Intelligent Design

The Credulity of those Posing as the Champions of Science

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This post is NOT about global warming.  It is about the credulity of some religious fanatics who, ironically, pose as paragons of scientific skepticism.  Global warming alarmists often call skeptics of global warming alarmism “science deniers.”  The idea seems to be that the alarmists are the sober-minded champions of dispassionate science, and the skeptics are benighted opponents of scientific endeavor.

The reality is, of course, oftentimes just the opposite, as a recent exchange with wd400 illustrates.

In a previous post I noted how the recent “2014 Warmest Year on Record” headlines were almost certainly false.  The alleged record consisted of a .02C increase when the margin of error of the measurement was 0.1C.  In other words, the alleged increase was a small fraction of the margin of error, and the NASA director now says there was only a 38 per cent chance that his press release was correct.

Wd400 picked up on the following sentence from the post:

Global warming: The only area of science where researchers report as absolute fact claims that are almost certainly not true.

And the following exchange occurred:

wd400

62% is “almost certainly” and you are accusing others of being fast and loose with numbers?

BA

So you admit that it is overwhelmingly false; just not certainly false. And that makes you feel better?

wd400

I don’t even know what “overwhelmingly false” means, something is true or it a’int. Evidence might overwhelming support a hypothesis, but are you really trying to say a probability of 62% is “overwhelming” in addition to “almost certain”?

Well, wd, let me see if I can help you out.  First, the entire context of the discussion was the probability of the NASA report being false.  In that context “overwhelmingly false” is obviously shorthand for “an overwhelming probability of being false.”

And yes, ontologically speaking, something is true or it is not true.  Either 2014 was the warmest year on record or it was not.  But this is not an ontological issue.  It is an epistemological issue.  As in many scientific endeavors we cannot know with certainty.  That is why many scientific conclusions are cast in terms of probability, i.e., “there is a 97% chance that X is true.”  That is why the field of statistics was developed to begin with.  The issue, therefore, is about the confidence with which we can say 2014 was the warmest year on record, and it turns out that we cannot make that assertion with any confidence. We now know the statement is probably false.

And speaking of statistics, historically the threshold for scientific assertion was 95% probability.  In other words, a scientist worried about his reputation would not assert anything as scientific fact if there were even a 5.1% chance that he was wrong.

Well, of course, that all got thrown out the window with global warming hucksterism such as that demonstrated by the NASA report.  There NASA asserted as fact a proposition that had a 62% probability of being false.  In other words, NASA threw scientific standards out the window.  If 5% is a historically acceptable margin, NASA accepted a margin that was 12.4 times greater.

WD suggested I was playing “fast and loose” with the terms “almost certainly” and “overwhelmingly.”  Well, those words are relative.  In this case they are relative to the historically accepted scientific confidence levels, and in comparison to those levels the terms I used are perfectly appropriate.

Now that we have that cleared up, let’s go on to discuss the larger issue – wd400’s credulity.  His comments seem to suggest something like “there is only a 62% chance that the ‘2014 was the warmest year’ assertion was false; therefore the phrases ‘overwhelmingly false’ and ‘almost certainly false’ are exaggerations.”

To which I would say, what is your point?  You are the one who says he is on the side of science.  Scientists always say it is important to be skeptical, to insist on high standards of proof for scientific assertions.  That is why we have a confidence margin (95%) that is so high in the first place.

What does it say about you that you quibble with the words “overwhelming” and “almost false” when a claim falls short of that margin by a factor of 12.4X?  It says that the science is not important to you.  It says that your blind leap in the dark religious faith is comfortable accepting any assertion as scientific fact – even if that assertion is probably false – if the assertion is consonant with your faith commitments.  And that, coming from someone who claims to be on the side of science, is truly ironic.

109 Replies to “The Credulity of those Posing as the Champions of Science

  1. 1
    Mark Frank says:

    Barry – get your basics sorted.

    Well, of course, that all got thrown out the window with global warming hucksterism such as that demonstrated by the NASA report. There NASA asserted as fact a proposition that had a 62% probability of being false. In other words, NASA threw scientific standards out the window. If 5% is a historically acceptable margin, NASA accepted a margin that was 12.4 times greater.

    The traditional p-value of 95% when using classical hypothesis testing is not a measure of how probable it is that the hypothesis is true. This is one of the first things you learn about hypothesis testing. All it means is there is a less than 5% probability on this occasion that the results were due to chance. A common but somewhat lazy heuristic in a specific situation – not a scientific standard.

    The Daily Mail being the rag it is did not give a source for the 38% quote (I googled the phrase and found many references – I checked the first five – they all referred back to the Daily Mail as their source!). So unless you have the source, we actually have no idea what Gavin Schmidt actually said and how he arrived at the 38%. However, according to this the orginal paper concluded:

    2014, 2010, and 2005 in that order, can be considered to be in a statistical tie because of several sources of uncertainty

    The 38% figure would be very much in line with this.

    It might be good if NASA were less political in its press releases and let the science speak for itself which is quite adequate – but this whole debate, which is very serious, has become dominated by politicians and lawyers from both sides.

  2. 2
    wd400 says:

    I think you are confusing p-values and the probability that something is true (really not he same thing).

    Since that conflation is the heart of this post I don’t think there is much to respond to in this .

    I replied because I though it was funny to see someone getting upset about hyperbole while simultaneously claiming 62% (if you take the high-estimate, which I guess was the only one you knew about because the Mail didn’t bother reporting the other one) was “overwhelming” and “almost certain”. These terms aren’t “relative”, 20% isn’t almost certain compared to 2%. You said something stupid and it would be better just to admit your mistake.

    As to the actual evidence. 2014 is the single highest point-estimate for global temperature in two different datasets , it is also the year with the highest probability (not a p-value) of being the hottest in those two datasets. In the NOAA dataset that probability is 48%. We know this because because these values were included in the press briefing that formed that basis of all those stories, so I’m not sure how much mileage you are going to make from all of this.

    If we then zoom out to the bigger picture, what is revealed is that almost the probability mass for “hottest year on record” is occupied by years from 2005 to present (95% in the NASA dataset, 96% in NOAA). Sounds like what you’d expect in a warming earth to me?

  3. 3
    wd400 says:

    Mark,

    The slides from the press briefing are here:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/briefings/201501.pdf

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark and wd. You are astounding.

    Faced with the fundamental dishonesty of the NASA report, you sound like turkeys: quibble quibble quibble. All the while averting your gaze from the 500 pound gorilla sitting right beside you: NASA lied and allowed the science to be subsumed by their agenda.

    Quibble all you want. No one is deceived. Your hypocrisy and credulity are manifest.

  5. 5
    wd400 says:

    The 38% number you are some focused on comes from the NASA press briefing.

  6. 6
    Mark Frank says:

    Barry

    When caught out change the subject and go on the offensive. I guess that’s clever debating tactics. The fact remains you were utterly wrong comparing the 38% probability it was 2014 with the traditional p-value of 95%.

    Any reasonable person comparing the written press release with the slides from the press briefing (thanks WD400) will see that accusations of fundamental dishonesty are way off the mark. The press briefing might have been a bit more careful with its words but it gives links to both data and methodology so it is not covering anything up. The press briefing slides are pretty meticulous in describing the significance of thedata.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    wd @ 5: Sigh.

    Yes, NASA got slapped for its dishonest press release (which is still up if anyone wants to see it) and came clean in subsequent press materials. But then we already knew that, as my post points out.

    wd, do you want to continue to embarrass yourself with your apologetic for NASA’s fundamental dishonesty? If so, I’m happy to give you a platform all day long. With every comment you drive home the point of the OP. Keep it up. Please.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark, I urge you to keep it up as well.

    From the NPR (now there’s an admission against interest) report:

    “The problem is that the NASA news release didn’t include the error bars in the data.”

    BTW, I did not get “caught out” on anything other than in your fevered imagination.

    As I said, you two never cease to astound. Please, drive the point of the OP home as many times as you like.

  9. 9
    Learned Hand says:

    Barry Arrington, January 20: “Apologies and retractions should be pouring in, but I will not be holding my breath. Being a Darwinist seems to mean always being right, even when you are not.”

    Barry Arrington, January 22: “Faced with the fundamental dishonesty of the NASA report, you sound like turkeys: quibble quibble quibble.”

    Is this an objective moral code in action? If Barry thinks you’ve made a mistake, it’s time to get down on your knees and apologize for doubting his scientific acumen. If you show conclusively that he’s made a mistake, it’s time for you to get insulted for doubting his scientific acumen.

    “Being [Barry Arrington] seems to mean always being right, even when you are not.”

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH, do you have anything substantive to add?

    Or do you just want to come off as an asshat trying to change the subject from NASA’s dishonesty and MF and WD’s defense of that dishonesty to a personal attack on me?

    If the latter, you are doing a fine job.

  11. 11
    wd400 says:

    Barry.

    I know you prefer to think people that disagree with you do some in bad faith, and are out to dissemble. So, you will probably ignore this, but, fwiw:

    It should be obvious to anyone reading these posts that you made a mistake in claiming a probability of 62% (NASA) or 52% (NOAA, though relying on the Mail to report science fairly probably meant you weren’t aware of that number) was “almost certain” or “overwhelmingly probable”. My guess is that you got muddled thinking about hypothesis tests and p-values, but maybe you made another mistake? In any case, there is no shame in making mistakes, but persisting in those errors after they’ve become apparent and requiring you to make strange claims (like the term
    “almost certainly” is ‘relative’?) makes you look foolish. Discussions are a lot more productive is people can admit their mistakes, and others allow then to do so with good grace.

    As to NASA’s “lies”. I dislike science press releases in general, and one of the many reasons the News account here is a joke is the blind acceptance comforting paragraphs in PR. But I don’t think the claim that NASA lied about their results can be maintained when the very figure you are using comes from a press briefing!

  12. 12
    Learned Hand says:

    Doesn’t seem like they’re defending dishonesty. Rather, they identified an objectively wrong statement that you made. Rather than acknowledging the error, as you are wont to aggressively and rudely demand others do on your behalf, you called them turkeys and doubled down.

    Are they wrong about your use of p-values? If not, how is pointing out the error a “personal attack”? It doesn’t seem nearly as personal as calling them “turkeys.” In fact, it seems pretty dry and bloodless: they identified a factual error in your assumptions. I think you’re personalizing this as a battle, rather than trying to bring out the most accurate information.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    WD, after my post at 7 I assumed you would stop. But you haven’t.

    the very figure you are using comes from a press briefing

    Even NPR admits the NASA news release didn’t include the error bars in the data.

    There appear to be no depths (including outright fabrication of talking points) to which you will not sink. Thank you for once again for driving the point of the OP home. More please.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 12. I understand you and MF want to derail this discussion and try to get me to defend an obviously apt analogy. I won’t let you.

    The opening line of NASA’s press release:

    The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

    That statement is fundamentally dishonest. You, MF and WD appear far more interested in launching personal attacks at me for the way in which I pointed out that dishonesty than you do in the dishonesty itself. And that, to use KF’s phrase, speaks volumes about you, MF and WD. And it also, once again, drives home the point of the OP. Keep ’em coming. Rarely do I get an opportunity like this, where I point out that my opponents are digging themselves into a hole, and they respond by digging ever more feverishly. This is fun.

  15. 15
    Learned Hand says:

    Barry, this hasn’t been a good week for you; I’m sorry that you’re frustrated.

    UD Editors: Pissy little snipes like this are amusing for a while, but they quickly grow tiresome. They are mainly an indication that you’ve got nothing else. Kindly move along.

  16. 16
    wd400 says:

    Barry — I mainly replied to give you an opening to back down from your mistake. I guess you don’t want to take that up.

    UD Editors: No, you mainly replied because you feel compelled to try to change the subject from NASA’s fundamental dishonesty and your defense of that dishonesty to another subject.

  17. 17
    Mark Frank says:

    I encourage anyone who thinks there might be some justice in Barry’s remarks about NASA to examine the source material (not the Daily Mail) and come to their own conclusions. Note that

    the press release includes links to the methodology and data

    it is unusual to include error bars in a press release.

    the opening sentence which Barry describes as fundamentally dishonest is actually true in the sense of having the highest results – even if it is a misleading in the sense that two other recent years are not statistically significantly different

  18. 18
    Piotr says:

    I would also suggest a look at this paper (Gavin A. Schmidt of NASA is one of the co-authors):

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/.....re2014.pdf

    Despite the fact that, according to that analysis, three years (2014, 2010, 2005) are in a sort of statistical tie for the first, second, and third positions (given the margin of uncertainty), and seven other years (2013, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002, 1998) are tied for the 4th-10th positions, “the 15 warmest years [since 1880] all occurred since 1998 (including 1998)”, no matter in which order you rank them. If global warming is real, it doesn’t follow that every year has to be warmer than the preceding one. The trend is clear, and accelerating.

  19. 19
    Barry Arrington says:

    MF, is your apologetic for NASA’s dishonesty compelled by your moral subjectivism? Because I have to tell you, when we objectivists see a lie, we say, “hey, that’s a lie” instead of trying to figure out ways to make it appear not to be a lie.

  20. 20
    DesignDetectiveDave says:

    Could you sue NASA, Barry?

  21. 21
    hrun0815 says:

    Because I have to tell you, when we objectivists see a lie, we say, “hey, that’s a lie” instead of trying to figure out ways to make it appear not to be a lie.

    Finally somebody honestly spells out what they really mean when they claim “I’m an objectivist”.

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    Mark Frank

    The traditional p-value of 95% when using classical hypothesis testing is not a measure of how probable it is that the hypothesis is true. This is one of the first things you learn about hypothesis testing.

    One of the first things you should have learned is that the classical hypothesis testing uses a pre-established value [a] that the [p] value is measured against. The 95% is the [a] value not the [p] value.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 22: Petty, sloppy and distracting, for a trifecta.

  24. 24
    Learned Hand says:

    Could you sue NASA, Barry?

    I’m going to feel silly if that’s a facetious question, but no. You have to have “standing” to sue someone, meaning a reason why you’re in a position to bring the lawsuit.

    As a basic rule, you have standing if you’ve suffered some injury or grievance. But a “general grievance” isn’t enough. When you just don’t like something the government does, it’s typically considered a general grievance. So for example, people tried to sue to stop the government from fighting in Vietnam, claiming that they were being injured in that their tax dollars were going to a cause they found unjust. They had an articulable grievance, but not a particular grievance–it was too general to be actionable, because it applied to lots and lots of people.

    That’s an oversimplification, and it’s still boring–sorry about that. The rule of thumb is that if your grievance arises from the fact that you’re a taxpayer, it’s too general to give you standing. Your remedy in that case is supposed to be political rather than legal.

  25. 25
    StephenB says:

    Barry @22,

    Yes. I just find it curious when people ignore the spirit for the sake of the letter, and then get the letter wrong.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 25. You’ve summed up LH’s, MF’s and WD’s antics in one sentence.

  27. 27
    mahuna says:

    The real point is that the “warmest” title is for press release sensationalism only. Ice at both poles INCREASED in 2014, and of course none of the mountain glaciers that were supposed to melt away have melted away. The world has something less than 150 years of worldwide thermometer readings, and anyone who works in the field knows that some stations consistently report erroneous temperatures. I also read somewhere that one of the effects of the collapse of Russian Communism (yay!) was that the new Russian government cut costs by closing quite a few weather stations in Siberia. These stations had consistently recorded some of the lowest temperatures in the world. When you remove their readings from new data sets, the new worldwide average goes up a tad by simple arithmetic.

    NASA, and its stable of wild-eyed Warmists, has a LOT of money riding on panicking congressmen and voters over some tiny changes in weather. Every single prediction they had EVER made (and note that the Warmists were the New Ice Age guys back in the 1970s) has turned out to be FALSE. If this were Science, the Theory of Global Warming would have died 10 years ago. But this is a Political gambit concerning MONEY, and professional prestige. And of course Control of EVERYTHING by “panels of eminent experts”.

  28. 28
    Mark Frank says:

    Stephenb

    One of the first things you should have learned is that the classical hypothesis testing uses a pre-established value [a] that the [p] value is measured against. The 95% is the [a] value not the [p] value

    I was trying to be concise but your are correct. The 95% is a commonly accepted value which defines a rejection interval. If the p-value should fall into the rejection interval (i.e. > 95%) then it is common practice to reject the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is usually that the results are due to chance (although the definition of “chance” changes a bit according to context).

    However, that seemed a bit ponderous so I simple wrote a p-value of 95%. The point remains it is a not a scientific standard and it is not comparable to the 38% probability. Agreed?

  29. 29
    rvb8 says:

    LH at 24, “When you just don’t like something the government does…”.

    I think you have exposed clearly the motivation of this and dozens of other News and Barry posts; a pathological hatred of all things connected to government.

    (The Federal govt built and maintains State Highways, The Manhatten Project was completed under government supervision, Apollo 11 reached the moon- private companies seeing no point or profit in this noble effort. Private companies are today in the space race, using technology developed by the Soviets, and the evil Fed. Do these ‘pioneering’ hacks pay a royalty back to US citizens, for absconding with this tax payer sponsored research?)

