Curry the Apostate

Posted by: Keith Kloor  :  Category: Judith Curry, climate change, climate science

To fully understand the enduring Judith Curry Phenomenon, you have to appreciate the power of a storyline that is not much discussed: Curry as climate apostate.

I realized this last year, after seeing some of the incredulous response to my first Q &A with Curry, which is why I immediately followed up in a second Q & A, asking her to explain why people such as  Joe Romm felt like she was no longer the Judith Curry he thought he knew. (A third and final Q & A, trying to make sense of all the criticism of her prompted by the first two interviews, shortly followed.)

The latest blogstorm involving Curry is triggered by this Scientific American article by Michael Lemonick, who explores “two competing” storylines: whether Curry is a well-intentioned peacemaker in the climate wars or a “dupe” of climate skeptics. Understandably, the focus was on climate science issues; after all, the piece appeared in Scientific American. And this emphasis is reinforced by Lemonick’s ending:

It is perhaps unreasonable to expect everyone to stop sniping at one another, but given the high stakes, it is crucial to focus on the science itself and not the noise.

But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, because there is a compelling human angle to this Judith Curry story, one which can only be truly grasped in a New Yorker or New York Times magazine type of piece. After Judith wrote her response to the SciAm article, one reader correctly identifies this third, enduring storyline:

IMO the heat you are feeling from the establishment, and its intensity compared with that directed at other “heretics” such as Dick Lindzen, is mainly due to your being seen as an apostate, rather than merely a heretic. Some in the mainstream camp clearly feel betrayed.

How so? Well, as Judith acknowledges in her latest post, she has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years, from”high priestess of global warming” to “critic of the IPCC” and respectful sparring partner of skeptics. I think that the sense of betrayal felt by some of Judith’s colleagues would not have turned so bitter had she not continued to vocally criticize the climate science community since “Climategate.” The anger might have been fleeting, akin to what British journalist George Monbiat experienced after writing this column and several others that were also critical of climate scientists last November. But Monbiot let the issue go after a few months, and besides, his larger worldview on the severity of the threat of climate change remains fundamentally unchanged.

Judith’s case, in contrast, strikes me as having more in common with the kind of political apostasy ascribed to Christopher Hitchens earlier this decade and more recently to David Frum and Christopher Buckley. (To understand the power of the apostasy storyline, look no further than this 2006 New Yorker profile on Hitchens.) All these guys have come down with a serious case of buyers remorse, to varying degrees. And they haven’t been shy about taking on the side they were formerly aligned with. Hence the blowback. As Buckley quipped after he came out for Obama:

the only thing the Right can’t quite decide is whether I should be boiled in oil or just put up against the wall and shot. Lethal injection would be too painless.

Fortunately, I don’t think Judith is engendering quite that level of rage. But the thinly veiled disgust some of her colleagues express towards her is palpable, and I’m not sure she is coming to grips with why. For example, in her current post, in which she tries to understand what is causing all this fuss over what she says in the media or the blogosphere, she seems not to recognize her own apostasy (my emphasis):

So the Judith Curry ca 2010 is the same scientist as she was in 2003, but sadder and wiser as a result of the hurricane wars, a public spokesperson on the global warming issue owing to the media attention from the hurricane wars, more broadly knowledgeable about the global warming issue, much more concerned about the integrity of climate science, listening to skeptics, and a blogger (for better or for worse). . .

Judith, you may be the same scientist, but some of your core assumptions of climate science and the IPCC have changed. That has changed you. Five years ago you were characterized as the “high priestess of global warming.” In the public arena that is inhabited by people who care passionately about climate change, that would put you on the side of the angels. But now that you’ve become the climate science community’s resident in-house critic, you’ve been cast over to the “dark side.”

It is this metamorphosis that is infuriating to your detractors and enthralling to your admirers.

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337 Responses to “Curry the Apostate”

  1. RB Says:

    I don’t know if your thesis is true, but Bruce Bartlett is another example similar to those you’ve given.
     

  2. thingsbreak Says:

    There are any number of people who care less about someone’s supposed “apostasy” and “heresy” than his or her credulous repetition of nonsense (e.g. Hockey Stick Illusion, Pat Michael’s “blacklisting”, knee-jerk defense of Wegman, endorsement of WUWT, etc.). Any reason why this particular angle gets left out of these little summaries?
     
    I mean, I get that it kind of puts a damper on the pat narrative that you, Curry, and others are selling. But shouldn’t it be made clear that some people have been criticizing her for things that they’d criticize any- and every-one else for, irrespective of her starting vs. current “place” in the climate blogosphere?
     
    It is this metamorphosis that is infuriating to your detractors and enthralling to your admirers.
     
    “Enthralled” is certainly one word for that. ;)

  3. PDA Says:

    The use of terms like ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy’ is all very colorful and dramatic. And I don’t doubt that there is someone somewhere sticking pins and needles into a Judy Curry doll. But my perception is that most of the reaction to Dr. Curry has been on the substance: uncritical parroting of skeptic claims, warm approval of tinfoil-hat nonsense on her blog, questionable scholarship.
    Does “tribalism” play a role? Sure, to some extent. But to flatly state that it’s her “metamorphosis” that is at the root of the “Judith Curry Phenomenon” - that it’s all high school and everybody hates her because she’s not hanging with the cool kids any more - is cartoonish, IMHO.

  4. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    For someone who claims to be a scientist, she sure doesn’t seem very good at presenting clear arguments or evidence to support her position.  Just lots of handwaiving and self-congratulatory ‘i’m an independent thinker’ unlike the blind masses in the ipcc consensus camp.
     
    Seems to me that she’s fallen prey to self adulation in much the same way that steve m appears to have.  Else why the need for 200+ comments from the fawning skeptic crowd in her latest post? IOW if she’s going to put up a non-scientific post that quickly devolves into that sort of behaviour why not just shut down of comments on that post?
     
    Like many others I’ve given up on trying to pin down what her specific issues are.  She speaks like a politician not a scientist.
     
    For example:
     
    “While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC.
     
    crocodile tears and all that seem to come to mind.
     
    ” So how are things going for you lately?  A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe.  ”
     
    Evidence?
     
    “Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science.
     
    Funny no mention of Wegman or GMU here…
     
     
    “The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.”
     
    Evidence?
     
    “The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies.”
     
    Evidence? this is getting tiresome…
     
    “The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.  In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.”
     
    So this is Mike Mann’s fault or the volunteer editors who worked on WG2?  Talk about blaming the victim.  Strangely enough Judy never seems to mention the other relevant aspects of these issues (e.g. the findings of the UEA, IAC, etc) that basically show that while there is room for improvement there was much that was blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION. And maybe, that what’s people take issue with when the Curry’s activities come up.
    It’s the difference between the tactics of a lawyer and a scientist.

    “What happened?  Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win? No, you lost.  All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand.  “
     
    please wise Judy do tell us what policies it is that ‘we’ purportedly support and explain who the many are that don’t fully understand them.
     
    “What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life”
     
    Sure doesn’t look like it from where I’m standing. But hey, maybe we’ll see some posts on the things support your claims (e.g. why Annan et al are wrong on climate sensitivity)?
     

  5. Banjoman0 Says:

    I can’t escape the feeling from the tone of this post that somehow it is Judith’s “fault,” and I have difficulty seeing it that way.  And it seems pretty clear from her posts that gets it, or has “come to grips with why,” and her response seems to be “screw ‘em,” which just adds to the vitriol in response.  She apparently wants to debate the science, and her claim (supported by some evidence) is that many “skeptical” types are more interested in genuine debate on scientific merits than some with a more “alarmist” view.  As for changing her assumptions, that happens sometimes in the face of new data in conflict with the previous assumptions.
    As Lubos Motl points out, “So first of all, there must be a dogma - and then you can have heretics.

  6. Keith Kloor Says:

    PDA, Did I say the tribalism was at the root? I believe that the storylines put forward in the SciAm article have validity. I’m just suggesting that there’s also a third storyline that explains the Judith Curry craze.

    Marlowe, you make some reasonable criticisms of Judith’s post.

  7. Keith Kloor Says:

    Banjo (5):

    I don’t know how you read into my tone that way.

  8. Gavin Says:

    Keith, this is ridiculous. There is no dogma and there are no heretics. All there is a simplistic (and all-too-common) media framing that actually engenders the behaviour that it purports to decry. We must apparently decide what box someone goes in instead of assessing their actual point. Tosh. All that actually matters is whether Judith’s criticisms have any *scientific* merit - and as other commenters have noted, there is not a lot of there, there. Everything else is just schoolyard stuff. Online polls? really?
     
    (Cue the ‘Gavin is being mean’ meme in 3…2…1…).

  9. Tom Fuller Says:

    Gavin may be mean, but in this case he is partially correct. I can easily believe that Judith does not see herself as having been changed by the events of the past year. The media may look at her with new eyes.
     
    Where he’s wrong is thinking that the rest is schoolyard stuff. Rightly or wrongly, the media has a greater influence than perhaps Gavin would wish-but there it is.
     
    I disagree with him and the usual gang of suspects on the merit of what she says-primarily because the criticisms we see here in this thread are of politics, not science and it falls into the same boring old tribalism.
     
    Or PDA saying she ‘parrots skeptic claims.’ I believe on my last visit over to her blog, she characterized skeptic claims as having a lot of baloney but some good ideas that should be looked at further.
     
    And thingsbreak unconsciously reinforcing the ‘apostate’ theme by classifying her comments as ‘credulous repetition.’
     
    Such as Marlowe criticising Curry for having the temerity to allow commenters post what they please. Geez, Marlowe-should she have just started deleting comments after deciding there was a surfeit of praise?
     
    It’s why you all are getting your hats handed to you.
    As for the scientific merit of her claims, I’m not a scientist and cannot judge, but as someone who has watched events play out in the past, I personally am going to wait and see. Dr. Curry’s points seem logical and not at all far-fetched. When a bunch of people have done and redone the math, we’ll see.

  10. Keith Kloor Says:

    Gavin,

    I do believe that Judith’s arguments are being taken up by you and others-sometimes over here and in various media stories.

    At the same time, the virulent reaction to her in the climate concerned community seems hard to explain other than apostasy. I also wonder why RC has been so reluctant to take her on in the same way it took on Fred Pearce, the Guardian, and other media in various posts this past year. (I don’t count the comment threads.)

    Here you have a vocal critic who’s not backing down from her criticisms. Now she’s got a blog where she’s actively discussing the science. Seems like you’ve got ample opportunity for at least one post at Real Climate.

    I love that you’ve engaged Judy in my blog, but sorry, the silence over at Real Climate, arguably the most prominent and authoritative outlet on climate science, speaks volumes to me, and yes, I chalk that up to her being an apostate.

  11. PDA Says:

    PDA, Did I say the tribalism was at the root?
     
    Keith, did I say you did? I did not. I referenced your last paragraph about her “metamorphosis.” As thingsbreak noted, it’s not about when she wrote things, it’s what she wrote.
    Tom, Dr. Curry was going all over the place saying that people should read Montford without - by her own admission - doing any critical evaluation of the content. She got her hat handed to her on specific questions about the content of that book, not tribalism or politics. That’s the parroting I’m talking about.

  12. Gavin Says:

    Huh? Try chalking it up instead to most of the discussion not being very interesting. Much as you might think that RC should follow the blogo-pack wherever it goes, I don’t think it will for, I would have thought, obvious reasons. If any criticism is simply dismissed as ‘persecution’ or us being ‘mean girls’, what chance do you think there is of any dialog? We’ve all been through multiple blog-storms before, and they generate far more heat than light. Count us out on this one.

  13. Keith Kloor Says:

    The other thing to keep in mind is that Judith could be wrong-but still be an apostate. Saying she’s an apostate doesn’t mean I’m arguing that she’s right.

    I’m arguing that, just as Christopher Hitchens reeaxmined his longstanding liberal assumptions in the wake of 9/11 (though if anybody ever read him when he was at the Nation, you know that he deviated before that), Judith has reexamined her own assumptions about certain climate science tenets and also her assumptions about the IPCC’s authority.

    Hitchens became an apostate because he became an unyielding critic of liberalism. Seems to me that Curry is well on her way to the same distinction for her unyielding criticism of climate science.

     

  14. PDA Says:

    the virulent reaction to her in the climate concerned community seems hard to explain other than apostasy
     
    Well, if you take it upon yourself to define ‘virulent’ and ‘apostate,’ then yeah, I’m sure it seems that way. Especially if you avoid any of the specific substantive objections to what she’s written.
    People always seem to think everybody else should be open to criticism of their ideas…

  15. Keith Kloor Says:

    Gavin (12):

    I’m sorry, but I’m not really buying that-about why her criticisms don’t warrant a post at Real Climate. For one thing, I don’t think RC should follow the blogo-pack at every turn. And perhaps if she had made her criticisms once or twice after last November and then disappeared from the public stage, well then, I could see your point. But she’s been pretty adept at keeping her criticisms front and center in the larger debate (and by no means am I the only one to have played a part in that).

    So given that she’s showing no inclination to backing off-if anything, she’s now got even a larger megaphone with her own blog-I just can’t understand why RC ignores her. I don’t think you’re making a strong argument on this score.

  16. Judith Curry Says:

    Well, I would really like the discussion to return to the science.  The discussion of personalities is boring to me at least (and especially when the topic is myself).   Of far greater significance than the unfortunate Sci Am article is Gavin’s engagement at the Air Vent (that is all the blogospheric auditors/skeptics ever wanted, some engagement and not to be disrespected.)  Also  the move to separate climate science from decisions about about energy policy in the “hawk” frame.  These are much more significant.  The media’s drive to polarize is not always helpful.

    My statement regarding accepting the heretic label is conditional on people are insisting the IPCC is dogma, which the heretic label by lemonick seemed to imply. Pushing that to apostasy is a bit extreme, but I find the relative unquestioning acceptance of the IPCC assessment by the climate science community to be of concern.  And the concern about my damaging the consensus seems rather widespread, which I find astonishing.

    Lets try to build on the separating of the science from the politics, and more widespread engagement of scientists with the technical bloggers, and open data and open knowledge initiatives.

  17. Roddy Campbell Says:

    “Also  the move to separate climate science from decisions about about energy policy in the “hawk” frame.”
     
    Hallelujah.  Take note PDA.

  18. PDA Says:

    And the concern about my damaging the consensus seems rather widespread
     
    Dr. Curry, as I mentioned at your blog, I’ve seen no evidence of this sentiment other than the reference by Lemonick (creator of the Dumbest Online Survey in Human History). While there may be quite a lot of dogmatism among laypeople on both sides, I think you have not shown that it’s a major factor in driving the science.
     
    That way tinfoil-hattery lies.

  19. AMac Says:

    “The science” can be taken to mean two quite different things.
    It is “the practices of people who answer ’scientist’ when the question is ‘what do you do?’”
    It is also “the body of knowledge and theory that constitutes our best understanding of the world around us.”
    These two notions get mixed up in discussions like this.
    The plot line of “Heathers” can have eerie echoes with the former.  Not so much with the latter.
    “Defending Climate Science” in the first sense might be the same thing as “Advancing Climate Science” in the second sense. On the other hand, where current practices are deficient, the best tonic for The Science might be a persistent challenge to the status quo.
    To be “anti-science” today is akin to being against Holy Jesus in medieval Christendom.  It’s just a rhetorical device to use against one’s enemies.

  20. Gavin Says:

    Well, I’m not sure that the worthwhile-ness of debate is based on the size of the megaphone being used, but, perhaps you could tell me what important criticism she has levelled that requires full RC attention? That the IPCC is ‘corrupt’ is some vague and undefined way? How can you rebut what is not ever made clear? That IPCC authors made errors in logic that even schoolkids can catch? Doesn’t pass the sniff test. That climate modellers don’t realise that they are indulging in circular reasoning? OMG!  ;-) . That climate science is remiss for not giving more credence to theories that the sun is made of iron, or that CO2 perturbation lifetimes are only a few years? (both of which are apparently ‘interesting’).  Or how about the idea that because we can’t attribute every climate change in history, we can’t attribute any change ever? (been there, done that).
     
    Or perhaps we are supposed to argue against the idea that we should be open and honest? Or that scientists shouldn’t act with integrity? Or that we shouldn’t discuss uncertainty? These things are about as debatable as when we stopped beating our wives (metaphor alert !- no wives were harmed during the making of this comment).
     
    But  maybe I missed something?

  21. David Palmer Says:

    I would like to see some discussion of Dr Curry’s, “So how are things going for you lately?”.
     
    It seems to me that she has hit the nail on the head as far as the stature of climate science amongst the reasonably informed public is concerned. It appears Roger Pielke Jr thinks so as well.
     
    Rather than the belligerence, ad hominem attacks and arguments from authority, how about some mea culpas in regard to climategate, the hockey stick fiasco, and the kind of criticisms of the IPCC whether stated or implied by the Inter Academy Council and the revised guidelines offered by The Royal Society.
     
    Interesting the support offered Dr Curry in the poll being conducted currently by Scientific American as a follow up to their piece on her.
     
    Interesting also the use of words like “dogma”, “apostate” and “heretic”, all words drawn from the realm of religion, which poses the question whether climate science has lost its supposed scientific objectivity in favour of adherence to belief, in this case a belief tenaciously held with an ardour normally associated with religion in the priority of human induced CO2 global warming.
     
    Well Gavin, Michael, Phil and the rest of the gang may be perfectly correct, but they could sure do with some humility, and just admit to some degree of uncertainty in their science, which seems to be Dr Curry’s main contention.
     
    This is not an argument that CO2 emissions shouldn’t be reduced, but such an assertion leads to other considerations….

  22. Tom Fuller Says:

    Gaving at #20: “perhaps you could tell me what important criticism she has levelled that requires full RC attention?”

    Judith has a three-part series about the IPCC’s possible overconfidence wrt detection and attribution.

    This does not seem to be in the same category as ‘iron sun’ theories. Nor does it seem to be accusing anyone of corruption. It seems to be reasonable questioning of valid points of concern.

    It also seems to be something RC should visit-or revisit, as the case may be.

    In any event, it does not seem to be anything like your labeling of Dr. Curry’s stance.

  23. RickA Says:

    Keith Kloor says:
    Judith, you may be the same scientist, but some of your core assumptions of climate science and the IPCC have changed. That has changed you.

    I don’t agree with this assertion.

    Judith didn’t change - rather her scientific opinion of the  ”consensus” IPCC view has changed.  Mainly with regard to the treatment of uncertainty.

    In other words, she, along with a lot of other scientists, assumed that uncertainty was being treated appropriately in the IPCC reports.  After investigation (after all her field was hurricanes), caused by some eye-opening events, she concluded that in fact uncertainty was not being treated appropriately by the IPCC.  I am sure that Judith would tell you she approached her review of the uncertainty question in the same manner she approached any other scientific question - because she is the same scientist using the same techniques to reach scientific conclusions.

    Saying she has changed because her assumptions have changed (based on scientific analysis) is like saying a physicist has changed because their assumption about the size of the proton has changed (new research suggests  the proton is 4% smaller than previously thought).  No - the scientist has not changed, rather their scientific opinion of a fact has changed - a change itself based on the scientific method.

    I personally admire Judith’s communication skills.
    She is also very polite, and not arrogant, which is something that the RC crowd could really take a lesson in.
    I find it interesting that Gavin finds everything not already addressed at RC “not interesting” or “boring”.

  24. AMac Says:

    > But  maybe I missed something?
    It’s quite possible.  Take any subject, and there will be people with some literacy and expertise, who advance invalid ideas (though such people may be worthy of respect for other reasons).  AGW is a particular magnet for silly ideas and uncivil behavior (both sides).  It also attracts some very thoughtful citizen-scientists with talents that are applicable to some of the problems that bedevil the field (both sides).
    Curry has chosen to open dialogs with  citizen-scientists and with scientists from other disciplines.  She’s had productive exchanges.  More to the point, she’s developed her own ideas in areas beyond her own specialty.
    If one looks, I think one will find plentiful examples of each.
    Earlier this week, Gavin provided an instance of outreach, discussing the relative importance of condensation for a cooling mass of saturated air, with physicist Anastassia Makarieva at tAV.  People on both sides of the divide should note this example and emulate it, in my opinion.

  25. Steven Sullivan Says:

    KK, I daresay NO ONE in the *scientific* community considered Dr Curry the ‘high priest’ of anything.   She was just one of many researchers.  Whatever displeasure her colleagues are expressing…and it appears to be most *anecdotal* at this point, beyond those tiny few who are blogging … is probably due to her ridiculously asymmetric apportioning of criticism.  She notes in the mildest passing terms that much of the anti-climate-change rhetoric is nonsensical without any apparent realization of how toxic it also is.
     
     
     

  26. Steven Sullivan Says:

    Btw, I liked the SciAm article.  The comments are for the most part predictably frothing idiocy.

  27. Judith Curry Says:

    The high priestess thing was being pushed by a number of people in the skeptical blogosphere at the time.  I was a bit player in the climate establishment at the time, i sat on a few fairly influential committees but i wasn’t involved in the IPCC or whatever.

  28. Judith Curry Says:

    I haven’t changed, just the normal evolution you would expect from someone who does research for a living.  The external circumstances have changed, and for some reason that still escapes me, people seem to pay attention to what I say (to like it or to trash it, but they are paying attention).
     
    I guess I chalk it up to being caught up in a bizarre postnormal environment.

  29. Steven Sullivan Says:

    Judith, at some point you”ll have to stop playing the naif and accept that you will be a standard bearer *because so few of your colleagues are commenting online*.    The ratio of working climate scientsts to working scientists with internet voices, is *tiny*.   So OF COURSE any who happen to write things that titillate the overrepresented  libertarian white middle-class male internet commentariat will become *stars*.
     

  30. Judith Curry Says:

    And we can rejoice that the full spectrum of the climate blogosphere can finally agree on something:  the Scientific American poll is idiotic

  31. Steven Sullivan Says:

    “Hitchens became an apostate because he became an unyielding critic of liberalism. ”
     
    That’s utter nonsense, Keith.   Hitch’s ‘apostasy’ revolves wholly around his hatred of BillClinton, and his support for the Iraq adventure — which stemmed not for any love of GW Bush (whom he considered akin to a useful idiot) or his ideology, but from a special hatred of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny borne of personal experience in Iraq.
    Other than that, he’s pretty damn *liberal* by any American standards.
     
     
     

  32. Judith Curry Says:

    BTW, i don’t expect RC or anyone else in the climate blogosphere to pick up on the topics I am writing about at Climate Etc. (they seem more fascinated with why i recommended Montford’s book), I have deliberately picked things that others aren’t talking about and tend to the meta issues.  I personally think these are issues that people should be paying attention to, we’ll see to what extent these ideas influence anything.  The kind of topics I’m talking about seem to get discussed more in the European climate community than in the U.S., and seem to have appeal to scientists, sociologists and philosophers outside the  main core of climate researchers.  It’s what interests me at the moment, and it seems that there is at least some audience for it.

  33. Ed Forbes Says:

    Marlowe Johnson Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    “..She speaks like a politician not a scientist..”

    the climate war are very political. Are you just finding this out? ALL of the main actors on both sides of (CA)GW are talking more as a “politician”  than a ”scientist”. 

    All statements to the pubic  is political by its very nature. The root of the word politician is polis: Greek for the “body of  the citizens”.

  34. Shub Says:

    It is obvious Gavin’s comments have not much substance in them here. ;) . As JC points out, Realclimate are ‘not interested’ in this article but they were interested in Fred Pearce, JC’s comments about Andrew Montford’s book, Alistair Macintosh, Bob Ward etc.
     
