Saturday, August 30, 2014

UCS | Our Analysis of abuses of science

This is part two of the previous list, I'm posting it simply to expose it to a larger audience and to add this information to my collection of resources for those interested in better understanding the ways of the Republican/libertarian war on science.

With much thanks to the Union of Concerned Scientists

Abuses of Science -





UCS | Scientific Integrity News archives 'attack on science' < 2008

I came across an interesting archive put together by the Union of Concerned Scientists it's a sampling of media coverage of political interference in science, such as shutting down EPA libraries, censoring any number of scientists and studies/reports, and so on.

It's good information to have on hand next time some contrarian tries feeding you Dr. Lindzen's canard that scientist who disagree with the AGW consensus are too afraid to speak out.  It's actually the other way around.  

In keeping with my mission here at WUWTW to examine and expose the ways of climate science denialists and other contrarians for profit I'm mirroring UCS's list.  Sadly it is a bit outdated {If anyone knows of another more recent collection of such information please share.}.  Still being familiar with the historical record of this past decade is important and it speak for itself.  
Here's your quick'n dirty UCS collection of reports on the Republican/Libertarian war on science.

Scientific Integrity News Archives

This archive has a sampling of the media coverage of political interference in science since UCS released its first scientific integrity report in 2004. The coverage is organized into issues; articles that address the misuse of science in general, or were not easily categorized, are represented in "Other Scientific Integrity News."
For the most recent news, click here.
Examine articles on specific issues:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why trust climate models?

Thanks to a tip from Sou over at HotWhopper, I came across an excellent introduction to climate models that's definitely worth sharing... {and it'll make a nice break from the crazy-makers I've been featuring over here} because in the process I became familiar with an impressive young rationalist.  Scott Johnson who's a hydrogeologist, geoscience educator and freelance science writer and has a blog at  

I thought he did a good job of explaining some of the details and facts of climate models and how they are used to inform scientific learning.  

Since Climate Models are constantly being misrepresented and derided based on false claims and deliberate misperceptions, this is an article worth becoming familiar with.  I'm hoping to get permission to repost more highlights from the text in the future, right now I'll limit myself to the introduction and one paragraph from the closing and short descriptions of the sections of his article.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Why trust climate models? 
It’s a matter of simple science

How climate scientists test, test again, and use their simulation tools.

It starts out:

¶1 " Talk to someone who rejects the conclusions of climate science and you’ll likely hear some variation of the following: “That’s all based on models, and you can make a model say anything you want.” Often, they'll suggest the models don't even have a solid foundation of data to work with—garbage in, garbage out, as the old programming adage goes. But how many of us (anywhere on the opinion spectrum) really know enough about what goes into a climate model to judge what comes out?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

No global warming since 1999? Nah, here's the smoking gun.

One of the problems with trying to convince climate science 'skeptics' that the missing surface temperature (heat) was going into the oceans, was that scientists could not yet show exactly where that heat was going.  That was because of a lack of observational capability, which scientists have been doing their best to fill in with the ARGO system of floats.

- - -

New study finds sea level rose 2.4 mm/year between 2005 and 2011

Jun 03, 2013 by Bob Yirka
- - - 
Global Warming Has Accelerated In Past 15 Years, New Study Of Oceans Confirms

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
And now we have this:

Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration

  1. Ka-Kit Tung
  1. Science
    Vol. 345 no. 6199 pp. 897-903 
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1254937

    Deep-sea warming slows down global warming

    Global warming seems to have paused over the past 15 years while the deep ocean takes the heat instead. The thermal capacity of the oceans far exceeds that of the atmosphere, so the oceans can store up to 90% of the heat buildup caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Chen and Tung used observational data to trace the pathways of recent ocean heating. They conclude that the deep Atlantic and Southern Oceans, but not the Pacific, have absorbed the excess heat that would otherwise have fueled continued warming.
    Science, this issue p. 897
    Update… and now there's this:

    Rising Ocean Temperature: Is the Pacific Ocean Calling the Shots?

    Posted on 5 September 2014 by Rob Painting

    No global warming since 1999?

    Time to take a break from mind-games and revisit what scientists are learning about our global heat distribution engine.

    One of the favorite diversionary ploys amongst climate science 'skeptics' is to claim that the past few decades hasn't seen any warming because 'global' surface temperature measurements have sort of plateaued... not really, you see the data being used did not include most of the polar regions of our planet, the areas of most warming, along with other issues.  The MetOffice has addressed this claim with a series of reports.  Here's their introduction.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


    The recent pause in warming

    Watching Flames, Pascal Bruckner Fiddles

    It's come to my attention that one of WUWTW most visited posts is  "Pascal Bruckner's "Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" - A Citizen's Response" dated June 18, 2013 which still receives a surprising number of regular viewings.  This prompted me to google his name and see if anything special was going on these days, doesn't seem to be, but I did read another article based on his book "Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" that I found disappointing and shallow.  Not a reflection of our real world situation at all.

    Worst is Bruckner's seeming insistence that all this concern about what's happening to our climate is some frivolous fad and that all we have to worry about is our worries.  Most disconnected from the reality of global trends and quite frankly begging for a rebuttal, which I am providing, until someone with more intellectual horse power has the nerve, or interest, to take on Mr. Pascal Bruckner.

    I reprint the full text, neither having, nor asking for permission, because Pascal puts himself out there as a great thinker trying to influence the masses, also considering this was posted at The Chronicle of Higher Education, it seems only proper that they allow his words to be examined with a skeptical eye.

    June 17, 2013
    Against Environmental Panic

    By Pascal Bruckner (4200words)

    ¶1  In Jesuit schools we were urged to strengthen our faith by spending time in monasteries. We were assigned spiritual exercises to be dutifully written in little notebooks that were supposed to renew the promises made at baptism and to celebrate the virtues of Christian love and succor for the weak. It wasn't enough just to believe; we had to testify to our adherence to the Holy Scriptures and drive Satan out of our hearts. These practices were sanctioned by daily confessions under the guidance of a priest. We all probed our hearts to extirpate the germs of iniquity and to test, with a delicious thrill, the borderline separating grace from sin. We were immersed in an atmosphere of meditative reverence, and the desire to be good gave our days a special contour.

    ¶2  We knew that God was looking down on us indulgently: We were young, we were allowed to stumble. In his great ledger, he wrote down each of our actions, weighing them with perfect equanimity. We engaged in refined forms of piety in order to gain favors. Regarded from an adult point of view, these childish efforts, which were close to the ancients' spiritual exercises, were not without a certain nobility. They wavered between docility and a feeling of lofty grandeur. At least we learned the art of knowing ourselves, of resisting the turmoil of puberty.

    ~ ~ ~ 
    It seems such a cloistered background might create deep seated life long conscious and subconscious conflicts.  I know that some guidance counselors are so wrapped-up within their own struggles that they too easily transfer their own issues onto the 'client', never "seeing" their client's actual challenges - and I wonder if that may be going on here.  

    It is fair to ask Pascal, to ask himself, how much of this missive might be his own struggles with early childhood resentments towards the church, only now transferring those internal struggles into the more lucrative realm of attacking science?
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    ¶3  What a surprise to witness, half a century later, the powerful return of this frame of mind, but this time under the aegis of science. 

    ~ ~ ~
    What "powerful" are we talking about here?  Media tycoons?  Pundits?  Who?

    Please note Pascal never defines what he's referring to "under the aegis of science" simply leaving it hanging in the air and returning to what's going on in the public dialogue.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    Consider the meaning in contemporary jargon of the famous carbon footprint that we all leave behind us. What is it, after all, if not the gaseous equivalent of Original Sin, of the stain that we inflict on our Mother Gaia by the simple fact of being present and breathing? We can all gauge the volume of our emissions, day after day, with the injunction to curtail them, just as children saying their catechisms are supposed to curtail their sins.

    ~ ~ ~
    Perhaps for a religious person "original sin" is as substantial as water - but they are mistaken.  Original sin is a plot point in a metaphysical myth, an imaginary construct just the same.

    The Carbon Footprint is another kind of construct, one that has a very real physical component, namely a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that a person or activity produces with the fossil fuels being burned for said activity.  It is substantive and it has a cumulative physical impact on this planet.  

    In other words, Pascal doesn't seem to recognize the difference between the "substantial" and "insubstantial".
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ¶4  Ecologism,

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    Falsify This - what contrarians ignore (#5)

    This will probably be my last installment looking at my pal K's line of reasoning over at OurChangingClimate's "Is Climate Science falsifiable" comments section.  It's been interesting I learned a few things, in particular today becoming acquainted with Mariano Artigas' examination of Popperian philosophy on fallibilism.  Something that seems much misrepresented on the internet and ties right into the neat little 'arguments' K was presenting. 

     He writes:

    "citizenschallenge – the trick is that trivial falsifications do not automatically add up to a falsifiable hypothesis.  
    "You need to have a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement. 

    1) a list of observations, which if observed, mean your hypothesis is false;
    2) a logical argument that the lack of those falsifications means that your hypothesis must be favored over all others (including the null).

    The null hypothesis, is of course, natural climate change explains all observed climate change."

    "The null hypothesis, is of course, natural climate change explains all observed climate change."

    To begin with this "null hypothesis" doesn't make any sense because if we look at the situation from a geophysical perspective there is nothing unnatural about today's increasing greenhouse gas levels causing our atmosphere's insulation ability to increase, in turn causing our planet to warm.

    It is only the source, human burning of fossil fuels, that is unique in the long varied history of our planet. 

    It would be interesting if K or any other science contrarian can suggest a more meaningful null hypothesis, since his is broken?
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    "1) a list of observations, which if observed, mean your hypothesis is false;" 

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Human Knowledge, Reliability and Fallibilism by Mariano Artigas

    In doing some research on my next post I came across an essay by  Mariano Artigas.  Although not intended as such, it is an eye opener to the various ways contrarians have been able to misrepresent Popperian philosophy with their disingenuously contorted "necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statements" argument.

    I am reposting the following essay complete and unaltered {except for adding paragraph #s, some line breaks and highlights} and hope some will find it informative and helpful in their own educational process.

    For a look at Mariano Artigas' larger body of work regarding Popper visit:

    The Ethical Roots of Karl Popper's Epistemology 

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    This article appears at the website of the 
    University of Navarra Group of Research on Science, Reason and Faith (CRYF)

    Reposted under authority of CreativeCommons license NC-ND3.0 
    along with much thanks to the University of Navarra.

    "Human Knowledge, Reliability and Fallibilism"

    by Mariano Artigas 
    Napoli, 1992

    ¶1  One of the main subjects that we must face when we consider the image of man in our scientific age is the value of human knowledge which, in its turn, appears to be strongly dependent on our evaluation of empirical science. In this context, questions about the reliability of science occupy a central place. J├╝rgen Habermas has written that if we were to reconstruct the philosophical discussion of modern times as a judicial process, the only question that should be decided would be this: how can we obtain reliable knowledge? [Habermas 1968, p. 11].

    ¶2  It is well known that fallibilism is one of the main ideas of the Popperian philosophy and that it implies the negation of any kind of reliability.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Examining denialist dodges #4 K gets down to brass tacks

    {edited Wednesday morning}
    Slowly wrapping up my virtual dialogue with K at the OurChangingClimate "Is Climate Science Falsifiable" thread, he has drifted a long way from discussing how falsifiability in science works, instead preferring to dodge my questions with diversions into politics, so I figure it's a good excuse to consider the Libertarian Mind in a bit more depth by going through his comment and offering my responses.   As mentioned previous this exercise offers interesting insights into the workings of the contrarian mind and might come in helpful for some.


    krischel Says: 
    August 18, 2014 at 01:27
    @citizenschallenge: You are a natural climate change denier :)

    What's that mean pray tell? How can anyone deny natural climate change? 

    It appears K hasn't figured out that it's impossible to grasp Manmade Global Warming without first understanding the science of "natural climate change." 

    A reminder, K never did respond to my explanation that his "null hypothesis" doesn't make sense, since there's nothing "unnatural" about increased CO2 levels increasing our planet's insulation, nor that humans increasing GHGs will increase global average temperatures.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    K writes
    CC: “You dismiss the guy’s academic record”
    K: "Because Mann’s academic record doesn’t make up for his lies and fraud."

    ~ ~ ~ 
    I've addressed this echo-chamber fantasy regarding Mann's alleged misdeeds in essay  #3 of this series.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    CC: “Your McIntyre doesn’t understand the science”
    K:  "On the contrary, he’s incredibly well educated, and shows his work. Mann hides it behind lawsuits :)" 

    ~ ~ ~
    How's being incredibly educated in mining, and investment strategies qualify him to judge climate science?

    Also, what the lawsuit want's isn't Mann's work which is readily available for any serious researcher to examine {don't believe it, click here} - the lawsuit basically want's every piece of paper Mann ever wrote on.  It's a political witch hunt nothing more.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Examining denialist dodges, re Dr Mann #3

    In for a nickel, in for a dollar, and I may as well share K's response to my previous post since he's getting a bit heated and demonstrating another typical ploy which affords me another opportunity to examine the anatomy of avoidance.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    K Responds: 
    August 17, 2014 at 19:19
    @citizenschallenge: “Hmmm, my emotional parody blog?”
    ~ ~ ~
    K : Yes, your emotional parody blog. Unable to confront the rational discourse of people who disagree with you, you’ve created a site dedicated to emotionally lashing out at them. Labeling your opponents “denialists”, you dehumanize them at the very start, unable to imagine anything but pure evil intent on their part.

    {de·ni·al, noun:  a) the action of declaring something to be untrue.  b) a statement that something is not true.}

    {No buddy, I'm using the term as a descriptive for your attitude of rejecting authoritative scientific information.  

    As for "inability to conduct a rational discourse", what about your demonstrated reliance and complete faith in WUWT's storylines and Steve the hostile armchair statistician, {who's work and claims have been examined and rejected, with cause, by a number of actual experts in various fields.} ?

    Why isn't any of that good enough for you K?  Instead you reject their informed and considered judgements ... how do you justify that? 

    And why shouldn't I call that Climate Science Denial?  Please explain.}

    Examining denialist dodges, this time re Dr Mann #2

    [new comments added Sunday 8/17 evening]

    Here's an update on yesterday's response from my virtual dialogue pal Krischel over at the OurChangingClimate thread "Is Climate Science Falsifiable" - unfortunately I'm stuck working outside all day, so once again don't have the time to compose the post I'd really like to, so here's a quickie instead.

    It is intended for folks interested in peaking into the workings of your typical climate science denialist's mind.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    k Says: 
    August 16, 2014 at 19:27
    @citizenschallenge: “Why not try learning from a wider source pool than WUWT and the Great White Auditor.”

    K says: Racist and dodging the issue. Good job! :)
    ~ ~ ~ 
    So sorry, an attempt at levity ... read great white hope ... great corporate free marketeers hope ... 
    or perhaps I was thinking of the color of America's right-wing heavy weights.

    Either way racism isn't a part of it, but then my intentions won't stop your gross misrepresentations.  ;-}
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    k Says:
    CC says: “in deep time those climate fluctuations were initiated by the so-called Milankovitch cycles”

    K asks: Tell me, what does a milankovich model predict the global average temperature should be next year? When does a milankovich model predict the next trigger that overwhelms CO2’s greenhouse effect, and drives us into an ice age, while CO2 still increases?
    Be specific :)
    ~ ~ ~ 
    CC responds: Sure I'll be specific about where you can start learning about this:

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Examining denialist dodges, this time re Dr Mann (#1)

    Here's another installment examining the nonsense denialists try to shove down our throats.  Still focusing on the discussion at OurChangingClimate and krischel's gems.   If you are interested in learning about the dishonest tactics of engagement contrarians depend on, please read on.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
    August 16, 2014 at 00:32
    krischel Says (August 15, 2014 at 22:15):
    "Exactly how do you justify hiding a divergence between proxy data and observations? In your own words, please :)"
    ~ ~ ~

    Where did Mann do that? The divergence problem was an area of active study and no one was hiding anything.

