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Climate science from climate scientists...

Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 16:18:35 +0000


Comment on Forced responses: Mar 2018 by Killian

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 16:18:35 +0000

Thomas, Your recent rebuke was in some degree earned. Yes, too many words. And, as I have said before, too cryptic at times. The internet has made us impatient and given us short attention spans. I am, however, hopeful in that all quarters seem to have pulled back a bit. I suspect not only I had posts go missing prior to the post from Gavin. There seems to have been an effort to reboot the system, so to speak. That does not mean you do not have value here. Do return. Do ignore the slings and arrows, as you suggested I do. At the very least, return long enough for us to exchange contact info.

Comment on Forced responses: Mar 2018 by Ray Ladbury

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 13:02:47 +0000

Dmitris Poulos, Gee, who to believe, a self-published troll or the entire scientific community. Boy, tough choice. [edit]

Comment on Alsup asks for answers by Ray Ladbury

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 12:58:09 +0000

Sheldon W.: "The simple truth is that the oil companies did NOT use the fossil fuels to produce CO2." That is not at issue. The cigarette companies did not burn the tobacco that caused all those cancers--in both smokers and nonsmokers. What they did do was cover up research--known to them--that showed their products had adverse consequences. Through propaganda masquerading as research, through outright bribes masquerading as campaign contributions to decision makers and through legal obfuscation, they prevented the democratic process from operating for the public good. The science--including the science done by the fossil fuel companies--has shown since at least 1988 that climate change could have severe consequences. The response of the fossil fuel companies was to subvert that knowledge. That is arguably a tort.

Comment on Alsup asks for answers by Ray Ladbury

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 12:49:34 +0000

On the "virtue" of scientists: It depends on which virtue. I've known more than a few scientists who were assholes--just not nice people. It has hurt them in science, but it was not fatal if they brought enough to their collaborations to make up for their unpleasantness. In terms of "honesty," I am reminded of the reference letter a supervisor wrote that said that "this employee works well under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap." Scientific fraud is trivial to detect. As such, it is extremely rare, short-lived and invariably proves fatal to the scientist's career as long as it is in a field anybody cares about. As a result, scientists tend to be mostly honest in their work. Likewise, errors in one's work have a fairly high probability of being detected if anybody cares about that work. As such, scientists tend to be careful and conservative in their work. Finally, you don't become a scientist if you want to become rich. You become a scientist because you are fascinated by a particular field and want to understand it. If you fudge your research, it will keep you from that understanding. Thus science rewards honesty and accuracy with the awards that matter most. Note that if the science is not driven by curiosity, this can distort the reward structure. Likewise, if the data are not open but held as proprietary secrets, that presents a threat to the science. The quintessential area of research where these threats exist is medical/drug research. And yet, even here, the result is sufficiently satisfactory that we--and this includes denialists like Dan DaSilva--are willing to entrust our very lives to them! Despite the hysterical allegations of the denialati, climate science is one of the most open and competitive branches of science. In order to believe the science is corrupt, you have to believe in a conspiracy so improbable that it would make Alex Jones blush.

Comment on Alsup asks for answers by Barton Paul Levenson

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 12:27:50 +0000

DDS 100: “It is the structure of the scientific method that absolutely forces scientists to conduct their investigations in a “virtuous” way.” Wow, who else here believes that? Is that a common belief here at RealClimate? BPL: Note the argument from personal incredulity.

Comment on Forced responses: Mar 2018 by zebra

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 10:42:20 +0000

@BPL, also DigbyS, nigel, BPL, The 10K number is, I believe, a genetic bottleneck through which humans actually passed at one time. But neither this nor the Pitcairn example is what I am looking for, because they both involve a subsequent growth in population. The idea is to maintain the variety of genome existing now, in sufficient quantity, so any potential utility isn't lost. I can only guess what the number would be, and when I very first brought this up I asked for some geneticist-lurker to help out. A few hundred thousand? A few hundred million? With respect to the technology issue, this is of course going to be a moving target, because...AI, robots, and because... my oft-repeated point about lower population having non-linear declines in energy inputs, infrastructure requirements, and so on.

Comment on Forced responses: Mar 2018 by zebra

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 10:23:11 +0000

@Killian #128, also Kevin M #125, My suggestion is based on my definition of "sustainability", which I've given several times, as maximizing the length of time the human species can exist. I've illustrated the reasoning in a couple of previous responses; a technological civilization is more likely to deal with external existential threats. It could establish off-planet habitations, it could practice genetic modification of organisms and even humans, and so on. Kevin: I think your sweet spot is really a solution to mitigation, not sustainability. Killian: Your approach is essentially circular. The only reason to have 12 billion humans is so that it will be necessary to employ your "simplicity" solution. I've asked others and never gotten an answer; perhaps you could try: Why is having more humans than my minimum a desirable goal?

Comment on Alsup asks for answers by jgnfld

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 08:38:04 +0000

@100 There have been many "nonvirtuous" scientists over the years. The problem for them is that the scientific method tends to find them out. Sometimes it takes many decades--Cyril Burt comes to mind. My own university handled the Chandra case of nonvirtuous research very poorly over a period of 15 years, yet even so his research is now recognized as fraudulent. These cases were both found out and corrected because of how the profession of science works. Essentially, the denier meme of "politicized science" reduces to the following: 1. It is a projection on to scientists of what they themselves are doing. Or,in some cases--especially for the more politically/legally minded--it may not even be projection so much as thinking that scientists operate professionally in their world just like the politically/legally minded do in their own world. They are wrong, of course, as different professions operate under different rules and procedures. Especially politicians but also lawyers are very comfortable asserting one thing one day and the opposite the next with a straight face if it serves an overarching purpose. This just doesn't work in the scientific world. 2. It's just another way--perhaps softer and for that reason more dangerous--of positing the global conspiracy to fudge data and install a liberal world govt or some such. The idea is if it's a "party line" well then of course (party) scientists won't cross it. Anywhere in the world. In all societies. In scientists of all stripes. Sorry Dan, but no. It just doesn't work that way. Virtue--NO scare quotes this time (something you probably didn't understand of Digby's post)--is not a requirement. It is the long term expected outcome.

Comment on Alsup asks for answers by jgnfld

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:55:43 +0000

@92 Sheldon almost precisely recapitulates the tobacco industry arguments as cases concerning damage finally became real for the tobacco industry in the late 70s and on. From one internal memo in the tobacco archives: It is a “positioning” of smoking that accurately reflects the real state of scientific knowledge—and the freedom of choice that must be allowed to every citizen in a democratic society. . . . Freedom of choice is now a powerful appeal as a countertrend to the new willingness of the public to consider measures of repression. . . . It is, moreover, a specific rebuttal to the current campaign of the [American Cancer Society] for repressive measures.51(Bates no. 502124243) Here's one from a litigation training manual for lawyers: In attempting to depict the benefits [of smoking] as real, we offer not only an explanation other than addiction for a plaintiff’s continued use of the product, but we legitimize choice.80(Bates no. 282013287–282013288) And here's part of the opening statement by the tobacco lawyers in Cipollone v. Liggett, the first case to award damages to a smoker: Now, what the evidence will show is that Mrs. Cipollone smoked because she enjoyed smoking, it gave her a great deal of pleasure. She liked it. . . . Now, Rose Cipollone made that choice for herself. . . She did what she wanted to do. . . . This woman was a determined woman who was used to making choices for herself, not just with regard to smoking, but on other aspects of her life. The intent, of course, was to insulate the corporations from liability just as Sheldon is attempting to do here. The case gets even worse when we consider that fossil fuel interests have engaged in specific actions to LIMIT choice that would lead to using alternative sources of energy.

Comment on Forced responses: Mar 2018 by nigelj

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:39:16 +0000

Apologies if that was too many posts, I forgot the new rule. Cancel the population post if you must, but I think its worthwhile.