Grasping at Straws

Grasping at Straws“. Charles Rotter (the “Moderator”) posts a newspaper article from USA Today called Scientists misread data on global warming controversy. The “data” in question is not temperature records or CO² levels, its opinion polls that show dropping public concern over climate change.

The article suggests that public confidence in ‘scientists’ is actually quite high, presumably excluding the denialosphere, and that people are simply focussed on the harsh short-term economic situation. The concern of climate scientists is that political resistance and misinformation are obscuring the highly probable negative consequences of AGW and encouraging dangerous inaction.

Charles’ entire insight is “If you try really really hard to ask questions a certain way, then you’ll get the answers you want.” He’s trying to spin this two ways. Firstly, he’s implying that the mainstream is trying to position the bad news of a drop in public concern over AGW as an understandable and temporary matter. Secondly he’s implying that climate scientists are panicking over losing funding. Them Ferrari’s ain’t gonna buy themselves!

However his odd remark seems more like advice to fellow denialists. Their anti-AGW positions are often the result of looking at a particular fact or set of data from every possible angle and finding one perspective that if they squint just right looks like it supports their desired conclusion, regardless of how crazy or dishonest it is. Then they discard all the other rational perspectives.

That’s why, for instance, denialists have lately latched onto the “no warming since 1995” claim. We posted on this back on February 16th. The 1995-2009 temperature rise happens to be short enough and modest enough that it falls just short of 95% statistical probability. This can be used to maneuver honest scientists into “admitting” that considering only that arbitrary period, there has been no statistically conclusive warming. Proof!

Doctor Gore: a good idea? – poll disagrees

Doctor Gore: a good idea? – poll disagrees“. Anthony Watts thinks an online poll attached to a Knoxville News Sentinel editorial entitled “Al Gore a fine choice for honorary degree” is proof of national contempt for Al Gore. Couldn’t be the ever-ready paranoid-obsessive goreophobe subculture leaping into action, could it? Well they’ve certainly been alerted now (there’s an almost one-to-one intersection with Anthony’s readers).

Maybe Anthony should take the editorial’s advice: “Get over it.

Willis makes the NYT, Gavin to stop “persuading the public”

Willis makes the NYT, Gavin to stop “persuading the public”. Reading a New York Times article entitled Scientists Taking Steps to Defend Work on Climate, Anthony Watts concludes that Gavin Schmidt’s, the climatology website that explains climate science, should stop doing it. Climatologists should stick to their thermometers and leave the ‘splainin’ to Anthony, because he’s so good at it. Actually Anthony, I think you’re just wishing you could prevent reality from interfering with your fantasy world.

This quote about denialists from Energy Secretary Steven Chu puts Anthony in context: “What standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want.”

Anthony’s also delighted that one of his blogging buddies, “citizen-scientist” Willis Eschenbach, is quoted in a NYT article: “I’ll let you in on a very dark, ugly secret – I don’t want trust in climate science to be restored”. He apparently wants scientists to “stop trying to pass off garbage as science.” Psychologists call this projection.

Jerry Ravetz part 2 – Answer and explanation to my critics

Jerome Ravetz

Jerry Ravetz part 2 – Answer and explanation to my critics“. Dr. Jerry Ravetz backtracks like mad after opening a hornet’s nest of comment just over a week ago when he naïvely wandering into the Climate Change debate. Ravetz found his admission of early Communist leanings and non-violent beliefs harshly received by denialists.

After showing a rather fuzzy understanding of science (“Indeed, once Einstein had (in the general interpretation) shown that Newton was wrong about space, no scientific statement could be assumed to be free of error“) and referring to his spun-out-of-sugar political theory of science, Post Normal Science, he meanders on at great length. However I grew tired of trying to draw any meaning out of it.

I think what Anthony Watts wants his readers to take away from it is that it’s A-OK for bloggers to cast wild assertions around, because somehow it keeps the scientists on their toes.

Quote of the week #29

Quote of the week #29“. Anthony Watts draws attention to perceived disrespect in a quote from Dr. Gavin Schmidt that points out that Steven McIntyre could have made a real contribution to climate research instead of spending five years whining about being ill-treated. This is a signal to Anthony’s followers to drown out any rational comments with a flood of denialist noise.

The article in question, Climategate’s guerrilla warriors: pesky foes or careful watchdogs, from Steven McIntyre’s hometown paper The Globe & Mail and brought to Anthony Watts’ attention by the thin-skinned one himself is actually a fairly insightful. Here’s a telling quote from it that I like better than Anthony’s (emphasis mine):

The key objection to the work of bloggers such as Mr. McIntyre is that they are engaged in an epic game of nitpicking: zeroing in on minor technical issues while ignoring the massive and converging lines of evidence that are coming in from many disciplines. To read their online work is to enter a dank, claustrophobic universe where obsessive personalities talk endlessly about small building blocks – Yamal Peninsula trees, bristlecones, weather stations – the removal of which will somehow topple the entire edifice of climate science. Lost in the blogging world is any sense of proportion, or the idea that science is built on cumulative work in many fields, the scientists say.


Gore on the Arctic (again)

Gore on the Arctic (again). Boy, there’s no one Anthony Watts obsesses over more that Al Gore. But he’s getting a bit self-conscious about revealing his right-wing biases, so he has buddies do the muttering for him. In this case they’re enraged that Gore is reporting the evidence and predictions of Canukistan scientist. A scientist who uses climate models to make predictions! That’s wrong! Those things can’t be trusted! (Please suggest another way to make a climate prediction then.)

Then Anthony pulls out the measuring tape and crows about his page rank compared to Al Gore’s.

Under the “Weather”

So I’ve been knocked out for a few days by a bad bout of the flu and while I’ve been “under the weather” Anthony Watts has been busy once again talking about weather as if it was climate. (It’s not.) Let’s see what we’ve got.

The Guardian hounds CRU with new reports. Anthony got into a tizzy when he thought that The Guardian might be swallowing the “skeptical” science, but decided it was actually a set-up for some “MSM” “consensus” rebuttals.

LBNL on Himalayas: “greenhouse gases alone are not nearly enough to be responsible for the snow melt”. The Himalayan glaciers are declining because of black carbon aerosols, not CO2 warming! Them scientists are hiding the truth from us. Except they quote a paper by someone named James Hansen talking about exactly this factor…

Lord Monckton wows Melbourne. Do I even have to comment on this one?

Telegraph: India to ‘pull out of IPCC’. Politics, apparently, disproves science.

WSJ op ed – IPCC “Omitted: The bright side of Global Warming”. Ah yes, the bright side. Plants grow faster with more CO2, just ask any greenhouse operator, so keep it coming! Some drought-stricken areas might get more rain (and some will get less…)! Why do denialists happily trumpet any vague suggestion of climate change benefits, but demand absolute certainty about the risks?

UAH global temperature posts warmest January. Dr. Roy Spencer grudgingly blogs that January 2010 has been the warmest on record, but defends his use of deceptive running averages.

Major snowstorm headed for eastern US. Snow in winter! This disproves Climate Change.

Israeli study shows variable sea level in past 2500 years. Sea level goes up and down all the time. Who knows why?

More on Ocean Heat Content and recent revisions to the data: Another “look! they changed the data!” reminder post. Actually, they corrected it modestly. But nothing like suggesting that the data is bad even when it isn’t.

Spencer: Record January warmth is mostly sea. Dr. Spencer blogs that the record warmth is mostly as sea and uses a head-scratching scatter-plot of the anomalies between two different satellite instruments to suggest that everything is OK for denialists. Dr. Spencer’s problems with meaningful data presentation is well-known.

Flashback to 2007 – SST to plunge again? A post by Steven Goddard (geologist?) hoping that Dr. Roy Spencer’s admission that January 2010 as warmest ever is just a blip, because gosh it’s winter now, and it sure isn’t as warm as it was last summer. And El Niño. Entertainingly, Steven calls Dr. Spencer “one of the most trustworthy players in climate science”. Here’s an example of  Dr. Spencer’s woeful track record.

NOAA: All time record snowfall for DC and Baltimore? Another post about the approaching big storm in the northeastern USA bringing heavy snowfalls. Surely Anthony, as an ex-weatherman, knows that cold air doesn’t hold as much moisture as warm air and hence produces less snow? Of course he does, but mentioning it doesn’t serve his purpose.

Inconvenient truth in Britain – scepticism on the rise: A British poll showing that belief in Man-made climate change is declining. This indicates, sadly, increased confusion among the public and not a disproof of the scientific facts. A rise in real skeptical thinking would be great news.

Blizzard Warning for DC, NYT: “Capital Is Crippled as Blizzard Continues”. One more kick at implying that snowstorms prove that Climate Change is a lie.

Well, that’s it. Looks like Dr. Spencer came in for a bit of a whipping in this session.