Properly skeptical?

In a post describing social media propaganda techniques Corey Doctorow says the following:

“We’re not living through a crisis about what is true, we’re living through a crisis about how we know whether something is true. We’re not disagreeing about facts, we’re disagreeing about epistemology. The “establishment” version of epistemology is, “We use evidence to arrive at the truth, vetted by independent verification (but trust us when we tell you that it’s all been independently verified by people who were properly skeptical and not the bosom buddies of the people they were supposed to be fact-checking).”

The “alternative facts” epistemological method goes like this: “The ‘independent’ experts who were supposed to be verifying the ‘evidence-based’ truth were actually in bed with the people they were supposed to be fact-checking. In the end, it’s all a matter of faith, then: you either have faith that ‘their’ experts are being truthful, or you have faith that we are. Ask your gut, what version feels more truthful?””

However unintentionally*, Doctorow has accurately described the ‘argument from authority,’ shut-down-the-debate propaganda of ‘climate change’ activists.
*He’s compared Greta Thunberg to Joan of Arc. I.e., he approves of Thunberg’s propaganda. She can hardly be considered an authority.

We can imagine he accepts the authority of the ‘97% of scientists agree with CAGW theory‘ misdirection (see also here and here).

We can be sure he would not approve my appropriation of his words in support of the links that follow below. But they do speak to the question he asks about what feels truthful:
ClimateGate fallout continues: CRU admits original data deleted – 2009

“SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.”

“The dog ate my temperature data” would be far less suspicious if the scientists involved hadn’t been caught discussing how to avoid FOIA requests for their data; if they hadn’t asked each other to delete emails expressing internal doubts about some of their research assumptions; if the programmers hadn’t complained in their comments about unreliable data custodianship and sloppy organization, or pointed out algorithms where the actual data record was ‘corrected.’ It might be more believable if one of those scientists, Micheal Mann, hadn’t refused to release data and algorithms used in his hokey stick calculations, and if he hadn’t viciously attempted to destroy – professionally and personally – any who voiced the slightest question about that tree ring magnum opus, including interference and intimidation of scientific publishers. Science is falsifiable or it isn’t science.

On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding – 2017

“The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”

GAST is Global Average Surface Temperature.

Canada’s global warming models threw out actual historical data and substituted models of what the temperature should have been – 2019

“Canadians already suspicious of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax are likely be even more suspicious given a report by Ottawa-based Blacklock’s Reporter that Environment Canada omitted a century’s worth of observed weather data in developing its computer models on the impacts of climate change.

The scrapping of all observed weather data from 1850 to 1949 was necessary, a spokesman for Environment Canada told Blacklock’s Reporter, after researchers concluded that historically, there weren’t enough weather stations to create a reliable data set for that 100-year period.

“The historical data is not observed historical data,” the spokesman said. “It is modelled historical data … 24 models from historical simulations spanning 1950 to 2005 were used.””

Maybe the models they used as input to the models were meticulously prepared even though the preparers had a conflict of interest. Maybe it would be better if when they don’t know something, they say so.

Here’s an easily understood critque of how data is manipulated in U.S. National Climate Assessment.
My Gift To Climate Alarmists ~13 min

No way to spin that: So-called scientists feel free to cherry pick their data. The choices strongly imply an agenda. An agenda related to funding.

Finally, here’s a long, insightful, humorous post (That last quality being one possessed neither by Greta Thunberg nor Joan of Arc, though one might suspect Greta does have a martyrdom complex.) touching on arguments from authority and proper skepticism at the website of the invaluable Dr. Judith Curry.
A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial An excerpt:

“…what, if anything, to do about AGW is a political decision, subject to the same forces at play in any other political decision, namely the interplay of conflicting interests. One can hope that someone else’s interests, as she herself sees them, will dovetail with one’s own. But to get in high moral dudgeon when hers don’t betrays the moral maturity of a three year old.”

Ah yes, it is a public policy question about which we’re told we must accept the judgment of some experts (though not experts in public policy) regarding a complete redefinition of our economy.

Ultimately, argument from authority must end in attempts to rank the sincerity, knowledge, methods, and success of predictions from theory of the authorities invoked by each side. The point I want to leave you with is that it’s not the climate change skeptics who are insisting global warming theory is not falsifiable. So, which authorities are practicing science rather than religion?

Conspiracy of silence -2007
James Robert Cardinal Bellarmine Hansen -2008
Who’s a “denier” now? -2009
What a piece of work is Mann -2015

Not so much

From Nature: How much can forests fight climate change?

Jason Funk, quoted below, is talking about planting trees to reduce Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. First, he assumes CAGW (emphasis on catastrophic and anthropogenic) as a clear and present danger. The data on that may be debatable, but everybody knows more trees will help reduce global warming. It’s embedded in the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord; resulting in a global industrial complex based on selling carbon credits for planting trees. Planting trees is a lifeline we must seize or the planet will fry. Many governments’ common sense regulations and carbon taxes incorporate this certainty. It must be correct.

Well, no, not exactly.

“Scientists who champion forests say that although more research is always good, existing results are mature enough to support the use of forests to fight climate change, especially given the urgency of the problem. “We can’t necessarily afford to hold off on those things; we have to begin taking some action,” says Jason Funk, an environmental scientist in Chicago, Illinois, who served as an adviser and observer to the Paris agreement.

Researchers are now turning to sophisticated computer models and using larger and more-comprehensive data sets to nail down exactly what forests in different places do to the climate. [Why, if we already know we have to plant more?] In some cases, the results have been sobering. [What?] Last October, a team led by ecologist Sebastiaan Luyssaert at the Free University of Amsterdam modelled a variety of European forest-management scenarios. The researchers concluded that none of the scenarios would yield a significant global climate impact, because the effects of surface darkening and cloud-cover changes from any added forests would roughly eliminate their carbon-storage benefits.

Those models will definitely have to be tweaked. Or maybe ‘disappeared,’ as we’ll note below.

I found the implied separation of scientists from researchers amusing. If you substitute the same word to begin each paragraph, you might realize it says climate scientists think it’s a good idea to fund more research by climate scientists.

Implying there are two groups may just be writing to avoid repetition, but it definitely minimizes the self interest aspect. Scientists want researchers to have more funding is different from scientists want scientists to have more funding.

A short version of this article is that while trees absorb carbon dioxide, the incredible complexity of photosynthetic biology also results in emission of many chemicals. Among those; a lot of nitrous oxide, methane and isoprene, i.e., ‘greenhouse gasses.’ Trees also reduce Earth’s albedo (reflectivity), and thereby directly contribute to higher temperatures. Scientifically, it is not clear that the net effect of planting trees is what envirostatists tell us it is.

The most upsetting, if not unexpected, thing from this article is the following quote:
I have heard scientists say that if we found forest loss cooled the planet, we wouldn’t publish it.

“Never mind,” says Mr. Funk, “we have to DO SOMETHING!” Yes! Get the government to create a crony market* to solve a problem that may not exist, using a method that isn’t supported by science. Nice job of virtue signaling, and that’s “something.” Of course, the treasure we spend now won’t be there if we need it for a valid purpose later.

The article doesn’t mention it, so I don’t know if it occurred to any the modellers, but more CO2 makes trees grow (sequester carbon) faster.  What, if any, effect does that represent?


*With the additional effect of wealth transfer to poorer countries: Paying second and third world countries for space to plant trees by taxing corporations who need carbon indulgences because of first world regulation and carbon taxes. After all, poorer countries have more votes at the UN, and if we’re going to excuse India and China from much of the Kyoto and Paris agreements, everybody else should get something, too.

Funding the immanentization of CAGW

I’m not sure when we accepted the idea that government funding is non-ideological, even apolitical. But, today, when an idea is discredited because of its funding source it’s almost always the evil corporation(s) said to be at fault. It’s the Koch brothers or George Soros taking the heat. When government funds something that proves to be disastrous, idiotic or even evil, government gets a pass. As if government has no agenda and always has good intentions.

We’ve become blasé about Federal pecuniary feasance, mis-, mal- and non-, in many areas: Medicare, where periodically someone is arrested for multi-million dollar fraud; Corporate welfare, where billions are shoveled into the furnace, but those responsible are rarely held accountable; Federal grants promoting cowboy poetry, about which most merely shake their heads in wonder; Planned Parenthood, where we pretend money isn’t fungible.

Nowhere, however, is the damage worse than in funding science research. Especially in the case of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW).

We’re told that anyone skeptical of CAGW is bought and paid for by Big Oil – their opinions should therefore be dismissed. Fully half the arguments from CAGW proponents would disappear if they couldn’t argue ad hominem. Well, turnabout is fair play.

In CAGW huckster Professor Jagadish Shukla, who urges the President to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against CAGW skeptics we have an excellent example.

Nuking Consumers Energy

I offered my support to Consumers Energy if they would get on with building nuclear plants and get rid of windmills.

This is the most obvious way to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions. Those afraid of “climate change” should be all in. Warm mongers who oppose nuclear power simply aren’t serious about CO2 reduction.

But don’t take my word for it, take the word of a leftwing “science is settled” magazine

In just two decades Sweden went from burning oil for generating electricity to fissioning uranium. And if the world as a whole were to follow that example, all fossil fuel–fired power plants could be replaced with nuclear facilities in a little over 30 years…

Such a switch would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly achieving much-ballyhooed global goals to combat climate change. Even swelling electricity demands, concentrated in developing nations, could be met. All that’s missing is the wealth, will and wherewithal…

“As long as people, nations put fear of nuclear accidents above fear of climate change, those trends are unlikely to change,” Brook adds. But “no renewable energy technology or energy efficiency approach has ever been implemented on a scale or pace required.”

Also consider the opinions of Dr. Patrick Moore, Co-Founder of Greenpeace, and Stewart Brand, publisher Of The Whole Earth Catalog.

What a piece of work is Mann

Highly recommended: Mark Steyn’s “A Disgrace to the Profession“, to anyone interested in the genesis of Michael Mann’s Hokey Stick. Steyn’s book is not an attack on the idea of AGW, it’s an exposé of, arguably, the biggest scientific fraud since Piltdown; and, indisputably, the most consequential.

Using the words of scientists who strongly believe AGW is true and of those who are more skeptical, it lays out a convincing case that there are differences of opinion among scientists on AGW, if not so much about Michael Mann.

If you (mistakenly) conflate Mann’s agenda with the discipline of climate science, you will like the book still less than even Mann’s “allies” like him. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it: If you are concerned about erosion of public support for “doing something” about AGW, you should read it so you can help climate science regain a modicum of respectability. As long as Mann is left to hijack the discussion, threaten the careers of distinguished scientists and subvert the peer review process, it is unlikely reasonable people will find any common ground on the topic.

Mann has been able to force the entire discipline of climate science into a corner where failure to defend his work is equated with failure to defend, in Mann’s words, “the cause.” A strange way for a scientist to think. If there is a single principle that distinguishes science from religion it is that scientific theories are falsifiable. Mann is pushing the religion of Mann, not the science of climate study.

The damage to science itself is profound. The damage to freedom of speech is, perhaps, even worse – which is how Steyn got involved in a lawsuit. And came to write this book. The First Amendment is as much subject to Mann’s attack as is the scientific method.

I consider myself well informed on the AGW debate, but I learned quite a bit from this book. You probably will too. This book does not deny AGW, it denies Michael Mann’s devious, unprincipled, ad-hominem attacks on those who dare ask a single question.

We’re being asked to restructure the world economy because of a drawing based on misrepresentation, willful hyperbole and astounding arrogance. You should read “A Disgrace to the Profession” in order to understand what that means, whatever your position on AGW. You should buy “A Disgrace to the Profession” (also at Amazon) because doing so helps defend free speech. Even if Mann were right, it is long past time his bullying lawfare was stopped.

A trout in the milk

A reaction to a couple of comments on yesterday’s post.

You can argue that if George Soros didn’t personally sign checks on which James Hansen was the payee, then zero money was given to Hansen by Soros. As a public service to those who might be so inclined, today’s word is “fungible,” brought to you – in the spirit of diversity – by the letter “H.” “H” as in Hsu and Holy Land Foundation.

These H’s illustrate why contributions to an intermediary, which subsequently pays for services on behalf of a third party, are equivalent to giving the money directly to the third party. Our examples:

It is true that Norman Hsu, currently a guest of the state of California, did not sign the vast majority of checks he bundled into contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. It is also true that these checks were not written payable to Hillary Clinton personally. However, no one doubts she benefited. Least of all Herself, She’s getting rid of the money.

It is true that when the Holy Land Foundation, currently in hiding, sent checks to terrorist organizations the payees were not literally Hamas, Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad. However, the United States and the European Union have no doubt jihadist organizations like those received HLF funds.

So let us not pretend that money can’t be laundered.

As to the significance of the amount, the Investor’s Business Daily report does indeed say “up to” $720,000. Could be lots less. So, what if the Soros’ grantee, Government Accountability Project, only spent $72,000 on promoting advising Hansen? The following old tale would seem to apply:

Man, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?”
Woman, “Well, for that much money… I suppose I would.”
Man, “O.K, will you sleep with me for five dollars?”
Woman, “What kind of woman do you think I am?!?”
Man, “I think we’ve established what kind of woman you are; now we are just haggling over the price.”

Some clue as to Hansen’s price, since no “Open” detail is forthcoming from Soros, GAP or Hansen, can be found at the Government Accountability Project’s website:

GAP Staff Attorney Tarek Maassarani [conducted, on Hansen’s behalf,] a year-long investigation that found objectionable and possibly illegal restrictions on the communication of scientific information to the media.

Though Mr. Maassarani is a staff lawyer, and probably did not work exclusively on Mr. Hansen’s case for twelve months, such “advice” from lawyers is not inexpensive. Media advisors who get you 1,400 MSM interviews, especially while you’re being censored by the President, don’t come cheap either. James Hansen didn’t pay for these services. George Soros certainly paid for some part of them.

Given that the “central focus” of Soros’ life of late is to bring down George Bush, and that he’d already spent $15 million by 2004 in the attempt, it is reasonable to assume he would use Hansen if he had an opportunity.

Indeed, the Open Society Institute’s Web site claims that Soros takes an abiding, detailed interest in its activities:

Despite the breadth of his endeavors, Soros is personally involved in planning and implementing many of the foundation network’s projects.

Lacking openness from the payers regarding how much Hansen benefited from Soros’ money, I think we can depend on Henry David Thoreau to summarize: “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

Still, the evidence is more than circumstantial. That Soros’ organization took an active interest in Hansen’s press campaign, and that at least some of the money went to help Hansen is a bragging point for The SOROS FOUNDATIONS NETWORK REPORT 2006 says this about it on page 123:

Scientist Protests NASA’s
Censorship Attempts

James E. Hansen, the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, protested attempts to silence him after officials at NASA ordered him to refer press inquiries to the public affairs office and required the presence of a public affairs representative at any interview. The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization and OSI grantee, came to Hansen’s defense by providing legal and media advice. The campaign on Hansen’s behalf resulted in a decision by NASA to revisit its media policy.

No doubt.

Apparently forgoing the advice to which he has become accustomed, James Hansen has this response to others’ discovery (Hansen claims he does not know if any money came from Soros) that Soros was his benefactor.

You decide if Hansen adequately addresses the ethical issues. Before you decide, you might also wish to check how he has previously responded to his own error.

James Hansen is to George Soros as Cindy Sheehan was to MoveOn/CodePink/ANSWER/Kos manipulators.

In Hansen’s case, his celebrity is only protected as long as Anthropomorphic Global WarmingTM is an issue. George Soros will only be interested as long as the issue provides a stick with which to beat on Western capitalist values (How strange is that in a currency speculation multi-billionaire? But see Soros’ network below.) That Soros has severely damaged millions of people in his pursuit of profit seems not to bother him in the least.

Hansen is a tiny invertebrate in a swamp barely large enough to contain him, and he will, if more slowly, assume the same public-consciousness room-temperature as Sheehan. Hansen dares not question Global WarmingTM. Without it, he’s toast.

The real issue here is George Soros’ attempts to manipulate public opinion. Hansen is a pathetic supporting actor.

Other resources: Less Than Full Disclosure from Jim Hansen? Or Right Wing Smear?

Soros network. Here.


Global Whatever

Direct to you from the “Global Warming” Conference, COP 11, in Montreal.

Stephen Guilbeault, the director of the Greenpeace movement for Quebec, describes “Global Warming” from the Enviromenshevik standpoint:

“Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that’s what we’re dealing with.”

What we’re dealing with is bullshit.

Trotsky would recognize the technique – your opponents can’t possibly win if every possible counter-example is predefined as evidence supporting your position.

Every climate condition or weather event is, ipso presto, not only evidence of human caused “Global Warming”, but evidence we can actually fix it via Kyoto.

Where are the actual proletariat when you need them?

BTW, “enviromenshevik”, and its variations, do not appear on Google as of this post. I’m claiming it.