Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ranking the scam 

Almost exactly six years ago, Guardian writer Tim Radford selected his top ten list of "all-time favourite science scams," credibly headed by the Piltdown man mystery.

Whether or not the planet is warming, cooling, or staying about the same, and whether or not modern human activity contributes significantly to any changes in climate, it seems to me that ClimateGate is a much bigger scandal than anything on Radford's list. The scope of the academic dishonesty is remarkable -- the disregard for the long-accepted practices of the scientific method with respect to legitimate peer review, the self-serving thumb-on-the-scale grant money grab, and the audacity to propose and insist that the now-compromised climate models be used to re-engineer the global economy at a cost of trillions of dollars, all make Piltdown man seem minor by comparison. I think we have a new Number One. The CRU people might be lucky to get new jobs as professional wrestling referees.

I should add that I basically agree with TigerHawk's implied position that it is entirely possible that the activities of 6.8 billion people may well have an impact on the climate. It is observable that more densely populated areas experience environmental changes during growth, so if humans can locally alter the ground and the flow of water, it may be premature to rule out the notion that we can't or don't alter the climate. We are apparently not at a point, however, where the "science is settled."

The U.S. has compelling national security reasons to reduce its dependence upon foreign oil, probably leading to the development of non-fossil fuel alternative energy sources. I will continue to be a thrifty, skin-flinty Yankee, keeping the house cool in the winter and warm in the summer, and generally try not to be wasteful. Of course, I do so out of choice, with no real desire to compel anyone else to conform to my habits, which disqualifies me from becoming a Gorebot.

Every scam requires a mark -- in the case of Piltdown man, it was principally the curators of the Natural History Museum in London, where the skull was on display for four decades -- so the question remains, why are so many well-educated elites willing to swallow the entirety of AGW whole?


By Anonymous Moody Deep Thinker, at Sun Nov 29, 08:54:00 PM:

I am not about to be convinced that human activity, as sparse or as minute as it may be, has had even a minuscule effect on the climate. Measure your words carefully, where we may have plowed the land and dumped tons of pollutants, our overall effect om climate is minor compared to just the volcanoes that are active everyday. Consider the effects of the sun, normal climactic variation and then throw in what we haven't figured in. Dark matter can change the whole universe, why isn't it considered here?

If you want to make substantive statements about the effect of man, back it up with actual observations that have some effect and then prove causality. Make some substantial contribution to the argument other than some vague feeling or off hand statement. We have had enough guns going half cocked here.

Climate, weather, and environment are words that have been tossed about recklessly. The proof of everything is yet to be seen, let alone proved and linked, action to effect.

All the recent episode has done is to uproot the previous set of claims. There are now two efforts; first lay low the perpetrators and effects of the previous scam and then to build a logical, scientific set of observations that are well studied and then prove cause between the observations and the effects on the climate or the environment and or the weather.  

By Anonymous Director Mitch, at Sun Nov 29, 08:57:00 PM:

> is entirely possible that the
> activities of 6.8 billion people
> may well have an impact on the
> climate.

Hubris. Humans are nothing on this planet - even at billions and billions. What we output is miniscule to what nature does and is capable of.

(I wrote this before seeing the above comment, which says pretty much the same thing).  

By Anonymous davod, at Sun Nov 29, 08:59:00 PM:

"The U.S. has compelling national security reasons to reduce its dependence upon foreign oil, probably leading to the development of non-fossil fuel alternative energy sources."

Oil and gas are still legal commodities. We sell gas to Europe and other countries.

Reduce our reliance not on Foreign but Ratbag sources. I have no problem with Canadian oil (Nor Mexican oil at a pinch).

US foreign dependency is really one of our own making.

If domestic oil and gas and nuclear power (And building new refineries) was not such a lightning rod for the Democratic elite, we could could probably eliminate the purchase of ratbag energy supplies completely.

All without the trillions required to provide the infrastructure capable of supporting energy producton by solar and wind sources.  

By Blogger Andrewdb, at Sun Nov 29, 11:46:00 PM:

Davod - there are two issues - one is US reliance on foreign energy sources.

The second is the money going to the "ratbag" sources, which is not all US money. Drill, baby drill, will likely reduce the market price of oil, and therefore reduce the flow of the money (market price x barrels sold) to the "ratbag" sellers. This isn't a bad thing.  

By Blogger John, at Mon Nov 30, 12:34:00 AM:

But look at the progress, due to the internet and modern media, this scandal only took less than three decades to surface, that one took four.  

By Anonymous John, at Mon Nov 30, 03:40:00 AM:

My favorite all time scientific scandal are the books The Forest People and The Mountain People. Both are frauds.In the first the author didn't do the actual research and according to Paul Schebesta who did do it he got it all wrong. In the second he made the behavior of the Ik up out of whole cloth. When the Ik elders were told what he had written they swore of e ever came back "we will make him eat is own shit."

Bot books are still in print and in use in intro anthropology courses in the US.  

By Anonymous astonerii, at Mon Nov 30, 04:54:00 AM:

The reason "why are so many well-educated elites willing to swallow the entirety of AGW whole?" is that they do not need to in order to support it. It fits into their world unobtrusively and supports their political goals. Thus, if it is real all the better, if it is not real, who cares, because it helped push the world closer to their ideal.  

By Anonymous alanstorm, at Mon Nov 30, 10:02:00 AM:

So, is Piltdown man about to be eclipsed by "Piltdown Mann"? I can't wait...  

By Blogger Greg Toombs, at Mon Nov 30, 10:03:00 AM:

"the question remains, why are so many well-educated elites willing to swallow the entirety of AGW whole?"

A convenient truth: access to more money and power, or worship of those who gain the access.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 10:06:00 AM:

Money and public acclaim is at the root of this scandal, as one would expect. Those who push the religion of AGW have gained enormously, and they'll be very loath to let any of their hard-won position and wealth go. Just today, the IPCC said as much, and the chair of the climate group said that not only would the CRU deadbeats not be damaged by their actions, but that he hopes for a "criminal investigation into how the emails came to light."


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 01:23:00 PM:

RE: why are so many well-educated elites willing to swallow the entirety of AGW whole?

Short answer: the elites' desire to rule and the move to world government.

Long answer: anti-humanism, i.e., a rejection of both Christian Humanism and the modern project, Bacon's conquest of nature.

God is dead, long live (the new) God.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 06:06:00 PM:

Since I posted the link to the head of the IPCC's shameful comments about ClimateGate it's only fair to post this expose of his climate hypocrisy, second only to Al Gore's.  

By Blogger Brian, at Tue Dec 01, 12:20:00 AM:

Back to basics: climate's warming by any instrumental record, surface or atmospheric. Current warming is twice the 20th Century rate. The stratosphere is cooling, which can only be explained by greenhouse gases.

And if anyone doesn't think it will continue (JP, don't read the next sentence), I'm happy to put my money against yours.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 01, 08:24:00 AM:

For giggles I went to Pravda -- online since January 27th, 1999! Pravda has it right.


In an item dated yesterday, Pravda names the key names, including "James Holdren, US President Barack Obama’s new ‘Science Czar’. "

"The emails and documents reveal that the scientists at the CRU and their colleagues in the USA not only falsified their data to ‘prove’ Global Warming, they also collaborated to prevent qualified scientists who disagreed with the theory of Global Warming from publishing or participating in the ‘peer reviews’ process. The belief in Global Warming among scientists is not a consensus; it is a dictatorship. "

Also yesterday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs - in response to a question from a Fox News reporter -said "climate change is happening." "I don't think that's anything that is, quite frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore," he said during Monday's press briefing.

ps Brian you've been exposed as a troll among trolls. As I posted here earlier I want to go medieval warming on your ass ... pliers and a blowtorch. Climategate may blow over only because US MSM can't admit they've been had so badly. But if it doesn't your legacy will be to have ruined environmentalism for a generation.  

By Blogger Brian, at Tue Dec 01, 11:43:00 AM:

Anon: I'll take that as a no, you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is.

Thanks for clarifying.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 01, 11:53:00 AM:

I really object to that last comment. Brian is an entirely decent poster and, while I understand the frustration inherent in arguing beliefs instead of facts, I would hope we can dispense with threats.

As to Brian's contention that "climate's warming by any instrumental record, surface or atmospheric", I suggest you are wrong on the facts, Brian. The only world-wide records of raw temperature data at CRU have been thrown out regularly, initially in the 1980's and as a regular matter since that time, so the only remaining world-wide data that exists has been corrupted and is therefore completely unreliable. I suppose it may be possible to try to recreate the initial records, if the pieces still exist at the national level, but that is highly unlikely. It appears the CRU has indicted the entire climate study world through their miscreance.

I acknowledge that Climate Change self-evidently does exist, but I think it equally safe to say no one has ever shown that humans have had any impact on the natural process at all. It is also safe to say that climate modeling is rudimentary, even primitive, and climate models have zero relation to reality at this point.

In short, AGW seems only to be a theory with no evidentiary support and climate models cannot inform us as to climate change itself.

