Solar Science

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Reply to Josh Rosenau

with 10 comments

I copy this here because strange things happen to comments on scienceblogs.com. This is a response to this post

Its fascinating Josh, that its not that Sarah Palin is denying that
the Earth’s climate is changing. Simply Gov Palin is making it clear
she does believe that ascribing all or most of the climate change to
mankind’s activities. And she’s far from being alone even in the
scientific community.

Of course, the term “climate change” has been radically redefined to
imply “man-made climate change through the increase of greenhouse
gases, principally carbon dioxide”, and so “climate change denial” or
its variants is simply skepticism over the extent to which recent
climate changes can be ascribed to man-made causes. And of course to
use the term “denier” implies moral depravity rather than skepticism.

So there’s nothing at all in Gov. Palin’s remarks that she needs to
retract, for she, unlike you Josh, does not believe that the climate
change of the last few years is anything out of the ordinary. In that
respect she is solidly with the scientific mainstream and you are very
definitely on the extreme lunatic fringe.

The only reason why this is even controversial is because of the
Mann Hockey Stick – the totem of climate change alarmism – has been
shown to be a shocking fake. What the Hockey Stick did (and like
lemmings, the IPCC followed) was allege that natural climate change in
the last thousand years or so was tiny and benign. And you believed it
Josh.

What has now been fully shown is that the Hockey Stick is actually
an impression of the growth pattern of a group of bristlecone pines in
Colorado. In trying to justify the extraordinary weight given to these
trees in the reconstruction Michael Mann even claimed that these trees
occupied a “sweet spot” to be able to respond to “the global
temperature field” – a remarkable claim that neither you nor any of
your friends can be bothered to explain how a group of trees on a
mountain side in Colorado can fail to respond to local temperature
change yet can somehow respond to a statistical index called “global
temperature”. There’s probably a group of trees somewhere in the world
which show a growth record similar to the Dow Jones 30 – a spurious
correlation like the Bristlecone Pines of Colorado.

That’s because it is magic. Real voodoo. Not science.

So while you’re trying (and failing) to find a single ice core that
shows carbon dioxide rise PRECEDING temperature rise [they all show the
reverse Josh and by around eight centuries], while you’re finding that
an acknowledged expert on PCA (who incidentally believes in AGW) finds
that the Mann Hockey Stick’s decentered PCA to be simply wrong and the
Stick itself to be the result of “dubious statistics”.

I can criticize Gov Palin on many other issues, for I am no
Republican in the American sense of the word. But on the issue of
climate change she is the one talking sense and not you.

The Mann Hockey Stick and its variants are all instruments of real
climate change denial – the preposterous and false notion that the
large scale climate changes of the past never happened while the
present minor changes in climate are hyped up to ludicrous levels. Just
last week James Hansen testified that the opening of one coal-fired
power station in England would lead to the extinction of 400 species –
an extraordinary claim that you will spend exactly no time on verifying
because hey! Life’s too short.

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Written by John A

September 13, 2008 at 11:55 am

Posted in News and Views

10 Responses

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  1. Interestingly, the exact same things seem to happen here.

    Josh Rosenau

    October 7, 2008 at 8:37 am

  2. Oddly enough, Josh. Not so.

    I have deleted obvious spam (like any other blogger) But censored comments? Nope.

    John A

    October 8, 2008 at 2:00 am

  3. Then what became of the response I posted here yesterday? The site said it was held for moderation, but is nowhere to be seen. Ah, well. Here’s the shorter version.

    “No solar hiding place for greenhouse sceptics”: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7149/full/448008a.html

    The community of climate scientists have repeatedly endorsed the statement that most of the warming we’ve seen over the last 50 years is due to human activities. I could point to Oreskes, to the IPCC, to the WMO, and to other sources to back this point up. This determination does not rest on the Mann hockey stick. Indeed, most of the relevant climate science has nothing to do with paleoclimate reconstruction: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/what-if-the-hockey-stick-were-wrong/

    Of course, other researchers have reconstructed the paleoclimate and got the same basic pattern as Mann did, using different proxies and different statistical measures. So you are wrong to state that Palin is aligned with any significant scientific evidence, and the science you attack is thoroughly irrelevant to the modern understanding of climate change.

    But that’s all irrelevant to the post you replied to (where your comment got caught in a moderation filter because of the number of links you included). As I replied to you there:

    “The question to Palin was about whether global warming is anthropogenic (caused by humans). And I’m not sure what the relevance of ice cores from past instances of climate change is, since no one is claiming that fossil fuels were being burned at such a rate back then.”

    Furthermore, in the quotations at issue, she seemed to be denying taking the position you ascribe to her. Far from stating that “she does [not??] believe that ascribing all or most of the climate change to mankind’s activities,” her answer to Gibson seemed to deny ever having taken such a position. This leads inevitably to the question of whether she had changed her mind since those earlier statements, and why she was trying to obfuscate her position.

    Josh

    October 9, 2008 at 3:15 am

  4. I remember believing, late into high school, that dictum of Socrates: “Every man, at bottom, believes he is Good”. And believed the corollary that ‘he’ desired, even pursued, the Truth.

    In this view, the obvious failures of individuals are simply a function of our limitations as animals.

    What a quaint, immature, stupid view. It would imply Nietzsche were sane and the ‘wise guy’ and ‘happy hooker’ were remediable, that politicians and journalists simply trip over the facts in their blind spots, etc.

    Josh, you are self-deluded, grow up.

    Gary Gulrud

    October 9, 2008 at 2:46 pm

  5. Then what became of the response I posted here yesterday, or the one from a day before? The site said they were held for moderation, but they are still nowhere to be seen.

    If you are going to complain about “strange things” happening to your comments, it behooves you to make sure your own comments work.

    Josh Rosenau

    October 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm

  6. Josh,

    The ones caught in the moderation queue have been approved. You appear fascinated by my remark about comments posted to scienceblogs.com so here’s the explanation:

    Most, if not all, of the blogs on scienceblogs require pre-approval for ALL comments before they are published. This gives them the ability to “disappear” comments that they find difficult to answer or which conflict with the author’s pre-conceived ideas or which refute them with reference to facts. And this has happened on quite a few blogs (as it also happens famously on RealClimate). Some comments disappear and some get edited down to a soundbite.

    I did not say that you in particular were guilty of this particular form of censorship, only that my experience of other blogs on the same site caused me to save and publish my originals on my own site.

    I do have automatic spam filtering (as any WordPress blogger should) and occasionally that spam filter eats a legitimate comment for reasons I can’t explain. I have not censored your comments, and if a comment disappears without explanation, then please write me at johna.sci AT googlemail.com with the original comment and I’ll publish it in full myself.

    Since I use spam karma, it takes a little time to get used to a new commentator before it just allows them through without hindrance. Usually a new commentator who posts a lot of links (which SK thinks could be spam) can get bitten by the anti-spam, so please be patient.

    John A

    October 11, 2008 at 9:38 pm

  7. Now to the substance of what Josh wrote:

    The community of climate scientists have repeatedly endorsed the statement that most of the warming we’ve seen over the last 50 years is due to human activities. I could point to Oreskes, to the IPCC, to the WMO, and to other sources to back this point up. This determination does not rest on the Mann hockey stick. Indeed, most of the relevant climate science has nothing to do with paleoclimate reconstruction

    But that “community of scientists” is the self-same group that uses bad statistics and bad methodology following Mann’s lead.

    Point to Oreskes? Benny Peiser showed that her claims were false.

    Point to the IPCC? Why would a group pre-selected to support the purpose of the IPCC (that human-caused climate change is real) be authoritative? Or the WMO?

    Why not point to the evidence, Josh? Why suddenly does science not depend on the quality and robustness of the experimental evidence backed by falsifiable theory?

    The Mann Hockey Stick IS relevant. Yesterday I went to my local library and surveyed the section on climate science. It was difficult to find a book published after 2001 which DIDN’T have the Hockey Stick as its one and only recontruction of climate for the past 1000 years. And the extravagent claims about “robustness” of the multiproxy paradigm were not qualified.

    Of course, other researchers have reconstructed the paleoclimate and got the same basic pattern as Mann did, using different proxies and different statistical measures.

    Steve McIntyre noted that practically every reconstruction used for past climate of the last 1000 years used Mann’s PC1 as a proxy and similarly failed statistical tests for significance. All of the ones used in AR4 failed these tests.

    The Mann Hockey Stick is the key reason why the greenhouse hypothesis is used to model future climate because it is so similar to another Hockey Stick: the Siple curve of carbon dioxide (another reconstruction with dubious assumptions). Mann even mentions this in his latest reconstruction.

    I am not impressed, Josh, by the lack of willingness of people like yourself to examine the robustness of key lines of evidence. By not behaving like scientists, you give credence to people who think Sarah Palin is a deep philosopher.

    John A

    October 11, 2008 at 9:57 pm

  8. This has, and forgive me if I repeating myself, nothing to do with the Mann reconstruction. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=114

    But even if it were relevant to a discussion of current climate change (and I repeat, it isn’t!), the basic pattern stands. The National Academy of Sciences agrees: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html

    And Peiser’s results don’t refute Oreskes, they strengthen her point: http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/14/1511/4868

    Josh

    October 12, 2008 at 9:18 pm

  9. ‘Nother comment is caught in your moderation queue, I think.

    Josh

    October 14, 2008 at 5:03 am

  10. Josh:

    This has, and forgive me if I repeating myself, nothing to do with the Mann reconstruction. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=114

    Please Josh, you force me to repeat myself. All of the reconstructions referred to in SurrealClimate used Mann’s methodology, cherrypicked proxies that by magic correlated with the surface temperature record, and most of them used Mann’s PC1 as a proxy.

    They are not independent Josh. They are simply the Mann Hockey Stick’s malign influence on climate science. They ALL fail tests for statistical significance.

    But even if it were relevant to a discussion of current climate change (and I repeat, it isn’t!), the basic pattern stands. The National Academy of Sciences agrees: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html

    Oh puleease Josh, this is ridiculous. The NAS Panel was a sloppy piece of work where they refused to even do the necessary statistical work necessary to say one way or the other. According to Gerry North, they simply sat around a table with the papers and discussed them. Gerry North even said that they just “winged it”.

    When it was compared with the Wegman Report (and Wegman being a first rank statistician who did do the heavy lifting) what did North say? Here he is right in front of a Congressional Committee:

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–
    DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.
    DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.
    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

    And what did Wegman say that North was agreeing with?

    While the work of Michael Mann and colleagues presents what appears to be compelling evidence of global temperature change, the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid.

    “Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the [NAS] panel essentially agree. We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann’s] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics …. I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway.
    Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

    The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions.

    It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the [Mann] paper.

    We found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.

    Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

    Overall, the Wegman Report also spends a good time talking about the failure of peer review to provide independent criticism especially in an area where they have all worked with Mann and his cohorts.

    Why is the Mann Hockey Stick so important? Because as Mann recently admitted to the BBC, it is the key study that links temperature change with carbon dioxide change

    It all comes down to what you’re willing to believe about the scientific method: can a scientist get the right answer using an invalid method and data which cannot be distinguished from random numbers?

    I don’t think so.

    John A

    October 18, 2008 at 12:10 am


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