    We’ve been told that the IPCC has vast confidence (>90%) in its elicitation of anthropogenic etiologies. What bothered Lemonick’s minders was the fact that Dr Curry’s comments when publicized detracts from that confidence. Realclimate and Climateprogress have notably indulged in media criticism several times - it is one of their core missions. Why have they apparently give up this round then?
     
    The answer is pretty clear: because they lost this round.
     
    As has been witnessed in the past, and for which ample documentary evidence is available, this team plays their games differently - behind the scenes. They aim to secure ‘total domination’ even before the first blow is struck.
     
    In this frame of view, the Lemonick piece should have never gotten written and published. Once the damage is done, talking about it will only attract more attention and cause more heartburn - that is why Gavin will not post on it.

  35. Zajko Says:

    The narrative of reversal is a very powerful and persuasive one, which is why it gets so much attention. Once I was clued into this presentation I started to notice it everywhere (Jonathan Potter [1996] calls this rhetorical technique “stake inoculation”). It’s in play anytime someone prefaces a claim with how they used to believe the other side of a story, or are/were predisposed to favor the opposite of what they are currently saying. Lindzen’s views can be dismissed as due to his “contrarian nature”, but a supposed reversal or change of view requires some sort of convincing experience, which makes it more difficult to explain away as “of course they would say that”.

  36. Huge Difference Says:

    Check out (even) Joe Romm’s take on the SciAm article.:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/26/scientific-american-jumps-the-shark-online-polls-judith-curry

  37. Bishop Hill Says:

    Judy

    I don’t know that RC are particularly interested in why you recommended The Hockey Stick Illusion. They just have to deal with the fact that you have done so.

    They have clearly find it very difficult to rebut the specific points made in the book. This has left them only two options: making stuff up - hence Tamino’s exercise in quoting out of context - or attacking the messenger.

  38. Keith Kloor Says:

    Stephen Sullivan (31):

    I never said Hitchens stopped being a liberal. Just like Frum hasn’t stopped being a conservative.  Just like Andrew Sullivan still considers himself a conservative, too. But what they all have done is part with their ideological brethren pretty strongly on some signature issues.

    I’m suggesting the same is true with Judith (e.g. importance of “climategate,” among others).  You become an apostate when you publicly and consistently criticize a group that you belong to.

    Go back to the comment made by Alex Heyworth at Judith’s site:

    “IMO the heat you are feeling from the establishment, and its intensity compared with that directed at other “heretics” such as Dick Lindzen, is mainly due to your being seen as an apostate, rather than merely a heretic. Some in the mainstream camp clearly feel betrayed.”

    Heyworth has put his finger on the crucial distinction there-and also why Judith is more an apostate than a heretic.

  39. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,
     
    “Gaving at #20: “perhaps you could tell me what important criticism she has levelled that requires full RC attention?”
    Judith has a three-part series about the IPCC’s possible overconfidence wrt detection and attribution”
     
    Did you not notice or are you not bothered by the absence of numbers in those posts?

  40. Lazar Says:

    There are also serious problems with her logic.

  41. Lazar Says:

    Keith Kloor,
     
    “why Judith is more an apostate than a heretic”
     
    That’s all pop psychology… deal with the content of criticisms… not guessed motivations. Look; James Annan and William Connelly have both been critical of IPCC processes and alarmist claims. Note; they have not been criticized like JC. Why; they made solid logical arguments, using numbers! Occam’s razor… there’s no need to include apostacy as an explaining factor here when dislike of sloppiness will do fine (you earlier noted “Marlowe, you make some reasonable criticisms of Judith’s post.” … no need to guess his motivations).

  42. Keith Kloor Says:

    Lazar (41):

    Judith goes way beyond Connelley and Annan. Also, her level of engagement with skeptics sets her apart.

    Additionally, Connelley, as his remarks on Monbiot indicate, has a much different take on “Climategate” than Curry.

     

  43. Lazar Says:

    … all this fascination over one person
    … who hasn’t yet produced anything… no new insights or analysis… no agreement between ’skeptics’ and ‘warmists’
    … the cult of personality

  44. willard Says:

    >  All statements to the pubic is political by its very nature.
     
    Maybe that’s why the history of the Kings of France can be explained by what was happening in the bedroom.

  45. Lazar Says:

    Keith,
     
    “Judith goes way beyond Connelley and Annan.”
     
    I think that in actually using numbers and doing rigorous analysis to support their claims, Annan and Connelley go way beyond JC.
     
    “her level of engagement with skeptics sets her apart.”
     
    James Annan co-authored a paper with Chip Knappenberger (gasp!), professional associate of Pat Michaels (gasp!), questioning model reliability (gasp!). As far as scientific engagement goes… you can’t go much further.
     
    If apostacy was the driving concern behind criticism, Annan would be the danger man, he would be the one to go after.
     
    Alternatively, if you’re a scientist wholly concerned by woolly unsupported claims and illogic being passed off as science, you might criticize JC.

  46. Keith Kloor Says:

    Lazar (45):

    Maybe if Annan was quoted in media stories, consistently engaged conversationally with skeptics in blogs, or accused his colleagues of “groupthink” lack of transparency” and “tribalism,” he too might be an apostate. Until then, not so much.

  47. Keith Kloor Says:

    An apostate is also accused of undermining her group’s authority/credibility-or to put it baldly: of aiding the enemy.

  48. Lazar Says:

    Keith,
     
    “Maybe if Annan was quoted in media stories, consistently engaged conversationally with skeptics in blogs,”


    … he does at his blog. Imv publishing a paper with a skeptic trumps blogosphere back and forth tho.


    “or accused his colleagues of “groupthink” lack of transparency” and “tribalism,” he too might be an apostate. Until then, not so much.”


    see here
     
    “It is not difficult to conclude that the IPCC process has played a part here, in focussing power in private committees and favouring consensus-forming over debate. Some people appear to be rewarded more for echoing the majority view rather than for actually coming up with anything new.

    Wikipedia has an interesting page on groupthink which seems highly relevant.”
     
    … and this post for similar.

  49. AMac Says:

    Lazar remarked (@#40),
    “There are also serious problems with [Curry's] logic.
    The implied suggestion is that the linked Michael Tobis post “Judith Curry: Born Beyond the Shark?” advances the discussion.
    I concur. Readers should take a look at how this eloquent A-List AGW Consensus blogger/scientist frames the issues.
    Is Curry’s position portrayed fairly?
    Does Tobis state his key criticisms in a clear way?  Does he convincingly demonstrate the flaws in Curry’s approach?
    Does the writer avoid straw men?
    Has he resisted the temptation to spice his arguments with taunting and mockery?
    In my opinion, poison-pen essays like this add credibility to the preferred narrative of the skeptical side.  Another own goal.

  50. Lazar Says:

    Keith,
     
    “Maybe if Annan was quoted in media stories”
     
    Media visibility could just as well support concerns over sloppiness and illogic being the motivating force, which concerns in fact form the explicit substance of much commentary … than ‘apostacy’. In favor of the alternative hypothesis you have, in your second comment, unknown content from an unknown number of emails by unknown authors… cited by JC. Are you not over generalizing?

  51. Lazar Says:

    AMac,
     
    “Does Tobis state his key criticisms in a clear way?  Does he convincingly demonstrate the flaws in Curry’s approach?”
     
    Imv yes.
     
    “In my opinion, poison-pen essays like this add credibility to the preferred narrative of the skeptical side.  Another own goal.”
     
     
    If ’skeptics’ prefer to focus on the personal content than the scientific… that is imv an unconvincing choice…

  52. Pascvaks Says:

    The only constant is “change”.

  53. AMac Says:

    Lazar @#51,
    > If ’skeptics’ prefer to focus on the personal content than the scientific…
    That’s an unusual tack to take in defending Tobis’ essay.  As a reminder, he concludes with the quip,
    “But as far as I can see, the uncertain hypothesis raised here is ‘Did Judith Curry jump the shark (green), or was she born and raised on the far side of the shark in the first place (red)?‘”
    His italics.

  54. grypo Says:

    I’ve started a discussion on the points of Judy’s argument in part III, and also part II.  It starts <a href=”http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/24/overconfidence-in-ipccs-detection-and-attribution-part-iii/#comment-5287“>here.</a>
    Any thoughts?  Am I helping this situation at all, and why or why not?

  55. Lazar Says:

    AMac,
     
    I’m not “defending Tobis’ essay”. Focussing on the personal is unconvincing (to me). The start and bulk of mt’s essay was focussed on the science/logic… the inlusion of personal stuff does not add to nor detract from the truthfulness of the former. If skeptics wish to focus on the personal and ignore the scientific/logical points… that is imv unconvincing.

  56. PDA Says:

    An apostate is also accused of undermining her group’s authority/credibility–or to put it baldly: of aiding the enemy.
     
    Oh, dear.
    Unnamed scientists are darkly warning Dr. Curry that she is “damaging the consensus which is essential for the preferred policies.” This is a red cape she waves in the faces of pseudoskeptics: the ne plus ultra of their conspiratorial belief system is this sinister cabal of scientists and UN bureaucrats pushing bogus science to reshape the world to their liking.
    It’s not apostasy, it’s just dumb: a lame attempt to Curry favor with people who will throw her under the bus when she’s no longer useful.

  57. Keith Kloor Says:

    PDA, I don’t think for a second that she is trying to curry favor with skeptics. I think that’s ridiculous.

    That said, I’m not a fan of the anonymous, isolated anecdotal reference. But if there are lots of similar anecdotes that start to accumulate over time, then that’s another thing.

  58. Lazar Says:

    Keith,
     
    Here’s James on Judith.
     
    … is ‘apostacy’ an issue here?
    … can you tell?
    … does it matter?

  59. AMac Says:

    Lazar @#55,
    > The start and bulk of mt’s essay was focused on the science/logic… the inclusion of personal stuff does not add to nor detract from the truthfulness of the former.
    OK, fair enough.  Once I got the bad taste out of my mouth from the personal stuff, I found the science/logic part to be unclear and unconvincing. So we’ve each given Keith’s readers a data point.
    For that part, the old-fashioned approach would have been to engage civilly with Curry.  Each of the two principals might have learned something; the audience too.
    That is the road not taken.

  60. PDA Says:

    But if there are lots of similar anecdotes that start to accumulate over time, then that’s another thing.
     
    Yes, and if my grandmother had testicles she’d be my grandfather.
    Look, I don’t know what is in Dr. Curry’s head, only she does. I don’t mean to divine her motivations, and if you had an edit function I’d go back and change that it “it seems like an attempt to ingratiate,” dropping the mind-reading and the lame onomastic pun.
    However, murmuring about dark conspiracies and giving qui tacet consentit to the pseudoskeptic flavor-of-the-month is a bit beyond  “engaging with skeptics” as you repeatedly describe her interaction.
     
     

  61. Lazar Says:

    Keith,
     
    “An apostate is also accused of undermining her group’s authority/credibility”
     
    Suppose researcher 1) is convinced that evidence A) supports hypothesis B) which includes a public/environmental health component, and believes that B) justifies policy C). Suppose a researcher 2) posits doubts about A) and B). Researcher 1) examines the arguments of 2) and finds them to be scientifically unfounded and sloppy/careless. But 2) is publicly broadcasting their arguments. Is 1) warning 2) of the possible public health impacts of their actions really an example of ‘apostacy’ concerns in a religious sense? In public health issues where minimizing type II errors is often a priority?

  62. Shub Says:

    Amac,
    What JC is pointing out, are meta issues. There are not going to be any equations to solve (although you could even attempt that Spinoza/Wittgenstein style, I guess) or no nuts and bolts to grapple with, or no clear convincing smoking gun.

    The IPCC-derived consensus arguments can be discredited with the same logic that is being employed to wave away JC’s criticisms of it.

  63. Shub Says:

    Lazar,
    JC’s arguments neither question (A), nor do they call to question (B).

    Her question concerns the process of getting from (A) to (B).

  64. Michael Tobis Says:

    AMac I pointed out two elementary internal inconsistencies, a broadly uncompelling thesis, a complete lack of references to the prior art on a huge and important subject she is trying to claim to be a pioneer in, and a stunning capitulation and elaboration to what I take to be an ignorant and baseless gripe about climate models.
     
    I see a lot of attention being paid to a person who is doing what is needed to attract attention, and not what is needed to advance the conversation. Somebody needs to say so.
     
    But you or Dr. Curry or anyone else should feel welcome to try to dissuade me. Explain away the inconsistencies. Identify the intellectual basis for the discussion of uncertainty in the context of prior discussions on the matter rather than pretending Curry is the first person to think about it. Explain what the white section of the flag means. Justify the claim that forcings other than greenhouse gases are neglected in models. If some science comes of this, so much the better.
     
    As for argument ad hominem, I suppose you have a point.  Still I find it nearly unimaginable that a scientist could respond to
     
    Scientists suffer from “completeness fallacy” meaning they need to carry through work to some meaningful level of completion (for reasons such as need to mark progress, need to publish, need for peer recognition, need to meet deadlines for IPCC assessments, etc.). A model which lack sufficient treatment of all suspected independent variables – and their interaction is – under- ie., mis-specified. Result is that the model will tend to over-emphasize or under-emphasize attribution for the variables that are fully treated. I have long suspected this to be the case in climate modeling for global warming. There are many forcings and some are known to be underrepresented in the modeling such as aerosols / clouds and black soot.

     
    with


    Danley, very true, same goes for solar also.
     
    This is just reaffirming incorrect prejudices. And all the adulation and attention is also ad hominem. I see nothing in the press about the actual content of her arguments. I see no sign that anyone used to thinking probabilistically or statistically, even McIntyre himself, finds her analyses on the subject useful.
     
    This is a media circus, a caricature of science. It’s sad at a personal level. I would leave it alone, and especially leave the absurdity alone, but for the fact that it contributes to the larger and growing tragedy at the  global level.
     

  65. Tom Fuller Says:

    Quit talking about your weird imaginings regarding Curry’s motivations, Tobis, and talk about what she’s bringing to the table.
     
    You’re trying to distract from the science.

  66. PDA Says:

    Were you listening to the Dude’s story, Donny?

  67. AMac Says:

    Michael Tobis @ 12:47pm -
    “But you or Dr. Curry or anyone else should feel welcome to try to dissuade me.”
    At various times, you and I have started to discuss ideas, e.g. <a href=”http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/10/23/the-judith-curry-phenomenon/#comment-23726″>here</a>.  Or what Tiljander should teach us.  You aren’t interested; that’s  OK.
    If you want a discussion on Curry’s ideas, I would suggest that you bring it up with Curry-not me.
    Except, as I noted upthread, you’ve been burning that bridge.
    Just now, you wrote,
    “Identify the intellectual basis for the discussion of uncertainty…  rather than pretending Curry is the first person to think about it.“  Emphasis added.
    And so on.
    Why would a sensible person agree to a discussion premised on “Do you still beat your wife?”  And why would such a person accept your uncivil style of discourse?
    I think the conversation that you want is already taking place in the comments following your post.

  68. rustneversleeps Says:

    Is that a “bot” auto-posting under Fuller’s handle? ‘Cause I don’t see anything in Michael Tobis’ post that could possibly be considered “imaginings regarding Curry’s motivations”. Rather, his entire post seems to be about “what she’s bringing to the table.”

    Who’s trying to distract? 

  69. Michael Tobis Says:

    AMac, I’m aware that I burned the bridge. It’s not without some trepidation or regret. But what I said had to be said, and I tired of waiting for someone else to come out and say it.
     
    In my current estimation, Curry is not in a different category than Michaels or Singer, except for a position of authority in the scientific establishment. She is getting a lot of press, but there are far better representatives of informed moderation among climate scientists (Annan, von Storch, Nielsen-Gammon, e.g.,) who speak with authority and care.
     
    What Curry writes of late is neither reasonable nor helpful, regardless of what Keith or others in the press may want to believe. In fact, some of it is shockingly poor. Somebody who has taken the trouble to try to read it in detail has to come out and say that.
     

  70. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis, what you had to say only had to be said to try and tarnish Curry’s reputation and distract from the points she’s making on her blog. Tough job sliming someone, but I guess someone from the hysterizone had to do it. But don’t worry-your sycophants, such as at 68, will pat you on the back and assure you what you did with such simulated regret and trepidation was actually the just and moral thing to do.
     
    What tripe.

  71. PDA Says:

    Tom, do you have specific objections to the specific points raised by MT @64 or on his blog post?
    A direct refutation would probably be more convincing to bystanders than a few more rounds of J’accuse!

  72. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, your comment is very valid and when MT chooses to follow your advice I will do the same.

  73. Michael Tobis Says:

    How about the part that led up to the “QED” then? It’s hard to get more specific than that.
     

  74. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Tom,
     
    The funny thing is that I suspect you and I are in broad agreement about the policy/technology path going forward regardless on our view of climate change.  We’re ‘climate-energy’ bedfellows :D
     
    But it never ceases to amaze me how partisan you are in these discussions.  Or do you, as a suggested above, simply run a bot that acts up whenever ‘tobis’ appears on a blog somewhere?
     
    MT’s points about JC’s recent comments are a little hard to ignore and I would love to hear you address them directly rather than resorting to schoolyard behaviour ala ‘you first’…

  75. Tom Fuller Says:

    Marlowe, you may well be correct about our policy agreement-I would probably buy into any broad-based policy mechanisms shaped around some of the ideas put forward by both Pielkes.
     
    I find it very curious that I am the partisan here. (I am, don’t get me wrong. IMO the Lukewarmers have been far too easy-going.)
     
    Tobis and his running mates, the Rabbit, Lambert and Romm, are as partisan a crew as you’d find anywhere. They are the equivalent of the Tea Party, with a very tight, self-reinforcing message and just enough reality to keep them in the game.
     
    Look at Tobis today-accusing Curry of being ‘muddled’ and going back to his muddled anecdotes about ducks.
     
    Blaming Curry for the praise she gets from commenters. How lame is that? Is Tobis responsible for the incendiary statements of his commenters?
     
    Tobis accuses Curry of being out of touch with the science. I’m sure he’ll offer up his publication record as proof that he’s more in touch.
     
    Like the absolute worst of drive-by insinuators, he offers no… evidence… at all.. for his accusation that she is either incompetent or ‘never had much scientific insight to begin with.’

    This from a man who has blogged for years about the media, the failings of journalists and bloggers and the desperate situation we’re all in, without ever blogging about the science. No, that’s an exaggeration-once a month he’ll paste a favorable publication into a post.

    Tobis is a fraud, accusing Curry of what he knows to be true of himself.

    Here are two quotes: Michael Tobis says of Judith Curry, “Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing.”

    (Show us your writings, Tobis-and you’d be advised not to use as examples your blog or comments elsewhere.)

    And someone Tobis has claimed to admire, Norbert Wiener:

    “A faith which we follow upon orders imposed from outside is no faith, and a community which puts its dependence upon such a pseudo-faith is ultimately bound to ruin itself because of the paralysis which the lack of a healthy growing science imposes upon it.”

    Tobis’ faith in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming scenario makes it okay for him to slam and slander people who don’t drink his koolaide. It is scummy behaviour and I am not going to pretend to be neutral and polite while he sticks the knife in to someone who is trying to take positive action.

    I would be blunter, but Tobis is not worth a spell in moderation here.

  76. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Tom,
     
    On which point below do you feel that MT is in error? I get that you’re a journalist with no formal background in earth sciences, but surely you’ve written about climate science enough to pick up on some of the basics?
    “Crank: There are many forcings and some are known to be underrepresented in the modeling such as aerosols / clouds and black soot.

    curryja: very true, same goes for solar also.

    “(Tobis) As far as I know, all three (or is it four) accusations are flatly false, as any reference to IPCC or to some very prominent Hansen papers would reveal.

    Curry is surprisingly irresponsible in encouraging this comment (from someone who isn’t clear about the distinction between clouds and aerosols, apparently) and piling on.”

  77. Judith Curry Says:

    Well this is entertaining.  MT and others seem annoyed because they think I invented uncertainty or am taking claim for it or something?  Hardly.  Its the Emperor’s New Clothes thing. And the fact that MT and others don’t get it (i.e. that uncertainty and allegations of overconfidence of IPCC are important things to talk about, its the naked emperor, really) just tells me how clueless some members of the community actually are.
     
    I give MT credit for at least discussing what i say in the blog, rather than rehashing old drive by comments that I’ve made at other blogs.  But i suggest he try out his arguments over at my blog, where they would receive some real dissection from some serious experts in logic, bayesian reasoning, etc.  Nobody ever burns their bridges with me in terms of meaning i wouldn’t pay attention to their argument.

  78. Tom Fuller Says:

    Marlowe, I cannot answer definitively on that, as it is my understanding that this is still the subject of active and lively debate in the literature. I have seen numerous statements that aerosols have been ‘misrepresented’ in models, with skeptics going so far as to say they serve as a kludge.  The same is true for clouds-to say that Crank’s statement is flatly false is very disingenuous. We still do not know the role of clouds in atmospheric sensitivities, and I don’t care how many times the IPCC or Hansen are invoked as arbiters, I don’t think this has been arbitrated. Black soot is new enough on the scene that I can only assume that it has been underrepresented in models, although it would be very easy for Tobis to show otherwise.
     
    In any event, I don’t think ‘Crank’ is talking from another planet, but more importantly, I don’t think Dr. Curry’s one-line comment of support makes her a crank even if Crank is.
     
    If Tobis had any firepower, he could very easily say that Line X in twenty-three general circulation models account for aerosols using this equation. Line Y in those models correctly account for clouds and  Line Z for black soot.
     
    I have tried to moderate 300 comment blog threads before. Trying to tar Dr. Curry with Tobis’ infantile insults because of a one-liner (or even a longer response) in a thread on a blog is stupid. It wouldn’t take long to mine Only In It For The Gold to find statements by Tobis that he would have to cavil about.
     
    It’s political crap of the same stripe (and for the same reasons) as Schneider’s PNAS paper, Angliss’ tirade on emails and Mashey’s boomerang on Wegman. It’s desperation slime from the losing side.

  79. Judith Curry Says:

    Marlowe Johnson,
    “Curry is surprisingly irresponsible in encouraging this comment (from someone who isn’t clear about the distinction between clouds and aerosols, apparently) and piling on.”

    I’m not sure why I’m bothering.  But the key issue with aerosols is the so-called aerosol indirect effect, which is aerosol/cloud interactions.  Aerosol/cloud seems like a not unreasonable shorthand for this.
     

  80. Peter D. Tillman Says:

    Re: the Curry Heresy
     
    “I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. Since I am a heretic, I am accustomed to being in the minority …” – Freeman Dyson, HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html
     
    “What the world needs is young heretics. I am hoping that one or two of the people who read this piece may fill that role.” — Dyson, http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html
     
    Go for it, Dr. Curry!
     
    Cheers — Pete Tillman
    Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

  81. Lazar Says:

    The science/logic content of mt’s essay…
     
    Curry in the “Doubt” post…
     
    “As an example, my personal weights for the Italian flag are:

    white 40%,
    green 30%,
    red 30%.

    My assignment allows the anthropogenic influence to be as large as 70% and as small as 30%, leaving plenty of room for natural variability and uncertainties.”

     
    And in a comment responding to Bart Verheggen, on the Italian flag applied to the question of future climate change…
     
    “Bart, the way I look at it, my 25-50-25 assignment allows for the possibility of up to 75% anthro (with 25% natural); and conversely up to 75% natural (with 25% anthro). I think that bounds the possibilities of what might happen.”
     
    In other words… the green and red portions are simply the extreme tails of a probability distribution. Treating % anthro as the random variable, in the first example, we would say that we are as near as damn certain that the anthro contribution is >= 30% and <=70%. The white area simply expresses the range in which we believe the true value lies… or where most the probability lies on a pdf. No big problems here… but I think the labels “evidence for”, “evidence against”, and “uncertainty” are confused and confusing… e.g. the range described as “uncertainty” contains most of the probability.
     
    Where JC goes off the rails is applying the flag to IPCC uncertainties…
     
    “As an example, lets apply the Italian flag to the issue of attribution of the 20th century warming, specifically the statement by the IPCC:

    Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

    This statement is often used as a litmus test for belief regarding global warming, i.e. you believe this statement (consensus) or you don’t (skeptic). Very likely denotes a probability of anthropogenic influence between 90 and 99% (lets pick 95%) and I interpret most to mean between 51 and 90% (lets pick 70%), with the remainder (30%) associated with natural variability.  Hence, the Italian flag analysis could represent this in the following way:

    5%  assigned to uncommitted belief (white),
    67% assigned to anthropogenic forcing (green),
    28% assigned to natural variability (red).”

    The problem is that JC has equated a probability (5%) with values of the random variable % anthro. Using JC’s logic then, we believe that the true value of % anthro lies between 67% and 72%. But this is in no way implied by the pseudo-IPCC statement ‘we are 95% confident that the anthro contribution is greater than 50%’. Imagine that statement represents a pdf with upper and lower quantiles at 60% anthro and 90% anthro, and 5% of the probability lying <= 50% anthro. JC’s translation… doesn’t work. Right?
     
    Michael, let me know if the above are not representative of your criticisms of JC’s work.

  82. Lazar Says:

    AMac,
     
    “I found the science/logic part to be unclear and unconvincing. So we’ve each given Keith’s readers a data point.”
     
    I’d be happy to bash the science/logic points out with you. See my previous comment.
     
    “That is the road not taken.”
     
    Yup.

  83. Lazar Says:

    link to JC’s “doubt” essay

  84. AMac Says:

    Lazar @ #82,
    Having just read Jonathan Gilligan’s comment #24 in “We are doomed,” I am struck by the good-faith effort that you have made to disentangle Michael Tobis’ science-related criticism from the context he provided.
    I am neither a frequentist nor a Bayesian, lacking the training to appreciate either meaning in the formal sense.  So that leaves me ill-suited to be a sparring partner on Curry’s Italian Flag concept.
    I’ve seen smart and educated people make decisions that were based on misunderstandings of statistical principles.  It is not unusual to find situations where numbers can be crunched to arrive at P values, but where underlying assumptions have been inadvertently violated.  That makes me suspicious of  uncertainty intervals that seem a tighter fit than the state of knowledge would seem to allow.
    But that’s simply a sentiment born of experience.  It’s not a theory that is readily applied to runs of GCMs.
    I could sketch some specifics with respect to paleotemperature reconstructions, but that is far afield from the subjects of Judy Curry’s or Michael Tobis’s posts.
    What impelled me to comment (#49) was the anti-intellectual ugliness of  Tobis’ remarks, rather than any particular delight in Curry’s Italian flag analogy.
    Here’s hoping that you get a good discussion, from a well-qualified fan of that approach, or from Judy Curry herself.

  85. Lazar Says:

    AMac,
     
    Agreed that there are some thoughts that are better kept private… having been far from innocent in that regard, I increasingly find the emphasis/obsession with personalities to be tiring.
    No doubt you’re a sound fellow :-)

  86. NewYorkJ Says:

    The narrative KK and JC attempt to push has nothing to do with reality.  JC is criticized by other scientists for a fundamental lack of understanding of very basic science/math/logic:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/judith-curry-born-beyond-shark.html

    (see my comment as well)

    failing to support any assertions (some of them quite remarkable) with evidence or a rational coherent argument,

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/04/currygate_part_3_the_key_paper.php

    and uncritically accepting any nonsense that gets put forth   that fits her preferred narrative.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/comment-page-4/#comment-181895

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3198

    Of course, she, KK, and others dismiss any criticism of her statements as being tribally-motivated or what not, so how can one really have a rational discussion?

  87. grypo Says:

    In addition to what NYJ listed, I’d like to add, I still haven’t gotten a good explanation for her “depiction” of the models that is seemingly completely wrong and totally invalidates parts of her “uncertainty” argument, as well as that claim about “inverse modelling” making the IPCC argument “circular”.  I’ll just post what I did on her blog here to see if anyone can explain where I am wrong.
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/24/overconfidence-in-ipccs-detection-and-attribution-part-iii/#comment-5700

    ——————————————————-
    gryposaurus | October 26, 2021 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    While I can’t speak as an expert, I did do a little more digging, this time into the IPCC AR4 WG1 and found a lot of information on aerosol modelling and the newest developments. The text that you took from the IPCC was a particular section called “Summary of ‘Inverse’ Estimates of Net Aerosol Forcing”. This section described just one method of modelling aerosols and was direct in discussing why it is good and why it isn’t. This only accounts for a small part of what is done, as far as I can see. In chapter 2.4.3 “Advances in Modelling the Aerosol Direct Effect” it states:

    Since the TAR, more complete aerosol modules in a larger number of global atmospheric models now provide estimates of the direct RF. Several models have resolutions better than 2° by 2° in the horizontal and more than 20 to 30 vertical levels; this represents a considerable enhancement over the models used in the TAR. Such models now include the most important anthropogenic and natural species. Tables 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6 summarise studies published since the TAR. Some of the more complex models now account explicitly for the dynamics of the aerosol size distribution throughout the aerosol atmospheric lifetime and also parametrize the internal/external mixing of the various aerosol components in a more physically realistic way than in the TAR (e.g., Adams and Seinfeld, 2002; Easter et al., 2004; Stier et al., 2005). Because the most important aerosol species are now included, a comparison of key model output parameters, such as the total τaer, against satellite retrievals and surface-based sun photometer and lidar observations is possible (see Sections 2.4.2 and 2.4.4). Progress with respect to modelling the indirect effects due to aerosol-cloud interactions is detailed in Section 2.4.5 and Section 7.5. Several studies have explored the sensitivity of aerosol direct RF to current parametrization uncertainties. These are assessed in the following sections.

    This section points to quite a bit of information that people can look into to get a clearer picture.
    and chapter 8.2.5″Aerosol Modelling and Atmospheric Chemistry” discusses new methods for projecting into the future:

    Climate simulations including atmospheric aerosols with chemical transport have greatly improved since the TAR. Simulated global aerosol distributions are better compared with observations, especially satellite data (e.g., Advanced Very High Resolution Radar (AVHRR), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectance (POLDER), Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS)), the ground-based network (Aerosol Robotic Network; AERONET) and many measurement campaigns (e.g., Chin et al., 2002; Takemura et al., 2002). The global Aerosol Model Intercomparison project, AeroCom, has also been initiated in order to improve understanding of uncertainties of model estimates, and to reduce them (Kinne et al., 2003). These comparisons, combined with cloud observations, should result in improved confidence in the estimation of the aerosol direct and indirect radiative forcing (e.g., Ghan et al., 2001a,b; Lohmann and Lesins, 2002; Takemura et al., 2005). Interactive aerosol sub-component models have been incorporated in some of the climate models used in Chapter 10 (HadGEM1 and MIROC). Some models also include indirect aerosol effects (e.g., Takemura et al., 2005); however, the formulation of these processes is still the subject of much research.

    In short, I think although the uncertainties are there, as you correctly point out, the limited information you give can be misleading and the “kludge” argument that the IPCC using indirect modelling makes their argument “circular” doesn’t have evidence to back it up.
    Your point about 1910-1940 is well taken and gets back to the solar or “other” element, yet to be discovered. I’ll take a look what the IPCC says about solar soon.
    —————————————————-
    Am I tribal?

  88. Michael Tobis Says:

    <em>I give MT credit for at least discussing what i say in the blog, rather than rehashing old drive by comments that I’ve made at other blogs.  But i suggest he try out his arguments over at my blog, where they would receive some real dissection from some serious experts in logic, bayesian reasoning, etc.  Nobody ever burns their bridges with me in terms of meaning i wouldn’t pay attention to their argument.</em>

    I have to admit this is a surprisingly gracious response to my less-than-gracious posting. I am, in that regard at least, impressed and grateful.

    I still can extract no sense from the Italian Flag arguments to date; it seems to me that there is no unifying method at all, just a sort of fig leaf for various commingled classes of rough intuitive guess.

    Now, arguably that is all that IPCC is providing, and all we’re discussing is whose intuition is more reliable. If that is the case, though, that is how it should be discussed. Devices intended to illuminate should not obfuscate.

    If you want to discuss uncertainty, and decision-making under uncertainty, by all means, let’s do that. (I’ve been trying to close that loop for decades, myself.)

    As for the critique of models which so exercises Tom Fuller, let me withdraw it for the sake of more productive argument. If Dr. Curry wants to throw red meat to the inactivists on occasion, she should be held to account. But that only a secondary cause of my disappointment with her contributions to date.

    Let’s focus on where the focus belongs, on how to think about uncertainty.

    If Dr. Curry will continue to allow me to post on her site I will actually be grateful but I will nevertheless behave as an ingrate. If Dr. Curry is to make a genuinely positive contribution to the problem of how to deal with uncertainty in the high-stakes field of climate policy, she will need to proceed at least with considerably greater clarity than she has managed to date. It’s my impression that considerably greater care is needed as well.

    I will continue to be an advocate for clarity and precision of thought. I hope others with some interest in uncertainty will stop yielding Dr. Curry a free pass on these matters, where she is an obvious novice.

    If she actually wants to participate in a discussion of uncertainty, then it is important to do so carefully. One aspect of the problem is separating out one’s own biases from the various other sources of error, and another is careful thought along lines that are unfamiliar to most physical scientists. The casually appealing ideal of “separating politics from science” may turn out to be more subtle of a matter than it might at first appear.

  89. Tom Fuller Says:

    The idea that Dr. Curry wants to throw red meat to whoever inactivists actually are would be laughable if it were not insulting.
     
    And spearating politics from science would appear subtle to someone who has never tried it.

  90. Steven Mosher Says:

    Keith
    if you go all the way back to 2007 when we were asking that code and data be released, there was one voice who joined us.
    Judith Curry in the comments at RC. Her voice was ignored. In the years that followed the deniers continued to deny access. And yes it end up with somebody taking emails from CRU, and the current mess.
    If I have to compare track records I’ll look at this.
    1. the idea that skeptics could be ignored because they didnt publish in peer review. Fail.
    2. the idea that skeptics could be marginalized by lumping them with “big oil” interests. Fail
    3. the idea that skeptics could be blunted by cagey manuevering around FOIA law: Fail.
    Judith knew then that the right approach was to share data and code ( as clearclimatecode showed). Wise people might listen to her advice this time around. At least they should discount the opinions of those who were so wrong about the ways to handle skeptics.
     

  91. Steven Mosher Says:






    I have to admit this is a surprisingly gracious response to my less-than-gracious posting. I am, in that regard at least, impressed and grateful.”
     

    can you say sanctimonious and turgid?

    “I will continue to be an advocate for clarity and precision of thought.”

    That’s like a hooker advocating virtue.
     
    Here:

    I have to admit this is a surprisingly gracious response to my less-than-gracious posting. I am, in that regard at least, impressed and grateful.
    Dr. Curry, thank you for that gracious response. My graceless posting certainly didn’t merit it.
     
    See? you’ll note the nice touch of addressing her as Dr. And the absence of whether or not you were impressed. You are always a  bit too self absorbed.
     
    Count the number of times you use the word “I”. You should demonstrate that you are impressed by making a gesture with the language, a social gesture. Note too that  the ugly, unclear and unrepentant “less-than-gracious” locution is gone, replaced by clarity and precision.

     
     

     

     


  92. Lazar Says:

    … how to escape the cycle… not
     

  93. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Michael Tobis ….. ‘If she actually wants to participate in a discussion of uncertainty, then it is important to do so carefully. One aspect of the problem is separating out one’s own biases from the various other sources of error…’  Anyone got a napkin?  I just spluttered my soup everywhere.

  94. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    The SciAm piece tag line referring to Curry as a heretic and the consequent migration to “apostate” are interesting propositions, but evidence that the IPCC/consensus view really do amount to doctrine and dogma becomes immeasurably more compelling when you examine the “vitriol anomaly” recently found in Tobis’s writing. This is a truly compelling line of evidence underpinning Curry’s assertion of the existence and prevalence of climate science dogma.

  95. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

  96. AMac Says:

    Michael Tobis,
    Your 11:52pm response (upthread) to Judy Curry adds to your track record of incivility towards those with whom you disagree.
    E.g. “If Dr. Curry wants to throw red meat to the inactivists on occasion…”
    Still beat your wife, much?
    As to the actual issues, I guess we could discuss this notion:  “The Science Is Settled.”
    In the instance of Curry’s post, the proposition would be:
    “The Uncertainty (of climate-model projections) Is Settled.”
    Or perhaps we can craft a call to action, ending with “by all means necessary.”
    This exchange reinforces my preference for scientists to try and ask the right questions — even if the analogies are inapt, or the modeling of the problem is incomplete.
    Groupthink is one of the banes of free inquiry.

  97. grypo Says:

    Continuing to focus on MT’s reaction to Curry will certainly be  1.  used to show how evil and biased those nasty warmists are (see Simon’s and Tom F’s contributions) and 2. useful in handwaving and distracting away from what Judith’s points are (see Tom F. Mosher, and AMac), which should be under careful examination from those who want to follow her advice.  This is a win-win for those brave, proud “inactivists”!

  98. AMac Says:

    grypo @10:07am,
    Are you tribal?
    I guess talk about “nasty warmists” and “brave, proud inactivists”, etc., would argue Yes.
    But who cares?  Upthread, you had a very carefully constructed post, with specific questions addressed  to Judy Curry.  Following the link back to Curry’s comment thread, you offered more on-target information.  And had an exchange of views with Curry and a scientifically-literate fellow-commenter.
    Curry remarked to you, “Gryposaurus, i discussed most of the points you raise in Parts I and II.”
    That has the same form as the dismissals I got about the mistaken use of the uncalibratable Tiljander proxies in Mann08.  Is the substance correct?  I dunno. I did not follow those threads carefully.  And I mostly lurk when it comes to GCMs.
    I ended up starting a blog to organize what I’ve learned about Tiljander.  Some people have found it useful.  Although I still routinely get the brushoff. Including from correspondents who (ought to) know better.
    Hope that helps provide some perspective.  And good luck with getting answers that you find satisfactory (or explaining why they aren’t, as the case may be).

  99. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    grypo, the rather poor reaction from Tobis in Curry’s direction, of late, is far from being the only example of vociferous reaction to those who question or challenge established ideological dogma, which has been going on for a long time. It is merely the latest in a long line of religiously defensive reactions occurring since before even McIntyre came on the scene.
     
    MT’s shift towards the more unattractive style of Connolley for Curry’s mere acknowledgement of uncertainties - threatening a potential delay over climate action - betrays the shadowy undercurrent of activist doctrine driving his line of thinking.
     
    We saw recently how eagerly Fuller’s offer to dispense with “the weeds of” scientific uncertainty with the League Of 2.5 was embraced by representatives of the climate-action-now consensus. Though I doubt Tom intended it, he set a trap into which the religiously devout leaped. It was not unexpected, but it sure as heck was funny.
     
    So no, MT is not the only line of evidence. He’s just a more recent one, with a snark hockey stick blade that can be charted and its cause (Curry’s promotion of the Italian flag and acknowledgement of genuine, massively inconvenient but nevertheless significant scientific uncertainties) easily correlated.

  100. Michael Tobis Says:

    That there are inconvenient and significant uncertainties is obvious and not in dispute, certainly not by me. How those uncertainties propagate to (the increasingly unlikely prospect of) rational policy is something that needs to be discussed rigorously, not handwaved away. My sticking my neck out doesn’t relate directly to the question of which way the uncertainties should weigh in that woefully inaccessible rational policy.
     
    My claim is that the Italian flag arguments are internally inconsistent and incoherent, as I showed in some detail. Anyone claiming otherwise is welcome to address the points of substance.
     
    What Dr Curry has been saying about uncertainty, beyond the fact that it exists doesn’t actually make sense. Anyone wishing to defend it is welcome to come up with a competent statistician who can do a better job of explaining it, beginning with the contradictions I have already identified.
     
    Whether she is a saint or a sinner, as Curry rightly points out, should not be the issue.
     
    I believe she overvalues her own opinion, and successfully encourages others to do so. The credulity with which what I take to be an awkwardly meaningless posture of a methodology has been received in circles of her admirers is the cause of my anger and frustration.
     
    If it’s as bad as it looks, it means nobody in the circles of admirers is capable and willing to read criticize it. If it’s not as bad as it looks, don’t show me up by going after my personality. Show me up by finding the flaw in my reasoning. Science does not proceed by being nice.
     
    In my defense on the snark question, the snark was, I think, necessary, to get people to reconsider their opinion of Curry not as a diplomat but as a scientific thinker. I see plenty of snark coming over the fence in the other direction. I regret its necessity while McIntyre and crowd revel in it.
     

  101. AMac Says:

    <i>Whether she is a saint or a sinner, as Curry rightly points out, should not be the issue.

    I believe she overvalues her own opinion, and successfully encourages others to do so. The credulity with which what I take…</i>
    [sic].  Etc.
    Lettered people don’t write like that, when they are serious about engaging in a meaningful discussion on points of substance.
    Per Michael Tobis’ 11:52pm comment upthread, it’s what red meat looks like, as it is being thrown to the admiring throng.
    If the point is to make a compelling argument to undecideds, persuadables, and potential coalition partners, it is also an own goal.
    I think I’ve said my piece on this subject.  Last word to you, Michael.

  102. PDA Says:

    I have to say I’m surprised. You guys have a perfect opportunity to eviscerate the substance of Dr. Tobis’s argument right here, on fairly neutral ground. Seriously, you’re going to squander it on tone trolling?

  103. AMac Says:

    PDA, see #84 upthread, where I explain that I am ill-suited by interest and background to be a sparring partner on Curry’s Italian Flag concept.  As I said, I hope that Curry or someone else takes up grypo’s gauntlet.
    Please copy complaints on tone to Jonathan Gilligan.

  104. Tom Fuller Says:

    Geez, Tobis, now you sound more like a schoolmaster. It’s more in sorrow than in anger that I snark… pay no attention to whatever pleasure I derive from the process…
     
    Somebody certainly overvalues their opinion…

  105. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis, this is what you spewed on your website:
     
    “OK. I am stretched to the limit. Somebody has to call “horseshit” here, and it might as well be me.

    We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with?”

    “ I mean, could this be the stuff of some subtle neurological decay…”

    “Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing.”

    “Did Judith Curry jump the shark (green), or was she born and raised on the far side of the shark in the first place (red)?”"


    Dr. Curry is far more generous than I am. It is her place to protest against this mean-spirited crap, not mine.


    But I’ll call it what it is. Spiteful drivel that discredits you in the eyes of everyone who reads it.


    Shame on you.

  106. PDA Says:

    More tone trollery. Just amazing.
    Tom, if I were to rewrite MT’s piece and take out all the snark, would you then deign to criticize it on the substance?

  107. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, not until Tobis crawls on his knees in front of the entire blogosphere.

  108. Tom Fuller Says:

    Great, isn’t it? Now quoting the rabid insults from the Hysterosphere is ‘quote mining’ or ‘tone trollery.’
     
    No, PDA, it is quoting.

  109. PDA Says:

    Tom, well I did it anyway. Here’s what you left out in your “quoting:”
    http://cluebyfour.com/mt_curry.html
    It’s a defensible argument, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to see MT crawl so we can read your response. Meanwhile, maybe someone else will pick it up, maybe they won’t.
    I’m sure there are many people who find MT’s snark about Dr. Curry to be as off-putting as I find your snarling hatred of Tobis. However, you have to acknowledge that there is literally no non-snark content in any of your comments here that I could redact as I did Tobis’s post to extract signal from noise.
     
    Anyone not blinded by personal animosity is still welcome to take up the challenge. My hosting account is paid up through the end of the year.

  110. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, what’s your opinion of Tobis’ tone-trollery and snarling hatred? What’s your opinion of his snark and insults? What’s your opinion of his personal animosity?
     
    Or do those only exist on the other side?

  111. NewYorkJ Says:

    Tom Fuller:

    Great, isn’t it? Now quoting the rabid insults from the Hysterosphere is ‘quote mining’ or ‘tone trollery.’
     
    No, PDA, it is quoting.

    Quoting some “rabid insults from the Hysterosphere…”

    Tom Fuller: Of course you would call horseshit. It’s a subject you’re expert on.

    Tom Fuller: You’ve become a cheap pimp.

    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8524070301101240472&postID=1680505423588477861

    Pot, meet Kettle. 

    PDA’s comment is spot on.  Critically analyzing JC’s Italian flag construction and engaging in this discussion is not that hard, folks.  How about some of you contrarians/lukewarmers/whatever have a go at it?  You’ll find it more stimulating than whining about someone’s tone and then calling them a pimp or what not.

  112. PDA Says:

    Tom, look up tone trolling. I do not think it means what you think it means.
    MT’s snark was snarky. Jabs like “subtle neurological decay”etc.  do nothing for his argument, but at least he has one. What’s yours? (Hint: “I think Michael Tobis is a jerk” does not count.)

  113. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, I have a response. I’ll give it later, and not on demand.
     
    Are you going to answer any of my questions in #110?

  114. AMac Says:

    Hey PDA,
    Nice job in presenting the Italian Flag counter-argument in the link to your blog at #109.
    Suggestions: Why not create a space for comments at that post?  And why not post a couple of invitations for a debate at Curry’s blog, The Blackboard, etc.? (I still am not volunteering.)
    Good luck; that’s a way forward.

  115. Tom Fuller Says:

    I really wish I could adopt AMac’s tone. I really respect it and what you’re s trying to do and how he’s trying to go about it.
     
    I wunder wot coulda radicalized me…

  116. grypo Says:

    AMac
    —-

    That has the same form as the dismissals I got about the mistaken use of the uncalibratable Tiljander proxies in Mann08.  Is the substance correct?  I dunno. I did not follow those threads carefully.  And I mostly lurk when it comes to GCMs.
    I ended up starting a blog to organize what I’ve learned about Tiljander.  Some people have found it useful.  Although I still routinely get the brushoff. Including from correspondents who (ought to) know better.
    Hope that helps provide some perspective.
    —-
    What blog do you use?
    The situations are different, but there is enough similarity to give me perspective.    Although I’m not sure if Judith’s blown off this criticism yet, as I would hope she is checking into the aerosol modelling (there is a lot to see) and the 1910-1940 AMO/PDO information in the IPCC and adjusting her argument about uncertainties accordingly.

  117. grypo Says:

    Simon
    —-
    MT’s shift towards the more unattractive style of Connolley for Curry’s mere acknowledgement of uncertainties – threatening a potential delay over climate action – betrays the shadowy undercurrent of activist doctrine driving his line of thinking.
    —-
    It just shows that he was annoyed by what he saw, actually, and has nothing to do with anyone else.  Are you claiming there is only vitriol on one side of this?  Are you sure you just don’t really want to believe that?  MT’s already changed his tone significantly and updated his blog post.  But don’t let that change your mind.
    —-
    We saw recently how eagerly Fuller’s offer to dispense with “the weeds of” scientific uncertainty with the League Of 2.5 was embraced by representatives of the climate-action-now consensus. Though I doubt Tom intended it, he set a trap into which the religiously devout leaped. It was not unexpected, but it sure as heck was funny.
    —-
    How do draw such conclusions from such a minute piece of data?  All you’ve done is shown that people who think that uncertainty/risk equation is tilted on the side side of action … would like to take action.  This isn’t a “trap” or any kind of spectacular piece of investigative journalism, IMO.  It’s pretty basic knowledge.

  118. Michael Tobis Says:

    PDA, your sanitized version of my rant loses the typographical cues as to what I was quoting from Curry and what I was writing myself.
     
    Since I was relying on that missing element, I don’t think you’re helping. I have no objection to your intent but the execution is problematic.
     

  119. Peter D. Tillman Says:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=misreading-climate-change-on-scient-2010-10-2”
    Followup apologia re their Curry the Climate Heretic bit — people are canceling their subs in protest, and Joe Romm says JC has “jumped the shark”. Very entertaining.
    Happy reading-
    Pete Tillman

  120. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    grypo, I don’t think that this is all that it shows wrt MT. And what do you mean by “Are you claiming there is only vitriol on one side of this?” Where is there any such suggestion in what I wrote? A tu quoque from thin air? Puhlease! :( But if you insist, I’ll say that climate deniers that believe that the climate doesn’t change at all and nothing anyone ever does will affect it.. they’re muppets too. Happy now? Just because I don’t trust evangelists as far as I can throw a fit doesn’t mean I’m enamoured by atheism.
     
    Yes, MT has applied retrospective adjustments to his post. As so often in climate science, the devil is in the RAW data - the original post, wherein laid the vehemence in vitriolic style. But while I can (and do) commend the adjustment, it is still not inappropriate to examine the original content for a signal. I wasn’t offended by MT’s original tone, I merely observed that it smacked of the stoat - arguably never a more fervent climate change evangelist and activist (and Wiki disinformer) than he.
     
    “How do draw such conclusions from such a minute piece of data?”
     
    Nonsense. The same conclusion can be drawn from countless events over the last decade. You make it sound as if this were the only example of climate scientists demonstrating a keenness to play down the presence and significance of scientific uncertainties. Of course it wasn’t a “spectacular piece of investigative journalism”. It was unintentional! Read the text of mine that you quoted. And yes, that the consensus is more interested in getting down and dirty with climate policy putting aside scientific concerns with regard to uncertainties really is basic knowledge. On that we can both agree.

  121. AMac Says:

    grypo @ #116 -
    > What blog do you use?
    I picked Blogspot.  Wordpress seems to edge them out in the reviews of entry-level, free blogs — but perhaps it’s a case of the grass being greeener.
    And Blogspot is actually really good.  I’ve had problems with formatting glitches, but only a few.  Any html I have tried to use, has worked (though I don’t do much in that regard).  It’s easy to insert JPEG files, which is a huge plus.  So count me as a satisfied customer.  Oh, the site is here.
    One of the more gratifying things was when willard (an erudite pro-AGW Consensus commenter) remarked that he found the resources I’ve cataloged at the blog to be useful to him, when Tiljander comes up.  As it does, from time to time.
    Hope that helps.
    Re: Judith and aerosols — Sadly, I would assume that she has probably blown you off.  Not out of malice, but because she is running between two high-traffic threads on her blog at the moment, plus attending to her life (if any).  That’s a downside of blogging-comments get ignored fast.
    All the more reason to preserve your hard work, share it, and hopefully get some pushback from scientifically-literate people.

  122. grypo Says:

    Simon
    —-
    grypo, I don’t think that this is all that it shows wrt MT. And what do you mean by “Are you claiming there is only vitriol on one side of this?” Where is there any such suggestion in what I wrote?
    —-
    I framed it as a question.  But you are right in that noticing it on one side does not mean you do not notice it on the other.   Yet mentioning is important, if only to make sure there was not a blind side to your view.
    —-
    Nonsense. The same conclusion can be drawn from countless events over the last decade. You make it sound as if this were the only example of climate scientists demonstrating a keenness to play down the presence and significance of scientific uncertainties. Of course it wasn’t a “spectacular piece of investigative journalism”. It was unintentional! Read the text of mine that you quoted.
    —-
    I think you miss the point.  And I think you over-blow the uncertainty versus risk equation to favor your course of action,  as everyone else does to fit their narrative.  Don’t try to excuse “inactivists” or yourself from this.    Do you think that the uncertainty only goes one way?   Do you really think that science and policy are so married together that a policy maker can’t make assessments based on the best current knowledge?  Don’t you think this is something, considering what we know about the carbon cycle, what we know about past climate, enviromental stability etc. that deserves attention from a risk perspective?   I’m not even sure what you are arguing for.  We may never reduce the current uncertainties to a level that everyone is comfortable with.  And by the time we can, it may be too late (see temperature lag and ocean heating, etc).  I don’t want to be the guy standing in knee deep water saying “there’s no way we could’ve known this!”  And the longer we wait, the harder it gets.  I think your characterization:
    And yes, that the consensus is more interested in getting down and dirty with climate policy putting aside scientific concerns with regard to uncertainties really is basic knowledge. On that we can both agree.
    is a total bunk spinjob.  Who is putting aside scientific concerns?  What?  Acting on the best available knowledge in the face of uncertainty, at one time, was considered smart.   I’m glad we didn’t wait on the smoking issue (beyond what we did) or chlorofluorocarbons.  But that’s so different right?

  123. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    I’m aware that Keith thinks my preferred echo chamber is WUWT but it’s not. I’m as frequently copping it in the neck there for my liberal views as I give grief here for others’. I’m far from being unaware of the snark from BOTH sides, and I’m even responsible for some of it, though I would contest that mine is invariably reactive rather than proactive snark. MT’s snark was the topic and I made reference to it.
     
    I’ve perceived the consensus view of climate urgency as a religious viewpoint for some time. I’m not convinced of an urgency, I’m singularly unimpressed by the unscientific behaviour of climate scientists and I’m wholly untrusting of their preachings.
     
    I’m becoming increasingly convinced that genuine scientific discovery and the consensus on climate are mutually exclusive, but rather than being pulled to this viewpoint by the sceptics I am being pushed to this viewpoint by the alarmist proclamations of the consensus, the silence of the consensus when it should be jumping up and down about bad behaviour, and the sucky enquiries that I find impossible to regard as of value or integrity.
     
    Yes, the future’s uncertain. But is there really impending doom? If, with all my friends, in a dark and deserted house of the kind depicted in Psycho, one my friends turned to the rest and said “Shhh! Did you hear something?” That’s the point that I think we are at, with climate change.

  124. Tom Fuller Says:

    Okay, PDA, here goes nothing. This is my opinion about the Italian flag controversy.
     
    First, when I first saw it, I recognised it. It’s very similar to what people like me use when they first approach a new project requiring analysis. I use three columns title, ‘What I Think I Know’, ‘What I Think I Don’t Know’ and ‘What I Think I Need To Know.’ I’ve learned that I need to phrase it that way to keep me flexible.
     
    So my first point is that Curry’s approach as outlined in her blog post is a way of framing a problem prior to investigation. It is useful for examining one’s own assumptions and getting an idea of the scope of the problem you are trying to solve.
     
    I just came back from Curry’s weblog.  It is perfectly obvious to me that the two examples she used were meant in exactly the way this three box frame is meant to be used. Not as a way of offering up a final answer, but as a way of showing how the examples could be put so as to be explored in depth.
     
    I call your attention to what Curry wrote directly after her second example: “Theres should be a second dimension to this analysis, a fuzzy one, that reflects the analyst’s degree of expertise and effort in understanding and assessing the state of knowledge. ”

    We now turn to how Michael Tobis distorted what she wrote. As Tobis practiced his sliming tactics on me, writing six posts in a two-month timeframe dedicated to trashing me (warming up on the small fray so he’d be prepared when a real target came along), I am familiar with his tactics.

    Curry was clear about the limitations of the Italian flag and the need for follow-up research. How does Tobis phrase it? “The issue is that Judith Curry, in unveiling her new intellectual tool with great fanfare and off-key notes of false modesty, conflates confidence in a hypothesis with weighting.”

    I hope you can see where this is going.

    He then starts playing games with example figures from a hypothetical and gets to the point where he can slime Curry, much the same way he has done to every figure who has dissented from the hysterical consensus that keeps his bed wet every night.

    I think Curry was writing her third blog post. Although I think she was clear enough about the limitations of the Italian flag scenario, I think she might write a different post today.

    But I guarantee that whatever she wrote, Tobis would find a way to pretend he’s ‘thinking clearly and unambiguously’ and amazingly continues his 100% record of painting dissenters as subhuman.

    He slimes.

  125. PDA Says:

    Dr. Tobis, I wrote that HTML page in a rush on my way out the door, and regret that I made a hash of the formatting. I have grabbed the source of your original post and re-posted my redaction to my WordPress blog, where there could be a discussion in the spirit of AMac’s comment above. I don’t know if it’ll be any more helpful, and if you have any objection to it I’ll take it down. I just thought it might be interesting to try.
    Tom, if you want to re-post your comment there, please feel free to do so. I’d prefer if you backed down on the personal stuff, but I’m not moderating. It’s your call.

  126. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, I posted over there and tried to edit what I think of Tobis.

  127. AMac Says:

    Comment at The Blackboard (thread on blogging meta-issues).

  128. grypo Says:

    Simon,

    Yes, the future’s uncertain. But is there really impending doom?

    I’m guessing this is rhetorical, but I’ll try to answer it the best I can from my point of view.  First, I’ll define “doom” and also mention that any answer has the caveat that these are value judgments.  So when I hear skeptics say the words “gloom and doom” or “catastrophic” I automatically assume that they have different meaning than I have.  For them, does doom mean a major reduction in the human species?  Inescapable world famine?  The loss of miles of coastlines?  Thermal maximums?  Venus?
    Firstly, I don’t need these elements to say that we need to act.  To me, any infringement from externalities that causes pain to others means that action should be taken.  That is how a true global free market works.
    Second, I don’t think of “warming” as the major issue with Co2.  CO2 in the atmosphere dispensed by humans that make into the carbon cycle is causing the planet to become out of natural balance.  This manifests itself in many ways.  Warming is the only the most noticeable and easiest to quantify.  CO2 also causes the oceans to acidify along with the extra energy that the ocean absorbs.  This puts the entire oceanic food chain in danger and we have no idea what to expect from that.  Mass extinctions?  Science says it’s likely.  How does that effect humans and the global economy.  Care to take on that question?
    The extra energy also disrupts the hydrological cycle that everyone in the world depends on.  This comes from melting glaciers that millions depend on, over evaporation due to the extra heat, and host of other problems that are not caused by CO2, but other human related causes (See Pielke Sr) that will only be exacerbated by the extra energy.  Not only is this important for basic drinking needs and cleanliness, but will determine the ways in which people will be able to grow crops from the shrinking amount of groundwater.
    Now, onto possible tipping points.  First ice, as we now know (since AR4)   the models were incredibly bad at estimating melt and paleo-research has bad news about the correlation between sea-level rise and CO2 levels (meaning that the collapse of major ice shelves may have happened in the past at lower levels of CO2 then we have now).  I shouldn’t have to get into what that means for the next few generations.
    Next is weather.  How bad will it be?  How sensitive are the chaotic systems to extra energy?  How much extra energy is needed to create storms that we will cannot adapt to?  How much change will have to happen before we are ready?
    If our current understanding is correct, many of the events I describe above will likely happen with much greater frequency within the next 40-50 years, if not sooner, and it will humans that cause it.  Let’s also keep in mind that we will not feel the full effects of our increased energy for years and more we put in, the harder it gets to mitigate and adapt.  I am not going to wait around to see if some bizarre combination of Linzen’s IRIS theory or Spencer’s PDO theory have any merit (and it’s not even like the theories really actually deal with most of the CO2 problems anyway).
    While this description may not be what skeptics think of as “doom”, I think it’s enough, even with uncertainties, to make changes that guarantee keeping most of the remaining coal, tar ands in the ground (Pigovian Carbon Tax), while using 3rd generation nuclear, R&D on 4th generation nuclear (which would solve all of the 3rd generation’s problems) and, if  not, transferring to renewable when ready.

  129. Steven Sullivan Says:

    Amac wrote:
    “In my opinion, poison-pen essays like this add credibility to the preferred narrative of the skeptical side.  Another own goal.”
     
    Oh, grow up.  Climate science doesn’t stand or fall on the posts of Drs. Curry or Tobis.
     
     

  130. keith kloor Says:

    Steven,
    I don’t didn’t take AMac’s criticism of climate science-only that Tobis’ tone reinforces a  “preferred narrative” of skeptics.
    On this note, I like what PDA did over at his site, which hopefully allows people to see the criticism on its merit, instead of being turned off by the smug tone.
    Speaking of “own goals,” I think AMac’s criticism can more aptly be applied to this case, which I find astonishing.

  131. AMac Says:

    Steven Sullivan (#129)
    Oh, grow up. Climate science doesn’t stand or fall on the posts of Drs. Curry or Tobis.
    You seem to believe that this rebuts my opinion about poison-pen essays.
    To me, it looks like a statement of the obvious (the second quoted sentence, that is).

  132. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Keith,
     
    Agree with you on the Nature letter re Greenberg’s review of RPJr’s latest book.  Very bizarre indeed.  As one of the commenters noted over there, one wonders if there is more to it than what is posted…

  133. PDA Says:

    A point made by MT is that only bluntly calling Dr. Curry out would get people to pay attention to the fact that she seems to be making no sense: as he says, “It seemed necessary to speak of this mess in strong terms to get anyone to notice.”
    Is he unambiguously wrong? Would we even be talking about this if he had written a piece more akin to my “sanitized” reaction?
    And if not… maybe we are doomed.
     

  134. Steven Sullivan Says:

    KK:’
    “I don’t didn’t take AMac’s criticism of climate science–only that Tobis’ tone reinforces a  “preferred narrative” of skeptics.”
    Journalists, and bloggers, and commenters, would rather report, comment on, and contribute to, the ‘theater’ rather than the science.    Focusing on tone and  ‘narratives’ is part of that.  The science, after all, is hard.
     
    More theater:  Daniel Greenberg’s been beating his   ‘corruption of science’ pot for years.   Nature assigns him to review The Climate Fix.   I’m kinda guessing the editors knew  some controversy would result.  I’m kinda not shocked Mann et al.  took strong exception to the review.  I’m kinda not shocked that you are appalled by scientists biting back at a fellow journalist, nor that ‘honest broker’ Pielke Jr. is ginning up the exchange.   I am totally not shocked — but mildly amused — that examples of what Greenberg called ‘Tea Party and other climate-change wackos’ quickly showed up on Pielke’s thread.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  135. Steven Sullivan Says:

    The part of the letter that Pielke does not reprint is what follows:
     
    //
    We also object to Greenberg’s misleading comments relating to our recently deceased colleague Steve Schneider. Greenberg reiterates a misinterpretation of a statement Schneider made in Discover magazine in 1989, which has since been corrected on numerous occasions. What Schneider crucially said, in addition to the phrase quoted in Greenberg’s review, was “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” And that is exactly what Steve Schneider fought for all his professional life: effective communication of an honest and balanced assessment of the risks of climate change.
    //
     
    That’s it.
    Btw some of the duller commenters on Pielke’s site seem to think *Nature* has ‘besmirched’ Greenberg’s reputation.
    Greenberg, meanwhile, has now publicly called Mann,Erlich and Rahmstorf ’scurrilous’ and ‘lowlifes”  and ‘gravediggers of science’ .   No doubt calm and reasoned colloquy will result.
     
     

  136. AMac Says:

    Steven Sullivan (#133) -
    Journalists, and bloggers, and commenters, would rather report, comment on, and contribute to, the ‘theater’ rather than the science.
    I agree with your sentiments.  Michael Tobis’ ugly theater was what prompted my initial comment on the matter.
    As far as “science is hard,” you are welcome to comment on the use of the Tiljander paleoclimate proxies, or related subjects, at my blog.  Pro, con, or undecided are all okay:  scientific literacy and the quality of thought are what matters.

  137. Keith Kloor Says:

    Steven (133):

    I guess it’s not a surprise to me that you wouldn’t be troubled by the Mann et al letter, esp the  guilt by association attempt, which in any event, is completely false.  (That’s the thing that got me.) And anyone who looks up Greenberg’s supposed association with the Marshall institute can see that for himself.

    It might be wise for certain climate scientists take to heart this part from Michael Lemonick’s recent SciAm article:

    “To Curry, the damage comes not from the skeptics’ critiques themselves, most of which are questionable, but from the scientific community’s responses to them—much as deaths from virulent flu come not from the virus but from the immune system’s violent overreaction.”

    That would include the way one might respond to a book review and making charges against the author of the review that are patently false.

  138. AMac Says:

    Argh.  I’ll try again.
    Steven Sullivan (#134) -
    Comment at Pielke Jr.’s.  The Letter to Nature was short, so I kept the Fair Use quote short.
    For background, here is the earlier Pielke blog post that discussed how Greenberg incorrectly represented the way that Pielke quoted Schneider.

  139. Keith Kloor Says:

    Steven, I think it is unfortunate that Greenberg let his anger get the best of him, there (with the way he characterized Mann et al), and I winced at that part in his informal note to Roger. (I wonder if he winced too after reading it on a blog). At any rate, that wasn’t Greenberg’s first attempt to try and convince Mann that he was wrong about some things, including the Marshall Institute affiliation. It would indeed be better if people could read the full exchange, but that’s up to Mann and his colleagues.

  140. Keith Kloor Says:

    PDA (133):

    I just fished your comment from this morning out of the spam filter.

    You raise a very interesting point, which is not lost on me. The question is, could Michael have been both “blunt” and more civil? That’s the tricky part. How to be blunt without being overly aggressive? I mean, I get why Romm uses the tone he does. If PDA stripped all the bluster and cheap shots from Romm’s critiques of journalists, would people pay attention? Good question. But the flip side is that I think he undermines his criticisms by going over the top all too often. So it’s definitely a tricky balancing act.

    Or, to put another way, why don’t more people adopt AMac or Bart Verheggen’s tone?

  141. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Two things.  First, Michael Tobis’s behavior is pathetic and unacceptable, regardless of whether there is any merit to his claims.
     
    Second, Michael Tobis is wrong.  In fact, he is obviously wrong.  Judith Curry was not expressing degrees of certainty or belief with her Italian flag analysis (IFA).  She was discussing the levels of evidence.  Her personal belief is 30% of warming trend is anthropogenic, 30% is natural, she doesnt’ know about the other 40%.  It’s really quite simple.
     
    There are two possible defenses for Tobis.  The first defense Curry did mess up when she applied the IFA to the IPCC statement.  She took a confidence level of 95% as indicating 5% of the evidence was undecided.  This is obviously wrong, but it is small mistake anyone could make in a moment of carelessness.  The second defense is he could claim the general wording of her post was unclear.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), both of these defenses are untenable.
     
    You see, Michael Tobis raised his concerns some time ago, back when Judith Curry’s thread was still fairly new.  Half an hour later, another poster explained why Tobis was wrong.  Four hours later, Curry acknowledged that other poster was correct.
     
    So Tobis raised a concern with Curry’s post.  It was immediately explained away.  He said nothing.  Over a month later, he repeated those concerns, only this time as damning criticisms.
     
    This entire charade is ridiculous.

  142. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    I would love a preview or edit feature.  Third paragraph, second sentence should read, “The first defense is Curry messed up when she applied the IFA to the IPCC statement.”

  143. Alexander Harvey Says:

    Could someone assist me by commenting on this:
    Let us say that we wish to know the answer to the question how likely is it that half of the warming was natural i.e. not due to GHGs.
    This seems to be the same queation as:  How often would the world produce half that warming during that period by chance? I.E. if we could run the world through that period again a great many times what proportion of those runs would give us half the warming.
    We cannot do that, so we use models which we can run and they give us an answer, say 10%.
    So we have rational answer but to the slightly different question, namely: How often does the model produce half the warming by natural causes alone?
    How does the answer to the slightly different question inform us about the answer about the original question. We have a rational answer (10%) but doubts about its validity due to doubts about the validity of the model.

    How are questions like this resolved, either ideally, or in practice.

    Alex

  144. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
    my response here

  145. Alex Harvey Says:

    Keith Kloor #38,
    So if Judith Curry is an ‘apostate’ and Dick Lindzen is a ‘heretic’, then what is Roger Pielke Sr.? And for that matter, what is Eduardo Zorita? Do you read his blog, Die Klimazwiebel?
    I think Gavin Schmidt got it spot on in #8: her arguments are what matter and this campaign by the media to ‘box’ her is quite mischievous.
    Best, Alex

  146. Michael Tobis Says:

    Shollenberger:

    Michael Tobis is wrong. In fact, he is obviously wrong. Judith Curry was not expressing degrees of certainty or belief with her Italian flag analysis (IFA). She was discussing the levels of evidence. Her personal belief is 30% of warming trend is anthropogenic, 30% is natural, she doesnt’ know about the other 40%. It’s really quite simple.

    Very well, IFA. I like that. Let us recall another piece of IFA, and apply Shollenberger’s interpretation.

    From the same article by Curry:

    Will the climate of the 21st century will be dominated by anthropogenic warming (green) or natural variability (solar, volcanoes, natural internal oscillations)?

    which is the question with the greatest policy relevance, IMO. My scores on this one are

    * green 25%
    * white 50%,
    * red 25%.

    On Shollenberger’s interpretation, this means 25% of next century’s warming will be natural, 25% will be anthropogenic, and 50% will happen but Curry doesn’t know why.

    This interpretation is, um, hard to interpret. Why will there be natural warming next century? And why will there be additional warming which she is currently unable to attribute?

    I do not think she is making these peculiar claims. Which is the point. It is not that one or another interpretation of IFA fails on any single assertion. It is that across the writings we have seen so far one needs multiple interpretations. It is not coherent.
     

  147. Lazar Says:

    Or…
     
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures. Italian flag: Green 70%, White 30%, Red 0%. (Note: nobody is claiming that the temperatures have NOT increased.)”
     
    Her personal belief is that the clear signal of increasing surface temperatures is 0% not increasing, 70% increasing, and 30% she doesn’t know?

  148. PDA Says:

    As an aside, let’s recall that Dr. Curry introduced the Italian flag model (on the “Hurricanes” post) by stating that “The challenge to making and interpreting assessments could be improved by using the Italian flag representation of three-valued logic.”
    At least in the examples she provided, I don’t think that either Dr. Curry’s supporters or her detractors would argue that it improves anything.

  149. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis, good of you to steal PDA’s comment at his own blog without crediting him-word for word, too!
     
    You say you ‘don’t think she is making these particular claims.’  Did you ask her then? Did you ask her before writing, “We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with?”

    And later, “Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing.”

    Revkin, Kloor, others (including myself)-you’ve proclaimed your ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ routine about your slime jobs before, and talked about ‘taking a hit for science’ when you do.

    But it’s just bathroom graffiti with big words. Hey, Tobis-why don’t you ask Curry if she smokes. Or if she’s religious.

