Credit where it’s due

March 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, climate change | 185 Comments »

It had been so slaughtered by the time Friday came around that there was no way I could write about the Global Warming documentary with any poise, since it had all been done to death. Steve Connor in the Independent was truly exemplary, and in case you missed it, here it is. Go sister.

news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2355956.ece


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185 Responses



  1. shermozle said,

    March 17, 2007 at 3:31 am

    Unfortunately, it’s been pretty uncritically reported here in Australia :(

  2. Deano said,

    March 17, 2007 at 4:27 am

    .. although the ‘scoop’ of the dodginess of the first graph was revealed by your truly on your own forum Ben..:

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

    … on Sunday – three days before the Indie article…..????

    The image you’ve posted is one of mine incidentally …

    – so take some of that credit back – if it wasn’t for your forum and your encouragement of eagle-eyed nerds like myself: the ‘Indie’ wouldn’t have got their scoop in the first place……..

  3. roodle said,

    March 17, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I heart this quote.

    “The original Nasa data was very wiggly-lined and we wanted the simplest line we could find,”

  4. Deano said,

    March 17, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I you see this please check which version was broadcast shemozle?

    They had to unfiddle one of the graphs when it was re-broadcast here – although this means they use an old graph based on partial data that only goes up to 1980 – and they also rewrote history to change the timing of the ‘post-industrial boom’.

    scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/spot_the_difference.php

  5. SomeBeans said,

    March 17, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Chris Merchant at Edinburgh University has posted a PowerPoint presentation about the prog (45 minutes with commentary), have to admit I skimmed it but towards the end he demonstrates a plausible route to the Durkin sunspot / temperature graph from the original data. Needless to say it involves some quite unusual data processing techniques (like shifting chunks of data backwards and stretching other bits) and then there is the chopping off the data after 1980 because it doesn’t fit your argument part…

    www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris

    Download is 115MB…

  6. Robert Carnegie said,

    March 17, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    - and I don’t think it’s been slaughtered enough. You’ve done plenty by producing fake scientists contributing to the programme and the bloke whose interview was misused – look at [The Day Today] for how a voice-over question can change the apparent meaning of the filmed statement, in case that’s how they did it – and everyone involved should have known better. If there is further legitimate criticism then let’s have it. Unbalanced attacks, we don’t need. But I’m not convinced that the world does understand what a load of rubbish this programme evidently was. The fight isn’t won.

    I personally ignored it and intend to continue to do so as far as possible.

  7. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 17, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Somebeans @ 5,

    Downloaded it in about 6 mins. It is excellent – thanks for that link and thanks to Chris Merchant for a very clear and concise exposition of why ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ was indeed bad science and worthy of the lable ‘denial’ rather than the more respectable label of ‘skepticism’. I sincerely hope that anyone still in the mood to defend Durkin’s documentary will take the trouble to download and watch it.

  8. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 17, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    ‘lable’

    label, even :-)

  9. tanveer said,

    March 17, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    The comment by the last poster is worrying. ‘I personally ignored it and intend to continue to do so as far as possible’. I personally am not convinced either way on the issue and the more debate we have about this the better. The case against human caused global warming is not heard enough and deserves to be so. That is the only way we stand any chance of getting at the truth – closing your ears to any ideas that are against your pre-conceived notions is not the way to do it. We hear that there is a consensus that human induced global warming is happening and is virtually unstoppable. I thought that consensus was the stuff of politics and not science? Also the case for human induced global warming is often made in an emotional hysterical way with for example cute polar bears struggling onto rapidly melting ice platforms or connected with weather phenomena that are far from proven to be caused by global warming.

    We cannot forecast the weather more than about 2 days in advance and yet we are lead to belive that we can influence a chaotic coupled system like global climate just by reducing our CO2 levels? I find this argument astonishing. Even if we killed ourselves by living like stone-age man and ceased all development we would still not be guaranteed of having any predictable impact on global climate.

    Statistical skullduggery is not limited to one side of the debate. For instance the talismanic hockey stick graph has come under fire recently.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

    I think all this shows that the case for human induced global warming is far from proven and we should be cautious about using it as an excuse for governments to impose more taxes which will probably disproportionatally affect the poorest in society.

    I think the program on channel 4 also made an important valid point. We should not allow the concerns of the middle classes in the developed world to slow down the development of poorer countries based on an unproven theory about human induced global warming. I think it is far more important that these countries are allowed to develop and pull themselves out of poverty. It is rank hyocrisy for the developed world to lecture the developing world while enjoying all of the comforts afforded by development.

  10. John R said,

    March 17, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    I thought that consensus was the stuff of politics and not science?

    There are lots of areas in science where something cannot be categorically proven beyond all shadow of the smallest doubt, but in which there is a general consensus that the weight of available evidence suggests that something is the case. The presence of such a consensus, while not strictly meaningful in itself, suggests that something is indeed true.

    We cannot forecast the weather more than about 2 days in advance and yet we are lead to belive that we can influence a chaotic coupled system like global climate just by reducing our CO2 levels? I find this argument astonishing.

    Detailed, immediate-term local weather forecasting and relatively rough global atmospheric chemistry and its likely effects are two very different kettles of fish. Equating the two isn’t really possible. Our long term, less detailed forecasts for weather tend to be more accurate (in part because it’s easier to say, “we’re expecting a relatively severe storm season this year” and be right than it is to do the same with, “the temperature in Billericay on Sunday will be 12-13 degrees and the sky’ll be cloudless”) and in that respect saying, “It’ll get warmer, on average, over the coming decades” is a statement with a much greater degree of certainty. When it comes to the finer detail – which countries will get drier, wetter, warmer, colder, and by how much – then you get to a range of disagreements which would more closely mirror inconsistencies in weather, as opposed to general climatological, forecasting.

  11. jackpt said,

    March 17, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    #10, Think of looking at weather like looking at a Lorenz attractor, close up it’s non repeating and has chaotic behaviour, but if you look at it from a distance it’s recognisable, so generalisations about it’s shape and form can be made.

  12. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 1:44 am

    “#10, Think of looking at weather like looking at a Lorenz attractor, close up it’s non repeating and has chaotic behaviour, but if you look at it from a distance it’s recognisable, so generalisations about it’s shape and form can be made.”

    That’s great, and makes for pretty graphics. The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though. The lorenz argument only proves that some features of a chaotic system behave more predictably than others, not “by stepping back you get a better view”.

  13. jackpt said,

    March 18, 2007 at 2:29 am

    #13, Without getting into four-pint late night mathematics, chaotic systems are statistically measurable, and therefore at a certain level of observation generalisations can be made.The Lorenz system itself is an example where observation of a chaotic behaviour in nature led to a discrete equation that allowed general observations to be made about a natural phenomena. The models used to make short term weather forecasts involve hundreds of interdependent variables forming massive recurrence systems with no closed form, however, longer term prediction is largely about statistical observation rather than predicting exact local outcome. In general the modelling process of any long term behaviour is about making useful general observations, and generally the process is cyclical, in that the evaluation of the results helps to refine the model. When many models produce the same general observations with different data, and are generally accepted; the general observations they make have greater weight.

    Now, I realise that by replying to you I’m going to get a politically motivated diatribe in response, and you’re going to deny general acceptance, or defer to some strange and obscure EssTeesque meaning of consensus, but on the other-hand only the politically motivated could buy, wholesale, uncritically, the shit-fest that was The Great Global Warming Swindle. Even people that are intrigued by the programme, such as #8 above, reserve more of their critical faculties than you. So go for it, I regard you as a chaotic system, and I’ve just made a general observation about your long-term behaviour.

  14. jackpt said,

    March 18, 2007 at 5:08 am

    #14 – idiot – what you actually meant in the last paragraph was ‘such as #10′, not ‘such as #8′. So there. Neo-imperialist!

  15. Mark Frank said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Everyone is talking about the graphs, but for me that was not the most interesting point about the C4 program. The big point is the integrity of the experts on both sides of the debate – but particularly the IPCC as many governments rely on their account.

    I have been following the climate debate for many years and find myself ever more uncertain what to think. Every time one expert produces a graph or set of figures another expert produces a reason why that particular graph or set of figures is rubbish. For example, as jackpt points out, in the case of the third pair of graphs above, Steve OConnor appears to have replaced the C4 graph with a version of Mann’s hockey stick and described it as “a more recent 2001 graph” as though that settled it. But the hockey stick is highly contentious. Read the Wikipedia account or Ross McKitrick’s very readable account of some of the goings-on www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf

    In the end the climate is so complicated that a layman has to assess the integrity of the experts rather than try to get to grips with the science itself. The sceptical community can’t be dismissed as the meteorological equivalent of Gillian McKeith. They are a minority but many of them have very solid credentials. Their work gets published in respectable peer reviewed journals. So if there is any hint of lack of integrity in the IPCC process it is cause for concern. For example, is it true that the mosquito expert mentioned on the program asked for his name to be withdrawn and it wasn’t?

    And what do you make of this fascinating but slightly impenetrable article from Mike Hulme – founder of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research?

    environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2032821,00.html

    Which includes quotes such as:

    “Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence”

    I would love someone to come up with a definitive story about the seriousness of climate change – but I am afraid it won’t happen in my life time.

  16. JunkkMale said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:44 am

    When I lived in Singapore there were many phrases in Singlish (the local patois) that could cause delight, but one I always recall were variants on the way you’d prefer your steak. Perhaps my favourite was: ‘What done you want?’.

    Quite. The degree of ‘done’, as in being so or simply having had enough and giving up with it is very topical.

    The amount of time I am wasting reading all this guff, trying to get to a decent conclusion, and then writing about not doing so in my blog – rather what I do better – is not a good investment in helping improve the planet.

    I’m afraid I came to this conclusion as this latest set on the topic of ‘who’s 100% righter’ came into my in-box along with one from the BBC – Caution urged on climate ‘risks’ – news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/6460635.stm

    I don’t know what my body may be like in a decade, but my brain is already drowning in such ‘information’ and fried by trying to square the spirals.

    So I no longer feel like trying to keep up. That may mean the ‘deniers’ (too broad, but will suffice for here) have succeeded.

    But it also means that those who would claim to wish, and have the ways, to rectify matters… have failed.

    When you rely on Chicken Little for your science, and then rush with his findings to the Boy Who Cried Wolf to handle the PR, and do it too often, then, like Little Red Riding Hood, it doesn’t matter what you take to Big Bad Media. If it isn’t palatable enough for their audiences, or spoiled by being rushed, they will eat you instead.

    Time for new, less self-interested, and more genuinely motivated and engaging brooms.

  17. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:20 am

    “Even people that are intrigued by the programme, such as #8(~10) above, reserve more of their critical faculties than you.”

    I wouldn’t give #10 too much credit – coming into the argument saying that you are ‘fair-minded’ and want to ‘listen to both sides’ – and then repeating the usual deniatlis mantras is a ploy borrowed from the creationists…

    ……………

    “In the end the climate is so complicated that a layman has to assess the integrity of the experts rather than try to get to grips with the science itself. The sceptical community can’t be dismissed as the meteorological equivalent of Gillian McKeith. They are a minority but many of them have very solid credentials. Their work gets published in respectable peer reviewed journals.”

    Care to name any ‘work’ published in peer reviewed journals???

    …………….

    “For example, is it true that the mosquito expert mentioned on the program asked for his name to be withdrawn and it wasn’t?”

    What he was asking was rather strange – he wanted his views and a paper he considered as part of the process. They were, along with work from hundreds of others from his field, When the final conclusions reached didn’t agree with his he effectively wanted to ‘take his ball home’ because he didn’t want to play any more – having your name on a list of contributors does not mean you say you agree with the conclusions – he was effectively trying to re-write history to pretend he hadn’t contributed.

    No what is it – are minority scientific views being ignored and excluded from consideration? (this clearly wasn’t the case with this chap) – or are they being listened to, and offered every opportunity to put a scientific case – but the balance of evidence is against them??

  18. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    “What he was asking was rather strange – he wanted his views and a paper he considered as part of the process. They were, along with work from hundreds of others from his field, When the final conclusions reached didn’t agree with his he effectively wanted to ‘take his ball home’ because he didn’t want to play any more – having your name on a list of contributors does not mean you say you agree with the conclusions – he was effectively trying to re-write history to pretend he hadn’t contributed.”

    So much for Dean’s demands for “evidence” then. The point of disagreement with the IPCC was the habitat of malaria-infected mosquitos, which the IPCC report claimed was confined to areas which did not have winters which averaged below 16 degrees (from memory). This was shown to be false by the scientist in question.

    “No what is it – are minority scientific views being ignored and excluded from consideration? (this clearly wasn’t the case with this chap) – or are they being listened to, and offered every opportunity to put a scientific case – but the balance of evidence is against them?? ”

    The balance of evidence wasn’t against Professor Paul Reiter,. He proved that cases of malaria had been found as far north as the Arctic.

  19. Coobeastie said,

    March 18, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Ok, climate science isn’t my thing, but the history of medicine is (zero qualifications, much interest). Malaria has been endemic in northern Europe, and certainly in countries with cold winters. However, it’s operating at the edge of its range in colder climates; it is more prevalent in warmer countries. In Denmark, malaria disappeared with changing animal husbandry so humans and animals lived separately; in the UK it disappeared as marshes were drained for agriculture. There is nothing inherently malaria-proof in the northern European climate – changes in living habits that made it more difficult for the parasite.

  20. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    “Why is it anyone that says anything against the human induced global warming theory is immediately labelled a denialist or in the pay of the big oil companies?”

    Such a good question. And there is only one answer – science does not provide the moral certainty that environmentalism uses for currency. So undermining the scientific case for AGW upsets the entire Green world view – the crude anti-capitalism, the romantic idealism, the anthropomorphised conception of nature, and the moral compass – it all goes out of the window. It is these things which are being defended, not the science.

    The histrionics about this film reveal the flimsy basis for a variety of strongly held opinions. If humans aren’t influencing the climate, then it’s slightly more difficult to make statements about geopolitics, for example – we can’t say that George Bush is so “evil”. And we can’t as easily make statements about capitalism “destroying the planet”. Furthermore, we have no idea about what “the right thing to do” is… Recycling our rubbish no longer turns us into planet-saving superheroes. We no longer have a way of sorting “good” from “bad”. We don’t have anything seperating us from the ignorant consuming masses, and we don’t have any way of seeing the world in simple black and white terms. We have no way of demonstrating that we have the moral highground. Consequently, anti-environmentalism is quite disorientating, and so we get these angry rants from the self-appointed clergy of the green movement.

  21. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    EssTee @ 22,

    You yourself have by now admitted that the documentary is scientifically flawed (you have allowed some ‘like minded colleagues’ to persuade you, I believe is what you said).

    I rather hope that you will also take the time to download Chris Merchant’s excellent critical analysis of the problems with the film’s scientific basis, posted @ 5 by Somebeans:

    www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris

    Clearly, this is not ‘histrionics’, but a valid defence of the scientific basis of the AGW hypothesis – at least, in terms of setting the record straight about those parts of the science that the film discussed.

    Your opinion that there have been ‘histrionics’ about this film does not negate the perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at it. The film was in a very real sense ‘bad science’ – a mis-selling of at best tentative, and at worst discredited, or plainly fraudulent science to the public.

    Also, the fact that there may be people whose views you find politically abhorrent trying to use AGW for their own ends, and themselves misrepresenting the science, does not negate the science itself. This is a red herring, as far as any scientific discussion is concerned. It is an issue that perhaps is worthy of a seperate discussion in its own right, but it is neither here nor there when we are considering what the science is telling us and how we should act on it.

    Just because there are a bunch of pinko commie liberals saying ‘Ha ha! Look, capitalism is evil! More government control of industry is the only answer! We knew it all along!’, we shouldn’t reject what the science is telling us on a matter of political principle, no matter how unpalatable we may find it. Political solutions should be our tools not our religion, and we should use the correct tool for the job.

    And just because pinko commie liberal greenies may be rushing to attack the film from the basis of dogmatically held views, their ‘wrong-ness’ doesn’t make the film right. Quite simply, it was fraudulent. You don’t pardon a murderer just because you don’t happen to like the people who are accusing them of murder. You examine the evidence.

  22. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    “Methinks someone is a Furedi tool.”

    Methinks you are a Monbiot tool.

    But where does that get us?

  23. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Gherkin – “Your opinion that there have been ‘histrionics’ about this film does not negate the perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at it.”

    Sure. But if you look at the title of this web page, you will see that it is a blog site, and thus my comments to this thread are about the article at the top. See… Right up there it says:

    “It had been so slaughtered by the time Friday came around that there was no way I could write about the Global Warming documentary with any poise, since it had all been done to death. Steve Connor in the Independent was truly exemplary, and in case you missed it, here it is. Go sister.”

    There follows the graphs from the independent, about which I make some comments.

    So while there may be some “perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at” the film, Ben’s article, and the article it referred to, weren’t.

    You don’t understand that, don’t you? It’s quite simple.

  24. jackpt said,

    March 18, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    “Methinks someone is a Furedi tool.”

    Methinks you are a Monbiot tool.

    But where does that get us?

    I don’t know, but I think one is substantially more likely than the other.

  25. Mark Frank said,

    March 18, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Deano

    You asked for examples of work published in peer reviewed journals.