    Acknowledging that government can be a force for good is anathema to these people. If a government agency (NASA) says the world is warming, it is simply the miss use of tax payer’s money, or a conspiracy to stop me driving my SUV.(As if the SUV itself is not a strong enough argument to stop driving it.)

    It has been noted by many others that these following groups of people have close and very strong inter-connections: Anti-vaccinationers, global warming deniers, evolution deniers, the religiously disposed, anti-government type “don’t tread on me” loons, survivalists, and your garden variety paranoid.

    Living in this permanent state of victimhood must be taxing. Pun intended.

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    #27 Mahuna

    If I were to go to the effort of finding references to disprove some of your claims how would you react? (I don’t want to waste my time)

  31. 31

    The discussion here is really about a qualitative rather than quantitative issue. To say that, “Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history,” as the New York Times recently did, is tantamount to claiming that to be true “beyond reasonable doubt.” A 95% probability of something being true generally would not qualify as beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand a 99% probability might be adequate for some people.

    However to say that 2014 was the hottest record based on an only 38% probability of it being true is a qualitative failure. No sane person would equate a 38% probability with the idea of beyond reasonable doubt. Thus the hottest recorded year claim represents journalistic malpractice.

    Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest year on record… but we’re only 38% sure we were right

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8 @ 29: I point out NASA’s lies and all of a sudden I’m a member of a vast anti-government conspiracy? Idiot.

    Conspiracy theorists like you — whether they are wading through the fever swamps on the right or the fever swamps on the left — have this in common: projecting conspiracies on those with whom they disagree is a substitute for actually having to engage with their arguments.

  33. 33
    Learned Hand says:

    rvb8,

    I’m very interested in the psychology of denialism, although typically moreso when it comes to evolution and vaccines than global warming. (I’ve never studied climate, so the arguments are less accessible to me.) I think ideological skepticism to inconvenient or offensive conclusions runs strong at UD, but it’s probably not true that all the various trends you mention are connected.

    The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale studies this (inter alia) specifically. Their “Vaccine Risk Perceptions study specifically examined how vaccine risk perceptions relate to climate skepticism and disbelief in evolution. It found there was no meaningful relationship.”

    I don’t know as much about the connection between skeptical climate change narratives and creationism; I suspect at least a strong correlation. The same results suggest there’s also a correlation between high religiosity and those positions, which is interesting when it comes to climate change (and of course no surprise when it comes to creationism). But I don’t know if those correlations are significant.

  34. 34
    Learned Hand says:

    Hmmm. I didn’t see comment #32 until after I posted mine. I quite like the contrast; makes me feel proud of my efforts to be civil.

    Edited to add:

    The CCP’s research also suggests why (aside from manners–how fast would Barry ban someone who argues like he does?) it makes a difference to be civil in conversations like these.

    The more polemical a discussion, the more likely it is to “recruit” people to one side or the other based not on an objective review of the evidence, but a sense of identity. “That guy is a jerk,” or “that guy is passionate” are liable to encourage someone to oppose or join them in the debate on emotional grounds. And then, as human beings are wont to do, rationalize that decision as one based on the evidence.

    Most of their work on that particular front has to do with vaccines, but it applies as well to global warming and evolution. They allude to it at the end of the link I dropped in #33.

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 34:

    “makes me feel proud of my efforts to be civil,” he said one post after dismissing the objections of everyone who disagrees with him as the bad faith spewings of blinkered ideologues.” You stay classy LH.

    You apparently don’t realize how arrogant your posts are. Or maybe you do and don’t care.

  36. 36
    Mark Frank says:

    I am interested in what NASA should have put in the press release. If I were to summarise the press briefing it would be something like:

    The global average measured temperatures in 2014 were the highest ever recorded according to two well accepted methods of handling those temperatures.

    2014 is now the most likely year to be the hottest year on record.

    There are two other recent years that are slightly less likely to be the hottest year on record but it is well within the bounds of statistical significance that it is actually one of these.

    Now suggest a succinct headline that gets all that across while minimising any misapprehensions.

  37. 37
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark @ 36. Wrong again.

    An honest headline would have been: “No statistically significant increase in temps in 2014, continuing 18 year trend.”

    This is obvious. That you don’t see it and still continue to defend the indefensible should cause you great concern. I doubt that it will.

  38. 38
    Learned Hand says:

    Bad faith? That’s not something I wrote. Nor do I believe it. These debates would be much simpler if any of the positions were in bad faith. They’re sticky and difficult precisely because we believe the things we believe in good faith. Our beliefs often align with those of our cultural backgrounds and communities, but that’s not bad faith–that’s just the fact that people tend to hold honest opinions similar to those of their friends and loved ones and the people they respect.

    This evolution and climate change stuff is relatively tame. I’m mostly active in the vaccine debate, in which anti-vaxers are furiously trying to prevent immunization against dangerous diseases. The damage done by that community is much, much, much greater than any done by creationism, and much more immediate than any done by climate change. But even there, I assume that the opinions on the other side are honest and sincere.

    You stay classy LH.

    I will try, and I will certainly refrain from calling people “asshats” and “idiots.” Please do the same.

  39. 39
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 38:

    “Bad faith? That’s not something I wrote.”

    You don’t understand that the whole purpose of lumping someone into the category of “denialism” is to imply they are acting in bad faith? I really don’t think you are that stupid.

  40. 40
    Learned Hand says:

    As far as I’m concerned, “denialism” refers to a trend that denies an empirical fact supported by consensus (or at least a consensus of the experts). It has nothing to do with whether someone’s opinion is genuine or not. You can define the word however you like, but I nevertheless assume as a matter of course that people self-report their beliefs honestly and accurately. While I can imagine exceptions, I can’t think of a real-life example of someone only pretending to not believe in evolution, global warming, or vaccine safety. Why would they?

  41. 41
    wd400 says:

    Barry,

    I don’t think most people that deny mainstream scientific positions set out to dissemble. And if I did I wouldn’t bother engaging them, I’ve better things to do with my time than play high-school debating.

    Rather, human brains come chock full of biases, and if we aren’t very careful about checking those biases we will reach bad conclusions while believing them strongly. The strong correlation between political position and belief in evolution (in the US at least) and climate change should make the importance of these biases clear (no matter which “side” you think has truth on their side).

  42. 42
    Learned Hand says:

    The strong correlation between political position and belief in evolution (in the US at least) and climate change should make the importance of these biases clear (no matter which “side” you think has truth on their side).

    Yep. The wonderful symmetry of this graph isn’t because liberal democrats are better at understanding science, or because conservative republicans are worse at it. And there’s no reason to think anyone on any side is lying about their beliefs.

    Edited to add (love the edit function):

    And here’s a fascinating example of how complicated and counterintuitive beliefs can be. Farmers who mostly say they don’t believe in global warming also mostly say that they’ll have to adjust their farming practices as a consequence of global warming.

    That study has some issues with wording that might explain the difference, but I suspect (partly because this is just one data point in a large trend of people believing contradictory things simultaneously) that it’s accurately reporting people who honestly don’t believe in global warming but nevertheless think it’s going to affect them.

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    I will take what you say as a good faith explanation of your position. If that is the case, you are not stupid; you are just ignorant.

    “Denialism” is a form of polemical invective that ascribes to one’s opponent a bad faith and/or irrational rejection of undeniable fact. The term has its roots in those who deny the holocaust happened. So you should know that every time you use the word “denialism” you are lumping your opponents in with holocaust deniers. Indeed, that is the very purpose of the term for most people who use it.

    Now that you know the etymology of the term, go forth and do better.

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: “No statistically significant increase in temps in 2014, continuing 18 year trend.”

    There is a more than 95% chance the Earth’s surface has warmed over the last 20 years, and a more than 90% chance the Earth’s surface has warmed over the last 18 years. Meanwhile, Earth’s ocean heat content has continue to rise.

  45. 45
    Barry Arrington says:

    Zachriel, the 18 year trend of no statistically significant increase in average global temps is admitted even by most climate alarmists. Your comment places you squarely in the far far far left foaming at the mouth zealot end of the spectrum.

  46. 46
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 42

    BTW, you are correct that Democrats are not better at science than Republicans. They subscribe to global warming alarmism at higher rates because, as this thread demonstrates, they are more credulous than those who do not.

    Also, the draconian authoritarian “remedies” pushed by climate alarmists are consonant with the fascist impulse behind most progressive politics.

  47. 47
    Learned Hand says:

    “Denialism” is a form of polemical invective that ascribes to one’s opponent a bad faith and/or irrational rejection of undeniable fact.

