climate change????

Bill's forum was the first! All subjects are welcome. Participation by all encouraged.

Moderator: Bill Glasheen

climate change????

Postby hoshin » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:09 am

so climate change is a hot button topic. i have been watching a lot of interviews and commentary on the subject. my problem is that in a debate both sides will sight studies and "facts" that prove their position. we all know the old saying "lies, damn lies and statistics".
so how is a regular guy like me supposed to make heads or tails of all these supposed facts and studies and know what is real and what is a biased study that was only conducted to prove a political agenda.
i am trying to be very middle ground here in my writing and not have my own slant or bias. i am more concerned with knowing the truth for the truths sake than having my political agenda be correct.
i am looking for a little help from Bill to help me sort the fact from fiction.
hoshin
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 6:01 am
Location: worcester, ma

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:51 pm

Greetings, Hoshin!

There are many moving parts to this discussion. I will spend a little time on each with a post dedicated just to it.
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:20 pm

First...

CLIMATE CHANGES!!!

In my office here behind me is some petrified whale bone. It's anywhere from 20 to 40 million years old. Do you know where I got it? On a fossil-hunting expedition along the James River in-between Williamsburg and Newport News. Every time there's a storm, the rain washes the bank of the James River, and new fossils are found. Mostly it's just sea shells, but there are lots of nice pieces of whale bone to be had, and occasionally you can find a beautiful shark's tooth - a catch of the day if you find one.

Here's the thing... what's whale bone doing in the dirt along the banks of the James River, that far inland? Well... apparently that area was once under water, and part of the deep blue ocean. And the only way that could have happened is if the climate was once much warmer, and the polar ice caps weren't.

Here's a Facebook page showing someone's recent fossil trip.

..... Fossils Found on our James River Trip

More recently there was a finding of a Wooly Mammoth hybrid in Michigan.

Image

history.com wrote:Fisher said the bones are from an adult male that likely lived between 11,700 and 15,000 years ago and was in its 40s when it died. The paleontologist said the specimen was a Jeffersonian mammoth—a hybrid between a woolly mammoth and a Columbian mammoth named for founding father Thomas Jefferson, who had a keen interest in paleontology.


What's interesting about findings like these aren't just that creatures who loved cold used to live in Michigan, but that there was evidence of human activity. It apparently had been killed, and pieces of it weighed down by stone in the ice/snow for later consumption -- a veritable outdoor refrigerator. Oh... and humans were in America that long ago. And with the DNA analysis of Kennewick Man in Washington, proto-Europeans were in the Americas well before proto "Native Americans" came. Why? Well it was cold enough that the Bering Straight was completely frozen over, and humans just followed the food (Mammoths) wherever they wandered.

It's also worth mentioning that we are just now coming out of "The Little ice Age".

Wikipedia wrote:The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period (Medieval Climate Optimum).[1] While it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939.[2] It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries,[3][4][5] or alternatively, from about 1300[6] to about 1850,[7][8][9] although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions.

The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.[5]


Bottom line -- climate changes. And what is the biggest factor affecting Climate Change? The activity of our nearest star - the sun. This is the single most important factor which determines temperature and weather on our planet. There are some occiasional hiccups such as when a massive asteroid hits in the gulf or a volcano erupts which covers the atmosphere with ash, but... even those are minor compared to the major trends driven by sun's cycles of higher and lower brightness.

- Bill
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby Glenn » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:16 am

hoshin wrote:i am looking for a little help from Bill to help me sort the fact from fiction.

That is like asking a vegan to help sort fact from fiction about whether you should eat meat or not :D
Glenn
User avatar
Glenn
 
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 6:01 am
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Re: climate change????

Postby hoshin » Mon May 02, 2016 12:28 am

one thing i am interested in is how to evaluate a scientific study. seems both sides have their proof through peer reviewed studies. however it seems to me like i get more science from the non believers and more rhetoric from the believers.
Glenn feel free to "school" me in climate change if you have something to add.
hoshin
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 6:01 am
Location: worcester, ma

Re: climate change????

Postby Glenn » Mon May 02, 2016 2:08 am

hoshin wrote:one thing i am interested in is how to evaluate a scientific study. seems both sides have their proof through peer reviewed studies. however it seems to me like i get more science from the non believers and more rhetoric from the believers.
Glenn feel free to "school" me in climate change if you have something to add.

Hi Hoshin,

I applaud you for wanting to understand the science behind climate change, most people do not go that far. Instead of listening to people who seem to be "believers" or "non-believers," presumably via the media, blogs, and forums, there are a lot of outlets for accurate info on the science of climate change: Introductory general science, chemistry, physics, geography, geology, paleontology, archaeology, astronomy, climatology, and meteorology courses and textbooks usually cover it for example; and if you want to evaluate the original scientific studies themselves you will need to look at the journals in those fields, as well as specialty journals such as Climatic Change. Science News magazine is a good source too, not only in reporting new findings but in pointing you to the scientific studies behind the news.

As far as how to evaluate a scientific study, this is a decent primer:
How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists
Like the author says, getting the science wrong is not trivial; and as with the vaccinations and health, getting it wrong with climate change can have consequences.

Bill has made a good, albeit selective, start so far. His is technically correct in the pieces of info he has chosen to present. That the climate changes is basic info that was commonly accepted in the 1800s, and as he states the biggest factor is obviously the Sun. Everything Bill stated is well known to the scientists working on climatic change, and are incorporated in the research attempting to examine other potentially influential factors such as human activity.

Full disclosure: I am a geographer by trade and have taken college coursework, and continue to try to stay abreast of new findings, in all of the fields I listed above. I have also taken graduate coursework in climatology, meteorology, and climate change (along with anthropology, biology, community and regional planning, economics, geography, history, natural resources, political science, and statistics). My specialty is in geospatial technology (geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing), which are commonly used in climate science research and modeling, and I teach a course in GIS to advanced-undergrad and grad students, including students majoring in the various fields that work in climate change research. So while I do not work in climate change research myself, I do understand the science and technology behind it. I am also a moderate registered-independent who has little patience for extremists at either end of the political spectrum; and who, like the moderate Republicans I work with, laments that the Republican party that was once such an important contributor to natural resource and environmental policy has since the 1990s largely abandoned that role and chosen to be adversarial instead.

When Bill is in his moderate mode we tend to agree, but when he strays into his activist mode I all to often have to call him on any sloppiness that results and try to get him back on track...at least here, there is not enough free time in my day to respond to everything on his Facebook page, which is currently his primary activist outlet (I do wish I had come across the lame-brained statement he made to Justin on his Facebook page a few months ago about Virginia community college graduation rates in time to correct it within a reasonable time :roll: ) Your original question was directed at Bill so it is only fair to give him his chance, although this is one of the topics he is activist about and based on past experience I have my doubts about this being the last time I have to reply. :wink:
Glenn
User avatar
Glenn
 
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 6:01 am
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue May 03, 2016 1:14 am

Here's my second installment.

Any time someone tells you that something is "settled science", you know that they're full of it. "Settled science" is an oxymoron.

Science is largely a process by which we investigate the universe around us. Science is *not* dogma. Mixing science and dogma (a.k.a. religion) has had disastrous consequences through the ages. Ask Galileo. It's a good thing that's not happening today, right? Guess again. Mix pseudoscience, political dogma, and lawyers, and you have the perfect toxic clusterfuk.

DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and ANDREW M. GROSSMAN wrote:Galileo Galilei was tried in 1633 for spreading the heretical view that the Earth orbits the sun, convicted by the Roman Catholic Inquisition, and remained under house arrest until his death. Today’s inquisitors seek their quarry’s imprisonment and financial ruin. As the scientific case for a climate-change catastrophe wanes, proponents of big-ticket climate policies are increasingly focused on punishing dissent from an asserted “consensus” view that the only way to address global warming is to restructure society—how it harnesses and uses energy. That we might muddle through a couple degrees’ of global warming over decades or even centuries, without any major disruption, is the new heresy and must be suppressed.

The Climate Inquisition began with Michael Mann’s 2012 lawsuit against critics of his “hockey stick” research—a holy text to climate alarmists. The suggestion that Prof. Mann’s famous diagram showing rapid recent warming was an artifact of his statistical methods, rather than an accurate representation of historical reality, was too much for the Penn State climatologist and his acolytes to bear.

Among their targets (and our client in his lawsuit) was the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank prominent for its skeptical viewpoint in climate-policy debates. Mr. Mann’s lawsuit seeks to put it, along with National Review magazine, out of business. Four years on, the courts are still pondering the First Amendment values at stake. In the meantime, the lawsuit has had its intended effect, fostering legal uncertainty that chills speech challenging the “consensus” view.

Mr. Mann’s lawsuit divided climate scientists—many of whom recognized that it threatened vital scientific debate—but the climate Inquisition was only getting started. The past year has witnessed even more heavy-handed attempts to enforce alarmist doctrine and stamp out dissent.

Assuming the mantle of Grand Inquisitor is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.). Last spring he called on the Justice Department to bring charges against those behind a “coordinated strategy” to spread heterodox views on global warming, including the energy industry, trade associations, “conservative policy institutes” and scientists. Mr. Whitehouse, a former prosecutor, identified as a legal basis for charges that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, the federal statute enacted to take down mafia organizations and drug cartels.

{snip}

-- "Punishing Climate-Change Skeptics", WSJ, March 23, 2016

So what is the process of science? I looked for a good diagram on this which implied it was a never-ending process. The best I could find came from - shocker - Wikipedia. At least this gives you the general idea.

Image

In this process, you see no end. Nothing is settled, is it?

Imagine where we'd be if we thought Newton's Laws were settled science. Einstein very well may have been gassed along with the rest of the Jews. We'd never learn that mass isn't constant, time can change, and The Universe probably has a speed limit.

One paper does not make "settled science". One "proven" theory isn't "settled science". Particularly when you're trying to describe the past without data or predict the future - and I'll get into that in a bit - all bets are off.

- Bill
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby Glenn » Wed May 04, 2016 3:40 am

Quite right Bill, although you could have made the same point without the strawman of
Bill Glasheen wrote:Any time someone tells you that something is "settled science", you know that they're full of it. "Settled science" is an oxymoron.

and that red herring WSJ blog entry you posted that does not add anything to a discussion of the actual science behind climate change. See Hoshin's second post, he is trying to avoid such blatantly biased rhetoric.

Now this part is good:
Bill Glasheen wrote:Science is largely a process by which we investigate the universe around us. Science is *not* dogma.

<big clip of unnecessary part of post>

So what is the process of science? I looked for a good diagram on this which implied it was a never-ending process. The best I could find came from - shocker - Wikipedia. At least this gives you the general idea.

<clip of large graphic>

In this process, you see no end. Nothing is settled, is it?

That graphic works, I think I will borrow it for my introductory geography and geospatial technology courses where we start with the scientific process, thanks. Reputations and careers are made by following this process, and both can be ruined by not following it. Scientists are in general an inquisitive and dedicated lot by nature and training, and look to make the next breakthrough. And they have no qualms about pointing out mistakes in the work of others. Contrary to public opinion, science is lively and scientific conferences can get quite animated.

Bill Glasheen wrote:Imagine where we'd be if we thought Newton's Laws were settled science. Einstein very well may have been gassed along with the rest of the Jews. We'd never learn that mass isn't constant, time can change, and The Universe probably has a speed limit.

One paper does not make "settled science". One "proven" theory isn't "settled science". Particularly when you're trying to describe the past without data or predict the future - and I'll get into that in a bit - all bets are off.

Very true, the best we can get is a consensus, even with Newton's "laws" or Einstein's theories. And while one paper does not make "settled science," almost 14,000 papers over 22 years does make for a significant consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change. Out of the 13,950 peer reviewed articles published between 1991 and 2012 that were retrieved by searching Web of Science for the phrases "global warming" or "global climate change" (and controlling for papers containing both), 13,926 (99.8%) of those found support for recent human influence on climate change while 24 (0.2%) did not. When he focused on just 2013 and adds the term "climate change" to his search (again subtracting any duplicates), he found a total of 10,885 peer reviewed papers of which only two (0.02%) rejected human influence on global warming. That is as good a support as any prevailing theory in any scientific field currently has.

As an aside, looking at the authors of the 24 papers rejecting AGW, I have met Robert Balling, a geographer/climatologist who was at one time here at Nebraska but is now at Arizona State University. Nice guy, but since you mentioned Mann's suit, you might be interested to know there are earlier precedents for what Mann is doing. After a Minnesota newspaper ran an editorial in 1997 that named Balling when complaining about climatologists speaking out against climate change after they received funding from the fossil fuel industry (which he admitted to by the way), he lodged a complaint against the paper to the Minnesota News Council alleging that the paper unfairly characterized his scientific reputation. Maybe we should also label that an Inquisition per the ridiculous language in the WSJ blog you posted, which misses the point of the suit. Both Balling and Mann were/are trying to protect their scientific reputations against perceived public smear campaigns, and reputation is crucial to success in science. Balling won by the way.

At any rate, as geologist James Powell documents in his well done Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth (2014), the science behind the theory of anthropogenic global warming has won over the professionals working in the fields involved:
James Lawrence Powell wrote:Over the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth: deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming. When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientific—and sometimes religious—heresy. Nevertheless, after decades of rejection, scientists came to accept each theory.

The stories behind these four discoveries reflect more than the fascinating push and pull of scientific work. They reveal the provocative nature of science and how it raises profound and sometimes uncomfortable truths as it advances. For example, counter to common sense, the Earth and the solar system are older than all of human existence; the interactions among the moving plates and the continents they carry account for nearly all of the Earth's surface features; and nearly every important feature of our solar system results from the chance collision of objects in space. Most surprising of all, we humans have altered the climate of an entire planet and now threaten the future of civilization. This absorbing scientific history is the only book to describe the evolution of these four ideas from heresy to truth, showing how science works in practice and how it inevitably corrects the mistakes of its practitioners. Scientists can be wrong, but they do not stay wrong. In the process, astonishing ideas are born, tested, and over time take root.

From the Preface:
James Lawrence Powell wrote:After a book I had written on global warming came out, my brain-surgeon friend Ed challenged me to explain why I accepted the theory. I gave him the shortest answer I could, which was to say that virtually all publishing scientists accept anthropogenic global warming. He replied, "Well, scientists have been wrong before."

Now Ed is a world-class contrarian, always ready to challenge the prevailing wisdom. He may have been pulling my leg, seeing what reaction he could provoke. Nevertheless, his comeback dismayed me. If someone with his training and intelligence might believe that scientists have simply made a mistake about global warming, then science and humanity are in a deeper hole than I thought.

I could have responded, "So have doctors been wrong before. You used to bleed patients, apply leeches, and refuse to wash your hands." Still, I had to admit that he had a point, and it set me thinking. I knew that it had taken geologists many years to accept that the Earth is billions of years old, that continents drift, and that meteorites crash into the Earth. I had researched the recent scientific evidence for global warming but not its earlier history. I soon found that scientists had also rejected global warming for decades. It seemed to me that explaining how scientists could have "been wrong before" about four such important theories, and how they came to be right, would make a worthy subject for a new book.

The process is alive an well Ed, I mean Bill. :wink:
Glenn
User avatar
Glenn
 
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 6:01 am
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Re: climate change????

Postby fivedragons » Wed May 04, 2016 10:35 pm

What are your collective thoughts on the idea of an Anthropocene Era? Are we caretakers or impotent victims of the changes around us?

Are we the gardeners or the weeds?
fivedragons
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:05 am

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed May 04, 2016 11:02 pm

fivedragons wrote:What are your collective thoughts on the idea of an Anthropocene Era? Are we caretakers or impotent victims of the changes around us?

Are we the gardeners or the weeds?

This is an interesting thought but a loaded question. It presumes something that isn't [yet] commonly accepted.
Wikipedia wrote:The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch that begins when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems.[1][2][3] Neither the International Commission on Stratigraphy nor the International Union of Geological Sciences has yet officially approved the term as a recognized subdivision of geological time.[3][4][5]

Stay tuned; I'm getting there. :wink:

- Bill
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed May 04, 2016 11:35 pm

Glenn wrote:and that red herring WSJ blog entry you posted that does not add anything to a discussion of the actual science behind climate change.

Oh my; the professor doth condescend! :lol:

If Glenn publishes a lot, he should know several things.

1) Negative results (e.g. that hockey stick thingie doesn't work when I tried it) are difficult if not impossible to publish. It is so much "a thing" that a quick Google search will give a boatload of references if you put in "negative results" or "publication bias." Here is a good place to start on this.

..... Fighting publication bias: introducing the Negative Results section

2) Peer reviewed journals are peer-reviewed by leaders in the field. Leaders get where they are by playing nice with the other leaders and by agreeing with existing paradigms. Reviewers have a conflict of interest when they reject papers that go against their views of the world, and yet it happens all the time.

So the guys in the white coats can be and often are petty, jealous, flawed humans with conflicts of interest. All that leads to people seeking Truth having a seriously biased view of Truth - even and sometimes especially in peer reviewed journals. That flaw is so bad that - yes, Glen - we have scientists and government in the process of filing RICO statute lawsuits against people who disagree with their version of Truth. RICO, by the way, means triple the damages.

The Church put Galileo under house arrest. People who believe in Climate religion are using economic arrest to silence those who disagree with them and their agendas. NEWSFLASH - this matters.

A really good place to start which explains "the problem" can be found here. This should be one of several bibles for people who plan on getting PhDs or MDs and going into research.

Image

Here's a good diagram which summarizes the problem.

Image

By the way... If I wasn't aware of this problem, I never would have gotten my PhD. I dared to write a dissertation that refuted a finding of a Harvard scientist who got published in Science (a big deal journal). My dissertation went through because my "paradigm shift" was far more interesting that what said Harvard researcher published. I learned a lesson from that very painful exercise which cost me a few years before the PhD could get done and approved -- always, always trust your data. Even when they don't seem to make sense, data talk. You just need to listen, and not walk into Science with preconceived notions.

Image

- Bill
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby fivedragons » Wed May 04, 2016 11:37 pm

Bill: "This is an interesting thought but a loaded question. It presumes something that isn't [yet] commonly accepted."

It's actually not a loaded question. It's just a question.
fivedragons
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:05 am

Re: climate change????

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed May 04, 2016 11:39 pm

fivedragons wrote:Bill: "This is an interesting thought but a loaded question. It presumes something that isn't [yet] commonly accepted."

It's actually not a loaded question. It's just a question.

Well you used the name of an era that isn't yet a consensus. And it isn't yet a consensus because we really don't know how and the degree to which things would be different if Animal B ruled the planet rather than Animal A (humans). There are no randomized trials, etc.

I'm getting there... :wink:

- Bill
User avatar
Bill Glasheen
 
Posts: 17308
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY

Re: climate change????

Postby Glenn » Fri May 06, 2016 6:20 am

Bill Glasheen wrote:
Glenn wrote:and that red herring WSJ blog entry you posted that does not add anything to a discussion of the actual science behind climate change.

Oh my; the professor doth condescend! :lol:

Not at all, I merely pointed out the fact that it was a blog post that did not contain any science about climate change and thus does not address Hoshin's questions about the science behind climate change.

There are two glaring problems with that piece, first:
DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and ANDREW M. GROSSMAN wrote:Among their targets (and our client in his lawsuit)

So yeah, it is just lawyers writing the usual trite to try and build some public support for their case, nothing more. (OK, that was a bit condescending, but deservedly so)

Second, they play role reversal with the Galileo case. In 1633 a politico-religious power structure attempted to suppress and ridicule the work of a scientist. Today we also have a politico-religious power structure attempting to suppress and ridicule the work of a scientist, and yet according to those lawyers the current power structure is today's Galileo and Mann is today's Catholic Church. An entertaining concept to say the least. Mann has experienced several inquiries at the hands of the political opponents of climate change. All have cleared him. Even the Congressional Inquisition of Mann in 2010 that came out of the "Climategate" hoax cleared him of any misconduct. I wonder how much of our taxes was wasted in that fiasco. Same with the attempted Inquisition of Mann in your home state Bill:
Wikipedia wrote:Based on the CRU email leak, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli initiated a Civil Investigative Demand against the University of Virginia to obtain documentation relating to Mann's work at the university. The demand sparked widespread academic condemnation as a "blatantly political" attempt to intimidate and silence Mann,[45] and was denied in August 2010 by a judge for failure to state sufficient cause.[46][47] Cuccinelli tried to re-open his case by issuing a revised subpoena,[48] and appealed the case to the Virginia Supreme Court. The case was defended by the university, and the court ruled that Cuccinelli did not have the authority to make these demands.

The bottom line is, Mann is a modern Galileo, but unlike Galileo Mann has a few more legal recourses at his disposal.

Bill Glasheen wrote:that hockey stick thingie doesn't work when I tried it

You seem to be in the minority there:
Wikipedia wrote:The 2006 North Report published by the United States National Academy of Sciences endorsed the MBH studies with a few reservations. The principal component analysis methodology had a small tendency to bias results so was not recommended, but it had little influence on the final reconstructions, and other methods produced similar results.[30][31] Mann has said his findings have been "independently verified by independent teams using alternative methods and alternative data sources."[32] More than two dozen reconstructions, using various statistical methods and combinations of proxy records, support the broad consensus shown in the original hockey stick graph, with variations in how flat the pre-20th century "shaft" appears.[33][34]

Anyway,
Bill Glasheen wrote:1) Negative results <clip>are difficult if not impossible to publish. It is so much "a thing" that a quick Google search will give a boatload of references if you put in "negative results" or "publication bias." Here is a good place to start on this.

..... Fighting publication bias: introducing the Negative Results section

And from that same link (emphasis added):
Researchers are well aware of this bias, as journals are usually not keen to publish the nonexistence of a phenomenon or treatment effect. They know that editors have little interest in publishing data that refute, or do not reproduce, previously published work—with the exception of spectacular cases that guarantee the attention of the scientific community

Given how climate change has been made a political issue since the 1990s, the hypothetical counter results that you say cannot be published would fall into that exception. Of course, first those wishing to refute climate change would have to actually do some research on the subject and produce some results to publish, but apparently a publicity smear campaign is easier.

The bit about "editors have little interest in publishing data that refute, or do not reproduce, previously published work" actually makes no sense, if that were the case then there would never have been any revolutions. Einstein's work would never have been published. Research on germ theory would never have been published and we would still follow miasma theory. Research on continental drift would never have been published and we would still think the continents motionless. Research on the big bang theory would never have been published and we would still follow steady-state theory. Research on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) would never have been published and we would still think that all climate change is natural. The reality is that even if the editor of journal A has little interest in publishing data that refutes work previously published in journal A, the editors of journals B-ZZ are only to happy to publish it.

Bill Glasheen wrote:2) Peer reviewed journals are peer-reviewed by leaders in the field. Leaders get where they are by playing nice with the other leaders and by agreeing with existing paradigms. Reviewers have a conflict of interest when they reject papers that go against their views of the world, and yet it happens all the time.

So you should have no trouble providing specific examples. However reviewers actually come from all stages of career, not just "leaders." Editors are expected to reduce conflicts of interest as much as possible, and to review both the manuscripts and the reviews to detect bias. Reputations of researchers, editors, and journals suffer when these best-practices are not followed. And there have been some spectacular cases, including researchers trying to game the peer-review system, which resulted in researchers and editors losing their jobs and papers being retracted. None of these have occurred in climate-change research mind you, but there have been some doozies within your favorite subject, medical research. While not perfect, the publication process seems to work and science is advancing.

I do have to admit that "Leaders get where they are by playing nice with the other leaders and by agreeing with existing paradigms" is a good one Bill, I about fell out of my seat when I read it. Maybe that is how things are in your corporate world, but it does not reflect the academic world which is rife with rivalries. From what I have seen, you cannot be a leader in the academic world without rivalries.

There are other serious flaws with your rhetoric. First of all it accuses thousands (likely tens of thousands) of scientists and hundreds of journals from dozens of fields, countries, cultures, languages, political affiliations, etc, of essentially misconduct and trying to stifle science. In short it is a conspiracy theory. And yet you reject the same conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism or about GMOs being dangerous.

Second, your rhetoric universally condemns all science, and yet it is only scientists engaged in climate change research who are in totality being subjected to constant, intense politically-motivated scrutiny, called before inquiries, and labeled as bad and/or deceitful scientists. That bias is very telling about the motivation of the accusers.

Bill Glasheen wrote:A really good place to start which explains "the problem" can be found here. This should be one of several bibles for people who plan on getting PhDs or MDs and going into research.

<clip of very large graphic>

Interesting, so on the one hand you advocate science is a process that should not get dogmatic, yet on the other you advocate required reading of a dogmatic "bible?" Besides, why should research training go backward? Kuhn's Structure was required reading when I was in my masters program 25 years ago, now it is just an outdated "classic." Turns out even Kuhn is subject to being overturned. I am glad you used an image of the latest edition, since the last time we discussed Kuhn you were a few editions behind and I recommended this one to you. I call your attention to pages ix and x in the "Introductory Essay" by Ian Hacking. It is too long to type in its entirety (it is late and I am a slow typist), but here are the highlights (emphasis added):
Ian Hacking wrote:The present edition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Structure. Nineteen sixty-two was a long time ago. The sciences themselves have radically changed. The queen of sciences, then, was physics. Kuhn had been trained as a physicist. Few knew much about physics, but everybody knew physics was where the action was. <clip of details about physics 50 years ago during the Cold War>

The Cold War is long over and physics is no longer where the action is. Another event in 1962 was the awarding of Nobel prizes to Francis Crick and James Watson for the molecular biology of DNA and to Max Perutz and John Kendrew for the molecular biology of hemoglobin. That was the harbinger of change. Today, biotechnology rules...Add in information science. Add in what the computer has done to the practice of science. Even experiment is not what it was, for it has been modified and to a certain extent replaced by computer simulation. <clip about effects of communication tech on science communication>

There is another fundamental difference between 2012 and 1962. It affects the heart of the book, fundamental physics. In 1962 there were competing cosmologies: steady state and big bang, two completely different pictures of the universe and its origin. After 1965 and the almost fortuitous discovery of universal background radiation, there is only the big bang, full of outstanding problems pursued as normal science. In 1962 high-energy physics seemed to be an endless collection of more and more particles. What is called the standard model brought order out of chaos. It is unbelievably accurate in its predictions, even if we have no idea how to fit it together with gravity. Perhaps there will not be another revolution in in fundamental physics, although for sure there will be surprises galore.

Thus The Structure of Scientific Revolutions may be...more relevant to a past epoch in the history of science than it is to the sciences as they are practiced today.

Do not stay stuck in the 1960s Bill, come join us in the 21st Century. :D

That there have been past revolutions is not a predictor that there will be future revolutions. The heart of Hacking's argument is that as science has advanced the need for revolutions has diminished. This is not an 'end of science' argument, there will still be advances, but the current nature of science with a lot more scientists all over the world contributing in more ways, publishing in a wider variety of outlets, and communicating to a greater extent than our predecessors could ever have imagined leads to fewer surprises of the kind that can generate revolutions. And scientists are not likely to start a revolution just because a segment of the public and polity opposes the current science and wants a revolution to create a science that fits their agenda (although those types of revolutions did occur during the Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union regimes, hopefully the anti-science movement never gets that kind of power here).

Besides Bill, you clearly missed the revolution in climate change. Just as germ theory became accepted instead of miasma theory as more information was gathered and big bang became accepted instead of steady state as more information was gathered, and a whole host of other examples, as Powell documents human-induced climate change became an accepted addition to natural climate change as more information was gathered. To paraphrase you, read Powell's book and then we can talk about revolutions and paradigm shifts in climate change.

Bill Glasheen wrote:By the way... If I wasn't aware of this problem, I never would have gotten my PhD. I dared to write a dissertation that refuted a finding of a Harvard scientist who got published in Science (a big deal journal). My dissertation went through because my "paradigm shift" was far more interesting that what said Harvard researcher published. I learned a lesson from that very painful exercise which cost me a few years before the PhD could get done and approved -- always, always trust your data. Even when they don't seem to make sense, data talk. You just need to listen, and not walk into Science with preconceived notions.

Most grad students I know would have been salivating at that chance to make a name for themselves! 8O

Bill Glasheen wrote:I'm getting there...

Yeah, about that, it has been almost two weeks since Hoshin first asked you to help clarify the science of climate change, and so far all he has gotten from you is a little info about the 200+ year old idea that climate changes and a little info about the ~century old idea that the Sun influences that change. You are seriously getting slow in your old age, would you like me to take over? :D

Hoshin, to summarize the facts and fictions so far:

  • Climate changes, fact;
  • Changes in the Sun's energy output contributes to climate change, fact (although Bill neglected to mention that changes in solar energy output do not explain all of the recent changes in global temperature, see http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/sc ... 2XvSE1Ijiw for an overview on the Sun-climate relationship and https://www.aip.org/history/climate/solar.htm for more technical detail on this relationship by the American Institute of Physicists...in fact, the entire AIP climate change site indexed at https://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm covers the history and science of climate change research very well);
  • Scientists use different standards of methodology and evidence when studying climate change, compared to other areas of scientific research, fiction;
  • Scientists become inept when they turn their attention to climate change, fiction;
  • There is a conspiracy of scientists to create a fake climate-change scare, fiction;
  • There will be another revolution in climate-change science, possibly...while there is no indication of another revolution anytime soon nor any current crisis in the science that would indicate the need for a future revolution, we cannot rule out that another revolution may happen at some time in the future, but that does not mean that any new revolution would be in the direction Bill wants it to be.
Glenn
User avatar
Glenn
 
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 6:01 am
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska


Return to Bill Glasheen's Dojo Roundtable

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot] and 4 guests