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BBC Staff to be giving less air time to fringe science such as climate change deniers watch

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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    First, Curry, as noted already, is a pretty controversial figure, so hardly 'establishment'.
    Again, we're back to a consensus of all those who are part of the consensus. Curry is the director of a world leading climate research lab funded by the US government. If she is a source of controversy there is not a consensus, and this is a not a topic on which there is scientific consensus. It's a controversial topic on which there is scientific controversy.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that she is wrong. However, reading her presentation as a scientist I don't actually see a 'smoking gun' here or indeed a claim by Curry that there is a real pause (note she states 'pause' as referring to a colloquial term rather than a genuine event). She, like a good scientist, is interested in improving climate models. What she is careful not to do is say that the climate models are wrong, because she actually can't. All she can say is that if there is a persistance in the divergiance from the models for a period of at least 20 years, this would indicate a problem with the models. Her views on what does and does not constitute responsible advocacy by a professional body are open to debate and aren't part of her scientific opinion.

    Second, to the data itself, even you state that the data is still within the 95% confidence intervals. You assume something about the future trend in order to claim that there is a problem with the models, which is simply not, at the point, backed up by the data or even skeptical scientists like Judith Curry. That is not how science works I'm afraid.
    The talk in fact says only 2% of GCM runs returned a result consistent with observation; I had misremembered. But let us suppose there were only a 90% chance of the models being wrong, rather than 98%. Is a consensus where 90% of people agree, or where 10% of people agree? If you, as presumably a chemist, arrive at a result which you believe has a 10% chance of being true, do you publish it as strong evidence of the hypothesis you think it supports? Do you propose to refashion society on the basis of that result?

    The appropriate word is not problem but falsified.

    Well, that view flies in the face of publish opinion of the mainstream on the topic through the IPCC reports. Whether you agree or not with those assessments, you can just ignore them and claim that there is no 'mainstream' view on the certainty of significant warming. Casting controversial viewpoints as 'mainstream' doesn't make them so.
    The model predictions that have diverged from observations are those of the IPCC reports. So is your position that the mainstream people believe (let alone have good reason to do so!) that their prediction is correct just because it's written in a prestigious report, even though it's been falsified by observation?
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    None, though Nigel Lawson is certainly relevant to an economic or political debate.

    On the other hand, why should the CAGW bureaucracy have favourable stories printed about how you are literally murdering penguins that are based entirely on accurate predictions of future warming, when their own guys admit the prediction methods don't work?

    As I said here, this debate is based on bait-and-switch. There are some things which are genuinely indisputable but none of them, on their own, justify a number for warming by the end of the century, let alone a $ prediction of damages.
    It's nice you're trying but I've learned to just mostly avoid these discussions if I can.

    My ignore list is mostly people who are hopelessly in deep with the AGW camp, and lack any ability to even conceive or humour the notion that the total lack of predictions coming to pass equates room for debate on the issue (even if we ignore and assume they don't realise a lot of the 'science' used to claim AGW is fairly poor to outright junk, and the debate which 'settled' the matter never actually happened).
    It gets too infuriating to say "hey you know, from what I've seen while I a make no claim humans have no impact on the environment the studies suggesting AGW tend to be flawed or even bodged, basic physics don't really support it and most of all the predictions aren't panning out" and then get told I apparently believe the Earth is flat, I don't believe the climate changes, that I am some redneck neo-Christian yahoo who is clearly being paid/duped by some right-wing conspiracy, and otherwise insulted and shut down.

    I just don't bother any more. It's not a science issue it's a political one. The Earth could be encrusted in a second "Snowball" because the sun disappears and they'd claim it's a sign of warming or that humans did it. I'm probably more liberal then half the people doing the insulting and deceiving. I'm probably genuinely greener to (I don't drive I instead cycle, I grow a lot of my own veg and I avoid hurting wildlife on purpose, love the country etc), but since I am not buying the political ideology of AGW I might as well be a far-right political enemy?

    Naw **** that bull****.

    I fear you're attempt at honest discussion is going to become pretty frustrating, so far warning. :P
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Again, we're back to a consensus of all those who are part of the consensus. Curry is the director of a world leading climate research lab funded by the US government. If she is a source of controversy there is not a consensus, and this is a not a topic on which there is scientific consensus. It's a controversial topic on which there is scientific controversy.
    Several issues here. First 'World leading' is completely subjective, she seems like a good solid senior academic, but nothing that spectacular. The only reason people have heard of her is because she started questioning the work of others. Also, every academic scientist in the US is funded by the US government in some form - this isn't a badge of honour.

    Did you know that there are scientists out there that don't accept the standard version of quantum mechanics? Does that mean that there is a real scientific controversy about quantum mechanics? Of course not. Just because a few scientists don't accept it, doesn't mean that there is genuine controversy in science.

    The talk in fact says only 2% of GCM runs returned a result consistent with observation; I had misremembered. But let us suppose there were only a 90% chance of the models being wrong, rather than 98%. Is a consensus where 90% of people agree, or where 10% of people agree? If you, as presumably a chemist, arrive at a result which you believe has a 10% chance of being true, do you publish it as strong evidence of the hypothesis you think it supports? Do you propose to refashion society on the basis of that result?

    Look at Curry's conclusions - it is clear that she states that a deviation of at least 20 years duration is need before climate models can be shown to be incorrect. The data still isn't in yet.

    That said, stating that 2% of the models returned a result consistent with current obersvation over the last decade, that currently has no settled explanation and is believed by many scientists to be a temporary blip that was not factored into many models doesn't mean that 98% of models are wrong in predicting long term trends (what they were designed for). That is simply a non-sequitor. As for how probability of correctness is assessed for scientific hypotheses is concerned it is about best available information at the time. If all other available hypotheses were only 1% chance of being true, I'd happy suggest a hypothesis that has an order of magnitude greater probability of truth in the literature. Of course, that is all idle speculation not related to the reality here.


    The appropriate word is not problem but falsified.
    Not falsified as it even hasn't met Curry's own standard's for falsification, let alone the scientific community at large. The fact is that I see Curry's analysis as suggesting that in order to account for such observed variations the models need to be more sophisticated and have changes in the sensitivities (perhaps to take into more account the deep ocean heating) - this is an evolutionary process and one which is easy to suggest, but very hard to implement in a rigorous manner (I pressume Curry won't be doing any of the hard work).


    The model predictions that have diverged from observations are those of the IPCC reports. So is your position that the mainstream people believe (let alone have good reason to do so!) that their prediction is correct just because it's written in a prestigious report, even though it's been falsified by observation?
    Not falsified so your argument doesn't hold any water. Look at Curry's conclusions!

    'Hiatus
    persistence beyond 20 years would support a firm declaration of problems with the climate models'

    That is Curry's own criteria for some level of falsification.
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    (Original post by Studentus-anonymous)
    It's not a science issue it's a political one.
    The only political polarisation in the climate change issue is entirely down to AGW denial lobby groups, often funded by fossil fuel interests, who sought to manufacture dissent on the science and mislead the public.

    If scientists say "there is evidence that human activity is causing climate change", that is not a political statement in any way. Whether you agree with it or not is a different matter, but it is not political.
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    (Original post by Studentus-anonymous)
    even if we ignore and assume they don't realise a lot of the 'science' used to claim AGW is fairly poor to outright junk, and the debate which 'settled' the matter never actually happened).
    That is a huge sweeping claim, yet again not backed up. It's really simple to cast meaningless aspersions like that, it is far harder to construct a proper scientific critique of the work, as scientists like Judith Curry have found out when the flaws in their own arguments are exposed (usually down to not considering all data). At least Judith Curry is doing the right thing and trying to construct a scientific case against the evidence, even if it, so far, has been fairly easy for AGW scientists to knock down, the main accusation that sticks is one of cherry picking of data - a problem all skeptics seem to have in varying degrees.

    Also, do you even understand how a scientific debate occurs? Have you read any of the peer-reviewed literature over the last few decades on this topic? Been to any scientific conferences on climate change? Were you expected a referendum, or a public debate or something?
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Several issues here. First 'World leading' is completely subjective, she seems like a good solid senior academic, but nothing that spectacular. The only reason people have heard of her is because she started questioning the work of others. Also, every academic scientist in the US is funded by the US government in some form - this isn't a badge of honour.
    The meaning of a scientific consensus, as I understand it, is that all scientists agree. Not that special people with special badges agree, or that famous people agree, or that people who hold certain views on the scientific issue at hand agree, but not others. Again, your definition of consensus seems to be agreement between everyone who is in agreement - meaningless!

    Did you know that there are scientists out there that don't accept the standard version of quantum mechanics? Does that mean that there is a real scientific controversy about quantum mechanics? Of course not. Just because a few scientists don't accept it, doesn't mean that there is genuine controversy in science.
    And why should there not be controversy in quantum? It's not my field, but I think you're referring to an interpretational dispute, not one that produced divergent predictions. But if the data is incomplete, why shouldn't there be divergent predictions?

    Look at Curry's conclusions - it is clear that she states that a deviation of at least 20 years duration is need before climate models can be shown to be incorrect. The data still isn't in yet.

    That said, stating that 2% of the models returned a result consistent with current obersvation over the last decade, that currently has no settled explanation and is believed by many scientists to be a temporary blip that was not factored into many models doesn't mean that 98% of models are wrong in predicting long term trends (what they were designed for). That is simply a non-sequitor. As for how probability of correctness is assessed for scientific hypotheses is concerned it is about best available information at the time. If all other available hypotheses were only 1% chance of being true, I'd happy suggest a hypothesis that has an order of magnitude greater probability of truth in the literature. Of course, that is all idle speculation not related to the reality here.




    Not falsified as it even hasn't met Curry's own standard's for falsification, let alone the scientific community at large. The fact is that I see Curry's analysis as suggesting that in order to account for such observed variations the models need to be more sophisticated and have changes in the sensitivities (perhaps to take into more account the deep ocean heating) - this is an evolutionary process and one which is easy to suggest, but very hard to implement in a rigorous manner (I pressume Curry won't be doing any of the hard work).




    Not falsified so your argument doesn't hold any water. Look at Curry's conclusions!

    'Hiatus
    persistence beyond 20 years would support a firm declaration of problems with the climate models'

    That is Curry's own criteria for some level of falsification.
    The smell of bait is almost overpowering, but let's decline to switch for now: the hypothesis we are concerned with falsifying is not, "It is unlikely, but not impossible, that climate models are accurate.". Nor is it even, "There is a reasonably high chance that climate models are accurate.". It is, "Climate models are known to be accurate with such confidence that there is no point even discussing the possibility that they are inaccurate.".

    Look at that claim, and then to '2% of runs consistent with observation', and then back.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The meaning of a scientific consensus, as I understand it, is that all scientists agree. Not that special people with special badges agree, or that famous people agree, or that people who hold certain views on the scientific issue at hand agree, but not others. Again, your definition of consensus seems to be agreement between everyone who is in agreement - meaningless!.
    Nope, it's if the majority agree - there's still "scientists" who think the world's age to be a few thousand rather than billion years - there is still a scientific concensus that the age of the earth is ~4.5bn years.


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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    But, surely, it is their responsibility to give you both sides of the argument in cases where it isn't proven. Of course, due to political reasons they won't do this, after all, they're hardly going to have people accuse Israel of attempted genocide except on something like panorama.

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    Considering only something like 1% of climatologists and a handful of unqualified shills continue to deny climate change, pretty much any amount of airtime given to the denialist side would be disproportionately large.
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    (Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
    Nope, it's if the majority agree[/SIZE]
    Then I suggest a scientific consensus has little meaning since majorities have in past times believed many things we now know to be false (e.g. that there is a luminiferous aether). That is not, however, the meaning of consensus in other contexts.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The meaning of a scientific consensus, as I understand it, is that all scientists agree. Not that special people with special badges agree, or that famous people agree, or that people who hold certain views on the scientific issue at hand agree, but not others. Again, your definition of consensus seems to be agreement between everyone who is in agreement - meaningless!
    Your definition of consensus in science is wrong I'm fraid.

    And why should there not be controversy in quantum? It's not my field, but I think you're referring to an interpretational dispute, not one that produced divergent predictions. But if the data is incomplete, why shouldn't there be divergent predictions?
    The point is that there is not, the vast, vast majority of scientists operate within the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics - even those that are looking to improve it. This is what is taught in our universities. The fact that a few people don't agree, doesn't mean we don't move forward using this paradigm to do scientific work.


    The smell of bait is almost overpowering, but let's decline to switch for now: the hypothesis we are concerned with falsifying is not, "It is unlikely, but not impossible, that climate models are accurate.". Nor is it even, "There is a reasonably high chance that climate models are accurate.". It is, "Climate models are known to be accurate with such confidence that there is no point even discussing the possibility that they are inaccurate.".

    Look at that claim, and then to '2% of runs consistent with observation', and then back.
    Why replace a proper, meaningful hypothesis with esoteric points? What is your agenda here? There is no bait and switch on my part at all, I am simply pointing out what the climate models were created to predict and whether that prediction is falsified by the current observations - even Judith Curry agrees that it is currently not falsified due to lack of data!
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Then I suggest a scientific consensus has little meaning since majorities have in past times believed many things we now know to be false (e.g. that there is a luminiferous aether). That is not, however, the meaning of consensus in other contexts.
    This completely ignores the whole process of doing science and leads to a paralysis of progress. Because we can't be sure we are right, means we shouldn't operate under the predominant paradigm? If that were the case then we'd never progress! There was a lot of good science done under the believe that there was a luminiferous ether, just as there was under the plum-pudding model of the atom. Just because these ideas are now know to be less correct than our current theories doesn't a) mean they are completely incorrect (case in point, Newtonian Physics), b) that they weren't the best available explanation at the time derived using the scientific method.

    The fact is that, regardless of what you would like to believe, scientists do operate largely under the predominant paradigm (in this case the consensus view on climate change). Therefore it is important, regardless of what you think. This doesn't in anyway require a scientist to accept that this is the truth, merely the best available explanation - observation will either confirm or falsify this view in time. That is what the scientific consensus is and it doesn't matter what the word means in other contexts (just as it doesn't matter what the word 'theory' means in other contexts in terms of what constitutes a scientific theory).

    I find it very frustrating that people who clearly have no real grasp on how science is actually carried out feel that can make pronouncements on it an validity of scientific hypotheses.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Your definition of consensus in science is wrong I'm fraid.
    It's not, of course, a definition I've ever given much thought to. I think it is rather similar, in practice, to, "The consensus is the opinion of the Vatican Censor.". Serious fields and people - that is, those which are not intensely politicised - never use this phrase, and I certainly don't remember it from my Popper or Bacon. But there is certainly an understood definition, which I believe to be the one the BBC is using. edit: moved discussion of this to the next post.

    The point is that there is not, the vast, vast majority of scientists operate within the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics - even those that are looking to improve it. This is what is taught in our universities. The fact that a few people don't agree, doesn't mean we don't move forward using this paradigm to do scientific work.
    The point I intended to make, but which I think has missed, is that the Copenhagen Interpretation isn't a predictive theory at all, just a way of visualising (at least in some abstract sense) a set of predictions on which everyone is agreed. This is why it is called an interpretation rather than a theory. The De Broglie-Bohm interpretation produces exactly the same observational predictions. I would argue that this isn't science at all, but rather philosophy.

    Now, supposing there are questions in QM that have not yet been conclusively decided by experiment (and there probably are). Why shouldn't there be controversy about them? Do you really think there isn't? How about loop quantum gravity vs string theory?

    Why replace a proper, meaningful hypothesis with esoteric points? What is your agenda here? There is no bait and switch on my part at all, I am simply pointing out what the climate models were created to predict and whether that prediction is falsified by the current observations - even Judith Curry agrees that it is currently not falsified due to lack of data!
    That, I'm afraid, is the topic of the thread: that the BBC has decided there is so little doubt on this matter that it is not worth discussing any longer. Now, if the BBC wants to report that the climate models have a 2% chance of being correct then that is fine (whether you choose to apply the mystical stamp of falsification is up to you - perhaps you'll demand 5 sigma, like the particle experimentalists, and believe implicitly in the 2011 IPCC predictions until they fall out of the 99.9999997% confidence interval?). If it wants to argue they have a ~100% chance of being correct, there's no observational justification for that. In fact that has been observationally falsified.
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    Finally. Finally a step in the right direction. Devoting half of media time to a group of people that represent less than 3% of the scientific community is not giving a fair or impartial representation of science.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    This completely ignores the whole process of doing science and leads to a paralysis of progress. Because we can't be sure we are right, means we shouldn't operate under the predominant paradigm? If that were the case then we'd never progress! There was a lot of good science done under the believe that there was a luminiferous ether, just as there was under the plum-pudding model of the atom. Just because these ideas are now know to be less correct than our current theories doesn't a) mean they are completely incorrect (case in point, Newtonian Physics), b) that they weren't the best available explanation at the time derived using the scientific method.

    The fact is that, regardless of what you would like to believe, scientists do operate largely under the predominant paradigm (in this case the consensus view on climate change). Therefore it is important, regardless of what you think. This doesn't in anyway require a scientist to accept that this is the truth, merely the best available explanation - observation will either confirm or falsify this view in time. That is what the scientific consensus is and it doesn't matter what the word means in other contexts (just as it doesn't matter what the word 'theory' means in other contexts in terms of what constitutes a scientific theory).

    I find it very frustrating that people who clearly have no real grasp on how science is actually carried out feel that can make pronouncements on it an validity of scientific hypotheses.
    Then there is a major disconnect between what you understand and what the world understands. What the world understands by "scientific consensus" is "subject on which intelligent and knowledgeable people unanimously or near-unanimously have little or no doubt". What you mean by it is just a hypothesis - incredibly, not even requiring any substantiation - which those people consider more likely than other hypotheses they can think of. Does the difference not leap out at you at once? It is the difference between:

    "There is a consensus that global average temperature will be 2-4C higher in 2100 than in 1990."

    and

    "There is a consensus that current models suggest that global average temperature will be 2-4C higher in 2100 than in 1990 with 2% confidence."

    One possibly justifies purging the unbeliever, the other, not. Similarly, would you be equally happy to drive across a bridge designed using Newtonian mechanics if F=ma only 2% of the time? How about if no one had a better theory?
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    I can't see what this will do apart from give even more fuel to the conspiracy theorist sect of climate change skeptics.

    Publicising climate data and educating the masses is not straightforward.

    The public making significant changes to their lifestyle to avert an issue that doesn't affect them and may not even affect anyone in their lifetime is frankly unforeseeable. Until the public take climate change as a serious threat, which will almost certainly be too late, a democratic solution will be unobtainable.
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    (Original post by redferry)
    This.

    I also think they should have to state how many peer reviewed journal articles the person has on the subject of climate change. A couple of said deniers, whilst being scientists, have published in areas like nuclear physics or unrelated areas of geology.
    That would be funny if they had Christopher Monckton on.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    CAGW as opposed to AGW is an economic/political label, however this is important when the ultimate harm suggested is economic and the response political. No one would care about TAGW (Trivial Anthropogenic Global Warming).
    But even in those discussions "catastrophic" remains a subjective term. How would you define it?
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    (Original post by The Socktor)
    That would be funny if they had Christopher Monckton on.
    True
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    (Original post by The Socktor)
    But even in those discussions "catastrophic" remains a subjective term. How would you define it?
    I would put a lower limit on 'catastrophic' as more than 5% of world GDP in 2100 (which, as I understand, is more than the IPCC report predicts). Though as a lower bound... 10% (say) loss of GDP (after 1.5-2% compound growth for a century) is readily arguable as not catastrophic.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Then there is a major disconnect between what you understand and what the world understands. What the world understands by "scientific consensus" is "subject on which intelligent and knowledgeable people unanimously or near-unanimously have little or no doubt". What you mean by it is just a hypothesis - incredibly, not even requiring any substantiation - which those people consider more likely than other hypotheses they can think of. Does the difference not leap out at you at once? It is the difference between:

    "There is a consensus that global average temperature will be 2-4C higher in 2100 than in 1990."

    and

    "There is a consensus that current models suggest that global average temperature will be 2-4C higher in 2100 than in 1990 with 2% confidence."

    One possibly justifies purging the unbeliever, the other, not. Similarly, would you be equally happy to drive across a bridge designed using Newtonian mechanics if F=ma only 2% of the time? How about if no one had a better theory?
    But both statements would come in the context of a scientific report so the reality is that they should be read as such, i.e. they are the same. Therefore the difference is semantic at best and is only made an issue by those who want to make an anti-scientific point and deny the current best theories and evidence of science on the matter by creating a strawman that somehow scientists are using something other than the best current models and data to make their conclusions - which is of course baseless nonsense.

    Either way, a question still rests on the shoulders of those that deny this consensus view using the best available models and large amounts of data and this is why? So far the arguments have either been non-scientific or have cherry-picked data (Judith Curry is clearly guilty of this by focussing in a period where some data (global surface temperatures) does not match so well with the models and ignoring by and large previous data and also other types of data (such as deep ocean temperatures, etc. - I noted that in the presentation you posted, she talks about this as a 'hypothesis' but doesn't present any of the data that supports this position - this is exactly what Lawson got his knickers in a twist about as well with Brian Hoskins, because the measurements blow a hole in the denialists' arguments)
 
 
 
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