    Well, look at those goalposts move! I do believe that many denialist positions are irrational. But then, I take an economist’s view of irrationality. I think most everyone, myself included, holds irrational opinions that they prefer to think of as rational. In particular I’m a big fan of Rational Irrationality, which posits that it’s rational for individuals to hold irrational positions.

    Obviously I don’t expect anyone who holds a belief I think is irrational to agree with me. The pejorative connotation of “irrational” is a shame, because it makes it harder to discuss what seems fairly apparent to me, that we’re all quite often irrational without realizing it.

    As for whether “denialist” is a dirty word, you can take whatever offense you like. It’s neither intended nor loaded enough a term that I feel the need to take an instruction to “go forth and do better.” Particularly from someone whose concern for civility is so situational, given your preference for demonizing and insulting those who disagree with you.

  48. 48
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: the 18 year trend of no statistically significant increase in average global temps is admitted even by most climate alarmists.

    Which is usually defined at the 95% level of confidence. The confidence for the 18 year trend is only 90% or so. It is very likely the Earth’s surface has warmed over the past 18 years, and it is extremely likely that it has warmed over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, Earth’s ocean heat content has continue to rise.

  49. 49
    Learned Hand says:

    BTW, you are correct that Democrats are not better at science than Republicans. They subscribe to global warming alarmism at higher rates because, as this thread demonstrates, they are more credulous than those who do not.

    Fascinating! Where opinions largely track party lines, they are credulous fools and fascists, while we are accurately understanding the science. I think that’s not a very insightful analysis, but I bet it feels good.

    It raises an interesting and more subtle question, which is how we should analyze our own beliefs. Personally, I’m interested in incentive structures and empiricism. I tend to think global warming is a legitimate issue, despite knowing almost nothing about it, because I’m very skeptical that the consensus of climate experts is due to conspiracy or misaligned incentives.

    I think academics typically have an incentive to buck the party line because novel results, when they are supportable and bear out under scrutiny, are more valuable to a scientists than party-line results. In other words, you don’t get to be then next Darwin or Einstein by repeating what everyone else has to say. There’s obviously an incentive for some to keep their head down and do conforming work too, but I don’t think it prevents contrarian thinking given how often contrarian thinking pops up anyway.

    I’m also interested, per the Rational Irrationality theory, in how people invest. Often people believe something irrational until it starts to cost them something, at which point they begin to moderate their beliefs. For example, the farmers in the study above who don’t believe in global warming but are thinking about how they’re going to have to adjust their planting regardless. Or people who believe that crystal healing can cure anything until they feel a lump; they don’t stop believing in crystal healing, but they do go see an oncologist.

    When it comes to global warming, my perception (which is not based on a serious study, just casual reading) is that businesses are investing in the belief that it’s a real thing and growing problem. Lloyd’s is taking climate change into account in its underwriting policies, and per the same article Standard & Poor’s is considering its impact on the credit rating of countries likely to be affected. (The former is more persuasive to me than the latter, given the ugly reputation the credit ratings agencies have.)

    Obviously the insurance companies aren’t doing the science, but their incentives are to analyze it as rigorously as possible without the overt political or cultural biases that affect individuals. And obviously they aren’t perfect at it, and certainly could be completely wrong. But looking at bias and incentive structures like that is how I, personally, try to minimize my own biases.

    Because I’d hate to be the kind of person who just flings slurs like idiot, asshat, credulous, and fascist at the people on the other side of the aisle.

  50. 50
    velikovskys says:

    Barry:
    Zachriel, the 18 year trend of no statistically significant increase in average global temps is admitted even by most climate alarmists.

    What are the scientific levels of confidence that is true? Since the acknowledged range in temperature accuracy, what is the probability that the trend is real rather than an artifact of cherry picking a start year? More or less than 38%?

    You sharply criticized NASA for their statement, it seems objectively self evident that you should adher to the same levels of proof as you demand.

    Your comment places you squarely in the far far far left foaming at the mouth zealot end of the spectrum.

    Actually his view is mainstream , but most everyone is far left of far right

  51. 51
    wd400 says:

    Barru, Since you get repeating this.

    Zachriel, the 18 year trend of no statistically significant increase in average global temps is admitted even by most climate alarmists

    You might want to check for yourself, the annual mean temperature anomaly is the column labeled J.D:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gist.....s+dSST.txt

    A linear regression of anomoly on year gives a p-value over the last 18 years gives a p-value of 0.0134.

    It’s possible some of your confidence here is misplaced?

  52. 52
    Barry Arrington says:

    It’s neither intended nor loaded enough a term that I feel the need to take an instruction to “go forth and do better.”

    No, I don’t suppose you do intend to go forth and do better. I am not surprised.

  53. 53
    Barry Arrington says:

    The list of excuses for global warming pause is up to 52.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/201.....-up-to-52/

    Thanks to all of those who piled in at the end to insist that the pause is not real. You have demonstrated the credulity of the true zealot. And that is, after all, what this post is about.

  54. 54
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 49:

    Because I’d hate to be the kind of person who just flings slurs . . .

    Truly ironic coming from someone who, based on the evidence of dozens of comments, seems truly and genuinely to believe that only someone with a character flaw can possibly disagree with him.

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    The very history of the movement exposes the global warming scam for what it is. Or, should I say global cooling? That’s right. In 1974, The U.S. National Academy of Sciences wrote an artical entitled, “Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action”. The report stated the average surface air temperature in the northern hemisphere was decreasing.

    Time magazine speculated that we might be entering into an “Ice age.” It was time to prepare and we couldn’t start too soon. Newsweek magazine warned about “The Cooling World,” pointing to “ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change.” Meteorologists, we were told just couldn’t keep up with it.

    Ah, but the trend grew stale after a few years, so another idea popped into these liberal skulls full of mush. Why not give the crisis a new theme: How about Global Warming? If they could use cold winters to sell the old plan, why not use hot summers to sell the new one. Incredibly, some of the same people were in on both projects.

    These days, they are starting to use a new term, “climate change.” The beauty of that phrase is that it works both ways. After all, both cooling trends and warming trends both constitute change, don’t they?

    And who among us is gullible enough to believe all this nonsense. Why its our beloved “skeptics” of course. Does God exist? Oh no, they say. We evaluate these things critically. Does the moral law exist? They are much too sophisticated for that. Do reason’s rules exist. Don’t be silly. Is the world in danger of getting too hot after having been in danger getting too cold? Goodbye skepticism; hello credulity.

  56. 56

    Here’s a money-making opportunity for all the commenters who think that a 38% chance of being true equals true. Let’s play a game using this true random number source using the default range of 1 to 100. Whenever the resulting number is between 1 and 38, I pay you $1. Otherwise you pay me $1. We could set it up in an online conference. Deal?

    Note the parallel with the hottest year on record statement:

    38% chance of hottest year = hottest year
    38% of winning = you will make money

    BTW according to the Daily Mail article the temperature of the hottest year on record was estimated at only 0.02 degrees Centigrade hotter than in 2010, which makes the claim look absurd in itself. And the margin of error was approximately 0.10 degrees, which compounds the absurdity. Have you ever heard the expression, “grasping at straws?”

  57. 57
    Learned Hand says:

    Because I’d hate to be the kind of person who just flings slurs . . .

    Truly ironic coming from someone who, based on the evidence of dozens of comments, seems truly and genuinely to believe that only someone with a character flaw can possibly disagree with him.

    Why did you cut off the rest of the sentence? If you aren’t proud of calling people idiot, asshat, credulous, and fascist, then you could handle it by being more polite. Or as you said, “go forth and do better.”

    I don’t believe that “only someone with a character flaw can possibly disagree” with me. As I’ve explained at length and in detail just above, I think people generally disagree with one another for all sorts of good reasons, even when the disagreements are ugly and the truth is apparently one-sided.

    StephenB is a good example. He and I seem to find it very easy to disagree with one another. I find all sorts of fault with his arguments and his beliefs, as he does with mine. But that’s not a character flaw, it’s just disagreement. Consequently, even though I get frustrated sometimes (and possibly him too, although I can’t speak for him) we generally have pretty civil and reasonable conversations.

    I’m always interested in improving my communication and character, though. If you’d cite some of those “dozens of comments” I’d be interested in seeing how I gave you this mistaken impression, and correcting it if possible. I think you might be projecting. I’m sure you have calm, civil, respectful conversations in real life all the time. But that guy doesn’t show up at Uncommon Descent; the Barry who logs in here calls people “idiot” and credulous zealot fools. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you have a civil, respectful back-and-forth conversation with a critic here.

    I’d feel pretty comfortable showing someone this thread and saying, “This is me, or at least how I think of myself.” Would you say the same? I’m honestly curious.

  58. 58
    Learned Hand says:

    Here’s a money-making opportunity for all the commenters who think that a 38% chance of being true equals true.

    I don’t think anyone has claimed this.

    Edit: well, at least no commenters here.

  59. 59
    Zachriel says:

    RalphDavidWestfall: Here’s a money-making opportunity for all the commenters who think that a 38% chance of being true equals true.

    If you were to place bets on the year with the highest temperature, you would bet on 2014.

    It’s very likely (90%) the Earth’s surface has warmed over the past 18 years, and it is extremely likely (95%) that it has warmed over the past 20 years.

  60. 60
    Learned Hand says:

    Oh, good point–if we were betting on the output of an RNG that was equally likely to produce one of four or more numbers, knowing that a particular result was 38% likely would make that number a good bet. So, i.e., if the RNG is going to randomly pick 1, 2, 3, or 4, and I know that 1 is 38% likely, that’s actually a pretty decent bet. And it gets better as the field gets bigger; if the RNG ranges from 1-100 and know that 1 is 38% likely, that’s a great bet.

  61. 61
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    The 1970s were a bit before my time, but I so often heard that “global cooling concerns in the mid 70s were just like global warming concerns today” or the like, that I became curious and went through a bunch of 1970s publications to see what they said.

    If what they were saying was remotely true I figured it’d be easy to find articles on global cooling. I picked up a couple Scientific Americans from the period, and was surprised to find nothing on global cooling. I eventually ended up going through several years of Sci Amer, and still nothing. Funny thing is I DID occassionally find an article warning of global warming! (Although not nearly as frequently as one would looking at the publications from the past 30+ years.) I also went through years of Discover mag and Nat Geo, and nothing on global cooling, but again found articles warning of global warming.

    Eventually I gave up trying to find such articles on my own and tried web searches, and discovered there were some articles on global warming in the journals of Science and Nature, and so looked some of those up. I found that the number of articles on global cooling were only a fraction of those on global warming.
    Most of the global cooling articles mentioned that there has been a cooling trend at the time – something which no one disputes – and that the cooling trend is most likely due to increased aerosels in the air, which is bucking what would otherwise likely be a warming trend from increased CO2. (I’m pretty sure that this is still the leading theory for the cooling.)

    Of course, the famous articles that always come up with such web searches are the Times article and the one page article in Newsweek (I’m surprised you didn’t mention the NYT article, that one usually comes next after the Time and Newsweek articles.)

    Ah, but the trend grew stale after a few years, so another idea popped into these liberal skulls full of mush. Why not give the crisis a new theme: How about Global Warming?

    I’m not sure how serious that was meant to be, but concerns about global warming pre-date the 1970s, and even during the “heydey” of the global cooling worries the far bigger worry was still global warming.

  62. 62
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 57.

    Why did you cut off the rest of the sentence?

    Because the rest of the sentence was not ironic. Try to keep up.

    I don’t believe that “only someone with a character flaw can possibly disagree” with me.

    Then why do you constantly launch character attacks at those who disagree with you. You are both a liar and a hypocrite.

  63. 63
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 60:

    Oh, good point–if we were betting on the output of an RNG . . .

    Sigh. You are betting on a binary function. Yes/No Either 2014 was the warmest year or it was not.

    You get a 38% change of being right. RDW gets a 68%. He’s willing to bet you as many times as you want. Still think it’s a decent bet?

  64. 64
    DesignDetectiveDave says:

    It depends on the odds.

    If LH’s for RNG example had the corresponding odds of 4:1 then 2014 has positive expected value at payout.

    The odds of the sum of two dice are maximal at 7 (1 out of 6 times) a bad bet in isolation but the best bet if you have to pick a number.

  65. 65
    PaV says:

    Los Angeles California:

    Friday, January 23, 2015:

    7:00 AM Temperature= 63 F
    8:00 AM Temperature= 65 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    9:00 AM Temperature= 67 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    10:00 AM Temperature= 69 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    11:00 AM Temperature =71 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    12:00 AM Temperature= 71.5 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    1:00 PM Temperature= 72 F (the hottest hour ever recorded today)
    |
    |
    |
    |
    6:00 PM Temperature= 69 F (fifth consecutive hour in which temperature has dropped. An ice age may be coming)

  66. 66
    rvb8 says:

    Barry I am not an idiot. Barry I never said ‘denialism’ I said ‘victimhood’. I said this because there is a tendency in the US for powerful groups to claim they are under fierce attack; Christianity for example, or the voices of those who deny evolution or global warming. To all these groups listen, you are a majority, not an attacked minority, that is the reason it is so hard for scientists to crack this intransigence.

    Also, let’s say you are right and global warming is a myth. An absurd belief, but let us let it play. Tell me, what is wrong with eliminating fossil fuels? Do you deny the air will improve? Do you deny that digging up ‘tar sands’ is incredibly dirty? Do you deny that watersheads would improve? Do you deny that forcing powerful oil companies to reallocate their resources and research toward a sustainable model is good? Do you deny that zero reliance on the wonderful, balanced, and entirely rational Middle East, would be a good? Do you deny reliance on eighteenth century ‘internal combustion engine’ technology needs to be consigned to the scrap heap; we can do better? If you deny these points, that is known as ‘denialism’.

    Really Barry, even if the ‘global warming alarmists’ are alarmists, I would still prefer their clean green world to your coal soot nonsense.

    Pav, perhaps the most absurd and childish thing I have read since visiting this site yesterday. It appears ‘absurdity’ levels are on the rise.

    UD Editors: rvb8, zealots such as yourself never understand that every economic decision involves a tradeoff. Yes, we can eliminate all fossil fuels tomorrow, at the cost of impoverishing billions.

  67. 67

    It’s kind of entertaining to see all the jumps and shifts. I suspect that the people who have been commenting on my posts (@31 and especially @56) have had a lot of experience playing dodge ball.

    For the record, I was just addressing the credibility of the claim that 2014 was the hottest year on record. I was NOT talking about whether 2014 was a better bet than some specific other year or some subset of other years. I was NOT talking about whether the earth had warmed in the recent past or not. And as for changing the odds (@64), isn’t that kind of like deflating footballs?

  68. 68
    Mark Frank says:

    #61 goodusername

    A nice piece of research. I was very much around and aware in the 70s and can verify that the global cooling thing was a non-event. It is only remembered because climate sceptics have kept on bringing it up.

    I thought this particular canard had been well and truly buried but I guess it will never go away. A detailed refutation written 9 years agois here.

  69. 69
    Mark Frank says:

    The Daily Mail is awful. When you read the story is uses phrases such as:

    “it emerged that GISS’s analysis is subject to a margin of error”

    “Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent”

    Thus giving the impression that the margin and probability were guilty secrets that only emerged after investigation. In fact Schmidt explained all about the margin and the probability at the press briefing on the same day as the press release (a press briefing that presumably the Daily Mail could not be bothered to attend). If this was a cover up it has to be the one of the most inept ever conceived.

  70. 70
    Cabal says:

    Is the earth getting warmer?

    Ice sheet receedig north makes oil industry in Norway happy by opening up new aras accesible for oil exploration. And the environmentalists unhappy.

    2014 hottest year ever recorded in Norway. This January the funniest winter I’ve ever seen.

    Recent news item: Sub-glacial lakes in Greenland suddenly releasing huge amounts of water.

    (A)GW denialists should squeeze the lemon while (and if) there’s any juice left, it may soon be a very dry lemon.

  71. 71

    @Mark Frank #68: “I thought this particular canard had been well and truly buried but I guess it will never go away.”

    Here are a couple more articles claiming that the 1970s upcoming-ice-age stories really didn’t really mean what they were actually saying back then:

    Newsweek Rewind: Debunking Global Cooling
    How the ‘Global Cooling’ Story Came to Be

    Does anyone notice the parallels with Orwell’s 1984: “Winston Smith … who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line.”

    For reference, here are some articles in quite reputable magazines back then:
    Time: Another Ice Age? Note the pronounced similarities in tone in the first paragraph quoted below, as well as the remainder of the article, with current alarmist narratives:
    “In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada’s wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest. Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs. A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have recently experienced the mildest winters within anyone’s recollection.”

    Newsweek: The Cooling World. Note again the parallels with the current narrative in the last paragraph:
    “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”

    Saturday Review: The Ice Age Cometh, first paragraph:
    “This January the temperature in the country’s heartland seemed colder than anyone could recall, aggravating an already chronic fuel shortage. Schools closed in Denver, factories shut down in the Midwest, and thousands of workers were laid off as fuel supplies ran out. The suspicion that winters simply are getting colder is no longer merely a suspicion among climatologists. Over the last 30 years permanent snow on Baffin Island has expanded. Pack ice around Iceland in the winter is increasing and becoming a serious hazard to naviga-tion. Warmth-loving armadillos that migrated northward into the Midwest in the first half of this century are now retreating southward toward Texas and Oklahoma. Russian crop failures are on the increase.”

    Also see the 1970s Global Cooling Alarmism compilation of newspaper and magazine stories.

    Canard? Really?

  72. 72
    Cabal says:

    I didn’t realize I would have to post a comment before the preview and edit function become available.

    see here</a

    I haven’t posted a hyperlink at UcD before but it seems to be working even if it is not 100% correct.
    Guess I have a terminator that shouldn’t be there.

    I use a format template that I use at another forum. I found the template shown here somewhat confusing. Think the problem is me…

    I’ve had so much trouble getting the job done so my personal comment never got written. But the link speaks for itself.

  73. 73
    StephenB says:

    goodusername
    Mark Frank,

    You guys are just too funny. Thank you for confirming my point: Religious “skeptics” will believe almost anything. The 1970’s Global Cooling Alarmism was real and is on the record.

    goodusername

    Eventually I gave up trying to find such articles on my own and tried web searches, and discovered there were some articles on global warming in the journals of Science and Nature, and so looked some of those up.

    Hilarious! Begin here:

    1970 – Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age – Scientists See Ice Age In the Future (The Washington Post, January 11, 1970)
    1970 – Is Mankind Manufacturing a New Ice Age for Itself? (L.A. Times, January 15, 1970)
    1970 – New Ice Age May Descend On Man (Sumter Daily Item, January 26, 1970)
    1970 – Pollution Prospect A Chilling One (Owosso Argus-Press, January 26, 1970)
    1970 – Pollution’s 2-way ‘Freeze’ On Society (Middlesboro Daily News, January 28, 1970)
    1970 – Cold Facts About Pollution (The Southeast Missourian, January 29, 1970)
    1970 – Pollution Could Cause Ice Age, Agency Reports (St. Petersburg Times, March 4, 1970)
    1970 – Pollution Called Ice Age Threat (St. Petersburg Times, June 26, 1970)
    1970 – Dirt Will .Bring New Ice Age (The Sydney Morning Herald, October 19, 1970)
    1971 – Ice Age Refugee Dies Underground (The Montreal Gazette, Febuary 17, 1971)
    1971 – U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming (The Washington Post, July 9, 1971)
    1971 – Ice Age Around the Corner (Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1971)
    1971 – New Ice Age Coming – It’s Already Getting Colder (L.A. Times, October 24, 1971)
    1971 – Another Ice Age? Pollution Blocking Sunlight (The Day, November 1, 1971)
    1971 – Air Pollution Could Bring An Ice Age (Harlan Daily Enterprise, November 4, 1971)
    1972 – Air pollution may cause ice age (Free-Lance Star, February 3, 1972)
    1972 – Scientist Says New ice Age Coming (The Ledger, February 13, 1972)
    1972 – Scientist predicts new ice age (Free-Lance Star, September 11, 1972)
    1972 – British expert on Climate Change says Says New Ice Age Creeping Over Northern Hemisphere (Lewiston Evening Journal, September 11, 1972)
    1972 – Climate Seen Cooling For Return Of Ice Age (Portsmouth Times, ?September 11, 1972?)
    1972 – New Ice Age Slipping Over North (Press-Courier, September 11, 1972)
    1972 – Ice Age Begins A New Assault In North (The Age, September 12, 1972)
    1972 – Weather To Get Colder (Montreal Gazette, ?September 12, 1972?)
    1972 – British climate expert predicts new Ice Age (The Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 1972)
    1972 – Scientist Sees Chilling Signs of New Ice Age (L.A. Times, September 24, 1972)
    1972 – Science: Another Ice Age? (Time Magazine, November 13, 1972)
    1973 – The Ice Age Cometh (The Saturday Review, March 24, 1973)
    1973 – Weather-watchers think another ice age may be on the way (The Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 1973)
    1974 – New evidence indicates ice age here (Eugene Register-Guard, May 29, 1974)
    1974 – Another Ice Age? (Time Magazine, June 24, 1974)
    1974 – 2 Scientists Think ‘Little’ Ice Age Near (The Hartford Courant, August 11, 1974)
    1974 – Ice Age, worse food crisis seen (The Chicago Tribune, October 30, 1974)
    1974 – Believes Pollution Could Bring On Ice Age (Ludington Daily News, December 4, 1974)
    1974 – Pollution Could Spur Ice Age, Nasa Says (Beaver Country Times, ?December 4, 1974?)
    1974 – Air Pollution May Trigger Ice Age, Scientists Feel (The Telegraph, ?December 5, 1974?)
    1974 – More Air Pollution Could Trigger Ice Age Disaster (Daily Sentinel – ?December 5, 1974?)
    1974 – Scientists Fear Smog Could Cause Ice Age (Milwaukee Journal, December 5, 1974)
    1975 – Climate Changes Called Ominous (The New York Times, January 19, 1975)
    1975 – Climate Change: Chilling Possibilities (Science News, March 1, 1975)
    1975 – B-r-r-r-r: New Ice Age on way soon? (The Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1975)
    1975 – Cooling Trends Arouse Fear That New Ice Age Coming (Eugene Register-Guard, ?March 2, 1975?)
    1975 – Is Another Ice Age Due? Arctic Ice Expands In Last Decade (Youngstown Vindicator – ?March 2, 1975?)
    1975 – Is Earth Headed For Another Ice Age? (Reading Eagle, March 2, 1975)
    1975 – New Ice Age Dawning? Significant Shift In Climate Seen (Times Daily, ?March 2, 1975?)
    1975 – There’s Troublesome Weather Ahead (Tri City Herald, ?March 2, 1975?)
    1975 – Is Earth Doomed To Live Through Another Ice Age? (The Robesonian, ?March 3, 1975?)
    1975 – The Ice Age cometh: the system that controls our climate (The Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1975)
    1975 – The Cooling World (Newsweek, April 28, 1975)
    1975 – Scientists Ask Why World Climate Is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead (PDF) (The New York Times, May 21, 1975)
    1975 – In the Grip of a New Ice Age? (International Wildlife, July-August, 1975)
    1975 – Oil Spill Could Cause New Ice Age (Milwaukee Journal, December 11, 1975)
    1976 – The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? [Book] (Lowell Ponte, 1976)
    1977 – Blizzard – What Happens if it Doesn’t Stop? [Book] (George Stone, 1977)
    1977 – The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age [Book] (The Impact Team, 1977)
    1976 – Worrisome CIA Report; Even U.S. Farms May be Hit by Cooling Trend (U.S. News & World Report, May 31, 1976)
    1977 – The Big Freeze (Time Magazine, January 31, 1977)
    1977 – We Will Freeze in the Dark (Capital Cities Communications Documentary, Host: Nancy Dickerson, April 12, 1977)
    1978 – The New Ice Age [Book] (Henry Gilfond, 1978)
    1978 – Little Ice Age: Severe winters and cool summers ahead (Calgary Herald, January 10, 1978)
    1978 – Winters Will Get Colder, ‘we’re Entering Little Ice Age’ (Ellensburg Daily Record, January 10, 1978)
    1978 – Geologist Says Winters Getting Colder (Middlesboro Daily News, January 16, 1978)
    1978 – It’s Going To Get Colder (Boca Raton News, ?January 17, 1978?)
    1978 – Believe new ice age is coming (The Bryan Times, March 31, 1978)
    1978 – The Coming Ice Age (In Search Of TV Show, Season 2, Episode 23, Host: Leonard Nimoy, May 1978)
    1978 – An Ice Age Is Coming Weather Expert Fears (Milwaukee Sentinel, November 17, 1978)
    1979 – A Choice of Catastrophes – The Disasters That Threaten Our World [Book] (Isaac Asimov, 1979)
    1979 – Get Ready to Freeze (Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 12, 1979)
    1979 – New ice age almost upon us? (The Christian Science Monitor, November 14,

    Mark Frank

    I was very much around and aware in the 70s and can verify that the global cooling thing was a non-event.

    Perhaps you were in a frozen chamber. I was also around at that time, and I can verify that it was quite the event. Every major climate organization endorsed the ice age scare, including NCAR, CRU, NAS, NASA, and CIA.

