Friday, April 14, 2017

Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics: Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Who’s The Denier Now?
asks National Review's Oren Cass.
The epithet “climate denier,” intended to invoke Holocaust denial, has always been tasteless and inapt. Climate change is not like the Holocaust, nor is questioning the
accuracy and predictive power of a scientific model like questioning the historical fact of a genocide that murdered 6 million Jews. But climate activists delighted in defining their opposition this way, with help from prominent figures such as Barack Obama, who in 2014 used Twitter to condemn “climate change deniers” and promote a website, run by Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America), that featured large black-and-white pictures of then–House speaker John Boehner and Senator Marco Rubio atop a green “Climate Change Deniers” banner. “On climate,” asked the site’s headline, “whose side are you on?”

For a while, this seemed to work. Framing the climate debate as one between noble keepers of the scientific flame and people akin to Nazis gave the former group license to say almost anything. To the casual observer, even the most egregious exaggeration about climate science could seem reasonable compared with its outright rejection. Thus, Obama’s assertion in his 2015 State of the Union address that “no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” became widely accepted. When Senator Bernie Sanders warned during a presidential debate that “the scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change . . . the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable,” he was not laughed off the stage. …
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People
Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change

While Jonah Goldberg points out that liberals
claim that their opinions are facts and anyone who disagrees isn’t merely voicing a bad opinion but it somehow living in alternative reality or “denying” science,
a post entitled The Holocaust, Climate Science, and Proof, over at The Science of Doom (Evaluating and Explaining Climate Science), concludes with these words:
I can’t find words to describe how I feel about the apologists for the Nazi regime, and those who deny that the holocaust took place. The evidence for the genocide is overwhelming and everyone can understand it.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.

By comparison, understanding climate means understanding maths, physics and statistics. This is hard, very hard. It’s time consuming, requires some training (although people can be self-taught), actually requires academic access to be able to follow the thread of an argument through papers over a few decades – and lots and lots of dedication.

The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.

The best you could say is with such a complex subject straddling so many different disciplines, they might be entitled to have a point.

If you have no soul and no empathy for the suffering of millions under the Third Reich, keep calling people who don’t accept consensus climate science ‘deniers’.

Otherwise, just stop.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change

As Spring came to Europe not so many weeks ago, the sunny weather in Paris turned chilly again while Denmark got another snowfall.

Meanwhile, in North America, it was even worse (even better?). A huge snow storm hammered the East Coast (no, not only that part of the continent) and led to the cancellation of more than 4,000 flights while a Newfoundland town (cheers to Lorraine) was buried under an unprecedented 8 feet (240 cm, video and photos at link) of snow — all of which may have helped to prod Michael Mann to adjust his climate turning point to 2020.

A common (a deliberate?) misconception on the left is that rightists are dogmatic extremists who fly in the face of reality by cherry-picking their date to advance false and, indeed, deceitful and harmful narratives.

(Related: Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”)

But ain't it true that conservatives are anything but activists, let alone extremists? They are simply regular folks who don't want to pressure any of their neighbors into doing anything but simply want to be left alone and who, on the contrary, keep their eyes, their ears, and indeed their brains, open?

Some cases in point:

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2000, the New York Times and the Independent wondered whether snowfalls were now nothing but a thing of the past (see also the Washington Post), while Le Monde predicted in 2016 that soon cinema will be the only thing left to perpetuate the memory of snow.

I'm so old, I can remember when, year after year after year, Britain's winters have proved to be among the coldest in a century.

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2008 Al Gore predicted that the Earth's ice caps would have melted by 2013 (don't the poles, four years later, still seem to be around (while the polar bear population seems to be thriving)?).

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2009, NASA's climate change guru, Jim Hansen, said that Obama had only four years to save the earth

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2007, United Nations scientists and other climatistas warned that "There could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more"

I'm so old, I can remember (actually, I can't, but let's not ruin a perfectly good meme) that in 1989 the United Nations issued the first of these 10-year-or-so global warming tipping points.

• Finally, I'm so old, I can remember that climate change used to be called global warming and that, during the movement's first days, what the drama queens were worrying about was global cooling, with the very first Earth Day in 1970, devoted to… the coming… ice age!

Related: 13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970 and
18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day
in 1970, expect more this year
(via Sarah Hoyt and Ed Driscoll, who asks:
How can you continually believe the world is coming to end for a half century?)

As for the rising sea levels that we keep being warned about, I addressed that in a post last year:
think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but [in the past 5 weeks, in the past 5 months,] in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?
Stories of California's unending drought, along with the above examples, may help explain distrust of the government and the establishment of such theories as Betteridge's Law of Headlines along with the reason why conservatives — again: no activists, they — are wont to pen columns with titles such as 5 Reasons It's Dumb To Panic Over Global Warming.

Let Larry Kummer have the last word:
Remember all those predictions of a “permanent drought” in California? Those were examples of why three decades of climate alarmism has not convinced the American people to take severe measures to fight anthropogenic climate change: alarmists exaggerate the science, and are proven wrong — repeatedly. 
Update: Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics:
Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus
climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may soon be required by federal law to base its policies on actual science
writes Benny Huang on the Constitution website
—and of course environmentalists are livid about it. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) reintroduced a bill known as the Secret Science Reform Act that would prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.” The bill was originally introduced in 2014 though it did not clear all congressional hurdles. Barack Obama—our most super-sciencey president ever—vowed to veto it if ever reached his desk.

I’ve honestly tried to understand what kind of objection any sane human being could possibly have to this bill and I think I’ve discovered what it is. Are you ready? If the EPA has to be transparent it can’t operate. That’s it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the opening sentence from an oppositional op-ed by Dianna Wray of Houston Press: “A lot Republicans hate the Environmental Protection Agency, but have left it to San Antonio Republican Representative Lamar Smith to come up with a bill that, if passed, could actually stop the agency from doing just about anything.”

Oh, I see—if it weren’t for secret science, the EPA wouldn’t have any science at all. According to Wray, if they can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled.” There’s just one problem with this idea—secret science is a contradiction in terms. Science isn’t science if its results can’t be held up for inspection, judged worthy or unworthy, and accepted, refined, or rejected. If a theory is too delicate to withstand the heat and pressure of scrutiny, it doesn’t deserve anyone’s acceptance.

Legally speaking, the word “science” was defined in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), a famous court case that exiled creation science from public schools. Judge William Overton found that creation science was not science at all because it failed a five-prong test. According to his decision genuine science must:
1)    be guided by natural law;
2)    be explanatory by reference to natural law;
3)    be testable against the empirical world;
4)    have conclusions that are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
5)    be falsifiable.

Anything that fails even one of these prongs cannot rightly be called science. That’s a high standard. Some might call it too high, though that would depend on whose theory is being put to the test. Nonetheless, the McLean test has value. Ideas that don’t live up it cannot legitimately be called scientific. Whether they’re true or not is another question entirely.

The McLean test is so valuable in fact that I see no reason why it shouldn’t be applied at all levels of government and to all ideas deemed scientific. After all, if a particular idea is considered junk science in the classroom, what good is it for policy-making?

Requiring the EPA and the rest of the federal government to adhere to the McLean test would yield some interesting results. For example, would the theory of global warming be able to pass the McLean test? Not by a long shot.

Global warming fails at least the third, fourth, and fifth prongs. It fails the third because its data sets are closely guarded secrets and it appears to have absolutely no predicative capability. It fails the fourth because “the science is settled”—that is, it is beyond discussion. It fails the fifth because it cannot be proven wrong—everything proves global warming, including cold snaps and blizzards.

And when you get down to it, global warming is what this whole EPA controversy is really about. Though the EPA deals in other realms as well—water pollutants, etc—global warming is really the environmental movement’s touchstone. Within that movement there seems to be a certain uneasiness that their theory might crumble like a house of cards if it weren’t constantly shielded from scrutiny. Though fanatically dedicated to the idea that man-made carbon emissions are causing the earth to warm, these true believers evince a telltale insecurity that it might not be true after all.

One such true believer is Dr. Phil Jones, formerly of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England. He’s an all-around hack who does his work under cover of darkness then just expects everyone to accept his findings as unvarnished truth. For a period of years Jones was engaged in an ongoing feud with two Canadians named Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who offered to check the calculations behind the now disgraced “hockey stick” graph that purported to show a rapid spike in global temperatures during the 20th Century. Jones did everything in his power to resist McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s requests for data.  “[McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years,” wrote Jones in a 2005 email to a friend. “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

That would be a crime of course, but that’s how far Jones was willing to go to keep his data secret. And when I say “his data” I don’t mean to imply that they’re his personal property. Actually, British and American taxpayers paid for them but we aren’t allowed to see them because Jones worries what those evil science-haters might do with them—such as proving him wrong, for example.

This seems to be a pattern with Jones and some of his colleagues. When Jones was asked by science researcher Warwick Hughes to provide his data, Jones refused, claiming that some of the data were deemed confidential by their source, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Why temperature data should be locked up like the recipe for Coca-Cola is truly baffling but apparently that’s just how pervasive secret science has become. Hughes then inquired directly with the WMO and was given the cold shoulder, after which he returned to Jones. Jones curtly replied to Hughes’s request: “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it[?]” (Emphasis added.)

Hearing those words from the mouth a scientist makes me wonder if science is dead. If all Hughes was trying to do was to “find something wrong” with Jones’s pet theory, he was in fact doing Jones a favor. And it is Jones’s pet theory. His comment about having “25 or so years invested” gives us a clue as to his prejudices. His life’s work is at stake here. Though science demands that he try to disprove his own theory, and invite others to try their hand as well, he just can’t bring himself to do it. He’s “invested” too much to allow that to happen.
Now I’m sure that Jones would say that he doesn’t want to allow people of bad faith to take a whack at his theory. For example, Steve McIntyre is—gasp!—a mining consultant. Surely he has an agenda.

Sure, he probably does. But even if his “agenda” is to debunk the theory, that’s actually an essential part of the scientific process. Dr. Jones doesn’t see it that way of course because his own agenda—protecting the theory at all costs—clouds his judgement. Jones sees McIntyre, McKitrick et al as people who are doing the devil’s work when they try poke holes in his theory. He doesn’t want to allow them the opportunity to do so. In such cases he considers it permissible to operate in secret and treat skeptical review—an essential ingredient of science—like heresy. Isn’t that the way science is supposed to work?

Actually, no. The demands that science makes upon a theory are not waived just because a scientist suspects that those who disagree with him have ill motives. That’s a horrible precedent. It can only lead to a situation in which only people who already subscribe to the theory are allowed to test it. This necessarily corrupts the peer-review process, transforming it into buddy-review—a very poor substitute indeed.

I should stress here there was once a time when I too believed in the theory of global warming, though only because I was not aware of the controversy. Even at this late stage in the game I could still be sold on it, but it will require evidence—plus a satisfactory explanation for why the scientific process was betrayed in the first place. I’m not taking this theory on faith, and that is exactly what defenders of secret science demand.
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change

Sunday, April 09, 2017

VIPs From All Over the Spectrum at CPAC

Among the uncountable VIPs at CPAC — besides top CPAC heavyweights Donald Trump and Mike Pence
were such people as Joe the Plumber, Ted Cruz, John Bolton, Robert Davi, and Beth Chapman and Dog the Bounty Hunter, as well as, last but not least, William Temple.