hi all, sorry for lagging behind in the responses to comments.
i had a much-needed reflective Thanksgiving break. And tried to do some actual work, instead of just yacking.
And then when i opened the Pandora box again, there were plenty of comments from my good friend Anonymous, from that guy Anonymous, and also from that really obnoxious goon called Anonymous.
So i started composing a structured reply to be posted as comment, and then blogspot complained that i was using too much HTML code, so that’s it : blogspot, you officially suck. I can’t reply to comments inline, it’s a nightmare to moderate them, they look like crap compared to any WordPress blog, i can’t require guests to leave an email address so that snipers stay home, and we can’t even geek out in LaTeX.
So blogspot, you can kiss my French ass goodbye. In just a few days this blog will move to a new address, because enough is enough.
In the meanwhile here are a few answers…
Francois O :
i am sorry you took those words personally… if you re-read my response to your comment, you will see a “their”, not a “your” : a reflection of my limited experience in reading/talking to certain obscurantists. I never implied you were one.
I did make the mistake of imparting you some political motives. It is an error, because i don’t know them, as you point out. I was just a little annoyed that we climate scientists are always accused of political bias by virtue of being academics, (which in my experience is largely liberal). Can we stop this, everyone ?
Call me naive, but I do believe than my political opinion do not obscure and distort my scientific judgement, or at least much less than MIT’s Richard Lindzen’s when he states “AGW can’t be a real threat because that would require us to live like cavemen” (video interview for an exhibit at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie). Yet, oddly enough, i haven’t seen a good skeptic get on his back. But perhaps there is one – does anyone know ?
Yes, i am ready to face the consequences of a world economy based mostly on non-fossil resources . Does it mean i will suspend my scientific training to blindly accept any alarmism ? No, and i am offended when such collusion is made.
But you’re right, François, i shouldn’t be guilty of the same sin of collusion.
Oh please, have you read realclimate lately? The sneer factor over there is off the charts, and they religiously excise nearly all dissenting comments.
As for cheap shots, those same “prominent climate scientists” routinely use the term septic or denialist (with its deliberate holocaust denialist association) to describe anyone who questions their authority. Some of us doing the questioning are very well-qualified indeed. Needless to say, such an attitude from supposedly professional scientists has very much hardened opinions against them.
As i said before, i believe the denialist term is fully justified when applied to people who bury their head in the ground against an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence. That said, RC may well censor too harshly.
Incidentally, I tend to censor posts by “anonymous” , because it’s too darn easy to be a sniper. But yours were interesting comments, so i left them in.
In particular, it reminds me of watching my own sneer factor. The problem is that blogs in general are also meant to be somewhat entertaining to keep the audience on their toes, so there is a tendency to joke about “the other side” in ways unimaginable in a science paper. As another ‘anonymous’ said, “how many people read blogs that aren’t amusing?”
More accessible and less dry than science prose, but also not as professional. You can’t have everything….
you should be fighting hardest against the realclimate scientists. These guys are (almost to a man/woman) pushing a negative growth, nature over humanity political agenda, and they are using AGW alarmism to do so. They truck no criticism, nor any questioning of their authority, just like the catholic church of yore.
I think the most useful fight consists in showing a “third way” where a most balanced view is advocated and practiced. I never pretended to be the epitome of objectivity, but i can only hope that after a long enough observational period, you and other readers will place me somewhere in between extremes.
Steve McIntyre is pretty tedious. He’s been picked apart numerous times and he keeps coming.
Like a zombie.
It’s pretty amazing that he has been able to take a single peer-reviewed study and parlay it into so much attention.
How McIntyre Got Famous
Skeptics Get a Journal
But that’s what you get from the internets…..
Hey now ! This is not a blog to vent cheap shots at either side.
I deeply respect Steve McIntyre’s talent for digging through datasets, his mutinous perseverance, his incredible diligence at addressing topical climate issues (one wonders when he sleeps !), and as a dude who likes writing (can you tell ?), i respect his writing style very much. Also, he really impressed me by going to collect some date out of his own free-time and funds – that is light-years beyond what the armchair skeptic would do, and shows a genuine thirst for answering the questions, which is very commendable.
A quick browse through his posts will convince you that he’s contributed much more to climatology than a GRL article (which, as Huybers showed, has its own problems).
So while it is no measure of scientific quality than to be highly held by the editorial board of the WSJ (talk about bias !!!!) and Sen Joe Barton, i suspect the situation would be very different if “mainstream climatology” (to which i now belong…) had given him the attention he deserves, instead of constantly dismissing his comments.
Of course, it would help if he chose the “normal” avenues of science, with a slightly less offensive tone, but that’s a style i personally enjoy. It’s not for the weak at heart… neither is this blog, obviously 😉
What is going to happen if the earth cools as CO2 continues to rise? Science needs a champion, now.
Oh, brave Anonymous, i see a role for a luminary like you in our fast warming world !
Wow, TCO, what prolific commenting !
I really appreciate your comments as you seem to know the issues quite well, but again, this is not a McIntyre-bashing blog. I think the best test of whether he’s right and wrong, and on which topics, will come from the harsh light of confrontation (with gloves on). But this requires paleoclimatologists to engage in a fair debate with him – one whose rules are not dictacted by ClimateAudit , RealClimate, or yours truly of course.
I really want to invite him to speak at Georgia Tech and see if he has anything of substance to say, and can convey it in a clear manner. This might pave the way for a more fruitful discussion. I’ll keep you posted…
Gianni, as i have said, data availability is absolutely fundamental to the progress of this field. I never asked for a “pass”, just a little more understanding, because i think few fields feature datasets that require so much personal time, effort and contact with the elements. I may be wrong. Anyone has examples ?
Now this :
Nobody would care about the antics of paleoclimatologist if it were not for the fact that many of them want to change society back into some sort of hunter gather community. Sorry, forget about the hunter bit, we probably would not be allowed to eat the animals anyway!
I am sorry to say, this is plain and aggressive ignorance. First, most paleoclimatologists stay quite clear of advocating policy choices. Please show me a study that would demonstrate the opposite. Second, i do believe there is a middle ground between industrialism gone wrong and pre-history. It’s called progress. It’s not a middle-ground, actually, it’s a different dimension altogether. You could try reading this for a more informed perspective.
Thirdly, as far a vegetarianism is concerned, you should probably read what an obscure physicist called Albert E. had to say about it…
I apologise for setting such a bad example to ‘the youth’ by posting anonymously, but of course this does not in any way effect what I said, which was that the integrity of an argument can be evaluated by the way in which it is formulated and expressed. Only sound, fallacy free, arguments are likely to persuade AGW sceptics to join the ranks of the orthodox. And sceptics do have to be persuaded, they are unlikely to be coerced by name calling, abuse, or peer pressure.
True. Yet, if i am risking by public persona in the arena, i think you should show the same elementary courage.
In your response, you have impugned my courage, suggested that I am a corrupter of the young and managed to work in the ‘flat earther’ insult too. Then, as if one fallacy (ad hominem attack) was not enough, you cite ‘the expertise of ~450 authors’ of the IPCC, a blatant appeal to authority. Unfortunately you have not addressed the substance of my comment, which is a pity because I would have been interested to hear your views.
Well, yeah, i was poking a little hard because i do despise snipers. I have re-read your comment and still do not find matter there to address – except that i am arrogant. Are you asking for explanations ? Do you want to see a copy of my French passport 😉 No, seriously, if you want me to address something in particular, please rephrase it and i will do my best to address it. As it stands I have not gotten your point.
You say :
In the real world, outside academia, it is frequently necessary to act on matters of importance without having expert knowledge. And knowledge does not confer infallibility on anyone; not even climate scientists.
In my opinion, an “expert” is only as good as their ability to convey their knowledge. So let me re-try again to convey my view : while climate orthodoxy does sometimes does a poor job of recognizing holes in their own arguments, it is a VERY different thing from the pure disinformation campaign run by some skeptics.
No, we don’t know everything about the Earth’s climate. And we should certainly be more humble about it. But we know enough to say that physical and biological systems on Earth are undergoing enormous changes , that these changes are mostly caused by human activities ; at current per-capita emission rates, future anthropogenic global warming is thus a real and serious threat, and a wide spectrum of climate and economical models concur to show if we do nothing the consequences will likely be disastrous for our way of life and our children’s. That’s my appeal to ‘authority’.
One cannot always act with ‘expert’ and complete knowledge, but wouldn’t you agree that good decision-makers do refer to experts before taking action ? Because the issue is so huge, there are many experts worldwide – and the fact that they can reach a consensus is pretty powerful thing, methinks.
One can search for balance on political issues all their life – that is all fine. But this is science, and their comes point where the frenetic quest for ‘an informed opinion’ turns from healthy skepticism to blind denial. We may not agree on the location of that boundary, so i would be curious to hear where you place it.
What we, as a global community, choose to do as a response to AGW is (or should be !) a matter of debate : and that’s where economics and politics enter. But the basic tenets of the science are hard to dispute unless one wants to step pretty far out of the realm of logic. Is this a point you want to discuss ?
Perhaps i was excessive in saying that ‘most’ of the Opposition is made of obscurantists. I would be thrilled to see proof that they are made of rational, healthy skeptics who simply have not been put in presence of the overwhelming mound of evidence. But i am reminded every day of how many obscurantists there are in the media, and i don’t think i could ever fight them hard enough – there is indeed too much at stake.
Perhaps i should change strategy, though, and your comment will encourage me to think about it.
What would it take to convince YOU, dear Anonymous ?
PS : i did not get the Eli Rabbett joke . Call me silly.