Post Normal Meltdown in Lisbon, part 1

[Update: Fred Pearce's New Scientist article has been updated. More below]

It was all going so well. The climate contrarians, along with a handful of sympathetic scientists, had offered an olive branch of reconciliation to the climate science mainstream, discussed issues of common concern, and broken bread together. All this, in the salubrious environment of Lisbon and its Gulbenkian Foundation, facilitated by an experienced organizing group of “post-normal” science philosophers and the EU’s Joint Research Committee. The mainstream was noticeably absent, but there was the next best thing: the group’s favourite bete noir, Gavin Schmidt, had arrogantly refused to attend because, supposedly, the “science was settled and there was nothing to discuss”. Or so said New Scientist’s Fred Pearce who was there to capture this epochal moment for posterity.

Then it all went horribly wrong. It turned out that Schmidt had said nothing of the sort, and that Pearce had grossly misrepresented Schmidt’s email reply to organizers, which contained a polite, nuanced refusal, along with a list of subjects that should be discussed. This, even though Pearce had actually seen and read aloud the complete email [albeit accidentally truncated], which was leaked by “ad hoc” invitation committee member and fringe blogger “tallbloke” in what was (to put it charitably) a highly inappropriate attempt at spin. The gullible Pearce didn’t even bother to check with Schmidt, but appears to have accepted “tallbloke’s” version at face value.

But the naivete and gullibility do not end there, for Pearce missed the truly fascinating part of the whole story. “Tallbloke’s” passing around of the email he wasn’t even supposed to have was not just a supremely ironic coda to a workshop ostensibly dedicated to building trust and reconciliation (a circumstance which seems to have completely eluded the befuddled Pearce).  Somehow the fringe blogger and WUWT regular managed to forge a connection between  a highly respected science philosopher and the contrarian blogosphere, and then put himself in the inner circle planning the resulting workshop a year later, providing a fascinating insight into this misbegotten enterprise.

The story of Fred Pearce’s bungled report of the Lisbon workshop has been told elsewhere, notably at Deltoid which has a good, clear chronology of events, along with links to Rabett and all the others to boot.

So I won’t get into all the details. But I will note that Pearce’s behaviour here, while not deliberately malicious , was doubly unprofessional. Not only was the  reference to “settled science”  incorrect and a clear buy-in to a well-worn contrarian meme (one present right in the Lisbon workshop’s very statement of purpose), but “nothing to discuss” is completely at odds with the list of policy subjects that Gavin proposed as more worthy. Moreover, it was also highly unprofessional of Pearce to allow himself to be spun by someone involved in the workshop, without even bothering to check that interpretation with Schmidt. And his lack of curiosity about the provenance of the workshop shows at best an an astonishing naivete for a journalist.

The road to Lisbon began about a year ago, with a pair of surprising guest posts at WattsUpWithThat by noted science philosopher and “post-normal” guru Jerome Ravetz. Ravetz has long explored the role of the “extended peer community” in science “quality assurance”, an idea which Ravetz started to apply somewhat indiscriminately and uncritically in the post-“climategate” maelstrom. Hence WUWT.

In his first post, Ravetz did not necessarily accept all of the contrarian critique (much of it self-contradictory in any case) but did acknowledge the central thesis of “climategate”:

Consideration of those protective plausibilities can help to explain how the illusions could persist for so long until their sudden collapse.  The scientists were all reputable, they published in leading peer-reviewed journals, and their case was itself highly plausible and worthy in a general way.  Individual criticisms were, for the public and perhaps even for the broader scientific community, kept isolated and hence muffled and lacking in systematic significance.  And who could have imagined that at its core so much of the science was unsound?

Ravetz’s, shall we say, incomplete understanding of such basic concepts as climate sensitivity was on display as well:

In the course of the development of climate-change science, all sorts of loose ends were left unresolved and sometimes unattended.  Even the most fundamental quantitative parameter of all, the forcing factor relating the increase in mean temperature to a doubling of CO2, lies somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees, and is thus uncertain to within a factor of 3.

Here Ravetz might have confused the sensitivity for CO2 doubling per se which is well established at ~1C, with the more usual measure of climate sensitivity taking into account all feedbacks, which is necessarily a more uncertain enterprise, but usually considered to be around 3C, albeit with much broader uncertainty. But it’s hard to tell what he meant.

Little noticed at the time, however, was this key part of Watts’s introduction.

Also, my thanks to WUWT regular “tallbloke” for his facilitation.

So even back then, “tallbloke” had reached out to Ravetz and presumably had already found common ground in the merit of the McIntyre-McKitrick “hockey stick” analysis and other esoteric subjects undermining the teetering house of cards known as climate science. And, even more importantly, a crucial connection between Ravetz and contrarian blogger had been forged.

Ravetz was back a few weeks later, with this announcement:

But I have been involved in the critical analysis of models of all sorts, and quite early on I good reason to suspect that the GCMs offered little basis for certainty of prediction.  I also became aware of the hype and over-selling.  A couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that this campaign would run into trouble, and I began to think about research projects that might be useful.  One of them is now up for a grant; it’s an analysis of scientific disagreement, designed to bring together opponents and open the way to nonviolent communication.  But it was totally implausible to me that the leading UK scientists were either gullible or complicit in a serious fraud at the core of the enterprise.  Even when I heard about M&M and the hockey stick scandal, I didn’t connect that dot with the others.  There’s a confession for you!  Jerry Ravetz, arch-critical-scientist, suckered by the A(C)GW con for years on end.  That really shows the power of plausibility.  Even now I’m not all the way with my critics; the distinction between incompetence and blundering self-protection on the one hand (plus agenda-driven hype) and self-conscious scientific conspiracy on the other, may still be dividing us.

Here Ravetz charitably distinguishes between “incompetence and blundering self-protection … (plus agenda-driven hype)” and “self-conscious scientific conspiracy”, neatly seizing the middle ground between presumed “alarmists” and the outright “hoaxers” who believe that all climate science is sham.  Even then, he does hold up the possibility of common cause with the “hoaxers” with respect to the “hockey stick” at least. Very nuanced indeed.

One would hardly think that this could be a reasonable basis  to “bring together opponents”, but Ravetz proposed exactly this. Presumably, though, the grant application did not contain the WUWT essays. At least,  let’s hope not.

Be that as it may, the workshop process progressed from there and culminated in firm plans for the Lisbon event some time late last year. The organizing committee consisted of Ravetz and four other prominent “post-normal” luminaries.

Silvio Funtowicz (now with the European Commission) and Ravetz go back to the 1980s and published the landmark Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy in 1990. In 2005, Jeroen van der Sluijs, James Risbey (CSIRO), Ravetz and Funtowicz all collaborated on Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Uncertainty in Model-Based Environmental Assessment: The NUSAP System. This applied the Ravetz and Funtowicz NUSAP system to a variety of case studies including an interesting sensitivity analysis of model parameters in emissions scenarios.

Funtowitz also presumably provided a bridge to the EU in the person of another post-normal luminary, Angela Pereira, of the Econometrics and Applied Statistics Unit at the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, part of the EU’s Joint Research Commission. Like Ravetz, Perira had had her own “climategate” epiphany. In a February 2010 comment at Nature.com,  Pereira expressed her disillusionment (h/t Rabett at Judith Curry’s):

One of the major shames about what seems to be a climate change sham is really about the work some governmental and non-governmental organisations have done and citizenry commitment etc. to help with reducing our footprint in the planet. …

This whole charade regarding the science that underpins it is a major frustration for those who had embraced a battle about the most needed change of gestures, values and perceptions about the use of natural resources, justifying such change with that science. …

Ravetz and Pereira, the two newly-minted climate science critics, were ready to take the lead in “reconciliation”.

Getting ready for Lisbon

In November 2010, Ravetz  and Pereira produced a “statement of purpose” for the Lisbon “Reconciliation in the climate debate” which was eventually posted at the WUWT site. The opening did echo the contrarian “the science is (not) settled” meme, but the pair’s previous rhetoric of “climate sham” and “illusions” was considerably toned down (presumably in a spirit of reconciliation).

In the politics of climate change, we cannot say that ‘the science is settled’ or ‘the debate is over’. …

We believe that the possibility of harmful climate change is real, and that the resolution of the science (even recognition of its inherent uncertainties) is urgent. We suggest that this is an occasion when the approach and techniques of conflict resolution can be applied to a scientific dispute.

The statement focused on issues at the interface between science and politics. The only specific scientific issue raised was that of the “management of uncertainty”, for which the organizers at least had some expertise, even if none of the eventual other participants did.

The workshop would start with a review of the climate change dispute as a scientific-political phenomenon. As in any contentious issue, there are not just two sides but a spectrum of positions, perhaps on several dimensions. At the extremes are those who are not prepared to dialogue; we hope that there is now sufficient middle ground for some progress to be made. The workshop would then proceed to the identification of some key scientific issues (possibly including the management of uncertainty) whose resolution could be crucial in moving the issue forward.

But by the time that Gavin Schmidt was contacted, somehow the four supposed key scientific issues had already been identified and uncertainty per se was no longer one of them! As his letter of invitation noted:

The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.

Sounds like the top rotation subjects at WUWT and ClimateAudit – surely just a coincidence. But here we see that the morphing of the conference from a conventional PNS exploration of uncertainty at the science-politics interface into a Heartland-style exploration of climate science “issues” was well underway.

At this point, “tallbloke”, the fringe science blogger who had originally hooked up Ravetz with Watts, was now “an ad hoc member of the invitation committee”. So we’ll let him pick up the story of the exciting runup to the Lisbon workshop:

January 5, Flying to Lisbon: On official climate business

The three day workshop is entitled “Conflict Resolution in Climate Science”. This event is being hosted by the European Commission Joint research Centre’s Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen at the  Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

It is being attended by some of the world’s foremost climate scientists, as well as experts in policy formulation and conflict resolution, and some laymen and women with an interest in climate science, including yours truly – me!

The program has yet to be finalised, so there will be more updates here once the details become available.

Revealing change there from “climate debate” to “climate science debate”. But  the responsibility was not without its hard choices:

Nasif Nahle says: Congrats, Tallbloke!!! Don’t let those b… bring you down!

Thanks Nasif. I tried to get an invite for you but apparently, because some very high profile people such as the Pielke’s are attending, some of the warmers have decided not to attend and effectively ceded the field. The organisers are trying to find more people from ‘the consensus of 98% of all climate scientists’ but it’s proving to be difficult. Maybe they’re not so confident about defending their science on neutral ground as we are.

There’s no word yet on why the Pielkes, in their turn, were also no-shows. But later that evening, things are even better:

Great news!
Judith Curry will be attending, and I hope Steve Mosher will be as well. A chance to discuss half baked ideas over a friendly beer.

Indeed. Mosher did make it, as a replacement for “Science blogger of the year” Anthony Watts. Various concerns are aired, including “settled science”.

P.G. Sharrow says:
All they have to do is admit that the science is not settled. I would settle for that.

“Tallbloke” proudly quotes the statement of purpose which, as we have seen, addresses that very concern up front:

The document I’ve been sent (which has the filename ‘reconciliation-rationale’) says:

“In the politics of climate change, we cannot say that ‘the science is settled’ or ‘the debate is over’.”

No need to worry!

Then another interlocutor raises the issue of who will speak for the “warmers”

hro001 says:
Although they probably do recognize that – in order to give some semblance of credibility to their dismissals (without appealing only to their own authority!) – they do need a “designated disser” in attendance … and Gavin got the short straw!

Alas:

Gavin isn’t coming. It is not good etiquette to quote from private correspondence, so I’ll just say that he didn’t see the point in attending if the policy dimension was to be excluded and we are just going to discuss the science, because his side’s science is right and all the sceptic’s scientific arguments are just a smokescreen for their agenda.

But Gavin is not a worthy scientist anyway:

People with closed minds are by definition non-scientists as I see it. Gavin is a computer programmer, who by definition go about their work by defining the variables before they start. See Feynman on scientific method.

I wonder if “tallbloke” let Pearce or the organizers in on his expose of Gavin Schmidt as a “non-scientist”. Who needs him anyway?

There’s plenty more, but now it’s on to the follow-up post where the nitty-gritty of the agenda gets pawed over, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of dealing with the E.U. bureaucracy.

January 16, Lisbon Conference Update: The Agenda

I’d like to help represent as many views as possible from the blogosheric climate community, so please put forward your views so I can raise issues at the conference.

In my response to the document which came with the invite, I inserted a bullet point list of desirable actions as I see it. I’d appreciate your comment and criticism of those, as well as additional ideas I’ve missed. Here are the Bullet points:

  • The inputs, methodological steps and outputs of climate science have to be publicly re-appraised by all interested parties.
  • The level of uncertainty and consequent assessments of risk and urgency versus cost and benefit, have to be reappraised by experts and policy makers.
  • The issue of financial interest at the personal, institutional and political level has to be addressed by funding agencies and political representatives.
  • The possibilities for a deliberate realignment of research effort in the testing of multiple hypotheses concerning the causes and consequences of climate change must be considered.
  • The training and composition of media organisations such as the Society of Environmental Journalists must be addressed so its outputs can reflect the state of knowledge correctly.

On the E.U. “behemoth” and the role of “oceanic oscillations”:

I empathise with your impatience. The good ship (!) E.U. Policy is a behomoth which takes time to steer onto a new course. This conference is starting from the root of the issue which is the science. We believe that this is the right place to start, because it underpins the policy and is subject (in theory) to rigorous rules of appraisal, using the scientific method. So from the sceptical side of the debate we seek to demonstrate that the science is not sufficiently certain to make climate scenarios or state that climate changes have been caused by anthropogenic activity to any significant degree.

If we try to attack at the policy level, we will be mired in argument which rests on opinion, and this plays into the hands of bureaucrats who have vested interest in disconnecting the public from the debate. I will certainly be making the point about the downturn in temperatures worldwide, and their connection with natural processes such as the major oceanic oscillations. If these natural forces can cause rapid and deep changes in climate patterns, the question of how much of the warming they were responsible for during the late C20th needs to be addressed. This is the question all pro co2 causation proponents shy away from. At last we get an opportunity to ask the questions directly.

So we have here the agenda of at least one exalted member of Ravetz’s special “extended peer community” – an ambitious program indeed. But the “extended peer community” can do anything! Good thing too – it turns out that all science, not just climate science,  must be questioned and scrutinized.

With the agenda sorted, and the final roster set, it was on to Lisbon. But at the last minute Ron Cram raised an interesting idea:

One idea I think should be considered is a request to the IPCC that they issue two Assessment Reports – A Majority Report and A Minority Report. This one step would do more to keep the Majority Report honest than anything else. AR4 took an extreme view on almost every debated point of science. The Minority Report would show the result of a more balanced assessment.

tallbloke: Good idea Ron,
That is also what I was getting at with my bullet point 5. Funding research aimed at alternative explanations.

Hold that thought. In part 2, “tallbloke” takes us inside the crucial “temperature data” session, which has an interesting connection to that “minority” report idea.  I’ll cover other workshop highs and lows, including an analysis of the participant list and an update on the Fred Pearce-New Scientist kerfuffle.

And I’ll also take a closer look at post-normal science itself, which appears to have been highjacked here. Indeed, PNS is now in need of its own “extended peer community”. Let the PostNormalAudit begin!

=======================================

[Update: Fred Pearce's New Scientist post on Lisbon has been amended to add Gavin Schmidt's reply to the organizer's invitation in toto and to strike out the original incorrect paraphrase. No word yet on whether Pearce has apologized for his error.]

But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt. who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.[Gavin Schmidt has asked us to clarify his reasons for not attending: see the bottom of this post.]

Before the update with Gavin’s response, here is the key excerpt from the Lisbon organizers’ letter of invitation (not provided by the New Scientist).

“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

Here is the New Scientist update, with Gavin Schmidt’s reply:

Update: Gavin Schmidt has asked us to clarify his reasons for not attending the meeting. We are happy to reproduce the email in which he declined:

Thanks for the invitation. However, I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy
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279 responses to “Post Normal Meltdown in Lisbon, part 1

  1. You have completely misread the situation. Schmidt clearly does believe the science is settled enough, or he would not be recommending political action based on it. Pearce thus got it exactly right. Schmidt is just annoyed for some reason at the accurate reporting of him.

    • Schmidt’s points were:
      – The *specific* so-called “scientific issues” raised in the invitation letter were not particularly controversial within the actual community of climate scientists.
      – Contrarians’ focus on these “issues” is really just cherrypicking through scientific evidence to support a pre-conceived agenda
      – Policy discussion should not be excluded.

      Somehow, none of that made it into “tallbloke’s” and Pearce’s paraphrase.

      Anyway, New Scientist should incorporate all of Schmidt’s response into the story.

    • Lo and behold that’s exactly what they’ve done. Pearce could try and come up with a proper paraphrase, now that he has in effect admitted that the original was wrong.

    • Fred Pearce has nothing to do with it anymore. he doesn’t control the comments or revisions to the piece. The New Science editors will have decided on how to incorporate Gavin’s reply and they will leave the original paraphrase with the strikethrough on the record as a matter of historical fact.

    • Well, then maybe the editors can come up with a proper paraphrase. And then they can get Pearce to do another article – on how the whole idea and premise of the workshop was a complete non-starter and of no possible scientific interest. And how Gavin Schmidt tried to warn the organizers of that fact, but they wouldn’t listen.

      That’s the real story here.

    • Unsettled Science by Gavin Schmidt, 3 December 2009

      The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ‘some scientists’ are supposed to have said. The reality is that it depends very much on what you are talking about and I have never heard any scientist say this in any general context – at a recent meeting I was at, someone claimed that this had been said by the participants and he was roundly shouted down by the assembled experts.

      The reason why no scientist has said this is because they know full well that knowledge about science is not binary – science isn’t either settled or not settled. This is a false and misleading dichotomy. Instead, we know things with varying degrees of confidence – for instance, conservation of energy is pretty well accepted, as is the theory of gravity (despite continuing interest in what happens at very small scales or very high energies) , while the exact nature of dark matter is still unclear. The forced binary distinction implicit in the phrase is designed to misleadingly relegate anything about which there is still uncertainty to the category of completely unknown. i.e. that since we don’t know everything, we know nothing….

      Compare with:

      “…And I’m going to show you the latest science, which now doesn’t leave the question unsettled anymore this is now settled science, it is now settled science that there is not a problem with our influence over Climate. The science is in, the truth is out and the scare is over.”

      — Christopher Monckton. 10/14/9 Minnesota Free Market Institute presentation

    • J Bowers February 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      Except that on the same thread (which Dr Schmidt references in his response to New Scientist as evidence he doesn’t thing the science is settled) we find at Comment 108:

      Ed Miliband, the UK Climate Minister was quoted in the Times Online today as saying “The science is clear and settled. ” Al Gore has been quoted as making similar remarks.

      Can anyone point me to a quote from climate scientist disowning or reprimanding such policicians?

      [Response: It depends on what the context is. If they are talking about hurricanes and climate change, then there are plenty. If they are talking about attribution of recent warming to human activity they are fine. The only error is when people either pro or con overextend such statements to encompass the whole scientific enterprise. - gavin] [my emphasis of course]

    • If you’re talking the last 30 years (a pretty good definition of recent), it’s hard to deny that most, perhaps even all the warming is from GHGs. That is not a particularly controversial position, although McLean et al (2009) tried to promote natural variation as the main driver and failed miserably. I’m not aware of any other scientific research that shows primary attribution to natural forcings over this time period.

      Earlier in the 20th century, yes there was some naturally induced warming. Read the AR4 chapter on attribution.

    • HAS – some things in science *are* settled to everyone’s satisfaction within science. But not all things are.

      Thus Gavin’s comment:

      The only error is when people either pro or con overextend such statements to encompass the whole scientific enterprise./b>

      Makes perfect sense.

      Pearce’s statement wasn’t that Gavin said “*some* of the science is settled, therefore there’s nothing to discuss” (which would be a silly thing for anyone to say, since if some of the science is unsettled, there’s obviously stuff to discuss)

      Pearce’s statement was that Gavin said “the science is settled, therefore there’s nothing to discuss”.

      In other words, *all* of the science.

      That’s not what Gavin said, and AFAIK Gavin has never said that, and indeed has published at least one essay at RC making *clear* that not all of the relevant science is settled.

      Did you have a point, actually???

    • Deep Climate and dhogaza

      My comment was directed at Gavin Schmidt’s response o New Scientist where he is quoted at saying:

      At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
      http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/

      I’m just noting that in fact in that reference he does in fact say ‘the science was settled’ at least insofar as AGW is concerned.

      On the more substantive issue I think you incorrectly characterise what is settled. What is settled is that many modern GCMs and their ensembles simulate this relationship, but that’s a different matter.

    • In context, Pearce presented this is as a blanket statement (i..e no uncertainties or loose ends), which Schmidt did not make in his email, nor in that post or comment.

      He did say that he would not object to others saying the anthropogenic genesis of recent warming is “settled”. That is, he wouldn’t put it that way himself, as a scientist, but in this limited sense he wouldn’t object, as it is broadly correct. So even here you’re wrong to say he claimed that this limited question is “settled”.

      You do understand the difference between saying something, and not objecting to someone else saying something, don’t you?

      The problem with this whole “settled” meme is it is a great peg for people to make all kinds of irrelevant arguments. That’s why scientists avoid it.

    • HAS:

      On the more substantive issue I think you incorrectly characterise what is settled. What is settled is that many modern GCMs and their ensembles simulate this relationship, but that’s a different matter.

      The truly substantive issue is that you incorrectly think that the relationship comes from GCMs.

      This also pretty much proves that you get your information only from denialist sites, and haven’t actually made an effort to learn what the science is really about.

    • Deep Climate

      To perhaps summarise then: Dr Schmidt said he’s on the record as saying that the science isn’t settled, but that it is “fine” to say that it is settled in respect of AGW.

      I just note that this is entirely consistent with the view expressed by him in the para before the one I quoted above from his email to New Scientist:

      Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

      IMHO the whole reason the “settled” meme gets legs is because many climate scientists don’t “get” uncertainty.

    • Come now.

      AR4 WG1 is full of nuanced language that attempts to communicate levels of uncertainty throughout.

      For example, Judith Curry is not on board with the 50-90 finding. (Very likely (> 90%) that at least 50% of warming since 1950 is anthropogenic).

      That’s her prerogative. There are many others who think it should be stronger.

      But that has nothing to do with the science being “settled” or not according to some blanket statement, such as “in respect of AGW”.

      You see how this works? I bring up specific statements that have broad agreement, and then you bring it back to some new formulation of a blanket statement to prove .. well just what I’m not sure.

      But I think we’re going around in circles. You’ve had your say, I’ve had mine. But I do get the last word. Enough.

    • HAS — “Except that on the same thread (which Dr Schmidt references in his response to New Scientist as evidence he doesn’t thing the science is settled) we find at Comment 108:…”

      …the current leader of the opposition in the House of Commons, a POLITICIAN not a scientist, saying… (you know the rest). So, Gavin Schmidt is proven right yet again.

      “Can anyone point me to a quote from climate scientist disowning or reprimanding such policicians?”

      “I can’t criticise a scientist for saying it, so I’ll try to criticise all scientists for not saying something else.” Is that doublethink?

    • IMHO the whole reason the “settled” meme gets legs is because many climate scientists don’t “get” uncertainty.

      Perhaps you mean how uncertainty is discussed with the public. I can assure you that they have no problem getting it, in scientific terms. It is even articulated within the wording of the IPCC tenets. I imagine this wasn’t easy to do, noting the political nature of the IPCC process.

      The “settled” meme has legs because it’s a meme. Climate science mythology, with double blinds that can’t be disavowed, but when disavowed, the scientists know nothing. If anything, thinking about what Gavin said, in relation to the type of conference he was attending, should help people understand that the answer he gave was very specific in nature. Too specific as it turns out because it was distorted, innocently or not. Let’s not the same mistake every time a scientist has to answer a question with word “settled” in it. It’s not as if we expect them to blow away a central tenet of climate science just to make them fit the image of a “true” scientist and then appear like they know nothing.

    • HAS:

      IMHO the whole reason the “settled” meme gets legs is because many climate scientists don’t “get” uncertainty.

      No, it gets legs because it’s a convenient peg on which to hang the *lie* that many climate scientists don’t “get” uncertainty. Most of what they work on is all about *reducing* uncertainty, something you can’t do if you don’t “get” it.

      What’s certain is that denialists like yourself are the ones who are full of unwarranted certainty …

    • Just for clarity in what follows I am not responding to Deep Climate, we have, as he says, had our last words.

      But as far as gryposaurus February 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm and dhogaza February 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm on scientist climate scientists getting uncertainty go read Trenberth, K. E., 2010: More knowledge, less certainty. Nature Reports Climate Change. For example check out:

      http://www.nature.com/climate/2010/1002/full/climate.2010.06.html

      “Many of these [new improved climate] models will attempt new and better representations of important climate processes and their feedbacks … . Including these elements will make the models into more realistic simulations of the climate system, but it will also introduce uncertainties.”

      Did you “get” that?

      [DC: I put in the URL, because it's a good article, and makes an important point about your style of debate as well. Some more response below. But this is your last post on this subject. Thanks!]

    • Let’s see. Suppose we introduce methane feedbacks from permafrost release into the models. So in this case, the expected feedback forcing will rise, and there may well be greater uncertainty bars. But we will have better knowledge, and climate sensitivity on the low end may well be better constrained.

      Or take ice sheet melt. As I understand it this will be included in AR5. Thus, the relatively modest sea level rise projected in AR4 will almost certainly be projected much higher in AR5.

      But all of this is better understood as refinement, and trying to establish parameters that were not taken into account, leading to more conservative projections in AR4.

      So in summary, AR5 will attempt to project factors that were specifically excluded in AR4, factors that will tend to increase overall projections, say, for ice melt and sea level rise. It is well known that the projection of sea level was too conservative in AR4. This is a qualitative uncertainty that was well communicated. This qualitative uncertainty (i.e. no estimate of ice sheet melt) will now become an increased quantitative uncertainty when looking at sea level overall. But definitely increased knowledge relative to AR4.

      This hardly supports your case.

      But as I say enough is enough.

    • Did you “get” that?

      Yes. Every measurement in the world is uncertain. So every time you introduce measurements of additional phenomena into a model, they carry uncertainty into the model.

      D’oh.

      DC has it right:

      Let’s see. Suppose we introduce methane feedbacks from permafrost release into the models. So in this case, the expected feedback forcing will rise, and there may well be greater uncertainty bars. But we will have better knowledge, and climate sensitivity on the low end may well be better constrained.

      In other words, this might raise the best estimate of sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 from 3C to 3.5C, but with slightly greater uncertainty … ON BOTH ENDS.

      So rather than 2-4.5C with a most likely value of 3C, you might see 2.2-5C with a most likely value of 3.5C.

      Greater uncertainty, bad news.

      Claro?

    • Of course HAS interprets this:

      Including these elements will make the models into more realistic simulations of the climate system, but it will also introduce uncertainties.”

      As meaning they’ll be worse. Which is totally [ridiculous]. [ed]

    • [DC: I warned you repeatedly - off topic, repetetive, veiled accusations. Thanks for understanding!]

  2. Thanks for the interesting take on events and the chronology. I’d forgotten my characterisation of Gavin’s response had been up there for all to see since Jan 7th! Didn’t raise too much of a stir at the time. What a difference to today!

    • Thanks for stopping by. Your ideas are certainly getting wider exposure now. A couple of questions for you, tallbloke:

      Which of the final list of attendees were your suggestions? Whose idea was it to invite Fred Pearce and Gerald Trufetter as participants?

      Thanks!

    • There’s a difference between being misrepresented by a) a professional journalist in a respected popular science magazine, and b) a [edit - fringe blogger] on his own blog? Gosh.

    • I’ll reply to that if you remove the ad hom in the preceding comment.

      [DC: Done. ]

    • Good enough, though my blog primarily deals with solar science and solar system dynamics, which is not a ‘fringe’ climate issue, no matter how hard mainstream climate science seems to be trying to make it so.

      I was co-opted onto the invites committee at a late stage in organising the conference. The final attendees I had a hand in recommending were Steve Mosher and Nick Stokes. Both from the ‘other side’ of the debate from me, but fair, meticulous and very much their own men.

      I honestly don’t know who invited Fred and Gerald (it’s Traufetter by the way).

    • Wow. I thought Steve Goddard (now of SPPI, former guest blogger at WUWT) was your guy. I wonder who came up with his name.

    • Don’t know who contacted Steve Goddard. He and Steve Mosher managed to reconcile their differences by the end though, which was good to see. Steve Goddard is a keen cyclist and all round clean living kinda guy, so his eco credentials but co2 sceptical outlook may have flagged him up as a non-stereotypical contributor to the debate.

    • Tallbloke, Apologise. Grow a pair and apologise. Here. Now. It’s not that hard.

  3. That is not a correction, nor a retraction, nor an apology. They are still biasing the reader, because one can read the text below the strikethrough. Although one could argue that to reasonable readers who read Gavin’s email, NewScientist and Fred Pearce are once again demonstrating their bias.

    IMHO, this “correction” does not go far enough, and I’m sure that it won’t satisfy Dr. Schmidt. Then again, at this point he may not care anymore.

    Tallbloke, please answer these questions at Deltoid. Who have been thinking of very excuse not to.

    And again, I urge you to apologize to Dr. Schmidt.

  4. DC,

    Thanks for this. Fascinating insight and exposure of what happened.

    Regarding the Pielkes. Well, according to Pearce’s original phrasing/intent (see below), Pielke Snr also apparently believes that the science is settled and that there is nothing to discuss ;)

    “But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

  5. It seems to me tallbloke’s characterization of Gavin’s email response is halfway in the transformation to claiming merely that Gavin had written that the science was settled. I wonder if Pearce relied on that precis instead of Gavin’s actual email message.

    I kind of like Ravetz’s comment “…Even now I’m not all the way with my critics; the distinction between incompetence and blundering self-protection on the one hand (plus agenda-driven hype) and self-conscious scientific conspiracy on the other, may still be dividing us.”

    So he is saying that while most deniers think climate scientists are knaves, he thinks they are mostly just fools. But I guess he hoped they could be redeemed by a reconciliation workshop.

    • In fact Fred read Gavin’s response in full before he wrote his article. The characterisation I gave verbally was that ‘Gavin didn’t want to come because Policy discussion wasn’t on the table and anyway he thinks the science is settled.’

      To put Mapleleaf at ease (maybe), I’ll say now that I have written to Dr Schmidt and apologised for allowing my annoyance at his characterisation of the motivation of skeptics to colour my interpretation of :
      “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”.

    • Yes, we know Fred read the whole reply out loud. But did he read the actual letter of invitation from the organizers? Wasn’t that attached to Gavin’s reply in the email chain? And did he read that part?

    • Tallbloke,

      Please post your apology letter to Schmidt on your blog, or here, where people can read it. Also, the defamation of Schmidt was made in public, so the appropriate response is to apologize in public.

      Sorry, but I seem to have a hard time taking your word for things after all the deceitfulness from your end. Hence the request to make your apology public.

    • Mapleleaf, I want to, but I’ll give Gavin a chance to have a say in private first if he so wishes.

    • You don’t need Gavin’s permission to make your apology public.

      You certainly didn’t ask his permission before circulating his private e-mail which you received accidently. You certainly didn’t ask his permission before mischaracterizing his position.

      My guess is you don’t want to make your apology public because it contains conditional language, much as your post over at Tamino’s suggested.

  6. Interesting to read this overview.

    I get the feeling Pearce won’t be making an apology. After all, he posted Dr Schmidt’s response to the invitation without posting the text of the invitation itself. My guess is deliberately. (Pretend you haven’t read the invitation to Dr Schmidt and try reading the response out of context.)

    (Does Tallbloke have his nic in Google’s auto alert? )

    • That’s an excellent point. But in fact, the whole matter deserves another look. As I said Gavin tried to warn them, but they wouldn’t listen.

    • That raises the question of whether Pearce ever saw the invitation that was sent to Gavin.

    • Probably not until he saw the excerpt Gavin supplied in his letter to New Scientist. But maybe tallbloke can tell us if Fred Pearce read that part aloud, or just Gavin’s response.

    • Then again, Fred Pearce has his *own* letter of invitation. I wonder if it was the same as Gavin’s?

      Nick Stokes said his was different, but I’m not sure how. I think McIntyre’s was the same, though (didn’t check closely).

    • Deep, I didn’t show Fred the actual email, so there would be no addresses or timestamps visible. I quickly hacked just the response into notepad, accidentally missing off Gavin’s final single sentence para in my hurry.

      Remember, we’d had a couple of beers at this point.

    • That would be:

      You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

      So on top of everything else, Pearce never saw the list of what Gavin Schmidt said should be discussed. Hence “nothing to discuss” was not Pearce’s fault but yours. I suppose we’ll have to take your word that cutting it off was accidental. You must understand skepticism on this point is understandable, but I ask commenters to be restrained and let it go.

      Is it possible to find out if Pearce’s letter of invitation was the same as Schmidt’s? That’s a pretty important point here too.

    • Tallbloke,
      Above you said that Fred read the “full” email. Shall I amend that in light of the new revelation of truncation? Thanks!

    • Never attribute to malice or incompetence that which can conveniently attributed to beer.

      Look, tallbloke, if you can’t hold your likkor, don’t drink. You’ve been making the beer excuse all over the place. Sorry, but the “I was drinking” excuse doesn’t work in the court of law, and I doubt very much that it’s going to work in the court of public opinion.

    • I suppose we’ll have to take your word that cutting it off was accidental. You must understand skepticism on this point is understandable, but I ask commenters to be restrained and let it go.

      I accept that it was accidental, but don’t think his given excuse is, so to speak, excusable …

      My guess is that tallbloke has zero experience working with the press, and has never been invited to an international conference before in his life. My guess is that these factors, along with drinking, went to his head a bit and caused him to make some unfortunate decisions.

      What do you say, tallbloke?

      No malice, bad judgement?

    • Deep, only if Fred felt like showing it to you I guess.

      Interestingly most of the things Gavin though we’d be better off discussing did get an airing. Not at the instigation of the organisers as such, though I know Angela Pereira is concerned about those issues personally, but just in the flow of ideas crossing the room. This was in addition to the nitty gritty science issues which were covered including those that caused Gavin to decline the invite:

      Natural variability
      Surface temperature datasets
      Other climate factors and indices and the funding for studying them

    • Dhogaza:
      Yeah, seems fair.
      I do have some experience of working with the press, when I raised £246,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Helicopter Charity in 14 weeks a few years ago, but not in such a contentious area as climate science currently is.

      I have been to conferences before, and because everyone was being so civil to each other at this one and we’d ‘settled in’ to being fair and polite in our exchanges I didn’t realize how much contention and aggravation my actions would cause later.

    • Well poor old Fred Pearce is taking most of the heat. Which is at it should be. He has a lot to answer for.

    • So just to be crystal clear.

      You accidentally cut off the email. And then when Fred read it aloud you didn’t realize your mistake even then, right? So neither of you knew it was cut off and you only realized that later, right?

      I think Fred should have asked that question though, since it was obviously cut and paste. I’m less and less impressed with our boy Fred.

      When did you realize it was cut off? After the article came out?

    • Deep, not until Gavin posted his complete reply on Climate Etc.

      I didn’t realize at the time Fred read it out, because I hadn’t looked at it for a couple of months. I’d been busy with my own stuff preparing for the conference.

    • Fair enough. Just so we all understand that’s where the “nothing to discuss” mistake came from. The “science is settled” is Fred’s, although it does sound like you may have fed him that line.

      And do I have your permission to edit your “full reply” comment above?

    • So the moral of the story is, in part, that Fred Pearce should check his sources, just in case someone accidently screws up and doesn’t properly cite or supply a complete document.

      Don’t they teach journalism in the UK, or are people like Pearce supposed to divine the rules as they go on, in response to negative feedback after multiple screwups?

      Sigh …

      So the blame does fall mainly on Pearce, because he’s the professional, and should know better.

      Tallbloke’s still guilty of being predisposed towards thinking that there’s actually conflict within science in the particular area nitty-gritty science (as he calls it). That’s a denialist fantasy, but given that the conference was a denialfest, that’s to be expected.

    • Well, tallbloke had the answer for that too, above.


      The training and composition of media organisations such as the Society of Environmental Journalists must be addressed so its outputs can reflect the state of knowledge correctly.

      So Fred should get some training. Maybe they will also instill the dangers of accepting participation in workshops with a dubious agenda.

    • I hope that tallbloke understands he does nothing for his credibility nor to build any level of sympathy among those of us totally annoyed at his actions by making statements like this, elsewhere:

      But Girma, you forget, Climate science says momma nature went on holiday after 1970 and evil human emitted co2 took over the ability to cause global temperature to rise.

      That’s statement demonstrates:

      1. Stunning ignorance (and you got invited to this conference????)

      -or-

      2. Stunning dishonesty (and you got invited to this conference????)

      Sorry, tallbloke, my sympathy level, which was starting to climb into the positive end of the scale, has just dropped to its previous strongly negative value.

    • Deep: it’s your blog so it’s your call. I’d be happy if you leave what I said and add a note at the bottom to say I clarified the point and link to that other reply.

      Dhogaza: Or possibility 3) Tallbloke has a wicked sense of humour. I note that on our last little chat about natural variability on Climate Etc, you didn’t get around to answering my point that since momma nature was able to cause many big swings in temperature before man ever set fire to coal, she probably still can.

      [DC: Don't worry I'll handle it correctly, showing that you agreed to the clarification. It is a point that caused confusion, which is why I've already corrected it in the head post above. ]

    • Tallbloke, a simple question …

      Do you know what “reconciliation” means?

      When seeking common ground in order to facilitate reconciliation, would you agree that *honesty* is a prerequisite? Or if you’re simply uniformed, that a certain level of knowledge is necessary for reconciliation with experts can be expected?

    • Dhogaza,

      Sure. reconciliation means totting up the various subtotals and matching the overall budget.

      This means that once we know what the energy budget at the top of the atmosphere is with sufficient certainty (i.e. not yet) then we’ll be able to reconcile Solar, Co2, Ozone and cow farts and everyone will be happy.

      Check this post out for a start on the job:
      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/working-out-where-the-energy-goes-part-2-peter-berenyi/

      [DC: Your post is your favourite comment from a great Skeptical Science post. This is what folks should be looking at:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=108&&n=178

      PB weighs in at #60 and gets a bit of a rough ride in the 70s.

      No more links from you, and keep on topic. Thanks! ]

    • Oh, and I’ll just add, since it was raised on Deltoid, but not in an atmosphere as conducive to useful debate as the one Deep has provided here (thanks for that) that commenter Olavi raised an important point on that thread which modifies my early comment about the enhanced co2 effect. He pointed out that the shrinking of the thermosphere discovered by NASA may have had an effect on TOA energy balance.

      This is a very interesting point to discuss and I hope people will have something useful to say about it.

      [DC: Not on this thread. Thanks!]

    • So to be clear, if you want to get into the science, then please raise peer-reviewed scientific papers that are relevant to the supposed scientific issues that were listed in the inviatation to Gavin. And tell us why. For example, I mentioned McLean et al (2009), which is quite possibly the worst climate science paper of that year. But that one has been responded to. Same for Lindzen and Choi.

      Any peer-reviewed MWP papers in the last year or two that should be considered, that somehow got missed? Oh yeah, McShane and Wyner (2011). Well, that got eviscerated in short order, didn’t it? Meanwhile, no one ever mentions Li et al (2007), which was an actual collaboration between statisticians and paleos.

      What else?

      Do you see now why Gavin Schmidt wrote what he wrote?

      And no E&E papers need be brought forward. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Open Thread #3 « The Policy Lass

  8. This whole thing is dumb. It’s just disengenuous word-play.

    Frankly, I wished Gavin had used that phrase. Because some issues in climate science are settled. As settled as settled can be. Some things about climate are not, to various degrees. Just because we don’t know everyting, doesn’t mean we know nothing, or that everything is up for re-evaluation, solely upon the notion that science can never be settled, taken to its whimsical extreme.

    It isn’t hard to be honestly nuanced about the constraints within which issues of science are settled, and to use the word “settled” to describe the science within those bounds.

    We know enough about the theory of gravity to settle the fact a plane will not drop from sky due an oversight born from the disagreements about its presently incomplete incorporation into quantum mechanics. We think it is a bad joke if it were remarked that on that plane were a group of physicists going to a conference on gravity, and how could they take the risk, with everything up for discussion in Science: I mean, what if they flew over Deepak Chopra’s house?

  9. DeepClimate,
    Thanks for commenting on my idea. I provided more details on my idea on Judith Curry’s blog. Here’s the statement I made there:

    “My idea is to have one report lead by Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt. The other to be led by Roger Pielke Sr or Judith Curry. You have 4,000 qualified climate scientists take part in the writing and review process. If you are part of the process, then you get to vote on which report best represents the science. After the two reports come out, you might be surprised which report wins the vote to become the Majority Report.”

    “Of course, voting doesn’t determine truth. Truth would still be open to debate. The vote would only determine which report was called the Majority Report.”

    See http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/24/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-in-the-climate-change-debate/#comment-34521

  10. Cram,

    My the contrarians are desperate. Your idea is foolish beyond belief. Voting? You clearly have no idea how difficult it is for the delegates to sign off on one report watered down IPCC report. Having two reports will not only politicize and polarize the science even more. Let me see, I wonder which report Saudi Arabia will vote for? Then again, perhaps that is your objective….

    Besides, there is one side here– science and facts. You seem to want use use wedge politics, no thanks. I’m confident that your idea will go nowhere, and I hope that DC only made reference to it out to demonstrate the sheer lunacy of it.

    [DC: Edit - goes too far - rephrase please].

    • Actually I had a different reason, although I don’t disagree that the idea as formulated is a non-starter. But you’ll just have to be patient to see where I’m going with this.

    • Mapleleaf,
      You are obviously unfamiliar with the many criticisms of the IPCC by mainstream climate scientists like Pielke, Curry, Christy and others. And you are unfamiliar with the criticisms of reviewers whose comments have been routinely ignored (such as the one reviewer who advised not to hide the Briffa data deletions). If these authors and reviewers had a chance to vote for a report which was written in a more even-handed way, they may take it. The other benefit is the report written by the current IPCC folks, like Trenberth, Jones or Hansen, would likely be less alarmist because they would be more inclined to listen to comments by reviewers. It is hard to completely thumb your nose at people and then expect them to vote for you. Rather than being divisive, I think the idea would cause climate scientists on both sides to move toward the center in an effort to secure votes and not overstate their own position.

    • Ron Cram,
      I am not letting this devolve into a criticism of the IPCC. Wait for part 2 to see where I’m going and have your say then. Bart V. has charcterized the scientists you mention as being on the “agnostic” side. Others refer to “lukewarmers”. I don’t think you have the same definition of “mainstream” as most.

      But as I say this is off topic – no more.

    • Ron Cram — “You are obviously unfamiliar with the many criticisms of the IPCC by mainstream climate scientists like Pielke, Curry, Christy and others.”

      The Three Percenters, perhaps?

    • J Bowers wrote:

      The Three Percenters, perhaps?

      Please let’s not exaggerate. Two and a half percent.

  11. DC, thanks for this overview. Form the get-go this has been a confusing issue with information trickling in from all sides. Very smart to have a look at those wordy pieces Ravetz wrote for WUWT last year as well. You have packed most of the info neatly together.

    This isn’t difficult: The post-normal people are being played and used as a weapon in what could be described as denialism 2.0, the Trojan Horse of lukewarminess. In a way it’s an improvement, especially if somehow they can be forced to separate themselves from the fringe. Everything also becomes a lot murkier.

    But who are the lukewarmers and who represents the fringe? I hope we find out soon. It is high time the real skeptics start dissociating themselves from ideologue nutters.

    • Which category do you guess I’m in Neven?

    • Tallbloke, no offense, I’m sure you’re a wonderful guy and all, but based on your comments over at WUWT and your blog, I would say the latter category. On second thought, ‘ideologue nutters’ could be a bit harsh in this case (I don’t know if you are ideologically driven), so I’ll rephrase:

      It is high time the real skeptics start dissociating themselves from ideologue nutters and pseudo-skeptics (like Tallbloke).

    • Interesting new category. How do you define ‘pseudo-skeptic’

    • Someone who has hijacked and thus devaluated the term, but actually has no clue as to what it means to really be skeptical of everything, not just the Team/climate scientists.

      In short: Not really a skeptic. You know what ‘pseudo’ means, right?

    • We could start with a simple survey, with questions like …

      1. what represents the best approximation of the value of pi?

      a) 3

      b) 3.14159

      c) 4

    • Neven, you’re personalising the issue. No matter what I think of the Team, the main issue for me is the science. My position is that measurement uncertainty currently makes it impossible to attribute the principle cause of the most recent warming. This is not the same thing holding an opinion on the behaviour/ethics/quality of peer review/etc, though of course I do have a views on those issues, along with evidence to substantiate them.

      [DC: rest deleted - enough rambling. Thanks.]

    • With all due respect, someone who publicly calls a leading scientist “close minded” and “non-scientist”, among numerous other outrageous and unsubstantiated accusations, has some nerve in describing Neven’s very gentle, very respectful criticism “personalizing” the issue. You asked a question, and got a reasonable answer.

      And you are still raising irrelevant and off-topic issues which I asked you repeatedly not to do. We get it. All science is wrong and you are right. Enough.

    • I’d like to humbly suggest that rehashing old scientific issues regarding climate science with someone who rejects post-1920s physics is probably not a fruitful use of space and time on this blog?

      Those electrons spinning in the aether might get tired trying to keep up :)

    • Oops, you beat me to it as I was in the process of typing …

  12. Correction: From the get-go… (and I forgot to ask for notifications for this comment thread).

  13. Neven:

    denialism 2.0, the Trojan Horse of lukewarminess.

    Excellent, I like it. I think this is where the likes of Mosher have been going with the “lukewarmer” meme from the beginning, DC’s digging out the old Ravetz posts at WUWT and various other things makes it clear that this has been an ongoing process for quite a long time.

    At the risk of offending Tallbloke, I think he’s just being used …

    • Dhogaza:

      So does Willis Eschenbach!

      Maybe you guys should get together and see what else you can agree about. :)

    • It sure is an ongoing process, whether conscious (Mosher’s tactics are transparent) or not. We will have to sit the process out. You can slow it down (like the denialists are successfully doing, but every year a bit less successfully), but I don’t think you can speed it up. Like dorlomin wrote on The Policy Lass yesterday: “We wait and watch Arctic sea ice extent and the major temperature datasets.”

