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Discussion > What makes a Sceptic? Or a Believer?

EM, interesting posts!

The Royal Flight was based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, though that has no connection with the fact it is the only RAF base I have ever flown into, or out of. Met records from Benson would be so much more consistent than Heathrow.

I have never personally been aware of my own blood tests going missing or mislabelled. The phlebotomists have to hand write my details onto each phial. I don't know if that is part of their "safety" procedures. My paper files have been misplaced alphabetically on more than one occasion however!

I know from personal experience as a customer AND sometimes as the person doing the physical work, that a car, engine, outboard, lawnmower etc that is functioning fine, and then serviced, is most likely to go wrong immediately after the service, than just before. Normally, because someone forgot to do that last silly little thing that they should have done - retighten/reconnect/move the adjustment lever or control back again.

For some strange reason, car mechanics always feel the need to roadtest high performance cars for far longer after they have been serviced. Provided they are not crashed during the roadtest, they tend to be returned more reliable, though with less tread on the tyres and more wear on the brakes and clutch. (I have never worked in the motor trade, but I know a few who have!)

Oct 25, 2016 at 2:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM, Labour passed the Climate Change Act with the near full support of all MPs, of all political colours. It was in 2008, I was working abroad, and almost completely out of touch with the UK. Climategate was 2009. I had already realised I was not alone in thinking there was something wrong about climate science before Climategate. Climategate proved it to me and millions of others.

Despite the best efforts of Jeremy Grantham et al with all their vested interests, Climate Science has been in steady decline in the public's appreciation ever since, and the politicians of all flavours apart from Green, that nobody likes anyway, have been reassessing their opinions to match public expectations.

Oct 25, 2016 at 2:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Entropic says

'Those in mature sciences/technologies like chemistry and engineering, or in fantasy professions like IT are accustomed to knowing exactly what is happening'

Erm no. When everything is going according to plan we're not much needed. It is when they're not that we get involved. You might reflect that well people don't much go to their GP, but only call on them when they're ill

And when they do call us we're accustomed (like NASA used to be) to spending huge amounts of time and effort to understand why they don't work as we expect them to.

And if the theory predicts one thing while observations show otherwise, there's no compunction in trying a new better theory and testing that one as well.

It is detailed hard work as many here will testify.

And that's why helicopters (mostly) stay up in the sky, your local supermarket stays reasonably well stocked with goods and we can all communicate via a bit of 'fantasy' IT from anywhere in the world. It ain't the fairies that makes these things happen

Compare and contrast climate alarmism of the Entropic variety. Under the cloak of 'variability' there is almost joy in ignoring observations of the real world. That 111 of 114 climate models are significantly overheated tells me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the models that needs to be sorted. But to alarmists it says that 'climate deniers' are bad people for noticing.

And that 'climate scientists' have no compunction in arbitrarily 'adjusting' historical observations to better suit their failing theories is a complete non-no. The famous Harry ( of Harry Read Me fame) lifted the lid on the true IT fantasists..and it ain't us commercial folks, but the 'academic' creators of climate fairy stories.

So, faced with the choice of boarding a helicopter maintained by a sceptic or by an alarmist. I think I know which one I'd choose. The one with the real engineering records. The one whose engineers weren't working off a theoretical script but with hard practical reality

PS Congratulations to Entropic for being an ATC 'unstructor'. As a one-time Cadet WO (briefly and very out of character) I remember ours mostly fondly.

Oct 25, 2016 at 6:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Entropic says

'Fifteen years ago I was the tech driving those blood analysers. They were cleaned regularly, checked against standard calibration samples.and their output adjusted as necessary.

One of the senior staff spent most of their time validating the blood counts.

They did not stay accurate by accident. You had to work at it.'

Don't worry EM... climatologists have found a way to avoid all this tedious time-consuming stuff. With their superior climate wisdom they just 'adjust' the observations to the values they 'know' should have been recorded.

See Climategate...

Oct 25, 2016 at 6:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

It is not just me. There s a correalation between chemists and engineers being climate change sceptics. Similarly biologists tend to accept climate change.
Oct 24, 2016 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - I have little doubt that that is correct.

But it is for reasons other than your nonsense ... "Since uncertainty is outside their experience, their heads explode...".

It might be more to do with familiarity with the limitations of computer models and the need to validate them before relying on them, the ability to understand mathematical derivations, and to spot holes in arguments based on physics.

Oct 25, 2016 at 8:53 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Latimer Alder
I agree, through out my working life when asked, by a non-technical manager, if a problem was fixed the answer would always be "It seems to be" or "We think so". When the follow up question was "aren't you sure?" the answer would be "we don't know for sure yet, time will tell". This applied to both hardware and software.

I hope the Samsung engineers working on exploding batteries were similarly uncertain. Although for us when a problem resurfaced in a slightly different form using the fact that we'd not been 100% sure using the small number of samples available didn't really help in annual reviews! It didn't surprise me that much when the battery fault resurfaced, for one thing it was a very quick fix.

Oct 25, 2016 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

For some strange reason, car mechanics always feel the need to roadtest high performance cars for far longer after they have been serviced.(...)
Oct 25, 2016 at 2:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I think it is the same reason that, after having had his mechanic do the greasing for my Sunbeam Talbot convertible, the local garage proprietor feels it necessary to take his wife for a 30 km drive in it to a restaurant in the next town (ie to check that the greasing has been correctly done).

Oct 25, 2016 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A did car and contents come back well oiled with all nipples suitably greased?

I am sure the Patron takes great pride in his work and looks forward to your future trust, so he can get under the bodywork again.

Oct 25, 2016 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Once more, Entropic man, your display of cognitive dissonance is a sight to behold. I presume that you are referring to those in the “mature” sciences of chemistry and engineering when you state:

Since uncertainty is outside their experience, their heads explode and they reject it outright.
Yet you outrightly reject any uncertainty in the climate “consensus” – it is CO2 wot dun it, and you’ve got it bang to rights; any other consideration will cause your head to explode.

Your link to how sceptics think was interesting – mainly in that the site continues with the odd concept that scepticism in climate “science” is a Bad Thing, and those who express it are, by default, “deniers”. Scepticism in all other sciences, though, continues to be a Good Thing – unless it throws some doubt into climate “science”, which is when it becomes the tool of the “deniers”! Round and round and round you spin.

My training and qualifications in this debate are irrelevant, so I will not bore you with them; suffice to say, my interests are in the evidence, not someone else’s interpretation of that evidence. So, let’s have a look at the evidence:

1. there has been some warming since the Little Ice Age;

2. there has been an increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere;

3. there has been an increase in the human consumption of fossil fuels;

4. it has been demonstrated in laboratories that CO2 can absorb certain wavelengths of radiative energy;

5. the warming of the planet has increased the altitudes and latitudes of arable land, and has extended growing seasons in temperate regions;

6. the higher CO2 levels appear to be improving food production and so requiring less land to grow the same amount of food;

7. the global temperatures and climates have changed in times past;

8. there has been no definite explanation of the causes of such changes;

9. there have been significantly higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere in times past;

10. it has yet to be determined that ALL possible causes of such changes have been identified;

11. while human consumption of fossil fuels has risen exponentially, the rate of rise of CO2 levels has been more or less constant;

12. while the rate of rise of CO2 levels has been more or less constant, the rise in temperatures has been variable;

13. given that the rate of rise of CO2 continues, the rate of rise of temperatures, so far this century, has been lower than expected – so low that a “pause” in the rise was acknowledged;

14. to date, there has not been a single catastrophic event that could be shown to be the direct result of global warming/climate change (note: catastrophes caused by policies attempting to “address the problem” of global warming/climate change do not count);

15. the global warming/climate change has generally been beneficial, with reduced numbers and severity of storms, tropic revolving storms, and tornadoes, amongst many other benefits;

16. it is not known what the results of absorption of radiative energy by CO2 outside the closed, controlled environment of a laboratory might be (is anyone pursuing that line of enquiry? If so, in what way?);

17. we can deduce nothing about historical rates of change in temperatures for periods of less than a century, so cannot compare the present variable rates during the past century with any historical proxy record – all that could be said is that the rise of less than 1K over the past century is below average for similar changes in palaeological records – and, finally;

18. the ONLY definitive difference between the present and previous changes in temperatures and climates is that we are around to observe and monitor the event.

On that note, it has to be ensured that all observations and monitoring are practiced with dispassionate interest. It also has to be established what data is required for determining that causes of the changes in temperatures and climates, as well as establishing the sites from which such data may be gathered – and, while allowing anyone who might be interested to manipulate it for their own hypotheses and theories, this raw data has to be held sacrosanct, and to remain unchangeable and available to all. There will be considerable time before sufficient data can be collected; as yet, we have only just started on this project. Show some patience.

Regrettably, however, this scenario has become a political tool, and is being used shamelessly by many for their own personal financial and political gain, and it is costing a truly astronomical amount of money – money that could be better spent improving the lot of the many disadvantaged people in the world, yet seems to be being used to bring the more advantaged people down to the level of the disadvantaged (“The days of energy on demand could be over”). A policy you seem to wholeheartedly endorse, EM & PC; for what reasons would be anyone’s guess.

Oct 27, 2016 at 12:14 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent, I agree with all your points/observations.

I think it is because of the overwhelming weight of evidence against the CO2 scare stories, that Climate Science now depends on a Cooked-up diet of 97% Lewandowsky. This high concentration is now proving toxic to climate science funding in the UK, and other EU Countries are noticing that the UK has not noticed any disdvantages.

Climate Science has bought immunity from a lack of science, but can't buy it's way out of a lack of money. They spent it all, and never put any aside in case of a rainy day, because their science proved there weren't going to be anymore rainy days.

Oct 27, 2016 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

FWIW I'm quite content to agree with Svante Arrhenius that CO2 and other 'greenhouse gases' keep the planet warmer than they would otherwise be.

But he also opined that a greener warmer world was a better place than a colder greyer one. And unless somebody comes up with some really good evidence to the contrary, I agree with him on that too.

Oct 27, 2016 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Radical Rodent

You make some good points, and in fine style. For me, #18 is one of the most important. Proxies can't be as reliable as our up-to-date state-of the-art measurements. We need decades of untampered, comprehensive, consistent measurements before we will really have much of a clue about anything. As you say, we need patience, but the climate alarmists lack it. For them, despite the uncertainty, the crisis is here now, and we can't wait.

Latimer Alder at 8.25am. I agree!

Oct 27, 2016 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

On that note, it has to be ensured that all observations and monitoring are practiced with dispassionate interest. It also has to be established what data is required for determining that causes of the changes in temperatures and climates, as well as establishing the sites from which such data may be gathered – and, while allowing anyone who might be interested to manipulate it for their own hypotheses and theories, this raw data has to be held sacrosanct, and to remain unchangeable and available to all. There will be considerable time before sufficient data can be collected; as yet, we have only just started on this project. Show some patience.

Not sure I get this. The surface temperature data is massively oversampled and the raw GHCN data has been freely available for decades. NASA GISTEMP is 100% open source code and data and has been independently reproduced. What's your point?

Specifically for the US, a reference network of stations has been developed meeting the highest standards of siting and instrumentation. Its only been operating since 2005, however the data it produces is in good agreement with the complete station network, increasing confidence that the historical record is accurate.

Oct 27, 2016 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The surface temperature data is massively oversampled…
Not sure I can agree there, Mr Clarke, given that there are huge swathes of the Earth’s surface where there no sampling stations, at all; over-sampled in certain areas, maybe; this is why the data from satellites can be such a useful addition to the myriad systems in use, at present. Yes, there are records of some areas going back many, many decades – though there is only one that stretches back centuries (which, oddly, shows little change, anyway). There has to be a uniform method for collection of this data – a process that is still evolving, rather than fully established. It is only when South America, Africa and Asia have a network of stations that gather data of the same quality of Europe or North America; when the oceans have a similar network of oceanic data collection, and when there is a centre for this data to be collected and stored in its raw form, without any “homogenisation” or similar adjustments, that we can agree that there is now some serious scientific basis to the field. Once this has been established, it will probably take many decades – possibly centuries – before the data can be utilised effectively to reach less questionable conclusions than are being leapt to, presently.

As an aside:

…increasing confidence that the historical record is accurate.
So why the need to constantly adjust these records?

Oct 27, 2016 at 11:10 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Our mild warming is a boon, our tremendous greening a miracle.

Oct 27, 2016 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Phil Clarke, good to hear that climate science has increased confidence in the historical record.

People have been trying to explain that to Mann ever since his Hockey Stick smashed it flat. Who would have thought climate science would become sceptical about Mann's record?

Oct 27, 2016 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie