## Away with the fairies

Journalist David Appell appears a couple of times in *The Hockey Stick Illusion*, firstly in Chapter 4, in the section entitled "Mann's mouthpiece", where he is the source (if perhaps not the ultimate source) of the (false) claim that Mann sent McIntyre an Excel spreadsheet. It's worth reading again if you have a moment.

Anyway, in the wake of Mark Steyn's book on Michael Mann, Appell has written to Jonathan Jones enquiring about the latter's comments on the Hockey Stick and the results have been written up in a blog post here. It's hilarious.

For example, Jones observes that bristlecones are not reliable temperature proxies and that principal components analysis requires data to be centred, before following up with similar scientific objections to a couple of other papers that Appell has cited in support of Mann. Appell's response to all of these objections is, in total:

This is clearly just a lot of hand-waving.

Read the rest of it too. The guy is away with the fairies.

## Reader Comments (231)

At last something that we agree upon. So now you will read all those papers before making any claims of the non-existence of MWP? Or continue your denial of the existence of that massive amount of scientific publications? In any case, I'm through wasting my time with your hopeless state of confirmation bias.

petfin: of course not. people have looked at this claim by co2science. they've found it full of misdirections and lies.

Google and research before you swallow their claims no questions asked.

"Medieval Project gone Wrong,"

4/30/11 Skeptical Science

http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval_project.html

And again, petfin, who funds co2science?

what is their phone number?

why do they hide it?

David, why not ask them:

http://www.co2science.org/about/contact_info.php (with telephone number!)

And here's my very last attempt to help you overcome your confirmation bias: here's a link to the paper listed by co2science that I referred to as an example, and that you seem to try to deny exists:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GB002132/abstract

Although I doubt that you have the courage to read it.

petfin: you can't comment without taking little personal swipes, can you?

I already told you, this project has already been looked at thorougly and found to be faulty and full of lies.

Keep ignoring that. Don't ask any questions. It's what CO2science hopes you do.

David, you were the one that started by calling me sucker for having the nerve to merely ask you read before commenting and use similar language against other commenters here. You can dish it but can't take it.

I asked you to go to primary sources which you deny since you prefer hand-waving with help of secondary sources like scepticalscience.com, and on top of that to a page that was 4 years old and uses the Mann made hockey-stick as a counter argument. Not even entertaining.

For the occasional visitor to this blog theme a little background reading might help

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/22/mike-manns-secret-meeting-on-the-medieval-warm-period/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/25/climategate-2-0-email-mike-mann-chracterized-as-crazy-over-mwp-and-serious-enemy/

The general idea is if nature does not follow the AGW narrative there is always the 'trick' of cutting two or more separate sequences up and pasting them together to prove almost anything.

Another 'trick' is to change the rules at any time if the outcome is unfortunate.

In the past the lower troposphere air temperature was used to indicate the planets climate change direction.

This would indicate 2015 was not a particularly was not a record value.

This method is obviously unhelpful so an alternative method including sea temperature is favoured.

X(t) is not bounded for population growth.If you think it is, give its bound.I'm guessing you didn't study biology. Just to be clear, I'm talking about human population growth, since that was what the discussion was about.

Your expression, X(t) = exp(at^2), at time t=sqrt(ln(1000)/a), where sqrt is the square root, and ln is the natural logarithm, the system has a population rate of 1000 times the size of the population. Assuming conventional definitions (annual rates, etc) and assuming 50/50 split between males and females, this population rate requires, on average, every woman in the population to bear 2,000 offspring every year. And, of course, as time goes on it gets worse. At time t=sqrt(ln(1000000)/a), the average woman has to bear 2,000,000 children every single year.

Even if you choose a different unit of time, there always comes a point in an unbounded calculation where the reproduction rate is unphysical.

That's a great model for population growth you have there, David.

In any case, it doesn't matter if X(t) is bounded.Yes it does, because if X(t) is bounded I can ALWAYS define a simple exponential which grows equal to or faster than your population, which means it is not faster than a simple exponential. Sure, it is faster than some simple exponentials, but just by choosing X_max = max(X(t)) and using that in your expression dY/dt = X_max*Y(t), I can select a simple exponential that always has equal or faster growth.

The reality is David, the mathematics I have presented to you is not hard to understand. You are defending the indefensible here, just as you defend the indefensible when you try to resuscitate Mann's flawed work.

@david appell

'I already told you, this project has already been looked at thorougly and found to be faulty and full of lies'

So you agree with Prof. Jonathan Jones about Mann's Hockey Stick? Praise be....progress at last!

I will write a poem in celebration. Watch this space.

It's always fun (and a bit sad) watching a man in a quicksand continuing to dig.

My hypothesis on page 1 that Appell and Rice are possibly the same person is confirmed every time Appell puts finger to keyboard.

It took me less than 30 seconds, following Pethelin's link to CO2Science to find (at random) the names of Phil Jones, Bradley and Briffa, not to mention CRU, NASA/GISS and Scripps Institute and the best comeback he has is to quote SkepticalScience.

