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Author Topic: Skepticism about Climate Change  (Read 11261 times)

Ray

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Skepticism about Climate Change
« on: April 23, 2017, 11:54:58 PM »

I have to say I'm not surprised the 'Climate Change Deniers'  thread has been closed down. The motivation seems to me to be another form of denialism. The only reason why I would lock a thread I'd started is if it were to be inundated with ad hominem attacks or get completely off topic.

I presume the reason why the David Sutton thread might have appeared to be going off topic was because of the earlier criticism of the unreliability of computer models with regard to climate predictions, so it's not really off topic.

The unreliability of predictions is not only due to the limitations of computer programming, but perhaps more significantly due to both the qualitative and quantitative accuracy of the input data.

We've all heard of the expression, 'Garbage in, garbage out'. This can apply to a perfect computer system and programming. When the system is not perfect, it's possible to get garbage out despite the input data being good, and vice versa.

However, I admire the progress of computer technology. My main concern is the accuracy and relevance of the input data, considering the indisputable fact that the influences that cause climate change are so enormously complex and also include elements of chaos.

The following 'you tube' video talk by Christopher Essex, who is  a professor of applied mathematics at Western University in London, Ontario, where his research interests include “Radiation Thermodynamics, Anomalous Diffusion” and “Chaos, Dynamical Systems and Predictability”, provides a decent clarification of the issue, for those who are interested.

Those who are 'deniers of the scientific methodology' will probably not dare watch the video.  ;)

https://youtu.be/19q1i-wAUpYThe

Here's a commentary on some of the issues addressed in the video. The video is about an hour long, and it's best to watch it at full-screen size in order to see the mathematical details and text more clearly.

"Kolmogorov micro-scale for atmospheric turbulent flow is ~1mm. This is the grid size that would be needed to do “proper” computing – an impossible problem to tackle for all sorts of practical reasons. I don’t know what the current grid size “resolution” is today, but Essex quotes “hundreds of kilometres”. At this size, many very important real climate features become invisible – for instance, the millions of thunderstorms each year, which transport a HUGE amount of heat between the ground and space.

The GCMs (Global Climate Models) have to “fake” all of these processes (with scales less than the grid size) with their (non-physical) tuneable parameters. This feature enables them to “refit” their model runs (after the event) to make them NOW look “reasonable” in terms of hind-cast capability (now that they have that data) and then to claim, on that basis, that the “new improved” models are now a stunning success. So looking at their future “predictions” – “Yes … manmade global warming is still happening. And it’s even worse than we thought!” Ergo … the science is settled."


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Farmer

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 11:58:51 PM »

When your scepticism is permanent, it's denial.
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Phil Brown

Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 12:05:52 AM »

Nothing is permanent, especially with human affairs. Didn't you know that?  ;)

However, some things are more permanent that others. The proton seems a very stable particle.
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Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 01:42:14 AM »

What I've found during my explorations into the climate change issue, is that forums which strongly support the AGW position, such as skpeticalscience.com, will tend to censor posts which make irrefutable points which undermine the certainty that human-induced CO2 is adversely affecting climate.

When one experiences this first hand, as I have done, this tends to justify one's skeptical position. The nature of skepticism, within the scientific context, is that one should give full attention to opposing views in relation to the data, and full attention to the data which is not consistent with one's currently held theory or hypothesis. Any suppression of different interpretations of the data, or disregard of data which is not in line with one's theory, implies a bias, and is poor science.

The name Skeptical Science implies an impartiality towards differing views. That's why I was drawn to the site. How mistaken I was. The name 'skepticalscience.com' is another trick to deceive people, just like the terms, 'Climate Change Denier', 'Ocean Acidification', 'Climate Change is Real', and so on.

The owner of the site, John Cook, seems firmly ensconsed in his view that CO2 emissions are a major influence on climate. He probably will not change. Whereas I have already changed from a position of accepting the so-called scientific consensus on the issue, about 15 years ago, to a position of being skeptical as a result of examining both sides of the argument, and drawing my own conclusions on the evidence, in so far as I'm capable of understaning the evidence, which is no more than anyone can do.
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Farmer

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 03:53:12 AM »

There's a group, Ray, and you seem to be in it, that refuses to accept any level of evidence.  You always claim that we need more, no matter how much more or how many more qualified people confirm that we are causing a faster than expected rise in temperatures and that we can do something about it.  That's denial.

Scepticism is asking for evidence based and peer reviewed theories and policies.  Those exist.  Continue reviewing, but in the meantime act on the evidence available, as is always the way with the scientific method.  We're hardly going to make things worse by putting less pollutants and less carbon into the atmosphere, because we know what the world was like without it and we all lived very nicely.
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Phil Brown

Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 04:17:39 AM »

You twittering on about climate change seems to be permanent? ;)

If you believe that, you'll believe anything.  ;D
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Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 05:12:51 AM »

There's a group, Ray, and you seem to be in it, that refuses to accept any level of evidence.  You always claim that we need more, no matter how much more or how many more qualified people confirm that we are causing a faster than expected rise in temperatures and that we can do something about it.  That's denial.

Scepticism is asking for evidence based and peer reviewed theories and policies.  Those exist.  Continue reviewing, but in the meantime act on the evidence available, as is always the way with the scientific method.  We're hardly going to make things worse by putting less pollutants and less carbon into the atmosphere, because we know what the world was like without it and we all lived very nicely.

You clearly haven't read my posts on this topic, Phil. I'm all about sound evidence. That's my anchor in this debate; the soundness of the evidence.
Simply claiming there is a 97% consensus amongst scientists that CO2 emissions are the main driving force of the current warming period, is not sound evidence. Where is the research behind such figures? A questionnaire that climate scientists tick, who are employed by research organisations that exist only on the basis that CO2 emissions are a problem? Is that sound evidence?

Also, the peer-reviewed system is open to bias, as the Climate-gate scandals showed.

If someone provides sound evidence that increased CO2 levels are the major driving force of the current warming, I'll change my opinion. I have no reason to be biased. I have no financial interests in fossil fuels. I even have a 'subsidised' solar panel on my roof, which more than offsets the recent electricity price rises in Australia, at least until 2028 when the generous feed-in tariff will cease.

My concern is for the benefit of mankind as a whole. Energy supplies are crucial to the average prosperity of every human being. Social inequality, corruption and incompetence, which are a major cause of most situations of poverty in the world, are separate issues, as well as the environmental issues of 'real' pollutants which cause health problems.

I'm concerned about the unnecessary exclusion of energy from coal, using the latest, clean, low-emission technology, for the reasons that the CO2 emissions are politically incorrect as a result of a misinterpretation, or cherry picking, of all the scientific data available, regarding the harmful effects of CO2 levels.

I'll repeat again, the evidence that elevated CO2 levels increases plant growth is sound. It can be verified in real time. A growing season is a few months. A change in climate is an average of global weather for a minimum of 10 years, and 10 years later the climate might change in the opposite direction. Computer models fail to predict such changes.

The group I belong to is the group of rational people who think for themselves after considering the various opinions and scientific evidence that is presented and/or is available from a deep search on the internet.  ;)
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 07:09:01 AM »

When your scepticism is permanent, it's denial.

Indeed, and permanent skepticism in the face of an established scientific emergent truth is, well, not clever.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MqTOEospfo

We know how much CO2 from the burning of fossil fuel we add to the atmosphere and oceans, and we know that that greenhouse gas (and a few others) indeed increases the average global temperature. No complicated models needed, we only have to observe what is actually happening. Models may help to understand the process and the additional (local) effects, and make assumptions/scenarios about effective strategies to cope with the change.

Once more with feeling: Climate models don’t exaggerate warming:
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/once-more-with-feeling-climate-models-dont-exaggerate-warming/

Cheers,
Bart
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 07:34:28 AM »

For many, science is a new religion. Every religion needs a dogma, like "settled science." And belivers, who would clobber the "infidels."

Farmer

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 07:34:53 AM »

You clearly haven't read my posts on this topic, Phil. I'm all about sound evidence. That's my anchor in this debate; the soundness of the evidence.
Simply claiming there is a 97% consensus amongst scientists that CO2 emissions are the main driving force of the current warming period, is not sound evidence. Where is the research behind such figures? A questionnaire that climate scientists tick, who are employed by research organisations that exist only on the basis that CO2 emissions are a problem? Is that sound evidence?

Also, the peer-reviewed system is open to bias, as the Climate-gate scandals showed.

If someone provides sound evidence that increased CO2 levels are the major driving force of the current warming, I'll change my opinion. I have no reason to be biased. I have no financial interests in fossil fuels. I even have a 'subsidised' solar panel on my roof, which more than offsets the recent electricity price rises in Australia, at least until 2028 when the generous feed-in tariff will cease.

My concern is for the benefit of mankind as a whole. Energy supplies are crucial to the average prosperity of every human being. Social inequality, corruption and incompetence, which are a major cause of most situations of poverty in the world, are separate issues, as well as the environmental issues of 'real' pollutants which cause health problems.

I'm concerned about the unnecessary exclusion of energy from coal, using the latest, clean, low-emission technology, for the reasons that the CO2 emissions are politically incorrect as a result of a misinterpretation, or cherry picking, of all the scientific data available, regarding the harmful effects of CO2 levels.

I'll repeat again, the evidence that elevated CO2 levels increases plant growth is sound. It can be verified in real time. A growing season is a few months. A change in climate is an average of global weather for a minimum of 10 years, and 10 years later the climate might change in the opposite direction. Computer models fail to predict such changes.

The group I belong to is the group of rational people who think for themselves after considering the various opinions and scientific evidence that is presented and/or is available from a deep search on the internet.  ;)

No, Ray, I have read your posts.  You are not about sound evidence.  You are about evidence that meets your ever-changing standard.  You are now attacking the peer review system because it's imperfect and it's the exact same thing you do with evidence about climate change - you say it's not perfect and therefore you're not prepared to accept any of it or do anything.

You want mankind to have energy security but you don't want to drive replacements of systems that use finite resources and, at the same time, stop polluting our planet?  That's utterly irrational.

So I will put this to you - where is the perfect evidence that shows that doing nothing is in our best interests?

If there is actually any doubt about this, why not give the benefit of the doubt to the planet?
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Phil Brown

Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 09:35:24 AM »

No, Ray, I have read your posts.  You are not about sound evidence.  You are about evidence that meets your ever-changing standard.  You are now attacking the peer review system because it's imperfect and it's the exact same thing you do with evidence about climate change - you say it's not perfect and therefore you're not prepared to accept any of it or do anything.

Don't be silly, Phil. Nothing's perfect. Everyone understands that, surely.  ;)

You say you've read my posts, but it's clear you have not understood them. Of course I accept the evidence, provided it's confirmed with repeated testing and meets the highest scientific standards.

What I don't accept are unscientific and unjustified claims of certainty for political reasons, distorted, misleading descriptions which are clearly created for maximum alarm, and a biased reporting of the effects of increased CO2 levels which only mentions the negative aspects and ignores the positive aspects.

Quote
You want mankind to have energy security but you don't want to drive replacements of systems that use finite resources and, at the same time, stop polluting our planet? That's utterly irrational.

You really haven't read my posts. I've mentioned in some detail before that the real pollution should always be addressed. The pollution in the cities of China is not due to CO2 but due to particulate carbon, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and various Nitrogen oxides etc, which have an adverse effect on health. Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant at current levels.

Quote
So I will put this to you - where is the perfect evidence that shows that doing nothing is in our best interests?

I presume you mean do nothing about CO2 emissions. It's a matter of priorities. As I've mentioned before, one can't spend the same money and resources twice. At an individual level, the choice might be between buying a new car, or spending the same amount of money on the extra construction costs to raise your new house above the level of previous floods.

At a government level, the choice might be between spending money to subsidise solar panels and windmills, or building a number of dams to protect vulnerable citizens from the consequences of alternating floods and droughts which are known to have occurred in the past, and don't seem to have anything to do with current CO2 levels.

Once we've got ourselves well-protected from natural disasters and extreme weather events, then that might be the time to consider reducing CO2 levels, if the case is strong that an increased intensity of extreme weather events might result from increased CO2 levels.

The latest IPCC report admits that the evidence for increased extreme weather events is not strong, due to a lack of data.

A future shortage of fossil fuels is the best reason to explore and do research on alternative methods of energy supply. I'm all in favour of efficient solar power and electric vehicles. We should use them in combination with the latest technology for clean coal power, and natural gas.
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BAB

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 09:41:43 AM »

It would seem on the science side the climate change proof would be easy to prove, but that has not been the case. With sea and land temperature records dating back to as far as records permit I don't see a major difference?
The question is in the last one thousand years have we experienced other swings in climate change? The most evident change I have seen in my 63.5 years has been this year in particular on the west coast of USA. I have experienced extreme snow, rain, rainbows, clouds, huge waves, extrodarnary sunsets and super blooms if these are because of climate change let me live to see these again.
What an unbelievable climate change 2017 has been so far!


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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 09:44:05 AM »

For many, science is a new religion. Every religion needs a dogma, like "settled science." And belivers, who would clobber the "infidels."

It's not about science as a religion, science is rather the opposite. Axioms are not dogmas.

The trouble with it is that lots of people are doubting science, and are more willing to 'belief' stuff that suits their agenda. To them, facts do not matter much, but their believe (e.g. in conspiracies, or flat earth, or ...) is deciding their actions. When those with political power, or teachers, are led by beliefs/dogmas rather than (and in the presence of) scientific observations and models that help to better understand the mechanisms at work, then we're back at the middle-ages when the sun still was thought to revolve around the earth.

Cheers,
Bart
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RSL

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 10:52:26 AM »

Here's a quote from an essay I wrote in 1980 for a discussion group. You can grab the complete article at http://www.russ-lewis.com/essays/commoncause.html if you're so inclined.


"The efficacy of any correct algorithmic process depends on two things: the validity of its premises and the validity of the data fed into it. The premises almost always are unprovable. They are arbitrary perceptions of reality arrived at through a mind leap that suspiciously resembles faith. The data need not only be accurate, they need to measure what the algorithm purports to deal with. Without valid premises and valid data a process may be quite valid and work perfectly well, but at the same time produce garbage.

Many who claim 'scientific' methodology seem utterly uncritical about the premises upon which their methodology is based, and seem unable to distinguish between what can be quantified and what cannot. Most of what these people produce is garbage. Yet, it seems, our society has been taught to accept the results of any methodology provided it’s sufficiently complex and mysterious to hide the question of faith buried in its premises. Process itself has become our religion. Revelation and mathematics have become synonymous."

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2017, 01:48:30 PM »

It's not about science as a religion, science is rather the opposite. Axioms are not dogmas...

I do not think you understood what I was saying.

Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2017, 09:03:44 PM »

Here's a quote from an essay I wrote in 1980 for a discussion group. You can grab the complete article at http://www.russ-lewis.com/essays/commoncause.html if you're so inclined.

Hey! You've got some interesting articles on your site, Russ. I particularly enjoyed 'Snowscape with Paintings'. It reads like the preamble to a great work of fiction. Are you working on a romantic novel in your later years?   ;)
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 09:22:29 PM »

For many, science is a new religion.

I disagree. Science is the apotheosis of religion. History proves that they have great difficulty co-existing.

ref;  Galileo, Copernicus, etc. etc.
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Ray

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 09:57:41 PM »

I disagree. Science is the apotheosis of religion. History proves that they have great difficulty co-existing.

ref;  Galileo, Copernicus, etc. etc.

I think you are misinterpreting the statement from Slobodan. My interpretation is, he's not saying that he is one of those who believes that science is a religion. He's saying that some people have transferred their emotional need for a religious belief to a belief in science. Such beliefs in science then begin to take on the characteristics of a religious belief when such people do not have a clear understanding of the scientific methodology and the necessity for repeated experimentation under varying, controlled conditions in order to achieve certainty that a particular theory is at least provisionally correct.
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RSL

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Re: Skepticism about Climate Change
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2017, 10:30:54 AM »

Hey! You've got some interesting articles on your site, Russ. I particularly enjoyed 'Snowscape with Paintings'. It reads like the preamble to a great work of fiction. Are you working on a romantic novel in your later years?   ;)

Thanks, Ray. Every once in a while I get the writing bug -- usually because I disagree strongly with something I've read, like Brooks Jensen's editorial in the current issue of LensWork, which led to "The Horror of Technical Excellence."

"Snowscape" came from frustration at being separated from my wife and family for a couple years by Uncle Sam's Air Force. I'd love to plunge into fiction, but as you can see if you read "Short Stories from Thai Seeds" at http://www.russ-lewis.com/asia/Shorts/S-preface.html, I'm a long way from a great fiction writer. There are a couple good stories in there, especially "The Klong," and perhaps "Sunday Morning" and "One More for the Ditch," but most of the rest arose out of sheer frustration with the situation after we shut down in Cambodia and the guys who were under my command started finding alternatives to war in the "local economy." Some of the results were funny; some were sad; some were downright tragic. I tried to capture it. Reading what I wrote, I don't think I really succeeded. People who write abut writing recommend getting close to your subject. I think I was too close.  :(
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