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Who Ya Gonna Call???

Posted on 14 May 2011 by Daniel Bailey

In every walk of life there is trust.  Trust, that when you go to bed at night your alarm will wake you up at the right time.  Talking HeadsTrust, that when you use your debit card, your financial institution will have the correct amount of money in your account.  Trust, that the talking heads on the boob tube are reading the teleprompter correctly.

And largely that trust is rewarded.  Hence the ongoing placement of your trust.  But when it comes to things climate science-related,  why is it that people continue to place their trust in those who've been show to endlessly perpetuate non-science, memes and zombie arguments?

Bang

    Zombie

 

So, Whom To Trust On Climate Science?  Maybe...Climate Scientists?

MEMEMEWhen my car breaks, I take it to an auto mechanic.  When I get sick, I go to the doctor.  When deciding on a retirement plan that suits my family's needs, I consult a professional in that area.  And when I need the straight poop on matters related to climate science, I go to actual climate scientists.  But why is that?

People who put in a lot of time to understand an issue don't necessarily need to trust anyone, because they can form their own informed opinions.  But nobody can be an expert on every issue, so the 99% of the public that doesn't possess the expertise on a technical subject like climate science would be smart to defer to that 1% who do have expertise.  And of course nobody has more climate science expertise than climate scientists.

Cool

Here's some blunt talk from actual climate scientists (Warning: Some off-color content):

These Aren't The Lyrics You've Been Looking For nono

Yo….we’re climate scientists.. and there’s no denying this Climate
Change Is REEEEALL..

Who’s a climate scientist..
I’m a climate scientist..
Not a cleo finalist?
No a climate scientist!

Droppin’ facts all over this wax
While bit**es be crying about a carbon tax
Climate change is caused by people
Earth Unlike Alien Has no sequel
We gotta move fast or we’ll be forsaken,
Cause we were too busy suckin’ d**k in Copenhagen: (Politician)

I said Burn! it’s hot in here..
32% more carbon in the atmosphere.
Oh Eee Ohh Eee oh wee ice ice ice
Raisin’ sea levels twice by twice
We’re scientists, what we speak is True.
Unlike Andrew Bolt our work is Peer Reviewed… HO!

Who’s a climate scientist..
I’m a climate scientist..
An Anglican revivalist?
No a climate scientist!

Feedback is like climate change on crack
The permafrost subtracts: feedback
Methane release wack: feedback..
Write a letter then burn it: feedback
Denialists deny this – in your dreams
Coz climate change means greater extremes,
Shit won’t be the norm
Heatwaves bigger badder storms
The Green house effect is just a theory sucker (Alan Jones)
Yeah so is gravity, float away mother f***er!

Wow

Who’s a climate scientist..
I’m a climate scientist..
A Penny Farthing Cyclist?
No a climate scientist!
A Lebanese typist?
No!
A Paleontologist?
No!
A Sebaceous Cyst?
No! A climate f***ing scientist! Yo! PREACH!

Climate Scientists Tell All

Interviews conducted with the climate scientists behind the construction of, and performing in, the video can be found here.

A radio version for more genteel audiences can be found here.

Update: An extended-video cut, also clean, can be found here.

Did You Know?Drink

The YouTube movie has gone over 142,000 views...

Feeding The Beast

Hungry Beast is a television show from ABC Oz that focuses on a range of issues, some controversial and challenging from a younger persons take with some irony & satire thrown in. They explore the voracious engine that is the media, politics and the relentless pace and sometimes absurdity and horror of the modern world - the Hungry Beast.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 28:

  1. Is this Rediculous Week? Taking your comparison of a calling a mechanic. So you'd call any mechanic to work all parts of your extremely expensive car say the price of the Space Shuttle even he has never fixed a whole one before. He has a vague idea of some of the systems or a general idea of the whole thing. He makes predictions such it will burst into flames which are proved wrong.

    The long term world weather system or thermohydrodynamic system is not a climate (it is hot/cold/wet/dry at the same time all year round no climate is that at once) so your not expert in that. Noone is an expert in that.
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    Response:

    [DB] Weather is not climate.  Conflating "A" mechanic in general into one capable of fixing an expensive Italian sports car is simply wrong and at the same time a wondrous example of "skeptic's" skepticism.  And in the pole position here no less.

  2. cloa513: thank you for providing a case in point for why we need to listen to actual climate scientists on climate issues... :-)

    Seriously, if my car is broken (even a ridiculously expensive one!) I'm taking it to a mechanic, and not even thinking about calling a politician, or a talk-back radio host, or a geologist. And while some mechanics may specialise in, say, tuning of fuel injection systems, that doesn't mean they have no idea what a muffler is. They've probably got a much better idea how everything in the car works than you or I do...

    And, yes, there are good mechanics & there are some bad mechanics. Fortunately, unlike mechanics, there's an easy way to tell who's a good climate scientist - their peer-reviewed work is cited frequently. How many mechanics can you assess by looking at whether other mechanics think they've done a good job?
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  3. Its funny how if a Climate Scientist claims the planet is warming, people like Cloa513 tell us that they've been "bought" by some vested interest, rather than telling us the truth. Yet when the likes of Lindzen, Christy, Plimer et al tell us that Global Warming isn't happening, then people like Cloa513 just accept it without any doubt whatsoever, & certainly without daring to question the motives of said group. There's a word for that-*selective* skepticism.
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  4. I've watched that clip a few times, still difficult not to laugh. Good to see more climate scientists stepping up to the plate.
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  5. Now, here's the right forum where I can get this off my chest :)

    Gravity is a law, not a theory.

    Although when it was originally proposed, Newton'proposition was a theory. However, it has subsequently been proven, so while it started life as the theory of gravity, now it's the law of universal gravitation.

    The reason that has been proven, is because it can be postulated as a set of propositions (parameters), for which the final proposition (conclusion) is self evident.

    Of course if the propositions that describe a law are found to be invalid, the law is then shown to be false, or that the law is only applicable to a specific situation (i.e. in the case of the law of gravity to weak gravitational fields, ohms law to constant currants). For that reason, scientific laws only tend to apply to very specific situations that probably won't arise in the real world. Gausses' law of competitive exclusion is a classic example of this, and about the only scientific law in the whole science of biology.

    *phew* I'm glad I offloaded that I feel so much better now.
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  6. kdkd: I think you might want to read some philosophy of science. Start with Popper, father of the scientific method as we now understand it: Karl Popper then go back to Bacon and forward to Kuhn and possibly Feyerabend.

    The idea that gravity is 'proven', or indeed that any theory can ever be proven is the problem here. The best we can do is repeatedly fail to falsify a theory. A theory which has withstood many severe tests (test which would be likely to falsify it) is considered to be a strong theory, but can still not be said to be proven. Gravity is no exception.

    Part of the problem is that scientists suffer all the same cognitive biases as normal people. Training and discipline in application of the scientific method help, but are not sufficient. As a result, there have evolved a set of social structures around science (the scientific institutions and journals, peer review, and consensus) which also tend to counteract the problem of the cognitive bias of the individual investigator. (I tend to refer to the social structures and conventions as 'how science is done', to distinguish them from 'the scientific method'.

    Consensus and peer review are a case in point, and highly relevant to the current discussion. Scientists tend to think highly of their own intelligence, and indeed we get in the habit of thinking we are smarter than other people. So our natural inclination presented with the work of others is to find holes in it to show our own cleverness. This is good, because it helps to weed out the errors which are present in every piece of work due to the cognitive biases of the investigator. But it also means that if, in a field in which there are a reasonable number of testable hypotheses, some sort of consensus is reached, then there can be a fair degree of confidence in that consensus.

    The comparison to gravity is thus, in scientific terms, completely valid. The real difference between gravity and AGW is that AGW is not 'self-evident' to the man in the street, because the man in the street has not examined the data systematically. We can envisage events which might change that, for example in the case of an early loss of the arctic ice cap.
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    Moderator Response: Just a nit: Popper is not really the father of the scientific method as we know it. He had the best public relations campaign, though, and so is the best known. One good summary is by Martin Gardner.
  7. Hello kdkd,

    (i.e. in the case of the law of gravity to weak gravitational fields, ohms law to constant currants).

    I was a bit of a fan of Sunbeam's law of self-raisins, which of course was falsified by John Cook's observation of the transit of the Venal.
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  8. Kevin,

    I'm familiar with popper, kuhn and feyarbrand, however I have only read kuhn's book from cover to cover. Feyarbrand gets me in trouble relatively often, both with my wife, and my job. But he's also useful :)

    The point is that if a scientific theory is proven, it's only proven in the sense that a mathematical proposition can be proven. Once you move outside the scope of the propositions, the proof is no longer valid. So really a scientific law is a proposition where there is a strong belief that the premises are valid. However this means that the scope of scientific laws are always extremely valid.

    For the vast majority of scientific questions, proof, and therefore scientific laws are unattainable as there are too many parameters involved to be able to develop a proposition which is tractable for proof.

    So yeah, I agree with you.
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  9. Ken. Nice spot on the typo. It's a good job I'm not an electrician ;)
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  10. kdkd,

    Many people misunderstand what a scientific theory or scientific law is. Laws "describe". Theories "explain". A theory never becomes a law nor are there any proofs in science.
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  11. kdkd #9

    If you have not already seen this latest Hansen paper, check it out here:

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.1140.pdf

    ( -Snip- ).
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    Response:

    [DB] Off-topic ideological inflammatory snipped.

  12. @RickG #10

    I try to drill this into kids' heads all the time. Hopefully some of it sticks before they leave high-school.
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  13. In common language "it's just a theory" is used to indicate something unproven, an hypothesis. In science "theory" has different meaning.
    And yes, gravity is only a theory, like "Intelligent falling".
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  14. Re "collected a huge climate science research grant." Come one. Can we delete #11 please.....
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  15. No, please leave #11 - Ken doesn't understand that greater cooling due to aerosols pushes climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 in a direction opposite to that he wants ...
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  16. kdkd, seriously, theories don't become laws. They stay theories, which makes them extremely powerful and useful since they seek to tell you what's going on. Laws only state a relationship, theories explain how the relationship works. Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation was not a theory. Einstein's General Relativity is a theory; it will never be a law, no matter how well-vetted (and it's being tested and confirmed constantly, even into last week).
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  17. I saw the piece when it screened on Hungry Beast this week.
    Yes, its fun and yes, its good to see scientists stepping up but I fear that many so called skeptics will just conclude that these are a bunch of bad mannered university educated clowns.
    It never ceases to amaze me how so many [ -snip -] see university education as a disqualification.

    Anyhow, let's hope that Hungry Beast's target demographic (educated Australians under 30 years of age) reacts positively.
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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] FWIW, I updated the original post with a link to the clean version of the video.

  18. Is a theory not just a simplified model of the reality described by a number of laws? If the model can predict phenomena with a great accuracy you can see the theory is right. Newton did with gravity, except for the exact trail of Mercurius. It did not falsify the theory, that still holds but needed some refinements.

    Current theory building looks a lot like how quantum theory came to a working solid theory/model. it did have quite some powerful people (Einstein) who did oppose against it because of its religious implications. Just like the Italian guy before Newton.

    This time we are not discussing some contained system but we are right in it. We do change the conditions of the theory ourself (just as with Quantum, measuring on a system does have influence) but we are Schrodingers cats ourselfs.
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  19. Ger:

    "Is a theory not just a simplified model of the reality described by a number of laws?"

    List the set of laws that the theory of evolution models in a simplified way ...

    "Current theory building looks a lot like how quantum theory came to a working solid theory/model. it did have quite some powerful people (Einstein) who did oppose against it because of its religious implications."

    Einstein was speaking rhetorically, not literally, when he spoke of God not rolling dice.

    And, again, could you please enumerate the accepted "laws" that quantum theory was modeling in a simiplified way?

    Please be specific and list laws that were actually accepted as laws at the time ...
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  20. It's quite possible to have a coherent body of scientific knowlede that's not mediated by laws (i.e. is only based on theories). It's very rare for a theory to become a law, but in the case of gravity, that's what happened.
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  21. With respect, chaps - this discussion of the differance between laws and theories is really rubbish; and essentialist rubbish at that.

    We quite comfortably talk of Newtons law of gravitation even though it's less "true" than Einsteins general theory of relativity - from which it can be derived. Why? Because of the language, history and metaphysics of the times each was created.
    Today we're quite happy saying that something is still only a theory - e.g. String theory - because it has not been supported or contradicted experimentally. That's all the "only" designates. Other theories - e.g. QED - have yet to fail an experimental test; but "the law of QED" sounds weird. I'll leave it as an exercise to see how many "laws" can be derived from he special theory of relativity via Maxwell...

    Fact is, language is not so precise - even more so when you're tracing the development of ideas of a long time and through substantial changes of world view.

    So far as a "theory", in C21st English, is a pretty formal model which derives measurable outcomes from well described principles - there are "only" theories, "pretty good" theories, "rubbish" theories, "rock solid" theories. Etc. Etc.

    You have to look at the thing in it's self; not the label!
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  22. les:

    1. I agree with you.

    2. I like the irony.
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  23. Hi Daniel,

    (this is off-topic please feel free to delete it)

    I am a little concerned that it seems that very little coverage has been given anywhere much to the new Arctic ozone hole.

    Wayne Davidson has a piece up on his blog (www.eh2r.com) and has posted a couple of comments about it on realclimate's May open thread.

    I'd suggest that you or others might like to write something on two aspects of this:

    1. A new hole in the stratospheric ozone over the Arctic may well cause a lowering of Arctic SAT, with possible implications for the rate of Arctic sea ice loss.

    2. People who believe in basic science might be best advised to wear some more sunscreen this summer (and apply a lot more of it to small children). Baz Luhrmann has already published something on this... but then he is an Ozzy, and the Antarctic ozone hole is old news.

    2a. (Regular readers of WUWT, etc, may of course feel free to ignore Mr Luhrmann's advice)
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  24. Besides assessing an expert on their credentials, you can assess an expert on the quality of their past work. In climate science past work is the predictions made in previous decades, and these predictions can be compared to what happened.

    Consider that a prediction that is often quoted by deniers is the Hansen 88 prediction. This is because it was one of the more extreme predictions on the warm side. However we have still have seen about 2/3rds of the warming predicted in this projection.

    In contrast deniers rarely make predictions other than in general sweeping terms such as 'aren't those scientists going to be shocked when the cooling from the new Maunder type minimum kicks in'. Of the few specific predictions that I have seen they have always been predictions that it will get cooler, and aside from predictions that span a short period from a warm ENSO to cool ENSO event, all such predictions I have seen have failed. The failure was not just with 2/3 of the cooling predicted, or even 1/4 of the cooling predicted. The failure was that we saw warming instead of cooling, with the current La Nina well on the way to being the warmest La Nina ever.
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  25. Little wonder that the valves in my wireless overheated and the loud speaker has never been the same since listening to this wrap-rap for the 15th time. I never knew that climate scientists took their science so .... “seriously”?
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  26. Michael Hauber:

    Look, it's worse than you say ... they've been talking about the risk of a new ice age because of the solar minimum for a decade, at least.

    Laughable ... but ... don't ignore them, because you'll miss an opportunity to laugh!
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  27. " I never knew that climate scientists took their science so .... “seriously”?"

    Every professional takes their profession seriously.

    So do many non-professionals.

    I can only assume that Agnostic does not take *his* job seriously, which is odd, because even a burger-flipper asked for medium rare rather than well done will cook his patty with diligence ...

    Agnostic is less concerned with his job than a burger flipper? I only hope he's compensated accordingly ...
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    Response:

    [DB] As Marcus notes below:  Poe's Law.

  28. Come on dhogaza, cut Agnostic some slack. There is taking your work seriously, then there's taking your work *seriously*-like the guys in this Rap video so obviously do ;-).
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