Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, CO2 Emissions, Global Warming, Humor, IPCC, Omniclimate, Policy, Science, Skepticism > Andy @Revkin Points To The End of The Line For The IPCC And Its Lot

Andy @Revkin Points To The End of The Line For The IPCC And Its Lot

Thanks Andy!

Beginning in the 1980s, [University of Pennsylvania Professor Philip] Tetlock examined 27,451 forecasts by 284 academics, pundits and other prognosticators. The study was complex, but the conclusion can be summarized simply: the experts bombed. Not only were they worse than statistical models, they could barely eke out a tie with the proverbial dart-throwing chimps. […] The least accurate forecasters, [Tetlock] found, were hedgehogs: “thinkers who ‘know one big thing,’ aggressively extend the explanatory reach of that one big thing into new domains” and “display bristly impatience with those who ‘do not get it,’ ” he wrote. Better experts “look like foxes: thinkers who know many small things,” “are skeptical of grand schemes” and are “diffident about their own forecasting prowess.”

So there we have it…experts of the “big thing” called “climate change”, aggressive (to the point of hiding declines, preventing publication of competing ideas, inserting unsubstantiated critiques in the IPCC report, etc etc) and definitely “impatient” with us little humans wondering aloud about their certitudes (any post at RC, Connolley, Deltoid, Romm, etc etc keeps confirming this point).

Note how none of the above can be defined as “gross negligence” or “conspiracy”, and yet despite all the whitewashing by the Climategate inquiries, there is a scientific consensus, and the best of our scientific knowledge demonstrates, that all that bunch, and pretty much all the bigwigs around the IPCC, they ARE “least accurate forecasters”. QED.

For more discussion about “wrongology”: here and here. Read also here a critique-essay by Tetlock himself, listing a set of criteria suggested by David Freedman, author of Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them as signs of claims we should be “especially wary of”

  1. dramatic (“claiming to have invented the psychological equivalent of the telescope qualifies”)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (“devoid of qualifications about when propositions do and do not hold”)
  3. doubt free (“portraying findings as beyond reasonable doubt and one’s measure as 100 percent pure”)
  4. universal (“implying that one is tapping into powerful unconscious forces that, hitherto unbeknownst to us, drive all human behavior”)
  5. palatable (“likely to appeal to one’s favorite ideological constituencies”)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (“widely covered in the mass media and millions have visited the website”)
  7. actionable implications (“claims about what employers now need to do to guarantee true equality of opportunity in workplaces”)

Let me now make a statement that is dramatic, very clear-cut, doubt-free, universal, palatable (to most of my readers), yet likely media-ignored and hardly actionable: the “scientific consensus” on climate-change (rather, the unscientific stuff that constitutes the IPCC–led propaganda bandied about as “scientific consensus”), scores 7 out of 7 on the Freedman scale and therefore should lie at the bottom of anybody’s trust level:

  1. dramatic (having reached the computational power needed to project future climate just as CO2 emissions got to a previously-unknown “dangerous” level)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (with climate change almost completely due to a “thermostat” called CO2)
  3. doubt free (the IAC spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the absurd IPCC policy of underplaying uncertainties)
  4. universal (everybody will feel the (bad) consequences of climate change, and everybody is guilty of it)
  5. palatable (as it happens, the usual evils of capitalism and freedoms are the underling cause of climate change)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (shall I really comment this?)
  7. actionable implications (every ha’penny worth of a politician understands how many things can be pinned upon the bandwagon called “climate change”)

And I find one sentence by Tetlock as especially relevant to the climate debate:

Whatever may be the merits of the underlying science in the peer-reviewed literature, in the public forum, the ratio of pseudoexpertise to genuine expertise is distressingly high.

ps Yes, I might be wrong. On the other hand, I am not asking for billions of dollars for dubious research, have never attempted to restrict anybody’s liberty, don’t use the ‘net to show off my superiority complex, do let almost every comment free on this website, etc etc)

  1. hunter
    2011/05/06 at 03:36

    This is an incredible article.
    Have you read Chesterton?

  2. WillieW
    2011/03/30 at 11:32

    There are other similarities with themes the alarmists would like to stay clear of.

    I think climate alarmism is something that happens very easily in secular societies. Most humans have biological need to believe into something higher – into some universal laws that are there – into some universal justice. When a person predisposed to believe in such things grow in a secular environment, that need to believe will force him/her to believe the first “rational” substitute he/she encounters.

    Lets see what are the common features in climate alarmism and many other religions. I’ll compare it with the one religion I know best:

    1) The lead role is played by almighty silent entity (scientific concensus / god). Nobody has seen him, but everybody believes he exists. I mean – how many believers can name a single climate scientist, yet they are completely sure how their collective mind thinks?

    2) The entity is represented by people, who don’t claim to have the entity’s power, but who communicate that entity’s the will to the masses. (Gore / Pope)

    3) There is an political organization that decides what is the official truth based on politically correct facts. (IPCC / Meeting of Nikea 325AD)

    4) The faithful believe that every answer can be found from the book of that aforementioned political organization. Very few have actually read the book, especially with criticism and thought. (IPCC ARs / The Bible)

    5) Life that is too easy and pleasant is a sin, and you’ll end up in a very bad situation in the end if you keep doing it. Nobody’s going to like that future, because it will be the worst possible situation for everyone. Where there is too much rain already, there will be more. Where there is drought, there will be even less rain. Where there is cold, there will be colder (“The gulf-stream will stop!”) and where there is warm, it’ll be hotter. (Climate change / Hell)

    6) Not committing sin is practically impossible. Who has not been proud or envious? Same thing with CO2. Even only by breathing you are destroying the environment. You can not achieve totally sinless life, but’ll have to content to being the least sinful you can and then make up the rest.

    7) Luxury and confort is evil, but easy living can be conpensated with some hard cash to the right people. Those people then claim to use this money to neutralize your sins.

    8) There is an evil entity that tempts and distracts the believers with lies and makes weak-minded and corrupted people lie for him. Every fact that is in conflict with the official belief is just a lie created and passed on by that evil entity. (Exxon / Devil)

    9) Every unpleasant occurrence is reminder of the faith. Was it too hot? Was it too cold? Too wet? Too windy? Too much ice? Too little ice? They are all signs of the almighty (Climate change / God), and they only happen because humans have been bad.

    10) As every religion, also climate change is equivocal enough to be used as a basis for just about any agenda imaginable. It can be used to regulate economies, used as a political tool and it can be used as a reason to justify your need to meddle with the businesses of others.

    11) The believers react aggressively to any new discovery that conflicts with their faith – even those that should for any rational reason be considered cheering news. Any new discovery (for example an alarmist study that is falsified) that shows that the situation is not as bas as it seems is recieved with disappointment and rage. It would seem that if one were truly worried about the future of the planes, any proof of the contrary would be welcomed with joy. This is not rational approach and bears likeness to the resction to blasphemy.

    12) Confession of faith. Any study that creates doubt in the minds of the believers must declare that is not atheistic. Darwin had to begin and end his masterpiece by declaring his faith to God. So must any scientist that produces a study that contradict any prediction of AGW. The notion “I belive in human induced global warming, that will cause chaos in the world” has to be included in the abstract, or else the authors risk being attacked and their study ignored.

    It is not a coincidence that Al Gore is approaching the case from a religious perspective: “I’ve done a Christian [-based] training program; I have a Muslim training program and a Jewish training program coming up, also a Hindu program coming up. I trained 200 Christian ministers and lay leaders here in Nashville in a version of the slide show that is filled with scriptural references. It’s probably my favourite version, but I don’t use it very often because it can come off as proselytising,” Gore tells Newsweek. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/02/al-gore-our-choice-environment-climate

    I believe that the lack of faith in God is the single most important reason that this climate change hysteria has grown so big. It is also the reason why that hysteria is most out of proportion in countries that are secular (Scandinavia) and why religious countries are much less likely to be irrationally alarmist.

    Faith is a miraculous thing. The need for it is extremely strong. If you try do deny it, it will catch you there where you don’t know to expect it. Perfect cult to suck people in is the one that doesnít look like a cult. It looks like science the enemy of religion therefore it is outrageous to even think about it being just one.

    And then you donít think about it. You just believe. And it feels right.

    • geoffchambers
      2011/03/30 at 18:20

      An excellent analysis. To you point that “hysteria is most out of proportion in countries that are secular”, you might add that the USA is the country where the resistance to CAGW has taken the most clearly political form. It’s the western democracy with the greatest proportion of practicing believers, but also one which resists the most strongly the idea of a state religion.
      You might also add: a conceptual confusion between fear of my personal disappearance (mortality) and fear of the disappearance of the biosphere (unsustainability). I am my own depleting resource (well, I’m certainly past my peak).

      • WillieW
        2011/03/31 at 11:32

        Good idea. I’ll add that to my list.

        I’m certainly not the first that sees the connection between religion and AGW. The mistake that most people do is that they not see what represents God in AGW. It is not Climate Change or Al Gore. It is not Mother Earth.

        It’s the all-knowing, all-loving, fatherly, kind and gentle scientific concensus, who wants to save you from your sins if only you would repent and start living like a true believer should. It’s he who nobody has seen but whose existence is not to be called into question if you want the discussion to remain civil.

        I believe the key to converting small-time alarmist to rationality is to point out this connection to them: Tell them that they can still believe in AGW, but they should realise they are talking from a religious, not scientific standpoint.

        There is one more connection:

        13) The need to have purely symbolic ritualistic events that are meant to anounce loyality to the faith and increase group unity, without having any noticeable, meaningful effect. (Earth Hour, etc.)

  3. 2011/03/29 at 20:05

    I’m hoping the truth will “out” a little quicker than it has so far – will 100 billion dollars be enough to satisfy the tidal wave of greed of the warmists? From the media, I still hear the sucking sound of 100 thousand squealing piggies on the government teat, so I’m thinking probably not…

  4. Paul
    2011/03/29 at 09:52

    I can give you an example of the ‘high-brow’ attitude towards anyone that has an alternative view of AGW-Climate Change hypotheses from the ‘consensus’ by the so-called academic scientific community.

    I completed a book review of Nicholas Stern’s ‘The Economics of Climate Change-The Stern Review’ on the Amazon website over a year ago. I refute the conclusions made in this book, although it is glossy looking and expensive text, it is also comprehensively referenced throughout.

    Very recently I have had a determined attempt to ridicule my criticism of this 692 page tome that was written at the behest of Tony Blair and the New Labour Government in 2005 and published a year later. I wrote this review following research into the impact of UK Climate Change Policy upon industry at the Environment Centre of a British University. We know that the Climate Change Bill was passed into law as the 2008 Climate Change Act and Stern’s text was written and completed to support the content in this Act. The MPs bought it hook line and sinker!

    If you want a laugh log onto the Amazon UK website and look up the review and read through the comments from one particular individual who was very upset with me about what I wrote.

  5. 2011/03/28 at 02:48

    This definately works. Al Gore certainly used the “dramatic” in his film. Too bad none of it was relevent. As Edward commented, when I first began to inquire of scientists on both sides of this debate, the AGW folks were not receptive to any question of their belief system. Sceptics were open and willing to explain the answers to my questions.

  6. RoHa
    2011/03/28 at 02:30

    “I am not asking for billions of dollars for dubious research,”

    Why not? Don’t you want the trips to Cancun, the beautiful young research assistants, the adulation of the press, the chance of TV punditry, and all the other goodies?

  7. Edward
    2011/03/27 at 18:51

    Well said, great comment.

    I abhor the bogus authority, these jerks like to display and use to look down on supposed intellectual inferiors.

    For it shows up, just who are the inferior people.

    One thing I have observed, really expert scientists, real men/women of a tangible high brow intelligence, never exhibit the airs of a superiority complex. However, in minor intellects, the constant belittling and attempting to trash the opposition by all means and especially calling the “who are you to question me!” card – is a common trait.

    We are unbowed, we seek the truth and as everybody knows, the truth will always out.

  1. 2011/03/28 at 02:52

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