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Discussion > Children's Science books

Mr K – do not give up! Your erudite contributions are refreshing, to say the least; that I might tear you up a bit about your humour should not be taken so personally – slay me with a riposte! Good heavens, sir, has your time in the groves of Academe weakened your hide when it should have been strengthening it? My only visits to universities have been to drop off or pick up, but I have gained the hide of a hippo!

Apr 2, 2016 at 12:30 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Rabid Rat

You may have a hippo's hide, but I do not. Mine was warn thin in pleces fighting in the trenches. You suggest a riposte, but my blade was weak as you informed me twice. In any case it was not you that felled me, it was the complete and utter silence of others. Your critique I easily could have quashed, it was the possibility that it might be accurate that is so damaging. Writing technical replies is somewhat dull at my age. Having put a considerable dent in my humour judgment, I can no longer write anything lighter without having to dissect it apart. You have I think been instrumental in ruining the pleasure I was getting from contributing here. Well done RR, you can add my ear to your belt, but it is my voice you have silenced.

Apr 2, 2016 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I am sorry to have dented your self-esteem so badly, but at least look on the bright side: a quick review of my comments will reveal that few people, indeed, respond to anything I say. This indicates the probability that it was not you that they refused to defend but me whom they wished to ignore. I enjoyed what I considered the little banter between us; now, I shall have to revise my own wit (or lack of – it is all rather confusing, really). Often, what sounds so hilarious in my head seems to translate into something less so in writing; perhaps I should join you in exile.

(p.s. I like the “Rabid Rat” – touché, indeed! The best I can come up with with your name you will have heard too many times before, already, my little Mint Cake.)

Apr 2, 2016 at 2:08 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Alan Kendall, I guess I'll never find out which parts of the "sceptic" repertoire of arguments you want to see in text books, which is a shame. Although selecting the good from the bad, the sensible from the barmy goes against the essence of "scepticism", so it was unrealistic of me to expect it (but it made it fun to push for).

I have no idea what you are discussing (i.e. where Ratty attacked you) but I hope I didn't cause you any distress. I recommend ATTP if you want a more civilized and moderated discussion.

Apr 2, 2016 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

I recommend ATTP if you want a more civilized and moderated discussion.
Hmmm… a joke in the worst possible taste!

BTW, Mr K – the groves of Academe now has trenches?! Things are getting far worse than any of us could have imagined!

Apr 2, 2016 at 2:28 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Goaded by Raff to return to the topic of this thread – surely the principle contents of the text-books should be known facts? Where there are theories attempting to explain these facts, these should also be included; if there are contradictory theories, both (or all) should be presented, with explanations as to the counter-arguments against each. A good teacher (do they really exist? It has been so long since my school days, I cannot possibly know) should be able to help the children develop their critical skills while keeping her or his own bias under some control. There should be scope for each theory to be studied and questioned, as well as encouragement for the students to formulate their own. However, facts should always be paramount, with the theories being held at bay with the simple note that, while it is rarely possible to prove a theory, it only takes one fact to disprove it.

As with all subjects, these books should be tailored to the particular stage the group is at – it is pointless teaching calculus to a 6-year-old who is having difficulty doing simple sums, as is thrusting Shakespeare at a 5-year-old who can barely read.

Apr 2, 2016 at 2:48 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Alan Kendall & Radical Rodent

What raff is seeking is the replacement of the traditional School Nativity Play, with a lovely fluffly fairy story about how God was born in Mann's own image, to save the world from sin and CO2.

Armed only with the all powerful Hockey Stick of History re-creation, he did mightily smight the sinners, untouchables and heretics, right in the Unmentionables, in a most Unprecedented manner, in a self righteous sort of modern unscientific way. There was not a superlative that could not be bettered, by endless repetition, or a lack of imagination.

That is how the story of climate science began.

The children too shy to speak, can still play at being sheep, being bossed about by IPCC appointed shepherds, to prepare for adult life. The 3 Wise Men, travelling from the UN, will bring gifts of Money, Money and More Money, and the Angel Gore(Al) will be able to fly in for a brief personal appearance fee, before jetting off somewhere more lucrative.

Apr 2, 2016 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Let's have some specifics. What treatment would you give greenhouse effect denial and Jo Nova's Force X in your dream text books?

