Two interesting essays with a common theme

I spend more hours that I ought in front of my computer, and emails regularly arrive that suggest I should read this or that. Or I have subscribed to a newsletter, and something is published on it that makes me think. The first of these two papers fits that last description. A long time ago I subscribed to a newsletter called Skepticlawyer, which seemed to be about the law, from a sceptical perspective. The lawyers were women, and they had interesting things to say. Occasionally there would be an economics essay by someone called ‘Lorenzo’ that usually had a historical bent, which I liked. Eventually the ladies left for career or family reasons, and Lorenzo now seems to be Skepticlawyer, even though he doesn’t write about the law.

But he did write something the other day about inequality, which of course I read, as I had written pieces myself on that subject, and one of them quite recently, too. Lorenzo’s essay is a delight. It is entitled ‘So, you want to reduce inequality … (some modest, and some practical, proposals)’, and readers might recognise the allusion to Jonathan Swift’s modest proposal in 1729 that the impoverished Irish might sell their children as food for rich people. Lorenzo isn’t quite so Gothic, but nonetheless his is another piece of satire.

If reducing inequality is what you want to do, he says, don’t raise tax rates, for that will only reduce both productivity and government revenue. Instead, greatly reduce spending on higher education (which leads to people having higher incomes that they would have had, and leads therefore to greater inequality). Next, get women out of the workforce: high income men marrying high income women and low income men marrying low income women greatly increases household inequality. Next, massively cut back on immigration save for those with high levels of skill and money. After that, abolish residential zoning, eliminate occupational licensing, and get into more wars that involve mass conscription. He quotes somebody else who proposes, among other things, Replace income taxes with progressive consumption taxes and low wage subsidies. Eliminate cigarette taxes. Legalize drugs.

Lorenzo recognises that those most inclined to complain about income inequality would be those who would be outraged by any attempt to implement any of the above policy agenda(s). Yet their preferred agenda of increased tax-and-spend would be very unlikely to have any equivalent effect. And he explains why, at some length. Altogether, it’s a good read, and was picked up quickly on On Line Opinion, where you can read a shorter version. But above all, it’s fun, and so much that I have to read is anything but fun.

The second paper comes from a website called Quillette, to which I now subscribe. The essay is by Claire Lehmann, who is a freelance writer living in Sydney; she seems to be the editor and perhaps the founder of the website. Her essay is entitled ‘How a rebellious scientist uncovered the surprising truth about stereotypes’, and I am always on the lookout  both for stereotypes and for debunking essays about science and social science.

This one had a great beginning. At the back of a small room at Coogee Beach, Sydney, I sat watching as a psychologist I had never heard of paced the room gesticulating. His voice was loud. Over six feet tall, his presence was imposing. It was Lee Jussim. He had come to the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology to talk about left-wing bias in social psychology. As it happens, I had a short discussion about the more general left-wing bias in social science at the recent meeting of my Academy with an old friend. We remembered how when we were young the bias in universities was exactly the other way. ‘Twas always thus, we agreed.

Lee Jussim is an American social psychologist. Left-wing bias, he said, was undermining his field. Graduate students were entering the field in order to change the world rather than discover truths. Because of this, he said, the field was riddled with flaky research and questionable theories. If I’d been there I would have been nodding. But what was his prize example? None other than Professor Lewandowsky, whose article about how those who believe that the moon landing was a hoax also  believed that climate science was a fraud. The quality of his research has been ridiculed as ‘lew paper’, and Professor Jussim was merciless.

After describing the study and reading the abstract, Jussim paused. Something big was coming. “But out of 1145 participants, only ten agreed that the moon landing was a hoax!” he said. “Of the study’s participants, 97.8% who thought that climate science was a hoax, did not think that the moon landing also a hoax.” His fellow psychologists shifted in their seats. Jussim pointed out that the level of obfuscation the authors went to, in order to disguise their actual data, was intense. Statistical techniques appeared to have been chosen that would hide the study’s true results. And it appeared that no peer reviewers, or journal editors, took the time, or went to the effort of scrutinizing the study in a way that was sufficient to identify the bold misrepresentations.

Ms Lehmann can write, and the rest of the essay, which moves into Jussim’s work on stereotypes and the non-reproducibility of much research in social psychology, is a delight. I was not aware, but I am not surprised, that of one hundred psychological studies only a minority could be replicated at all. It all reminds me of the work of John Ioannidis in investigating the reproducibility of medical research. Professor Jussim does not get enthusiastic agreement from his colleagues, you may be surprised to hear. At Stanford this year after giving a talk, an audience member articulated a position reflected by many within his field:

“Social psychologists should be not be studying whether people are accurate in perceiving groups! They should be studying how situations create disadvantage.”

Jussim has heard this position over and over again. Not just from students, but also colleagues. One might find it surprising that psychology researchers would become so invested in shutting down research they find politically unbearable. But one shouldn’t be. It is not uncommon for social psychologists to list “the promotion of social justice” as a research topic on their CVs, or on their university homepages. 

I am afraid that there is a lot in this. From those who think that inequality is morally bad and we should somehow end it, to people who won’t study areas because the results mightn’t give the right message, to those who would prevent a contrary speaker from even being heard, the modern university seems from time to time to have been captured by those who think that the primary purpose of the university is to advance a cause.

I’m sure there will be a swing back the other way, but it may take a while. As Max Planck wrote, science advances one funeral at a time.

Join the discussion 109 Comments

  • Doug Hurst says:

    Thanks Don – not my area, but I have long suspected such behaviour was widespread and part of the restrictive PC thought choking current debate on many things, including climate and Islamic terrorism.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see, and it seems we are producing a generation encouraged not to look into things they don’t like and not to see reality when they do.

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    Hmm, well at a cocktail party the other evening, we met with a historian (I assume he is a retired academic). My wife and I thought he was a very nice person, thoughtful and considerate. In discussing a range of issues, he did state that he thought those who disagreed with the orthodox AGW position, should not be heard. Their views should not be expressed through the media. We were both quietly annoyed that someone so genuinely nice, so educated, should fly in the face of so much of what Western civilisation has achieved, and upon which his own learning and the opportunity to learn, has been based. And there are so many like him. A conviction-controlled mind.

  • Alan Gould says:

    Yes, another good one, Don. And I know the odd café table and website where this sterling contrarian substance might set up a buzz. it would, of course, be indignant buzz rather than the buzz that might arise when a fresh idea dawns in an intellect, and it is that intransigence I note in the minds from more or less (alas) my own generation down. It is why I tend to see convictions more as a pathos than a persuasion. For instance, AGW is based on a panic more than a thesis. The invisibility of the panic to the panicked in any given case is perfectly explainable in the transferred nature of human emotional dynamism, as i read these things at least..

  • Todd Myers says:

    skepticlawyer is Helen Dale/Darville. She of Helen Demidenko fame and who is now working as an adviser for David Leyonhjelm, the LDP Senator.

  • bobo says:

    “After describing the study and reading the abstract, Jussim paused. Something big was coming. “But out of 1145 participants, only ten agreed that the moon landing was a hoax!” he said. “Of the study’s participants, 97.8% who thought that climate science was a hoax, did not think that the moon landing also a hoax.” ”

    Didn’t Lewandowsky claim that people who subscribe to one conspiracy theory are more likely than average to subscribe to some other conspiracy theory? Without looking at all the data it’s hard to know if Lewandowsky’s claim was statistically significant because for all we know he was looking at a large number of different conspiracy theories. Did he ever claim that those who believe climate science is a hoax are more likely to believe that specifically the moon landing was a hoax?

    There is anecdotal evidence for his claim that we are all familiar with: people who believe climate science is a hoax perpetrated by thousands of conspiring scientists and dozens of research agencies tend to be obsessed with the idea that there is a conspiracy to form a one-world government.

  • bobo says:

    “As Max Planck wrote, science advances one funeral at a time.”

    You know what this means don’t you? Planck was saying that resistance to new theories in physics (e.g. resistance to quantum mechanics among his contemporaries) comes from old scientists, once they all die away there is essentially no more opposition to the new theory.

    The same can be said of climate science – so many climate science sceptics seem to be older people, when they die away there will be a broader acceptance of climate science.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Yes, I do know what it means, and its wide application.

      • Dasher says:

        Bobo…my grandson aged 9 shot back at his father in exasperation the other day (at his fathers insistence that he do his chores) with the astonishing remark “Dad, you are worse than climate change!”. When I attend various functions at the school I always look at the projects on the wall…climate change is presented as a settled issue, no ifs no buts. If this is modern enlightenment I worry. Heavens we even have US politicians trying to invoke the racketeering laws to prevent discussion on the issue. others in the UK (lawyers no less) want to shut down debate. If people are so sure of their position why is all this censorshiop necessary? We can handle the truth and it is critical that we hear all voices. Time will tell but I am sure that this robust old world will survive the next (lost count) tipping point and we will continue to improve, coal will eventually be replaced by better cheaper power sources if we stick at it. I fear however that we will spend obscene amounts of money achieving nothing in particular. In Australia we can’t even have a sensible discussion on the subject..nuts.

        • David says:

          Dasher, I would prefer a strategy that is just a little more pro-active than some vague hope that something better will turn up.

          • Margaret says:

            I’m with you David. Just imagine obscene amounts of money being spent on efforts to keep the planet healthy only to find out it was only suffering from the equivalent of a deadly virus from which it recovered in say twenty years time – win win I say. What about the obscene amounts of money spent in arms trading and the Machine of War Dasher?

          • David says:

            I am glad you are still with us Margaret. 🙂

        • bobo says:

          No one is being censored, the problem with the sceptics is that they have no compelling counterclaims or counterexamples to the science. But that isn’t particularly surprising given that, quite obviously, so much of the effort of the climate sceptic collective is directed at convincing the mostly uninformed public rather than convincing the expert researchers.

          Indeed there’s a small handful of climate sceptics who call out other climate sceptics for being unscientific. For example, Jack Bellamy writes on one of his blog pages,
          “There are sceptics and sceptics! This page concerns sceptics who break all the rules in order to present their case and hope that those who understand the science don’t notice. You can fool some people all the time and all of the people some of the time, but don’t try to fool those who really understand!”

          Lubos Motl, another noted climate sceptic, writes on his blog:
          “Just one thing to be sure: When I say that there are skeptics who are ready to endorse any statement as long as it sounds anti-alarmist, I am more than eager to enumerate 10 names as examples. To do so isn’t a sign of bad manners. It’s a sign of scientific integrity. Some of these people openly admit that they have this anti-alarmist agenda. It’s a shame because honest science can’t work like that. I am not one of them. There are some skeptics in the category who don’t admit that but they still obey the condition…”

          Virtually every common claim by climate sceptics seems to be underpinned by a very simple-minded scientific or statistical error, or is some kind of non-seqitur or straw man. Are these the claims that they fear might become censored?

          • David says:

            Nice post!

          • Don Aitkin says:

            If you could show me one of these simple-minded scientific or statistical errors in my work I might learn something. Otherwise all this is so much hand-waving.

          • David says:

            Having read you now for over two years, in my opinion you make the following analytical errors on a pretty consistent basis.

            1. Cherry pick data

            2. Confuse error and bias

            3. Misunderstand the inter-relationship between prediction and causation.


          • David says:

            and hypothesis with conclusion

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Thank you.

          • JimboR says:

            Don, I have lost count of how many times some really smart people in here have done exactly that and their contributions have gone totally unacknowledged (apart from some vague hand-waving of your own about how they “don’t seem to me to advance the discussion in any way”).

            You recently claimed “I like to learn, and have shifted my stance on an number of issues over the years”. Can you point to a single recent example of that (apart from trivial corrections about the latitude of Germany)?

            Here’s an example:

            You recently claimed “there has been very little warming over the last twenty years.” bobo then put some effort in, and reported back that:

            ” I picked a global average surface temp monthly data set (HADCRUT4) and did a linear regression of the last 20 years, obtaining a slope of 0.0127C/year, (or 0.127C/decade) which is in close agreement with the multidecadal trend.

            The p-value for a significantly non-zero slope is 1.18e-17 (F-test). This means that the probability of a significantly nonzero slope being observed in that data if there was no actual warming occurring is extremely low.”

            You said nothing in reply. Surely that’s an example of exactly what you’re asking for above? It’s hard to believe you classified that contribution as not advancing the discussion in any way. Perhaps you didn’t see it, or perhaps you saw, took it on board and now accept there has been warming over the last 20 years?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Jimbo, you’re a newbie, as is bobo, so unless you have gone back and read a lot of earlier essays here you might not realise that I prefer the satellite datasets because they have global coverage, and because so much of the land and SST data have been fiddled with.

            It is wearying to have go on patiently pointing these things out. If there has been warming, it is very small indeed, and does not match the IPCC predictions. I’ve written a lot about that too, and you can find out by using the Search engine.

            If you want me to engage with you, you need to go past airy criticism and put-downs, and show that there is something wrong with what I said or that there is a better argument with better data. And you have to do the work, not just wave and tell me that others have done it.

            Otherwise there is not much point in my responding. I did say all this a couple of posts ago.

          • JimboR says:

            “show that there is something wrong with what I said or that there is a better argument with better data”

            Isn’t that exactly what bobo did in the example above? You don’t feel you at least owed him a “thanks, but I don’t accept your dataset”? As wearying as that might be, it’s probably in your own interest. I certainly came away from that thread thinking bobo has blown Don away on that one, and I interpreted your lack of response as confirmation of that.

          • David says:

            I was summoning the energy search through your previous post for some examples of your common analytical errors. Thankfully, I only had to search two slots up the page.

            Error v Bias:
            This argument confuses error with bias. We would all like our data to have “zero” error. But all data contain error. Statisticians deal with this by increasing sample size. The more pertinent question is bias.

            As I have pointed out to you previously, Professor Curry has argued that temperature data from land-based thermometers are able to provide an accurate climatic history.

            But even if one did have some residual concerns about bias in the land-based temperature data due to “fiddling” as you call it, there are some simple strategies (such as including a dummy variable or interaction term) in your statistical model to address this.

            To understand this you would need to be willing to open a statistical text book published after 1975.

            Cherry Picking:
            Arbitrarily truncating the temperature record at 1972 (when the collection of satellite data began) is an example of cherry picking.

            Hope this helps

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Nope, doesn’t help. All been said before. The land-based datasets are samples, irregularly gathered. It would be lovely to increase sample size but this is inordinately expensive. I don’t have a statistical model, and it doesn’t need a dummy variable. I point out what I see as problems in the data or the argument, and I don’t have, or need to have, an alternative model. Steven Mosher is right to say that the climate scientists who do the IPCC work won’t take notice of me until I do, but my view is that their science is so slight, so conjectural, that no good policy should be based on it. You disagree, and you are entitled to do so, but you never show how or why you think the climate science is right. In my view time will show that they are by and large wrong. If they turn out to be right, I’ll have to grin and bear it.

            You love to use the ‘cherry picking’ criticism, but you never show where you would start and finish a trend, or why that is to be preferred. And you got that date wrong, too: satellite data start in 1979, not 1972.

            No more.

          • JimboR says:

            “Steven Mosher is right to say that the climate scientists who do the IPCC work won’t take notice of me until I do”

            Not just the climate scientists, but the decision makers in board rooms and cabinet rooms around the world. They’re always going to base their decisions on best available science. (Well OK, maybe not Tony Abbott’s cabinet room, but the UN took care of him)

          • JimboR says:

            “It would be lovely to increase sample size but this is inordinately expensive.”

            Why expensive? At least in the case of the BOM there is huge amounts of data available already. Most of those AWSs report their data in every minute. If you don’t like the stations the BOM use in their nationwide means, choose some different ones.

            The BOM already do all sorts of data quality assurance by comparing readings with their neighbours…. aka “fiddling”. The raw data is there… go your hardest.

          • David says:

            In the past you have admonished me when, tongue-in-cheek, I decide to throw out a few outliers and now you want to dismiss all data pre-1979. What was it you said, “value in all data” etc.

            ” but you never show where you would start and finish a trend”

            This will be determined by the question the researcher is trying to answer. AGW is concerned with the effect of the human production of CO2. So I want my temperature time series to encompass the beginning of the Industrial revolution i.e. pre 1780

            By the same reasoning I would not attempt to analyse the effect of the Global Financial Crisis with data that began in 2013.

          • David says:

            If you don’t like land based temperatures take your argument up with Judith Curry.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            No, that’s for you. I’ve already told you what she said about the paper.

          • David says:

            I agree with her.

          • dlb says:

            “To understand this you would need to be willing to open a statistical text book published after 1975.”
            Condescension……… charming indeed Mr Stats Wizard.

          • David says:

            dlb, I think it is more condescending to completely ignore the fact that there are well used strategies to deal with bias. It might be nice to at least acknowledge their existence, perhaps even discuss their strengths and weakness before coming to a conclusion about their merits.

          • bobo says:

            Hi Don, it’s important to note that satellite data is for lower troposphere temperatures. This is different to global average surface air temperature – lower troposphere temperature is determined from a much thicker, weighted layer (up to about 10 km), and because much of the lower troposphere layer is much higher than surface air, it is expected to warm more slowly. Moreover satellite data measurements of troposphere temperatures have their own unique issues, particularly with clouds and precipitation.

            I did a 20 year linear regression of the UAH satellite data. Here’s what I found:

            UAH: period Nov 1995 – Oct 2015

            Trend: 0.133C/decade (faster than HadCRUT4 data, 0.127C/decade, which is a little odd)

            F-statistic p-value for a significantly nonzero trend in the linear regression model despite no warming trend actually present in the data: 1.38e-11 (in other words, we can say with a very high level of confidence that there is indeed a significant warming trend in the data)


          • JimboR says:

            Thanks bobo. I’m learning more climate science from the comment contributors than I do from any of the essays. I can’t wait to hear why this data also needs to be discarded.

          • dlb says:

            It already has.
            UAH’s now match RSS quite well.

          • Ross Handsaker says:

            Bobo “Because much of the lower troposphere layer is much higher than surface air, it is expected to warm more slowly”. Are you sure this is correct? The following is an extract of a conversation yesterday between 7 Kiwi and Gavin Schmidt from GISS. 7 Kiwi : “But according to theory isn’t the troposphere supposed to warm faster (than surface temperatures”)? Gavin Schmidt reply: “Yes”!!!

          • bobo says:

            Ross, Is this a reference to tropical latitudes?

          • Ross Handsaker says:

            No – it was in reference to GISS global land/ocean temperatures compared with satellite/radiosonde data.

          • bobo says:

            Ross, I did an analysis on the UAH and HadCRUT regressions to determine whether the difference between the slopes is statistically significant. The p-value I obtained was 0.75, indicating that the difference between the slopes is not statistically significant.

            Regarding your remarks on faster warming in the troposphere, it didn’t occur to me that the change in the lapse rate due to increased global evaporation was so large. I’m very interested to read more about that, could you pls provide a reference?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            You should discuss your findings with Roy Spencer.

          • JimboR says:

            You mean this guy?


            C’mon Don…. you’re a self confessed old number cruncher. bobo has referenced two datasets now that show the warming over the last 20 years is in close agreement with the multidecadal trend. Are you able to replicate his results? Fire up gnumeric and give it a go.

          • dlb says:

            C’mon Jimbo start crunching some numbers and show us real global warming. bobo fell really short.

          • bobo says:

            All bluster dlb. Why don’t you perform the linear regression (20 years monthly data, lower troposphere global temps, UAH) and tell us what you come up with?

            The data is accessed from

            by clicking on the “Monthly Average Data” button. This takes you to

            The third column is the temp data of interest.

          • David says:

            bobo, I started playing with the UAH dataset that you link to for dlb. I got a result 0.131 per decade, which is quite similar to the results you report for the other data sets.

            What is interesting is that when I added a squared term it was also positive and also statistically significant. The new model had a slightly higher R squared.

            To me this supports the idea that climate sensitivity could be a problem.

          • bobo says:

            Very interesting. This seems consistent with increasing water vapour content in the troposphere in response to primary CO2 forcing. The condensation of additional water vapour would release increasing amounts of latent heat (of vaporisation of water) in the troposphere.

          • dlb says:

            I will attempt to copy out the UAH version 6 graph for last 20 years.

            In case it doesn’t come through

            n = 240

            slope = 0.045 deg C per decade

            p = 0.052 (not particularly significant)

            Rsq = 0.015 (There is a 1.5% relationship of temperature with the 20 year time period)

            In summary a lot of noise no relationship.

          • dlb says:

            Finally here is the correlation graph using the latest V6 data

          • dlb says:

            One typo the above slope is not 0.045 but 0.037 deg C per decade. Not that it matters much, as it is barely statistically significant.

          • Data says:

            Why wouldn’t you analyse the whole data set? Starting at 1995 when the complete data set goes back to 1978 is tiresome.

          • David says:

            The slopes are almost identical pre (0.00076) and post (0.00056) 1998.

          • bobo says:

            That significance level is not good enough. Basically one can’t be confident that there is any warming trend in that data.

            The question is, why is there such an enormous jump in UAH climate values going from v5.6 to v6.0beta4? Doesn’t this just fuel perceptions that the data is being fiddled with? According to Don and others, satellite data is free of adjustments and is pure and rock-solid and so on and so forth. So what is going on between the data sets? Why hasn’t v6.0beta4 been published publicly on the UAH website?

          • dlb says:

            Precisely, one can’t be confidant there is any warming the last 20 years.
            Is the data being fiddled with, well that is a fairly serious allegation, perhaps you should head over to Spencer’s website and ask him. UAH are certainly not the only group that change their methodology, NCDC have made it an art form.
            I do know Spencer uses V6 for his monthly global temperature update since the change earlier this year.

          • bobo says:

            You have to admit looking at the diagram I provided that there is something very strange going on. The data looks fiddled; it might not be, v6beta4 might indeed be more sound than 5.6 but how can we know until the code is published? But until the code has been independently verified outside Roy Spencer’s inner circle it is essentially worthless.

          • bobo says:

            NCDC publish changes to their methodology publicly before releasing new data, Roy Spencer is refusing to.

            I suspect v6beta will never be published officially by UAH, but it will continue to be Roy Spencer’s private, unverified data set that he uses on his blog that his readers never question.

          • David says:

            ” p = 0.052 (not particularly significant)” Really?
            There is a 5% chance that there has been no increase in temperature.

          • JimboR says:

            Using bobo’s referenced data, I unsurprisingly got the exact same results as bobo, and even plotted it out for you.

            bobo’s posts are pretty much the gold standard of what Don asks for in here. He references exactly which data he used, describes his analysis technique and states the result. All in a way that any of us can replicate… kinda’ like the way science is done really.

          • David says:

            Don should be pleased. None of that dirty land temperature data contaminating your analysis.

          • JimboR says:

            Indeed. It blows me away that our “all data is precious” Don would so casually throw away land data… especially relatively recent land data (like the last 20 years). Here in Aus there are some quality instruments out there feeding that data in every minute. It would be very bold indeed to assert from that that the entire world has such quality data, but to just throw it all away with a “I prefer satellite data” hand-wave is just extraordinary.

            Anyway, it’s Don’s blog so I guess he gets to set the rules about which data we’ll use and which we’ll ignore. I predict this satellite data will now be rejected as well. It’s the data that Don rejects that makes Don’s analyses the best.

          • bobo says:

            Nice. I am looking forward to hearing the stream of excuses now that the “narrative” is broken (they have already started with dlb’s claims of “wrong data set” and Don seems not to want to say anything until he hears the latest edict from Roy Spencer). Perhaps least squares linear regression will be rejected because it weights all points evenly and we will see a reversion to cherry picking two points and discarding the rest.

          • dlb says:

            Bobo you are using version 5.6, the latest data set is version 6.
            No need to cast aspersions about sceptics, I am just telling you what the latest data says. I will plot out the regression shortly.


          • bobo says:

            dlb that data set is still beta, the code has not been reviewed outside of Roy Spencer’s group. It’s not yet ready to supersede 5.6 until the processing algorithms are published and checked. That’s why 5.6 is the publicly available data set and v6beta4 can only be obtained from Roy Spencer’s website.

            There’s a very curious adjustment going on:


            As you can see, to get v6beta4, you start with version 5.6, increase the temperature around 1998 and then delete the warming trend from 1998 onwards. Why does the trend deletion begin immediately after 1998? What is so special about 1998?

          • dlb says:

            No idea why the difference diverges after 1998, except that year was the strong elnino, coincidence?
            UAH v6 is very similar to the other satellite data set, RSS.
            I remember Spencer had a fairly long post on why they developed v6, I will have to look it up.

          • bobo says:

            It’s odd that the processing algorithm, which should be independent of external events like El Nino, seems to be so finely tuned to El Nino.

            To state it bluntly, it looks like Roy Spencer is trying to delete any warming trend post 1998 from v5.6.

          • dlb says:

            And they say climate sceptics are conspiracy theorists.

          • bobo says:

            What conspiracy theory have I come up with? The adjustment is strange, and like any claim in science, it needs to be independently verified. I don’t know if it’s wrong, but it looks very odd.

            What’s so wrong with UAH’s officially published 5.6 data that it needs to be ignored in favour of an unverified beta version?

          • bobo says:

            Don, what findings are you questioning? Do you mean the slope of the linear regression of the UAH lower troposphere data for the last 20 years?

          • dlb says:

            bobo, perhaps you should look at UAH’s latest data set, for the same period which gives a rise 0.04 deg C per decade and P = 0.05 i.e. we have next to no warming and barely any significance.
            Just because something is statistically significant, if the effect is small then it is not worth worrying about. Reminds me of all those medical studies the ABC loves to air about what food will now give you cancer. A statistically significant result makes good headlines.

          • bobo says:

            dlb, the data I used is the latest from UAH – it has a data point for October 2015. You obviously haven’t done a linear regression of the data in the link I provided!

            If there is some mysterious data set that I should be using instead, care to provide a link to the said data?

          • dlb says:

            See below, I am using version 6.

          • dlb says:

            I agree there are simple minded climate sceptics, but they are well matched by simple minded alarmists too. The green lobby groups are full of them plus people like Suzuki, Gore, Oreskes, and Flannery who are more about pushing an agenda then anything to do with considered science.

          • David says:

            “… than anything to do with considered science”??

            dlb you are a hard marker. 🙂

            B.A. in Biology
            Ph.D. in Zoology

            No scientific qualifications

            Master of Science degree in Earth Science
            Doctorate in Palaeontology

            Bachelor of Science in mining geology
            PhD degree Geological Research and History of Science

            So what is the minimum qualification, a Nobel prize. 🙂

          • dlb says:

            The people listed have no qualifications in physics or meteorology. Some do have qualifications in biology which may make them more environmentally concerned, but they are not climate specialists.
            Even within the climate field, many of the scientific proponents of AGW are mathematicians and computer modellers not people such as Lindzen and Curry who have a broad understanding of physics and climate.

