Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Environment > The relative rationality of Malcolm Roberts

The relative rationality of Malcolm Roberts

August 11th, 2016

Among other interesting results, the recent election gave a Senate seat to One Nation member Malcolm Roberts. Roberts is notable for his expressed belief that global warming is a fraud produced by a global conspiracy of bankers seeking to establish a worldwide government through the United Nations.

Unsurprisingly, Roberts has copped a lot of flak for these statements. But his position seems to me to be more credible than that of the average “sceptic”.

I’ll take, Don Aitkin as an example of the kind of sceptic generally seen as more credible than conspiracy theorists like Roberts. Among other indicators of credibility, Aitkin has an AO, he’s a former Vice-Chancellor, and was Chairman of the Australian Research Grants Committee (predecessor of the Australian Research Council) and a member of the Australian Science and Technology Council. His own academic background was in history and political science. As far as I can tell he has no training or research background in either statistics or natural science of any kind.

Given his background, you’d expect Aitkin to be aware of the years of training required to become an academic expert in any field, and the ease with which amateurs can get things badly wrong. But in his writing on climate change he expresses supreme confidence in his own ability to assess the work of thousands of scientists and pronounce it wanting. As he says

here wasn’t much abstruse science in the global warming issue. A bit of radiative physics, a bit of solar physics, a lot of data of various kinds, large GCMs — global circulation models — and a good deal of extrapolation

All in an afternoon’s work for a retired academic administrator, it seems. No wonder VCs are so highly paid!

Unsurprisingly, we discover that what Aitkin actually disliked was

the message: a set of policies about curbing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels.

.

So, according to Aitkin, the entire discipline of climate science, backed up by every major scientific organization in the world, is engaged in a transparent fraud, has, in the service a political agenda, published false research, easily seen through by a retired political scientist and his circle of emeritus colleagues. They have succeeded in persuading every national government in the world to sign on to agreements based on this fraud misrepresentation of the facts. And to what end? To change the way we generate electricity, or maybe to shift a few research grants from one field to another. The disproportion between effort and goal is akin to using a nuclear-powered piledriver to crack a peanut.

And the same, more or less, is true of most of the relativel respectable “sceptics”. There simply isn’t enough payoff to explain the gigantic effort that’s gone into constructing the global scientific consensus on climate science.

By contrast, once you accept Malcolm Roberts’ premises, the rest makes sense. Suppose there is a gigantic conspiracy to establish a world government. Then suborning a few thousand scientists and dozens of scientific academies, all the weather bureaus in the world and the entire mass media (except for the Murdoch press) would be child’s play. The only question is when the black helicopters will land.

Categories: Boneheaded stupidity, Environment Tags:
  1. paul walter
    August 11th, 2016 at 14:18 | #1

    The Right can read the reality of world politics, but inevitably fouls up as to conclusions. It knows there is an oligarchy, but can never face up to to the true nature and identity of the threat. The US Tea Party is an example; astro turfed by big business whose people always skew the results of critique to the inverse of the reality.

  2. OM
    August 11th, 2016 at 16:05 | #2

    There’s a famous paper easily found on the www “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground” by Svante Arrhenius Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science Series 5, Volume 41, April 1896, pages 237-276.
    Arrhenius made some predictions about how much global warming would arise per extra proportion of CO2. What has happened is roughly in line with what Arrhenius predicted. It strikes me that Senator-elect Roberts or ex-VC Aitkin could achieve immortality by showing how Arrhenius got it wrong 120 years ago.

  3. Douglas Hynd
    August 11th, 2016 at 16:13 | #3

    JQ wouldn’t your piece be better described as the relative rationality of Malcolm Roberts? The issue you are discussing is the relationship between premises and the conclusions drawn by Roberts and Aitken respectively and the relatively rationality thereof.

  4. John Quiggin
    August 11th, 2016 at 17:04 | #4

    @Douglas Hynd

    A good point. I’ll edit accordingly

  5. John Chapman
    August 11th, 2016 at 17:12 | #5

    Roberts is on Q&A next Monday; also Greg Hunt.

    Meanwhile, or just after …

    Uni’s VS Fossil Fuels – short film and academic panel discussion

    START: August 17, 2016 • 6:00 PM
    Heath Room, UQ Union Complex• The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072
    HOST CONTACT INFO: [email protected]

    FREE EVENT: Join some of UQ’s world-leading academics and climate change researchers to watch a short film about divestment – the rapidly growing global movement to get universities to stop investing in fossil fuels. Followed by a panel discussion where we’ll get to hear from these leading academics and discuss UQ’s fossil fuel investments.

    We’re screening the 15-minute film “$hift”, created by students from San Francisco to explain the reasoning behind fossil fuel divestment and tell the inspiring stories of students around the world who are fighting against the entrenched power of the fossil fuel industry, demanding climate justice.

    Our academic discussion panel is of a very high calibre, a rare opportunity not to be missed! We’ll be hosting:

    John Cook – UQ Climate Communication Fellow, from the Global Change Institute

    Professor John Quiggin – ARC Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics, celebrated author

    Associate Professor Kristen Lyons – Senior Research Fellow with the Oakland Institute

    Dr. David King – climate change & public health researcher, executive member of Doctors for the Environment

    Associate Professor William Grey – Honorary Research Associate Professor in Philosophy (environmental philosophy).

    https://actionnetwork.org/events/unis-vs-fossil-fuels-short-film-and-academic-panel-discussion?source=facebook&

  6. August 11th, 2016 at 17:23 | #6

    The most significant thing to recognise here and how to respond is that Malcolm Roberts is not an unintelligent person. Malcolm was my then mine manager when I first moved to Queensland in 1991. HThe same qualities which led him to that position are still displayed. The “empirical” insistence is actually based on Deming TQM industrial methodology. Good for its purpose but perhaps not applicable to climate science. Can his mind be changed despite his insistence that his own view is the one based on evidence? I doubt it.

  7. August 11th, 2016 at 19:04 | #7

    Perhaps someone on Q&A can posit the existence of a global coalition of fossil fuel interests led by Jerry Hall’s squeeze who are continually fighting to discredit any science that might reduce the the rate at which they are accumulating wealth. OK, its not as attractive a conspiracy as the illuminati and world government, largely because it is quite believable.

  8. Ivor
    August 11th, 2016 at 19:26 | #8

    @OM

    Excellent pointer.

  9. Ernestine Gross
    August 11th, 2016 at 20:52 | #9

    @John Brookes
    Good one.

  10. Don Aitkin
    August 11th, 2016 at 21:13 | #10

    Anyone who would like to find out what I actually say about the notion of catastrophic global warming is welcome to read it at donaitkin.com. It is a tad or so more sensible than the bizarre interpretation of it given above.

  11. Peter T
    August 11th, 2016 at 21:47 | #11

    @Don Aitkin

    A quick look at Don Aitkin’s site suggest to me that the interpretation in the post is, in fact, quite accurate.

  12. tony lynch
    August 11th, 2016 at 21:54 | #12

    I’m skeptical Don is here.

  13. Robertito
    August 11th, 2016 at 22:13 | #13

    @tony lynch, your suggestion that Don Aitkin is not here is premised on the assumption that there is such a thing as Don Aitkin. Until we can find decisive evidence of his existence (and if anything, donaitkin.com seems to me to present evidence against his existence, not for it) then your argument is untenable. Also, he’s probably not as bad as you’re suggesting he is.

  14. August 11th, 2016 at 23:24 | #14

    @Robertito

    Now you are stooping to their level!

  15. August 11th, 2016 at 23:30 | #15

    @Don Aitkin

    Looked. Its just standard denialist talking points.

    E.g. To paraphrase, “It makes no sense to talk about average global temperature. Now what is the ideal temperature for humans?”

    I’m sorry, but it only sounds clever to the audience that want to hear it.

  16. jrkrideau
    August 12th, 2016 at 00:03 | #16

    @Peter T
    A quick look at Don Aitkin’s site suggest to me that the interpretation in the post is, in fact, quite accurate.
    I do agree. Of course I’m Canadian and had a friend living in Fort McMurray Alberta until recently.

    Don Aitkin’s summary seems to have repeated a number of well-used and discredited denier tropes.

  17. paul walter
    August 12th, 2016 at 00:24 | #17

    He is getting old now.

  18. Magma
    August 12th, 2016 at 00:37 | #18

    It’s a little worrisome that arrogant, complacent ignorance of the type shown by Aitkin can be found in positions of power and influence in government and university settings.

    Are self-exposing cases like his just the tip of a very stupid iceberg?

  19. Magma
    August 12th, 2016 at 00:42 | #19

    @jrkrideau

    Yes, standard tropes to be sure. If he was much younger or had the right editor he could have used the proper clickbait-type headline

    I used to believe climate scientists until I looked at the science
    What happened next will shock you

  20. GrueBleen
    August 12th, 2016 at 03:10 | #20

    @Magma

    Just think Maurice Newman and Abbott’s business advisory council. Now there’s a guy who probably makes Aitkin look almost reasonable – unless Don also believes in UN black helicopters and ‘One World Order’. Maurice does.

  21. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 03:55 | #21

    I’m skeptical Don is all there.

  22. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 03:58 | #22

    Robert Merlin “Bob” Carter (9 March 1942 – 19 January 2016).

    Science advances one funeral at a time.

  23. August 12th, 2016 at 09:19 | #23

    Mind you, there are intra-Roberts rationality ratios as well as extra-Roberts comparisons, and his GW material is several orders of magnitude saner than his (now apparently disowned) stab at being a sovereign citizen .

  24. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 10:18 | #24

    @ChrisB

    A formal written declaration in archaic faux-legal language stating that Malcolm Robert’s perceptions and needs are ipso facto all important and must be met. It’s a florid expression of a narcissistic personality disorder.

  25. John Quiggin
    August 12th, 2016 at 11:17 | #25

    @Don Aitkin

    Perhaps you’d like to spell out where you think I have misrepresented you. I’ve relied on direct quotes which, I think, are both in context and representative.

  26. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:03 | #26

    @John Quiggin JQ, what is it about total measured warming of less than 1.0c for the last 2 centuries since the end of the coldest extended period of civilisation [LIA] which coincided with the Industrial Revolution, being less than half the ~1.0c per century average natural climate variability during the last 80 centuries, that you don’t understand?

    Do you seriously believe that when noise exceeds signal to this extent that Don Aitkin could be anything other than scientifically rational in his scepticism of warmist’s CAGW beliefs?

    And Malcolm Roberts ditto?

  27. Historyintime
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:09 | #27

    “So, according to Aitkin, the entire discipline of climate science, backed up by every major scientific organization in the world, is engaged in a transparent fraud, easily seen through by a retired political scientist and his circle of emeritus colleagues. They have succeeded in persuading every national government in the world to sign on to agreements based on this fraud.”

    Quote of the climate change year so far

  28. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:11 | #28

    I should have said: [LIA] “the end of” which coincided with the IR….

  29. Beethoven
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:27 | #29

    By contrast, once you accept Malcolm Roberts’ premises, the rest makes sense

    This is not a good argument. It’s like saying that once you accept the premise that Hillary Clinton is a murderer then it is rational to believe everything else Donald Trump says about her. There’s more to being rational than being able to follow premises to their logical conclusion. You can’t be rational if you believe premises that are self-evidently preposterous.

  30. Historyintime
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:35 | #30

    “Anyone who would like to find out what I actually say about the notion of catastrophic global warming is welcome to read it at donaitkin.com. It is a tad or so more sensible than the bizarre interpretation of it given above.” Don Aitken

    Well I did. The usual emeritus stuff. Basically climate chance skeptics/denialists etc have no serious understanding of statistical modeling (I can’t talk about natural sciences as I have no particular expertise there). If they do have some expertise its in geology or engineering. I ran into many of them while working on climate change economics for five years.

    Attacking the man I know, but god they were old fools.

    (Sorry a bit angry about Don’s appropriation of the name of ‘Aaron Wildavsky’ to support his views. Wildavsky was a truly brilliant scholar and, 20 years on from his 1997 views, would surely have revised them to fit the facts.

  31. August 12th, 2016 at 15:04 | #31

    John, I offered you the opportunity to present your views on CAGW on my website, but you did not do so. Misrepresentation?

    ‘according to Aitkin, the entire discipline of climate science, backed up by every major scientific organization in the world, is engaged in a transparent fraud, easily seen through by a retired political scientist and his circle of emeritus colleagues.’

    This is complete rubbish. You must be able to do better than this.

  32. alex
    August 12th, 2016 at 15:32 | #32

    @Ikonoclast
    google alerts is a wonderful thing for early warning of ego spot fires on the internet.

  33. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 15:44 | #33

    I am of the opinion that most serious, credentialed denialists who mount intellectual and scientific arguments, or more precisely pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific arguments, against the AGW thesis, are in fact deliberate and knowing liars. They know they are lying and they know they are twisting, distorting and omitting various facts to tell their lies. I think we are too ready to assume such people are genuine and of good faith in their ostensibly evinced positions. We are too ready to assume they are misguided rather than that they are knowing and intentional liars.

    In the fields of psychology, sociology and criminology there is plenty of evidence that humans – every compos mentis human in some circumstance or other – can be knowing and intentional liars. The usual motive is self interest or self-defence. For the former it is usually a short term, unenlightened, self-interest goal. The clearest motivation for lying about AGW would be personal, pecuniary self-interest. A close second would be lying for power and the third lying for praise, acclaim and recognition from that uninformed but quite numerous section of the public. Those who are not serious and recognised scientists in the field of climate change studies, atmospheric physics etc. can only get widespread acknowledgement, support and acclaim from nobodies if arguing in this field. (They also get, some of them, narrow, deep support from fossil fuel capitalists and their apparatchiks). With respect to the broad support, it is as Nietzsche said;

    “What? You seek something? You wish to multiply yourself tenfold, a hundredfold? You seek followers? Seek nulls!”

    I understand that that quote works better in German as the word for “nulls” (zeroes) plays even more directly on the second meaning of “nobodies”. Thus “You seek followers? Seek nobodies!” Seek empty people who do not think for themselves and need to be told what to think. Knowing denialists strike me very strongly as persons arguing falsely or from an amoral position of no moral convictions at all. Immediate power, influence and prestige are all that matters to such people. Whether these are gained by truth, lies or complete disregard for any distinction between the two is of no importance to such people.

    I’ve been looking at the geological-eras based denialist argument about AGW. This position argues firstly that human activity is too puny to change climate and secondly that it wouldn’t matter if it did because “climate’s changed before”.

    The first level argument (human activity is too puny to change climate) should be clinching on its own. One must consider why denialists feel the need for the backup argument that change wouldn’t matter anyway. This suggests a deep lack of confidence in their own primary argument. The problem for knowing denialists is that their first level argument is scientifically refutable. They know it is refutable hence the resort to the backup argument. This also exposes a fundamentally dishonest argument method as follows. “I will first advance a spurious but credible-seeming argument. It is the easiest way to convince, and quickly win to my side, all those people who can only handle one step arguments. For those who think and investigate a little further (beyond this easily refutable first argument) I will advance a second argument where the logical fallacy is slightly more subtle ie. it is not demonstrably false like the first argument but rather, although being true in and of itself, it is irrelevant to the real scientific and moral points of the issue.”

    So at their second level of argument, they argue that it doesn’t matter if we alter the current (holocence) climate markedly because climate has changed before; the latter statement meaning in all of previous geological history. What isn’t mentioned is that some of these previous marked changes in climate (occurring from various natural causes) have themselves resulted in massive extinctions and long-term set-backs for the complexity and variety of life on earth. Thus it is, in essence, an argument that mankind may be blindly destructive of life in the biosphere because natural forces sometimes are too; that we may further add to natural hazards by our own careless or selfish agency (when other actions are possible) and that this carries no human or ecological moral content.

    The above argument is somewhat akin to me arguing that it wouldn’t matter if I killed someone because sooner or later they would die anyway. That’s not a proposition that any court, jury or any credible moral or ethical authority would accept as a defence or justification.

  34. Donald Oats
    August 12th, 2016 at 15:44 | #34

    @John Brookes
    Yeah, and them and their co-conspirators park their super-yachts at an island one of them owns, and then thrash out their control-of-the-world plans while Jerry and friends are sunbathing on the beach. Oh, wait…that did happen; I read it in one of his papers. 🙂

  35. Historyintime
    August 12th, 2016 at 16:02 | #35

    Really so much of what is said by climate skeptics etc is just laughable. So this powerful global conspiracy of climate scientists employ their immense powers to get …………………. $100,000 jobs (if they are lucky) in academia or a research institute. And nobody can debunk them apart from the noble citizen scientist, with no real qualifications but common sense.

  36. Historyintime
    August 12th, 2016 at 16:05 | #36

    And further, to continue the rant, it is so blindingly clear to anyone who looks like the whole skepticism game (at least since about 2007) is backwards logic, derived from ideological dislike of the (sometimes ideological policy prescriptions for climate change abatement.

  37. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 16:10 | #37

    @alex

    I could take that post a couple of ways. 😉

    No doubt I am a narcissistic ego spot fire myself. 🙂

  38. ZM
    August 12th, 2016 at 16:52 | #38

    John Quiggin,

    Looking at the UofQ talk you’re on the panel for on divestment — will you be posting on divestment at all?

    I’d be interested to hear your views.

    I went to a talk last year with Ross Garnaut and he said that he thought it had to be strategic and make sense. He said the divestments at ANU were a bit confusing in what they divested and what they didn’t.

    Last week the University of Melbourne held a forum on divestment, and the student divestment group is hoping that the University will fully divest, but a panelist from Oxford by video-link argued that a university divestment strategy should be based on divestment in tune with keeping climate change to safe levels, and that his research group argued for Oxford to divest with a model of requiring any fossil fuel company investments etc to be with companies that have plans to move entirely away from fossil fuels by, say, 2050, and that these plans and progress to meeting the plans are made transparent by the company.

    This seems like a good way of trying to move the sector forwards, even if it meant continuing to invest in some fossil fuel companies in the mean time.

    I really haven’t been able to make my mind up what the best strategy is.

  39. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 17:40 | #39

    @Ikonoclast
    “I am of the opinion that most serious, credentialed denialists who mount intellectual and scientific arguments, or more precisely pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific arguments, against the AGW thesis, are in fact deliberate and knowing liars.”

    Well, at least you only claimed it to be a “thesis”.

    But instead of an evidence-free rant, why not refute the details of my above comment?

    If, from scientific, empirical evidence, natural climate variability is twice the current rate of warming, how can you claim with any certainty that the earth has this multi-trillion dollar “problem”?

  40. John Brookes
    August 12th, 2016 at 18:10 | #40

    @Don Aitkin

    “This is complete rubbish. You must be able to do better than this.”

    Oooh! School teacher mode!

  41. John Quiggin
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:06 | #41

    @Don Aitkin

    I’ve edited a bit to stick exactly to the content of the remarks I’ve quoted. If you still have a problem, spell it out.

  42. J-D
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:09 | #42

    spangled drongo :
    But instead of an evidence-free rant, why not refute the details of my above comment?

    Because it consists of questions, not statements. Statements can be refuted; questions can’t. I strongly suspect that your use of questions only, without statements, is not happenstance.

  43. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:18 | #43

    @spangled drongo

    1. Apart from “noise” in the signal, most warming or cooling events in any geological period before the industrial revolution can be correlated with natural forcing events.

    2. Those natural forcing events in geological history which ARE understood (not all are understood yet) are NOT noise.

    3. The entire variation range of climate before the industrial revolution is mostly not noise but the result of natural forcing.

    4. It is possible to separate and distinguish anthropogenic (human) forcing from natural forcing and most natural forcing in turn from noise.

    You demonstrate a lack of understanding of the difference between noise and natural forcing. You also seem to lack a proper background understanding of what natural forcing is and what might generate it. Otherwise, you would not make an incomplete one point argument and assume it is a complete and clinching set of deductions.

    Many factors, both natural (and now human after the industrial revolution), can cause changes in Earth’s surface energy balance (leading to climate change), including:

    (a) Variations in the sun’s energy reaching Earth
    (b) Changes in the reflectivity of Earth’s atmosphere and surface
    (c) Changes in greenhouse gas levels.

    It is clear that large, linked geological and atmospheric changes over the geological life span of earth have had very large forcing effects on climate. Massive volcanic CO2 and CH4 out-gassing events are one case (supervolcanoes, basaltic shield events). These can lead to cooling first from atmosphere clouding (water vapour and particulates) followed by warming caused by the higher CO2, CH4 etc. levels.

    There are also sedimentary rock effects.

    “…. measurements show fairly convincingly that the long-term cooling trend over the last 50 million years is associated with a gradual decrease in carbon dioxide levels, from 2000-3000 parts per million during the Eocene Optimum to 200 p.p.m. during the Ice Age. The cause of this decrease is not fully understood, but seems to indicate that the total amount of carbon that can influence climate (carbon in the atmosphere, biosphere and ocean) is slowly decreasing, possibly because an increasing amount of carbon is being tied up in sedimentary rocks such as limestone.”

    However, the semi-permanent fixing of carbon in peat, coal, kerogen, oil, natural gas and methane clathrate deposits underground, in swamps, lakes and tundra and in deep ocean beds must also represent a considerable subset of the carbon loss from short to mid term biosphere circulation, geologically speaking . It is almost all these we are now rapidly re-releasing by using fossil fuels.

    Finally, I enjoy the double irony of your nickname. Apart from the obvious Australian slang there is the subtly appropriate, “The spangled drongo is an amazing mimic taking most of its vocabulary from the sounds heard in the vicinity and weaving them into a virtuoso aria.” I think you have been in the vicinity of denialist websites too often and too long.

  44. Nick
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:19 | #44

    Spangled Drongo:

    If, from scientific, empirical evidence, natural climate variability is twice the current rate of warming, how can you claim with any certainty that the earth has this multi-trillion dollar “problem”?

    None of that makes any sense. You’re attempting to compare a range of variability with a rate of change…it’s a trivial observation that internal variability is considerable around the long term trend change. Where do we end up in the long term, while interannual variability in GAT retains its observed character? I’ll tell you: net warmer. Net warmer is a challenge for agriculture and infrastructure.
    And the ‘certainty’ of claims about the cost and nature of change is dealt with in a number of scenarios, with careful detailed discussion. The assessment of the copious evidence is that it is a problem, worth addressing. ‘Certainty’? Think of it as risk management. We do that all the time.

    As for Roberts, he’s in deep. He’s extraordinarily crazy.
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/08/11/australia-s-new-climate-science-denialist-senator-malcolm-roberts-has-history-harassing-academics

  45. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:41 | #45

    @J-D
    J-D, if you can’t understand the statements of fact in those questions, you’ve certainly got a cognitive problem.

    But to help you along, let me put it more simply:

    Fact 1: Measured global warming since the end of the LIA [~ 200 years ago] – less than 1.0c. or 0.5c per century.

    Fact 2: Average natural climate variability per century for the last 80 centuries – ~ 1.0c.

    So, for the last 80 centuries climate has changed by ~ twice our current rate, by simply natural means. [Prior to this, climate has naturally changed by 20 times our current rate but let’s keep it simple].

    So how does that make our current climate change man made?

  46. John Quiggin
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:59 | #46

    @spangled drongo

    Maybe you should read the OP, rather than illustrating it. To help you along, are you claiming that

    (i) the entire scientific world has fallen for obviously erroneous claims, easily refuted by a pseudonymous blog commenter

    (ii) the entire scientific world is part of a gigantic conspiracy to establish world government, as claimed by Roberts

  47. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 21:05 | #47

    @Nick
    Looks like you have problems with simple mental arithmetic too, Nick.

    And what is it about you people here that you can’t refute simple facts but have to call someone like Roberts “extraordinarily crazy” when all he is pointing out is the truth; ie, you have no evidence for your claims.

    If you have, produce it. And stop insulting people who have a better grip on the real world.

    But of course, when there is measured natural warming in the past that far exceeds anything that is happening currently and the only science supporting the AGW theory comes from models that are so obviously wrong, you’re only answer is to shoot the messenger.

  48. Nick
    August 12th, 2016 at 21:25 | #48

    @spangled drongo

    Fact 2: Average natural climate variability per century for the last 80 centuries – ~ 1.0c.

    That’s not a fact, that’s a claim which you make without evidence. There is no evidence that mean global temperature has averaged that sort of variability in each of the last 80 centuries. Let’s keep it simple by all means, but keeping it credible is the challenge you face.
    A recent paper [Kopp et al 2016] on sea level variation over the last three thousand years finds variance of around +/- 8cm within and over that time, while current net change has been so far around 25cm. That suggests much less centennial variation for those 29 centuries than you assert. Other papers support this understanding

    JQ< let's just stop SD here…further discussion with him is fruitless, definitely in Malcolm Roberts territory
    Thanks for your indulgence.

  49. Nick
    August 12th, 2016 at 21:34 | #49

    @spangled drongo
    Do you realise Roberts thought fit to submit a formal complaint of ‘unsatisfactory professional conduct’ about three ocean/climate specialists to the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland…never mind that none were engineers, none were members of the professional association and none fell under the purview and reach of the board.
    What’s more, Roberts saw fit to publish his complaint on his website, obviously in the view that it gives his ‘arguments’ credibility.

    Give that a moments thought, SD.
    That is my last engagement with you.

  50. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 21:35 | #50

    @John Quiggin
    John, do you deny that less than 1.0c [some record as little 0.7c] warming since global measurement began is below natural climate variability?

    Does it possibly occur to you that after centuries of the coldest period of civilisation known as the Little Ice Age that the natural inclination of the climate would be to warm somewhat?

    And the end of that LIA also coincided with the beginning of phenomenal development throughout the world known as the Industrial Revolution which would have added considerable recorded warming seeing as most of the thermometers were installed amongst this rapid development.

    This being the case, for the small amount of actual warming we have experienced, it could just as logically be argued that ACO2 produces cooling.

    As Malcolm Roberts rightly says, there is no empirical evidence for AGW.

    But if you have any, please produce it.

  51. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 21:52 | #51

    @Nick
    “That’s not a fact, that’s a claim which you make without evidence.”

    Sorry, Nick. Wrong again. Dr Philip Lloyd, a physicist and climate scientist produced this peer reviewed paper claiming 0.98c nat var per century for the last 80 centuries:

    Abstract:“There has been widespread investigation of the drivers of changes in global temperatures. However, there has been remarkably little consideration of the magnitude of the changes to be expected over a period of a few decades or even a century. To address this question, the Holocene records from several ice cores up to 8000 years before present were examined. The differences in temperatures between all records which are approximately a century apart were determined, after any trends in the data had been removed. The differences were close to normally distributed. The average standard deviation of temperature over a century was 0.98 ± 0.27 oC.
    This suggests that while some portion of the temperature change observed in the 20th century was probably caused by greenhouse gases, there is a strong likelihood that the major portion was due to natural variations. “

    If you’ve ever looked at the ice core graphs you would have to be very stubborn not to agree that this is putting it mildly.

  52. Ikonoclast
    August 12th, 2016 at 22:01 | #52

    spangled drongo,

    I’ve already answered these issues but you keep derping the same stuff. You clearly don’t understand the basics.

    Let me accept your two facts (I can’t be bothered fact checking them) and still demonstrate that they do not lead to your conclusion. You are omitting further facts pertinent to a complete argument.

    Fact 1: Measured global warming since the end of the LIA [~ 200 years ago] – less than 1.0c. or 0.5c per century.

    Fact 2: Average natural climate variability per century for the last 80 centuries – ~ 1.0c.

    Fact 3: Climate forcing can be natural or man made or a combination of both.

    Fact 4: Climate science (repeatable, verifiable and supported by empirical data) as per the IPCC synthesis reports distinguishes man made forcing from natural forcing, estimates both components and also estimates sum or net effects.

    This issue is textually and graphically explained on this page.

    http://priweb.org/globalchange/climatechange/globalwarming/gw_03.html

    Now, I wonder if you can actually answer a counter-argument as opposed to re-wording and repeating ad nauseum the same “invalid-because-logically-incomplete” derp argument? It’s clear you are repeating debating points (not logical arguments) from denialist web sites without knowledge or understanding of even the basic scientific and philosophical contexts.

    Footnote: This is written in the case you are are tempted to complain about modelling. People who complain about climate modelling don’t understand that ALL science after data collection and initial analysis is modelling. Every scientific “law” is a model. Even laws in the hard sciences like physics are models. Scientific models are used to explain and link observed phenomena (usually via causation and sufficient reason as metaphysical principles but also sometimes by invoking mere “brute fact” and probability as fundamental metaphysical principles, in which latter case “explain” and even “causation” are not claimed and “linkage” becomes something more complex and less definite than simple or linear determinism) and of course scientific models are used to make testable predictions.

  53. spangled drongo
    August 12th, 2016 at 22:15 | #53

    @Nick
    “That’s not a fact, that’s a claim which you make without evidence.”

    You do of course realise that at the end of the Younger Dryas when the oceans were in the process of rising 120metres that the earth warmed 10c in a few decades:

    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/clip_image0021.jpg

  54. David C.
    August 12th, 2016 at 22:40 | #54

    And in other news a presuppositionalist has just proved the existence of god.

  55. Nick
    August 12th, 2016 at 22:56 | #55

    re #51. Philip Lloyd…a chemical engineer with no climate science work… has made some crude stats passes over a couple of ice cores..then after counselling that one cannot track global climate from a single site, he proceeds to attempt just that from two ice cores.

    Definitely more Roberts than rational.

  56. David C.
    August 12th, 2016 at 22:58 | #56

    Oops I think that should be *proved* not proven.

  57. David C.
    August 12th, 2016 at 23:07 | #57

    Double oops. I did type ‘proved’. Time for a nap.

  58. jrkrideau
    August 12th, 2016 at 23:15 | #58

    @Ikonoclast
    I am of the opinion that most serious, credentialed denialists who mount intellectual and scientific arguments, or more precisely pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific arguments, against the AGW thesis, are in fact deliberate and knowing liars.

    I suspect that while they start off this way cognitive dissonance leads some of them over time to actually believe their own arguments. They start of lying to other people and end up lying to themselves as well.

    I doubt that this is true for those being paid to lie since there would not be any cognitive dissonance so someone like Willy Soon is not likely to believe his lies but perhaps someone like Fred Singer would (I don’t think he was paid was he?)

    BTW thanks for the description of the spangled drongo . I had not realized that it was a bird and was assuming it was some kind of weird Australian slang possibly related to dingos.

  59. GrueBleen
    August 13th, 2016 at 02:49 | #59

    @Ikonoclast

    Your #52 of 12 Aug

    I am a bit surprised by you here, Ikono, especially after you clearly documented the ‘mimic’ aspect of a speckled drongo (are they as good as lyre birds, I wonder ?)

    Anyway, it is quite clear that speckles is in one of two possible states:

    1. S/he knows nothing about climate and climate science and is absolutely determined to maintain that state.

    2. S/he is having a great little game pretending to know nothing about climate and climate science just to provoke this kind of reaction. A fine example of “mimicking” a denier.

  60. David
    August 13th, 2016 at 04:52 | #60

    @Ikonoclast
    So what of Spang? Ikono, your second sentence hits the nail on the head.

  61. Ian E
    August 13th, 2016 at 06:59 | #61

    Nice analysis. Naomi Oreskes (and no doubt others) has pointed out that any logical analysis has to end up with either the existence of a conspiracy or that mainstream climate science is on the right track. However, the logical need to invoke a conspiracy doesn’t mean that any particular conspiracy theory is internally consistent. One problem with Mr Roberts analysis is that if there has, for centuries, been a secret world government by bankers, killing US presidents and starting world wars when needed, why does this need to come out into the open? (For those unfamiliar with Mr Roberts’ 1700 page analysis, the “interesting” stuff is in appendix 14. Overall, the document is quite repetitive).

  62. Ian E
    August 13th, 2016 at 07:03 | #62

    @jrkrideau
    Not sure if Singer was paid for his climate stuff, but he got at least half a million dollars from the tobacco industry. The Oreskes and Conway book “Merchants of Doubt” will have more detail.

  63. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2016 at 07:23 | #63

    @spangled drongo

    “stop insulting people who have a better grip on the real world.”

    The real question is how did you get to have this better grip on the real world. What is it about you that provides you with this better grip and this knowledge of the real world. We all want to know.

    And what is wrong with insults? You are not an 18C tragic?

  64. spangled drongo
    August 13th, 2016 at 07:44 | #64

    @Nick
    That’s the way, Nick. Shoot the messenger. So much easier than engaging your brain.

    After looking at all those ice core and paeleo climate graphs for the Holocene, do you really deny that climate nat var has fluctuated far more than is happening currently?

    Scepticism is a vital part of science.

    Belief is for religion.

  65. spangled drongo
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:01 | #65

    @Ikonoclast
    But belief in 95% wrong climate models is really scraping the bottom of the barrel:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/CMIP5-90-models-global-Tsfc-vs-obs-thru-2013.jpg

    Hard science models are often very reliable but it doesn’t follow that soft science models, where scientists can’t even quantify feedbacks [even to the point where they are + or -] are anything other than simply faith-based.

  66. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:02 | #66

    It’s interesting that the conspiracies which climate change denialists never want to talk about are the current and previous real conspiracies already uncovered and verified. These are the conspiracies related to spreading doubt about the dangers of tobacco and spreading doubt about climate science. These conspiracies have been uncovered, verified and documented. The people involved and the money trails have been clearly exposed.

    I continue to ponder what offends and alienates those who become opponents of climate science. The first cause is obvious enough. There are those whose continued wealth and power (or their real or hoped for ascent to it) might be threatened by the changes necessary to prevent or ameliorate climate change. There is however a second group. These are ordinary people who have no hope of real wealth and power and indeed have been getting slowly poorer under neoliberalism. They are ordinary workers and the self-employed, under-employed and unemployed.

    I would hazard a guess that this latter group are already insecure because of downward economic mobility and the attendant incipient realisation that neither the economy nor broad society nor the social elites care for them or their well-being. Following on from this, they are deeply offended and frightened to entertain the further idea that nature or fate or God (depending on how they see matters) could be completely indifferent to them. The idea that nature is not dependably supporting and nurturing is deeply frightening to many people. There seems to be a powerful need to believe that nature (or fate or God) would not, could not, sweep humans aside with complete indifference. Climate change threatens the belief that the world (of nature) essentially exists for humans and for their support.

    It gets back to social security. If society leaves people insecure then they will seek security and solace in irrational beliefs and irrational rejection of those hard truths about mortal existence and complete dependence on nature which clear-eyed, adult, non-infantalised humans need to comprehend. Climate change denialism (about the reality of AGW) is basically an infantile tantrum position adopted by those unfitted to face hard facts. They cover thier eyes and ears and say “Not listening, no listensing!” As I say, it is not entirely the fault of all such people. People left without social supports and denied a sense of security in society are left prey to more atavistic fears.

    The best answer to such problems is more and better education and a more supportive and cooperative society. It’s a long term fix of course. Such measures would take a generation to bear proper fruit.

  67. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:15 | #67

    @spangled drongo

    You don’t really understand how the human brain works do you?

    How does one not engage their brain? Even you with your determined effort to demonstrate how irrational your cognitive efforts, are “engaging” your brain. The question you need to answer that would provide some credibility for your beliefs, whatever they are, is why are you able to see things that other people can’t see?

    You must have a theory or a belief about this?

    Like, “After looking at all those ice core and paeleo climate graphs for the Holocene, do you really deny that climate nat var has fluctuated far more than is happening currently?”

    So what?

  68. Nick
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:22 | #68

    @spangled drongo
    In the case of Lloyd’s paper, his ‘message’ is shot down as an inevitable result of ‘engaging the brain’.
    Local variability is a feature of climate, and ice cores at high altitude in the polar extremes show no exception.
    Simply put, Lloyd applies a limited and limiting test using too little data, and any decent conclusions about global variability cannot be drawn from it. But you step in and give it the certainty that only the credulous can supply.
    You are not a sceptic.

  69. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:25 | #69

    @spangled drongo

    In post 52 I challenged you essentially as follows (re-worded for clarity);

    “I wonder if you can actually answer a counter-argument as opposed to re-wording and repeating your original invalid argument. You original argument is invalid because it is logically incomplete. It is logically incomplete because it omits further pertinent facts.”

    You have not yet engaged with the essential elements of my counter argument. These essential elements are points 3 to 5 following a provisional acceptance of your facts one and two without fact checking them. In other words, I have offered a clear refutation of your argument after accepting your claimed facts which are in points 1 & 2 below.

    1: Measured global warming since the end of the LIA [~ 200 years ago] – less than 1.0c. or 0.5c per century.

    2: Average natural climate variability per century for the last 80 centuries – ~ 1.0c.

    3: Climate forcing can be natural or man made or a net combination of both.

    4: Climate science (repeatable, verifiable and supported by the empirical data) as per the IPCC synthesis reports distinguishes man made forcing from contemporaneous natural forcing, estimates both components and also estimates sum or net effects.

    So far it has been revealing that you have been unable or unwilling to engage in ongoing basic logical argument to support your position. Re-wording and repeating your incomplete argument does not advance your case and my logically complete counter argument remains unchallenged.

  70. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:27 | #70

    Correction for above: “These essential elements are points 3 and 4…”

  71. David C
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:36 | #71

    do you really deny that climate nat var has fluctuated far more than is happening currently?

    So what? I think Ikon has pointed out why this is just silly. Climate scientists have a pretty good grasp on what has cause the variability in the past. They know all about volcanic activity, Milankovitch cycles, solar cycles etc. This guy sums it up nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sme8WQ4Wb5w&feature=youtu.be&t=97

    In fact we can rule out every other scientific theory other than the greenhouse gas theory.
    Now there are other people who say I believe it is something else. Its changes in the earth’s orbit… I wrote a book on the changes in the earth’s orbit. A technical book meant for graduate level study, on the so called Milankovitch Cycles. It doesn’t match those.
    Some people say well there’s something else going on, and I’d say, what’s the prediction you make? Oh I don’t know it’s random.
    Now that’s not what we call a scientific theory. If you say, well it’s something else and I don’t know what it is. My answer is… something else that just happens, by accident, to perfectly match the carbon dioxide increase. Are you serious?

  72. David Jago
    August 13th, 2016 at 08:51 | #72

    For a professional treatment of the statistics around climate change it’s hard to go past Tamino’s blog. Very clear argumentation, excellent graphs and a low tolerance for time wasters.

  73. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2016 at 09:13 | #73

    Check youtube for;

    Climate Skeptic Richard Muller Admits Global Warming is Real and Humans are the Cause.

    Of course, in fairness to Richard Muller he probably was a skeptic in the true sense of the word rather than denier. He did finally change his mind when new data and/or new analysis of data convinced him and his team. This despite the fact he took funding from the Koch bros.

    Bear in mind even this video is from 2012 when Muller was still playing down the total increase. I wonder what he thinks now in mid-2016? I also don’t buy his claims about “clean fracking” and the benignity of the Koch Bros. Foundation.

    Muller calls science “That small realm of knowledge on which there can be universal agreement”. I tend to agree with that.

  74. jrkrideau
    August 13th, 2016 at 10:13 | #74

    @Ian E
    Re Singer and US $$$

    Thanks. I had the vague memory of something from Tobacco but I did not remember that it was so much. My, again vague, memory of Oreskes and Conway suggests that Singer’s climate testimony was pro bono but with that much money from tobacco he could afford it.

    I really need to reread Merchants of Doubt.

  75. Collin Street
    August 13th, 2016 at 10:31 | #75

    After looking at all those ice core and paeleo climate graphs for the Holocene, do you really deny that climate nat var has fluctuated far more than is happening currently?

    See, here’s the thing: if you’re making a long chain of logical deductions and inductive steps, and the end result is an error, then one of the links in the chain must be wrong. But if it’s a long chain, then it’s pretty unlikely that the last link is the one that’s in error: it could be logically sound, but based on faulty premises, or with a misunderstood connection to the subject matter.

    So if you’re in error, then for people to be able to correct your error they need to be able to engage with you at the point your error was actually made. Which is pretty unlikely to be the last link in the chain. Which means that if you want to be able to correct your own errors, if you want people to be able to help you correct your own errors, you need to be able to take a step or two or a dozen back: when people say, “sure, but hang on here, back at [X] you said [Y] but actually…” you need to positively engage with that if you want a hope of improving your correctness.

    [as I’ve said a tedious number of times before: the errors you’re guarding against, the corrections you’re expecting you might get, are unlikely to be the errors you actually make and the corrections you actually get. Trying to fit what a person tells you into one of the things you expect they might tell you is a pretty solid recipe for frustration on your part and theirs.]

  76. Collin Street
    August 13th, 2016 at 10:34 | #76

    You don’t really understand how the human brain works do you?

    As long-term commentators here probably recall, I actually have a theory that predicts this, which — rather elegantly — explains why misogyny is a more frequent problem across cultures than misandry.

  77. David C
    August 13th, 2016 at 10:48 | #77

    JQ runs a service here. It’s where people can maintain anonymity while claiming that they know something that scientists don’t know. When they realise how silly the claims are they’re less likely to make them at dinner parties.

  78. J-D
    August 13th, 2016 at 11:28 | #78

    @spangled drongo

    You recite statements X and Y and then ask me how X and Y establish conclusion Z. But it’s not statements X and Y that establish conclusion Z. Conclusion Z is established on a different basis.

  79. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2016 at 11:44 | #79

    @Collin Street

    There is a current Sandpit. I’m interested in your theory.

    David C there are many types of ‘dinner parties’.

    Out here in regional Oz where I live, there are dinner parties at the pub on Friday nights – darts night – and silly claims are a feature of the ‘conversations’, not a bug. Everyone ‘knows’ that there is some sort of conspiracy happening out there. lol These conversations are better than the the fantasies they have about foreigners and the debt though.

  80. Ikonoclast
    August 13th, 2016 at 11:56 | #80

    @J-D

    You are correct JD. You have summed it up most elegantly.

  81. John Quiggin
    August 13th, 2016 at 14:25 | #81

    I note that Spangled Drongo has ignored the question I posed. Similarly, Don Aitkin doesn’t bother to give any explanation of how thousands of scientists can spend their working lives publishing material that any amateur (like SD or Aitkin) can disprove in the space of a blog post. A

    At least Roberts has an explanation.

  82. paul walter
    August 13th, 2016 at 14:40 | #82

    That is an exquisite reply from John Quiggin.

  83. David
    August 13th, 2016 at 15:05 | #83

    It is ironic. But I have never read a climate skeptic’s argument that is not heavily dependent on some unknown (e.g. Factor X , natural variability, a conspiracy theory) to prosecute their case. I’m skeptical.

  84. spangled drongo
    August 13th, 2016 at 15:13 | #84

    @Julie Thomas
    “And what is wrong with insults? You are not an 18C tragic?”

    Like others here, Julie, you don’t get that science is about ideas and data, not insulting people.

    Testing to see if this gets through. Looks like sceptics are controlled by you 18c tragics.

    I think Malcolm R is trying to repeal it though.

  85. David
    August 13th, 2016 at 15:19 | #85

    @Ikonoclast

    @Ikonoclast

    I agree with your Footnote on modelling (#52). No data set will contain tomorrow’s temperature.

  86. spangled drongo
    August 13th, 2016 at 15:29 | #86

    @John Quiggin
    “I note that Spangled Drongo has ignored the question I posed. Similarly, Don Aitkin doesn’t bother to give any explanation of how thousands of scientists can spend their working lives publishing material that any amateur (like SD or Aitkin) can disprove in the space of a blog post.”

    John, you’ve never heard of Upton Sinclair’s quote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”?

    For example, when we pay marine scientists a fortune to live in paradise to tell us if we have a problem with the GBR, at what stage do you think they are gonna say, “NAHHH! Sack us! Everything’s fine!!

    Or do ya think they are more likely to say, “It’s much worse than we thought. Send more money!!”??

    Nothing to be sceptical about there?

  87. David C
    August 13th, 2016 at 16:10 | #87

    Funnily enough that Upton Sinclair quote was used by Al Gore in his movie. Now who do you think is making more money? The science community or the fossil fuel industry?

    If Muller had found that the climate change science was bunkum, do you think he would be getting grants from the Koch brothers for further research? If scientists really wanted to make money and they can cook the books on their research and be able to get away with it (like the deniers insist that they do) surely they’d be incentivised to work for the fossil fuel industry.

    In any case there are a lot of egos in science. If you can upend the current thinking you’re likely to get a Nobel prize. So what’s the motivation of the fossil fuel industry.

  88. August 13th, 2016 at 16:18 | #88

    SD, that past natural variations in climate are bigger than what we have caused so far is no cause for comfort. And surely you don’t think it is. Its like there is a drug that is found to have the side effect of making adults lose 50% of their strength, and you arguing that they did just fine as 4 year olds when they were much less strong.

  89. Julie Thomas
    August 13th, 2016 at 16:54 | #89

    @spangled drongo

    Well done you. You have put me in my place. But, I’m still wondering how you got that awesome ability to understand things that I don’t. I can tell you it’s not IQ. I did a PhD in psych and I know that I’m not too stupid.

    So I’m asking again where did you get this special ability you have to see how reality is working and do tell how can I get some?

    And drongo what does it benefit you to refuse to believe in man made climate change? There must be something in it for you or you would be out making a profit instead of wasting time here. Maybe you get a boost from feeling special and knowing more than the sheeple?

    And here are some more questions that you won’t be able to answer.

    Which “marine scientists” are paid a fortune? Why doesn’t Leak do cartoons about these greedy people?

    I do know there are a great many PhD candidates doing climate science who are living on very little who would be very much admired and able to work anywhere, if they could find some evidence that climate change was a conspiracy or there were flawed studies or anything dodgy.

    I think it is you who does not understand how science works and that aspiring researchers in science can and do look for problems and alternatives to accepted paradigms.

    As David C says by upending the current thinking or comeing up with evidence that it is wrong, a scientist is going to be very successful.

    So you need to come up with a better explanation of why so many scientists don’t see what you see.

  90. Historyintime
    August 13th, 2016 at 17:29 | #90

    @spangled drongo

    Why don’t you look at the salaries on offer? And really, so all these people have no professional integrity? And know here else to go? C’mon you don’t go into marine science for money or because you are a cynic.

  91. J-D
    August 13th, 2016 at 17:29 | #91

    spangled drongo :
    @John Quiggin
    “I note that Spangled Drongo has ignored the question I posed. Similarly, Don Aitkin doesn’t bother to give any explanation of how thousands of scientists can spend their working lives publishing material that any amateur (like SD or Aitkin) can disprove in the space of a blog post.”
    John, you’ve never heard of Upton Sinclair’s quote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”?
    For example, when we pay marine scientists a fortune to live in paradise to tell us if we have a problem with the GBR, at what stage do you think they are gonna say, “NAHHH! Sack us! Everything’s fine!!
    Or do ya think they are more likely to say, “It’s much worse than we thought. Send more money!!”??
    Nothing to be sceptical about there?

    There is no good reason for anybody to hire marine scientists to perform the function of reporting that there is a problem with the Great Barrier Reef and, unsurprisingly, nobody has done so.

    Some marine scientists are paid to study the Great Barrier Reef and report what they find, whatever that may happen to be. Their salaries are not contingent on particular predetermined results of their research. If they report that there are problems, it’s because that’s the conclusion that their research has led them to.

    The explanation that the salaries of the marine scientists depend on their reporting that there are problems with the Great Barrier Reef would only make sense if there were paymasters for whom the production of reports of problems with the Great Barrier Reef would be worth paying money for independently of the truth of those reports. But there aren’t, so the explanation fails.

  92. spangled drongo
    August 13th, 2016 at 17:37 | #92

    @John Brookes
    John, it’s never a proposition to pay an insurance premium each year that exceeds the value of the house.

    Natural climate variability is always going to happen no matter what we do to prevent it.

    Climate changes. Always has. Always will.

  93. August 13th, 2016 at 17:44 | #93

    Get rid of the rest. It’s also rubbish. I not only have not said that the CAGW hypothesis is a fraud, but have said that it is not a fraud. It is a hypothesis that has only a little support from observed data, and cannot deal with the objections to it other than by changing the details of the hypothesis.

    Again, you are welcome to tell your supporters why you’re a believer, even better, do it on my website, as I offered before. But you’ll need to go past the approval of earned academies and the fabled 97 per cent of climate scientists.

  94. Nick
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:10 | #94

    @John Brookes
    John, SD has asserted that centennial climate variation for the past 80 centuries has been as large as the anthropogenic change.

    This is an unsupportable claim, given that sea level reconstructions, and physical evidence, cannot find anything like the SL variation that would be seen if such global mean temperature variation was present. There are many papers that look at the physical signs of SL variation…none support SD.
    Of course that does not matter, because as per Roberts, science is corrupt…except for those fragments of pseudo-science and deliberately compromised analyses that he promotes. He remains perfectly blind to the consequences of such incoherence.

    In inviting him to discuss ‘past variation was large, so what’, you won’t get any value from him. He will dismiss you, saying you’ve made an ‘admission’ or ‘concession’ that his claim is correct.

  95. BilB
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:12 | #95

    Don Aitkin,

    I had a look at your arguments and found myself in the frame of mind one might have if they took a sedative laced with cyanide. I didn’t need to go much past this gem…..

    “Why would anyone go to WUWT, or read anything by Jo Nova? To which the counter is Why would anyone go to SkepticalScience? I’ve said myself that I regard SkepticalScience as mostly worthless and hypocritical, and I’ve explained why. But I have certainly gone there to read their arguments. In fact, if you are going to take part in a debate you have to know what the other side thinks, and why it thinks the way it does. Not to go there, and not to read their stuff, is intellectually empty.”

    …….to appreciate the nature of your science knowledge. Frankly, I think JQ has you nailed down pretty well. I’m imagining yourself, Maurice Newman and Jennifer M having cafe mornings together enthusing over every Australian article while keeping an ear to Andrew Bolt’s morning diatribe. Your admiration for Bob Carter fits so naturally with this image of confused minds.

    I would suggest you amend your Abbott Era End article closing comment to…

    The orthodoxy doesn’t like “nutters”, especially from within science, and is not interested in “futile” debate.

  96. Nick
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:17 | #96

    @Don Aitkin

    I have written a large number of essays on ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’ (AGW) and its later sister ‘climate change’, a term which came into use in about 2004, when dedicated Climate Botherers could see that warming was refusing to rise as it had done…

    Don, do you know what the ‘CC’ in IPCC stands for? Can you tell me when that panel was convened? [Hint: sometime before 2004]….you wonder why you are regarded as an unreliable voice on the topic?
    The rest of your site on CC is shaping up as one long argument from personal incredulity, as far as I have seen.

  97. David C
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:17 | #97

    J-D you speak to plainly. In conservatives minds there is a reason. It’s the lefty-liberal-hippy aversion to commerce. They’re scum don’t you know. They want our taxes to pay for research that will justify the rolling back of industry and put us in a new pre-industrial age.

    Of course the suggestion that scientists are motivated by greed breaks down when you realise that they could be working for the fossil fuel industry for much, much more, and exposing the fraudulent scientists at the same time.

    But the reason why this doesn’t happen is because when people like the Koch brothers hire scientist with some integrity like Muller, they don’t get the results they want. Funny that, money might buy politicians but it doesn’t change reality and science is the study of reality.

  98. BilB
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:27 | #98

    Nick, is that really a Don Aitkin quote?? If so it really spells out his total lack of understanding of the subject. Why would anyone work so hard at damaging their reputation with such public declarations?

  99. J-D
    August 13th, 2016 at 18:57 | #99

    David C :
    J-D you speak to plainly. In conservatives minds there is a reason. It’s the lefty-liberal-hippy aversion to commerce. They’re scum don’t you know. They want our taxes to pay for research that will justify the rolling back of industry and put us in a new pre-industrial age.
    Of course the suggestion that scientists are motivated by greed breaks down when you realise that they could be working for the fossil fuel industry for much, much more, and exposing the fraudulent scientists at the same time.
    But the reason why this doesn’t happen is because when people like the Koch brothers hire scientist with some integrity like Muller, they don’t get the results they want. Funny that, money might buy politicians but it doesn’t change reality and science is the study of reality.

    Lefty liberal commerce-averse hippie scum aren’t hiring any marine scientists. They don’t have the money.

  100. Ivor
    August 13th, 2016 at 19:09 | #100

    @spangled drongo

    Climate changes. Always has. Always will.

    Obviously – and practically every species on earth became extinct.

    The faster the change the greater the threat.

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