    This wikipedia article gives a list of sceptical scientists.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_global_warming_consensus

    You will see that many of them have impressive qualifications. You can look up most of them on Google and find a list of their papers. I have chosen Richard Lindzen as possibly the most famous. I estimate he has published over 100 papers in peer reviewed journals – many of which analyse various aspects of climate change in a sceptical fashion. The list (which also includes stuff that is not peer reviewed) is here:

    www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/PublicationsRSL.html

    Perhaps the most famous is:

    R.S. Lindzen, M.-D. Chou, and A.Y. Hou (2001) Does the Earth have an adaptive infrared iris? Bull. Amer. Met. Soc. 82, 417-432. [pdf]

    Does that answer your question?

    Rgds

    PS I am not a global warming sceptic – I am just uncertain. I spend more time arguing against sceptics than for them. But I do think the global warming bandwagon has become dangerously political.

  26. jackpt said,

    March 18, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Gosh, it must be wonderful being a tool – I shall let my master Monbiot know that I’ve been rumbled while you fish around for your tin-foil hat. Substantially speaking, of course, there’s rather a strong parallel between what you say and tools of sub-standard philosophers such as Furedi. While, I on the other hand, must be a very rebellious tool because I think a lot of what Monbiot writes is cack. Do you feel similarly about a lot of what Furedi has written?

  27. Martin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Private Eye has a some-time contributor called ‘Boffin’ who wrote an article a few years ago about how scientists who write their grant application such that they are trying to ‘prove’ global warming could get funding, but if the grant application said that you were trying to disprove it, you’d get nothing. The next issue contained quite an abusive letter, calling on Private Eye to stop this contributor’s articles and questioning his credentials. (A similar case was put in TGGWS.)

    But wasn’t Boffin right – shouldn’t a scientist review data and then draw conclusions, not set out to prove a ‘pet’ theory. Sounds like bad science to me.

    I’ve now seen TGGWS, and there were some very good points raised, eg, does the developed world have the right to tell the less developed countries that they can’t create industry, can’t have electricity, can’t improve their lives?

    However, there were a lot of straw-man arguments. The programme spent a long time explaining how previous climate changes were based on sun-spot activity, with the implication that the scientists calling for greenhouse gas reductions had ignored this. I don’t know how many scientists are denying that previous climate change was based on sun-spot activity. I understand that that is a fairly commonly held theory.

    One of the biggest alarm bells ringing for me whilst watching the programme was the selection of graphs. The temperature data starts at 1880, and rises sharply. Well, in 1883 Krakatoa erupted – releasing large amounts of both CO2 and particulate matter in the atmosphere. There is actually a down-turn in temperature at this point (the particulate matter would create what we would now call a nuclear winter – Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, and there is a similar down-turn in global temperature in 1981). The graph then shows a period of sustained temperature rise up to 1940. TGGWS implied that there was no great emission of CO2 during this period, by showing stock footage of the Great Depression. In fact, throughout this period, including during the Great Depression, industrial output increased significantly. The graph now highlights a period referred to as “Post War Economic Boom” from 1940 to 1975. Hmm. My parents are fairly sure that the war lasted until 1945, with significant quantities of high explosive used during those five years, culminating in two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. In fact, nuclear testing continued during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and France stopped atmospheric tests in 1974. (This is probably a coincidence, as China was still testing.)

    There you go, I’ve just proved that the way to combat global warming is to re-instate atmospheric nuclear testing. George W better not be reading this – he may get ideas!

    “Why is it anyone that says anything against the human induced global warming theory is immediately labelled a denialist or in the pay of the big oil companies?”

    In case anyone accuses me of being in the pay of big oil – I am!

  28. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    “While, I on the other hand, must be a very rebellious tool because I think a lot of what Monbiot writes is cack. ”

    But there is some continuity between what you and he writes – mostly cack.

    “Do you feel similarly about a lot of what Furedi has written?”

    I don’t know. What are you asking me to agree/disagree with?

  29. Neil Desperandum said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    #20
    “Why is it anyone that says anything against the human induced global warming theory is immediately labelled a denialist or in the pay of the big oil companies?”

    They’re not.

    Only those in the pay of the big oil companies are labelled as such (since we need to be careful of bias). Only those who distort or select evidence are labelled denialists. The rest are labelled good scientists and are taken seriously.

    “A lot of the long term predictions of global warming are based on computer simulations and are next to useless without any physical evidence. With hundreds of variables to tweak it is possible to come up with any desired output with the correct combination of inputs.”

    That’s pretty offensive to climatologists. These guys aren’t stupid. They know the limits of their models and they go to extraordinary lengths to make their conclusions fair and reasonable. Models are essential tools in this area, like a microscope is in cell biology. Both are prone to artefacts and misinterpretation, but with care and good scientific technique both can provide valid data.

  30. tanveer said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    I am not trying to be offensive to climatologists. Yes a microphone in cell bilogy is useful because it is looking at a real organism. A computer simulation is not so valid because it is a model of the real world in a computer -it has to be corroborated by real physical evidence otherwise it is pretty useless.

  31. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    You’re right Mark Frank Lindzen is a climatologist – publishes in peer-reviewed journals – as as far as I know is not in the pay of the oil companies. However his colleagues have exposed the flaws in his work time and time again – and what evidence has given has been shown not to support his case..

    As dfro the list of guys from Wikipedia with ‘impressive looking credentials’ – well that depends on how easily impressed you are – and how relevant you think these credentials are. In any case it’s an argument from authority – I’d asked you for published work in peer reviewed papers – the fact that there is such a vanishingly small amount of such unimpressive quality really ought to set you thinking?

    ……………

    tanveer wrote:

    “A computer simulation is not so valid because it is a model of the real world in a computer -it has to be corroborated by real physical evidence otherwise it is pretty useless.”

    – this is precisely what modelers do – they check the models against data for the last hundred years or so – those that don’t repeat the same ups and downs of that period when you run them are rejected..

  32. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    EssTee @ 27,

    Well, you seem to have conceded (or whatever alternative word your ego will tolerate) that the science in TGGWS was flawed, and that’s the main point of discussing it in ‘bad science’, I think. However –

    So while there may be some “perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at” the film, Ben’s article, and the article it referred to, weren’t.

    Sorry, EssTee, but Ben’s article that heads this blog entry doesn’t seem to be a specific attack on the film at all. He says it had been ‘done to death’ which rather suggests to me that it has already been commented on by other journalists to the point where further comment would be superflous. You’d have to be a bit twitchy to intepret this as an attack on Durkin’s film, I think. Yes, he said it had been ‘slaughtered’ as well, suggesting that the film had been shown to be factually incorrect by many sources. Maybe a hint of triumphalism there (at seeing a piece of bad scientific journalism get its come-uppance) but hardly qualifying as histrionics – at least in the normal usage of this word. Maybe you meant ‘hysterics’ rather than ‘histrionics’ (people often get confused between the two – histrionics usually refers to an insincere display of emotion). Even if you meant ‘hysterics’ this doesn’t really describe Ben’s article.

    And reading the article that Ben’s article refers to, I can’t really see anything terribly histrionic there. Care to list where you feel Steve Connor’s criticisms are invalid?

    You don’t understand that, don’t you? It’s quite simple.

    Your slightly patronising tone does you no favors at all, especially when it is coupled with poor use of grammar in the same sentence.

  33. Neil Desperandum said,

    March 18, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    These day most microsocope images are highly processed (if not actually generated) by computer software. You’re not really looking at a real organism at all. You’re looking at a computer model of an organism. There are always artefacts to worry about, and historically there has been a great deal of debate about their validity. In the 1930s many biologists rejected electron microscope images as useless.

    My point is that the users of any complicated technique are aware of its limitations and take appropriate precautions. Climate models, like molecular models, or chemical reaction models or any other computer model are all tested against the real world and are only used if they pass enough tests to be considered valid.

    They all may be wrong (maybe mitochnodria don’t look like that), but computer models are extremely widely used in science and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

  34. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Indeed – Mathematical models have been the stuff of science since Newton – computers have simply allowed us to tackle much bigger mathematical jobs.

  35. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    “These day most microsocope images are highly processed (if not actually generated) by computer software. You’re not really looking at a real organism at all. You’re looking at a computer model of an organism.”

    That is simply nonsense as far as this conversation is concerned – a bizarre from of sophistry.

    “Climate models, like molecular models, or chemical reaction models or any other computer model are all tested against the real world and are only used if they pass enough tests to be considered valid.”

    This statement is also meaningless. You might as well just say “no, they work, honest, my mate told me”.

    “but computer models are extremely widely used in science and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.”

    Nobody dismissed computer models out of hand.

  36. Martin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    EssTee,

    I’m not sure I understand what your bone of contention with the statement about climate models is.

    I can find nothing wrong with the statement “Climate models … are all tested against the real world and are only used if they pass enough tests to be considered valid.”

    Please could you clarify your position?

  37. Mark Frank said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Deano

    You said “Care to name any ‘work’ published in peer reviewed journals???”

    I named one and showed how you could find many more. You have now shifted your ground. You want a number of such works and you want me to demonstrate they are of adequate quality. It is pretty hard to prove the quality in this limited space (many papers in the climate field lead to counter arguments) – but perhaps you could give a me a rough idea of how many would satisfy you? Clearly I need to know the requirement or this could go on indefinitely.

    You are concerned that it is “an argument from authority”. If you read my post again I think you will see that was my whole point. This is a very complex and contentious field, every argument seems to have a counter-argument, and unless you are an expert you have little option to but to assess the authority of the contributors. I only wish to point out that the sceptics have more authority than many realise and the IPCC do things that reduce theirs. The film brought out some of those things. Have you read Ross McKitrick’s paper? It is easy to read even if you disagree.

    It is revealing how this topic has produced sustained disagreement with several participants from both sides. Most of Ben’s posts result in interesting discussion but little fundamental disagreement. This appears to be different.

  38. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    EssTee @ 40,

    You say –

    Nobody dismissed computer models out of hand.

    However, you do actually appear to be doing so when @ 13 you declare –

    The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though

    The most reasonable inference that can be deduced from this statement (for the scientifically minded individual) is that you are making an argument based on the idea that the climate system cannot be treated as a discrete system – you are suggesting that any computer model of the climate system is bound to fail because ‘the model is not the system’ and that there are external influences or internal subtlelties that the model cannot possibly capture. Maybe you didn’t mean that, but it certainly sounds like it, as you use it in an attempt to wave away the perfectly reasonable proposition that a system which is chaotic at lower levels of detail may have macroscopic properties which are predictable at a higher level.

    However, if you are going to argue that ‘the model is not the system’, in this way, it suggests that no model can adequately capture a system’s properties and render its behaviour predictable within an acceptable margin of error. This is plainly incorrect, as evidenced by the computer you are typing your comments on, the high-density semiconductor components of which were developed with the aid of a considerable amount of mathematical modelling.

    Perhaps you didn’t intend to make such a strong inference about the validity of mathematical models. In which case – could you provide us with your criteria for judging a mathematical model to be an acceptable representation of a physical system, with particular reference to climate models. If you are going to make a claim that the properties of climate are non-computable then I will want to see a rigorous mathematical proof of this, as it would be rather unusual to discover a thermodynamic system whose macroscopic properties are non-computable.

    And given your statement @ 40:

    This statement is also meaningless. You might as well just say “no, they work, honest, my mate told me”.

    ….any argument that relies on a claim of ‘controversy’ based on the say-so of someone you consider to be an expert will not be satisfactory.

  39. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    “Please could you clarify your position?”

    The statement (“Climate models … are all tested against the real world and are only used if they pass enough tests to be considered valid.”) is not meaningful. It does not describe the test in any sense.

    A model’s ability to predict the past is not a test of its ability to predict the future nor the present, and models are run thousands, and thousands of times, so we only get to see the successes, but that’s not necessarily a representation of “the state of the art”.

    The third graph in the independent article at the top of this page is from a model, failed to match the historical record (LIA and MWP), has been thotoughly criticised (see my post for some links), yet obviously has passed some form of test, including peer review, and is an icon of the AGW movement… There is something very wrong with “the test”.

  40. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    “However, you do actually appear to be doing so when @ 13 you declare – The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though”

    Is that the *best* you can do? Read it again. Neil says “computer models are extremely widely used in science and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.” Just as I wouldn’t dismiss all use of pnumatic drills in the construction industry, I wouldn’t want people installing windows in my house to use them.

    Neil seemed to think that criticising the confidence placed in climate models is to diminish the usefulness of modelling to all science. It rather seems that he has as much difficulty thinking in non black and white terms as you do.

  41. Neil Desperandum said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    I’m so proud. My first put-down from EssTee.

    I feel like I’ve lost my virginity.

  42. Martin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Surely a model’s ability to *agree* with the past is one of the tests. If a model cannot agree with the past, given the correct starting information, then it cannot be relied upon to predict the future.

    However, if a model does agree with the past, then it is a tool which can be used to *predict* the future. The accuracy of the prediction can only be measured at a future point in time.

    As to models being run thousands of times, this is a standard procedure. It’s known as the Monte Carlo Method – you run the model many times, altering the input variables slightly each time, to detect how sensitive the model is. The idea is that the most likely outcome can be determined, although as Professor Wunch mentioned in TGGWS, it is often the most contreversial outcome which gets reported.

  43. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Mark wrote:

    “Deano

    You said “Care to name any ‘work’ published in peer reviewed journals???”

    I named one and showed how you could find many more. You have now shifted your ground. You want a number of such works and you want me to demonstrate they are of adequate quality. It is pretty hard to prove the quality in this limited space (many papers in the climate field lead to counter arguments) – but perhaps you could give a me a rough idea of how many would satisfy you? Clearly I need to know the requirement or this could go on indefinitely”
    ……………………

    Well I think what we’re talking about here is ‘weight of evidence’. In the case of ‘Intelligent Design’ we wouldn’t expect to find any convincing evidence at all for the theory.

    However in climate science there is no reason in principle to believe that Earth temperature could stay the same – or even cool. It is also theoretically possible that C02 doesn’t cause warming (although you’d be left with the problem of why the Earth is 40degrees hotter than you’d expect – and what unknown mechanism exactly cancels out what you would expect from the known physical properties of the gas.
    But consider the evidence – there are literally tens of thousand of significant papers – from host of different sources, different scientific disciplines, and from scientists working in the USA, Red China, Europe and the developing world – and guess what – they all point to anthropogenic global warming. Lindzen’s work hardly shows up on the radar – and the conclusions he tries to draw from it have been systematically refuted.

    Science is always an ‘evolving consensus’ – and it’s fair to say that we have reached the point that there is now an overwhelming scientific consensus. There are a range of views withing that consensus – and healthy disagreement and debate – for example on the hypothesis about the ‘shutdown of the North Atlantic circulation’ leading to dramatic cooling in Europe.

    What I’d like to see you provide is a convincing body of work in the peer-reviewed literature that establishes the basis for even a minority opinion.

    In that regard ‘Durkin’s swindle’ was sadly lacking – so lacking in fact that they had to make stuff up. If Linzen’s work was so convincing (and he appeared on the programme) why did they ignore it and prefer to base their arguments on distorted graphs???

  44. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Oh and Ross McKitrick is an economist from a Free-Market thinktank. His ventures into global warming have been underminded by the fact he doesn’t understand it and can’t even tell the difference between ‘degrees’ and ‘radians’ (this is akin to an economist ignoring the difference between dollars and pounds – and not bothering to include an exchange rate in his calculations). In the light of that, the fact that you find his paper ‘easy to read’ is particularly impressive.

    Real scientists go to a lot of trouble to make sure they get their sums (and graphs) right.

    If you don’t care about such stuff I’d suggest you don’t have any objection to bad science?

  45. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    “Surely a model’s ability to *agree* with the past is one of the tests. If a model cannot agree with the past, given the correct starting information, then it cannot be relied upon to predict the future.”

    Of course it is. I don’t understand why you’re even saying it. I said myself “A model’s ability to predict the past is not a test of its ability to predict the future nor the present.”

    “However, if a model does agree with the past, then it is a tool which can be used to *predict* the future.”

    Not necessarily at all.

    “As to models being run thousands of times, this is a standard procedure. It’s known as the Monte Carlo Method – you run the model many times, altering the input variables slightly each time, to detect how sensitive the model is. The idea is that the most likely outcome can be determined, although as Professor Wunch mentioned in TGGWS, it is often the most contreversial outcome which gets reported.”

    Then you still have a thing which only robustly predicts the past. It’s only an improvement on “garbage in / garbage out” by being “garbage squared in, garbage out”. Time will tell, perhaps, how accurate the current models are. But todays measurement of the climate only tells us how safe the assumptions we made 10 or 20 years ago are.

  46. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    EssTee @ 45 –

    “However, you do actually appear to be doing so when @ 13 you declare – The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though”

    Is that the *best* you can do? Read it again. Neil says “computer models are extremely widely used in science and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.” Just as I wouldn’t dismiss all use of pnumatic drills in the construction industry, I wouldn’t want people installing windows in my house to use them.

    Erm….perhaps you should have read the whole of my post before you snapped back at me. I was simply explaining here how a scientifically-minded individual would naturally infer from your statement @ 13, in the abscence of any accompanying boundary conditions, that you were questioning the general validity of mathematical models (of which computer models are a subset).

    Later on in my post I granted that this may have been a misunderstanding, and invited you to clarify your position by defining the limits within which you would consider mathematical models to be adequate representations for physical systems, with special reference to climate models.

    Perhaps you would now like to address this.

  47. mfuzz said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    #43
    “it would be rather unusual to discover a thermodynamic system whose macroscopic properties are non-computable”

    What? Like the universe? (Rigorous mathematical proof – see any text on quantumn information theory).

    I think you mean predictable, not computable.

  48. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    “Oh and Ross McKitrick is an economist from a Free-Market thinktank.”

    S’funny, you know. Dean will only respond to an argument which undermines his own if there’s a hint of a relationship between the person who made it, and a “right wing free-market think tank” – as if that was all he needed to say.

  49. Deano said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    No ST – I was just pointing out to Mark that McKitrick is an Economist – he’s no scientist – the one time he tried to dabble in the field he made a fool of himself by getting his units mixed up. In case anyone might wonder an economist might stray into the science of global warming then I think that the fact he works for a free market thinktank ( the Fraser Institute) which gets funds from Exxon might provide something of an explanation)

    Incidentally ST

    Gotcha!

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&start=120

  50. EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    “No ST – I was just pointing out to Mark that McKitrick is an Economist ”

    And I was just pointing out that the only criticism of your argument you’ve responded to is this one, where you can say “right-wing free-market think-tank”.

    The rest of the time, you can’t.

    “Gotcha!”

    Great, after hectoring me across five threads to “defend” the film, I say I’m not interested, and you think this proves anything other than your own pathological inability to have any kind of conversation?

  51. Deano said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:04 am

    ST wrote:
    “I have been critical of criticism of the film, in scientific terms – amongst others – on the blog site.”

    I replied:

    “What on earth is that if its not “defending the film???”
    ……………………….

    So now you imply that you”ve never defended the film!!!!

    the trouble with trying to re-write history is its there for all to see ST..

    The reason you can’t defend the film now is because you can’t – It’s garbage as far as the ‘science’ it contains which is made crystal clear by their reliance on faked graphs and data in a desperate attempt to fool the public. Everyone who remains associated it is now fatally compromised – and I’m afraid this includes you…..

    It was you that said this wasn’t it?:

    “Dean’s graph isn’t yet convincing me that the case against Durkin is proved. Nasa produce more than one graph, and it looks to me like the difference between the two might be explained by the use of different averages, and different averaging.”

    This pathetic defence doesn’t stack up ST – they’ve admitted thay faked a graph when they had to put out a dramatically different version in the second broadcast.

    They were caught out – and you now look rather silly…

    Gotcha!
    ………..

  52. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:33 am

    mfuzz @ 43,

    Erm , rather obviously, NOT like the Universe! And I did say it would be rather unusual, not impossible. I was only requesting that EssTee provide a proof if he / she were making a claim of non-computability with regard to the evolution of climate properties.

    My point, which I keep re-stating and have as yet received no answer to, is that EssTee seems to believe that some mathematical models are useful for making predictions:

    @ 40 – Nobody dismissed computer models out of hand

    But it would appear that she (I don’t know why but I feel EssTee is a ‘she’, though it’s unimportant) deosn’t believe that any clmate models fall into this category:

    @ 13 – “#10, Think of looking at weather like looking at a Lorenz attractor, close up it’s non repeating and has chaotic behaviour, but if you look at it from a distance it’s recognisable, so generalisations about it’s shape and form can be made.”

    That’s great, and makes for pretty graphics. The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though. The lorenz argument only proves that some features of a chaotic system behave more predictably than others, not “by stepping back you get a better view”.

    Inference: Here it seems that EssTee is saying that climate cannot be modelled mathematically in a predictable fashion, as she was criticising jackpt’s explanation of how a chaotic system could have predictable macroscopic properties.

    If this inference is correct, I would like EssTee to supply the basis for her assertion, in terms of a mathematical demonstration of why climate trend cannot be modelled predictably.

    If, however, the inference is incorrect, I would like EssTee to explain why she believes that no existing model is a good predictor of climate trend. She would here also need to explain what she considers to be a good predictor – i.e. one that is able to validate, for practical purposes, its underlying hypothesis regarding contributing factors to climate evolution.

    And given her statement @ 40:

    This statement is also meaningless. You might as well just say “no, they work, honest, my mate told me”.

    ….any argument that relies on a claim of ‘controversy’ based on the say-so of someone she considers to be an expert will not be satisfactory.

    The third option is for EssTee to say that in fact she does believe that at least one climate model gives good enough results to be able to validate its underlying hypothesis.

    The fourth option is for EssTee to admit that she has insufficient knowledge to make an analytical judgement on the validity of climate models, and that her judgement is simply based on intuition or the recommendations of others.

    The fifth option is for EssTee to engage in rhetorical jousting by trying to claim that my argument is fallacious – when in fact, I am not arguing, merely asking her to clarify her exact position with regard to climate models. Or she may try to divert attention away from the question, or simply ignore it. Or argue about definitions. Or she will ask me to define what a good predictor is – when in fact it is incumbent upon her to do this given that she is the one who appears to be denying the validity of existing mathematical climate models, and given that this question is aiming to get her to clarify her position.

  53. EssTee said,

    March 19, 2007 at 2:40 am

    “That’s great, and makes for pretty graphics. The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though. The Lorenz argument only proves that some features of a chaotic system behave more predictably than others, not “by stepping back you get a better view”.

    Inference: Here it seems that EssTee is saying that climate cannot be modelled mathematically in a predictable fashion, as she was criticising jackpt’s explanation of how a chaotic system could have predictable macroscopic properties.”

    But you’ve confused 1: climate cannot be modelled mathematically with 2: Jackpts explanation is redundant. 2 does not imply 1. Therefore your inference is false. You’ve invented the first assertion, and also mischaracterised the argument.

    “If, however, the inference is incorrect, I would like EssTee to explain why she believes that no existing model is a good predictor of climate trend. She would here also need to explain what she considers to be a good predictor – i.e. one that is able to validate, for practical purposes, its underlying hypothesis regarding contributing factors to climate evolution.”

    Looking back to the statement you seem to have so much trouble with, I could equally pose you with similar “inferences” – such as “why is it necessarily true that if we can make predictions about the behaviour of a specific chaotic closed system that we can make predictions about the climate?” My point about the Lorenz example was that the predictability varies across the simulation whereas Jackpt’s argument seemed to imply that simply “zooming out” revealed the bigger picture – as though predictability was a function of scale. If that’s true, it’s mundane; it’s necessarily easier to be certain about a broad range of outcomes than a narrower set.

    Why would I need to provide the specification for a test of a climate model in order to legitimately point out that existing models fail to predict future climate? It’s up to the designers of a model to explain why and how they think it explains climate. As is mentioned above, the first test of a climate model must be a successful prediction of the past. But, the research presented by the IPCC seems to depend on Mann’s “hockey stick” reconstruction, which there are serious problems with. Hence, I think it’s failed that test.

    In the imaginary world in which I am ruler by divine right, I would be more than happy to spend vast sums of money researching climate, including building hundreds of GCMs. But not GCMs whose sole purpose is to sustain Chicken Little bureaucracies without exhaustive testing. The case for GCMs has yet to be proved. GCM researchers suggest that we can expect between 1 and 6 degrees warming by the end of the century. They might as well just predict that there will be weather.

  54. Bob O'H said,

    March 19, 2007 at 6:25 am

    mfuzz @ 56:
    It then follows that models which give the lowest variance give the greater predictive power.
    No, clearly not, otherwise we would give the answer “42”. Except for contrarians who think the answer is 17.

    In general, predictive models need to balance variance against bias: there are concepts like PMSE (Predictive Mean Squared Error – don’t ask!) to help us do this.

    Everyone: there’s a post on Panda’s Thumb that is very relevant:
    www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/03/the_deniers_of_1.html
    (the evolution/ID slant is because that’s what PT is usually focussed on)

    Bob

  55. Mark Frank said,

    March 19, 2007 at 6:49 am

    What I’d like to see you provide is a convincing body of work in the peer-reviewed literature that establishes the basis for even a minority opinion.

    Deano

    I might embark on this if you would give me some clear criteria for convincing. e.. number of articles. Otherwise all that is going to happen is that I waste an hour or two producing a list and you tell me that doesn’t count. Like when you asked me to name a work.

    Ross McKitrick is indeed an economist. I am not asking you to evaluate his credentials – I just want you to read his paper and what it demonstrates about the quality of the IPCC process. The degrees and radians was an embarrassing mistake (I am sure he knows the difference!). However, it nicely illustrates the difference between his approach where all data and software were made publically available and mistakes could be rapidly unearthed and Mann’s approach where McKitrick and McIntyre had to fight a wall of obstruction and confusion to expose the methodological flaws with Mann’s hockey stock. You can debate how important those flaws are but the fact remains they were flaws, the hockey stick had a very high profile in the TAR and was therefore passed by the IPCC review process, and it proved extremely hard to unearth this.

    Remember Mann refused a direct request from the US government to show the code he used for his calculations on the grounds it was his intellectual property. Did he think someone was going to steal it?

  56. Martin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 8:28 am

    “However, if a model does agree with the past, then it is a tool which can be used to *predict* the future.

    Not necessarily at all.”

    Really, EssTee, read what I wrote – I do try and choose my words carefully:

    … then it is a tool which can be used to predict the future.
    … then it is the tool which is used to describe the future.

    The next sentence, which you didn’t copy, was: “The accuracy of the prediction can only be measured at a future point in time.” I’m not stating that the models are accurate, but they are one of the tools used to predict climate change.

    Yes, if you put garbage (poor assumptions) in, you get garbage out. That’s why peer review is so important. Believe me, scientists love rubbishing other scientists’ work, if only because it improves their chances of getting more funding.

    Maybe I’m inferring erroneously, but there does appear to be some incorrect ideas about global climate models. In the past, weather-style models were used to try and model climate change. These models are not terribly good, because you have to make too many assumptions to run the model. Modern climate change models (note the change in terminology) concentrate on specialist areas, eg, temperature rises in the ocean, temperature rises in Antarctica, changes in cloud formation, increases in CO2 concentration, increases in CH4 concentration, desertification, sea level rises, etc. If you want a global climate change model then someone much cleverer than I has to pull all of the models together.

    As to the modelling itself (and thanks to Bob O’H) but I am assuming that the scientists running computer models have some knowledge of the limitations of their own models. Apologies for not stating this explicitly the first time.

  57. mikep said,

    March 19, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Deano’s comments on McKitrick are classic ad-hominem arguments and demonstrably incorrect. McKitrick is indeed an economist and he did make a mistake in an article because he thought the computer program he was using required degrees to be input in degrees not in radians. The accusation that he does not know the difference between degrees and radians is absurd. Moreover when the mistake was pointed out (possible to work out because ,unlike some other people for example Michael Mann, he had provided code) a correction was written and published. The regular repeating of this acusation is one of the factors taht has persuaded me that some people in this controversy are jsut not interested in the issues, but have made their minds up and are trying to win the argument by any means possible.

    You may also like to know that McKitrick is a co-author of a recent peer reviewed article in the Journal of Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics. And finally most economists seem to know more about the problems of spurious correlation that can arise when comparing two trending variables and getting a “strong” relationship (eg cumulative rainfall and inflation) than many climate scientists.

  58. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    “That’s great, and makes for pretty graphics. The climate system is not a discrete mathematical toy, though. The Lorenz argument only proves that some features of a chaotic system behave more predictably than others, not “by stepping back you get a better view”.

    Inference: Here it seems that EssTee is saying that climate cannot be modelled mathematically in a predictable fashion, as she was criticising jackpt’s explanation of how a chaotic system could have predictable macroscopic properties.”

    But you’ve confused 1: climate cannot be modelled mathematically with 2: Jackpts explanation is redundant. 2 does not imply 1. Therefore your inference is false. You’ve invented the first assertion, and also mischaracterised the argument.

    You didn’t say ‘Jackpt’s explanation is redundant’, instead you made some hand-wave about climate not being a discrete mathematical toy. This was so vague a critique of Jackpt’s response to Tanveer that one can hardly be blamed for drawing an incorrect inference. This is often the case with your observations, EssTee; they are couched in such vague terms that they lead to misunderstanding.

    Now that we have more clarity as to what you meant, perhaps you could elaborate as to why Jackpt’s explanation is redundant?

    “If, however, the inference is incorrect, I would like EssTee to explain why she believes that no existing model is a good predictor of climate trend. She would here also need to explain what she considers to be a good predictor – i.e. one that is able to validate, for practical purposes, its underlying hypothesis regarding contributing factors to climate evolution.”

    Looking back to the statement you seem to have so much trouble with, I could equally pose you with similar “inferences” – such as “why is it necessarily true that if we can make predictions about the behaviour of a specific chaotic closed system that we can make predictions about the climate?”

    It is not necessarily true. But @ 10 Tanveer said:

    We cannot forecast the weather more than about 2 days in advance and yet we are lead to belive that we can influence a chaotic coupled system like global climate just by reducing our CO2 levels? I find this argument astonishing.

    Tanveer here appears to be saying that the chaotic nature of weather / climate (he seems to confuse the two) makes it impossible for us to draw conclusions about the validity of any hypothetical model of its evolution over time. This then leads to Jackpt putting forward the Lorentz Attractor as an example of a system that is chaotic at low levels of detail but which has macroscopic properties that can be generalised. Jackpt is countering the idea that all chaotic systems are necessarily unpredictable at all levels of description. Jackpt doesn’t say – ‘and therefore, because I have shown you the example of the Lorentz Attractor, you must now accept the validity of climate models’. Rather, he is demonstrating that it is not necessarily the case that low-level chaos in climate leads to high-level unpredictability.

    Yet you leap to Tanveer’s defence with your hand-wave about the climate system not being a discrete mathematical toy. By this, it appears that you are discounting Jackpt’s example as invalid, and thus supporting Tanveer’s assertion.

    Could you now demonstrate to us exactly why Jackpt’s explanation is redundant?

    My point about the Lorenz example was that the predictability varies across the simulation whereas Jackpt’s argument seemed to imply that simply “zooming out” revealed the bigger picture – as though predictability was a function of scale. If that’s true, it’s mundane; it’s necessarily easier to be certain about a broad range of outcomes than a narrower set.

    Evidently, Tanveer doesn’t seem to buy this argument, otherwise why his complaint regarding the chaotic nature of weather / climate? As a demonstration that not all chaotic systems are necessarily chaotic at all levels of description, it seems quite an eloquent rebuttal of Tanveer’s apparent claims to the contrary. I’m not sure why you felt the need to dismiss it. From where I’m sitting, your dismissal of Jackpt’s argument is starting to look a bit redundant, actually.

    The rest of your post is dealing with validity of climate models, which is a seperate issue – I only raised this based on the idea that your statement at @ 13 was a generalised critique of mathematical models. Now that you have been more specific about your meaning this is ancillary to this particular line of questioning. I may address this issue seperately elsewhere, though.

    As a final note I would like to draw attention back to a specific wording you have used:

    “why is it necessarily true that if we can make predictions about the behaviour of a specific chaotic closed system that we can make predictions about the climate?”

    I noticed that you use the word ‘closed’ here. I prefer to use the word ‘isolated’. (Indulge me.) Now all mathematical models that produce an output within a finite interval of time are essentially isolated systems at the level of their logic and meaning (though not at the level of their medium of representation), when considered together with the totality of their input data, parameters and outputs. This is not a property that is unique to the Lorentz Attractor, but applies to all mathematical models. There are no physically isolated systems in the real world. Yes there are thermodynamically ‘closed’ systems – but this doesn’t have the same meaning as ‘Isolated’ and doesn’t imply zero interaction with the outside universe. (Hence my preference for the word ‘isolated’).

    Given that all mathematical models are isolated systems, your use of the word ‘closed’ – which I take to mean ‘isolated’ (and if you object to this please explain which definition of ‘closed’ you are using) – would appear somewhat redundant. Unless you are seeking to infer that all mathematical models are necessarily invalid as predictive tools because they are unable to perfectly represent non-isolated real-world systems. But earlier on, you took pains to emphasise that you weren’t seeking to make such an assertion. Which brings us back to the word ‘closed’ being somewhat redundant. A simple agreement that this is the case will suffice.

  59. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    A slip-up in my markup – the above text:

    The rest of your post is dealing with validity of climate models, which is a seperate issue – I only raised this based on the idea that your statement at @ 13 was a generalised critique of mathematical models. Now that you have been more specific about your meaning this is ancillary to this particular line of questioning. I may address this issue seperately elsewhere, though.

    As a final note I would like to draw attention back to a specific wording you have used:

    Was not supposed to be in italics. i must have inadvertently deleted a couple of tags at some point.

  60. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Nor was this, either –

    Evidently, Tanveer doesn’t seem to buy this argument, otherwise why his complaint regarding the chaotic nature of weather / climate? As a demonstration that not all chaotic systems are necessarily chaotic at all levels of description, it seems quite an eloquent rebuttal of Tanveer’s apparent claims to the contrary. I’m not sure why you felt the need to dismiss it. From where I’m sitting, your dismissal of Jackpt’s argument is starting to look a bit redundant, actually.

    Oops!

  61. Dean Morrison said,

    March 19, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I might embark on this if you would give me some clear criteria for convincing. e.. number of articles. Otherwise all that is going to happen is that I waste an hour or two producing a list and you tell me that doesn’t count

    — Don’t bother Mark – Naomi Oreskes has already done this and has a peer reviewed work to show for it. In simple terms she found there was no peer reviewed work at all.

