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Discussion > A sensitive matter

I had an interesting reply from stewgreen who was questioning how climate science is validated. My question was:

how did you all validate Lewis' low sensitivity results - or do you think they are not validated and that sensitivity could actually be high?

I didn't expect to get a reply to this but to my surprise, stewgreen replied (my bold):

Of course they are not validated, they are just professional opinions based on evidence.. and yes 'climate' sensitivity could possibly be proved to be high

Whether Lewis is a professional in this field aside, this is a statement of the obvious of course, as all sensitivity probability distributions have a peak and a long tail up to high values (and of course the possibility of very low sensitivity). All the same, I've never seen a sceptic here admit that sensitivity could be high, so this is progress of a sort.

So I wonder how high you think sensitivity could be, what consequences a high sensitivity might have and whether we should do anything to mitigate the risks.

Nov 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff has already been answered on the Original thread So before you get drawn into his evasive & circular debating tactics I suggest you read the full quality of his debate there.
It's upto you whether you devote much of your respect & time to answering questions from someone who seems to mainly ignore or dismiss anyone else's questions and misrepresent what they say.

Nov 3, 2014 at 5:10 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Stewgreen
He Is A Troll
DNFTT

Nov 3, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Answered? You said it could be proved to be high and we said nothing more about it (as far as I remember). So here you and others have an opportunity to expand on your belief that sensitivity might be high.

Nov 3, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

A troll :- anyone who disagrees with the prevailing delusions on Bishop Hill.

Nov 3, 2014 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - tactful and diplomatic as ever with those whose views he does not share.

Nov 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

“All sensitivity probability distributions have a peak and a long tail up to high values.”

This is not true. I can show you a sensitivity probability distribution obtained from a sample of BH regulars that looks like Cleopatra's Needle. The day CO2 concentration doubles I'll show you a distribution with no tail at all.

What is it about long-tailed (or sometimes fat-tailed) distributions which so fascinates a certain kind of climate freak? Is there a psychoanalyst in the house?

I once asked Monbiot to point me to a paper which demonstrated CAGW, and he named Stott 2009 (I think) which was all about fat-tailed probability distributions of sensitivity estimates. Nothing about whether we were all going to die or not.

Lewandowsky goes further and claims to be able to prove mathematically that the less you know about a subject, the more dangerous it probably is, all because of his big fat tail. (You know nothing about climate sceptics? Then they probably eat babies and slit the throats of holders of medals from the Royal Society).

I had a rather mad discussion at James Annan's site once about skewed graphs with fat tails, and cited women's bra sizes as a case in point. According to the fat tail hypothesis, the less you know about a woman's breast size (because she's wearing a burka for example) the more likely she is to be wearing a D-cup. I made a fool of myself of course, despite the fact that Lucia Liljegren came to my aid.

What Raff and Stott and Annan and Monbiot and Lewandowsky all miss is that these fat tailed skewed graphs are all distributions of opinions. They're all about psychology, not climate. Ask people about their IQ or annual mileage or the number of their sexual conquests and you'll get exactly the same distribution. It's probably a male thing.

(Not that we BH boys aren't as male as the next man, but we try to leave aside our testosterone levels when discussing the world we're leaving to our grandchildren.)

Nov 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Martin A

Take it up with Michael Jackson. He is the one calling raff a troll for seeking discussion.

Geoffchambers

This is not about opinion or psychology, it is about evidence. Entire populations have believed that the world was flat or that Stalin was a wise or benevolent ruler, in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary.

Mass opinion and reality often have very little overlap. What "everybody knows" can be complete rubbish. In the case of climate change I keep being told here that it is not happening. The evidence disagrees. Read AR5.

I used the word delusion in my reply to Mike Jackson. A delusion is a belief which is held in defiance of the evidence. In mild form it is prevalent at BH. For more extreme manifestations go to WUWT or PSI.

Nov 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic man:

This is not about opinion or psychology, it is about evidence. Entire populations have believed that the world was flat or that Stalin was a wise or benevolent ruler, in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary.
What are you on about? My comment was about probability distributions of opinions of scalar values, not about proportions believing in this or that proposition.. You can't do a probability distribution of the world's flatness or Stalin's benevolence, so go away and stop trolling a sensible discussion of the skewed distribution of the probability estimates of climate sensitivity.
Don't you realise that the decisions of the governments of 195 countries hang on the word of the likes of Annan, Stott and Lewandowsky? Their median values may be at 2°C, but how far do their fat tails extend? That is the trillion euro question.

Nov 3, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Entropic man,
We still debate with you because you will ask questions and answer them. Raff does the first but not the second.

I will not post anything further on a thread started by Raff, it only feeds his ego and does nothing to enhance the knowledge of mankind.

Nov 3, 2014 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

@EM: "A troll :- anyone who disagrees with the prevailing delusions on Bishop Hill."

@MA: "EM - tactful and diplomatic as ever with those whose views he does not share."

@EM "Take it up with Michael Jackson. He is the one calling raff a troll for seeking discussion."

Entropic Man - Please explain why should I take up your slur (that ideas prevailing on BH are delusions) with Mike Jackson?

[BTW it's Mike Jackson. Michael Jackson is a dead child molesting pop star.

Nov 3, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Geoff, "I can show you a sensitivity probability distribution obtained from a sample of BH regulars that looks like Cleopatra's Needle."

No you can't, that is not an intelligent claim. There are probably some here who think sensitivity is zero or even negative; there are some realists, such as stewgreen (and me to a lesser degree), who think that it is probably (I'd say possibly) low but it could be turn out to be high. Some may think the chances of it being high are not negligible. Many probably think it will be between 1 and 1.5C. I will hazard a guess that there are very few who would put an exact number on it - even you with your certainty of the distribution have not dared put a value on it. So there's your BH probability distribution right there, made up of all these differing views. Of course it has no scientific validity and it is not comparable to the distributions produced by those studying it. But it has a long tail. It may (or may not) be a thin tail, but it is very far from a spike.

So please drop the physiology angle.

Nov 3, 2014 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

That should of course be psychology (although physiology would not be useful either).

Nov 3, 2014 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Michael Jackson is a dead child molesting pop star.
Nov 3, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A
You should try going through French Immigration with me some time and explain that to them! The 'dead' bit, that is. I assume they are having a larf but it wears a bit thin after the tenth time.

EM
There are plenty of people on here with whom any or all of us disagree at times. Raff is simply showing himself in the BBD/ZDB class. As SandyS says, he simply is not interested in any form of exchange of ideas; his objective is simply to disrupt threads. Ie: he is a troll.

Nov 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It is not your name the immigration officials are worried about, but your negative effect on average french IQ. What is the sense in me disrupting my own thread?

Nov 4, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff