History Deniers Vs. AGW Deniers

Sometimes you just know. It’s not luck or coincidence – you just know.

I had a moment like that this evening, when I mused over history-deniers, such as the hard workers of Answers in Genesis (only a couple weeks ago I actually stumbled upon the files for a site I created around a decade ago in which l responded to AiG as I do today with AGW denial, but like I’m currently finding with AGW denial, I grew bored of that nonsense as well). I had a thought. I wondered if, like this veteran group of reality deniers, do AGW deniers rely on the same obvious tactics? The first of which came to mind was Donna Laframboise’s handful of ‘smart people who beg to differ on global warming‘.

And would you know it? Not five minutes of investigation led to AiG’s list, ‘Some modern scientists who have accepted the biblical account of creation‘.

I make no apologies when I say that I don’t care what a person’s credential are – unless they’ve provided their criticism of the relevant theory up to peer-review and it’s been reviewed by the scientists activity working in the field, it’s simply not valid scepticism, but merely personal belief.

While flipping through the pages of wisdom, I stumbled upon Creationwise Comics, which bared a number of similarities to another AGW denier who also feels that scientists and those who accept the science without necessarily knowing the finer details of that field (as anyone of us are on a number of scientific topics), are deluded, arrogant, ignorant and ultimately leading us to our own destruction under the guise of reason.

Remind anyone else of Nova’s work?

And I cannot count the number of deniers whom have said, “I use to believe AGW was true, but now I don’t…”

Surely, in this example, the ‘biblical creation’ could be Monckton’s One World Government (run by the UN) and Intelligent Design the fringing papers that question climate sensitivity.

There is no doubt that the history deniers are the true legions of refuting reason. They also serve as a good reminder that when someone wants to believe something strong enough absolutely nothing anyone can possibly do could alter their perception. That elegant and well informed public speakers, such as Dawkins, have in some respects been unsuccessful in reaching certain communities should be a reminder to us all; not everyone is reasonable.

I might invest some time in cross-denial investigation – more to demonstrate to the reasonable that actively engaging such people is not always a wise option, but rather time wasting and ultimately disheartening. The reasonable are generally on board and now we should focus on genuine action and personal initiative – leaving the Jones effect to gravitate the less open-minded to an innovative, prosperous and positively modern outlook.

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32 thoughts on “History Deniers Vs. AGW Deniers

  1. Your logic is dodgy here. Creationism is quite simply false. It has been falsified. Global warming, the religion to which you subscribe, has also in its crude form been shown to be false. For several periods in the last hundred years temperatures have fallen in the face of rising CO2. Under any normal circumstances this would demonstrate that the CO2 driven global warming theory, like creationism, was just plain wrong. The warmists however then introduce a let out. They say that other factors created the cooling. But if they use this excuse the theory loses its science. It is not possible to falsify it. Whatever happens, warming or cooling the theory is right. Such a theory cannot claim to be scientific.

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    1. You’ve made a few mistakes here.

      1) AGW is not a religion; simply put, it’s testable, changeable (in light of new information) and the result of more than 150yrs of scientific endeavour. There are some uncertainties still involved, true, but not enough the seriously question the simply fact that we’re increasing concentrations of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
      2) CO2 and temperature trends; you’re not a scientist or have any relevant training, do you? CO2 does not, in itself, warm the atmosphere – it doesn’t emit energy for the sake of it. All it can do is reduce the amount of long wave radiation (that we refer to as heat) that can leave the atmosphere (ie. it is opaque to infra red radiation). The sun on the other hand provides the energy source and some factors, such as aerosol concentrations and albedo, prevent some this energy from entering lower into the atmosphere, this is a great introduction on the subject. With solar activity and mid-century aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere, the short term decreases in the slope of the global temperature anomaly. If you had read much scientific literature or been actively involved in a relevant field of science, as I am, you would have realised all this and that the theory simply doesn’t lose it’s science.

      You’ve been hoodwinked by misinforming pop media that tries to big note cold snaps as an important. Peter Sinclair has done a lot of work to try to explain why such cold snaps are the result of a warming Arctic and fairly localised events (which the rest of the cold continues to sit in the red).

      I’m afraid it’s your logic and obvious parroting off of opinion rather than well informed arguments that is fundamentally dodgy here. You’ve clearly not, as I suspect you think yourself to be, a climate change sceptic.

      to be sceptical of a scientific theory is different to belief and it is not up to people who choose to accept the theory provided by up-to-date science to convince such “sceptical” individuals.

      To be sceptical is to thoroughly understand the science and observations involved and find them suspect. These concerns should then be presented for peer-review by the relevant field of scientists to re-assess (if needs be) the methodology and/or interpretation of the data.

      You simply fail to understand the science to begin with and do little than assert a personal opinion (much more akin to religion than, as you have suggest, the theory of AGW).

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    2. Elsa – I believe that some sources may have misinformed you of what the science behind AGW really says.

      First, there are very, very few qualified climate scientists who still disagree that global warming is happening. The records are pretty indisputable scientifically. There are however a small number of climate scientists who believe that it’s not human caused (some estimates are 2% of working climate scientists, but even if higher than that, it’s clearly a small minority). However, you need to listen carefully to what the “consensus” on that is. The most common formulation is usually close to “90% likely that humans are causing at least 50% of observed warming trends in the last 30 years”.

      Not necessarily all of it. And not with 100% certainty. Good scientists are cautious, and try not to go beyond the evidence, and there is not enough evidence for the “consensus” among scientists to yet conclude that all warming is human caused. (The only absolutists you will find is those who claim – with no mathematical analysis or proof – to be 100% certain that exactly 0% of warming is human caused. If that doesn’t raise warning flags for you, then you can’t tell a scientist from a demogogue).

      Does this sound like religion to you? 90% sure that at least 50% of the measured temperature anomolies are human caused – and willing to revise those calculations up or down with new data as it comes in?

      How about those folks who unquestioningly accept any anti-AGW assertion, without serious skepticism? How about the common assertion “there’s no way that we humans could be having such a big effect on the planet, I just know it!”. That sounds more faith based than AGW to me.

      If you travel the blogosphere you can find a group of people who flow fluidly back and forth among views like: the physics of the greenhouse effect are wrong; no they are right but CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas; well CO2 is a greenhouse gas but there isn’t enough to matter; well it could in theory matter but doesn’t because it’s entirely caused by a natural cycle of sunspots which we can’t do any thing about; it was happening but now we’re heading into prolonged cold weather; it was never happening and was a hoax from the start, etc. These factions almost never chew on each other, but like dogs trying to bring down an elephant they gang up to pick on the mainstream theory. I’m not very impressed. But I would be very impressed if one of these factions would build it’s own comprehensive theory which explains all the accumulated data better – and successfully defends it from not only the current scientific mainstream (ie: converts them) but also their own recent allies – who can’t all be right.

      Until there’s a competing theory solid enough to disclaim and debunk the other competing theories (not just the consensus), it’s mostly hot air and politics, not science.

      You may not believe it, but I would gladly welcome such an alternative. Partly because it would be an extremely exciting scientific breakthrough, which would foster exciting science. And partly because I’d love nothing better than to be able to focus our culture’s limited resources and attention on other issues than climate change. But wishing won’t make it so. Reality has a way of biting you when you ignore it and just favor whatever beliefs are most satisfying. Our society is in grave danger of finding that out the hard way again.

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  2. Creationwise illustrates why Poe’s Law came about. It’s jaw dropping. And they both reference Mars. How fitting.

    That particular one, “Decarbonised planet” manages to make a strawman in two words! Quite impressive. Try “Decarbonised economy” and make a fitting cartoon, Nova…

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    1. Tell me about it!

      I just had to put both Mars graphics in as they’re saying the same message, “look where we’re headed!” – it was too perfect to leave out.

      The Creationwise comic with the ‘million years’ door is nothing short of a direct plug of the Genesis ‘tree of knowledge’. Best to stay ignorant?

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  3. Moth, you say “AGW is not a religion; simply put, it’s testable, changeable (in light of new information) and the result of more than 150yrs of scientific endeavour.”

    But how would we test it? you cannot run the weather over again with different concentrations of CO2.

    To the extent that the CO2 driven theory has been tested it has been shown to be wrong, that is to say while the concentration of CO2 went up in the period 1940 to 1975 temperatures went down. in its most basic form the theory is therefore wrong. You may save it by adding other variables, but once you do you have a theory that cannot be falsified and cannot therefore claim to be scientific.

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    1. Firstly, I’m quite over debating a relatively settled science, so I won’t be wasting a great deal of time and effort on this – especially seeing as it’s clear that you’ve not followed my advice and looked at the links or seem to have understood my previous points.

      By your rhetoric, we should have never reduced CFC’s because we hadn’t played with the concentration levels a few times to be sure that the ozone hole was dependent on such chemical – while completely ignoring that the physical / chemical reactions occurring were well known and demonstrated.

      “To the extent that the CO2 driven theory has been tested it has been shown to be wrong…”
      A baseless assertion – don’t waste my time with your opinion unless you will back it up with science.

      “…concentration of CO2 went up in the period 1940 to 1975 temperatures went down.”
      They didn’t “go down”, but more correctly showed no discernible trend. This was also a period of high aerosols (highly reflective), before we took measures to reduce their concentrations. Also, as previously stated (and obviously ignored) CO2 alone only increases the ability for long wave radiation to be captured within the atmosphere – you simply cannot expect a perfect relationship between CO2 increase and temperature, where solar activity independently provides the input and other factors, such as albedo and aerosols reduce the energy reaching the surface.

      By cherry picking one convenient time period (other like to use the most recent decade) and ignoring the rest (as well as the bulk of literature on the subject) you build a terrible weak straw man. Many deniers have moved beyond such silliness because you cannot account for much of the warming – especially the last 40yrs – by solar activity alone, and have instead tried to argue against climate sensitivity.

      I suggest you bother be me in the future, if you choose to take some time to actually understand the subject because you continuous one note of, “CO2 went up in the period 1940 to 1975 temperatures went down” is firstly wrong and secondly demonstrating a lack of understanding of the role of CO2.

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  4. “Firstly, I’m quite over debating a relatively settled science”.
    The “science” as you put it is in no way settled. Only if a theory can be falsified can it claim to be scientific. The theory that increased concentrations of CO2 will automatically lead to higher temperatures because CO2 is such an important factor in temperatures is demonstrably wrong. Look at the temperatures 1940 to 1975 or thereabouts. They went down. How come if CO2 is such an all important factor?

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    1. Okay, let’s try this…
      Last year, New Scientist did a feature on denial and in an article titled, Living In Denial: When A Skeptic Isn’t A Skeptic, they stated, “Sceptics change their minds. Deniers just keep on denying.”

      So far I’ve tried to provide you with good introductory information for beginners, I’ve also tried to explain CO2’s role as a greenhouse gas (not a heating agent – your obvious fixation) and I’ve also tried to explain that what cannot be tested in the atmosphere has been demonstrated in the lab.

      All you do is continually make the same nonsensical retort; CO2 concentrations went up, but at some points temperatures didn’t follow, therefore the theory of AGW is rubbish.

      You quite clearly think your argument is correct – so much so that you simply don’t need to listen to another’s reply or learn a little about the subject you feel you know enough to write-off as nonsense. This is not a debate, but simply you continually making the same point over and over again regardless of the reply. It’s clear that you’re not a scientist, but an angry spectator and you cannot expect me to waste my time on someone who will not even bother looking into my replies but seems insistent on making the same argument until no-one challenges it any longer – often this is referred to as being close minded. Let me ask you, if it’s so easily proven wrong, why then is it just you making this silly claim (and perhaps a few journalists) while expert scientists and those who insist it’s not so bad, such as Lindzen, aren’t discussing what you consider to be a fundamental flaw in the theory?

      Again, and I stress this, please attempt to learn a little about the subject – your rhetorical argument just doesn’t cut it. If you’re reply makes the same claim, without further reference or increased reasoning, it will simply be deleted. I’m not wasting my time talking to a brick wall.

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  5. “I’ve also tried to explain CO2′s role as a greenhouse gas (not a heating agent – your obvious fixation)”

    At no time have I suggested or thought that CO2 was a heating agent.

    “I’ve also tried to explain that what cannot be tested in the atmosphere has been demonstrated in the lab.”

    I assume by this you mean that it is demonstrable that, other things being equal, temperatures will be higher with more CO2. Again I have not denied this.

    “All you do is continually make the same nonsensical retort; CO2 concentrations went up, but at some points temperatures didn’t follow, therefore the theory of AGW is rubbish.”

    Two points: first temeratures went down. If falling temperatures and rising CO2 concentrations happening together do not demonstrate the theory to be wrong it is hard to think what would.

    Second: you rescue the theory by adding other factors, the sun and aerosols. But once you start doing that and add all of the factors that we know could influence temperature (and somehow allow for those that we do not know about) you have a theory that cannot be falsified. There are too many variables.

    I did not use the word rubbish because I do not think the CO2 driven warming view is rubbish. But it is wrong to claim it as scientific, because it cannot be falsified, and humanity should treat it with a great deal of caution as a result.

    “Let me ask you, if it’s so easily proven wrong, why then is it just you making this silly claim (and perhaps a few journalists) while expert scientists and those who insist it’s not so bad, such as Lindzen, aren’t discussing what you consider to be a fundamental flaw in the theory?”

    I think the main point is that it is not easily proven wrong. Indeed because of the other factors the theory is capable of surviving cold climate and warm! With regard to other scientists You might read Tennekes on the subject of climate models which is better put and more sophisticated than anything I could say here. His point though is very similar. His conclusion is that the theory is one of those that may be right but is not really open to proper testing.

