Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Shonky scepticism

167 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 Newer→ Last

  • gondwanan,

    Great to see that climate change is such a hot (pardon the pun) topic here.

    There's a great breakdown of some of the common climate skeptic arguments at grist:

    grist.org/skeptics

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Im __still waiting for my Big Oil/Coal payments to come through.

    But just in case my total kWh electricity use per year is about 4500, about 2% of Al Gores McMansion ( so thats where big Coal gets its profits from)

    AS for Monte Heib, he might know a lot about geology , luckily your __intution doesnt count but a link to better science goes a long way.
    Always discredit the person rather than the work thats not very scientific.
    Richard Graydons hatchet job on Tim Ball hasnt worked either

    BY the Way Margeret Thatcher was one of the first politicians to promote Global Warming! You have a greater credibility problem than Monte Heib has

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Always discredit the person rather than the work thats not very scientific. Richard Graydons hatchet job on Tim Ball hasnt worked either.

    Oh tosh. Ball and organisations with which he is affiliated have repeatedly misstated his credentials.

    The statements of defence in Ball's libel action against Dr Dan Johnson and the Calgary Herald are quite a good read.

    This is nothing to do with an ad hominen attack: it's a matter of the credibility being claimed, and repeated false assertions as to Ball's academic history do tend to undermine that credibility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Tim Ball is a retired Professor of Geography who has a Phd from the University of London on a Topic in Climatology.This is a long way from your repeating Richard Graydons baseless acusation that he is not an Emeritus Professor, so is a crank who cant be believed. The libel trial results will be awaited with interest

    Al Gore claimed to invented the interent and has a slide show full of inaccuracies. Lets just turn of his microphone too on the basis his credibity cant be verified. Al then can stick to promoting his private equity fund http://www.generationim.com/(allthough he has no financial credibility either)

    There used to be a time when 'Jewish Science' was discredited by those who looked at who they were rather than what they produced. The same was said about 'Negro music' Lets just give a label to unpopular views,that means what they say doesnt have to be examinedat all
    Remember again, all Tim Ball said is that the Computer Models cant be relied on to predict future warming. Is this such a heresy that it must be supressed at all costs

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Al Gore claimed to invented the internet ...

    Careful. You run the risk of disqualifying yourself from the argument when you say things like that ...

    There used to be a time when 'Jewish Science' was discredited by those who looked at who they were rather than what they produced. The same was said about 'Negro music' Lets just give a label to unpopular views,that means what they say doesnt have to be examinedat all

    Eh? Let's keep it simple:

    He has claimed in letters like this to be "28 Years Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg", and in others "32 years". Neither is remotely true, as Richard Graydon is in a position to attest. Ball was a Professor of Geography for eight years. 32 years before he finished up the the university, Ball didn't have a degree of any kind.

    He was not "the first Canadian PhD in Climatology", nor was he "one of the first Climatology PhDs in the world". He has not published in the major journals where new work on the issue would normally be published and, well, read the defence statements for the rest ...

    And yet, he has repeatedly denigrated the work of many other scientists, and casts doubt on their competence, qualifications and honesty.

    If Gore had relied on the credibility of someone who behaves the way Dr Ball does, he'd have been crucified.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Well, I will be offering -- I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.

    But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

    Al Gore talking to Wolf Blitzer
    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/transcript.gore/

    Im more interested in what Al Gore has been saying about climate change. Even Nasa's Hansen says there are imperfections and technical flaws.

    Again this is what DR Wunsch who seems to now claim he was 'misrepresented' on _Global Warming Swindle_

    Professor Wunsch:
    50:46 - Even within the scientific community you see, it's a problem. If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it's not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that's a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That's what it's about.

    This is what a Global Warming supporter is saying! Seems that Wunsch is worried that all his funding will dry up and his papers wont get published

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Steve,
    You saying Al Gore said he invented the internet and your quote are rather different things no?

    And From Vincent Cerf

    "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."

    Also Snopes

    As you were....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Seems that Wunsch is worried that all his funding will dry up and his papers wont get published

    Dude, seriously? Did you even understand what you just posted up there? He's talking about the mass media picking focusing on research with a sense of showing a 'dramatic event' in order to create a strong 'story'. That's got nothing to do with scientific journals publishing data or not or funding drying up because the results aren't 'exciting' enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    There used to be a time when 'Jewish Science' was discredited by those who looked at who they were rather than what they produced. The same was said about 'Negro music' Lets just give a label to unpopular views,that means what they say doesnt have to be examinedat all

    So which racial group is being singled out for persecution here? Your analogy is 100% wrong. Those wasn't labels for unpopular views, or unpopular art - those were labels for the art and views of unpopular groups. For your analogy to be valid, the professor and his mates would have to have been unfairly hated BEFORE their views were publicised.

    But if you want historical analogies, I think much better one is with the uncovering of the link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer. Heavily disputed at first. Vigorously opposed by tobacco companies and also legitimately by scientists who doubted the evidence presented, or who had alternative hypotheses. The doubters grew fewer, the supporters more, and over time it became obvious that almost all the doubters were recipients of funding from tobacco companies.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    PS: despite what you read above, I am a native English speaker. Apparently my hands type on autopilot. :(

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    Hey Steve

    Anytime anyone says Al Gore claims to have invented the internet I always chime in with "show me where'. So good on you for actually posting the link - the first time I've seen anyone do it.

    But actually in following the link I see all Al Gore says is "...During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet...." That's not quite the same as saying "I invented the internet". Sure, Gore is claiming credit for getting Congress to back the Internet project; and maybe one day he will claim credit for raising awareness on the Global Warming issue too.

    As Grigg has pointed out above: "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator." - Vincent Cerf.

    Oh, and BTW - Gore has been criticised by the right for his high energy usage at home. He has a larger than average home, complete with offices, and an area for his Secret Service detail. Based on squarefootage his energy useage is average.

    Oh, and BTW - I think Global Warming is a crock too, just like the Millennium Bug BS. But my thoughts are based on gut feeling, not false facts.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    this is a great site for those interested, it is an archive of all the RFCs from day 1 of the NWG's initial inception of ARPAnet, to NSFnet right through to the internet.
    it's like watching the bible getting written by committee from the first page... only perhaps a bit more democratic?

    http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/cs/Services/rfc/rfc.html

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Getting away from the fact that 'Jewish' isnt a racial group ( and Jews can come from a number of ethnic backgrounds)They were a group of people whos science was ignored since they had the wrong label attached to them.

    The tobacco analogy is interesting in that the sort of relative risk (RR)between smoking and lung cancer is something like 30 to 1. This means that smoking will produce not 50% (or RR 0.5 ) more lung cancers than non smokers but 300 times more. The current IPCC summary ( the actual science hasnt been released yet) has moved the relative risk of the current warming to have a human cause from 0.67 to 0.9 - 0.95. Some scientific journals dont publish research that has a RR of below 0.95. For complex variables you would need RR of 3.0 for immediate action

    The famous 'hockey stick' which was a prominent feature of the previous IPCC report said the current warming was the highest for 2000 years . This has now been amended by the statisticians that the current warming is the highest since the 1600's.These are not 'certainities' but probabilities

    Al Gore can keep pumping out CO2 to keep his house warm and cool all year round for a while longer. His statement "I took the intiative in creating the internet" is a load of hot air

    Wunsch seems to be using the Borat defence, in that they made me say those things. He outlines a scenario where models can be tweaked to get the right result so that it will be 'published'. He even says the scientific community is biased towards the 'dramatisable'

    So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable.

    Of course he now says he wouldnt have said these things if he knew what the program was going to be called . Yeah right. For those who examine credentials minutely Wunsch has a PhD and is a professor of Oceangraphy at MIT

    But Wunsch has had a skeptical view of only human caused GW in a previous article for the Royal Society ( but with no cameras around)
    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=4688&tip=1
    Professor Wunsch:

    People ask "is it clear that human activity is directly responsible for climate change?" The context for answering this question must be another question: to what extent can the climate change all by itself? The answer to the alternative question is: "a very great deal."

    We know that it is capable of remarkable changes without human intervention

    .

    Who would have known !!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I am well aware of the uncategorisable nature of Judaism, Nonetheless, the people who used the term "Jewish science" believed that Jews were a race. And as I say, they disparaged the ideas because they despised the people who came up with them -- the complete reverse of the situation here, where people are disparaged because of their ideas.

    Nobody is disparaging Ball for his nationality, or his religion, or his race, or anything except his odd ideas, and his claims about his credentials. His ideas are central of course, and his credentials are perhaps the one thing a lay audience can definitely have an informed opinion on. You seem to be implying that to disbelieve him is to participate in some sort of unjustified persecution, akin to that visited on Jews or blacks, and this is absolutely not the case.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Al Gore doesnt have a Secret Service detail. Even Bill Clinton only gets it till 2010 ( unless Hilary makes it to the White House first)
    http://www.secretservice.gov/protection.shtml
    And as for a larger than average home, so that makes it all right then. Cant have Al measured by the same standard as anybody else. If he really believes in what he is promoting then lets see him walk the walk

    And I repeat Ball only said "That all predictions of future warming are based on computer models that don't work" and they dig around to find inconsequential items that some have called him an Emeritus Professor while he has claimed to be a retired professor.
    Al has made much much more incredulous statements. Again a different standard applies

    Yes what happened to Jewish scientists personally bears no comparison to the minor rejection Ball and others go through.
    But their ideas especially in the area of nuclear physiscs were ignored soley because who they were and were labelled as not credible rather than basing the rejection on valid science

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    The source Steve forgot to cite:
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56631

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Just a small detail: a retired professor is not the same thing as an emeritus professor.

    A retired professor is someone who was a professor up until the time they retired.

    An emeritus professor is someone who is a retired professor AND their institution thought them so good that the majority opinion of their (former) peers won the argument that they should be awarded one of an institution's highest honours---the awarding of emeritus professor status.

    So, being a retired professor and claiming to be an emeritus professor is (to a University) a very significant claim---and if it's made incorrectly it says a lot about a person.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    "E' means exit and 'meritus' means you bloody deserve it!"

    Rupert Murdoch, sacking one of his editors.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    The 81st column rolled in with this and some other points

    In some ways saying that you can understand research without having a grasp of stats and methodology is a bit like suggesting you should just kick the tyres before buying a car. Yep you can do it, but don’t be surprised if what you get is unreliable.

    While I agree with much of what you said regarding the influence of prior knowledge on what questions get asked and the interpretation of results - on two points I differ. First in most cases the data is good. It is the exception that data is distorted not the rule.

    The second area I disagree with is the quote above. I really really dislike it when folks in and out of science intimate that the general public cannot understand the science. It just isn't true.
    Your analogy is false, reading journal papers without truely understanding methods and stats is NOT like kicking tyres on a car. It is what it is and isn't really "like" anything else. Reading the background and conclusions presented in refereed journals allows the lay reader (most times) to get a reasonable idea of what the author and the reviewers believe is the current state of knowledge. To suggest that folks shouldn't try because they don't have the years of training needed to understand the methods in details is just the kind of arrogance that I display (and am ashamed of) all too often.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    before you go embarassing yourself again, I'm pretty sure then our Mr Judd knows a lot more about judaism than just about any of us, so I wouldn't even entertain debating him there.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    To suggest that folks shouldn't try because they don't have the years of training needed to understand the methods in details is just the kind of arrogance that I display (and am ashamed of) all too often.

    After all, learning has to start somewhere, we're not all born genii.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From the comments under Goldacre post:

    Not the only thing that Durkin misrepresented:

    [IMG]img132.imageshack.us/img132/3378/fredsingerpp9.png[/IMG]

    - Fred Singer was never the ‘Director of the National Weather Service’.

    The ‘Departments’ that a number of the other sceptic contributors are supposedly affiliated to similarly don’t exist….

    He appears to have been the founding director of the National Satellte Weather Service from 1962-64, but that seems a rather selective way to quote his CV. From Singer's Wikipedia entry:

    Singer is also skeptical about the connection between CFCs and ozone depletion, between ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and between second hand smoke and lung cancer. [6] [7] [8] Singer has also worked with organisations with similar views, such as the Independent Institute, the American Council on Science and Health, Frontiers of Freedom, the Marshall Institute, and the National Center for Policy Analysis.

    All the above organisations are funded to some degree by industries with a stake in their conclusions. When a blog called him on the Big Tobacco links, Singer sent an email demanding an apology and an acknowledgement that he had "no connection whatsoever with the tobacco industry, now or in the past."

    The authors responded with this little roundup.

    This rather angry page has quite a bit more about the flow of money from tobacco companies to Singer and his colleagues.

    Durkin really had some interesting people in his film, didn't he?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    And don't forget Singer's links to Alexis de Tocquville Institution links as well. If you have been following SCO vs IBM at all, you'll know that AdTI is essentially a paid mouthpiece which churns out grossly inaccurate hit pieces on demand. Who pays them? To the extent that they disclose their sources, largely front groups for America's super-rich (eg Scaife).

    If I believed in ghosts I'd be sure poor old de Tocqueville is haunting the bastards now, screaming at them for abusing his name.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.