As a long winded person myself I have to admit I enjoy your long posts. I'm sure given the opportunity I will be able to come up with a long winded description of why our love of language can make specificity a chore in the online forum format. I want to try to get all my answers in one post today because I have a list of things to do. Split it up how you want, but I want the things I say to stay together. Let us begin:
kurt_w wrote:One final point about feedbacks -- you can't have large climate changes in the past (like, glacial-interglacial cycles) without positive feedbacks. And if those feedbacks operated in the past, we should expect that they will continue to operate in the present and the future.
Yes I meant positive feedback loop. I really find it to be an artificial concept meant to describe natural forces that are beyond our ability to catalogue and quantify. I understand that you mean that a positive feedback loop would have to occur for an ice age to happen, but most scientists would agree that the reason debate exists about positive feedback loops in climate science theory, is that our ability to accurately and reliably project what we refer to as positive feedback loops, is very much in question.
kurt_w wrote:... I think you're saying that because there are many, many times in geologic history when climate changed for natural reasons, and only one time when it is alleged to be changing due to human actions, therefore that latter change must also be natural.
Bludgeon wrote:... change the final sentance to read "therefore that latter change would most likely also be natural." Must? No. Probably? Yes.
OK, but that is still a logical error. "Must", "probably", whatever ... you can't deduce anything about the probability of industrial-caused climate change from the period before there was industry.
The only thing you can conclude from pre-industrial climate change is that it is possible
for the Earth's climate to change. That is actually an important point, but it doesn't help fix the logical error here.
Disagree on bolded text. What we can deduce from 4.5 billion years of drastic, frequent, you could even say 'constant' climate change by natural causes, is this: likelihood.
Industrial civilization is a new variable, I'll happily concede. I'll bet you'll happily concede that the climate was changing before we got here. I've already conceded that natural climate change and the theory of man made climate change are not mutually exclusive.
My statement in this context is about probability. The overwhelming probability is that 99.9% to 100% of all global climate change is the result of natural causes. The overwhelming probability is that 99.9% to 100% of all the climate fluctuation we attribute today to C02 is actually the result of natural causes. The overwhelming probability is that we are simply continuing to measure a climatic trend that has been in process since long before man [very recently] harnessed the technology to measure it.
The factual truth is that we literally have next to no idea what average global temperatures "should" be without the influece of C02, or if our C02 emissions are even enough to influence average global temperatures significantly, or at all.
I haven't said the two things can't be occurring at once. On the contrary, if I'm making a logical error, I'd be the first to want to know. I do my best to check. I'm not discounting the basic concept of C02/temperature theory. As you read above, I'm questioning our understanding of positive feedback loops as well as a number of other concepts that I have and will continue listing.
Bludgeon wrote:Climate science is an 150 year tradition in the same way that Worcestershire sauce with high fructose corn syrup is an 150 year old recipe - it's not, even though the label says so.
I like the Worcestershire sauce analogy, but I think it shows that we've reached the limit of argument by analogy.
Mm, yes and no. I'm not going to blindly substitute analogy in the place of scientific method. But the argument about climate change is unfortunately corrupted by a great deal of rhetoric; and the truth is, accurate analogy is actually a great remedy for rhetoric. Believe me, I wish the "debate" over climate change were strictly limited to science, scientists, the scientific method, et al.
May I humbly suggest that the intrusion of public policy, politics, popular belief, and above all, industry, has done more harm than good to both the science and it's aim?
You're not predicting doomsday, I'm not predicting doomsday, Wagstaff's not predicting doomsday. But the politicians are out there predicting doomsday. The political activists are out there predicting doomsday. I was suggesting that people with a real grasp and understanding of the actual science and the actual questions should try to calm people down a bit. The truth is I think public policy is in the way, to the extent that it's corrupting the actual aim of this scientific inquiry.
Bludgeon wrote:Look at it another way, climate lobbies have become a big special interest group. Governments invest billions upon billions of dollars generating climate research. Consumers spend a few billion themselves purchasing items advertized as being 'climate friendly'. Fair to say companies also make billions selling climate friendly products. The roads are full of hybrid cars and crowded with bike lanes for hybrid humans.
Which is all just to say - it just makes me wonder where this climatology science would be in terms of prominence and priority - - if it were not filling this role for people who have tasked it to tell them if the world is going to end or not.
I think what you're trying to suggest is that scientists are taking advantage of a credulous public that is concerned about climate change and is willing to spend money (their own, and the government's) both for research and for prevention of climate change. Is that a fair summary?
That doesn't seem reasonable to me, for a lot of reasons.
It doesn't sound reasonable to me either, and I apologize if I'm often ambiguous, but that's not what I'm suggesting.
Non sequitur: When I see some article of discussion has become polarized, my response is often to try to find a way to rise above the dispute.
In this case, what I'm suggesting is not that scientists in general are trying to take advantage of a credulous public.
What I am suggesting is that for a variety of reasons, a credulous public has created and tasked various institutions with the burden of playing Cassandra.
It's like being a geologist. There may not be large gold deposits in Southwestern Wisconsin, but I am paying you to find gold deposits in Southwestern Wisconsin. Maybe the gold deposits are in Northeastern Iowa. In this scenario, Southwestern Wisconsin = AGW, Northeastern Iowa = global warming by natural causes, and as a geologist your job is to oversee the digging of a mine in Southwestern Wisconsin and keep digging, even if you have to tunnel into Northeastern Iowa to bring me the Southwestern Wisconsin gold I'm paying you to find. And by "gold", I mean plausible justification for continued funding from one of a variety of sources.
Notice: Yes I appreciate the humor of the above analogy.
kurt_w wrote:That's one point. Another is that it is easy to find scientists who do not personally benefit from public interest or research funding of climate change, but who still strongly support the mainstream climate science position.
Fifty years ago, you could claim with the same degree of accuracy that it was easy to find scientists who do not personally benefit from public interest in Christianity, but who still believe in god and practice that religion anyway.
One indisputable scientific fact is that scientists are just as susceptible to the superstition native to human culture as the rest of us. People are also generally eager to gladly accept praise and accolades for even a presumed virtue. Work in climate science is treated by the public with appreciation and reverence. Consider the consumer whose moral code impels them to purchase a hybrid car. Have we not all witnessed their display of sanctimony?
The unfortunate reality is that climate science has become a moral issue for the public at large. It's important to consider that many scientific workers involved with this field are driven by moral reasons just as any human may be, especially when that moral purpose translates into perceptual social advantage. It would be hard to maintain the claim that people involved in climate science are different from the general public. Safe to say, I have had plenty of opportunity to talk to plenty of people working in this field of science who are quick to display this basic human trait.
When I indulge them with the illusion that I completely agree with them, they generally reach for all the same far out limbs as anyone you might find in the public at large - doomsday scenarios and all.