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    1. I know you think you’ve gone to great length to explain yourself properly, but you’ve still basically harped on the same note as before.
      Sure, from a scientific view point, it would be absolutely wonderful to have multiple Earths with all things equal except of course for CO2 concentrations, however that such an absurdity is impossible does not undermine the scientific credibility of AGW.
      As previously stated (I tend to have to repeat myself, thus why I’ve grown bored with whole “debate”), by your logic, CFC’s and the ozone at the time our species took action was not at all scientific – because it had only been seen in one direction, shifting (ie. larger and smaller) over time (hence, by your logic, CFC’s couldn’t be responsible). Also by your logic forensic science, evolutionary science (that which is focused on previous eras), in fact any field take has to rely on indirect observations simply are not sciences. Of course, this is nonsense and that you assume the science is any more certain regarding evolution than it is about AGW is telling.
      For instance, you simply cannot expect to leave out the other factors – climate isn’t a simply relationship between CO2 and temperature! That’s like ignoring environmental factors in natural selection! You simply could not explain evolution without these other factors!
      Scientist have been exploring the climate dynamics for well over a century. Here’s a recent study, Scott et al. (2003)

      And in another review article, a recontruction by Lean (2009)

      Anthropogenic forcing is becoming a dominant factor and even such scientists as Lindzen, Spencer etc who feel certain that AGW is not to blame do not look at the relatively stable conditions over the mid 1900’s as proof because they don’t look at climate as linearly as you propose to. By removing other factors as you have – including solar input – the only conclusion you attempt to draw from the AGW theory is that increasing CO2 causes an increasing global temperature anomaly because CO2 is a heating agent (you say that you’re not doing so, but you effectively remove energy input in your hypothesis, so no other option is available), which is laughable and the exact reason why you’re argument simply doesn’t make sense (and bares no resemblance to climate science hence fails to discredit it).
      You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and are simply wasting my time.

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  6. And here is an extract from the New Scientist article you mention:

    “Though the distinction between scepticism and denial is clear enough in principle, keeping them apart in the real world can be tricky. It has, for example, become fashionable in some circles for anyone who dares to challenge the climate science “consensus” to be tarred as a denier and heaved into a vat of feathers. Do you believe in global warming? Answer with anything but an unequivocal yes and you risk being written off as a climate denier, in the same bag as Holocaust and evolution naysayers.”

    How very true. Note the ” ” around “consensus”.

    I have not denied that the world is warmer. What I dispute is your attribution of this warming to CO2 is in any way certain or proven. You should re-read the article. It has some very sensible things to say.

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    1. “What I dispute is your attribution of this warming to CO2 is in any way certain or proven.”
      You’ve done nothing but argue that CO2 isn’t at fault because of a relatively flat mid century temperature anomaly and simply ignore all return arguments because you believe we can somehow remove all other factors. This, as I continue to state, simply doesn’t make sense! CO2 is one of a number of factors involved in climate and the only remaining factor that can be attributed to the long term temperature trend.
      Because you ignore the flaw in your argument, you cannot be called a sceptic, and if you have a personal problem with ignoring facts being titled “denial”, we can thumb through the thesaurus and choose something similar.
      As I’ve stated before,
      “To be sceptical is to thoroughly understand the science and observations involved and find them suspect. These concerns should then be presented for peer-review by the relevant field of scientists to re-assess (if needs be) the methodology and/or interpretation of the data. What we find on blogs is not climate change “scepticism” but a personal belief that the wealth of climate science available must be wrong.”
      It is not my obligation to provide the scientific reasoning to overcome you’re flawed argument (although I have done) but yours to address why the bulk of the relevant science has come to the wrong conclusions and to provide it to the correct body to be assessed by those working in that field of science. Something as obvious as what your stating has long been rejected as wrong. The mid 1900’s stability does not disprove AGW.
      I don’t throw around terms light-heartedly, but what else can one do but select a suitable term for someone who does not provide a compelling argument as to why the drawn conclusions in climate science are wrong, but merely reject it based on personal belief and ignorance of the sciences involved thereby allowing them to come to unsatisfactory conclusions?

      I have read and understood that article and clearly more of the sciences involved than yourself.

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  7. “I know you think you’ve gone to great length to explain yourself properly, but you’ve still basically harped on the same note as before.”

    I hope that I have explained myself properly and I agree that much of it is just a larger and hopefully better version of what I said before.

    “from a scientific view point, it would be absolutely wonderful to have multiple Earths with all things equal except of course for CO2 concentrations, however that such an absurdity is impossible does not undermine the scientific credibility of AGW.”

    From a scientific point of view it would be good to have multiple earths as you say. The fact that we do not makes it a great deal more difficult (probably impossible) to establish any relationship between one variable, such as CO2, and temperature. The same point of course also applies to sunspot theories and any other explanations for temperature change. And if you think I am wrong tell me what you think the relationship is. Set out an equation that gives us CO2 concentration as C (in parts per million) and mean world temperature (in degrees C) as T. If you want to bring in other variables then do but the more of those you add (and you ought I think to add quite a few) the harder it will become to attribute values to C and T.

    “As previously stated by your logic, CFC’s and the ozone at the time our species took action was not at all scientific – because it had only been seen in one direction, shifting (ie. larger and smaller) over time (hence, by your logic, CFC’s couldn’t be responsible). Also by your logic forensic science, evolutionary science (that which is focused on previous eras), in fact any field take has to rely on indirect observations simply are not sciences. Of course, this is nonsense and that you assume the science is any more certain regarding evolution than it is about AGW is telling.”

    Here I think you are mistaken. Evolution could easily be falsified. We have only to find evidence of spontaneous creation, a creature that literally appeared from nowhere (which is what creationism is all about) to demonstrate that evolution was false. We have not yet done so and in my opinion we never will.
    “you simply cannot expect to leave out the other factors – climate isn’t a simply relationship between CO2 and temperature! That’s like ignoring environmental factors in natural selection! You simply could not explain evolution without these other factors!”

    I don’t expect to leave out other factors, that is in many ways my whole point. But once you introduce other factors it become impossible to disentangle the effects of each factor. If you have 20 variables affecting the climate that you know of (let alone the ones that you don’t) how are you to disaggregate them so you know the effects of each one?

    “You’ve done nothing but argue that CO2 isn’t at fault because of a relatively flat mid century temperature anomaly and simply ignore all return arguments because you believe we can somehow remove all other factors.”

    I have not and do not say that CO2 isn’t at fault. I say that if you consider it to be the overriding factor the cooling period from 1940 to 1975 gives your view a problem. I have not said that somehow you can remove the other factors, quite the reverse; I cannot see a way in which you can remove them. But unless you are able to remove the other factors you cannot make the claim that temperature increase has been demonstrated as CO2 driven.

    “CO2 is one of a number of factors involved in climate and the only remaining factor that can be attributed to the long term temperature trend.”

    I agree it is one of a number of factors. That it is “the only remaining factor…” is your opinion, not something demonstrated by proper scientific method because we have no means of isolating the effects of CO2 from the other factors that you now accept as involved in climate.

    There are a number of points where I obviously did not make myself clear before or you misunderstood what I was saying. I hope the above has clarified my position.

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  8. You seem to think that something becomes scientific because it has a “scientist” working on it and is “peer reviewed”.. What Elsa is saying is that a theory becomes scientific if, and only if, it is possible to test the theory and show it to be wrong. The volume and type of people involved are irrelevant. If there is no event that can show a theory is wrong then the theory does not deserve the label scientific. If the world cools against a background of higher green house gases it would at least, on first inspection, suggest that the theory is wrong, at least in its simplest form. If you say it does not show that it is wrong then what would? You ought also to be clear about peer review. The work needs really to be reviewed by someone who does not agree with your point of view. If you simply got one denier to review another denier’s work you would rightly claim that science had not been advanced. I suspect the vast majority of climate peer review is simply done by people who are of the same basic view so that their “reviews” are of little or no worth.

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    1. Geez… another one.
      Firstly, no I do think something is scientific simply because it’s worked on and discussed by scientists. I’m not advocating consensus as proof enough – if any thing, I’m demonstrating that it is quite meaningless!

      Secondly, you and Elsa are making the same mistake. Elsa organises a rather crude hypothesis that can be described as; if all other factors are ignored, the global temperature anomaly and atmospheric CO2 concentration trends should match where the theory of AGW is accurate. That Elsa spots a plateaux in the mid 1900’s brings Elsa to believe that the theory is demonstratively wrong, but at the same time, Elsa hears from the science community what is perceived to be that cooling also proves the theory. Hence the comments (which I’m paraphrasing to a common argument), “it’s not scientific because if it heats, it’s AGW, if if cools it’s AGW! How dumb do they think we are! It cannot be disproven!”

      Of course this is incredibly wrong and I suggest you read the entire conversation between Elsa and myself (and if you have, I must simply shake my head).

      The problem, as I continue to try to get Elsa to understand, is that the above hypothesis is wrong! You simply cannot ignore the other factors. You could ask a similar hypothesis such as; if all other factors are accounted for and their influence subtracted from the message (ie. their influence removed from the temperature trend), we should find an increasing influence on the global temperature anomaly of an increasing greenhouse effect as atmospheric CO2 levels increase.

      This is what I’ve tried to explain with the graphs and by pointing out that the more sceptical scientists working on the theory don’t even think the first hypothesis above holds any merit. The factors that have lead to the relative stability in the mid 1900’s have been analysis and are understood. What genuine sceptical scientists are doing (this is not Lindzen and co. but all relevant scientists that have any credibility) is to try to accurately account for the CO2’s greenhouse signal – that is, it’s climate sensitivity in the current climatic conditions.

      This statement made me laugh;
      “…a theory becomes scientific if, and only if, it is possible to test the theory and show it to be wrong.”

