Monday, November 5, 2012

Discussion at re: "No Consensus On Consensus"

I've made a few posts over at and have decided to share portions of their comment thread over here {as of early AM Monday 11/5/12}



  1. citizenschallenge | November 3, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    Judith Curry I found your above digest quite revealing.
    So much so that I’ve done a paragraph by paragraph review.
    I invite you to take a look. I think it’s a shameful game you are playing
    and I try to explain why.

  2. ~ Dr. Curry’s “Climate change: no consensus on consensus” – challenged ~
    A review of Dr. Judith Curry’s reader’s digest to “Climate change: no consensus on consensus”

    1. T. O. November 3, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply 
      It is easy to show that the methodology of the investigation by which the IPCC reached the major conclusions of AR4 was not scientific. Thus the “actual science” that you reference in criticizing Dr. Curry’s paper is fictitious.
    2. curryja November 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply 
      I’ve spotted this, frankly I find it to be incoherent.

      {I notice she's stayed miles away since.  Better caution than revealing.  
      You keep hiding girl.}
    3. T. O. | November 3, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
      It is easy to show that the methodology of the investigation by which the IPCC reached the major conclusions of AR4 was not scientific. Thus the “actual science” that you reference in criticizing Dr. Curry’s paper is fictitious.

    4. curryja | November 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
      I’ve spotted this, frankly I find it to be incoherent.

      {I notice she's stayed miles away since.  Better caution than revealing.  
      You keep hiding girl.}
Lots of arm waving from lots of different people.  I mean like three thousand words worth of arm waving about the theory of "consensus" . . .  but,  not a shrewd of objective evidence offered.  And for sure not one peek at Earth Observation data.


PS. Given the inherent incoherence of the “paper” I was reviewing, it’s to be expected.

citizenschallenge | November 4, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
An awful lot of talk there… with “Consensus” being contorted into a straw man. It is Earth Observations driving the current state of climatological understanding, “the collective considered opinion” – Climatologists dang well appreciate that “consensus” is spelled with a small “c” and that it is subject to change as the evidence justifies.

You folks present a false image of what a working “consensus” is and a false impression of how the climatological community operates.

Furthermore your intimations of malfeasance never rise above Urban Legend blahblah. 

And yes, my “challenge” probably isn’t perfectly coherent, but than I’m not a scholar, just and interested working man – who’s had it with the crazy-making of the proud contrarian on a matter as important as our Grand Atmospheric Experiment.

Max™ | November 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Reply
A consensus is a political animal, not a scientific one.
You conflate observations (which are involved with science) and a “collective considered opinion” (which doesn’t really matter) while giving the impression that a working consensus is important in science.

Then you go on to accuse malfeasance, excellent word by the way, and while speaking of false impressions you mentioned a “Grand Atmospheric Experiment”… an experiment usually involves some sort of hypothesis, a control, some way to collect important data, and so forth, doesn’t it?

citizenschallenge | November 5, 2012 at 2:11 am | Reply
I believe you have an unfortunately limited appreciation for our planet’s physical being.

Studying our planet and learning from it, is not like a classroom chemistry experiment.

Stop expecting those standards or even that mindset when trying to understand Earth Processes.

You would benefit from a little history lesson regarding society’s “grand geophysical experiment.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Carbon Dioxide and Climate
An article from our July 1959 issue examined climate change: “A current theory postulates that carbon dioxide regulates the temperature of the earth. This raises an interesting question: How do Man’s activities influence the climate of the future?”

