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« Open advocacy | Main | Lewandowsky and the paleoparticipant »

The trust me crowd and the show me crowd

The Chemist in Langley has another post on type 1 and type 2 errors, which is just as good as his last one. I found this quote particularly perspicacious:

A colleague at work describes the difference as roughly the “trust me crowd” versus the “show me crowd”. The trust me crowd can show that some anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past and that models suggest that future conditions are going to get worse. They produce their documentation via the peer reviewed press and in doing so address all the touchstones of the scientific method. Having met the high bar of “good science” they anticipate that their word will be taken as good.

The show me crowd looks at the “good science” and points out that many historical predictions of doom and gloom (that previously met the test of good science) have been shown to be overheated or just plain wrong. They also point out that the best models have not done a very good job with respect to the “pause”. Given this they ask for a demonstration that the next prediction is going to be better than the last one. This does not mean that they deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming. Rather they are not comfortable with cataclysmic predictions and calls for immediate action prior to a demonstration that those predictions can be supported with something approaching real data.

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Reader Comments (70)

I liked this bit:

Academics trust that the scientific process, when carried out according to the norms of science, will result in the most reliable outcome/predictions. Perfection is not possible but once you reach a certain level of certainty, perfection is not necessary. This level of internal trust (trust that has been tested through peer review) results in a habit of trusting in a group consensus and, some might argue, insular thinking. It unfortunately also can accommodate individuals who take on the mantle of authority from the group to make predictions, even when the predictions may not be fully supported by the findings of the group. In essence the group will often protect their own and keep their arguments behind closed doors (or between the editor and writer). I readily admit that I am painting with a very broad brush and there are mavericks in every group but my observations are based on general characteristics of the community.

The tendency to protect insiders against uppity outsiders (and even uppity insiders!) is depressingly strong in the climate science community.

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Thanks for sharing!

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterFindia group

I tried to post at ACIL but could not to do it at his site, hence this post. He writes:
"A colleague at work describes the difference as roughly the “trust me crowd” versus the “show me crowd”. The trust me crowd can show that some anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past and that models suggest that future conditions are going to get worse. They produce their documentation via the peer reviewed press and in doing so address all the touchstones of the scientific method. Having met the high bar of “good science” they anticipate that their word will be taken as good."
Two questions for ACCIL: What evidence is there that anthropogenic CLIMATE change has happened in the past. Is he referring to micro-climates?
Secondly, does he truly think that the "trust me crowd" has addressed "all the touchstones of good science"? Can he give an example?
The spectre of toeing the party line seems imminent.

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorley Sutter

I liked:

"Sceptics [..] are averse to trusting any process where they cannot see the sausages being made."

I think this may resonate with many looking in from other disciplines. Last year's notorious report of the researcher who claimed to generate pluripotent stem cells with a simple acid treatment* was quickly felled because sceptics didn't need to take it on trust. They could, and did, go into the lab and try the alleged sausage-making-process for themselves.

Sceptics from such disciplines have seen more failed hypotheses than many Climate Scientists have had hot dinners.

[*Bonus point available for any reader who can think of another current BS claim about the effect of small pH changes on cellular organisms.]

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming". Bad choice of words. Sounds like an illogical bind.

To be honest the author is just describing the age old battle of theorists v empiricists with a touch of scientists trying to play engineers and failing. The trouble is their failure to recognise this or to display humility is costing us billions.

A man's gotta know his limitations.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

I think it was Carl Sagan who observed that extraordinary scientific claims require extraordinary evidence. He was I believe speaking in the context of UFOs but his dictum arguably applies to climate science. If you want to convince people that you can predict accurately 100 years into the future the course of an inherently chaotic non-linear system with imperfect data and an incomplete understanding of the actual science, you really do need extraordinary evidence. Simple peer review does not cut it in my view.

Peer review depends too critically on the competence and professional integrity of the reviewers, and given what appears to be a regrettable modern tendency of any professional community to be self serving, and to close ranks in times of trouble, some external validation is surely necessary. Hence the value of the internet and blogs like BH climate audit and the like.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered Commentermitcheltj

"The trust me crowd can show that some anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past".

