There is no New Soviet Man

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Clark

Clark is an anarchocapitalist, a reader, and a man of mystery. He's not a neoreactionary, but he is Nrx-curious 'til graduation. All he wants for Christmas is for everyone involved in the police state to get a fair trial and a free hanging. Follow him at @clarkhat

61 Responses

  1. K says:

    This. Is. Great!
    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post.

  2. On the principle that people often skip commenting on well-written and thoughtful pieces, instead to load up the comments section when Ken talks about cute things his kids say, allow me to even the field a bit…

    Well stated, sir.

    On a similar note to your Asian/European cooking example, one of the things I've found about "ethnic" cooking is that often the most interesting restaurants come from poor cultures. As much as I like going to high-end steakhouses, eating a prime cut and some steamed, buttered vegetables is delicious but not always particularly interesting. Cultures for whom fresh, high-quality cuts of meat and vegetables are rare, on the other hand, often have to do a lot with flavor to make up for their core ingredients. They do this with interesting (and delicious) spicing, and create a unique flavor that is different than other cultures not because they're using different meat, veggies, or potatoes, but because the indigenous and readily-available spices are different.

    One thing you always know about poorer cultures — their ingredients might not make for "fancy" food, but human nature always craves delicious food. Human nature doesn't change in that regard either.

  3. David says:

    And one of the great things about living in a country with a large immigrant population and high standard of living is that suddenly those recipes designed to compensate for low quality foods suddenly can be made with the good stuff, and you get to taste a bit of heaven.

  4. Todd S. says:

    So I just wanted to say, "Nice ZatAoMM" reference!

  5. David says:

    Bravo!

  6. Fnord says:

    Places like Afganistan and Uganda produce a lot more children than the United States and Western Europe. So is it only out-of-wedlock children that respond to the caloric supply curve, not children in general?

  7. Luna_the_cat says:

    Well, this is just a bit hugely oversimplified. After all, hunter-gatherers have relatively low-calorie diets, and yet the traditional hunter-gatherer societies have more leisure time than any other society in the world. And the "cranking out kids" bit doesn't take into account the relative status of women (rough rule of thumb: the lower the societal status of women, the more children they end up having; why this is, is a complicated-and-a-half discussion in itself), and the level of general education+ease of access to birth control+local religious morés (again, a complicated interplay of factors). Also, could I just point out? Sweden, Norway, Denmark other such "most socialist countries in the world", with an excellent social safety net and just as many freely available calories as the US, and even less likely to condemn single parents, and yet, they have the lowest family sizes in the world, and far fewer single-parent households than the US. What does that do to your argument?

    Reducing the number of children to the availability of calories and social safety nets will give you an exceedingly inaccurate picture.

    Also, a side note, as you are someone who is versed in law and presumably you have some experience at weighing witness reliability and evaluating evidence in fields where you are not expert, I'm actually really shocked at your apparent belief (please tell me this is just apparent, and NOT real?) that "climategate" was some huge scientific scandal, one which casts AGW into doubt….

    I'm hoping that surely, as with medical matters, you would operate on the principle of 'ask the people who know, don't assume that what you read on internet forums is right.'

  8. Rich Rostrom says:

    Sorry… but I'm going to disagree strenuously with your proposition that fertility is driven by economic circumstances.

    The general decline in fertility is a very broad, very deep, very long trend. American fertility declined by 1/3 from 1800 to 1850, by another 1/4 by 1900, and by a further 1/3 by 1930. At the peak of the "baby boom" it barely equalled the 1900 level.

    Fertility has declined massively all over the world. It remains higher in some areas than others; but the decline is just about universal outside of sub-Saharan Africa (and prevalent even there). In many countries, fertility has declined to below replacement (Europe, east Asia – but also Iran). In other areas, fertility remains above replacement but is still down as much as 50% in the last 30 years. This includes many very poor countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania).

    And what seems to be driving it is choice. High fertility is the default state for people who have no choice in their lives. It's what happens to them, and they have no control over it. There is no "reproductive instinct". It's not needed. People will have sex (by instinct) and beget children, then care for them (by instinct)..Since there was never any way to choose otherwise, there is no instinctual drive not to choose otherwise.

    Today such choice is possible – and people increasingly choose not to have children, or to have fewer children. The more choice people have (especially women) the fewer children they have. This includes most people who live in countries with ample food supplies.

    However, some people don't manage choice very well – such as the urban underclass in western countries. They have children, often out-of-wedlock, because they are not capable of reliably choosing not to. (They might do better if there were really severe consequences, which societal wealth has eliminated.)

    And culture matters. There is no bastardy problem in Japan. In the U.S., 70% of black children are bastards, but only 28% of white children, and less than 20% of Asian children.

  9. b says:

    Fnord, I'm sure you could slice it different ways. The chestnut is that people don't need as many kids to ensure their own welfare when they get older—usually stated, though, as "more kids reach adulthood so fewer are popped out." We can unpacks this further (off the top of my head): cheap food (extra calories, more money in general and the rule of law) means the capacity to save for retirement (with the ability to grow that money, as opposed to in-mattress deflation) plus government assistance. So there are alternatives.

    And, let's face it, kids aren't as good for ensuring a pleasant retirement these days… less "come live with us" and more "nice rest home three states away." So the returns on kids are lower.

  10. b says:

    Rich R (sorry for the brevity): Are you suggesting that economic conditions are, proportionally, the same for African Americans as for whites?

    As for declining birth rates, I wonder how much of the curve is skewing based on people getting married later and later (regardless of what the genetic hump imperative).

  11. Fnord says:

    @b:
    I'm well aware of the complexities of fertility patterns, and possible explanations. I don't know what the answer is, but I know it's not that easy calories means more babies, at least for overall fertility, because that's not what happens.

  12. Man Mountain Molehill says:

    Interesting food seems to be more correlated with warm climates than poverty. The standard poor peasant's food in northern Europe was cabbage and root vegetables for centuries. Meanwhile, India was developing curries, The Chinese Szechwan and Hunan, the Mexicans various moles and hot peppers. Probably other examples I can't think of right now.

    Oh yeah… Byzantine fish sauce. Look it up.

  13. Piper says:

    Nice article Clark – one thing you touch on but later abandon is Population Density, and in particular it's effect on the desire (need?) for more government (but also on family sizes, diets, etc). When reading about the PIIGS and College Education bubbles, I was struck by how much environment does affect these perceptions, but I also looked at the US in terms of ideology, and that (as a broad generalization), the tendency is for Social Conservatism to have a stronghold in areas without the greatest population density. In some ways that also applies to the Oil analogy – in that population density will also have an impact on scarce resources and that the effects of the tragedy of the commons may well change your hypothesis.

  14. John says:

    You wrote: Human nature does not change.

    Can an individual their nature?

  15. I don't see how increasing calories/person can explain decreasing birth rates.

  16. Clark says:

    @Joseph Hertzlinger

    > I don’t see how increasing calories/person can explain decreasing birth rates.

    Higher calories result in fewer deaths to starvation, disease, etc.

    Thus higher calories result in a convergence to a 1.0 ratio of children surviving to adulthood.

    If family choices are based around passing on one's genes, then in a high calorie situation one needs to create fewer children in order to achieve the same amount of EFFECTIVE reproduction.

  17. Clark says:

    @John

    > You wrote: Human nature does not change.
    > Can an individual their nature?

    I think that we can mightily change our habits and behaviors, and over time, our habits and behaviors can change our motivations and appetites. Does that equate to changing our natures?

    It's a question of definitions.

  18. Clark says:

    @Man Mountain Molehill

    > Meanwhile, India was developing curries, The Chinese Szechwan and Hunan, the Mexicans various moles and hot peppers.

    Recall that a given species of pepper is hotter when grown in a hot arid environment than when grown in a cooler locale. There just AREN'T hot peppers that grow natively and easily in Nordic regions.

    > Oh yeah… Byzantine fish sauce. Look it up.

    Don't need to. It's a direct link to Roman Republic era garum.

    Speaking of which, I'm still trying to convince the Misses and the Kids that we should give one of the ancient recipes translated from Latin a shot, but I keep hearing "rotted fish? ewwww!".

  19. Rauðbjorn says:

    I am unimpressed. And for popehat, that's impressive. Usually you're spot on, but this was mediocre at best. A lot of oversimplification with a lot of assumptions and no citations. You make a couple of almost valid points about the corerelation between wealth (calories) and free-time, but even that is not completely accurate.

    Oh, and unless you're gonna use reliable data to make mock, dont. Come live in alaska for a while and then talk smack about what's what.

  20. Clark says:

    @rick Rostrum:

    > Sorry… but I’m going to disagree strenuously with your proposition
    >that fertility is driven by economic circumstances.
    >
    > The general decline in fertility is a very broad, very deep, very long
    > trend. American fertility declined by 1/3 from 1800 to 1850, by
    > another 1/4 by 1900, and by a further 1/3 by 1930. At the peak of
    > the “baby boom” it barely equalled the 1900 level.
    >
    > Fertility has declined massively all over the world.

    So during the one period in human history when technology has resulted in food sources outpacing consumption, and where transportation has eliminated local famines, human reproduction rates have nose dived…and this is proof AGAINST fertility being driven by economic circumstances?

    I'm confused.

    > And what seems to be driving it is choice.

    Um…yes.

    Are you suggesting that birth control is a modern invention?

    Condoms were invented by the ancients.

    Abortifaciant herb mixtures are attested to in almost every culture.

    And don't forget infanticide.

    Humans have chosen how many children to create (or allow to survive) since time immemorial.

    It is only with caloric surplus that people have used their choice to routinely restrict family size.

  21. Clark says:

    @Luna_the_cat:

    >I’m actually really shocked at your apparent belief (please tell me this
    > is just apparent, and NOT real?) that “climategate” was some huge
    > scientific scandal, one which casts AGW into doubt….

    What casts AGW into doubt is that EVERY scientific theory should be doubted: we should adopt the null hypothesis and only change our view of the universe when the evidence is compelling.

    A man smarter than me once said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

    So, let us begin ab initio: neither one of us believes in UFOs, the existence of the country of France, unicorns, playing cards, or AGW.

    The first doubt to fall is "playing cards". Our debate partner whips out a deck and proves that they exist. We still reserve judgement. He tells us to walk out the door and go to any supermarket or toy store. We do so. We find playing cards. Done.

    Next, we doubt both the existence of France and of unicorns. Our debate partner shows us an encyclopedia attesting to both. We retort that this might very well be something like Wikipedia or the Codex Seraphinianus – just made up crap.

    Our debate partner shows us a picture of the Eiffel Tower and of a unicorn. We raise an eyebrow. He shows us movie clips of a unicorn visiting the Eiffel Tower. "CGI!" we cry.

    He pulls 400 French cookbooks off a shelf, points us to a Caesar's Gallic Wars and to Gibbon's Decline and Fall, and points out how the existence of France goes back 3000 years or more, and is intimiately tied into everything we know about life: breakfast pastries, the metric system, romantic comedies, sex scandals, the American Revolution, and more.

    We note that we're convinced of France, but still are dubious about unicorns.

    He coughs nervously and directs us to the Teen Paranormal Romance section of the book store.

    So, the metric we're using here is how well the evidence in support of a given theory comports w what else we know about the universe.

    Using Ockham's razor, knowing a bit about complex modelling, and knowing a lot about politics, government and academic funding, self delusion, and hot house environments, I read over various things like

    * the fact that the models predict big rises in ocean temperatures which have not occurred

    * the fact that the models depend on a feedback effect from atmospheric water, which has not been observed

    * the models fail to explain the Little Ice Age

    * the models fail to explain the pre-industrial warming

    * the models fail to explain the post-industrial cooling

    * the models take as gospel data from ground stations which are in urban heat islands

    * the modelers refuse to release their data

    * the modelers actively conspire to frustrate attempts to get access to their data

    * the modelers actively conspire to destroy emails in response to FOIA requests

    * the modelers pick and choose data sets, avoiding tree ring data sets that contradict their hypothesis

    * the modelers misuse statistical tools – they use math in a way that a random series of die rolls as input will result in a "hockey stick" shape as output

    * comments in the software models talk about "hiding the decline"

    * the hockey stick ramp up was supposed to take place 10 to 15 years ago and did not

    …and I conclude that extraordinary claims have NOT been justified with extraordinary evidence.

    Ockham's razor tells me that the best explanation is that a bunch of well meaning people were blinded by confirmation bias, a hot house environment, and other social pressures and ended up herding themselves into a con job that they themselves are not aware that they're perpetuating.

    I could be wrong.

    As a skeptic I am always open to new data, and will change my mind as warranted.

    For the record, I have never accepted a dollar from the oil industry, nor do I vote Republican, nor do I own a coal mine.

  22. Scott Jacobs says:

    See, it's stuff like the post directly above that makes me really, really like Clark…

  23. Jay says:

    "Englishmen have their Magna Carter [...]"

    Carter? Carter? :) OK, that's funny. Accidental homophonic typo/error, or perhaps confusion with the word Charter?

  24. Luna_the_cat says:

    @Clark

    Leaving aside the irrelevancies, as amusing as they are…

    First off, I also like to think I understand a little about complex modelling. I don't count myself as a top expert, by any stretch, but on the other hand, I do some metabolic and reaction modelling, and while the systems and the parameters are different, the general concepts of modelling are identical. That aside, details do matter, very much, and this is where you are wrong about your premise.

    Taken in turn:

    * the fact that the models predict big rises in ocean temperatures which have not occurred
    — A false premise, because the confounding factors which prevent *identical* big rises in ocean temp all over the world are, if not perfectly described in the models, certainly well discussed in the primary literature. A major thing that is important here is the fact that models since 1990 actually predicted the biggest rises in the polar regions, which is in fact *exactly* what we've seen. The fact that models no longer use uniform slab oceans makes a difference, but I do note that what gets reported on "skeptic" sites as being the usual understanding, regularly runs a decade or more behind the actual science.

    * the fact that the models depend on a feedback effect from atmospheric water, which has not been observed
    — Eh? That is an astonishing assertion. Yes, feedback from atmospheric water is observed! It is extremely well characterised in terms of the physics, and the atmospheric data matches predictions very well. See, for example, http://atoc.colorado.edu/~dcn/ATOC6020/papers/Soden_etal_727.pdf or http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~qfu/Publications/jc.gettelman.2008.pdf or the papers which are helpfully listed at http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/papers-on-water-vapor-feedback-observations/ . What on earth do you use as a justification for this statement?

    * the models fail to explain the Little Ice Age
    — False. Seriously, this is just false. The models have been taking account of the Maunder Minimum since 1993.

    * the models fail to explain the pre-industrial warming
    — Again, false. Bear in mind that the industrial addition of soot to the atmosphere began in bulk in the mid-18th C., not the mid 19th. C.

    * the models fail to explain the post-industrial cooling
    — Not just false, but quite ludicrously so. Sulphate cooling was predicted in the late 80s, measured and quantified in the mid-90s, and tested in a variety of ways; it is not controversial, and is part of the modern models.

    * the models take as gospel data from ground stations which are in urban heat islands
    — False. Also, doesn't even make a difference if you eliminate all those urban heat islands entirely — in fact, the temperature trend goes UP if you do, because it turns out that the dodgy ground stations have not recorded rises as steep in recent years as the grade-a rural stations. I guess you didn't see anything at all about the Berkeley Group (http://www.berkeleyearth.org/) confirmation of the data and interpretation, or before that http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf (which was specifically done to examine and take into account the criticisms of temp stations by Watts and crew)?

    * the modelers refuse to release their data
    — Gah, I hate this myth. The data is and has been available directly from the stations which collected it from the get-go; the bit that the modelers refused to release was proprietary data which has to be paid for. What you don't understand is that not every government or research station releases data free to the world, often they ask payment for it (because it has to be funded somehow, and let's face it, a lot of governments are not rich). The danger to a UK or US institution is this: if they release paid-for data for free, then other researchers (being human and poorly-enough funded themselves) will use the free data and not buy from the stations. Then, the stations are completely within their rights to refuse to sell any further data to the researchers who released it — thus crippling the ability of those researchers to get further data for their research! Do you see the "rock and a hard place" where this leaves them, when they are under legal pressure to release all their data?

    * the modelers actively conspire to frustrate attempts to get access to their data
    — See above. The original data ARE all still available from source.

    * the modelers actively conspire to destroy emails in response to FOIA requests
    — False. Actually false. They certainly *talked* about doing so, but there is no evidence that they in fact did so, ever. And, I have a certain sneaking sympathy with them — let me explain why.

    You understand the concept of a denial of service attack on the internet, I assume. The mechanism is that a script or a bunch of zombie computers are set up to bombard the target site with so many requests for its pages that it cannot respond to them all. Each request, taken individually, has a perfectly legal form and is a legal request for the page. The bulk effect, however, is not a legitimate request, and legitimate requests cannot be answered because they are being blocked.

    I can tell you from experience, every FOI request can take up to 30 hours just to complete the paperwork alone, and that does NOT include the collation and checking of the data required. Sometimes, depending on the data set, the collation and accuracy checking (and checking to make sure you are not releasing proprietary or protected data which will get you into trouble) takes upwards of 200+ hours.

    McIntyre filed around 55 or so FOIA requests in three years, 15-20 per year. That is more than enough to tie up the entire working year of a researcher. If researchers cannot do their actual research, they do not get funded again. This is the academic, slow-motion version of a DoS attack. What makes it immensely more frustrating is that every researcher recognises (in fact, McIntyre even said in so many words!) that these requests were not going to feed into any peer-reviewed analysis. They were not, therefore, being used the way they are supposed to be used; they were being deliberately used as an annoyance, in an inappropriate way.

    So although the researchers had an absolute legal obligation to release what was asked (to the degree appropriate by law), and they were slow to do so — I can't find it in my heart to condemn them for bitching about it in what they legitimately thought were private communications.

    * the modelers pick and choose data sets, avoiding tree ring data sets that contradict their hypothesis
    — Again, this is simply false. The criteria for selection of trees was (a) clearly explained, and (b) perfectly checkable, and (c) the results are confirmed with different samples by different teams. You want I should look out references for you for this, as well?

    * the modelers misuse statistical tools – they use math in a way that a random series of die rolls as input will result in a “hockey stick” shape as output
    — False, false, and false. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy for a starting discussion, just to get the background (yes, yes, I know it's Wikipedia; but it is also a reasonably comprehensive background on a single page, and on a quick scan I find nothing blatantly inaccurate there). Then move on to at least one of the responses in the primary literature, please — http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/Ammann_ClimChange2007.pdf — and there is an additional clear-English discussion of another examination of the hockey stick at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=still-hotter-than-ever .

    * comments in the software models talk about “hiding the decline”
    — The "hiding the decline" comment has been debunked so thoroughly already I'm genuinely surprised you bring this up. The reference is to the fact that after the 1960s tree ring data and instrumental data diverge, which is well understood to be part of the challenge of understanding current climate and has been widely (and I really do mean WIDELY) discussed in primary literature from the early 80s onwards; it's difficult to think that they are trying to keep anything secret, when I can find discussions of it in close to 200 papers. It is legitimate proxy data from before the divergence because where there is overlap between tree ring and instrumental pre-60s it matches up well; there is ongoing investigation into what has disrupted tree growth since then, sulphate pollution and abnormal rainfall patterns being two candidates. But abandoning a proxy after it becomes unreliable and letting other proxies and instrumental data take over really only makes sense. If you disagree, I'd be interested to know why. Again, though, the "hiding the decline" phrase is quite damning — as long as you take it completely free of context. Funny, that.

    * the hockey stick ramp up was supposed to take place 10 to 15 years ago and did not
    — What, you mean this kind of rise?: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/_graphs3/

    Seriously, I think I must misunderstand you there, because the temperature increase of the last 20 years is so well chronicled that the statement as stands is simply counterfactual. Would you care to explain?

    There is a great deal you've left out, as well. The unprecedented (within human history, anyway) melting of land glaciers and polar ice, for a start, which isn't just a model, it is rather on the obvious and observed side; and the fact that (a) multiple teams have confirmed that solar output does not account for this, and (b) that according to where we are in the Milankovitch cycles, we should be in the middle of a long, slow, mildly cooling trend — and we are quite obviously not seeing that, either.

    The chemistry and physics of atmospheric greenhouse gases are pretty well understood, the quibbles seem to be over whether feedbacks will suppress the effects, coupled with a general disbelief that humans could possibly affect the entire planet in such a fashion (argument from disbelief is a logical fallacy for a reason, I would note), and a general disbelief based on the fact that governments are using this as a reason to tax and regulate, which many people find ideologically abhorrent (ditto argument from consequence).

    For the record, I vote independent according to what candidate is closest to my position (but do tend liberal), I have no connection with the climate field (actually, I used to work for BP and was a member of AGU), but I also tend to get my information from primary research literature and I have a high regard for factual accuracy.

  25. Luna_the_cat says:

    @Clark

    I have a detailed response waiting in moderation, probably because I included a lot of links. The nutshell version is simple: basically, however well intentioned you are, you seem to be working from really poor information. And if your premises are false, your conclusion is very likely to be false. If you haven't got your facts right, then Occam's razor can't help you.

    I recognise a lot of what you bring up as being the standard "skeptic" website talking points. The problem is this: as with creationist websites or anti-vaccinationist websites, it's all very convincing as long as you don't know what actually exists in the field of biology or medicine, in their cases, or climate and geophys study in this case. As long as you rely on the dubious sources as your primary sources, of course, you will never come to understand why they are dubious sources.

  26. Clark says:

    @Luna_the_cat:

    I look forward to reading your longer comment.

    I am a rationalist, and strive to always change my opinion when the facts warrant it.

    > As long as you rely on the dubious sources as your primary sources

    I’ve relied, in part, on actual emails and source code from the CRU folks.

    Emails and source code that, may I point out, the tax funded researches strenuously resisted releasing.

    I look forward to reading more primary sources when your comment is approved.

  27. warren says:

    You may want to reconsider your analysis of world cuisine.

    Most cultures have developed some means of preserving excess food for leaner times. There are a number of mid-eastern cheeses which are suited to local condition. Mold ripened cheese would likely be uncontrollable, quickly crossing the line between preservation and rot.

    Charcutirie is also more wide spread than you assert. The Turks make Sujuk which is similar to salami. They also make pastirma which is more like dry cured beef than what we think of as pastrami. And the Greeks were curing meats with nitrate at least as far back as Homer's time. Sausage and cured meats are also made in China and Vietnam.

    Whether you chop food up before cooking is more than a matter of fuel availability. Cassoulet cooks for more of the day but the ingredients are cut up small. And just because your cooking tradition uses woks, doesn't mean you can't roast a whole critter.

  28. Luna_the_cat says:

    @Clark

    Changing one's mind in response to new information is, in my mind, wholly admirable. It is also, of course, absolutely vital to ensure that the information is true, accurate and complete, as well as accurately understood. To that end, if you want specific information about anything then say so, and if I can point you towards it, I will.

    I will apologise for some of my writing, and the fact that there are undoubtedly things I could have phrased more clearly, and a lot I wish I'd mentioned. I'm in the deepest, darkest depths of an incredibly sinus-y cold, right now, and my thought processes are smothered in snot.

    Statements cherry-picked and taken out of context are very easily made incriminating. I'm sure you've seen this in other contexts. That's why having a full picture is so important.

    For a little more discussion about some of the points I've raised, though, I would point you in the direction of this editorial in Nature, which was published in 2009:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/full/462545a.html

    Questions I'd ask you:
    Have you read any of the actual inquiry findings in the investigations of the emails (from the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the UK Independent Climate Change Review, the International Science Assessment Panel, the Pennsylvania State University panel, the EPA committee tasked with investigation, or the US Dept. of Commerce)?

    How do you respond to the fact that these six different committees, in two countries and from multiple different institutions, have found that there is no evidence of fraud or genuine attempts to subvert peer review, although there were calls for greater openness? Do you think it is realistic that *all* the members of the inquiries were in on a conspiracy to conceal wrongdoing?

    And, what do you think of the fact that there's been an attempt at "ClimateGate II", in that it looks like considerably more emails had been hacked from the CRU servers in 2009, but these had been held back until just before the Durban talks? And that the rumourmill has it that the hacker is withholding another so-many-thousand emails for use in the future? Do you think that this would have been the action of a genuine whistleblower?

    Also, as a side note, on the purely factual front — what do you think of the fact that at least 16 national Academies of Sciences, 18 professional science bodies, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, the AAAS, and the National Research Council (among others) have all issued consensus statements supporting the science behind the assertion that AGW exists and needs to be addressed? Do you *really* think that this is explainable as confirmation bias, a hot house environment, and "being unaware that they are perpetuating a con job"? Would you find that assertion credible if it were a matter of the science behind vaccines, or evolution?

    And what do you think of the fact that together, Mobil-Exxon, Shell, BP and the other "giants" have put more money into "climate skeptic" groups such as "JunkScience" than the average climate department gets in funding, full stop? Do you think that if there were actually evidence which demonstrated that AGW isn't happening or isn't the result of a heavily industrialised, carbon economy, that these companies wouldn't be happy to fund it and would be trumpeting it loudly?

    Just some things to think about.

    And these high-level concepts aside, like I said, if you are looking for specific technical information I will try to help.

  29. Luna_the_cat says:

    Also, I just have to add this. Was reviewing (in response to your comments) the web "analyses" of the ClimateGate I emails from 2009, and I can only say that the commentary on it is inaccurate in some few factual regards where I know the story, and often misleading, and that the way it seems to be understood is not the way an academic would understand most of the communication. I have a real problem in that I haven't got a spare month to fisk it ( a lot of this commentary ends up something like a Gish Gallop), but I have to wonder if it is either deliberate spin, or if it is more an unavoidable and deeply unfortunate difference in language and understanding between the researchers and the "outside world."

    I do suspect my own interpretation of the emails is unavoidably coloured by the fact that I've seen exchanges damn near identical in tone in discussions of everything from molecular biology issues to seismic mapping, and they were not indicative of fiddling data, they were in many ways a shorthand built on shared experience and understandings which had been established long before the emails were sent. But knowing this bias of mine, I'm trying to make a deliberate effort to see these emails as someone not "in on it" would see them. But do the people who regard these emails as indicative of fraud have their own biases which they are in fact exaggerating?

  30. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    I’m actually really shocked at your apparent belief (please tell me this is just apparent, and NOT real?) that “climategate” was some huge scientific scandal, one which casts AGW into doubt….

    No, it wasn't what cast AGW into doubt. It just verified what everyone with sense enough to doubt it already knew — that it was a blatant crock of bovine excreta with nothing resembling factual veracity.

    If you're in confusion about this, I'd suggest you consider the following:

    The Swartzberg Test:
    The validity of a science is its ability to predict.

    By this measure, the validity of AGW ranks somewhere below prognostications by Jeanne Dixon. And she's been dead for almost 15 years.

    I could reel off a long litany of predictions which paint a more than adequate picture of the "validity" of AGW, but you probably would not listen to me. Try a search on "English Winters", "Australian Droughts", "Hurricane Force post Katrina", just for starters. Combine THAT with the ClimateGate e-mails, and a rational individual open to facts recognizes that AGW is the theory on trial here, and it's failing badly.

    Those of us who have been around for more than 30 years as pseudo-adults or better have seen it before — dire predictions of death, doom, and destruction (mostly death), all of which could be averted if we ONLY DO SOMETHING now now NOWWWWWW !!!!

    Interestingly enough, "that which absolutely must be done" somehow usually it involves giving some two-bit charlatans and quacks a great deal of say-so over everyone's lives.

    Start your investigation into such charlatans with Paul ("I've never been once right with a significant prediction but somehow I keep getting high-paying lecture deals and awards") Ehrlich.

    Even better, one of these problems was the exact diametric opposite of AGW — by the 1980s, Global Cooling was the deep concern. Somehow, in the course of only 10 years, it went entirely the other way. Amazing how that happened. Oh, wait, a few significant hot years in a row made Global Cooling sound stupid. Would that the same number of cool years managed to make Global Warming sound equally stupid, but that's what comes from a public with a seriously damaged capacity for individual critical thinking.

    The Scientific Method & Its Limits – The Decline Effect
    Be sure to read the comments. The problem here is fuzzy data, fuzzy interpretations, and fuzzy conclusions. All in areas wherein what makes "hard answer" is conveniently difficult to define.

  31. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >>> How do you respond to the fact that these six different committees, in two countries and from multiple different institutions, have found that there is no evidence of fraud or genuine attempts to subvert peer review, although there were calls for greater openness? Do you think it is realistic that *all* the members of the inquiries were in on a conspiracy to conceal wrongdoing?

    I believe some members deliberately obfuscate challenges to doubtful claims. Others are blinded by both uncritical thinking skills and a willingness to trust charlatans with telling them the Truth about both what they did and why. And a fair number of them are rubber-stamping someone else's analysis with no actual effort to question, challenge, or examine any of the conclusions.

    I *do* know how such committees work, and it's often got nothing to do with reality. I recall, many years ago, working for a professor with connections in the AG industry's then-developing use with personal computers. There are these things called "county agents" who are/were the liasons between the government and farmers (Think "Hank Kimball", for those who remember Green Acres). The decision was made for the State to select and deploy a personal computer for each and every county agent in the state — more than 50 of them, and at a time when the price of a PC was in the $3000-$5000 range. So a committee of people was created to decide on what computer to provide to the CAs. The professor I worked for was one of those officially on the committee. Now, I know for A FACT that this committee NEVER MET. He specifically told me this. Yet somehow, a recommendation was made. And the recommendation was to buy all the CAs PCs made by DEC, the company who was then king of minicomputers. Now, this was an utterly lame and stupid choice, as the DEC PC was based on a microcomputer design to look and run PDP-11 programs, and, while it was nominally able to run IBM PC software, in practice it sucked at it. It was about as incompatible as an "IBM Clone" could be at the time (this idiotic design was a good part of the reason DEC no longer exists)

    Now, why did this purchase get made? Because one of the members of the committee was a HUGE DEC fan, ran the minicomputer facilities of the large AG department at the University. And so a ridiculously bad conclusion came out of just the kind of committee you speak of, because of the biases of ONE SINGLE PERSON.

    Note: Not only did the State spend ridiculous money to buy these abortions, they also blew ANOTHER $2000 denying that an error was made, and purchasing an "add-in board" that essentially was an IBM-PC on a board and that used the DEC as its I/O processor.

    Even more critically, even after spending something like $7k-$8k (x50!) in early 1980s dollars (about x2 for modern dollars), they were still mainly used as boat anchors and door stops, because they still were not all that compatible with any number of IBM PC clones readily available for about $3k each.

    Eventually, the state coughed up the money, about 2-3 years later, to put in real IBM PCs or effective clones.

    =================

    Needless to say, I don't have much faith in "committees" when they run directly contrary to some rather obvious facts. If the academic people you're with are openly talking about how to "massage data" to make it fit theory, then they're quacks and charlatans. The certainly aren't scientists.

    And yeah, I'm capable of making that call — while I'm not an academic, I have a background in physics, math, and computers, including a number of graduate level applied math courses. I do understand what science is, and "massaging the data" to get the conclusion I WANT isn't science.

    Unscientific

  32. SPQR says:

    "How do you respond to the fact that these six different committees, in two countries and from multiple different institutions, have found that there is no evidence of fraud or genuine attempts to subvert peer review, although there were calls for greater openness?"

    That's a dishonest characterization of the "investigations". And the fact that you omit the fact that East Anglia CRU was found to have intentionally violated the UK version of the FOIA, but was not prosecuted for it only because of the expiration of the statute of limitations, is very telling.

  33. Fnord says:

    Apparently, AGW is what people want to talk about. Perhaps you should make an post about that.

    Regarding what this post actually is about, I've considered what I said earlier. Here's the thing: out-of-wedlock PREGNANCIES are nothing new. It's not really about how many babies people are making; it's about how people respond to discovering a baby/fetus has already been made.

    So it's not so much an increase in extramaritial fertility as a decrease in post-conception weddings, combined with a general increased age of marriage (which reduces both actual legitimate births and apparently legitimate births by the simple fact that a smaller portion of the fertile population being married). And what caused the drop in shotgun weddings? I don't know if it's more available calories, but it's certainly conceivable that that plays a role.

  34. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >> Speaking of which, I’m still trying to convince the Misses and the Kids that we should give one of the ancient recipes translated from Latin a shot, but I keep hearing “rotted fish? ewwww!”.

    So make it in such a way that they have no idea what it is — then resist the notion to tell them what it is right away — if you can (and get the appropriate interest) don't even tell them what it is until they've had it a couple times. THEN spring on them that it's something they've conditioned themselves to be repulsed by.

    ;-)

  35. SPQR says:

    luna_cat, you give us this denial that the AGW advocates have been concealing data, when its long established fact that much data has been hidden in violation of the publication policies of many of the journals at issue. So your blanket denial is simply false.

    Michael Mann himself claimed in testimony before Congress that he wouldn't release the code he had used in MBH '98 as had been sought, because it was "proprietary" and therefore valuable. That was a hilarious falsehood to those of us who understood that he was claiming that his incompetently written and buggy implementation of a public domain statistical method was "valuable". Your attempt to repeat Michael Mann's laughable excuse hardly adds to your credibility.

    Oh, and luna cat, I find it hilarious that you cite to Wikipedia on the Hockey Stick controversy when its a fact that Wikipedia was the very topic of yet another controversy when it turned out that Wikipedia's editors were conspiring to omit skeptical views from those pages.

  36. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    LOLZ.

    >> The models have been taking account of the Maunder Minimum since 1993.

    By claiming it never happened, yes, despite all the evidence to the contrary, in both nature and surviving literature.

    >>> A false premise, because the confounding factors which prevent *identical* big rises in ocean temp all over the world are, if not perfectly described in the models, certainly well discussed in the primary literature.

    A false claim, since this simply isn't true. Water's capacity to absorb heat is one of the major driving factors of the entire temperature, and thus climate, system of the planet. If the earth were warming, then it would necessarily show up in the temperature of water. Since 2003, we've had a substantially improved monitoring system in place, and, *if* it's shown anything, it's that the waters have been cooling. This is exceptionally significant because it plays into a wide array of other factors — tropical storms are almost entirely driven by ocean temperatures, which is more than likely a key reason why the severity of tropical storms has, overall, declined in the last several years — in direct contradiction to claims made immediately post-Katrina.

    >>> What, you mean this kind of rise?

    Yes, the kind that's getting made up out of whole clothe by "fudge factors" being applied purportedly to deal with the urban heat island effect but which rather clearly don't MATCH UP WITH *readily* OBSERVABLE DATA. Like more severe winters. Like record snowfalls, and in earlier times of the season. Like less severe hurricane seasons.

    When you eliminate the locations themselves which are affected substantially by urban heat islands instead of making up fudge factors intended to "adjust" them, what happens is the rise in temperatures virtually disappears.

    oh, and by the way, from "Berkeley Earth":
    "Whenever possible, we have used raw data rather than previously homogenized or edited data."

    Except that in all too many cases the raw data is unavailable, and often has been destroyed to prevent such an analysis (such is the conclusion a true skeptic — not a "climate skeptic" but any properly skeptical scientist– must come to, for it's happened in too many places and too many instances that the raw data "just happened" to get misplaced, wiped, or other wise rendered permanently unavailable. Your dog can only eat so much of you homework before it's time to doubt the claim that the dog did it).

    >>> Do you think that this would have been the action of a genuine whistleblower?

    Yeah, if they (correctly) figured that the media and academia would attempt to deny, obfuscate, and explain away the charges, so that by giving out only part of the e-mails, it would give the AGW faithful just enough rope to hang themselves with, then yes, it's quite possible. I've not yet seen these e-mails, but it won't surprise me in the least if they call many of the disclaimers and "oh, that's not what I meant by that" and the rest into full doubt.

    >>> have all issued consensus statements

    1) Science is not about "consensus". 1,000,000 scientists can be of one opinion, and one lone scientist of another. The party which is "right" has nothing to do with the number of people claiming they are right. See "Michaelson-Morely" for a prime historical example of this. One day, in 1895, almost all scientists everywhere were certain they understood how light worked. A year later, they had almost all as a group realized that none of them did.
    2) Funny how
    a) Rarely such "statements" are made by the actual collectives involved, but instead by executive "committees" (see my observations above about one such "executive committee").
    b) The media ignores both individuals in said bodies who disagree with the body (to the point where, in at least one case, a noted professional with plenty of "chops" in the field resigned from the body in protest) as well as petitions rejecting the claim.

    In other words, even if consensus mattered, there's plenty of voices in opposition to that "consensus", and the real consensus is far more tied to the executive bodies of the organizations and not to the opinions of many in the organizations themselves (Note: Not claiming that there isn't even a "majority" — only that it's not even a supermajority for most of the bodies in question, and the likelihood of agreement goes down substantially the harder the science involved in the basis for the organization, i.e., the more the members expect rigor in proving a contention)

    >> Papers Submitted for Peer Review (October 2011)

    So much of what they have to say still hasn't been peer reviewed yet. Well, that's a surprise. But you're quoting it as Gospel (literally), nonetheless.

    >>> A major thing that is important here is the fact that models since 1990 actually predicted the biggest rises in the polar regions, which is in fact *exactly* what we’ve seen.

    No, you HAVEN'T. You've seen them in certain polar monitoring locations, which are themselves subject to a certain "urban heat island" effect, because of steady expansion of the personnel presence at the arctic sites. These sites are also extensively located in a narrow range of areas, notably Ross, and ignore the fact that the Antarctic monitoring stations in the interior (more than 75% of the Antarctic surface area) have registered a steady decrease in temperatures over the last decade and more. It's even been noted in problems for the penguin population, which is finding its natural "breeding/raising grounds" increasingly far from the coasts, as well as with the penguins themselves having a harder time keeping their eggs sufficiently warm in the increasing cold.

    The Arctic is little different. Claims are made that this or that reduction in icepack is "unprecedented", until someone actually digs up historical records and shows photos of zero pack at a given location that is at least as far north as any current situation… and THIS then gets belied by the fact that polar studies of ice pack levels show the extent, two years after some "record" pack contraction are right back where they've always historically been.

    And then there's the repeated number of idiots in recent years making "northern treks" to document the reduction in ice pack who suddenly find they need to be rescued because of particularly unseasonably cold weather.

    The real problem isn't that you don't grasp what's wrong with what they're telling you, it's that you don't grasp that, if what they were telling you was true, then what kind of indications would you be expecting as a result of that, which would verify their claims. Because when you start doing this, you realize how woefully incompetent most of these claims are — predictions of temperature two, three, four decades from now "accurate" to within a tenth of a degree? When they can't even predict what the temperature will be in a general region within five degrees three months from now? REALLY?

    Claims made five-odd years that "London children may never again see a white Christmas", followed by two successive years of record cold winters and snowfalls.

    Claims made that "we have to get used to hurricane seasons like 2005", followed by no less than SIX years of sub-normal hurricane activity, with something like one single class-three hurricane striking US soil in that entire time frame. No, don't tell me they can explain this NOW, if their models were worth CRAP, they should have been able to predict it THEN.

    Claims made that Western Australia (IIRC) was going to experience droughts like never before. Well, except for the last two years when the rainfall has been at record highs.

    When I hear about "Global Warming", I rather expect to not hear about snowing in Sydney, Australia on Thanksgiving. This is akin to snowing in Los Angeles or Atlanta, at similar latitudes, in MAY. No, that's a single data point, and you can't make a complete analysis from that. But it's just one more datum which adds up to a huge mass of "things that make you go, 'HMMMM…'". Or ought to, if you are sufficiently skeptical.

    I have been working with computers for over 30 years now… I cut my college teeth at the dawn of personal computers, and have programmed down to the bare metal. I've got an extensive background in applied math, with about 40-50 semester hours in post-Calculus coursework, including four graduate level courses in Applied Math taken while an undergrad. I was halfway through becoming a physics grad before I decided I didn't like physics enough to want to be a physicist.

    My point here is, I've got enough of an understanding of science to grasp where and when things aren't being fully discussed, holes are being plastered over and "Hey, look, over there! A fillyloo bird!" is being shouted. I know what computers are largely capable of, I know what the current level of science as a whole is capable of, and I know that climate models are crap. If they weren't you would not have situations like the above-mentioned Hurricane Gap. You *would* be able to reliably say "This area's winters will be more severe for the next couple years". In other words, you'd be able to predict orders of magnitude better than is rather obviously possible.

    The real fact is, Climate is a very Chaotic system, and we are still in our infancy in our ability to create and model nonlinear dynamic systems — it's only in the last 35-odd years that it's become practical to even attempt it. And they are still very, very short of reliability. Period.

    When will we know that the climate models are at least getting right? When they can make rough predictions of sustained temperatures within five degrees a year in advance, for an overall area as big as, oh, Texas. Because if they can't do that, what kind of accuracy could they POSSIBLY have in 2050?

  37. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    "at the arctic sites."
    Antarctic sites. Duh.

  38. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    As long as you rely on the dubious sources as your primary sources, of course, you will never come to understand why they are dubious sources.

    This is SUCH a ridiculous call to authority it's preposterous.

    "Clearly, if you haven't spent dozens of years studying this stuff, you can't possibly understand any of it to even question it. Shut up and listen to your betters, child."

    Any source you disagree with the conclusions of is going to be "dubious", of course.

    This isn't an attitude of science, it's an attitude of religion.

    You appear to be involved in the biomedical sciences. How is it you're so sure your understanding of anything in the "aethereal realms of climate science" are any better than anyone else's, if this were true?

    By your own analysis, you can't possibly have an opinion on anything anyone is saying that's any more valid than mine or Clark's or Anthony Watt's, and likely far less than Watt's, since he's actually spent a hell of a lot of time specifically studying what is being claimed.

    The skeptical bloggers are attempting to show how the basic claims of AGW Faithful are doubtful on the surface. It's up to the claimants to openly and clearly falsify those doubts. And one of the best means, as suggested above, is to make reliable predictions good for three months, six months, or a year or two. THEN people will be more willing to believe they might be able to make reliable longer-term predictions.

  39. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >>> Apparently, AGW is what people want to talk about. Perhaps you should make an post about that.

    You are correct, this thread has been hijacked.

    Take us to Havana, man!!

  40. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >>> And what do you think of the fact that together, Mobil-Exxon, Shell, BP and the other “giants” have put more money into “climate skeptic” groups such as “JunkScience” than the average climate department gets in funding, full stop?

    Oh, come ON, are you REALLY this foolish?

    a) What, you think "GreenPeace", the "WWF" and other agencies don't put a mass of money into not only funding activities, but adding their own not inconsiderable political pull to encouraging government funding for such activities**? Their input is easily able to dwarf the combined input of all the oil companies put together, when it's filtered through the lens of government funding.

    2) Yes, and I'll match you well-finded department/science "body"(e.g., "CRU") for well-funded web site one for one. Do you REALLY want to bet which dataset runs out of members before the other? Because I would not be the least surprised to find that there are a pretty decent number of pro-AGW organizational bodies whose funding vastly outstrips even the most well-funded "skeptical website".

    This whole image of climate science as being driven by financial-political interests on one side and "pristine science" on the other is such an obviously hoary crock of excreta that you have to be either a fool or a liar to attempt to promote it. Which of those applies to you?

    To imagine that a guy whose entire career and income is based on the promotion of AGW is somehow unchallengeable in his lack of bias is just flat-out preposterously ridiculous (hey, human nature! See, brought the subject back on topic!!) such as to require a suspension of disbelief on the same order as Santa Claus. And that means either you're a big fan of Santa, or you're not being honest with us (and perhaps yourself, but that's "Santa" territory) about your understanding of the facts.

    =======
    ** …And it's not like governments really need to be pulled in this direction kicking and screaming:
    "Say, you mean you WANT us to claim more say over the lifestyle and actions of ALL citizens? You want to give us power over the very AIR people BREATHE?? Well, we're not really biiiiiig fans of that idea, but, (sigh) OhhhhhKaaaay, if you force it upon us…"

  41. Luna_the_cat says:

    @IGotBupkis

    A truly astonishing and prolific display of Gish Gallop false information and conspiracy theory advocacy. Despite your protestations that I've got it wrong, I notice a huge amount of simply factually false and deeply spun information in that massive textwall, along with a perfect confidence in yourself that you have everything exactly right, and a great deal of the standard YOU'RE A STUPID IDIOT GAAAAHHH FOOL SHEEP NEENER NEENER I KNOW MORE THAN YOU frothing. This all being the case, I don't propose to get tangled up in a "discussion" with you; I really haven't the time, I really haven't the patience, and the sad fact is, your mind is made up, you already think you know everything, and there is no amount of evidence in the world that will change your mind on anything because when presented with any evidence which contradicts your stance you will simply dibelieve it and claim conspiracy. That path goes nowhere.

    My offer stands to the person I was speaking to originally, Clark: If he wants to talk about to get more information any particular aspect or claim, then I'll be happy to do what I can. For Clark, I also have a strong recommendation: read the original emails. ALL of them, not just the cherry-picked bits.

    Oh, side note: SPQR, I didn't cite Wikipedia, I said "go there for a background, then start looking at the primary material." Do you understand the difference at all? (Also, do you understand that the bulk of Mann's code was available for years, but it really doesn't even matter, because multiple teams have duplicated the analysis anyway?)

    *sigh* Look, pointing out that there is broad agreement in a field doesn't mean that it is conspiracy and not science, anymore than evolutionary biology is a "conspiracy" to dismiss creationists. It means that the majority of people in the field agree that data point in a certain direction.

    Let me ask you: Assume, for the sake of argument here, that there really IS a clear and present data indication of a phenomenon. Let us also assume, simply for a mental exercise here, that there is a monied and ideological interest outside the field in getting people to disbelieve this, and that researchers frequently come under attack both as persons and as researchers, by (let's say for example) the same lobbyists who worked for Phillip Morris and the tobacco industry to muddy the link between smoking and cancer. If and when this is the case, how would you expect the research field to react and what do you think it would look like?

  42. Luna_the_cat says:

    –Of course, the is the advantage of a Gish Gallop type thing: If I fail to answer every single thing you get to claim that I'm not proving my case, and if I get bogged down answering every single thing (which takes ten or twenty times longer than just posting the false statements), it sucks days out of my life, and by the time I've got anywhere you'll have already posted a half-dozen more textwalls full of shit, many people won't be able to tell the difference between your screaming overconfidence about "facts" and genuinely factual information, and by the end of it, the waters will be hopelessly muddy and most people will have wandered off out of sheer disinterest. I've done this dance before, see.

    I would prefer to stick to a simple discussion where we deal with one thing at a time, like "what did the inquiries into the CRU emails *actually* say" (like http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf for one ) or "how is polar temperature actually monitored" (combination of thousands of land stations and satellite, and leads to things like this: http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=288 ) or "does anyone really claim the Maunder Minimum didn't happen, or didn't affect climate, and is it in the models" ( http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/245.htm ).

    But down this route lies madness.

    I would like to think the information speaks for itself, but sadly I know that it doesn't. Too many people rely on other people distilling it down to a few sound bites and telling them what it means, and too many of those will pick their 'expersts' based on pre-existing beliefs about ideology and who says the things they like to hear, rather than on verifiability.

  43. Luna_the_cat says:

    (Post with links in moderation)

  44. Luna_the_cat says:

    Also, I apologise for my many misspellings. It's worse than usual right now.

  45. Tam says:

    Welp, IGotBupkis has pretty much convinced me to embrace AGW and join Greenpeace. Anything to avoid the embarrassment of being on the same side as him.

  46. Luna_the_cat says:

    I know this is going to get hung up because of the number of links, but I expect it will show up in due course. For future reference, regarding the CRU ClimateGate (I) inquiries.

    Independent Climate Change Review/Science Assessment Panel:
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/SAP ( or http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc0002.pdf )
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmsctech/496/49604.htm
    http://www.cce-review.org/
    http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

    House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Inquiry:
    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/science-technology/s-t-cru-inquiry/
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387/387i.pdf

    The Pennsylvania State University Reviews:
    http://live.psu.edu/fullimg/userpics/10026/Final_Investigation_Report.pdf
    http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf

    US EPA:
    http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions.html

    Department of Commerce:
    http://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/2011.02.18_IG_to_Inhofe.pdf

    Basically — they didn't deal with FOIA requests well enough. They should have done better, and MUST do better in the future. (Incidentally, I was wrong about the number and timing of the FOIA requests. They were not really spread out over three years, only single digits happened in the first couple of years, but over 100 were made in 2009, including around 50 by McIntyre, and others as part of a deliberate campaign. Please, revisit my comment about DoS attacks.) But there is no evidence of data fraud.

    Further discussion of the actual comments, not part of the official inquiries:
    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/climategate

    And given all the above, and the fact that many sessions which went into these reports are minuted, and the minutes available at the inquiry sites; and given the fact that these were very high-profile and publicly noted investigations into a politically sensitive and extremely high profile issue; you cannot say these are just like a purchasing committee where some people don't show up and many of the rest just rubber-stamp it. That's delusional, and would require deliberate fraud on the part of the investigative committees.

    Now, I apologise for the thread hijack, I really do, and will shut up unless asked questions.

  47. Clark says:

    > Too many people rely on other people distilling it down to a few sound bites and telling them what it means

    "Too many" ?

    Unless you know how to mine, smelt, forge, and machine your own fork and spoon, you're as rationally ignorant as the rest of us.

    Indeed, the man who knows how to forge his own spoon has a skill more important than the skill of knowing every last detail about AGW: there exists some bizarre odd-ball scenario under which the ability to create a fork from a pile of rusty rocks and a bunch of trees might be useful to him personally. The same can not be said for knowing every last detail of the AGW debate.

  48. Luna_the_cat says:

    @Clark

    I grant you this utterly. There is, however, a profound difference between forging your own spoons, and taking X's word about what Y said as opposed to seeing if you can find what Y said from Y's own mouth.

    I see things like "climatologists claim the Maunder minimum didn't exist! The models don't include it!" (or things like, "models never include clouds!") A 2 minute search on Google, assuming time taken over uncertainty of search terms and time taken scrolling past the links of the "skeptic" sites uncritically repeating this claim, will actually bring you to the IPCC discussion of the Maunder Minimum (or clouds in models) and/or various climatologists-actual discussing the extent and mechanisms of it and how the models treat it. That's the kind of thing I mean. When X says something about what Y has said, few people seem to fact-check to see if there are other records of what Y said.

    I also agree that you can't do this forever or for everything. But it seems to me that there should be at least a minimum done to establish the reliability of a source. Too many times I have heard from a "skeptic" site that there is in fact a sea-ice recovery, or climate models don't take something into account, or data have been destroyed or what-have-you, and on checking it simply turns out not to be the case. Although from the climatology side I have seen conclusions taken beyond evidence on a few occasions, I have never seen anything to the extent of the dishonesty about things that are available on simple fact-checks. (– And I'm sorry, but no amount of criticism of Michael Mann or for that matter Al Gore can balance out people like Marc Morano, Steve Milloy, Frederick Seitz of the Oregon Petition, or god-help-us-all Monckton. I think the more scientific skeptics can be useful because of their hypervigilance for errors by the working scientists, but their tolerance of and voluntary association with these clowns doesn't enhance their credibility.)

    Sorry to get wordy again, but I hope you see what I mean.

  49. Luna_the_cat says:

    And speaking of which, there is an extremely linky post above Clark's in moderation, providing links to the various enquiry reports on the CRU email situation — the reports themselves, that is, which should put paid to the accusation that the committees were not actually there or paying attention.

  50. Stingray says:

    I don’t propose to get tangled up in a “discussion” with you; I really haven’t the time, I really haven’t the patience,

    Observable evidence very plainly indicates otherwise.

  51. Luna_the_cat says:

    *Sigh* Yah, I know. I just couldn't stand to let some of this stuff pass unanswered.

  52. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >>> This all being the case, I don’t propose to get tangled up in a “discussion” with you; I really haven’t the time, I really haven’t the patience, and the sad fact is, your mind is made up, you already think you know everything, and there is no amount of evidence in the world

    It's always amusing to me how many lazy ass people who actually ARE certain they know all the answers are ready to project their own inability to reason clearly and argue concisely onto everyone who disagrees with them.

    They don't want to argue the merits of the case, or explain why they reject the assertions of others who disagree, it's much much easier to "defend" your points by a handwave and writing off the opposition as Ohhhhh so much less intelligent than yourself, isn't it? None of that messy thinking stuff, or actually putting your POV out to stand the light of scrutiny of others. Yeah, they're just going "nanny nanny boo boo" at you. Such a nice, simple explanation that doesn't require justification or reasoning, only rationalization.

    Laughable.

  53. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    >>> Basically — they didn’t deal with FOIA requests well enough.

    Oh, GEEZ, you shouldn't NEED to put out 100 FOIA requests to get the data and methodology of how these supposed experiments/models operate!! Once you've published a paper, the full data used in it and the procedures followed to produce the answers should be readily accessible.

    It's SCIENCE, it DEPENDS on repeatability!

    It is **expected** that others will attempt to replicate what you've done.

    THIS is how it's freaking DONE when actual scientists are involved:

    The Opera Experiment

    Simply put, CERN conducted a carefully crafted neutrino study. There's a problem with their results — the neutrinos appear to be arriving about 20 meters "too early" — that is, they took LESS TIME TO GET THERE than the speed of light would allow… about the time it takes light to go 20 meters.

    This might be VERY significant in physics if their results hold up to scrutiny and repeatability, as it violates the well-established and thoroughly grounded Special Theory of Relativity. The implications are nothing less than earth shattering, as, again — IF it holds up to scrutiny and repetition — there will be Nobel prizes coming for people who explain what happened and how it works.

    Did the Opera people hide their studies and make bald-faced claims about it? No, they put out a wide array of information for the public to access about their experiment, and asked for anyone to see if they were doing something wrong. They welcomed anyone with the proper facilities to replicate their experiment to do so, by making sure everyone knew exactly what it was that they'd done, or believed they'd done…

    You should not need to be making FOIA requests simply to get the raw data and the full information about how the data is being massaged to "adjust" for the heat island effect. This should be standard public knowledge available for anyone to look at and run their own analyses. All the code for these models should be openly available for anyone to look at, tweak, or otherwise check for themselves.

    You don't get to hide it away, then claim you can't deal with the FOIA requests required to actually force the information out of your grubby little hands. :-S

  54. Tam says:

    "They welcomed anyone with the proper facilities to replicate their experiment…"

    Well, I'll just nip on out to the supercollider in the garage, turn up the juice, and see what shakes loose.

    Please tell me you don't like guns. You've already caused me to join Greenpeace and convert to Islam, just to avoid being on your team. I'd hate to think I had to sell my gun collection.

  55. Rich Rostrom says:

    b:Are you suggesting that economic conditions are, proportionally, the same for African Americans as for whites?

    White and black Americans are both rich compared to most people around the world, or even to Americans of 50 years ago. Their present fertility rates differ far less from each other than from 50 years ago, or from other societies. The bastardy rates are enormously different.

    As for declining birth rates, I wonder how much of the curve is skewing based on people getting married later and later…

    That's one of the choices people make. However – here's some data. From 1890 to 1930, the number of children under 5 per 1,000 women aged 20-44 declined by 26% for whites, 40% for blacks (I don't have a combined stat.) During the same period, the median age at first marriage dropped from 26.1 years to 24.3 for men; 22.0 to 21.3 for women. IOW, fertility declined substantially while age of marriage didn't go up.

  56. Rich Rostrom says:

    @Clark: It is only with caloric surplus that people have used their choice to routinely restrict family size.

    You're seeing what appears to be a correlation and assuming it proves causation.

    And (IMHO) ignoring the many anti-correlations that are apparent. The Irish had huge families and multiplies tremendously in the 18th and 19th centuries because they had more food, due to the introduction of potatoes. When the potato crop failed, they emigrated, and they also reduced fertility – mostly by not marrying. That's a fairly constant factor throughout history – people who are struggling to survive have fewer children, not more children.

    Western Europeans have had all the food they could want for over a hundred years. Why have fertility rates there plunged now?

    People have always had some control over fertility. Until recently no one but a few rich people could afford condoms, but there was celibacy, and withdrawal, and other expedients.

    What has emboldened people to make vastly greater use of such control has been the weakening of cultural imperatives to marriage and childbearing, shattered by the waves of economic and technological change. These same changes have brought prosperity including plentiful food. But it is mechanistic oversimplification to cite that one element as the direct cause of the effect on fertility.

  57. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    Tam, amazing though it might be to you, there ARE organizations out there who CAN replicate this experiment, and those efforts ARE underway.

    Amazing how believers in the AGW religion will go to ANY length to defend their faith — Tam says "Yes, we're going to attempt to reject a challenge that AGW does not provide people with access to its data and methodology by complaining that the example case for how scientists are supposed to act with regards to their work can't be readily replicated by the average person." That this has next to no relevance to AGW, which can be readily understood by, and often repeated by, literally millions of people, is clearly "unimportant". Ah-huh.

    As far as not futzing with things in blatant disregard for facts, as Luna claims, here's one in Hansen's own words:

    The precision achieved by the most advanced generation of radiation budget satellites is indicated by the planetary energy imbalance measured by the ongoing CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) instrument (Loeb et al., 2009), which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).

    Got that? The data produced by the instruments doesn't match what the models say should be true, so clearly the instruments are measuring things wrong.

    You don't have to be a genius to realize that this is hinky. That's almost a 6W/m2 imbalance — a good 7x the imbalance used by the models, wiped away with the click of a few keys. I'm not arguing for or against it being correct, only that you can't just decide to ignore the results produced by satellite observation without doing the necessary legwork to justify it. At the least, Hansen should have asked a colleague to document why that's implausible, and then cited that after publication.

    It's pretty obvious which side of this argument is going "neener neener boo boo", and it's not the skeptical one.

    >>> Please tell me you don’t like guns. You’ve already caused me to join Greenpeace and convert to Islam, just to avoid being on your team. I’d hate to think I had to sell my gun collection.

    Tam, I LOVE guns. So by all means, get rid of yours. Anyone who is so retarded as to make significant life decisions on pure contrarianism has demonstrated a marked lack of critical thinking skills, and is clearly too irresponsible to own them, in a realistic and socially responsible manner. Not to say that you don't still have the right to own them, only that it's a Good Thing you plan to divest yourself of them, now that you know my own position.

    I'm also a firm believer in having children, so you should avoid those, as well. I believe everyone should be rich as Croessus, so you should take a vow of poverty, and love the Great Outdoors, so you should become an eternal shut in. I think the internet is one of mankind's greatest invention, so clearly you should realize that, for you, it's the ultimate evil, and should have it disconnected **immediately**.

    By all means, don't wait!!!

    Glad I could make all these important life decisions so easy for you. Got any more you need a vastly more rational mind to provide you with the answers to? I mean, before you disconnect your internet and all, that is…?

  58. IGotBupkis, Sailing the Economic Seas Betwixt Scylla And Charybdis says:

    Like shooting fish in a barrel.

  59. Luna_the_cat says:

    Aannnd, @Stingray, that's why I posted what I did before: if I didn't do anything but say "not going there" to this kind of discussion then it actually lends an unwarranted air of plausibility to accusations that I'm unwilling or unable to explain my position.

    @Bupkis, Again, I wonder if you even know that this is only part of the story, and the complete story is far more interesting and informative.

    However, rather than participate in further threadjack engaging with someone I genuinely don't feel the need to engage with, I'll ask: is anyone else actually interested in the answers? IS anybody reading this with interest? @Clark, hadn't seen anything from you — I would be genuinely interested to know your thoughts?

  60. Tam says:

    YouGotBupkis,

    "You don’t have to be a genius to realize that this is hinky."

    No, but you must have an above-room-temperature IQ to parse sarcasm, apparently.

    You are one simple sonofabitch, aren't you?

  61. ElamBend says:

    I once made a comment about how Mediterranean countries seemed to have gotten a lot right on good food, to which my Russian wife replied, "Oh, sure, easy to have fresh veggies and fruit year round when you aren't forced to pickle everything after a six week growing period."