  74. 74
    Piotr says:

    Keeling and Plass were studying carbon dioxide cycles already in the 1950s. Concern about the steadily growing imbalance caused by anthropogenic CO2 increased among climatologists in the 1960s/1970s; it is reflected in many publications and conference papers produced during those decades. To be sure, others were of the opinion that dust pollutions had the opposite effect, outweighing the greenhouse effect and leading to a global cooling. They were soon proved to be wrong: the mean temperature has risen by about 0.7°C since then. Also the reasons for periodic “warming pauses” despite growing CO2 concentrations had been recognised by that time. Here’s what an NRC report predicted in 1979:

    Our estimates of the rates of vertical exchange of mass between the mixed and intermediate layers and the volumes of water involved give a delay of the order of decades in the time at which thermal equilibrium will be reached. This delay implies that the actual warming at any given time will be appreciably less than that calculated on the assumption that thermal equilibrium is reached quickly. One consequence may be that perceptible temperature changes may not become apparent nearly so soon as has been anticipated. We may not be given a warning until the C02 loading is such that an appreciable climate change is inevitable. The equilibrium warming will eventually occur; it will merely have been postponed. …

    To summarize we have tried but have been unable to find any overlooked or underestimated physical effects that could reduce the currently estimated global warmings due to a doubling of atmospheric C02 to negligible proportions or reverse them altogether.

    (Carbon dioxide and climate: A scientific assessment, pp. 2-3)

  75. 75
    Mark Frank says:

    #71 RDW

    Thanks for the links. I don’t think the parallel with 1984 works at all. Gwynne gives a very candid account of what happened and how the story got over-stated for Newsweek. There is no question of pretending the story didn’t happen as in 1984.

    How comparable was this to current concern about global warming?

    Quoting a few articles doesn’t prove much.  100 articles over a decade is only an average of 10 a year from sources all round the world including some very obscure sources (but none of them scientific journals or papers).  It is quite interesting to see how a quote such as that from Lamb in the mid-70s can get blown up and regurgitated in difference places even before the Internet. We all know that the press likes to make the most of any vaguely alarmist story it hears, particularly if it can find a sciency aspect – just look at all the different diets and causes of cancer.

    Yes there was a small alarmist blip in 1970 but it is not remotely comparable to the global warming/climate change research which has been going on intensely across the scientific community for decades and has steadily converted sceptical scientists (Do you know of any qualified scientist who converted to scepticism).  The reference I gave covers the key points:

    * The level of scientific knowledge about the climate was minimal. At the time they were time they unable to compare the forcing due to greenhouse gases with cooling due to pollutants.  Decades of research means they can now be quantified and greenhouse gases is much the larger forcing.

    * Much of it was muddled with the fact that one day we will slip into another ice age (perfectly true)– but we are talking about completely different timescales.

    * The scientific papers of the time recognised this uncertainty and made very few predictions (although some scientists did)

  76. 76
    StephenB says:

    Mark Frank

    100 articles over a decade is only an average of 10 a year from sources all round the world including some very obscure sources (but none of them scientific journals or papers).

    Well, we are certainly changing our tune, aren’t we? Just yesterday, you thought that goodusername had done a good job of researching the subject when he claimed that only 3 or 4 articles on global cooling existed. Without hesitation, you signed on to that error.

    Now, after having been apprised of better facts, you want to dismiss 100 articles over ten years as a blip in 1970. So, for you, goodusername’s erroneous report is “good research” while the historical facts presented by Ralph David Westfall and myself are examples of what? — bad research? On the contrary, we provided evidence that the alarmism was sustained for at least 10 years. It was not, as you would have it, just a “blip” in 1970.

    Naturally, you would like to forget what the climatologists were saying at the time. Of course, you want to dismiss all those exhortations to stockpile food, divert rivers, and melt the Arctic ice cap. Predictably, you want to deny all those complaints against government leaders for not taking action. For you, it didn’t happen.

  77. 77
    Mark Frank says:

    SB #76

    when he claimed that only 3 or 4 articles on global cooling existed

    Please can you indicate where he wrote that or something that implies that only 3 or 4 articles on global cooling existed.

    Additional edit.

    goodusername deserves credit because he was answering the key question – how does the global cooling alarm in the 1970s compared to the growing global warming alarm of the last 40 years? Of course he had almost no time and resources so it doesn’t qualify for publication – so I guess I should have written something like – “nice work given the time available” rather than “good research”.

  78. 78
    Mark Frank says:

    SB

    Naturally, you would like to forget what the climatologists were saying at the time. Of course, you want to dismiss all those exhortations to stockpile food, divert rivers, and melt the Arctic ice cap.

    You are indulging in one of your favourite habits of telling people what their motives are. As it happens I would be delighted if the sceptical case was sound . It would be great to know there was no problem. I was mildly sceptical myself for a time but reluctantly had to accept the evidence and the weight of expertise. (This was given a considerable push by my house flooding last year.)

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    Mark,

    You and I have been discussing one issue here and nothing else. Was there undue alarmism over global cooling in the 1970’s? The clear answer is yes. When you deny facts in evidence, I have to assume that you do so because you want to.

    You are entitled to your opinion that the frenzy of 1970’s global cooling was less intense than global warming scam of today, but you are not entitled to your own facts. What happened is on the record. To deny it is to lose credibility.

  80. 80
    Piotr says:

    StephenB,

    In the 1970s the direction of climate change was still a controversial subject; there were seemingly valid arguments pointing either way (or for no change at all). I was in my teens then, and I don’t recall any “cooling scare”, though I do remember some crazy ideas mentioned in the popular press, like sprinkling the Arctic with soot to “ameliorate” the climate. If, however, you look at the scientific literature from the period (journal articles published by actual climatologists, not selected quotations from the daily press), you will see that even then “cooling” papers were outnumbered by “warming” ones several times over (Reference); the latter were also cited more often. “Global cooling” was a minority, not to say fringe, view. By the late ’70s there was a near-consensus among climatologists that anthropogenic warming was real and would continue.

  81. 81
    Mark Frank says:

    SB

    I missed the bit where you indicated where goodusername had implied there were only 3 or 4 articles on global cooling existed. If you made a mistake that is entirely understandable but it would be nice to admit it.

    If there is any reason for denialists to be interested in the global cooling scare of the 1970s it has to be because it suggests the global warming scare is similar in turning out to be a false alarm. Therefore, comparison is absolutely the essence of the discussion. We all admit that some people wrote some stuff about global cooling in the 70s. By itself that is unimportant. What matters is how similar it was to the current alarm over global warming.

  82. 82
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB, you are, of course, correct. There is no amount of evidence that Mark’s faith commitments will not enable him to explain away. Irony, I bet he makes fun of YECs.

    And yet again, we see the point of the OP (read the title again please) being driven home.

  83. 83
    StephenB says:

    Piotr,

    Why does it matter if you “don’t recall” a cooling scare. That is the same argument that Mark made. The issue is what happened, not what you recall.

    The broader point is that global warming is a total sham. The world has warmed only .36 degrees over the last 35 years. Since 1998, the temperature has been dropping. The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.

    Only 1% of scientists believe that humans cause global warming. From the beginning, scientists recognized a predictable cycle from hot to cold and back again. The sham continues only because that’s where the money is–22 billion dollars to be exact. People get paid to lie.

  84. 84
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gist.....Fig.A2.gif

    StephenB: Only 1% of scientists believe that humans cause global warming.

    How many of those are named Steve?

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    Barry @82,

    I agree. We have examples right here on this thread. The “champions of science,” especially those who believe that all truth is found in the laboratory, will believe almost anything.

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Onward links at WUWT and Pop Tech with sets of the links to original articles, here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-543798

    FTR. KF

  87. 87
    Piotr says:

    Why does it matter if you “don’t recall” a cooling scare. That is the same argument that Mark made. The issue is what happened, not what you recall.

    And who do you think was spreading those “cooling alarms”, whatever their scale? A few lay “science writers”, and the media. The dominant view among climatologists was essentially the same as today. It’s on the record — a documented fact, not a vague memory. You can deny it at your peril.

    Since 1998, the temperature has been dropping. The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.

    Can you offer any references to support this amazing statement? Preferably to published research articles.

    Only 1% of scientists believe that humans cause global warming.

    What’s your source for that? Even if the number were correct (which seem extremely unlikely to me), the only scientists whose “belief” really matters are those qualified to express an expert opinion — climate scientists involved in actual research. What proportion among them deny human-caused global warming?

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    Zachrieal

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gist…..Fig.A2.gif

    Did you even read your own chart? It claims a mere .7 degree increase in 135 years. Is that the statistic you want to hang your hat on? Don’t you know that the ups and downs of the temperature cycles last hundreds of years.

    SB: Only 1% of scientists believe that humans cause global warming.

    How many of those are named Steve?

    Is that supposed to be a refutation?

  89. 89
    Piotr says:

    StephenB

    Does the graph support your claim that the mean temperature has dropped by more than one degree? Are you going to substantiate that claim or will you just try to weasel out of it?

    As for the “1%” claim, present your evidence first. Othewise there’s nothing to refute there.

  90. 90
    StephenB says:

    SB” Only 1% of scientists believe that humans cause global warming.

    Piotr

    What’s your source for that?

    David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors [responding to a claim from a blogger named John Cook] reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found “only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse” the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

    (I will be going to the latest thread if you want to continue the discussion)

  91. 91
    Piotr says:

    Before you run away: you made the following claim here

    The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.

    It would be OT in the other thread, so please show your evidence in this one or admit you are making things up.

  92. 92
    Piotr says:

    David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research)

    The same Legates who signed the Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming?

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.

    I’m not surprised.

  93. 93
    StephenB says:

    Before you run away: you made the following claim here

    I don’t need to run away because I don’t make things up.

    From NASA

    –…”some information sources — blogs, websites, media articles and other voices — highlight that the planet has been cooling since a peak in global temperature in 1998. This cooling is only part of the picture, according to a recent study that has looked at the world’s temperature record over the past century or more.

    In their recently published research paper2 entitled “Is the climate warming or cooling?”, David Easterling of the U.S. National Climate Data Center and Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show that naturally occurring periods of no warming or even slight cooling can easily be part of a longer-term pattern of global warming.

    and again,

    “Shaun Lovejoy, professor of physics, concludes that there has been a natural cooling fluctuation of about 0.28 to 0.37 degrees Celsius since 1998.”

  94. 94
    StephenB says:

    I’m not surprised

    I am giving you facts gleaned from your guys you silly boy. Do you contest those facts, if so make your case. You look ridiculous.

  95. 95

    Paleoclimatology indicates that an unusually cold period is ending. The climatic truth is that we are still coming out of a Little Ice Age that more or less fully ended the last glacial period and at this rate it’s a good idea to make long term plans for major cities draw upon the long experience of model cities like Venice, Italy. With our without humans it is expected that at some point the average temperature again heats up real fast then in not so many generations it’s like a whole different world, all over again.

    The good news is that we have been through these fluctuations before. And the Theory of Intelligent Design I work on indicates that our molecular level intelligence systems already know many physiological strategies to help cope, which are epigenetically sensed then expressed when needed without “natural selection” removing future offspring from our future family trees. The more I learn about it the more it becomes as said in religion about a hard to conceptualize Creator with a memory that’s part of what our “mind” contains with a recall dating back to at least billions of years ago are inside of us, to forever guide us through time. Religion and its celebration of making it to next stage of life is from a part of us that loves to keep making it happen over and over again and is again with there with us when we again do..

  96. 96
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Did you even read your own chart?

    Yes.

    StephenB: It claims a mere .7 degree increase in 135 years.

    We were addressing your false claim that “The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.”

  97. 97
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    We were addressing your false claim that “The world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.

    I provided the answer to that question at @93. Those are not the only two sources I could cite. Why should I keep answering the same question for every single person. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Clearly, you are the one making a false claim by saying that I had made a false claim.

  98. 98
    Piotr says:

    Why should I keep answering the same question for every single person.

    Because you have not answered it. So your source for a cooling of “1.08 degrees” since 1998 is your own imagination — is that correct? If not, where did you take it from? Neither of the two sources you cite in #93 confirm your strange figure. Why not admit you made it up?

  99. 99
    Seversky says:

    I notice Learned Hand is over at AtBC claiming he has been banned. Is that true?

  100. 100
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: I provided the answer to that question at @93.

    There’s nothing in @93 that indicates “the world is 1.08 degrees cooler than it was in 1998.” The past year has the highest instrumental temperature on record.

  101. 101
    keith s says:

    Learned Hand has been silently banned. Here’s the comment he was trying to post when he discovered his banning:

    For what it’s worth, the two comments I was trying to leave before I realized the conversation was terminated with prejudice:

    1. Because the rest of the sentence was not ironic. Try to keep up. . . . Then why do you constantly launch character attacks at those who disagree with you. You are both a liar and a hypocrite.

    I’m sorry that you think I “constantly launch character attacks.” I don’t think I do. That’s why I asked you to cite some of the “dozens of comments” you mentioned, because I’d be alarmed if I was coming off that way.

    Speaking of irony, do you think it’s ironic that you (a) rise the subject of irony, (b) accuse me of “launching character attacks,” then ( c) call me a liar and a hypocrite without pausing for breath, in a thread in which you’ve called people who disagree with you credulous, idiotic, fascistic, hypocritical, liars, etc.?

    I make a conscious effort to be civil, especially in heated conversations. I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m not always successful, and I certainly can be a jerk. But I make an honest effort, and I think that’s reflected in the way we’ve conducted ourselves here and elsewhere. I’ve defended you at AtBC; you’ve called me a liar and a hypocrite.

    Well, it’s your party. You can say whatever you want about whomever you want, ban anyone who questions your standards of conduct, and then ban anyone who questions the banning. But like I said, I’d be pretty comfortable showing a stranger this thread as an example of how I conduct myself among strangers who disagree with me. Would you?

    You once wrote, “Simple charity demands that we assume our opponents are acting in good faith, and this requires us to deal with their arguments at face value. I am certain this is how they would want to be treated, and I hope that someday they will apply the golden rule and extend the same charity to us, instead of simply assuming we are liars and attacking us on that basis alone.”

    I think you’re finding that an easier standard to articulate than to achieve.

    2. You get a 38% change of being right. RDW gets a 68%. He’s willing to bet you as many times as you want. Still think it’s a decent bet?

    No, not the game you describe. The one I described is, for the reasons I set forth. That’s how gambling works–whoever sets the rules makes the money.

    I articulated my game because I think it gets at the significance of these data. A 38% chance that last year was the hottest year on record is actually pretty meaningful if we look at the total span of all years with recorded temperature data.

  102. 102
    keith s says:

    Barry,

    You’ll never get the respect you crave if you continue behaving like this.

  103. 103
    PaV says:

    rvb8:

    It was meant to show the childish level of scientific rigor that is employed by the alarmists.

    The world has been a lot hotter. The CO2 level has been much, much higher—-during an Ice Age!

    What does “on record” mean in terms of geologic time?

    The ‘lie’ behind Mann’s “hockey stick” was that there was no warming in the middle ages or in the 1500’s. There are cycles. Warming is better than cooling. We should be rejoicing———–and buying property in Canada——instead of all this nonsense costing hundreds of billions of dollars. There is severe poverty throughout the world, and we throw money away on this nonsense. Why? Government contracts. Tax breaks. Etc.

  104. 104
    Radioaction says:

    Silent banning appears to be the norm around here.

  105. 105
    Piotr says:

    LH expelled? Intelligence not allowed?

  106. 106
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    The 1970?s Global Cooling Alarmism was real and is on the record.

    Obviously. I don’t dispute that.
    I wasn’t questioning if it existed or not, it was a question of scale: Does the concerns about global cooling in the 70s compare to the concerns about global warming during the past 30 years? The answer is obviously “no”, and in fact any such comparison turns out to be ludicrous. In fact, the concerns about global cooling in the 1970s paled in comparison to concerns about global warming – even in the 1970s – which was the heydey of global cooling concerns and before the global warming concerns really took off.

    Hilarious! Begin here:

    Really? It’s hilarious that in a manual search about global cooling in the 1970s that I didn’t happen to come across the Jan 26, 1970 article in the Owosso Argus-Press or the Sumter Daily Item?

    Yes, I did find the articles you list once I used a web search. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that that’s how you found this list as well. 😉

    My initial search indeed didn’t include newspapers. Going through newspapers is far more laborious and I was more interested in what the science community was saying. And, anyway, if a search required going through newspapers, the question of whether the 1970s global cooling compares at all to the global warming concerns of the past 30 years is already answered.

    Also, realize that there are a lot of newspapers in the US and Canada.  One can generate a rather impressive list of newspapers reports on even a very minor story by listing every report of a story in every newspaper across the nations.

    Well, we are certainly changing our tune, aren’t we? Just yesterday, you thought that goodusername had done a good job of researching the subject when he claimed that only 3 or 4 articles on global cooling existed. Without hesitation, you signed on to that error.

    Huh? I never said or implied such a thing.

  107. 107
    PaV says:

    Here’s a more serious presentation of exactly what I was trying to demonstrate:

    Here’s a sneak preview:

    Given that the Earth began emerging from the Little Ice Age in the mid to late 19th Century, it is hardly surprising–and a very good thing–that from then until now, temperatures have tended to rise.

    Alarmists shriek that 2014 was the warmest year ever! But that claim is absurd if put in the context of the Earth’s recent history. As Dr. Tim Ball writes:

    In fact, 2014 was among the coldest 3 percent of years of the last 10,000, but that doesn’t suit the political agenda.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    rvb8 says:

    Have I been banned? I’m missing some comments!

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