Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#13 Critical Thinking and "keep the debate alive" - CC/Steele Landscapesandcycles Debate

A virtual debate with Jim Steele, based on his interview at Heartland Institute: 

Heartland Daily Podcast | Jim Steele | January 27, 2015 
Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett (for the National Center for Policy Analysis) interviews Jim Steele, ecologist, director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada field campus of San Francisco State University

Steele writes:  "And we trust the scientific theory because its been fairly tested by others - the theory must out perform all alternate explanations, eliminate confounding factors plus lively debate.  But, what I was finding was the scientific process was being defiled when scientists refused to debate in public. ... and any attempt to prevent that debate, in our schools, in the media, in peer reviewed science, it's only denigrating the scientific process.  ... 
And I think those public debates would help create real climate literacy …"

Well then Mr. Steele, let's have our Great Global Warming Science Debate.  
I will accept these responses from your Heartland Institute podcast as your opening round.  I'll offer my rebuttals, evidence and questions.  I agree to post your thoughtful responses unaltered. (Though it's looking like you're going to do your best to hide and ignore these critiques of your self-certain claims. Your silence will serve to expose your hypocrisy and inability to defend your statements on an even playing field.)

In this thirteenth installment I want to look at Jim advocating that we empower our youth to judge the veracity of experts and other such notions in "critical" thinking.

"How should society contend with those who knowingly 
disseminate misinformation about climate science."  

Steele says:  We're only hurting our science education in that way...(see #12)... We can't just spoon feed students science and have them memorize and spit it back like propaganda.  You gotta encourage students to be critical thinkers.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Be serious, students are in school to learn the fundamentals of the world around them.  High school and early college is about teaching skills, such as mathematical, scientific fundamentals, critical thinking, learning and communication skills - you know the tools required for the advanced learning that's required before one can judge experts and seasoned professionals.

Just like with your running skills, first you needed to learn to sit up and crawl, only then could you put weight on those legs and begin first tentative stubbles until you learned the tricks of the trade.  Then, only after many years of learning and development were you finally able to beat your dad in a race.  And only then were you finally poised to take that skill on to further levels of achievement.  Brain development is not so different.

What makes you think students can or should sit in judgmental "debate" on their professors?  Were you a Maoist back in da day and missed the bulletin about what a disaster the Great Leap Forward was?

As for critical thinking, keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out, 
or to frame it more constructively I'll rely on an expert Robert Ennis PhD :

The Nature of Critical Thinking: 
Outlines of General Critical Thinking Dispositions and Abilities 

"Critical thinking is "reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do." This definition (or concept) of critical thinking I believe captures the core of the way the term is ordinarily used by supporters of critical thinking. In deciding what to believe or do, one is helped by the employment of a set of critical thinking dispositions and abilities (which is a conception of critical thinking) that I outline in detail below. ..."

"... For the sake of brevity, clarification in the form of examples, qualifications, and more detail, including more criteria, are omitted, but can be found in sources listed below, including "Critical Thinking: A Streamlined Conception" (1991b), "A Taxonomy of Critical Thinking Dispositions and Abilities" (1987a), and "A Conception of Rational Thinking" (1980), but more fully in Critical Thinking (1996a).  See Note 1. ... "


Ideal critical thinkers are disposed to 

1. Seek and offer clear statements of the thesis or question
2. Seek and offer clear reasons
3. Try to be well informed
4. Use credible sources and observations, and usually mention them
5. Take into account the total situation
6. Keep in mind the basic concern in the context
7. Be alert for alternatives
8. Be open-minded
    a. Seriously consider otherpoints of view 
    b. Withhold judgment when the evidence and reasons
       are insufficient
9. Take a position and change a position when the evidence
       and reasons are sufficient
10. Seek as much precision as the nature of the subject admits
11. Seek the truth when it makes sense to do so, and more broadly, try to "get it right" to the extent possible or feasible
12. Employ their critical thinking abilities and dispositions

A summary outline is presented first, followed by a detailed outline that includes criteria and details, is difficult reading when read straight through, and should be consulted when in search of details and criteria. At appropriate points in the detailed outline one will find some references to prior work that provides enlightening discussion, and a number of principles and criteria, especially for the more advanced topics (e.g., argument and inference to best explanation, ascribing assumptions, definition).

Summary outline of general critical thinking abilities (or skills):

Ideal critical thinkers have the ability to: 
                (Basic Clarification)
1. Focus on a question
2. Analyze arguments
3. Ask and answer clarification questions
4. Understand and use "graphs & maths"
                (Bases for a Decision)
5. Judge the credibility of a source
6. Observe, and judge observation reports
7. Use existing knowledge
     a. background knowledge, including (with discretion) internet material
     b. their knowledge of the situation
     c. their previously-established conclusions
8. Deduce, and judge deductions
9. Make, and judge inductive inferences and arguments 
    a. Enumerative induction
    b. Argument and inference to best explanation
10. Make, and judge value judgments
                 (Advanced Clarification)
11. Define terms, and judge definitions
12. Handle equivocation appropriately
13. Attribute and judge unstated assumptions 
14. Think suppositionally
15. Deal with fallacy labels
                 (Non-Constitutive, But Helpful)
16. Be aware of, and check the quality of, their own thinking                         ("metacognition")
17. Deal with things in an orderly manner
18. Deal with rhetorical strategies

Steele:  We gotta let them decide whether or not, ah, if global warming is something they agree with because they look at it more in depth. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We gotta let high school students decide?  Why?

What do you propose, some extra study hall hours - you reflect zero appreciation for the complexity of climatology or the amount of study serious students of climate need to invest.

Let's be serious here, would you have a med student perform brain surgery on you?  Or would you opt for the fully educated neurosurgeon, preferably one who already has a few surgeries under her/his belt?  I dare say you would also want that surgeon to follow standard protocols as established by that community's expert consensus. 

Come on, be honest, which would you choose?  And why?

Steele:  This whole current atmosphere right now is sort of preventing debate, trying to make the people not ask the tough questions, call you a denier if you do ask those questions.   
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nonsense.  We call people like you deniers, because you lie about the facts of the matter and you refuse to consider any information that is outside your dogmatic political expectations.  As I have demonstrated on many occasions.

Incidentally, what "tough questions" would you ask?  Let me have a shot at it.  

Mr. Steele, I challenge you to demonstrate your Critical Thinking skills.  

Listen to what this climate expert has to explain.  Then share your specific objections regarding what he says in this talk.  I've roughly outlined the talk and key concepts.

Climate Change: Is the Science "Settled"?

Stephen Schneider PhD at Stanford

8:30     Test Tube Science  vs.  System Science
10:10  … so you get "selective inattention to inconvenient components"
10:30  Court Room Epistemology
11:20  considering that process when transplanted into media and political advocacy venues
Advocacy Dichotomy
The reality of complicated systems science, with multiple potential outcomes…

12:25  An absolutely irresponsible distortion of reality…
13:00 Not to report relative probably of risks is simply to miscommunicate the nature of science.
Evaluating risk …
14:40  Various components of a problem that we understand with differing degrees of confidence.
Climate system science like others is really a preponderance of evidence spaced out,
it is not falsifiable.  Not in the short run.
15:00  Surface measurement vs. satellite measurements of Earth's temperature
16:00  … the heroic model needed to interpret satellite raw data…
("There is no "satellite thermometer" it's the satellite model.")
For more on Spencer and Christy's Trick, visit: 
Examining Dr. John Christy's Global Warming Skepticis
And also 
     Response to John Christy's blog post regarding 'Klotzbach Revisited' 
By Jos Hagelaars
I have some remarks regarding Dr. Christy’s post, which are addressed in this ‘response-post’ and are built upon some quotes taken from Dr. Christy’s response.
For reference, the original Klotzbach et al 2009 paper (K-2009 in the text) can be found here and the correction paper (K-2010) can be found here.  
Dr. John Christy wrote an extensive blog post as a response to my Dutch ‘Klotzbach Revisited’ post (English version here), it is published on “Staat van het Klimaat” and WUWT. I would like to thank Dr. Christy for his interest in my writings.
18:15  {What angers climate scientists?  Take a look!}
18:50  What the other guy's {faith-based Christy and Spencer} forgot was that the vacuum in space is not a vacuum…  the satellite's slowly dropping altitude was not being figured in.

20:40  "… so you could say, in some sense, that even in System science we falsify.  But we do not falsify by single experiments we falsify on the basis of accumulated numbers of papers and number of bits of information and determining the relative credibility of it is not simple it takes assessment groups like the US National Academy of Sciences does with multiple disciples  "

The disconnect between public knowledge and what the scientists know.

 {You call this balance ?}   
"The False Debate"
22:45  "Bottom-line - the public perception is not always based on scientific knowledge, it's often based on perception on who it was who gave you the information and who you trust, and all of that we can't forget, because…"
23:30  Why the IPCC says what it does . . .
24:00  Dr. Schneider explaining the consensus understanding . . .

26:45  Considering the thermo capacity of the oceans and what it means . . .

Surface temperature trends
32:00  Paleo-climate and the hockey stick
considering the fan of uncertainty
34:40  Climate proxies and the science,
Reasonable people can make different assumptions about how to reconstruct that data…
36:00  "Trick"… clever simplification… 

explaining why biased, politically motivated critics. such as yourself, aren't received with open arms…
Twelve independent groups, studying different proxy data sets reveal similar hockey stick shaped upticks during recent times.

40:00  the confidence in human cause of current warming was never based on these proxy studies anyways!
AGW and the Hockey Stick

40:30  At Copenhagen - El Saban - relevance of climate gate
42:15  How much warming is attributable to humans - finger printing
43:00  Models are intimate essential part of science and learning
Models and describing various climate finger prints

51:45  Every scientist is a skeptic!    
52:00  70s global cooling - and scientific self correction in light of better data
skeptics in action
53:00  "A denier is someone who does not accept the preponderance of evidence."
political debate vs. scientific understanding
54:40  "Science is not about equality.  Science says that quality trumps equality!"  
56:40  Systems science is not falsifiable in the short term…
58:40  "Mediarology"

1:01:30  Building process model and applied decision analysis

"In climate policy you are dealing with a future for which there is no data so you are constructing a model of virtual reality, you pollute the model and ask how much has it changed… 
and I did the same thing with the docs.  I said alright there are a hundred patients like me…
well you know we don't know the answers.  I know but I trust my life to your intuition about cancer.  This is what is called a "decision theory" - decision analytic elicitation, means and expert judgement.  I was completely willing to listen to their expert judgement, I not in the slightest willing to listen to decision making knowledge because they don't have any."

1:05:00  Applying principles of decision making before you have all the data…

1:06:00  Competing explanations
Greenland - tipping points

accumulated consistency across multiple elements

1:17:00  Who's qualified to assign risk assessments?

What the public is qualified, and obligated by way of being a citizen, is to decide whether they want to hedge against that possibility or not.

1:21:00  Maps of Greenland melt 1992, 2002, 2005

Speaking of Greenland, here's something a bit more up to date

Greenland Ice Sheet: "Starting to Slip"

Published on Jul 29, 2013
Research scientists provide insights on recent 'unprecedented' melting of Greenland's interior ice sheet.

1:28:00  Sea level, heat extremes, shifting probable curves, wildfires, etc.       

1 comment:

citizenschallenge said...

"keep the debate alive" is code for:

Doing nothing.
Ignoring the situation.
Hiding from the future.
Abandoning our children's future.