Apr 2, 2016 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff


I'll reverse the question. What treatment would you give Svensmark, Shaviv, Veizer, Prokoph, Courtillot and others and their theories concerning solar amplification, solar wind effects and galactic cosmic rays? Certainly on geological time scales the hypothesis has merit. From ab initio considerations It makes specific predictions about the periodicity of warm and cold periods that is borne out by the geologic record. It is not immediately apparent to me that a greenhouse model on it's own can explain such observations.

Apr 2, 2016 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Raff: for a start, I would not include the term “denial” or any of its derivatives in the books; I would not include any such deliberately offensive terms.

What is wrong with looking at contentious theories (such as, for example, the idea of anthropogenic global warming – I mean, how daft could you get?!)? “Greenhouse effect” is still a theory, and there are certainly many who can present reasonable arguments against it; Jo Nova’s (actually, it’s her spouse, David Evans, to whom the credit should lie, but, please, do not let simple facts stop your scorn) “Force X” (which you obviously have some disdain of) is also another theory that should be examined. As Mr Dennis has pointed out, there are a large number of other theories attempting to explain the observations – oddly, many of these theories that you summarily dismiss do fit the observations a lot more closely than your pet AGW theory, but, again, do not let such blatant truths open your eyes to other possibilities.

Apr 2, 2016 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Paul Denis,

What treatment would you give Svensmark, Shaviv, Veizer, Prokoph, Courtillot and others...

I'm not the one wanting to change the books, so I'd leave it to people who study climate. A quick check tells me cosmic ray theory etc does not garner much support. But since you support it, at what age would you introduce it?

Ratty, are those who "present reasonable arguments against" the GHE people such as Doug Cotton, who recently caused Roy Spencer such trouble that he disabled comments on his blog, or MDGNN, who AM has little time for on his blog? At what age do you think children should be presented with their ideas? 8, 10, 12? And how, exactly do you expect "Force X from outer space" to be examined by children when I would guess not one of the climate-obsessives reading here could explain it with any confidence or without giggling? Since you previously thought that children should be taught to be skeptical of calculus, I doubt your answer to that will be sensible.

Apr 2, 2016 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff


I'm not the one wanting to change the books…
Of course not, as they are blasting out the message that you want them to, science be damned. Robert Christopher raised this thread in the hope that others may be able to offer suggestions for ousting the sad parody of science that climate “science” has become, and re-establishing Science in all its full glory in all disciplines. To do this, FACTS have to be paramount; the many and varied theories attempting to explain many of the facts should be examined, and each of them should be dissembled for study. At what age each or any of these stages should be introduced would be best left to more experienced educationalists than I – the only training I have imparted to others has been to adults, and I was (and still am) somewhat harsh and unforgiving; lives can depend on it.

As we have already determined your understanding of what scepticism is, I think we can quite easily dismiss your final comments.

Apr 2, 2016 at 11:01 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

As there remains no evidence to prove CO2 has caused the climate to change this century, or in any of the millenia before that, we might as well blame it on Blue Smarties from Outer Space, paint umbrellas silver on both sides, so they can be used for personal protection, or reversed for use as parabolic death ray rebounders.

As it now seems the climate has got bored with changing one way, and may be thinking about changing the other way, having had a few decades to think about it, there is every chance that silver paint and umbrellas may be far cheaper than any other meaningless and ludicrously expensive gesture, so far carried out.

Apr 3, 2016 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Raff, as you are one of the chief climate obsessives posting here, what was the damning evidence that led to the conclusion that CO2 was guilty of anything?

When did this happen, who decided it, what other options were considered? What evidence was presented? Do you have a link?

If the 'Guilty' verdict was now brought to a Court of Appeal, with witnesses for the Defence invited to give evidence, under the full glare of public and scientific scrutiny, with other possible causes considered for numerous documented changes in the climate, just in the last two millennia, are you confident that anyone would still be allowed to indoctrinate adults, let alone children on the guilt of CO2?

Mann v Steyn may be an interesting practice run.

Apr 3, 2016 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mann v Steyn may be an interesting practice run.

I think pinning one's hopes on Mark Steyn may be unwise. I have no idea how the case will turn out, it is possible that describing the work of a distinguished scientist as fraudulent and comparing him to a child molester is protected under Freedom of Speech. It is fairly clear the case is not testing the science, how could it?

I note, however that Steyn has published a collection of quotes claiming to be collection of condemnations of Mann's work from 'the world's scientists', but which, on examination, turns out to be an anthology of extraordinarily selective quotations, and downright fabrications.

Unlikely to endear Steyn to a judge, or jury. Brandon has read the thing:

I think Mark Steyn may be the greatest troll to ever live. He publishes a book to tell people his criticisms of Mann were reasonable because so many other people share them, then promptly proceeds to quote complete loons while saying things about Mann's work that are completely untrue. He starts his book off mocking people as "paranoid" for being worried about doctored quotes then proceeds to doctor a quote every three pages. And now, translating an article published in Danish (poorly) and pretending it had been published in English, he says in the very next section of his book:

On October 7th 2004 Dr Ahlbeck summarized it thus (in English):

Well played Steyn, well played. You couldn't be a bigger troll if you tried, and I assume you're already trying very hard. Because if this comes to you naturally, you're the biggest dick to ever live.

I wish Brandon would stop mincing his words.

Read more

Apr 3, 2016 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


why do you presume to know what hypotheses I support and don't? I'm trying to understand the processes that influence the development of Earth surface conditions over a range of time scales. I accept that radiatively active gases are important. How important is difficult to assess. There are a large number of observations that suggest we don't fully understand the system: (i) The GCM models all run with too great a sensitivity compared to the modern temperature record; (ii) The ocean calorimetric data - periodicity of heat gain and sea level changes: (iii) The fact that estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2 on different time scales do not converge; (iv) the long period oscillation of Earth surface temperatures throughout the Phanerozoic. It is such observations, gaps in our knowledge, that suggest there are missing elements to our understanding. At the moment I think the only hypothesis out there that offers an explanation, or near complete explanation is the cosmo-climatology hypothesis of Svensmark, Shaviv, Veizer and others. If one takes this as a starting point together with what we understand about the radiative properties of CO2 etc. then one comes up with the proposition that climate sensitivity to CO2 is low, probably around 1K per doubling. At the low end of the range but in line with a growing number of observations and publications.

The only think limiting the acceptance of these ideas is lack of a clearly identifiable mechanism. However, there are theoretical studies and empirical data now beginning to appear that shows cosmic rays certainly lead to the production of nucleii and that there is scope for these to grow to become cloud condensation nucleii. Thus a plausible mechanism whereby cosmic rays affect albedo is developing.

There is a direct analogy with science just half a century ago when the discovery of magnetic stripes on the ocean floor and the development of sea floor spreading allowed the paradigm shift away from geosynclines to plate tectonics in the Earth Sciences. The observational data for continental drift existed for a long time (fit of continents, faunal provinces etc.) but was never accepted fully until a viable mechanism was identified. Interestingly the inferences drawn from the observations was made by an 'outsider' and not a geologist.

So here we have a perfectly good heuristic with which to teach the scientific method to young people of high school age. The Earth's climate is complex and we don't understand all the details and processes. Here are the observations and here are how hypotheses are being developed to account for these. Here is where we think the hypotheses work but here are where there are problem areas. We can compare this situation to other examples such as the paradigm shifts associated with plate tectonics.

We need to show to young people that we test hypotheses by using them to make a prediction and then trying to falsify that prediction.

You are unbelievably patronising over Force 'X'. Of course X-rays were named X-rays because Roentgen didn't know what caused them! I guess had you been around at the time you'd have had a really good giggle about it. It may well be that what David Evans is observing is a manifestation of the solar amplification mechanism proposed by Shaviv.

It would be a desperately depressing situation if we felt we couldn't introduce young people to complex ideas, lack of certainty, and the wonder of discovery.

Apr 3, 2016 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Phil Clarke, you're right.
Mann should sue Steyn and get it to court as soon as possible.

The longer Steyn can continue highlighting the public opinion of Mann's work the longer that opinion will be held.

It makes me wonder why Mann isn't pushing for more progress.

Apr 3, 2016 at 9:07 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Paul Dennis, I think you will find that Raff & co believe they are absolute experts in absolutely everything, even down to your shoe size.

Even now, Lewandowsky is probably writing,(with 97% Confidence) a science busting paper on how non conformists to the AGW Doctrine believe Newton faked the theory of gravity, and was just trying to conceal transcendental levitation from his fellow scrumpy cider drinkers as the secret to his new apple picking technique.

Skeptical Skience experts know for a fact that you and I personally believe that the apple never fell on Newtons head at all, but Newton's scrumpy addled mind, body and soul floated up off the ground, and headbutted the apple out of the tree.

Mann can even tell it was a particularly good season for apples and cider making that year, which is why Newton was unable to write his theories down coherently until the following spring.

Meanwhile, I personally believe that some people's brains are conditioned to register fear, hatred and disgust, at the slightest possibility of an increased risk of inhaling a smidgeon above a trace of CO2. Whether this is why some people insist on drinking carbonated/alcoholic beverages through a straw, is pure conspiracy ideation theory,

Apr 3, 2016 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: it is not “conspiracy ideation” it is “conspiRACIST ideation”. See the cunning way that it incorporates that most heinous of terms, “racist”, into it. You have to admit, they do have a certain talent with manipulation of words and facts.

Apr 3, 2016 at 5:31 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent, it is their shifting of facts, day after day, year after year, until they are denying what they had been previously been so adamant about.

It really is as though they want to be politicians.

M Courtney is quite correct (he tends to be) that Climate Scientists seems quite happy to wait a little bit (until they have all retired?) before testing their faith under public scrutiny in an American Court.

It could be that Mann is growing new tree rings from seed, under laboratory controlled conditions, so he can prove beyond doubt, that his research is worth its weight in firewood.

Apr 3, 2016 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Paul Dennis:

why do you presume to know what hypotheses I support and don't?

Well, I was presumptuous.

At the moment I think the only hypothesis out there that offers an explanation, or near complete explanation is the cosmo-climatology hypothesis of Svensmark, Shaviv, Veizer and others.

But that does seem to confirm my presumption.

It seems like the cosmic ray theory should be verifiable. Can't we measure cosmic rays? Can we not measure C14 and Be10 levels in the atmosphere? I imagine we should see a change in the measurements and be able to correlate it with temperature. What are the results?

What do your colleagues at UEA think of the idea? You must have contact with other climate scientists, what is their opinion of cosmic ray theory? If it hasn't been widely accepted, why do you think that is? Ditto Evans' Force X, how widely is that discussed and how many people take it seriously?

Apr 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Paul Dennis, after a long delay, Raff has now received new guidance on how to proceed with his campaign. This time, it is to get you to align yourself with a view you do not actually hold!

Apr 4, 2016 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


I think you could do a lot worse than looking at the lecture given by Jasper Kirby of CERN and the CLOUD experiment. You'll find it on YouTube. It will explain some of the concepts. More specifically give you access to some of the literature and data on the very marked co-variation between C14 and Be10 levels and different proxy climate signals. These signals are both isotopic and sedimentary. All this is in the peer reviewed literature. You should also read the work of Shaviv and Svensmark on the structure of the galaxy, cosmic ray intensity variations and climate change.

I have contact with very many scientists. Some, like me, think that the idea has merit and there are possible ways to test the theory against specific predictions it makes. Others are not so keen. You ask me why that is? I think a huge part of it is ignorance of the subject and an unwillingness to consider it in detail. It of course has major implications for our understanding of the modern climate. Why do you think there is such a strong debate over the recent estimates of climate sensitivity that fall at the lowest end of previous IPCC estimates?

I don't have any axes to grind in this debate and am genuinely interested in developing a better understanding of the controls on Earth surface conditions throughout geological time and the modern period. I think that where there are well founded theories based on solid physics and chemistry these are worthy of further investigation. Where theories are frankly wrong because they contain fundamental errors then they should be shown to be with evidence based on sound physics and chemistry.

Thus my support for the cosmo-climatology theories is not cheerleading for it but a genuine interest to see if it can explain observations that are difficult to explain with the current paradigm and that with my background I can develop a suitable test against which I can evaluate different hypotheses.

Apr 4, 2016 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Raff: should you want to debate with either Mr K or Mr D, you are well outside your league. When it comes to the humour though… well, you are still well outside your league.

Apr 4, 2016 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Paul Dennis, I watched Kirkby from 2011 for an hour and you are right; it is interesting stuff. I didn't find anything newer, and the video seems not to support the idea that warming over the last 50 years is due to GCRs. As he said more than once there is no trend in GCRs in the 2nd half of the 20th C. Plots of cosmic rays, solar activity against temperature (like show no correlation. I don't see how you can get around that. The positive result I've seen is that GCRs do cause a great increase the number of nm sized particles but that they are much to small to form CCNs.

So on balance I don't see why you would want to reject CO2 as a causative factor (where the process is well understood) in favor of GCRs when the evidence doesn't seem to be there and no process is known.

Apr 5, 2016 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff