Climategate : The greatest quote is from Kevin Trenberth

As Paul Matthews at IPCC Report and Anthony Watts at Wattsupwiththat are pointing out, 17th November marked the 5th Anniversary of Climategate1. Paul Matthews has his pick of the most significant quotes. But I believe he misses the most important. Kevin Trenberth to Micheal Mann on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 and copied to most of the leading academics2

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate. (emphasis mine)

The first sentence is the mostly widely quoted. It is an admission that we, the experts, cannot explain what is happening. The end of the quote is even more important. There is a clear divergence between the predictions from the climate models – the theoretical understanding of the world – and the real world data. Trenberth’s reaction is that the data is wrong, not the theory. His later excuse for continuing belief in the climate models was coined a few months later. The truth is lurking in the murky depths. As with the mythical Loch Ness Monster, the believers in climate catastrophism hold that the evidence will be found, but we are not able to access it yet. This has created a new branch of climatology – the excuses for the pause. At the time of writing there are 65 excuses and new cases are appearing at more than two a week.

Kevin Marshall

Notes

  1. The term Climategate was coined by James Delingpole on 20th November 2009.
  2. Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer. This was an email between the high priests of the global warming movement.

Lewandowsky’s setback on campaign to undermine academic pluralism and excellence

The “Recursive Fury” paper, that allegedly libelled a number of bloggers1, has been taken down2. Lead author Stephan Lewandowsky has given his reaction at Shaping tommorow’s world.

Two of the “Recursive Fury” paper authors were Prof Lewandowsky and the blogger John Cook3. In 2011 they co-wrote “The Debunking Handbook“. I ask that readers view my comments in the context of the following opening statement:-

It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge.

My comment is copied below. In brief I try to cover:-

  • Lewandowsky’s smearing of the majority with the views expressed by a minority.
  • Total failure to empathise with alternative points of view.
  • How his appeals for academic freedom are the reverse.
  • How the false allegations and smears are used to a shutdown questions on public policy.
  • How the “Lewandowsky Episode” can become a textbook example of why promotion of pluralism is necessary in our universities.
  • 56.ManicBeancounter at 20:37 PM on 23 March, 2014

    Stephan Lewandowsky,
    As a professor, you should be my intellectual superior. As a scientist you should be able to provide novel explanations about your subject area that go beyond what the non-specialist would find out for themselves, but at the same time accommodate the basic understanding that the non-specialist.
    Your “Hoax” paper ignored the obvious conclusion of the data. The vast majority of respondents did not believe in the cranky conspiracy theories, regardless of their views on “climate science”. Any “conspiracist ideation” revolves around differences in the small proportions that do. That means that the vast majority of “skeptics” who do not understand will feel insulted. Morally you should have clearly stated that any conclusions only apply to a small minority. The first part of the paper’s title inferred the opposite.
    “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax”
    Out of 1145 respondents, just 2 strongly rejected “climate science” and strongly supported that faxed moon landing theory. The question was not asked of those two people if they followed that path of reasoning. Unsurprisingly, when you smear people with ideas that they find insulting they express outrage. There is nothing “confected” about this.
    There are three things that make this beyond the pale of academic freedom
    First, you do not advance knowledge, but to repress the obvious empirical statement (the vast majority do not believe in cranky conspiracy theories) with the opposite.
    Second is that the smears is to deny a group of people who you disagree with a voice.
    Third, is that you use false allegations of intellectual inferiority to evaluate climate “science”, to prevent a voice in matters of public policy. Yet the voices that you seek to repress often have far greater understanding and knowledge of economics and policy implementation than you and your fellow-travelling academics.
    Academic freedom must be protected so that ideas and knowledge that challenge society’s established beliefs can be nurtured. But that must be accompanied by a deliberate policy of pluralism, for there are none so defensive of their protecting their beliefs or ideas as those who spent their lives developing them. Professor Lewandowsky, your work in the last three years should become a textbook example of the attempts and consequences to suppress that freedom.

    69.ManicBeancounter at 06:39 AM on 24 March, 2014

    Geoff,

    Your comment 68 shows a basic function of peer review. Correcting the obvious errors. If there is no such quality control then the demarcation between academic and non-academic literature simply collapses. Further, if the academia cannot easily distinguish the excellent from the dross, then there must be a quality control before their recommendations are passed into public policy. Much the same way are new pharmaceuticals must go through rigorous regulatory testing before being proscribed to the public.

    70.ManicBeancounter at 06:59 AM on 24 March, 2014

    My comments as 57 and 70 should be viewed in the context of the opening comment in the “The Debunking Handbook”, written by John Cook and Stephen Lewandowsky and accessible on the right column.

    “It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge.”

    By any independent measure the “Hoax” and “Recursive Fury” papers are full of misinformation. The authors aim at establishing a monopoly on truth, but by their very words, and subsequent behaviour, show that they are the last people you would entrust with that monopoly. There is no better example for the need of democratic societies to promote pluralism through competition in their universities to prevent the establishment of dogma. This is particularly true in Australia and the UK, where Government’s would like their universities to be World-leading.

Notes

  1. This includes Steve McIntyre, Barry Woods, Geoff Chambers and “Foxgoose”.
  2. See BishopHill (here and here), Geoff Chambers, Steve McIntyre, Australian Climate Madness (here and here), and the Guardian.
  3. This is the same John Cook who thinks he can define the meaning of words better than a dictionary.

Kevin Marshall

Lewandowsky et al 2012 – Data Analysis part 1

Katabasis offered in the comments at Jo Nova’s blog to provide the raw data for the paper

“NASA faked the moon landing  — Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:

An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”

  Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press) Psychological Science

I took Katabasis up on the offer. Here are some preliminary results.

Please see DR_UK’s comment below

The CONSENSCO2 question was

Out of 100 climate scientists how many do you think believe that human CO2 emissions cause climate change?

In other words is it a questions about what you believe about what others believe. The comparison should be with the results of the four questions on the respondent’s own beliefs in Climate Science to be found on Page 27 of the paper. The results I hope to post up later today. The sample skew is the similar. 75% of the respondents have strong beliefs in climate science, 14% have weak beliefs and just 11% – 125 respondents – reject the science. I will post later on the revised tables. 

Q. Was the sample size sufficient?

Lewandowsky et al 2012 say

We report a survey (N > 1100) of climate blog users to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science.

However they do not state the proportion of respondents on which they based the results – that is those who reject the science. The data summarizes the climate results as “Consensus C02” on a scale of 0 to 100. That is 0 is complete rejection through to 100 as complete acceptance. The CONSENSCO2 question was

Out of 100 climate scientists how many do you think believe that human CO2 emissions cause climate change?

I divided the results into 5 bands to see the skew.


Fully 86% of responses largely accept the C02 consensus respondents believe that the vast majority of climate scientists believe that human CO2 emissions  and just 3% (32) strongly reject it. believe that a the vast majority are concealing the truth or lying.

This is not surprising, as the survey was only published on militant alarmist blogs such as SKEPTICALSCIENCE, TAMINO and DELTOID. Jo Nova has so far contacted 24 “skeptic” blogs, not one of whom says they received a request to publish the link to the survey.

Some of the raw results

Some quick pivot tables against the results.

Moon Landings


Comment: “Alarmists” are just as much conspiracy theorists as “Skeptics”

JFK Assassination


Comment: Not much difference here either between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics”

Martin Luther King Assassination


Comment: Not much difference here either between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics”

Diana “Assassination”


Comment: A slight much difference here between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics” – by 5 or 6 skeptic responses.

9/11 Conspiracies


Comment: Not much difference here either between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics”

Pearl Harbour Conspiracies


Comment: Not much difference here either between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics”

SARS Conspiracies


Comment: Not much difference here either between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics”

Preliminary Conclusion

Readers the climate alarmist blogs are full of weird conspiracy theories. Where people that frequent these blogs rate themselves on acceptance of the CO2 Consensus makes little difference to this conclusion. Given that these blogs exist to discourage any views but their own, it is not surprising that their readership:-

  1. Share a similar, unbalanced, way of evaluating evidence to the blogs authors.
  2. Are predominantly in agreement with the views promoted.