And we are supposed to believe he is living in the real world.

Still, it has made for an interesting couple of days.

David Appell’s contribution to climate science is equivalent to Erich von Däniken’s contribution to SETI.

As I said before, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Dave Appell wrote:

"I haven't said a thing about Mann et al's work."

You mean besides the multiple posts at your own blog as well as dozens of comments here on Mann's various reconstructions? That claim is false on its surface. Are you building an insanity defense or what??

If your argument is focused on the physics of climate change you should leave the shoddy MBH behind.

Mike Jackson, when David Appell denounces CO2Science, because of their funding, but quotes SkepticalScience as being a superior source over the Medieval Warm Period, the possibility of dual personalities supplying double standards, but with matching mindsets on the infallibility of re-interpretative physics, suggests a correlation/causation/correlation link.

David Appell writes:

"petfin: you can't comment without taking little personal swipes, can you?"I write:

Oh, the irony!!

heh...

Well, I guess this thread will now languish into obscurity, which is where most of Appell's arguments deserve to be, but one final note on "super-exponentials". Firstly, David has some unexpected support, from commenter Mike over at WUWT, who defended Appell's use of "superexponential" over on Josh's cartoon thread there. He then went on to explain that a quadratic function was an example of a "superexponential". I think it is fair to say that those supportive of David's "superexponential" concept are a little mathematically challenged.

Something that struck me is that there is a corollary to Appell's definition of "superexponential". If an increasing rate of growth were "faster than exponential" and validated the term "superexponential", then a decreasing rate of growth must be the opposite. For a prefix, sub- seems to be a reasonable antonym to super-. So my parting gift to Appell is the concept of the sub-exponential, a term increasing at a rate slower than exponential, which applies when population growth rate is decreasing.

Curiously, when Appell referred to population growth change peaking, so being superexponential before, he simply said after the peak that the growth was "not superexponential", which is clumsy. Go the whole hog, David, and declare population growth to be subexponential.

What's more, with the problems in China potentially triggering a recession, we may see subexponential growth in carbon emissions soon, too. David and other misanthropically minded people will be overjoyed.

I shouldn't need to point it out, but I personally think neither "superexponential" or "subexponential" are a thing. They are both redundant, pointless terminology since in both cases growth continues to be in the bounds of a normal exponential. But if you are daft enough to believe one, you're not really in a position to criticise the other.

And just maybe the ridiculous nature of "subexponential" to describe growth that is still exponential may just help Appell to realise how moronic the concept of "superexponential" as he has defined it is. I won't hold my breath, though.

David AppellJim KarlockDavid Appell"HaroldW"[1] http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/07/friday-funny-mann-gets-real-time/#comment-2002711

[2] http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/8/28/away-with-the-fairies.html#comments

[3] http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/01/i-hope-im-dreaming/#more-1366

Gras: When WO WOT bans me, I comment there sometimes using a pseudonym. It's the only way, because Watts is afraid of science.

Wherever I can, I comment under my own name. I have nothing to hide.

SpenceUK wrote:

"Something that struck me is that there is a corollary to Appell's definition of "superexponential". If an increasing rate of growth were "faster than exponential" and validated the term "superexponential", then a decreasing rate of growth must be the opposite."

Perhaps there is hope for you yet -- you finally understood some of the math.

"So my parting gift to Appell is the concept of the sub-exponential, a term increasing at a rate slower than exponential, which applies when population growth rate is decreasing."

Yes, it does. Excellent, thanks.

Dave Appell wrote:

JimR wrote:

"I haven't said a thing about Mann et al's work."

You mean besides the multiple posts at your own blog as well as dozens of comments here on Mann's various reconstructions?"

You still don't it by now. Clearly, you never will.

My argument depends on no proxies, no Mann et al, nothing of the sort.

It depends on two simple things. But I won't repeat for the Nth time what they are.

SpenceUK wrote:

"I shouldn't need to point it out, but I personally think neither "superexponential" or "subexponential" are a thing. They are both redundant, pointless terminology since in both cases growth continues to be in the bounds of a normal exponential."

That's false.

Your math skills are lacking. A superexponential function is not an exponential function.

I gave an example here:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2015/08/more-about-generating-hockey-sticks.html

The basic physics and basic math skills of the people who comment on this blog are truly atrocious. No wonder you are all so confused.

SpenceUK wrote:

"That's a great model for population growth you have there, David."

Correcting your math and your comprehension has gotten very tiring.

Go read my posts again. Look for the word "regime," as in "regime change."

Obviously superexponential growth can't continue forever. It's dumb to even consider the possibliity.

I am sorry that the basic math is beyond you. Time for you to get more schooling.

David Appell says

" When WO WOT bans me, I comment there sometimes using a pseudonym. It's the only way, because Watts is afraid of science."

Thats exactly what Doug Cotton says!!!

Oh wow - you've gone to a new level of wrong now David. You've admitted that your definition is "local", breaking every sensible definition and creating an utterly absurd definition for "superexponential" that would make any competent mathematician's jaw hit the ground.

