Thursday, February 25, 2016

A look at Scientific Consensus, by Dr. Keith Strong

I like to think I get around YouTube pretty good, until I get reminded of just how narrow my bandwidth is.  Last week while researching some project I stumbled onto the YouTube channel drkstrong and a totally new collection of refreshing climate science enlightening videos and he's been producing a lot of them.  An accomplished scientist himself, he brings that expert's ability for level headed clear explication to these videos.  My kind of roll model for what serious teaching and learning is all about.

He's actually been around for a few years, near as I can tell he joined YouTube 2010, though his first videos were in 2012.  But, it seems like in the past year or so he's refined his technics and caught fire.  With nearly three million views to his credit, I hate admitting I'm late to the party.  I hope to make up for it by featuring some of his videos since they fit right in with what I'm trying to convey with my parade of blog posts.  I follow the video with my usual notes and I finish up with the text of the April 20, 1998 National Academy of Sciences statement regarding Fredrick Seitz's Oregon Petition cover "paper" fraud.   

The scientific method and scientific consensus what's it mean?
Dr. Keith Strong  |  10:24 min  |   Published on Feb 23, 2016

What is the scientific consensus?  

0:25  -  The Scientific Method
A review of the Scientific Method

0:34  -  start with a question 
all the related issues
published info
general scientific principles
fundamental equations 

come up with an idea - a hypothesis 
develop an experiment to test
this experiment can be more observations 
it can be something done in the lab 
or a model using established scientific principles 

results are analyzed 
conclusions are drawn from that analysis.

gather together 
     the question
     previous research
     your hypothesis
     details of your experiment
     details of the analysis
Conclusions that are written up in a paper and presented to your peers.

That will often lead to a theory.
Theory is a hypothesis backed with observations
other scientists read your work 
alternative theories 

Now what?
We go back through this loop 
those theories raised further questions
further research and new ideas 
of what you try to do is devise experiments that differentiate between these various theories, you go around this loop enough times to eliminate all but one of the theories.

2:10   -  Let's take a look at this in the context of global warming
Question could be: What is causing Earth to warm?
     Research the earth's atmosphere, 
     Solar output,
     Changes in Earth's orbit,
     Changes in albedo
     Any other factors you think are appropriate

2:30  -  Say the concept to come up with is it that there's basically man-made 
then you devise a number of experiments to test that for example you might take a lot of different observations at different wavelengths over a long period to see how, why the earth is warming.  Then do a statistical analysis of the data.
Which will enable you to eliminate some early possibilities.
Publish those result in papers in refereed journals

3:05  -  Say you've eliminate everything but three theories the Sun; greenhouse gases; and cosmic rays.
So, now you go back through this loop several times looking each one of those
Individually devising experiments to differentiate between them while taking observations to differentiate between them or building models to differentiate between them and when you've got around enough times as we have done in climatology, you could eliminate some of those possibilities.

In fact you can eliminate all but greenhouse gases.  
But then you'll also find that they're not quite right just by themselves and the consensus opinion comes in that its greenhouse gases and aerosols combined to create the global warming that has been observed.  You have now reached consensus.

3:50  -  No Scientific Theory can be proven!
* Consensus is not reached by vote.
* Consensus is achieved when:
       There is no more viable alternative theories left standing.
       No fundamental observations that contradict the theory are found.
* It's always possible that a better theory comes along or new data is found that explains the theory better.

Newton's Gravity vs Einstein's Relativity

5:00   -  Difference between "Correct" and "Incomplete"
(also see)  "Isaac Asimov considers The Relativity of Wrong"

5:15  -  What Consensus is not
*It does not require unanimous approval
* It does not require acceptance of those who are not qualified to judge
     * The Data,
     * Analysis or,
     * The scientific principles involved.
*It does not require the approval of the media

5:30  -  And when you find discrepancy between the scientific experts and the media it generally means the media are misinformed.

The consensus is reached when the scientific evidence is overwhelming.

Here are 15 reasons why one should believe the Earth is warming:
                                                  Notice only 5 require use of thermometers.

You can nitpick the details of everyone, to claim it disproves global warming, however when you take them in their entirety the evidence is overwhelming.  
{We build our knowledge on all we do know, not on what-if's about things we don't know.  cc}

6:00  -  We often hear that 97% of climate scientist agree with the anthropogenic global warming theory, where does that number come from.  It come for three separate studies.
     *  2004 (Oreskes) looking at results of 924 climate papers.  All agreed with the AGW theory and none of them provided any observations that disagreed.
     * 2009 (Doran) found 97% of climate scientists agree that the Earth is warming and largely caused by humans.
     *2013 (Cook) looked at 10,000 papers and found 97% agreed with, 2% weren't sure of, 1% was against AGW theory.

This 97% figure isn't a vote.  It a measure of how comprehensive and overwhelming the evidence for AGW is.

7:00   -  It is about at this stage that the detractors of the anthropogenic global warming theory bring up the Oregon petition or as it's now known "The Petition Project" 

* 31,487 {alleged} scientists signed (0.03% of eligible scientists)
*  9,029 {alleged} PhDs (0.05% of eligible PhDs)
* 39 {alleged} Climate scientists (0.02% of eligible PhDs) 
But, look closer
** The petition does not say the planet is warming, merely that it is not catastrophically warming.     (uses "catastrophic" but never defines it)
     {Wake Up! We are already experiencing "catastrophic" with increasing tempo!}
** Signee's are on honor basis
** No checks to verify signees: ID, Field or study or speciality

8:10  -  Turns out there were a lot of obviously bogus names, that were still accepted.
cartoon characters, film stars, dead people, fraudulently entering other's names,  
Dr. Strong knew a colleague who found his name falsely on the list and could not get the Oregon Institute to remove his name.

8:40  -  The petition has been debunked repeatedly and in detail.  Here is a short summation

{The fake attached National Academy of Sciences paper, written by one of the god-fathers of "science by slander" Fredrick Seitz.}  

Over 31,000 scientists signed the OISM Petition Project

The 30,000 Global Warming Petition is Easily-Debunked Propaganda

8:45  -   Review of problems with the Oregon Petition.  
Petition came accompanied by a paper that reportedly came from the National Academy of Sciences publication, it didn't, it was a fake {by Fredrick Seitz.} 
National Academy went so far as to publicly denounce that particular publication, not only for not being one of their publications, but has never been published anywhere else.

Scientific American review of petition signatories - only 30% still agreed with the petition.
New Scientist concluded "patent crap"
For closer look, see: "31,000 scientists can't all be wrong, can they?"
9:45 |  The main point here is they wouldn't have to go to such extreme lengths of deception to support their case if they had actually a good scientific case apparently they don't.

The next time you hear somebody decrying the 97% number remind them that it is not a vote, it is consensus built on the fact that the data is overwhelming and please post a link to this video remember almost all scientists agree that it is time to act on global warming. 

{Quoting from the video "There is no consensus" by YouTube's drkstrong.




April 20, 1998
{I added highlights} 
The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. 
The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal. 
The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.
In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a major consensus study on this issue, entitled Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1991,1992). 
This analysis concluded that " ...even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. ... Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises." In addition, the Committee on Global Change Research of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE, will issue a major report later this spring on the research issues that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainties associated with global change phenomena, including climate change.
Bruce Alberts (president)
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

Jack Halpern (vice president)
Louis Block Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago

Peter H. Raven (home secretary)
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis

F. Sherwood Rowland (foreign secretary)
Donald Bren Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science
Department of Chemistry
University of California

Ronald L. Graham (treasurer)
Chief Scientist
AT&T Laboratories
Florham Park, N.J.

Mary Ellen Avery
Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School

Ralph J. Cicerone
Dean, School of Physical Sciences, and 
Daniel G. Aldrich Professor of Earth System Science
Department of Earth System Science
University of California

Edward E. David Jr.(1)
EED Inc.
Bedminster, N.J.

Marye Anne Fox
North Carolina State University, and
Vice President for Research and M. June 
and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
University of Texas

Ralph E. Gomory(2)
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York City

David M. Kipnis
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

Daniel E. Koshland Jr.
Professor in the Graduate School
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California

Mary-Lou Pardue
Boris Magasanik Professor
Department of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Luis Sequeira
J.C. Walker Professor Emeritus
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Wisconsin

I.M. Singer
Institute Professor
Department of Mathematics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Robert H. Wurtz
Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md.

Richard N. Zare
Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.
(1) abstained
(2) unable to participate


Rosemary Fielder said...

This is a shout out to my friend and past boss, Dr. Keith Strong. This was a beautiful description of "scientific theory" and its results. It would be nice to be back in touch with Keith and family after all these years. Rosemary Fielder, Oroville, California

Earl A Decker said...

The 3 studies cited in the article that said 97% of the scientists agreed that AGW is happening is a false scientific study. FYI-No independent studies agree with each other exactly & none of them interviewed ALL the millions of scientists in the world.

citizenschallenge said...

That childish argument really sucks. Worse, it’s a disingenuous distraction.

Earl, why are you a preacher for ‘willful ignorance’ and parroting other’s misleading PR talking points?

What matters is learning about the facts of climate science for ourselves. Instead, you’re telling people to run away from self education. I say that because it’s exactly what your silly argument is all about.

Humanity was supposed to be engaged in a serious collective constructive learning process and dialogue. Learning about our planet’s geophysical realities and atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere and biosphere, the things that supply our life support systems is a first base requirement. Only then can we soberly deal with the growing disruptions and challenges of our shrinking warming world.

But Earl rather play distraction, ridicule, dishonest trivial pursuits. The slightest good faith homework makes it clear that the 97%, he complains about, actually does have a solid statistical foundation, and the studies do stand up to closer scrutiny.

More important it’s beside the point. Learning what the scientists have learned is what matters!

But it requires curiosity, imagination and a willing to actually learn about it.

Earl A Decker, have you ever actually tried to understand who our global heat and moisture distribution engine operates? Or the evolution that created it?

Ever try to understand what CO2 is all about?

Or about how US Air Force scientists learned about Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases? Only to be followed by many other nations* working independently, because it was a military secret since that knowledge was required to make air to air heat seeking missiles successful - *who came up with the same information because it's simple physics? Have you learned anything about heat circulation through our oceans and atmosphere with its jet stream pushing and pulling weather system across the planet’s surface? It’s all amazing fascinating and relevant.

That's what matters! Nothing else makes sense, until one learns that fundamental, nothing else can make sense.

I ask again, have you every actually tried to learn about climate science and global observations?

Me, I'm a guy who graduated high school in 1973, atmospheric science and climate science and evolution made sense to. Global warming is real and it begins with the outer reaches of our atmosphere. And it's we humans who are forcing those changes by our millions of billions of gigatons worth of these atmosphere insulating elements that we are injecting into our atmosphere.

It’s been over a half century now I have been observant and proactively learning about ever evolving earth and climate sciences, along with the increasingly detailed and accurate global observations being gathered on every corner of our planet.

You Earl A Decker seem to rather embrace politics rather than science, so I hope you don't mind me asking you:

Seems to me, that sort of avoidance, denial, crazy-making (as I see it) is nothing but self destructive because it undermines every avenue towards solutions. Since it makes it impossible to understand and make sense of anything. How can you possible fix or solve anything that way?

Earl, why do you embrace that? Help me understand.

What is going on?

I ask because it seems to me, your brand of willful ignorance will only bring about a civil and environmental meltdown, and hell for the legacy we hand down to our children. Have any children Earl? What about their future?