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Sir Paul Nurse and BBC TV's Horizon programme - Comments

PurplePanda's Avatar Comment 1 by PurplePanda

It was a great programme. Delingpole has responded to it on his page, but I'm not even going to link it, as reading it makes you angry.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 15:49:54 UTC | #583963

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 2 by irate_atheist

Comment 1 by PurplePanda -

Delingpole has responded to it on his page, but I'm not even going to link it, as reading it makes you angry.

Most kind. I have no immediate wish to put my fist through my screen.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:01:31 UTC | #583986

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Paul Nurse was right, though, in concluding that scientists have not done nearly enough to communicate effectively with the public on the subject of climate change. They've allowed all sorts of idiots (on both sides of the debate) to mis-inform or confuse the public. Bearing in mind the worst predictions for climate change, this could easily be the biggest threat mankind has ever faced, but there seems to be no genuine urgency from any quarter to explain it properly to the public. Why not have a "Climate Change Week" on the BBC where scientist can explain their findings in detail and offer counter arguments to those of the sceptics?

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:02:46 UTC | #583988

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 4 by SaganTheCat

I shall iplayer tonight...

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:06:20 UTC | #583995

gordon's Avatar Comment 5 by gordon

Delingpole is a twat. He's the type of dupe put up by the Telegraph and others to encourage doubt in the public about scientific discoveries and direction. There are lots of them, Lawson and Lawson, Christopher Booker etc, the list is endless. Non-scientists to a man. To them the conclusions are of a liberal plot and they trawl around to find anything, no matter how small to support their stance. They don’t look at the data or the science; they look for the gaps, just as creationists look for the ‘missing link’, the myth of the gap in the fossil record, they challenge the science without ever producing any of their own to support their position. What an idiot!

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:11:32 UTC | #584000

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 6 by TheRationalizer

I enjoyed it very much. I was looking forward to the point where he said something like "Do you actually believe...." to Delingpole at which point he looks sheepish but I don't think they showed that part in full.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:14:39 UTC | #584002

danconquer's Avatar Comment 7 by danconquer

Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee :

Why not have a "Climate Change Week" on the BBC where scientist can explain their findings in detail and offer counter arguments to those of the sceptics?

Good idea! So good infact that they've already done it! http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/02_february/14/climate.shtml

But the problem is that you are up against newspaper front pages like these...

"Climate Change Is A Fraud To Raise Tax"

"Global Warming Is Natural"

...which fart defective memes out into the public consciousness on a daily basis (while also telling their readers not to believe a word the BBC says).

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:23:34 UTC | #584009

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 8 by crookedshoes

It's funny to me that anyone could bear witness to all of the "once in a lifetime" weather extremes that are all hitting simultaneously and not be piqued as far as interest was concerned. Tell them, though, that this is the seventh sign of armageddon and they'd all drop on their knees.

Putrid stale stagnate minds.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:54:20 UTC | #584025

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 9 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 5 by gordon

Hear! Hear!...it was when Delinquentpole said it wasn't his job to interpret the peer reviewed journals, he had neither the time nor the intelligence, no, it was down to him to interpret the interpreters of the scientific data and evidence, 'strewth, give me feckin strength.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:54:45 UTC | #584026

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

Some problems I have with the programme:

1- Sir Paul Nurse is a brilliant scientist I'm sure, but not a climatologist. One of the problems with specialisation in science is that scientists may be excellent in their specific field, they can be clueless in others. Why not have a climatologist explain the data?

2- When Paul Nurse visits NASA, we're presented with pretty graphics and the authority that NASA knows what it's doing, has dozens of satellites whizzing around the earth collecting vast amounts of data, ergo that is proof that the earth's temperature is rising.

No it's not. For starters, it's the average global temperature over a year that has change by 0.75 of a degrees centrigrade, not the global temperature. Over a year, the average global temperature varies by as much as 0.2 degrees centigrade. And this change is over 150 years and not 50 years. Why the change from 150 to 50? Because 50 years sounds more dramatic but doesn't take into account some of the dips in temperature in 1900 and in the 1940s which remained somewhat steady right up until the 1980s.

That's otherwise known as sexing up the data. I'm not disputing that global average temperature has risen by 0.75 degrees centigrade over the last 150 years, but my scepticism is based on the fact that we're not seeing the full data over hundreds and thousands of years. We're also not sure why this rise in temperature is not normal.

Since climate change is obviously something that has happened throughout the history of the earth, we need to know the specific correlation between man and climate change. We are told that the link is carbon dioxide and the evidence is the rise in carbon dioxide levels, even though carbon dioxide levels in the past were considerably higher, and in fact they're at the lowest point in terms of the earth's long term history.

To make things even more complicated, carbon dioxide levels are also based on average global levels over a year, because they rise and fall over a year just like average global temperature. Carbon dioxide is an essential trace gas in the metabolism of photosynthesis.

The theory (which sounds reasonable) is that the reduction in rain forests and the burning of fossil fuels has lead to an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is a 'trigger' leading to increase acidification in the oceans, which itself is a trigger for a greater release of methane and water vapor into the atmosphere, which is the trigger for increase in global temperature, that is then a trigger for the melting of glaciers which raises sea levels and thus destroying civilisation.

Now please some 'expert' correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the current panic over increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

But...

What is the contribution ppm of man made burning of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, and what is the natural contribution? Is there any data that can clear that up?

3- The programme claimed that volcanoes only emit about 1 giga tonne of carbon dioxide, compared to 7 giga tonnes of carbon dioxide made by humans. Ergo, human contribution to carbon dioxide emissions is overwhelming evidence.

But this is completely false. The actual emmissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosophere by natural processes is a massive 770 giga tonnes, whereas human contribution makes 29.4 gigatonnes. It is thought that the massive release of carbon dioxide is 'balanced' by being re-absorbed by the ocean and plant photosynthesis.

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11638-climate-myths-human-cosub2sub-emissions-are-too-tiny-to-matter.html

Therefore, our contribution to the increase is about 4%, which is still a lot but not overwhelming. If we are going to go by the figure of 7 giga tonnes by burning fossil fuels alone, then that contribution is now only 1%. Now the percieved increase of around 700% sounds far worse than 1% doesn't it?

I find this blatant misinformation worrying.

As for the scandal of manipulating tree ring data by splicing in a different dataset from 1960, I am not surprised this caused an outcry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

If you took away the data from 1960 onwards, then you end up with slow decrease in global temperature (on average), depending on how you want to manipulate the data or simply no rise if we include the last 150 years. What we don't see, based on tree ring data, is a rise taken the entire 1000 years in total but the opposite.

Now let's go back even further, five million years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png

What we see here is further evidence of a decline in average global temperature over time, with wild varations over shorter periods.

Let's go back 550 million years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png

Now I'm no expert just an ignorant sceptic. But it's no surprise there is such a debate when data is 'sexed up' by both sides of this issue, and no comprehensive data is presented to people like me in an unbiased and honest way.

Delingpole came across as a 'twat' on the programme, however he did make a valid point about 'consensus' although his stammering and stuttering and lack of actual critical thinking--a gift to the programme--lost him the argument completely. However, his point that science is not about consensus is valid, only that science reaches consensus based on its current understanding or data.

4- Oh the final 'visual' conformation of 'weather' models compared to real time data, therefore climate models are reliable was simply too laughable to bother with.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 18:46:15 UTC | #584035

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 11 by Arnott Bird

I think the 'climate science' that is allegedly a consensus is, frankly, simplified drivel. I think one of the problems with the 'science' of climate change (more pertinently, man-made climate change) is that it is, ultimately dishonest. I mean that in a scientific way. It is simply not good science.

I'm not saying this from a position of ignorance (which is what the program referred to kept trying to imply). When one looks at localised data (historical, archaelogical, tree ring, carbon dating etc.) along with the ice core data and cross reference then the picture becomes far more complex. Tree rings don't record simply temperature change, but are dependent upon precipitation levels; that's one of the reasons that more recent tree ring data does not tally with temperature change, and why the 'trick' in obscuring this non-correlation is bad science. That much, at least, the journalist got right.

There were a number of misleading 'facts' presented in the argument. For instance, that temperature changes over long periods have been slow. Actually, between the major ice ages there are numerous, shorter term, fluctuations, bot up and down. From what can be pieced together it seems that these fluctuations are precipitated by pretty rapid temperature changes (of around about a decade or so); such events as the Medieval Warm Period, or the 'mini ice age' (about 300-500 AD), also a wetter period (in Northern Europe) from about 100BC to about 100AD.

The whole 'carbon' as enemy is hopelessly naive. Sometimes temperature rise is preceded by increases in CO2, sometimes temperature drops. Whatever the link between the recordings of CO2 levels and temperature change is, is not clear from any real insight into the data. Certain aspects of CO2 effects are simply not measured...algae blooms, increased vegetation growth for example. Deep sea temperatures are not monitored, and only scanty information is available regarding surface sea temperatures, yet we know that the sea is a CO2 sink. Is temperature change/precipitation affected by deep sea or surface sea temperature more? We simply don't know and aren't looking.

As somebody said in another discussion (regarding the disparity between 'consensus' scientific surety and the questions raised by localised historical cross-referencing) climate change has been a constant source of concern for civilisations (note the timing of the 'Germanic' migrations, for example). The people look to their leaders for guidance. The leaders actually don't have a clue but....as has been the case for thousands of years, they point the finger at the people's 'evil ways'...and make political capital from it.

Where 'consensus' science has gone wrong is that we do have access to more information than we used to, so sleight of hand and 'tricks' that aim to simplify the science (very unscientific) will be exposed.

Stop condescending like some priestly class pretending knowledge beyond your means, don't assume climate change scepticism is due to ignorance... I think people are just sick to their back teeth of those who pretend they know what they really do not. be honest and up-front with the science, say what you don't know, what data is questionable and why. THAT is science, isn't it? Not some 'all sing from the same book' bullshit 'consensus'.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 19:45:25 UTC | #584058

jonjermey's Avatar Comment 12 by jonjermey

It always astonishes me how people who advocate applying scepticism and rational thought to religion are so eager to swallow the AGW alarmist narrative without even blinking. We have two more or less well-established facts: the global temperature rose from about 1970 to 1998, and has remained high; and CO2 emissions levels rose during that period. Nobody denies these: so save your straw-man attacks for a moment. The sole 'evidence' connecting these two events, however, is a set of computer models which not only have trouble predicting temperatures in the next year, but -- much more seriously -- are unable to retrodict the temperatures that we know we have had in the past. Belief in AGW, then, is a little bit like believing that Jesus raised Lazarus, while acknowledging that Lazarus is still dead.

So to all readers who are prepared to genuinely question their beliefs, I suggest that you take a critical look at the most popular and widely-read climate science blog, Watts Up With That. If after a month or so of reading the entries and the discussion, you still support AGW, fine: at least you are making an informed choice. If you can't be bothered, and merely want to be rude about a position that you for some reason regard as 'right-wing' or 'anti-science', then go ahead: we have heard it all before anyway.

To paraphrase Stephen Roberts -- "When you understand why you dismiss homeopathy, you will understand why I dismiss AGW."

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 20:41:01 UTC | #584084

wilkinsonld's Avatar Comment 13 by wilkinsonld

An excellent film. Sir Paul Nurse is a very amiable interviewer and presenter and it was a pleasure to listen to him. However, I did find myself wishing that Richard Dawkins had appeared on the scene to help Sir Paul tell Delingpole just how much of a cock he is. :-)

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 21:35:26 UTC | #584106

render's Avatar Comment 14 by render

This is the core of the problem: http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/files/2008/12/co2.png

Each of the different colors are different ice cores, except for the black line which is instrumental data that continues to track the accelerating rise in CO2 to this day.

We've already surpassed all CO2 levels seen during the 400,000 period of that graph and yet there is ice core data going even further back - 800,000 years before present that continues the same pattern. For time perspective consider that the species homo sapiens and neanderthal didn't exist that far back.

The swings in CO2 over this time period are due to the slow breathing of the earth as it rides through glacial cold periods that draw down CO2 and interglacial warm periods that expel it.

In fact from what is known about the climate before the earliest ice core, we are probably now hitting CO2 levels not seen for millions of years, long before the chimpanzee-human split. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008152242.htm

And the CO2 rise we have caused now is merely the tip of the iceberg of what will come http://www.actingtogether.co.uk/images/CO2graph.gif

Are we causing this sudden rise in CO2? Yes, absolutely. Not only is the timing of this anomaly a smoking gun, but we know how much CO2 we are emitting into the atmosphere and it's twice as much as is needed to explain the rate of CO2 rise (the other half is ending up in the oceans). We are pouring all this carbon into the carbon cycle that has otherwise been trapped away as fossil fuels for millions of years and the Earth cannot absorb it fast enough out of the atmosphere (but it is trying!). So it's accumulating.

This large and sudden break away from aeons long natural variation should be cause for alarm in itself even if we have no idea what effect it will have. But what seals the deal for alarm is what little we do know for sure - which is that CO2 is the second largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, and that it's greenhouse effect is logarithmic.

Meaning of course that it's not the absolute increase in CO2 that matters, but the relative increase. So while it is often pointed out that CO2 levels in the modern atmosphere are low compared to the distant past, this in fact is precisely why the increase is alarming. A 400ppm increase over 2000ppm would only be a 20% increase. But a 400ppm increase over 280ppm (preindustrial level) is 140% increase.

Also of course timing matters. A doubling of CO2 happening over 10,000 years leaves a lot more room for chemical and biological systems to adapt (not to mention humans) than the same change over a mere 200 years.

So is the ongoing modern CO2 rise safe? Analogies from the past: None. There is no known example from the past where CO2 level has more than doubled in the space of a few centuries. People often cite CO2 levels being much higher tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, but that is a level of CO2 which might have been established gradually and life (different life) adapted to it. It's not remotely evidence that the modern world today can cope with a doubling (or more) of CO2 in a few centuries.

In short if we demand somewhat iron clad proof in science then all we have are the above alarming facts and nothing reassuring to alleviate them.

If we lower the bar and start looking at things which are understood well, but are not "proof", then it turns out that just makes the alarm worse (this is a recurring pattern). We start finding out things like a doubling of CO2 leads to an energy imbalance equivalent to about an extra 3.7 watts absorbed per square meter of the Earth.

And what does that mean? 3.7wm-2 a significant amount for one thing. There are few things that come close to providing a sustained extra amount of energy like that. A 2% increase in solar output would have the same effect, but the Sun as observed variates by less than 0.2% over it's 11 year solar cycle (and being a solar cycle it isn't sustained anyway).

The real question is how the climate will respond to a 3.7wm-2 imbalance. Most of the focus is on the magnitude of the temperature response. The science is more uncertain about this, but it does provide a range of likelihood. This range of likelihood is based on models, deduced from observations and calculated from the magnitude of past climate behavior. But this mainstream range fails to alleviate the danger. Far from ruling out significant warming it actually suggests multiple degrees of warming are likely.

And then we have the myriad of networked knock-on effects. Sea level rise, sea ice loss, weather pattern shifts, the list of possible impacts is almost endless. What will coral do? How will fish respond? Trees? This stuff is very uncertain, to the point that we really just don't know and this is the grazing ground for skeptics.

For the most part skeptics and even those who accept man-made global warming take the wrong approach. Most people and groups, including the IPCC, seem stuck on the idea that threat has to be established in some fashion. There's little emphasis on the threat posed by the most broad and solid data. It is as if uncertainty in the details of the science of what effect the CO2 rise will have is some kind of warped evidence that there's no problem.

The grain that runs through the solid and less solid science rather suggests there is a problem. The failure to rule this out should be the prompt to take action (that doesn't mean changing our lightbulbs it just means governments getting serious about nuclear and other non-carbon energy sources, promoting new technologies)

There are many levels of inertia in this situation. There's the thermal inertia of the oceans as the Earth slowly responds to the energy imbalance. Even holding CO2 levels steady now the climate will still change some more. There's economic inertia - all this carbon emitting infrastructure that will take time to convert. Technological inertia - adopting and making non-carbon energy vehicles sufficiently efficient for example will take time. There's political inertia too - the disorganized state of many squabbling governments (and voters!) will make any agreements on emission reductions slower (a lot of "hey it's no fair that country X is sticking with fossil fuels while we are converting"). In short I have a feeling we are going to have to be lucky on this, because we are already 11% into this century and 2100 will come very quick (generationally speaking). It's going to be remarkably hard to put the brakes on climate change if it does turn pear shaped. A shame because you'd think our species would be collectively more intelligent than this.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:06:32 UTC | #584132

danconquer's Avatar Comment 15 by danconquer

Comment 12 by jonjermey :

If after a month or so of reading the entries and the discussion, you still support AGW, fine: at least you are making an informed choice. If you can't be bothered, and merely want to be rude about a position that you for some reason regard as 'right-wing' or 'anti-science', then go ahead: we have heard it all before anyway.

As a layperson, the reason I don't digest huge quantities of information on many scientific topics is not because I "can't be bothered" but because I know that I have not attained the requisite level of relevant analytical skills to be able to formulate meaningful evaluations for myself. To some extent you might say it is a Position Of Ignorance. But as long as one is aware of it, that's no bad thing. We can't all be expert in everything afterall! It is definitely not the same thing as, for instance, those hysterical mothers who, unaware of their own ignorance, decide they know better than medical scientists in rejecting the MMR vaccine.

I am not ashamed to admit that the reason I tend to accept AGW is principally because that is the overwhelming consensus amongst the most highly educated scientific minds. And I'm willing to put my faith in their doing so on the basis of the evidence.

I mean, do sceptics have an explanation for how and why practically the entire international scientific community has - according to the sceptics - been duped into supporting a theory which, we have just been told, is about as credible as Jesus bringing people back from the dead? How did that happen?

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:20:16 UTC | #584139

PurplePanda's Avatar Comment 16 by PurplePanda

Comment 12 by jonjermey :

It always astonishes me how people who advocate applying scepticism and rational thought to religion are so eager to swallow the AGW alarmist narrative without even blinking.

It always astonishes me that people that accept scientific views on a huge array of complex issues can so readily dismiss the scientific view on climate change.

To paraphrase Stephen Roberts -- "When you understand why you dismiss homeopathy, you will understand why I dismiss AGW."

To paraphrase you -- "When you understand why you dismiss homeopathy, you will understand why I dismiss Climate skeptics".

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:48:11 UTC | #584157

lilalindy's Avatar Comment 17 by lilalindy

Nice of the BBC to put out a programme that clears up a few things about this.

Good programme, if a little sparse on content - it could have all been in there in a programme only half the length (ie, they could have put more in the programme).

Next week:

  • Horizon produces a programme that doesn't leave you feeling you've just witnessed a victory of style over content; and,
  • How to nail jelly to the ceiling.
  • Tue, 25 Jan 2011 23:58:56 UTC | #584187

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 18 by Alan4discussion

    I watched this programme. One of the salient points was that the author of the Telegraph "sceptic" errr denial headlines, and critic of the peer review process, admitted he "DID NOT MAKE TIME TO READ PEER-REVIEW REPORTS" before publishing articles. He was not a scientist but....

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:09:02 UTC | #584194

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 19 by Alan4discussion

    The denial campaign has been fed by scientifically illiterate journalist air-heads like Durkin

    There is plenty of evidence around as I posted here

    The amount of coal burned during 2007 was estimated at 7.075 billion short tons, or 133.179 quadrillion BTU's.[66] This is an average of 18.8 million BTU per short ton. In terms of heat content, this is about 57,000,000 barrels (9,100,000 m3) of oil equivalent per day. By comparison in 2007, natural gas provided 51,000,000 barrels (8,100,000 m3) of oil equivalent per day, while oil provided 85,800,000 barrels per day.

    According to denialists these billions of tons per year of CO2 (about 7 times the natural level) don't make any difference!

    and the disinformation attacking scientists has long been debunked although the perpetrators continue to bluster on behalf of their polluter sponsors.

    Glaciers are retreating all over the world.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:36:45 UTC | #584204

    Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 20 by Ignorant Amos

    Comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

    Some problems I have with the programme:

    1- Sir Paul Nurse is a brilliant scientist I'm sure, but not a climatologist. One of the problems with specialisation in science is that scientists may be excellent in their specific field, they can be clueless in others. Why not have a climatologist explain the data?

    I assumed the three "experts" he spoke with were climatologists, albeit one was a sceptic for balance.

    Now I'm no expert just an ignorant sceptic. But it's no surprise there is such a debate when data is 'sexed up' by both sides of this issue, and no comprehensive data is presented to people like me in an unbiased and honest way.

    But wasn't there 4 separate and independent inquiries into "Climategate" with the findings vindicating the UoEA CRU?

    Delingpole came across as a 'twat' on the programme, however he did make a valid point about 'consensus' although his stammering and stuttering and lack of actual critical thinking--a gift to the programme--lost him the argument completely. However, his point that science is not about consensus is valid, only that science reaches consensus based on its current understanding or data.

    I think you add a lot of good and valid debate arguments on this site, but I'm not sure you are at your best here. He came over as a twat for more reasons than you've made. You are disagreeing with the President of the Royal Society on the point of consensus....brave, very brave.

    4- Oh the final 'visual' conformation of 'weather' models compared to real time data, therefore climate models are reliable was simply too laughable to bother with.

    As a naive layperson, I am curious to know why?

    I am in no way informed in AGW, but I wouldn't be using New Scientist or Wiki as a source of indefatigable corroboration.

    Comment 14 by render seems to make as much sense.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:42:44 UTC | #584209

    unorfadox's Avatar Comment 21 by unorfadox

    Having cunningly not read the "ironic commentary" part I was having trouble working out it wasn't serious. The "unlike our use of carbon" bit should have given it away I suppose. I wonder if Poe's law should be extended to include climate/hiv/whatever denialists (do they have a group term?).

    Also, first decent Horizon in how many years?

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 01:15:27 UTC | #584225

    Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 22 by Mark Jones

    Yes, for laymen like me, Hume leads the way: we must consider which is the greater miracle; that thousands of climate scientists, and scientists in related disciplines, are in the pocket of the green industry and are conspiring to defraud the public to forward its self-serving anti-capitalist agenda; or a few climate scientists, and right-wing libertarians like James Delingpole and Christopher Monckton, are wrong.

    Until this balance can be tipped in the sceptics' direction, I'm compelled to go with the climate science. I've read too many posts like this, from some time poster Scot Rafkin, to reject it. For the sceptics, it's surely better to leave it to the dissenting climate scientists to do their work, to see if they can demonstrate how the science proves their case. Some thoughtful media coverage would help, too, from better journos than the excitable Delingpole.

    In the meantime, I welcome further sceptical observations; investigating their provenance helps to determine one's own views, even if one has to take a view on a science that is hard to understand.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 01:44:56 UTC | #584240

    Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 23 by Cook@Tahiti

    Science has many enemies, religion being only one. Murdoch seems a big contender for #1 secular enemy of science, although does anyone know how his papers handle the GM foods issue?

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 01:47:51 UTC | #584241

    Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 24 by Ignorant Amos

    Regardless of where the current consensus might be....err on the side of caution always seems to work well. It may be a bit late to do so after the verdict is in.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 01:52:38 UTC | #584242

    AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 25 by AtheistEgbert

    Comment 20 by Ignorant Amos :

    But wasn't there 4 separate and independent inquiries into "Climategate" with the findings vindicating the UoEA CRU?

    According to the programme, the data for the tree rings from 1960 onwards was corrupt or incomprehensible. I'm not exactly sure why but it was useless. So what the team decided to do was take data from the surface global temperature data instead. Not surprising then, that the tree data and global temperature data would agree.

    Now, I know science doesn't always work so smoothly, and fixing holes in data may be acceptable for presentations or for textbooks, but it is not surprising that people might jump all over this and cry foul.

    Personally, I find this fudge of data foolish considering how important this subject is, and how under scrutiny the data is, as the entire subject has developed into a political football.

    As a naive layperson, I am curious to know why?

    I think we all know how weather prediction is good but not great, especially longer than seven days. We all know how chaotic chaos is. And they did state this very clearly in the programme, that there will always be an element of unpredictability in models.

    However, a weather prediction model is not the same as a climate change model. And therefore the comparison was again misleading and suspicious. Let's just see the actual climate change models?

    I am in no way informed in AGW, but I wouldn't be using New Scientist or Wiki as a source of indefatigable corroboration.

    Of course, they were simply fast bits of information collected to support my own criticism of the programme.

    I was in no way being scientific or thorough, only raising the reasons why I can't simply abandon my basic principles of reason and scepticism, and simply believe in the authority or consensus that I'm told.

    While I'm sympathetic to the side of the scientists, I am also sympathetic with ordinary ignorant people such as myself who are confused about the information presented. Since I know a little knowledge, and a little knowledge can be dangerous, I can't help but remain somewhat in the middle, until I'm given a more convincing set of data and explanations.

    I also aim to attempt to read some of the literature, it's on my reading list.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 02:10:16 UTC | #584246

    AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 26 by AtheistEgbert

    Comment 24 by Ignorant Amos :

    Regardless of where the current consensus might be....err on the side of caution always seems to work well. It may be a bit late to do so after the verdict is in.

    I totally agree. But the polarisation of this subject and the poor presentation and education to the public, is damaging to science in general.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 02:27:50 UTC | #584252

    jonjermey's Avatar Comment 27 by jonjermey

    But wasn't there 4 separate and independent inquiries into "Climategate" with the findings vindicating the UoEA CRU?

    The amount of time collectively spent on each enquiry was just long enough for each participant to have a long lunch. The enquiry panels were composed of people from government and private industry bodies with vested interests in supporting AGW. And the 'evidence' that was used to 'exonerate' Phil Jones was requested from, and sourced by, guess who -- Phil Jones!

    Whether you believe in AGW or not, it will take you less than five minutes' investigation into the inquiry process to discover that the only thing it reveals is the UK government's contempt for the intellectual capacity of its electors. You can start here:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/225108/MPs-slam-secretive-Climategate-probes

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 09:05:02 UTC | #584317

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 28 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 7 by danconquer

    Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee :

    Why not have a "Climate Change Week" on the BBC where scientist can explain their findings in detail and offer counter arguments to those of the sceptics?

    Good idea! So good infact that they've already done it! http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/02_february/14/climate.shtml

    Fair enough! But that was 5 years ago! I didn't see it but I would be willing to bet a substantial amount that it featured a lot of short, hyped-up, sound-bite features, like most science programmes these days.

    I'd like to see a comprehensive presentation of the facts and a proper and thorough attempt to refute the counter-arguments (for the benefit of intelligent people!). Paul Nurse made some good points about the general perception of science in his argument, but his programme didn't present any good evidence - though I accept that wasn't it's main purpose. Even so, I was appalled by his incredibly naive response to seeing the on-screen weather forecasts, which in the context of the programme he seemed to present as evidence that scientists can accurately predict climate change.

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 10:20:42 UTC | #584334

    PurplePanda's Avatar Comment 29 by PurplePanda

    Jonjeremy can you respond to my post above quoting you?

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 10:56:17 UTC | #584338

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 30 by Alan4discussion

    OP - End of small glaciers discussion:

    ..... IPCC member and forest ecologist Steve Running of the University of Montana in Missoula, "the estimate of overall mountain-glacier contribution to sea-level rise was about right."

    Earlier studies used by the IPCC had found approximately the same result, but were forced to extrapolate from a relatively small number of glaciers. The new study was based on a total of 120,229 mountain glaciers and 2,638 ice caps.

    Along with the NASA and ESA satellite mapping and ice volume calculations, all these field studies were faked! The unevidenced political denial campaign said so. so it must be right!!!

    Comment on "climategate" investigations

    Wed, 26 Jan 2011 11:28:15 UTC | #584347