Should the Scientific Challenges of Dissident Nobel Laureates be answered?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Eugene Shubert, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. rpenner Fully Wired Staff Member

    There you go with the ad hominem attacks again, when you are attacking the publisher for having more skill in an area than you. It would make somewhat more sense to attack the author, but that would still fail to connect with a fact-based argument.

    For example, you might as well attempt to slur Robert G. Edwards by saying his Nobel prize money was proceeds from an explosives manufacturer. Or by casting aspersions on the American Museum of Natural History displays by criticizing the color of the bedrock underlying its foundations.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
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  3. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    Just because someone is a Nobel laureate, that doesn't mean they know what they're talking about when it comes to an area that they're not connected with.

    Would you trust a Nobel laureate to give you brain surgery just because they're a Nobel laureate?
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  5. Eugene Shubert Registered Senior Member

    I'm tired of your incessant references to the works of the cartoonist John Cook.
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  7. Eugene Shubert Registered Senior Member

    Most certainly cartoonists know more than highly accomplished dissident scientists.
  8. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    1. Irrelevant to the point of the graph. CO2 is not driving temps.
    2. From Climate4You: In order to enable a visual comparison of the five different global temperature estimates shown above, the diagrams below show some or all series superimposed. As the base period differs for the different temperature estimates (see above), they are not directly comparable. All data series were therefore normalised by setting the average value of the initial 30 years from January 1979 to December 2008 equal to zero, before inclusion in the diagram....
    3. No matter who decides the 'normal' base temp, it is always arbitrary.

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    So please tell me what the so called 'normal temperature' is based on the above. It most certainly isnt the -0- point on the above image. But your not suspicious of this imagery are you?

    Or how about the 'normal temperature' of this one (GISP2):

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    Or how about this one:

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    Seriously, do you base the 'normal temperature' of this interglacial on a few years worth of temp record?
    240 years (central england temp record) is 2.4% of the 10000 years of this current interglacial.
    130 years (basic GISS temp reference) is 1.3 % of the 10000 years of this current interglacial.

    Color me Skeptical. Appropriately so.
    sculptor likes this.
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    If Nobel laureates make stupid pronouncements outside their area of expertise, they're setting themselves up for ridicule. Spotting the ridiculous is a cartoonist's job.
    exchemist likes this.
  10. milkweed Valued Senior Member

  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Good overview of how to recognize climate change denialism:
    The 5 telltale techniques of climate change denial
    By John Cook

    Updated 12:25 PM ET, Wed July 22, 2015

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are causing global warming. Nevertheless, a small proportion of the population continues to deny the science. This can be problematic when the small number denying climate science includes half of the U.S. Senate.

    How do you identify climate science denial, and how do you respond to it? To address denial properly, you need to understand the telltale techniques used to distort the science. It turns out all movements that deny a scientific consensus, whether it be the science of climate change, evolution or vaccination, share five characteristics in common:

    1. Fake experts
    Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. This has been found independently in a number of studies, including surveys of Earth scientists, analysis of public statements about climate change and analysis of peer-reviewed scientific papers. How might one cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus? One technique is the use of fake experts.

    We see this in online petitions such as the Global Warming Petition Project, which features more than 31,000 scientists claiming humans aren't disrupting our climate. How can there be 97% consensus when 31,000 scientists disagree? It turns out 99.9% of the petition's signatories aren't climate scientists. They include computer scientists, mechanical engineers and medical scientists but few climate scientists. The Global Warming Petition Project is fake experts in bulk.

    2. Logical fallacies
    The reason why there's a 97% consensus is because of the many lines of evidence that humans are causing global warming. Human fingerprints are being observed in heat escaping out to space, in the structure of the atmosphere and even in the changing seasons. Another denialist technique used to counter the weight of evidence is the logical fallacy.

    The most common fallacious argument is that current climate change must be natural because climate has changed naturally in the past. This myth commits the logical fallacy of jumping to conclusions. It's like finding a dead body with a knife sticking out of its back, and arguing that the person must have died of natural causes because humans have died of natural causes in the past. The premise does not lead to the conclusion.

    3. Impossible expectations
    While many lines of evidence inform our understanding of climate change, another source of understanding are climate models. These are computer simulations built from the fundamental laws of physics, and they have made many accurate predictions since the 1970s. Climate models have successfully predicted the loss of Arctic sea ice, sea level rise and the geographic pattern of global warming. However, one technique used to cast doubt on climate models is the tactic of impossible expectations.

    Some people argue that climate models are unreliable if they don't make perfect short-term predictions. However, a number of unpredictable influences such as ocean and solar cycles have short-term influences on climate. Over the long term, these effects average out, which is why climate models do so well at long-term predictions.

    4. Cherry-picking
    Signs of global warming have been observed all over our planet. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing hundreds of billions of tons of ice every year. Global sea level is rising. Thousands of species are migrating toward cooler regions in response to warming. The ocean is building up four atomic bombs worth of heat every second. One way to avoid this overwhelming body of evidence is through the technique of cherry-picking.

    For example, a persistent myth is that global warming stopped in recent decades. This is done by focusing on one slice of our climate system -- the surface temperature record. Further, it relies on cherry-picking short time periods. This ignores the long-term trend and more importantly, ignores the many warming indicators telling us that our planet continues to build up heat.

    5. Conspiracy theory
    The global surface temperature record is constructed by teams across the world, each compiling their own independent record. These different efforts, each using their own methods, paint a consistent picture of global warming. Climate science deniers reject this coherent evidence with conspiracy theories.

    The thousands of scientists across the world who develop these temperature records are regularly accused of faking their data to inflate the global warming trend. Of course, critics produce no evidence for a global conspiracy. In fact, a number of investigations into the scientists' methodology has concluded that they conducted their research with robust integrity. How do the conspiracy theorists respond to each exoneration? By expanding their conspiracy theory to include the investigators!

    The link between conspiratorial thinking and science denial has serious and practical consequences. Conspiracy theorists are immune to scientific evidence, as any evidence conflicting with their beliefs is considered part of a conspiracy. The implication is that the most effective approach is not changing the mind of the unchangeable. Rather a more fruitful approach is communicating the realities of climate change to the large, undecided majority who are open to scientific evidence. A crucial part of the puzzle is explaining the techniques of science denial. This has the powerful effect of inoculating people against the misinformation of climate science deniers.
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Rather a good article. Thanks Billvon. One can certainly see the process described at work in this thread. Interesting.
  13. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Are you skeptical that CO2 absorbs heat? That's pretty easy to prove.

    John Tyndall had to invent his own instrumentation to answer this question in the 1850s.

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    You can test it at home with some dry ice, a jar to catch the evolved gas, and a thermal imaging camera (or phone with app).

    So now you don't have to stay "stuck on skeptical". You can confirm it yourself!
  14. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    I cant believe you posted that garbage. You are better than that.
    Secret science. A perversion of the dream.
  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Old "news":

    Top US scientist Hal Lewis resigned from his post at the University of California after admitting that global warming was a big scam, in a shocking resignation letter.

    From the Telegraph

    The following is a letter to the American Physical Society released to the public by Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara

    Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis
    From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
    To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society
    6 October 2010

    "Dear Curt:

    When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

    Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence – it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

    How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

    It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

    So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it…

    I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club."
    river likes this.
  16. river Valued Senior Member

    Science , the philosophy , the ideal , the exploration of scientific inquiry has become political, and therefore inherently corrupted. And therefore stalled.
  17. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    I think it is unkind to highlight this letter of Hal Lewis who died in 2011. The guy had a distinguished career and to bring up something as silly as this letter that he wrote at 87 years old belittles his memory.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Far from garbage. It is a good overview on science denialism, and accurately describes the approach taken by climate change deniers, creationists, anti-vaxxers, and pro-tobacco lobbyists among others.

    From several studies.

    1) Environmental Research Letters, May 2013. "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." Results:
    Of the abtracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.
    When the authors were polled, 97.2% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.

    2) EOS, January 2009, Peter Doran. "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change." Results:
    75 (97.4%) of earth scientists surveyed agreed that "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures."

    3) PNAS, December 2009, William Anderegg, "Expert Credibility in Climate Change." Results:
    Out of 1,372 published climate researchers, 97–98% support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    4) Science, Naomi Oreskes, 2004. Results:
    928 papers surveyed that included the search term "climate change." 75% accepted the basic consensus position. 25% did not discuss the causes of climate change and took no position. 0% disagreed with the consensus position.

    5) Desmog, James Powell, November 2012. Results:
    Of 13,950 peer-reviewed papers containing the phrase "global warming" or "global climate change" 24 rejected the consensus view. That's 0.17% who reject it.
  19. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    Moving the goal posts again? If you cannot recognize the poor quality of the paper you posted, then I take back my assessment that you are better than that. You may want to reconsider your sources:š-motl-a-theoretical.html

    Wonderful that you bring Oreskes into the conversation as it provides an opportunity to present a former paper of hers:
    Full paper here:

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  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That is not a valid inference from the graphs, or any of the other data and evidence available. Also, it has been found to be wrong - by deduction from basic physical principles, analysis of the data including those graphs, and direct physical measurement ->

    Maybe invalid inferences turn out to be wrong more often than valid ones do. I have no evidence for that, it's just a guess - what would you guess?

    Meanwhile, you still have not learned to be suspicious of Judith Curry and her fellow travelers in the very well funded but still research deficient denialist cadre. Take a good look at that quote, for example:

    "In summary, the manufactured consensus of the IPCC has arguably had the unintended consequences of distorting the science, elevating the voices of scientists that dispute the consensus, and motivating actions by the consensus scientists and their supporters that have diminished the public’s trust in the IPCC."

    Arguably, anyone who is blaming the loss of public trust in the IPCC on anything actually done by the IPCC or any scientist connected in any way with IPCC, holding anything done by the IPCC as responsible for "elevating the voice" of "scientists {who} dispute the consensus", etc,

    is either completely unfamiliar with the recent behavior of the corporate media of the United States, dishonest and writing in bad faith, or dumb as a box of rocks.

    I'm betting on door #2. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  21. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    "unkind" ?
    unkind to honor and repeat his words?
    unkind to respect his opinions?

    I think not.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Nope. You denied the consensus claim; I posted four papers that validated that claim - and a paper on science denialism in general.
    Good. I would not want to be thought "better" by a science denier. It would be like being considered "real smart" by Sarah Palin.
    origin likes this.
  23. rpenner Fully Wired Staff Member

    Claiming ‘global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud”’ does not make it so. No empirical fact is alleged, no mechanism of conspiracy is alleged, the charge is so vague that there is nothing in the letter identified what aspect of GW is being attacked. Or as David Appell wrote, “Let's note that Lewis's resignation letter does not give even one fundamental reason why modern climate science should be considered wrong.” This lack of specificity seems suspect when no new paper indicating a basis for his opinion was ever drafted and his previous work included:
    Technological Risk (1992) which the publisher's blurb had:
    The greenhouse effect is additionally right there on the front cover, because a physicist would know that's a very simple physical principle.

    The claim that physicists have been corrupted by money is risible. “Lewis talks about "trillions of dollars". Going to scientists? That seems rather unlikely. The vast majority of the (billions) spent on climate research go to two places: satellite manufacture, launch and operations, and supercomputer centers for doing climate model calculations. The average climate scientist is paid no more than the average American, about $50,000/year, and many work for hardly more than minimum wage, some spending long hours and even putting their lives at risk for their work. This money is the source of corruption? Lewis has absolutely no basis for his claim.” — Arthur Smith

    Why is a man at the end of his career (nearly the definition of Professor Emeritus, and factually true since he died less than 8 months later) supposed to have a greater weight in a debate than the other 48,000 physicists who have a membership in the APS? And it's not like it was a decision made in a vacuum, it's clear that this elderly fellow of science had been led astray in 2009 by improper reliance on unconvincing claims made by Lindzen and in the wake of the out-of-context quoting of stolen emails.

    Sounds like sour grapes + paranoia after not being able to follow the reasoning of the majority of the APS on his part. Sounds like cherry picking + confirmation bias + appeal to irrelevant authority on your part. Interviews with Lewis did not provide much insight into what his complaint was:

    That very same month (October 2010) he publicly joined the GWPF.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015

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