By Gilbert N. Plasspage 4 “During the past century a new geological force has begun to exert its effect upon the carbon dioxide equilibrium of the earth [see graphs on page 43]. By burning fossil fuels man dumps approximately six billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. His agricultural activities release two billion tons more. Grain fields and pastures store much smaller quantities of carbon dioxide than the forests they replace, and the cultivation of the soil permits the vast quantities of carbon dioxide produced by bacteria to escape into the air…”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

also: Roger Revelle’s Discovery “… By way of conclusion, Revelle remarked that “Human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future.”
When he wrote this sentence, which has since been quoted more than any other statement in the history of global warming, he was not warning against future perils. He did feel some concern about potential harm over the long run, and had begun to point to the problem in public.
But the word “experiment” sounded benign and progressive to Revelle as to most scientists, and in this paper he only meant to point out a fascinating opportunity for the study of geophysical processes…”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And Faustian Experiment it is

citizenschallenge | November 5, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
Terry Oldberg | November 3, 2012 at 11:56 am | wrote:
 It is easy to show that the methodology of the investigation by which the IPCC reached the major conclusions of AR4 was not scientific. Thus the “actual science” that you reference in criticizing Dr. Curry’s paper is fictitious.” <<<
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Stop telling us how obvious you think it is.
Show us some actual objective evidence!
Where are your particulars?
And for what it's worth let me share my rewrite of my review of Curry's first paragraph:
¶1) The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has 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.
re: ¶1
Curry writes: "manufactured consensus of the IPCC has had the unintended consequences of distorting the science…" <<<

That is an incredibly big and damaging charge.
Where is Curry's evidence!?
Specifically what topics have the IPCC distorted?

Why no list?

Where is Curry's examination comparing the scientific community's assessments with the IPCC's manufactured and published "consensus"?

Where does Curry outline and review the many meetings and conferences and writings and back and forth communication that goes on during this IPCC manufacturing process?
~ ~ ~

Why make the starting assumption: 'IPCC's all sinister'?
{Just because the news is bad for big business? I thought this was science we were discussing?}

The IPCC is actually a small organization tasked with compiling the available legitimate science. 

Curry doesn't seriously examine who the IPCC are; what they have been legally tasked with doing; and how they have gone about their task.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Curry writes: "… elevating the voices of scientists that dispute the consensus…" <<<
What is Curry talking about?
What's it supposed to mean?
What point is Curry trying to weave into her story here?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Curry writes: "… and motivating actions by the consensus scientists…" <<<
Scientists read and talk and meet on all sorts of different levels. There are seasons and politics just as in every other professional endeavor. But, it's still a serious organization with a planned process, openly established and openly conducted, and it's produces reports on the state of the science. Fair and square.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Curry writes: "have diminished the public’s trust in the IPCC." <<<
You won't find anything here about Seitz and Singer and the tactics of manufacturing doubt?

Why not examine the various dirty tricks and PR tactics that have targeted the IPCC and climatologists in general?

Why not ask if there's evidence this "diminished pubic trust" was the product of a manufactured publicity campaign?


PS. Here's some of my evidence:
The American Denial of Global Warming
Perspectives on Ocean Science
A Merchant of Doubt attacks Merchants of Doubt
by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway


I want to share this comment from over at where I haunt their Climate Change board.

X writes:  I would say most people here, including CC, understand the difference between weather and climate. It's just that CC says stoopid things now and then, and this is one of them. Either that or he really doesn't understand the relationship between the two.
CC:  Yea, guess the thing is I understand our climate as an entity !

I can not relate to the general headgames regarding the difference between weather and climate.  

It's the difference between a child and a family, but we all inhabit the same world, only operating on different time scales. 

I understand climate as the billions of years in the making product of time, earth, wind, water and fire... quite literally...  an entity with pretty near unfathomable mass and momentum, and all life follows her moods, not the other way around!  

Society has radically altered a key controlling element* of that climate, namely our atmosphere's insulating ability.  Plain and simple, we are, and will continue for centuries to come, be warming our planet and acidifying our oceans.  *{actually we've altered nearly all components of our planet's biosphere}

You can dink around with the rate all you want.  But any serious examination makes plain that things are changing and changing faster than anyone anticipated.  I have the feeling your type will easily shrug off Hurricane Sandy.  You want to see that crap every year before you've gotten your belly full of your statistical gamesmanship.

... and you wonder why I call you a 99%er

You think this is all some intellectualized debate.

I believe you have no conception of the power of raw mother nature, because you certainly don't take cycles, and interacting circulations patterns, and the flow of time seriously ~ nor the massiveness of Earth's processes ~ otherwise your posts would sound quite different.



citizenschallenge wrote:
moth1ne wrote:
citizenschallenge wrote:What are  ‘wicked problems’?

In science, wicked problems are problems that are difficult to solve in that solving them could potentially generate new problems.

Fair enough, but if Curry is going to invoke it,

She ought to add some definition and objective analysis of why understanding global warming is a "wicked problem" - and how to move forward with that better appreciation for the anatomy of the inherent "wickedness" of the Global Warming problem.  She did nothing of the sort.

Thanks for bringing it up.

moth1ne wrote:  I believe titling climate change as a wicked problem is overly-dramatic.  There is much uncertainty in climate change and the problems that could arise in solving the climate change issue are unknown.  I believe, given the detrimental consequences of inaction to climate change, the best step forward is to apply the precautionary principle.  It is best to err on the side of caution when the risks of inaction are too high.

{see the comments section}


Tuesday 11/6/12

I've copied these from the Curry's blog site.  I believe they reveal the hollowness of that articular persuasion:

T. O. | November 5, 2012 at 11:13 am |
citizenschallenge,  That IPCC climatologists are over reliant on consensus is a conclusion that emerges from consideration of the evidence upon which these climatologists base their conclusions. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 CC:   OK.  Let's consider it.
Got any objective lists and facts to share?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

T.O. writes: This evidence does not include a sample that is drawn from a statistical population. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 CC:   Can you explain what you mean by that?
And more importantly can you explain how you would improve the processing of Earth Observations, considering how different they are from lab bench experimentation?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

T.O. writes: A consequence is for their theories to be irretutable by reference to observatonal data. The methodology of the research, then, is dogmatic rather than scientific in style.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

CC:   Can you explain those sentences in plain English?
More specifically, what is your complaint with how Earth Observations are conducted?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

M. writes | November 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm :
Oh, I’m not particularly interested in dissecting everything wrong with the anthropogenic CO2 greenhouse hypothesis for you,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

CC:   Wait a minute; are you saying the entire greenhousegas theory is falsifiable ! ?   Please do take the time to explain.  

But please, don't send me a link to Nasif Nahle - unless you can also explain why I should believe a self-contained hermit above the "consensus" of thousands of active scientists and engineers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

M writes:  "you most likely don’t care, as you aren’t interested in science enough to be offended at the idea that a consensus has any role to play outside of the political arena."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
CC:   Do you really believe what you are saying?

Where would computers, and moon landings, and global communication (etc., etc., etc.) be > if experts couldn't have reached a consensus regarding how the unseen physical world operates?

As for how much I care about real science - try me.  

What you got ? ? ?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Where is your objective evidence that climatologists are over reliant on some predetermined and unrealistic “consensus” ?
Short answer : Climategate. For which they punished or crticised none of their people.
It’s simply beyond all reasonable doubt. And hardly surprisinig – it’s a political body, politically financed, seeking to expand the role of politics on the world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Do you actually consider the writings of Donna Laframboise "objective" ?
Look at the intro of her book  .  .  . 
Donna writes:  "This book is about a spoiled child.  Year after year, this child has been admired, flattered, and praised..."

Then she goes on about a spoiled over indulged child and on and on with base emotionalizing  

Who's kidding who?  This is a passion story Laframboise  has written here.  There is not a hint of serious science about it.   Shame on you.  

Is that the best you can do in confronting the challenge of producing objective evidence that demonstrates where IPCC's "consensus"  is different from the balance of evidence available?

Read this tripe she starts her book with:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"The IPCC has lounged, for more than two decades, in a large comfy chair atop a pedestal."
"...  They say the Climate Bible is..."
"... the media sound more like cheerleaders than hard-nosed reporters..."
~ ~ ~
etc., etc.  Then she makes an incredible jump:
"Let us be sensible for a moment.  Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old.  During that time it has endured all sorts of perfectly natural climate transformations..."
~ ~ ~ 
Then, it's ice ages and pharaohs and suddenly she's quoting Mark Twain.

Who's kidding who?  
This is the stock trade passion story Laframboise has written here.  
There is not hint of serious science about it.   
Shame on you.  

>>>   Is that the best you (folks) can do in confronting the challenge of producing objective evidence that demonstrates where IPCC's "consensus"  is different from the balance of the scientific evidence available?


T.O. writes: "Citizenschallenge, I have to point out that, like many of your previous arguments, your latest one is based upon equivocations exploiting amibuiguity of reference by the term “science” to the associated ideas. To equivocate is dishonest!"  ~ ~ ~ 
Nonsense T.O.,  the point I keep trying to bring across is: it's not about how many big words you can cram into a sentence.  It's about the state of the evidence which you folks do everything you can to ignore.
And it's about the voracity of front line scientists folks I trust and you slander... without objective evidence.

Commented 11/10/12 AM

T. O. | November 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm | 
"citizenschallenge:  In your response, you’ve evaded the issue of the morality of your equivocation. You’ve made a deceptive argument and are evidently unwilling to repent."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How about defining what you find deceptive about my argument?

P. | November 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | 
Do you seriously deny that organizations labor in their own interest? And that since the UN/IPCC is in the business of world governance, it is always going to find “reasons” for world government, regardless of the facts ? How can anyone with more than a few braincells actually such utter tripe such as that that the IPCC – the force behind the science frauds exposed in Climategate – is trying to be objective ? Seriously, how honest are you being with yourself?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Care to define what you mean by "world governance"?
Incidentally, why you have a problem with nations cooperating with each other?

As for the IPCC being the force behind science frauds.
Where is that objective list of those "IPCC frauds"?
~ ~ ~
Oh and how can I possibly image the IPCC is objective?... well it comes from {among other places} reading some of their stuff - give it a try:
~ ~ ~
...and speaking of objectivity - please don't refer me to that hysteric Laframboise with her obviously passionate hatred for the IPCC and its scientists.

As for McIntyre master of making a mole sound like a mountain - besides endlessly beating the horse named Mann - What IPCC "frauds" has he uncovered?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As for the stolen emails, I've read a bunch of them and when taken in context, they actually don't reveal "fraud" - dislikes and emotions sure, but scientific fraud ain't seen any - neither have any of the many investigations.

Where's that objective list of those perceived frauds?

Commented 11/10/12 PM


T.O. says:  Thank you for taking the time to reply. The deceptiveness of your argument lies in its reliance upon the fallacy of equivocation. As needed, you could bone up on this fallacy by reading Wikipedia’s article entitled “equivocation.”

You equivocate by failing to distinguish between the various meanings of “science” and related terms such as “scientist” and “scientific.” By this slimy (but possibly inadvertent) practice, you gloss over the fact that the people who execute the inquiry into global warming do not and cannot test their hypotheses, thus failing to match the description of “scientists” under one of this term’s several definitions. 

CC:   Terry, you speak in riddles my friend.
What are you talking about?
Can you give any specific examples?

Because to me climatology is an enterprise conducted by dedicated people interested in understanding how our world functions.  It continues a tradition of Earth sciences that has done humanity quite well these past centuries.  It's practiced by the sorts of people I can watch and listen to in any one of dozens of university video lecture series such as the ones at UCTV Perspectives of Ocean Sciences.  [ ].

People interested in learning about this incredible planet that surrounds us.  Observing and recording... learning about and understanding - this is what Earth science is about.  All you've offered is vague insinuations of distrust.  Backed up by a chorus of political paranoia
Can you define your distrust in simple prose.

T.O. says:   You could avoid equivocation by disambiguating the language of your blog posts such that the various meanings of “science” and the related terms acquire separate terms of reference. For example, you could reference people who test their hypotheses as “scientists” and people who do not test their hypotheses but claim to be scientists as “pseudo-scientists” or “dogmatists.” Disambiguation would, however, undermine the apparent force of your argument for it acquires this force only through your equivocation.

CC:  That's just a bunch of jibber jabber.  I'm more rooted in the real world than endless talking.  Here let me share the sorts of things I base my understanding and outlook on.  Since Tim White did such a nice job of explaining it during his lecture at the Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, I'll use three of his slides:

"Global climate depends of three factors"* How much energy we get from the sun* How much of that energy is reflected back to space (aerosols, ice, etc)... albedo*Amount of greenhouse gases"
~ ~ ~ 

"Greenhouse gases are a large part of the Earth's energy budget*  Earth's temperature without greenhouse gases = -18°C*  Too cold for advanced life?*  Earth's temperature with greenhouse gases = +15°C*  Cozy*  Greenhouse gases raise the temperature of the Earth by about 33°C (±60°F)... and make the planet habitable
So if we add greenhouse gases...
~ ~ ~ 

"Is it surprising that humans are changing the planet?-  Simply put... we're impressive, the biggest cause of change on the planet.-  We have altered the Earth's energy balance and changed climate-  we cause 10 times more erosion than all natural processes-  We make more fertilizer than all bacteria in the world-  We make more sulfate than all ocean phytoplankton-  Our current energy needs equal all harvestable wind energy in the atmosphere
How is this possible? ... the power of the exponential !
~ ~ ~ 

CC:   Terry, in closing, of course there's much more evidence than what Tim presented.
Thing is there is a coherent understanding based on good Earth observations and science and the uncompromising laws of physics.  

Where is your coherent complaint?
All you've offered is fancy rhetorical hand waving.  
You swoon over science, now practice some, show us objective examples . . .


Tuesday 11/13/12

  1. Petra, do you actually think this here has been a discussion? Not one question seriously answered. For a second I thought Beth had something of an objective list but that melted down in a hurry ~ incidentally – newsflash: Mann’s hockey stick isn’t the reason climatologists have formed a consistent understanding across dozens of fields of study… {including many different paleo-temp reconstruction studies}.
    And yes, I include Republicans since they seem to have convinced themselves that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a hoax and that we should shut down Earth observations and willfully ignore the evidence. And it’s Curry’s sort of crazy-making along with this here sort of uppity, yet ignorant, taunting chorus {intent on drowning out any real discussion} that gives them their moral permission for their attacks on science.
    Speaking of Mann here’s the last paragraph of my little missive.
    “… Instead you endlessly flog Mann and his hockey stick as though dynamic science doesn’t include mistakes and ragged edges.  You never mention that all those flaws and uncertainties you consider so sinister where in actuality discussed and were part of the science moving forward.  Rather than accepting such facts of science – you intend to continue distracting, misdirecting and avoiding the real issues by forcing your paranoid beliefs {that your life style is under attack and that climatologists are an enemy} into swamping what should be a sober discussion.”
    …. well, our life style certainly is in peril, but it’s Earth’s doped up climate doing the threatening.
    • citizenschallenge
      “not one question seriously answered”
      That’s the problem skeptics of the CAGW premise of IPCC mention frequently.
      The supporters of this premise are unable (or unwilling) to “seriously answer” the specific questions raised by the skeptics of this premise.
      A dilemma.
    • ClimateReason
      do you actually think this here has been a discussion? Not one question seriously answered.
      Of course they have. You just keep ducking the answers because they don’t suit your preconceived, politically-motivated conclusions. If want to see what a lack of debate is, try Realclimate.
      newsflash: Mann’s hockey stick isn’t the reason climatologists have formed a consistent understanding across dozens of fields of study… {including many different paleo-temp reconstruction studies}.
      Well firstly this conscious fraud by Mann certainly led the charge. And has not been supported by other paleo studies, as it happens, but that is not the point here. The point here is the systemic intent to deceive that cuts across the whole climate establishment ‘consensus’. Mann is just one example, albeit a poster-child one.
      And you way overhype the “consistent understanding”. It’s a hunch, no more.
      I include Republicans since they seem to have convinced themselves that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a hoax
      The Democrats drive CAGW because it plays to their totalitarian beliefs – more taxes, more regulations, more bureaucracies. This is what drove the issue political to start with. Skeptics (including (some) Republicans) are merely reacting to that.
      [Republicans want to] shut down Earth observations and willfully ignore the evidence.
      Full marks for creativity. It’s is though the exact opposite of the truth. In fact it’s the alarmists who hide data (from anyone not committed to alarmism), try and shut down debate, etc; and skeptics who want openness.
      …attacks on science.
      The only attacks on science come from the climate science community, frauds like Mann & co. And what you misleadingly refer to as “attacks on science”, are in fact attacks on corrupt science. But then in common with most alarmists, you don’t care about theprocess of science, you just want it to line up nicely behind your politics.
    • It appears to have totally escaped climatereason that the institution of politics has plenty (a) motive, (b) means, and (c) opportunity, to propagandize cagw regardless of the facts. The product of truly staggering naivete.
      Either that or he feels the political-end justifies the science-crime.
  2. A lot to talk, but…
    … still no objective list of particulars.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    BB: “conscious fraud by Mann certainly led the charge” – wow, you really believe this guy to be incarnate evil or what? What has he done to deserve that… specifically, that is? Thing is, it sure seems like other work supports Mann’s general finding.
    Here, I know you don’t like these folks, but at least they do stick to the science and offer sources and links back to real scientists and such.
    … and I just don’t see where this obsession with Mann is justified considering his work is a tiny piece of the puzzle and it remains consistent with subsequent findings.
    Mann’s hockey stick may have lead the media-charge – but to deny that climatologists didn’t have dozens of independent lines of evidence supporting their understanding of Anthropogenic Global Warming is to deny history and fact. This obsession with Mann is a political stunt intend to distract from the full body of evidence available.
  3. BB wrote:  "The point here is the systemic intent to deceive that cuts across the whole climate establishment ‘consensus’.”
    OK, you’ve made the charge again.
    … can you offer a list of particulars?
    A concise objective listing of this “systemic intent to deceive”.
    What is it?
    How has it been carried out?
    Where is the evidence?
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    BB wrote: “The Democrats drive CAGW because it plays to their totalitarian beliefs.”
    Do you actually believe a large group of America’s wants a totalitarian government? From what depths do those ideas form? Why this need for such ultimate demonizing?


swemorph said...

Re: Wicked Problems, you might like to know about this recent publication:

“Wicked Problems – Social Messes: Decision support Modelling with Morphological Analysis”. Springer, 2011.

You can see a description at:


Tom Ritchey

Peter said...

Thank you Mr. Ritchey.
I also found your nice summation worth the read:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But my point is Curry waves that term around but doesn't offer anything to work with:

"re: ¶17

No attempt is made to outline why climate change is a "wicked problem" - nor to disentangle how much of that wicked problem has to do with the scientific evidence and how much of the "wickedness" has to do with confronting the implications of what the science is telling us.

It seems to me Curry (and that tiny fraternity of contrarian scientists) approach this problem from the butt end. Namely, the implications of the science are so horrendous that every attempt is made to discredit and ignore the science.

Whereas an intellectually honest and humanitarian way to approach this wicked problem would be:
A) What is the science telling us about our planet and it's processes?
B) How are we going to deal with the implications of that knowledge?

But, here we get nothing better than a Moncktonian performance where the narrator uses a fiction writer's-license to weave an emotional story of her own fancy."