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Discussion > What do Entropic Man and Raff really believe.

On probabilities:

Kynes stared at him, seeing the water-fat flesh. He spoke coldly: "You never talk of likelihoods on Arrakis. You speak only of possibilities."

Jun 23, 2015 at 1:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

M Courtney
Nice succinct summary, unfortunately across all of the political spectrum it is a minority view.

PS I didn't think you were in the Private Fraser camp, so thanks for the confirmation.

Jun 23, 2015 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

@ M Courtney

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change 'feels' like it should be a 'Liberal Left' crusade but it is not. Sadly many people unthinkingly attack the left here in true 'engage brain deficiency syndrome' and we have lost some good people to other blogs for that reason. Two in particular are Paul Mathews and Robin Guenier (hope I spelt that right hehe), Paul started his own blog but still posts here as well. I am firmly of the right but I believe CAGW is apolitical.

Jun 23, 2015 at 8:25 AM | Registered CommenterDung

EM, if you wanted to find evidence that CAGW wasn’t genuine you’d want climate science to improve.

You’d be calling for large amounts of money to be spent exploring the alternatives to catastrophe. Do you seriously expect a bunch of amateurs, near retirees or tenured scientists or unsupported loners with PCs to compete with the combined trillions and mainframes of international climate departments and all the other groups that have signed up to catastrophe without ever asking difficult questions? Look at the shrieking and knicker wetting that goes on when there’s the remotest possibility that funding for a sceptic may have come from industry. There doesn’t have to be evidence it’s bought an opinion, just the connection is enough for a witch hunt. Look at the aggression and black mail that goes on every time someone breaks ranks and looks like they may be looking at both sides (eg Lennart Bengtsson joining GWPF). Ask yourself how many students or junior scientists would dare to incur any of that by deviating from the CAGW message? But despite all that, evidence against the C in CAGW HAS been building eg Nic Lewis. Papers demonstrating that there was a MWP and that current temperatures are unexceptional come thick and fast, despite Mann’s broken stick.

Talking of which, you should want the clearly bad science removed from the table because it not only skews the true picture, it damages the credibility of the rest. You know it’s almost impossible for bad papers to be retracted. The best that happens is they slowly submerge under new papers that may or may not be better. But they’re like zombies, popping back up when you think they’re finally dead. The public still don’t know if the UK is going to boil or freeze as the rogue papers keep batting the temperature back and forth but the truth is that the UK is one of those countries least likely to be affected in any direction. You should want all those ludicrous claims of weather being evidence of AGW removed from the airwaves. You know quite well it’s just emotional blackmail with no hint of science behind it.

If you really wanted the truth about AGW you would want all those extraneous organisations to butt out. There is zero value in speculation from the sidelines on what would happen if temperatures reach X degrees. Where are the corresponding reports about the other potential catastrophes? When did the Lancet write a report about the injuries and diseases that might befall us if we were struck by a meteorite and yet today they release a report about global warming? Liberally sprinkling in genuine pollution issues as if CO2 was responsible. Not a hint of any benefits from fossil fuels mar the perfectly crafted hit piece.

But no, you don’t want any of those things. Why not?

PS you should want those things even as a believer, if only to improve credibility.

Jun 23, 2015 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"Geronimo and I did calculations from similar formula and got widely different answers."

geronimo was wrong.

Jun 23, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo


The Geological record shows us that asteroid strikes happen quite often and that CAGW has NEVER happened, kinda makes ya think right ?

Jun 23, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterDung

What do EM and Raff really believe? It looks to me that they really believe there will be some catastrophic climate events if humans keep putting CO2 into the atmosphere, which is fine, Jehova's Witnesses have had a similar belief for years, and the dates for the end of the world have come and gone, but their beliefs haven't changed. So don't look to shake EM and Raff in their beliefs any time soon.

The second belief that I don't share with them is that if there is going to be catastrophes if humans keep putting CO2 in the atmosphere stopping will prevent the catastrophes. It isn't clear that CO2 is the great climate controller, in fact it's pretty clear that it isn't, but we're dealing with "belief" and that's not going to be shaken by evidence. At least in my experience.

