March 26, 2024

Arguing with Idiots Consensus Edition

Timothy Birdnow

An argument on Facebook with a polite True Believer in climate change.

Lonnie Knaub, in response to my post about carbon 14, had this to say:

I understand that you are presenting an alternative perspective on climate change and the carbon cycle. However, it's important to note that the overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are significantly contributing to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global warming. While nuclear testing and other natural factors may have played a role, the primary driver is human-induced emissions. Additionally, the science on carbon dating and the Suess Effect is well-established and widely accepted in the scientific community. It's important to consider the cumulative evidence from multiple lines of research and not rely on individual studies or perspectives that may not represent the broader scientific understanding.

I’ve got a pertinent question I’d like to ask you please don’t hesitate to send me a DM ??

I retort:

Lonnie Knaub

Thanks for the comment on my page Lonnie.

I would point out I was addressing just one key aspect of climate change evidence (or lack thereof).

First, "consensus" matters nary a wit in science. There was consensus that the Earth was the center of the solar universe at one time too. There was consensus that the way to treat disease was through blood letting. Shoot; they killed George Washington that way. Zachary Taylor too.

Second, claims of a consensus are dubious and based primarily on the fact that papers don't come out and say they disproved anthropogenic climate change, or are based on a survey that required scientists to send in a card. The questionaire asked "is there climate change?" and "are humans responsible for all or part of it" both of which can be answered in the affirmative.

But that doesn't mean it's the primary cause of climate change. Changes in land use, for instance, change the climate. Cut down a copse of trees and replace it with blacktop and you will warm the immediate region. Do it all over the country and you warm the continent. Cities are naturally hotter than countryside.

You ignore the fact that our data is tainted too. See www.surfacestations.­org. There is a warming bias in most of the surface station data caused by poor citing of stations and an increasing reliance on data smoothing between increasingly broad areas between stations as older stations were decommissioned.

Many surface stations are next to air conditioner compressors, or by wastewater treatment facilities, or power plants. That creates a natural bias.

Data is also frequently tainted on purpose by government agencies who stand to get more funding from alarmism. https://electroverse.info/­climate-change-denyin­g-statements-by-form­er-ipcc-scientists/ NOAA and NASA have repeatedly been caught fudging data, "adjusting" current temperature trends upward and going back into the historical record and adjusting it downward. https://www.forbes.com/sites/­jamestaylor/2012/06/­13/­doctored-data-not-u-s­-temperatures-set-a-­record-this-year/

Also you seem to not be aware of the climategate e-mails where several of the top names in the field openly colluded to manipulate data, public opinion, and to bully journal editors into silence as well as to tamper with peer review. This went to the very top, to men like Phil Jones at the Climate Research Unit of the Hadley Center at the University of East Anglia. The "hockey team" as they are often called (so named because Michael Mann,father of the debunked hockey stick graph, was one of them and is notorious for "Mike's Nature Trick" where he spliced together proxy and actual datasets to "hide the decline" in temperatures so as to make the graph form a hockey stick) had countless leaked e-mails showing they were purposely manipulating data. And most climate scientists were getting their data from CRU. They also bullied the editor of Remote Sensing into blocking a paper by Dr. Roy Spencer, head of the satellite data center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, then forced him to resign over the ensuing controversy. Does that sound like "consensus" to you?

Satellite data shows less warming. And even satellite data has it's problems.

Lonnie I would also ask who exactly is this consensus? Is it the signatories of the Oregon Petition? Over 40,000 scientists have signed that saying climate change is not caused by carbon dioxide. https://www.oism.org/­pproject/

What makes the IPCC or James Cook's analysis of "consensus" any more credible than the Oregon Petition? Naomi Oreskes was the genesis of the "consensus" claim and she was roundly rebutted by Benny Peoser, who repeated her experiment and found her results biased.