I accept that there are at present and have been in the past a variety of human activities that have quite likely had some effect on climate. In addition to the emissions of CO2 and water vapour from fuel combustion one thinks of forest clearance, soot on snow, particulate and photochemical pollution of the atmosphere,replacing dark colored grassland with light coloured cereal crops, water vapour ice in the stratosphere from jet aircraft - and there may be others.

The magnitude of the effects of these influences is unknown and they act in both directions, some tending to warm and some tending to cool.

There is a significant difference between anthropogenic effects that are known ( or can be reasonably be speculated) to have an influence on climate and the assertion that " anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past" however.

Are any examples of past anthropogenic climate change presented and justified?

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeospeculator


The risk of AGW is so high, that despite the uncertainty/quality of the science and no matter what the cost or ineffectiveness of the solutions, society must do anything it can to reduce CO2.


Society won’t significantly reduce CO2, no matter how high the risk of AGW because of the quality/uncertainty of the science and the expense and ineffectiveness of the solutions.

We must versus we won’t.

There is a third, much bigger group that must be considered.

Everyone Else

Well that’s all very interesting… NOT. I might think about it tomorrow.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

As I see it "Climate Science" involves making best guesses about what will happen in future. If other 'scientists' then agree that the guesses are the best that can be made at that time, then this becomes "peer-reviewed 'science".

To the sceptics a guess is still a guess unless robust backtesting has been done with success. This involves looking back to see if the guess (or model) was any good or not.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Academics want to affect policy without ever being open to criticism of the gross assumptions in their workings and so far they've got away with it. There is no natural restraint on efforts to produce hockey-sticks from thin air because the more pessimistic they are, the more they get funded. That's the only real positive feedback in the entire farrago. One day they might realise that this blinkered bias does more harm than good for society but it will be far too late.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The notion of Peer review is a gold stand is a bit of a myth, firstly we can say that some very good science has been done with no peer review and we can observe that some very poor science has been seen which has passed successfully through peer review.
Then we can say that peer review itself is far from problem free , who decides what is a 'peer' is actual a good question, does the reviewer actual have the time to do a good review is another question and what are they actually reviewing is perhaps the best question of all.

In reality peer review acts at best has as a broken gamekeeper at worst has we seen with the team it acts a self selecting alternatively back starching or back stabbing club that seeks not for truth, but to ensure their 'consensus' is maintained.

Jan 7, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

I don't believe that peer review necessarily says that the paper being reviewed is accurate, or moves the science forward in any way. To me at least, it merely means that the reviewers find the paper worthy of discussion in a wider context. That's why I'm surprised to find papers like Cowtan and Way quoted by scientists as proof that there was no pause a few days/weeks/months after its publication. I would have expected time for others to read the paper and offer corrections and refutations before the paper became gospel to the clisci community. I suppose that they can do this because no corrections or refutations will be accepted by the authors, or the publishers, unless they continue to support the general thrust of the paper. But it is sad.

I'm in the "show me" camp, but only when there is public policy involved. For the rest, like dark matter, and even the big bang theory I'm willing to go along with them although I don't find either theory particularly compelling in the light of the evidence available, but accept finer minds than mine are working on it and will get there eventually. If we were suddenly told we had to put up our electricity bills to prevent loss of dark matter in the universe then I'd quickly move to the "show me" position, and begin to doubt the sanity of the finer minds in theoretical physics.

Jan 7, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo


Not sure I agree with your definition of a sceptic as a "won't" since I certainly would, if it was proven.
There is a danger of looking petulant if we get categorized as won't.

Sceptics are "will do once you prove it"

We're all about the proof.

Jan 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Geronimo, even Dark Matter was invented because otherwise these brilliant physicists' equations wouldn't add up It is much akin to the Missing Heat that plagues us here. The energy has to have gone somewhere and the only place the Climatists can think of is into the oceans. Dark matter is similar, it is "OUT THERE" somewhere, hiding behind stars that we cannot see.

Jan 7, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterottokring

"Sceptics won't because of the quality/uncertainty of the science." is the same as "prove it". I'd even accept a lot more of the science if they did a lot more quality control. But they won't because for some reason warmists are unable to grasp that the greater the impact of science on policy/society the greater the burden of proof has to be. Not because sceptics demand it but because human nature does.

Jan 7, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

When anybody asks me why I am a sceptic, I have a simple answer...I read the science, not the propaganda.


Jan 7, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom O'Connor

I'd like to see the same precautionary principle applied regarding the 'cure', but climate scientists are either too thick or too buried in their ideology to see past their own (admittedly very long & growing daily) noses.

While we're considering worst-case scenarios for the (bad) effects of CO2 we're supposed to buy into best-case scenarios, wishful thinking and outright dishonesty regarding the 'renewables' intended to eliminate them.

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

A bit off topic, but remaining with facts.
I think the BBC and the Met Office were trumpeting the global warming meme the other day. Last year was the UK's warmest since records began in 1910, the Met Office has said. It was also the warmest year in the Central England ...
Last year I looked up the temperature records for Hickam Field - Honolulu Airport. The annual average temperature records since 1940 did not vary by more than 2°C over the years.
So what was happening on the other side of the World recently? You know, the place they take CO², measurements - Hawaii.
12:50 p.m. HST, Jan 05, 2015 - Winter weather breaks records again in Hawaii.
The unusually cold weather over the last two days continued to break records in Hawaii, including a record for this date that goes back over 122 years in Honolulu.
The National Weather Service said Monday morning's low temperature of 57 degrees beat the low temperature for this date of 60 degrees of temperatures recorded at the Honolulu Airport.
It also beat an older low temperature record for Honolulu set in 1893 of 58 degrees. daily quote the Moana Loa reading. Quote: Scientists are saying that global warming is happening. That it's caused by certain human activities.
Doesn't look that way in Hawaii, home to NOAA.

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

Thanks for the link, Bish!

I too was unable to post at the site...will post here just to vent.

The author says that the issue between the two groups boils down to trust. Here is definitely an element of trust involved. So, let's look at that one specific issue.

Trust is earned. In science, that means rigorously following the principles of science. It means being open and candid about the strengths and limitations of your findings. It means being open to challenge and accepting of critical feedback. Unfortunately, the "warmists" have failed to build trust. Worse, those that are most vocal in the warmist camp have perverted the norms of science to further their cause. They've tossed the reputation of the entire field of science in the scrap bin in order to achieve their desired objectives. They've demonstrated that entire disciplines involved in understanding past climate and predicting future climate, disciplines that sound "sciencey", are unwilling and/or unable to follow the usual path of science or engage in self correction.

Trust is earned. Once trust is lost, it can be very, very difficult to gain back. Think about what would be required for Michael Mann to be viewed by most folks at this blog as being worthy of trust. Think about what would be required for Phil Jones to be viewed by most folks at this blob to be trustworthy. Those are specific individuals that are well known to all here, but they are the just the folks that are well known to be willing to pervert science in support of the cause. They are aided and abetted by numerous other individuals and groups who are willing to pursue a path that fits in with their world view rather than strictly adhere to the principles of science and public policy.

The warmists are asking for/demanding trust. They not only have not earned trust, they've actively created an environment that precludes trust.


Jan 7, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBDAABAT

The funniest thing about the quote is the glaringly obvious contradiction in the definition.

The trust me crowd can show that some anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past and that models suggest that future conditions are going to get worse

That's exactly what they don't do - instead they ask us to trust them, that's why they are called the "trust us" side. This is his definition, not mine. They don't show anything, they ask us not to look at the sausage machine or the sausages, and to trust their interpretation of the secrets should be enough for us to trust them.

The fact that someone is arguing that 'science' should do this is ludicrous. What is the motto of the Royal Society again? TAKE NO-ONE'S WORD FOR IT.