  150. PDA Says:

    Tom, not sure what you’re referring to here; MT’s post above is substantially similar to the one he posted on my site at 12:48.
    But anyway, I’m surprised to see your newfound concern about casting aspersions about people in public. Is this a standard you intend to hold yourself to in the future, or is it a case of “do as I say, not as I do?

  151. Judith Curry Says:

    I stopped by to see what is going on, not sure I should bother jumping in, but here goes.  I’m not sure why the “white” part of the Italian flag is so difficult to understand? Its the uncertainty, including the quantified uncertainty, the understood but unquantified uncertainties, and the unknown unknowns.   50 years from now and someone comes back to look at this, will anyone believe that we knew the global surface temperature record and the derived trends to an accuracy in 2007 that is “unequivocal”?  My assignment of 30% uncertainty on this one seems quite modest, given the mess that the data is in and the screwball things that have been done to the ocean data (more on this at my blog at a future date).
     
    The whole purpose of the Italian flag (a qualitative exercise in characterizing uncertainty) was to get people to pay attention to the white part.  The IPCC focuses on the green, does its best to discredit and ignore the red, and pretty much forgets about the white.
     
    As for mt’s argument about some sort of conflation error i’ve made, i have to confess i have no idea what he is talking about.  The evidence against AGW in the latter half of the 20th century is the arguments that the warming is caused by natural variability.
     
    I’m really glad people are discussing the issues I raise, and looking at the substance of my arguments is a lot more productive and sensible then the “Curry is an idiot” meme or that my arguments are irrelevant and have no substance.
     
    The fact that the climate blogging community doesn’t get what I’m talking about makes me pretty worried about the intellectual foundations underpinning the whole argument.

  152. Tom Fuller Says:

    [Off-topic response to PDA: I stand by what I wrote about Falck Group and their subsidiaries, and repeat that Lord Oxburgh, as chief of Falck Renewables, was a poor choice for the inquiry into Climategate. Sorry all, for the intrustion.]

  153. Lazar Says:

    Judith Curry,
     
    “I’m not sure why the “white” part of the Italian flag is so difficult to understand? Its the uncertainty, [...] will anyone believe that we knew the global surface temperature record and the derived trends to an accuracy in 2007 that is “unequivocal”?  My assignment of 30% uncertainty on this one seems quite modest”
     
    Ok… so the 30% is the uncertainty of the magnitude of the trend?
    None of this makes sense… the uncertainty on the trend is 100% minus the probability that the trend is positive?
    There is 0% probability that the trend is “not increasing” and 70% probability that it is positive?

  154. Judith Curry Says:

    Ok this is really funny. Presumably as a result of the kerfuffle surrounding the Sci Am article, I have come to the attention of Sourcewatch.
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Judith_Curry
    There is a section on criticisms from climate scientists, citing devastating critiques from the likes of William Connolley, Michael Tobis, James Annan, and Thingsbreak, and mt’s devastating “conflation” criticism is highlighted.
    Wow, now I am well and truly discredited  

  155. Judith Curry Says:

    Lazar, consider the context in which i made the original statement.  It was in the context of the IPCC’s attribution argument.  Errors in the average global surface temperature influence how we interpret the attribution.  Did we get the 1940’s bump correct?  did we get the magnitude of the warming 1910-1940 correct?  if there are significant uncertainties in these observations (and there almost certainly are), then this affects the confidence that we have in our attribution.

  156. PDA Says:

    <i>comes back to look at this, will anyone believe that we knew the global surface temperature record and the derived trends to an accuracy in 2007 that is “unequivocal”?  My assignment of 30% uncertainty on this one seems quite modest, given the mess that the data is in and the screwball things that have been done to the ocean data (more on this at my blog at a future date).</i>
     
    Why, then, is your assessment of “evidence against” 0%? You seem to feel that these factors bear some weight, so they should be counted in the red area. The whole idea of “uncertainty” without “evidence against” is mystifying to me. If “nobody is claiming that the temperatures have NOT increased,” then what is the uncertainty in regard to? Is it the magnitude of the increase? If so, then what’s the relevance to the proposition “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures?”
    It seems like you’re saying the flag is just a way to express your subjective degree of confidence about a proposition: “I’m about 30% unsure that the temperature record shows a clear signal.” And if that’s the case, I just don’t see how this improves the communication of uncertainty in any substantive way.

  157. Judith Curry Says:

    Further, the existing global surface temperature analyses disagree even during the last decade, when the data is pretty good.  So esp prior to  1970-1980, why should we have 99% confidence in the global temperature time series in the context of conducting attribution studies?

  158. PDA Says:

    The confusion may have something to do with the proposition that you stated as “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.” The signal is either clear or it is not. If “nobody is claiming that the temperatures have NOT increased,” then the signal is clear. 100% green, a Saudi flag if you will. The magnitude of the signal or the degree of accuracy of the time series should be a separate proposition.

  159. PDA Says:

    Tom, if you’re not willing to live up to the standards you insist others follow, that’s relevant to the credibility of your critique. You wanted to make this personal: live by the sword, die by the sword.
    Did you call Oxburgh, or anybody at Falck, before you wrote your piece?

  160. Lazar Says:

    Judith Curry,
     
    “consider the context in which i made the original statement.  It was in the context of the IPCC’s attribution argument.”
     
    Ok, so are you saying that the flag shows how temperature data support (or not) the attribution hypothesis?…
     
    “The focus of this series on detection and attribution is the following statement in the IPCC AR4:

    “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
    [...]

    Consider the following argument that I think must underlie the IPCC’s assessment of attribution and their high confidence in this assessment.   Uncertainty in each of the premises is characterized qualitatively by the Italian flag analysis described in Doubt, whereby evidence for a hypothesis is represented as green, evidence against is represented as red, and the white area reflecting uncommitted belief that can be associated with uncertainty in evidence or unknowns.
    Here is the argument:
    1.    Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures. Italian flag:  Green 70%, White 30%, Red 0%. (Note: nobody is claiming that the temperatures have NOT increased.)”
     
    In which case, do you mean that…
    0% of the evidence is against the attribution hypothesis
    70% of the evidence supports the attribution hypothesis
    and 30% of the evidence doesn’t discriminate between H1 and H0?
    or 100% minus percentage evidence for H1 is the uncertainty in H1?
    … the uncertainty in the evidence for H1?
    “evidence for a hypothesis is represented as green”
    70% of the surface temperature record supports H1?
    Hmm.
    Please could you spell out with clarity and precision with reference to evidence and/or probability what each percentage means?

  161. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #145 Michael Tobis, responding to you is becoming very unappealing.  I showed Judith Curry exactly agreeing with my interpretation.  You ignored it.  I showed the correct interpretation of the text you quoted.  You ignored it.  Instead of addressing anything which had been raised, you brought up other examples.  If I explain away your confusion again, will you just ignore it?
     
    In the possibly vain hope you won’t, I’ll address the example you provided.  The question posed by Judith Curry was, “Will the climate of the 21st century be dominated by anthropogenic warming or natural variability?”  In regards to this you say:
     
    On Shollenberger’s interpretation, this means 25% of next century’s warming will be natural, 25% will be anthropogenic, and 50% will happen but Curry doesn’t know why.
     
    The disconnect here is dumbfounding.  You are apparently assuming the exact same interpretation must be applied to all the numerical examples Curry provided, even though the question posed has changed.  Of course you get “peculiar claims” if you do this.  There is no reason to do it.
     
    My actual interpretation of what you quoted would be quite sensible.  Curry believes the current evidence indicates 25% of the temperature signal in the 21st century will be dominated by anthropogenic warming.  25% will be dominated by natural variability.  50% of it cannot be determined yet.  Nothing in her text, or in anything I said, would support interpreting her text as saying the white and red portions were necessarily warming.
     
    The IFA suggested by Curry is just a way of portraying what is said by the evidence.  That you assume the exact same interpretation must be used every time IFA is used is ridiculous.  Imagine if somebody said the same thing of the quadratic formula.  It would make as little sense as your claims here have made.

  162. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, I did not. I relied on the Financial Times, the Corriere della Sera (where I used to work!), the Falck Group website and published accounts of investigations by Italian authorities.
     
    But nor did I level accusations at Oxburgh himself, noting then as I do now that his chairmanship of a wind power company controlled by an Italian conglomerate being investigated by the anti-Mafia police, while mafia arrests were being made at his wind farms made his suitability to chair an inquiry, the results of which would directly impact both his business and that of  its parent company, questionable.
     
    I specifically wrote that I wasn’t accusing Oxburgh of anything. I believe I wrote that two or three times.
     
    Keith, shall PDA and I move this to another venue?

  163. Lazar Says:

    Judith Curry,
     
    “evidence for a hypothesis is represented as green, evidence against is represented as red, and the white area reflecting uncommitted belief that can be associated with uncertainty in evidence or unknowns.
    Here is the argument:
    1.    Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures. Italian flag:  Green 70%, White 30%, Red 0%”

    1) What is the hypothesis here?
    2) What does “evidence for” mean? Evidence which supports H1 strongly? Weakly? At all?
    3) What does ‘percentage evidence for’ mean? The percentage of all evidence ‘for’/'against’ H1 that falls into the former category?
    4) What is ‘uncertainty’? Uncertainty in what? How does ‘uncertainty’ equate to 100% minus ‘percentage evidence for’?

  164. Judith Curry Says:

    Sorry, no time right now to debate the Italian flag, I am working on my next post and when i finish (if before sun nite) i will head over to PDA’s site to discuss.

  165. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    My understanding of the purpose of the Italian flag was to gauge current certainties and uncertainties simply, but not itself conclusively. Accordingly, the Italian flag introduces orleads into discussion about the certainties to which it refers. It does not conclude it; it does not itself wholly self-contain all necessary understanding.
     
    The Italian flag, and the discussion associated with it, are inclusive. I’m no scientist, but I get this.

  166. PDA Says:

    Yesm,you were careful to couch your accusations in innuendo: “Do I believe the ‘mob directed the investigation?’ Of course not. Do I believe that Lord Oxburgh had additional reasons to weigh the findings of his investigation in favor of the status quo? It’s certainly possible.”
    Anyway, I’m not going to threadjack with our old pissing contest. I say you’re a hypocrite; you get the last word, if you wish.

  167. Lazar Says:

    Judith Curry,
     
    “why should we have 99% confidence in the global temperature time series in the context of conducting attribution studies?”
    What is the hypothesis about the global temperature time series that is being considered?
    “99% confidence in the global temperature time series in the context of conducting attribution studies?”
     
    … is not interpretable.

  168. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, it’s funny how people who apologise for hijacking the thread wait until after they have made incendiary accusations before excusing themselves. I am content that interested parties follow your link to what I wrote where they can judge for themselves.

  169. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis is now accusing Curry of Lysenkoism in an update to his diatribe.

  170. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #162 Lazar, I know I am not Judith Curry, but I believe I can answer your questions.  I really am not sure why you are confused.  The answer to your first question is, quite simply, “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.
     
    Evidence for this is quite simply, any evidence which shows a clear warming signal.  This is the 70% she listed.  Now then, uncertainty is the fact temperature observations are noisy, have various biases in them, and are not completely accurate.  Because of this, the observations do not completely indicate a clear warming trend.  It is possible there could even be some evidence against such, but currently it isn’t known to exist.  As long as that possibility exists, there will be a white area.
     
    #166 The “hypothesis” is the time series is accurate.  Also, her text is quite interpretable.  When doing attribution studies, why should people have complete confidence in the global temperature time series?  In other words, for things like modeling the climate, how much can people trust the temperature record.
     
    #143 If you want to point to a response, you need to link to the response itself.  There are 80 comments on that page, and I am not going to dig through all of them to guess which one you are referring to.

  171. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Oh my god.  I have no reaction to what I just found when looking at the comments in Michael Tobis’s blog post on this subject.  This is from Tobis:
     
    Now more than likely Shellenberger is a sock puppet for the think tanks that find Curry convenient, which is why he is indulging in this bit of misdirection.

  172. Judith Curry Says:

    Brandon, you have just become a victim of the merchants of doubt meme.  I wasn’t kidding when I said in my heresy essay that these guys are following the pied piper of the merchants of doubt meme into oblivion.  They don’t learn, and they are damaging their credibility in ways that won’t be easy to repair by continuing with these accusations rather than dealing with the inconvenient arguments.

  173. Tom Fuller Says:

    Funnily enough, the title of Tobis’ post refers to someone else jumping the shark…
     
    Brandon, pretty sure that he is just using you to get in that dig about think tanks finding Curry convenient…

  174. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #171, #172 I really don’t care about being insulted.  Being called a sock puppet wouldn’t normally bother me.  What bothers me is despite how obvious his mistakes are, and how pathetic his behavior is, he is still promoted by people like James Annan.
     
    He behaves like a young kid on a message board, yet influential scientists feel free to associate themselves with him.  That worries me deeply.

  175. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,

    “The answer to your first question ["what is the hypothesis here?"] is, quite simply, “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”"

    Ok, so

    H1: Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.

    Is H0:

    a) “” do not show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.

    Or:

    b) “” show a clear signal that surface temperatures are not increasing.

    ?
     
    “Evidence for this is quite simply, any evidence which shows a clear warming signal.  This is the 70% she listed.”
     
    So does that mean that 70% of the evidence… meaning 70% of observations… show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures? Or does that mean the evidence gives a 70% probability that there is a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures?

  176. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #174 Lazar, what a strange question.  You will have to pardon me for not using the same terminology as you, but offhand I’m not sure I know what you mean by “H0,” and I’d rather not risk mixing something up.
     
    In any event, your a) would correspond to Curry’s white are.  Your b) would correspond to Curry’s red area.  The latter contradicts, but the former only fails to support.
     
    As for the 70%, that is evidence, not probability.

  177. Rob Says:

    #168 Tobis isn’t accusing Curry of Lysenkoism, his implication is that she may become a useful tool for political perpetrators of Lysenkoism. You may agree or disagree but that’s his position.

  178. PDA Says:

    Brandon, does that mean that the flag is “a way to express your subjective degree of confidence about a proposition” as I asked <a href=”http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/10/26/curry-the-apostate/comment-page-4/#comment-24715″>at 155</a>? If not, what’s the basis of the evidence assessment percentages?

  179. PDA Says:

    sorry for the HTML. I meant at 155.

  180. grypo Says:

    Yeah, just curious, are we ever going to get to Judith’s representation of the IPCC uncertainties (see post #87), ie aerosols, models, solar, etc, or are we just going keep on the flag talk.  Am I so far off base that it’s not worthy of response (besides a sympathetic nod from AMac) or was Tobis’ attack such an attention getter that  I just need to wait in line.  FWIW, I find the flag so confusing and interpreted so many ways that it’s usability at this point is %0.

  181. Tom Fuller Says:

    Be careful, Brandon-you may end up tarred as a Lysenkoist tool for the Conservative think tanks…

  182. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #176, #177 PDA, I thought this has already been made clear, but I guess I can repeat the point.  Judith Curry believes 70% of the evidence shows a clear warming signal.  She believes 0% of the evidence shows there is no clear warming signal.  She believes 30% of the evidence shows neither of those.  In other words, 70% supports, 0% disputes, and 30% doesn’t say.
     
    As for the “basis” of it, Curry didn’t say she was correct with that number.  In fact, her Question B specifically asks if people think it is correct.  Given that, it is pretty clear it is Curry’s “best estimate” given what she understands of the IPCC’s statement.

  183. Lazar Says:

    Brandon,
     
    Sorry… H0 stands for the null hypothesis, ‘no warming’ or whatever, H1 is the alternative hypothesis.

  184. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #181 Lazar, I thought that was what you meant, but I didn’t want to risk misunderstanding you.  I trust you were still able to understand my response?

  185. PDA Says:

    I didn’t ask about correctness or incorrectness, I asked about the basis. Your thought that it’s a “guess” makes sense to me. Sorry that answering questions is so exasperating for you. I’m done.

  186. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
    Ok… so the hypothesis…
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”
    Does “increasing surface temperatures” mean;
    a) all observations are increasing?
    b) global average temperature is increasing?
    c) something else?

  187. Lazar Says:

    Brandon,
     
    “still able to understand my response?”
     
    Yup! Thanks.

  188. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #183, PDA, your response is strange.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but you seem annoyed with me.  The fact I thought your question had been answered already doesn’t mean I find answering it again “so exasperating.”  It certainly doesn’t mean I want you to feel like you are unwelcome, walking off in a huff with, “I’m done.”  I hope I’m just reading too much into this, and you weren’t offended by something I did.
     
    By the way, I pointed out Curry didn’t say the numbers were correct not because you asked about it, but because it supported my idea those numbers were just Curry’s estimates.

  189. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #184 Lazar, I would assume b, as that is what is usually discussed.
     
    Though, as to how you would determine uncertainties in data which is averaged together, I’m not really sure.

  190. Michael Tobis Says:

    Me in italics, Shollenberger not, because Keith’s input boxes are broken on Firefox or Safari, and I can’t find a way to reverse that without retyping it.
     
    me:
    On Shollenberger’s interpretation, this means 25% of next century’s warming will be natural, 25% will be anthropogenic, and 50% will happen but Curry doesn’t know why.



    Shollenberger:
    The disconnect here is dumbfounding.  You are apparently assuming the exact same interpretation must be applied to all the numerical examples Curry provided, even though the question posed has changed.  Of course you get “peculiar claims” if you do this.  There is no reason to do it.
     
    me, now: 

    Yes, exactly. I am opposed to the dumbfounding disconnect.



    Unless a reasonably parallel interpretation is attached to the IFA device, the device obfuscates rather than clarifying. Indeed, rather than helping us think about uncertainty, by presenting a different aspect of the question in different cases, it gets in the way. (This leaves aside the case where two distinct interpretations were used in the same example!)

     
    also, me, then:
    Now more than likely Shellenberger is a sock puppet for the think tanks that find Curry convenient, which is why he is indulging in this bit of misdirection.
    Shollenberger replies:
    I really don’t care about being insulted.  Being called a sock puppet wouldn’t normally bother me.

    me, now:

    Schollenberger implies being astonished by this. But he would do so whether or not he is a paid agent provocateur, so that offers no evidence in either direction. In fact he does not bother to explicitly deny it.



    He merely ups the ante by attacking me in a purely emotive way (piling on with Fuller). Of course I have no defense here. If you don’t like me, you don’t like me. I’m sure that being so blunt doesn’t help my case with anybody, not even myself.  But it is a fine emotion-laden distraction from the question of whether he is here to argue for his own positions, or to obfuscate on someone else’s behalf.



    Now my guess may or may not be right. But Dr. Curry responds as if such a thing were impossible, as if nobody ever were paid to put misdirection or misinformation on a blog. That’s a bit weird, unless she knows Shollenberger personally. By the way, except for a facebook page and a myspace page, the first fifty google hits for “Brandon Shollenberger” come up with comments on climate blogs, at least for me. Maybe Brandon really has nothing else to do with his time besides camouflaging lost arguments on the internet with explosions of high dudgeon. I don’t claim to know.



    But unless Dr. Curry knows Shollenberger and his motivations personally, she ought to beware of jumping to conclusions. It’s not like the merchants of doubt don’t exist!
     
    Marc Morano was kind enough to call my attention, in his latest email blast, to this article by  professor Donald Brown on the subject. As you might guess, Morano’s interpretation of the article differs from mine.
     

  191. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,

    “Though, as to how you would determine uncertainties in data which is averaged together, I’m not really sure.”
     
    Ding!
    The global average temperature is the average of all series, 70% of which ‘clearly show warming’ and 30% which show neither warming nor lack of. The probability that the trend is *not* positive is *not* 30%… it depends on the size of interannual variations and the number of data points. But JC calls the white box…
    “reflecting uncommitted belief that can be associated with uncertainty in evidence or unknowns”
    … so what does that mean?

  192. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #188, Michael Tobis, could you make your post any less clear?  I read through your post several times, and I’m still not clear on what you are saying.  Maybe taking the time to retype things would help, but as far as I can tell, you didn’t make any point in your comment.  You certainly didn’t refute anything I said.  In fact, as far as I can see, you didn’t even bother to address anything I said.  The only complaint I can see in your comment is Curry used IFA for different questions, giving different “results.”
     
    No duh.  As a methodology for representing degrees of evidence, it can be used for many questions.  Naturally, this will give different “interpretations.”  Ignoring the question being asked while interpreting the answer given doesn’t work.  As though that wasn’t bad enough, I had explained why this complaint was silly in my previous comment.  You sought to disagree with me, but you didn’t even bother to respond to what I said.
     
    As though your complete refusal to address points wasn’t ridiculous enough, you continue to hold to your insults.  You actually act as though me not denying a ridiculous insult indicates something other than extreme contempt for your attempt to smear me.
     
    If you want to continue this discussion, quit with the insults.  I’m willing to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of Curry’s methodology, but I will not be dragged into the muck by you.

  193. AMac Says:

    Michael Tobis (#188) -
    Brandon Shellenberger, er, Shollenberger turned me into a newt.
    (I got better.)
    Burn him anyway!

  194. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #189, Lazar, you are mistaken.  You say:
     
    The global average temperature is the average of all series, 70% of which ‘clearly show warming’ and 30% which show neither warming nor lack of.
     
    This is not what Curry said.  When Curry says 70%, she is not referring to 70% of data series.  She is saying that data is not perfect.  As in, you can only trust its results 70% of the way.  Errors, biases and inaccuracies mean the data itself is questionable, and Curry lists the extent of that at 30%.
     
    With the basis for your comment being flawed, the rest of it is wrong as well.

  195. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #191 AMac, are you sure you don’t mean Brandon Schollenberger did it?
     
    It’s easy to misspell my name.  I just don’t see how it can be done so inconsistently.

  196. Lazar Says:

    Michael,
     
    “more than likely Shellenberger is a sock puppet

    Michael… if you don’t know Shollenberger personally and don’t have evidence to support the “more than likely” claim… what good purpose does making this claim serve? It seems to me… a) derails the technical discussion (as we have experienced re Curry), and b) possibly pisses off someone who isn’t a sock puppet. It’s not fair to the accused to throw around accusations without good evidence (and how would he prove the negative?). I seriously hate it.

  197. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “When Curry says 70%, she is not referring to 70% of data series.  She is saying that data is not perfect.  As in, you can only trust its results 70% of the way.  Errors, biases and inaccuracies mean the data itself is questionable, and Curry lists the extent of that at 30%.”
     
    Earlier you said…
     
    “Judith Curry believes 70% of the evidence shows a clear warming signal.  She believes 0% of the evidence shows there is no clear warming signal.  She believes 30% of the evidence shows neither of those.”
     
    How do you reconcile the two versions?
    “you can only trust its results 70% of the way”
    What does that mean?… The way to where? What does trust mean?
    “Errors, biases and inaccuracies mean the data itself is questionable, and Curry lists the extent of that at 30%.”
    What does “that” refer to?

  198. Keith Kloor Says:

    Lazar (195):

    Well said. From where I’m sitting, I’m seeing a good faith effort by folks to grapple with this flag business. Michael Tobis should be able to disagree without having to cavalierly suggesting that someone is  a “sock puppet.”

  199. Michael Tobis Says:

    Fair enough. I have no knowledge of Shellenberger’s motivations and admit that much. I probably shouldn’t have raised my suspicions since I’m in enough trouble as it stands.
     
    I think I’ve done myself enough damage. I will leave this flag conversation to others, having succeeded in seeding due skepticism and having failed to add much of value since doing so.
     
    I hope that if there’s a bottom to be gotten to, somebody manages to get to it. I am, as always, willing to be proven wrong, and if I am in this case, I will apologize more profusely than usual. So I’ll be watching with interest.
     

  200. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    Under your, what appears to me to be substantially changed, interpretation…
    “When Curry says 70%, she is not referring to 70% of data series.  She is saying that data is not perfect.  As in, you can only trust its results 70% of the way.  Errors, biases and inaccuracies mean the data itself is questionable, and Curry lists the extent of that at 30%.”

    … what does the red (0%) area signify?

  201. Tom Fuller Says:

    Rephrasing 198, “I’ve hurled baseless insults at all and sundry and it’s almost time for the World Series. I didn’t make any sense, but I got to do to Curry what I did to Revkin, Kloor and both Pielkes, so it’s Miller time!”

  202. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #196 Lazar, it is hard for me to find a good way to word the point, so I apologize for not being as clear as I would like.  Basically, there is a systematic uncertainty in the temperature record.  This uncertainty is what I was referring to when I said “that.”
     
    It is somewhat similar to error margins.  The larger the white area, the larger the error margins would be.

  203. Lazar Says:

    Michael,
     
    Stop being such a sour puss and join in the technical debate… at which you’re much better than me :-)

  204. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #199 Lazar, the red part would be for things like known biases.  For example, if there was a known and quantified urban heat island effect artificially inflating temperatures (and wasn’t corrected for), that would be in the red box.  It would be evidence which contradicted the claims of warming.

  205. Mike Lemonick Says:

    PDA writes (18)

    “Dr. Curry, as I mentioned at your blog, I’ve seen no evidence of this sentiment other than the reference by Lemonick (creator of the Dumbest Online Survey in Human History). ”
     
    Small point: I’m not the creator of the survey, although I can see how it appears otherwise. I wrote a couple of paragraphs recapping the main story as an intro to the poll, and the whole thing was lumped together as a blog post by me. Oh, and I didn’t write the headline either. I don’t have a problem with the headline (although I think Keith’s word “apostate” would have been more accurate, though maybe more obscure for lots of readers). The poll…eh. Not a big fan.

  206. Keith Kloor Says:

    I agree again with Lazar (202). Michael, try channeling Bart Verheggen. That might help you.

  207. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    Ok, so the “extent” of the “systematic uncertainty” is 30%… 30% of what?
    What does the red area mean?
    “I apologize for not being as clear as I would like.”
    I think the problem in clarity is with JC… I think we’re both struggling to interpret the flag in way that is coherent and makes sense in terms of probability

  208. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “It would be evidence which contradicted the claims of warming”
     
    Ok, so is the red area a percentage of ‘the evidence’?

  209. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    I had absolutely no problem understanding what she said.  That’s why I was so baffled at seeing people criticize her for it.  I just don’t normally deal with these sort of subjects, so I am not good at knowing how to word things.
     
    With that said, you are still doing the same thing.  You said, “makes sense in terms of probability.”  None of this has to do with probability.  This is all about proportion.  The question is, “How much?” not, “How likely?”  So when you say:
     
    Ok, so is the red area a percentage of ‘the evidence’?
     
    The answer is yes.  This is all about a percentage of the evidence.  But when we say “the evidence,” we don’t just mean all the data series.  We mean all the data series, averaging and weighting processes, corrections, etc.  As in, the overall results.

  210. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Based on the evidence from mt of late, it’s becoming more and more apparent that it is actually mt that exists as a right-wing think tank sock puppet. It would be difficult to imagine a more comprehensive demolition job of the consensus’s maturity than mt has achieved, repeatedly and in compounding fashion, in the last few days.
     
    I would propose the conspiracy theory that mt is in fact a Big Oil funded climate science insurgent, paid specifically for the purpose of disrupting the AGW movement from within, except that mt freely admits that he has funding links to Big Oil, to undisclosed tunes likely far in excess of any Big Oil funding to subversives like McIntyre, Montford or Eschenbach.
     
    This is the only explanation I can think of for the apparently wilful damage to consensus credibility from mt.

  211. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Normally I don’t like talking about people’s motives, but I have to admit that was funny Simon Hopkinson.

  212. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “The answer is yes.  This is all about a percentage of the evidence.  But when we say “the evidence,” we don’t just mean all the data series.  We mean all the data series, averaging and weighting processes, corrections, etc.  As in, the overall results.”
     
    So, of “the overall results” (I’m not sure what that means),
    0% “contradict the claims of warming”
    30% is “systematic uncertainty”
    70% “shows a clear warming signal”
    Right?
    Those are percentages… how do you count individual ‘results’ (”all the data series, averaging and weighting processes, corrections, etc.”)? How do you determine which bin they go into? What if ‘a result’ has some “systematic uncertainty” *and* “shows a clear warming signal”?
    And what does it all mean? What does 30% of “the overall results” is “systematic uncertainty” mean?

  213. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “how do you count individual ‘results’”… I mean, how do you determine what constitutes an *individual* result.

  214. Michael Tobis Says:

    Sorry, I am too angry to be helpful at this time. Others will have to pick up the slack.
     

  215. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    I hope you’re not angered by my little dig, mt. It was not intended to make you angry, it was intended to help you realise just how plain stupid and idiotic these insidious insinuations are, of sock-puppetry and underhanded motive.
     
    As YOU requested, I publicly and very clearly expressed apologies and a retraction, just a few days ago, for the mere suggestion that YOU MIGHT be responsible for casting aspersions on sceptics’ clandestine motives - the Big Oil claim that we hear so frequently.
     
    Today, you’re doing EXACTLY the thing you swore you never did - the thing I apologised to you for suggesting that you did, that you said you NEVER WOULD.
     
    Disingenuous much, Tobis? I said, a day or two ago, that I was not offended by Tobis’s behaviour. That does not mean that I don’t think it is offensive. It is utterly appalling.

  216. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Mike Lemonick, what’s not to like about the poll? Apart from that it is so embarrassingly front-loaded for the AGW cause, of course, and that its results are so diametrically in opposition to the established SciAm and AGW muppet show narrative. Seriously, what’s not to like?
     
    Or is disliking the poll, because it was a silly poll (and oh, hell, was it ever a silly poll!), the premise upon which you and SciAm will dismiss it out of hand? Somehow, I suspect that’s where this will lead.

  217. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Brandon, I think someone is winding you up. The concept of the Italian flag is no more difficult than that of a Venn diagram. Surely the confusion has to be sourced in simple dishonesty.

  218. PDA Says:

    Mike Lemonick, my apologies for unfairly saddling you with the responsibility for the poll. It looked like one of those “make-your-own-survey” things people attach to their blogs all the time. My assumption was unwarranted and I happily withdraw it. For what it is worth, I though your article was as even-handed as any such piece could be… with the exception of the headline. I’m glad you had no hand in that either.
    Brandon, we’ve been grappling with this question for a couple of days, and nobody before you managed to explain it with any clarity. So your tone of bewilderment that nobody else gets it was off-putting. I wasn’t leaving in a huff as much as leaving for a party.
    I guess I find it equally bewildering that you seem to have no problem with idea that “none of this has to do with probability” and that it’s all more or less a guess. Figuring out how to assess the individual assessments and how to weight them actually matters.
    Simon, the idea that Judith Curry is talking about replacing the IPCC’s method of gauging certainty with a Venn diagram is exactly what people are up in arms about.

  219. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #211 Lazar, I’m not sure there is a good answer to any of your latest questions.  You are talking about specifically narrowing down uncertainties, pinning down errors and figuring out the breadth of bias.  I don’t claim to know how to do these things.  As best I can tell, neither does Judith Curry.  She offers the number which seems intuitively true to her, but is it “right”?  She doesn’t know for sure, and neither do I.  Quantifying errors and uncertainty is complicated, and I don’t think anyone here is trying to actually do it.  We’re just discussing a way of portraying that uncertainty, and hopefully other people will find a way to calculate it.
     
    #216, Simon Hopikinson, while I agree that is possible, I don’t think it is obviously true.  Confusion can arise even over the simplest points, so I am not inclined to assume the worst.  The worst that will happen is I waste a little /time.  Compared to the possibility of helping someone understand an issue, I am willing to take that risk.  That is, assuming you are talking about Lazar.  If you are talking about Michael Tobis, I suspect the two of us will never talk again.
     
    #217, PDA, I’m glad to hear the tone I was reading wasn’t very accurate.  I hate trying to guess at a person’s feelings through text, but I was worried I had “chased you off,” so to speak.
     
    To be honest, I hate posting on blogs.  The only reason I did post was the fact you pointed out, that nobody else had explained the issue with clarity.  It seemed so obvious to me, so I felt obliged to post an explanation.  With that said, I was not the first person to figure this out.  As I mentioned before, when Michael Tobis first raised these issues, it only took half an hour for someone to correct him.  You also say:
     
    I guess I find it equally bewildering that you seem to have no problem with idea that “none of this has to do with probability” and that it’s all more or less a guess. Figuring out how to assess the individual assessments and how to weight them actually matters.
     
    I think you misunderstand the nature of this issue.  Judith Curry wasn’t trying to give some detailed analysis of her or our levels of knowledge.  She was trying to give us a way to portray our levels of knowledge.  She openly asked people for input on the specific numbers she had picked, because she doesn’t know what those numbers should be.  Ideally, we would have a way to calculate the numbers, but for now, we just use our best guess.
     
    Of course, if the IPCC were to adopt the same style for representing knowledge levels, we would expect them to look far more closely at how to generate the numbers.  But for now, in semi-casual blog postings, that level of specificity is too difficult to generate.

  220. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    I really would love a preview or edit feature.  In my second paragraph, there is an strange “/” inserted in the text.  Obviously, it shouldn’t be there.
     
    More importantly, in the last sentence of that paragraph I said “us.”  That should be understood to include Michael Tobis, not Simon Hopkinson.

  221. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    PDA, I didn’t say it’s a Venn diagram, I said it’s a no more difficult concept than a Venn diagram. And I really don’t think people are up in arms about the Italian flag, either. I think Tobis is, and one or two others, but it appears to me to be a small few having a strop for the sake of having a strop, or a strop for the purpose of undermining the idea of introducing uncertainty to a thing which until recently was doing very well specifically because of its omission of the uncertainties which the Italian flag reintroduces.
     
    I agree with Curry, and others, that the IPCC has failed in times past to accurately communicate uncertainties, and I have consistently argued that it is specifically the popular discovery (viral, post-Climategate)  of this miscommunication of confidence which is the predominant cause of the loss of credibility and rapid onset of distrust of the IPCC.
     
    Whether one likes or dislikes Curry’s use of the Italian flag, for its perhaps inconvenient caging of the uncertainty monster, that itself is a question secondary to whether or not the IPCC has lost and needs to regain its credibility. What Curry is in effect offering, with the Italian flag (were it to be adopted at AR5), is tantamount to a get-out-of-jail-free card for the IPCC.
     
    However, whether or not the card is played and the IPCC’s credibility is in part restored, what it will not do is lead directly to policy of the magnitude put forth at COP15. For this you have to thank the existence of the uncertainty monster and its elephant-in-the-roominess. Whether or not you like it, the fact is that the current state of climate science and its associated uncertainties are prohibitive to policy action, because such concepts as the Precautionary Principle are inherently sociopolitical rather than scientific in their alignment and must therefore be adopted (or not) in accordance with the will of our respective democratic societies.

  222. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Brandon, I’m sure you’re right and I’m being presumptuous regarding motive. I’m as numpty as they come, and yet I get the flag, and I get how it’s used different times to represent different things.. and I just can’t find any deficiencies in the way Judith’s explained it. Heck, she explained it so that even I could understand it! :)
     
    But you’re right, sometimes new ideas take time to click into place and it’s wrong for me to presume that it’s deliberate; Lazar’s reasons for not understanding need not be the same as Tobis’s, and I will doubtless myself need some leeway in the future, as I have in the past, when something’s just not falling into place like it ought.

  223. Chris S. Says:

    James Annan backs up Tobis here: http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/10/she-who-refuses-to-do-arithmetic-is.html#comments
    I wonder if Brandon, Simon, or even Dr. Curry will comment over there?
     
    I doubt it.
     

  224. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “I’m not sure there is a good answer to any of your latest questions.  You are talking about specifically narrowing down uncertainties, pinning down errors and figuring out the breadth of bias.”
     
    No, I’m trying to understand what the categories mean, why they are mutually exclusive, and the logical basis for splitting the pie into those categories…
    30% of “the overall results” is “systematic uncertainty” sounds like English… but how does it relate to the real world?

  225. Lazar Says:

    What James Annan said…
     
    “The “Italian Flag” analysis, at least as implemented by Judith Curry, is incoherent nonsense. She displays no clarity of thought on what the categories actually mean, or whether there is any workable calculus underpinning the whole thing. Going back to the original documents that she cites, it looks like it might have be supposed to have something in common with Dempster-Schafer theory, but I’m not sure about that and it’s certainly not compatible with her usage. While it might be possible to reverse-engineer some semblance of sense into some of her statements regarding it, they are mutually incoherent.”

  226. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    To start with… if you can’t theoretically decide how to measure (count) “the overall results”, splitting ‘it’ into percentages is mathematically fallacious… 60% of blue, 30% of light, 99% of agreement, 13% of happiness. I wonder also what JC means by “evidence for a hypothesis is represented as [x %]“. You replaced “evidence” with “the overall results” to account for the white portion… but I’m not at all sure that’s what she means.

  227. keith kloor Says:

    And in addition to James Annan, Stoat jumps into the fray, mostly snarking, though.

  228. Tom Fuller Says:

    Not the first time Tobis has had to be bailed out after one of his tirades. Next will come the silly rabbit… Fastidiously using a long spoon for his slime and trusting the third person to keep his hands free.

  229. PDA Says:

    We’re as close to an actual explication of Curry’s flag idea as I’ve seen yet. Since my experiment was an EPIC FAIL, I’d encourage anyone who doesn’t agree with Tom that any discussion of the merits or flaws of the flag plays into the hands of Der Stürmer Tobis to soldier on here.

  230. Dean Says:

    Here’s a hypothesis. If somebody posting a comment has substance to offer, whether or not combined with attitude, they will most likely offer it right up front.
    Therefore, if somebody posts something that completely lacks substance, the better response than asking for the substance is to ignore the comment.

  231. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #224 Lazar, you have got to be joking me.  You are trying to figure out what the categories mean?  Why they are mutually exclusive?  How complicated can “evidence for” and “evidence against” be?  How hard is it to understand that some evidence is inconclusive?
     
    Besides which, your questions in #212 asked nothing about this.  They asked about specific calculations of the numbers.  Now in #226 you once again ask about these specifics (incidentally the “overall results” I mentioned are obviously the same evidence Curry was talking about).
     
    I’m not going to continue this.  The issue isn’t complicated, but you keep trying to make it so.

  232. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #223, #225, #227, that people have no problem associating themselves with Michael Tobis in something like this is a bad sign.  That they simply accept his arguments without any apparent critical thinking is a very bad sign.

  233. Judith Curry Says:

    PDA, this has now reached the threshold where I will run a thread on the italian flag at Climate Etc. (probably Tues nite).  I think I’ve had an insight as to what the disconnect is (Nullius Verba prompted the insight).   Thank you for your efforts at introducing some rationality to this.

  234. Michael Tobis Says:

    Many people, upon closer examination, agree with me that what Dr. Curry is saying is woefully unclear at best. This includes explicit support from a published and highly regarded expert on these exact questions, Dr. Annan, for which I’m most grateful.
     

    Mr Shollenberger has explicitly stated that he doesn’t understand the questions being raised. That is plainly true.
     
    Shollenberger’s decision to use his failure to understand the details of the criticism of Dr Curry as an occasion for a vendetta against me personally is not something that is likely to advance the conversation.  There is no need to bring hostility into this.
     

    I appreciate Dean’s suggestion in #230, but I’d appeal to Keith for some editorial intervention at this point.
     

  235. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #234 You say, Mr Shollenberger has explicitly stated that he doesn’t understand the questions being raised. That is plainly true.

    Shollenberger’s decision to use his failure to understand the details of the criticism of Dr Curry as an occasion for a vendetta against me personally is not something that is likely to advance the conversation.

     
    I have said nothing of the sort, and I have done nothing of the sort.  Your representation of me is inaccurate to the point of dishonesty.

  236. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis is just hand waving, Brandon.  Since he’s not offering anything of substance in this thread, it’s curious as to why he’s crying for someone to come to his rescue about substance.
     
    Just to be clear. There is no substance to Tobis’ comments about Curry or the Italian flag controversy. Those who have patiently explained the common sense and normal usage of what is a common framing technique are now being insulted and accused of staging a vendetta.
     
    It’s classic projection. Tobis is pursuing a vendetta against Curry. He offers nothing of substance.  So what is he whining about? You guessed it.

  237. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
    “How complicated can “evidence for” and “evidence against” be?  How hard is it to understand that some evidence is inconclusive?
    Complicated. Let’s see…
    You have now (apparently) reverted to describing the white area as ‘the percentage of evidence that is inconclusive’ (vs. ‘the percentage of evidence that is systematic uncertainty’).
    Fine, so you’re committing to the simpler description…
    70% of the evidence is for H1.
    0% of the evidence is against H1, or equivalently, 0% is for H0, where H0 = ‘H1 is false’.
    30% of the evidence is inconclusive, meaning it does not discriminate between H1 and H0.
    H1 is…
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”
    In which case, H0 is…
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century do not show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”
    An immediate problem with the above is the use of the word “clear”. JC is including a word that would normally describe the strength of support for a hypothesis, in the hypothesis itself.
    Evidence either shows a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures, or it does not. There is no room for a third ‘inconclusive’ category… evidence which does not show a clear signal of increasing temperatures is *against* H1… it goes in the red box, not the white one. The statement ‘It is inconclusive whether this evidence shows a clear signal’ equals ‘this evidence does not show a clear signal’. Capisce?
    a) your description of the flag is internally inconsistent.
    b) there is no place for the white portion of the flag
    c) red should be 30%
    Let’s see if we can make sense from a literal interpretation of JC’s words…
    “evidence for a hypothesis is represented as green, evidence against is represented as red, and the white area reflecting uncommitted belief that can be associated with uncertainty in evidence or unknowns.
    Here is the argument:
    1.    Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures. Italian flag:  Green 70%, White 30%, Red 0%. (Note: nobody is claiming that the temperatures have NOT increased.)”
    a) the same problem as before… evidence for ought to, but do not, sum to 100%.
    b) “Belief” and “evidence” are two different ‘things’ and quantities. They do not sum to 100%. They are not percentages of ‘the same thing’.
    You asked how complicated. How long is a piece of string? If ‘it’ is ’simple’… it implies you have no problem explaining… arguing from incredulity is not convincing.
    “They asked about specific calculations of the numbers”
    … that is another way of asking you to define categories.
    “I’m not going to continue this.”
    Your choice!

  238. Lazar Says:

    “evidence for ought to, but do not, sum to 100%.”
    should be “evidence for and against”

  239. Lazar Says:

    [Argh!... blog ate my previous attempt... Keith if it shows up please delete the previous version]
    With reference to JC’s “hypothesis”…
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”

    Hypothesis testing estimates the probability of a hypothesis given the observed data, or vice versa, the probability of the observed data given the hypothesis. Including a reference to the data in the hypothesis itself seems a tad bizarre.
    E.g., standard approach…
    H1: the die is not fair
    H0: the die is fair
    Hypothesis test: what is the probability of H0 (or H1) given the observed sequence [4,4,6,3,5,6,6]?
    JC’s version…
    H1: the data show that the die is not fair
    H0: the data do not show that the die is not fair
    Hypothesis test: erm… What is the probability that the data do not show that the die is not fair given the observed data? Well… the observed data either do or do not show that the die is not fair… there is no random element here, hence no probability to be estimated.

  240. Lazar Says:

    Not that JC is doing a hypothesis test… but I’m wondering what the utility is in using (what appears to me) a non-standard and potentially problematic formulation of a hypothesis.
    ?

  241. Tom Fuller Says:

    You gotta read Tobis’ latest at only in it for the glory…

  242. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #241 Tom Fuller, I don’t think I can put into words what I thought as I read that.  I agree everyone should read it, but I don’t know if it is something anyone should discuss here.  However, there is one part of I find worth pointing out.  Michael Tobis said:
     
    It is not communication to use the same device to mean different things at different times.
     
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I commonly use the same device to mean different things at different times.  I couldn’t begin to count how many formulas I used to represent different things throughout my school career.  And pie charts?  I’ve probably made a hundred of those, all meaning different things.  And how many times have people used Venn diagrams?
     
    This criticism is insane.

  243. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #237, Lazar, you are becoming less and less lucid.  You accuse me of reverting to a different description of the white area, when both descriptions I gave are consistent.  You are making an issue of me using “systematic uncertainty” and “inconclusive” to describe the same thing.  Well guess what?  Systematic uncertainty is inconclusive.  There is no reversion going on here.
     
    As for the rest of your post, it is nonsense.  The entirety of your argument can be summed up with the expression, “Evidence not supporting the conclusion is evidence against the conclusion.”  This is absurd.  Obviously evidence can fail to support a conclusion without contradicting the conclusion.
     
    Your position would hold flipping a coin twice and getting heads both times would be evidence against the fairness of the coin.

  244. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #239, #240, Lazar, you are making no sense.  Talking about Curry’s “version” of a hypothesis test while admitting her IFA isn’t about hypothesis testing makes no sense at all.
     
    Talking about probability when IFA is about proportions also makes no sense.

  245. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,

    “You are making an issue of me using “systematic uncertainty” and “inconclusive” to describe the same thing.”
    They are not even close to being the same thing. “Inconclusive” is a conclusion, “systematic uncertainty” is a process.
    “The entirety of your argument can be summed up with the expression, “Evidence not supporting the conclusion is evidence against the conclusion.”  This is absurd.”

    That is the inevitable consequence of the way the hypothesis H1 has been formulated. You can either argue against that, or not, but whether you consider it absurd or not is not my problem. You do not however get to argue against it by formulating an alternative hypothesis which is not the one under discussion…

    “Your position would hold flipping a coin twice and getting heads both times would be evidence against the fairness of the coin.”

    … I will however comment, with the caveat this has nothing to do with the previous ITA discussion…
    You can view two flips of a coin in two ways…

    Given the two hypotheses (coin fair vs. coin not fair) are MECE (mutually exlusive and completely exhaustive)…

    1) Two coin flips count as evidence i.e. data. In which case they are evidence regardless of whether they are for or against the fairness of the coin. But they *must* be one or the other (because MECE). Otherwise they are not “evidence”. In this case they would be evidence *against* fairness, but too weak to draw any strong statistical conclusions.

    2) Two flips are too weak to discriminate between the two hypotheses, therefore they are *not* evidence.
    What you cannot have is…

    3) Two flips are too weak to discriminate between the two MECE hypotheses but they count as evidence.

    Something which tells us nothing about which hypothesis is more likely is not evidence.

  246. Hank Roberts Says:

    Dr. Curry, if you would look through the _interpretations_ being put on your statements and give them a yea or nay, that could help.

    For example this — which claims to explain what you mean:

    > When Curry says 70% …. She is saying that
    > data is not perfect. As in, you can only
    > trust its results 70% of the way. Errors,
    > biases and inaccuracies mean the data itself
    > is questionable, and Curry lists the extent
    > of that at 30%.

    Can you understand that?
    Can you agree it means something?
    If you find it meaningful, does it express what you’re saying correctly?

    It’s not your opponents that puzzle me, it’s the people who claim to understand what you’re saying and promote interpretations.

    (”Opposition is true friendship” — Blake).

  247. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “Talking about Curry’s “version” of a hypothesis test while admitting her IFA isn’t about hypothesis testing makes no sense at all.”
     
    … the point was to illustrate that the hypothesis had been formulated in a non-standard way. This *may* or may not be problematic for the IFA. I’m not sure. It’s a discussion point.

  248. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,

    Where I wrote…

    “That is the inevitable consequence of the way the hypothesis H1 has been formulated”
    To be clear, I’m referring Curry’s H1,
    “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”

  249. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #245, Lazar, You say, “Something which tells us nothing about which hypothesis is more likely is not evidence.”
     
    Do a search with Google Scholar for the phrase “inconclusive evidence.”  You will find it is used quite frequently.  Also look up the definitions for “describe” and “being.”  You will find they are quite different, meaning describing something with two phrases does not imply the two phrases are the same.  This means your portrayal is garbage.
     
    And if you still want to play with semantics, find someone else to talk to.  I’ve explained this issue to you more than enough.

  250. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #246, Hank Roberts, if you look at Judith Curry’s post #233, you will see she has already decided to make a post on her flag analysis.  I imagine any concerns you have would be addressed in it.
     
    Though I do have to ask, what about me or my posts puzzle you?

  251. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
    “#245, Lazar, You say, “Something which tells us nothing about which hypothesis is more likely is not evidence.”

    Do a search with Google Scholar for the phrase “inconclusive evidence.”
    Inconclusive means “not conclusive”… that is not the same as “tells us nothing”. Evidence that gives weak support for a hypothesis is “inconclusive”… but it doesn’t “tell us nothing”.
    “This means your portrayal is garbage.

    And if you still want to play with semantics”
    I’ve spent a good deal of effort in a good faith attempt trying to delve deep into the logic behind JC’s IFA and your interpretations and seriously bash this thing out. You are increasingly making unspecific, shallow or rash criticisms and refusing to engage.
    “find someone else to talk to.”
    I think I’ll have to.

  252. Lazar Says:

    To be clear… “Do a search with Google Scholar for the phrase “inconclusive evidence.”” was Brandon’s stt, should’ve been italicized.

  253. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    I hate myself for doing this, but I have to.  In #251, Lazar you say:
     
    Inconclusive means “not conclusive”… that is not the same as “tells us nothing”. Evidence that gives weak support for a hypothesis is “inconclusive”… but it doesn’t “tell us nothing”.
     
    I have never said the white area was evidence which “tells us nothing.”  The only person talking about that concept is you Lazar.  Everyone else has been talking about evidence which says something, but we can’t be sure what.  That’s what inconclusive means.  You have criticized a position only you have raised, but pointed the criticism at me.  I’m going to try one last time.
     
    Green represents evidence for a claim.  Red represents evidence against a claim.  White represents evidence which is inconclusive.  I’ve tried to say this in half a dozen ways to make it clear, but really, it is that simple.

  254. PDA Says:

    Brandon, you and only you can decide whether you want to hang into a discussion, obviously. As an observer, though, I want to say that my perception isn’t that you are dumb or that Lazar is being purposely obtuse, but rather that you do not share some basic premises, and this will more or less ensure that you keep talking past each other. I could be wrong, and you may not be interested even if I am not, but I suspect that there could be an interesting exchange of ideas to be had if it can be straightened out.

    Assessment of evidence for or against a proposition is not so simple as counting the number of heads or tails. Taking a number of different observations, model ensemble runs, expert judgments or whatever and merely summing the number of confirming, contradicting and inconclusive outcomes would tell us nothing about the state of the science.  There are meaningful distinctions to be drawn between different pieces of evidence: should a model run be weighted exactly the same as a physical observation? Should all observations be weighted equally?

    I have read you wrong before, so I hesitate to try and characterize your mood or reaction. However, the use of terms like “insane,” “less lucid,” “absurd” and “play with semantics” give the clear impression that you think there’s bad faith here. I suggest you consider the premises you’re arguing from: not that they’re invalid, but that they are different from Lazar’s. See if his points are legitimate based on a different frame, and then consider whether you want to investigate that frame.

  255. Judith Curry Says:

    Hank, I am doing a thread on this issue at Climate Etc., expect to post Tues nite.

  256. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger

    “I have never said the white area was evidence which “tells us nothing.””
    I never said you did… the point was made in response to this comment here.

    “Everyone else has been talking about evidence which says something, but we can’t be sure what. [...] I’m going to try one last time.

    Green represents evidence for a claim.  Red represents evidence against a claim.  White represents evidence which is inconclusive.”

    I think this is progress… if I understand correctly you mean…

    Green represents evidence which strongly supports H1

    Red represents evidence which strongly rejects H1 (supports H0 where H0 = ‘H1 is false’)

    White represents evidence which only weakly supports one or the other.

    *But* you still run into the problem discussed here, where given the way that H1 has been specified, the white area is redundant and the % have been incorrectly allocated…

    H1: “Historical surface temperature observations over the 20th century show a clear signal of increasing surface temperatures.”

    Note this is a hypothesis *about what the evidence show* (see my quibble here).

    Evidence which shows a clear signal of increasing surface temperature, supports H!, goes into the green box.

    Evidence which does not show a clear signal of increasing surface temperature is

    against H1… because H1 is that evidence shows a clear signal. Therefore all other evidence goes into the red box. There is no “inconclusive” evidence. Evidence either shows a clear signal, or it doesn’t.

    Green: 70%
    Red: 30%
    White: 0%

    To quote the linked comment…
    “The statement ‘It is inconclusive whether this evidence shows a clear signal’ equals

    ‘this evidence does not show a clear signal’. Capisce?”

  257. Lazar Says:

    I’m increasingly convinced… whether one treats the hypothesis as about the data or about the underlying phenomenon, whether one treats the boxes as evidence or probabilities, however much one stretches the meanings… there is no way to incorporate the white uncertainty box in a hypothesis testing scenario.

  258. Lazar Says:

    “a hypothesis testing scenario”… not saying a hypothesis is being tested… just that the problem is treated as a true/false statement… rather than creating a confidence interval

  259. Lazar Says:

    … and dropping “clear” from the hypothesis doesn’t help :-)

  260. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #254, PDA, you say, “Assessment of evidence for or against a proposition is not so simple as counting the number of heads or tails. Taking a number of different observations, model ensemble runs, expert judgments or whatever and merely summing the number of confirming, contradicting and inconclusive outcomes would tell us nothing about the state of the science.  There are meaningful distinctions to be drawn between different pieces of evidence: should a model run be weighted exactly the same as a physical observation? Should all observations be weighted equally?”
     
    I agree completely.  I just don’t see why it would be relevant to *this* discussion.  We are talking about whether or not Judith Curry’s Italian Flag analysis makes sense.  Whether or not it makes sense does not hinge on how difficult it is to actually calculate numbers for it.  Talking about whether or not 70% is accurate is quite different than talking about whether or not some number could make sense.
     
    I have read you wrong before, so I hesitate to try and characterize your mood or reaction. However, the use of terms like “insane,” “less lucid,” “absurd” and “play with semantics” give the clear impression that you think there’s bad faith here. I suggest you consider the premises you’re arguing from: not that they’re invalid, but that they are different from Lazar’s. See if his points are legitimate based on a different frame, and then consider whether you want to investigate that frame.
     
    I am not assuming bad faith at all.  I would be more inclined to assume poor communication or incompetence than dishonesty, if I was going to assume anything.  However, I am not willing to assume anything.  I reserve descriptions like “absurd” and “less lucid” for ideas and text, and only for what is  clearly absurd, or whatever.
     
    As for “playing with semantics,” Lazar has spent a fairly large amount of text on issues of semantics.  For example, he raised the point of “inconclusive” and “systematic uncertainty” not being the same thing, despite me not having said they were the same thing (which caused me to say he was being less lucid).  When I pointed out his faulty conflation, he didn’t even bother to admit he was wrong.  He just dropped the point.
     
    This doesn’t mean everything he says is a matter of semantics, or that he does this intentionally.  It just means the way he posts makes it a pain to respond to him.  While it may be possible to have a meaningful exchange with him, the way he posts makes trying to have it extremely unpleasant.
     
    Incidentally, I never used “insane” in a response to Lazar.  I described a comment by Michael Tobis as insane, and I think it was perfectly fitting.

  261. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “he raised the point of “inconclusive” and “systematic uncertainty” not being the same thing, despite me not having said they were the same thing”
     
    Here’s what you said…
     
    “You accuse me of reverting to a different description of the white area, when both descriptions I gave are consistent.  You are making an issue of me using “systematic uncertainty” and “inconclusive” to describe the same thing.  Well guess what?  Systematic uncertainty is inconclusive.  There is no reversion going on here.”
     
    You claimed “There is no reversion going on here.” in response to “You accuse me of reverting to a different description of the white area”… I read this as implying that you think the “descriptions” are not “different”… i.e. they “describe the same thing”.

  262. Lazar Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger,
     
    “Lazar has spent a fairly large amount of text on issues of semantics.”
     
    Since the JC’s IFA is descriptive and does not contain quantitative numerical analysis nor clearly defined procedures, this focus was somewhat inevitable.
    Probing of meaning, especially where it is being presented as a radical (untested) innovation, is a good thing.

  263. Michael Tobis Says:

    Shollenberger’s “oh fiddle-dee-dee I use the same words in different circumstances to mean different things” misses the distinction between formal argumentation and high school debate clubs. I don’t use the words “Bayes Theorem” or “Stefann-Boltzmann constant” or the like to mean different things in different circumstances.
     
    The accusation of “hairsplitting” does nothing else but support my original argument that nothing rigorous was proposed.
     
    If something rigorous were proposed, a useful mathematics would attach to it and we would actually be talking about a proposed formal approach to decision making under uncertainty.
     
    Rather than using such a handwavy defense, Curry looks to be trying to catch hold of a flotation device made of  Bayes’ theorem via someone going by the name Nullius in Verba. I am not convinced that this analysis overcomes all the difficulties, but I will refrain from discussing it until we hear from Dr. Curry.
     
    Meanwhile it is offered to Mr Shollenberger as an example of having at least something of the flavor of a response that might be considered satisfactory to someone who thinks that “reasoning under uncertainty” is necessarily a statistical question.
     
    Nullius proposes that given a hypothesis H and a set of observations O, that the three colors correspond to the four areas on the Venn diagram of the two events H and O. I think NiV makes a case for the set H and not O to be empty (after all, O is stipulated true) while the set not H and not O is non-empty and associated with the white area on the flag because the boundary of O and not-O is poorly specified within not-H.
     
    Does this constitute a useful framework for probabilistic thinking? A muddle? A smokescreen? I think like everyone else so far I will keep my opinions on it to myself until we see what Dr. Curry says and how it relates to NiV’s proposal. It will be interesting to see how much of this definition Curry adopts, and which if any of her prior statements she amends.
     
    I will say this much. I think if Curry ends up chasing this particular rainbow, we have many more hairs to split. (Too many metaphors, sorry…) Anyway, to call this “semantics” pretty much destroys the whole prospect of decision making under uncertainty.
     
    It’s one thing to call the consensus uncertain, and another to call it certainly wrong.
     

  264. Tom Fuller Says:

    Tobis says, “I think like everyone else so far I will keep my opinions on it to myself until we see what Dr. Curry says.”

    Well, no, unlike everyone else (except your Tobis toadies), you have not kept your opinions to yourself. You have said “We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with? That’s the only question any of this burbling raises.”

    That is not keeping your opinion to yourself.

    You have said, “Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing.”

    That is not keeping your opinion to yourself.

    But now you want to reserve your opinion?

    Would have been nice if you had reserved your slime.

  265. Chris S. Says:

    I see Tom is still adding plenty of heat to the discussion, with little if any light. I still find it amazing that someone who published a book of stolen private correspondence taken out of context can sit so high on his moral horse.

    “Would have been nice if you had reserved your slime”
    Yeah, you & Mosher too.
     
    I also see that no-one visited James Annan (an actual real-life Bayesian) to discuss his reservations with Dr. Curry’s IFA. That I’m not at all surprised about.

  266. Tom Fuller Says:

    Ooh, yeah, Chris.  I’m adding heat-how dare I quote Tobis? How incendiary can that be?
     
    As for publishing the emails, I gave up on the scoop of the year by not publishing them first-I had them way before the rest of the media. But I didn’t feel right about it.
     
    Until Real Climate started quoting them and referring to specific ones by number and telling readers to go look at them-then I didn’t feel I needed to hold back any more.

  267. Tom Fuller Says:

    Come to think of it, Chris, that’s what we did to the boys at UEA-we didn’t slime them. We quoted them-they did it all to themselves…

  268. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,
    Dude… you’ve posted what, thirty comments in a row about Michael Tobis?… step back for a moment… seriously… I worry… this is unhealthy.

  269. AMac Says:

    At this point, ISTM that positions have hardened.

    Are there any readers left to convince?

    To me, the later part of this thread demonstrates in a number of ways that “making things personal” is a really bad strategy for making a compelling argument.

    Various commenters have painted themselves into various corners.  To the extent there are efforts at un-painting, that’s useful — though IMO it’s preferable not to have done the painting in the first place.

    Thanks to Lazar and Brandon Shollenberger for staying so focused on the Italian Flag Analogy question, despite temptations.
    PS — Chris you seem to be making assumptions about readers (not) clicking over to James Annan’s blog.

  270. Chris S. Says:

    AMac - you are right, I should have been clearer. I’m sure plenty have visited but I am not surprised that none of the protagonists in support of the IFA have commented in its defence over there.

    Tom - “I didn’t feel right about it. I needed to…slime them.”

    Selective quoting out of context, such a fantastic tool. Though I’m aware that pointing out hypocrisy is severely OT so I won’t any more.

  271. Keith Kloor Says:

    James Annan has a second related post, stating:

    “The ‘Italian Flag’ analysis, at least as implemented by Judith Curry, is incoherent nonsense”

    He goes beyond this but you get the point. I’m assuming that Judith in her own follow-up post will address Annan’s echoing of Michael Tobis.

  272. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #270, Chris S., why would anyone comment “in defense” over there?  As best I can tell, all James Annan has done is vaguely echo Michael Tobis’s claims without any real explanation or discussion.  When a post can be roughly summarized as, “I agree with him,” what is there to say about it?

  273. Keith Kloor Says:

    Brandon (272):
    I disagree. No reason why you can’t go over there and challenge Annan. It would have been nice if he or Stoat had waded in here or at PDA’s, but clearly they can’t be bothered.
     

  274. AMac Says:

    Keith #273, Moderation policies and the overall tone of a commenting ‘community’ affect where I am willing to make the effort to post.  I assume that is true for many others, as well.

  275. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    I agree with Brandon and AMac. The discussion has been had here and at Curry’s. At Annan’s there’s just vitriol, and there’s some kind of bizarre dying-duck thing going on at Tobis’s. They’re as well left to play with themselves.

  276. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Err.. by themselves, I mean. ;)

  277. Bart Verheggen Says:

    I agree with some of Judith’s points (e.g. her critique of the circling the wagons strategy), and disagree with others (e.g. her equal likelihood for anthropogenic vs natural factors driving current and future centennial time scale climate change).

    But when she sais things like “religious adherence to consensus dogma”, it is getting very hard for me to take her seriously. Frankly, I find it offensive and/or stupid to see comparisons of the scientific process to dogmatic religion. I’ve disapproved comments that make such accusations at my blog, even though I am quite open to have dissenting opinions aired in my comment threads.

    Judith seems to become a victim of the polarization herself. The prime reason for the flack she is getting is that she makes many baseless and offensive accusations at the address of climate science and its practitioners. The flack in turn make her put her heels into the sand and become even more strident in her accusations (as I’ve seen happening over the past few months). And the circle is round.

  278. Keith Kloor Says:

    AMac (274):

    Not sure what you mean, but the thing about this site is that it draws folks from across the spectrum. And various experts and scientists, too. For example, I’m delighted that Bart and Michael Tobis take the time to engage here, as I am when Gavin Schmidt occasionally stops by. (Jonathan Gilligan from Vanderbilt always seems say something trenchant with his comments.) And so on.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Annan and Connolley would fit in fine here, if they chose to participate. That they prefer to stay close to home is unfortunate. Then again, they need not come here-they can always go right to Judith’s site.

    Personally, I think we need to give each other a little more slack in commenting threads, as they are informal by nature. Also, people are busy and sometimes fire off comments in a rush. Others should probably show more self-moderation (hint, Thomas Fuller).

  279. Lazar Says:

    Michael,
     
    just sent you an email.

  280. Keith Kloor Says:

    Bart (277):

    I too believe that was unfortunate and unnecessary phrasing (”religious adherence to consensus dogma…”) and I wonder if that was more heat of the moment blogging.

    In that vein, there is a part of me that also wonders if Judith is overreacting to some of the acidic criticism, causing her to respond in kind. It’s like all these boomerangs flying around.

  281. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    Bart, from where I sit it seems quite evident that devoted adherence to the consensus narrative is far more religious than scientific. By this I mean that there is a willingness among consensus scientists to disregard uncertainties which are inherent in climate change attribution in deference to dogmatic assertions made in an inappropriately certain fashion.
     
    The attribution of temperature variation in the late 20th century to anthropogenic CO2 is not rock solid, and there is a strong case for arguing that natural variability may play a significant part in that temperature variation. However, “consensus” is the major force in neutralising the argument for natural variability, not science, but collective opinion. This shifts the presentation of the weight of knowledge from scientific knowledge to religious (believed, not evidence observed) or, in religious terms, Gnosticism.
     
    Note that I am not criticising scientists for holding the belief that the late 20th century temperature variation is AGW, I am merely pointing to the importance that it is recognised for being what it is - gnostic belief rather than scientific, evidence-based belief. My criticism is, however, that scientists are not acknowledging that it is the consensus opinion (belief) that is driving the assertion, rather than strong scientific evidence. The appropriate term for what underpins the consensus - gnostic belief in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence - is therefore “doctrine”, or “dogma”. Adherence to the doctrine is religious.
     
    The terms “religion”, “religious”, “doctrine”, “dogmatic” etc are unattractive to climate scientists because these terms imply that, unlike other sciences, climate science depends heavily on presumptions and beliefs - unverified, unfalsifiable climate model projections; belief, in the absence of knowledge or understanding of cloud formation and feedback, and so on - but from the perspective of an outsider, looking in on climate science, these terms fit well.
     
    I don’t intend to offer an apology for calling climate science what it is when the evidence to indicate that its assertions are gnostic dogma are so much in evidence. Climate science has a lot of work to do to shake these wholly appropriate religious labels.

  282. Simon Hopkinson Says:

    On the other hand, Keith, it might just be a case of calling a spade a spade.

  283. Lazar Says:

    Simon Hopkinson,
     
    “there is a willingness among consensus scientists to disregard uncertainties which are inherent in climate change attribution”
     
    I’ve seen JC hand waving about the PDO and ‘natural variability’, but I have yet to see any evidence of a significant (large) uncertainty (wrt attribution) being ignored. I also don’t know how JC intends to prove ’scientists did not consider [X]‘ in formulating their subjective probabilities expressed in the AR4… that might be an argument for a more formal (cite — willard) and explicit approach tho.

  284. PDA Says:

    My criticism is, however, that scientists are not acknowledging that it is the consensus opinion (belief) that is driving the assertion, rather than strong scientific evidence. The appropriate term for what underpins the consensus – gnostic belief in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence – is therefore “doctrine”, or “dogma”.
     
    Simon, this is an opinion, not a rigorous critique. If you - or Judith Curry - can show that uncertainties are being systematically underrepresented, do so in a quantitative fashion. If Dr. Curry can improve the communication of uncertainty, she’ll be doing a real service to science.
    Opinions about motive or mindset (exempli gratiae “Tobis is trying to slime Curry,” “climate scientists are dogmatists,” “Tom Fuller is a doo-doo head”) are by their nature unprovable - pending the invention of a reliable mind-reading machine - and do nothing to advance any sort of debate.

  285. grypo Says:

    Just to update everyone on Judith and the IPCC modelling conversation (see post #87).  I asked James about it and he replied:
    James Annan said…
    Hi gryposaurus,

    It seems to me that you are entirely right in your exchanges there.

    Curry’s argument, such as it is, is based on yet another fundamental misunderstanding. The studies she refers to (AR4 9.2.1.2) are following an entirely separate strand of research from the production of the 20th century simulations using GCMs. Some of the work *uses* the *outputs* of the GCM simulations, but the GCM simulations absolutely were not tuned using these inverse methods. I find myself in increasing agreement with Eli, and it looks like a clear case of Dunning-Kruger. Her discussion is totally jejune (until she does her usual trick of running away).
    1/11/10 2:18 PM

  286. Tom Fuller Says:

    I personally find it hilarious that my comments are criticized for tone and/or content.
     
    What Tobis wrote about Curry was:
    a) worse-there is nothing I’ve written here that compares to what he wrote. He tries to mask his slime with a funereal, lugubrious tone. He fails.  I cannot believe he gets a pass from you, Keith.
     
    b) intended to damage Curry. Tobis has posted on the eternal medium an incoherent diatribe that included lots of very clear insults. It is insulting ad hominem hiding behind the skirts, first of the confused argument he makes and then later behind James Annan. Long after this blows over and everybody goes back to their respective corners, some congressional intern or new reporter will be googling Curry and find this. That is the end goal of Tobis and it is as vicious as anything Joe Romm ever did.
     
    c) completely political. As his own buddies have urged, Tobis could have contacted Curry for clarification. He could have continued the discussion he participated in at Curry’s blog. He could have posted on the content and attempted to engage her and others to find out a bit more.
     
    Keith (and others as needed) I’ve spent a year and a half blogging every day on energy efficiency, climate change and the people and politics associated with the subjects.  I’ve written over 500 articles on examiner, plus guest posts at WUWT.  Some of those posts took as much as 20 hours of research to do.
     
    None of it means squat in an environment where Tobis, Gavin, Romm, Lambert and Rabett can make the most vile accusations as long as they are couched in a certain style and language. Those who call them on it are the ones who are labeled, especially if we write honestly about what we feel.
     
    We see the effects already, with people like grypo using the stupid pet tricks of the team (Dunning Kruger, jejeune, running away-why is having a life considered running away).
     
    Tobis has established a meta-narrative. You are feeding into it. This is not a case of the ref only seeing the second foul in a game of hoops. Ask Andy Revking about the long-term corrosiveness of consistent whispers and wrong accusations.
     
    It is ridiculous that this is a discussion about the trivia of dissecting a qualitative three box frame or about me attacking Tobis. What Tobis did is evil, albeit banal evil, and the discussion should be about him. Despite Lazar’s semantic confusion and Brandon’s patient explanations, we are not going to achieve a certain definition of systems for classifying (not quantifying) uncertainty.
     
    But we could make it clear that professional hit jobs will be resisted. You’ve had your share of it, so have I. It has had effects. I am unwilling to see that continue.
     
    We see it in the Climategate emails, where Pielke Sr. is marginalized by just the sort of discourse that Tobis uses on Curry. It has had an effect on the academic discussion of policy options to deal with climate change. It has had an effect on the literature that is published and the literature considered for inclusion and reference to IPCC publications.
     
    You can kick me off the thread or off the blog, but I would say that the issue here is defamation for political effect and whether or not we have the balls to stand up to those who practice it. The Italian flag is a convenient cover for Tobis to say what he has been hinting at for months and finally found as a cover for what his slime job.

  287. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Tom,
     
    Unless you have something useful to say please be quiet.  We get that you don’t like Tobis and think that he is being mean. Rather than repeating that sentiment over and over, why not address the substance of the disagreement? For example, as a non-expert, what is your reaction of one expert’s take (Annan) on Judy’s italian flag? You know, the thing that got MT worked up in the first place.
     
    Does it matter to you that Annan is agreeing with MT? Or is your only concern how nice people are to others on blogs?

  288. Øystein Says:

    Tom,

    Stop commenting. Re-read every one of your comments regarding these threads. If you, after having done that, still don’t get why you get asked to calm down.. read further

    It’s because you haven’t produced a single post containing substance. Seriously, you have some 30+ posts, and nowhere do you adress anything of substance.

  289. PDA Says:

    As I’ve said before, Tom, your assertions would have much more weight if you backed them up with substance that shows Tobis and Annan’s critiques are invalid. Instead, you’ve spammed this thread and the one at my blog with mere insult devoid of substance.

    From the evidence presented so far, my tricolore is 5% valid critique, 5% undecided, 90% you’re mad at Tobis because he was mean to you on his blog.

  290. Tom Fuller Says:

    Marlowe, if I didn’t make myself clear at 286, then there is no hope.
     
    What you say makes very little sense to me. This isn’t about what I think or feel about Tobis. It is about what Tobis did.
     
    My disagreement is not about the Italian flag. I consider that to be a convenient excuse for Tobis’ attack, which has parallels in Tobis’ prior behaviour, that of his blogmates, and for that matter in how the CRU crew dealt with dissent over the years.
     
    I don’t give a flying f*** about the Italian flag. This issue to me is all about premeditated political attempts to deligitimize Judith Curry that were settled upon long before the Italian flag made its appearance on the scene.

  291. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, I don’t need to. Brandon did it and Lazar immediately jumped all over him and tried to bog him down in obfuscatory disputations about semantics.
     
    This isn’t about nice. I’m not nice. This isn’t about mean. As you’ve all seen, I can be mean myself. This is about attempts to control the discourse going forward.
     
    This is not about the Italian flag and I refuse to pretend it is.

  292. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,
     
    “Lazar’s semantic confusion”
     
    … showing how I am allegedly ‘confused’ would be somewhat more convincing.

  293. Tom Fuller Says:

    Oystein, as I’ve said, we disagree about what the substance is.
     
    In one year, no-one will remember the uses of the Italian flag. In one year, everyone will either remember or be reminded by Google that Judith Curry has been characterized as stupid and incompetent.
     
    That is the substance.

  294. Tom Fuller Says:

    Lazar, it’s your attempts to confuse Brandon that I’m referring to.

  295. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,
     
    “tried to bog him down” “obfuscatory”
     
    … no you still can’t read my mind.

  296. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,

    “attempts to confuse”
     
    … no you still can’t read my mind
     
    “that I’m referring to”
     
    … clear as mud

  297. PDA Says:

    This is not about the Italian flag and I refuse to pretend it is.

    Noted, repeatedly. If you think that continuing to jump up and down and say “Michael Tobis is a bad bad man” is going to win over anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, good luck with that. I rate likelihood 100% red, zero white, zero green.
    Seriously, you have made your point. No one here is unclear in the slightest on what your position is. You’re not going to affect the discourse in any way, shape or form by continuing to fulminate.

  298. Tom Fuller Says:

    Lazar, as Tobis writes on Only in it for the Gold, ”

    Therefore, for a change Tom Fuller is right. My motivation is indeed political. I wish to defend science from an injection of nonsense from the political level. Lysenkoism never works out very well. ”

    This has nothing to do with an Italian flag. Not for Tobis. Not for me.

  299. Tom Fuller Says:

    PDA, sorry to disturb you. Feel free to pass over my comments unread.

  300. Keith Kloor Says:

    Tom, the irony of what you’re saying now is that your whole tone in most of the Tobis-related comments undermines your larger point.

    Try using less inflammatory language is really what you’re hearing from folks, here. That’s all. Myself included. That doesn’t mean I want you off the thread or to stop commenting (you tend to personalize things, quickly) altogether. Just tone it down.  When you’re commenting on energy-related issues, I think you have lots of useful things to say. But people are going to tune you out if you can’t tone down the personal insults.

    Remember the old adage, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  301. PDA Says:

    You misunderstand me. I’m just short of a concern troll in saying that you’re destroying any credibility you might have once had as a critic of Tobis.

    Walter Sobchak: Oh please, dear? For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint. I’m finishin my coffee… enjoying my coffee…

  302. Lazar Says:

    Tom Fuller,
     
    “This has nothing to do with an Italian flag. Not for Tobis. Not for me.”
     
    … the comment quoted claims IFA=nonsense … mt described his motivation as predicated on the truth that equality
    … and you still can’t read my mind.

  303. grypo Says:

    Tom,
    — We see the effects already, with people like grypo using the stupid pet tricks of the team (Dunning Kruger, jejeune, running away–why is having a life considered running away).—
    Go read that post again -#285.  You are confused.  It is not my assessment.  Please clear that up.

  304. Tom Fuller Says:

    Keith, the most inflammatory language in any of my comments, by a factor of about ten, is between quotes and comes from Tobis.
     
    I came back to this thread from PDA because he wanted to keep his discussion focused on the Italian flag. I thought this would be the place for a larger context discussion.  Sorry to have disturbed. Wouldn’t change a word of what I’ve written.

  305. AMac Says:

    Tom Fuller,
    Whatever Michael Tobis or anyone else has said, we are still going to have to figure out how to think about uncertainty with respect to climate change (”we” meaning “the 21st-century world”, or “policymakers in democracies”).

    So the conversation is worth having.  Let’s give credit to people trying to have it.  Sure, any one person might have bad motives, be a sock puppet, etc.  But on Teh Intrawebs, ya just can’t know.  So meanwhile, let’s backtrack and assume good faith until proven otherwise.

    Personally, I still don’t care about the IFA.  Except 2nd order, as it says something about the clarity of thought of Judith Curry, and her ability to convey her ideas to a scientifically-literate lay audience.  And if she blows this, so what, an X point hit.  Everybody who’s commented here has probably said some off-key or silly things.  The IFA is a minor tempest, not the cage match of the century.

    James Annan has weighed in.  Bart Verhaggen opined earlier.  PDA, Lazar, willard, grypo, Brandon Shellenberger [sic], and others have contributed.  Judith Curry has read ‘em all, and said she’d post on the IFA once more, soon.  So we’ll see.
    Gavin Schmidt had a recent comment (at Curry’s?  I forget), where he alluded to how his adversaries don’t like his style.  He made his point simply by alluding  to Mean Girls.  That was funny!  Also, effective.

  306. Lazar Says:

    Tom,
     
    … “discussion” is not repeating the same point over and over… you can do better.

  307. Lewis Says:

    Keith,
     
    I think you could be a little more even handed. I read most of the comments on this thread last night and though it was fascinatingly entertaining ( yeah, rubber necking ), it was also disturbing, especially on Tobis’ part. Just to give an example of what I mean:
     
    After previously (of and on stage) accusing Brandon Shollenberger of being a ’sock puppet’ and then painfully retreating from that statement he said this:
     
    (I just realised you’ve strangely excised his comment? I can’t find it) Anyway he accused, in some sort of paranoid rant, Shollenberger of being on a vendetta, among other things, whilst Shollenberger was patiently explaining to Lazar the pretty obvious meaning of IFA: a thought experiment, a metaphor (even the percentages are metaphors - Note to Lazar et al - not everything needs to be quantified or have the potential to be quantified, to be rational, use your intelligence, for God sake!), a way of introducing and eliciting a discussion.
     
    Think of it this way: Judith Curry, at heart, is a teacher. Think of her in a lecture room, introducing a talk on uncertainties in climate science; she puts up a picture of the Italian flag, her audience immediately sees the incongruence and starts thinking “What’s the Italian flag got to do with uncertainty?” and she’s grabbed their attention. It’s a common teaching technique and isn’t essential to the substance and is not to be taken too seriously in it’s own right. It isn’t a new mathematical or logical theorem Judy is proposing, just a means of framing the beginning of a discussion.
     
    But then we have a weird, slightly crazy student stand up and say ‘That flag theorem doesn’t fit into my truth table!’ It’s idiotic, it’s adolescent and then for that same student to run around telling people this lecturer is stupid and doesn’t deserve her standing and respect  as a teacher, well, with Tom, I myself would get mad if my present equanimity didn’t precluded it.
    And then to say Brandon is a sock puppet and is on a vendetta against him, well, I really am worried for Michaels sanity sometimes. Paranoiac delusions approaching psychoses, might be one description.
     
    I’ve already made this to long but I’ll just end by saying that on other occasions Michael can be quite reasonable (you highlighted one of those visa vie me) so I hope that these bouts are merely sparsely episodic and temporary.
     
    Anyway, Keith, keep up the good work with this blog but please be fair!

  308. Tom Fuller Says:

    Lazar, I apologise to you for previous comments about you. I’m sorry. I don’t apologise for anything I’ve said about Tobis.
     
    AMac, I agree with you on the need for discussing uncertainty. So does Curry.  I would be happy to do so. But I’m more concerned with the hit job at this point.
     
    I think where I would start is with a discussion of uncertainty and the precautionary principle. I believe that setting the terms of the discussion is key-I think that coupling uncertainty with the precautionary principle as a given becomes a de facto paralyzing agent for serious discussion of policy options.
    I’ve said before and will repeat that the important issue to resolve is the size of the stakes-as businesses would characterize it, this is a VAR (value at risk) issue more than anything else.
     
    Although the consensus team occasionally will admit in a formalistic manner that the Earth and humanity are not threatened by anthropogenic climate change, they immediately revert to fantastical claims regarding sea level rise ad infinitum.
     
    The first question to answer is ‘realistically, what is the worst that can happen?’
     
    The answer to that gives us the necessary information about how far we have to reduce uncertainty before making decisions.

  309. PDA Says:

    Although the consensus team occasionally will admit in a formalistic manner that the Earth and humanity are not threatened by anthropogenic climate change, they immediately revert to fantastical claims regarding sea level rise ad infinitum.
     
    Strawman much?

  310. Tom Fuller Says:

    Which part, PDA?

  311. Lazar Says:

    Tom,
     
    Don’t worry about it… I wasn’t offended.

  312. Keith Kloor Says:

    Lewis,

    I’m honestly puzzled by what you say. I pretty much stayed out of the way in this flag discussion. I have no idea how I could have been more evenhanded? Did I say something that suggests I was unfairly favoring one side?

  313. Lazar Says:

    Lewis,
     
    “whilst Shollenberger was patiently explaining to Lazar the pretty obvious meaning of IFA: a thought experiment [...] she’s grabbed their attention. [...] a common teaching technique [...] isn’t essential to the substance [...] not to be taken too seriously”
     
    That is certainly not my impression of the way the IFA was introduced…
     
    “How should we interpret these differences in conclusions and confidence levels of the three different assessments [IPCC, CCSP, WMO]? [...] The challenge to making and interpreting assessments could be improved by using the Italian flag representation of three-valued logic”
     
    Using a simple model which produces misleading conceptualizations and/or conclusions is not a good teaching technique.

  314. Lewis Says:

    No, Keith, I just meant you hinted an admonishment towards Tom but seemed to treat Michael with a lighter touch. Perhaps, it was just my personal and mistaken impression, so no matter and I apologise if so? But you do remember the Tobis post I alluded to? Amongst others?
     
    I just felt there was a lot of piling on on Tom (remember I can’t help jumping to the defence of the party I think needs it?) for his, what Swift would call, ‘righteous ire’. I can see where he’s coming from. I think his anger his healthy, if overstated. I can also almost see where Michael’s coming from (remember his despair the other night?) but his behaviour, sometimes , it seems to me, is of a different order, paranoid, petulant and nasty.
     
    Anyway, sorry if I mischaracterised your moderation, Keith.

  315. Lazar Says:

    Sounds like we need a giggle and a beer… willard!

  316. Eli Rabett Says:

    Tom asks:
     
    “The first question to answer is ‘realistically, what is the worst that can happen?”
     
    On a serious level, that depends over what time period you are asking.  If you limit it to 100 years or so, yes, the damage, although serious is not catastrophic.  Thus the sea level strawmam, over 100 years 1-2 meters.  But ff you go out a few hundred to equilibrium, hey, tens of meters, maybe 1oo.  All drown,
    http://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/sealevel_vs_temp_paleo.png?w=450&h=261
    at least those who are left
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/06/death-doom-and-disaster-coming-soon-to.html
     
    And in the spirit of never wasting a good line,  Eli can never figure out whether Tom Fuller is playing the scarecrow, the cowardly lion or the tin woodsman but whatever it is a) there is always something lacking and b) you can bet that he will thrash around accusing others of his sins.

  317. Lewis Says:

    Let me put it this way, Keith.
    When I was reading last night (insomnia!), it reminded me of a family get together where the kids are running in and out and saying rude things to each other and sometimes to the adults (Shollenberger!). Of course, Tom did run in to tell on Toby (and his gang!) bullying big sis Judy (reminds me of a joke we used to say about my mother - at school, she boxed the girls and the boys!) but he was right. And then the spotty one himself darts in and out (under age drinking!) shouting that, though he was nasty, it’s because everyone’s against him etc etc. You get the picture (there were also the nicely behaved ones coming in to show their neatly written ‘new’ theories for Daddies approval!)
     
    Well, as you know, in every family and for every ‘parent’, even if unconsciously, there’s always a favourite. And that seemed to be my impression but I am almost definitely wrong. But that was all I was saying.
     
    Anyway, do you like the analogy?

  318. Tom Fuller Says:

    Lewis, that’s good-and I almost was going to write about who is going to stick their hands up first and all that. But the fact is that Curry is at risk, being attacked, and has something to lose here.
     
     

  319. Tom Fuller Says:

    As for the nutty professor climbing out of his wascally wabbit hole, if you really believe that temperatures are going to rise by 11 to 12 degrees C, you’ll have to explain why you are in such violent disagreement with the IPCC, Stephen Schneider, and almost everyone else who publishes on this issue.
     
    Otherwise, you are a prime example of what I wrote above.
     
    Really. Why do you believe temperatures will rise 11 degrees C?

  320. Lewis Says:

    Please, Lazar, your taking it too seriously - it’s a thought experiment, a way of illustrating uncertainty that is both attractive (I like the Italian flag!) and thought inducing (it got you going!) It isn’t a (none) peer reviewed paper in PNAS, it’s a blog exercise, hopefully conducive towards productive discussion. Ie, it is inclusive, non technical and open. That is the basis of free discussion and also good teaching.
     
    Remember why Judy is doing this. Not for the fame (or infamy!) but as a kind of outreach to all sides of the debate. I know some (with nasty minds - joke!) mutter darkly about her but, until I see the contrary, I take everyone by their words and their actions. It may be she is being niave, that, for want of enthusiasm or, even, want of skill, her project fails but until then, we should support the effort!
     
    And how? Via constructive criticism. I’ll tell you what, Lazar - Judith is going to do a IF redux probably on Friday. Why don’t you go over there - she would welcome you - and suggest a better metaphor for uncertainty? Remember it has to be articulate, non technical and open. Please try.
     
    For, I think, Lazar, you and PDA have been sincere in your efforts so far ( I initially came here via a roundabout route, finally jumping from PDAs temp blog (too hot!) to here). So, I am sure in the future such efforts are welcome. Lets get something done here.
     
    NB Many of what Tobis would like to think of as starry eyed Curryphiles (!) are actually, would they knew it, slowly being dragged or should I say honeyfied into the 21 centuary. They’re listening and learning and melting! Watch this space!

  321. Lewis Says:

    318 - I know, Tom, but after the blood is spilt and the noses staunched the madnesses of certain actors will be forgotten despite the ‘eternal internet’ (I paraphrase you!). I see good things coming from Judy’s exercise. The deeply frozen anti, anti-agwers are thawing and even the luke warmers like you and I are becoming a little less tepid. That is to say the science is being separated from the politics. For you see, the anti side is so flattered by Judith’s attention, they’re listening. Now if only Tobis and his crew could also be brought on side - what then? Hence, my invite to Lazar and, also, PDA. They could be the bridge?

  322. Lewis Says:

    By the way, Tom, I liked your characterization at .308: First, work out what is the most likely worst than can realistically happen with BAS and then work out what are the costs/benefits of various actions!

  323. Tom Fuller Says:

    I used to write stuff like ‘the policies we need to debate will be very much different if we are trying to prevent Waterworld than they would be if we were trying to prevent Bladerunner.’
     
    As for what you write at 321, I think an awful lot of people would be very surprised at the number of bloggers and suchlike who are considered skeptics but are actually lukewarmers.  Pity I can’t name names…

  324. Lazar Says:

    Lewis, you make some good points and I appreciate your outreach efforts. A better metaphor for uncertainty? I’m not sure that we need such a thing. The old methods of ‘understanding and communicating uncertainty’ work fine for me… confidence levels, confidence intervals, probability distributions. Like you I (always have) guessed JC’s intentions to be sincere… I feel she has a good heart. If some of the die hard skeptics are becoming a little less (perhaps that should be more) skeptical as a result of her efforts, of course that is a good thing.

  325. Lewis Says:

    Alls well that ends well!

  326. Tom Fuller Says:

    Oh, so you are an optimist! Do you think this is ended?

  327. Lewis Says:

    Tom, have you seen this:
     
    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html
     
    Have pity on the poor fellow (though I’m sure he’s sleeping it off!).

  328. Hilary Ostrov Says:

    [290] Tom Fuller:

    This issue to me is all about premeditated political attempts to deligitimize Judith Curry that were settled upon long before the Italian flag made its appearance on the scene.

    And:

    [300]Keith:

    Tom, the irony of what you’re saying now is that your whole tone in most of the Tobis-related comments undermines your larger point.
    Try using less inflammatory language is really what you’re hearing from folks, here. [...] But people are going to tune you out if you can’t tone down the personal insults.

    Keith, I can’t believe that you really typed that!  Mind you, perhaps you haven’t read all the comments in this thread (and off-thread).  But if you have, please colour me very disappointed that you have failed to observe the flames emanating from the keyboards of Tobis, PDA, Lazar et al.

    From where I’m sitting, as Simon suggested - although perhaps not in relation to this issue - Tom was simply calling a spade a spade. 

    Maybe I missed it, but on the matter of uncertainty as it pertains to AR4’s most frequently cited “claim”, I do find it curious that no one has attempted to publicly tar and feather Mike Hulme for pointing out that not only is the science not settled, but also the so-called “consensus” on detection and attribution is merely the “judgment” of a few dozen “experts”.

    In addition, the IAC  Review identified a number of issues pertaining to the expression of uncertainty in AR4’s WG1 report.  Again, perhaps I missed the discussion, but I don’t recall seeing our noble triumvirate publicly slinging mud at Shapiro et al either.

    If their pattern of interaction wasn’t so unconscionable and transparent, I would find the efforts of Tobis, PDA, Lazar et al somewhat laughable.  But it seems that they are incapable of moving away from the CRU crew’s playbook.

    Speaking of which, I found it rather interesting - and quite telling - that none of the triumvirate has responded to Bishop Hill’s observations [@37]

  329. Lewis Says:

    I like some of the comments from the trollards on that - you see this guy has made an incredible sacrifice  (like JC! No, not that JC, the other one!) of his ‘reputation’ but all in the good cause. So that’s OK then. And with that chorus who needs the JB any more. Unfortunately, when he wakes up, he’ll be back and angry again. I know, I’ve seen it before!

  330. AMac Says:

    Hilary Ostrov #328 -
    Triumvirate?  They are three independent agents.  I presume they agree on some things and disagree on others.  Your comment is a little discouraging, as PDA and Lazar have stayed focused on the issues in this contention-filled thread.

  331. PDA Says:

    I found it rather interesting – and quite telling – that Hilary Ostrov has not responded to Gavin’s observations [@20]. I found it rather interesting – and quite telling – that Hilary Ostrov has not responded to thingsbreak’s observations on the Climate Hawk’s thread. I found it rather interesting – and quite telling – that Hilary Ostrov has not responded to Volume I, Chapter XV of Gibbon’s 1788 quarto The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    Whee! You next…

  332. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    #273, Keith Kloor, what could I possibly say?  Should I go over to his blog and say, “You’re wrong!”?  It isn’t as though he actually said anything one could respond to.  The most I can think to say would be, “You haven’t done anything to show she is wrong,” and that’s just stating the obvious.  If he had any intention of posting an actual critique of what Judith Curry said, he would have done so.
     
    I don’t see any value in chasing down every blogger who just says, “I agree with Michael Tobis.”

  333. Lewis Says:

    331. I’m just interested PDA, because I meet so few that have, have you read the whole of The  Decline And Fall - if I remember Ch.XV was Gibbons brilliant throwing of rational cold water over our Christian antecedents? If you have, I’d like to shake your hand. That, David Humes History of England (esp. on James 1st, the saintly Charles Ist and that nasty Cromwell) and The City in History by Lewis Mumford where my education in historicus. I wish I’d never read them so I could read them again anew!

  334. Hilary Ostrov Says:

    AMac #330, Sorry, but I call ‘em as I see ‘em ;-)

    PDA’s most recent diversionary non sequiturs (#331)  were a rather blatant attempt to draw attention away from the fact that if their beef is that Dr. Curry had the temerity to raise the the issue of the “uncertainty monster” and/or the fallibility of the IPCC , then surely Hulme and Shapiro et al are equally deserving of criticism.  And considering the topic of this thread, it is worth noting that Bishop Hill’s astute observations:

    “They have clearly f[ou]nd it very difficult to rebut the specific points made in the book. This has left them only two options: making stuff up – hence Tamino’s exercise in quoting out of context – or attacking the messenger.”
    remain unchallenged.

    As for “triumvirate”, that was probably a poor choice of words on my part; although my understanding is that it does not preclude any “independence”  of thought or action.

    However, IMHO, this doesn’t lessen the fact that anyone with an ounce of common sense and a modicum of reading comprehension skills - who’s actually read the Doubt->Italian Flag Thread - should have no difficulty whatsoever in recognizing that this was merely a framework for discussion. 

    I very much admire Brandon’s patience and perseverance in ploughing through Lazar’s chopped-up context-free chatter, here.   

    But I’m still disappointed in Keith.  In fact, after re-reading Lemonick’s piece, I’m even more disappointed that he even thought the “storylines” worth discussing - let alone that he’s chosen to allow the Curry-denigrators such a free-hand in this thread, while castigating Tom Fuller, who has merely called a spade a spade.

  335. Lazar Says:

    Hilary Ostrov,
     
    “merely a framework”
     
    … the framework doesn’t work… that is my issue
     
    “if their beef is that Dr. Curry had the temerity to raise the the issue of the “uncertainty monster””
     
    … your premise is wrong…

  336. PDA Says:

    PDA’s most recent diversionary non sequiturs (#331)  were a rather blatant attempt to draw attention away
     
    Nope, just calling your comment out as the lame tu quoque that it was.
    This thread is dead. It’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

  337. Steve Bloom Says:

    Ah, PDA, the Gibbon reference reminds me of the Prince Regent’s comment upon being presented with the book:

    “Another damned fat book, eh Mr. Gibbon?  Scribble, scribble, scribble.”

    :)

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