    …………..

    mikep wrote:

    “Deano’s comments on McKitrick are classic ad-hominem arguments and demonstrably incorrect.”

    ‘Ad hominem” is not in itself a fallacious argument mikep. I pointed out that McKitrick is an economist, not a scientist – and therefore unequiped to tackle the task he set himself. Unfortunately for him he demonstrated this rather graphically by confusion of basic units and was left looking rather foolish. He fell at the first hurdle in his vain attempt establish himself as a ‘scientist’ – although I’m sure he’s learned the difference between degrees and radians now.

    He’d have better spent his time preparing for the heavyweight Stern report – which has efectively demolished the economic argument for inaction as far as Global Warming is concerned.

    Forgive me for making a simple comparison – your local plumber may have impeccable credentials – but don’t be surprised if things go wrong if he tries his hand at open-heart surgery.

    Incidentally the fact that the denialists have to employ unqualified help to put a case together shows how short-staffed they are…

  62. MissPrism said,

    March 19, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    I’m impressed by the producer’s spirited and well-informed defence of his position – particularly by his calling one of his critics ‘a big daft cock':
    www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1517515.ece

  63. syslinkdown said,

    March 19, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    #69 – wow.

    Plenty of people may have impugned Durkin’s scientific integrity and track record, but no one could have gotten away with impugning his integrity, temperament and… well… making him look like an angsty teenager like he does in that article. Goodness.

    # – most every other number.
    Usually I really love reading all the comments after one of Ben’s articles, but this one was an exception – and an ironic one at that. It lacked (or at least lost extremely quickly) civility, patience and any attempt at objectivity.

    I would never claim to be some bastion of calm, even-handed debate; simply reading down the comments I found myself having pretty personal reactions to a lot of what was said. And honestly, a lot of what was said seemed like it could have interesting implications or supporting evidence (were it to be produced).

    SO… I humbly propose that if we wish to continue this debate, we ought to do it in a format where the idea(s) in question are clearly spelled out, as are the standards of evidence, logic and civility. I think that would honestly be a lot more productive and enlightening for everyone involved (excluding, possibly, scholars in the field of internet flaming).

    I’d like that (a lot).

  64. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 19, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    I’m surprised to see someone so keen to highlight McKitrick’s attempt at “demolishing” the hockey stick graph.

    McIntyre and McKitrick argued that Mann’s original hockey stick graph’s shape was due to the data series Mann used. So they picked their own sets of data series – and ended up with a graph that showed a clear warming in the 15th century (almost as big as the warming at the end of the 20th century).

    i.e. instead of a flat line along the hockey stick, theirs showed a significant kink.

    In the debate that followed three independent sets of researchers studied both graphs.

    1) They found McIntyre and McKitrick’s programme had a bug which confused radians with degrees. McIntyre and McKitrick were forced into publishing a correction.

    2) The researchers found that Mann’s original selection of data series did indeed have a small impact. Select a different set of data series and you get a slightly different result. But they found that the selection used by McIntyre and McKitrick was far more distorting. To achieve their “kinked” hockey stick, McIntyre and McKitrick had needed to arbitrarily leave out certain sets of data.

    3) The three independent groups then repeated the process, removing both the biases from Mann’s selection and the biases from McIntyre and McKitrick. They came out with graphs far more similar to Mann’s original hockey stick. The only way to recreate McIntyre and McKitrick’s kink was to deliberately ignore some data series.

    Ironically, McIntyre and McKitrick’s attempt to demolish the hockey stick graph ultimately had the opposite effect – their initial paper prompted a wide range of independent re-analyses of the data. Since then there have been nearly a dozen more replications of the process, each time using different data series and different statistical methodologies. (there’s a full list at www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11 )

    In every case the outcome is similar graphs to Mann’s original hockey stick. Not identical, but with the same relative flatness for 900 years followed by a sharp upturn in just a few decades at the end.

    Far from being discredited, the hockey stick graph has been reaffirmed time and again.

  65. MissPrism said,

    March 19, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Syslink, are you suggesting that the blame for making Durkin look childish should fall on those who point out that he threw a sweary tantrum, rather than on Durkin himself for throwing a sweary tantrum?
    That’s an interesting way to look at things.

  66. GMcP said,

    March 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    #5,24: Thanks for the link to Chris Merchant’s presentation – well worth repeating.
    www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris

    He makes an incorrect (but reasonable) assumption about the source of the “solar activity” graph. Otherwise it’s brilliant.
    www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/a-much-more-eloquent-rebuttal-of-tggws/

  67. tmitsss said,

    March 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    There is no Global Warming Swindle, because there was no Medieval Warm Period and no Little Ice Age, We know this because Michael Mann told us so.

    So if there was a Medieval Warm Period and and a Little Ice Age, Prof. Mann might be wrong.

    I’ll go with the MWP and LIA, until I have better proof than Mann can deliver that they didn’t exist. .

    Its amazing that the science on this is so thin.

  68. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    syslinkdown @ 70 –

    {embarassed cough}

    Yeah, sorry about my part in that. But occasionally when someone comes onto a science board and dismisses people’s arguments with vague, hand-waving rebuttals, I just have to give in to the urge to try to pin them down. I know, it’s a terrible failing. I ought to just ignore them.

  69. EssTee said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    “You didn’t say ‘Jackpt’s explanation is redundant’, instead you made some hand-wave about climate not being a discrete mathematical toy.”

    And the point remains – climate is not a lorenz attractor..

    “Now that we have more clarity as to what you meant, perhaps you could elaborate as to why Jackpt’s explanation is redundant?”

    For a fourth time? It is redundant because the climate is not a lorenz fractal. Perhaps you might make a convincing argument that JAckpt’s explanation is valid?

    “Jackpt is countering the idea that all chaotic systems are necessarily unpredictable at all levels of description. Jackpt doesn’t say – ‘and therefore, because I have shown you the example of the Lorentz Attractor, you must now accept the validity of climate models’. Rather, he is demonstrating that it is not necessarily the case that low-level chaos in climate leads to high-level unpredictability.”

    He doesn’t demonstrate it in the climate, he demonstrates it in a lorenz attractor. He might as well show it in a cake.

    “This is not a property that is unique to the Lorentz Attractor, but applies to all mathematical models. There are no physically isolated systems in the real world.”

    And so how does this quash my point, exactly?

    Climate models don’t predict climate, and do not agree, and produce a wild divergence of outcomes. That is how we know they are wrong.

    It seems the way you choose to “debunk” this idea is through sophistry. But in doing so, rather than shedding any light on the matter, you only serve to show that climate models do not provide the certainty that mud-slinging AGW-theists claim; instead of explaining the climate model, you attack its criticism, and pick at it for holes.

    “But occasionally when someone comes onto a science board and dismisses people’s arguments with vague, hand-waving rebuttals, I just have to give in to the urge to try to pin them down.”

    Absolute rubbish. you haven’t pinned anything down, just responded with your own vagues, but slightly more sophisticated hand waving.

  70. tanveer said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Are we really saying that climate simulation models can predict the long term future reliably? Surely all they can provide at the most is a set of probabilities of the likely outcome of various scenarios? Also can anyone point me to an long term forecasting model of a complex system that is remotely accurate – I don’t think one exists and I don’t see why a global climate model is any different. In the 1970s scientists were worried about global cooling and the coming of another ice age, now we are panicking about the reverse problem. If we are going to act like this over every fluctuation in global climate and not tackle the real problems like poverty, AIDS, clean drinking water for all etc. then we have got our priorities badly wrong.

  71. Deano said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    ST you’re shameless –

    I showed Durkin had faked data and graphs to make a point – you tried to defend him with some muttering about ‘averages’ and ‘new data’ yet you’ve got the gall to:

    Accuse others of :

    ‘Sophistry’

    ‘Hand Waving’

    ‘Not discussing the science’

    ————

    Well I discussed the science and comprehensively debunked it.

    All those associated with the programme – and those that defended it have now been compromised as 100 percent BS’ing Bad Scientists.

    If you’ve got a good scientific case you don’t need to fake data.

    ….

    Like I said:

    ‘Gotcha’

  72. Deano said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Tanveer wrote:

    “Also can anyone point me to an long term forecasting model of a complex system that is remotely accurate – I don’t think one exists and I don’t see why a global climate model is any different.”

    How about Arrhenius 1880? – predicted a 5deg C rise in global temperature for a doubling of C02 concentration.

    He’s proving to be remarkably accurate.

  73. mikep said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Liverpool Miss has made a series of mistakes. First, the radian issue is nothing to do with McIntyre or the Hockey Stick. It arose in a completely different paper authored by Michaels and McKitrick.. The continuing attempt to implicate McIntyre in this is just false. And despite Deano’s disclaimers (I am gad he is infallible and never makes any mistakes) it is plain silly to say that putting data into an econometric program (Shazam I believe) in the wrong units is evidence that you don’t know the difference between degrees and radians. His continuing harping on this totally irrelevant issue has helped persuade me not to take him seriously (well he did say that an ad hominem argument is not a fallacy – though in logic it clearly is).

    Second, McIntyre and Mcitrick never purported to be doing an alternative reconstruction. All they did was first perform standard principal components analysis (which was what Mann had said he had done, but hadn’t) which moved teh hockey stick shape from first to fourth principal component. And then they showed that even using Mann’s own flawed approach the hockey stick fell apart if a small subset of the data – relating to two species of trees (including bristle cone pines) – were excluded. The anomalous twentieth century growth in these trees had already been noted by the original researchers who collected the data. They noted that the growth was not correlated with the well-measured local temperature in the twentieth century (though it was correlated with average global temperature, as are many other trending variables). So the researchers had speculated that the anomalous growth was caused not by temperature but possibly by CO2 fertilisation! Mann was well aware of this result because he had performed the exact same calculation in a directory labelled “censored”.

    Far from there being consensus and independent studies it is clear that the same dubious proxies are used over and over again in the so-called independent studies.

    Moreover, as one might expect if a spurious correlation is found, it seems that these proxies, which typically extend up to 1980 or so, do not track temperatures more recently – ie in the “out-of-sample” period.

    I am just not convinced of the accuracy of proxies which depend on – as Liverpool Miss implicitly recognises when she talks about the sensitivity of the results to the exclusion of a very few series – a few species of trees being able to track global but not local temperature for some subset of the period for which we have instrumental records. It seems like Bad Science to me, and also to the authoritative Wegman report.

  74. Lurkinggherkin said,

    March 19, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    EssTee @ 76,

    Thank you for that response. You know, I now feel a sense of closure. I really don’t feel the need to answer that – it speaks volumes in itself.

    ‘He might as well show it in a cake’ – LMGDAO

    Bye :-)

  75. tanveer said,

    March 19, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Principal components is not the best technique to apply to this data anyway as it assumes a linear relationship between variables and the global climate is clearly a highly non-linear system.

  76. Deano said,

    March 19, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    “well he did say that an ad hominem argument is not a fallacy – though in logic it clearly is”

    – no mikep – that’s a common misconception you’re labouring under there.

    I’ll quote ‘James’ who gave an excellent explanation of this following a discussion of Christopher Monckton – another non-scientist who thought that all this stuff was easy, and all that you had to do was to employ a bit of ‘referenciness’ to make a load of drivel look scientific.

    “I just wanted to point out that “ad hominem” is not a criticism of an argument, it is a description. Like any other argument, an ad hominem argument must be judged on its merits. In this care the merits are:

    1) The subject in question is complex and requires years of study and training to develop proficiency.
    2) Monckton has almost no training or experience in this field.

    Thus the conclusion that we should treat his climate science with skepticism is pretty well justified.

    “Ad hominem” is often treated on the Internet as a de facto fallacy, but it is not. Only if it is the sole response to a factual statement is it fallacious. But qualifying the source as part of (or prior to) a larger response is just good sense……

    Comment by James — 15 Nov 2006 @ 2:06 am”

    ……………

    McKitrick is no more a scientist than John McCririck – and demonstrated why a certain amount of basic training in the subject is required before attempting to author a controversial paper in a subject in which you are unqualified.

    To get your units wrong is such a basic error it’s laughable that you seek to defend it. It’s the sort of mistake that real scientists take a lot of trouble to avoid for fear of losing their professional reputation.

    Of course McKitrick had none to lose as far as science is concerned.

    Like I said – the denialists ( and their paymasters) must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel if they have to employ unqualified help…

  77. mikep said,

    March 19, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Deano shows very clearly that he is a rhetorician not someone who is interested in science. I will not bother with any more replies to his obvious refusal to engage in discussion of substantive issues. His own behaviour exposes him.

  78. Deano said,

    March 20, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Thank you for that content-free sign-off mikep.

    Why not join the forum – ‘EssTee’ needs all the back-up she can get?

  79. mfuzz said,

    March 20, 2007 at 12:50 am

    #61
    “In general, predictive models need to balance variance against bias”

    I said that a straight line fit, although having low variance, is not a good estimator and does not correspond to a good physical model. It is biased, but that is irrelevant, its just a model to be tested. The test is not in the simulation itself, it is in the justification of the the model. e.g. If you said 42, I would ask you what the variance was (if you said zero I would stop talking to you because you would be a moron), If you didn’t
    say zero I would ask you what your physical model was (then walk away
    knowing you don’t have one).

    The variance/bias tradeoff doesn’t change the fact that the models which give low variance have the greatest predictive power, this is true by definition. I never said that a model which has the most predictive power was the most accurate, it is the one that gives the least uncertainty. A climate simulation (done properly) says: ‘assuming this model, this is the estimate, and this is the associated uncertainty’, Nothing More!

  80. mfuzz said,

    March 20, 2007 at 1:04 am

    “Principal components is not the best technique to apply to this data anyway as it assumes a linear relationship between variables and the global climate is clearly a highly non-linear system”

    He could have put the data in a higher dimensional space which was linear. He probably didn’t though, being a thicko economist with no training in analysing complex systems, such as the economy, stock market, etc, or using statistical models, apparently.

  81. Bob O'H said,

    March 20, 2007 at 6:27 am

    The variance/bias tradeoff doesn’t change the fact that the models which give low variance have the greatest predictive power,…

    What do you mean by “power” here? Clearly not statistical power, so I can only interpret that to be a common-sense use of the term. But then it should be obvious that 42 has no predictive power: it’s going to be wrong in most cases.

    You use of ‘power’ here is just misleading.

    Bob

  82. Deano said,

    March 20, 2007 at 7:37 am

    syslinkdown said:

    “SO… I humbly propose that if we wish to continue this debate, we ought to do it in a format where the idea(s) in question are clearly spelled out, as are the standards of evidence, logic and civility.”

    Have tried Bens’s forum syslink?

    – can’t say much for the civility there – but arguments are spelled out in detail (some would say waaaaay.. too much – and you can post the odd graph or two to support your case:

    badscience.net/forum/index.php

  83. Mark Frank said,

    March 20, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Dean

    You are right that it is important to look at someone’s credentials. In fact my whole point is that we have little option in this field but to assess the expert’s credibility. But you need to think carefully about what is the relevant expertise and you also need to take into account integrity and openess as well as credentials.

    The hockey stick hypothesis was fundamentally a statistical exercise. It looked at past proxies for the global temperature, calibrated them against known temperatures, and used that to try and build a picture of the global temperature over the past millenia. No knowledge of climate modelling was required (read Mann’s 1998 paper if you are not convinced). M&M are well qualified to criticise the statistics and indeed they found flaws in Mann’s work, some of which he recognised. But the most important thing was the way Mann obstructed access to the data and code, changed his mind about what was the correct data, and generally appeared to be either secretative or (my guess) disorganised and trying to hide it. Either way it is serious. Remember that diagram had a very high profile in the TAR. A report which would have a major effect on most of the world’s economy. Incidentally I believe Mann has got his act together since then and made (corrected) data and methods publically available.

    To put this in perspective. I am not a global warming sceptic. I just think that Global Warming has become a bandwagon which is overstating the certainty. The Hulme passage above “trade (normal) truth for influence” almost admits that. Carl Wunsch recognises it. It looks like the film was full of errors and exaggerations but it contained an important germ of truth. The IPCC ought to be held up to a much higher standard of integrity than some C4 producer deliberately making a provocative film.

    Thanks for telling me about Oreskes. The brief description on Wikipedia suggests she was answering a different question – is there a scientific consensus on global warming? The answer is yes. My point is that the those scientists who are not part of that consensus are credible enough to be taken seriously.

    Mark

  84. JunkkMale said,

    March 20, 2007 at 9:34 am

    I love matchmaking.

    You guys may like to extend your engagement with these guys:

    gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/3/19/172241/238#5

    I am keen to caution against a defensive mentality… Hiding behind the veracity of science is comforting as a justification, but care must be taken that one only sees one aspect of science as ‘the truth’, and remains didactic in fighting from only that corner. These are challenges to be addressed…

    But in light of a few posts above I’d like to share this exchange I had in the Guardian the other day:

    Titles matter.

    Does an Ace beat a King? A King a Queen, etc.

    Of course, there is the small matter of the Jester.

    Because when it comes to climate science, this has become key.

    I am guessing a Professor beats a Doctor, but maybe not.

    Then there are qualifiers.

    Does ‘eminent’ mean more than ‘noted’. And in what combination?

    And is the quiet guy, who knows his/her stuff and gets on with it, better to explain than the one with a slick sound bite and speed dial to the media?

    Frankly, I do not know what to believe any more, because I do not know who to believe.

    Pity.

    To which I had what I consider a fun, but still helpful reply:

    Personally I’d be inclined to proceed by a lexicographic ordering on the following:

    1. area of specialisation (climatology > geology > chemistry > mathematics > other science > arts, etc.);

    2. level of qualification (in the UK, professor > senior fellow > lecturer > postdoc > PhD student > graduate), i.e. prefer the lecturer in geology to the PhD student in the same subject;

    3. host institution, i.e. when faced with conflicting opinions from two climatology professors, prefer the Oxford professor to the one hosted by some US big-oil thinktank.

    Sadly the majority of the other artillery exchanges mirrored those I too often see here, there and now…over there, too.

  85. syslinkdown said,

    March 20, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    MissPrism @ 72 –
    Well, I guess that in some (rare, extenuating) cases one could lay a decent amount of blame for that sort of thing on the reporting. But for my part, were I to make those kinds of comments and end up looking an ass for it, I would have a hard time convincing myself that it was anyone’s fault but mine.

    Deano @ 89 –
    True that.

  86. Deano said,

    March 20, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Mark,

    Liverpoolmiss gave an accurate description of how the attack on the ‘Hockey Stick’ was nothing more than a botched assault by denialists who were out of their depth. As she said – the data has been looked at by many people now – and entire new data sets have been added – essentially these vindicate Mann.

    Thanks for realising that ‘Durkins’ swindle was “full of errors and exaggerations”.

    However you still think that the programme contained “an important grain of truth”.

    I wonder what you think this is – and how you have determined that it is the truth. Durkin was clearly trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes – on what basis do you know think he can be trusted?

    The same goes for everyone else still associated with the film. I’d suggest that you have a closer look at their credentials – if they are still happy to be associated with a programme that is so blatantly full of ‘errors and exaggerations’ – including exaggeration of their own qualifications and standing in the scientific community – then what make you think they are any more to be trusted than Durkin?

    I think you have your work cut out if you are to establish that “Scientists that are not part of the consensus” – who produce no scientific work – “are credible enough to be taken seriously”.

    ………………..

    There guys who haveen fighting the introduction of ‘Intelligent Design’ in American Schools clearly think that Global warming denialists adopt many of the same tactics:

    There is an interesting comparison bteen creationists and denialists, and a very neat explanation of the scientific integrity of climate models in the current thread:

    www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/03/the_deniers_of_1.html

    I particularly liked this:

    “This means that if global warming deniers are convinced that the models are somehow wrong, that all they need to do is present their own results. And here we find another similarity between global warming deniers and evolution deniers: they seldomly perform the hard work necessary to support their claims.”

  87. mfuzz said,

    March 20, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    “You use of ‘power’ here is just misleading”

    A model which has zero variance has the ‘greatest predictive power’ in the sense that it allows you to predict infinitely far ahead (Given the model: this doesn’t mean the model is correct, as I said). If we had a model which was an exact model of the physical system but, for some reason, gave variance which exploded rapidly when used to predict further and further ahead, it would have weak predictive power, despite being a perfectly correct model.

  88. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Here’s a funny thing… [Stay with me here, it's confusing to begin with, but it all becomes clear]…
    ____________________________
    syslinkdown said,

    March 20, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    MissPrism @ 72 –
    Well, I guess that in some (rare, extenuating) cases one could lay a decent amount of blame for that sort of thing on the reporting. But for my part, were I to make those kinds of comments and end up looking an ass for it, I would have a hard time convincing myself that it was anyone’s fault but mine.

    Deano @ 89 –
    True that.
    _____________________________

    So I wondered what syslinkdown was referring to. So I scroll up to post #72…

    But post #72 is from syslinkdown…

    72. __________________________________
    syslinkdown said,

    March 19, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    #69 – wow.

    Plenty of people may have impugned Durkin’s scientific integrity and track record, but no one could have gotten away with impugning his integrity, temperament and… well… making him look like an angsty teenager like he does in that article. Goodness.

    # – most every other number.
    Usually I really love reading all the comments after one of Ben’s articles, but this one was an exception – and an ironic one at that. It lacked (or at least lost extremely quickly) civility, patience and any attempt at objectivity.

    I would never claim to be some bastion of calm, even-handed debate; simply reading down the comments I found myself having pretty personal reactions to a lot of what was said. And honestly, a lot of what was said seemed like it could have interesting implications or supporting evidence (were it to be produced).

    SO… I humbly propose that if we wish to continue this debate, we ought to do it in a format where the idea(s) in question are clearly spelled out, as are the standards of evidence, logic and civility. I think that would honestly be a lot more productive and enlightening for everyone involved (excluding, possibly, scholars in the field of internet flaming).

    I’d like that (a lot).
    ________________________________

    So I conclude… it is a typo, though one I was sure I’d noticed happening before.

    So I scroll to the second post Syslinkdown has linked to, Dean’s post at 89…

    But #89 is from Mfuzz… Not Deano. “Can Syslinkdown have made two typos in one post”, I wonder. So I look at post 72 – the post mistakenly attributed to liverpoolmiss, but is actually from Syslinkdown, where Syslinkdown says “Plenty of people may have impugned Durkin’s scientific integrity and track record”, and refers to post #69…

    But, that post says:

    _______________________________

    Evidently, Tanveer doesn’t seem to buy this argument, otherwise why his complaint regarding the chaotic nature of weather / climate? As a demonstration that not all chaotic systems are necessarily chaotic at all levels of description, it seems quite an eloquent rebuttal of Tanveer’s apparent claims to the contrary. I’m not sure why you felt the need to dismiss it. From where I’m sitting, your dismissal of Jackpt’s argument is starting to look a bit redundant, actually.
    _______________________________

    Something is amiss, so I check all the references to all the posts, and it seems they are *all* 2 posts out. I Ask a friend to log onto the site, save the page, and email it to me. I open it, and my first two posts are not displayed.

    The first post was made at March 17, 2007 at 3:10 am, shortly after Ben posted the article, and should appear as post #1. The second post was made at March 17, 2007 at 9:29 am, and should appear as post #4.

    The give away is that post #1 from Shermozzle says at March 17, 2007 at 3:31 am

    “Unfortunately, it’s been pretty uncritically reported here in Australia :(”

    Which refers to the last line in my post – “All this serves to do is support Durkin’s argument that the media is dominated by uncritical reporting of environmental orthodoxy, and that genuine scientific dialogue is the first victim. One-nill to Durkin then, in spite of errors.”

    I can still see all of the posts, but no one else can. There is obviously some deliberate intervention going on. This kind of thing – happening twice, to the same user – cannot be accidental. Ben can complain about untrustworthy documentary film-makers all he likes. But if he is involved in deliberately removing posts from his blog, is he any better?

  89. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Here is the post I made, which Ben, for some reason, has decided not to let anyone else see.
    ____________________________________________________________
    EssTee said,
    March 17, 2007 at 3:10 am

    On closer inspection, this article turns out to have a higher BS content than Durkin’s film.

    First graph: no comment (yet). …

    Second graph: Firstly, Connor uses a different scale. Secondly, Connors article says that there is no correlation between the two, whereas in fact, we can see that there is, and news report from the time (2000) stated that “while the solar cycle still accounts for about half the temperature rise since 1900, it fails to explain a rise of 0.4 degrees Celsius since 1980.” news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/734983.stm Did the sun suddenly stop influencing climate in 1980 then?

    Clearly, Connor is being economical with the truth here. BOTH graphs end at 1980. Durkin has not lied, mislead, or misdirected anyone. Connor HAS. But we still have to worry about the 0.4 degrees warming since 1980… But let’s pause to reflect for a moment… we’re talking about 0.4 degrees, allegedly, which cannot be accounted for by looking at the suns variation directly, not the entire of the “alarming” 1.2 degree warming since 1900 reported by Connor’s first graph… Is 0.4 degrees as worrying as 1.2? So what happened since 1980? At this point, Durkin moved on to the “cosmic ray” effect on cloud formation theory.

    Third graph: Connor compares Durkin’s IPCC graph to the famous “hockey stick” graph, which was famous for not accounting for the medieval warm period, nor the little ice age, which there is abundant evidence for being global phenomenon. Serious errors were found by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick:

    “The “hockey stick” shaped temperature reconstruction of Mann et al. [1998,
    1999] has been widely applied. However it has not been previously noted in print
    that, prior to their principal components (PCs) analysis on tree ring networks, they
    carried out an unusual data transformation which strongly affects the resulting
    PCs. Their method, when tested on persistent red noise, nearly always produces a
    hockey stick shaped first principal component (PC1) and overstates the first
    eigenvalue. In the controversial 15th century period, the MBH98 method
    effectively selects only one species (bristlecone pine) into the critical North
    American PC1, making it implausible to describe it as the “dominant pattern of
    variance”. Through Monte Carlo analysis, we show that MBH98 benchmarks for
    significance of the Reduction of Error (RE) statistic are substantially under-stated
    and, using a range of cross-validation statistics, we show that the MBH98 15th
    century reconstruction lacks statistical significance.”

    www.climate2003.com/pdfs/2004GL012750.pdf

    There is some further interesting commentary on this graph by McIntyre at www.climate2003.com/blog/050202.scorecard.htm

    The graph Connor uses simply isn’t reliable enough to make statements about how reliable Channel4/Durkin are, let alone how warm the 11-1800s were.

    Connor hasn’t checked the credibility of his own sources yet rushes into a hatchet job, along with everyone else on this bandwagon, sadly, including the good Dr Goldacre. In an effort to discredit Durkin, Connor simply grabs any contradicting “evidence” he can find. But in doing so, he has to pretend that scientific certainties exist. All this serves to do is support Durkin’s argument that the media is dominated by uncritical reporting of environmental orthodoxy, and that genuine scientific dialogue is the first victim. One-nill to Durkin then, in spite of errors.

  90. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    If anyone is having trouble believing this, scroll to you posts #27, where I say

    __________________________________#
    EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Gherkin – “Your opinion that there have been ‘histrionics’ about this film does not negate the perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at it.”

    Sure. But if you look at the title of this web page, you will see that it is a blog site, and thus my comments to this thread are about the article at the top. See… Right up there it says:

    “It had been so slaughtered by the time Friday came around that there was no way I could write about the Global Warming documentary with any poise, since it had all been done to death. Steve Connor in the Independent was truly exemplary, and in case you missed it, here it is. Go sister.”

    There follows the graphs from the independent, about which I make some comments.

    So while there may be some “perfectly valid scientific criticisms that have been levelled at” the film, Ben’s article, and the article it referred to, weren’t.

    You don’t understand that, don’t you? It’s quite simple.
    __________________________________________

    At the time, I thought that my comments were visible.

    Or, for more my post at #44 – where I refer to the links in the removed post….

    _______________________________
    EssTee said,

    March 18, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    “Please could you clarify your position?”

    The statement (“Climate models … are all tested against the real world and are only used if they pass enough tests to be considered valid.”) is not meaningful. It does not describe the test in any sense.

    A model’s ability to predict the past is not a test of its ability to predict the future nor the present, and models are run thousands, and thousands of times, so we only get to see the successes, but that’s not necessarily a representation of “the state of the art”.

    The third graph in the independent article at the top of this page is from a model, failed to match the historical record (LIA and MWP), has been thotoughly criticised (see my post for some links), yet obviously has passed some form of test, including peer review, and is an icon of the AGW movement… There is something very wrong with “the test”.

    ____________________________________

  91. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Well, the front page is still only reporting 96 comments, and this will show as the 101st on my screen. I don’t seem to be able to repost my original comments here, but if you want to read them, they are in teh “TGGWS – deleted comments” thread on the badscience forum.

  92. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    “Have you tried clearing your browser cache?”

    Err, yeah, but no amount of cleaning my borwser cache is gogin to explain how two of my posts have been deleted after they have been referred to by another poster.

    IE

    “All this serves to do is support Durkin’s argument that the media is dominated by uncritical reporting of environmental orthodoxy, and that genuine scientific dialogue is the first victim.” (my quote in the real post #1) was followed by ““Unfortunately, it’s been pretty uncritically reported here in Australia” – Shermozzle in the apparent post #1.

    It’s got nothing to do with my browser cache.

  93. jackpt said,

    March 20, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    The strange thing is that your comment numbers appear different:

    Well, the front page is still only reporting 96 comments, and this will show as the 101st on my screen.

    That’s very strange.

  94. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Furthermore, my attempts to repost them here have been unsuccessful.

  95. Deano said,

    March 20, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Since you’ve now put your posts on the main forum – and they are pretty inconsequential C&P’s – I can’t believe Ben would have deleted them…

    I didn’t see your ‘first’ one when I made my post # 2. at 4.27 on Sat – or I would have responded to it ST – believe me..

    Oh – and by the way…

    Gotcha!

  96. EssTee said,

    March 20, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    Maybe a better title for this article would be –

    “EDIT where EDIT is due”.

  97. Deano said,

    March 21, 2007 at 12:06 am

    “But we can see that Shermozzle saw the post, he replies to it. His comments make no sense if they are about Ben’s article, and it uses exactly the same words.”

    absolute nonsense ST – what on Earth are you on? Shermozzle’s post makes perfectly good sense in itself.

    .. and you do realise that Ben or a robot has to delete Spam don’t you? I wouldn’t read too much into a post count.

    and by the way :

    Gotcha!

  98. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 21, 2007 at 10:24 am

    i cant be bothered to read through what youve said here esstee, but i have never deleted anything which has appeared in this discussion, so whatever explanation you may have for whatever youre explaining is these incredibly long posts, it’s not that. you have correctly deduced that accusing me of blog impropriety is the only way you will be able to get me to pay any attention to you, but please don’t do it again, i’d really rather not have people around who will drop to that kind of level to try and draw me into their squabbles.

  99. EssTee said,

    March 21, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Ben. I’m not telling you how to run your blog – you can delete what you like. If you can;t be bothered to read the long posts here it is in summary…

    1. I can see my posts.
    2. No one else can.
    3. People have replied to my posts, using the same language..
    4. Therefore they were there.

  100. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 21, 2007 at 10:43 am

    esstee, nothing has ever appeared on this page and been removed.

    nothing.

    i dont have the time or the interest.

    i ask this with great trepidation, but are you seriously suggesting that the first reply on this page, which i see is “Unfortunately, it’s been pretty uncritically reported here in Australia” is evidence that someone else can see your post and replied to it? jesus, i cannot believe you have drawn me into this…

  101. MartinH said,

    March 21, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Haven’t seen the C4 documentary, but I can see the independent article that Ben’s posted above. From the graphs looks like the C4 doc used some old rubbish assertions, and the independent published the old rubbish refutations.

    Obvious ones being the bottom graphs; neither are anywhere near current. The independent’s solar/temp graph has a convenient change of scale and cutoff (ha “no correlation”? yeah right). And that’s exemplery? The standard of public scientific debate continues to… stagnate.

    Time to go and live on an island somewhere. I don’t care if it’s low lying.

  102. MartinH said,

    March 21, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Just thought I’d try and bring the comments back to subject :-)

  103. Deano said,

    March 21, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I can only assume ST’s antics are an elaborate distraction from the fact that she’s been shown up.

  104. Despard said,

    March 21, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    So have the posts been deleted or not? I don’t get it.

    ST, can you post (on the forums perhaps) a sceengrab of how the blog appears to you?

  105. Deano said,

    March 21, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I’d suggest that it would probably would be a better idea to drop it -

  106. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 21, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    no really, let’s spend a lot of time on it, all of us.

    esstee you have my full attention, how can i help you?

  107. mikep said,

    March 21, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Re 93. I see Deano is still putting out content -free accusations about the hockey stick. He knows perfectly well that the radians degrees issue has nothing to do with the hockey stick or Stephen Macintyre, so to say that Liverpool Miss is correct is close to lying. I summarised the criticisms of the hockey stick briefly and he never made any substantive comments on them. He should know that the authoritative Wegman report, whose author is a statistician of unimpeachable standing, said that all MacIntyre and McKitrick’s points were valid. His statement that there are other independent studies that find similar results ignores the fact that those studies mainly re-use some of the dubious proxies that are the centre of the controversy (and anyway is no excuse for the bad science of the original hockey stick), or the bad behaviour of preventing independent replication of the original results). Perhaps he would like to tell us exactly which study he has in mind and then we can have a rational debate not name-calling and smears.

  108. EssTee said,

    March 21, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    “esstee you have my full attention, how can i help you?”

    The comments which are not being displayed are:

    id=”comment-11904″
    id=”comment-11909″
    id=”comment-12029″
    id=”comment-12030″

    There are a few others too. Perhaps you’d like to have a look at these on the WP database? It’s very unusual that I should be able to see the page source, and get something very different to everyone else.. The page source is not coming from my cache.

  109. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 21, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    mikep said: “He knows perfectly well that the radians degrees issue has nothing to do with the hockey stick or Stephen Macintyre”

    I stand corrected on this. The trivial radians/degrees error was indeed in another foray by McKitrick into the climate arena.

    mikep said: “He should know that the authoritative Wegman report, whose author is a statistician of unimpeachable standing, said that all MacIntyre and McKitrick’s points were valid.”

    You’ve worded this very carefully and very cleverly.

    The Wegman Report (not sure it merits the description “authoritative”, seeing as it was for the US Congress) investigated the statistical methodology behind the hockey stick graph. Not the data, or the inference – just the statistical techniques.

    It did indeed generally agree that MacIntyre and McKitrick’s technical points were valid.

    But the Wegman Report did not explore whether these issues actually had an impact on the end result – i.e. is the basic shape of the hockey stick graph changed?

    So, mikep, what happens to the hockey stick graph when re-run using the techniques Wegman called for? You know the answer, which is why you steered so clear of bringing it up!

    There is no material difference whatsoever.

    The graph looks identical.

    After all that scrutiny from Wegman and the US Congress, bugger all has changed.

  110. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 21, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Can’t seem to post graphs directly, but here’s the link – graph (d) at:

    www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/recon/WEB_figure5.jpg

    Red shows the original hockey stick graph, using the original techniques that Mann et al have accepted are inferior.

    Green shows the revised graph, using the better techniques that Wegman called for.

    (from a rerun of Mann et al by Wahl and Amman (2006) www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/CODES_MBH.html )

    Spot the difference.

  111. Deano said,

    March 21, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Tanveer,

    perhaps if Mckeith had Exxon funding a global disinformation campaign for here perhaps there would be more ‘scepticism’ of the aguments against her???

    mikep – LM has a better understanding of the history of the ‘hockey stick’ so I’ll happily defer to her.

    However – I stand by my point that McKitrick’s ventures outside his field have been fatally compromised by his inability to get his units right. Of course – working for an extreme ‘Free Market’ lobby group – he knew waht he needed to ‘prove’ so he probably didn’t bother to check his work once it had produced the required results.

    In any case we should be taliking about ‘hockey sticks’ – the evidence has been indepedently corroborated from many other sources now – here are some comparison graphs of just half a dozen of them with Mann – McKitrick is definitely the ‘odd one out’ – I don’t hink you have to think hard to work out why…

    Hockey Sticks:

    img109.imageshack.us/img109/7175/hockeystickstq2.jpg

    Here’s what a heavyweight economist has to say on the issue:

    “Box 1.1 The “Hockey Stick” Debate.
    Much discussion has focused on whether the current trend in rising global temperatures is unprecedented or within the range expected from natural variations. This is commonly referred to as the “Hockey Stick” debate as it discusses the validity of figures that show sustained temperatures for around 1000 years and then a sharp increase since around 1800 (for example, Mann et al. 1999, shown as a purple line in the figure below).
    Some have interpreted the “Hockey Stick” as definitive proof of the human influence on climate. However, others have suggested that the data and methodologies used to produce this type of figure are questionable (e.g. von Storch et al. 2004), because widespread, accurate temperature records are only available for the past 150 years. Much of the temperature record is recreated from a range of ‘proxy’ sources such as tree rings, historical records, ice cores, lake sediments and corals.

    Climate change arguments do not rest on “proving” that the warming trend is unprecedented over the past Millennium. Whether or not this debate is now settled, this is only one in a number of lines of evidence for human induced climate change. The key conclusion, that the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to several degrees of warming, rests on the laws of physics and chemistry and a broad range of evidence beyond one particular graph.

    Recent research, for example from the Ad hoc detection and attribution group (IDAG), uses a wider range of proxy data to support the broad conclusion that the rate and scale of 20th century warming is greater than in the past 1000 years (at least for the Northern Hemisphere). Based on this kind of analysis, the US National Research Council (2006)11 concluded that there is a high level of confidence that the global mean surface temperature during the past few decades is higher than at any time over the preceding four centuries. But there is less confidence beyond this. However, they state that in some regions the warming is unambiguously shown to be unprecedented over the past millennium.”

    Nicolas Stern:

    www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/9A2/80/Ch_1__Science.pdf

  112. Despard said,

    March 21, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    tanveer, #123: “Doesn’t this debate show that the human-induced gloabl warming theory is far from proven?”

    Not in the slightest. You have to distinguish between a scientific debate and a political debate. This debate is, as I have noted before, very similar in some ways to the creationism/evolution debate. The science is done and the verdict is in: in all likelihood humans have caused the planet to get warmer. And people are right to be skeptical, but I have yet to see a convincing case showing that all the *independent* lines of evidence for GW are somehow wrong.

    The ‘intelligent design’ lobby uses similar tactics of misinformation and deliberate lies to fuel their self-generated ‘controversy’ – a controversy which does not exist as far as scientists are concerned. I am far from an expert on global warming, but it seems to be that the same thing is going on here.

    NB, science cannot ‘prove’ anything. All it does is provide the best explanation for the available evidence.

  113. EssTee said,

    March 21, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    “The science is done and the verdict is in:”

    But…

    “science cannot ‘prove’ anything. ”

    Even by balance of probablities – which is not “scientific”, the science “is not in”. Nevermind the fact that the two statements contradict each other.

    If the science was “in”, then why do scientists continue?

  114. Deano said,

    March 21, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Why indeed ST…

    on your reasoning there is point in paying any attention to them since they can never ‘prove’ anything…

    – well maybe not in an absolute sense –

    but beyond reasonable doubt – well that’s good enough for most of us in the real world to work on.

    The ‘doubt’ which is created by faked graphs and data is not ‘reasonable’ and even you have given up defending it.

    Yes – the scientists have answered the questions posed by politicians – is humanity causing global warming, and should we be worried about it enough to do something?

    Well they’ve answered the question to the satisfaction to the politicians in the world that matter – in that sense the scientific verdict is ‘in’.

    – and now they can progress to developing solutions to the problem – denialists like yourself seem increasingly stuck in a nineties timewarp – and are already receding into history…

  115. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 12:16 am

    “on your reasoning there is point in paying any attention to them since they can never ‘prove’ anything…”

    It’s not my reasoning.

    My reasoning is that if science is always provisional, then it is never “in”.

    “- is humanity causing global warming, and should we be worried about it enough to do something?”

    This is the wrong way round. We were already worried, and it was scientists who were sent off to find a reason to worry. Worry is the political order of the day. The worry came before the science. The science doesn’t exist to call it “in” – and we can check that by measuring what scientists say against what politicians say. Politicians are far more emphatic that their plans to save the world (TAAAAAA DAAAAAA DUMMMMMMMM) are the only ones which will work, and that the others are bent on sending us to certain doom. You see, the only way politicans can make trust is by creating panic.

  116. Deano said,

    March 22, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Well one thing can be sure of –

    not to trust you to to be on the jury – you made your mind up a long time ago.

    In your world Oil company reps and Marxist TV producers are the only ones to be trusted in matters of climatology and science.

    You even defended Durkin’s distortion of graphs long after he had been found out and had tried to cover his tracks. You failed to examine critically the evidence someone with a track record of distrortion, because their prejudices matched yours.

    You are no sceptic ‘ST’ – (for onlookers ST stands for ‘Sceptic Thing’) –

    you are nothing more than a cheerleader for a dwindling band of denialists.

    One day you’ll be left cheerleading all by yourself.

    Sad.

  117. Martin said,

    March 22, 2007 at 8:16 am

    “… if science is always provisional, then it is never “in”. ”

    EssTee, there are many areas where the science, although provisional, is taken as “in”. Try gravity. Einstein’s General Relativity is only a theory, but no-one has been able to substantially query it+. You certainly wouldn’t design a house without taking account of gravity, even though it’s only a *theory*.

    Yes, gravity is an extreme example, but don’t make sweeping statements if you can’t back them up.

    The more worrying aspect of global warming is that highlighted in TGGWS – who are we in the developed world to tell less developed countries that they can’t have the lifestyle we enjoy, because we’ve already scr*wed up the planet?

    + Actually, some people have queried it, but mainly by modifiying the theory; or there is “Intelligent Falling”.

  118. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 9:59 am

    “EssTee, there are many areas where the science, although provisional, is taken as “in”. Try gravity. Einstein’s General Relativity is only a theory, but no-one has been able to substantially query it+”

    This analogy does not help your argument. The effect of gravity could be seen well before anyone attempted to capture it in a law. The effect of anthropogenic CO2 cannot be seen at all, is undetectable in any single measurement, and needs enourmous processing resources to calculate, including billions of measurements, thousands of assumptions, and trillions of calculations. And einstiens theory is tested to degrees of certainty which climate models can’t ever hope to achieve… it has yielded insights into particle physics which are far more certain than the IPCC’s statement of 90% confidence.

    Secondly, disagreements within physics, while being famously heated, and while it produces its own heretics, can be settled by experiments, and do not carry consequences into the political, or social world. Few political parties I can think of depend for their funding, or their ideological framework, on the laws physicists aim to detect.

    “Yes, gravity is an extreme example, but don’t make sweeping statements if you can’t back them up.”

    I can back them up. There is a difference between not being able to “back it up”, and having someone superficially disagree with something.

    “The more worrying aspect of global warming is that highlighted in TGGWS “….

    This is something I’ve gone into on the forum site. And I’m glad that you recognise it’s a problem.

    “Actually, some people have queried it, but mainly by modifiying the theory; or there is “Intelligent Falling”.”

    Dean said: “You even defended Durkin’s distortion of graphs…”

    I have never “defended Durkin’s distortion of graphs”. I have criticised people (like the authors of the article above) who rush to make statements about the film and the people behind it, on data which is just as spurious, and on science which has been just as manipulated to make the case.

    The fact that you will uncritically take *anything* as evidence of nefarious goings on, Dean, reveals just quite how shallow and unimportant the scientific case is, and how it is entirely political.

  119. radar said,

    March 22, 2007 at 10:21 am

    ST perhaps your computer, HAL-style, has developed sentience and decided to delete those mysterious vanishing comments to spare the rest of us.

  120. GMcP said,

    March 22, 2007 at 10:31 am

    It looks like the spam filter killed ST’s posts – see badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2096&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

  121. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 10:34 am

    “ST perhaps your computer, HAL-style, has developed sentience and decided to delete those mysterious vanishing comments to spare the rest of us.”

    Yes. Perhaps. But the explanation Ben has offered is that it is the spam filter what done it. But sparing you from what? Your inability to scroll past opinions you don’t like without getting your knickers in a twist? In which case, my computer is a better developed sentient being than the dribbling morons posting here.

  122. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Anyway, back to my original point, which was removed by the spam filter.

    Look what happens when we take the graph in the independant article, showing that solar and temp are “not correlated”, and put them in the same scale as is used in the film…

    img411.imageshack.us/img411/498/durkinfakegraphsym7overxe9.jpg

    Clearly, Connor has taken his own liberties with graphs.

  123. Tim Wogan said,

    March 22, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I can appreciate that the scientific ethos of independent thought and open debate may sit at odds with the environmentalists creed of attacking those who argue against the orthodoxy of global warming, but there are always uncertainties in any research and too much publicity of these uncertainties risks playing into the hands of Exxon and the like who want to convince people that we shouldn’t act when the scientists aren’t sure. It’s called manufacturing doubt and PR men are love it. I would like to ask the sceptics on this page two questions: would you accept any proof that the consensus view of climate change is correct short of waiting until Bangladesh is under water and, if not, are you willing to wait for that proof?

    BTW, Tanveer: you can’t defend manipulation of statistics and misquoting of experts who don’t agree with you as an alternative contribution to a debate, however much you think consensus and science don’t go together.

  124. Despard said,

    March 22, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    #137: “my computer is a better developed sentient being than the dribbling morons posting here.”

    Oh well, EssTee, thanks for showing me the error of my ways. I guess I’d better give up the PhD and go back to hill farming.

  125. Martin said,

    March 22, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    (Jesus wept. OK, I know this is my fault for being a pedant, but here goes…)

    EssTee, you made the statement “My reasoning is that if science is always provisional, then it is never “in”.”

    All science is provisional – even General Relativity could be “disproved”. I showed you an example where the science is provisional, but is so widely accepted that it could be considered as “in”. In order to be accepted, scientific theories are tested against extreme examples. My example showed that your statement does not hold at extremes, and therefore your statement doesn’t stand up to scientific rigour. It was a form of intellectual joke, which you didn’t get (not many people get my jokes, so I’m not upset by that).

    —————————-

    I agree that anthropogenic CO2 cannot be detected by a single measurement. However, a rise in CO2 levels can be (and has been) detected by many measurements made over many years. This is indisputable.

    CO2 is one of the “greenhouse gases”. If these weren’t in the atmosphere, the earth wouldn’t have the greenhouse effect, and we’d be around 20C cooler than we are now. That figure may be disputable, but the greenhouse effect isn’t. If you dispute this, I really will lose all respect for you.

    Climate models (as before, please note my terminology – I really don’t want to have that argument again) show that if the level of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, the greenhouse effect increases and the earth will get warmer.

    Therefore, in order to prevent an increased greenhouse effect, we should try and prevent increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, regardless of where the CO2 comes from.

    Anthropogenic CO2 is a small fraction of the natural CO2 production, but then natural CO2 production balances (roughly) with natural CO2 absorption. Anthropogenic CO2 may or may not account for all of the increase in CO2, but it certainly cannot be discounted. Anything which we, the human race, can do to prevent the rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere should be considered.

    —————————

    Sorry for the long post, but two further points:

    1) If I’m wrong, and in 50 years time people laugh at me for believing in global warming, fine; I’ll take that. I’d rather be laughed at than looking back and saying, “Well, I wished I’d spoken out against the deniers. I thought that the science was fairly clear cut, and I could see some inaccuracies in the Durkin documentary, but I thought that other people knew better than I did.” (And yes, I do listen to the Now Show – respect to Marcus.)

    2) I’ve mentioned this before, but we have to take the first step. The developed world must make the major cuts. Even if such cuts do turn out to be unnecessary. And I hope that they are.

  126. Mark Frank said,

    March 22, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Mikep

    Just so you know you are being appreciated – I am still reading this thread :-)

    Mark

  127. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Martin, please take a look at the graph I’ve posted at img411.imageshack.us/img411/498/durkinfakegraphsym7overxe9.jpg

    It uses the signal from Connor’s graph, at the scale of Durkin’s. Now compare it to the Connor’s statements in the article posted at the top of the thread.

    The graph does not support Connor’s argument.

    Connor doesn’t put things quite as strongly as Marcus Brigstocke’s, but it was clearly Connor’s article which contributed to Brigstocke’s skit.

    You, like Marcus, may be happy to be proved wrong 50 years down the line, but think that kind of precaution creates risks, whereas AGW theories only create theoretical risks.

    And if those theoretical risks are only given weight by lies, then there is a serious problem, even if they are “good lies”.

    The point remains, the scientific case for AGW is nothing like as certain as is claimed. So Tim asks, “I would like to ask the sceptics on this page two questions: would you accept any proof that the consensus view of climate change is correct short of waiting until Bangladesh is under water and, if not, are you willing to wait for that proof?”

    My asnswer to that is I would like to see the scientific consensus produced. It is claimed that there is a scientific consensus, time, after time, after time. But it has never been measured. It has never been quantified. And it has never been qualified.

    A consensus is a point of principle that a group of people agree to. By the time we’ve established what scientists agree on, it has lost its scientific meaning. A scientist who thinks that man is responsible for 0.01 degrees warming is in the consensus with a scientist who thinks that humans will cause 11 degrees of warming. Such a range of views cannot reasonably considered to be a consensus. It’s not for me to define the consensus.

  128. motmot said,

    March 22, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Mark Frank (#145) I just wonder, in respect to your comment about ‘the behaviour of scientists’, what’s special about Lindzen? I can refer you to the IPCC, the Met Office, the Royal Society, NASA, the national science academies of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China and India, and the global climatological community (see Oreskes’ paper on this), assemblies of prominent current researchers who have declared that climate change is largely human-generated.

    I quite agree that developing countries should have exactly the same development opportunities as richer ones, and that is why I support the idea of market-based global contraction and convergence. In the short term, such countries can make a mint in carbon markets by trading entitlements they have no use for yet! My father, who’s a development economist, favours giving each person a fixed carbon entitlement, which they could then trade if they wished.

    Again, though, if you really want to debate the science (rather than the public perception of science), take this to the specialists at www.realclimate.org. Better still, read their archives first, to make sure your questions have not been answered already.

  129. Geckko said,

    March 22, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    If you are still advocating the Hockey Stick as evidence that temperatures today are significantly higher than at any point in the last 1000 years you really do practice BAD SCIENCE.

    This has been found to be an unsound conclusion by two spearate and independent enquiries. Ref. NAS and Wegman.

    And dare I say the irony of using a discredited chart to discredit a chart is completely lost in this forum?

  130. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 22, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Geckko said: “This has been found to be an unsound conclusion by two spearate and independent enquiries. Ref. NAS and Wegman.”

    Completely the opposite of the truth.

    Wegman found that the technical statistical methodology behind the original hockey stick was inferior.

    When rerun, using Wegman’s superior statistical techniques, the outcome is barely changed. The conclusion is found VALID by Wegman, rather than found to be unsound!

    And there have been nearly a dozen repeats of the process since. In every case the end result is a repeat of the basic shape of the original hockey stick graph. We should be talking about the graphs, plural, rather than a single graph.

    And where are the graphs that conflict with the basic hockey stick shape? There aren’t any. (If there were then dodgy TV makers wouldn’t need to fake their own graphs, would they?) Contrary to the impression some people try to give, even the discredited MacIntyre and McKitrick graph indicated temperatures at the end of the 20th Century were higher than during the Medieval Warm Period.

  131. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 22, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    mikep said: “If I were forced to trust one or other of Michael Mann or Ross McKitrick on the basis of these events I would choose the person who allowed his work top be easily replicated, and acknowledged error when it was pointed out, rather than someone who apparently deliberately misdescribed his methods and data and was obstructive about replication.”

    Mark Frank said: “I don’t have the competence to assess a proof but I do have many decades of experience of assessing people.”

    What’s all this sudden obsession with trusting people?!!!!!!

    Is this a science issue, or are you looking to marry these guys?

    Feel free to reject the conclusions of any scientist you think’s an arrogant bastard and accept the conclusions of anyone who seems nice. Particularly any nice person who has a kitten.

    Alternatively you could go with conclusions that get replicated a dozen times whenever the experiments are repeated…..

  132. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    “And where are the graphs that conflict with the basic hockey stick shape? There aren’t any. (If there were then dodgy TV makers wouldn’t need to fake their own graphs, would they?) .”

    They didn’t fake them, now, did they, miss… img411.imageshack.us/img411/498/durkinfakegraphsym7overxe9.jpg

    Changing the scales on a graph which is the same as another graph IS fakery…

    Now if there was real hard science available, it wouldn’t be necessary to fake graphs to make it look like TV makers were faking graphs, would it?

  133. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 22, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    ST, have you looked at the Chris Merchant presentation yet, the one everyone is recommending?

    www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris

    If you can’t download it or access Powerpoint then I’m sure someone clever will be able to cut and paste the relevant graphs (re Durkin’s forging of the solar activity) onto the forum thread.

  134. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    “ST, have you looked at the Chris Merchant presentation yet, the one everyone is recommending?”

    Liverpoolmiss, I don’t need to see Chris Merchant’s presentation to know that the Independant article is bad science, and uses the very same dishonest practices that it accuses Martin Durkin of.

    Don’t you agree?

  135. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Martin @ 5.54pm. I have no idea what you’re talking about, or how it relates to my comments other than you appear to have misread my post, and want now to make some loud statements.

  136. mikep said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Liverpool Miss is just misleading you. I suggest you rad the Wegman report itself, but here is a quote from the executive summary.

    “Findings
    In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis. However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians.”

    The full report can be found at

    www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    And while I’m here I only brought up the issue of trust because of Deano’s fixation with not trusting Ross Mckitrick because of an easily-made error, which he erroneously persists in saying is a fundamental misunderstanding

    I’ll return to the subject of the other reconstructions and the NCAR report later, but just note that the latter repirt said that temperatures were at a 400 year high not a 1000 year high as Mann et al claimed and no participant in this debate had ever denied taht..

  137. GMcP said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    #152:

    I’ve posted the key graph from Chris Merchant’s presentation here.
    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=33456

    I doubt that Durkin forged the 120 year chart. Initially he got the time scale wrong (read the Indie article) and used a dodgy data set for solar activity (see link below), but I think that both errors were fixed in the second showing of the film on More 4.
    scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/the_use_of_damon_and_laut.php

    More seriously, he omitted the last 20 years of data which appear to contradict his theory (see Chris’ presentation and the forum link above).

    These errors were bound to be spotted. I don’t see why he would go out of his way to look like an idiot, and to distract attention from the other points he was trying to make in the documentary. I think he simply failed to check his numbers.

    To paraphrase Heinlein: never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.

  138. Martin said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    EssTee,

    My posting of 17.54 was responding to your posting of 14.26, which appeared to be a response to my posting of 14.03.

    You mentioned consensus, solar activity and the risks of global warming. I was simply replying, and certainly not trying to make loud statements.

    I feel like the Monty Python Argument Sketch. I came here for an good argument: a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition, but I seem to have got the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

    Good bye

  139. EssTee said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    “My posting of 17.54 was responding to your posting of 14.26…”

    Then yes, you’ve not read it properly, and half of it is addressed to Tim, with the word “Tim” in there as a clue.

  140. mikep said,

    March 22, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Jsut anotehr quote from Wegman

    “Analysis
    While the work of Michael Mann and colleagues presents what appears to be
    evidence of global temperature change, the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid. Because the error and uncertainty involved in climate reconstructions is magnified with each preceding year, the ability to make certain conclusions about the climate at the beginning of the millennium is not very robust. This is even less robust considering the inability to actually calculate an accurate uncertainty for these reconstructions. Additionally, the work of Esper, Von Storch and Moberg make valid arguments for the inclusion of low-frequency proxies as well as the inability of PCA to effectively measure variations on a multi-centennial scale. This pitfall of PCA is further complicated by its tendency for misuse during the calibration process, specifically the decentering of the mean that McIntyre and McKitrick mention.”

    And a bit later on

    “The point being made with Figures 4.6 and 4.7 is that if there are hockey sticks in the
    underlying data and if they are decentered, then the CFR methodology will selectively
    emphasize them. Similarly, if there are ‘hockey sticks’ in the data series and the
    remainder of the data are uncorrelated noise, then the CPS method will also emphasize the ‘hockey stick’ shape. However, if the data contain other shapes and these methods are applied to data containing these other shapes, then these methods will selectively pick out those shapes. In Figure 4.6, by decentering the 1990 profile, we inflate its effective variance so that PCA will preferentially pick it as the first principal component. In Figure 4.7, the independent white noise will be incoherent7 and thus tend to cancel out while the ‘signal’ is the same in every proxy and will thus tend to be additive. The point here is that if each (or even a large percentage) of the proxies is selected with the hockey stick shape, then the incoherent noise will cancel and the coherent ‘hockey stick’ shape will emerge. Thus even discussions of ‘independent replications’ of the hockey stick results by
    different methods may not be what they superficially appear to be.”

    Note the last sentence in particular. I have no idea where Liverpool Miss gets her ideas from. HAs she read the Wegman report?

  141. mikep said,

    March 22, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Liverpool Miss’s misrepresentations are so outrageous that I can’t resist another couple or more of Wegam quotes, from the findings section.

    “In general, we find the criticisms by MM03, MM05a and MM05b to be valid and
    their arguments to be compelling. We were able to reproduce their results and
    offer both theoretical explanations (Appendix A) and simulations to verify that
    their observations were correct. We comment that they were attempting to draw
    attention to the deficiencies of the MBH98-type methodologies and were not
    trying to do paleoclimatic temperature reconstructions”

    “In response to the letter from Chairman Barton and Chairman Whitfield, Dr.
    Mann did release several websites with extensive materials, including data and
    code. The material is not organized or documented in such a way that makes it
    practical for an outsider to replicate the MBH98/99 results. For example, the
    directory and file structure Dr. Mann used are embedded in the code. It would take extensive restructuring of the code to make it compatible with a local
    machine. Moreover, the cryptic nature of some of the MBH98/99 narratives
    means that outsiders would have to make guesses at the precise nature of the
    procedures being used.”

    “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the
    hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium
    cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our
    background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low
    frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that
    was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses,
    thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the
    methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The
    paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims
    essentially unverifiable.”

    “Although we have not addressed the Bristlecone Pines issue extensively in this
    report except as one element of the proxy data, there is one point worth
    mentioning. Graybill and Idso (1993) specifically sought to show that Bristlecone
    Pines were CO2 fertilized. Bondi et al. (1999) suggest [Bristlecones] “are not a
    reliable temperature proxy for the last 150 years as it shows an increasing trend in
    about 1850 that has been attributed to atmospheric CO2 fertilization.” It is not
    surprising therefore that this important proxy in MBH98/99 yields a temperature
    curve that is highly correlated with atmospheric CO2.”

    MM are Macintyre and Mckitrick of course and MBH Mann, Bradley and Hughes.

  142. tanveer said,

    March 22, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    This is another interesting debate on global warming.

    ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20070316_notcrisis.pdf

    Even the IPCC admits that we don’t know 80% of what drives the climate yet at the same time concludes that we can affect it predicatably by changing one factor.

    As the debate makes clear humans have always affected the climate and always will and what is happening now is not unprecedented and we should not panic ourselves into an over-reaction.

  143. Deano said,

    March 22, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Re #152

    I’ll quite happily accuse Durkin of malice – and deliberate distortion. If he wants to sue me I’m more than ready.

    I spotted the distortions because his track record led me to believe that’s exactly what he would do.

    He did rather more than ‘get the time scale wrong’.

    Between the first and second broadcast:

    1.The axis had been shifted back twenty years -(meaning that there is now no data for the last twenty five years)-

    2. The label ‘1975’ had been removed (and in any case was in the wrong place)

    3. The shaded area denoting the ‘post-industrial boom’ had changed from 1945-79 to 1940- 1968.

    4. The period covered has changed from ‘120 years’ to ‘110 years’

    5.The arrows on the right hand side – which were there to support the contention in the voice over that ‘most warming happened before the second world war’ have been removed. (I’m still trying to find if the voiceover was changed incidentally??)

    6. the ‘Nasa’ attribution had been removed.

    The ‘Spot the difference’ graphs are here:

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2096&start=60

    ………………..

    ST’s attempt at a graph war are nonsensical by the way – she’s working on the ‘a priori’ assumption that Durkin didn’t fiddle them; this is demonstrably untrues as he had to change them for the second broadcast.

    In his own words the “big daft cock”.

  144. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 12:46 am

    ST wrote:

    “Dean said: “You even defended Durkin’s distortion of graphs…”

    I have never “defended Durkin’s distortion of graphs”. I have criticised people (like the authors of the article above) who rush to make statements about the film and the people behind it, on data which is just as spurious, and on science which has been just as manipulated to make the case. ”

    Yet on the forum she says:

    “I deny that you can claim that the graphs were fake. ”

    Stop trying to bring in the Independent as a Red Herring .

    Durkin faked graphs – and had to ‘correct’ them in a later broadcast after I complained to Channel 4.

    Yet even after this you still claim that the graphs weren’t faked.

    You’ve avoided answering this like the plague – especially where I originally asked the question:

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=150

  145. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    St you say this:

    “I’ve never “claimed” that the graphs weren’t faked.”

    but you previously said this :

    “I deny that you can claim that the graphs were fake. ”

    which you now claim is “out of context”

    ….

    So to clarify – do you now admit the graphs were faked?

  146. EssTee said,

    March 23, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    “So to clarify – do you now admit the graphs were faked?”

    No, I don’t “admit” it. I’ve shown that one of Connors graphs is misleading, and in fact almost identical to Durkins once it is put into the same scale. Other people have commented at depth about the unreliability of Mann’s graph. This leaves only one graph which could have been faked, which you have yet to prove.

    You might have more success in advancing the argument if you drop the idea that “outdated”, or “inferior” is substantially equivalent to “faked”. They aren’t.

    It is possible that Durkin used the wrong graph in innocence, and it is possible that he used it with the intention of misleading. However, you’ve yet to actually demonstrate that it is wrong. Simply throwing graphs at each other doesn’t “prove” anything. Plenty of studies attempt to measure the same thing, yet come up with different signals. There is no standardisedd way of measuring global temperature, and so we shouldn’t be suprised that attempts to do it produce different signals. There are potentially endless ways of measuring climate.

  147. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    “It is possible that Durkin used the wrong graph in innocence, and it is possible that he used it with the intention of misleading. However, you’ve yet to actually demonstrate that it is wrong”

    I have ST – Otherwise was it substantially changed between the first and second broadcasts?

    “Plenty of studies attempt to measure the same thing, yet come up with different signals.”

    The study was attributed to ‘Nasa’ – however it is not a Nasa graph – we are not talking about two different ‘studies’ – the reason for the discrepancy between the two Nasa graphs is that one has been deliberately distorted to support Durkin’s case.

    I’d like to stop this game of ‘hide and seek’ now – and this thread is overlong for Ben’s blog already –

    If you have a reply please give it on the forum:

  148. Jerkinggherkin said,

    March 23, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    There are potentially endless ways of measuring climate.

    Just like there are potentially endless ways of stretching this argument out!

  149. GMcP said,

    March 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    The source for Durkin’s temperature data is this OISM report from 1998 (see figure 12); they cite their source as NASA.
    www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

    The 2 graphs are overlaid here, OISM data in black (it’s the original version of Durkin’s graph, so the time axis is wrong).
    i157.photobucket.com/albums/t63/izzy_bizzy_photo/capture-oism.jpg?t=1173790489

    The OISM chart is broadly the same as the latest data from NASA, only it stops in the mid 80’s, and ducks a bit lower in the late 19th century.
    data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2_lrg.gif

    Here’s a comparison of NASA and OISM.
    img388.imageshack.us/img388/7374/nasaoismrd7.jpg

    Hat tip: scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/more_tggws_fakery.php

  150. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Yep that’s been commented on in the forum GMcP

    Basically Durkin’s ‘graphics team’ took a twenty-year old graph – with the axis shifted to make it look up to date.

    You can either believe that:

    Durkin got his scientific data for the assertion that ‘most of the warming happened pre -1940′ from a figure produced by his graphics team.

    He directed his graphics team to produce a graph to support his unfounded assertion.

    The second broadcast of the program produced a partially corrected graph- which is now shown to be twenty-odd years out of date. I’d really like to find out if Durkin corrected his assertion now that he no longer has a ‘fake’ graph to back it up.

    ……..

    come over and join us at the forum – we’re waiting for some answers from ST – should be entertaining….

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&start=180

  151. GMcP said,

    March 23, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Durkin’s solar graph is very similar to one published by Danish physicists Friis-Christensen and Lassen in 1991. Some of the data was subsequently corrected, but it looks like Durkin uses the uncorrected data.

    Here’s a criticism of the original paper.
    stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/DamonLaut2004.pdf

    Here’s graph 1(c) from that report overlayed on Durkin’s graph – he appears to have clipped off the bothersome flat bit at the end.
    img339.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tggwskf5.jpg

    Hat tip: scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/the_use_of_damon_and_laut.php

  152. mikep said,

    March 23, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Some unfinished business. I have quoted the Wegman report extensively and it in no way supports either Liverpool Miss’s or Deano’s account. The NAS panel report is more equivocal and failed to address the issue of the deficiencies of the original Mann at al studies head on. That part of its conclusion which gives most comfort to the Deanos of this world reads as follows.

    “Based on the analyses presented in the original
    papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting
    evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the
    Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last
    few decades of the 20th century than during any
    comparable period over the preceding millennium.
    The substantial uncertainties currently present in
    the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface
    temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower
    our confidence in this conclusion compared to the
    high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice
    Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less
    confidence can be placed in the original conclusions
    by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the
    warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at
    least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent
    in temperature reconstructions for individual
    years and decades are larger than those for longer
    time periods, and because not all of the available
    proxies record temperature information on such
    short timescales.”

    The newer evidence is

    “that includes both additional large-scale surface
    temperature reconstructions and pronounced
    changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such
    as melting on icecaps and the retreat of glaciers
    around the world, which in many cases appear to be
    unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.
    Not all individual proxy records indicate that the
    recent warmth is unprecedented, although a larger
    fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced
    exceptional warmth during the late 20th century
    than during any other extended period from A.D.
    900 onward.”

    Nevertheless the Mann conclusion was only described as plausible rather than likely and the firm conclusion was only that it is now warmer than it has been for 400 years which none of the major participants in this debate had ever denied. Moreover the report appears to accept (as plausible?) a Medieval Warm period.

    Moreover the report did not examine the new reconstructions in any detail. As I will show in a subsequent post many of these new studies re-use the old proxies which have already been shown to be at best dubious, some of them re-use discredited methods. We cannot say for sure that this is true of all of them, but that may be because it is not possible to work out exactly what they have done from the work that has been published.

    Finally I have tried to pick the bits of teh NAS report which are most favourable to Mann et al. If you dig down into Chapters 9 and 11 you will find plenty of specific criticism of Mann and no rebuttal of MacIntyre and Mckitrick.

  153. GMcP said,

    March 23, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    mikep:

    I thought that Wahl and Amman repeated the MBH analysis, taking on board the MM criticisms, and got pretty much identically the same results for the last 600 years at least.
    www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/

    Do you dispute this?

  154. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Since mikep is keen to cite NAS as an authourotative voice perhaps he doesn’t realise that they, along with every other major science academy in the world have signed a joint position statement on Global Warming:

    www.royalsoc.ac.uk/document.asp?latest=1&id=3222

    www.royalsoc.ac.uk/displaypagedoc.asp?id=20742

    “Conclusion
    We urge all nations, in the line with the UNFCCC
    principles4, to take prompt action to reduce the causes of
    climate change, adapt to its impacts and ensure that the
    issue is included in all relevant national and international
    strategies. As national science academies, we commit to
    working with governments to help develop and implement
    the national and international response to the challenge of
    climate change.
    G8 nations have been responsible for much of the past
    greenhouse gas emissions. As parties to the UNFCCC, G8
    nations are committed to showing leadership in addressing
    climate change and assisting developing nations to meet
    the challenges of adaptation and mitigation.
    We call on world leaders, including those meeting at the
    Gleneagles G8 Summit in July 2005, to:
    · Acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear
    and increasing.
    · Launch an international study5 to explore scientificallyinformed
    targets for atmospheric greenhouse gas
    concentrations, and their associated emissions scenarios,
    that will enable nations to avoid impacts deemed
    unacceptable.
    · Identify cost-effective steps that can be taken now to
    contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net
    global greenhouse gas emissions. Recognise that delayed
    action will increase the risk of adverse environmental
    effects and will likely incur a greater cost.
    · Work with developing nations to build a scientific and
    technological capacity best suited to their circumstances,
    enabling them to develop innovative solutions to mitigate
    and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, while
    explicitly recognising their legitimate development rights.
    · Show leadership in developing and deploying clean
    energy technologies and approaches to energy efficiency,
    and share this knowledge with all other nations.
    · Mobilise the science and technology community to
    enhance research and development efforts, which can
    better inform climate change decisions.”