Their third belief is that we could actually get to a stage where the world's governments will give up burning fossil fuels - I put my hands up to assuming this is their belief. That simply isn't going to happen in a timescale that will be of any use in avoiding putting what's considered "dangerous" amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Their joint fourth belief is that they have "science" on their side, in that a "host" of scientists are saying there will be catastrophes if we don't do something to prevent them. It is latter belief that gives them their "" on this blog (although I suspect they're getting their "science" from SkS and like blogs.

Their purpose in coming here is to challenge our beliefs. And why not? I don't believe we're omniscient - I'm certainly not - and as much as the dynamic duo I have beliefs - I don't believe anyone can foretell the future.I do believe that computers programmed by people who think catastrophes are going to happen will always forecast catastrophes, that computers programmed by people who believe CO2 will increase temperatures will always show that temperatures increase with CO2. (they actually then test to see if this is correct by taking out the CO2 forcing to see if the temperature drops - and it does. Amazing). I don't believe that the outputs from computers are evidence.They're my beliefs (and non-beliefs) and will take some shifting, but it's always nice to see what holes others can pick them.

I also believe ATTP is a wannabe of the first order, which, although not germaine, I wanted to get off my chest.

Jun 23, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

M Courtney

I was intrigued by your null hypothesis. I presume you think of it as the temperature expected without extra forcing from extra CO2.

I went looking for calculations of the null hypothesis and found this from a college course

Look at plot 1 or plot 2. The line you want is labeled modern-predictedSST and was calculated on the assumption that forcing stabilised in 1958. It predicts global temperatures stabilising around 13.0C.

The null hypothesis is 13.0C and the most recent 5-year average temperature is 14.6C ( from GISS )

Personally I would regard a 1.6C difference between observation and null hypothesis as significant

Jun 23, 2015 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


Hat tip for your 10.04.

If it is about your beliefs versus mine, neither of us is ever going to convert the other.

Belief is no way to judge scientific evidence. " This must be correct because it matches my beliefs" is no more acceptable than " This must be wrong because it disagrees with my beliefs"

Scientific method includes measures to try and make the process more objective.

I am rather alarmed by the assumption frequently expressed in BH that all climate scientists ( or whatever you call them) are incompetent, deluded or dishonest. Is this how experience leads you to expect all people, including yourselves, to think?

I think you underestimate the scientists.Part of the training is to put aside your personal beliefs, go by the evidence and include the weaknesses in your hypothesis along with the strengths.
Apart from peer review there is also considerable professional rivalry. Your rivals will take delight in pointing out where you have cocked it up! Second only to getting a Nobel Prize for something genuinely new, is getting a Nobel Prize for showing that everybody else were wrong.☺

As Latimer Alder pointed out I prefer to get my science unfiltered from the original papers if possible. SKS etc are secondary resources. Alas, I no longer have university library access privileges and cannot afford download fees, so I am in the same boat as the rest of you.

Jun 23, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM (6:46 PM) -
First, your link to the college course is busted. Correct link. And the GISS data set to which you link is a temperature anomaly, not an absolute temperature.

More importantly, I am surprised that you use the absolute temperature from a model as your "null hypothesis". It is well-known that the absolute temperatures of models can deviate greatly from observations. See the right-hand side of AR5 WG1 Figure 9.8, which shows that GCMs' estimate of the global mean temperature for 1961-1990 varies from 12.6 to 15.3 deg C. By contrast, GISS notes that their estimate of average global temperature for their base period of 1951-80 is 14.0 deg C; adjusting it to 1961-90 yields 14.09.

Jun 23, 2015 at 8:23 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

EM “I am rather alarmed by the assumption frequently expressed in BH that all climate scientists ( or whatever you call them) are incompetent, deluded or dishonest. Is this how experience leads you to expect all people, including yourselves, to think?

I think you underestimate the scientists. Part of the training is to put aside your personal beliefs, go by the evidence and include the weaknesses in your hypothesis along with the strengths. Apart from peer review there is also considerable professional rivalry.”

Well that’s a very touching view but how do you know it’s true? You’re taking it on trust. We could say the same of businesses and their employees but I doubt you’d take them on trust. So why the difference?

Jun 23, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

EM. All climate scientists are human beings. All human beings are not perfect.

Jun 23, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Entropic Man, no that is not the null hypothesis in any science.
The null hypothesis is that two things are not related. And we only gain knowledge of the world when that is probably disproven (made very unlikely).

Note: This does not say that CO2 does not case warming if all other things are equal. It says that we do not know that all other things are equal until it is proven.
Reversing the null hypothesis allows any idea to become accepted as knowledge without proof. This is unjustified.

I gave three examples:
1) Chinese legends about rainfall (dragons)
2) John Wyndham's imagination (The Kraken Awakes)
3) DC Comics much repeated Aquaman story (lost Atlanteans)
They are all internally consistent. But they are all fantasy, in my opinion. But only in my opinion - if we reverse the null hypothesis.
I can't prove that what I can't see isn't there. It just seems implausible and unnecessary.

By accepting a null hypothesis of "I think this, prove it wrong" you allow all these to be accepted too.

And the first example is far more venerable than AGW - why not stock with the dragons?

Jun 23, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Harold W

As long as you are reasonably careful, using C, K and anomalies is not a problem since they are all the same size units. Since I was interested in changes over a relatively small range they are all valid. Strictly speaking all scientific discussion of temperatures should of course be in K, but it can confuse laymen, especially Americans wedded to F. ☺

M Courtney mentioned a null hypothesis but did not mention a value. This was the first I found. Could you suggest other sources where a value for this null hypothesis may be found? It gets discussed a lot on sceptic blogs, but I do not recall anybody giving numbers.


That is what peer review, replication and debate are about. They distinguish high quality science from low quality. Remember too that the price for publishing fake data is the loss of reputation and career. It becomes apparent when later work disagrees.


Any area of human activity has error correction mechanisms. In my flying days readback of radio instructions was routine. Airliners operate with a handling pilot and a monitoring pilot. Businesses have codes of practice, enforced by external monitoring and audit, compliance depts, etc. Science is no different.

Unfortunately the internet has no such mechanisms.

Jun 23, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

M Courtney

Whatever your null hypothesis, it needs to be quantified, so it can be compared with the predictions of the alternate hypothesis and with observation. What is the value of your null hypothesis and how was it calculated?

Jun 23, 2015 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

A: for those in close contact with nature, probably already. For most people, maybe never on their own (i.e. without it being pointed out). Attribution is difficult, weather is variable. I don't suppose previous changes have been recognized as "climate change" and not just as weather.
B: There is no such evidence.
C: Don't know.
D: 10%
E: Entertainment.

BTW, what was Mann's accidentally released "censored" file?

Jun 23, 2015 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

"peer review, replication and debate"

Peer review is just a trade magazine with shared editing. Since data and code are often not included there's no way that a reviewer can do much more than give a paper a sniff test. Assuming the reviewer has the time or the knowledge to do the job properly. Add to that peer pressure and groupthink and you've got nothing useful.

Replication. There is very little replication in climate science. Apart from the huge scope, peer review specifically inhibits replication. Those areas where different groups try to arrive at a common answer eg sensitivity or climate modelling, the results are all over the place. Add paleo results to this lot and you've got your barn door and a bulldozer.

Debate. What effing debate? Didn't you listen? The debate was over till those pesky sceptics interfered. There are no incentives to buck the consensus.

"The price for publishing fake data is the loss of reputation and career" Really? Observation suggests it's near impossible to even get a terrible paper retracted, let alone the author saked. After all, there's no need to call it fake data old boy, just work in progress. If nobody knows what the truth is, how can you spot a fake? How can you tell a mistake from a fraud even when you know the answer? Who's going to find the guilty author in the wrong? His peers, who are so in tune that they've issued a consensus of 97%?

Try again EM. How do you know you can trust climate scientists?

Jun 23, 2015 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Thanks Raff, interesting to have your reponses.

Mann put a load of stuff on an internet server so people could access it. It included a directory called "censored" (presumably included unintentionally) that turned out to have results suggesting temps were higher in the mediaeval period - not at all what his hockey stick curve suggested.

Jun 23, 2015 at 11:50 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

A fine example of how peer review fails is the Andrew Wakefield MMR paper. It was ten years from publication to retraction from the Lancet. Only when Wakefield was struck off the medical register was it removed. Wakefield was only struck off due to the persistence of a newspaper journalist who single handedly attacked the guy. He got his man when Wakefield tried to sue him for defamation and had to give up the details of his research under disclosure. Even then, the GMC only investigated him over the payment of children for samples at a birthday party and a lack of disclosing that he'd been hired by the lawyers of some of the families who were trying to sue over the vaccine. The paper was removed because of those reasons and not because it was a crap paper with only a tiny sample of children, several of whome had displayed symptoms before vaccination.

Jun 23, 2015 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

EM (10:56 PM): "As long as you are reasonably careful, using C, K and anomalies is not a problem since they are all the same size units. Since I was interested in changes over a relatively small range they are all valid."

My point is that you were *not* careful in the earlier (6:46 PM) post. You did not take changes at all; you took the temperature of a random model (13 °C) and compared it to the GISS temperature (14.6 °C), and ascribed the entire difference (1.6 °C) to greenhouse gases. One could have as easily selected a model whose average temperature (under constant forcing since 1958) is 15 °C, from which (following the same reasoning) one would be led to the bizarre conclusion that the effect of increased greenhouse gas is 14.6 - 15.0 = -0.4 °C.

A more careful comparison would be to say that the model predicted no change in temperature over the time period, while GISS showed ~0.6 °C difference.

Jun 24, 2015 at 4:30 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Martin (and others) can you please answer your own 5 questions.

Jun 24, 2015 at 5:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

with justifications.

Jun 24, 2015 at 6:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff, looking at your answers you seem very unsure of CAGW but are more than happy that everyone else signs a blank cheque to be spent on ineffective solutions to an unprovable (B), undetected (A) and improbable (D) phenomena.You come here solely to be annoying and get peverse pleasure (E) from being insulted by people who, although you don't know it (C), have good intentions. You seriously need to get a life or rethink your answers.

EM what do you think about trolling like this?

Jun 24, 2015 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Seeing as Raff Asked, but I'll wait for his rational before I post mine.

A Never (CO2 as a cause, I can't predict what else we might do)
B There is no such evidence
C Other - We should all be sceptical of everything and so need an alternative view (even by reading the Guardian and BBC)
D 1 in 100,000
E Other (Several)

Jun 24, 2015 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

OK Raff.

[A] When do you think human caused climate change is likely to become widely noticed as a reality?
(1)----- Never
I think it is about equiprobable that any noticable climate change will be to the cooler as to the warmer. And, if the latter, the cause will remain obscure.

[B] What do you think are the things that provide firm evidence that human caused climate change will be a serious problem?
(1)---- There is no such evidence. [Output of unvalidated models is not evidence. All that has ever been provided is, at best, a plausibility argument.]

[C]- The readers and commenters on BH are motivated by:
(1)---- Love of the truth (or, in my case, antipathy to bullshit + untruths, rather than pursuit of the truth. Probably goes for some other commenters)
(6)----Other [Dislike of being told what to do/think, Outlet of expression for people who have no political representation]

[D]- What is your guess at the probability that climate change will have truly catastrophic consequences within the lifetime of anybody now living:
(4)---- 1 in 1000 [An overnight ice age return can't be completely ruled out, though 1/1000 is maybe putting the probability too high]

[E] Why do you comment on BH?
(3)-----It makes me feel I have done my duty [In my own tiny little way]
(6) Other________________I enjoy doing so and it passes the time while I have a coffee between doing more serious things (like replacing the timing belt on an old car, taking rubble to the dump recycling centre). Entertainment, in other words.

Jun 24, 2015 at 9:41 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A