Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Bob's book | Main | Hockey Stick Illusion denial »

St Andrews debate

John Shade, of Climate Lessons blog, sends this report on my debate at St Andrews.

On a wet and windy day, off to St Andrews, where the School of Geography and Geosciences was holding a discussion meeting on climate as one of its World Series Seminars. Speakers: Andrew Montford, and Tom Crowley, a recently retired professor of paleoclimatology. Chaired by Dr Robert Wilson, who said that he was a great believer in discussion where there was discord, and that there was discord in the climate world. He gave Andrew a pleasant and welcoming introduction, noting that he had been quoted in one newspaper report as believing that CO2, all things being equal, will make things warmer.

Before Andrew’s presentation Dr Wilson, tried a quick straw poll of the roughly 60 or 70 people present (my guess, and I also guess that most were undergraduate or graduate students). He asked who believed there had been global warming, and that man had contributed to it – which was a disappointing note since the crucial areas of debate are not on those beliefs, but on the magnitude and other details of climate change over the next 50 to 100 years or so. Then he asked who saw themselves as sceptical. I raised my hand both times, albeit a bit hesitantly the first time. Not many raised their hands the second time – a ‘few’ was how Robert described it.

Andrew’s topic was ‘The Global Warming Debate After Climategate’. He recapped the basic details of Climategate, and of the serious allegations that were raised about climate scientists as a result. He talked through each of the three enquiries and demonstrated that they were all inadequate and had failed to directly address the allegations, thereby earning Andrew’s epithet of ‘whitewashes’. He said people have noticed that these were not serious attempts to get at the truth, and this destroyed trust. He returned again to this theme of lost or damaged trust, noting the IPCC standing by the hockey stick plot even when it knew it was wrong, and of the sleight of graph involved in splicing instrumental readings on to a time series plots of reconstructed temperatures when the reconstructed values turned sharply down instead of up. He noted the curious amount, and direction, of adjustments to temperature records – always to make the present warmer and the past cooler. He did not know whether or not the adjustments were justified, but merely noted that they made him uneasy.

He maintained that trust needs to be rebuilt in climatology, noting that he did not believe all climatologists were corrupt, but that there were some bad eggs in there. He welcomed the willingness of some to discuss issues in a civilised way, and said that both sides need to work very hard to be nice to each other. As more recent development, he noted the facile claim of accelerating warming by doing successive straight-line fits to sections of the temperature record, showing the illustration (due to Paul Matthews) of how this worked in a similar way when done to a simple sine wave. Why did some talk of acceleration based on this?, he asked and noted it as an example of the sort of thing that has to stop. He recalled being told by one climatologist who had posted a 5* review of HSI on Amazon, that he had done so anonymously to avoid repercussions. Turning to recent global temperature reports, he noted that the lack of warming was catching the attention of such as Phil Jones, and of people he had met in the Met Office recently. He noted that climate models had not been working well at the global level, and at the regional level were even worse, and showed a plot contrasting predictions made through the IPCC in the year 2000 diverging up and away from the actuals which were fluctuating about an approximately horizontal trend (chart due to Lucia on the Blackboard blog). He asked if these such models were fit tools for government policy, and said he though not. In winding up, he reiterated that trust has been destroyed, and that the phrase ‘Trust Me, I’m a Scientist’ doesn’t hold water anymore.

Recently retired, Professor Tom Crowley was the other speaker, and his subject was ‘Progress in Understanding Climate of the Last Millenium’. He started by saying he was feeling as bit wrong-footed by Andrew’s talk being different from what he had expected, an observation he was to make again a couple of other times. I think he had been expecting Andrew to be talking mostly about the hockey stick plot.

His introductory slide was of a roadside sign for the ‘Chaos Café’, and this stayed up for quite a while until he got into his main materials. Before then, he invited us to be concerned about the recent high temperatures being reported in the States, with averages in March being 8.6F above normal. He said this was a colossal warming.

He spoke very highly of the IPCC reports, and returned several times to this later. He had used the 1st and 2nd assessment reports as core material for classes he had taught back then on climate. He said virtually nobody has disputed what they have said, and noted that some 50,000 comments on drafts have been responded to. He noted that government representatives had voted sentence by sentence on the Summary Reports.

