Author Topic: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"  (Read 5602 times)

Ronald Lambert

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Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« on: March 16, 2018, 12:45:49 PM »
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/12/in-startling-reversal-scientific-american-counsels-people-to-chill-out-over-global-warming/

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In Startling Reversal, Scientific American Counsels People to ‘Chill Out’ over Global Warming

by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. 12 Mar 2018

Apocalyptic scenarios attributed to global warming are simply false and the human race will be able to accommodate whatever “climate change” throws at us, claims a remarkably sober new essay in Scientific American.

The essay, penned by John Horgan, the director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, analyzes two recent reports by “ecomodernists” who reject climate panic and frame the question of climate change and humanity’s ability to cope with it in radically new terms.

One of the reports, a work called “Enlightened Environmentalism” by Harvard iconoclast Steven Pinker, urges people to regain some much-needed perspective on climate, especially in the context of the overwhelming material benefits of industrialization.

Pooh-poohing “the mainstream environmental movement, and the radicalism and fatalism it encourages,” Pinker argues that humanity can solve problems related to climate change the same way it has solved myriad other problems, by harnessing “the benevolent forces of modernity.”

Separating himself from environmentalists who seem to detest modernity, Pinker asserts that industrialization “has been good for humanity.”

Could it be that sound thinking is beginning to reassert itself in mainstream science?

Someone needs to get word to the European dupes of Global Warming that Trump was right to pull our country out of the Paris accords.


D.W.

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2018, 12:54:54 PM »
by harnessing “the benevolent forces of modernity.”
The what now?  :P

I gotta say this does coincide with my uneducated, unresearched opinion on the subject.  BUT... learning how to apply the breaks is a handy tool to have in the tool box.  Surviving is not the same as thriving.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 06:22:33 PM »
Hey Ronald Lambert,

Long time since I responded to you.

I actually found the Scientific American article to be reasonable - but the Breitbart article that you posted is dishonest.

Here's a big lie - the claim that Scientific American has made a "startling reversal": 

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Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic. Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic.

Of course, Scientific American never took the formal position that climate change would definitely be apocalyptic (and not merely cataclysmic), so there is no reversal. And even some of the examples in the Scientific American article are predicated on governments taking actions that people like you Ronald strongly oppose:

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“Since 1970, when the Environmental Protection Agency was established, the United States has slashed its emissions of five air pollutants by almost two-thirds. Over the same period, the population grew by more than 40 percent, and those people drove twice as many miles and became two and a half times richer. Energy use has leveled off, and even carbon dioxide emissions have turned a corner. ”

That happened through government regulation. We have made great progress against environmental threats, when good government is paired with good science. Another example not mentioned in the article is the discovery of CFCs destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere, and the effective action of the Clinton Administration to get a worldwide ban on CFCs. This stopped a deadly problem in its tracks and put us on a course for the upper atmosphere to recover over the subsequent ~50 years.

And this is the kind of  effective, evidence-based government action that President Trump and the Republican Party are opposed to on an intstinctive, ideological level.


 






Ronald Lambert

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 09:30:52 PM »
Speaking of evidence-based, some time ago the news media featured images of streets that were flooded in a coastal city. But there has been no mention of those flood waters receding since then. There were some severe storms at that time, as well.

Global Warming decriers have been claiming for many years now that the ice caps would be melting. Al Gore said the Arctic would be free of ice by 2015. But reality is that the ice caps have been increasing, not melting. Since we are entering a period of solar minimum (sunspots), many qualified experts are actually predicting that we are heading for a period of serious global cooling, possibly another "Little Ice Age."

The scientific, evidence-based interpretation by honest and informed scientists is that variations in solar heat output are the primary cause of fluctuations in Earth global temperatures. The attempt by some to blame human industrial activity really reflects an anti-technology bias, and is not scientific at all.

Ronald Lambert

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 09:53:57 PM »
There are some people who fear and oppose allowing common people to have too much power. So they warp facts to support any idea which would seem to justify curtailing the power of people in general, except for those strictly under the control of the socialist tyranny that liberals foolishly favor. It also underlies the disproven Malthusian theory that earth is so terribly over-populated that drastic measures are warranted to limit the numbers of the lower classes. Here is the real truth: at the heart and foundation of all desires to curtail technology and industry and population growth, is elitism. The liberal, socialist elitists do not realize that they are really neo-feudalists.

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 10:32:30 PM »
The liberal, socialist elitists do not realize that they are really neo-feudalists.

So is the Republican Party, so big deal :P

TheDeamon

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 12:02:26 AM »
The liberal, socialist elitists do not realize that they are really neo-feudalists.

So is the Republican Party, so big deal :P

More of a
"I have a lot of money, and I want to keep it." - Republican.

"I have lot money/power, and I don't want anyone else to catch up to me." - Democratic power broker.

The Democrats hold way too closely to Malthus to be effective at many things, lagely because for them, economics is a closed system with a zero-sum game being played. Republicans have historically held to it not being zero-sum. With Trump at the helm though, I'm not holding my breath.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 11:38:55 PM »
I reject much of this characterization of Democrats or liberals. I do agree that some liberals are fanatically anti-growth, but they are a vastly smaller fraction of the liberal population than fanatically anti-government Republicans. 

As for you, Ron, you cannot (and do not) defend the action you took in starting this thread by quoting an article which I showed to contain a major material falsehood. If you really were on the correct side of the argument, why would it be necessary to assert falsehoods as the Breitbart article clearly does? 


Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2018, 12:21:46 PM »
I  think Greg is right about the tone here, Brietbart didn't accurately report the underlying essay.  I think a more accurate version would have been to say, climate change is real, will have a major impact, but human ingenuity will mitigate that impact leaving us better off than we are now (even if there was an even better possibility).  That's not a reversal of position.

I do think the left tends to ignore the message that we can find solutions in a pursuit of a purist solution.  I think the left's idea that shutting down pollution in the US at great economic cost will "help" the global climate is wrong and short sighted.  There should be a real balance between development and environment, our problems come when we swing the pendulum too far to one side or the other.

Wayward Son

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2018, 01:01:22 PM »
While I agree that we need to be wary of swinging the pendulum too far on either side, we also should not rely on innovation reversing the effects of the carbon dioxide increase in our atmosphere.

Mitigation is almost always more costly than prevention, and always have unwanted side-effects.

Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2018, 01:03:43 PM »
While I agree that we need to be wary of swinging the pendulum too far on either side, we also should not rely on innovation reversing the effects of the carbon dioxide increase in our atmosphere.

That wasn't what the article said, the mitigation was adaptive to the changed environment, not reversing it.

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Mitigation is almost always more costly than prevention, and always have unwanted side-effects.

Is it?  We went over this before, there are countless examples where mitigation is actually less costly than prevention.  That's one of those things people say without really thinking it through.

Ronald Lambert

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2018, 01:04:27 PM »
Republicans generally favor policies that foster individualism and the power of common people to improve themselves. Democrats exclusively favor policies that make the disadvantaged totally dependent upon government. It was Republicans who fought for integration, and Democrats who opposed it for generations. It was Republicans who were martyred for championing racial equality. It was Democrats who created the KKK. Just because Lyndon Johnson sighed the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which Republicans had been fighting for for decades--even back during the Eisenhower presidency), Democrats pretend they are the party that blacks should be grateful and loyal to.

Wayward Son

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 02:21:20 PM »
While I agree that we need to be wary of swinging the pendulum too far on either side, we also should not rely on innovation reversing the effects of the carbon dioxide increase in our atmosphere.

That wasn't what the article said, the mitigation was adaptive to the changed environment, not reversing it.

Fair enough.  But adaptation also costs money, in moving farms to less drought-prone areas, moving cities further from the coast, etc.  Money that could be spent on other things.  Not to mention decreases in efficiency, especially of farmland.

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Mitigation is almost always more costly than prevention, and always have unwanted side-effects.

Is it?  We went over this before, there are countless examples where mitigation is actually less costly than prevention.  That's one of those things people say without really thinking it through.

It's a good general rule-of-thumb.  And since the mitigation of climate change is terra incognita, it's best to assume the worst.

Republicans generally favor policies that foster individualism and the power of common people to improve themselves. Democrats exclusively favor policies that make the disadvantaged totally dependent upon government. It was Republicans who fought for integration, and Democrats who opposed it for generations. It was Republicans who were martyred for championing racial equality. It was Democrats who created the KKK. Just because Lyndon Johnson sighed the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which Republicans had been fighting for for decades--even back during the Eisenhower presidency), Democrats pretend they are the party that blacks should be grateful and loyal to.

Good advice, for the 1918 elections.

But since we will be voting in the 2018 elections, I think we should look at how the parties currently are, rather than how they used to be. :)

I also believe that blacks are more than intelligent enough to know who their friends are and who are their enemies without you having to tell them. ;)

Oh, and remember, the only people who actually believe that "Democrats exclusively favor policies that make the disadvantaged totally dependent upon government" are the ones who would gladly watch their poor grandmother starve so they don't have to pay more taxes. ;) :P

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2018, 11:21:04 AM »
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I think the left's idea that shutting down pollution in the US at great economic cost will "help" the global climate is wrong and short sighted.  There should be a real balance between development and environment, our problems come when we swing the pendulum too far to one side or the other.

I disagree with that characterization. The largest difference between the American left and the right with regard to pollution in the modern era is that the left focuses on peer reviewed science (and evidence-based solutions) and the right rejects science and instead goes for he said/she said ideological argument.

The knee-jerk reaction of the right to regulation of pollution usually is that those damn leftists are imposing too high an economic cost. But somehow we got rid of CFC's and the ozone hole is a few decades into its 50-70 year path to closure. Lead has been removed from gasoline fumes and chipping house paint. 

And those on the "left" have even shown the ideological flexibility to accept the anti-pollution measures  that were pushed for decades by those on the right. The carbon tax was originally a right-wing think tank idea to use market forces instead of pure regulation to reduce pollution. If the right had ideological integrity, they would have been pleased when those on the left adopted their policy idea. But instead, as with healthcare, when the left was willing to be open to policies pushed by the right, those on the right demonstrated that they were being insincere from the start and really preferred no policy to address the problem, whether it be pollution or healthcare.

Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2018, 02:36:17 PM »
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I think the left's idea that shutting down pollution in the US at great economic cost will "help" the global climate is wrong and short sighted.  There should be a real balance between development and environment, our problems come when we swing the pendulum too far to one side or the other.

I disagree with that characterization. The largest difference between the American left and the right with regard to pollution in the modern era is that the left focuses on peer reviewed science (and evidence-based solutions) and the right rejects science and instead goes for he said/she said ideological argument.

That's an even worse characterization.  The left is no more or less focused on science than the right. 

"Peer review" is not the only method for validating research, in fact far more research is created for commercial purposes where the validation comes from its effectiveness in generating a product or result than comes from the peer review process.  Sometimes there is overlap sometimes not.  But I can't think any legitimate reason to prefer a peer reviewed study with an N of 200 for generalized conclusions on a topic, over a say a Big Data analysis by corporation on the same topic.

You prefer "peer review" because the it keeps the keys with the academic demographic, which is disproportionately left wing, whereas the private research market serves all ideologies.

In any event though, the left doesn't really rely on research to any great degree, unless it validates where the left already wanted to go.  You see that all the time in areas as varied as education (where the left routinely ignores research related to funding, private schools, educational techniques, etc.), in social welfare programs (where the left reacts with hostility to conclusions that disagree with their world view, like the impact of marriage on poverty rates) and even in harder sciences like climate science (where no international treaty actually has much positive impact potential, and most actually harm the environment on net).

Sure you can find religious nuts on the right who don't believe the Earth is round, but it's just as easy to find religious nuts on the left (so long as you exclude Christians), and you can find full on nature nuts who believe any development is evil and that eco terrorism is justifiable.  I mean heck, I have a vegan friend who thinks all "food animals" should be sterilized and their entire species made extinct for "humanitarian" reasons.

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The knee-jerk reaction of the right to regulation of pollution usually is that those damn leftists are imposing too high an economic cost.

Which balances with the "knee-jerk reactions" of leftists, who for instance, want to put all coal miners out of business.  Like I said, the problem is when the pendulum swings too far.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2018, 02:57:56 PM »
Seriati,

You prove my point.

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"Peer review" is not the only method for validating research, in fact far more research is created for commercial purposes where the validation comes from its effectiveness in generating a product or result than comes from the peer review process. 

Or as this worked out in the past, listen to your doctor and have another cigarette http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/throwback-thursday-when-doctors-prescribed-healthy-cigarette-brands-165404/

If more people on the right made all of their medical choices by ignoring peer reviewed science and instead choosing research by corporations, there would be fewer people on the right. 

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2018, 03:45:48 PM »
I think what Seriati said about corporate evidence of research is more rightly applied to engineering and applied physical fields like metallurgy, where the quality of the chemistry/design/circuitry can be evaluated by product experts and field testing. Obviously we don't have a great capacity for private product testing of abstractions like string theory and cosmology, so those probably do have to go through academic channels for most work in that area.

Which leaves us with what I will call semi-soft sciences such as biochemistry and neuroscience, where a great deal of our knowledge there comes from trial-and-error methods and other hack-n-slash equivalent methods of learning. Very little theoretical work is ever done there in terms of deriving practical effects from first principles. The same is no doubt true of climate science, and we can even apply this to fields involving complex dynamics like economics. Basically we don't have sufficient maths and (in the case of biochemistry) understanding of the body to actually compute exactly what's going on. For instance for many medications all experts can do is report results, but rarely can they explain why those results are as they are; or more importantly, why they should be as they are. So when dealing with an area like this, I do agree to an extent that peer-reviewed science in absence of hard field testing is going to be lacking, just as it would be if people were publishing papers about the predicted effect of Tylenol without having actual human bodies to test it on. The theory in that case would not be very useful in determining what the short and long-term effects of usage would be. The problem is much worse when the 'body' in question is the planet.

So Seriati, I don't think it's accurate to suggest that "science" is better done by private field testing. This is probably true in certain cases, especially those involving material, mechanical goods on the market, but it's probably not a relevant suggestion in areas where it's very difficult in the first place to get accurate data (such as health sciences) and where this uncertainty can be marred by conflicts of interest. You may as well suggest that the study of political science is best done by experts in the practical application of that field, such as in the Congress. They are surely one of the worst sources for objective statements about what does and doesn't work, even though in some abstract sense many Congresspeople really are experts in various aspects of politics.

Wayward Son

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2018, 04:50:41 PM »
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Which leaves us with what I will call semi-soft sciences such as biochemistry and neuroscience, where a great deal of our knowledge there comes from trial-and-error methods and other hack-n-slash equivalent methods of learning. Very little theoretical work is ever done there in terms of deriving practical effects from first principles. The same is no doubt true of climate science...

From what I understand, this is the exact opposite of what actually happens.  Much of climate research is done on supercomputers, with sophisticated models based on first principles--thermodynamic interactions, fluid dynamic interactions (of the air), and such.  These models are the only way we can make long-term predictions of how the climate will change.  In fact, these models must be run many multiple times because climate is a chaotic system (in the mathematical sense), so no run can ever be relied upon as being an exact replication of our climate system.

So really most of it is derived from first principles.

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2018, 05:42:35 PM »
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Which leaves us with what I will call semi-soft sciences such as biochemistry and neuroscience, where a great deal of our knowledge there comes from trial-and-error methods and other hack-n-slash equivalent methods of learning. Very little theoretical work is ever done there in terms of deriving practical effects from first principles. The same is no doubt true of climate science...

From what I understand, this is the exact opposite of what actually happens.  Much of climate research is done on supercomputers, with sophisticated models based on first principles--thermodynamic interactions, fluid dynamic interactions (of the air), and such.  These models are the only way we can make long-term predictions of how the climate will change.  In fact, these models must be run many multiple times because climate is a chaotic system (in the mathematical sense), so no run can ever be relied upon as being an exact replication of our climate system.

So really most of it is derived from first principles.

WS, you missed my point. Of course this is all done on computers using simulations, because that is simply the only way open to us right now. It's what they'd do to test economic theory if there was no such as the market to see real results. They do use computer models for economic flow anyhow but it's largely irrelevant because the models simply cannot conform to the real world in such a way that they actually have predictive power. At best they can be retconned into fitting into past events to explain what happened, which is ok but not what I'd call science. It's more like complex historicism. In terms of climate science we don't have first principles precisely because we don't have the ability to mathematically state how the system behaves. Instead we have equations for simple interactions and these are projected onto a larger landscape. I'm not saying we shouldn't try that, but it's hardly the same thing as deriving a model of climate from first principles. That would mean taking pure equations, plugging them in, seeing a physical model, and then amazingly seeing that purely theoretical model behaving just as the real world does. We obviously can't come close to that, so what we have instead is closer to engineering than pure physics, where the moving parts are modified until they 'work'. In this case 'working' can be defined as loosely mirroring observed phenomena. But I assure you that even if one can jury rig a model to copy the behaviors of already observed phenomena, it won't have the power of rigor to be able to predict future phenomena accurately. There is too much chaos in play for that, and possibly too many calculations to do without a quantum computer. So no, the physical models cannot possibly come from unified first principles, even though they surely do employ bits and pieces of first principles (such as equations for pressure, etc).

Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2018, 06:35:14 PM »
Seriati,

You prove my point.

Not even a little bit.  You seem to think because a corporation can pay to twist the research it means that all corporate research is twisted?  Why do you ignore the similar impact of having everyone connected to a peer review process having the same political persuasion?  Honestly, how object are the conclusions going to be when connected to a social hot button?

Are studies showing long term harm from abortions going to get the peer review stamp of approval from an overwhelmingly pro choice review group?  What about studies showing links between genetics and human traits, was literally reading an article on that this morning in the WSJ?  What about studies where the social argument is the point of the study, like the numerous very low N studies related to all aspects of adoption and gender issues?

I was also reading several papers that are highly critical of the peer review process itself, and trying to understand why a process that apparently hasn't been validated as providing better accuracy than other validation methods is the "gold standard"?  Where's the science on that? 

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Or as this worked out in the past, listen to your doctor and have another cigarette http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/throwback-thursday-when-doctors-prescribed-healthy-cigarette-brands-165404/

If more people on the right made all of their medical choices by ignoring peer reviewed science and instead choosing research by corporations, there would be fewer people on the right.

Or as it "works out today" and massive amounts of targeted ads end up in you inbox and you get bombarded with scientifically designed propaganda designed to manipulate you.

You're not actually criticizing bad science, the science there was actually great, it was just lied about.  The companies knew - even better than the peer reviewers - the impact of their product, its addictiveness and what to do to manipulate it to make it even more addictive. They lied about the known risks and should pay the price for that.  Unless your trying to excuse the companies your argument really doesn't hold.

And lets talk about economics.  The amount of peer reviewed economic work, versus the amount of commercial work is probably outnumbered by a 1000 to one.  I guaranty you the best work isn't showing up in scholarly journal.

Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2018, 06:41:13 PM »
I think what Seriati said about corporate evidence of research is more rightly applied to engineering and applied physical fields like metallurgy, where the quality of the chemistry/design/circuitry can be evaluated by product experts and field testing. Obviously we don't have a great capacity for private product testing of abstractions like string theory and cosmology, so those probably do have to go through academic channels for most work in that area.

There's tons of non peer reviewed research that makes material contributions.  What Greg's actually doing is trying to establish an argument by authority by claiming "peer review" is the unassailable gold standard.  I don't fully disagree, it's generally very good, notwithstanding the known problems with the process and the amount of bad science that sucessfully gets through the process.  However, there's far more research of equal quality that's targeted to practical results, and it gets validated far faster than the peer review process works and because it started with a practical goal in mind it's often far more immediately useful.

In my view its like the difference between coming up with a big theory versus mastering every application and twist.   Greg's preference coincides with ideology.  But mostly, I was pointing out the absurdity of his claim that the "right" is somehow anti-science, it's one of those soft discriminatory lies the left tells itself to pretend it's morally superior.

Ronald Lambert

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2018, 09:02:30 AM »
Wayward Son, you said: "Good advice, for the 1918 elections."

The Dixiecrats (Southern Democrats) who fought so long to maintain segregation were a lot later than that. I am old enough that I remember them, and the impediment they presented against Republican efforts to end segregation in the middle of the twentieth century.

Yes, many blacks do not fall for the false narrative spun by Democrats these days. A steadily growing number of blacks are turning their backs on Democrats. But Democrats, as usual practicing the politics of personal destruction against opponents, shout down black Republicans as "Uncle Toms." Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. But you will never find this mentioned in the leftist mainstream media.

NobleHunter

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2018, 10:27:10 AM »
Do you think Martin Luther King Jr would be welcomed into today's Republican Party?

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2018, 11:04:22 AM »
Seriati,

You have characterized peer reviewed research in a tribal way that proved my point, sort of like science is a kind of magic with the tribe of Athena using peer review and the tribe of Hermes using some other method to see the way of the gods ("Greg's preference coincides with ideology")

Peer review is imperfect, but it is better than any other approach yet invented to consistently pursue scientific truth at the frontier of human knowledge. You get multiple, independent experts who are conversant with first principles and what has been empirically demonstrated previously. The peer reviewers are also familiar with potential flaws of different analytical methodologies. And the larger process not only applies this validation process to the first time a paper is reviewed, but there is the expectation that the research should be repeatable by different groups testing the same hypothesis in order to solidly establish what is true.

I think you may have mis-characterized peer review as an "unassailable gold standard" - specific peer reviewed papers can and should be challenged, but only by data subjected to valid analytical approaches. I have worked directly with peer review in the scientific community and with industry-based technology and product research. There are brilliant people involved in each endeavor, and certainly there can be much utility in non-peer reviewed research. But when it comes to establishing what is most likely to be true, scientific peer review is a fundamental principle that should be a "gold standard"
 
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was pointing out the absurdity of his claim that the "right" is somehow anti-science, it's one of those soft discriminatory lies the left tells itself to pretend it's morally superior.

The position of national politicians on the right in the United States with regard to climate change is anti-science. Period. While you can fantasize about some strange world-wide conspiracy that has both the right and the left agreeing on the validity of climate science in virtually every other country in the world, a simpler explanation is that the right in the US is anti-science. That's why the head of a Congressional science committee can bring a snowball in while speaking on the floor of the House and assert that it is proof that climate change is not happening.

That's why for decades (only changed in the Omnibus bill signed yesterday) the Republicans have actually forbidden the CDC to fund certain types of peer reviewed research into the root causes of gun violence. 

That's why you youself Seriati have referred to "peer review" as if it were an ideological preference of the left.

If peer reviewed research said that we would be safer all owning guns, I would buy a gun. If peer reviewed research indicated that climate change was not a major issue, then I would be fine with not taking significant action. I can't think of a single policy position that I hold that I would not reverse if there were solid peer reviewed research pointing in the other direction (obviously, this does not mean a single peer reviewed paper, because the nature of science is that there will be valid opposing positions, but instead enough repeatable research that not only validates the primary hypothesis but also shows valid results that refute the alternate hypotheses).

I believe that we are all morally obligated to pursue the truth as we best know it, and to act in accordance with what we believe is true rather than what is ideologically comfortable. And I welcome all who act in accordance with those principles. And from this standard, if you are not pursuing truth to the best of your abilities (or you are allowing yourself to knowingly repeat falsehoods), then that behavior is morally inferior.

The one caveat I do understand is that some people are just playing debate games. And in the political sphere, some people believe that the rules are just like those for lawyers in an adversarial court room, where you don't have to believe the arguments that you make are true. I recognize the difference, and it is not specifically evil to argue that way, but on the spectrum of morality it is better if people feel a moral obligation to the truth.
 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 11:13:05 AM by Greg Davidson »

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2018, 02:13:48 PM »
And in the political sphere, some people believe that the rules are just like those for lawyers in an adversarial court room, where you don't have to believe the arguments that you make are true. I recognize the difference, and it is not specifically evil to argue that way, but on the spectrum of morality it is better if people feel a moral obligation to the truth.

Actually I wonder about the bolded part. I think it's valuable to be able to argue from multiple perspectives, but I am overall unconvinced that it's ever good to speak not in good faith from true belief. The idea that narratives can operate separately from true belief is harmful to the extreme for everyone. That being said, I think there's a lot more room than people will accept for others to truly disagree in good faith. It's a weakness in 'liberal' ideology at present, for instance, that many left-leaning people honestly believe that there's no legitimate way anyone could ever disagree with them, and that therefore disagreement must be a result of deception or stupidity.

Going back to the main argument, Greg,the one thing about peer review you have to watch out for is that all it accomplishes is establishing how effective the methodology was in the presentation of a fact/theory/story. Peer review doesn't reproduce results, verify data points, or check physical systems; that's what additional experiments are for, usually corroborated by other groups trying to reproduce the results. The review is about methods, not answers. A positively reviewed paper would basically state that the research was done as well as possible, which is completely different from saying that its findings are accurate. That is not generally in the purview of peer review, and this distinction becomes a huge deal in areas where the results - rather than the methods - are everything. It doesn't matter, for instance, if a climate model was done as well as it could have been, if even the best attempts are going to be ineffective in getting at the truth. The peer review would basically say "yes, they went about it correctly" which can still mean that the 'correct' method was insufficient to the task, since 'correct' just means using best methods known. When the science itself is new or complicated even the best methods can be bad. This is as true with climate science as it is with biochemistry. You can have a million chemists corroborating the contents of a paper of Tylenol, while still recognizing that zero out of all of them actually knows how the product really works or what the biochemical interactions are in the body. All they can agree to is that the double blind studies were conducted with due diligence and rigor.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2018, 05:11:09 PM »
Fenring I agree with your caveats about peer review, we probably need a term to describe the system of which peer review is a key element, but it needs to be combined with the reproducibility of research results. That's what I generally mean by "science", but that word alone does not seem to be enough to convey these fundamentals.

I do believe that there are appropriate contexts in which one makes arguments that you don't necessarily believe. My son participated in parliamentary debate competitions - that is a competition over shaping arguments and not truth. And I follow (read but rarely post) a sports team's blog where there are heated discussions about aspects of the team's play, and I personally don't see the same moral requirement for dedication to truth about something that is primarily recreational.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2018, 05:12:14 PM »
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I think there's a lot more room than people will accept for others to truly disagree in good faith. It's a weakness in 'liberal' ideology at present, for instance, that many left-leaning people honestly believe that there's no legitimate way anyone could ever disagree with them, and that therefore disagreement must be a result of deception or stupidity.

I agree that there are many liberals like this, but it is also clear that there are many conservatives with the same pattern of behavior. I won't accept the premise that this is primarily a liberal characteristic without data. And I have several reasons that make me believe that the association may be the opposite way (with conservatives less likely to believe that there is a legitimate basis for disagreeing with them than liberals).  I am not at all certain, but here is a semi-related argument that leans against your point

Liberal Aaron Sorkin wrote a speech in the climax of A Few Good Men that both embodies a critique while simultaneously capturing the essence of what is noble about a conservative viewpoint.
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You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like "honor", "code", "loyalty". We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
In the argument over whether liberals or conservatives better understand the viewpoints of those who disagree with them, can you point to any critic of liberalism who better captures the positive aspect of the opposite position than this?
 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 05:15:19 PM by Greg Davidson »

Gaoics79

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2018, 02:40:03 PM »
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I agree that there are many liberals like this, but it is also clear that there are many conservatives with the same pattern of behavior. I won't accept the premise that this is primarily a liberal characteristic without data. And I have several reasons that make me believe that the association may be the opposite way (with conservatives less likely to believe that there is a legitimate basis for disagreeing with them than liberals).

I think it's pretty clearly a more defining characteristic of the left at *present*. I say at present, because I don't think it's inherent, but rather a testament to the ascendance of left wing ideology in the past 50 years in the halls of power, among the educated and political classes, and the steady retreat of the right in virtually every sphere of society.

Right leaning ideologies have been in retreat for so long I don't think most people today on the left even remember a time when it wasn't. That reality has created a certain 'manifest destiny' that breeds arrogance.

It's why someone like Trump is such an affront. Though his election changes pretty much nothing as far as the power structure and intellectual zeitgeist of our time, nor can he really reverse the decline of the right, when some have been used to getting their way for so long, even a largely symbolic defeat can feel like the end of the world.


Greg Davidson

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2018, 03:27:19 PM »
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I think it's pretty clearly a more defining characteristic of the left at *present*.

I recognize that you believe that, but can you point to evidence that supports your claim?  When you look at national politicians on the right and left, I believe that you will find more Republican assertions that those that disagree are illegitimate than the reverse.  For example, that those with opposing views on gun control are paid actors.  Or for another example, that those who voted in the plurality against President Trump not even citizens (which echoes the false assertion believed by roughly half of Republicans regarding the citizenship of the last Democratic President).

So in order to substantiate your belief that it is predominantly those on the left who do not respect the legitimacy of opposing views, please provide enough countervailing data to not only match what I have shown above, but to substantiate your case in the opposite direction.

velcro

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2018, 06:04:59 PM »
Seriati wrote
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"Peer review" is not the only method for validating research, in fact far more research is created for commercial purposes where the validation comes from its effectiveness in generating a product or result than comes from the peer review process.

Quite true.  But the topic is climate change.  Climate change research is not to produce a product or a result.  You do not validate climate change research by selling more and better climate change.  It makes no sense to even make that comment in relation to climate change.

I think you also neglected to mention that corporation research is intended to improve profits.  Research that supports actions that make profits are published, and research that does not support actions that make profits are often (but not always) suppressed.  That is antithetical to actual science.

However, some forward thinking companies realize that in the long term, you can't deny reality, so they are embracing the fact of climate change, even though in the short term it impacts their profits.



velcro

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2018, 06:49:05 PM »
Seriati wrote:
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You seem to think because a corporation can pay to twist the research it means that all corporate research is twisted?  Why do you ignore the similar impact of having everyone connected to a peer review process having the same political persuasion?  Honestly, how object are the conclusions going to be when connected to a social hot button?

You equate a scientists possible political bias of "everyone" in a peer review with a corporation's central profit motive.  That is absurd.

Scientists devote their careers to advancement of knowledge.  Many of them are unbiased, and many who are biased put aside their biases to produce truthful results.  Your argument stands on the assumption that thousands of scientist are all so biased that they are willing to repeatedly lie and mislead to get their political agendas advanced.  If they were that politically motivated, they would have gotten a degree in law or political science, not spent 10 years as starving students studying obscure details of climate science.

Corporations devote their resources to making profits. Corporations get sued by shareholders if telling the truth harms profits.  There is no cultural drive for truthfulness at the expense of profits.  It has been documented that corporations lie about science on a large scale.

Who should you trust more?  Someone who is working for truth, but may possibly be part of a biased minority, or someone who is, in the most fundamental sense,  getting paid to present a biased story?

Gaoics79

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2018, 09:54:32 AM »
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I think it's pretty clearly a more defining characteristic of the left at *present*.

I recognize that you believe that, but can you point to evidence that supports your claim?  When you look at national politicians on the right and left, I believe that you will find more Republican assertions that those that disagree are illegitimate than the reverse.  For example, that those with opposing views on gun control are paid actors.  Or for another example, that those who voted in the plurality against President Trump not even citizens (which echoes the false assertion believed by roughly half of Republicans regarding the citizenship of the last Democratic President).

So in order to substantiate your belief that it is predominantly those on the left who do not respect the legitimacy of opposing views, please provide enough countervailing data to not only match what I have shown above, but to substantiate your case in the opposite direction.

I don't really know how to prove my point or what stats I would use to do so.

But one key point: your example focuses on politicians, which are not the people I was speaking of.

I was referring to civil society in general. I don't think you would have a hard time predicting what examples I would cite - university campuses, for example. People being fired for saying things that do not accord with a certain ideology (eg: Google)

But I just don't know how to prove any of this with stats. Sorry. It's just my opinion. I will concede that as an educated professional,(in Canada) the circles I run in are vastly farther left than others - so my perception may be based on that experience. But then again, that is kind of my point - people in my social class do seem to be running things, certainly here in Canada.

Our Prime Minister recently made Federal funding for summer jobs programs conditional on all participating groups signing a form attesting that their core mandate respects abortion rights. So if you want to hire a student to landscape your church lawn in the summer, you have to attest that your "core mandate" is essentially pro choice.

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2018, 10:35:11 AM »
In the argument over whether liberals or conservatives better understand the viewpoints of those who disagree with them, can you point to any critic of liberalism who better captures the positive aspect of the opposite position than this?

Sorry, just to clarify, you're talking about Col. Jessup as the critic of liberals here?



Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2018, 10:51:16 AM »
Scientists devote their careers to advancement of knowledge.

They do? Where did you hear this from? I think maybe the odd person working in the sciences truly sees their work as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, as a combined group effort of humanity to advance the understanding of the universe. But mostly these are people doing their jobs, often work they enjoy, in a field that interests them. They are doing their work to earn a living, and perhaps to some varying extent knowing they're contributing to knowledge figures into that. But I doubt that most active people in the sciences have 'devoted' their careers to anything in particular. Your statements sounds like it comes from the doorsteps of the church of scientism.

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Many of them are unbiased, and many who are biased put aside their biases to produce truthful results.  Your argument stands on the assumption that thousands of scientist are all so biased that they are willing to repeatedly lie and mislead to get their political agendas advanced.

I don't believe your false dilemma accurately represents how work habits and results can be influences by non-science factors. It's not usually a question of whether they're being "honest" or "lying". And actually this is part of the same psychological issue whereby it's assumed that people who are being honest will all agree, and that the lack of agreement means deception or stupidity. The converse of this is the assumption that when people agree it means they are not lying or stupid; ergo they are correct. I'm not arguing, by the way, that when scientists agree on something it positively means they are not correct. But historically we've seen it often enough that consensus doesn't mean very much in a field where the big picture is missing. Remember way back near the turn of the century when it was declared that physics was more or less solved?

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  If they were that politically motivated, they would have gotten a degree in law or political science, not spent 10 years as starving students studying obscure details of climate science.

Also not sure why you're discussing political motivation as if only particular career tracks can include interest in politics. That's a very strange assumption in its own right. But moreover, someone's bias on a subject can be on various spectrums, which can include the political (i.e. desiring certain political results). But in the case of scientists I would suspect that a far more common motivating bias is to be seen as smart and 'in the know' amongst ones peers.

NobleHunter

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2018, 11:05:32 AM »
They do? Where did you hear this from? I think maybe the odd person working in the sciences truly sees their work as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, as a combined group effort of humanity to advance the understanding of the universe. But mostly these are people doing their jobs, often work they enjoy, in a field that interests them. They are doing their work to earn a living, and perhaps to some varying extent knowing they're contributing to knowledge figures into that. But I doubt that most active people in the sciences have 'devoted' their careers to anything in particular. Your statements sounds like it comes from the doorsteps of the church of scientism.

I think you underestimate the size of a nerd you need to be to get a PhD and then go into research. I'd be very surprised if the people doing scientific research (as opposed to other scientific work like implementation or communication) didn't have the primary motive of advancing knowledge or at least discovering things. If you want to make a living or have a career or whatever, there are easier ways to do it.

TheDrake

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2018, 11:29:37 AM »
In general, you have to pay attention to the credentials and the history. Tenured professors are far less likely than their politicized opponents to engage in p-hacking and other ways to deliberately bias a study. Scientists also understand that they have unconscious bias, and attempt to remove that bias with various techniques such as double blind. If scientists on the whole cared less about truth than a political agenda, those mechanisms wouldn't exist.

So we'd now have to ask where the bias exists. Certainly, it impacts which field a scientist goes into, and how well they could expect to advance their academic career. At least over the past two decades, I would expect anyone going in to climate science to be generally concerned over the future of the environment. They probably listened to the many warnings of existing climate scientists. They probably studied under someone who had published on the topic.

Positive results are more likely to get published than negative, so a paper titled "climate change not a real problem after all" is not going to be that impressive regardless of the politics.

The beauty is that the system allows us to compare these results, determine if they follow best practice, and criticize on merits of the research rather than trying to divine someone's bias and motivation. When I look at the pseudo scientists publishing climate studies, I see them doing so on private websites, cherry picking which years to put in their graphs, or publishing critiques of the weakest papers available.

Not being a climate scientist myself, as a member of the public I largely have to view these debates from a lens of credibility - who behaves more objectively? What do other experts say? Do they make an attempt to advocate strongly for political solutions, and how much time do they spend on that versus their research?

Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2018, 11:30:13 AM »
I think you underestimate the size of a nerd you need to be to get a PhD and then go into research. I'd be very surprised if the people doing scientific research (as opposed to other scientific work like implementation or communication) didn't have the primary motive of advancing knowledge or at least discovering things.

I think they like discovering things and figuring things out. I know people who do crosswords or Sudoku religiously, and they really enjoy figuring these things out. They don't do it 8 hours a day but they get a kick out of the process and the result (ideally). I would hardly say this enjoyment of solving the puzzle amounts to "being devoted to advancing crossword knowledge". Again, I won't discount that knowing one is contributing in some way to world knowledge may be part of it, but I sincerely doubt that this is the prime factor in doing a job in the sciences, and certainly not to the extent of "devoting one's career" to it. That really puts people in the sciences on a pedestal, like they're some kind of crusading knights or devout monks or something. I have respect for the sciences, and have always been attracted to the fields of scientific research, so don't think I'm knocking the field. But there's a difference between respecting a person's work and announcing that their life's mission as a devotee of knowledge means they're probably unimpeachable in their sincerity and integrity. These are just normal people who happen to be smart and like solving stuff. I see no reason to assign them superior moral status than we would to people doing other jobs.

But in any case my point was less that scientists can be corrupted and more that in fields where there is no gold standard for consistent reproducible results, the groupthink and social factors in the field are going to weigh in far more heavily than in other fields where the results speak for themselves. Methodology is a huge issue in the climate sciences, and a whole host of well-intentioned workers can still be misled by the prevailing wisdom of how to go about a problem. See epicycles for an example. They're not being deceptive, but they're also not right, and the 'accepted wisdom' in the field makes it harder to deviate and go your own way, thus being the dreaded 'fringe scientist'.

ETA - just a clarification on my last paragraph on a point that was unclear. I didn't mean that climate scientists are "not right", I meant that in certain cases historically we've seen that scientists can be honest and also wrong in great numbers because the accepted wisdom in methods was flawed.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 11:41:27 AM by Fenring »

NobleHunter

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2018, 12:16:10 PM »
Oh, I wasn't addressing any implied meaning about "devoting their careers to science." Just that most of them probably do see themselves as doing something particularly worthwhile. After that, the normal human variances come into play.

A partial similarity is people who make careers out of writing. If a person is going to be a professional writer, especially of fiction, they need to have a certain drive for it. It doesn't mean that they are necessarily good writers but making a living as a writer is sufficiently difficult that the act of writing has to be pretty high up on the priority list for someone to try and make a go at it.

TheDrake, at this point, a paper with solid evidence that AGW will be a non-event would be a substantial "positive" finding. Anyone who could establish that as true would be pretty well set. They'd eventually be set, anyways. It usually takes a few decades for people to be happy with the status-quo breaker.

TheDrake

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2018, 12:18:46 PM »
A much bigger problem is the lack of effort in reproduction of test results.

reproducibility - Nature

Primarily, peer review consists of reviewing experiment design - not reproducing. Harder science is less susceptible to this - witness "cold fusion" where everybody wanted to see it happen and build on it.

Psychology, however, often just cites the old research as support and it can take some time to roll back an erroneous conclusion.

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More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature's survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

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Survey respondent Michael Adams, a drug-development consultant, says that work showing severe flaws in an animal model of diabetes has been rejected six times, in part because it does not reveal a new drug target.

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The survey asked scientists what led to problems in reproducibility. More than 60% of respondents said that each of two factors — pressure to publish and selective reporting — always or often contributed. More than half pointed to insufficient replication in the lab, poor oversight or low statistical power. A smaller proportion pointed to obstacles such as variability in reagents or the use of specialized techniques that are difficult to repeat.

So their dedication to knowledge is tempered with deadlines and editorial bias...

NobleHunter

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2018, 12:40:32 PM »
If I knew how and had the other pre-conditions sorted, I'd love to start a Journal of Negative Results. Interdisciplinary and freely available as a place to publish all the times that the hypothesis didn't pan out.

TheDeamon

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2018, 12:45:18 PM »
Which isn't to mention "established  scientists" who have a large rolodex of contacts and connections who have staked a great deal of personal prestige on a particular position. Doubly so if/when they become department heads or chairs at a given University.

The operative theory is that such things should only "corrupt" a handful of academic institutions at a time, but history demonstrates otherwise. Historically, it normally takes the death or retirement of "the entrenched interests" before the established order falls apart.

Ie. AGW is here to stay until after Hansen and company start to die of old age.

TheDrake

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2018, 01:04:02 PM »
Ie. AGW is here to stay until after Hansen and company start to die of old age.

Or forever, because they are right.

Seriati

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2018, 02:18:11 PM »
Seriati,

You have characterized peer reviewed research in a tribal way that proved my point, sort of like science is a kind of magic with the tribe of Athena using peer review and the tribe of Hermes using some other method to see the way of the gods ("Greg's preference coincides with ideology")

I find it interesting that you cite to "tribal" in this context.  I read that as a claim by you that I am part of a tribe and only believe what I believe out of misguided loyalty to a tribe and not because of any rational evaluation of the merits of the matter, meanwhile, "everyone knows" that your tribe only believes what it believes because it's proven truth.  Lol.

If you want to show me that I'm reacting tribaly and your not, then verify this claim:

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Peer review is imperfect, but it is better than any other approach yet invented to consistently pursue scientific truth at the frontier of human knowledge.

First of all, I don't think you can.  I don't there's every been any kind of comprehensive study that would support that claim, you know a study that falsified other forms of validation, and/or showed comprehensively that peer review was better.  But more importantly, I don't think there's any chance that you've actually read such a study, or seen any "scientific" evidence to back your claim.  I suspect all you're actually doing is repeating a tribal claim yourself (largely on the "everyone knows its true" school of axiomatic argumentation).

So let me clear, I think your claimed conclusion is in fact just an axiom that you've excepted without verification, the essence of what a "tribal claim" actually is (as opposed to using it as a buzzword to claim your opponents arguments don't have a rational basis requiring refutation).

But let's actually talk specifics too.  What is "peer review"?  It's a process designed to validate research claims, by having other experts analyze a study, sometimes with a look at the data, sometimes not.  It does not typically involve rerunning the study either with the data presented, or other data.  It literally, serves the purpose of error catching and endorsement, which is valuable in the pursuit of research truth, but it doesn't otherwise advance the scientific envelope.

How exactly does have 4 scientists check another scientists work prior to publishing it advance any goal better than publishing it and having any scientists that want to do so verify or dispute it?  Even your basic premise has to be flawed if you discount that a greater number of trained persons would not be able to produce more truth than a limited number up front.  In fact, the primary purpose served by the peer review process in reality is endorsement.

How exactly, is "peer review" superior to Big Data Analytics?  A process that can generate massive amounts of knowledge in a short period of time, peer review adds little there.

What about unethical science?  Do you believe it doesn't advance knowledge, yet peer review will expressly exclude and suppress it?

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You get multiple, independent experts who are conversant with first principles and what has been empirically demonstrated previously.

Yes, you get multiple highly trained experts checking each others math.  Of course, they have similar and overlapping training, which means they have similar inherent flaws in how they think.

Every hear of a disruptive business model?  They can transform industries virtually overnight by exploiting that successful businesses in an industry have tended to be built on the same assumptions and understanding about the "reality on the ground."  Problem is, there's a tremendous inertia inherent in the "way its always been done" that can be exploited by someone realizing that one of those assumptions is flawed.

As I mentioned above, I think Big Data analytics is such a disruptor.  Hypothesis, design test, determine causation, write, send to peer review group, publish, is a limited model, when the data guys next door established 500 marketable and exploitable correlations in the same window.

Don't think it can take the place of hard top down scientific research that can (but most often doesn't) determine causation?   Ever look at the real time political analytics that are in the news today? 

I mean sure everything, going back far enough, is based on the same concept of what science is, but the idea that the "best" way to validate and generate science is through academic papers and old scientists is a bit absurd.  Why do you believe it?

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The peer reviewers are also familiar with potential flaws of different analytical methodologies. And the larger process not only applies this validation process to the first time a paper is reviewed, but there is the expectation that the research should be repeatable by different groups testing the same hypothesis in order to solidly establish what is true.

The "expectation" of repeatability is a good one, yet it often isn't reality.  And the idea that grad students publishing serial "novel studies" from limited parts of the data of the professor they work with is really creating new meaningful science that is repeatable really strains credibility. 

You can always find someone who is doing truly cutting edge research and point them and say - "see, that proves my point, look at that," but you're ignoring the vast mass of peer reviewed studies that are essentially useless garbage.

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I think you may have mis-characterized peer review as an "unassailable gold standard" - specific peer reviewed papers can and should be challenged, but only by data subjected to valid analytical approaches.

So, does this sound like an "unassailable gold standard"?  "Peer review is imperfect, but it is better than any other approach yet invented to consistently pursue scientific truth at the frontier of human knowledge."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your words?  Maybe I'm too tribal to understand.

I find the last part of what you said either to be a truism or offensive.  If all you're saying is that data that disproves a peer review study is de facto "subjected to valid analytical approaches" then yes I agree.  If on the other hand, you're claiming that a study is true unless challenged by a member of the club, then it's absolutely absurd.

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I have worked directly with peer review in the scientific community and with industry-based technology and product research. There are brilliant people involved in each endeavor, and certainly there can be much utility in non-peer reviewed research. But when it comes to establishing what is most likely to be true, scientific peer review is a fundamental principle that should be a "gold standard"

Why?   Honestly, what advantage does a limited "pre-publication" review have over post publication attempts to reproduce the study?  Do you not see how a reviewers view of a new study would be swayed by whether it supports or denies their own study?  In fact, I'd be more inclined to require a hostile review than a peer review.
 
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was pointing out the absurdity of his claim that the "right" is somehow anti-science, it's one of those soft discriminatory lies the left tells itself to pretend it's morally superior.

The position of national politicians on the right in the United States with regard to climate change is anti-science. Period.

Frankly, I was discussing a bigger issue.  I will stipulate that climate change deniers are not following the best science.

I draw the line, however, at the idea that opposing the political solutions proferred to date is some kind of evidence of anti-science.  The solutions generally don't align with the science either. 

There is zero credit for "accepting" the science when it agrees with the basic assumption you already believed or wanted, but then pursuing remedies and solutions with a primary purpose of serving other masters.

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While you can fantasize about some strange world-wide conspiracy that has both the right and the left agreeing on the validity of climate science in virtually every other country in the world, a simpler explanation is that the right in the US is anti-science.

No.  The simplest explanation is that the rest of the world is anti-US.  That's exactly why international climate change treaties are extremely costly and punitive to the US and don't actually restrict the other major polluters in the world.  That's exactly why they don't encourage production to shift to the locations that can produce for the least environmental impact (which would actually be a result of following science in crafting the solution).

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That's why for decades (only changed in the Omnibus bill signed yesterday) the Republicans have actually forbidden the CDC to fund certain types of peer reviewed research into the root causes of gun violence.

Really, what infectious disease would the Center for Disease Control be studying? 

If you want a gun study empower the ATF or the FBI who actually have a plausible mandate to study it.  Trying to empower the CDC isn't based on science AT ALL, it's based on wanting a predetermined result.  Unless you think the CDC sometimes should encourage certain diseases?  The reason you want it to do the study is because it's a hammer and you want it to find another nail to hit.

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That's why you youself Seriati have referred to "peer review" as if it were an ideological preference of the left.

Apologies, I don't think it's a left versus right issue.  I think the "weaponizing" of peer review is an academic snobbery issue, which primarily ties it to the lefts true ivory tower thinkers.

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If peer reviewed research said that we would be safer all owning guns, I would buy a gun.

I seriously doubt it.

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I can't think of a single policy position that I hold that I would not reverse if there were solid peer reviewed research pointing in the other direction (obviously, this does not mean a single peer reviewed paper, because the nature of science is that there will be valid opposing positions, but instead enough repeatable research that not only validates the primary hypothesis but also shows valid results that refute the alternate hypotheses).

You do understand that peer review is not a guaranty that the results are repeatable?  It's just an endorsement that the methodologies were valid (and even then its often found they weren't).

I mean honestly, peer review has little chance of catching deliberate fraud or falsification of data.  You can read for yourself stories of retracted and discredited papers that survived the peer review process.

It's not a magical proof of concept, it's literally an endorsement that could be read to say, "This paper doesn't seem too stupid to be true, and I can't see any obvious errors in the math, assuming they didn't just make the whole thing up, my opinion is that it'll probably be true in future tests."

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The one caveat I do understand is that some people are just playing debate games. And in the political sphere, some people believe that the rules are just like those for lawyers in an adversarial court room, where you don't have to believe the arguments that you make are true. I recognize the difference, and it is not specifically evil to argue that way, but on the spectrum of morality it is better if people feel a moral obligation to the truth.

I don't play debate games.  I object heavily to being patronized.  I don't think half of what the left believes is a fact is capable of being validated. 

I think having a debate over the peer review process is absurd.  On balance it's a very good thing, but like many good things it has flaws.  Venerating it, without understanding the flaws, as you're doing leads to completely wrong headed thinking.  Science is not a members only club.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 02:22:26 PM by Seriati »

Wayward Son

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2018, 02:20:16 PM »
Scientists devote their careers to advancement of knowledge.

They do? Where did you hear this from? I think maybe the odd person working in the sciences truly sees their work as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, as a combined group effort of humanity to advance the understanding of the universe. But mostly these are people doing their jobs, often work they enjoy, in a field that interests them. They are doing their work to earn a living, and perhaps to some varying extent knowing they're contributing to knowledge figures into that. But I doubt that most active people in the sciences have 'devoted' their careers to anything in particular. Your statements sounds like it comes from the doorsteps of the church of scientism.

Ferning, how many actual scientists have you verified this statement with?  Who did you talk to?  Who said that they are just "earning a living?"

Please go to an actual scientist's site, or someone who talks to scientists frequently, and ask them.  I'd suggest trying David Brin's site for starters.  Ask him if he, or the scientists he knows, have any "devotion" to their subjects.  Let us know their answers.

Because from my own experience, from being a budding scientist and talking to others, is that there is quite a bit of devotion in the sciences, although not what you might think.

1.  Scientists (and other professors) want to prove they are smart.  As a professor friend of mine put it, they want to prove they are smarter than anyone else.  (His field was mathematics, but I'm sure it applies to the sciences, especially the hard sciences, like climate modeling, too.)  Which sometimes means you may blind yourself because of bias, but it also means you avoid doing anything stupid if you can.

2.  Scientists want to be famous.  This is a corollary of the first point, of course.  There is no better praise for a physicists than to be called "the next Einstein" or "the one of the founders of the field."  They want to be remembered as major contributors to science, or at least helping the field.  This can sometimes lead to scientists cutting corners for short-term gain, but the vast majority know it will eventually be found out and will blow up in the long term.  Only solid work that lasts the test of time will give you fame.  And if you're ever proven to have intentionally faked data in the hard sciences, you don't become famous, but the opposite, infamous. ;)

3.  Scientists are competitive.  Nothing gives a scientist a bigger kick than proving they are smarter than their colleagues and proving their colleagues wrong. :D  (Which means "a paper titled "climate change not a real problem after all" is not going to be that impressive" is so, SO, SO WRONG!)  Which means they critically look at other's papers to see if there are problems with it.  Conversely, they look carefully at the their own papers to make sure there aren't any problems with it, to the best of their ability.  Because, once again, they want to avoid looking stupid.

4.  Scientists are persistent.  If the results of their research doesn't match their hypothesis, they will until they figure out what went wrong, even if it means challenging the research it was based on.  And if they find out they wasted their time--weeks, months, or years--because the concepts they based it on were wrong...well, Hell hath no fury.  Which is why bad research eventually will be found out.

5.  Scientists don't work alone.  Not on huge projects like climate change.  They work in teams, checking each other's work, challenging it.  And in universities, that means working with other professors and, mostly, with graduate students.  Students who are working hard to enter the field as professors in their own right.  Young turks full of themselves, thinking they are smarter than everyone else, wanting to make a name for themselves.  Does anyone seriously believe these young people would knowingly allow false information be published with their names of it, possibly ruining their careers?  Does anyone believe that, once they graduate and get positions of their own, that they won't gleefully "correct" any errors they noted in their graduate research, getting a name for themselves and showing they are smarter than their professors?  Can anyone think of any practical way to prevent this from happening?  One scientist might think he can get away with sloppy work for a while.  But getting every scientist in the field to go along with him?  Not going to happen.

Admittedly, this may not apply as much to softer fields like medical research and psychology.  But for hard fields like physics (and don't be fooled--climatology is applied physics, based on thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, etc.) it is very true, from what I've seen.

All of this adds up to a type of "devotion" to a field.  A devotion to being as truthful and accurate as you can, to be careful. to be thorough.  Because your work will be checked, and used, and so you need to CYA.  It's a devotion not based on idealism, but on egotism and self-interest.  And what could be more sure than that? ;)

TheDrake

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2018, 02:40:44 PM »
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Dan Shechtman discovered quasicrystals--ordered, but not periodic materials--in 1985, and was harangued by two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling until Pauling's death.  This finding was controversial because it violated one of the first things taught in solid-state physics textbooks--that the geometry of ordered crystalline materials must conform to one of a limited number of structures which can tile 3D space without gaps.  In interviews, Shechtman recalls Pauling saying that "there is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists," and his group leader asked him to leave for bringing disgrace. 

He was publicly vindicated in 2011, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry, after many scientists confirmed his work.

Let's not pretend science doesn't have bias to reputation and established thought, or that scientists are above pettiness. "Asked him to leave for bringing disgrace" - for something that took 26 years to acknowledge as ground breaking in an area of science devoid of politics.


Fenring

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #45 on: March 26, 2018, 02:59:45 PM »
Ferning, how many actual scientists have you verified this statement with?  Who did you talk to?  Who said that they are just "earning a living?"

I expected this kind of statement to be backed up by a scathing contradiction to everything I wrote, except that doesn't seem to be what happened.

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1.  Scientists (and other professors) want to prove they are smart.

Uh huh...

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2.  Scientists want to be famous.

Alright... (not always true, but for now let's grant it)

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3.  Scientists are competitive.

Fine... (again, not always true, but we'll grant it)

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4.  Scientists are persistent.

Don't know that this is any more relevant to scientists than to various other professions.

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5.  Scientists don't work alone.

[...[

Does anyone seriously believe these young people would knowingly allow false information be published with their names of it, possibly ruining their careers?

Not sure about the relevance in context of this discussion. You're talking about how difficult it would be to falsify work? Why? That's a non sequitur to anything mentioned in this thread so far.

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All of this adds up to a type of "devotion" to a field.  A devotion to being as truthful and accurate as you can, to be careful. to be thorough.

And now your initial paragraph makes more sense, as your entire post is non-responsive to what I wrote above. Best I can do is recommend you re-read what I wrote, because after beginning with what sounded like it was going to be a scathing critique you went on to reiterate exactly what I wrote above, except you're playing word games with "devotion" for reasons unknown.

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Because your work will be checked, and used, and so you need to CYA.  It's a devotion not based on idealism, but on egotism and self-interest.  And what could be more sure than that? ;)

Please go back and read what I was responding to, which was the statement that "Scientists devote their careers to advancement of knowledge." I contested that this is their main motivation in general, and zero of your five points disagree with me, but rather more or less re-state my point. The reason you seem to think you're disagreeing with me is some confusion over the word "devotion". Used the way you want to use it, it just means that people are dedicated to their work, which again can be said of many workers and has nothing to do with scientists in particular. The fact of checking their work and wanting to be accurate can be as true of a stock clerk as of an engineer. You've missed the wood for the trees on this one and should have focused instead on the clause "advancement of knowledge." Since none of your points suggest a priority of advancing human knowledge for its own sake I assume you agree with me on this.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 03:01:59 PM by Fenring »

Wayward Son

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #46 on: March 26, 2018, 06:53:36 PM »
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Please go back and read what I was responding to, which was the statement that "Scientists devote their careers to advancement of knowledge." I contested that this is their main motivation in general, and zero of your five points disagree with me, but rather more or less re-state my point. The reason you seem to think you're disagreeing with me is some confusion over the word "devotion". Used the way you want to use it, it just means that people are dedicated to their work, which again can be said of many workers and has nothing to do with scientists in particular. The fact of checking their work and wanting to be accurate can be as true of a stock clerk as of an engineer. You've missed the wood for the trees on this one and should have focused instead on the clause "advancement of knowledge." Since none of your points suggest a priority of advancing human knowledge for its own sake I assume you agree with me on this.

Other than the fact that, ultimately, the primary reason they are working is for the "advancement of knowledge" (regardless of their own selfish reasons), I basically agree with you.

I guess I was responding to calling it "scientism," which sound vaguely denigrating to me.  While the true, personal motivations may not be so lofty as "advancement of knowledge," even the base reasons still lead to advancement of that goal.

TheDrake

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #47 on: March 26, 2018, 07:27:20 PM »
Scientists do what they do so they can be surrounded by physically attractive admirers, oppress their political enemies all day long, and scoop up all that sweet grant money so they can buy $60,000 credenzas for their plush offices. Prove me wrong. Please cite sources. :D

velcro

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #48 on: March 26, 2018, 08:42:00 PM »
TheDrake wrote:
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Scientists do what they do so they can be surrounded by physically attractive admirers, oppress their political enemies all day long, and scoop up all that sweet grant money so they can buy $60,000 credenzas for their plush offices. Prove me wrong. Please cite sources.

Here you go.

velcro

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Re: Scientiific American Says "Chill out over Global Warming"
« Reply #49 on: March 26, 2018, 08:50:49 PM »
Scientists devoting their careers to advancing knowledge does not mean they are pure icons of integrity.  It means they are like doctors, nurses, or EMT's devoting their careers to helping people.  Or police and firemen keeping people safe.  While there are clear exceptions, they do not lightly go against their training to knowingly and intentionally injure people.  Their practices are intended to do everything possible to protect people, even though it sometimes goes wrong.

Same with scientists and truth.  There are specific methods and practices to eliminate bias that are taught and reinforced.  You may think that there is a giant groupthink that brainwashes huge swaths of scientists to accept bad science because the cool kids say you should.  It doesn't work that way, despite the occasional anecdote to the contrary.