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

That part of the post is good, but the first part, where he attempts to argue with John Shade, is not. As numerous people pointed out on the previous BH thread, sceptics are averse to type 1 error, not type 2 as he still claims. I have posted a comment there (with some difficulty)

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"The trust me crowd can show that some anthropogenic climate change has happened in the past."

Trouble is, not even this much has been done.

Instead, the trust me crowd developed a fragile theory demonstrating how an anthropogenic mechanism leads to some of the climate change seen in the past. Satisfied with their work, and without any need for proof other than computer games, the whole climate science field stopped looking for any other explanation, and turned off all of the support for anyone who ventured to look for an alternative. Now, any student or practitioner of the strangest fringe field looking for advancement can go straight to Go by selling his career to the new climate science.

And we're supposed to trust these people?

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn DeFayette

I'd say Gullible Fantasists versus Rational Realists would be a more apt comparison.

Fantasists are basing their belief in system change on a set of climate theories that - to the level of proof required, simply cannot be remotely justified.

Ironically the Rational Realists are basing their responses on precisely the same thing - that currently there is little (going on nothing) in observed climate that is pointing towards imminent man made climate catastrophe, and thus the system does not need radical change.

Jan 7, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Trust me or show me - yes, I get the point. It happens a lot in many areas of science - once we get a nice comfortable set of findings, we get a bit lazy about justifying everything and start to take a lot of stuff on trust that we probably shouldn't and it needs a bit of a maverick to shake us out of this complacency (things like prions and stomach ulcers come to mind).

However, the issue isn't the science - it is what some scientivists want to use the science for that makes the climate change issue quite so important. The arguments are not about a drug or a treatment that will affect a few thousand people (important as it may be to those few thousand) - it is a great deal more widespread and irreversible than that. This is about implementing major social and economic policies that will affect the entire world and - by definition - reduce human welfare for a significant period of time before any potential benefits will be seen. That needs a whole helluva lot more than "trust"!

Jan 7, 2015 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

It's also worth remembering the words of Lord Falkland (1610-1643), variously recorded as "when it is not necessary to change [make a decision], it is necessary not to change [make a decision]."
By extension one can argue that if there is insufficient knowledge to determine whether a decision is necessary or not then proper application of the precautionary principle is to be prepared to make the proper decision when necessary. Major decisions that may be irreversible should be left as long as possible.
The climateers, of course, claim that a decision is already overdue but they cannot provide evidence which is firm enough to justify that position which is why progress towards that goal is so slow.
We could point out to scientivists, eco-activists, and the rest of the gang that they would be a step closer to convincing the sceptics (which increasingly includes the man in the street) if they changed their behaviour to conform with their predictions. But that's another story.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Off Topic

Unfortunately the mornings horrific events in Paris which will be hosting the upcoming Climate Change Conference does rather put the priorities of world security into perceptive.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Mitcheltj: it is interesting that you introduced the idea of UFOs. Like many, I was convinced that there had to be alien life-forms out there, if only from the simple logic of so much space, why just one planet? Also, it was fun, looking at all the possibilities in science-fiction stories.

That has now evolved into a simpler hypothesis – nay, dare I call it a theory? – there is no other planet with any form of life on it in the universe.

Now, prove me wrong...

... it is so much simpler than having to prove that there IS life out there, somewhere.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:30 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Indeed, Mike, indeed. They cannot make any case for change but demand it anyway.

A little O/T but the collapse in oil prices really ought to bring the Renewables Bubble to bursting point. All DECC's calculations were based on ever-increasing prices (and diminishing supplies) of fossil fuels. Double whoops. Peak Green, anyone?

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Bit of a jumble in the posts by Chemist at Langley. He does seem to be on the side of the angels, however, as a self-styled 'lukewarmer'. If 'lukewarm' extends to 'hard to discern' at the low end, I'd be one too. But his excursion into statistical error analysis/concepts is a bit of a distraction. I hope to get back to this tomorrow morning and add a longer comment to enlarge upon this, as, distraction or no, there are important things worth discussing further about it.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:34 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


"The energy has to have gone somewhere and the only place the Climatists can think of is into the oceans".

In the " trust me" logic this argument relies on there actually being ( excess) energy to go somewhere which in turn requires significant climate sensitivity to the atmospheric concentration of CO2. Now based on the evidence of the last 20 years either the climate sensitivity is very low indeed or there are offsetting mechanisms that are not adequately understood and or defined ( or either or both of the temperature data and/or the CO2 data being used in the models are wrong and/or the algorithms are inadequate and/or there are all sorts of other things going on that are not understood and/or captured by the models).

With this level of uncertainty should we be most unwise to bet a major segment the world economy on the " trust me" approach.

The nexus of the whole policy/ media approach to the CAGW hypothesis is that no bureaucrat/politician/ administrator/ editor will ever take a contrary approach to the "crowd" because it does not matter if the crowd is right or wrong as long as he is in the crowd he is safe - but if he is not in the crowd and the crowd is right he is dead meat.

A very good example of all this was exhibited when the whole of European airspace was closed down at the time of the Icelandic volcanic eruption - even though there was only a safety issue in and close to the volcanic plume which was largely avoidable. Once one authority closed down airspace they all followed suit whether they needed to or not.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeospeculator

I felt I had to respond to a post with the word perspicacious in it... ;D

Jan 7, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

"show me crowd"

Show me the original data, not the "improved" version!
Explain how the Hockey Stick Graph was constructed using this data.
Explain how the IPCC, a body with plenty of resources, could make so many mistakes.

Jan 7, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

He's got a bit stuck on the statistics bit - I'm more with Rutherford on this

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.

Rutherford also said "there is Physics and everything else is stamp collecting". CliSci is stamp collecting except they keep adjusting the old stamps.

Extending the Fire Alarm metaphor: it's not a fire alarm at all - it's just a frog in a box that once croaked at the same time there was a fire so simpleminded folk (including its owners) now think it's got special powers. Doing more stats on the frog in a box will not make it into a fire alarm.

Jan 7, 2015 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

[*Bonus point available for any reader who can think of another current BS claim about the effect of small pH changes on cellular organisms.]
Oh, me, me, me, Dr Hart.

See my post in Unthreaded about the Great Barrier Reef.

The alarmist claims are unsupported by either theory or practice, but like the coral on the GBR, they just keep coming back.

Jan 7, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Peer review depends too critically on the competence and professional integrity of the reviewers, and given what appears to be a regrettable modern tendency of any professional community to be self serving, and to close ranks in times of trouble, some external validation is surely necessary.
Micheltj, I don't think that there is anything "modern" about it. Indeed, the great triumph of science is that (in theory) it pits itself against these very normal, human behaviours.

It's an endless struggle which has been repeated many times in history. The important thing is to keep struggling.

Jan 7, 2015 at 6:18 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I would like to thank you all for your insightful comments. I have taken some of your comments to heart and have shortened the introductory section as it is overlong and did little to address the main point. I also apologize about the commenting issues. I am using a free blogging service provided by my web supplier, because frankly, I didn't expect as wide an audience as my little blog has received. I started because of an interest in pipelines and renewable energy but if the interest remains I may have to migrate onto a more user friendly platform.

With respect to the content, I hesitate to point out that mine is simply a hypothesis at this point and your feedback is helping me to refine it in my mind. I remain convinced I am generally on the right path but need to better describe it. The Type I/Type II error feature can appear backwards at times but the intent has always been not to emphasize the Types of errors, but rather how working in very different environments can cause highly-educated, highly-intelligent individuals to develop vastly different approaches to decision-making and risk tolerances. The Type I versus Type II error avoidance peg is the best I have been able to formulate to date. It has been argued by some that it is not the approach but rather the nature of the individuals drawn towards academia versus those drawn to the private sector that best explains the divergence but that is definitely a topic for a different post.

For those wondering, I readily admit that my personal biases with regards to warming do colour my thoughts. My intent is to give as reasoned an argument as possible, be open to criticism and most importantly allow the data to direct me rather than collecting data to suit my hypotheses. The only thing I can guarantee is that my opinions this time next year will not be identical to my opinions now.

Thanks once again for the interest.

Jan 7, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBlair

I have to disagree with the thrust of this argument, that the divide is a result of different perspectives.

There are a lot of people on the alarmist side who are simply liars, frauds and cheats. We must remember the amount of contrived and fraudulent papers that point to disaster, the faked experiments, the propaganda movies, the BBC 28gate, Climategate, adjusted data, consensus drives, persecution of true scientists, the Gleick affair, Cook Lewandowsky etc.

Never forget that while this fake science has had bllions poured into it, real science has taken a severe knock and been held back for lack of funding.

Jan 7, 2015 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Spence

@johanna, that is indeed correct. In the long run.

Jan 7, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Jack Hughes: +1...

No, +10!

Jan 7, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Brute, sometimes it's the long run and sometimes it's not. But that's not the point.

To choose a parochial example, the repeated, decades long, failures of treatments for stomach ulcers did nothing to sway the orthodoxy about their causes and remedies. It was reinforced by prevailing cultural beliefs about "bad lifestyles" (and where have we heard that before).

While it's unfortunate that it sometimes takes a long time for the scientific wisdom to change, better late than never. At least science provides that option, which blind belief does not.

Jack Hughes, I think that you are being unkind and unfair to mathematics. :)

Jan 7, 2015 at 8:32 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

It would be prudent to turn up the gain on your baloney detector before swallowing the 'trust me" bait on Naomi Oreskes hook, or the counterpart to it the Bishop constantly offers, because both side in this propaganda war are in thrall to a rhetoric of motives, and neither environmental communitarians or economic libertarians owe much duty to the science in question.

Indulging in semantic agression from the left, Oreskes wants to alter statistical criteria and the nature of Bayesian priors. Attacking the recieved definitin of 'pause' the Bishop's cohort have been seeking to gloss over 100 years of temperature history by pointing to the peak of what amounts to Everest or K-2, and declaring that it merely marks the edge of a mesa they call the "pause" .

It was a nice rhetorical gambit while it lasted, but the thermodynamic strain of all that 24-7 radiative forcing has , as it must, once again caught up with the thermal inertia of a globe whose temperature racheted upwards to new heights in 2014. Mere scientists may therefore be disposed to consider the 'skeptics' actions of the last 16 years as a Bayesian prior in predicting the shape of arguments to come.

For the past decade and a half, those ostensibly opposed to economic and societal intervention in the name of avoiding or mitigating future climate change have been grasping at theoretical and anecdotal alternatives to CO2 forcing like cancer victims in search of some occult New Age cure. It is therefore profoundly unlikely that they will suddenly repent and be governed by anything as sober as linear analysis any more than communitarian internationalists who have bet their careers and invested their passion in the subject will cease trying to persuade the world it needs to be governed by an entity as metaphysical as the exponential temperature rise metaphysically embodied in their models.

The good news is that both sides have torqued their rhetoric well past the breaking point of credulity .

Jan 7, 2015 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell, now that we know that, what do we do?

The sensible sceptic is not in favour of 'avoiding or mitigating' future climate change - but of waiting to see what damage it causes (if any), and taking any action necessary to accommodate that. Adapt, don't mitigate!

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Russell, you are talking an odd talk. Where is the Bishop ever saying, “Trust me”? He most often seems to be saying “Look at this!” Most of the contributors to this blog seem to be in the “Show me” category, though, to be fair, most of us also fall into the “trust me” category, too, in many areas. This is mainly because the person in whom we are asked to trust have proven it, in a proxy “show me” way – they are qualified surgeons, or have a pilot’s licence… you know, that sort of thing. The climastrologists, though, offer no “show me”; they INSIST on “trust me”; the analogy to snake-oil salesmen is truly apt. I am sorry, but I was taught well by my mother – never trust a stranger, most especially a stranger who says, “Trust me.”

I am not sure what you mean by “…the thermodynamic strain…” I presume you are implying that, by some means utterly at odds with all the known laws of thermodynamics, the heat has been hiding somewhere, lurking, a coiled spring, soon to pounce out and engulf us all. As for your picture of “…a globe whose temperature racheted upwards to new heights in 2014.” I am sorry, but a “height” that is 0.2°C above the previous highest at such a fortuitous time is a little suspicious, especially since, in October, the BBC were predicting that, this, the “hottest evah” year (this, after a refreshingly cool, though protracted, summer), was going to break the records by 1.5°C. The drop to 0.2°C is largely untrumpeted; that figure seems rarely to be used, trusting, perhaps, that the sheeple will remember the original, more startling figure. 0.2°C does strike me more of a figure that has been artfully massaged upwards, so the trumpeters do not have too much egg on their faces.

What you need to understand about a plateau is that there are high points on a plateau, and there are low points; however, most points on the plateau will generally be higher than much of that surrounding it (think: the African plateau); so it is with the temperature plateau. This is one reason why you will not hear many sceptics crowing about a year being the “coldest this century”, for example; most sceptics, like myself, actually worry that temperatures will fall – because, if they do, they will plummet, as they have done, many times, in the past. What I, and probably many others, hope for is a return to the rather benign rise, and let it continue.

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Russell, you are just repeating the "trust me" argument. The warmists want trust, even though it hasn't warmed as they said it would.

No sale.

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

".....the thermodynamic strain of all that 24-7 radiative forcing has , as it must, once again caught up with the thermal inertia of a globe....."

That conjecture , if actually correct, does not say anything about the origin of the ".... radiative forcing..." Ultimately all the "radiative forcing" arises from the impact of solar radiation - all the rest is about how it is distributed through the atmosphere.

"If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment".

As a professional geologist I am quite used to a science where experiments are mainly feasible - only on processes - and ones that can be conducted on small scale. Experiments on large scale processes such as those involved in plate tectonics have been conducted only on small scale , greatly simplified models, and while they gave some insights, have told us little about the details of the forces and processes involved. The main conclusions are provided almost entirely by observation of actual outcomes. This has analogies to the difficulties with Climate circulation models which are entirely mathematical in nature and give only limited insight into the actual drivers and outcomes.

Persons involved in climate research do not have the ability to conduct full scale experiments on any relevant scale or timescale and thus their conclusions are largely speculative. The use of raw data as input to statistical manipulation so as to generate data in cells where there is no actual data is well known to economic geologists but they are also very aware of the frailties of the methodology and hence there are rigorously policed protocols about the reliability of the results.

From what I have seen of how atmospheric raw data is treated I think that under our codes the results would not even warrant classification as speculative.

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeospeculator

"They produce their documentation via the peer reviewed press and in doing so address all the touchstones of the scientific method. Having met the high bar of “good science” they anticipate that their word will be taken as good."

But there is no high bar of good science. There isn't any bar at all. No one checks anyone else's work. The vast majority of academic studies are wrong. Science has no quality control. That's why Mann, Rahmstorf, Steig, Briffa, Jones and the silly polar bear study get published.

We could it call it junk science, but that's a slam on junk which actually has uses in society.

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

I congratulate those above who tried to make sense of Russell's rant.

WTF is "thermodynamic strain"? I admit to not knowing much about physics, but it sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:09 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna



Those who are interested in learning why long-term (~500 year) cooling will start after the year 2059 can see my new website


Jan 7, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Cotton

"Thermodynamic strain " refers to the presence in dynamic geophysical systems of such things as the mixed layer and thermohaline circulation of the oceans , which respectively accumulate and release retained solar energy from the free surface on time scales of tens of hours and hundreds of years.

CF my 2013 <I>Earth's Future article, 'Knowing the unknowns'

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

What a beautifully worded comment from Blair, 6.25pm.
How much better the climate debate would be if it could be conducted in this style.

Well, I think if you could re-phrase what you are trying to say about the different approaches, without talking about type1/2, that would be helpful, as that is clearly a communication stumbling block. But as a sceptic in academia, I am unlikely to fit the distinction you are trying to make.

Jan 7, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

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