      The only that can be done IMHO, is prepare for the moment when a critical mass finally sees that things are going the wrong way by making sure the dots get connected in the right way. Here’s my take on that.

    • It will get worse before it gets better. AR5 is coming.

    • “Lukewarmism” is pretty much within the bounds of the IPCC position. To me it’s a variation of interpretation. That many of them are matey with the wattsbots or even have sympathies that way does not mean their opinions are invalid. There is such a thing as people who have different opinions.

    • it does matter if their policy aims are shared with the watts winger crowd and their ostensible ‘opinions’ similarly attributable to said. people can be forgiven for having suspicions, not least when the usual concern trolling concessions solve very well for a maximally defensible position that justifies business as usual.

  14. I suppose we can all agree that there is room for improvement in the estimation and communication of scientific uncertainty, as well as developing better methodologies to incorporate such uncertainties into decision making. Such difficulties have not previously gone unnoticed in the realms of public policy, military strategy or business.

    The advocates of “post-normal science” seem to want to go further than this, though, in demanding active “extended peer” involvement and influence within science itself; not just in asking questions but in providing answers. My question to tallbloke and his friends is: are there any case studies where a “post normal” approach has led to real progress within a field of research in the physical sciences? Indeed, has this approach ever been tried in the physical sciences?

    I suspect that the answer to both questions is “no”. If so, I would be struck by the irony that “post normal” advocates are arguing for the application of a novel methodology to climate science, even though the efficacy of this approach is untested and unmeasured, while having as their main complaint that climate scientists fail to characterize uncertainty sufficiently well.

    • That’s exactly the not-so-fine line that’s been crossed here. I will have something to say about this in part 2. Certainly not all PNS practitioners are so indiscriminate in failing to distinguish among “extended peer communities” and the appropriate domain for their intervention.

    • I suspect Ravetz himself might have a view on that question.

      My take is that after the mainstream banished dissent to wasteland beyond the pale, confirmation bias set in and objectivity was lost. So I agree with Ron Cram, time for a sensible mutually moderating process like the minority report idea. In order to make such a system work, access to materials and resources has to be fairly allocated too, so ideas currently under-developed for lack of resources can be tested properly, and assessed professionally.

    • Are you serious?

      It’s never been easier to write and get published in the literature … if you have something worthwhile to say. There has never been more access to scientific data or publishing venues.

      Ryan O’Donnell got published as a lead author. That’s cool. And it will lead to improvements in Steig et al’s next paper. That’s how to do it.

      I have very little sympathy for those like Pat Michaels and Ross McKitrick who are having trouble getting weak papers published. Fix them, instead of trying to sneak in sound bites that don’t follow from the analysis. Complaisant editors like Chris de Freitas are gone, so the bar is raised.

      Of course, bad papers still get through, but it is better to err on the side of tolerance.

      Yours are just unsubstantiated allegations. And before you raise the example of Ross McKitrick, let me remind that his account of the Chris de Freitas affair at Climate Research is completely misleading (in “Circling the Bandwagons”). However, that is a discussion for another time.

      Yes, Ravetz spoke of possible confirmation bias, incompetence and worse, more or less, at WUWT. But he didn’t in the Statement of Purpose. That’s a problem.

    • Curry advocates the same when she touts McIntyre as possibly the best statistical paleo analyst, when he has published one peer-reviewed paper (and associated Replies) in the scientific literature on paleo.

      He has boasted that he has enough material for 10 papers. Well, AR5 deadlines are looming – he better get on it.

    • Curry advocates the same when she touts McIntyre as possibly the best statistical paleo analyst, when he has published one peer-reviewed paper (and associated Replies) in the scientific literature on paleo.

      Prof. Curry thinks McIntyre’s possibly the best “statistical paleo analyst,” indeed? Even after Wegman’s “replication” of McI’s only published, peer-reviewed paper has been dissected by DC and Mashey, here? My, what else couldn’t Prof. Curry believe?

    • “My take is that after the mainstream banished dissent to wasteland beyond the pale, confirmation bias set in and objectivity was lost.”

      TB, unless you have rock solid and verifiable examples of where PNS has been successfully applied to the real world, it seems to me that you’re adding even more uncertainty to the existing uncertainties. The impression I get is that the Lisbon workshop was some kind of marketing exercise or experiment to attract investment in an untested and hypothetical product which doesn’t even have a Letter of Intent to help persuade investors, let alone a demonstrable prototype or Patent Pending.

  15. New Statesman just conducted a poll which placed MacIntyre at 32 in the fifty top people of 2010. Didn’t see any other Climateers above him. Apart from Barrack Obama of course.

    [DC: Off topic, but I'm letting it through just to show how confused you really are. Of course, it's a problem when the likes of McIntyre have more impact than real scientists. The Lisbon Workshop is part of how that happens.

    However, I am losing patience, as exasperation is beginning to outweigh amusement. Expect tighter moderation. Thanks!]

    • Actually, good catch by tallbloke. As New Statesman said:

      The influence might not be positive…

      He’s important. So was the guy who’s falsified research led to vast numbers of people thinking that the MMR vaccine was causing autism.

    • The article was from September and was called “50 People Who Matter 2010″. McIntyre edged out:

      33. Moqtada al-Sadr

      Still trailing…

      3. Mahmoud Ahmedinijad

    • [DC: No Godwin moments please (although I recognize that was a very tame observation). ]

    • I’d thought about that as well, and considered saying something about an ex-theology student from Georgia and the Soviet Union, since technically that’s not a Godwin’s moment … :)

    • I’m guessing J Bowers must have raised a certain winner of Time’s Man of of the year in 1939.

    • Yes, it was a very poor illustration but not intended as a direct comparison – McI did have the cajones to tell the Heartland attendees that he doesn’t agree with their politics, and Cuccinelli and Inhofe are wrong. The point really was that making it into the top 100 in the press isn’t like getting on the short list for a Nobel Peace Prize.

    • J Bowers I agree with you.

    • I agree with J Bowers’ interpretation of ones inclusion in person of the year lists.

  16. It’s becoming more and more confusing, so many organisators. Who ist this guy “Ron Cram” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RonCram)?

    There’s a wikipedia user Ron Cram, who writes “A workshop titled “Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” was organized by Jerome Ravetz and Angela Pereira and met at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon under the auspices of the Joint Research Centre, an agency of the European Commission.”
    (see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:RonCram/ClimateScienceDebateSandbox&oldid=412601333)

    • Andreas,

      Cram is a……OK, go and read some of the early posts at SheWonk. If I recall correctly, dhogaza and others did an excellent job of exposing his true agenda and beliefs, and some not so desirable traits.

      Best to ignore him, IMHO.

    • Andreas,
      Yes, that’s me. I am a little surprised you found the article I’m writing since it is still in the Sandbox stage. Did you have a question about the sentence you quoted?

  17. I doubt very much that the EC (JRC) will dare fund another circus like Lisbon– me thinks it was a weak attempt to attain some semblance of credibility. Now the ‘skeptics’ have very likely burnt that bridge too. And they want to be an integral part of running and managing the IPCC reports? Wow, just wow. They have left it way too late for AR5 anyways.

    And still no public apologies from Rog Tallbloke or Pearce…..

    A curious question….given that tallbloke was affiliated with his employer at the workshop (intentionally or not, it is stated in B&W), will it be necessary for his employer to also apologize on his behalf for slandering a NASA scientist?

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      ML did you find out who within the JRC (BTW Joint Research Centre not Committee) was responsible for approving this? Was there any kind of external review? I found a JRC web site, but no info on this meeting at all. Enquiring minds want to know ;-)

    • Gavin’s Pussycat, I have a post stuck in moderation (of course, this might get stuck there, too) with a link to a Portuguese site where the schedule for the workshop was posted, including the workshop’s purpose written by someone from the Gulbenkian Foundation. Given the EU is multilingual and multinational, the workshop was in Lisbon and the Gulbenkian Foundation is based in Portugal, a lot of the information on the web may be in Portuguese.

  18. Dhogaza:
    As a matter of interest, the guy who did the study on MMR vaccines came up at the conference. It was said that he conducted a followup with full double blind testing etc which confirmed his earlier findings and he successfully published. However, only the earlier study gets referred to because his findings are inimical to government policy.

    I haven’t checked this one out for myself though so I have no opinion. I just mention it as a possibly important miscarriage of post publication analysis for anyone who wishes to investigate.

    • At the conference? Will that be in the reports? Which session?

      Tell us more!

    • I dont think you want to go there….
      He falsified his evidence hoping for monetary gain.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMR_vaccine_controversy

      go down to the section: Full Retraction and Fraud Allegations

    • harvey, ssshhh! We’d *love* to have this in their report characterized as a miscarriage of post publication analysis (assuming that odd wording means anything close to what I think it means) …

      How about the faked moon landings, did they come up?

    • Tallbloke, I give you credit for participating in this discussion, but “It was said…” doesn’t cut it. I just did a PubMed search and couldn’t find any double-blind MMR-autism vaccine studies that Wakefield did.

      DC, sorry for going OT, but I’m a former vaccine researcher, and Andrew Wakefield is pretty much persona non grata in biomedical circles.

    • I guess TB can’t reveal who said this, due to Chatham House rules. But perhaps tomorrow he will tell what he can. For example, maybe the year of the supposed study was mentioned. It would also be good to know if this was seriously raised in the context of discussion of peer review.

      The claim itself is almost certainly false, of course.

    • I guess TB can’t reveal who said this, due to Chatham House rules. But perhaps tomorrow he will tell what he can. For example, maybe the year of the supposed study was mentioned. It would also be good to know if this was seriously raised in the context of discussion of peer review.

      Chatham House rules allows TB to tell us *everything* except *who* said it.

      That’s the point … full disclosure without attribution, so people can speak freely.

      So, TB, having laid this on the table, tell us *everything* except, of course, the name of the person who said it.

  19. “However, only the earlier study gets referred to because his findings are inimical to government policy”.

    At the risk of paraphrasing as fast and loose as TB himself, is that code for a gummint conspiracy TB?

  20. Tallbloke, while I’m definitely not on your side of the fence on climate change, I think you’ve pretty much acted appropriately in the comments here. Your replies are friendly and reasonable. The acid in the some of the responses to you is preconditioned from years of slugging it out with irrational rationalists. I guess you’ve seen enough crap from your side of the fence to be a bit forgiving to those of us who are battle-weary, and our understandable acrimony ill-aimed. (yes, there is crap from our side of the blogwar, too)

    To those, like me, aligned with the mainstream – as frustrating as it gets, suspicious speculation and sarcasm are not the best tools in the kit. Over the past 4 years I’ve avidly read up on climate science, the semi-popular blog wars have become more and more acrimonious, and mainstreamer responses have become shriller and shriller (I’ve certainly had my moments). I fear we’re sounding more and more like the opposition.

    To whit: tallbloke”s motives, which we can only ever guess at, are a substandard sideline. No matter what may be speculated or concluded, a neutral reader will mainly notice that we harped on about them. The facts are enough. If we want to persuade, our focus should be tight, not our grip.

    (insert one-liner indicating expansive good humour)

  21. DC, while Tallbloke’s posts are, umm, intriguing. I think he now is under the impression he has his very own thread.

    I would ban him until he apologizes in public to Schmidt…but that is me, and I’m crabby ;)

    • I agree he probably should apologize, preferably on his own blog. But I’m not going to ban him.

      I thought about deleting the MMR vaccine remark, but if it was actually raised by someone as an example of peer review corruption at the workshop, then it is relevant. Someone’s overheard lunch conversation, not so much. I don’t want to discuss the issue per se, just confirm whether or not it was seriously raised by someone as an example of peer review corruption.

  22. Not really sure if this new information or even if it important but I’ll post it here anyway. From Judith’s blog:

    Judith, As someone present at the Lisbon meeting the claim that Gavin Schmidt was not attending on the grounds that the “Science was settled” was already circulating on the first day of the conference. One of the other attendees asserted the “science is settled” statement to me as fact. I questioned this, since it seemed completely out of keeping with what the articles of Gavin that I have read. My interlocuteur then found another attendee to back up this claim. It is clear to me that rumours about Gavin’s email were being disseminated from the beginning of the conference if not earlier. The fact that my fellow attendees were so eager to believe the rumours rather undermined my hopes for the meeting at a very early stage. (Chatham House Rules prevent me from identifying the two attendees in question on this blog).

    Best wishes, Bill Hartree

    • Wow. That is new, I think, and important to this discussion.

    • Well I agree the timeline is important here. So that rumour was going around on day one. And then the reading session with Fred was the evening of day 2?

      Sorry for all the questions but it is important to establish what happened here, especially for Fred’s benefit.

    • Steve Mosher also wrote on Feb 6 that he had heard the email existed and that he had suggested it not be discussed:

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/04/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-iv/#comment-39185

    • Wow, Grypo, I have my 15 minutes of fame! I only discovered about what-Gavin-saidgate a few hours ago courtesy, strangely enough, of Steve Goddard. I hadn’t planned to start mouthing off about the workshop that I had attended, but having discovered the extent to which my fellow participants have given information on blogs about it, including “x said this to y” claims, which appear to breach Chatham House rules, not to mention posting a photograph of a distinctly incendiary tee shirt about the CRU, I’ve decided “what the hell”.

      Cheers, Bill

    • Tallbloke, was that you who made that claim originally, by chance? After all, you had the e-mail.

      Did you have Pearce read the e-mail text (at least the part you successfully cut-and-pasted) in order to back up this claim that was circulating?

    • To be fair, I think that tallbloke did already say he was the initial source. What appears to have happened was he talked about it first (at lunch or dinner, not in the session, I think?). In the beginning he said “it made its way” to Fred Pearce, but then we got the full story of the later reading.

      So I think it was a consistent part of the story that Tallbloke had talked about it first (although I’m not 100% certain and I don’t know if it’s been put together in one clear chronology yet). Anyway, I believe he is abed now.

    • Bill H:

      (Chatham House Rules prevent me from identifying the two attendees in question on this blog).

      Since you’re here, some of your co-attendees, at least, have decided that “Chatham House Rules” only applied when you were actually in meeting sessions.

      So if you heard these claims during the morning danish-and-coffee break, or lunch, or over dinner and port (please tell me *someone* there drank some decent port and not just beer?), apparently you’re free to talk freely.

      That’s what Judith Curry says, and it’s obvious others believe the same.

    • Things move fast Bill!

      But I’m actually more curious about what you thought of the conference itself, in relation to how it relates to PNS. Were you invited because your connection to that? Are you allowed to discuss you opinion of it? It’s seems to me, that if I read Ravetz of two decades ago, it is far different from the man who posted at WUWT last year and what came out of the conference, from what I’ve heard so far, isn’t what I thought PNS was. Perhaps I am mistaken?

    • To be fair, I think that tallbloke did already say he was the initial source.

      He said he was the initial source, but at a dinner which, by the way he talked about it, took place some evening *during* the meeting.

      “already circulating the first day of the conference” implies that tallbloke had put his *interpretation* into play before that dinner.

      It’s the chronology I’m curious about. For instance, did tallbloke e-mail various people telling them that Gavin had declined to come because he said the science was settled and there was nothing to discuss before people arrived? Billh said “the beginning of the conference, if not earlier”, after all.

      What I’m thinking is that the *interpretation* was being discussed widely long before Pearce read the e-mail, that tallbloke was the source of that interpretation, and that this spin was clearly implanted in Pearce’s mind when he read it. Think about it – perhaps Pearce expressed some doubt and the (partial!) e-mail was dragged out in support of the spin, with McI and Tallbloke and McKittrick saying “look, it’s clear this is what he *means*”.

      Pearce then would think that he’d confirmed the interpretation that had already been spun, for days or weeks in e-mail before the conference, perhaps.

      All this is nitty stuff but doesn’t look quite as innocent as tallbloke’s made out. It also doesn’t make Pearce’s screw-up less of a screw-up, but one can kinda imagine what the conference was like. Sounds like the rumors as to why Gavin didn’t come was a pretty dominant part of the non-official discussion.

      Tallbloke, when did you first tell one person attending the conference that Gavin wasn’t coming because “the science is settled” etc etc? Did you e-mail someone before the conference? Bring it up the first morning, or over drinks the night before?

    • And which other organizers got that email, and did any of them also talk about it?

    • Grypo, The version of Chatham House rules used at the meeting was distinctly “soft”- simply that you are not allowed to name the originator of any remark that you quote. The hardest version is when participants don’t even acknowledge the existence of the meeting.

      Frankly, it was not made clear whether remarks outside of “meeting sessions” were covered: the distinction between sessions and recesses was often distinctly vague. I would say that I was informed of the Gavin rumour during a recess, but for the moment I don’t want to reveal my sources, though it’s quite true that other participants are, shall we say, less uptight about this than I.

      The Lisbon meeting was billed as “talks about talks” , and comparison was made with, for instance the early contacts between the UK Govt and the IRA in Norther Ireland. Given this level of perceived importance, a much tighter regulation on reporting of the Workshop should have been applied -before, during and after. All the stuff leaking out about it is, IMO, not a mere storm in a teacup, as some of my fellow attendees claim, since any preliminary peace making meeting should surely be ultra-careful in its communications, and its aims are seriously compromised if it isn’t.

    • Tighter regulation? “Talks about talks”? With two journalists invited as participants? And a rationale, however it was shifted or spun along the way, could never have attracted the mainstream scientists?

      Let’s face it – the organizers were completely befuddled. And that’s being extremely charitable, frankly.

      The only thing to do now is get to the bottom of this mess.

    • Grypo, You ask about my background and connection with Post-normal science. I am a professional scientist, but have no professional involvement with PNS. Nor am I a climatologist or earth scientist. I have known Jerry Ravetz personally for a good many years, and took him to task over his WUWT article of early 2010. He was obviously sufficiently impressed with my knowledge of the subject to invite me to Lisbon. As for PNS, although PNS concepts like “irreducible complexity” got an airing I don’t feel PNS was actually that much of an influence on what was discussed, yet alone what wa decided.

  23. I agree.
    Tallbroke, thanks for your frank and straight forward answers.
    No matter what you think, we are all here to just keep to the best knowledge we have about a potentially very serious problem. I hate the politics and the people who play games at the expense of my families future.

    • Yes I will ask people to keep snark to a minimum. But I will also be moderating to keep focus.

      The focus should be to find out about the workshop, now that we’ve pretty much exhausted where and how Pearce went wrong. For instance, how will statements and materials be released? I would suggest this be done on a dedicated website or at the website of on eof the organizers, not piecemeal.

      Perhaps, TB, you can tell us what the plan is and when we can expect the output of the workshop?

  24. I’m kind of interested in what conclusions they did come to at the workshop. I believe tallbloke mentioned that they discussed natural variability among other things; so did they conclude that it explains the current warming better than AGW does? Or not? And what about the MWP? Did it still break the hockey stick?

    • I think the various sessions came to agreed to statements on various topics, right?

      At some point these session statements will be published I guess.

      Also each session had a leader, at least according to the invitation letter.

    • Each session was a round table. A ‘rapporteur’ was nominated by general assent at the end of each session, usually the person who had taken the most comprehensive notes or had carried the decisive argument during the session which were deemed reasonably acceptable to all. People from that table or others were free to chime in as the rapporteur spoke if anything needed clarifying or refuting.

      It generally went well, with not too much interruption of rapporteurs, though a couple were contested, usually by other tables rather than members of their own.

      Right. Sleep time, thanks for the hospitality.

  25. Having read through the original article and all the posts, I’ve concluded this was not a planned conspiracy, but it was mostly a stuff up made all the easier by inherent malice against climate scientists generally (ample evidence all over the internet) and the odd views held by Tallbloke and many of the participants, some of whom seem to think they are under siege. From what I read it was not entirely a stuff up, it was at least partly opportunistic – another chance to hit back at the climate scientists.

    I don’t know why Tallbloke won’t apologise nor why Pearce won’t apologise. One might speculate, that they believe only men who eat quiche say they are sorry, or that they aren’t at all sorry but are delighting in all the attention, or they are afraid of being sued. Tallbloke and Pearce come out looking pretty bad, but I doubt the event has changed the opinion of anyone who has come across either of them before.

    • Sou:

      From what I read it was not entirely a stuff up, it was at least partly opportunistic – another chance to hit back at the climate scientists.

      How about adding to that … sour grapes.

      They were really hoping that Gavin would come, so they could achieve their “reconciliation” goal (read: surrender in the face of what they honestly believe to be truth).

      He chose not to come, they attacked in a different way …

    • I think it was pretty clear that no one from the mainstream was going to accept. Heck, they couldn’t even get the Pielkes to show up.

      You’d think that would have twigged the organizers. But perhaps it just confirmed, via cognitive dissonance, the close-mindedness, self-protection and refusal to enter dialogue, that characterizes up to 98% of the climate scientists. These folks truly think that way – look at “tallbloke’s” statement about Gavin Schmidt above. That’s expected, but what is more disturbing is that appears to be the mindset of Ravetz and the other organizers.

  26. In response to this debarcle of a conference, check out this awsome quote from Chris Colose at CE reposted and Shewonk:

    What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.

    On the first point, it is now apparently perceived as “bad” when scientists come to a conclusion that is robust enough to be well accepted by the majority. I have never seen claims of the sort that “gravity people” are engaging in indoctrination, or the indoctrination of cell theory, the indoctrination of soil science, or the dogma of electrons. Strangely, this only applies to conclusions about climate change, or maybe evolution (and especially in America).

    In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter, and one goes to authorities (doctors for medical diagnosis, lawyers for legal advice, etc) for insight. Most people seek the explanation with the most support, which is then echoed by the experts in the field. Some, on the other hand, will leave 100 doctors that give them a certain diagnosis, and then approve of the one that tells them to meditate, take secret forest herbs, and pray five times a day to cure their illness. People go to calculus textbooks to learn calculus, and yet no one goes to an sociologist to learn by the segments of the heart and brain. However, in climate science, apparently ‘authority’ is a logical fallacy, and textbooks and classrooms can be replaced by random opinions on a blog.

    What’s even more startling, is that the personal communiation of scientists through e-mails can actually change the laws of physics!

    What all of this shows is that many people simply cannot think rationally about climate change, nor do they have the capacity to diagnose proper information from nonsense. And once they pursue nonsense, it is very difficult to convince them that they are wrong. You cannot convince such people that Pat Michaels, Singer, Marano, etc don’t actually have anything to say, or that WUWT is a disinformation source. It’s not that the information to show they are nonsense is unavailable, it’s that the information MUST be wrong.

    It is also clear to me that climate scientists must now become babysitters to every half-baked idea out there, otherwise they are being dogmatic. They must write detailed responses to people who think the greenhouse effect isn’t real.

    It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’ If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention. However, if ‘skeptics’ toss out 8 conspiracy theories, 10 logical fallacies, and 17 arguments with ZERO thought put into them, then it is a good thing that we get to hear all sides. Then, when one item on the bucket list is knocked down, they can just jump tot he next item. In the meantime, they are just as valid as everyone else’s idea, since the criteria for acceptance is 101% certaintly in everything.

  27. Jakerman, I saw that after someone posted it on another blog. When I followed the link I read some of the replies.

    Chris Colose nailed it and the responses show how well he nailed it!

  28. Deep Climate | February 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    Well I agree the timeline is important here. So that rumour was going around on day one. And then the reading session with Fred was the evening of day 2?

    The dinner with Fred, Steve MacIntyre and Ross MacKittrick was after the conference ended on the friday.
    I didn’t put round any rumours during the conference proper, so it was either something I said in the hotel before the conference started as people were gathering and asking who was/wasn’t coming, or someone had picked up on the comment I made on my blog on Jan 7.

    gryposaurus | February 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    if I read Ravetz of two decades ago, it is far different from the man who posted at WUWT last year and what came out of the conference, from what I’ve heard so far, isn’t what I thought PNS was. Perhaps I am mistaken?

    Deep Climate | February 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    Yes, Ravetz spoke of possible confirmation bias, incompetence and worse, more or less, at WUWT. But he didn’t in the Statement of Purpose. That’s a problem.

    I’d be interested to hear what you both think PNS is, since that’s partly the theme of this post. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that anyone’s thinking might develop and change over two decades should it?

    • I get the impression PNS is more about including the possibility of extreme events into risk assessment where policy and science interface. Think Three Mile Island (an example used in a paper by Ravetz), where a one in a million chance was discounted and not prepared for, but the worst did actually happen. PNS is not science, per se, which is what Willis Eschenbach has a pop at Ravetz for over at Libertarian International and Curry’s, especially after Ravetz admitted he included the word science in PNS to attract attention and be a bit controversial. Where science does get involved, Sylvia T of Post Normal Times, who is very knowledgable about PNS, specifically mentioned “applied sciences” over at Policy Lass (Ronin Geographer).

    • Yes, it is. Or was. Before “climategate” was spun to change the minds of a lot of people who should have known better.

    • Well, it’s odd, because the “true” definition seems to have to do with policy making when scientific uncertainty doesn’t quite light the way, “normal science” moves too slowly reduce uncertainty significantly, and the potential downside is severe and something must be done.

      In the context of climate change, it seems to mean that a certain set of people have decided that “normal science” has failed (i.e. climate science is either fraudulent or a bumbling buffoonery of incompetent circle-jerking, according to Ravetz, or a “sham” according to another organizer), it can’t be fixed via the normal scientific way of doing business (the honest dissenters who could set climate science straight are shut out), the risk is real, therefore it’s time to yank things out of the hands of normal science into a broader realm.

      Time to apply post normal science to the problem.

      Perhaps the key here that makes it seem different than in the past is because outside climate science, Ravetz and the like are simply talking about science fails to guide the way due to a genuine lack knowledge at the proper point in time, while now the belief seems to be that science is failing because of sheer incompetence mixed with fraud and dishonesty?

    • Well that’s certainly a large part of the problem, but we also have to ask where that belief comes from. See above.

  29. It is unfortunate that I have been banned from placing links here, but some of you may be interested in the new post I have published on my blog from Jerome Ravetz. It may help in clarifying peoples understanding of what he means by Post Normal Science, as will his previous post on the issue of quality in science which is linked further down the home page.

    Just Google Tallblokes Talkshop

    (apologies for the blatant plug and thanks again for the hospitality) :)

    [DC: That one is OK as it is:
    1) Your own post
    2) Relevant to the discussion

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/jerome-ravetz-quality-in-science/

    ]

  30. [DC: I think tallbloke understands he needs to be completely forthright. Let's give him that chance to build the complete timeline of events and jog his memory. In the mean time, no personal attacks please. ]

    [quoting tallbloke discussing Steve McIntyre's revelation of the Fred Pearce reading]

    Thanks Steve. I’ve been trying to take the heat for the whole thing, but truth will out. :o )

    Oh well, round two…

  31. “I’d be interested to hear what you both think PNS is”

    I think you’ve given a clear demonstration of PNS Rog.

  32. I’m not sure if I understood correctly because it seems so unlikely… Someone who thinks that climate scientists are at best incompetent in their area of expertise thought he should organize a reconciliation meeting between said “incompetents” and the people who think even worse of them?

    And Tallbloke referred to said meeting as “neutral ground”?

  33. Let’s use Tallbloke’s account above as the starting point to building a precise timeline:

    The dinner with Fred, Steve MacIntyre and Ross MacKittrick was after the conference ended on the friday. I didn’t put round any rumours during the conference proper, so it was either something I said in the hotel before the conference started as people were gathering and asking who was/wasn’t coming, or someone had picked up on the comment I made on my blog on Jan 7.

    Jan 7 – Tallbloke posts that Gavin Schmdit won’t be attending because “he didn’t see the point in attending if the policy dimension was to be excluded and we are just going to discuss the science, because his side’s science is right and all the sceptic’s scientific arguments are just a smokescreen for their agenda.”

    Jan 25-6: Tallbloke may or may not have mentioned to one or more attendees that Gavin Schmidt is not showing up because the “science is settled” or some variation.

    Wed, Jan 26 – Conference begins. Rumours start circulating that Gavin Schmidt refused to attend because “the science is settled” (as noted above)

    Fri, Jan 28 – Tallbloke has Fred Pearce read the truncated Schmidt email to Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre.

    Obviously, Fred Pearce had heard the rumour at some point. A key question is whether Pearce discussed the rumour with Tallbloke before Friday evening. It is reasonable to infer that he did given the early start to the rumour, and that therefore the email reading had been planned earlier (not a spontaneous event).

    So the obvious questions
    – when did Tallbloke and Fred Pearce first discuss the email?
    – who approached whom?
    – did Pearce use the phrase “the science is settled” from the beginning of his discussions with Tallbloke?

    That would be a good start, anyway.

    It should be observed also that, according, to Tallbloke, Pearce discussed details of the editing process at the Guardian:

    Then straight to dinner, the taxis getting seperated this eneded up being a foursome of me Ross McK, Steve McI and Fred Pearce. Some interesting tales of the peer review wars and some inside info on the Guardian story editing and selection issues. Very interesting!

    • Yeah, that sounds about right, with the new information from tallbloke … so it was even later than my hypothesized “dinner during the conference”. So Pearce had three days to soak in the “settled science refusal” meme being bandied about during the conference.

      This from billh is interesting, too:

      As for PNS, although PNS concepts like “irreducible complexity” got an airing I don’t feel PNS was actually that much of an influence on what was discussed, yet alone what wa decided.

      It’s sounding more and more like, with the exception of a few people like billh, the conference was a good old-fashioned science-bashing denialfest.

  34. How “noted” is Ravetz really; I should say that I follow both philosophy of science and history of philosophy of science (HOPOS) and his name seldom comes up. When it does, the context tends to be something like “post-normal science is bull***t”. Furthermore, from what I have read of him, it doesn’t seem to me that his understanding of Kuhn (the “normal” in “post-normal” science) is particularly deep. In fact, I’d say he gets much of Kuhn’s stuff wrong.

    • I take issue with the way he builds on Kuhn, but then Kuhn can be challenging to interpret consistently. I also don’t think Ravetz is on track for becoming one of the great philosophers of science, but he is trying to be relevant, which is more than you can say for many philosophers.
      So far, his ideas have garnered some interest but a lot of flack from both sides. He’s often been saying things that the skeptics should like (since he’s been critical of the scientific status quo, long before he was critical of climate science) but gets shot down because, being a philosopher, his points of reference are so different, which then leads to the suspicion that he must be a closet alarmist with Marxist principles.
      Since I value social theory and think it should be judged based on its actual merits, I’ve been standing up for PNS a fair bit at Climate Etc even though I have my own reservations about what Ravetz is doing.
      But he seems good-natured enough, trying to leave his mark as academics tend to, and figures he can help along the way.
      Is he helping? Other than maybe encouraging someone to engage with the philosophy of science (which I happen to think is a good thing) I haven’t seen much to indicate so, but I’m curious to see how the PNS drama plays out.

    • Kudos to Zajko for his patience and his perseverance in promoting due diligence into philosophy of science, more so among a bunch oftentimes unaware that skills are not always transferable into this field or research.

  35. Interesting times.
    Half the sceptical ‘community’ thinks Ravetz ideas are wrong and dangerous and inspired Steven Schneider’s “Make up scary stories” quote.
    Half the warmista think he’s ‘gone over to the other side’, now declaring him a non-entity and a soon to be unperson.

    There’s a striking parallel with Wilhelm Reich, who got his books burned in America and Russia during the cold war and died in an American jail. Although Reich had some … interesting ideas … about bio-energy and stuff, he is better known in historian circles for one of the most lucid an coherent accounts of the interwar period and the rise of National Socialism, in his book ‘The Mass Psychology of Fascism’.

    Ideas are powerful things.

    • “Half the warmista think he’s ‘gone over to the other side’, now declaring him a non-entity and a soon to be unperson.”

      Rest assured, this bit of the other half is wondering how on earth PNS applies to climate science in the first place, outside of how to build more reliable satellites and deep ocean buoys? Has PNS been tested? Has PNS been put through any real world situation to demonstrate that it works or is of any use? How would it have been applied to the 2004 Tsunami (which could possibly be used as a hindcast experiment), especially with relation to Dr Smith Dharmasaroja? It is claimed that PNS uses scientific methods, right?

    • Half the warmista think he’s ‘gone over to the other side’

      Well, someone who writes that his position on climate science seems to be a choice between fraud and incompetence, I’d say it’s more likely 100% of the people who accept mainstream climate science believe that to be true, and probably at least 25% of those who accept that pi is approximately 3.14159 …

    • tallbloke writes:

      “Half the sceptical ‘community’ thinks Ravetz ideas are wrong and dangerous and inspired Steven Schneider’s “Make up scary stories” quote.”

      You just misquoted Schneider? Careless, misleading, and is this part of a pattern.

    • Ian Forrester

      Stop referring to yourselves as “skeptics.” You are not. You are dishonest purveyors of spin, lies and distortion.

  36. Tallbloke,

    You have stated you want to tell the truth of the matter. This is your chance. Please address this before we go any further.

    Obviously, Fred Pearce had heard the rumour at some point. A key question is whether Pearce discussed the rumour with Tallbloke before Friday evening. It is reasonable to infer that he did given the early start to the rumour, and that therefore the email reading had been planned earlier (not a spontaneous event).

    So the obvious questions
    – when did Tallbloke and Fred Pearce first discuss the email?
    – who approached whom?
    – did Pearce use the phrase “the science is settled” from the beginning of his discussions with Tallbloke?

    Thanks!

  37. - when did Tallbloke and Fred Pearce first discuss the email?
    Friday evening at dinner

    – who approached whom?
    We were sat next to each other

    — did Pearce use the phrase “the science is settled” from the beginning of his discussions with Tallbloke?
    There were no ‘discussions’. Someone, I honestly don’t remember who, asked something like ‘Do you know exactly what Gavin said?’ I answered honestly that I did. Then someone asked something like ‘do you have a copy with you?’ I answered honestly that I did. Then someone said something like, ‘Well let’s hear it then!’ So I pulled the small netbook I had in my shoulder bag out and you know the rest.

    It was just spontaneous, they all wanted to hear it, and I didn’t have the heart (or as some might say good sense) to refuse. It was a fun evening, and I didn’t want to dampen it I guess.

    • Did “someone”, like say Fred Pearce, mention that he wanted to write about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for not attending, seeing as how he discussed Guardian selection and editing policies and all? Or did you only find out after?

      Another confusing point: Did you do the cut and paste on the spot? Or was that done before?

  38. Pingback: The Post-Normal Times , Archive » New normal or post-normal?

  39. DC: Did “someone”, like say Fred Pearce, mention that he wanted to write about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for not attending, seeing as how he discussed Guardian selection and editing policies and all? Or did you only find out after?

    (end quote)

    And, for the nth time, why did you say that you’d given Pearce a verbal ‘praisee’ when McIntyre contradicts you and says that he was with you can Pearce when Pearce read the email?

    And why won’t you answer or even admit you’ve noticed this question, which has been asked repeatedly now on two forums?

  40. No, Fred didn’t say anything about writing anything.

    I did the cut’n’paste on the spot. Took about 15 seconds I estimate (older netbook). Highlight text, ctl + c open notepad ctl + v job done.

  41. Thanks Zajko, I think that’s a fair comment.

    If J Bowers is interested in seeing where PNS fits in the science/policy sandwich, I suggest he read the developing discussion on my blog and report back here or comment there as he pleases.

    Personally I don’t see PNS as a method outlining how things should be done so much as a description of how things are, plus some guidelines on how to deal with imperfect scenarios. The key to it seems to be to encourage people to listen to each other, even if they strongly disagree with each other.

    I think there is value and sense in that.

  42. “No, Fred didn’t say anything about writing anything. ”

    Okay, just to be absolutely clear:

    At no time before, during or after the workshop did you and Fred discuss whether or not he should, or would write “anything” about the Lisbon conference? Right? Or are you just talking about discussing writing “anything” about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for not attending?

    I’m not sure if you got into specifics about why it was Fred who read it out. Over at Moyhu, JCH said it was so “he could not take notes”. I’m not sure if you said that, but it does make sense.

    So you never said whether or not he should or could write about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons, the subject was never raised, yet you had him read it aloud so he could not take notes? Or was there some other reason? Why did you impose that condition?

    It’s still not making complete sense to me. It does seem odd that you would give journalist access to a truncated and out of context email ostensibly confirming a rumour (however twisted from the truth) about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for staying away, but have absolutely no discussion from either side about how Pearce might or might not use that information. But that appears to be what you are saying.

    • Para 1. The latter.

      Para 2. I did say that. for that reason. which I made explicit. at the time.

      Para 3. Correct. No. Because direct quotes would have id’d me as the source if he decided to write.

      Para 4. There was no further discussion, we knew what Gavin’s response meant to each of us individually, and no-one was that interested in debating it, so I put the lappy away and we continued our discussion on more entertaining topics.

    • DC:
      “I’m not sure if you got into specifics about why it was Fred who read it out. Over at Moyhu, JCH said it was so “he could not take notes”. I’m not sure if you said that, but it does make sense.

      So you never said whether or not he should or could write about Gavin Schmidt’s reasons, the subject was never raised, yet you had him read it aloud so he could not take notes? Or was there some other reason? Why did you impose that condition?”

      Tallbloke responds:
      “Para 2 [1st par here] . I did say that. for that reason. which I made explicit. at the time.

      Para 3 [2nd par here] . Correct. No. Because direct quotes would have id’d me as the source if he decided to write.”

      So tallbloke is claiming that Pearce read Gavin’s eamil so as to not make notes? So that Gavin would not be quoted directly (cos direct quotes would ID tallbloke as the source).

      And Pearce went along with this? Interpreting Gavin’s with bias in a drinkup session full of bias, following a tantalising rumour that had hung out the whole week? This is the post normal approach to journalism instead of actually using what Gavin said.

  43. Zibethicus:

    I’ve “moved on”.

    It’s a technique I learned from ‘the Team’ ;)

    Go tell the other two blogs that.

  44. Zibethicus:

    And I’d be grateful if you’d include the winky with the quote.

    Thanks everyone.

  45. Para 1. The latter.

    Okay, so the general topic of writing about Lisbon was discussed at some point, and the email was read with that awareness. But the possibility of writing about Schmidt’s reasons for not coming was *not* discussed at any time, before or after the reading of Schmidt’s email.

    =========================================

    Para 3. Correct. No. Because direct quotes would have id’d me as the source if he decided to write.

    But this doesn’t make sense. You could have read and he could have taken notes and then written a paraphrase of his own, which would have a better chance of being correct (although he was still missing a lot of context). Or you could have let him read it silently and take notes. (After all, who cares if McIntyre and McKitrick get to hear it, if you’ve got a journalist to tell it to the world)

    You could have just told him to not use direct quotes, but to paraphrase (perhaps even in his notes). Your way, he had the “science is settled” description in mind and was more likely to get it wrong from having been fed that line and then relying on dim memory for the rest. Which he did.

    And best of all, you wouldn’t have had to cut and paste, and you could have read the invitation letter too, and not truncated the answer. If you’re going to leak something, do it right.

    “If he decided to write”.

    So you thought he might write it. And of course he would not have written about it if he didn’t have the comfort level of looking at the actual email. He’s not that far gone as a journalist. That’s why your original story could not stand scrutiny and in fact it put him in a worse light, because it implied that he might have written it without attempting proper corroboration.

    Quite a fine mess …

    • If you’re going to leak something, do it right.

      Not quite as innocent on tallbloke’s part as I was thinking a day or two ago …

  46. It’s been tough for Tallbloke and there are unanswered questions.

    But I tend to think Fred Pearce put him in an untenable position. Fred should have just gotten in touch with Gavin Schmidt and asked him to corroborate “the science is settled” story. And then Gavin would have set him straight. That way it wouldn’t matter if he had seen the email or not.

    There would still have been an obvious leak with spin traceable to Tallbloke, but at least he wouldn’t have been put in the position of violating confidentiality even further by showing the actual email. And it might not have even come out; this way, it was inevitable since the only way Fred could have written the story *without* talking to Gavin was to have seen the email. As I say he’s not so far gone as to do it only on unsubstantiated hearsay.

    On top of that, Fred might have even gotten the story right. Or at least a little less wrong.

    Fred is the pro. Frankly, he should have known better than get involved in this Lisbon mess in the first place. Now he just seems gullible or worse.

    He has a lot to answer for.

  47. Oh, I agree, it lands mostly on Fred.

    “not quite as innocent”, I said … but mostly a lot of naivete on tallbloke’s part.

    • Fred Pearce has a lot to answer for, might I suggest people file formal complaints with NewScientist (NS). They too have a lot to answer for. I urge people to please really follow through on this! Moaning is all fine and good, someone needs to hold Pearce and NS accountable.

    • Certainly Pearce’s gullible distortion of Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for declining the invitation is reason enough to insist on a correction and apology.

      But just as unacceptable, if not more so, is Fred Pearce’s active participation in a clearly bogus “reconciliation” effort that attempted to legitimize climate contrarians and place them on an equal footing with scientists. That Pearce allowed himself to be used in this way demonstrates beyond all doubt that he has lost any semblance of objectivity or credibility. And for what? A nice trip to Lisbon?

    • And for what? A nice trip to Lisbon?

      A Ryan air ticket to Portugal certainly is cheaper in some sense to losing what little credibility left to you. Moral sense. These people don’t have it.

  48. Tallbloke: “Zibethicus:

    I’ve “moved on”.

    It’s a technique I learned from ‘the Team’ ;)

    Go tell the other two blogs that.”

    What, you want me to tell them that you admitted when McIntyre contradicted your story of the verbal ‘prasiee’ that “truth will out. :o”?

    Sure. I’ll tell ‘em that you’ve now agreed that McIntyre was telling the truth and you weren’t, if you really want me to.

    Can’t see what good it’ll do your reputation, but if your love of truth is to strong I’ll be happy to pass this news along.

    Can I send it on to /New Scientist/, too?

    Happy ‘moving on’…

  49. I fine it annoying that these guys act as if there is any innocence involved in any of this. The deliberation and length of the campaign to mislead anyone who can be deceived is disgusting and is endangering all of us. The treatment of this stuff as in any way innocent shows gullibility which is not acceptable, no way, no how.

    Ask the people of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Queensland, or any the other places in peril if it is OK to mislead the public in this intentional and dishonest way. For how many decades are we supposed to “buy” that the leaders of the stupids involved in proliferating the long trail of misleading obfuscations of complexity are innocent, or that their dupes are in any way safe.

    The guns are being fired, but somehow those who encourage the shooters are innocent? Give me a break.

  50. The treatment of this stuff as in any way innocent shows gullibility which is not acceptable, no way, no how.

    Tallbloke’s … naive … I’m being very charitable here, regarding those he hung out with in Lisboa.

    Well, and a bit of a nutter, I think that’s obvious from his obsession with those who’ve supposedly overturn all of modern physics.

    Understand that his belief that climate science is c**p is based on his belief that *all* of physics post-1920 or so is c**p.

    And calculus, actually, or at least one of his cherished sources claims to have overturned various key proofs by Leibnitz and (I think, I couldn’t bring myself to read all of it) Newton.

  51. I’m with Susan.

    And I don’t agree with DC that ‘it has been tough for Tallbloke’. Tallbloke seeks the limelight.

    IMO Tallbloke has loved every minute and made full use of this fleeting opportunity for fame, which he created. He made use of Gavin’s email to spread a false tale, now he’s reaping the benefits in notoriety. He has jumped on all the internet threads he can find that mention the incident, shifting his story as every new bit of information comes out. The tale he told at the start bears little resemblance to what it now looks like.

    This is just a more public example of the type of things that some people, like Tallbloke and others, have been doing for years. They’ll do anything they can to bignote themselves, try to damage the reputation of climate scientists by telling lies about them, and put all their efforts into speeding up climate change and worsening weather disasters.

    No forgiveness or belief in their ‘innocence’ from me.

    • I would not be surprised if Tallbloke’s story kept changing. And there are still some parts that don’t add up.

      “Someone” said out with the email and it was all spontaneous, but yet there was a protocol in place to make sure Pearce would not be quoting the email correctly “if he decided to write it”, although no one mentioned that possibility.

      And also notice that Tallbloke *still* hasn’t confirmed that he was the one who used the phrase “the science is settled” to other attendees, and has even implied that he might not have even talked about Gavin’s email except in his blog. Yet Bill Hartree heard that phrase from two different contacts on day one, and the rumour was traced to tallbloke.

      And on and on.

      But I think there’s enough on the record and the outlines of what he did are clear enough. Enough rope and all that …

      It’s time to think about some of the other players here, especially these PNSers who have gone so badly off the rails.

      One question is why Jerry Ravetz thought Tallbloke a reliable climate science guide. But I’m not particularly interested – the fact alone tells all we need to know.

      But another key question is why Jeroen van der Sluijs can’t tell the difference between a member of the legitimate extended peer network and the surrogates of the “merchants of doubt”. That will be a discussion for part 2 (or maybe part 3). If Willard or others want though I might dig out a link or two for a head start. Or Willard’s smart – he can probably find some on his own.

  52. Gavin's Pussycat

    > “legitimate extended peer network”
    How can there be such legitimacy when the whole idea of extending a peer network beyond those who are legitimately “peers” — i.e., informed on a matter sufficiently to have an opinion that can be taken seriously — is a fraud?

    Watch those memes. Wash hands regularly.

    • Ouch.

      I’m trying not to throw the PNS baby out with the bath water. But perhaps it can’t be done.

      Perhaps the terminology is wrong, but I believe that some form of PNS may be applicable at the science-policy interface (a la Stephen Schneider), say, to have additional tools for communicating or expressing uncertainty.

      Of course, the idea of extending peer review in some sort of scientific democracy is completely absurd. This latest PNS travesty fails to recognize the “extended peer network” of the contrarian blogosphere for what it is – a new mode exploited by the “merchants of doubt”, in symbiosis with think tanks, front groups and so on. It’s amazing how they pay lip service to Oreskes and yet don’t see the connections.

    • Maybe what Ravetz is talking about is something more like Delingpole’s peer-to-peer network with peer-to-peer review? Ravetz was strongly influenced by Climategate and Delingpole was the fellow who coined the term, afterall.

    • Guys, you don’t get it. WE are the extended peer network!
      Meme hijack! :-)

    • “WE are the extended peer network!”

      … of PNS. It sure needed it.

    • pns is a cat chasing its tail. to my mind, kuhnian dynamics are a function of human nature: we’re not robots, we don’t exist on the frictionless surface and we aren’t rational profit seeking economic units with perfect information. we’re freaking animals for chrissake. our brains reflect billions of years of evolutionary dynamics that did not conspire to remove our narrow considerations or personal interests from the thought process.

      all this is going to go away… how, because we decide to include any punter with a keyboard and an internet connection?? this is going to remove jealousy, the prejudices, the frames of reference, the idiosyncrasies of human thought, the irrationalities of human emotion, the biases of hard wired base instincts, the cliques, the plotting, the… what exactly?

      it’s absurd on its face. take the idealized (read: hopelessly unrealistic) way in which this type of approach were implemented. imagine for a moment you’ve been teleported to a parallel universe where powerful interests and ideologues wouldn’t be out to game such a system from day one to further their myopic interests, as they without question would (look at the reviewer comments on ipcc drafts by denialists for a mere inkling- that’s the effort that goes into something that has little to no bearing on anything):

      what evidence exists that larger groups with massive discrepancies in qualifications are more likely to resemble the mythical ideal of science, e.g. no prejudice or personal interest in existing theories and modes of thought, etc.? am i the only one to’ve read all the king’s men?

      this is a theory for slow coach philosophers that’s been seized upon by ever innovative denialists who know full well that their notable deficiency in the whole truth/integrity department could be more than compensated for by their prodigious advantage when it comes to demagoguery and public relations. enter denialdolts keen interest in pns, the minority ipcc report, etc. dog bites man.

    • There is at least one person who is trying to save PNS from itself, as seen in the pingback above..

      Be sure to read all the way down to the comments (poor Sylvia Tognetti – welcome to my nightmare). And check out all the names on the right hand side.

  53. A while back, I made a visit to Tallbloke’s site to see where he was coming from, at least in part because my wife is from the Leeds area, I have lectured there (years ago), and it has a sizeable environmental sciences school.

    Really, a visit there will tell the interested reader much, with pieces from/lauding Willie Soon, Oliver Manuel, Nicola Scafetta, Nasif Nahle (biocab), Gerlich&Tsceuschner, Douglass/Knox, Piers Corbyn, etc.

    I didn’t notice any mention of Rhodes Fairbridge, but then he is deceased.

    • How did you manage to miss his love of Miles Mathis?

      Kinda trumps all of the above because mathis “proves” that all of modern physics is wrong … along with the calculus (skip down to Section 2) …

  54. Deep:
    “there was a protocol in place to make sure Pearce would not be quoting the email correctly “if he decided to write it”, although no one mentioned that possibility.”

    No, that was just me thinking on the hoof. Perhaps not as naive as Dhogaza is charitably prepared to paint me.

    [DC: So you *knew* that Fred Pearce needed to see that email if he were going to write about Gavin Schmidt's reasons. Not to mention that it made it a more "interesting" story to spin and more likely to be of interest. But *none* of that was ever raised at any time by either you or Pearce. Don't ask, don't tell, I guess.

    Just so we're very clear on your current story. ]

    “That’s why your original story could not stand scrutiny and in fact it put him in a worse light, because it implied that he might have written it without attempting proper corroboration.”

    Yes, that’s why Steve MacIntyre outed Fred and me on Lucia’s site. He thought I was being unfair to Fred by being ‘economical with the truth’ (That’s not a quote by the way). I saw he was right and ‘fessed up. (there’s your answer Zibithicus).


    [DC: Sure, unfair to Fred, because it made it look like he had just swallowed your spin without trying to check it. Whereas in fact, he had read (most) of the email and still gotten it wrong.

    Of course, that also forced you to finally admit that you had gone further than you were initially willing to admit. And even the initial revelation only came about because others identified you, not because you stepped up.

    So lesson learned. Next time you try to misrepresent a scientist's views based on twisting confidential information, make sure you tell people not to talk about where it came from.

    Just so we're very clear on what happened here.

    Oh, and you still haven't properly owned up to what you did, let alone apologize. I think I've had enough until you do that. At your own website. Unambiguously, without conditions or other weaseling. Or you can just move on and not bother us ever again.

    Either way, the world will be a slightly better place. ]

    [More TB]
    [DC: Followed by more misrepresentation of Stephen Schneider. Nice.]

    • Perhaps not as naive as Dhogaza is charitably prepared to paint me.

      Thanks for your honesty and … that well has officially run dry.

    • Wow, just wow.

      Tallbloke, please apologize to Schmidt. Do the right thing.

    • Well Tallbloke said he did apologize to Schmidt privately a couple of days ago. But he also said he doesn’t want to make the apology public.

    • If he really did apologize to Schmidt in private, then that’s fine by me. You could rectify on your blog, but this is okay too (for me). Thanks, Tallbloke.

      In the end it’s all just post-normal reconciliation… :-)

    • Well first I have to find out where he said it – it might have been here or somewhere else. At the time there was at least one person who said there was no reason *not* to make it public. Sounds right to me. So far I don’t see much public acknowledgment that what he did was wrong, or even a fully coherent exposition of what happened. But time to “move on”.

    • Neven: “post-normal reconciliation”.

      Well, yes, as in reconciliation between and among the “honest brokers” and the contrarians. It sounds like much progress was made there.

    • Oh, DC, I fully agree there. Like I said, this is denialism 2.0: pretend you think AGW is real and potentially serious, but at the same time keep attacking individual climate scientists, stress the uncertainties (‘we know nothing’), and blame the climate scientist community for failing at getting people and politicians to take action. In other words: blaming climate scientists for not being able to counter the denialist propaganda success that they themselves had a large part in.

      This is really what they are going to try now, as perverse and criminal as it is. Keep an eye on Steven Mosher. He cannot restrain himself following the latest (what looks to be the) smearing of a scientist:

      “Since those of us who believe in AGW have an interest in the public being persuaded we have a duty to assess the effectiveness of RC and the effectiveness of the current spokespeople at RC.

      By any quantifiable measure, traffic, awards, RC is a failure. The site with the best science ( RC), the most experts (RC) is an abysmal failure. My good friend, a TV weatherman, routinely kicks their ass. My other good friend, a retired mining exec, also kicks their ass.”

    • Yes, and somewhere tallbloke described Mosher as being on the opposite side to him, as in suggesting Mosher is “alarmist”/reality based??!

    • That’s pretty much the denialist response to Mosher these days.

      Mosher’s just playing a game, you know, right?

  55. DC how about a “BIG PICTURE” of all this nonsense anyways?

    It seems as if we need to see the forest for the trees, yes?

    It’s fairly obvious what’s going on here, perhaps this “conference” should have been titled “The Secret Denialist’s Ball” or somesuch?

    A game is being played, and all the sane people have decided not to show up.

  56. About converging DeepClimate.org topics…

    Perhaps Wegman could do a SNA analysis on the co-authorship between Van der Sluijs, Ravetz and Risbey? No question that he would find is:

    “Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of PNS uncertainty policy studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface”

  57. No, don’t have Wegman and co do SNA, ask experts. Coauthorship is only one relevant relationship of many. It is one of the ways in which drawing pretty graphs of single relationships can fool someone into thinking they actually know what’s happening.

    • OT Fyi John, I finally had a look at Ayers as you suggested and I am happy to outline a list of reasons why not to lend his work any credibility on an open thread here or at Deltoid if you’re interested. Short answer: though I understand why it would be appealing to people who make things to view the economy ‘explicitly as a materials processing machine’ it’s neither intuitive, nor justified nor an empirically valuable abstraction. The evidence compiled to suggest otherwise relies entirely on discrepancies between neoclassical growth models and empirical data. In other words ‘this is a better fit than turn of the 20th century economics’ . Not convincing.

    • majorjam:
      OT here. If you’ve carefully studied the Ayres&Warr book and give me more than “I’m not convinced”, perhaps next open thread @ Deltoid, I’m interested.

      [DC: Yes, it does sound more like Deltoid than here. ]

  58. Tallbloke really must be naive:
    As he presented Curry with that “trash” t-shirt and he allowed the presentation to be filmed and then put on You-Tube:
    search “Tallbloke Gives Judith Curry Climate Scientist Of The Year Award ”
    Don’t forget that this event was supposedly intended to facilitate reconciliation!!!

  59. [DC: Sorry. A bridge too far for this site. ].

  60. thanks Majorajam, well put:

    “…innovative denialists who know full well that their notable deficiency in the whole truth/integrity department could be more than compensated for by their prodigious advantage when it comes to demagoguery and public relations”

    This would be funny if it were not so tragic. Unfortunately, there is a vast population of consumers of infotainment (who have most of the wealth and influence) who have no idea this is trash and are not eager to give up their ever-expanding electronic toys and disposable conveniences. Try getting a corporation to turn off their lights at night …

  61. sorry, poorly thought through; I meant (1) wealth and influence to purveyors of infotainment; and (2) lights at night one teensy obvious example of low-hanging fruit that is inaccessible to our crashing “civilization”.

  62. Postnormal science:less beautiful than the Mona Lisa.

  63. Tallbloke ‘fesses up thus:

    Yes, that’s why Steve MacIntyre outed Fred and me on Lucia’s site. He thought I was being unfair to Fred by being ‘economical with the truth’ (That’s not a quote by the way). I saw he was right and ‘fessed up. (there’s your answer Zibithicus).

    (end quote)

    Well, it’s good that you admit it, finally.

    But I would say that since Schmidt was smeared in about the most public way possible – in the pages of NS, via Pearce and with your enthusiastic facilitation – both of you now owe him a sincere apology in public, preferably in the same arena where the smear took place.

    I will leave to your own conscience the contemplation of the fact that Steve McIntyre is a far more honest person than you are.

  64. Has Tallbloke actually apologised yet, or is it yet another case of
    Climate “Scepticism” means never having to say you’re sorry

  65. I know it is time to let this one go, but have continued to reflect on this, in particular the intense and ongoing smeargate of Gavin Schmidt. Since I keep up with this material, I know he is patient, polite, and intelligent, and takes infinite pains with people who sometimes don’t deserve it. It is baffling to see this translated into items like the above and agree that a public apology in the location of the original twisting of what he said is only the beginning of what would be appropriate, but what a hope!

    (For example, his attempts to help Judith Curry and her subsequent fudging and fluffing combined with recourse to a vast fan club free with praise for her and misconstruction and insults and a career of avoiding dealing with the science, which I admit I understand even less than she does, was a puzzle. The person who convinced me to offer her respect was Gavin Schmidt himself, who for some reason was moved to praise her ability.)

    As to post-normal, I am tempted to regard this as gobbledygook, but once again must admit to not knowing enough to be sure of the elements of emperor’s new clothes I suspect. However, anything that ties up the time and energy of people who have real work to do, elucidating real problems and development real solutions, becomes a tool for the delayers. It is much easier to promote inertia and indifference, not to mention outright hatred of the truth, than it is to change the way we look at the world. We need to abandon our continuous expansion model, which anyone with a mite of common sense can see is unsustainable on a finite planet. And don’t start with the garbage about moving into space – right now the cost of moving anything out there is astronomical (pun intended).

  66. Almost every denier/skeptic I have read thinks the science is settled. I do not recall one staying that it is say 50/50 whether or not we are doing serious damage to the environment on which we depend. I can’t think of one who says there is a 10% chance the mainstream scientific community is essentially correct. Now I haven’t read everything and my own confirmation bias could be causing me to forget something I did read. Does anyone know of such examples?

    If you were driving down a foggy road and a sign said there was a 30% chance the bridge is out, what would you do? Hit the gas? I am an academic in a science related field and I do not work on climate issues. Personally I’d say I think/feel there is an 80% chance the scientists are correct. Given that we will have to develop non fossil fuel energy sources at some point anyway there is not much harm is doing so now. If it turns out the scientists got it wrong the coal and oil will still be there. I rather risk wasting money now than risk losing the whole ball of wax later.

    By the way, there are now crabs in Antarctica. Apparently they have been reading the ‘wrong’ blogs and do not realize they cannot survive there.

    • Mike, this is a good point. I just think from a meta perspective, it’s surreal to be hearing it 30 some odd years after the National Research Council (US) estimated climate sensitivity to be 3ºC. 1979 if you’re counting.

      This of course puts an inconvenient few years between the findings of mainstream science and Al Gore’s ‘politicization of the issue’, wherein he looked to scientists for information about science without due deference to industry interests thereby screwing the pooch and forcing McIntyre to rain auditing herd on wayward climate science (not to mention Gore’s bringing the issue to the attention of the layman. Just scandalous. Imagine how betrayed you’d feel if you were the Koch brothers??).

      Of course as you know emissions, concentrations and warming have only accelerated from there- more or less entirely in accordance with that NRC paper. All of which is to say nothing of the advancements in our understanding and the increase in our awareness of the profound risks we are accruing.

      It’d be one thing if we had decided then not to act due to a studied (if flawed) judgment about costs and benefits. Instead, we have something on the order of the greatest cover-up in human history gaining momentum, such that there are more people than ever that self-righteously believe this nonsense, than go merrily out there as pawns in blog wars on the Koch’s behalf. Meanwhile, the question of costs and benefits has still yet to be properly evaluated in the public sphere.

      It’s stunning when you think about it, that a comment like yours should be called for at this stage, as if some justification for the underlying view were yet required. I mean, according to my calendar we’re the Enlightenment is behind us. Do I have that right? You can never be too sure because looking at this stuff for too long will make one’s eyes go blurry.

    • “Personally I’d say I think/feel there is an 80% chance the scientists are correct. ”

      And what chance that they have erred on the conservative side? I find it hard to go past these probability functions: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Working-out-climate-sensitivity.html

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > “Personally I’d say I think/feel there is an 80% chance the
      > scientists are correct. ”

      You’re probably in good company with you thinking/feeling. But that sentence is a muddle. “Correct”, about what? About the reality of the man-made greenhouse effect? I would put that at 110% certainty. And after that, it becomes parameter estimation. Our hypothesis testing days are over.
      “Correct” about the precise value of that parameter, climate sensitivity? That probability is obviously 0%. Nobody gets a real number empirically precisely right :-)

      You need to think about probability distributions. This is risk management.

    • “…And I’m going to show you the latest science, which now doesn’t leave the question unsettled anymore this is now settled science, it is now settled science that there is not a problem with our influence over Climate. The science is in, the truth is out and the scare is over.”
      — Christopher Monckton. 10/14/9 Minnesota Free Market Institute presentation

      http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2010/08/examining-lord-monckton-rhetoric.html

    • Regarding my muddled sentence. I think/feel there is 80% chance that our planet is headed toward very dangerous and detrimental changes on our current emissions path. My rational side would put it at 90%, but I am not completely rational. There are often situations in life where it is best to go with one’s gut instead of fretting over data. So, I don’t dismiss the part of me that says: “No I can’t be true!” But I don’t let it dominate my rational side. So, that’s how I got to 80%.

  67. Bill Hartree pops up at Moyhu:

    Hello, Nick, it’s Bill Hartree here: we met in Lisbon, so I thought I’d renew acquaintance. I have been finding out about the shenanigans there on the Friday night, after I had departed, not least through Deepclimate – yes, DC, I’m the “Bill H” who provided some info on your blog about the Science is Settled story.

    What I find strangest is that the various participants are so anxious to sound off publicly about the meeting. Sure, the Chatham House rules were soft but for a meeting that styled itself as “talks about talks” I would have expected a distinct reticence from the attenders, and yet we have Tallbloke commenting at enormous length on a variety of blogs about a boozy revel during which Schmidt’s email was hauled out for general viewing, and exactly who read it to whom, and why. We have McIntyre contradicting Tallbloke’s original version of events with his own, and then TB admitting that McIntyre’s version was actually correct. Mosher then chimes in to say that he advised against publicising the contents of the email at this drinking session. Apart from anything else this seems to flout the Chatham House rules – but then Judith Curry tells us that it doesn’t because the events took place after the completion of the formal conference, though this seems to be pure conjecture on her part, and I have no idea whether the organisers would agree. I have indeed contacted the organisers to express my disquiet and been told merely, and bizarrely, that I should “forward my email to Tallbloke”. They already seem to be past caring. I did indeed contact TB, who defended his actions with the claim that all publicity is good publicity (an adage for which there seems to be no empirical evidence).

    [DC: Emphasis added]

    • I did indeed contact TB, who defended his actions with the claim that all publicity is good publicity (an adage for which there seems to be no empirical evidence).

      It’s a paraphrase of PT Barnum.

      At pretty much at odds with what he’s said here.

      OK, I now officially declare myself guilty of presuming that a serial liar, like Tallbloke, having come here with hat in hand trying to clarify things, has totally made a fool of me for thinking that, having been caught lying, he might start telling the truth.

      He’s slime. And I’m being nice.

    • Another adage TB likes is “truth will out”.

      Well, the truth is outing the b**tard.

      It was worth being kind to him in order to draw out his story (he is a fool), but at this point … he’s made his bed of thorns, and let him lie in it.

    • Tallbloke has written to me following the posting of my comment from his email to me to request that I publish his full reasons for revealing Gavin’s email. Specifically he asked me to post, concerning his email to me:

      “In the very first paragraph of my response to you I stated the two reasons for my actions.

      >”One is that
      > if I’m asked a direct question, I give an honest answer. The second is
      > that I felt that the attendees, who had taken the trouble to travel
      > halfway round the world to attend a reconciliation workshop had a
      > legitimate interest in knowing why the big hitters from the ‘other side’
      > hadn’t showed up.” “

    • Bill, quite interesting. Question now is: which *other* big hitters did not show up, and what was *their* reason? Why the focus on Gavin Schmidt (I think I know why, but I’d like to be surprised) ?

    • But don’t forget that Tallbloke’s current explanation, as I understand it, is that he was “inadvertantly” forwarded Gavin Schmidt’s email, so this is the only case where Tallbloke was aware of the reasons for the decline of invitation. Of course, he may well know who else was invited but not their reasons for refusing. But there’s no reason to name names, which is likely only to make a bad situation worse, and lead to calls for these scientists to justify their decision. They don’t need to be further harrassed.

      The question really should be how many “mainstream” consensus climate scientists were invited, and how many even bothered to answer. That would not be problematic information to release. Of course, Tallbloke would presumably not know the answer to this, but at least some of the organizers should.

      Another interesting question is why the Pielkes were originally expected to show up (as late as January 5, according to Tallbloke), and then presumably decided to pull out. But that’s a question best asked of Jr and Sr.

    • I suppose it’s also noteworthy that Tallbloke here justifies describing a confidential email, and then releasing it to a journalist, on the grounds that attendees had a “right to know”. He still hasn’t provided a justification for the release of the actual email, although he has admitted that he knew Pearce would not be able to discuss Gavin Schmidt’s reasons if Pearce hadn’t seen the email himself.

      Also note Tallbloke says “if I’m asked a direct question, I give an honest answer.” But earlier he claimed that he wasn’t sure if he had talked about this with attendees, other than at the post-workshop session with Pearce, McIntyre and McKitrick. I guess his memory is improving.

      Also, he initially released the details of his interpretation of Schmidt’s absence without prompting (on his blog on Jamuary 5, as noted above). He said this at the same time as he first revealed that Schmidt wasn’t attending. So one can infer that his position is that attendees, and even members of the public, including readers of his blog, had “a right to know”, even if they didn’t ask.

      And to top it all, he still hasn’t apologized clearly for doing those things, nor for distorting Gavin Schmidt’s reasons for not attending. Au contraire, he continues to justify his actions.

    • And why the heck would any climate scientist want to go to a workshop full of hostile paranoid deniers and pompous ignorant bores? How would that further science?

    • So if they’d only crossed the street, it would’ve been unethical to reveal the e-mail? How about if they’d crossed half of the United States? Is that far enough? 1/4 of the world? Or is 1/2 the world the minimum distance that makes it ethical?

      Enquiring minds want to know, tallbloke …

    • I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to let Tallbloke post here by proxy, although I certainly appreciate Bill Hartree’s efforts as a genuine honest broker with the organizers. I’m not sure which organizers Bill tried to question, but maybe it’s time for him to try the other ones. There are five of them after all. Surely they don’t all accept Tallbloke as the only spokesperson for the Lisbon workshop?

  68. Speaking of philosophers of science, my favorite modern one is Philip Kitcher, who wrote a rather insightful review of the climate wars for Science a few years ago – Dawkins has it posted here:

    http://c0524352.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/100606AAAS.pdf

    Kitcher’s studies, from what I’ve read of them, look into the basic practices that lead scientists to form consensus views of the world that are manifestly correct in their essentials, despite (or sometimes because of) the human frailties and failings of the scientists themselves. It’s been a while since I read his philosophical writings, but I found them very insightful at the time, and wonder why I haven’t seen any commentary on his approach since then…

  69. How the h**l Judith Curry thinks she can “honest broker” this mess is beyond comprehension, except that JC is ever herself. JC is clearly no more than an honest broker of dishonesty. She’ll make a bunch of generally nice-sounding, unverifiable statements and then retreat behind “I haven’t looked at this in any detail,” of course. She’s just sayin’ [or not, when she wants to excise the term]…PNS.

  70. Arthur Smith,

    June 6 2010 (yeah, it seems like a couple years, but not so …)

    Thanks for the reminder; I read that Kitcher review at the time but it was well worth a reread.

  71. I’m considering the radical step of going mostly to climate scientists for understanding climate in general, and the risks of AGW in particular.

    Perhaps bloggers, auditors, brokers, PN scientists, skeptics, delayers, AM radio, and News Corporation aren’t the valuable sources I once thought.

    Oh well.

  72. Quite so Mark.

    While there may be an undiscovered and unimaginable variety of bacteria or somesuch adapted to survive clustered around the astounding pressures and temperatures that exist at the Earth’s core, until such emerges, the crew you describe are pretty much the bottom feeding lowest of the low.

    With one manufactured non-controversy after another carefully timed to flare up just as the previous non-event disappears into oblivion, it all tends to look – and this may just be me – like an endless PR campaign orchestrated through the usual retail outlets.

  73. CA continues the reconciliation effort (“Two-way street”):

    “In the week preceding Ryan’s angry post, the Team boycotted the Lisbon reconciliation workshop in order to perpetuate its fatwa against critics. Gavin Schmidt’s excuse for maintaining the fatwa was widely discussed last week.”

  74. Without meaning to take away from the serious issue of misrepresentation, the science is settled enough that waiting on certainty is folly. This particular blogstorm looks to me to be yet more distraction. Gavin’s full response is out there now; lets move on.

    Meanwhile, at what point, given the importance to future security and prosperity of understanding climate, should the confidence of climate scientist in their own – and their peers – work become the basis of activism? How can they do so and retain the confidence of the wider community that the results of their inquiries led to that activism without the (libelous IMO) accusation that their activism led to biased results? I suspect the role of the media and particularly of competent journalism is the most critical factor here. In all this saga that might be more important to debate than the actual way Gavin’s words were paraphrased.

  75. Nothing like using terms one doesn’t understand.

    fatwa: a legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader (cf. MW Dict)

    I suppose I’m making the assumption that Gavin isn’t a Muslim, but I think it’s safe to say he’s not a Muslim leader.

    • Susan Anderson

      Ah, but equating scientific discernment with hate and murder is all in a day’s work for the fake skeptics and gets cheers from the gallery.

  76. ‘Fatwa’ is a very nice bit of well-poisoning, perfect for the target audience.

    The larger (and more important) rhetorical pattern, though, is projection: denialism begins and ends with bad arguments and unsupported conclusions that are never, ever withdrawn or questioned– so mainstream scientists must be accused of dogmatism and closed minds. Denialism is political and economic first, and uses ‘scientific’ claims and evidence only as a means to those ends– so scientists must be accused of having political motives, feathering their own nests, and conspiring against the public interest. The aim is to present the two sides as symmetrical opponents, each equally legitimate (or illegitimate), and shift the choice of whom to believe to the realm of politics, turning facts and reasoning into mere political word-games.

    It’s an old game– think of Aristophanes’ The Clouds… (Not to mention the creationist/ID movement.)

    One response, which can work on the small scale, at least, is to create real interest in the scientific issues: anyone who actually looks at the ‘debate’ with that in mind sees pretty quickly which side is ignoring evidence and arguments, burying its mistakes and making wild accusations.

    • Susan Anderson

      well put, and yes! All for scientific excitement, but how to get people to stop texting long enough to notice?

  77. If the paid-for, ready-to-launch Triana had been allowed to actually go to space, the whole world would know our exact energy budget at all times. It’s a travesty that we don’t know.

    It’s anti-science fanatics like tallbloke – in the US – that prevented that from happening. They smirked at it and called it “the GoreCam” and mothballed it. Then they slated it to be, essentially, scrapped. So no back-of-the-envelope crankdom from a science illiterate is needed, thanks. We’ll probably have to depend on the EU for the next one.

    • Susan Anderson

      And, interestingly, the deniers are now blaming the scientists for not having enough satellites and real observations. I *think* the aforesaid researchers were supposed to dip into those “overpaid” deep pockets for the money? Fake skeptics, being entirely synthetic, are very good at turning reality inside out. Just use an effective phrase and see how many hours it takes to morph into its illogical opposite.

    • Susan, it’s just the next excuse in the series “we don’t know enough” (hence…)

    • Susan Anderson wrote:

      And, interestingly, the deniers are now blaming the scientists for not having enough satellites and real observations.

      I have heard this more than once recently. Do you know of a couple instances that you could point me to? Regardless, it is an interesting development.

    • Susan Anderson

      Timothy Chase, apologies for late reply, Marion Delgado, for piggybacking on your comment, and everyone for my lack of formatting. I only found this attack once, but it was so startling it stuck to my eclectic memory. I notice words being turned to mean their opposite since I’m better at English than science. I seem to have overreacted to the final line:
      http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/on-edge-pushing-statistics-and-climate-basics/?permid=54#comment54

      “Would it perhaps be wise…. given the trillions riding on all this…

      “To invest in a number of state of the art (designed specifically for the harsh antartica environment) automatic Weather Stations, to be spread across the continent and interior of Antartica…
      ….
      “It may well cost 100 million, 200 million….(it may well offer serious engineering challenges), would it not be money well spent, after all this is (maybe/maybe not) the biggest crisis that man-kind faces (sarc off)

      “… Everyone would benefit from this…

      “Or do scientists all just want to sit in ther offices and play with computer models these days vs reality”

      BTW: TC, you are one of my heroes, and I “borrowed” your list of tobacco connex a few times to make the point on a few of my comments, though I had to replace individual links with summary links (Sourcewatch et al.).

      And as long as I’m here, a little but not entirely OT but Colbert is wonderful about Thomas and Citizens United here:
      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/374631/february-17-2011/clarence-thomas-s-financial-disclosure-controversy

  78. Deep,
    I just came across the comment about you wanting to save PNS from itself. I think it can be done with with risk management, but needs to expand into tame and complex risks (were the latter qualify as wicked problems). The PNS takes part in the task of contrasting calculated risk with perceived risk, and in reviewing what is at risk, with the uncertainty of taking action. This leaves the science intact but places it within a larger system of enquiry that is value-based. Therefore PNS itself is not needed. Been drafting a post, but it’s complex – several papers are close to submission or have just been submitted on this.

    • I linked to Sylvia Tognetti (Post Modern Times) as someone who would save PNS from itself.

      I agree that failure to leave the science “intact” has gotten the old guard into trouble; they really seem to think that the “extended peer network” (a.k.a. the blogosphere) has something useful to say about the science itself.

    • Maybe it should be called Post Normal Science Policy, if it is about making policy decisions based on the science?

  79. I had a look at Post Modern Times, which I hadn’t checked for a while. Sylvia T was bushwhacked by the tallguy who immediately proceeded to gallop Gishwise. I could feel quite a bit of face*palm*head*desk in her responses.

    • I thought about going over there and welcoming her to my world. She must be starting to wonder the same thing as many of us: Why did the PNS old guard, presumably including one or more of Sylvia Tognetti’s mentors, put so much faith in Tallbloke?

  80. Susan Anderson:

    Reading that makes me want to hurt something :) blood pressure, blood pressure.

    • Susan Anderson

      Roger Jones above – wonderful shortcut.:
      palm*face*head*desk

      BTW, wonderful stuff over at RealClimate. Unfortunately, the legions are too busy developing new ways to make us all look bad to notice they are wrong. There’s not much imperfect humans can do with all this targeted bullcr** Almost makes me believe in evil … but frankly I think the planet is getting ready to shuck our overly exploitative species in a natural way without all that highfalutin’ god in the image of man stuff.

  81. Not that we need more evidence to discredit SPPI or the Lisbon circus, but we now have confirmation from a self-styled “lukewarmer” (Mosher at Curry’s place) who attended the workshop that the official SPPI representative (Steven Goddard) uses a fake name.

    • Has Anthony Watts responded yet? I remember him revealing the town where I resided because I didn’t use my real name in comments.

    • tallblojke has

      “It will be sponsored and financially supported by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen of the European Commission’s DG Joint Research Centre”, which is this.

      So, the open question is did the EC pay for flights & expenses, or somebody else? If so, is the EC in the habit of paying for someone:
      a) not using a real name,
      b) whose affiliation is to a PO box in a UPS store of a ~1-man entity
      c) that does not list him.

      Of course, some (not JRM, to be sure … argh, rabettisms are contagious) might wonder about some of the others, and the selection processes.

      Of course, if individuals or their institutions paid, no problem, else if I were an EU taxpayer, I might be asking questions. Unfortunately, just mocking this likely has zero effect. Putting this together in a package for European journalists might.

  82. John,

    I cannot recall where I read this (sorry!), but Mosher was bragging about not flying business class even though that is what was offered. His post gave the very distinct impression that someone else was paying for his flight.

    Aaah, Google is wonderful, first hit from SheWonk:

    Mosher:
    “February 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm | #31 Reply | Quote
    self importance? i was invited, last minute, to represent the AGW side of things since others refused to attend. So it was left to Nick stokes, Hans Von Storch, and me to represent AGW. While I was cleared to fly business class I flew coach so that folks in the EU didnt have to foot a large bill ( 4K versus 1K).”

  83. NaughtyChemistsLTD

    Wow, this seems like the Wegman/GMU cluster, writ smaller (except maybe this airing is more rigorous than GMU’s). Holly Stick’s astute question sums it up for me: “And why the heck would any climate scientist want to go to a workshop full of hostile paranoid deniers and pompous ignorant bores? How would that further science?” It’s rather similar to peer-reviewed journal procedure–only worthy science-advancing articles should make it though. Maybe ParaNormal Science grows into something, but for now a conference that’s little more than a social gathering is not a good use of a busy true scientist’s time. Maybe the attendees wouldn’t have appeared either if they had real science obligations to keep them busy. This thing smacks of bruised egos, that a noted expert does not think their poor wittle confewence agenda is worthy of serious attention. A bit like the Green Bay Packers’ declining a high school team’s invitation to scrimmage, followed by soda-shop chortles that the Packers are scared to play the high schoolers. What I want to know is how a person gets permission to be a vendor at these deniofairs. I have all sorts of ideas for trinkets: “I came to a PNS conference, and all I got for it is PMS” tee shirts; Heavy Boots in all popular sizes and colors; “How to Communicate with UFOs in Five Easy Steps” books; a three-hour course on “How to Create Your Own Paranormal Science Public Access Show;” “Science for the Steadfastly Ignorant” educational videos; “1 + 2 = 6,and Other Wacky Things to do with Math;” and a three credit hour home study course called “How to be Alone With Your Thought.” The profit potential is unlimited.

  84. Pingback: The Post-Normal Times , Archive » Revisiting Post-Normal Science in Post-Normal Times & Identifying Cranks

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