    Can you come up with a source independent of McIntyre's creative reconstruction ?
    krischel responds: 
    August 16, 2014 at 01:09
    @citizenschallenge: “Care to define odd and novel?”
    Sure. The idea that a factor that *lags* temperature change must be the *cause* of temperature change, much less a factor that is measured in parts per million, could overwhelm any other factors is odd and novel :)
    ~ ~ ~
    K's dodge in this case is that he ignores the known fact that in deep time those climate fluctuations were initiated by the so-called Milankovitch cycles which are regular changes in our planet's orbit and rotation.  
    These periods of ancient warming were initiated by Earth receiving more of the sun's energy with CO2's impact kicking in later.  The facts surrounding how this process operates has been studied and defined with increasing resolution for the past hundred years.
    Misrepresenting such simple facts is another sign of the dishonest nature of your typical contrarian.

    necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statements

    I finally got around to revisiting the "Climate Science Falsifiability" discussion at
    to see where it leads.  It's pretty wild and there's no keeping up with K so I thought I'd take it from the top to review where this discussion began.

    To start with some quotes from Hans Custers' article:
    A very, ehhrmm… interesting piece on  
    Variable Variability, Victor Venema’s blog: Interesting what the interesting Judith Curry finds interesting. And I don’t mean interesting in a rhetoric, suggestive way; I mean it is a well-written and well-reasoned article, worth reading.  
    Victor writes about the meme regularly used by the anti climate science campaign, often supported by some straw man arguments, that the science of human impacts on climate would not be falsifiable. He shows it’s nonsense, by giving some examples of how it could be falsified. Or, more likely, already would have been falsified, if the science would be wrong. Victor’s post inspired me to think of more options to falsify generally accepted viewpoints in climate science. If there are any ‘climate change skeptics’ who want to contribute to real science, they might see this as a challenge. Maybe they can come up with a research proposal, based on one of the options for falsification. Like proper scientists would do. 
    First, a few more things about falsifiability in general. Bart wrote a concise post about the subject four years ago, explaining that a bird in the sky does not disprove gravity. What looks like a refutation at first, might on second thoughts be based on partial or total misunderstanding of the hypothesis. Natural climate forcings and variations do not exclude human impacts. Therefore, the existence of these natural factors in itself, cannot falsify anthropogenic climate change. A real skeptic is cautious about both scientific evidence and refutations. 

    One more thing. The philosophical principle of falsifiability and the feasibility of tests for it are two different subjects. ... Philosophy of science does not set a time frame for hypotheses testing. The issues involved in the testing of hypotheses are the story of almost every scientist’s life. They’re not sitting back, thinking of new and brilliant ideas, most of the time. Instead, they are busy digging for data, messing with measuring equipment, or evaluating errors in experiments. For climate scientists, one of the major issues is the pace at which they can get new information: one year of data every year. And one year of data is not a lot for climate research. There are no test tube planets for climate experiments. ..."

    That’s it for falsifiability in general. Here are the 10 way to disprove the human impact on climate:

    1. A drop in global temperatures for some period of time to the level of 50 years ago or longer, without a clear cause

    2. A drop in global sea level for some period of time

    3. A strong rise or decline in the atmospheric CO2 level

    4. The discovery that climate forcings in the past were much larger, or temperature changes much smaller, than science thinks

    5. Warming of the stratosphere

    6. Major errors in equipment in satellites, measuring outgoing longwave radiation

    7. Evidence of a substantial fall of relative humidity with rising temperature

    8. A source of heat in the climate system that we do not know yet

    9. A fundamental flaw in the scientific understanding of radiation physics or thermodynamics

    10. CO2 molecules appear to behave differently in the wild, than they do in a laboratory