          • bobo says:

            The difference between the two camps is that the claims of one are broadly consistent with the science as summarised in the IPCC reports, while the other camp is deeply riven with contradictory positions. Some climate sceptics will contradict themselves in the same comment or article, for example it seems very common to read, within the same comment or News Corp article, that natural global warming is occurring and also that global warming ended 18 or so years ago.

          • dlb says:

            I would be interested to see an example of a sceptic contradicting themselves within the same article.
            However I often see News Corp offering two points of view within the same article, unlike Fairfax and the ABC which stay on message article after article day after day.

    • Christian Abel says:

      Acceptance of the “pause” or the “pause is an artefact” theory?

    • dlb says:

      Not too many scientific advocates of “The Cause” as they call it, would be under 50. Many like Hansen, Trenberth and Phil Jones would be over 60.
      Then there are the promoters such as Al Gore at 67, David Suzuki at 79, David Attenborough at 89, and our very own Robyn Williams who at 71 seems to have an ABC job for life.

  • BarryWoods says:

    Lewandowsky survey technique was to survey blogs that hated climate sceptics and come to conclusions about climate sceptics.. comments under the blogs that were surveyed, even mentioned the fun they had with it.. making those 3 anonymous respondents beleiving in a moon hoax, highly likely to the readers (that hate sceptics) having fun with the survey..

    Cool technique though, lets expand it. ONLY survey republican blogs, telegraph to participants you are trying to make democrats look nuts, and watch the results roll in. Whilst in the paper, you state you surveyed ‘political blogs’

  • dlb says:

    And there is “climate justice” : Scientists should not be just studying whether CO2 causes global warming! They should be studying how we need to remove polluting fossil fuels from the world and particularly the wealthy West.
    I dare say there would be many with this view.

  • David says:

    Then from Maurice Newman, we have a range of claims linking the science behind AGW to various conspiracies and evil plots.

    “Man-made ‘carbon pollution’ has become the shorthand rallying cry that unites
    global warming believers. The notion is a figment. It is made up. It is rooted
    in anti-capitalist, anti-growth green ideology that, for too long, has been
    bullied into our consciousness as science.” – The Australian, March 27, 2015

    “Back in the real world, the poor are dying of the cold while the political elites
    and their friends bask in the warmth of cosy conferences, taxpayer subsidies
    and research grants. They seem indifferent to the hardship that their actions,
    based on dubious science, impose on the world’s underprivileged.” – The
    Australian, February 6, 2015

    “The political left has seized on climate change as the new Marxism. It rejects
    empirical evidence which is inconvenient and promotes dubious and sometimes fabricated science as proven. In true totalitarian style it seeks to shut down debate and ruin the careers and reputations of those who dare to oppose the
    orthodoxy.” – The Australian, January 20, 2015

    “At the same time, like primitive civilisations offering up sacrifices to appease
    the gods, many governments, including Australia’s former Labor government, used the biased research to pursue ‘green’ gesture politics. If the world
    does indeed move into a cooling period, its citizens are ill-prepared.” – The
    Australian, August 14 2014.

  • David says:

    Three high profile climate skeptics who use conspiracy theories to explain away AGW are

    Lord Monckton

    Professor Maurice Newman

    Dr Jennifer Marosay

    • David says:

      And these sorts of conspiracy-esq explanations from Professor Curry

      “There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists and advocates. Reinforcing this consensus are are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests.”

      • David says:

        and of course “my dog ate my grant funding” excuses we hear from Don.

        • David says:

          I think its fair to say that many climate skeptics use the “we-waz-robbed” refain to explain their inability to mount a persuasive and dare I say coherant argument against AGW.

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