As I said three days ago, there is a meaningful definition of superexponential, and it applies (for example) to factorials and iterated powers. The reason O(n!) is superexponential, is that there does not exist a finite value of c for O(c^n) at which the factorial does not - at some large value of n - exceed the exponential.

But now you've admitted that your ludicrous relationship X(t) = exp(at^2) is completely unphysical, it becomes clear that what you are trying to do is fit completely inappropriate models to local portions of an exponential curve.

Any idiot can do that. I can take a small local portion of a population growth curve and - even with rising growth rate - simply fit a polynomial to it. Of course, in the large scale they will diverge completely, but who cares? I can then declare the relationship subexponential, because I managed to fit a local curve to it that is subexponential. (In case you aren't aware, all finite polynomials are subexponential).

Now I can take the exact same curve, and fit your exp(at^2) growth rate to it. No, wait. Why stop there? Why not fit a curve (at!)^(b^t). A factorial *and* an iterated power at the same time! Not only superexponential but super-factorially-iteratedpower-exponential! I can just fit that locally to any monotonically increasing growth rate and declare voila! My population is now superexponential.

The fact that I can do this to any local portion of a population growth curves mean that every curve is simultaneously subexponential and superexponential all of the time! Hurrah! What a brilliant definition - give the man a cookie.

The only meaningful definition of superexponential is an exponent which exceeds O(c^n) at some arbitrarily large value of n, irrespective of what (finite real, c>1) value c takes. But now you have admitted that c is, by definition, local and bounded - since you have acknowledged that your ludicrous X(t)=exp(at^2) is unphysical - I can ALWAYS choose a value of c which exceeds the growth rate of your curve.

So we have two choices. We can choose the meaning of exponential and superexponential used by mathematicians, which is strict and meaningful, and applies only to unbounded expressions, and conclude that I am right, or we can adopt your ludicrous local curve fitting definition which means every portion of every monotonically increasing curve is simultaneously subexponential and superexponential. Marvellous!

This has been quite informative, though. I can see you genuinely can't see why your definition makes no sense. And I can also see you genuinely don't see or understand the criticisms of the hockey stick made by Steve Mc, Prof Jones and Montford. In order to understand these points, you need at least some limited ability to grasp the relatively simple rules and logic of mathematics and science. And it is clear that you simply do not have a clue. No amount of scientific reasoning will ever persuade you of the problems with the hockey stick because you simply do not have the ability to parse these things.

Hmm, something else I should add, Appell, just to be clear. When I said superexponential and subexponential are not a thing, I need to be clear I am referring just to your nonsensical definitions, not the proper formal definitions. As I noted three days ago, I already gave you examples of *real* superexponential functions, as defined by mathematicians who understand this stuff (that set doesn't include you as a member).

Dave Appell wrote:

"My argument depends on no proxies, no Mann et al, nothing of the sort."

And yet you constantly talk about Mann's hockey stick, even pointing to things that aren't hockey sticks claiming they are hockey sticks all while claiming "I haven't said a thing about Mann et al's work." which is obviously not true. Your argument isn't gaining traction because you keep defending Mann's work while claiming you are not.

Perhaps if you had asked Jonathan Jones about the physics of climate change you may have found areas of agreement. Instead you reached out to Jones, asked about his views on MBH, wouldn't accept his answers, tried to defend MBH and resorted to asking him where his peer reviewed papers on the subject were when you knew it wasn't a field he has published in.

It has provided comedy for many of us but you are basically talking in circles.

David Appell, Steve McIntyre has started a new series of posts just for you. It seems your stick is rather lonely in its bundle.

http://climateaudit.org/2015/09/04/the-ocean2k-hockey-stick/

How rather convenient that moderation is now in place at Appells blog.

Further more McIntyre has already tried to engage directly with Appell but got the old "submit your comments to journal xyz" followed by "I don't engage with none peer reviewed nonsense". How terribly convenient for Appell.

Mailman

Did we expect anything else? Whenever the enlightenment of someone who REALLY knows what they're talking about shines, the cockroaches scuttle into the darkness.

I have to admit that I had never heard of David Appell before the latest cringe-worthy farrago. Apart from the self-contradictions rife throughout his replies on those threads I have read (see Ivor Ward, Aug 29, 2015 at 8:42 PM for a good example), all I can say is that, as a journalist

claiming to be scientific, one would have thought he should pay more attention to detail (my bold):andAlso, there does seem to be something wrong with his understanding of maths:

Unless, of course, if you accept that, if an increase can be exponential, then if the rate of increase isalsoexponential, it could then be termed super-exponential (though in reality, it is still just exponential, as exponential has no rate that can be “faster than exponentially”).Then there is his obvious ignorance of simple facts: while human consumption of “fossil” fuels

hasrisen exponentially, the atmospheric CO2 has risen more or less linearly.Update: Actually, all you need to get a hockey stick is an exponential increase in CO2, not superexponential. Obviously:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2015/09/an-even-easier-way-to-get-hockey-stick.html