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Discussion > The IEA Strategy Report

Just as I indicated above: as a 'scientist' you simply can't handle uncertainty.
Real pity that 'climate change' relies so much on statistics - and statistics is all about quanifying uncertainty, but there you go.
QED.
Dec 1, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

I think you are mistaken to refer to BBD as a 'scientist'.

He himself, whilst attempting to create a persona of himself, informed us he/she was a 46 year old self made, semi retired, person with an interest in reading about science. Not a scientist, but merely an enthusiastic amateur with no formal training in climate science. As with any hobby, it's not too hard to pick up the applicable jargon and buzzwords to create a false impression of knowledge in the subject, and trying to hide that lack of in-depth study by the use of abuse and obfuscation.

His/her posts seem to be, unfortuneately, becoming more rabid and incoherent of lat, as a result of other commenter's less than favourable responses to his/ hers lack of scientific rigour.

Dec 1, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

RKS

A few points:

- I have never claimed to be a climate scientist

- I do have a reasonable grasp of the basics

- Your commentary is entirely content-free and tedious, indicating that you do not

- If you devoted the same energy to studying CS as you do to insulting me, you would be a prodigy of learning

Dec 1, 2011 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Philip

I noticed in an earlier comment that apparently he also supports the idea that scientific arguments should be ignored because the argument is made by scientists with Christian beliefs. Mike Hulme is certainly one such scientist. Perhaps BBD also has some reasoning that enables him to distinguish the effect on his science of Hulme's personal beliefs from Spencer's.

Normally I would agree that religion should be kept out of any non-theological debate. However, there is a very specific problem in Spencer's case. Spencer's beliefs explicitly dictate the ‘scientific’ position he adopts in arguing for a very low climate sensitivity. With Spencer, religion is prior to the science.

Spencer is a signatory to the Cornwall Alliance's An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.

He also sits on the Cornwall Alliance’s Board of Advisors.

The Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming that Spencer endorses contains the following statements (emphasis added):

WHAT WE BELIEVE

We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

[...]

WHAT WE DENY

We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

There it is. Clear and indisputable. Man cannot cause dangerous alteration to the climate because the Earth is designed by God as 'admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory'. This is Spencer's belief system. How can it not influence the nature and direction of his work?

How do we know Spencer is a signatory? Follow the link and scroll down to 'scientists and medical doctors'. Spencer's is the first name listed.

There are other names of interest in the list of signatories. Two in particular stood out. They were Joseph D'Aleo and Ross McKitrick.

Another Cornwall Alliance document contains an unequivocal statement that the scientific consensus on AGW contradicts Scripture:

We believe that idea—we’ll call it “global warming alarmism”—fails the tests of theology, science, and economics. It rests on poor theology, with a worldview of the Earth and its climate system contrary to that taught in the Bible.

No such conflict between theological position and scientific objectivity exists with Mike Hulme.

Dec 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I certainly agree with you that a scientist's beliefs will colour the goals they set themselves in their research, but you are quite wrong to suggest that it follows from this that those beliefs will cause the scientist to cook the data or corrupt the peer review process or etc. Irrespective of any scientific merits or demerits in Spencer's work, I've noticed no indication of any impropriety of this kind in his literature articles or on his blog. I did find the following interesting Al Gore quote:-

Today, I am here to deliver more than a half million messages to Congress asking for real action on global warming. More than 420 Mayors have now adopted Kyoto-style commitments in their cities and have urged strong federal action. The evangelical and faith communities have begun to take the lead, calling for measures to protect God’s creation. The State of California, under a Republican Governor and a Democratic legislature, passed strong, economy wide legislation mandating cuts in carbon dioxide. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed renewable energy standards for the electricity sector.

It may therefore also be worth considering the cultural differences between the UK and USA, especially sharp in the case of religion.

Looking at the individual statements in the Cornwall document you quoted, it seems reasonable to me to divide them into two categories: theological and scientific. The scientific statements in your quote are then:-

Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history. ... We deny that ... Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

I imagine that most sceptics would have no trouble signing up to these sentiments at least. Most of the rest of the declaration is in a similar spirit, and includes one or two points about energy policy that I think even you would agree with.

You are simply misguided to use this sort of strategy to argue your case. In the end, it only reflects badly on you, and damages your arguments in other people's eyes.

Dec 1, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Philip

You cannot - simply can not - wave this away:

We believe that idea—we’ll call it “global warming alarmism”—fails the tests of theology, science, and economics. It rests on poor theology, with a worldview of the Earth and its climate system contrary to that taught in the Bible.

No matter how hard you try. Best not to be silly about it.

Irrespective of any scientific merits or demerits in Spencer's work, I've noticed no indication of any impropriety of this kind in his literature articles or on his blog.

Um, do you ever read Barry Bickmore's comments on Spencer's blog? Or do you just sort of block them out?

I know I linked you to Bickmore's in-depth analyses of Spencer's many errors upthread. You even claimed that you had read it.

Perhaps you made a mistake. Here's the link again.

You should also read this comment at the Panda's Thumb.

Why are you defending Spencer? Really? It's absolutely pointless and counter-productive.

This is why I don't take your protestations of impartiality seriously. They are not serious. You are not playing a straight game.

Dec 1, 2011 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, I am indeed playing a straight game with you. It is of course absolutely your free choice whether you take my advice about ad hominem or ignore it. I can assure though with absolute certainty that by so persistently relying on it, you belittle both yourself and your arguments.

Dec 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

BBD - Just who wrote the words you quoted i.e. "We believe that idea—we’ll call it “global warming alarmism”—fails the tests of theology, science, and economics."

Not Spencer - although he may have signed up to them.

However, that apart. You need to consider why global warming alarmism fails the test of theology. And the answer is in the same paragraph:

And it bears fruit in unethical policy that would

•destroy millions of jobs.
•cost trillions of dollars in lost economic production.
•slow, stop, or reverse economic growth.
•reduce the standard of living for all but the elite few who are well positioned to benefit from laws that unfairly advantage them at the expense of most businesses and all consumers.
•endanger liberty by putting vast new powers over private, social, and market life in the hands of national and international governments.
•condemn the world’s poor to generations of continued misery characterized by rampant disease and premature death.

If a policy is unethical, it fails the test of theology. Fact.

Now I can support that paragraph. We have seen a lot of it happening already. And if by supporting that paragrapg I sign up to a view that gloal warming alarmism fails the test of theology, then I can sign up to that too.

I am not a theological person. But if some theological beliefs co-incide with mine, I can sign up to them without signing up to the whole package.

What you are trying to do is to denigrate every view that Spencer espouses because you (think) you can point out some mistakes he has made.

Evaluate the science on its own merit.

Dec 1, 2011 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

@Philip Dec 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM

I noticed in an earlier comment that apparently he also supports the idea that scientific arguments should be ignored because the argument is made by scientists with Christian beliefs. Mike Hulme is certainly one such scientist. Perhaps BBD also has some reasoning that enables him to distinguish the effect on his science of Hulme's personal beliefs from Spencer's.

I've never seen the zealot actually do "reasoning", Philip! The last time the Hulme factor was pointed out to him (when he was doing one of his walls of text dervishes), he decreed that Hulme's religious leanings were irrelevant (or something along those lines). It was at that point (after reviewing the zealot's pattern of very selective quoting - and refusal to address the context when presented to him) that I decided it was a complete and utter waste of my time to bother engaging with him. As I had observed [Sep 13, 2011 at 12:39 AM]:

We seem to have ended up with a thread that is virtually littered with the disrespectful droppings of one whose zealous crusade consists of misrepresenting, bullying, browbeating - and, as a last resort, pretending not to comprehend and/or handwaving with a hefty dose of ad homenem (or ad feminem) thrown in for good measure - any and all who have the temerity to question the validity of this person's ill-founded smear of a respected climate scientist.

This individual has appointed her/himself judge, jury and executioner - not to mention Lord High Arbiter. And to add insult to intellectual injury, it would seem that s/he is quite fond of playing "my claim, prove me wrong".

From where I'm sitting, in this person's books whatever s/he chooses to drag into the thread must be accepted as gospel (regardless of any logical fallacies inherent in her/his"argument") because, well, Because! S/He! Said! So!

Some people never seem to learn from their mistakes, do they?! Oh, well ... c'est la vie!

But speaking of Hulme - whom I've always considered to be somewhat teflon-coated... I found it quite interesting that a much clearer portrait of him emerges from CG2 than CG1 - and it's not exactly a picture of scientific objectivity. This May 20, 2002 response from him to Joanna Malton at the BBC [Subject: SONGS OF PRAISE] is quite revealing:

My work is as Director of the national centre for climate change research, a job which requires me to translate my Christian belief about stewardship of God's planet into research and action. [emphasis added -hro]

The above seems quite consistent with Hulme's:

There are many reasons - lines of evidence, if you will - all of which weave together to point me in a certain direction (much as a scientist or a jury might do before reaching a considered judgement), which we call a belief.

[I believe] because there is non-trivial historical evidence that a person called Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, and it just so happens that He predicted that He would . . . I believe because of the testimony of billions of believers, just a few of whom are known to me and in whom I trust (and hence trust their testimony).

I believe because of my ineradicable sense that certain things I see and hear about in the world warrant the non-arbitrary categories of "good" or "evil". I believe because I have not discovered a better explanation of beauty, truth and love than that they emerge in a world created - willed into being - by a God who personifies beauty, truth and love.

Source

So, it's probably not at all surprising that Hulme should claim that

"climate change" is "so plastic" [that it can] "serve many of our psychological, ethical and spiritual needs".

This "plasticity" doesn't seem to have done much for science, though, has it?!

Dec 1, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

I don't know, ...seems to me that those who believe in God and in evolution are the real nutjobs.

Dec 1, 2011 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Perhaps you ought to read up on the subject of science and Christianity before making such broad brush ad hominem,/i> comments.