      Neither of you are scientifically trained, that much is clear, and are duped into the unscientific definition of “theory”. Sure, a hypothesis has not been tested if the methodology is flawed, but this isn’t what we’re talking about! I suggest you and Elsa read up on a scientific theory here. If it was possible to demonstrate the scientific theory wrong, well the theory wouldn’t be a theory. It is possible, however to test it – hence (and!!) the graphs I included that demonstrate a little of the studies that try to account for the various factors involved in such a dynamic system as climate. This is where the validity of the theory of AGW is being scrutinised and not on Elsa’s unilateral (and somewhat naive) understanding. That Elsa expects input (solar) and other forces (such as albedo, cloud, weather cycles etc) to be simply ignored when they clearly play a role demonstrates how unscientific Elsa’s hypothesis is and not the theory of AGW.

      Can I please move on from this nonsense now?

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  9. First I should say that I do have a scientific training, from the University of Cambridge, the university that is considered the best for science in the UK. So please no more about how I am unqualified, which statement in any case does nothing to answer my points.

    You state quite correctly “You simply cannot ignore the other factors.” I have never said that you should or could. But once you bring in all of the other factors it becomes impossible to isolate the effects of CO2. Yet it is the effects of CO2 alone that you need to quantify to hold the knowledge that you claim to have. It is interesting that you have not attempted to explain how you would disaggregate them, although I asked how you would. If you could you would make what I am saying incorrect but you seem to prefer questioning my credentials to answering the question.

    You refer to wikipedia and the nature of scientific theory. I suggest you read it carefully, particularly the reference to “The “unprovable but falsifiable” nature of theories is a necessary consequence of using inductive logic.” My point is that once you add in all of the other factors your CO2 as driving factor in global warming theory ceases to be falsifiable. Whether the climate warms or cools you can always claim (and do!) that it is right. Such a theory may be true but it not a scientific one because it is beyond falsification. It is more akin to a belief in god.

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    1. You’re not bad at you rhetoric, I’ll give you that – you certainly do enjoy turning my arguments back on me.

      Firstly, any one of us could throw around whatever qualifications we wish… all I’ll say is that for someone who say that theory of AGW cannot be truly tested and that we cannot with any certainty equate the role of CO2 and that the mid twentieth century proves the theory debunked, I’ll have to take your Cambridge scientific training claims as I do your understanding of the subject.

      If you do indeed have scientific training, I suggest you read this piece in which Lockwood attempts to explain how certain the theory of AGW is (albeit from solar perspective). It’s really not my job to train you up.

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      1. My apologies for going elsewhere before I noticed this comment from you, which I have only done today. The piece that you refer to is essentially a demonstration (or at least an attempted demonstration) that the sun is not the driving force for global warming.

        I think my main point is that we are a great deal less knowledgeable than most of the warmist lobby and many others believe. I think it is quite hard for us to accept that we just do not really know why the world has warmed and that our knowledge of what affects climate is actually severely limited. I quite accept that CO2 may be part or indeed all of the story but I do not think we have even come close to testing that point of view. The same criticism applies of course to the sun driven view and probably all of the apparent explanations.

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      2. What nonsense! Clearly you’ve decided to try to reply following my comment on WtD and you’ve done the obvious thing (and noted by myself originally) by stating that it focuses on solar activity. What you fail to do is register that Lockwood does set up some of the grounding for understanding the factors involved. He provides a strong case as to the role of CO2! Completely contradicting your premise! That you so quickly disregard it only furthers what I’ve stated here and on WtD that you don’t understand the science behind AGW and yet feel comfortable asserting judgement of it.

        You might think whatever you want to. Just as state in my header; ‘Free speech without reason is nothing but hot air’. You might think that we know less about the climate than we like to believe. You might think that it’s hard for some to accept that we don’t really now why the world has warmed. However, the evidence is against you and as you’ve demonstrated with this article and by completely disregarding other links that explain the physical chemical of CO2, one needs to make great assumptions and lapses of available knowledge to draw to such a conclusion. It is your right to think that we haven’t “even come close to testing that point of view”, but that doesn’t change the fact that the theory of AGW is much greater than a point of view – it only demonstrates your willingness to disregard evidence.

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  10. Forgive me but when you say “If it was possible to demonstrate the scientific theory wrong, well the theory wouldn’t be a theory” shows that you have completely misunderstood what Elsa is saying. What she says is not that you have to show a theory to be wrong in order for it to be a theory, which would clearly be nonsense, but that for a theory to be scientific there have to be some circumstances in which it could be shown to be wrong. So, as she says, for evolution the appearance of a creature from nowhere would show the theory to be wrong. her point is exactly what the wikipedia article says.

    Above I asked “If the world cools against a background of higher green house gases it would at least, on first inspection, suggest that the theory is wrong, at least in its simplest form. If you say it does not show that it is wrong then what would?”

    You need to answer that question before you go throwing accusations at other people.

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    1. Looks like I got you quite upset. Need I remind you that this is my blog and I can do whatever I like – you’re not obliged to stick around just as much and I’m not obliged to entertain you personally. I don’t need to answer you at all… however…

      Neither of you seem to get the basics. CO2 traps IR, it doesn’t create it! IR needs to be available for CO2 to trap! When looking at temperature changes you can’t simply say, “Oh, the global temperature anomaly is going up while CO2 – so that’s it!”

      That’s about as sensible as comparing the global temperature anomaly against pirate numbers! Do you really think the scientific community within relevant fields are that stupid?

      You have to ask (among other things), what’s involved, what’s changed, are the other independent studies and data sources to verify and have other people re-tested these studies to test their merit? It’s silly, not to mention unrealistically unilateral to assume a perfect trend between CO2 and temperature trends! Read the link in the most response to Elsa.

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      1. Above I asked “If the world cools against a background of higher green house gases it would at least, on first inspection, suggest that the theory is wrong, at least in its simplest form. If you say it does not show that it is wrong then what would?”

        You need to answer that question before you go throwing accusations at other people.

        I am still waiting for an answer!

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      2. What are you? Elsa’s little lap dog? You might take value in the comment I just wrote for Elsa – this one.

        I don’t need to answer anything. I could spend weeks getting you just a university level of the relevant sciences (albeit you would no doubt constantly disregard much that you don’t like, making the process even harder) and then start introducing you to the science lit and eventually you might start to understand what you’re bitching about… only for me to have to repeat the process for the next colin to pop up demanding that I “need to answer that question”.

        The quick answer to your question (which I thought I answered already, but may not have.. I can’t be bothered checking) is that your simplest form of investigation is flawed. You cannot expect parallels between to factors which together require an outside energy source. Sure CO2 continued to increase, but how much IR was there over that time for CO2 to trap? What was the sun doing? What fine particles (aerosols and believe it or not, there’s some evidence that the nuclear testing over that time may have also played a role, but this is a very recent study) were present? What as the clouds like? Albedo? Ozone?
        Quite quickly your simple investigation gets quite complex and in some cases we can only answer the questions indirectly. If you or Elsa actually wished to know what would show the theory of AGW wrong, I suggest you start with AGW Observer and actually take the time to try to understand the papers (if you have trouble, seek out a relevant scientist to answer some questions) or, as I suggested to Elsa, try NASA, NOAA, the UK Metoffice or Aust Bureau of Met all of which have excellent elementary level information of climate science. I’m not here to educated everyone, one by one.

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    2. Colin asked “If the world cools against a background of higher green house gases it would at least, on first inspection, suggest that the theory is wrong, at least in its simplest form. If you say it does not show that it is wrong then what would?”

      You are on the right track, let’s refine that.

      What we are looking for a some falsifiable prediction whose failure would cast grave doubt on current theory, right?

      But current theory is NOT that there is a 1:1 relationship between CO2 and temperature, only that CO2 is an increasingly significant factor among many, and this is important because unlike natural factors it is rapidly increasing and we could do something about that.

      The climate scientists all acknowledge that the sun is the primary driver of climate; they rule out the sun as explaining recent temperature rises only because they are measuring solar output and it hasn’t risen – NOT because it could not. So that has to be taken into account. There are also short and medium term factors like volcanos and natural cycles (El Nino or PDO). On top of that, there’s weather – that is, chaotic variation on short time scales.

      So if there’s a big volcano, or if the sun’s measured output varies downward, and the temperature temporarily drops – that’s still potentially compatible with current theory. But if the sun’s output is stable or rises while CO2 also does (and no volcanos etc), but the temperature drops anyway for a sustained period (climate not weather) – THAT really would be very discrediting (among the scientific community itself too!).

      But we have to quantize it. What if the sun’s output goes up a little bit, and there’s a small volcano, and CO2 has risen only so much – should we penalize them if temps go up or if they go down? It depends on how big each such input’s changes are, and on how sensitive the predicted climate is to that factor.

      OK, the current scientific consensus believes they can take all of those into account well enough to sort out a “signal” of rising CO2 as one of the “FORCING” inputs to the climate system. They gain their confidence by running their physical process models using known inputs for the past and comparing outputs with known temperature records. This can be tested!

      Just run the models every year, plugging in the actual inputs (eg: solar measurments, atmospheric particular measurements, etc) and see if the model’s predictions converge or diverge from the temperature record. If the models based on current AGW consensus theory diverge for a sustained period (say a couple of decades – it took that long to from the consensus), that would be very discrediting.

      This is not only a sensible way to test a falsifiable assertion (the model’s accuracy, and the physics behind it), it is happening! If the models start failing in a sustained way, IT WILL BE BIG NEWS! Somebody will get a nobel prize out of explaining it if so (there are rewards for being first on the spot when the paradigm changes, even more so than for following the herd).

      So this is “what would” discredit AGW. And will do so, if it happens.

      You do realize that there are 16 major global climate models, spread throughout the world – US, UK, France, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, etc. They answer to different governments, economic systems, funders, universities. They are competing for prestige and funding and recognition. If one of them can become famous by breaking ranks and doing a better job than the others (whether by tweaking their model within the current CO2 paradigm or by dropping CO2 as a factor entirely), they will do it!

      If AGW is wrong, existing science WILL bring it down in time. Unfortunately, due to the variablity of weather, it will take nearly as long to discredit as it took to build the consensus, but it will happen.

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  11. My reply happens to mention solar activity but the same point would apply to any influences on climate. We are not in a position to measure, with any accuracy at all, the effects of any one factor on climate.
    I would accept your statement that I think it’s hard for some to accept that we don’t really now why the world has warmed. I prefer accurate but limited knowledge to the pretence of detailed knowledge and I can well appreciate that for many climate “scientists” it is hard to admit we are much less knowledgeable than they would care to admit. You are not right in saying “the evidence is against you” because most of it simply does not demonstrate what it purports to show. As I have said repeatedly it is you that the cooling periods give a problem to. You can only rescue your theory by rendering it untestable and therefore unscientific. I have asked you how we could falsify the theory and you have not given a proper answer. I have asked you to summarise how you would disaggregate all of the factors that affect the climate and your only answer is to say that it is too complicated and that you are not here to educate me. If you want to be taken seriously as a scientist you ought to be able to do those things. If of course you just want to shout at everyone you disagree with it’s your site to do that with, but don’t go fooling yourself that your views are anything other than an opinion.

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    1. You obviously didn’t read that paper, to write, “for many climate “scientists” it is hard to admit we are much less knowledgeable than they would care to admit.”
      And with, “I would accept your statement that I think it’s hard for some to accept that we don’t really now why the world has warmed.” I was originally quoting you!
      “As I have said repeatedly it is you that the cooling periods give a problem to.”
      As I’ve repeated said, no it doesn’t.
      Clearly I’m wasting my time on a brick wall. You’re not interested in learning about the subject, just pushing your own flawed point. No matter what is said, you repeat and repeat yourself, make terrible rhetoric and disregard evidence provided to you (or is it that you simply didn’t understand it?).
      You are correct, I’m not here to educate you. I’ve been working on this blog for over a year now and the number of people who, just like yourself, come trolling across to tell me that AGW is rubbish and I need to convince them otherwise or else accept it’s nonsense, is staggering. It’s really not my job to go to every last people and individually teach them about the subject. If they (and yourself) were really that interested in the subject and wanted to know the current scientific understanding, they would do what any sensible person would do and go to uni, read the science lit, go to one of the well-informed data bases (besting being NASA, NOAA, Met Offices, Aust Bureau of Met etc) and learn from their resources. By wasting your time hitting the various blogs, the constant flood of deniers are able to elevate themselves to a level of fictitious superiority on a subject that they don’t understand. You might get a good feeling demanding information from bloggers, probably more so when they actually are a relevant scientist, and then to disregard the information provided as casually as you did the Lockwood piece (I’m certain you didn’t actually read). It might make you feel important or validate your own views regarding your intelligence by “locking horns” with others in this manner… personally, I find this whole public debate over climate change quite pathetic, but at the same time disturbing because it’s proven to be enough of a distraction to act sooner. I really do believe that the worst end – a 4 degree C change – doesn’t necessarily impact life too much, but only if we do things differently.
      Anyway, I’m not in a position to educate every last person who stumbles upon my site, but I have provided ‘Innovation is Key’ and have been working on ‘The Human Island’ which roughly cover my overall views, based on the science. In the Innovation series, the late addition covers more climate science and is about as good as you’re going to get me to waste my time in explaining (I’m more interested in the effects).
      You again are more than able to write my views off as “opinion”, but like much you’ve had to say, it takes a fair lapse of available information to reach that conclusion.

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  12. I think it is a bit rich of you to go on about rhetoric after that piece! You again accuse me of saying that AGW is rubbish, which I have not said. But for all your words you do not answer the questions that I asked. How can we test the theory and how can we disaggregate the effetcs of the different factors that affect climate?

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    1. And I’ve tried to provide both some introductory information and answer your question as basically as possible. But all of this just doesn’t work on a brick wall. I have to thank you for reminding me of Dawkins’ book however – I’ve got an article to follow this one based on an evolution denier very reminiscent of your approach – ignore the evidence provided, referring to an unrealistic censorship and illogical testing. That said, I’m not entertaining you on my blog any longer. You’re not interested in learning about the science, just pushing a basic, nonsensical test. I just ignore.

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