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General Category => General Comments => Topic started by: Crunch on July 26, 2019, 06:05:23 PM

Title: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 26, 2019, 06:05:23 PM
I didn’t want to derail the other thread but wanted to address this:

Basically:
1. There's an overwhelming scientific consensus.

Everyone with even a most basic education should know that science is not about consensus. If it was, you’d still be arguing for the geocentric model of the universe.

Here’s some more science by consensus:

Quote
... Jacobs compiled a sample of 5,502 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions (he reached out to 62,469 biologists and 7,383 participated in the survey, but only 5,502 answered the pertinent questions). The biologists predominantly identified as non-religious (63 percent), liberal (89 percent and 11 percent conservative), Democratic (92 percent), and pro-choice (85 percent, only 15 were pro-life). The sample included biologists who were born in 86 countries around the world.

The findings:
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Overall, 95 percent affirmed the view that human life begins at conception.

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... Jacobs presented the explicit statement, "In developmental biology, fertilization marks the beginning of a human's life since that process produces an organism with a human genome that has begun to develop in the first stage of the human life cycle." Three-quarters (75 percent) of biologists agreed with that statement.

The scientific consensus is that, at the very moment of conception, it’s a human being.  That’s one hell of a consensus, you could easily say it was “an overwhelming scientific consensus”.

I suspect most you “science as consensus” guys are going flip positions and demand a scientific consensus be ignored now.

Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 26, 2019, 06:49:32 PM
I think the difference here is between a consensus about a scientific question and a consensus about a social question.

Scientifically, I can see 95 percent of scientists agreeing that a unique life begins at conception.

But scientifically, they would have no opinion about what rights and responsibilities such a life has at conception.

Because there are things you can physically measure that can make the determination about whether the life is unique.  But there are no physical measurements that can be done to determine how much of the mother's life the zygote has a right to take.

Combine that problem with the chances of the zygote naturally reaching maturity (between 20 to 25 percent IIRC), the threats to the mother's life, and the fact that it may not be viable even after birth, the question is no longer a scientific one.

Yes, life begins at conception.  But when that life is 100 percent dependent on the mother, may not mature anyway, and may cost the mother energy or her life, then whether the zygote has the right to be born or not is not science.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 26, 2019, 07:35:15 PM
Well, in geology, 50 years ago, the "consensus among experts" was that Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift was an outlandish theory.

50 years ago, a geologist advocating for the Bonneville and/or Missoula Flood events would have been laughed out of the room, by the scientific community no less.

Not quite 500 years ago, a certain Italian Astronomer went before a review for his outlandish theory about the Earth revolving around the Sun, rather than the Sun revolving the Earth. People tend to fixate on the Roman Catholic Church aspect of that particular encounter, but what they fail to realize is the people sitting in judgement were "well regarded scientists" in addition to being "men of the cloth."

Those are just examples I can pull off the top of my head, I seem to recall a number of other "comparatively recent" examples of scientific theories leading to proponents being laughed out of rooms by the scientific community they're presenting to. Only for them to ultimately be vindicated decades later, often after the original author had passed from old age.

That there are multiple examples present in the 20th century alone says the Scientific Community is not free from the orthodoxy of men who built careers around other competing theories.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: JoshuaD on July 26, 2019, 08:38:24 PM
 I'd like to read your answers to my questions in that thread, Crunch, if you're in the mood to write them up.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 27, 2019, 04:14:14 AM
This all shows a basic misunderstanding of what is meant by "consensus". Yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  It is, however, a goal of the scientific method.

What it is not, and what critics often mistake it for, is some kind of end-state after which dissent is no longer welcomed. It's a handy strawman often used as a crutch by dissenters.

This strawman is often used to argue against taking action based on a given scientific consensus - for example, climate science - because dissenting research is no longer "allowed" due to the consensus.  However, that is not the case. Of course, findings that go against large amounts of previous research will face headwinds in changing conclusions - which is as it should be, for obvious reasons.

The primary driver of the "consensus" strawman, however, is the "democratization" brought on by the internet, where people can find support for just about any pet theory, and can simply avoid dealing with contrary views. Flat Earth theory, anyone?

 
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 27, 2019, 04:15:07 AM
This is how ideas like the land based instrument temperature record being corrupted by urban heat island effects take hold and refuse to die... notwithstanding that numerous analyses of the temperature records completely refute this hypothesis.

Which brings us back to the "consensus" and the scientific method; the Koch brothers (yes, those of the Heartland Institute and numerous conservative causes) funded a working group (BEST) headed by noted skeptic Richard Muller to "prove" that UHIs were responsible for the majority of observed warming in the temperature record. 

The result was two-fold: they confirmed that there was no observable UHI effect on the temperature record, and Muller came to agree that global warming was happening, and was primarily caused by human activities - he effectively became part of the consensus.  That is all that "the consensus" really means.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 27, 2019, 05:40:41 AM
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People tend to fixate on the Roman Catholic Church aspect of that particular encounter, but what they fail to realize is the people sitting in judgement were "well regarded scientists"
No, they were not.  At least, not what we mean today by scientists.  The scientific method was not even in its infancy at the time - there is a reason that Galileo is known as, among other things, the father of the scientific method - and one of the main reasons is because his methods were completely anathema to previous methodology, such as it was.  Trying to equate the processes by which the Catholic Church protected its hegemony with modern scientists who are trained in the scientific method is disingenuous at best.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 27, 2019, 05:50:32 AM
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The scientific consensus is that, at the very moment of conception, it’s a human being.
I don't think either of those words mean what you think they mean.

What observations led to the hypothesis?  And how - by what method of induction?  What experiments have been done to test this hypothesis?  What deductions were made based on the hypothesis, and how were they tested?

I'm guessing you know that none of these steps were actually taken, and that this was not a question of science, but was one of belief.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 27, 2019, 09:11:55 AM
Quote
This strawman is often used to argue against taking action based on a given scientific consensus - for example, climate science ...

This strawman is often used to argue *for* taking action based on a given scientific consensus - for example, climate science.  That’s the fun part of this, it’s easy to flip the argument and use the exact same things you say to contradict you.

You combine the appeal to authority fallacy with appeal to the majority fallacy. In the case of an ideological outcome you like, you think it’s valid. In the case f an out come you dislike, you call it out for what it is (others try to reason it out in the same way for same reasons). You’re being logically inconsistent.

Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 27, 2019, 09:14:51 AM
Quote
People tend to fixate on the Roman Catholic Church aspect of that particular encounter, but what they fail to realize is the people sitting in judgement were "well regarded scientists"
No, they were not.  At least, not what we mean today by scientists.  The scientific method was not even in its infancy at the time - there is a reason that Galileo is known as, among other things, the father of the scientific method - and one of the main reasons is because his methods were completely anathema to previous methodology, such as it was.  Trying to equate the processes by which the Catholic Church protected its hegemony with modern scientists who are trained in the scientific method is disingenuous at best.

No, it’s not. Its the exact same logical fallacy in action.  Trying to say modern scientists are the appeal to authority that really means something is just doubling down on the fallacy.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 27, 2019, 09:16:36 AM
I'd like to read your answers to my questions in that thread, Crunch, if you're in the mood to write them up.

I will try. It’s a longish response so may not be quick
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 27, 2019, 09:32:09 AM
This all shows a basic misunderstanding of what is meant by "consensus". Yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  It is, however, a goal of the scientific method.

No, it’s not.

The scientific method:

1 Make an observation.
2 Ask a question.
3 Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4 Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5 Test the prediction.
6 Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

Nowhere in there is the step “take a vote”. Science does not use votes to decide what theories are true and which are false.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 27, 2019, 10:45:14 AM
Consensus comes from other people critiquing how well you followed your method. Were your observations accurate? Was your statistical analysis correct? Are your conclusions supported? Can your results be replicated by others?

This is particularly important in climate science, epidemiology, and other fields where you can't have a control or double blind.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on July 27, 2019, 08:49:22 PM
Galileo is a negative example of science by consensus.  The condemnation of mengele’s work is a positive example. In practice, power and money will inevitably Coopt any new source of authority and pay the 30 silver. 
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 28, 2019, 04:53:51 AM
Quote
No, it’s not. Its the exact same logical fallacy in action.
Quote
The scientific method:

1 Make an observation.
2 Ask a question.
3 Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4 Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5 Test the prediction.
6 Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
Within 20 minutes, you managed to contradict yourself 100%.  For any other poster this might be surprising.  For you? Not at all.

Also, you completely missed my point about consensus not being part of the scientific method (hint: by listing out the basics of the scientific method and showing that "consensus" is not part of it, as I explicitly stated, you aren't actually disagreeing with my point)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 28, 2019, 04:58:41 AM
Oh and Crunch, we all did notice that you didn't actually disagree that the question posed in the opening post was not one of science.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 28, 2019, 09:28:54 AM
Quote
No, it’s not. Its the exact same logical fallacy in action.
Quote
The scientific method:

1 Make an observation.
2 Ask a question.
3 Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4 Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5 Test the prediction.
6 Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
Within 20 minutes, you managed to contradict yourself 100%.  For any other poster this might be surprising.  For you? Not at all.

Also, you completely missed my point about consensus not being part of the scientific method (hint: by listing out the basics of the scientific method and showing that "consensus" is not part of it, as I explicitly stated, you aren't actually disagreeing with my point)

You clearly missed your point. You said consensus was a goal, that’s what I was addressing. Consensus is not mentioned in this, not once. Not as a step nor as a goal. There is no consensus
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 28, 2019, 09:29:16 AM
Oh and Crunch, we all did notice that you didn't actually disagree that the question posed in the opening post was not one of science.

So? What do interpret this to mean? Go ahead and finish he thought.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 28, 2019, 12:27:15 PM
Since induction is not your strong point, let me spell it out to you: the goal of science is to understand the physical world, using specific methodologies.  The goal is to understand it so well (in a particular area of knowledge) that there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis (see cell theory, germ theory, the kinetic theory of gases, etc).

When there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis, do you know what that is called?  It's called consensus.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 28, 2019, 01:20:57 PM
And about Galileo. It was Copernicus who came up with the idea, and it didn't become consensus in part because of incomplete data.

Quote
Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.

It's a much better argument against theocracy, or religion in general, than it is about the danger of consensus.

Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on July 28, 2019, 01:54:50 PM
And about Galileo. It was Copernicus who came up with the idea, and it didn't become consensus in part because of incomplete data.

Quote
Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.

It's a much better argument against theocracy, or religion in general, than it is about the danger of consensus.

“More convincing” because most people have too much at stake to think of religion as only one variety of consensus limitation.  Confining the issue to “religion” makes the speaker feel safe and immune.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 28, 2019, 02:35:38 PM
Since induction is not your strong point, let me spell it out to you: the goal of science is to understand the physical world, using specific methodologies.  The goal is to understand it so well (in a particular area of knowledge) that there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis (see cell theory, germ theory, the kinetic theory of gases, etc).

When there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis, do you know what that is called?  It's called consensus.

I hate to say it but...ugh...Crunch is correct on this point. The scientific method has literally nothing to do with achieving a consensus, and I have never seen a single claim in philosophy of science that the goal is to establish beliefs that are beyond dispute. In fact modern theory holds exactly the opposite: that's it is presumed that any current theory will be supplanted by a better one eventually. This goes in parallel with the fact that most day-to-day work requires accepting current theory as an axiom, especially a in lab setting, insofar as it works sufficiently well. And actually I'm not even quite sure it's clear that the goal of science is to "understand the physical world". That is at once too narrow and too broad a claim. Rather, it's the goal of science to test certain hypothesis about how things work, which is a different proposition. And even then we might be more specific and say it's to understand how they work mechanically. This type of exploration may or may not include (or be able to include) determining why things work.

It is true that according to Kuhn the trend is for a powerful theory to gain so many adherents and work so well that it becomes accepted as a popular paradigm, so in historical trends consensus does figure in to the history of science. But such consensus does not occur because we seek consensus, but rather because many people are going to be prone to make use of a theory *that works*. It's like buying good dish soap: we aren't looking to ensure that everyone is buying the same soap; rather, we want one that gets that grease off, and if it does we'll use it. If there's a 'best soap' out there then most people will use it. That is a 'consensus' about it its efficacy, but not anything to do with the point of soap being popular agreement. In this type of historical context, there literally cannot be a consensus of this type (the good type) about a theory that doesn't work, since there is no tested efficacy to sway people. The kind of consensus you seem to be talking about, where getting everyone to agree on something gives it weight, is not science nor was it ever a part of good science. If has, of course, many times been a part of bad science, where "the experts" were wrong to a man. That happens all the time, and has to do with academic trends, money interests, and all shenanigans. That is *not* the kind of consensus that is meant when discussing the acceptance of theories like electromagnetism or germ theory.

Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 28, 2019, 03:43:14 PM
Quote
But such consensus does not occur because we seek consensus, but rather because many people are going to be prone to make use of a theory *that works*
Read what I wrote again - especially the part you literally quoted and bolded... it said nothing about seeking consensus, so why you paraphrased that section as meaning "seeking" is beyond me.
Quote
The kind of consensus you seem to be talking about, where getting everyone to agree on something gives it weight,
And again... you seem to be projecting - where did I write that the more people agreeing, the more weight a hypothesis has?  You should really be careful about putting words into other people's mouths.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 28, 2019, 03:50:45 PM
As an aside, are you ever going to lay out your position and rationale in the other thread, or are you just going to continue taking pot shots from the sides, Fenring?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on July 28, 2019, 07:58:45 PM
Quote
I hate to say it but...ugh...Crunch is correct on this point. The scientific method has literally nothing to do with achieving a consensus, and I have never seen a single claim in philosophy of science that the goal is to establish beliefs that are beyond dispute.


Socrates was murdered by consensus so you can expect that modern day Sophists will us appeals to consensus to appropriate scientific authority while skirting actual scientific method.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 28, 2019, 08:51:12 PM
Quote
But such consensus does not occur because we seek consensus, but rather because many people are going to be prone to make use of a theory *that works*
Read what I wrote again - especially the part you literally quoted and bolded... it said nothing about seeking consensus, so why you paraphrased that section as meaning "seeking" is beyond me.

I believe I was reading your sentence clearly, but it's possible that what you wrote isn't exactly what you intended to communicate. What you wrote is that *the goal* of science is to understand something so well that it's beyond dispute. "Disputation" is something that only humans do, and it's an act of challenging a claim. Something being "beyond dispute" means no one is challenging the claim, which means there is a consensus. So a rephrase of what you wrote is that the goal is science is to understand the physical world so well that there is a consensus about the result or theory. I don't think you realize how packed full of premises that statement is, one of which is that we're even capable of "solving reality" such that there cannot possibly be any dispute any more about something; another of which is that there is even an endpoint that we could name for a scientific theory; another of which is that everyone agreeing (or failing to dispute, which I admit could be a result of cowardice rather than agreement) is some kind of sign that we've reached said endpoint; etc etc. And I know of no school of thought in the philosophy of science at present that would assume any of these things. I suppose you could postulate a sci-fi setting one million years in the future where we've mastered time and space, like the Q Continuum, and can say that we "know" physics; and at such a time that we'd have achieved 'consensus' about how things work. But that type of scenario is usually not part of a discussion about current science.

Quote
Quote
The kind of consensus you seem to be talking about, where getting everyone to agree on something gives it weight,
And again... you seem to be projecting - where did I write that the more people agreeing, the more weight a hypothesis has?  You should really be careful about putting words into other people's mouths.

I got that idea from your apparent premise above that a full consensus might be taken to be a sign that we've 'completed' an area of science to a point where its findings are beyond dispute. This sort of claim gives enormous weight to consensus of a certain kind. I might have been misreading you, but if so could you explain what you meant if not this?

Quote
As an aside, are you ever going to lay out your position and rationale in the other thread, or are you just going to continue taking pot shots from the sides, Fenring?

Unfortunately I'm only equipped for potshots on this topic. I'm not knowledgeable enough to do much more than comment on form or ask the occasional question. I've read some stuff but I have some idea of the amount of knowledge I'd need to have to speak with any kind of authority on this topic, and I ain't got it.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 28, 2019, 11:04:58 PM
I wonder if anyone has anything more recent than ancient Greece or medieval Italy as an example of consensus views in science leading to murder or house arrest.

A more recent example, quantum theory. Or the expanding universe. Both were initially greeted with skepticism, gradually won people over, and became the new consensus view. All without bloodshed.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 28, 2019, 11:58:46 PM
I wonder if anyone has anything more recent than ancient Greece or medieval Italy as an example of consensus views in science leading to murder or house arrest.

A more recent example, quantum theory. Or the expanding universe. Both were initially greeted with skepticism, gradually won people over, and became the new consensus view. All without bloodshed.

No instead it simply languishes until a sufficient number of the current departmental figure heads and what not retire or die of other (usually natural) causes.  So now things creep along at generational levels of speed unless someone happens to find a "smoking gun" that simply cannot be ignored.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 29, 2019, 12:10:19 AM
Also for an interesting thing that may challenge climate science in general as more (peer reviewed) deep sea data gathering starts to happen.