Dec 2, 2011 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Well Arthur, if you believe in a God, you must have difficulty reconciling the belief with evolution. If you believe in evolution, you must have difficulty reconciling it with a Creator.

Where does Christianity come into this now?

Dec 2, 2011 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

RKS

A few points:

I have never claimed to be a climate scientist

- I do have a reasonable grasp of the basics..............

Dec 1, 2011 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Nice of you to confirm what I said.

As you say, you are not qualified as a scientist, simply an enthusiastic amateur with a "reasonable grasp of the basics"

Perhaps you might now show a little bit of humility, and cease using your tiny pot of knowledge to browbeat others with differing opinions to yours.

Dec 2, 2011 at 2:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

hro001 @ Dec 1, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Hilary, The emails from Mike Hulme have bothered me as well. I can think of a couple of possible mitigating factors (he was director; he regrets them now), especially given the many reasonable and sensible public comments I've seen from him recently. I'd be very interested to find out his reaction to the emails and to give him a chance to explain ... possibly Pielke Jr will find something to say about this?

Dec 2, 2011 at 7:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Shub

if you believe in a God, you must have difficulty reconciling the belief with evolution. If you believe in evolution, you must have difficulty reconciling it with a Creator.

Surely it depends on what your idea of a creator is? If you believe in God I don't see how this excludes an omnipotence that is capable of designing an evolutionary process. I think you are equating a belief in God with man's idea as written in the OT? We must allow man's idea of God to evolve as well!

(I don't want to get into a theological debate here - I have no strong theological views at all - just pointing out what I see as a flaw in your logic.)

Dec 2, 2011 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

More defence of the indefensible at Dec 1, 2011 at 9:06 PM.

This evasion is absurd:

BBD - Just who wrote the words you quoted

Read my comment at Dec 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM again. Spencer is on the Advisory Board of the Cornwall Alliance. He is their climate science advisor. He authorises this stuff.

Let's remind ourselves once again of what Spencer endorses:

This Cornwall Alliance document contains an unequivocal statement that the scientific consensus on AGW contradicts Scripture:

We believe that idea—we’ll call it “global warming alarmism”—fails the tests of theology, science, and economics. It rests on poor theology, with a worldview of the Earth and its climate system contrary to that taught in the Bible.

There is no getting around that. Try as you might. Spencer has a prior theological commitment which both explains his extreme contrarian stance and demolishes any claim he might make to proper scientific objectivity.

If you understood the first thing about the way science is supposed to work, you wouldn't need this explaining to you over and over and over again.

Evaluate the science on its own merit.

Oh, I do.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

RKS

You do not like opinion that differs from your own. You accuse me of the same failing. Perhaps you should reflect on that.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

RKS

You do not like opinion that differs from your own. You accuse me of the same failing. Perhaps you should reflect on that.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM | BBD

Which opinion differing from my own are you referring to?

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Shub
There is absolutely no conflict between a belief in God and a belief in evolution. Trust me.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

BBD - where is the unequivocal statement that the scientific consensus on AGW contradicts Scripture?
There is a big difference between scripture and theology.

My belief system probably passes certain tests of theology. It probably fails other tests of theology.
I don't happen to think that Climate Change Science as advocated by politicians today is very honest or ethical.

Do you think it is particularly honest and ethical - perhaps also paying due regard to some of the background emails and the fact that poor people are subsidising rich windmill and solar panel owners without this being made evident to them because energy companies are not being permitted to clarify the subsidy involved on your energy bill?

In Australia you are not allowed (by law) to draw attention to increased costs as a result of carbon tax. Is that honest amnd ethical?

That is what you have to get to grips with.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

BBD - okay I get the reference to the Bible - but the contradiction relates to a set of values (or worldview) that contradicts another set of values taught in the Bible.

If climate policy will result in unethical or dishonest behaviour - is it right to draw attention to that?

Dec 2, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu


That is what you have to get to grips with.

Really? Have you never read my comments on renewables?

Look in the Discussion forum for a start. There are many more scattered through the main comments section over the last couple of years.

Should you be telling me what I have to 'get to grips with' when it comes to the abuses of Big Renewables? I don't think so.

Dec 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Renewables are irrelevant to what was under discussion, which was whether it was ever justified to consider whether global warming alarmism fails a theological test.

My point was that many people live by the same theological values regardless of whether they have theology or religion in their lives. So yes, it is relevant to bring this up, particularly when addressing people known to hold the same values.

Dec 2, 2011 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

So, anyone else looking forward to Christmas?

Dec 3, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I've asked Santa for a new Climate Change Act! But he says I'll have to wait until next year.

Dec 3, 2011 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

RKS

Perhaps you might now show a little bit of humility, and cease using your tiny pot of knowledge to browbeat others with differing opinions to yours.

Have you been following the Richard Betts discussion thread? See the discussions of Fang et al. and the dominant role of CO2 forcing.

If my knowledge is so limited, how is it that the only credentialled climate scientist present confirms that getting it right and you lot are getting it wrong? And not for the first time, either.

Dec 3, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD