a heavier hand. That probably wouldn’t be so good for people he disagrees with anyway. I think the point has by now been well made.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #158,
    He used to be a lot better in the past. We had some genuinely interesting discussions. I’m fairly sure he knows perfectly well what we’re talking about, but marshalling detailed arguments is hard work and he’s just got lazy. For some reason he feels a desperate need that we should not be allowed to speak unopposed, but can no longer manage to muster the arguments to properly oppose us.
    But however that might be, once he’s gone incoherent, there’s no longer any point in continuing. Likewise I’m not bothered by the name-calling, but Keith’s blog has been an island of civilisation in a sea of that sort of thing, and it would be a shame to lose it.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Well NiV, I let him be for the longest time. He stated officially in #21 that he ignored me. And he has made similar proclamations before. But in spite of this, he really wanted to pick a fight again. Several times too. And I ignored him for quite some time. And the insults kept escalating. I really can’t take any responsibility for his behavior. If Keith wants to give BBD a helping hand by moderating those who respond to his drivel and provocations, that would reflect very poorly on Keith. (But I do admit it making BBD look worse is part of the fun. Having any civilized interaction is, I think, impossible with a ctrl-C ctrl-V SkSc keybord warrior) 

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    NiV, now you say that he actually is smarter than he portrays himself here. But that is quite hard to accept. For two reasons. Few people want to look stupid in public, or chose this as a strategy for anything. Secondly, the more technical discussions I had with him were about issues he brought up, claims he uttered. And when addressed or questioned, there was really nothing at all behind the words. Empty blustering .. and nothing else. Even after repeated and detailed explanations he would be clueless about the very things he himself brought up. Sorry, but it is hard to accept ‘laziness’ as the sole explanation for that … 

  • BBD

    Just listen to you lot. Everything but a decent scientific argument for your bizarre rejection of the scientific consensus on AGW. Just paragraphs of empty waffling. This has been an instructive thread, hasn’t it?

  • BBD

    NIV: you seem to have forgotten about the lie. See # 147 – #149. Isn’t it funny how you can yack on to JN for several paragraphs and yet completely overlook the rather serious matter of being caught in a lie?

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    Input your comments here…You don’t know what a scientific argument is, not even what science is … empty waffle about ‘consensus’ .. but we already knew that

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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, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and 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.

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