A suggestion that the (Multi-)Decadeal Oscillations in the Oceans might have a significant geothermal component. Don't confuse that as being the same thing as Volcanic Eruptions. It could be something more mundane like a very large "shallow hotspot" in a multitude of regions scattered across the world's ocean surface. Some of the few climate models that experimented with increased values for oceanic geothermal warming found evidence to suggest that could have "significant impacts" on ocean "overturning" circulatory flows. Logically, it makes sense too.

Further, most of the deep ocean is unexplored beyond rudimentary sonar surveys. We simply don't know what's going on down there. Further bolstering this, is as their data gathering continues to improve in the deep ocean, it seems they keep having the revise their estimate as to how much geothermal warming is going on, and the revisions keep increasing the value.

And as a potentially related item, we do have that whole "unusual behavior" for the Magnetic North Pole going on, so there could be something going on within the earth's mantle helping contribute more than slightly to the warming effect that is being observed. :P

Another postulate related to that, but not properly connected, is a few other weather events(El Nino, La nina) could potentially have a geothermal component to it as well. But I'm a lot more dubious of that one.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 29, 2019, 12:16:01 AM
I wonder if anyone has anything more recent than ancient Greece or medieval Italy as an example of consensus views in science leading to murder or house arrest.

A more recent example, quantum theory. Or the expanding universe. Both were initially greeted with skepticism, gradually won people over, and became the new consensus view. All without bloodshed.

No instead it simply languishes until a sufficient number of the current departmental figure heads and what not retire or die of other (usually natural) causes.  So now things creep along at generational levels of speed unless someone happens to find a "smoking gun" that simply cannot be ignored.

So you think that hundreds of studies, and decades of theory should be overturned by a couple of contradictory studies? So that we can move quickly.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 29, 2019, 02:34:35 AM
That's the fun of Science.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity doesn't contradict Newton's laws. It supplements them.

What you're taking issue with in this case, as it regards to climate science, or more particularly Climate Modeling, is the idea that the models may be wrong due to incomplete data.

Yes, "it's the best available" but when the "best available" is making guesses, educated as they may be, don't be surprised when the models get overturned in the event that some of those "unknown values" become "known values" or at least, better known.

Climate is a choatic system built on top of several other chaotic systems. Several off which we know enough about to know we've barely scratched the surface.

So be prepared for "supplementary information" that doesn't even need "new theories" to change outcomes. Just the data by itself could be enough.

And the problem with the Global Warming research as it is, would be that most efforts are focused on the surface and up. Very little of it is looking down, except for some limited research into heat absorption from the top few hundred feet and how it may be working its way into deeper water. Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth if a significant amount of the warming that was being experienced was not coming from above, but from below? More than 2/3rds of the Earth's surface is under water, plenty of opportunity for (deep water) "hot spots" to add their own inputs into the system.

I mean heck, this was something I hadn't even considered until I just recently ran across a mention of it. But this goes back a long-standing refrain about the models: The confidence that many people place in the models has a decent chance of being misplaced.

And speaking of:

Quote
No, it’s not. Its the exact same logical fallacy in action.
Quote
The scientific method:

1 Make an observation.
2 Ask a question.
3 Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4 Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5 Test the prediction.
6 Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
Within 20 minutes, you managed to contradict yourself 100%.  For any other poster this might be surprising.  For you? Not at all.

Also, you completely missed my point about consensus not being part of the scientific method (hint: by listing out the basics of the scientific method and showing that "consensus" is not part of it, as I explicitly stated, you aren't actually disagreeing with my point)


That's a problem with the models to date. Sure some have come close. Most have been wildly off the mark, almost universally all of which have run warm compared to what we've seen. (Test failed - Step 5) But instead they keep doubling down on the models being authoritative, and many AGW types have also fouled at step 3- "Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation." Because everything now proves that climate change is real. Never mind the matter of most of their "proofs" being directly comparable to events that happened in many of those same areas in decades past. Or that other such events could be accounted for in regional models through the simple variable of land use change. Nope, it's global warming that's at fault.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 29, 2019, 08:50:42 AM
So if consensus as science is a problem, shouldn't we see this across the board? Near as I can tell, this and similar arguments are made exclusively with respect to highly politicized climate science.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: ScottF on July 29, 2019, 09:33:00 AM
So if consensus as science is a problem, shouldn't we see this across the board? Near as I can tell, this and similar arguments are made exclusively with respect to highly politicized climate science.

I think this is because climate science uniquely positions it's early-stage findings with large and highly impactful socio-economic transformation.

A set of prominent new theories around planetary movement, that also relied on speculative models but *didn't* come paired with disruptive change prescriptions, wouldn't see the same skeptical passion from laypeople.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 29, 2019, 10:40:08 AM
A more recent example, quantum theory. Or the expanding universe. Both were initially greeted with skepticism, gradually won people over, and became the new consensus view. All without bloodshed.

It's funny you mention these particular things, because in both cases (quantum, and cosmology) there is not any kind of consensus at the moment, and in fact views of physicists are extremely splintered on both topics and have been for some time. Part of the reason for this is that the lack of being able to employ a theory in practice takes away coming together due to the utility of a theory and leaves everyone to agree or disagree about how well it seems to fit the data in the abstract.

In the case of quantum one big question is how seriously to take the Copenhagen interpretation, or whether other theories (like pilot wave, or wormholes, or various entanglement theories, or holographic principle) aren't better ways to inspect the data. In fact in this particular field the theories are so divergent that it's sort of become vogue to propose outlandish but cool sounding theories, almost as if the field has covertly become a sci-fi convention. And this is quite a break from the historic trend in other fields where a predominating paradign does indeed win out. In the case of cosmology it is by no means agreed upon by everyone that the 'expanding universe' is well understood; and there is even some question about what "expanding even means". So yes, the data of expansion seems to be agreed upon, however even then one can ask whether it's expansion or 'conspansion' (the measuring stick changing). But beyond that you get into the whole dark energy/dark matter/how does gravity work anyhow debacle and frankly not only isn't there a consensus there but actually there isn't even a prominent theory at all to speak. You might say they're in the dark about it to a surprising degree.

But really these sorts of details are required when inspecting the field, and when discussing consensus there are so many other variables that need taking into account when referring to a consensus and trying to glean meaning from that.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 29, 2019, 11:46:02 AM
This all shows a basic misunderstanding of what is meant by "consensus". Yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  It is, however, a goal of the scientific method.

No, it’s not.

The scientific method:

1 Make an observation.
2 Ask a question.
3 Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
4 Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
5 Test the prediction.
6 Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

Nowhere in there is the step “take a vote”. Science does not use votes to decide what theories are true and which are false.

What you're missing here, Crunch, is step 6: "use the results."

How do you know which results to use?

Let's say you have different, contradictory results to an experiment by two different researchers, or even by a whole slew of researchers?  Which results do you use, or do you throw them both out?  But what if some of them are liars?  What if some of them did the experiment badly?  What if there is a statistical component of the experiment, and some of them are outliers?  How do you know which ones to believe?

Obviously, you look closely at the experiments and decide which ones are better, right?  Can anyone suggest a better method?

But then, who makes that determination??  Who are you going to trust to be as unbiased as possible?  Who will be the jury?

The current approach is to let everyone make the determination, giving more weight to those who are experts in the fields.  After all, they have more to lose if they are wrong: they can lose reputation, and they can hobble themselves by believing incorrect models, which will sabotage any research they do using those models.  (If you believe the Earth is flat, any predictions based on that idea will probably come crashing down. :) )

But if everyone is making the determination, how can any of us know what is established as true and what is still undecided?  There will always be contrarians who will dispute any finding (e.g. Flat Earthers).  So how can we know what are the best theories?

One word: consensus.

If you have a vast majority of knowledgeable people agree on a certain theory, who will stake their reputations on it, and base their research on it, then it is a much higher probability that it is true than by any other method that I can imagine.  You have a group of people who know the subject--who are constantly testing the subject and trying to pry more information from the subject, who will delve even deeper into the subject to figure out why their predictions are wrong--agreeing on basics that have served them well in the past and present.  The ones who believe in theories that are true will more often make progress in their experiments and models.  Those who don't will won't make as much progress, if at all.

And, oddly enough, people like to be successful in their fields. :)

So consensus means two things: the jury of the most of the knowledgeable people agree that the theory is well-tested, and that it is being shown to be useful in further fruitful research.

Can they be wrong?  Of course.  But they are right more often than not, and certainly more often than any other method you can think of.

The best part is that, as research continues, it tends to weed out those theories that don't work.  Take TheDeamon's list of overturned theories above.  How did those theories overcome the old consensus?  By the accumulation of data and predictions being confirmed.  But then, when did we, as non-experts, know that the new theories were correct?  When the consensus of scientists agreed they were.  When they realized that the theories were better than the old ones, and would yield better results.

So, yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  But it is the best way to know which directions will probably yield further knowledge, and which directions probably won't.  Because of the opinions of those who are the most invested in finding that knowledge and have tried (or seen others try) the less-fruitful directions.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 29, 2019, 11:55:39 AM
Which brings us back to original question: AGW versus "beginning of human life."

AGW consensus is based on the fact that other theories about the current increase in Earth's temperature have no yielded good results, as determined by those who are studying the field and actually want their theories to match the measured facts as closely as possible.  Certainly there are other avenues that may yield good, or even better, results.  But so far, one one has shown a study that the vast majority of climatologist believe is a good direction to pursue, except for the consensus opinion.

The consensus among biologists also agree that the beginning of human life is at conception.  But what is not agreed, what is not measurable, is how much we should value that beginning of human life.

Do four cells trump the rights of the mother?  Do those four cells mean that she has no say about how the pregnancy should proceed?  Does that forming of human life mean that the mother has no say over what happens to her body, and whether is might kill her or not?

What measurements would you suggest to answer these question?  What experiments will help us determine the correct answers?  And to what degree of certainty?  What will be the error bars of these experiments? ;)

When you are asking, "To what degree is the current warming trend attributable to CO2 increases in our atmosphere," that is a scientific questions that a consensus of scientists can provide a fair good answer.  When you are asking, "To what degree should we value the life of a developing human over its mother," that is not a scientific question that does not have a scientific answer.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 29, 2019, 12:10:46 PM
I think this is proving to be a worthy topic of discussion, because it seems there is some basic divergence even on the topic of what constitutes the proper approach to talking about science. It's hard to come to an understanding about interpretation (or finally data) when even the purpose of the discussion isn't agreed upon.

Obviously, you look closely at the experiments and decide which ones are better, right?  Can anyone suggest a better method?

But then, who makes that determination??  Who are you going to trust to be as unbiased as possible?  Who will be the jury?

This is the weird part of this sort of approach to discussion science: where did the idea of a "jury" come into it? There is no jury in science, and therefore the answer to your question is "you don't need to trust anyone" because science doesn't work based on trust. In fact the best science eliminates the human factor as much as possible, so that 'agreement' or 'compliance' become ideally irrelevant when the functionality of a theory speaks for itself.

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The current approach is to let everyone make the determination, giving more weight to those who are experts in the fields.  After all, they have more to lose if they are wrong: they can lose reputation, and they can hobble themselves by believing incorrect models, which will sabotage any research they do using those models.  (If you believe the Earth is flat, any predictions based on that idea will probably come crashing down. :) )

This is a really strange assertion. There is no such thing as "the current approach". Science is not some team sport where everyone has to agree on the rules beforehand in order to play. There is literally no need to make some over-arching determination of which theor(ies) are better in some kind of vote, and in any case there is no unification to speak of among experts in terms of them 'signing on' to the same club where members must subscribe to the same beliefs. The way you describe things sound a lot more to me like dogmatic religion than scientific work.

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There will always be contrarians who will dispute any finding (e.g. Flat Earthers).  So how can we know what are the best theories?

One word: consensus.

You'll know because experiments are repeatable that are based on those theories. And you'll know because people are making money off of it. You do know that there are no channels in the fields to establish "consensus", right? Physicists don't have polls passed around all over the world where they have to scratch in "agree" or "disagree" on various propositions. The only reason we talk about consensus in climate science is because it's been journalistically turned into a public and political fiasco. By virtue of it being political people speak of consensus, because agreement is fundamentally a political end; but certainly not a scientific one.

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So consensus means two things: the jury of the most of the knowledgeable people agree that the theory is well-tested, and that it is being shown to be useful in further fruitful research.

There is no such thing as a jury of this type. Peer review covers methodology for publication purposes, and other than that there is no general oversight over broad theories. As far as 'well-tested' goes, typically in areas of research different teams will try to reproduce interesting results independently to see if they're repeatable. More teams succeeding in this definitely lends credence to either the method or maybe a theory that led to the method.

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Can they be wrong?  Of course.  But they are right more often than not, and certainly more often than any other method you can think of.

You are making scientific research sound like playing the stock market! This is exactly the sort of thing that is said of stock experts, "they're right more often than the average person." As an aside, statistics seem to suggest it's more likely that stock experts are no better than a random number generator is, but let's leave that aside.

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So, yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  But it is the best way to know which directions will probably yield further knowledge, and which directions probably won't.  Because of the opinions of those who are the most invested in finding that knowledge and have tried (or seen others try) the less-fruitful directions.

Here you seem to be talking about some kind of efficiency calculation, where the 'likely long-term success' of a given line of research can be determined by 'the experts.' Unless you're suggesting invoking a brand new branch of science philosophy, something like "probabilistic study of research future" (which currently doesn't exist), may I assume you're rather talking more about what we sometimes call 'mainstream' thought? The funny thing is that if Kuhn is going to be taken seriously at all then we have to suppose that the mainstream understanding of which research is going in the right direction has always been wrong, without exception. If it was right we'd never have had all of these scientific revolutions.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 29, 2019, 01:06:28 PM
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Physicists don't have polls passed around all over the world where they have to scratch in "agree" or "disagree" on various propositions.

Hmm.

article - Science News (https://www.sciencenews.org/article/poll-quantum-physicists-shows-agreement-disagreement-and-something-between)

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Science is not a democracy. Nature’s laws are not subject to the whims of popular vote. A scientific theory succeeds by providing logical explanations for puzzling phenomena and making correct predictions about the outcomes of new experiments. It doesn’t matter how many scientists believed in the theory beforehand (or even afterward, for that matter).

In fact, revolutionary new theories are seldom very popular. As Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, once noted, sometimes a theory doesn’t get widely accepted until its opponents die. Nevertheless, in certain scientific matters it’s worth knowing what most experts think. Sometimes the math is clear, and experimental results indisputable, but their implications are charged with ideological controversy. Mainstream expert judgment on such matters usually offers a better path to wisdom than wishful thinking based on philosophical predisposition.

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It’s curious. It has been more than 80 years since the mathematical framework of quantum mechanics was formulated. It has been about three decades since the first modern experiments confirmed the most outrageous consequences of quantum math. Yet physicists still argue about it, some contending that the onetime consensus interpretation (named for Copenhagen, where the Danish physicist Niels Bohr developed it), should be abandoned. But apparently the Copenhagen interpretation still gets more support from experts than any of the alternatives.

...

Einstein rejected these ideas, proclaiming that God doesn’t play dice and that the moon exists whether or not a mouse is looking at it. But he didn’t have much of a case. At a conference of quantum physicists (plus a few philosophers and mathematicians) held last year, 64 percent of 33 respondents to a questionnaire declared that Einstein was wrong. None said he was correct. A few suggested he might turn out to be right someday, and others said “we’ll just have to wait and see.”

I think what you mean to say is that CNN isn't reporting the results of polls of physicists or their consensus views, not that they don't exist.

It is interesting to say how certain you need to be in order to take an action based on any science.

There was a consensus among Manhattan project scientists that a chain reaction would not take place causing widespread destruction by igniting the atmosphere. Not all of them were convinced, though most considered the scenario improbable. So they went ahead and set one off. Revisited later with the fusion bomb.

People buy flood insurance based on the 100 year floodplain predictions from FEMA. They are constantly modified, and also often out of date. They are still used to set NFIP rates, and for community disaster planning. Large hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Irma blow these predictions *ahem* out of the water.

Sometimes, indeed, we have to make weighty decisions based on incomplete data, shaky premises and potential risk/reward.

Just like when scientists investigated cholesterol, there was fierce debate about whether this was a proximate cause or not. Some waited until the science firmed up. The ones that adopted a low fat diet had much better outcomes rather than waiting to see if the threat was real.

Cholesterol controversy (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-cholesterol-controversy/)

A relevant comment on the site from a cholesterol denier:

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It is up to each of us to decide when a question is settled, not the supporter of one position, even if it be a majority position. "Scientific consensus" should really mean consensus, very broad and very widespread, and when contrary views are still being published in peer-reviewed journals, it is obvious that the debate is not "over" or "past its time." We need much better for medicine to become truly "evidence-based."

I'm not sure about the motivation of people who want to argue against cholesterol's impact on arteriosclerosis, but it takes all kinds. It seems most commenters on that thread are debating the use of statins to control cholesterol levels.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 29, 2019, 02:11:40 PM
I think what you mean to say is that CNN isn't reporting the results of polls of physicists or their consensus views, not that they don't exist.

The contents of the article seem to more or less agree with what I said, but the matter is indeed complex enough that one paragraph about it won't fully describe anything properly.

ETA - I forgot to mention that the poll mentioned in the article about the Copenhagen interpretation certainly is a poll, but what I was talking about above is a poll taken by a scientific group to determine what the community thinks as a group. I was not talking about taking a poll for journalistic purposes in order to write articles about it, which of course may happen. But journalism is not really part of the scientific process as such and is therefore a side matter. When I used the word "poll" what I meant was that there is no over-arching infrastructure uniting scientists under a single banner wherein 'their beliefs' can be treated as a single entity. There is no way in which a science journal's poll about quantum interpretation is going to play into a physicist's work. Like, he's going to read it and say "Gosh, that many people subscribe to Copenhagen, I guess I'd better roll over and go along with it!" Although on a purely social level I do think there may be a certain extent of actual mockery at 'fringe theorists' on certain topics. Even Hawking had his share of people calling him a kook over his baby universes stuff that bordered on sci-fi.

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There was a consensus among Manhattan project scientists that a chain reaction would not take place causing widespread destruction by igniting the atmosphere. Not all of them were convinced, though most considered the scenario improbable. So they went ahead and set one off. Revisited later with the fusion bomb.

This is a very particular case that's somewhat tangential to what we're talking about. They needed multiple people to weigh in because they were creating new science for the purposes of a concrete test, where time was limited and the test potentially dangerous. So prior to conducting tests against their hypothesis they felt they needed to firm up their hypothesis as strongly as possible. All of this falls under the "formulate a hypothesis" part of the scientific process, and has nothing to do with consensus determining which theories over time are the better ones. This was strictly a case of trying to determine if their test would...you know...blow up the world. But 'good science' requires multiple tests, so in this case the team on hand was trying to establish whether it was wise to even do this test at all.

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Sometimes, indeed, we have to make weighty decisions based on incomplete data, shaky premises and potential risk/reward.

I agree with you that on a time-sensitive basis there isn't the luxury to sit around waiting for the data to be conclusive. The "Krypton scenario" presents a problem where we have to choose between taking drastic action versus doing nothing and having the sun explode, and even worse, looking like dolts to alien children reading comics about us.

Overall your point seems to be that the opinions of the scientific community should matter even when we're not sure. That's true, to an extent. Your cholesterol example is also a funny one because the "eliminate fats" trend began as a result of a conspiracy of lobbyists to push to a high-carb diet, which became the prevailing wisdom in health science for a while (you may remember the famous food pyramid, whose contents were a result of deception). It would have been very counterintuitive for someone back then (in the 80's) to consider that various health problems might well link more closely to the GI index and carb intake than to fat intake. I mean, for basically a few decades the entire populace was being led by the nose wrongly by 'the experts' on this front. This particular issue wasn't about cholesterol per se, but that's going to be directly impacted by the fats vs carbs choice in your diet. And don't even get me started on how many times in my lifetime it's flopped between "eggs will give you a heart attack" and "eggs are a great source of good cholesterol".
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 29, 2019, 02:25:20 PM
This particular issue wasn't about cholesterol per se, but that's going to be directly impacted by the fats vs carbs choice in your diet. And don't even get me started on how many times in my lifetime it's flopped between "eggs will give you a heart attack" and "eggs are a great source of good cholesterol".

No doubt. Same with recommendations to avoid sodium - which still lurk around despite only 25% of us apparently having any adverse reaction to high sodium. I have mild hypertension, and my doctor never even messed around with salt.

But if you lowered your salt intake and avoided eggs, it really didn't hurt you at all. It might mean that your food was less enjoyable, as you stopped delighting in the joy of eggs benedict seasoned properly.

You can, of course, simply ignore everything. That's an option. With diet, however, you're only going to affect yourself and perhaps your loved ones when you die prematurely. When you burn up fossil fuels, you're harming asthmatics and perhaps everyone living in a coastal area. Or not, but this is the possibility.

The Manhattan debate was, "if we do some things, we might be doing harm we're not sure about".

The climate debate is, "if we don't do some things, we might be doing harm we're not sure about".

Granted, the time frame and potential harm are nowhere similar.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 29, 2019, 02:31:56 PM
The Manhattan debate was, "if we do some things, we might be doing harm we're not sure about".

The climate debate is, "if we don't do some things, we might be doing harm we're not sure about".

Granted, the time frame and potential harm are nowhere similar.

That, and the 'test case' exists for one and not the other. When dropping the [why I learned to love the] bomb the atmosphere was either going to ignite or it wasn't. Case closed. That's a pretty conclusive test, which as it turns out would be repeated many times without the atmosphere having a cascading reaction. And it still might someday! But so far it seems this doesn't happen.

With the climate situation, there is first of all not even a concrete test on the table such as constructing and dropping a bomb. Second of all, even if in an expanded timeframe the climate does go to hell, you do not have a concrete test-based result to say that it definitely happened because of X. In the bomb case you'd know: the atmosphere is not igniting when not dropping the bomb (control case), and when you drop it there is ignition, ergo dropping the bomb caused the cascade. There is no control case in the climate scenario, therefore you cannot even realiably backtrace why the disaster definitely happened because there was no controlled event to point to that 'did it.' That difference is a huge deal, because repeatability requires narrowing down test conditions to an incredible degree.

And I sympathize with the Krypton scenario. As a kid growing up I had the full force of the "HOW COULD THEY NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT" feeling when seeing Krypton blow up. I get it.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 29, 2019, 02:47:08 PM
But then, who makes that determination??  Who are you going to trust to be as unbiased as possible?  Who will be the jury?

The current approach is to let everyone make the determination, giving more weight to those who are experts in the fields.  After all, they have more to lose if they are wrong: they can lose reputation, and they can hobble themselves by believing incorrect models, which will sabotage any research they do using those models.  (If you believe the Earth is flat, any predictions based on that idea will probably come crashing down. :) )

But if everyone is making the determination, how can any of us know what is established as true and what is still undecided?  There will always be contrarians who will dispute any finding (e.g. Flat Earthers).  So how can we know what are the best theories?

One word: consensus.

If you have a vast majority of knowledgeable people agree on a certain theory, who will stake their reputations on it, and base their research on it, then it is a much higher probability that it is true than by any other method that I can imagine.  You have a group of people who know the subject--who are constantly testing the subject and trying to pry more information from the subject, who will delve even deeper into the subject to figure out why their predictions are wrong--agreeing on basics that have served them well in the past and present.  The ones who believe in theories that are true will more often make progress in their experiments and models.  Those who don't will won't make as much progress, if at all.

And, oddly enough, people like to be successful in their fields. :)

So what happens to the person who stakes their reputation on a claim, builds up a considerable amount of prestige pushing that particular claim. Only to start encountering information which contradicts their claims?

People like to be successful in their fields after all, and don't want to look like abject failures after all.

Which isn't to mention all the fun to be had when people are designing tests to confirm what they're seeking to confirm.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 29, 2019, 03:51:41 PM
Since induction is not your strong point, let me spell it out to you: the goal of science is to understand the physical world, using specific methodologies.  The goal is to understand it so well (in a particular area of knowledge) that there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis (see cell theory, germ theory, the kinetic theory of gases, etc).

When there is no longer any significant dispute as to the truth of a particular hypothesis, do you know what that is called?  It's called consensus.

I live that you double and triple down on this.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 29, 2019, 04:10:10 PM
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There is no jury in science, and therefore the answer to your question is "you don't need to trust anyone" because science doesn't work based on trust. In fact the best science eliminates the human factor as much as possible, so that 'agreement' or 'compliance' become ideally irrelevant when the functionality of a theory speaks for itself.

Yes, the best science eliminates the human factor as much as possible.  But the problem is that it can't be eliminated. :)

Most (many?) experiments are repeated.  But once they have been repeated enough times, they are accepted as fact by most scientists--a consensus of scientists, if you will.  There will still be some holdouts.  But overall, almost all scientists trust that it is true.  Not because they have performed the experiment itself, or tested it directly, but because it has been tested by others and has withstood all secondary tests over time.  If you don't trust other scientists to have performed the experiments correctly and have come to usable conclusions, then you cannot make any progress in science.  You will spend all your time confirming what everyone else has done before. :(

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Science is not some team sport where everyone has to agree on the rules beforehand in order to play. There is literally no need to make some over-arching determination of which theor(ies) are better in some kind of vote, and in any case there is no unification to speak of among experts in terms of them 'signing on' to the same club where members must subscribe to the same beliefs. The way you describe things sound a lot more to me like dogmatic religion than scientific work.

No, there is no vote, no "signing on," no club membership.  And yet scientific consensus exists.  Over 90 percent of climatologists believe that humans are affecting Earth's climate.  We know this is true, in spite of there being no vote.

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You'll know because experiments are repeatable that are based on those theories. And you'll know because people are making money off of it. You do know that there are no channels in the fields to establish "consensus", right? Physicists don't have polls passed around all over the world where they have to scratch in "agree" or "disagree" on various propositions. The only reason we talk about consensus in climate science is because it's been journalistically turned into a public and political fiasco. By virtue of it being political people speak of consensus, because agreement is fundamentally a political end; but certainly not a scientific one.

Nonsense.  Can you tell me with a straight face that there is no consensus on Maxwell's Equations?  On Relativity?  On the Big Bang?  Can you tell me that less than 90 percent of all scientists for which these are relevant to their fields don't believe these?  If you can't, you acknowledge there is a consensus, even if there is no voting.

They vote with their experiments.  They vote with their assumptions.  They vote with the basis of reality that they conceptualize to design and perform their experiments and studies.  We don't need no stinkin' poll... :)

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Peer review covers methodology for publication purposes, and other than that there is no general oversight over broad theories. As far as 'well-tested' goes, typically in areas of research different teams will try to reproduce interesting results independently to see if they're repeatable. More teams succeeding in this definitely lends credence to either the method or maybe a theory that led to the method.

Eventually there comes a point, though, where teams don't try to reproduce results, when peer review doesn't question an assumption.  They take them as a given.  That is what I mean by a consensus.

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Here you seem to be talking about some kind of efficiency calculation, where the 'likely long-term success' of a given line of research can be determined by 'the experts.' Unless you're suggesting invoking a brand new branch of science philosophy, something like "probabilistic study of research future" (which currently doesn't exist), may I assume you're rather talking more about what we sometimes call 'mainstream' thought? The funny thing is that if Kuhn is going to be taken seriously at all then we have to suppose that the mainstream understanding of which research is going in the right direction has always been wrong, without exception. If it was right we'd never have had all of these scientific revolutions.

I'm not talking about an efficiency calculation.  I'm talking about scientists who decide what they believe is true, and using that as a jumping-off point for further research.

Which means that even Kuhn's revolutionaries have a consensus view about aspects of the universe.  How could Einstein have come up with Relativity without the consensus understanding of Maxwell's Equations?  Without Maxwell's adding the speed of light to Ampere's law, there would have been no puzzle for Einstein to solve with Relativity.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 29, 2019, 04:22:45 PM
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So what happens to the person who stakes their reputation on a claim, builds up a considerable amount of prestige pushing that particular claim. Only to start encountering information which contradicts their claims?

People like to be successful in their fields after all, and don't want to look like abject failures after all.

Which isn't to mention all the fun to be had when people are designing tests to confirm what they're seeking to confirm.

When that happens, their experiments (and those of their students) start to fail.

It's like that one guy who spent $40,000 on a rocket to prove that the Earth is flat.  You know what happened?  It went up thousands of feet, and he didn't see the edge of the Earth.  He felt cheated, because he preformed this experiment and it didn't prove what he wanted it to prove.  He wanted his money back. :D

When you have a bad assumption, eventually it will show.  Other scientists will devise an experiment to isolate the incorrect assumption. Of course, the ones who hold the bad assumption will try to figure out alternative explanations for the inconsistent results.  But over time, the correction idea should win out.

It may take a long time for the truth to win out.  But the contradictions will be there, sitting like a toad on a log, sticking out its tongue, until a new consensus is reached, which should be closer to the "truth" than before.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 30, 2019, 03:23:59 AM
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And the problem with the Global Warming research as it is, would be that most efforts are focused on the surface and up. Very little of it is looking down, except for some limited research into heat absorption from the top few hundred feet and how it may be working its way into deeper water. Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth if a significant amount of the warming that was being experienced was not coming from above, but from below? More than 2/3rds of the Earth's surface is under water, plenty of opportunity for (deep water) "hot spots" to add their own inputs into the system.
You think this is "the problem"?  The increase in anthropogenic forcings since the industrial revolution is on the order of 20 times the total steady energy flow from the Earth's interior. This energy flow is very well understood - that it is new to you just means you are not somebody who dedicates their career to studying the relevant areas of research. To put it plainly, the Earth could double it's steady state energy output and it would have little effect on the Earth's energy budget - but we would absolutely notice that doubling, and no such event has occurred.
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That's a problem with the models to date. Sure some have come close. Most have been wildly off the mark, almost universally all of which have run warm compared to what we've seen. (Test failed - Step 5)
I find this claim interesting, since your primary basis for disbelieving AGW (on the other thread) is the effect of urban heat islands on the temperature record.  Yet it has been 10 years since several studies were done on the effects of UHI on the temperature record, and those studies showed unequivocally that there was no effect - one study of which was done by a noted skeptic, funded by noted skeptics, and which caused said noted skeptic to change his mind and who now supports the idea that climate change is real and is being caused by humans (see Muller/Koch brother/BEST).  And yet, knowing that UHI effects on the temp record have been shown to be negligible, and given that was your primary reason given for disbelieving AGW, does that not give you pause? I mean, here we have an hypothesis (UHI is polluting temp record) we have a test, and the hypothesis was shown to be incorrect by several different researchers...
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 12:31:45 PM
UHI was an easy "off-hand grab" and only one factor among many(mostly in regards to data contamination). I see you ignored my other commentary on land use change and impact on albedo as well.

That isn't just isolated to UHI. That's replacing yellowed/dry prairie grasses(higher reflectivity) with nice, rich, dark green fields of Corn, Alfalfa, and other crops(more heat absorption). Or simply green lawns. (Which in turn release more moisture to the atmosphere, which in turn helps fuel more rain/storm events)

Another item previously brought up in this forum by me, IIRC, as it relates to albedo is forestry management as well. Where the favored trees for replanting are ones that loggers tend to want to regrow as they grow faster/have better yields on eventual harvest. Their leaves also often are darker in color than what the native mix of trees in those areas were previously. Again, lower heat reflectivity, more heat absorption.

The bigger thing on mentioning UHI though was to point at it "contaminating" the data sets that have been used to produce evidence of warming in many locations, and the UHI encroached upon the reporting stations that were being used.

And speaking of heat islands, renewables are now known to have heat islands of their own, solar being the worst offender of the bunch. So while technically not a UHI, it's the same ball game, just different team playing.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 12:54:05 PM
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And the problem with the Global Warming research as it is, would be that most efforts are focused on the surface and up. Very little of it is looking down, except for some limited research into heat absorption from the top few hundred feet and how it may be working its way into deeper water. Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth if a significant amount of the warming that was being experienced was not coming from above, but from below? More than 2/3rds of the Earth's surface is under water, plenty of opportunity for (deep water) "hot spots" to add their own inputs into the system.
You think this is "the problem"?  The increase in anthropogenic forcings since the industrial revolution is on the order of 20 times the total steady energy flow from the Earth's interior. This energy flow is very well understood - that it is new to you just means you are not somebody who dedicates their career to studying the relevant areas of research. To put it plainly, the Earth could double it's steady state energy output and it would have little effect on the Earth's energy budget - but we would absolutely notice that doubling, and no such event has occurred.

Too bad that the geological record doesn't reliably reflect the idea that energy flow from the earth's interior happens at "a steady state" that doesn't change. It varies, it just normally happens on very long time scales and as such is hard to pin down, especially when nobody is able to directly monitor it. And when you're dealing with a "global instrument record" that only dates back to the 1980's in general, and cannot cover deep water anomalies, we have an interesting conundrum revolving around lack of direct data and loads of "implied data" because of it. But that's par for the course on a number of things they're modeling in those climate models. They don't understand the systems involved, they decide on a constant to approximate what they think that value may be, and run with that. So yeah, we're supposed to trust this model of multiple overlapping chaotic systems where several of the choatic systems involved are amazingly orderly and constant?

This also ignores the climate models own suggestion to the overturning circulations may be more sensitive to geothermal heating than previously believed, and when you cycle back to much of the warming is isolated to the Northern Hemisphere, you may not be talking about a huge amount of energy budget being needed all said. A giant hotspot acting up in the Atlantic Ocean could possibly account for a lot of what is witnessed... Now I wonder why such a "hot zones" could possibly exist in the Atlantic Ocean, and I wonder if there is any paleo-climate evidence that might suggest it's done so in the past...

We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 30, 2019, 01:03:42 PM
Quote
We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.

I think that's the plot from Pacific Rim, not a legitimate scientific hypothesis.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on July 30, 2019, 01:16:41 PM
I think the difference here is between a consensus about a scientific question and a consensus about a social question.

It's not though.  Consensus is about facts not questions.  In the case of "when life begins" it's just a definitional fact.   In the case of AGW it's actually two linked facts, one of which is data driven (1) Earth is warming, and the other of which is "established" by process of elimination (2) people are the primary cause.

Earth is Warming.  I guaranty we don't know Earth's current temperature, not on the surface, not in the atmosphere generally, not from the surface to the edge of space, and certainly not in the entire volume thereof.  What I can't know is how accurate our estimates are and what the real margin of error is (the calculated margin is nonsense). 

I guaranty we don't know what Earth's temperature was in any of the those volumes as a historical matter (and some are completely impossible to have measured given the way we indirectly measure historical temperatures).  What I can't know is the margin of error on the estimates, or whether the indirect measurements we do are less accurate than the direct ones we are attempting now, or even if they are more accurate.  It's literally possible that the indirect historical measures actually encode more relevant data than the real time measures, of course it's literally possible they're completely noise.

I guaranty, the way we have built the models using micro data research is heavily biased towards that which we easily understand, can get too or have researched, which is a heavy bias.  What I can't know is what else is out there, or if we by random chance have pieces of it correct.

Putting that aside, let's assume that we are in fact warming (and there are plenty of people that make reasonable cases this is not the case, and others who make nutty cases), then that leads to the question of what's causing it.

Caused by People.  That's our second "consensus" item.  It's caused by people.  This by the way is almost completely reliant on a single correlation.  As the human population's technology and pollution have increased the "measurements" we are able to do appear to have increased.  That's it.  There's no experiment that confirms it.  So how do we get from correlation to causation?  Well honestly we can't.

However, we can approach the limit by eliminating other potential causes (again assuming we are even correct about the temperature).  As with any purely observational Science, we become more certain of a theory by eliminating other potential causes as a source.  And that's the whole lot of what is going on.  If the correlation breaks the theory  falls apart (which is why things like a "pause," a medieval warm period, and historically far higher carbon concentrations at lower temperatures are so damaging that they have to explained away).

Modelling though?  Total red herring, and literally not a science experiment.  It generates zero data.  It runs zero experiments.  It settles zero factual questions.  What it may be good for is generating hypothesis, and if we get tuned enough correctly making predictions.  I personally don't believe it's close to there yet, but reasonable people can disagree.

Why is it dangerous to treat this "consensus" as meaningful?  Well mostly because we only know of a correlation and have not shown a causative effect.  That means that contrary evidence will either "break" the model completely, or lead to "narrative explanations" of things that altered the course (whether these are actual refinements, or literally just covering for a broken hypothesis is in the eye of the beholder).  If it's just a false correlation, and we implement ridiculous and damaging policies, they will (a) do no good, and (b) be credited with any correlative change.

So if we do nothing, and nothing happens.  Proof it was a mere correlation.  If on the other hand we completely rearrange the world, destroy all economies and kill have the population, and nothing happens.  Proof we "saved" the world.

On the flip, if there is a causation and we do nothing it gets worse.  But if we "do something" and it's the wrong thing it will also get worse and maybe much worse (which is why I'm so opposed to international treaties that punish the most efficient producers).

But let's not kid ourselves.  Consensus on AGW is literally consensus on a hypothesis, and literally one that's incapable of being tested.

This all shows a basic misunderstanding of what is meant by "consensus". Yes, consensus is not part of the scientific method.  It is, however, a goal of the scientific method.

I think others have addressed this, but there's no truth to this statement.

Quote
What it is not, and what critics often mistake it for, is some kind of end-state after which dissent is no longer welcomed. It's a handy strawman often used as a crutch by dissenters.

Is it?  What are you using it for?  It appears to be to try and bolster a hypothesis that can not be tested by asserting only a crazy person wouldn't be convinced because it's a "consensus" of Scientists.  Again, most of the scientists involved are now statisticians not experimental.  GIGO applies to everything they do, though I'm not asserting that what they are putting in is garbage, it's just a fact that they are running logical models that can not generate a new result.  If the actual environmental conditions are not an option of the model then the computer can not output them.

Quote
This strawman is often used to argue against taking action based on a given scientific consensus - for example, climate science - because dissenting research is no longer "allowed" due to the consensus.  However, that is not the case. Of course, findings that go against large amounts of previous research will face headwinds in changing conclusions - which is as it should be, for obvious reasons.

And your strawman is often used to avoid explaining why implementing policies that would harm the environment is something we must do on an emergency basis "for the environment."

It's not a strawman to acknowledge that climate science is not experimental.

Quote
The primary driver of the "consensus" strawman, however, is the "democratization" brought on by the internet, where people can find support for just about any pet theory, and can simply avoid dealing with contrary views. Flat Earth theory, anyone?

The primary driver for the "consensus" strawman is political motivation to try and tag unpopular and highly damaging policies as "above legitimate question."  It's been noted above, you don't find the same "consensus" hammer arguments being used where they aren't being used as an appeal to authority in a political debate.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 01:40:44 PM
Quote
We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.

I think that's the plot from Pacific Rim, not a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

Pacific Rim had aliens and mecha. Mecha would be cool, but I doubt (extra-planetary/dimensional) aliens are involved.

You're also trying to turn it a "bit further" than I was going and using it make a Sci-Fi "B Movie" of it.

Here's theory: There is a "pocket" of magma off the coast of Canada/south of Greenland--along the Gulf Stream coming up the east coast that shifted sometime around 1970 in the North Atlantic Ocean which in an "isolated system" would have raised deep water temperatures by about 2 degrees (C). But as it isn't an isolated system, and we have the overturning currents among other things in play, it  cause water temps to only increase by 0.2 degrees instead(because thermal transfer takes time--to surface instrumentation, it just looks like the water is "retaining heat" rather than gaining it). However, being deep ocean, we don't have instrumentation present in this region, which possibly could be the size of Texas for all we know. Do you not think that would have a significant ripple effect in weather for much of Europe and Asia?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 30, 2019, 01:56:19 PM
I wasn't sure where to post this question, but as I didn't want to disrupt JoshuaD's intention in the other thread I'll post it here. Since we're talking about how much or whether consensus should play a role in science, I would like to know what people here think (especially the liberals, I guess) about active measures to make changes to the atmospheric composition. So let's take it for granted that human-caused climate change is a major problem that must be dealt with, and also that there is a fairly limited timeframe (let's say 20 years) to roll it back before bad things start to happen. Joshua in the other thread asked what people actually feel should be done (or not done) about this, but I'd like to ask about one specific thing: terraforming technology. There are a few scenarios here:

1) It is possible to completely desist emitting CO2, or at least enough to stop making the problem worse.
2) It is possible to mitigate CO2 output, but only enough to slow the increase but not stop it, lengthening the timeline of danger.
3) It is not realistically possible to do anything significant about our CO2 output.

In case (1) I imagine the idea is that even though the levels are high now, as long as they stay put we'll be ok? So let's bypass this case and check it off as an 'ok' result, so long as achieving this doesn't cause more harm than it prevents. The question for this case would be whether this result came as a result of technology switch-over, or due to heavy restriction on what we now call civilization.

In cases (2) and (3) I assume the idea is we'd need to actively do something besides legislate about CO2, and this is primarily the issue I want to ask about. Let's say, for example, that a new tech was developed that could literally pull CO2 out of the air, much more efficiently than planting umpteen trees. I assume it would store the carbon in some kind of storage which we could, I dunno, bury or whatever. If such a tech existed, what sort of test would have to be passed in order to determine whether it was safe or advisable to use it? And even if it was going to be used, what parameter would be set in order to measure whether the global climate was moving in a direction we want with no unintended side effects? And how would it be determined how much to use it, and what final level of CO2 to leave in the atmosphere?

I'm asking because this is a not-implausible scenario to find ourselves in. Current the push is for people to accept the climate science theory so that we can 'do something' about it. But even if that push were accepted and there was something positive to do about it, what threshhold of understanding would be considered a base minimum before we could feel with confidence that we could mess with the atmospheric composition directly?

If this sounds sci-fi, I'd like to propose that I find it very unlikely that carbon output will be reduced artificially (like by legislation) on an international level in the timeframes climate scientists are discussing. That leaves either doing nothing, or else developing a game-changing technogy, either to replace carbon-emitting tech, or to remove carbon directly.

Or is there some other option I'm missing?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 02:54:19 PM
1) It is possible to completely desist emitting CO2, or at least enough to stop making the problem worse.
2) It is possible to mitigate CO2 output, but only enough to slow the increase but not stop it, lengthening the timeline of danger.
3) It is not realistically possible to do anything significant about our CO2 output.

With current tech, even stuff on the near-horizon, option number 1 is a non-factor in the next 20 years, unless you intend to put in place measure that are likely to kill a few billion people.

Option 2 is somewhat plausible, but only if we as global society decide to go "all in" on technologies(like Nuclear) that there is very considerable push-back against. (Transportation is the big factor in the inability to eliminate CO2 entirely)

Which leaves option number 3 as the most likely outcome.

That said, there is technology out there that seems to be able to extract CO2 from the air and render it into a form that could be readily used by transportation, which could help moves things towards being "CO2 Neutral" all things said and done. Of course, that tech is fairly Energy intensive, so unless you have it hooked up to a renewable power source, or a Nuclear (Fission or Fusion) source, you're running straight back to option 3.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 30, 2019, 03:49:10 PM
Quote
We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.

I think that's the plot from Pacific Rim, not a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

Pacific Rim had aliens and mecha. Mecha would be cool, but I doubt (extra-planetary/dimensional) aliens are involved.

You're also trying to turn it a "bit further" than I was going and using it make a Sci-Fi "B Movie" of it.

Here's theory: There is a "pocket" of magma off the coast of Canada/south of Greenland--along the Gulf Stream coming up the east coast that shifted sometime around 1970 in the North Atlantic Ocean which in an "isolated system" would have raised deep water temperatures by about 2 degrees (C). But as it isn't an isolated system, and we have the overturning currents among other things in play, it  cause water temps to only increase by 0.2 degrees instead(because thermal transfer takes time--to surface instrumentation, it just looks like the water is "retaining heat" rather than gaining it). However, being deep ocean, we don't have instrumentation present in this region, which possibly could be the size of Texas for all we know. Do you not think that would have a significant ripple effect in weather for much of Europe and Asia?

I was only thinking about the weird rift. :)

So you want to counter a hypothesis with millions of measurements and thousands of papers with a hypothesis that has never been tested? It could also be the size of Liberty Island for all we know.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 04:09:13 PM
I was only thinking about the weird rift. :)

So you want to counter a hypothesis with millions of measurements and thousands of papers with a hypothesis that has never been tested? It could also be the size of Liberty Island for all we know.

The mid-Atlantic ridge is a prime candidate as well. :)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 30, 2019, 05:15:23 PM
Quote
The bigger thing on mentioning UHI though was to point at it "contaminating" the data sets that have been used to produce evidence of warming in many locations, and the UHI encroached upon the reporting stations that were being used.
This tells me that you clearly did NOT understand that your initial point regarding heat islands affecting the temperature record has been shown to be without merit, and that this was demonstrated 10 years ago.  Either that, or that you are incapable of processing conflicting information, specifically that this very point that you are again making has been shown to be without basis... that, or that you are incapable of admitting it.

Seriously, you made a claim.  It has been shown to be wrong.  You are now making a point of not admitting your error.  All while bemoaning what you mistakenly perceive to be this very pattern is others
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 06:19:25 PM
Quote
The bigger thing on mentioning UHI though was to point at it "contaminating" the data sets that have been used to produce evidence of warming in many locations, and the UHI encroached upon the reporting stations that were being used.
This tells me that you clearly did NOT understand that your initial point regarding heat islands affecting the temperature record has been shown to be without merit, and that this was demonstrated 10 years ago.  Either that, or that you are incapable of processing conflicting information, specifically that this very point that you are again making has been shown to be without basis... that, or that you are incapable of admitting it.

Seriously, you made a claim.  It has been shown to be wrong.  You are now making a point of not admitting your error.  All while bemoaning what you mistakenly perceive to be this very pattern is others

Except I'll take your 10 year old study and raise you the more recent audit of reporting stations that have been used for data in the recent past. While the impact on the data may not be "significant" it certainly was in play with many of the audited locations. In a few cases, stations even moved several miles. My favorite has to be a close tie between the one station that had been used for data which turned out to have their temperature recording station located next to a parking, and less than 10 feet away from a heat exchanger for an air conditioner/heat pump unit. That the location was initially surrounded by orange groves 50-some years ago and was also completely "built in" for miles around it also was sure to have had "no impact" on the quality of the data it had been producing due to urban encroachment.

Some other stations were found to be on roof tops, and a number of other equally goofy locations, none of which would qualify them as being valid data collection sites for scientific use. Maybe good enough for the local news guys, but not for science. Yes, those locations once identified were "corrected" in the data by and large, and it didn't "significantly" impact the outcome all the same, but there is plenty of erroneous data being fed into the system.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 30, 2019, 06:26:51 PM
What you are still missing is that the dramatic photos and descriptions have nothing to do with the data that came out of those stations.  Those dramatic photos and descriptions (the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", BTW) were exactly what triggered those analyses that I mentioned earlier, and the analysis of the data showed no warming bias in those questionable sites, nor in urban sites in general.

That you continue to ignore the data and analyses, instead focusing on dramatic photos and your own common sense, is exactly your problem. You are basically saying "I do not care what the data for the questionable sites actually is; my common sense tells me the data must be corrupted and showing a warming bias,  even if the data says otherwise"

Seriously - just read the studies (see Muller/Koch/BEST/UHI)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 06:35:01 PM
A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's heat exchanger doesn't bias results for the reporting station? How? In what alternate universe?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 30, 2019, 06:54:32 PM
In the universe where science is conducted by voting on whether or not a theory is true. You know, if everyone says it then it must be true. It’s in that universe, the one with 13 genders that humans can change between at will. Do you even science, bro?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 30, 2019, 07:07:03 PM
Quote
A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's...
You're pointed to the actual studies showing that you were mistaken, and instead of taking the opportunity to educate yourself, you rationalize why the data and analyses must be wrong, without even looking.  This tells us all we need to know about your inability to accept new ideas and conflicting data. You're basically incapable of being educated.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 30, 2019, 11:14:22 PM
Quote
A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's...
You're pointed to the actual studies showing that you were mistaken, and instead of taking the opportunity to educate yourself, you rationalize why the data and analyses must be wrong, without even looking.  This tells us all we need to know about your inability to accept new ideas and conflicting data. You're basically incapable of being educated.

Oh, I'll get around to it. You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.

Impact on final conclusions may be minimal ie "no impact" but I think once drilled into, other points will conflict with how you're trying to "sell" it.

Nobody is claiming the earth isn't warming. What is disputed is by how much, the quality of the data(going back to "by how much?") being used to determine this, and what factors involved are possibly not being "properly accounted for in modeling" which seems to be a not insignificant number of items. ("Things we know we don't know" and how they can bite us when people are trying to sell Trillion Dollar efforts based on said models)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on July 30, 2019, 11:33:05 PM
Quote

Nobody is claiming the earth isn't warming

Nobody here, perhaps. Google “earth isn’t warming” and you may find otherwise, since only half the hits link to anti-denier articles.

Anyone who paid attention in middle school physics should be able to explain how earth may be heated without increasing temperature. Just as your iced drink stays at the exact same temperature as it absorbs heat that melts the ice.  Cheers.

 One good thing that we’re conducting this discussion over the World Wide Web:  Unlike a live discussion our argument does not directly add to atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 31, 2019, 02:28:44 AM
Quote
You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.
You still refuse to address the basic mistake you continue to make.  You made a claim that UHI effects were so damaging to the temperature record that they were the the very first reason you had for disbelieving in AGW.

There are studies showing that the temperature stations that should be affected by UHI do not show warming inconsistent with the rest of the temperature stations. In fact, there is a slight bias in urban sites to less cooling.

This is purely a question of mathematics. If you exclude UHI affected stations, the resulting temperature anomalies are essentially unaffected.  Instead of admitting that you did not know this, and instead of then looking at these studies and maybe reevaluating part of your position, you double down on your resistance to addressing new knowledge, instead focussing on how I am "selling" the purely mathematical analyses that happen to undercut your misunderstanding, one that you should have set aside a decade ago.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 31, 2019, 02:56:14 AM
Quote
You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.
You still refuse to address the basic mistake you continue to make.  You made a claim that UHI effects were so damaging to the temperature record that they were the the very first reason you had for disbelieving in AGW.

There are studies showing that the temperature stations that should be affected by UHI do not show warming inconsistent with the rest of the temperature stations. In fact, there is a slight bias in urban sites to less cooling.

I haven't gone about trying to dig up a 10 year old report to read it just yet, not in a big hurry. As to cooling being noted in some UHI's. Entirely possible in arid climates thanks to this wonderful thing called humidity. Humidity is a natural dampener on both ends of the temperature spectrum, the more of it there is, the more energy it take to hit a certain temperature. Ditto for high humidity and cooling. It's part of why Dewpoint is often a fairly reliable indicator for what the low could be for the night. It's also why there is a heat index/humidity index.

Quote
This is purely a question of mathematics. If you exclude UHI affected stations, the resulting temperature anomalies are essentially unaffected.  Instead of admitting that you did not know this, and instead of then looking at these studies and maybe reevaluating part of your position, you double down on your resistance to addressing new knowledge, instead focussing on how I am "selling" the purely mathematical analyses that happen to undercut your misunderstanding, one that you should have set aside a decade ago.

And now you're showing what I was initially pointing, you're looking at an abstraction being done at a high level. NOAA itself has guidelines for what their reporting stations are supposed to be adhering to when it comes to being part of their network for those studies. Those guidelines exist for a reason. A thermometer placed next to a blacktop parking lot is going to have a very noticeable warm bias compared to one that is compliant with NOAA guidance. For reasons that should be pretty self-evident. Likewise, a sensor placed in close proximity to an in use air conditioner is likewise going to get skewed results due to an active heat source being nearby.

Bad stations are bad stations, and can skew data. And going back to "Earth is a green house" even without specific commitments on the AGW aspect of Global Warming, UHI in aggregate probably is having some impact in its own right, but it's largely in the "hand waving" range for the scientific community because its hard to track and "properly attribute."

And hey, even the Weather Channel seems to (indirectly) be in agreement with that much:
https://weather.com/science/environment/video/architects-call-for-glass-skyscraper-ban
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 03:35:50 AM
And hey, even the Weather Channel seems to (indirectly) be in agreement with that much:
https://weather.com/science/environment/video/architects-call-for-glass-skyscraper-ban

I can't really make head nor tail of other parts of your argument with DonaldD, but watching this brief clip, it looks like the proposed solution (if the report is to be taken seriously) is to avoid all of the following problematic things:

-Building glass buildings
-Building concrete buildings
-Using A/C
-Building any buildings
-Demolishing any buildings

Since these all contribute greatly to the world's CO2 emissions. And if their figures are to be taken seriously, it's the A/C and building/demolishing that occupy the lion's share of worldwide emissions. I don't know if that makes sense, but assuming it does it basically validates what I said earlier today, which is that emissions will never realistically be reduced. You are simply not going to get anyone to (a) cease construction, (b) never demolish anything, and (c) stop using A/C. I mean, these are basically preposterous things to even hope for. I won't even address the logic of saying that glass buildings are bad because the sun heats them, requiring a lot of A/C, because if you follow this argument to its end, it means all that office space would have to be otherwise employed in low-rise buildings, and thus thousands of workers, all working in a single air conditioned tall building, will now be working in a hundred different air-conditioned smaller buildings, each of which would certainly be larger than the office space they occupied in the large building. I guess the smaller buildings wouldn't attract quite as much heat due to fewer windows, but I find it hard to believe that it's more energy efficient to cool a hundred small buildings rather than one single skyscraper.

I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of chart showing the total % carbon emission per type of human activity, and then to inspect which things on that list could realistically be curtailed. Would a carbon tax even make a dent in anything, or would it just shift wealth around and do little else other than hurt those who can't sustain paying it while enriching those who can afford it and even gain more of a monopoly because of it? And if lowing carbon emissions isn't going to happen, then what's the use again of all the argument on the topic? Why not just end social hostilities and go all-in on tech research or something, which at least everyone (other than certain areas of big money) on the civilian side would probably be happy about. But yeah, if the top suggestions in the civil engineering front are to ban large buildings, curtail building and demolition, and try to get people to stop using A/C, it's not going to go very far.



 
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 31, 2019, 07:49:10 AM
Quote
And now you're showing what I was initially pointing, you're looking at an abstraction being done at a high level
No.  incorrect.  There is no abstraction. You gave UHI as a reason to disbelieve that AGW is occurring ("I believe a lot of temperate recording stations have been significantly impacted by Urban Heat Island over the past 100 years as well.") Yet at a very detailed level, these temperature stations have been demonstrated to show consistent warming with all other stations. Remove those stations, and the warming trend does not change in any significant way. 

Your very specific hypothesis was shown to be inaccurate based on studies that were designed to analyze this very specific question. This has nothing to do with any of my motives, notwithstanding you trying to make it about those.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on July 31, 2019, 09:54:16 AM
I think part of the problem here is that DonaldD is talking in a very abrupt manner.  Urban Heat Islands are not a myth, they are well documented.  It's also well documented that certain ones at certain times can be cooler than the surrounding area, generally for reasons associated with topology, fauna and humidity.  What's not particularly well understood is how much UHIs actually contribute to global warming/cooling in aggregate; nor how much changes in land use do.  We know they have effects, but nailing the precise effect down is difficult.  But that's a point of substance.

What DonaldD is referring to are purpose built studies (of course, you are free to question whose purpose) that are trying to isolate the impact of the UHIs on the temperature record.  Those studies seem to have found that notwithstanding the fact that UHIs have impacted the temperature record (up or down) in certain locations that the aggregate impact is not significant to their analysis.

That's a more basic statistical application than climate models themselves, and accordingly should generate higher confidence.  It's still of course subject to flaws in the studies (where they exist), flaws in the records (though this should be minimized) and any bias in any adjustments to temperature records included.  And this still touches on the inherent quality problem of the data where almost no good (or even reasonable) record extends for even 100 years back from today.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on July 31, 2019, 10:48:59 AM

Earth is Warming.  I guaranty we don't know Earth's current temperature, not on the surface, not in the atmosphere generally, not from the surface to the edge of space, and certainly not in the entire volume thereof.  What I can't know is how accurate our estimates are and what the real margin of error is (the calculated margin is nonsense). 

I guaranty we don't know what Earth's temperature was in any of the those volumes as a historical matter (and some are completely impossible to have measured given the way we indirectly measure historical temperatures).  What I can't know is the margin of error on the estimates, or whether the indirect measurements we do are less accurate than the direct ones we are attempting now, or even if they are more accurate.  It's literally possible that the indirect historical measures actually encode more relevant data than the real time measures, of course it's literally possible they're completely noise.

I guaranty, the way we have built the models using micro data research is heavily biased towards that which we easily understand, can get too or have researched, which is a heavy bias.  What I can't know is what else is out there, or if we by random chance have pieces of it correct.

Putting that aside, let's assume that we are in fact warming (and there are plenty of people that make reasonable cases this is not the case, and others who make nutty cases), then that leads to the question of what's causing it.

These are very erudite criticisms of our state of knowledge, but I believe they exaggerate the uncertainty, for two reasons.

First, what do you mean by "know?"

When you say, "we don't know Earth's current temperature, not on the surface, not in the atmosphere generally, not from the surface to the edge of space, and certainly not in the entire volume thereof," exactly how much don't we know?  For instance, let's say we measure the temperatures in Detroit and Chicago to a tenth of a degree, and they are both at 98 degrees F.  Does that mean we have no idea of the temperatures between those cities?   Could there be a field in between that is at -40 degrees, for instance?  Of course not.  We know enough about thermal dynamics and weather to know that such an anomaly would be readily detectable through winds and such.  Not to mention satellite measurements.  And not to mention the thousands of people who pass through the areas every day, none of which have ever frozen to death between those cities on a hot summer's day. :)

So while you object that "I can't know is the margin of error on the estimate," you can know that there are outer bounds on those estimates.  So you can't completely discount all measurements and extrapolations from them.

Second is that models are a legitimate way to conduct science.  Or do you believe the entire field of astrophysics is not "science?" ;)  I mean, exactly which of your objections do not apply to our knowledge that the sun is primarily run by fusion of hydrogen atoms?  We don't "know" its temperature.  We don't "know" the actual margins of error.  We don't "know" if the models we created using micro data isn't heavily biased.  And we certainly don't know if there are unknown unknowns that could be the real reason the sun shines.  But does anyone question the consensus that we do know how the sun shines?  Even you?

And what about black holes, background radiation, supernovas, etc.  Don't we "know" anything about them?  Or is all we know is that there are shiny things in the sky? ;)

I also noticed something you didn't guarantee above.

You didn't guarantee that AGW isn't happening.

This is important, because there are a few things I can guarantee, too.

I can guarantee that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing.  We have the measurements.

I can guarantee that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.  We have over a century of research about that.

So I can guarantee that CO2 is trapping more heat in our atmosphere than it did in centuries past.

No matter what the other data says, it doesn't change these facts.

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Caused by People.  That's our second "consensus" item.  It's caused by people.  This by the way is almost completely reliant on a single correlation.  As the human population's technology and pollution have increased the "measurements" we are able to do appear to have increased.  That's it.  There's no experiment that confirms it.  So how do we get from correlation to causation?  Well honestly we can't.

However, we can approach the limit by eliminating other potential causes (again assuming we are even correct about the temperature).  As with any purely observational Science, we become more certain of a theory by eliminating other potential causes as a source.  And that's the whole lot of what is going on.  If the correlation breaks the theory  falls apart (which is why things like a "pause," a medieval warm period, and historically far higher carbon concentrations at lower temperatures are so damaging that they have to explained away).

Modelling though?  Total red herring, and literally not a science experiment.  It generates zero data.  It runs zero experiments.  It settles zero factual questions.  What it may be good for is generating hypothesis, and if we get tuned enough correctly making predictions.  I personally don't believe it's close to there yet, but reasonable people can disagree.

Why is it dangerous to treat this "consensus" as meaningful?  Well mostly because we only know of a correlation and have not shown a causative effect.  That means that contrary evidence will either "break" the model completely, or lead to "narrative explanations" of things that altered the course (whether these are actual refinements, or literally just covering for a broken hypothesis is in the eye of the beholder).  If it's just a false correlation, and we implement ridiculous and damaging policies, they will (a) do no good, and (b) be credited with any correlative change.

So if we do nothing, and nothing happens.  Proof it was a mere correlation.  If on the other hand we completely rearrange the world, destroy all economies and kill have the population, and nothing happens.  Proof we "saved" the world.

On the flip, if there is a causation and we do nothing it gets worse.  But if we "do something" and it's the wrong thing it will also get worse and maybe much worse (which is why I'm so opposed to international treaties that punish the most efficient producers).

But let's not kid ourselves.  Consensus on AGW is literally consensus on a hypothesis, and literally one that's incapable of being tested.

Except that it is far, far more than simple correlation.  We know that CO2 traps heat.  So we expect that increased levels of CO2 will trap more heat.  That is not just correlation.

Here's a thing that we don't emphasize enough.  The computer models of our climate are not intended to "prove" that global warming is occurring.  What I stated previously "proves" that.  What the computer models can do is help us better understand exactly how it is affecting our climate, in greater detail.  They might even show that there are other factors that mitigate our emissions of billions of tons of CO2 and it is not warming our planet.  Dig it:  the computer models are our best chance of showing that AGW is not occurring.  Otherwise, we are left with those basic facts above.  And they all point to AGW being true.

And while there are other sources of CO2 than our emissions, nevertheless we are still emitting billions of tons of CO2 each year.  Any natural source increase the global warming effects.  And other source of heat increases the temperature increases we are creating.

We know we are trapping more heat in our atmosphere.  The only question is how much and how quickly.  A good model of our climate system will help us get a more accurate answers to those questions, and maybe even show that we actually aren't affecting the overall system.  But so far, the models haven't.  And until they do, we have to assume that the basic physics is correct, that the models are reasonably accurate, and that we are the main cause of rising temperatures on Earth.  To do otherwise is to kid ourselves.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 11:12:22 AM
Wayward,

Just a few quibbles, which may reflect on the confidence you're showing in our understanding of climate:

Or do you believe the entire field of astrophysics is not "science?" ;)  I mean, exactly which of your objections do not apply to our knowledge that the sun is primarily run by fusion of hydrogen atoms?

We not not *know* that the sun is primarily run by nuclear fusion. That has been the leading theory for a while, but never observed or corroborated. I'm not saying it isn't true, but that we're only in a position at present to say that as a theory it seems to fit the data the best. It would surprise many, but confound few, to ultimately learn that there's no fusion in stars at all and that the exposions are generated some other way.

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And we certainly don't know if there are unknown unknowns that could be the real reason the sun shines.  But does anyone question the consensus that we do know how the sun shines?

There isn't fusion because there's a consensus. If there's fusion it's because there's fusion. Our best guess is no more than that. That's not nothing, but it's not a fact either. So we work under the assumption there is fusion, make calcualtions using it as a premise, and see where that goes. The whole thing may prove to be bogus eventually when we learn about a new quantum property that fits the data much better.

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And what about black holes, background radiation, supernovas, etc.  Don't we "know" anything about them?  Or is all we know is that there are shiny things in the sky?

You're mixing apples and oranges here, but you do know that until the last few years it was not a basic assumption that there were definitely black holes? Sure, relativity predicted them, and it seemed quite likely they might be found, but until found they were just a theory. Note again this was until super-recently when scientists believed they directly observed some of them, and it's been a preeminent theory for almost a century. Until the observation was made many said they expected black holes, but few said there were black holes. Background radiation isn't a theory but just an observation so we can toss that one out of the issue. As for supernova we luckily have an easier time observing this phenomenon so it's not such a mystery that it exists, although we're still guessing as to what causes it. You are severely overstating astrophysical confidence in knowing about black holes and the nature of supernovae, the way you put it.

This may or may not reflect on the accuracy of your statements about AGW, but if your level of discretion is similar on both fronts then I would suggest you at the very least check your own freedom of belief and note that your overly-forward statements about stellar phenomena (about which we know much more than climate science) may mark you as being innately 'a believer' in terms of temperament. That's not inherently a bad thing (it may even be a good thing), so long as it's not confused with accuracy about what are facts and what are theories.

Another example of a theory often confounded with being a fact is evolution. It's definitely the best theory around to explain how we got here, but as of now it doesn't explain it. All it offers is a suggestion that a series of undisclosed steps theoretically could get us from point A to point B. It is a very sound theory and seems on some levels of analysis to bear results, but it hasn't been (and really cannot be) tested in terms of generating life from acids and proteins, and from those one-celled organisms step by step up to us. We simply cannot say with authority this really happens, even though it's surely the best narrative we've got to explain it. And yet how many people do you think clue into the fact that it's still called the theory of evolution? It's because the standard is very high to call something a fact, and even higher to call it uncontroversial.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: NobleHunter on July 31, 2019, 11:18:40 AM
Point of fact: the Theory of Evolution makes no attempt to explain abiogenesis.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 11:29:07 AM
Point of fact: the Theory of Evolution makes no attempt to explain abiogenesis.

Well this is part of the difficulty. How we got here is not some fluid repeating step with obvious recursive patterns that can get us from A to Z. Some stages of development that seem to be necessary for the entire process to have occurred seem hard to understand, and the theory of evolution is the only catchall I know of that tries to explain our generation based on patterned repetetiveness. Abiogensis is one such step, but there are others, such as how cells formed in the first place, or why there seems to be a trend towards increased complexity in life forms over time. My point is that Darwin's understanding of breeding techniques was a helpful thing to keep in mind but by no means proves anything about how we got here.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: NobleHunter on July 31, 2019, 12:04:40 PM
Except it's not trying to explain "how we got here." It explains speciation and how variations within a species play out over time and successive generations. Abiogenesis isn't a step evolution has to explain because the theory pre-supposes the existence of life, any more than a theory of planetary formation needs to explain stellar evolution or the big bang.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 31, 2019, 12:22:59 PM
If there's no viable alternate theory, then you're going to have a consensus about the last one standing. It can eventually get proven wrong, refined, or otherwise improved. There's certainly a lot more evidence than there is for crackpot irreducible complexity arguments for creation out of whole cloth 6000 years ago, or that squids are actually aliens.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 12:24:48 PM
Except it's not trying to explain "how we got here." It explains speciation and how variations within a species play out over time and successive generations. Abiogenesis isn't a step evolution has to explain because the theory pre-supposes the existence of life, any more than a theory of planetary formation needs to explain stellar evolution or the big bang.

That depends on what you mean by "speciation." One objection made by evolution deniers (for what it's worth) is that although evolution can create separate strains of a species (like breeds), and even have them diverge quite a bit, it doesn't have the ability to effectively create more complex breeds out of less complex ones. In other words the claim is that evolution can move sideways or downwards, but not upwards in complexity. I don't think this sort of objection is taken seriously as an argument proving anything in the negative, however this line of thinking does beg the question of how any convergence of lesser forms into greater forms even happens. How do one-celled organisms form into multicellular organisms? How do those form into plants and animals? It's not so much that evolution needs to tackle abiogensis per se, but if a single principle guides both the intitial generation of life as well as subsequent stages of complexification, we certainly don't know what that principle might be (if there is one). We don't need to solve abiogensis to be able to discuss speciation, except that we don't know whether to even frame evolution as being a series of unrelated flukes or as a continuing process that was based on inevitable processes that continue to this day. My point is that we are far from "understanding" evolution, even though much study has gone into it.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: NobleHunter on July 31, 2019, 12:33:26 PM
That depends on what you mean by "speciation." One objection made by evolution deniers (for what it's worth) is that although evolution can create separate strains of a species (like breeds), and even have them diverge quite a bit, it doesn't have the ability to effectively create more complex breeds out of less complex ones. In other words the claim is that evolution can move sideways or downwards, but not upwards in complexity. I don't think this sort of objection is taken seriously as an argument proving anything in the negative, however this line of thinking does beg the question of how any convergence of lesser forms into greater forms even happens. How do one-celled organisms form into multicellular organisms? How do those form into plants and animals? It's not so much that evolution needs to tackle abiogensis per se, but if a single principle guides both the intitial generation of life as well as subsequent stages of complexification, we certainly don't know what that principle might be (if there is one). We don't need to solve abiogensis to be able to discuss speciation, except that we don't know whether to even frame evolution as being a series of unrelated flukes or as a continuing process that was based on inevitable processes that continue to this day. My point is that we are far from "understanding" evolution, even though much study has gone into it.

That sounds entirely too teleological. While it would be nice for evolution everything about life, I think its actual scope is more limited.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 31, 2019, 12:38:43 PM
It's really simple. Random mutations happen. Detrimental mutations die off. Beneficial mutations are propagated. Mutations that are neutral can stick around or not. Mutations reduce entropy

The Surprising Origins of Evolutionary Complexity (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-surprising-origins-of-evolutionary-complexity/)

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In their 2010 book Biology's First Law, McShea and Brandon outlined a way that complexity defined in this way could arise. They argued that a bunch of parts that start out more or less the same should differentiate over time. Whenever organisms reproduce, one or more of their genes may mutate. And sometimes these mutations give rise to more types of parts. Once an organism has more parts, those units have an opportunity to become different. After a gene is accidentally copied, the duplicate may pick up mutations that the original does not share. Thus, if you start with a set of identical parts, according to McShea and Brandon, they will tend to become increasingly different from one another. In other words, the organism's complexity will increase.

See, there isn't a big mystery to it. There isn't some "fatal flaw". It is the consensus view because everything else is nonsense. Even when Darwin came up with the idea, he wasn't quite sure of the mechanism, but he could still be confident that a supernatural being didn't whack a pinata and have humans fall out.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 12:56:08 PM
You guys aren't getting it. I'm not interested (right now) in discussing the different aspects of evolution. My point is to include it in the list of things that are strong theories but are not called facts. There are many things we don't know about it and can't put directly to the test, just like stellar formation and solar fusion. It would be proper to say that there are leading theories in these, and improper to say that "everyone knows that fusion powers stars". My commentary is on the strength of the claim being made, and the language going into it regarding a "consensus" that points to the facts as being established. In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it. That points to the politicization of climate theory. I know the reasons for the urgency, but I am pointing at (in this case) Wayward's asumption that AGW is just as well-confirmed as fusion in stars when in reality the latter is not a confirmed fact. Do you see my point?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 31, 2019, 01:27:24 PM
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In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it
In the scientific arena, people are not expected to "fall in line".

The majority of the confusion arises in this area in the non-scientific arena and having confidence in false expertise: as one example, people continue to raise urban heat island effects on urban sited temperature stations as a reason to disbelieve AGW in general: this is an internet/general populace issue, not a scientific concern.  Anybody who brings up UHI without any knowledge of the underlying scientific history is of course not going to be taken seriously, because they are raising points that have been addressed already, and have not even bothered to review the studies in this area.

Now, if someone who is familiar with the knowledge in an area of expertise, and brings forward new points while addressing previous studies and possibly brings up issues with those earlier findings - well, their findings might not be immediately welcomed (there is of course resistance to new ideas, especially if there is a body of evidence being refuted) but such a person would not be faulted for bringing forward such a challenge.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: NobleHunter on July 31, 2019, 01:38:07 PM
You guys aren't getting it. I'm not interested (right now) in discussing the different aspects of evolution. My point is to include it in the list of things that are strong theories but are not called facts. There are many things we don't know about it and can't put directly to the test, just like stellar formation and solar fusion. It would be proper to say that there are leading theories in these, and improper to say that "everyone knows that fusion powers stars". My commentary is on the strength of the claim being made, and the language going into it regarding a "consensus" that points to the facts as being established. In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it. That points to the politicization of climate theory. I know the reasons for the urgency, but I am pointing at (in this case) Wayward's asumption that AGW is just as well-confirmed as fusion in stars when in reality the latter is not a confirmed fact. Do you see my point?

Anyone in a related field who does not accept the Theory of Evolution as a whole (rather than specific aspects or interpretations) would absolutely be expected to back that up with an alternate explanation. Which they would be unable to provide and have very little credibility as a result.

The better point is that while climate science has a whole bunch of solid Laws and Theories for building blocks, there's no overall Theory of Climate which neatly explains all or most observations. The problem wouldn't be with stellar fusion in this comparison, it'd be with climate science.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 31, 2019, 01:51:04 PM
You're mixing apples and oranges here, but you do know that until the last few years it was not a basic assumption that there were definitely black holes? Sure, relativity predicted them, and it seemed quite likely they might be found, but until found they were just a theory. Note again this was until super-recently when scientists believed they directly observed some of them, and it's been a preeminent theory for almost a century. Until the observation was made many said they expected black holes, but few said there were black holes. Background radiation isn't a theory but just an observation so we can toss that one out of the issue. As for supernova we luckily have an easier time observing this phenomenon so it's not such a mystery that it exists, although we're still guessing as to what causes it. You are severely overstating astrophysical confidence in knowing about black holes and the nature of supernovae, the way you put it.

Which isn't to mention that astrophysicists aren't trying to radically alter the planetary economy in order to support one of their theories.

Although we might want to consider some contingencies for their theorized Gamma Ray Burst scenario, but we're pretty thoroughly screwed if that happens anyway.

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Another example of a theory often confounded with being a fact is evolution. It's definitely the best theory around to explain how we got here, but as of now it doesn't explain it. All it offers is a suggestion that a series of undisclosed steps theoretically could get us from point A to point B. It is a very sound theory and seems on some levels of analysis to bear results, but it hasn't been (and really cannot be) tested in terms of generating life from acids and proteins, and from those one-celled organisms step by step up to us. We simply cannot say with authority this really happens, even though it's surely the best narrative we've got to explain it. And yet how many people do you think clue into the fact that it's still called the theory of evolution? It's because the standard is very high to call something a fact, and even higher to call it uncontroversial.

The interesting one for me on that front recently has been the entire concept of Speciation in general, as the thing that is supposed to delineate a different species is they're not supposed to be able to interbreed and have fertile offspring.

Further exploration and research into the Human Genome is now showing that Homo Sapiens interbred with Neanderthals, Denisovians, and evidently a third species of humanoid that hasn't been further identified just yet. I have further appreciated the seeming irony in the matter that the mixing with Neanderthals evidently was most prominent in Europeans and Eurasians in general, while it has yet to be found among Africans. Ah, the White Supremacists of 50 years ago have to be rolling in their graves. Joke's on them, it wasn't the black man who had the most in common with the Neanderthal, it was the white guy.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on July 31, 2019, 02:13:57 PM
I’m a solid 5% Neanderthal and proud of it. Those on my FB may have noticed changes to my pics since I found out. Low brow means a bigger frontal cortex. Damned cromagnons didn’t wipe us out by their ability to compose music or sail the stars.  Y’all were just more efficient hunters and wiped out the game.   We’re going to rise again, and this time, we’re going to stay out of your way. Plant gardens. Hunt ostriches with Spears. ;)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 31, 2019, 02:22:33 PM
If you have a preponderance of evidence then it may as well be a fact for all practical purposes.

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Even then, a hypothesis needs to be tested and retested many times by many different experts before it is generally accepted in the scientific community as being true.

There are thousands of different hypotheses that relate to the theory of evolution. Time and time again it has proven out. We don't have to evolve a single celled organism all the way into a human in order to accept that evolution was the mechanism. We don't have to fly into the sun to understand that it is nuclear fusion based on observation.

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A scientific theory consists of one or more hypotheses that have been supported by repeated testing. Theories are one of the pinnacles of science and are widely accepted in the scientific community as being true. A theory must never be shown to be wrong; if it is, the theory is disproven. Theories can also evolve. This doesn’t mean the old theory was wrong. It’s just that new information was discovered.

Hypothesis, Theory, or Law (https://futurism.com/hypothesis-theory-or-law)

When enough scientists do a lot of work reviewed by other scientists, that's how you achieve understanding. When you have enough understanding, you act on it.

I think the more direct parallel to climate science was the science about tobacco usage. Powerful industry does everything possible to protect its interests, and make it seem like the science wasn't sound.

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Little and his Hill & Knowlton colleagues constructed a basic science research program into aspects of carcinogenesis that had no potential to resolve the question that the tobacco industry had promised the American public would be at the center of attention: do cigarettes cause serious disease? Little became the industry's primary spokesman in obscuring this question. The sharp disjuncture between the research agenda of the TIRC and the commitment to resolving the controversy about smoking and health is a major indicator of the committee's essential public relations goals. In the end, the TIRC was designed to direct attention away from the issue of immediate concern to the American public and American medicine: the health effects of smoking.

In this way, the tobacco industry managed to sustain the widespread perception of an active and highly contested scientific controversy into the 1960s despite overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus that smoking caused serious disease. According to the TIRC, many independent and responsible scientists continued to voice opposition to these findings. In reality, over the course of the decade, such views were increasingly marginal and limited to those with financial ties to the TIRC.

But skepticism does not indicate that there is not consensus. With each passing year, skepticism concerning the relationship between smoking and cancer was increasingly dominated by industry resources and public media. Doubt was no longer a matter of culture or training but the carefully crafted centerpiece of an industry effort to sow confusion and heighten debate through explicit attempts to disrupt the process of normative science. The TIRC marks one of the most intensive efforts by an industry to derail independent science in modern history. And, as shown subsequently, others would follow the tobacco industry's road map, drawn in the 1950s.33

Inventing Conflicts of Interest: A History of Tobacco Industry Tactics (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3490543/)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on July 31, 2019, 03:11:23 PM
I notice that there is very little said about what happens if realistically we cannot reduce CO2 emissions all that much. I mean, even if everyone unanimously agreed that it should be done, I'm asking what if it really can't in the world we live in. I'm not sure it's at all clear that the public fight over this even amounts to anything, unless it could be shown that a proposed solution would follow that could actually be carried out with realistic chances of success.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on July 31, 2019, 03:32:45 PM
I notice that there is very little said about what happens if realistically we cannot reduce CO2 emissions all that much. I mean, even if everyone unanimously agreed that it should be done, I'm asking what if it really can't in the world we live in. I'm not sure it's at all clear that the public fight over this even amounts to anything, unless it could be shown that a proposed solution would follow that could actually be carried out with realistic chances of success.

The only options on the table for even starting down the road to viable carbon free is Nuclear Fission or Fusion. Anything else is simply a delusion, or an environmental disaster of an entirely different kind due to land use changes in the name of renewable energy.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 31, 2019, 05:31:37 PM
Solar and wind will replace fossil fuels within 20 years (https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/solar-and-wind-will-replace-fossil-fuels-within-20-years)

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The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

No other greenhouse solution comes close, and it is very hard to envision any timely response to climate change that does not involve PV and wind doing most of the heavy lifting.

Together, PV and wind currently produce about 7% of the world’s electricity. Worldwide over the past five years, PV capacity has grown by 28% per year, and wind by 13% per year. Remarkably, because of the slow or nonexistent growth rates of coal and gas, current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032.

So, no, we don't need nuclear. Nor should we like to replace digging one thing up and setting it on fire with digging another thing up and setting it on fire, replacing atmospheric carbon with millions of tons of radioactive waste slowly leaking into ground water. Plus, do you really want to put nuclear plants in every country? Are they all up to the task of operating them safely, and disposing of the waste?

What's the worst that could happen? - Tsunehisa Katsumata, Tokyo Electric Power

When's the last time you heard about a terrifying windmill disaster?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on July 31, 2019, 06:28:53 PM
So those of you that continue to insist that consensus is science are fully on board with the idea that a human life begins at the moment of conception. Right? We have an overwhelming consensus from scientists that confirm this so you must be accepting it.

Otherwise, why is one consensus correct and another not?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: DonaldD on July 31, 2019, 06:47:37 PM
Try to keep up, Crunch.  It's as if you haven't understood a single word posted in the past 2 pages.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on July 31, 2019, 06:57:14 PM
Life is not synonymous with rights. Brain-dead people are also human life according to scientific consensus. Personhood is a socially defined construct, and generally can't be subject to purely scientific analysis. But you already knew all of that, you just chose to ignore it so you could have your gotcha moment.

In fact, science has made it very clear that a fertilized embryo does not have the characteristics that we normally use to determine whether there is meaningful life, including a nervous system as the most basic.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 01, 2019, 01:38:53 AM
Solar and wind will replace fossil fuels within 20 years (https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/solar-and-wind-will-replace-fossil-fuels-within-20-years)

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The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

No other greenhouse solution comes close, and it is very hard to envision any timely response to climate change that does not involve PV and wind doing most of the heavy lifting.

Together, PV and wind currently produce about 7% of the world’s electricity. Worldwide over the past five years, PV capacity has grown by 28% per year, and wind by 13% per year. Remarkably, because of the slow or nonexistent growth rates of coal and gas, current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032.

So, no, we don't need nuclear. Nor should we like to replace digging one thing up and setting it on fire with digging another thing up and setting it on fire, replacing atmospheric carbon with millions of tons of radioactive waste slowly leaking into ground water. Plus, do you really want to put nuclear plants in every country? Are they all up to the task of operating them safely, and disposing of the waste?

What's the worst that could happen? - Tsunehisa Katsumata, Tokyo Electric Power

When's the last time you heard about a terrifying windmill disaster?

Solar and Wind only work if you have NG or Hydro backing it up.

Until somebody has a major breakthrough on battery tech at least.

And funny you complain about the waste stream of Nuclear, while you ignore the waste stream of Solar in particular, which requires digging up all kinds of interesting things.

With nuclear, the radioactive material needed to fuel my energy needs for a lifetime is about the size of a marble.

With wind power, the waste stream for the PV's to support my lifetime evergy needs will likely be able to cover a (American) football field.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 08:40:27 AM
A lot less digging for solar than fossil, but I concede the point to nuclear without bothering to verify actual amounts. Yes storage is an issue for renewable. The article that I linked touches on that, and there are existing solutions - including pumped hydro.

A study was recently completed that suggests there are enough suitable sites to allow for global reliance on renewable.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sciencealert.com/scientists-spot-530-000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-to-meet-all-our-renewable-energy-needs/amp
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 01, 2019, 10:29:39 AM
A lot less digging for solar than fossil, but I concede the point to nuclear without bothering to verify actual amounts. Yes storage is an issue for renewable. The article that I linked touches on that, and there are existing solutions - including pumped hydro.

A study was recently completed that suggests there are enough suitable sites to allow for global reliance on renewable.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sciencealert.com/scientists-spot-530-000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-to-meet-all-our-renewable-energy-needs/amp

Which brings us back to:

The only options on the table for even starting down the road to viable carbon free is Nuclear Fission or Fusion. Anything else is simply a delusion, or an environmental disaster of an entirely different kind due to land use changes in the name of renewable energy.

They found "suitable sites" did they? Good luck trying to get approvals to actually build those sites out. Or dealing other likely "unintended impacts" of operating such systems. (Water eventually mineralizing/turning to salt water over enough cycles, potentially playing with the "scent" migration paths of fish, etc) Which isn't to mention habitat issues and hydrological problems that are likely to come with weeks/months/years of water levels constantly shifting by "significant amounts." A number of levee systems may not appreciate that. Although I doubt anybody would trying for anything close the scale that was witnessed with the Oroville Dam several years ago. (Where flow rates changed by ~100,000 cfs-- compared to the power plants ~12,000 cfs)
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 10:50:08 AM
So ya think it's going to be easier to get hundreds or even thousands of sites for fission reactors approved and built out on a global basis, huh? Remember only 31 countries have any nuclear power generating capability. I guess there's no downside to Iran building another couple of dozen reactors?

This isn't to say that I think nuclear can't help accelerate the process of decomissioning fossil plants. A carbon tax would at least help keep existing nuclear plants from shutting down, which is happening under price pressure from cheap freedom gas. It might even encourage some new construction. I only object to characterizing it as the only way forward.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 01, 2019, 11:23:08 AM
At the risk of further derailing things with another tangent:

Life is not synonymous with rights.

True. However this runs the risk of confusing science with jurisprudence. It is not the case that the current state of law has got any relation to ontology (i.e. what does or does not exist) or to morality. Law is some combination of protecting current interests, compromise so that people can co-exist (which has some overlap with the previous point), and going along with historical trend. Probably some other factors. None of this pertains to moral questions. Something can be legal and be completely immoral (as we see often enough), and likewise a set of rights afforded to group of entities does no ipso facto imbue them with certain properties because the law grants them rights. And I assume you're referring to legally designated rights, rather than natural rights. Because if you're going to go the natural law route you won't be standing on firm ground to suppose that life doesn't grant rights.

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Brain-dead people are also human life according to scientific consensus.

You would seem to be defeating yourself on the legal front here, since I'm pretty sure it would be murder to stab someone who's brain-dead.

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Personhood is a socially defined construct, and generally can't be subject to purely scientific analysis.

Not quite. It would be closer to say that the idea that personhood is a socially defined construct is a socially defined construct. Because to make that claim you are already defining personhood as 'that which the state deems personhood'. So you're basing your idea of where personhood comes from in an assumption after the fact. What if it were the case that personhood isn't something we can grant someone, but that they just have? This is analogous to a natural law argument, so from that standpoint we'd be talking about ontology rather than law, in which case science comes back into it.

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In fact, science has made it very clear that a fertilized embryo does not have the characteristics that we normally use to determine whether there is meaningful life, including a nervous system as the most basic.

Science absolutely does not say that. As if a larval stage of a fly isn't really a fly because it can't fly! The life cycle of any animal has various stages, only some of which have certain characteristics we like to associate with life. Anyhow the 'list' of things life can do (e.g. locomotion, reproduction, ingestion, etc) are things done at various stages in the life cycle, and not necessarily all at once, and certainly not necessarily all of them apply. It's a rough (that is to say, bad) way of trying to pin down what life is like, without having a better or proper definition. But I suppose your term "meaningful life" is a special case, where you mean meaningful...to us? I know of no use of the phrase "meaningful life" in science, and likewise in philosophy I haven't heard of that kind of category. Are you talking about distinguishing between humans and bacteria kind of thing, in that we have no compuction wiping out bacteria, and your idea is that this is because they don't have a well-developed nervous system?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 01, 2019, 12:10:53 PM
By the way, I should just mention that I made the above points not to begin a drawn-out debate about the definition of human life, but rather to remark on the fact that the issue non-trivial, and that if you're going to make fun of Crunch it would be good to at least not hand-wave away very tough issues. I don't know if Crunch intended his remark as a silly gotcha moment, but being charitable I can see a theoretical case for his comment about human life being quite relevant to the consensus discussion.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 12:16:28 PM
I don't think I'll feed the derailment much further, there are many points we could explore for sure. We don't call it murder when a doctor or family members ends treatment. More enlighted countries allow active termination or euthanasia, though those methods are called . Meaningful life is defined by the owner of it, or by a guardian on their behalf in the context of ending it.

None of those question have much bearing on consensus of "human life", as such scientists would also stipulate the the brain dead are biologically "alive". We won't even have to bother with polling them on the ethical questions, will we?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 12:25:06 PM
By the way, I should just mention that I made the above points not to begin a drawn-out debate about the definition of human life, but rather to remark on the fact that the issue non-trivial, and that if you're going to make fun of Crunch it would be good to at least not hand-wave away very tough issues. I don't know if Crunch intended his remark as a silly gotcha moment, but being charitable I can see a theoretical case for his comment about human life being quite relevant to the consensus discussion.

Fair enough, I assumed an "and therefore, you should call abortion murder". I don't think anyone is denying the consensus scientific opinion that an embryo is human life, just not drawing the same conclusions about what that entails.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: scifibum on August 01, 2019, 01:49:30 PM
Right. Literally nobody contests that a human being originates from the union of a sperm and an egg (leaving aside clones and other extreme edge cases), or that zygotes are part of human life. The contended points are about what constitutes a person with rights that must be balanced against the rights of others (mainly the pregnant woman), and outside of deliberately simplified preaching to the choir and propaganda designed for stupid people, there's also a consensus (and it is the law) that a near term fetus should have more protections than a zygote or embryo.

The OP is far from a gotcha. I never claimed that consensus is more important than scientific rigor. But it's a fact that people who study climate with scientific rigor almost all come to compatible findings about global warming and what is causing it. The controversial questions of when-does-a-developing-human-being-acquire-rights aren't necessarily amenable to scientific inquiry, although more focused questions such as what-percentage-of-zygotes-die are definitely questions that science can address.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: scifibum on August 01, 2019, 01:53:46 PM
Just another reminder that "life begins at conception" is both nonsensical (sperm and eggs are alive prior to conception) and designed to bait people into having the argument using inaccurate terminology. Abortion rights aren't predicated on when "life begins". Roe v. Wade wasn't decided on a finding that life begins at 6 months of fetal development.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 01, 2019, 02:05:35 PM
Right. Literally nobody contests that a human being originates from the union of a sperm and an egg (leaving aside clones and other extreme edge cases), or that zygotes are part of human life. The contended points are about what constitutes a person with rights that must be balanced against the rights of others (mainly the pregnant woman), and outside of deliberately simplified preaching to the choir and propaganda designed for stupid people, there's also a consensus (and it is the law) that a near term fetus should have more protections than a zygote or embryo.

I think you may be experiencing (in a good way) a preponderance of reasonable people here at Ornery, because I have literally never met someone IRL who is pro-choice and takes this position. The overwhelmingly prevailing opinion 'on the street' is that a person "is not alive" until they have a functioning heart; or alternatively until "they can live apart from the mother". YMMV on exactly which clause is invoked to imply that 'parasitic things attached to the mother' don't count. Your phrase "human being originates from" does carry within it the possibility to deny that it *is* alive even though its life did originate there. The 'whose rights must be protected most' argument is a reasonable one, but I think you will find this position to be akin to a unicorn if you go about looking for people who espouse it. In fact, even suggesting that there may be a conflict of rights will more likely than not enrage a significant segment of pro-choicers. The idea here is that even proposing that "life" or "some lesser set of rights" is on the table leaves wiggle room to argue about 'how much life' or 'what sorts of rights', and that is generally deemed to be an unacceptable thing to admit into plausibility.

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The OP is far from a gotcha. I never claimed that consensus is more important than scientific rigor. But it's a fact that people who study climate with scientific rigor almost all come to compatible findings about global warming and what is causing it. The controversial questions of when-does-a-developing-human-being-acquire-rights aren't necessarily amenable to scientific inquiry, although more focused questions such as what-percentage-of-zygotes-die are definitely questions that science can address.

If I had to guess, I would think the linkage between fetus-rights and climate science is that I don't think most pro-choice people would change their opinions on abortion regardless of what such-and-such study happened to show regarding the technical development of a zygote/fetus/human. That being said, I also think most pro-life people wouldn't budge based on some new study either. I suspect Crunch's point was that the "you have to listen to scientists" claim wouldn't actually be endorsed by people on certain topics where any position other than the one they already have would be a priori unacceptable. And I do think there is some truth to that.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 03:45:33 PM
Frozen embryos are not alive. :P

Despite the fact that they are not alive by scientific consensus, there are lots of people trying to claim they should still be treated as human life.

And I'll concede that there are illucid people (https://www.debate.org/opinions/are-embryos-alive) who will make the claim that normal embryos are not alive. I think we can safely leave them aside from the group of people forming a scientific consensus.

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A group of cells is not living. An embryo is not alive when it first forms. It becomes alive, as a fetus, but it is not alive.

The other people on that random site were capable of understanding both the question and guarding against the potential implications. I suspect that is overwhelmingly the case. If the people you are interacting with are saying that, they don't know the definitions properly, but I'd say they clearly mean "person".
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 01, 2019, 04:02:11 PM
And I'll concede that there are illucid people (https://www.debate.org/opinions/are-embryos-alive) who will make the claim that normal embryos are not alive. I think we can safely leave them aside from the group of people forming a scientific consensus.

I guess I would ask what cross-section of the populace goes to that site. I don't think I've actually ever come across someone making the marked distinction between life and person; as in "Of course it's alive, but a non-person life." It doesn't happen all that often, but whenever I have interacted with someone heavily invested in the topic (on either side), in basically all cases they've never even heard of the position that both parties may have rights, with the priority going to the mother; or the position that a human being's rights are granted at some arbitrary point during pregnancy (the typical position being that they are granted immediately at birth).

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If the people you are interacting with are saying that, they don't know the definitions properly, but I'd say they clearly mean "person".

I have to be honest, I myself don't even know the definition of "person"! If asked to define exactly what it means in the way you use it, I couldn't. What do you think it means?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 01, 2019, 04:32:07 PM
An entity treated as a person. More specifically in law, it is referred to as a "human being" for instance in murder statutes. Pretty sure you can't make a fetus a beneficiary. In other words, having the rights of a human being.

In the dictionary, person is defined as "a human being regarded as an individual."

Moral Person (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/philosophical/moralperson.shtml)

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  • a being that possesses certain human characteristics in addition to the human genetic code
  • characteristics often suggested might be the ability to think, to imagine, to communicate
  • but the lists of characteristics put forward may be designed to limit the definition of human in the way the speaker wants
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on August 01, 2019, 04:34:39 PM
“Person” means whatever the folks with the most guns say it means.

At present it means

An entity that is either:

A living human being who has totally been removed from the birth tract.

A corporation, charter, or other legal entity defined by law as a “person”

Yeah, that’s right up there with life liberty and persuit of happiness. Very inspiring.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 01, 2019, 04:42:54 PM
An entity treated as a person. More specifically in law, it is referred to as a "human being" for instance in murder statutes. Pretty sure you can't make a fetus a beneficiary. In other words, having the rights of a human being.

Not sure what you mean by this, but you can make your descendants that have not yet even been conceived into beneficiaries, you can easily make a fetus one.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on August 02, 2019, 08:22:38 AM
By the way, I should just mention that I made the above points not to begin a drawn-out debate about the definition of human life, but rather to remark on the fact that the issue non-trivial, and that if you're going to make fun of Crunch it would be good to at least not hand-wave away very tough issues. I don't know if Crunch intended his remark as a silly gotcha moment, but being charitable I can see a theoretical case for his comment about human life being quite relevant to the consensus discussion.

I did not intend this as a gotcha moment. Consensus is not science, that’s my point. That this particular consensus cuts the other ideological way was meant to show why the idea of consensus as science is wrong. It’s a logical fallacy.

That you see those who believe in consensus as science saying one consensus is correct and one is not just demonstrates my point that consensus is not science. If they truly believed consensus was science, they’d blindly accept the start of human life as they do AGW.

We don’t hold a vote to determine that “the science is settled”. That’s not science. It’s ideology, closer to Lysenkoism than science.

Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Pete at Home on August 02, 2019, 08:39:52 AM
Corporations: a person who can eat other people and not be considered a cannibal
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 02, 2019, 10:47:33 AM
I did not intend this as a gotcha moment. Consensus is not science, that’s my point. That this particular consensus cuts the other ideological way was meant to show why the idea of consensus as science is wrong. It’s a logical fallacy.

That's not really nuanced enough though.  It's not "consensus" that is science.  We have actually consensus on a lot of facts and it doesn't make them into science.  There's a consensus that the Yankees have more world series titles that the Red Sox, but no one mistakes that for science.

The biological definition of life is a definition, it's made up, there's no study that "proves" or even tests it and it's not a claim for anything more than a very basic proposition - a human organism begins at the point of conception - just like any other organism.  I do think there's some very silly mental gymnastics that some go through to avoid admitting that because they find the implications unpleasant to consider but it's still a definition and not a piece of data.

It's like saying that we have a "consensus" on the what the word "sky" means.  Which we do, but only for general purposes, we have sub-parts and sub-definitions and almost certainly could have reasonable disputes about the exact point the sky ends above the planet.  But none of that is a data driven conclusion or observation it is just an agreement on meaning.

That's a completely different statement that a consensus about what's happening, or an interpretation of a data.  A trial jury comes to a consensus about guilt and that consensus becomes a reality with a legal consequence but it can still be erroneous.  A consensus on a conclusion is an informed and rational judgment that interprets the facts and that we can have confidence in -to a certain standard - which in some legal cases is beyond a shadow of a doubt, and in others merely more likely than not.

That's what's so hard to work out here.  Climate science is closer to "more likely than not" but it's advocates want to treat it like it's "beyond a shadow of doubt" and it's opponents as "possible, but no more likely than any other explanation."

In short, there's no conflict between not letting a definition control your view of an issue, definitions are for communication clarity, and finding a conclusory consensus of informed persons persuasive or even controlling on an issue.  Those two "consensuses" are very different things.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 02, 2019, 11:00:58 AM
Seriati,

I think Crunch's issue is less to do with how much weight of fact a consensus communicates; rather it's largely about interpretation of how to deal with facts. For instance the hard data on a topic may suggests something obvious, or not obvious at all, but in both cases you still have to decide what to do about it. In jury trial for instance the facts may be clear that person A killed person B, or somewhat unclear, but if you know that you personally believe it would be unjust to punish person A for doing it (for whatever reason) the issue of the facts themselves and of what to do may diverge if you believe the law shouldn't apply there. Whereas by contrast someone who believes in strict adherence to the law will be mostly interested in the facts and nothing else; did he do it or not. Likewise, is someone's moral position strictly guided by facts, such that they will be a slave to the facts and refuse to continue holding positions if the fact pattern changes? Or is it the kind of person who will cling to their belief and be resistant to altering it even in the face of new information?

Crunch's point seems to me to be that the consensus-oriented claim in climate science seems like it's taking the position that you have to follow the facts wherever they lead, and that in this case the facts say AGW; whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 02, 2019, 12:12:19 PM
Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 02, 2019, 12:31:37 PM
Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.

Define "thinking" in this context?

By week 7 it is claimed that the mouth of a fetus is capable of feeling sensation, which would indicate a level of primitive thought/response is possible by week 9.

Week 20 is far less disputed, as that's when the nervous system is basically complete beyond final development of the brain... Which won't complete until a person is beyond 20 years of age.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 02, 2019, 12:31:48 PM
I think Crunch's issue is less to do with how much weight of fact a consensus communicates; rather it's largely about interpretation of how to deal with facts.

I think this sentence (and everything else you wrote) is actually too much of a compound description, in that it combines different elements and treats them as a single thing.

By "fact" you seem to mean both data (temperature record), interpretation (climate trend) and causitive conclusion (caused by man), while I think Crunch disputes the first and the third (I'm just guessing that he believes they can correctly run the calculations in 2 after they've adjusted 1), I don't think it's entirely fair to try to treat them all as facts.

The third is not a fact, there's not a single study or experiment that demonstrates anything but correlation, and that's the same thing as causation.  It's literally, the case of the jury making an informed conclusion.

The second, is just math.  The models have potential and known flaws, and have built in bias (e.g., they all include mandatory carbon forcing, which dictates a specific result).  All they are doing is changing the form of data (both the temperature record, but also the entire formulation of the logical rules that are the model itself are data), into a different more easily read format.  There is zero new knowledge at this stage.

The first is non-arbitrary measures - which could have human error, or be influenced by artificial factors (e.g., the UHIs), but are very unlikely to have been corruptly recorded by intent.  It's also largely an extrapolated rather than direct data set.  It also includes adjustments that have been made deliberately to the records and there can be a lot of dispute around the appropriateness or accuracy of those adjustments.

There's a lot of room for error in that, and that's an awful lot to cram into a single concept of "fact," which includes a lot of stuff that isn't a fact.

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Crunch's point seems to me to be that the consensus-oriented claim in climate science seems like it's taking the position that you have to follow the facts wherever they lead, and that in this case the facts say AGW;...

I don't think Crunch would claim, or even agree, that climate science has followed the facts where they lead, I suspect he thinks they've driven the facts to where they want them to lead.  It's pretty certain he wouldn't say that the facts lead to AGW. 

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...whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.

That may be the case, but in that case he'd be better off using a non-definitional example.

Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.

Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 02, 2019, 12:37:22 PM
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Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights. Reasonable people can argue that point, but that's where I'm at. I will bow to scientific fact if they can prove a 9 week fetus is self-aware.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 02, 2019, 12:48:16 PM
Not going to bother, Crunch was right at least with respect to you.  The 9 week fetus is a human organism it is alive.   That has nothing to do with whether it can think or should have rights.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 02, 2019, 12:50:45 PM
Seriously, what?  Over and over I've stipulated that such an organism is human life that deserves no rights. How am I denying any science? I'm saying when science says MY criteria are broken, I'll readily change my opinion.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 02, 2019, 12:56:58 PM
Maybe you can clarify:

Over and over I've stipulated that such an organism is human life that deserves no rights.

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights.

You seem to be asserting it is both human life and not human life.  If its the latter, I'd like to know what species you believe it is part of.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: scifibum on August 02, 2019, 01:36:12 PM
Right. Literally nobody contests that a human being originates from the union of a sperm and an egg (leaving aside clones and other extreme edge cases), or that zygotes are part of human life. The contended points are about what constitutes a person with rights that must be balanced against the rights of others (mainly the pregnant woman), and outside of deliberately simplified preaching to the choir and propaganda designed for stupid people, there's also a consensus (and it is the law) that a near term fetus should have more protections than a zygote or embryo.

I think you may be experiencing (in a good way) a preponderance of reasonable people here at Ornery, because I have literally never met someone IRL who is pro-choice and takes this position. The overwhelmingly prevailing opinion 'on the street' is that a person "is not alive" until they have a functioning heart; or alternatively until "they can live apart from the mother". YMMV on exactly which clause is invoked to imply that 'parasitic things attached to the mother' don't count. Your phrase "human being originates from" does carry within it the possibility to deny that it *is* alive even though its life did originate there. The 'whose rights must be protected most' argument is a reasonable one, but I think you will find this position to be akin to a unicorn if you go about looking for people who espouse it. In fact, even suggesting that there may be a conflict of rights will more likely than not enrage a significant segment of pro-choicers. The idea here is that even proposing that "life" or "some lesser set of rights" is on the table leaves wiggle room to argue about 'how much life' or 'what sorts of rights', and that is generally deemed to be an unacceptable thing to admit into plausibility.

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The OP is far from a gotcha. I never claimed that consensus is more important than scientific rigor. But it's a fact that people who study climate with scientific rigor almost all come to compatible findings about global warming and what is causing it. The controversial questions of when-does-a-developing-human-being-acquire-rights aren't necessarily amenable to scientific inquiry, although more focused questions such as what-percentage-of-zygotes-die are definitely questions that science can address.

If I had to guess, I would think the linkage between fetus-rights and climate science is that I don't think most pro-choice people would change their opinions on abortion regardless of what such-and-such study happened to show regarding the technical development of a zygote/fetus/human. That being said, I also think most pro-life people wouldn't budge based on some new study either. I suspect Crunch's point was that the "you have to listen to scientists" claim wouldn't actually be endorsed by people on certain topics where any position other than the one they already have would be a priori unacceptable. And I do think there is some truth to that.

When "life begins" is a useless framing for abortion rights or fetal rights. If you're asking people on the street if a developing fetus is alive and they are saying no, they are answering a different question: something about a threshold for abortion rights or fetal rights. They do not think a fetus is not alive by any reasonable definition of "alive". If they are using the term "person" they probably mean to attach some legal significance to that term.

"...Crunch's point was that the "you have to listen to scientists" claim wouldn't actually be endorsed by people on certain topics..."

Among other things this depends on agreeing that when "life begins" is an important concept when discussing fetal rights or abortion rights. It's not.

We should listen to scientists.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 02, 2019, 01:43:42 PM
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Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights. Reasonable people can argue that point, but that's where I'm at. I will bow to scientific fact if they can prove a 9 week fetus is self-aware.

Can you prove a 6 month old child is self-aware?

Just wondering if you draw the line on self-awareness not being relevant.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on August 02, 2019, 01:57:46 PM
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Among other things this depends on agreeing that when "life begins" is an important concept when discussing fetal rights or abortion rights. It's not.

The majority of scientists in this study agreed that it was, in fact, an important concept. They also agreed that biologists were most qualified to determine this question. You are going against the consensus.

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We should listen to scientists.

As long as they say the “correct” things.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Fenring on August 02, 2019, 02:28:03 PM
By "fact" you seem to mean both data (temperature record), interpretation (climate trend) and causitive conclusion (caused by man), while I think Crunch disputes the first and the third (I'm just guessing that he believes they can correctly run the calculations in 2 after they've adjusted 1), I don't think it's entirely fair to try to treat them all as facts.

You are right that Crunch has been disputing which of these things are or are not facts. But the post I'm arguing about it specifically the one where he asked why abortion-rights advocates don't seem to follow their own advice about listening to scientists. Notwithstanding the accuracy of his comparison, this particular point doesn't hinge on which things are or are not facts, and seems to me more generally about whether people are being consistent about whether they'll listen to parties that say things they don't like.

Quote
Quote
...whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.

That may be the case, but in that case he'd be better off using a non-definitional example.

That may be. But I was sort of defending him against mockery, more so than advocating for his example being absolutely the best. Even a case that isn't the best may still have something noteworthy in it to inspect.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 02, 2019, 03:18:25 PM
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 02, 2019, 03:26:01 PM
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.

IT should also be pointed out that a lot of the "science" the Democrats and company push, isn't really "science" as most people would define it. At least, none of the "hard sciences" as it were.

The closest they get to "hard science" is the underlying theory supporting most of their much vaunted climate models. However, the models themselves are very "soft" on the science side of things.

"Gender theory?" Soft Science. It even goes against hard science in some cases(there are how many genders?**).
Political Science is a very soft science, arguably a science by name only.
We could work our way down the list.

**It should be noted, I personally think that much of what we consider to be "gender roles" are social constructs in general, so trying to make a biology case for it one way or the other is rather silly. The people who make an issue over "Gender Identity" in general(goes for both sides) really need to find better things to spend their time on.

But the "hard science" of biology still reigns supreme. For the overwhelming majority of cases, there are only two genders, male or female. There are other (rare) factors that can move someone strongly into a more androgynous state, and various other (rare) iterations in between, but that doesn't necessitate the need to redefine (and confuse) the language to suit whatever it is they're wanting to push. Their underlying biology still remains predominately male or female. Yes there are culture issues, and while it can be argued that language reflects culture, creating new gender definitions and categories is going about things ass backwards.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on August 02, 2019, 04:20:30 PM
It's not so much that consensus is science, but science needs consensus. :)

Science says that human life begins at conception.  But scientifically prove what "human life" is.

Science can prove a definition of what "human life" is, but it can't prove what is meant by "human life."

Is "human life" some cells of a human that are living, even if most of the body is dead?

Is "human life" when the brain is still living?

Is "human life" a bunch of cells that could develop into a human body if it is in a mother's womb?

Without a consensus of what "human life" is, science cannot prove anything about it.

And remember, "consensus" is not something scientists sign up to.  No one tells scientists "you must believe this."  Rather, consensus is what most scientists choose to believe.  That is why I keep comparing it to a jury.  A jury isn't told what to believe.  Each individual comes to his or her own conclusion, and the verdict is found when they reach a consensus.

If a vast majority of scientists come to the same conclusion, not from being told what to believe but from their own reasoning, then that tells you something, much like a jury coming to a conclusion about the facts of a trial.  It's not perfect, of course, but it's better than any other method we've come up with for finding what the facts are.

I'm sure some of you will say, "The experiments determine the facts."  Well, guess what?  Scientists use experiments as the determinate for what is factual, along with close observation and models.  So when the experiments make clear what the facts are, you have a consensus.  When the observations make clear what the facts are, you have a consensus.  When all the models reasonably model what is happening, whether it be inside a star or a climate system, you have a consensus.  Because scientists like to be right, and a majority will follow the best way to determine that.

When a majority of scientists come to a consensus about a theory, that theory is the best/most productive one we have.  That is the power of consensus.  Like a jury, when many minds independently study something and come to the same conclusion, it is the best bet that that conclusion is the best one we have.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Wayward Son on August 02, 2019, 04:54:13 PM
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Quote from: Wayward Son on July 31, 2019, 10:48:59 AM
Or do you believe the entire field of astrophysics is not "science?" ;)  I mean, exactly which of your objections do not apply to our knowledge that the sun is primarily run by fusion of hydrogen atoms?

We not not *know* that the sun is primarily run by nuclear fusion. That has been the leading theory for a while, but never observed or corroborated. I'm not saying it isn't true, but that we're only in a position at present to say that as a theory it seems to fit the data the best. It would surprise many, but confound few, to ultimately learn that there's no fusion in stars at all and that the exposions are generated some other way.

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And we certainly don't know if there are unknown unknowns that could be the real reason the sun shines.  But does anyone question the consensus that we do know how the sun shines?

There isn't fusion because there's a consensus. If there's fusion it's because there's fusion. Our best guess is no more than that. That's not nothing, but it's not a fact either. So we work under the assumption there is fusion, make calcualtions using it as a premise, and see where that goes. The whole thing may prove to be bogus eventually when we learn about a new quantum property that fits the data much better.

Thank you for illustrations my point, Fenring.  You assert that we don't *know* that the sun is primarily run by nuclear fusion.  But if we don't know this, this basic fact about the sun, can we say that we know anything?

And if we don't know anything, then what are we doing researching astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, or any science whatsoever?  We don't really *know* anything about them.  So how can we make new discoveries, when we haven't established any discoveries in the past?

Which comes down to what you mean by *know*.

What scientists mean by "know" is that we have a theory (which means the idea is well-established in the science and just about everyone agrees it is true--i.e. a consensus :) ) which nicely explains practically all known phenomenon for the subject, but is open to revision if the evidence warrants it.  It is not something that we know is true and shall be true, forever and ever.  Nor is it something that is just tentatively believed, and can be dismissed at a whim.  It is in between those extremes, siding toward "true" as it continues to withstand the tests of scientists and time.

But since we don't really *know* that theories are true in the absolute sense, can we rely on them?

And there's the thing: we can rely on them for as long as they are reliable.  So long as the theories continue to produce predictions within the margins of error, we can rely on them.  And anyone who dismisses a theory which continues to produce correct results within the margins of error does so at their own peril.  Because then you are denying a useful tool to predict what will happen.

So far, from what I've heard and the consensus of scientists, the climate computer models have produced good predictions within the margins of error.  They are based on established theories of thermodynamics, radiation and such that have so far withstood the test of time.  And they all point to one thing:  that the CO2 we are adding to the atmosphere is the primary driver for the global warming.  For as long as most of these models show this, and their predictions are reasonably accurate (within the margins of error), then it is reasonable to rely on their results.

We ignore them at our own peril.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Crunch on August 03, 2019, 07:12:10 PM
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.

It was the one that hit the news as a thread about scientific consensus was moving here. Whaddya gonna do?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Grant on August 04, 2019, 11:29:52 AM
Consensus isn't science, but replication is, and it's pretty close to consensus.  When you have a consensus of findings, consensus of data, you have replication, and bam! Science!  Consensus of hypothesis isn't science. 

But policy based on science is best with consensus.  This is logical and everyone does it.  If 9 out of 10 surgeons say that you have to get that tumor removed, you would be wise to have it removed.  It could be that the 9 surgeons are wrong and the 1 surgeon is right.  It happens.  It's happened throughout history.  It will happen again tomorrow.  But you're still always better betting with 9 rather than with 1. 

I know some people can't wrap their heads around this fact.  I'm sorry for them.  You can't always know everything.  You make you best decision you can based on the best opinions of the best people and that's it.  You can be wrong.  You will be wrong.  Suck it up, buttercup.  Chances are that you're not a genius.  Chances are, instead, that the smarter you are, the bigger your misconceptions. 
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 04, 2019, 06:39:05 PM
And then you have disputes over data. And Evidently Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Hunstville missed the memo about UHI.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2019/08/july-2019-was-not-the-warmest-on-record/

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We are now seeing news reports (e.g. CNN, BBC, Reuters) that July 2019 was the hottest month on record for global average surface air temperatures.

One would think that the very best data would be used to make this assessment. After all, it comes from official government sources (such as NOAA, and the World Meteorological Organization [WMO]).

But current official pronouncements of global temperature records come from a fairly limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends. The global surface thermometer network has three major problems when it comes to getting global-average temperatures:

(1) The urban heat island (UHI) effect has caused a gradual warming of most land thermometer sites due to encroachment of buildings, parking lots, air conditioning units, vehicles, etc. These effects are localized, not indicative of most of the global land surface (which remains most rural), and not caused by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because UHI warming “looks like” global warming, it is difficult to remove from the data. In fact, NOAA’s efforts to make UHI-contaminated data look like rural data seems to have had the opposite effect. The best strategy would be to simply use only the best (most rural) sited thermometers. This is currently not done.

(2) Ocean temperatures are notoriously uncertain due to changing temperature measurement technologies (canvas buckets thrown overboard to get a sea surface temperature sample long ago, ship engine water intake temperatures more recently, buoys, satellite measurements only since about 1983, etc.)

(3) Both land and ocean temperatures are notoriously incomplete geographically. How does one estimate temperatures in a 1 million square mile area where no measurements exist?
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Grant on August 04, 2019, 07:14:35 PM
And then you have disputes over data. And Evidently Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Hunstville missed the memo about UHI.

That's why I think most of this science crap should be left to the scientists. 

It's just my opinion, but there are different levels of faith that I put in different fields of science.  If 90 out of 100 physicists tell me tomorrow that tomorrow a black hole will open in the mid-Atlantic, I'd probably cash out my portfolio.  Geology, pretty good.  Biology, usually. Climatology?  Meh.  What did you fail to get into climatology? 

Then you have sciences like psychology.  I'm not a scientist, but if I was one, or a mathematician, I'd basically look upon psychologists as witch doctors.  They're having a major problem with replication of past experiments that were supposedly "groundbreaking" and that everybody was working upon assuming it was solid science. 

Then you have the social sciences.  They're not even witch doctors.  They're basically fire worshipers.  Then you have gender and race studies, which really isn't a science anyways.  It's straight up philosophy.  It just happens to be an en vogue philosophy now in academia. 

Personally, instead of trying to measure temperatures, we should simply be measuring the adverse effects that these temperatures are supposed to produce.  This means predicting effects first, not spotting an effect and then attributing it to Zuul, the Destructor, in the form of climate change.  Sea level rise and ice cap melt are good, measurable indicators.  Yes, sea levels have been rising over the past 200 years.  That's pretty concrete.  Yes, glaciers are melting.  It's all pretty concrete unless they are really screwing up their measurements. 
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 04, 2019, 07:21:36 PM
And one better. A post, on "a Climate Skeptic site" no less, by one of the contributing authors of the published paper on UHI's that was being cited earlier. And he is leading me to correct my statement regarding UHI. It's measurement station siting that's important.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/05/03/mosher-microsite-bias-matters-more-than-uhi-especially-in-the-first-kilometer/

But he also provides this perspective:

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To many readers the maximum bias figure of 1.7C in Tmin at 100% urbanity may seem low, especially when you consider the figure at the top from Oke which shows a UHI of up to 8C. The difference lies in the methodology. Much of the early work done on UHI focuses on UHI max for any given day. They select conditions that show the largest values of UHI that can occur. Oke’s chart, for example, represents the maximum value of UHI observed on a given day. For example, he would select summer days with no clouds, and no wind and measure the max difference between a rural point of reference and a city point of reference. In the studies that show high UHI values they typically do not calculate the effect of UHI on monthly Tavg over the course of many years, as GT and Wang did. Since cloud free wind free days do not occur 365 days a year for years on end, the overall bias of UHI is thus lower for monthly records, annual records, and climate records. In one study the number of ideal days in a year for seeing a difference between urban and rural was 7 days of the year. A 40 year study of London nocturnal UHI, found that the average UHI was ~1.8C, and only 10% of the days experienced UHI over 4C. In short, Average monthly UHI is less than the maximum daily UHI observed at optimum conditions for UHI formation.

The current best estimate by the IPCC is that no more than 10% of the century trend for Tavg is due to UHI and LULC. If we take the century trend in land temperatures to be 1.7C per century, for example, then the 10% maximum bias would be .17C on Tavg. The IPCC does not make an independent estimate for Tmin or Tmax, only Tavg, because the major analysis products only use Tavg.

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In Berkeley Earths study of UHI we broke some ground by being the first study to use satellite data for urban surface to classify the urban and the non urban. We used a MODIS data set with a 500m resolution. However, two things concerned me about that dataset: 1) the imagery was taken during northern hemisphere winter and could falsely classify snow covered urban as rural. 2) the true resolution was more like 1km as a pixel wasn’t defined as urban unless 2 adjacent 500m pixels were urban. 1kmsq is not a small area. To accommodate for this and to accommodate for location errors we looked at 10km radius around each site and a site was classified as Non rural if it had 1 urban pixel. Our results found no difference in trend between urban and non urban. Still, the 1 km sq resolution bothered me. We can now address that issue with higher resolution data.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDrake on August 05, 2019, 08:10:12 AM
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Then you have the social sciences.  They're not even witch doctors.  They're basically fire worshipers.  Then you have gender and race studies, which really isn't a science anyways.  It's straight up philosophy.  It just happens to be an en vogue philosophy now in academia. 

I will tend to agree with your rankings, while suggesting that the issue isn't whether the scientists are more capable, but that their problems are harder to design experiments for.

That doesn't mean there aren't good studies in the area of gender and racial bias. Resume tests are particularly contoured and useful.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: Seriati on August 05, 2019, 01:42:06 PM
I thought this was an interesting and approachable piece on one aspect of the pollution debate. 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/the-best-and-worst-countries-for-air-pollution-and-electricity-use (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/the-best-and-worst-countries-for-air-pollution-and-electricity-use)

It kind of speaks to why the US is both bad and good, and why China is really just bad but doesn't always appear on the naughty list.  Specifically, if you look at the carbon emission lines and power consumption lines, you can't help but note that rich countries where it gets really cold, or really hot, are heavy contributors.  Large American homes, with low occupancy being heated to toasty in the winter and cooled to Arctic in summer really adds up.  Want to help?  Put solar panels on your roof, turn of the AC and wear sweaters in the winter.

Meanwhile, China doesn't show up on that naughty list because it leverages a massive poor population with no real amenities, but it does show on the direct pollution measure - where the US excels - notwithstanding comparable levels of industry.  That's one where it's directly measured and not discounted for population.

One truth, the current US/European consumption model is not sustainable as applied to the entire world's population.  If we're going to get serious about lifting global populations out of poverty, we can have no more tolerance for anything but maximum efficiency in production.  China has 4x the population of the US, if they consumed at the same level you could kiss any "2 degree" limit good buy.
Title: Re: Consensus as science
Post by: TheDeamon on August 05, 2019, 09:19:15 PM
Don't forget India, Indonesia, or Africa in all of that. :)

Barring some major breakthroughs in battery tech, and a few other options, CO2 energy for grid power isn't going away in our lifetime.