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Discussion > What would convice you to be alarmed at Climate Change?

Hunter & Martin A: you give the impression that you have not really been reading these posts. TBYJ has always come over as a true sceptic, as any true scientist should be; what he has done here is just to ask those others who purport to scientific scepticism to identify what sort of evidence would they consider that might validate the theory of which they are sceptical. Give him his due – when it has been pointed out that he has made contentious comments, he is prepared to acknowledge and retract. Quite why you should get into such high dudgeon about this is a mystery. Or are you getting into such a rant because you have been forced to question your beliefs?

Dec 19, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR - I freely admit to having read only a few of the 70+ preceding posts. Is it a pre-requisite to have read an entire thread with full attention to detail before being allowed to comment?


High dudgeon? Rant? May I ask if *you* really read my comment?

I saw that BYIJ seemed to be saying you were not allowed to disbelieve the CAGW gospel unless you could articulate what it would take to convert you into a true believer.

Admittedly using several ways to express it, I pointed out that I had the right not to believe in the rubbish wihout having to articulate what it would take to convert me. BYIJ himself promptly conceded the validity of my point.

Well, it's a far point, so I retract it. Nobody should feel forced to quantify their rejection of something they think it wrong just to validate it to some random internet person.(...). It wasn't a compulsory question, ,and I regret making it seem like a prerequisite. (...)
.

"My beliefs" RR? That sounds like a god botherer telling someone that aetheism or agnisticism are just other religions.

I don't consider the fact that I have never seen convincing evidence of the validity of the CAGW hypothesis makes me a believer in something else.

However I must admit that Occam's razor and the principles of applied epistemology make me think that the hypothesis that little or nothing out of the ordinary is going on climate-wise is a lot more likely than the CAGW wet dream.

Dec 19, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Interesting debate, and geronimo as usual says what I need without having to say anything. Is that the equivalent of drafting in a road cycling race?

Sorry TBYJ, but your question reminds me of one of those cheap US court dramas on TV, i.e. frame a question and demand the answer as "Yes or no." You can ask any questions, but not to frame the answer.

I reject the question, and feel under no obligation to justify that rejection.

Raff's superiority (and supercilious attitude) I take no notice of. Any Priest can beat me on the questions on the bible. Doesn't mean I accept the bible. Raff judges me, and what do I care? It is his framework.

I have my own framework, my own spiritual beliefs, my universal belief on science and progress. Asking what me would it take to believe in the return of Jesus, in salvation? I do not recognise the question.

I understand Christianity, I am wildly read on other religions. You could equally ask would would it take for you to believe that socialism would work? I do not label myself as socialist or a conservative. In fact as anything. But I have strong views on the future of this planet. About the overlapping rhythms of this planet.

Just like in those court room dramas, you ask the questions and want a Yes or No answer, but there is no obligation to give one. You answer the question as you see fit.

Raff wants people to be acolytes, him as one of the priesthood. Good luck with that. Whatever makes you feel good. And just like the Hare Krisnas in the supermarket car parks selling their books, I do not have to explain, just a "no thanks".

Dec 20, 2015 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

Just think of this question, and if really think about it, from outside the system. Say as a visiting alien? You are presented with this question. What would the alien do? Answer it?

"Jesus is returning in 2050, what evidence would you need to accept this will happen?"

Dealing with just earthlings, say that question is asked in a particular dimension, it only makes sense in that dimension.

From another dimension, the question makes no sense. And you could never frame the answer in a way people in the other dimension could understand. Raff is Lord of his own dimension. Great, doesn't invalidate mine.

And bringing it back to the practical, that is why engineers make very good skeptics. We can step outside boxes (systems), step outside boxes and see how they interact. Never a high priest of any box, but what is the point of being an expert in the bible, when you know there are more boxes to understand and can affect your view.

Dec 20, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

Media Whore, you seem to fail by your own measure. You

know there are more boxes to understand and can affect your view
and yet despite "knowing" this you are unable to actually imagine that there really might be "boxes" that might affect your view. Your view is so set in stone that you cannot quantify and explain what might change it! That might typify some engineers, but I'd guess that such people don't make very good engineers.

Dec 20, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff, you really nailed me to the cross with that reasoning. You know me better than myself.

So, just assume I am the closed minded, incompetent alien engineer given the job no one wants to get me out of the way, "Right off you go to Earth. Find out what is going on, this Jesus business is raising its head again. Do not hurry back too soon."

"Jesus is returning in 2050, what evidence would you need to accept this will happen?"

So what does 2050 mean? Against what timeline?
What evidence is there that Jesus existed?
What evidence is there that Jesus ever planned to come back?
Define "returning"? When defined, what evidence exists to support this?
Does the human race have a tendency for this?
Does human psychology have a role in any of this?
Did politics play a part in the creation of the bible and the Jesus story?
Was history recorded accurately? Even if it was, was it influenced by those that sponsored its writing?
etc. etc. etc.

So the visiting engineer would be questioning the orthodoxy. He would probably be labelled as incompetent and closed minded by those protecting it. Plus ca change hey?

So I return to the TBYJ question and say sorry I do not recognise the authority of this Court of Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxies will always try to cloak themselves in the "just and the right". Walking down a street in Bolton in 1914 and the Hun would have been your cloak. 1939 Berlin? Well so many, but mainly people non-German. Lenin (and many since) gave "the enemies of proletariat".

Climate Alarmists cloak their righteousness in climate science.

So ask the original TBYJ question of the visiting engineer from another planet. He would look at social, political, historical elements, not just the "science" in which the question was cloaked. Does the human race have a tendency to believe in fire and brimstone apocalypses? How much is the science tainted by these inputs? A 4 billion year old planet, and it is claimed these are the hottest years? What does hottest mean really? etc. etc.

And if anyone tells me that climate science is not influenced by psychological, social and political inputs and feedbacks, then they are the denier.

But you can ignore all that because as you can I have absolutely no imagination, and no ability at all to remove myself from a box and take a wider view.

So what would the visiting engineer ask when presented with the original question? I am fairly sure the first set of questions would all have "Please define..." in front of them. And he would look at the numerous answers (many conflicting, many deliberately left vague) scratch one of his 25 heads and think it is going to be a long report.

Dec 20, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

Nobody should feel compelled, but I think there is a real danger when we turn the idea of climate alarmism into an untouchable. We risk elevating it to a position it does not have - some sort of unquestionable dogma which must be accepted whole or rejected whole. In fact it has been turned it into a religion. This is what they want - they have tied together some brilliant science with some highly questionable statistics and they want everyone to treat both parts as a whole.

By rejecting the whole thing, we are helping them do this.

Because the last thing they want is for us to point out the glaring difference between the good science and their bad science, using the tools and logic of science itself. They would rather we rejected everything, and then look foolish, and thus easily dismissible. The angry opponent who has been beaten down and now just rejects everything, even the good parts, baring their teeth from the corner when the bell rings is just another bit of vermin which can be exterminated.

It disempowers us and empowers them.

Dec 21, 2015 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'm with TBYJ.

If you've read books like "When Prophecies Fail" and "Mistakes were made: But not by me" it explains how ingrained confirmation bias can get and the contortions the mind can perform to preserve the illusion that you're right. We're all subject to it whether we like it or not. There are some astounding tales in those interesting books.

One of the basic defenses suggested against unconscious bias is to always understand what it would take to change your mind on any issue. I can remember doing this when challenged by a warmist on another forum many years ago...but he just couldn't bring himself to do it in return: "it's basic physics"!

My answer then was a sufficiently long track record of correct forecasts (which may take many years given the nature of the problem). Since then I have seen so much dishonesty and incompetence that I would set the bar much higher: exposing all the charlatans within their midst (Gleick, Lewandowsky, Mann, Cook etc) and a clearout of the Augean stables, generally welcoming contrary views and a policy of openly sharing all data and methods.

Dec 21, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Registered CommenterSimonW

By rejecting the whole thing, we are helping them do this.
Dec 21, 2015 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I don't reject the whole thing, and have never suggested otherwise. Or at least, not intentionally. I can't be responsible for all of other peoples perceptions. I think that goes for most commenters at BH.

Because the last thing they want is for us to point out the glaring difference between the good science and their bad science, using the tools and logic of science itself. They would rather we rejected everything, and then look foolish, and thus easily dismissible.