  155. mikep said,

    March 23, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    re 175. Yes. See for example

    www.climateaudit.org/pdf/reply.ammann.pdf

    Here are a few highlights. First eh summary

    “Ammann and Wahl (AW herein) build their entire comment on two methodological
    arguments (principal components using the correlation matrix and rescaling impact on RE benchmarking), which repeat almost verbatim two arguments previously made by Huybers [2005], neither adding new justification, nor discussing, much less rebutting, anything in our Reply [McIntyre and McKitrick 2005c; “MM05c” herein]. Nor do they address the subsequent discussion in Bürger and Cubasch [2005]. Additionally, AW not only repeat results that we had previously published, but claim them as their own and then accuse us of having failed to report them. In their abstract and summary, AW make claims that are unsupported in their text, then assert our results are “unfounded,” despite the fact that results from their own code yields validation statistics (unreported by AW) that strikingly confirm claims in McIntyre and McKitrick [2005a] (MM05a) concerning spurious significance in the Mann et al. [1998] (MBH98) reconstruction.”

    And in particular

    “1. AW falsely asserted that a hockey stick shape appears in “all the summaries… of
    the ITRDB [North American] network” (emphasis added). As we pointed out in
    MM05b and in our Reply to Huybers, there is no hockey-stick pattern in any
    North American PCs in the summary in the BACKTO_1400-CENSORED
    directory at Mann’s FTP site – a summary excluding a small group of bristlecone
    sites. The hockey stick pattern is characteristic of bristlecone growth and does not
    appear in summaries in which bristlecones are not present.
    2. AW accused us of not reporting the presence of a hockey stick pattern in lower
    order PCs. In MM05a para. 12 (MM05b – p. 75), we expressly reported that the
    bristlecone hockey stick appeared in the covariance PC4, further pointing out
    (unlike AW) that it only accounted for 8% of total variance. In MM05b (p. 76),
    we expressly reported that the bristlecone hockey stick appeared in the PC2 using
    correlation PCs. Remarkably, AW presented the same observations as novel (see
    their Figures 1b and 1c) and reproached us over it.
    3. AW falsely accused us of retaining only two PCs in our analyses using covariance
    PCs, ignoring a specific discussion in MM05b (p. 76) of the impact of retaining
    up to 5 covariance PCs.
    4. AW say we failed to consider the effect of “proper” standardization on
    temperature reconstructions, while completely ignoring results presented in
    MM05b (p. 76) using correlation PCs – an equivalent methodology. AW then
    claimed – without any supporting calculations or discussion of our different
    findings – that the differences between MBH98 and a reconstruction using 2
    correlation PCs are less than “five hundreds of a degree”. However, for Case 5b
    of Wahl and Ammann (under review), which also uses 2 correlation PCs, the
    reported RE statistic (0.18) is 0.30 lower than the RE statistic for the
    corresponding MBH98 emulation (0.48) – a result which is inconsistent with the
    claim of a negligible difference.”

  156. mikep said,

    March 23, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Or perhaps even better here

    www.climateaudit.org/pdf/wa.review.pdf

    Again one quote

    “Robustness to Presence/Absence of Dendroclimatic Indicators

    One of the fundamental representations of MBH98 (and Mann et al [2000]) was its “robustness”, including robustness to presence/absence of dendroclimatic indicators. One of the central criticisms of MM05b was that (a) this MBH claim was simply untrue and (b) that MBH98 withheld adverse information about the lack of robustness to presence/absence of bristlecone pines; (c) that the bristlecone pines were flawed proxies.

    WA fail to report or rebut the first MM criticism.

    On the second point, WA failed to report or rebut the MM criticism that MBH98 had both withheld adverse information about the lack of robustness to presence/absence of bristlecone pines and had made misrepresentations about robustness to dendroclimatic indicators.

    On the third point, despite an extensive discussion in MM05b of bristlecones (and cedars), including the potential of the proxy being contaminated by CO2 fertilization, WA fail to discuss or rebut these criticisms. Their only argument on this point is that the bristlecones increase the statistic. However, this can also be done by any series with a nonclimatic trend.

    It is very obvious that WA realize that MBH98 are not “robust” to presence/absence of dendroclimatic indicators, since they realize that MBH98 results are not robust to presence/absence of bristlecones. WA argue that bristlecones should be included because they improve the RE statistics. They are entitled to argue this point (although I believe that their arguments are very weak). However, prior to doing so, they need to plainly acknowledge the base point that MBH98 results are not robust to presence/absence of bristlecones and discuss prior misrepresentations by MBH98 in a straightforward way. Instead, they omit a discussion of these points and engage in an elaborate subterfuge of using code words like “full information” rather than a clear discussion of the validity of bristlecones as a proxy and their impact on MBH98 results.”

  157. Deano said,

    March 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    you got anything re # 176?

    like a reason why all of the world’s major science acadamies are wrong?

  158. mikep said,

    March 23, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Stick to the point Deano. I have taken no position on the causes of global warming, only on what we know about the temperature for the last millennium, namely not a lot with any confidence.

  159. mikep said,

    March 23, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    It’s people like you who will not engage on issues but keep changing the subject and introducing irrelevancies who are in danger of making me become a “climate change denier”.

  160. liverpoolmiss said,

    March 23, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    This is a good illustration of how sceptics try to invent controversies when none actually exist (and hence create doubt and policy delay).

    Wegman recommended:

    – that Mann et al should use a slightly different statistical methodology. Mann et al agreed with Wegman’s point and the superior Wegman techniques have been used on all subsequent hockey stick analyses

    – that climatologists should use the world’s best statisticans in future. Mann et al agreed and in the past decade there has been an explosion in the climate-statistics specialty. These experts have been closely involved in all subsequent hockey stick analyses.

    – that data and codes should be freely accessible to other researchers. Mann et al released all their data and codes, though pointed out that other researchers such as Ammann and Wahl didn’t in fact need the codes to be able to replicate the process.

    – that scientists shouldn’t have links with other scientists via co-authorship etc, because it damages independence. Mann et al disagreed, on the grounds that this is silly in the real world.

    – that no scientific paper should be published until it has been replicated by independent researchers. Mann et al disagreed, on the grounds that this is completely bonkers.

    So what has happened in the decade since the first hockey stick graph, now that world class statisticans using the best possible statistical techniques are repeating the hockey stick process time after time?

    – all independent hockey stick analyses in the past decade (nearly a dozen) have given the same basic shape as the original

    – the discredited McIntyre and McKitrick graph remains the most outlying, with a stronger apparent Medieval Warm Period, yet M&M still indicated temperatures at the end of the 20th Century were higher than during the Medieval Warm Period.

    – none of the dozen analyses in the past decade have given any support to sceptics (hence the need to resort to faking graphs).

  161. mikep said,

    March 24, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Liverpool Miss persists in outright misrepresentation. Her version of history is demonstrably wrong. Repetition of an error does not make it the truth. Read the Wegman report. Or even read the quotes I posted. They contradict what she says. There is no McKitrick Macintyre graph to be discredited because, as Wegman says and I quoted above, all M&M were doing were trying to see how Mann et al got their results (and ss Wegman points out, even the code that was finally revealed in 2006, eight years after the original publication did not allow replication). M&M found that the Mann results were very sensitive to the inclusion/exclusion of bristlecone pines and their relations. Therefore the results were not robust.

  162. EssTee said,

    March 24, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    “I see you are studiously avoiding the forum.”

    Only if posting to the forum is “studiously avoiding it”. Once again, an entirely baseless statement from Dean.

    “You’ve attacked me on the basis of ‘religious convictions’ – which as an Atheist I find a bit strange – but is then your explanation for why:”

    Your religion is environmentalism, Dean. You’re just in denial about it. That’s why you religiusly defend any bad science if criticism of it undermines any single anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    “he clearly doesn’t want the facts to interfere with his cherished beliefs.”

    Oh, sweet irony.

  163. Tim Wogan said,

    March 24, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I’m interested in the following comment from EssTee:

    “By the time we’ve established what scientists agree on, it has lost its scientific meaning.”

    Thanks for a neater summation of my point that I could provide: if we want scientific analysis to guide political decision making, then a majority verdict must be acceptable. If we insist on universal consensus then science will never give any meaningful advice about anything.

  164. Deano said,

    March 24, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    If you were about to board a plane that you were told had a a 95 percent chance of crashing would you board anyway because there wasn’t 100 percent certainty of the fact??

  165. GMcP said,

    March 24, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    mikep #177,178: Thanks for the links – I’ll have a look at those.

    In the meantime I’d be interested to know which temperature reconstructions you would trust – for the last 100, 500 and 1000 years, say.

  166. mikep said,

    March 24, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    100 we have actual temperatures. Not sure really about any of the multi-proxy studies, but I think it’s virtually certain that it is now warmer than it has been for 400 years, because there are quite a lot of proxies and the message is fairly consistent. Beyond that the proxies are few and their interpretation difficult. 500 is too far for me.

  167. mikep said,

    March 24, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    I promised a discussion of the other multi-proxy reconstructions. Obviously it is impossible to be exhaustive but people can get the flavour here

    www.climateaudit.org/?p=967#more-967

    Note in particular how these three studies all use the bristlecone pine series which are the subject of controversy.

    “Here’s a quick summary of the overlap of proxies in three widely publicized “independent” 2006 studies. The number of proxies are all small (Juckes -18; Osborn – 14; Hegerl – 12). All three use multiple bristlecone/foxtail chronologies: Juckes 4; OSborn 2; Hegerl 2.”

    Follow the links on the left to see plenty of discussion of the other reconstructions which are claimed to be independent.

    I am not going to waste any more of my time trying to talk to Deano and Liverpool Miss, but I may respond if someone puts forward a favoured reconstruction for discussion as the definitive re-construction, or even one which avoids most of the pitfalls we know about already.

  168. GMcP said,

    March 25, 2007 at 1:23 am

    mikep: You’ve obviously done a fair bit of research into this. Can you give an example of a global temperature reconstruction for the last few hundred years which you think gets pretty close to the mark?

    You don’t have to give it unconditional support; I’m just looking for an example where you think the researchers have taken broadly the right approach, and where you have some confidence in their results.

  169. Deano said,

    March 25, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Oh yes – Climate audit by Steve McIntyre

    “Stephen McIntyre is, according to the Wall Street Journal, a “semiretired Toronto minerals consultant” who has spent “two years and about $5,000 of his own money trying to double-check the influential graphic” known as the “hockey stick” that illustrates a reconstruction of average surface temperatures in the Northern hemisphere, created by University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann.”

    info-pollution.com/mandm.htm

    www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=8

    mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/02/trying-to-create-mountains.html

  170. Deano said,

    March 26, 2007 at 12:03 am

    I think you meant ‘bin man’ ST.

    I just didn’t want mikep to labour under the misapprehension that McIntyre was a ‘scientist’ ST – you’re usually get hot under the collar about that sort of thing – I’m surprised I don’t have your support in this?

  171. mikep said,

    March 29, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Deano you are the one who argues like a astrologer. Put some content in your posts and we might have a discussion. Perhaps we might start with your discussion of the 1974 paper by Granger and Newbold on spurious regression. Given your apparent omniscience and the paper’s age I am sure you have read it and can explain why Macintyre has got it wrong. For the record I think astrology, homoeopathy, intelligent design and crop circles are nonsense and I have never voted conservative and I think George Bush’s foreign policy is disastrous. I’m a not quite classic Guardian reader. And what category does Edward Wegman, who said that all of Macintyre and Mckitrick criticisms were valid, fit into?

  172. mikep said,

    March 30, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Another fine example of Deano jumping to unjustifiable conclusions. I voted Lib Dem last time round and I am not (and never have been) a Marxist or a Trotskyite. You can never resist the chance of a cheap sneer can you Deano. Stick to issues and people might take you seriously.

  173. Deano said,

    March 30, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    “Another fine example of Deano jumping to unjustifiable conclusions. I voted Lib Dem last time round and I am not (and never have been) a Marxist or a Trotskyite.”

    I’m happy to take your word for it mikep – although you are a bit of an oddball – most people that push the denialist viewpoint are from the extreme left or right. Durkin is a fine example as a member of the ‘Living Marxism’ who pushes an extreme right ‘Libertarian’ agenda on the potty theory that this will hasten the demise of capitalism. You may wish to ignore this on the basis that you want to be fair to the chap – but he demonstrably distorts scientific data, and the words of scientists to make his point, think you’re being more than a little naive – I don’t believe that Durkin deserves the ‘benefit of the doubt’ ( but then you Lib Dems have alway been a bit soft on serial offenders).

    But I wouldn’t want to discourage you from voting Lib-Dem – they were the first mainstream party to accept the reality of climate change – and constantly press for the most radical measures to tackle it…

  174. Deano said,

    March 30, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Hey ST – where have you been hiding?

    or are the questions about your politics too embarrassing for you?

    Incidentally there are a number of very reasonable questions others have for you on Ben’s forum.

    I’m assuming your tactic is to:

    1. hide…

    See you at:

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&start=210

    if you have a better explanation…

  175. EssTee said,

    March 30, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Just as Dean thinks that deferring the scientific argument by hiding behind the “consensus” counts as making a scientific argument, he thinks copying and pasting from Monbiot articles, and sourcewatch and greenpeace webpages counts as “politics”.

    Dean constantly defers the argument.

  176. Deano said,

    March 30, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Still hiding then ST??

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&start=210

  177. Deano said,

    March 30, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    ST you do realise you give the game away when you use big words like

    “weltanschauung”?

    especially as it’s one your hero Comrade Furedi likes to use when he’s attacking Environmentalists as ‘religiously motivated’.

    www.novo-magazin.de/86/novo8612.htm

  178. Deano said,

    March 30, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Come over to Ben’s forum to discus it then ST – what are you afraid of?

    badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2024&start=210

  179. pv said,

    March 31, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    As the great Lord Russell once wrote, “lack of facts promote an argument”.
    Carry on chaps!

  180. GMcP said,

    April 2, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Hamish Mykura, Head of History, Science and Religion on Channel 4, appeared on the Today programme a couple of weeks ago. He claimed that TGGWS was commissioned as part of “a season of opinionated polemical films about global warming”, including George Monbiot’s film Greenwash.

    George Monbiot takes exception to this.
    www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/04/01/correspondence-with-hamish-mykura/

  181. Deano said,

    April 3, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks for that GMcP – funny to see Hamish ducking and diving…

  182. JohnA said,

    April 7, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Unfortunately the duped appear to be the commentors and the author of this blog. The global temperature scale is produced in secret by just three people and conflicts with the satellite record, which shows a very mild warming since 1979 and none at all since 1998.

    The bottom two records are the climate change records produced in the IPCC Second AR and the “Hockey Stick” produced in the TAR. The Hockey Stick has been thoroughly debunked as “bad science” and bad statistics by multiple independent investigators. There are not a few scientists who claim that the “Hockey Stick” may well be a scientific fraud. It certainly has no legitimacy as a reconstruction of past climate when key statistical metrics show that it has no statistical significance.

    Personally I regard the “Hockey Stick” as a key indicator of “Real Climate Change Denial” since its purpose appears to be to reduce natural climate change to a minimum while purporting to show a climate recketing out of control since the end of the 19th Century – it is a false picture of past climate but a totem for environmentalists.

    So I have no idea what Durkin is meant to be accused of

  183. Deano said,

    April 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Well done JohnA – you are by far the most bonkers climate denialist here yet.

    If you after reading these two hundred entries you have still have no idea of what Durkin is accused of you are rather spectacularly clueless I’m afraid.

    If anyone is at all interested why your comments are completely, absolutely, demonstrably wrong they could consider what some actual climate scientists have to say about the stock myths peddled by denialists like yourself:

    www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11

    If you want to dispute this JohnA – perhaps you’d like to come over to the forum – the link is above…

  184. Munin said,

    May 8, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Steve Connor at the Independent has picked up the Friis-Christensen story.
    news.independent.co.uk/media/article2521677.ece

    “After 1985 we don’t see any rise or shortening of the solar cycles compared to what we saw in the temperature [record],” Dr Friiss-Christensen said.

    The article doesn’t record Durkin’s response to this point, but he does admit to an error in the temperature graph.

    “Thank you for highlighting the error on the 400-year graph. It is an annoying mistake which all of us missed and is being fixed for all future transmissions of the film. It doesn’t alter our argument,” Mr Durkin said.

    The correction doesn’t make it onto the first cut of the DVD.

    Elsewhere, Durkin has admitted that the claim made in the documentary that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans is also false (corrected on the DVD).

    The admission appears in a subscription-only article in the Scotsman, conveniently available for free over here (though possibly not for long).
    www.citizens1st.com/story.asp?idstr=105983100

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