What of this? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/­pmc/articles/­PMC1112950/ or https://­judithcurry.com/2023/­03/28/­uns-climate-panic-is-­more-politics-than-s­cience/ or https://electroverse.info/­climate-change-denyin­g-statements-by-form­er-ipcc-scientists/ Wikipedia used to have a list of dozens of top scientists who oppose the standard model, many of them being Nobel laureates. Dr. John Clauser is one example. Here are ten others. https://www.businessinsider.c­om/­the-ten-most-importan­t-climate-change-ske­ptics-2009-7 You cannot discredit men like Freeman Dyson as "bought by Big OIl". But you can discredit many of the climate change hysterics as bought by Big Green and Big Government (which has a vested interest in the whole thing as it means more tax money, more regulatory power, and helps to impose changes in the social and economic and political order. Interestingly Wikipedia took that page down. Electroverse still has it but you can't find it with a Google Search; you have to go into the site. Gee; I wonder why?

You say " While nuclear testing and other natural factors may have played a role, the primary driver is human-induced emissions." And you know this how?

You do realize that only four out of every ten THOUSAND molecules of air are carbon dioxide, right? You do realize Mars, whose atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, is bitterly cold, colder than we would expect, right? Imagine a greenhouse with only chicken wire for a roof; would that be any warmer than the outside air (assuming you don't have another heat source like decaying vegetation inside)?

You do realize we saw no drop in the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after the 25% reduction in emissions during the Covid pandemic? So one must ask how much is in fact human contributions? For that matter, how reliable are the data given we have our primary atmospheric sample station on the lip of an active volcanoe. Also, we have no idea how much carbon dioxide is being emitted by volcanism. We keep discovering more volcanoes all the time. West Antarctica, the only part of Antarctica to be losing rather than actually gaining ice, is sea ice over active volcanoes. Go figure.

"It's important to consider the cumulative evidence from multiple lines of research and not rely on individual studies or perspectives that may not represent the broader scientific understanding."

I agree which is why I present alternate research rather than engaged in the scientific onanism of the day. Climate science has taken a very marginal warming and one we cannot even know is accurate (there is no way to "take the planet's temperature" to within a fraction of a degree as they are doing) and zeroed in entirely on carbon dioxide to the exclusion of any and every other forcing. Why? Money and power are involved, lots of it. Climatology was a sleepy backwater, a subset of meteorology until this climate change hysteria. Now there is huge amounts of money in it, both from governments and from NGO's and from activist groups. The alarmists are far better funded and have media support too. Oh, and support from the big tech companies censor information like what I am giving you here.

Joanna Simpson, the first female climatologist at NASA, waited until she retired to come out as a climate skeptic. She said she feared for her job. How often has that been repeated, at most major institutions? How many scientists quietly doubt the conventional wisdom but don't dare destroy their careers by speaking about their doubts publicly? The story has certainly been repeated often enough. Judith Curry was another such. Roy Spencer. Roger Pielke Sr. The late S. Fred Singer. They are many,mugged by political brownshirts in lab coats.

In the end it is an unwillingness to look at all the science that is at the root of this. Anyone who points to anything other than carbon dioxide or other industrial emissions is shouted down. Why? Because the goal of the environmental lobby who promote this (and of the United Nations and many governments) is to deindustrialize the West so as to allow the Third World to attain parity and also to restore some mythical concept of a pastoral paradise, and to reduce world population. These ideas may not be the sole determinant of climate change alarmism, but they are certainly powerful elements in the movement. So there is a rather desperate effort to avoid any science that disputes the conventional wisdom. That is not science.

Richard Feynman coined the phrase "cargo cult science" to characterize this kind of thing. The South Sea cargo cults were primitives who saw airplanes being unloaded with all sorts of goodies; food, tools, weapons, coca-cola, etc. They thought the white and yellow men had diverted gifts of the gods from their own peoples by superior magic. So they built airstrips in the jungles, including connning towers and even lit them with torches at night, hoping to trick the gods into sending the cargo their way. Feynman pointed out that in modernity much of what appears to be science is in fact politics dressed up in scientific garb. It looks right but it's not about finding the truth but rather about promoting an ideological or economic concept. That is what we see in the climate change debate, where one side is told to shut up because of "consensus" and any research that does not comport to the mainstream is immediately dubbed tainted and dismissed - and kept from the public. The facade of consensus must be maintained so the public supports more money be spent and the imposition of policy - like electric vehicles, which Mr. Biden plans to push by strangling gas powered vehicles in the next few years. The sole reason anybody would accept that is climate change, nothing else.

So this is highly politicized, and any time anyone provides any science that might upset it we are told to shut up. But science is about asking questions and challenging established views. Shutting up means shutting down science.

Lonnie responds:

I understand that you have strong concerns and doubts about the consensus on climate change. While I appreciate your passion for exploring alternative perspectives, it's important to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting human-induced climate change. The IPCC, NASA, NOAA, and most reputable scientific organizations concur that human activities, particularly carbon emissions, play a dominant role in global warming. While natural factors like solar variation and volcanic eruptions contribute, they cannot explain the observed warming trend.

Regarding the Oregon Petition, it has been criticized for its lack of peer-reviewed scientific backing and the qualifications of its signatories. In contrast, the IPCC's conclusions are based on rigorously reviewed research from thousands of scientists worldwide.

It's essential to consider the cumulative evidence from multiple lines of research, including satellite data, which shows a warming trend consistent with ground-based observations. Climate science is not "scientific onanism" but a complex field with diverse research streams.

While some scientists may have differing opinions, the consensus remains strong. Silencing opposing views is not scientific; engaging in open debate and critically evaluating evidence is. Let's focus on respectful dialogue and exploring the scientific evidence together!

And my reply:


Both NASA and NOAA derive their funding from taxpayer money and are in peril of losing it if they start saying this is overblown. And both have been caught fuding data in the past to present the false image of a climate catastrophe' looming. And the IPCC? It was established precisely to find a "planetary emergency" and I said so at the time it was founded. It was guaranteed to do this because that was it's purpose.

It is not an overwhelming consensus, but rather an agreement between agencies that work for governments and are thick with the NGO's that promote this. It's easy to do; you just need to control the top and you do that by pressuring those who hire and promote to put the buddies of those who are pushing this in place. The climategate e-mails showed how easy it is; this was just a handful of top guys who were manipulating the entire research establishment by applying judicious pressure and manipulating data sets.

"While natural factors like solar variation and volcanic eruptions contribute, they cannot explain the observed warming trend."

Perhaps not but how much do they contribute?What fraction of the degree of warming? Estimates vary widely because, well, we don't understand the climate. We cannot even explain how clouds work in that regard (and clouds have a major impact on climate.) It's rather like the argument over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; we used to laugh at the Middle Ages for such arguments yet here we are indulging in like.

The reality is the heat trapping properties of co2 is logarithmic; at most it amounts to 2 degrees then craps out. As such we are nearing that now. But the argument isn't over that at all; it's over the climate sensitivity. That is, over the question of feedback loops. Do they tamp down the warming or raise it. The alarmists claim most or all feedbacks raise it and that this means more water vapor is evaporated (something not in evidence as the Earth's albeido - cloudiness - has not increased, nor humidity levels, nor overall rainfall planetwide). On the contrary, Earth's albedo has actually decreased between 1998 and 2017 https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2021GL094888 which strongly suggests that the planetary warming is being caused by solar warming and not carbon dioxide and water vapor driven energy retention. The fear is that more co2 will lead to more water vapor which will eventually lead to the melting of the permafrost and release of large amounts of methane. But we see no evidence of such a positive feedback.

Atmospheric water vapor is up this year because of the Honga Tonga eruption,but it is not so much the long term trend. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2022JD036728

So a key pillar in the theory is not supported by science.

There are many other problems. The "pause" in warming (two actually) do not comport with the models.https://www.climatedepot.com/2021/01/15/a-new-temperature-pause-zero-global-warming-for-5-years-4-months/ Nor the fact that we had unusually low hurricane activity until this decade. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2011GL047711 And then there is the missing heat, which is supposed to be in the deep oceans but appear to have vanished.https://joannenova.com.au/2014/10/missing-heat-not-in-deep-oceans-but-found-in-missing-data-in-upper-ocean/ Ditto the tropospheric hot spot, which was magically found after some "correcting" or datasets. https://joannenova.com.au/tag/missing-hot-spot/ and https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/16/about-that-missing-hot-spot/

If what scientists believe is happening were happening the hot spot would be obvious. So too the missing heat in the oceans, yet oddly enough the only way we could find it was by using some creating accounting tricks. Strange.

So,while we can't find a smoking gun cause for the blazing 1 degree rise in planetary temperature we think we see we can confidently say it is carbon dioxide causing all of it! Pesky details like model predictions be damned!

"Regarding the Oregon Petition, it has been criticized for its lack of peer-reviewed scientific backing and the qualifications of its signatories."

So? If even nine out of ten signatures are bad that still gives you more qualified signers than the IPCC. And most of those criticisms are by the same folks promoting the alarmist view.

" In contrast, the IPCC's conclusions are based on rigorously reviewed research from thousands of scientists worldwide."

You mean like the large swaths of it written by climate activists and not scientists?

You do realize the IPCC does no research of it's own but rather is merely a policy conclusion group, don't you? They choose research to include in their reports I.E. cherry pick. And, as they are funded by an organization that will benefit from policies driven by the reports, is suspect.

How about the gross errors in AR4? https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=19b2d277964e3389be90442142059c8b313c7bf8

"It's essential to consider the cumulative evidence from multiple lines of research, including satellite data, which shows a warming trend consistent with ground-based observations."

No it does not. The trend in the satellite data is 0.11C per decade between 1979 and 2016, compared to 0.16C per decade in the surface record. That is why most of the IPCC stresses Gistemp data from NASA's GIS. The only way to make the two agree is by some very creative accounting tricks to "correct" the satellite data. Satellite data has always showed a much lower warming anomalie than the surface stations.

Nobody disputes a warming trend; what is disputed is the cause of it. Climate alarmists insist it is industrial emissions and ONLY industrial emissions and ignroe any other forcing as inconsequential, and do so for political reasons.

The current Science Establishment most certainly is engaged in scientific onanism, refering back to itself and clinging to the same thing. It is a huge ediface erected on a sand foundation.

"While some scientists may have differing opinions, the consensus remains strong. "

Prove it. All you have is an assertion and a refusal to accept the evidence I have presented. Oh, and a couple of very flawed studies by an historian (Oreskes)and a communications professor (Cook).

If the consensus is overwhelming why is there such fear of those few in disagreement?

"Silencing opposing views is not scientific; engaging in open debate and critically evaluating evidence is. Let's focus on respectful dialogue and exploring the scientific evidence together!"

And who is it arguing for open debate on this issue? I am. You have been polite, and I appreciate that,but you are essentially arguing I should shut up. In point of fact that is exactly what all those who dispute this so-called "settled science" face; shrieking accusations and attempts to silence them. Google and the other search engines suppress their research. Scientists who donot toe the line get blacklisted and wind up unemployed. Facebook adds disclaimers and put the stories at the bottom of the feed. If this is about science let it be about the science -all of it.

Why doesn't the public hear the other side of the argument?

I'm all about letting the sun shine. Strangely that's not what we see. We have lawsuits filed by guys like Michael Mann against anyone who disagrees with him. We have journal editors bullied and fired for publishing "denier" papers (itself a vile slur as it invokes images of Holocaust deniers). We've had folks call for the imprisonment https://grist.org/article/on-climate-denialists-and-nuremberg/ and even execution of "deniers".https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2012/12/professor_calls_for_death_penalty_for_climate_change_deniers_comments.html

We've had a call for a "delcaration of war" against skeptics. https://grist.org/climate/the-war-on-climate-the-climate-fight-are-we-approaching-the-problem-all-wrong/ and for the imprisonment of such. https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/flashback-robert-f-kennedy-jr-once-called-for-koch-industries-and-exxonmobil-to-be-put-to-corporate-death and https://www.newsweek.com/should-climate-change-deniers-be-prosecuted-378652

You have calls to "throw out the free market playbook" and embrace international socialism. https://grist.org/climate-change/naomi-klein-serious-about-climate-throw-out-the-free-market-playbook/ You have folks calling for the fundamental transformation of society based on climate change, where we will "own nothing and be happy".

I'm sorry but it's a little hard to believe such hatred and vitriol is purely based on science. This has been a political issue from it's inception. It has been since at least1975 abd the Endangered Atmospheres Conference came up with it as plan B to create an international order and promote world government and socialism based on our shared use of the air.(They were first going to promote Global Cooling but when the Earth started warming they switched gears without missing a beat - the same people promoted both.)

Lyle Hancock Sr. adds:

I've spent many years in my career doing non-stationary time series modeling, principal component analysis, regularized expectation-maximization, Monte Carlo methods, probabilities, etc... In the climate arena, I took a strong interest in paleo-climate proxy reconstruction and modeling. I've published a few articles on the subjects, including a deconstruction of the MET's AR1 model, which got my work submitted as evidence in the UK's Parliamentary challenge to MET, headed up by Dr. Douglas J. Keenan and Lord Bernard Donoughue. I am well published in leading peer reviewed journals.

The above is said to underscore that I've been around the block a few times when it comes to being a bean counter.

In a general sense, I have found that the math and modeling presented in high profile climate papers is far less than rigorous and occasionally outright wrong. A case in point was the Marcott et al paper that claimed to have validated Michael Mann's hockey stick.

Marcott used published paleo proxy datasets to establish his claim. Having worked with the same datasets myself previously, my internal alarm went off when I read the paper because I was familiar with the late term (post 1950) trends in the datasets. Three days after the $multi-million paper was published to great fanfare, I published a critique of the paper, finding that Marcott's modeling was off. I understand that Dr. Judith Curry mentioned my critique on her website, which caught Dr. Steven McIntyre's attention. Dr. McIntyre confirmed that my critique was indeed accurate - Marcott's late term analysis was wrong. Being an expert in proxy reconstructions, Dr. McIntyre found that Marcott re-dated the proxies without the permission of the scientists who built the datasets. Said scientists went on the record to state that Marcott was not qualified to re-date the proxies. It was the re-dating of the proxies that resulted in a prominent hockey stick. An uptick that simply was not in the nine proxies that extended beyond 1950 when properly dated.

Dr. McIntyre and I dogged this issue, and after nearly a year, Marcott publicly admitted that the late term analysis in his paper was "not robust" and could not be used to make any claims about the post 1950 trends. His hockey stick was destroyed.

So, what is important about the MET's models and Marcott's boondoggle? MET, to this day still uses the AR1 model to substantiate claims of unprecedented anthropogenic warming, despite admitting their model was incapable of making any such determination. Dr. Keenan presented MET with a model that was indeed up to the task of determining statistical significance in the temperature series. They refuse to use it because it shows that today's trends are not significant. Marcott's paleo-proxy reconstruction is still cited today as an authoritative validation of Mann's hockey stick paper, despite Marcott admitting that his methods were incapable of making making any claims post 1950. The importance here is these scientists knowingly hang on to methods they know are not robust enough to make the claims they are making.

Finally, when I first took an interest in "global warming," and before I became a skeptic, I had a dialog with NASA's scientist, Gavin Schmidt. I had a few questions about his parameterization of one of the models I was trying to understand better. I was savagely attacked for asking. Apparently, I didn't yet learn that to question the models was verboten. I can thank Schmidt for opening my eyes and starting my path to becoming a skeptic of their bold claims.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 12:46 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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