Once again, I can't do a lot about what other people want. And I shouldn't have to somehow prove myself worthy and reasonable before I can voice scientific objections. I may have a science PhD, but don't need it to do so. A bricklayer who thinks he was deceived by promises about ice-free Arctics and Mediterranean Summers is under no obligation to prove his 'skeptical credentials'.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

There's no obligation, it's just a useful and interesting exercise.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'm already alarmed by the extent to which Climate Change propaganda is driving government policies on the back of inadequate evidence that propagandists' models are even close to correct.

I'd be alarmed if the Gulf Stream altered its course, turning the UK climate all Norwegian. Parochial? Of course - I hadn't planned on trying to emigrate again.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Coming at the question from tthe warmist end, I can give you a numerical answer.

The null hypothesis is that the temperature is changing due to random variation.

The alternate hypothesis is that there is a long term warming trend.

The most recent GISS 5-year average is anomaly 0.67C+/-0.09.

To be 95% confident in the alternate hypothesis you need to show an increase of 0.18C.

To be 95% confident in the null hypothesis you need to show a decrease of 0.18C.

When I see that the GISS 5-year average has dropped back to 0.49C I will accept the sceptic view.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM,

there isn't one sceptic view, people here believe in end-of-century levels from the lower end of the IPCC estimates (1.5) right down to zero, and beyond into cooling. Which one would you be accepting?

Dec 21, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The null hypothesis is that the temperature is changing due to random variation.

What is 'random' EM? If it means "anything other then human-caused atmospheric CO2, including all the various factors known and unknown that have caused temperature changes over the past 20,000 years", then fair enough.

To be 95% confident in the alternate hypothesis you need to show an increase of 0.18C.

EM - I know you have said that you took a "statistics 101" course or something. But that course evidently did not result in your appreciating that you can only meaningfully talk about calculating confidence intervals when you have a verified model of the statistics of the system.

Since that does not exist for the climate system, talk of "95% confidence" is no more than expressing a guess - and a guess made by someone who is motivated to find things that confirm his beliefs.

Dec 21, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

TheBigYinJames, Martin A

There are indeed so many sceptic viewpoints to choose, from lukewarmers who accept AGW but think the consequences are overestimated, right through to sky dragon slayers.

"The null hypothesis is that the temperature is changing due to random variation "

That null hypothesis corresponds to the particular.sceptic view that there is zero warming/zero cooling and that we are only seeing short term variation about a constant mean.

Note that the 1998 centred 5 year average was 0.46C. By my criteria, that is the latest year for which the 2012 5-year average is significantly warmer.

If you wanted me to accept a lukewarm position, then a good statistical demonstration that the 30 year warming rate has dropped below 0.1/decade would probably suffice.

"Statistical model"?

The temperature data are Gaussian, with a short term standard deviation of 0.045C. There is an underlying trend of 0.21C +/- 0.09C decade since 1970.

Martin A, you comp!ain mightily about my weak statistics. Perhaps you might indicate what statistical argument might lead you to accept 0.2C/decade warming

Alternatively what statistical support can you provide for your own position, whatever it is?

Dec 21, 2015 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Martin A: apologies for not separating you from hunter’s rant, though you have seemed to be rather upset that anyone should ask you to question your views. TBYJ asked a rhetorical question, without insisting that you give a response; quite why so many should respond in such an aggressive way as they have does make me wonder if TBYJ has rattled their cage a bit.

You have asked Entropic man what he means by variable – in another thread, he did actually state that there was a variable before humans gained prominence; when I asked him what this variable might have been, and whether it is possible for it to still be extant now, he went silent. It would be interesting to find out how the rise of one species could nullify, negate or over-ride a 4.5 billion-year-old variable.

The null hypothesis is not that there is random variation around a constant mean, it is that humans have negligible or no influence upon changes in the planetary climate. Thus, for me to “convert” from being sceptical, significantly large events and phenomena would have to occur that could only be attributed to human influence on atmospheric conditions (and, no, isolated “record-breaking” weather events to not qualify). As none has occurred, and none are likely to occur, my scepticism will hold.

Actually, there may be two null hypotheses involved; one as stated above, the other being that any change in the climate will not be catastrophic or lead to “run-away” changes. Again, all the evidence to date is that what change there has been has been largely beneficial, therefore why should we not expect that situation to continue, within the foreseeable scenario of not much happening, at all.

Dec 21, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Perhaps you might indicate what statistical argument might lead you to accept 0.2C/decade warming

Give me time to answer that. I think there are a whole raft of assumptions built into your question, leading to a range of possible answers.

Alternatively what statistical support can you provide for your own position, whatever it is?

When I'm less pushed for time I'll express my position but, roughly, it is that the recent changes in the climate (up and/or down) are much the same as less recent changes in the climate (up and/or down) and I have seen no evidence that use of fossil fuel has caused any detectable acceleration one way or the other.

Support for my position? More or less as I commented to BYIJ, if somebody declares something ishappening but has not produced any evidence for it that I find convincing (or any evidence at all, other than circumstantial) then I am under no obligation to produce evidence to disprove their claims.

The position that you have expressed several times (that anybody not accepting the validity of the CAGW hypothesis has to produce their own evidence to the contrary) is a bit like the judge in a court saying "OK the prosecution's case is unconvincing and based only on circumstantial evidence. But unless you can prove that you are innocent, I'm going to sentence you all the same".

In addition, the unscientific approach of many prominent 'climate scientists', the religious fervour associated with it, and the bad behaviour is enough to make *anything* emerging from climate science the subject of deep suspicion.

One of the statistics that I find profoundly convincing is the following:

97% of papers on human caused global warming agree: GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING AND WE ARE THE CAUSE.

Dec 21, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

TBYJ asked a rhetorical question, without insisting that you give a response
RR - BYIJ said " If there are things which don't convince you, that's fine, but you have to give a shape and size to that doubt, or else it's just superstition."

That seemd like insiting to me.

Dec 21, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Oi, I withdrew that.

Dec 21, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Yes, and I said so previously, but the rodent had apparently missed my comment.

Admittedly using several ways to express it, I pointed out that I had the right not to believe in the rubbish wihout having to articulate what it would take to convert me. BYIJ himself promptly conceded the validity of my point.

Well, it's a far point, so I retract it. Nobody should feel forced to quantify their rejection of something they think it wrong just to validate it to some random internet person.(...). It wasn't a compulsory question, ,and I regret making it seem like a prerequisite. (...)

.(..)
Dec 19, 2015 at 10:48 AM

Dec 21, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

MA: for one who does not want to articulate on this topic, you have been remarkably articulate…

Anyhoo… you are right in your rejection of EM’s rather silly proposition that you provide evidence for a reason for NOT believing someone who presents no evidence – it gives the ridiculous scenario of “Prove there is no evidence!” That is as ridiculous as asking me to prove my hypothesis that there is no other life in the universe – it is impossible to prove, but (unlike AGW/ACC/call it what you will), it is very easily disproven.

Now, at risk of raising your ire, what evidence could affect your opinion sufficiently for your scepticism to be reconsidered?

Dec 21, 2015 at 8:07 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR - I've tried to answer that already in this thread. But, despite what you say, clearly not articulately enough.

I'd have to know what aspect of my scepticism you'd want me to reconsider.

- That human caused CO2 has already caused detectable climate changes?
- That human caused climate change is going to have truly catastrophic effects?
- That the temperature records in Phil Jones's keeping are reliable?
- That the concept of "radiative forcing" has been adequately validated by observation and measurement?
- That James Hansen's work is unbiased and objective science?
- That we can have confidence in the predictions of climate models because they can reproduce past climate?
- That 97% of scientists blah blah
and so on.

BTW, how do you easily disprove there is no other life in the universe?

Dec 21, 2015 at 8:40 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

TBYJ,
I unreservedly apologize to you for my intemperate posts last week. They were unbecoming and grew out of a completely unrelated real world situation.

Dec 21, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

RR,
Wise people have frequently emphasized the importance of critical self examination. TBYJ is asking a very useful question for accomplishing that review. To the extent that angry posts on this thread by myself distracted from that process I made that review less fruitful.

Dec 21, 2015 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

MA: any of them, really, though I see your point; the chances of any of these providing any evidence – note: not sufficient, but any evidence – to cause you to pause are pretty remote.

Disproving that Earth is the only place in the universe is quite simple – just find somewhere else that has life, or that shows evidence that life exists/existed there (as in “a message from the stars” – bearing in mind that, in the time from transmission to reception, that life may now be extinct). Of course, an irrefutable landing of aliens, as in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (the 1951 original, with Michael Rennie, please), would also do.

Dec 21, 2015 at 9:27 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent