Thursday, 30 August 2007

Consensus? What consensus?

Science is not a popularity contest. The success of a scientific theory is not judged by how many scientists support it (just ask Alfred Wegener, the scientist behind the theory of plate techtonics and continental drift which as Wikipedia notes was "widely ridiculed" in his day), but in how successfully it integrates the evidence and explains appropriate causal factors.

Nonetheless, we hear repeatedly that there is a scientific consensus on the existence of man-made global warming, defined as "humans having at least some effect on global climate change." History professor Naomi Oreskes' frequently cited and much argued about research on which this claim for consensus is based has recently been updated to reflect recent research, and Naomi (and headline writers) will be surprised at the results.

Using Oreske's own methodology,
Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte examined all scientific papers published from 2004 (when Oreske's research was published) to February 2007:
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.
See: Survey: Fewer than Half of Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory - Daily Tech.


  1. Interesting piece, but one would be wise to wait until reading through the methodology before rushing to judgement. I'm particularly interested in the 32 papers which outright rejected the consensus. Where did they appear? How reputable are the journals? Have the papers stood up to exposure in the community? Ditto for the papers that agreed with the consensus.

    In the meantime, Nature's new climate change blog, Climate Feedback, has an interesting post on a survey of climate scientists:

  2. John A, are you also known as John Dove at RealClimate or Eddie Visits Occasionally here in the past at Not PC? I am just curious, because I wondered if John A, John Dove and Eddie Visits Occasionally are all the same person. There is nothing wrong with that in cyberspace, it is that I see that John A is not aggressive, while the other two are nutters.

  3. The consensus professor and warmist proponent of RealClimate, Gavin Schmidt, doesn't like Falafulu Fisi's comment at RealClimate. He thinks that my comments are knee-jerk reaction, but it is non of that at all. I suspect that he sees me as a threat to his one-dimension religious followers at RealClimate, since I had constantly challenge of what is posted over there, regarding climate modeling. I have just recently start making comments at RealClimate, since I tried to post comments there twice last year (2006), but they were never posted. Since I knew then that the comments in their site are heavily moderated, I lost interest in trying to debate there last year.

    I had put forward a challenge to RealClimate in the following thread, and I am awaiting their (Gavin's) response, since Gavin replied to my message, saying that they will have more regarding the model I have raised.

    Friday roundup thread which covers their rebutting of Stephen Schwartz's paper on climate sensivity.

  4. FF: Ah, I see you've caught me out. I am indeed Eddie & John Dove & John A. I decided to comment as John A since inflammatory language does not advance debate, but forces everyone into entrenched positions. You can read this as an apology for my earlier heated language, if you like.

    Basically, I'm trying to get past the hot tempers. I believe we can have a substantive debate without calling each other "deniers" and "warmists" or accusing the other of blindly following "religions" (whether environmentalism or free-market capitalism).

    So how about it? I won't call you a crank if you don't call me a nutter.

  5. Ok, no name calling.

    By the mean time, the consensus warmist Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate, had deleted or edited a number of messages I posted over there. For example, is message #79 on this thread , where Gavin deleted it, but posted his response for me on its place. My original message for #79 is shown below. He (Gavin) didn't like when I posted that Baysesian Inference (that was used by another warmist James Annan to refute Stephen Schwartz's publication on Climate sensitivity) is blind-faith, which is exactly what the definition of the word is. Blind faith is that when you don't know the causal relationship between the inputs and output, and bayesian inference is one such method.

    It is starting to confirm to me of what I have always believed in that the IPCC including the members of RealClimate have depth in descriptive climate science but I think that they are a bit thin on deep theoretical climate numerical modeling. I am so surprised that Gavin, doesn't see Bayesian Inference as blind-faith as exactly what inference meant.

    From RealClimate:

    Timothy Chase said...
    They aren’t statistical but based upon the principles of physics such as the equations describing radiation emission, fluid flow and partial pressures.

    Falafulu's comment...
    Ok, Timothy, first you might as well tell that to the members of the RealClimate because they enthusiastically quoted
    James Annan's rebutting of Stephen Schwartz's publication on Climate sensitivity. In James Annan's paper, he used blind-faith statistics as Bayesian Inference (BI). I do agree with you, most of the IPCC chapters (including James Annan's paper) are over-reliant on blind-faith statistics. BI is a very good algorithm in pattern recognition (most spam-filter of today uses BI), however it has no understanding of the dynamics of a system.

    Second, who says that dynamics doesn't involve equations of Physics? Equations of physics are dynamic. Do you know what all this fuzz about climate-feedback ? Feedback is a dynamic process, just in case you've forgotten about it.

    Timothy said...
    The weather is largely chaotic (e.g., how hot will it be on 4 Jul 2039?)?

    Falafulu's comment...
    What a daft quote. Everyone here knows that weather is chaotic. Please address of how we can improve our tools of current modeling and don't waste your time, rehearsing things that had been known to us for over decades.

  6. Actually my edited message #79 by Gavin is on this thread here:

    Regional Climate Projections

  7. Might I suggest FF, that getting your comments through moderation at RealClimate might simply be a matter of tweaking the manner in which you pitch them? You might think they are being precious, but it is their sandpit after all. From having read the thread you posted up, I have the following observations:

    - You probably don't need to continually state your level of expertise. RealClimate has high-level scientists and experts coming out of it's ears.

    - Your repeated insinuation that no-one else shares your understanding of various technical areas washes OK here and in other non-expert fora, but looks churlish and arrogant to the extreme at RealClimate. And a tad insulting.

    - Moderation is a reality in a lot of more narrowly-focused fora about - especially with topics as polarising as climate change. Although it might be an arse to wait a while for your comments to pop up, consider the volume of comments most posts there attract, and then add on a reasonable guess for the extra amount that would eventuate from an 'open floodgate' whereby every crazy with a half-formed opinion on the topic at hand posted. And then ask yourself if you could be bothered wading through the dross to get to the real argument.

    As a general comment, I think it is unfair to suggest that RealClimate moderates contrary opinion as it clearly doesn't. They simply appear to have a rather stringent approach to comments with 'attitude'.


  8. BTW I just read the post that was 'edited' as linked by you FF, and Gavin's point is 100% reasonable! Why not simply eliminate the snarkiness and roll with the science?


  9. I second DenMT. A generally dismissive and insulting attitude towards those of us who think humans are behind most climate change ("warmists", as PC calls us) not only doesn't foster substantive debate, it also engenders insults in return.

    I'm responsible for many of those insults, and I'm trying to mend my ways. It would also help raise the level of debate here at Not PC if PC and his commenters refrained from their own brand of demeaning insinuations. I live in hope.

  10. This is unbelievable. I posted some messages at RealClimate (RC) where I had tone down a little bit from trying to inflame RC members, but actually, I come to think that they are scared in trying to debate head-on with me. I had raised the topic of systems sensitivity, where I got a reply over there at RC that Schwartz's work on sensitivity had been debunked. I tried to raise the idea that Schwartz's work might not be wrong at all, since sensitivity itself is a dynamic parameter (quoted in Rossow/Aires paper about multivariate feedback). The majority of the climate science community still view sensitivity as a static parameter, where its value stays the same till the second coming of Jesus Christ. What Dr. Rossow pointed out is that this view is wrong and must be dismissed. Sensitivity is a dynamic parameter (ie, it changes with time), so it should be treated as such. The fixation at RealClimate that Schwartz's estimation of sensitivity is wrong and the IPCC is right is beyond belief.

    Here is the main reason why pro-AGW crowd don't like the idea that sensitivity is dynamic (preferring to think of it as a static parameter). If you treat this parameter as dynamic, then the whole climate equation for their Global Climate Models collapses, it runs into numerical difficulties which it then becomes unsolvable.

  11. I now posted my rejected messages at Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit (messages #58 and #64 are mine).

  12. If someone reads my messages #58 and #64 from the link shown in my previous post, then I would like to hear your opinion as to whether the tone of the messages justified being rejected at RealClimate or the messages are Ok? I am puzzled. I just suspect that I put up a question that is beyond the comprehensions of the RealClimate members, where they think that it shouldn't be posted on their site at all. Any comments about the possible reasons why my messages were rejected at RealClimate which I have now posted at climate Audit, would be appreciated.

  13. Here is my latest message that I have just posted at RealClimate where it is awaiting approval by the web admin moderator. If it is rejected again tomorrow (US time), then I will post it at Climate Audit. Anyway here it is :


    Timothy Chase, here is another useful paper for introduction to System Identification , which is a sub-domain of feedback control theory. I have emailed you the list of books on feedback Control theory and System Identification (both linear & non-linear books).


    Why I think that this paper is important for introduction, is to get a preliminary idea about system identification since it is relevant to sensitivity debate. When Gavin Schmidt posts his article of why he thinks that AR(1) is an over-simplification in Schwartz’s sensitivity analysis, then I am ready to argue that it might not be the case, if System Identification methodology is applied.

  14. My message at RealClimate (RC) which I posted over there about a few days ago, in which I had re-pasted over here at Not PC (see my previous post) had been rejected by the RC web admin moderator. Could someone tell me if my message (see my previous post) is offensive or not? If it is not offensive, then what on earth are the scientists at RealClimate are being afraid of posting that message on their website? May be Eddie and DenMT, could help out here in figuring out why. I have no clue at all.

    BTW, my latest post is again awaiting moderation approval at RealClimate (message #187 is mine). If you notice something, that my message was posted on 6 September 2007 at 3:36 PM, while there is another message #188 posted by a commenter (Patrick 027) on 6 September 2007 at 5:12 PM, two hours after my message #187. I don't understand why my message #187 has been sitting there for 2 hours awaiting moderation, while message #188 is approved straight away?

    Anyone has a hint? Or perhaps, I should drop any mentioning of the feedback control theory from any of my messages? I suspect that RC members have no knowledge of feedback control theory in its application to climate modeling, where RC members fear if their religious followers (readers) think that climate sensitivity has a big question mark about its value (a concept that is well covered in feedback control theory), then the followers might have doubts the IPCC reports and the AGW causes. Just my assumption, as feedback control should and must be allowed to be discussed at RealClimate without any censoring.

  15. Now, message #187 now appears. Thank God that the paper that I referenced in my message is FINALLY appeared at RealClimate for discussion. That paper is a very important one about sensitivity, since it described that sensitivity is both non-linear and dynamic. This indirectly puts Dr. Schwartz's work on sensitivity in a reasonably safe mode for now. The reason I have been trying to quote Dr.Rossow/Dr.Aires paper at RealClimate is that I believe that none of them (RC members) have read it before. The Dr.Rossow/Dr.Aires paper was posted at Dr. James Annan's website by Eddie on my behalf, where I made a post there once and James replied to my message. I never replied back to James post as I saw his post that he nitpicked certain lines from certain paragraphs from Rossow/Aires and posted them in his reply message to my post. I didn't think it was worth debating with him at that point since it appeared to me that he didn't read the formula derivation, rather concentrating on the words (sentences), which I thought that if I have to debate with him, at least we would be on the same par in discussion WHYs of the models. So, I thought that it was no point for me to have a discussion with him, since he would be disadvantaged because he doesn't know control theory that was discussed in the Rossow/Aires paper, and also he didn't understand the mathematical derivation. Now, the link for the Rossow/Aires paper is finally appeared at RealClimate discussion forum, I hope that scientists who frequented RC would start a discussion of the subject over there, which is something I had wanted.

  16. If someone looks over the messages from this thread at RealClimate, Falafulu's messages (scientific ones & also non offensive) are flagged Your comment is awaiting moderation , while other messages which were posted at a later time than mines had been approved immediately. Scientists at RealClimate are scared of the man from the island's messages, that is why they probably takes longer to approve as they consult with each other (about 8 of them), to see if they agree to approve or reject man from the island's messages. This is unbelievable.

    BTW, I am monitoring to see if there is a bite to the non-linear climate feedback control paper that I posted over there yesterday, but not a single response yet. You see readers here at Not PC, these are the top scientists who support the IPCC report, where Prof. Gavin Schmidt of NASA is the leader of this group and they don't have a fucking clue to all publications that researchers in climate modeling have published. Don't you think that they should know everything about climate modeling ? NOPE, they only know a certain domain in climate modeling algorithms and not all. This is why everyone says, AGW must be true because the IPCC (consensus group) panel say so. This is not the case at all.


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