8 thoughts on “WaPo: No point in claims of climate ‘consensus’”

  1. There’s always been a significant pessimistic spin to the climate models. If you can’t predict a really bad climate outcome, your climate research need not be funded. They’ve been crying wolf for a couple of decades now. Nature still refuses to comply with their dire predictions. They still seem to be baffled as to why the public doesn’t respect their prognostication skills. “No really, we are the REAL scientists here. Bad things will happen. Trust us.”

  2. I don’t disagree. Arguably climatology, meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, chemistry, physics, biology, paleontology, astronomy, vulcanology, computer science, statistics, economics, political science, are all relevant to the study of climate. So climate scientist is FOR SURE poorly defined.

    And the TAR itself says the atmosphere is a ” ….. coupled, non-linear, chaotic system,” which to me means “unpredictable.”

    So one has to pick where one wants to take a stand and I take a stand against CAGW using the IPPC’s own science against it in the context of recent research that vitiates the positive feedback of UT humidity. I stay away from GW and even AGW because they are: 1) about the past; 2) rely on a temperature record that’s a total mess: and 3) all the [A]GW of the past 150 years has been a total unmitigated boon to humanity, so what’s not to like?

    So far we’ve enjoyed [A}GW and a little more we should enjoy…. well, even more. The only issue is “Will things get carried away into a catastrophic scenario?” And the answer is that the IPPC’s own CO2 radiatvie science (F=5.35X LIN (2)= 3.7WM2 = 1 degree C for every CO2 doubling) is not disaster. Up to the AR4 the IPCC has assumed all this CO2 warming would result in more water vapor in the upper Troposphere (UT) which would amplify that 1 degree C by 3 times — yes 1 degree becomes 3 degrees. But recent research shows that the amount of water vapor in the UT during historical warm periods has NOT increased, so the whole IPCC case collapses.

    I add to my case that at all times 50% of solar radiation hitting the Earth is converted into [cooling] evaporation (not heat), so the 1 degree becomes only .5 degrees when you consider hydrology.

    Thus I can throw out for my purposes all the rest.— the polar bears, the melting ice, the droughts, forest fires, famines, disease, rising oceans, blah, blah. There won’t be much Co2 related warming so these other issues become moot, at least as far as climate science.

  3. Dave,
    What would be an appropriate definition of “climate scientist” or an “expert” in this context? As I understand it, climate science is based on statistical analyses of a dimly understood, complex and chaotic system. Their predictions have been consistently unreliable, always overestimating future warming. Their theories also appear to be unfalsifiable. No possible outcome would disprove AGW theory. The warming will always come “any minute now” as the theory is constantly updated after the fact. IMHO, calling climate studies a science is quite generous. Generous to call it scientific with regards to their prognostication abilities.

  4. While what you say is amusing and I sympathize with your perspective, it’s really a libel against realtors. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the realtors’ believing what you say. Nor is there in fact anything wrong with climate scientists having the opinion alleged per se.. And if 97% of climate scientists appropriately defined indeed held that AGW appropriately defined was the case, well that pretty much would settle things: The experts agree on AGW. Period.

  5. Saying that 97% of climate scientists agree with Anthropogenic Global Warming theory is like saying that 97% of Realtors agree that today is a good day to buy a house. Both groups have something to gain by selling their perspective products.

  6. Informal fallacies of relevance SURELY have their appeal (that’s why they can persuade, and that’s why you find them tasty when they support your positions. Me, too!).

    However, I find your next points misplaced. The appeal to authority is NOT a fallacy WHEN the authority is relevant. The appeal to authority is a fallacy of relevance PRECISELY when the area of expertise is not relevant. Einstein may have valid opinions on a variety of things, but when he opines outside his field he’d better have good arguments.

    Now we have this situation where the “so-called” authorities seem to be wrong (ie., climatism). And yet they do have claim to being authorities. I do NOT find the CONCLUSIONs of Cook’s paper to be logically invalid — they follow from his presentation of the data, and if the data were credible, his conclusions would be a compelling hit to the skeptic case.

    Or to put a fine point on it, if we interviewed every person with a degree in science and read every paper written by them and they all stated “AGW is the case,” what else could we conclude but that the science is settled and that “AGW is the case according to all the experts, indeed, to everyone with a plausible claim to any scientific literacy.”?

    The flaw in Cook’s paper is not in his presentation of the data in his conclusions (i.e., that 97% of those in the 12,000 paper sample who EXPRESSED any opinion on AGW [according to our criteria], all expressed ‘belief in AGW’ [again, according to our criteria]), but rather in his definitions. Why those 12,000 papers? Why those particular criteria? There’s also suspicion that the reviewers might have been biased because they were all chosen from followers of SkepticalScience. While this on its face is ad hominem, I’ve read in a number of places particular examples of Cook’s “pro AGW papers” that were indeed the exact opposite, so I have to give more credence to the ‘biased reviewers’ argument.

    So the Cook paper is not flawed because it’s an appeal to authority, but rather is flawed as to design and execution.

  7. I kinda like strident and ad hominem when it’s on my side and going the ox of people who are stridently ad hominem. Schadenfreude, yes, but tasty.
    Appeal to authority and its cousin, appeal to consensus, are both considered fallacies. Yet they have their place in reasoned discussion. We appeal to the authority of a physician in medical situations and we even appeal to the authority of a consensus of physicians that, for example, a baby delivered before 35 weeks usually needs preemie care.
    Of course the authority has to be relevant — Linus Pauling had no special qualifications in international diplomacy — and the consensus has to be based on genuine understanding of the issues rather than a me-too or a halo effect.
    Nor can the appeal to authority or consensus be the entire argument.

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