Phil Jones blows the gaff

The AGW true believers who determinedly reasserted their faith after the Climate Research Unit emails leaked have just been embarrassed by one of the high priests of the cult. Phil Jones, the former head of the CRU, now admits that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

Reading this is an entertaining counterpoint to the sight of the five-foot-long icicles hanging from the eaves outside my office window. Dunno whether it means anything — probably doesn’t — but the last time I saw icicles this size was during the bizarre six-day-long ice storm that socked Philadelphia early in, I think, 1993.

Jones himself claims to still believe in AGW, but he’s also now conceding that temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period (Remember? That thing Mann and the Hockey Team tried to flimflam out of existence?) may have averaged higher than today’s. And he trots out the reliable old “the dog ate my primary data” excuse for another walk.

Stay tuned. As bad as it looks now, I’m pretty certain that the depths of embarrassment and disgrace waiting for AGW true believers have not been fully plumbed even yet.

152 thoughts on “Phil Jones blows the gaff

  1. According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’

    In all this dithering over what constitutes a “proper timescale”, one thing is certain. Professional human life only constitutes a time frame of about 45 years. That’s how long you have to make all of the money you will ever make, and gain all of the prestige for whatever it is you did. International bureaucrats and their flunkees know that horizons of “20 and 30″ years to describe various Armageddons are enough to scare the pants off people, but that they themselves will escape accountability when Armageddon never arrives.

    I think the “depths of embarrassment and disgrace” will be glimpsed once the leaker reveals himself. My money is about 75%-80% on Briffa.

  2. Uhm, jrok, why would the leaker revealing himself lead to depths of embarrassment and disgrace for anyone? He’d probably end his career in the world of “climate science”, but that’ like ending one’s career as an astrologer: one must then obtain an honest job.

  3. >My money is about 75%-80% on Briffa.

    That’s the majority view, but I’m still betting on the programmer, Harry Harris.

  4. Jay, I don’t mean the leaker himself will be held out to disgrace… well, some usual suspects in the press will attempt to savage him/her, but that will have the opposite of its intended effect. I’m saying that once the person who leaked CRU steps forward, and forthrightly explains to everyone the ethical dilemna that led him to do it, the shameful “context” of the AGW team’s apocalyptic claims will be laid bare in such a way that cause even the George Monbiots of the world to shudder and question the wisdom of their climate gods.

  5. For ‘sceptic’, here’s that [citation]:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

    I somehow doubt that ‘sceptic’ didn’t actually know about this — it is going to be the subject of very heavy counter-spin by the Goreanists in the next few days, after all — but I’m willing to go along with his real or affected claim of his not having heard about it. I can’t actually make him read the [citation], but oh well.

    ESR says: For the record, that link was in fact in my original post.

  6. And Jay, that would make for one hell of a “Diane Sawyer” interview career, don’t you think? “The whistleblower who killed Global Warming?” For maximum ironic punch, I think George Clooney should play him in the movie. Or if its a woman, Julia Roberts.

  7. Eric, you, along with others have pointed out that weather is not climate. However, climate is the integral of weather, and one wonders how much dodgy weather is needed to change the climate. Once again, as storms shut down the country we are told by the professionals that the cold snap is in fact proof of global warming, just as the warm weather earlier was. We are told that too many hurricanes is proof, as is not enough hurricanes. To put it another way, any evidence at all is proof of global warming, and, somehow, also proof that it is anthropogenic.

    I am reminded of those religious people who say that God answers their prayers, and that is proof of God. When you point out some prayer that God has not answered, they tell you that God did answer their request, he just said “no.” Which is to say, there is no way to distinguish between the cause and the effect.

    Still we are offered no falsifiable claim. Al Gore claimed that the North Pole would be ice free in five years. As soon as he made that claim all the scientists started to run from the horrendous idea of being pinned down to such a measurable claim. I mean really, what serious scientist doesn’t want to be pinned down to a measurable prediction? Isn’t that what science is?

    Faith is a terrible thing.

  8. >I am reminded of those religious people who say that God answers their prayers, and that is proof of God. When you point out some prayer that God has not answered, they tell you that God did answer their request, he just said “no.” Which is to say, there is no way to distinguish between the cause and the effect.

    The concept you are groping for is “panchreston” – an argument which is not falsifiable because it treats both A and ~A as evidence for itself. The panchreston is indeed one of the most reliable markers of junk science.

  9. I am reminded of those religious people who say that God answers their prayers, and that is proof of God. When you point out some prayer that God has not answered, they tell you that God did answer their request, he just said “no.” Which is to say, there is no way to distinguish between the cause and the effect.

    “The Climate works in mysterious ways” indeed. :^)

    Faith is a terrible thing.

    It isn’t always, Jessica. But a science which depends on articles of faith is as horrifying as a religion which pretends to be rational and observable.

  10. It is interesting, by the way, that while Mann and his goon squad are doing the usual tapdance over at RealClimate, many of the long time skeptics at Climate Audit are in a conciliatory mood, willing to hear Jones out and hoping that his recent troubles will bring him back into the fold of sober science.

    I have to admit, my mood is not so forgiving. But it’s worth noting that the narrative that their allies in the media have been selling is, as usual, upside-down. The skeptical view on climate modeling allows for honest error, while the AGW view is full of strident, unyielding zeal of the worst kind.

  11. > Reading this is an entertaining counterpoint to the sight of the five-foot-long icicles hanging from the eaves outside my office window.

    An interesting counterpoint, but…

    Why do you have 5′ icicles hanging from your eaves?

    Either you’re losing a ton of heat from your roof, or your window is directly in sunlight for large parts of the day. If it’s the former, I’d suggest getting more ceiling insulation; it can save on your heating expenses.

  12. >But a science which depends on articles of faith is as horrifying as a religion which pretends to be rational and observable.

    And now you know one of several reasons I am actually quite reluctant to use the term “religion” for Wicca.

  13. >Either you’re losing a ton of heat from your roof, or your window is directly in sunlight for large parts of the day

    The latter, probably. Our insulation is pretty good. And it’s not just my house; after the two iterations of the Great Blizzard, seems like every set of eaves in Malvern has dramatic icicles.

  14. Do you understand what statistically significant means?

    An example: I have a biased coin so that it comes up heads 75% of the time. I make 10 tosses. It comes up heads 8 times out of ten, where an unbiased coin would of course average 5. Conclusion? There is no statistically significant evidence that the coin is biased – the probability of an unbiased coin producing 7 or more heads in ten tosses is greater than 5%, which is a typical confidence level.

    Of course, the coin is biased – but that trial wasn’t enough to prove it. Similarly, the 15 year time range is too short for a statistically significant result. It also provides no statistically significant evidence for *not* warming, or cooling. In fact, by itself, it’s evidence of bugger all, and I think I mentioned that on a previous post. Phil Jones’s comment is entirely correct and consistent, and the media blowing it up into an alleged admission just shows how little they know about statistics, and science in general – the concept of statistical significance is *very* basic stuff.

  15. >the media blowing it up into an alleged admission just shows how little they know about statistics

    At worst it shows that they’ve been paying attention when warm-mongers pointed with alarm at spans of warming that weren’t significant either.

    But I know how the religion goes. The 18 years from 1978 to 1995 is significant because they had warming, but the 15 years after 1995 to the present were not because they didn’t. Praise Gore and all the prophets and smite the unbelievers!

  16. Do you understand what statistically significant means?

    An example: I have a biased coin so that it comes up heads 75% of the time. I make 10 tosses. It comes up heads 8 times out of ten, where an unbiased coin would of course average 5. Conclusion? There is no statistically significant evidence that the coin is biased – the probability of an unbiased coin producing 7 or more heads in ten tosses is greater than 5%, which is a typical confidence level.

    Of course, the coin is biased – but that trial wasn’t enough to prove it. Similarly, the 15 year time range is too short for a statistically significant result. It also provides no statistically significant evidence for *not* warming, or cooling. In fact, by itself, it’s evidence of bugger all, and I think I mentioned that on a previous post. Phil Jones’s comment is entirely correct and consistent, and the media blowing it up into an alleged admission just shows how little they know about statistics, and science in general – the concept of statistical significance is *very* basic stuff.

    So, if the available data is not evidence for any hypothesis, then why is it that AGW is the default position? The fact that there has not been statistically significant warming from 1995 to now should translate into ‘no conclusion available’, not AGW. Saying that the available data doesn’t prove AGW wrong and hence it must be right is just as much bad science as falsifying the data outright.

  17. At worst it shows that they’ve been paying attention when warm-mongers pointed with alarm at spans of warming that weren’t significant either.
    But I know how the religion goes. The 18 years from 1978 to 1995 is significant because they had warming, but the 15 years after 1995 to the present were not because they didn’t. Praise Gore and all the prophets and smite the unbelievers!

    Look, please try and be rational. Statistical significance is a well defined, non-controversial concept. If some media idiot or environmental activist abused a data set to misrepresent it in this way (and I can easily believe it – the cluelessness works in both directions), feel free to criticise them. But don’t confuse that for a credible scientist doing so in a journal, and please don’t make the same mistake.

    So, if the available data is not evidence for any hypothesis, then why is it that AGW is the default position?

    If that 15 year temperature record was the only data available, it wouldn’t be.

    The fact that there has not been statistically significant warming from 1995 to now should translate into ‘no conclusion available

    By itself, that’s exactly what conclusion you should draw from it, just like you shouldn’t conclude from my 10-toss coin trial that the coin was biased. But we have a lot more data than that.

  18. Polynomial Cointegration Tests of the Anthropogenic Theory of Global Warming

    Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz – Department of Economics, The Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Israel.

    Abstract:

    We use statistical methods designed for nonstationary time series to test the anthropogenic theory of global warming (AGW). This theory predicts that an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations increases global temperature permanently. Specifically, the methodology of polynomial cointegration is used to test AGW when global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in 1st differences, whereas greenhouse gas forcings (CO2, CH4 and N2O) are stationary in 2nd differences.

    We show that although greenhouse gas forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcings, global temperature and solar irradiance are not polynomially cointegrated, and AGW is refuted. Although we reject AGW, we find that greenhouse gas forcings have a temporary effect on global temperature. Because the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent, predictions of significant global warming in the 21st century by IPCC are not supported by the data.

    [url=http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/beenstock/Nature_Paper091209.pdf]See the paper (PDF)[/url]

    hat tip to [url=http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/14/new-paper-on/]WUWT[/url]

    I suspect that there will be a flood of papers released that were previously suppressed by the “Team’s” efforts to control publications such as [b]Nature[/b].

  19. Polynomial Cointegration Tests of the Anthropogenic Theory of Global Warming

    Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz – Department of Economics, The Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Israel.

    Abstract:

    We use statistical methods designed for nonstationary time series to test the anthropogenic theory of global warming (AGW). This theory predicts that an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations increases global temperature permanently. Specifically, the methodology of polynomial cointegration is used to test AGW when global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in 1st differences, whereas greenhouse gas forcings (CO2, CH4 and N2O) are stationary in 2nd differences.

    We show that although greenhouse gas forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcings, global temperature and solar irradiance are not polynomially cointegrated, and AGW is refuted. Although we reject AGW, we find that greenhouse gas forcings have a temporary effect on global temperature. Because the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent, predictions of significant global warming in the 21st century by IPCC are not supported by the data.

    See the paper (PDF)

    hat tip to WUWT

    I suspect that there will be a flood of papers released that were previously suppressed by the “Team’s” efforts to control publications such as Nature.

  20. >I suspect that there will be a flood of papers released that were previously suppressed by the “Team’s” efforts to control publications such as Nature.

    Sure, handful of scientists in one field can exert control over one of the most famous and respected journals in existence. The conspiracy people get sillier every day.

    That paper looks like horseshit to me, statistical masturbation until you get the result you want. There’s no science in there, just mindlessly looking for correlations. Says more about economics than climate science. Their conclusion makes particularly little sense – “we find that greenhouse gas forcings have a temporary effect on global temperature. Because
    the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent”. What, CO2 molecules get lazy and stop scattering IR after a fixed time? One would assume that such a ridiculous implication would cause them to look a bit more closely rather than draw a strong conclusion.

  21. The Q&A that the Daily Mail is misrepresenting is here.

    @esr:

    But I know how the religion goes. The 18 years from 1978 to 1995 is significant because they had warming, but the 15 years after 1995 to the present were not because they didn’t. Praise Gore and all the prophets and smite the unbelievers!

    The (24) years from 1978–1995 are significant because the trend is statistically significant. The 15 years 1995–2009 are not significant by themselves because they don’t represent enough data to come to any conclusion. There’s a good discussion here.

    @Jessica Boxer:

    Once again, as storms shut down the country we are told by the professionals that the cold snap is in fact proof of global warming, just as the warm weather earlier was.

    The increased precipitation (not the cold temperature) is more evidence for (not “proof”) for global warming.

  22. @pete-

    Shouldn’t “increased precipitation” manifest as above average yearly rainfall, if we’re talking about climate? If the mid-Atlantic and Northeast have below average precipitation for the remainder of the year, will that also somehow mean that there is global warming?

  23. Similarly, the 15 year time range is too short for a statistically significant result…

    The stark lunacy of this statement should be apparent to anyone when they realize that “15 years” accounts for a full ten percent of instrumental record, and as much as 15-20% of the culprit period of industrialization that these hacks claim are causing climate catastrophe.

    Tap dance to the left, then tap dance to the right and you will appear to move while going nowhere. These liars have mastered this routine very well.

  24. >The stark lunacy of this statement should be apparent to anyone when they realize that “15 years” accounts for a full ten percent of instrumental record, and as much as 15-20% of the culprit period of industrialization that these hacks claim are causing climate catastrophe.

    So if a region is too small to be significant, it’s “lunacy” for one ten times the size to be significant?

  25. So if a region is too small to be significant, it’s “lunacy” for one ten times the size to be significant?

    Considering that the 10% region in question should show the clearest and most unambiguous warming in a “carbon forcings” model, given the growth of population, urbanization and carbon emissions over that period? Considering that the entire hypothesis hinges on such variables?

    I suppose it is rather heartless to demand agreement in projection and recorded data. But that is how real science is; cold and heartless. It’s a shame; the theory was so “beautiful.” Ah well, in the trash it goes.

  26. But I know how the religion goes. The 18 years from 1978 to 1995 is significant because they had warming, but the 15 years after 1995 to the present were not because they didn’t. Praise Gore and all the prophets and smite the unbelievers!

    Tree ring data provides a marvelous photograph of climate history. Until it disagrees with our (infinitesimally small, statistically negligible) instrumental record. Then it is an “anomaly.” Then it is a “divergence.” Glory be! Hosanna in the highest!

  27. >Considering that the 10% region in question should show the clearest and most unambiguous warming in a “carbon forcings” >model, given the growth of population, urbanization and carbon emissions over that period? Considering that the entire >hypothesis hinges on such variables?

    FFS, short-term pseudo-random fluctuations are large. Larger than the forcings. Therefore statistical significance pretty much impossible to obtain on small timescales. This is *not* a hard concept to grasp, so I can only conclude that you’re being deliberately obtuse.

    Since you clearly don’t understand the most basic aspects of scientific analysis, hypothesis testing and statistics there seems little point continuing the discussion. You might as well discuss the fine points (well, crude points – this is very basic stuff) of evolutionary biology with a creationist. Enjoy your little in-circle of fingers-in-ears self-reinforcement.

  28. The increased precipitation (not the cold temperature) is more evidence for (not “proof”) for global warming.

    Just like the 5+ year drought we’re experiencing Florida is more evidence for global warming, right? Which is it? More precipitation = global warming or less precipitation = global warming?

    I say we should apply Occam’s Razor and say that the excess precipitation up north and the subnormal precipitation in the southeast are simply examples of the fact that weather and — yes, even climate — fluctuates over time, something we already knew.

  29. Tree ring data provides a marvelous photograph of climate history.

    You mean like the marvelous photograph of Jesus found in that grilled cheese sandwich?

  30. FFS, short-term pseudo-random fluctuations are large. Larger than the forcings. Therefore statistical significance pretty much impossible to obtain on small timescales.

    FFS, what DOESN’T qualify as a small timescale when we are talking about 150 years of instrumental data to assemble surface averages??? What percentage of Earth’s climate history does 150 years represent? This is *not* a hard concept to grasp, so I can only conclude that you are prostrating thyself before thy God. Qi bono, Rich?

    But never fear! You can always stop by RealClimate for a proper gospel, should your faith ever falter.

  31. Just like the 5+ year drought we’re experiencing Florida is more evidence for global warming, right? Which is it? More precipitation = global warming or less precipitation = global warming?

    More precipitation in regions where increased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming and less precipitation in regions where decreased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming.

  32. You know, I once read a post somewhere about the geek test.

    One of the components of the geek test was: You are watching a sci fi show or a movie, and if you hear something you know is not scientifically accurate… you become personally offended.

    Like, when Han Solo talked about making the Kessell run in less than 5 parsecs, using a unit of distance instead of time. A true geek notices this and wants to write a letter to George Lucas, like its a national outrage or something.

    I remember watching an episode of Star Trek: TNG and Ryker said something about going warp 15. I wanted to punch him. Everyone knows you can only go warp 9, or in a pinch, 9.9

    I am beginning to feel a similar feeling about all this global warming stuff.

  33. More precipitation in regions where increased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming and less precipitation in regions where decreased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming.

    Except when it doesn’t shake out that way. Then, they really didn’t “predict” it. It was more of a “projection.” Or it was an anomaly. Or solar variance. Or the cloud spirits were angry. Or, or, or.

    You mean like the marvelous photograph of Jesus found in that grilled cheese sandwich?

    Yes, or the image of the Virgin Mother on the potato chip. I noticed a hockey stick seared onto a crème brûlée this morning. I am thinking of putting it up for auction.

  34. >Except when it doesn’t shake out that way. Then, they really didn’t “predict” it. It was more of a “projection.” Or it was an anomaly. Or solar variance. Or the cloud spirits were angry. Or, or, or.

    I’ve always thought this Iowahawk spoof, which was ostensibly parodying public nonsense about the the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, was just as good a satire of the AGW true believers.

  35. …was just as good a satire of the AGW true believers.

    Satire seems hardly necessary, when cultists make eerily revealing requests like this:

    (from RealClimate.org)
    Eric & the rest of you guys are doing a great job of keeping us informed about the risks & dangers of human-driven climate change.

    Now who’s gonna make sure that our leaders & citizenry get it?

    Where’s our MLK for AGW?

    Comment by IANVS — 19 January 2010 @ 5:54 PM

    Gore is your MLK, IANVS. Yes, yes, I know. He wouldn’t have been my first pick either. But when you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

  36. pete: More precipitation in regions where increased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming and less precipitation in regions where decreased precipitation is predicted is evidence for global warming.

    Let’s see. In Central Texas (we’re targeted for “desertification” as I recall) we’ve had 2 droughts in 5 years. Seems like you’re onto something. Of course, the floods before during and after these two events have brought us to “Average” rainfall over 5 years.

    I think I’m starting to get this climate science thing! If I say “anything that falls outside the average is proof I’m right”, then I too can get a $20M grant to study why people’s sweat in Texas is going to cause all the ice to disappear from the Himalayas. ;^)

    I used to do work for an environmental department in a large chemical plant, and when I was there I saw something that made an impression. It was a chart that showed the average rainfall at the top, and the yearly totals for about 50 years below. I think 3 years in 50 came close to the average. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think was seeing AGW at work (or it could be that the PhDs were correct, that “average” means “average” and most years aren’t “average”).

    Global warming was in trouble the first time they turned off the AC during hearings on the subject. As most engineers know, if you gotta have marketing “sell” it, it’s crap.

  37. pete Says:
    The (24) years from 1978–1995 are significant because the trend is statistically significant. The 15 years 1995–2009 are not significant by themselves because they don’t represent enough data to come to any conclusion.

    Except that Prof. Phil Jones seems to disagree with you.

    B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    So the way I read that is that the 1995 to 2009 period is just below the 95% significance value. Ergo, watch this space as this may change but as at that Q&A, the warming between 1995 and 2009 was statistically insignificant.

    Am I reading that wrong?

  38. Sorry let me make my post clearer.

    I’m reading that Jones is saying not that we don’t have enough data but the trend is not significant

  39. “He’d probably end his career in the world of “climate science”, but that’ like ending one’s career as an astrologer: one must then obtain an honest job.”

    Let’s not insult astrologers by comparing them to “climate scientists.” Astrologers do not receive funding regardless of their track record of predictions.

  40. # PhysicistRich Says:
    February 14th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    >Mine
    >>I suspect that there will be a flood of papers released that were previously suppressed by the “Team’s”
    >>efforts to control publications such as Nature.

    >Sure, handful of scientists in one field can exert control over one of the most famous and respected
    >journals in existence. The conspiracy people get sillier every day.

    Using the “Team’s” own words:

    Mann to Jones ( http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=295&filename=1047388489.txt )
    “I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…”

    Jones to Haughton and vice versa ( http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1065&filename=1256765544.txt )
    Discussion of denigrating Dr.Sonja A.Boehmer-Christiansen, Reader Emeritus, Department of Geography Hull University, Editor, Energy&Environment’s affiliation with Hull, and by association the journal.

    Or, you could read Caspar and the Jesus Paper for a narrative of the suborning of Geophysical Research Letters, the journal of the American Geophysical Union’s own publishing requisites by shopping the paper to an AGW true believer editor. A similar shenanigan was pulled at the journal, Climatic Change. In both journals, the papers were rejected before shopping to a fellow traveling editor.

    >That paper looks like horseshit to me, statistical masturbation until you get the result you want. There’s
    >no science in there, just mindlessly looking for correlations. Says more about economics than climate
    >science.

    I’ll concede the statistical analysis if a well versed statistician agrees with your conclusion. I have no expertise in that field.

    As to economics, it is functionally equivalent to “climate science”. Both depend on statistical analysis of disparate data. I would rank an economist far above the common example of soi-disant climatologist where such analysis is required — which would be always.

    >Their conclusion makes particularly little sense – “we find that greenhouse gas forcings have a temporary
    >effect on global temperature. Because the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent”. What,
    >CO2 molecules get lazy and stop scattering IR after a fixed time? One would assume that such a ridiculous
    >implication would cause them to look a bit more closely rather than draw a strong conclusion.

    What a specious remark. The temporariness refers to sequestration rates of ΔCO₂ in the tens of years, not nearly forever as climate models imply.

  41. @JonB >I’m reading that Jones is saying not that we don’t have enough data but the trend is not significant

    Those two statements are basically equivalent — “not statistically significant” means “not enough data to draw a conclusion”.

    You might be confusing statistical significance with scientific significance.

    Suppose we’d measured warming at 0.01 +/– 0.001 degrees/decade for those 15 years. This would be statistically significant, but not scientifically significant.

    On the other hand, the actual measurement of about 0.12 +/– 0.13 degrees/decade is not statistically significant, but is scientifically significant.

    Statistical significance is about the precision of our estimate; scientific significance tells us whether our estimate is large enough to be interesting.

  42. >And now you know one of several reasons I am actually quite reluctant to use the term “religion” for Wicca.

    Repeat after me: Wicca is just another kooky religion.

  43. The increased precipitation (not the cold temperature) is more evidence for (not “proof”) for global warming.

    Just as earlier decreased precipitation was, right?

    A panchreston indeed. Any deviation from the mean is evidence for the theory; the sign of the deviation does not matter!

    Which would be embarrassing for somebody who understands statistics; but, given your previous displays of ignorance upon the subject, together with your inability to stop yourself from using pejoratives in describing those with whom you disagree, I’d say you are immune to that particular emotion.

  44. Interesting, Eric, that you link to the bowdlerized Daily Mail piece rather than the actual interview. (But never mind – Pete provided the primary link in his post at 5:52, Feb 14).

    For those of you who can’t be bothered clicking Pete’s link, here’s the actual “admission” trumpeted by the Daily Mail in its “golly gosh” headline:

    Q. Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    Not quite the damascene moment that Eric paints.

    As always, the real story is that:
    - there’s nothing here other than more handwringing from the usual contrarian clutches devoid of actual content; and
    - the threshold for publishable contrarian punditry is very low

  45. Statistical significance is about the precision of our estimate; scientific significance tells us whether our estimate is large enough to be interesting.

    …And when your 1000 year proxy plotting shows a late-20th century decline, the CYA significance goes through the roof. Time to pull a few tricks to demonstrate that 0.12 +/– 0.13 degrees/decade is scientifically significant. “Unprecedented,” even.

  46. grr. closing tag mangled.

    That’s not all that is mangled, Tom. The notion that their own confirmation data analysis “is quite close to the significance level,” is a very interesting statement indeed. When viewing the carbon-forcing theory posited by Jones, one is reminded of horseshoes and hand grenades. If the null hypothesis of AGW being is not shown to be unlikely to occur by chance, this results in “theory not proven.” As MacIntyre pointed out (and as NAS came to accept) in his critique of “The Stick”, there are no extra points given for “coming close” to significance. This is Science 101; a course which many of the make believe PhDs in physics and meteorology scattered around the edges of this argument seemed to have skipped, perhaps in pursuit of a more enjoyable elective like Music Appreciation.

  47. Actually, I thought Dr. Jones’ statements on MWP were more important than his relent on the statistical significance of 1995-2010. Noting that MWP may have been warmer than the 20th century represents a real step backwards from the precipice, and I’d say it should be applauded if it wasn’t for the fact that Jones is so clearly covering his hide, here. There is probably no greater example of panchreston than in paleoclimatic reconstruction.

    This is baldly obvious in the email communications, which show a widening divide between Briffa and the Hockey Team from 2004-present. In the mad race to craft a “nice tidy picture” in time to meet Assessment Report deadlines, the supporting evidence of paleoclimate was turning out to be full of intractable contradictions. Mann and Jones were clearly frustrated that Briffa could not faithfully supply the “unprecedented warming” that formed the base of their deck of cards. This is why I strongly believe that Dr. Briffa was the leaker. The mad arc of Briffa’s increasingly “not helpful” contributions was never properly communicated by the (scientifically illiterate) media.

  48. Wow. A link to the Daily Mail on the subject of science. That’s about as helpful as referencing the Ringling Brothers Circus in an article about medicine. I’ll be sure to check this blog again.

  49. Here is another wonderful comment from the thread of RealClimate’s latest apologia for the IPCC’s shredded reputation. ESR, this is evidence of why it is genuinely impossible to satirize this cult. They are always five steps ahead of their wittiest satirists:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all this fixation on get-it-right, got-it-wrong is obscuring the real issue: the truth is what we define it to be, and the truth is that mankind is a scourge on the planet. The sooner we can limit the right to breed, the sooner the planet will recover. If glacier data is a little incorrect but helps that effort, then the data is true in all but a very narrow and clinical scientific sense.

    Common people don’t really understand science. But they understand not having enough to eat and not being able to sit down on a too-crowded subway. if we can educate people not to reproduce there will be many seats and the fewer people will be happier. Indeed, as the capitalist economies of scale are reduced, the atisfaction from making your own clothes and embracing a low-carbon vegan diet will be so intense, reproduction will come to be seen in the same category as child abuse.

    I yearn for the day when i might not have been born!

    Comment by rosie hughes — 19 January 2010 @ 8:04 PM

  50. Seems like perfect confirmation of that page-top quote about “Naturists’” self-hatred.

  51. “…Like, when Han Solo talked about making the Kessell run in less than 5 parsecs…”

    No. The real geeks knew what a parsec was, and tried to imagine what the “Kessell Run” might actually be – where the winning criteria was traveling the shortest distance. ;)

  52. jrok, it’s strange….but I agree with that woman – I too am yearning for the day she wasn’t born.

  53. Seems like perfect confirmation of that page-top quote about “Naturists’” self-hatred.

    Indeed, Tom. And lest anyone think “rosie hughes” is an isolated nutcase, hop over to RC and check out some of the lengthy apologies in praise of rosie’s truth. This is consensus unmasked; the echatology of millennial apocalypse expressed in “science-y” terms when conditions are favorable. But whenever a claim is exposed as unreasoned and unscientific, the cult rises to proclaim their Truth. “If glacier data is a little incorrect but helps that effort, then the data is true in all but a very narrow and clinical scientific sense.” It is not substantively different than those who defend one corridor of exposed corruption and fallacy by saying “well, the science is much larger than this one claim.” Indeed it is. The science of climatology, it seems, is larger than Science itself.

  54. jrok, that’s in the same vein as Dan Rather’s “fake but true” letter on George W. Bush’s National Guard service. If it’s not true in a narrow and clinical scientific sense, then in what sense is it true at all?

  55. If it’s not true in a narrow and clinical scientific sense, then in what sense is it true at all?

    Jay, it is “true” in the sense that it conforms to a brand of Millenarianism that we are still struggling to outgrow. I actually think this is very pertinent to what Shenpen and I were discussing on esr’s “If God is dead…” thread. Is rosie’s nihilism a result of rosie asking questions she isn’t equipped to answer? Yeah, I think so. Is it an accident that the “Hockey Stick” evolved alongside of Fukuyama’s “End of History”, the Y2K Bug, the Heaven’s Gate cult, etc? No. Rosie and her fellow travelers don’t know it, but they share a large block of cultural DNA with the Branch Dividians and Shakers. They are a cosmology absent a religion. This is a more dangerous phenomenon then I think many atheists understand. In destroying theism, what will rise to take it’s place?

  56. jrok,

    “But a science which depends on articles of faith is as horrifying as a religion which pretends to be rational and observable.”

    I wonder if you really meant it or was it just a metaphor. Because the of the two IMHO most respectable approaches to religion, Buddhism claims to be observable and Thomism claims to be rational. Neither are particularly horrible. Although, of course, neither claims to be both at the same time – perhaps that would really be horrible, who knows :)

  57. “The stark lunacy of this statement should be apparent to anyone when they realize that “15 years” accounts for a full ten percent of instrumental record”

    it actually much accounts for _much more_ if we use the _same_ argument that the alarmist used for why not look at a 200, 500, or 10000 years old trend: only satellite measurements are reliable.

    Probably the simplest way to show what is wrong with the alarmist position – to a complete layman like me – is to point out that if only satellites are reliable, it doesn’t predict the latest 30-40% of the measurements, while if we can take other measurements into consideration and thus talk about 100, 200, 500 or 10000 years old climate trends, the hockey stick is insignificant.

  58. “I yearn for the day when i might not have been born!”

    I think this _was_ a parody – this was a truly excellent troll practicing his trade. No way this can be for real. OTOH the Encyclopaedia Dramatica is full of such stuff, so Occam’s Razor says it’s a troll. A good one.

  59. @Shenpen

    it actually much accounts for _much more_ if we use the _same_ argument that the alarmist used for why not look at a 200, 500, or 10000 years old trend: only satellite measurements are reliable.

    When confronting this sort of junk science, I find it best to be as “forgiving” as possible to the junk salesmen. Give them 150 years instead of 130. Round everything off to the sort of nice, neat numbers the IPCC prefers. Of course, it still fails the smell test, and of course the answer is still “theory not proven,” because the shred of direct observational data that we do have still relies virtually 100% on reconstruction to prove any kind of significance whatsoever. That was what honest people should have found troubling about Mann’s insistence that Briffa was no longer being helpful, and that Yamal in particular was a powderkeg. Without trustworthy reconstruction, even satellite data is meaningless… warmer compared to what?

    This email (from Kaufman at NAU to Briffa last February) makes it crystal clear what the sort of paelo-pickle the Team was finding themselves in:

    Hello Keith:

    Following the recommendations of Malcolm and Phil (via Ray), it’s clear that I should have come to you sooner. I am now well along on a manuscript that summarizes 2000-year-long proxy temperature records from the Arctic (attached). The impetus for the paper is the new compilation of high-resolution lake records that my group recently published in J Paleolimnology.

    On the tree-ring side, it’s clear to me now that I should not have used the series from the Mann et al. compilation, and I hadn’t see your 2008 Phil Trans paper until just last week. As far as I can tell, the only records that meet the criteria for this study are your three new RCS series from Eurasia and D’Arrigo’s Gulf of Alaska record. Apparently, none of the Malcolm’s series in Mann et al. were processed in a way that would preserve the millennial trend, and these should be omitted from the synthesis.

    This was an early alarm bell for what McIntyre would undercover later that year about the Yamal series: it had no statistical meaning whatsoever, because the trees that were selected were far less well-replicated than the ones that weren’t. This set off a firestorm of emails in September that showed the Team in pure panic mode about MWP, with Osborn quite frankly bearing the bad news that the villainous denier McIntyre had a salient point about Briffa’s R2s.

    One thing to understand is how close this brawl over Yamal came to the leak itself, and that Briffa – and all of dendrochronology as pertains to AGW – was in danger of getting thrown under the bus. The fact that Briffa was actually cooperating with McIntyre in handing him data (rather than the Team’s method of icing anyone out who didn’t already subscribe to their theory), is a massive boost for the notion that Briffa turned in his buddies at CRU. I suspect that Briffa considered the roomful of egomaniacal crooks he was standing in, and realized that even his honest mistakes in selection would be seen as part of the wider fraud.

  60. I think this _was_ a parody – this was a truly excellent troll practicing his trade. No way this can be for real. OTOH the Encyclopaedia Dramatica is full of such stuff, so Occam’s Razor says it’s a troll. A good one.

    Sadly, I don’t think this is correct. We hear variants of this theme all the time, and can even trace their evolution. Anyway, many true-believers on RC rush to support this mindset, although tiptoeing past the nihilism at its core: Mankind taints the Earth Mother, which would be better off without us.

  61. But! Whether she is a troll or not, it does beg another question: The Team, in their email orisions, seemed very keen on the idea of using RC as a direct propaganda organ, including moderating out dissenting opinions from the comments sections of articles in order to preserve the “integrity” of the site. But… this gets through?

    Then again, I suppose they have bigger fish to fry at the moment. :)

  62. Yeah Dan, those were the bozos I was thinking of. Reminds me of the Shakers, but at least the Shakers made nice chairs.

  63. “Mankind “taints the Earth Mother, which would be better off without us.”

    I have but one thing to say to the advocates of this position:

    “Go ahead; stop tainting the Earth Mother.”

  64. >“Go ahead; stop tainting the Earth Mother.”

    Yep, and I’m here to help you in your noble and sacred quest. I got yer 230-grain hardball right here.

  65. If you shoot them in the head with hardball, you might miss their pea-brain.

    Go with a glaser, or a 12 gauge……or nuke ‘em from orbit…..only way to be sure ;)

  66. Pete says:

    Suppose we’d measured warming at 0.01 +/– 0.001 degrees/decade for those 15 years. This would be statistically significant, but not scientifically significant.

    On the other hand, the actual measurement of about 0.12 +/– 0.13 degrees/decade is not statistically significant, but is scientifically significant.

    You so don’t understand the concept of significance that it’s becoming funny.

    In actual fact, a measurement of 0.12 +/– 0.13 degrees per decade is not scientifically significant evidence for warming, because it is statistically consistent with zero. I would recommend that you abstain from posting further misinformation about science and statistics unless you are trying to bolster the view that AGW advocates are either stupid or dishonest.

    Oh, and while we’re at it: in 2002, drought conditions on the East Coast of the US were attributed to global warming. Now the increased precipitation is blamed on… you guessed it! Global warming! Lovely page here with a telling quote from Trenberth.

    The use of any deviation from the mean as evidence for AGW is actually quite clever, since the probability of being right on the mean is actually quite low. In fact, it is almost certain that in any given year someplace will be experiencing unusual weather, so every year there will be something dramatic that can be attributed to AGW. If it weren’t so scientifically dishonest, it would be brilliant.

    Oh, and while we’re at it.

  67. >>> “Mankind “taints the Earth Mother, which would be better off without us.”

    Sentiments of this kind show, as I have said for years, that environmentalism is an anti-human philosophy.

    Sure, a cleaner Earth, and clean air and water. No sane person would oppose that.

    But what good is a clean Earth if there is no one here to appreciate it? They talk about humans as if we are not part of the natural environs, as if we got dropped by aliens, or were made in factories or something.

  68. MagicDave:

    In actual fact, a measurement of 0.12 +/– 0.13 degrees per decade is not scientifically significant evidence for warming, because it is statistically consistent with zero.

    The phrase “scientifically significant evidence” is meaningless. Statistical significance refers to evidence, scientific significance describes conclusions.

  69. The phrase “scientifically significant evidence” is meaningless. Statistical significance refers to evidence, scientific significance describes conclusions.

    You’re the one who coined the phrase “scientifically significant.” Apparently you recognize that you were speaking nonsense, which is good.

    However, even though there is a big difference between a statistically significant result and one that is actually of true significance, a result that is not statistically significant cannot ever be “scientifically” significant. I think that is at the core of your deep misunderstanding.

  70. PhysicistRich, do you know what a conspiracy is? It’s when a group of people act in coordination with each other to achieve an aim which cannot be achieved without that coordination. A classic conspiracy is the Jim Crow laws. The conspirators (white) didn’t want to do business with blacks in ante-bellum America. Without conspiring, their business competitors would deal with blacks equally and make more money. Indulging in their dislike of blacks would only come at the cost of their business. Thus, being in the majority, they conspired to pass a law to force all business owners to discriminate against blacks.

    It’s NOT a conspiracy when people’s ordinary incentives get them to the alleged goal of the conspiracy. It’s not a conspiracy that your stationary store has pencils exactly when you happen to walk into the store to buy them. Everyone who engaged in all the steps necessary to make and distribute pencils simply pursued their short-term greedy goals, and thus is exposed how free market plans to provide you with pencils.

    It’s NOT a conspiracy when politicians convince citizens to give them more power, when Al Gore starts a business that profits from his advocacy, when climate scientists find disaster in the climate which needs more study.

  71. Gary Turner: do please understand that there are different schools of economics. The MIT/Harvard school says that math is everything, and if you can’t put your economic ideas into equations, and if you can’t put your economic observations into numbers, then it’s not economics. The Austrian school says that if you need math to prove that you’re right, then you’ree wrong from the get-go because you’re being scientistic (following the form of science rather than the nature of it).

  72. pete, when did 1995 – 1978 become 24 years? With my calculator, it’s 18 years. I won’t accuse you of cheating or stupidity, but I will accuse you of being careless.

  73. >pete, when did 1995 – 1978 become 24 years? With my calculator, it’s 18 years. I won’t accuse you of cheating or stupidity, but I will accuse you of being careless.

    Should be 1975–1998. Also, I would recommend checking any post where you accuse someone of carelessness very carefully. Just in case you accidentally switch the endpoints around or something.

  74. @MagicDave:

    On the off-chance that you’re not being deliberately obtuse, I’ll try again with a little more rigor.

    A true 0.12 degrees/decade trend would be scientifically significant. 15 years gives us insufficient power to detect a 0.12 degrees/decade trend with 95% confidence. Therefore, a statistically insignificant empirical trend does not imply that the true trend is scientifically insignificant.

  75. # Russell Nelson Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Gary Turner: do please understand that there are different schools of economics. The MIT/Harvard school says that math is everything, and if you can’t put your economic ideas into equations, and if you can’t put your economic observations into numbers, then it’s not economics. The Austrian school says that if you need math to prove that you’re right, then you’ree wrong from the get-go because you’re being scientistic (following the form of science rather than the nature of it).

    I won’t pretend to know one econ school of thought from another — it’s been almost fifty years since my school days. I do strongly believe that for economics to be a useful, it must be quantifiable, and thus the math. There is the psychological element, but psychology is all about statistics, right? An Austrian school? Didn’t they give the world Freud? Psychiatry is certainly not mathematically rigorous, or helpful either.

    cheers,

    gary

  76. I overheard a conversation today that suggests we’re reaching a tipping point in public opinion of AGW.

  77. “psychology is all about statistics, right?”

    In a descriptive, not predictive sense…right? Psychology seems to be more about chaos theory.

  78. I would urge everyone to read the full original interview before making up your mind whether this is some kind of admission that “blows the gaff”.

    Jones lists four periods (1860-1880, 1910-1940, 1975-1998, and 1975-2009) as showing statistically significant worming. These are all periods longer than 20 years. The Daily Mail of course quoted selectively, and so did esr, because they are fundamentally politically biased actors rather than scientists.

    Jones is also quoted as saying:

    I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

    So what kind of person trots out the one sentence in that interview that might support AGW denialism (if you don’t read carefully and are statistically illiterate), while ignoring the much stronger statements to the contrary? The kind of person who has a pre-formed political goal and only is interested in evidence that supports it, obviously.

  79. @Pete — no, but the absence of a lack of evidence does not disprove the falseness of what you’re not retracting.

    “Statistical significance” is an unfortunate term because to the lay person (I’m a statistician by training) it conflates certainty, magnitude, and importance. With a large enough sample you can be highly certain of a very small effect, which may or may not matter.

    The problem with climate science — quite apart from the noisy data, simplistic models, sloppy code, and outright fraud — is that whole decades can be “anomalous”, so you need something like a century of consistent, high-quality data to discern a signal. It’s not clear that’s even possible to obtain, much less what you could infer about root cause, and less still how you could possibly justify making public policy 100 years in advance of gathering that century of data.

  80. @Jeff Bonwick:

    The absence of a lack of evidence would in fact disprove the falseness of what I’m not retracting. If you’re going to try to be cute with double negatives, you might want to get them right.

    You might also want to get your characterisation of climate science right.

    I’ve heard plenty of unpleasant adjectives attached to AOGCM, but never “simplistic”. There’s plenty of “sloppy code” in any discipline, but some of the climate modellers produce better code than NASA. Noisy data I’ll give you, but I’m yet to see any evidence of “outright fraud” (unless you count Oil and Tobacco lobbyists like Fred Singer as climate scientists).

    As for “something like a century”, you can detect the warming signal in as little as 14 years of data.

  81. Dan:
    >…but why don’t they get serious and embrace mass suicide? They can lead the way….

    Eric:
    >Yep, and I’m here to help you in your noble and sacred quest. I got yer 230-grain hardball right here.

    Har har. More jokes about mass suicide and shooting people that you disagree with.
    But that’s just “hyperbole”, right?

  82. “Simplistic” does not mean “simple” — just nowhere near as complex as reality. It’s not just that they treat cubic miles of atmosphere as points; more fundamentally, several major inputs are just missing: volcanoes, solar variation, cosmic ray flux — because we have no idea how to predict them.

    “Noisy data” we can all agree.

    “Sloppy code” does indeed exist elsewhere, but that doesn’t fix this code.

    “Outright fraud” has been proven beyond reasonable doubt in the case of the hockey stick, the signature graphic of the whole AGW enterprise.

  83. > “Outright fraud” has been proven beyond reasonable doubt in the case of the hockey stick, the signature graphic of the whole AGW enterprise.

    Nope. Try as you might, repeating this claim with your fingers in your ears won’t make it true.

    But neither you (or most other contrarians) for that matter are really interested in what I might say. You’ve already made up your mind.

  84. “Har har. More jokes about mass suicide and shooting people that you disagree with.
    But that’s just “hyperbole”, right?”

    “people you disagree with”? I admit that isn’t hyperbole, but it’s a hell of an understatement. I’d say shooting people who think earth would be better off without you and would like to make it a reality is a fairly reasonable proposition.

  85. > I’d say shooting people who think earth would be better off without you and would like to make it a reality is a fairly reasonable proposition.

    Fortunately for them, we relatively civilized folk wait until they actually try something actively coercive. I admit I have inherited quite a bit of the fundamentalist zeal in mentality (ironically enough for a skeptic), but I know enough that simple ideological purges are neither useful in the long-term nor justifiable by my principles.

  86. > Nope. Try as you might, repeating this claim with your fingers in your ears won’t make it true.

    And try as you might, repeatedly saying nothing of note with your entire head corkscrewed up your own behind won’t falsify it.

    Given the epitaphs that have been hurled at sane critics of this pseudo-science over the years, I think it’s high time we started calling people who fail to see the fraud exactly what they are: “suckers.”

    Here is a simple intelligence test. Read Jones’ email exchange with Mann where he says ” If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the United Kingdom, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone,” or his mutlitude of “burn this” emails where he demands recipients immediately delete communications. Then, compare it with Jones’ latest statements about variously misplacing and innocently disposing of raw data. If your response is merely to shrug and say “I see no signs of fraud,” then you are simply a sucker. You would most likely buy the Brooklyn Bridge twice.

  87. I, for one, am glad that Pete et al are bringing their special brand of optimism to this forum.

    It is enlightening to observe. The further down the rathole this ‘AGW religious cult’ spirals, the more enlightening it becomes.

    Damn. I’m out of popcorn.

  88. @jrok: What’s interesting is that if these had e-mails had been between Bush and Cheney, in the White House rather than CRU, over oil rather than climate, these same people would be the first to be calling for crucifixion. Fraud is fraud, whether it is committed by people who agree with your politics or not.

    I think one place this nearly religious zealotry comes from is the whole “Us” vs. “Them” politics. Once you realize that “Us” and “Them” are the same people, your whole political perspective tends to change.

  89. “Fortunately for them, we relatively civilized folk wait until they actually try something actively coercive.”

    Oh, I suspect they’ll stick to meme retailing. After all, suicide is a tough sell — at least the Salafists offer virgins in heaven.

    The freelance memebots are the ones that will require accurate aim.

  90. “Fortunately for them, we relatively civilized folk wait until they actually try something actively coercive.”

    Which is why I suspect they’ll stick to meme retailing and wait for a million Jokers to bloom.

  91. Jones to Mann (“For Mann’s eyes only… only for his”)

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: Re: For your eyes only
    Date: Thu Feb 3 13:11:46 2005

    Mike,

    I presume congratulations are in order – so congrats etc ! Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

    Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it !

    Are you planning a complete reworking of your paleo series? Like to be involved if you are. Had a quick look at Ch 6 on paleo of AR4. The MWP side bar references Briffa, Bradley, Mann, Jones, Crowley, Hughes, Diaz – oh and Lamb ! Looks OK, but I can’t see it getting past all the stages in its present form. MM and SB get dismissed. All the right emphasis is there, but the wording on occasions will be crucial. I expect this to be the main contentious issue in AR4. I expect (hope) that the MSU one will fade away. It seems the more the CCSP (the thing Tom Karl is organizing) looks into Christy and Spencer’s series, the more problems/issues they are finding. I might be on the NRC review panel, so will keep you informed. Rob van Dorland is an LA on the Radiative Forcing chapter, so he’s a paleo expert by GRL statndards.

    Cheers
    Phil

    P.S. Burn after reading.

    Having read the entirety of these emails, I think all the scientists Jones has smeared over the years are being a little magnanimous in his defeat. CRU operated a textbook example of science gone rotten, and Jones was a gleeful ringleader for that rot. A long prison term for this cretin would not be unjustifiable. Instead, they are loading the deck with aces for the inquiry.

  92. @morgan greywolf:

    Yeah, the whole of this mess is politicized to the core. To his credit, Christy has been complaining about this for years. I have to admit that Global Warming is one hell of a political plank: “If you vote for the other guy, the world is gonna end!”

    The sad part is that I would be a strong advocate for alternative energies, if the strategy the Greens put on the table wasn’t so plainly suicidal. I think alternative energy is an important goal: not because of the “Climate Change” hoax, but because the majority of the fossil resources that the West relies on to function are located in the hands of the world’s worst despots, whose societies are rattrapped in the Hell of undiversified oil economies. It is a viscous cycle that must eventually be broken, but this is neither the goal of the Greens nor a possible result of the U.N’s schemes. The opposite case is true. These schemes will see to it that countries like Venezuela, Russia, Nigeria and China will prosper unabated at the expense of the free world, strengthening their hands while the West withers and dies. It is madness poured upon madness.

  93. From Gary Turner:
    >An Austrian school? Didn’t they give the world Freud? Psychiatry is certainly not mathematically rigorous, or helpful either.

    Freud has nothing to do with the Austrian School of economics. As for psychiatry, I am sorry to hear that you found it unhelpful, but you should be careful about generalizing from your own personal experience.

  94. The sad part is that I would be a strong advocate for alternative energies, if the strategy the Greens put on the table wasn’t so plainly suicidal.

    Clearly, alternative energies are the right thing for a lot of reasons, among them are, as you point out, that some of the world’s largest known oil reserves are in the Middle East[*].

    There are lots of other good reasons as well, however. One of them is basic economics: the burning of fossil fuels is simply not very efficient and oil is becoming increasingly more expensive. Another one is that the mining and burning fossil fuels is very polluting. Nevermind the AGW stuff. The problems associated with smog and oil spills are very real; there’s no controversy there.

    [*] To be fair, I’ll also point out that, by far, the United States’ largest supplier of oil isn’t the Middle East, it’s actually Canada. :)

  95. # morgan greywolf Says:
    > Clearly, alternative energies are the right thing for a lot of reasons,

    If it is so clear, why isn’t anyone making a profit from doing it? Clearly if you only look at the advantages of alternatives, and disadvantages of oil, then alternatives are better, but that is not an honest assessment.

    > among them are, as you point out, that some of the world’s largest
    > known oil reserves are in the Middle East[*].

    This is incorrect. The largest known reserves of oil are in the Orinoco basin in Venezuela, followed closely by the Athabascan sands in central Alberta. There is more oil in each of these individually than in all the known liquid reserves in the world. “But” you say, “it is harder to recover.” And so it comes down to where it should — price. Of course, Venezuela is hardly very friendly, but Canadians seem to like us, (except when we kick their butt at downhill skiing.)

    > One of them is basic economics: the burning of fossil fuels is simply
    > not very efficient

    Less efficient than what? Windmills? Ethanol? Some theoretical alternative that doesn’t exist in the real world?

    It is also important to note that oil is significant for two reasons: both that it is a good source of energy, but also that it is an efficient way to transport energy capacity, and can be converted into useful energy with small, fairly efficient devices.

    > and oil is becoming increasingly more expensive.

    That isn’t true either, outside of the political forces arrayed to deliberately make it more expensive. Regardless, price is a great mechanism for regulating these sorts of decisions.

    > Another one is that the mining and burning fossil fuels is very polluting.

    It can be, but it can also not be. Depends on the cost. I guess we are back at price again.

  96. @Jessica — so true. The problem is that it’s hard to know the true cost of any energy source because the market is so distorted by government intervention. Oil appears cheap, but is at least partly subsidized by military spending and foreign aid. Nuclear appears expensive, but mainly for regulatory reasons. Ethanol has the corn subsidy, and so on. In addition, the cost of pollution for oil, coal, etc is almost entirely externalized and hard to quantify.

    Nuclear seems the least bad of the practically viable options, in that it doesn’t pollute the air, consumes very little land (vs. coal, solar, wind), is of unlimited domestic supply, and produces a small amount of highly concentrated waste that is easier to manage than the massive emissions from burning coal or growing corn.

  97. # Jeff Bonwick Says:
    > In addition, the cost of pollution for oil, coal, etc is
    > almost entirely externalized and hard to quantify.

    Not strictly true. These costs have been internalized, or sometimes transferred to specific individuals through government regulation and lawsuit. For example, used to be fog was very common in London, but this is no longer the case due to the elimination of dirty coal in domestic fireplaces. Of course there are much better ways to do this than regulation, but it is one place where there has been some positive impact. One place where non regulatory compliance has internalized the cost is via various lawsuits and trespass type actions (for example, the Exxon Valdez was very expensive for Exxon.)

    > Nuclear seems the least bad of the practically viable options,
    > in that it doesn’t pollute the air, consumes very little land

    Right, nuclear is a good option for energy production. However, it doesn’t solve the equally important problem of energy transportation. Oil is so valuable because it is both easy to transport and easy to convert to energy. You can’t put a nuclear power plant in your car.

  98. Jessica Boxer,

    There are other costs to oil besides the price. There is a growing and increasingly powerful literature in political science showing that significant oil reserves have many harmful effects on a country, owing primarily to the almost universal claim by governments to exclusive control over what’s in the ground.

    Oil, and to a much lesser extent other natural resources, is directly linked to corrupt government, economic distortions caused by exchange-rate imbalances (the “Dutch Disease”), reliance on state coercion rather than popular legitimacy, overly abundant social-welfare programs meant to buy voters off (which then lead to further economic distortions), and dysfunctional fiscal policies that usually culminate in staggering national debt. This is commonly called “the resource curse.”

    Certain Latin American statesmen call oil “the Devil’s excrement,” for what it has done to their countries.

    Moving away from oil would be a great blow in the fight for human freedom against statism.

  99. # Mastiff Says:
    > Moving away from oil would be a great blow in the fight
    > for human freedom against statism.

    Good point. Oil free countries are libertarian paradises. Does anyone know how to get citizenship in Zimbabwe?

  100. Oil free countries are libertarian paradises.

    Really? In comments to a post about bad science? The many implicit fallacies in that one sentence defy explication.

    However, I will clarify that I’m by no means a Luddite. I am quite happy to keep using oil for just long enough for alternatives to be viable, and not a second longer. And I’m not sure why you dismiss the link between oil and statist oppression so flippantly.

    Indeed, Zimbabwe illustrates my point to some degree. Zimbabwe is in dire straits right now, in very small part, because it cannot generate its own usable motive energy, and cannot afford to buy it in its current form (oil). That is because oil production is by nature concentrated in the hands of a few actors. Whereas other means such as micro-nuke plants, ethanol, or solar power could in theory be used by anyone, regardless of geographic accident.

    I eagerly anticipate a world in which free individuals can generate their own power, and not rely on organs of the state (theirs or someone else’s) to fuel their cars. I see no reason why you should not.

  101. Pete says:

    A true 0.12 degrees/decade trend would be scientifically significant. 15 years gives us insufficient power to detect a 0.12 degrees/decade trend with 95% confidence. Therefore, a statistically insignificant empirical trend does not imply that the true trend is scientifically insignificant.

    Wow. Now you’re confusing the mean with the truth. It just gets worse and worse.

    A truetrend of zero is scientifically significant. So is a true trend of 0.12 degrees per decade. Thing is, we don’t know what the true trend is, so we have to make measurements to try to figure out what it is. Your claim that some results are more important for establishing truth than others is diametrically opposed to everything science stands for.

    You’ve assumed that the mean over the last 15 years is the truth. Why? Because it happens to be a value that you want to be the truth. To you, the fact that this value is not statistically significant doesn’t keep you from believing that it represents reality.

    As with your previous use of pejoratives to characterize people with whom you disagree, this position shows that you have no interest in the actual science, but only in the conclusions.

  102. >Wow. Now you’re confusing the mean with the truth.

    Nope, didn’t happen. Read it again.

  103. Back @Jessica — fair point about some fossil fuel costs being internalized. It’s a mixed bag.

    And you’re quite right about liquid fuels for transportation — I was describing base load power.

    Trivia for you: the energy density of gasoline is about a megajoule per ounce. Gas pumps dispense a gallon in about six seconds. So when you fill up your car, the rate of energy transfer is roughly 20 megawatts. Matching that is a real challenge for electric cars.

  104. # Mastiff Says:
    > I am quite happy to keep using oil for just long enough
    > for alternatives to be viable, and not a second longer.

    So any alternative will do? This attitude is precisely the one I was deriding, namely that oil is no longer politically correct, and consequently one can only see the disadvantages of oil and the advantages of alternatives. How about a serious discussion of the pros and cons? How about recognizing that “alternatives” have significant disadvantages to outweigh their advantages? How about recognizing that the political sabotaging of oil, or best option for energy generation, has caused many of the problems you complain about in the first place?

    > And I’m not sure why you dismiss the link between oil and statist oppression so flippantly.

    Because it is ridiculous. It also reveals a myopic view of the world. The fact is that the vast majority of countries, oil rich or not, are deeply oppressive. Let me offer you this simple thought experiment. If someone developed a technology today that eliminated the need for oil overnight, would the people of Saudi Arabia be less oppressed a year from now or more so? Would they be better off or worse off?

    > Indeed, Zimbabwe illustrates my point to some degree. Zimbabwe
    > is in dire straits right now, in very small part, because it cannot generate
    > its own usable motive energy,

    That is utter nonsense. Zimbabwe is in a mess because Mugabee is a tyrant, and has followed a policy of taking all productive assets from productive people and giving them to unproductive political cronies. Zimbabwean cars ran just fine before Mugabee went postal.

    > Whereas other means such as micro-nuke plants, ethanol, or
    > solar power could in theory be used by anyone,

    Let me offer another thought experiment: if France shipped one hundred mini-nuclear energy plants to Zimbabwe, after one year would the people there be less oppressed or more oppressed? Would they be worse off or better off?

    > I eagerly anticipate a world in which free individuals can generate
    > their own power, and not rely on organs of the state

    Yup that would be great. If you know how to do it, then raise some capital, find some smart people, do it, and buy a 200 foot yacht with the profits. On the other hand, if you don’t know how to do it, please explain why you think it can be done. Genies and lamps are in short supply these days.

  105. Zimbabwe was once rightly called “the Jewel of Africa” with a currency stronger than most European cousins, a healthy, the highest standard of living on the continent and the longest life expectancy of any sub-Saharan African country. All of these markers fell dramatically with every year of Mugabi’s rule. I recall seeing a chart that showed life expectancy dropping two years for each year of Mugabi’s reign, and the Zimbabe pound being devalued at an outrageous slope. Zimbabwe’s troubles, like most of post-colonial Africa’s trouble, are purely political. Frankly, places like Zimbabwe and Congo would be bustling economies with very high averages of personal wealth, but the collapse of the Rule of Law and the culture of corruption and tribal factionalism has shot them in one leg and stabbed them in the other.

  106. >I’m still betting on the programmer, Harry Harris.

    In my experience, engineers tend to have a considerable measure of personal integrity. I used to believe that scientists did too, but I’m not at all sure of that anymore.

  107. jrok celebrates the Rule of Law, which is kind of amusing since he is calling for gross violations of the law in the torture discussion that follows this one.

    Some guy: a programmer with integrity or any kind of professionalism would not publicize private emails that they happened to have access to.

  108. > Some guy: a programmer with integrity or any kind of professionalism would not publicize private emails that they happened to have access to.

    Really? What if they blew the whistle on … torture?

  109. jrok celebrates the Rule of Law, which is kind of amusing since he is calling for gross violations of the law in the torture discussion that follows this one.

    Actually, no. I am arguing for the Rule of Law, there as here. Defining acceptable methods of interrogation are a matter of Law, not of individual caprice. That is the only reason serious-minded people are discussing them, actually. It doesn’t seem you fit into that group.

  110. Tom: Torture is illegal. If a programmer comes across evidence of illegal activity they have an obligation to report it; it is something of a case-specific judgement call whether that obligation outweighs the conflicting obligation to respect confidentiality, but for a crime as heinous as torture the decision should be clear. The CRU emails did not involve illegal activity.

  111. jrok: torture is clearly illegal, there is no ambiguity in the law or in the definition of what constitutes torture. “Interrogation methods” like waterboarding have been prosecuted as war crimes since the Philippine War and are clearly crimes under the Torture Act, the War Crimes Act, the Geneva Conventions, and the UN Convention on Torture, and a number of other laws and treaties.

    People who pretend that there is any wiggle room for torture in this large body of law are mere apologists for the worst aspects of authoritarian state power. Too bad for you Bush is no longer in office — you could get a job.

  112. pete, please acknowledge that 1995 – 1978 is much less than 24, and admit that you were a dumbfuck, and further that you found error where none existed.

  113. torture is clearly illegal, there is no ambiguity in the law or in the definition of what constitutes torture.

    Well, in danger of feeding the troll further, I can say that the above statement is ludicrous. There is a TON of ambiguity in Geneva, which is the entire reason for approaching the Justice Department and the Supremes with specific definitions.

    Again, I know that certain people who have responded to this haven’t thought seriously about these matters. I guess it’s okay that they don’t (not everyone is equipped to think about thorny issues), but to claim that Geneva or the Torture Act clearly defined techniques that were and were not legal is just proof of ignorance. Willful ignorance, I suspect. It’s easy to indignantly proclaim that “hurting people is wrong.” But attempting to parse whether an action qualifies as a necessary evil or a net good requires a level of maturity that certain people will never acquire. No wiggling required, goddinpotty. Just reason and experience.

  114. @Russell Nelson:

    Have a look at the table in the BBC interview. There was significant warming during the 24 years 1975–1998. I’ve already acknowledged that I accidentally switched the 5 and 8.

    Does a typo make me a “dumbfuck”? In that case I invite you to admit that you’re a dumbfuck for not knowing the difference between “stationary” and “stationery”.

  115. Jessica Boxer,

    So any alternative will do? This attitude is precisely the one I was deriding, namely that oil is no longer politically correct, and consequently one can only see the disadvantages of oil and the advantages of alternatives.

    We’re not actually arguing here. That’s why I used the word “viable” when describing alternatives. I meant that seriously.

    > And I’m not sure why you dismiss the link between oil and statist oppression so flippantly.

    Because it is ridiculous. It also reveals a myopic view of the world. The fact is that the vast majority of countries, oil rich or not, are deeply oppressive.

    No argument here. But here is the difference: countries that discover new, nationalized oil fields will grow more economically dysfunctional than before, and if they are democracies, their political system will be subverted.

    To some degree, this has happened with Norway:

    http://ideas.repec.org/p/ssb/dispap/362.html
    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/711121936-32105576/content~db=all~content=a723762965

    Also to some degree, the resource curse has had ill effects on the state of Alaska:

    http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/iser/people/colt/econ337_f05/resource_curse_alaska_aug2005.pdf

    Your further discussion of Zimbabwe is on point. The effects of the resource curse are magnified by autocratic government, and even without it autocrats are evil scum. But that does not mean you should reject the resource curse altogether. That is why moving away from oil would add to human happiness: because it would alleviate the distorting effects of massive state wealth, bubbling up from the ground.

    You can find a general discussion of the resource curse, albeit about a decade old and not including recent research, here:

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/ross/paper.pdf

    I think you are having an argument with someone else, who happens to have my name attached to him in your head.

  116. The legal arguments for why waterboarding is torture and illegal are laid out pretty well here. Seems pretty airtight to me, although I guess you can always find intellectually corrupt lawyers (like John Yoo) and others (you lot) to argue the other way.

    I wonder what experience jrok brings to this discussion. Have you been a torturer, or a torture victim? I highly doubt it. Do you work in counterintelligence? The opinion of intelligence professionals seems to be overwhelmingly that torture is a bad, bad idea (a different issue than whether it is legal or not, of course). I have not had personal experience of torture but members of my extended family have, in Nazi Germany and under the Pinochet regime in Chile. In both cases torture had nothing to do with producing actionable intelligence, and everything to do with propping up a sadistic and lawless regime. And in both cases the high-level perpetrators were eventually brought up before a court and convicted, which was small consolation. But significant in that civilization has had a chance to publically condemn these practices. I fervently hope that the people who have been practicing torture in my name will eventually have to face trial for their crimes.

  117. Jessica Boxer,

    So any alternative will do? This attitude is precisely the one I was deriding, namely that oil is no longer politically correct, and consequently one can only see the disadvantages of oil and the advantages of alternatives.

    We’re not actually arguing here. That’s why I used the word “viable” when describing alternatives. I meant that seriously.

    > And I’m not sure why you dismiss the link between oil and statist oppression so flippantly.

    Because it is ridiculous. It also reveals a myopic view of the world. The fact is that the vast majority of countries, oil rich or not, are deeply oppressive.

    No argument here. But here is the difference: countries that discover new, nationalized oil fields will grow more economically dysfunctional than before, and if they are democracies, their political system will be subverted.

    To some degree, this has happened with Norway, and on the state of Alaska.

    Your further discussion of Zimbabwe is on point. The effects of the resource curse are magnified by autocratic government, and even without it autocrats are evil scum. But that does not mean you should reject the resource curse altogether. That is why moving away from oil would add to human happiness: because it would alleviate the distorting effects of massive state wealth, bubbling up from the ground.

    You can find a general discussion of the resource curse, albeit about a decade old and not including recent research, here.

    I think you are having an argument with someone else, who happens to have my name attached to him in your head.

  118. I fervently hope that the people who have been practicing torture in my name will eventually have to face trial for their crimes.

    Ah, there is that puerile “moral vanity” Eric was referring to. What a glorious fantasy world you seem to inhabit.

  119. Sorry, what fantasy is that? The Nuremberg Tribunals and the International Criminal Court are definitely part of the real world. Getting Cheney and Addington and Yoo in front of the latter may be a fantasy, I suppose, but one not that far-fetched.

  120. >Sorry, what fantasy is that? The Nuremberg Tribunals and the International Criminal Court are definitely part of the real world. Getting Cheney and Addington and Yoo in front of the latter may be a fantasy, I suppose, but one not that far-fetched.

    Not going to happen. No U.S. administration will fail to oppose efforts to haul officials of the previous administration into an international court for “crimes against humanity”, for the very good reason that they can readily imagine it happening to themselves in another four years. That’s the trouble with using criminal prosecutions as a tool in political disputes; once you’ve started, it’s difficult to keep it from coming back around to bite you.

    Obama has been ordering up targeted killings via UAV by the truckloads in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I view this as a great deal more prudent, effective, and humane than conventional warfare with boots on the ground — but I have absolutely no doubt that somewhere in moonbat-land there are dreams of sweeping this technique into the “crimes against humanity” bucket, precisely because it’s both effective and cheap.

    Obama’s crew is not stupid enough to fail to miss this likelihood, which is why they won’t let Cheney be hauled into a prisoner’s dock in The Hague. Nor can they allow any serving or retired U.S. military officer to be prosecuted; that would, in effect, be a declaration of war by the administration against its own soldiers for their part in executing lawful orders.

  121. >> Nope. Try as you might, repeating this claim with your fingers in your ears won’t make it true.

    >Here is a simple intelligence test. Read Jones’ email exchange with Mann where he says ” If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the United Kingdom, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone,” or his mutlitude of “burn this” emails where he demands recipients immediately delete communications. Then, compare it with Jones’ latest statements about variously misplacing and innocently disposing of raw data. If your response is merely to shrug and say “I see no signs of fraud,” then you are simply a sucker. You would most likely buy the Brooklyn Bridge twice.

    Sigh.  Once more, with (hopefully) feeling:

    1. Jeff Bonwick said:
    > ““Outright fraud” has been proven beyond reasonable doubt in the case of the hockey stick, the signature graphic of the whole AGW enterprise.”

    Each proposition in that sentence is demonstrably false. See the New
    Scientist summary here; this
    more detailed discussion at Realclimate; Mann’s recent
    work; and even (just because I know how much jrok loves it) the Wikipedia
    “controversy” article.

    2. Whether or not the CRU emails provide evidence of any failures to
    comply with the requirements of UK FOI law (noting that there has been
    an investigation that concluded charges could be brought if not for a
    statutory time bar), this is logically not the same thing as evidence
    of fraud by anyone at CRU or anywhere else and no such evidence has
    been identified.

    Your attempt to conflate these issues as a “simple intelligence test”
    is certainly telling, but not (I expect) in the manner you intended.