Moreover, I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who thinks determinative economic and political policies are necessary, for any reason, because usually those people are arguing to take away my freedom. And, those people (like Hanson and Holdren)can go pound sand.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 01, 11:56:00 AM:

Let's not forget that the Middle Ages were considerably warmer than the present day, by the way. Also, let's not forget that the Mann "hockey stick" theory has now also been discredited.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 01, 12:13:00 PM:

Here's more on the scandal surrounding the absence of any independant analysis of the middle ages Warm Period, in the second half of this article.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 01, 12:38:00 PM:

Repost from below:

Everything Mann & Co has done is based on their 1,000 year temperature history. If this data is bad, their science is bad. It's that simple. Their data is mostly based on tree rings.

By 1998, many of these guys had invested years and even decades of work based on tree ring data. It's in 1998 that the "divergence problem" was first recognized: starting in 1960, tree ring data diverted from actual instrument readings.

This is actual scientific proof that tree ring data is suspect. If tree rings don't work for the last 40 years, why do we think they'd work over the last 1,000. If the tree ring-based data is suspect, everything that Mann & Co have done is suspect. QED There are other issues with their methodologies, but this is fundamental. This is the elephant in the room.

They say that the "trick" to "hide the decline" was over how to splice the old tree ring data with new data from instruments. So they're not denying the elephant in the room. They just hope we don't see it.

Brian is trying to shift discussion to unsubstantiated claims that things are heating up right now, as we speak, at an accelerated rate. Funny, everything I hear is that it's getting colder at the moment. My BS meter is at 11. Brian is a troll with an agenda. He speaks with forked tongue.

Climategate may blow over, but it could turn into the story of the year. If so, they'll be hell to pay. Al Gore won't be able to appear in public ever again. That's not a threat by me, it's a fact. He'll be the most hated man in America.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Tue Dec 01, 07:07:00 PM:

Anon at 11:53 (I assume you're a different Anon):

The theory of AGW long precedes computer modelling, going back to Svante Arrhenius in 1896. The basic idea can be done with basic math.

I also think you're wrong about post-1980s records being thrown out at CRU (and of course they still exist where CRU got them from), but I'd welcome a citation otherwise.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Wed Dec 02, 02:53:00 AM:

"you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is.

Thanks for clarifying."

*I'll* take your bet Brian, as long as I get to manipulate the data like the CRU bwahahaha.

On another front:

"going back to Svante Arrhenius in 1896"

Doesn't that raise some questions? If there was perceptible "GW" as early as 1896, isn't it a hell of a lot less likely that it is *A*GW, since that was before cars, before about 99% of the "carbon age"?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 02:06:00 PM:

Brian, I recommend the Booker article TH linked in his earlier post for a discussion of the elimination of the CRU-held "raw" (ie, unmodified) data. In fact, most articles about this scandal focus on this very thing.

As to the original sources, the CRU has data sharing agreements with a wide variety of national organizations (some 80-odd I think I recall). They may retain the original data (though I doubt it). But CRU has been quite clear that it does not have the data.

As far as the "theory of AGW" goes, I would only say that (despite whatever age and status it may have achieved with the cognescenti) it hasn't aged well as science. After all, no replicable experiments yielding evidentiary support for it exists.

I'm open-minded on most things, and am always anxious to be a good enough steward of the environment that my descendants will not curse me for inaction in the face of crisis, but AGW so far looks like nothing more than a garden variety attempt to take away freedom from individuals by government based on mob fear.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 02:13:00 PM:

Brian, here is TH's post on the data destruction for your reference.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 02:22:00 PM:

and here is a direct quote from CRU, contained within the fine Reason article "The Scientific Tragedy of ClimateGate", "We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data."  

By Blogger Escort81, at Wed Dec 02, 04:49:00 PM:

Brian -

I understand that Svante Arrhenius did a fair amount of work on the greenhouse effect, and debated Knut Angstrom on this matter, but given his work in eugenics, isn't the use of his name to bolster you point a bit like having Dr. Mengele on your team as well? I am not sure that helps you.

I'll accept the criticism from the first commenters above for being open-minded in part of my original post above. I agree that, for example, the 1883 erruption of Krakatoa had a more immediate and profound effect on climate than the 30% increase in CO2 over the past century. I probably end up around the same place as the late Michael Crichton -- that there is some small warming, which might be aided by the urban heat effect, but that it is far from catastrophic. In my darker moments, I might also agree with the late George Carlin, that Earth will be fine...Man may be screwed (for any of a variety of reasons)...but in the long run, the planet is fine.  

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