He showed showed a new plot (not yet published) which had the hockey stick shape using tree rings from 1801 to 1984, constructed using simple averaging of the reconstructions used. He noted that while individual records may be flawed, this averaging helped produce a more reliable result. He talked to some of the major features on the earlier part of the plot, generally referring to volcanic eruptions as likely causes, and then later, from about 1900 onwards by aerosols due to industrial pollution. He showed a plot of sulphate depositions found in Greenland ice – in the flight path of the prevailing winds from the US. These showed a drop in the 1930s which he associated with the Depression of those years, a drop which was not recovered from on the plot until 1954, roughly following a similar performance in the Dow Jones Index. The Clean Air Act in the 1970s led to improvements, but before that there was a surge of readings from abour 30ppb to 200ppb at their peak. This he described as great wads of sulphur, having earlier asked any gardeners present if they would deliberately pack sulphuric acid powder around the base of their valued plants.

He showed another plot with global temperatures (mostly as per Hadcrut means as I recall) , with CO2 growth almost perfectly superimposed from about 1800 to the present, and once again invited our concern. A further, yet to published plot due to Levitus, showed substantial heating in the upper ocean. All this he described as rock solid.

He said the IPCC view was that doubling of CO2 would lead to global mean temperatures rises of 2 to 3C in 30 years from now, and these would be the highest in a very long time (I cannot decipher my notes on the actual time period). He repeated the assurance of the IPCC about continued warming, and his confidence in the IPCC.

My notes are a bit scrappy for the question and answer session which followed, and which was ably handled by Dr Wilson, since I was from time to time formulating questions or comments of my own.

An early question concerned differences in variability displayed on different sections of plots shown by Tom – described by the questioner as ‘huge differences in uncertainty’. Another questioner argued that a detailed re-analysis of tree-ring data was called for in general. The question of how much longer a period without warming would cause people to say something was wrong with the models and/or the claims of a warming threat. Tom suggested that if warming not resumed by 2020, that would cause concern. A questioner noted that there were massive leaps being made from projected temperature rises to talk about climate impact in general – impacts that have not been remotely justified e.g. talk of floods and droughts and famines and so on.

The excess winter deaths in Scotland were raised to illustrate more harm from cooling than warming here. An audience member claimed that climate scientists were intrinsically sceptical – that was part of science, and that it was very misleading to think of a simple divide between climate sceptics and true believers. The same person also praised peer review as one of the strengths of climate science, and urged sceptics to get engaged and try to get published. There was some mention of Arctic ice thinning, the high variability Arctic sea ice and thickness so that even a dramatic summer melt at the pole would not be unprecedented even in the last 100 years, of sub-tropical drought forecasts and poor guidance to the Australian government about permanent drought down there (with desalination plants build not long before floods due to very heavy rains appeared and the plants were mothballed).

The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship was raised to note airborne water vapour would increase with rising surface temperatures, and that led to questions about negative feedbacks involving clouds tending to counter such rises). Someone noted that economic models also needed a lot more examination. What should be done? Bets were bandied about about temperature rises in the near future. It was noted that the self-interest of developing states such as India and China may not coincide with greenhouse gas reduction. Tom said it would be in the self-interest of the States to reduce dependence on imported oil, and that in general people should try to do what benefits their own country. A questioner had asked if it seemed that global governance was the only way to go if greenhouse gas reductions were to be addressed.

The climategate scandal was mentioned, and Tom said that it had nto affected the science, and that anyway, scientists were human beings. He felt that if there was 1 dodgy paper out of 100, that one would be blown up out of all proportion by the blogosphere. A suggestion of massive oil funding by an audience member was greeted with derision by the ‘sceptics’ present, and when Tom started to talk of Exxon in particular, there was a remark from the audience to the effect that going down that line would make ‘us’ no better than the sceptics, and that produced an approving murmur in the audience and the topic was dropped. A questioner asked what would it take to change a sceptic’s mind – for example, if they saw there was only a 1 in 20 chance that the projections were right about CO2, what would they do? The case of the resigning editor and reviewers at the Remote Sensing journal was raised, by Andrew I think, as an example of something wrong with the science – if a weak paper gets through, why not simply print a rebuttal, why resign, and why, in particular, apologise to Trenberth – a man not in the speciality in question. Andrew raised the question as to whether peer review was adequate in climate science, and the politicised situation. I think there was consensus that peer review is not perfect and that moves to open peer review were a good development. Several people pointed out that both sides of the debate had been politicised.

The discussion had been, as they say, wide-ranging and often lively. But always temperate, and my impression was that everyone would have felt they had some opportunity to be heard. Dr Wilson helped keep an even keel, and invited us all to another room nearby for refreshments and further discussion. All in all, a worthwhile event with some good communication of perspectives and bits and pieces of ‘facts’. Would that such events, in such an open and courteous atmosphere, could be held far and wide. They weren’t in the past, and we were told by some that the debate was over. I think for most of us, it has in fact scarcely begun. Back to the car park to find some of the West Sands had been spread there by the wind to give a slightly Saharan look to the place."

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (365)

Snotrocket - can't remember your name around here, and it's as disgusting as your attempt at keeping the debate uncivilized. Richard has done the right thing (dispel the myth that all skeptics think alike). You haven't, and frankly your opinion is of little interest until we come around to a blog post titled "What does Snotrocket think about...?"

Apr 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Omnologus: I assure you I've been around some time. I'm at a loss that you think I am 'uncivilized' in my debate. I am a fan of Richard Betts and enjoy the fact that he visits here (and I wasn't being snarky about him being 'emollient': it was a true compliment). But that doesn't mean that I have to accept every darn thing he says, no matter how qualified I know he is to say them. I would not be an independent, thinking being if that were the case. Equally, I enjoy many of your posts and have enjoyed the irony of your name ('blessed with the richness of specialisations etc'). But that's just my opinion...

(BTW, I always tell people who ask, my surname is 'Science' - corny, I know, but then, there are so many corny names on here, aren't there. ;-) Pax?

Apr 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

@Chris: 'So we know our models that allow confidence in predicting smoking-related morbidity/mortaility are not "right for the wrong reasons" since we understand the nature of the causality, and this can be further tested empirically. Similar empirical testing of predictions can be done with climate models as inicated in my post you responded to' What the f*** are you talking about, I have never heard such a load of disengenous bullsh in my career as a scientist and civil servant. I suggest that you do a bit of reading up on the subject of causality - try Doll and Peto's work, such as the Doctor's Survey. BTW, I have worked with both of them.

Apr 29, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Apr 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM | Snotrocket

Hi, glad to hear it's good to read my comments!

2 points:

I wasn't presuming anything, I was just going on the evidence of what quite a lot of BH commenters / readers have actually told me, either here, on Twitter or by email (thanks folks!)

Also I'm not advocating anything other than a more open approach to discussing climate science. My comments on the science are based on my understanding, and anything I say about the implications of the science for society are entirely my personal view, and you are perfectly entitled to yours. I try not to tell people what to do :-)



Apr 29, 2012 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

I'll second that. And value RB's initiative and I think his recognition of our perspective. ( lets not contrast with the recent disaster). I dont do twitterings, but observe the same sort of adversarial mutual respect emerging through that medium also. The trenches football match.

Apr 29, 2012 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

For insight on RB's POV, refer to Tamsins's blog 'All Models are Wrong' - the first post thread 'The Sceptical Compass', RB's comment on February 3, 2012 at 12:45 am

Apr 29, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Please note that Rob Wilson is the climate scientist who supported McIntyre's criticisms of MBH in the climategate emails, to the rest of the 'team':

1527.txt, 2005: " There has been criticism by Macintyre of Mann's sole reliance on RE, and I am now starting to believe the accusations. "

4241.txt, 2006: " The whole Macintyre issue got me thinking...I first generated 1000 random time-series in Excel ... The reconstructions clearly show a 'hockey-stick' trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about. "

Apr 29, 2012 at 11:13 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

@ Paul Matthews 11:13 pm

Your point that Rob Wilson has been a open-minded towards McIntyre's criticisms as evidenced by two emails in the past makes him a "good guy" can equally be viewed as a scientist who stated in private his reservations about the published science, and yet he did nothing.

One of the despicable aspects revealed by the Climategate emails was the degree of bullying by climate insiders against anyone who questioned their interpretations on the science. There is little doubt that people's careers were derailed by insider control over publications and access to funding. That knowledgeable scientists knew about this and yet did nothing is worse than the lack of response from people ignorant of the facts.

As a basis for evaluating the morality and ethics of Rob Wilson, this lack of action is far worse than his puerile "trap-setting".

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered Commenternvw

@Paul Matthews

This revelation makes Rob Wilson's disparaging comments about the readership here even more mysterious - I'm hacked off with Mann's abuses impacting negatively on the standing of science in general, but my field is generally untainted except for cowardly salutes to 'climate change' appearing in practically every damned paper I get to read, but given the utter laughing stock he's made of Rob's field, dendrophrenology dendrochonology, why does he want to pick a fight ('set traps for') readers who he obviously shares an insight with?

Did he do it to establish his consensus credentials for somebody else's benefit? It all seems rather inconsistent to me.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:17 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor


Sounds about right.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Paul Matthews | Apr 29, 2012 at 11:13 PM
nvw | Apr 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM
SayNoToFearmongers | Apr 30, 2012 at 12:21 AM

A lay observation ... it would be hugely unpopular in the 'Department' to put all of those research grants at risk by being outwardly truthful ... such a common trait of management in commerce and industry nowadays.

One might loose some 'friends' in the short-term but gain many more, and much more credibility, in the long-term.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

thanks John Shade

but dearie me !!

Bish tries to make a step forward, but Rob for fun, drops a incendiary/flashbang comment "there is no debate w.r.t. the AGW hypothesis" & all the usual weapons are out.

i have reread your comment at Apr 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM 'Rob Wilson' & then later you say -

"I am afraid many of you sort of fell into my trap.
I purposely posted a goading statement to test the waters. I got what I expected which was a pity."

i expected better Rob (from your input at CA) did someboby nibble your big toe?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

woops - somebody - (someboby) who he?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

I have no issues with dendroCHRONOLOGY, it is a well established science.

It's dendroCLIMATOLOGY where the problem lies.

Indeed most of the problems with it are lies.

Apr 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The problem with dangerous AGW is that it can't be proved or disproved. Deniers (I wear that as a badge of honour!) have empirical evidence on their side and premature cli-maxers have adjusted data and climate models on their side. Neither side will ever be persuaded by the opposition's arguments. If there were such a thing as conclusive proof one way or the other, there would, indeed, be no debate. It boils down, at the moment at least, to the tried and tested notion of reasonable doubt. The premature cli-maxers have failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that dangerous AGW is happening. Perhaps if global temps were still rising, sea levels were rising and Arctic sea ice diminishing I'd be more inclined to their position but the reverse is actually the case as far as these indicators go.

I have no problem at all with Chris Colose and his comments here. In his mind, the case for dangerous AGW has been proved to a satisfactory standard and he's trying to let us see how he has arrived at that position. He's not any sort of troll that I recognise and I'd congratulate him not only for engaging but for doing so in a fair and sporting manner.

[Snip - keep the venting to yourself]

Apr 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterSevad

Apr 29, 2012 at 4:22 PM Richard Betts

But I can see you have unfortunately got off on the wrong foot with some people here. To be honest that was inevitable - there are a wide diversity of views represented in the Bishop Hill readership, and whatever you say, someone won't like it.

Richard, you have gained a lot of respect here from your direct and honest comments - notwithstanding the views that many BH commenters have about the organisation you work for. Your avoidance of debating point-scoring and your pleasant demeanour mean that your comments are always palatable, even for those who do not share your opinion on, say, the usefulness of computer models of climate.

Rob Wilson Apr 27, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I am afraid many of you sort of fell into my trap.
I purposely posted a goading statement to test the waters. I got what I expected which was a pity.

A statement like that might be (just about) acceptable to a class of 1st year geography undergraduates. But for the readership here, being jerked around like that is quite enough to terminate discussion.

Rob Wilson Apr 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I cannot believe the closed minds in this blog (...)
As far as I can tell, the “consensus” of most individuals on this blog is not to believe anything.

RB: "To be honest that was inevitable - there are a wide diversity of views represented in the Bishop Hill readership, and whatever you say, someone won't like it."

Richard, you are terminally nice.

It's not that "someone won't like it". Wilson's words would get up anybody's nose.

Apr 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Well, to defend Rob, most of the comments on this website do appear to be incredibly ignorant. If you are genuinely interested in climate change the abstracts from last week's EGU meeting in Vienna are here:

Perhaps instead of stewing in your collective anger you might like to inform yourselves a little better about the current state of climate change research. I'm afraid you'll find the science is pretty much settled.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered Commentericer


This really highlights the industry that is dependant continuing the Cagw theme.

> I'm afraid you'll find the science is pretty much settled.

I'm afraid you'll find that anyone stating that marks themself as an idiot.

Even Richard Betts in this thread has stated there's a lot stil to debate.


Apr 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Yowzer. Someone actually wrote this, in 2012.

icer, Apr 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM:

I'm afraid you'll find the science is pretty much settled.

On.. what?

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Even if the science were settled, Rob Wilson's behaviour here was bad-mannered to say the least. There is an issue of lost trust which this sort of behaviour does little to address. A communication problem, one might say.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM ricer "I'm afraid you'll find the science is pretty much settled."

You haven't been paying attention, have you?

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"icer" is the obvious troll looking to trap more people into another flamewar.

Just like Wilson, he is ultimately disrespectful of the Bish, as they believe Montford's audience to be dorks and other assorted idiots.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

What the hell is the Bish?
Thanks for reading the abstracts, I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that you read them.

Apr 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

The fact that you are "surprised" that we read the abstracts shows that you don't understand the contributors to this blog.
The fact that you are "impressed" simply marks you out as another (like Wilson or Colose) who believes that anyone who doesn't roll over and play dead at the mention of "global warming" (or whatever the phrase du jour happens to be) is barely worth wasting your oh-so-valuable time on.
The fact that you don't know what (actually 'who') the Bish is marks you out as someone who has made very little, if any, attempt to find out what this blog is about.
Now shall we start again?
Science, by its nature, is never "settled". The climate science you claim to be "settled" is being challenged every day of the week by real scientists with reservations about the obsession with CO2. Simply to mention the name Svensmark — whether his research proves to be correct or not — is the evidence that there is still a debate to be had.
If you don't want to have that debate, you are in the wrong blog. Try realclimate or skepticalscience; you'll feel more at home there.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

OK, so dissent from the angry old man line is not tolerated here. If you'd like to explain to me how sticking your fingers in your ears to new information is a form of hypothetico deductive reasoning I would genuinely like to hear it. Personally I don't think that reading predigested information from this blog is a healthy way to understand climate science. You know, Plato's closed society and all that.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

nvw, sntf, I agree with what you say. He certainly messed up with his comments here.

Here's another illustration of what he's up against, email 1408.txt

date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 07:43:00 -0000 (GMT)
from: C Goodess
subject: cafe eavesdropping
to: k briffa, t osborn, p jones

Dear all

Thought you might be interested to hear of my encounter this afternoon,
sitting anonymously (without name badge) in a cafe round the corner from
the AGU venue.

The two sitting at the next table turned out to be Stephen McIntyre (no
afiliation on his name badge) and Rob Wilson (Edinburgh). They were
talking so loudly it was difficult not to follow the conversation in full.
This included a critique of Mann, Moberg, von Storch, Wigley etc. etc and
most disturbingly a discussion of the peer review system. Tim and Keith
featured quite prominently in the latter!

It was tempting to reveal my identify - but more interesting to listen in
detail. I can tell you more next week!

Best wishes Clare

Followed a few days later by this from Ed Cook, email 0991.txt:

Believe it or not, I also peeked at Climate Audit last week as well to see what McIntyre had to say. He was actually rather low-key on the hockeystick session, although he was rather ugly as usual in criticizing past work including that done by Keith. However, Rob Wilson is evidently his new friend now. I warned Rob not to trust him because McIntyre will only use him for information to criticize the field.

icer, the most ignorant comments on this thread appear to be those from you. It is you who has your fingers in your ears.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Icer - have you read THSI?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Well, I don't know who Steve McIntyre is. Which session did he present in?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

disingenuous or daft?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

> disingenuous or daft?



Apr 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial


Apr 30, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

daft. thick.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Wow, name calling. Surprising Rob Wilson didn't want to respond.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

> Wow, name calling. Surprising Rob Wilson didn't want to respond.

Very obvious Trolling.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

OK, let me try again. Look at any abstract from last week's meeting, climate change or not. Rate it for testable, verifiable information. Understand that this is the kind of stuff scientists read everyday. Now come back and read some of the comments to Rob's first post. Don't they seem just the tiniest little bit stupid to you? Tiny bit?

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

If you'd like to explain to me how sticking your fingers in your ears to new information ...
In my previous posting I mentioned Svensmark. Is "sticking [their] fingers in [their] ears to new information" not precisely what the "warmists" have been doing for years?
I'm afraid you are starting to behave very much like a troll. Pick a subject; keep repeating it ad nauseam; never address the responses directly; be as offensive as possible; derail the thread.
You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Apr 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Wow, I've become list new information to a sceptic, ignored.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

I've re-read the first responses to the Wilson post. I find nothing there to complain of, no rants, many questions. I find that there is no sceptic consensus. Why should there be? A provocative post got a number of responses. I cannot imagine what other reaction there could have been. Did he think we were all going to read his papers and say 'yes Rob you were right all the time'? What was he trying to achieve, unless it was to go back to his own community and say 'there, you can't talk to that lot'?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

No, and he didn't suggest that. You read his, and other papers, and you determine a method by which you could prove that his conclusions are wrong. You ask him about this method, and surprisingly, he might even agree with you, as it is most likely due to some inherent assumptions. It is called hypothetico deductive reasoning, and it is the way that science moves forward. To say it is all just bullshit from a stacked jury just strengthens his case, as it means you have nothing more concrete to throw at it.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

Well, why do they need to cheat?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Are you accusing Rob Wilson of cheating? I think that is a serious charge. Or just some generic climate science bogey man?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

And without the flippancy, if he depends on paleo and models he needs to show me why I ought to believe them. Paleo is inherently unreliable. It just does not show temperature. It may be useful for all sorts of things, but for showing the value of an already dodgy concept, global mean temperature, it is not convincing.

And models. Models of a chaotic system with multiple variables and parameters. There is a lot of scope for error and self-deception there. They can be a useful tool for investigation of how systems work, but only an optimist would promote them as being able to provide reliable forecasts of anytihng on a decadal scale. I just do not believe either paleo or models can give any proof of upcoming climate.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

And does his research depend on models?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

Cheating? Not Wilson, but the usual people. Do you not know who they are? The ones who get editors sacked, or will not release data and code, or run enquiries stuffed with their friends, or having had their methods exposed as worthless keep publishing the same stuff. If you really do not know, you are not well informed. If you know and will not say, you are disingenuous.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

He mentioned models in his first post. Did you not read it?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

OK, so of the 10000 scientists in Vienna last week a handful of bad apples are manipulating the science using an email terminal from the University of East Anglia. Correct?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

icer - are you one of Dr Wilson's graduate students?

Probably no one here had heard of him until 27 April. I don't think anyone here knows (knew?) what was in his papers, nor had any opinion on his work. I don't recall any comment here on his work. You made up "To say it is all just bullshit" - right?

Why should anyone here have had any interest in his conclusions whatever they are and whether they are right or wrong?

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnap Rivet

I know he mentioned models, I'm asking you if he uses models in his work.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

Because if you want to eliminate global climate change as a hypothesis you need an alternate hypothesis which explains Rob's data. Hypothetico deductive reasoning.

Apr 30, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentericer

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>