  122. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, if the US fails to prosecute officials guilty of major crimes, then the other signatories to the UN Convention on Torture have a positive obligation to arrest them if possible and either extradite them to the US or prosecute them locally. Spanish prosecutors like Balthazar Garzón are not subjec to the same pressures as US politicians. So Yoo et al probably ought to forego the European vacations for some time to come.

    Now it is also true that the US probably has sufficient muscle in various forms to prevent something like that if it wanted to. But then I ask the question I asked before — why should a libertarian feel that is a good thing? Presumably libertarians believe in the rule of law rather than the rule of force, and believe especially strongtly in the laws that put limits on state action. So why so eager to excuse the clearly criminal behavior of government officials?

  123. >Now it is also true that the US probably has sufficient muscle in various forms to prevent something like that if it wanted to. But then I ask the question I asked before — why should a libertarian feel that is a good thing? Presumably libertarians believe in the rule of law rather than the rule of force, and believe especially strongtly in the laws that put limits on state action. So why so eager to excuse the clearly criminal behavior of government officials?

    No, that’s a different question. Before, you asked why a libertarian would support the use of torture. I couldn’t answer that one, since I don’t. This one I can answer.

    A libertarian may reject “universal jurisdiction” if he thinks that empowering the groups pressing for prosecutions of U.S. officials would make them a more serious long-term threat to liberty than the U.S. government itself is. I myself judge this to be the case. Other libertarians may not, but that is a dispute about facts and trade-offs rather than principle.

  124. What, in your view, should be done when a President commits war crimes?

  125. >What, in your view, should be done when a President commits war crimes?

    What kind of answer are you really after? I’m an anarchist, so I’m not invested in any answers that presume or rely on the legitimacy of either the nation-state system or supranational government-wannabes. I speak in those terms only when it’s possible to make the points I want to without stepping outside statist premises. But the nation-state system has no solution for this problem that is anything other than “might makes right” dressed up in show trials, so I can’t do that here.

    My real answer is that if you think a President has committed a war crime, you should put together an assassination team with others who agree with you. Executing the judgment will be a challenge; life sucks that way.

  126. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, if the US fails to prosecute officials guilty of major crimes, then the other signatories to the UN Convention on Torture have a positive obligation to arrest them if possible

    If Venezuela, Angola and, hell, Spain want to come over and try arresting U.S. politicians and military personnel… they know where to find us.

    In any case, Eric is correct. This result only exists in the fevered dreams of a few lefty cranks. Frankly, it’s not only the U.S. that would stand against such an outcome. Certain EU diplos might make noises about it from time to time, since it is a fashionable bit of rhetoric, but only because our European allies know it would never actually happen. Once you open that Pandora’s box, such that thugocracies and tin pot dictators can haul democratic leaders into court, the lid will never close. Luckily when it comes to the U.N., the rhetoric outstrips reality by several football fields. ‘Climate Change’ looked like the lowest hanging fruit in terms of the U.N. seizing global authority, but that is looking to be a washout as well. Currently, filing toothless paperwork and robbing humanitarian programs seem to be what they do best.

  127. >My real answer is that if you think a President has committed a war crime, you should put together an assassination team with others who agree with you. Executing the judgment will be a challenge; life sucks that way.

    What if I preferred imprisonment to assassination, and called my “assassination team” the “International Criminal Court”. Would you then support the coercive power of the state to stop me?

  128. >What if I preferred imprisonment to assassination, and called my “assassination team” the “International Criminal Court”. Would you then support the coercive power of the state to stop me?

    If you really were the ICC, yes, because among the few possibilities more deadly to liberty than the nation-state would be a world government. What a nightmare…no exit, no competition, and the boot on our necks forever. I’d side with the lesser evil to prevent the greater.

  129. >I’ll use the lesser evil to prevent the greater.

    But you don’t see any possibility of some sort of lesser evil being used to prevent the greater evil of US Presidents ordering war crimes?

  130. > But you don’t see any possibility of some sort of lesser evil being used to prevent the greater evil of US Presidents ordering war crimes?

    I think he gave you one, pete. The lesser evil being capital punishment and the executioner being you.

    Yours,
    Tom

    ESR says: Couldn’t have put it better myself, and aren’t going to even try.

  131. It’s a very anarchist answer, too. And Jeffersonian as well. Go on, dude. Get your hands dirty protecting liberty,

  132. NOTE TO CARNIVORE: I AM NOT IN FACT PLANNING THE ASSASSINATION OF WAR CRIMINAL CHENEY.

  133. Cheney is not nearly as bellicose as the partisans imagine. In essence, he was an integral part of a cabinet that were trying their hands at realpolitik in the wake of a pronged decaptiation strike on our political, military and industrial centers. Even at the time, I thought and said that the decision to invade Iraq had scarcely to do with Hussein kicking out the weapons inspectors. The Baathists had been evading the U.N. inspections regime for years, and gaming humanitarian efforts to keep the playing field as flat as possible. Even Clinton remarked on the endless fallibility of that regime, since the U.N. was obstinately unwilling to pull the trigger. The decision to move then had to do with the fact that there was suddenly a political will to do so, from all ideological quarters. In essence, we were positioning the bishop to freeze the rook. The gambit succeeded in some ways, and failed in others. An interesting side effect was that it nudged traditionally cranky Europeans to the right, with their elections of Merkel and Sarkozy, and re-solidified the Anglosphere as a military alliance. Other noteworthy side effects included the political reawakening of Lebanon and the acquiescence of of the barbaries of Libya, both of which I predicted.

    Of course, Rumsfeld was inordinately bellicose, and outright idiotic at times. Of the triumverate of Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld, Rummy was the most responsible for the myriad failures of the administration, most importantly in the reconstruction of post-war Iraq. McArthur he ain’t. Bush’s biggest failure as president was to let Rumsfeld linger on for several more years after he was useful. Had an adult like Gates been tapped in 2003, we might have avoided a lot of heartache.

  134. I like Rummy and Cheney, and Biden. I just wish Biden could be a professional baseball fan or something, not VP. Rummy and Cheney OTOH were pretty well suited for their positions. It’s good to know that jrok and I don’t agree all the time.

    Yours,
    Tom

  135. Tom, Cheney was fine. Rumsfeld was disaster-footage in slow motion. The outright goofiness of some of his war management made me want to hurl bricks at the TV.

  136. jrok,

    Was it Rummy mismanaging the war or State mismanaging the peace we didn’t quite have yet? I’d want examples from you which could definitely be laid at Rummy’s door before I’d agree. State has been so completely disfunctional for decades that they could be entirely responsible for any screw ups. I understand why people think the idea of diplomatic immunity is good. But it does teach diplomats that they are unaccountable. That can’t be good.

    Yours,
    Tom

  137. Tom,

    Was it Rummy mismanaging the war or State mismanaging the peace we didn’t quite have yet?

    It was both! But Rumsfeld in particular was damned intolerable, with his denials of reality and responsibility when it came to the troop levels his generals said they needed to secure the peace. To me, he was the worst example of a DC-run war since Vietnam. He was addicted to the most unrealistic assessments of security issues, and often seemed married to the idea that a military force should let rioters and looters “burn themsleves out.” I said loudly at the time that this was pure stupidity, as were his mypoic purges of all Baathists from the post-war security apparatus. He sat there literally designing scores of new insurgents and unconventional alliances for our troops to contend with, refused to increase troop levels to realistically combat them and shirked responsibility when he did so.

    I wasn’t one of these clowns calling Rumsfeld a war criminal/baby-killer/etc, or criticizing him for being rude to France. But some of his worst decisions needlessly cost American blood. Bush was far too tolerant of his theatrical nonsense, exhibiting his key weakness as president: Loyalty to a fault.

  138. Sorry, jrok, my memory is not serving well.

    > But Rumsfeld in particular was damned intolerable, with his denials of reality and responsibility when it came to the troop levels his generals said they needed to secure the peace.

    If you are referring to Gen. Eric K. Shinseki’s several hundred thousand troop estimate, I just think you and he were wrong as proved by subsequent events, not Rumsfeld. If you aren’t, well, refresh my old grey head.

    > To me, he was the worst example of a DC-run war since Vietnam.

    My memory is that he was pretty much hands off as regards the field, unlike Vietnam.

    > He was addicted to the most unrealistic assessments of security issues, and often seemed married to the idea that a military force should let rioters and looters “burn themsleves out.”

    This rings no bells in my memory. I think you are referring to stories with which I am not familiar.

    > as were his mypoic purges of all Baathists from the post-war security apparatus.

    I don’t clearly recall and possibly never knew who in the Administration was responsible for what part of that decision, but I thought it generally came from State.

    > He sat there literally designing scores of new insurgents and unconventional alliances for our troops to contend with, refused to increase troop levels to realistically combat them and shirked responsibility when he did so.

    I think you will have to refresh my memory with the facts. This sounds like it might be a grand summary jrok’s opinions, concentrated, but since it wasn’t my opinions concentrated I don’t remember it so well. I’m not even that good at remembering my opinions.

    > But some of his worst decisions needlessly cost American blood.

    I should think so. Isn’t that a feature of all wars which, because they are hell, cannot be reformed?

    > Loyalty to a fault.

    Bush had that.

    Yours,
    Tom

  139. Apparently, Nature has decided their was no data manipulation exposed by the CRU emails.
    Computational science: …Error

    When hackers leaked thousands of e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, last year, global-warming sceptics pored over the documents for signs that researchers had manipulated data. No such evidence emerged, . . .

  140. >Apparently, Nature has decided their was no data manipulation exposed by the CRU emails.

    Then Nature is in on the fraud. I’ve seen bogus code and a programmer admitting flimflam with my own eyes, and anyone else can too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>