Friday, February 11, 2011

On words

There has been more recent discussion, partly inspired by Steig and Trenberth, on the use of a word that is also a silk measure. I don't use the word, though I don't see anything wrong with doing so. I refrain because it leads to time-wasting arguments.

The preferred alternative is skeptic. I have used that, spelt with a k. Spelt with a c, there's a danger that consistent pronouncers will make the c soft. I might even omit it in text, which would lead to trouble.



However, skeptic isn't right either. I regard myself as fairly skeptical, and I'm expected to apply the word to some people who believe in all sorts of weird things.

As a digression, we have an association called the Australian Skeptics. I know the founder, and would have joined, but there is only so much time available. They mainly focus on religion and the paranormal. They took the name long before it was associated with climate.

They have many scientists, and could not be classified as climate skeptics. They did have a meeting in Hobart a couple of years ago which covered climate - I would have liked to go. It did not look like a climate skeptic meeting.

Anyway, back to topic. I've been looking for a new word. One that has been used occasionally is contrarian. I like it. Some might think the suggestion of "contrariness" is disparaging, but it also could mean contrary to the consensus, which might make people feel better.

The problem is that it's long, and I like short words. Maybe some would embrace the term "contra"?

61 comments:

  1. tt, I don't think so, that implies too much local warming.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, not contrarian, and Eli has known more than a few are of the whatever it is I am agin it school. Now Lindzen, for example, is a contrarian, but most of the others not. The problem is the peculiar mix of politics and stubbornness which produces the kind of you wanna bang your head against the wall nonsense of Curry's blog (although Eli senses that some of the lurkers are changing their minds which is why he plays there).

    But in general you are right, a word is needed to describe the genus, which covers HIV, vaccinations, climate, evolution and all the other science denial types.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would suggest "dismisser". It is actually a broader term than denier, since the latter implies denial that there is any AGW. Dismisser would describe someone who thinks that AGW is not a significant phenomenon compared with natural variation even though it might exist.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lindzen = contrarian

    Goddard = crank

    Feeling too polite to use the latter? I suppose such things tend to elicit howls of protest, which wastes time. But all the cranks ever do is waste your time, anyway.

    I didn't realise that Aussies misspell sceptic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. CE
    "I didn't realise that Aussies misspell sceptic."
    Well, septic here used to mean dunny, if that helps :)

    CE/Eli
    crank/contrarian, but I think we need one word, otherwise there is an ongoing classification argument.

    Bill
    Dismisser? Yes, though it makes me think of the call "Class, dismiss!". Another term might be scoffer. In fact, "climate scoffer" has a ring to it. But it's a bit judgmental.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmm the taxonomy of these specimens...

    I'm fairly sure the Order is Bullshit Artist and the Family is Denial.

    The Genus...maybe Climate Denial

    But there are many species of CD:
    - Crank
    - Contrarian
    - Fluffer
    - Bought off by lobby group
    - Conspiratarian
    - etc

    Bit not sceptic. Completely different Order.

    ReplyDelete
  7. EliRabet for clarification.

    You said, “ … a word is needed to describe the genus, which covers HIV, vaccinations, climate, evolution and all the other science denial types.”

    Do you believe that individuals who question the “consensus view” of the dangers of CO2 induced global warming are the same individuals who have some issue with “HIV, vaccinations … evolution … “?

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you want to say "skeptic", my preferred term would be:

    So-called "skeptics".

    I like how van der Sluijs called the mainstream scientists "alarmists". Very reconciliatory of him, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  9. The whole process is moved by contrarianism all right. We should dub thesis, i.e. "contrarianism", but people are people.

    Eli is not that often wrong, but this time he is. "Contrarian" it should be. Steve uses it; I use it.

    I have seen no complaint yet. No, I have seen one, with diminishing returns. From Eli itself.

    A "contrarian"-contrarian.

    ReplyDelete
  10. People are attempting a top-down classification and trying to affix a label. Alternatively, one might do a a bottom-up taxonomy of reasons why people reject strong science. Think of these reasons as low-level atoms, which in combination form molecules. There might even be isomers, in which the same combination of reasons is arrived at in different chronologies. Here is an example of one taxonomy and how it might map onto organizations and people.

    Some people strongly reject most forms of pseudo science, but also think AGW is a hoax, as Kendrick Frazier (Ed of Skeptical Inquirer) discovered a few years ago. When he ran a straightforward article on the greenhouse effect, he got some angry "Cancel my subscription letters."

    I think there are clusters (common molecules), but many different combinations seem inferable, although it is always hard to be sure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about this type of discussion is the implicit assumption that everybody who embraces what we might call the theory of catastrophic global warming, got there rationally, and anybody who doubts any precept of this must therefore be irrational.

    A good name for this is "scientific hubris".

    ReplyDelete
  12. Carrick,
    The thing is, though, we need a word - that's not necessarily flattering but will identify who we're talking about without causing diversionary arguments. Maybe contrarian suggests irrationality - I'm not sure. Skeptic I think is too general - and suggests the other side lacks skepticism.

    Discussions on the other side produced alarmist and warmist - neither of which I would embrace, but they don't bother me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nick, I think the problem is trying to rope people into a few categories.

    First of all, some of this is pretty technical, it's not on par with "is the Earth flat" or "do vaccines work". So trying to conflate it with that is a mistake. For a lot of the lay people who hang out on blogs, they really have no hope of really understanding the radiative physics, how reliable the models are, what their weaknesses and strengths are, etc. For them, it's a matter of belief + trust = "faith".

    My Dad is a "believer"... because that's what the newspapers tell him. Seriously, that's his reason (you have to trust somebody). Does that put him at an intellectually superior position to somebody else, who say doesn't believe because they distrust the mainstream media? What about the people who believe/disbelieve because of party association? Where do they fit?

    In my experience, a fair number of the people you might call "deniers" and "warmists" are really politically active laypeople, who have no clue beyond "this makes a good political plank for the next election."

    I'd hardly call anybody who is using political or economic philosophy to select a position (there are many who are running scared of cap and trade as a remediation for example) as "denialists". What is it they are denying? The appropriate word would be "dissidents:"

    "A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine."

    The opposite would be "conformist:"

    "a person who conforms, especially unquestioningly, to the usual practices or standards of a group, society, etc."

    Once you skate back into the scientific community, it just gets more complicated, because there are some who still conflate their political ideology with their scientific beliefs---on both sides, IMO---and the mix between ideology and scientific belief and level of appropriate scientific training varies on almost an individual basis.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, simple categories don't necessarily work very well.
    So, here is a knowledge scale (K) for level of expertise, which of course can vary by field.

    Let's assume there is a very strong, mainstream science position on some topic (greenhouse effect is real, cigarette smoking increases risk of disease).

    At the bottom of that scale, K0, someone may know very little about the topic, and not know the mainstream position. They easily might take a contrary position for no other reason than some friend told them.

    Further up the scale, it takes a stronger set of reasons (from my earlier post) to take the contrary position. The only exception is that a field expert (K8-K10, normally, these days) may well advance a hypothesis that contradicts the mainstream view, and (sooner or later) have that borne out. A major change of view (say H. pylori) gets Nobel prizes, but is rare.

    As an ongoing one, Bill Ruddiman's hypotheses for human modification of climate starting thousands of years ago (not just via Industrial Revolution) is another, still in play.

    In general, it is rather rare for non-experts to overturn a major mainstream viewpoint on a well-studied topic. The lone, brilliant polymath ion garage that overturns all of modern physics ... is rare to find.

    Most people don't have time to study every topic in detail, and a rational approach is to find the scientific mainstream and either adopt that or learn enough to be able to convincingly refute it. Of course, many are prey to Dunning-Kruger (PSY5) and are absolutely certain they know more than people who actually publish in the field.

    It's not that hard for someone at K0 to disbelieve AGW, whereas it surely must take a serious set of reasons for Richard Lindzen to behave as he does. Somehow, attempting to apply the same label seems unproductive.

    Likewise, most physicists could read a good climate book in an afternoon and understand the key issues of AGW, but a tiny fraction of physicists think otherwise, as per APS petition.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, how about prefixes and suffixes

    contrarian$ (economic grounds) and -contrarian (negative info) and just plain contrarian for the few rare ones?

    BTW,the -contrarians were once described to Eli as the type of person whom, after you talked to them you knew less than when you started

    ReplyDelete
  16. and willard, oh yeah, there are LOTS of all arounders.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd say "do vaccines work" is on about the same level as "does the greenhouse effect exist".

    And there is zero hubris involved in expressing frustration at people who think the greenhouse effect violates the second law. Such people are simply cranks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the blogger orac has some posts up regarding people who tend to subscribe to a wide variety of conspiracy theories and quackery. Can't find them at the moment.

    There's something of a taxonomy of motivation here.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/02/climate_change

    ReplyDelete
  19. This discussion has the feel of the arrogance I always used to sense when people’s color was being discussed. There were whites and then there are colored people, as if white was not a color. It obviously gave way to kinder and gentler “minorities” – soon to become useless when everyone is a minority.

    I would prefer that we had one positive and one negative moniker for each side, so that when we adorn our emotions with factoids, to do battle, we would use commonly understood terms. Perhaps “denier” and “skeptic” fits the bill for one side. I was hard pressed to find a positive term for the other side while many negative (alarmist, warmer etc.) ones came to mind. Perhaps indicates my bias, though I hope not.

    DEEBEE

    ReplyDelete
  20. CarrotEater, this analysis only deals with people who are deniers who are irrational. There are many people involved on the advocacy side who are lunier than fruit bats too.

    John Mashey, the APS position statement is an interesting example of politics mixing with science on both sides: It wasn't generated based on consultation with its membership, but rather by a small group at the top who took it upon themselves to issue that statement.

    And the rejection of the petition signed by the somewhat larger number of people was done by a much small committee, with little real consultation with the general membership.

    There's really little any evidence that serious membership wide deliberation was done here, nor that this position supports the general view of the APS membership itself. In other words, it's an example of how politics plays a role in determining these sort of "consensus statements".

    Regarding that statement, take this sentence "If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur."

    It has several problems IMO. One is "likely to occur" another is "if no mitigating actions..." I'd have probably written it a bit more nuanced:

    "Without mitigating action, we are at a significant risk for significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health." "Likely" implies something that the science hasn't (IMO) fleshed out. In fact Annan's "latest" paper (meaning it's two years old and finally published), sets the upper 95% CL limit at 4°C/doubling and a net 3% of world GDP impact.

    "Likely" implies "having a high probability of occurring or being true." Less than 5% is not "likely", it is "unlikely but plausible."

    Second statement: "We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now."

    This is a "pie in the sky" statement. It's almost certainly not going to happen, and to the extent that emissions get reduced, it will be mostly market driven. What's the point of advocating a politically-socially-economically impractical solution?

    All that said, I actually like Ruddiman's hypothesis and there is a basis for it, as long as we restrict ourself to regional-scale climate change, and don't restrict ourselves to net CO2 forcing. (Though CO2 forcings would still be there in pre-industry due to modifications of the carbon cycle by agriculture and other land use changes for example.)+

    ReplyDelete
  21. "CarrotEater, this analysis only deals with people who are deniers who are irrational."

    and I dub them cranks, and don't mind doing so. If somebody can't figure out that objects can emit radiation in all directions without violating the second law; if after years of work somebody still can't figure out how anomalies are calculated, or that you can't meaningfully just make a histogram of anomaly values from sources with different baselines, such a person is just a crank.

    Unfortunately, much of the noise on the internet is coming from just such people.

    "There are many people involved on the advocacy side who are lunier than fruit bats too."

    That's true, but the comparison doesn't really go anywhere. The street activists who don't actually understand anything about the science generally aren't clogging up the internet with stupidity, running huge websites, demanding respect for their own 'science', or launching ignorant attacks on science.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "and to the extent that emissions get reduced, it will be mostly market driven."

    ...? That's the whole point of enacting a carbon price - you price the previously unpriced externality, and let the market take it from there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. carrot eater: "That's the whole point of enacting a carbon price - you price the previously unpriced externality, and let the market take it from there:

    Enacting a carbon price is a form of price control. In any sense that I've ever heard "market driven" used by economists, that's not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Carrot Eater: "I dub them cranks, and don't mind doing so."

    Some of them are cranks. Others are have overly inflated egos about how much more they understand than the people around them.

    "The street activists who don't actually understand anything about the science generally aren't clogging up the internet with stupidity, running huge websites, demanding respect for their own 'science', or launching ignorant attacks on science"

    They may not launch ignorant attacks, but they do undercut the legitimacy of the underlying science in a big way. There are plenty of scientists who won't speak out against obvious exaggeration because, I suppose, you're afraid to alienate the voices that are "on your side".

    I think you are way underestimating the damage done by well-meaning fools.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My rule of thumb goes kind of like this:

    Denier: Greenhouse warming is a crock; climate sensitivity to CO2 = 0. G&T

    Lukewarmer: Greenhouse warming is real; sensitivity is lower than IPCC AR4. Singer, Spencer.

    Consensus: Greenhouse warming is real; sensitivity is about that of IPCC AR4.

    Alarmist/Catastrophist: Greenhouse warming is real; sensitivity is higher than IPCC AR4.

    Deniers and Lukewarmers cluster together (even though they have markedly different scientific views) because they both oppose the policies that are likely to unfold if there is widespread public acceptance of the scientific consensus.

    It's a rule of thumb, no more.

    ReplyDelete
  26. There is some evidence that rejection of a scientific consensus in one area increases the likelihood of rejecting it in other areas. See:
    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/when-science-clashes-with-belief-make-science-impotent.ars
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x/abstract

    But I wouldn't want to have to untangle the confounding factors on any relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Carrick, Eli has enough trouble with the malicious assholes that he will put off dealing with the well meaning fools until tomorrow.

    And Ron, you moved the Overton window, higher than IPCC mean estimates is not alarmist, 2x and higher is alarmist. As Richard Alley said
    ----------------------
    You have now had a discussion or a debate here between people who are giving you the blue one and people giving you the green one. This is certainly not both sides. If you want both sides, we would have to have somebody in here screaming a conniption fit on the red end, because you are hearing a very optimistic side
    ----------------------

    ReplyDelete
  28. Carrick (#14),
    I'd like to find a word for general use, but it's true that a lot of candidates are loaded. "Dissident" is promising, but if denier evokes WW2, dissident suggests they're up against Soviet, and are in danger of the gulag. Which is already sopken of far too much.

    There's one odd aspect of the conflation of ideology and political belief. Most of the allegedly political scientists, like Hansen, come from a time when there wasn't such a political divide. The 1990 UNFCCC was supported by GWHB and got a 2/3 Senate majority. There was a recent article on the dilemma of Kerry Emanuel on the recent political tug. And outside the US, the political divide isn't so clearcut.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ron, I'd call the consensus view "realism". You're basing your belief on the evidence, or at least your best understanding of it.

    Eli, IMO, you're still trying to force a dichotomy where one doesn't exist.

    ReplyDelete
  30. DB,
    It's not quite the same as race - people choose a position on climate, and we need a word to describe the choice. It's a shorthand way to identify a class of arguments.

    A positive term? I could live with "visionary" :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Also, Eli, " higher than IPCC mean estimates is not alarmist, 2x and higher is alarmist".

    Annan and Hargreaves lists the range as something like 1.5-4.0 °C/doubling of CO2 (I'm not sure he actually gives the lower bound, but it's the one given by other studies and is probably fairly robust).

    So when you say 2x, what do you mean, 2x the mean? Or 2x the upper limit?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Also, Ron there are some of us who tend to hang with the "lukewarmer" crowd no so much out of identification with them, as much as in repudiation of overwrought rhetoric on the part of others. There's also the issue of "echo chambers," if you just hang around with people who agree with you regardless of what you say...not particularly a productive use of time.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Carrick, that works both ways. I consider much of CA & Co. to be engaging in overwrought rhetoric - which is a shame because I really do appreciate the analytic criticism. But they make it very, very hard to disentangle McI's ax-grinding against a Team member or Jeff's political screeds from their analytic takes. It's why the Blackboard become the place to hang for me - and its recent veer towards the polemical bandwagon so disappointing. Lucia's is general better than that and I thought what we had was worth fighting for - even if I had to push back on Lucia herself.
    .
    I've tried hard to avoid falling into the echo chamber but there seems to be less and less reason to make an effort to read CA across the aisle. Less and less analysis. More and more politics this, ax-grinding that. Real Climate does it own share of 'the state of climate blogs' type posts, but at least there is usually a science-topic post or two mixed between them.

    I wish something like the Climate Physics Forum would take off. More science. Less politics.

    -------

    Eli, I'll split the difference. ;-)
    4.5-6C = Alarmist
    > 6C = Catastrophist

    ---

    Of course, the whole scale may shift again with IPCC AR5. Consensus is a moving target.

    The quotes I've seen from "Storms of my Grandfathers" suggest that he lies one of those upper ranges.

    ---

    Moving away from models and sensitivities, I don't think we have a good grasp on how ecosystems will change (or fail to). In the Quaternary, we slip to-and-from glacial states without mass extinction events. The PETM offers mixed evidence of how climate stress plays out. So I'm cautiously optimistic about how this will all play out regardless of the lack of ability to make and keep a climate policy today.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum#Life

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nick,

    I thought about two other C words to characterize the divide: Critics and Challengers.

    These are of course incomplete, as we need to know critiquing or challenging what. We might also need a conceptual scheme that labels a binary tree: proponent vs opponent, Black vs White, Abelard vs Heloise, etc.

    Whatever you choose, it is important that your concept remains relative. A concept that can't be relative to the other concepts in its conceptual scheme will, sooner or later, become useless.

    I never understood why I would need the word "crank". I never understood the need to take a public stance about cranks. In fact, if I did felt the need to talk **of** them AND use a term to label them, I would still use the other words, say as an euphemism.

    There is a quandary about labelling. On the one hand, labelling oneself is needed to make sure the opponent does not for you. On the other hand, labelling the others can lead to stigmatization.

    That said, I'm not a labeller (wink wink), so Your Mileage May Vary, I guess.

    PS: Yes, Eli: prefix, suffix, good enough for me.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ron, I don't generally read WUWT or CA. I prefer the straight science better, unfortunately most blog owners throw out plenty of red meat to keep the faithful coming back.

    There were some really good discussion to be had on Jeff ID's blog and to a less extent on Lucia's blog. I usually am looking for people to bounce ideas off of more than somebody to show my perfect (cough) knowledge to or somebody to pat me on the back for my ideas being "right".

    Regarding the IPCC AR5, I predict they will continue to use model means even after all of the vocal criticism of them.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Carrick,
    How about "dissenters"?
    Best suggestion yet, in my view, though I'm not sure the Bishop could embrace it.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dissenting pertains to policy views, according to my G friend "define:".

    I only now recall that I ran **skeptik** for a while, with two k's.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Williard here's a definition: "Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea"

    ReplyDelete
  39. What you describe WIllard would be a "political dissenter".

    ReplyDelete
  40. Carrick,

    Here are some of the definitions I get:

    # a person who dissents from some established policy
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    # The term dissenter (from the Latin dissentire, “to disagree”), labels one who disagrees in matters of opinion, belief, etc. ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissenter

    # The Dissenters - The Quarrymen are an English skiffle band, initially formed in Liverpool in 1957, some of whose early members founded The Beatles, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed rock band in world history. ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dissenters

    # person who refused to belong to the Church of England.
    www.genealogyreviews.co.uk/genealogyglossary.htm

    # A person not belonging to an established church.
    www.tsgraves.com/relics/legalLand.htm

    # dissenters - A right granted to shareholders that entitles them to have their shares appraised and purchased by the corporation if the corporation enters into certain transactions that the shareholders do not approve of.
    www.florida-incorporation.com/glossary.html

    ***

    But it's your choice, really. You want me to call you a dissenter, I can do it. The connotation with war is even appropriate, under the actual circumstances.

    You want me to call you a skeptic, I call you a dissenter. Or a skeptik. Or a contrarian.

    Most of the time I'll simply go for "Carrick" and "what Carrick claims there" anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  41. willard, I guess you noticed from your list of definitions, there are many types of dissenters besides "policy dissenters". Your second one squares with mine, which is an individual who disagrees with the consensus view on something. "Political dissenter" "religious dissenter" etc.

    Another term (if you want orthongonality) would be "doubter".

    As to what you call me, Carrick is good enough. I think that is reasonably unique. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Sorry meant to point this out: doubter is the opposite of believer. It just lacks the zip of denier or as Eli prefers "malicious assholes".

    ReplyDelete
  43. Carrick

    "Ron, I don't generally read WUWT or CA."

    Sensible, but it also leads you to make statements suggesting that the overwrought rhetoric is on the other 'side'...

    Yes, there are well meaning fools, but I simply don't see what role they play in either science itself, or the farcical world of blogs. I have failed to notice any glut of people writing high-profile blogs or flooding comment sections with "we're all going to die oh no!!!! it's going to be runaway venus by 2100!!!" You just don't see that.

    But as for not reading WUWT - perhaps the term for WUWT types should be the 'ignorables'. Don't read their output, and you won't have missed anything educational.

    ReplyDelete
  44. carrot eater, I certainly didn't mean to imply that the "overwrought rhetoric" is limited to one side.

    As to the rest, my perception is different than yours, there certainly are "talking heads" in the mainstream media and politics who often make highly exaggerated claims.

    The problem with well meaning fools is their particular overwrought rhetoric gets mistaken for the actual scientific claims. When scientists have the chance to correct it and they don't (out of a sense of misguided loyalty perhaps), that silence gets mistaken for an endorsement of misleading ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Nick since we are into smarty pants stuff then perhaps we could do convert, believer etc.:-)
    DEEBEE

    ReplyDelete
  46. re: APS petition
    Either:
    a) Carrick understands how science societies (including APS) do position statements, in which case his comments are simply misleading
    b) Carrick does not, in which case it might be wise not to make strong assertions.

    In fact, APS solicited *opinions*, not votes, which are not how science is done), see this.

    Carrick's comments seem derived from the leaders of the petition, such as Fred Singer (no info needed), Larry Gould (a really big fan of Viscount Monckton) or Will Happer, whose views are quoted in
    This APS piece is useful. Position statements are not done by democracy, for very good reason. The above quote is one. Others can be found by checking comments of just a few other signers.
    For example, Donald Rapp is interesting.

    Another signer was Nasif Nahle, aka biocab or See main page, including recommendation to read "Slaying the Sky Dragon."

    I'd forgotten about Nahle, but by amusing coincidence, he is well-favored by Tallbloke here, or here, in which Tallbloke says:
    "Thanks Nasif. I tried to get an invite for you but apparently, because some very high profile people such as the Pielke’s are attending, some of the warmers have decided not to attend and effectively ceded the field. The organisers are trying to find more people from ‘the consensus of 98% of all climate scientists’ but it’s proving to be difficult. Maybe they’re not so confident about defending their science on neutral ground as we are."

    So a question for Carrick: please study Nasif's website (or Rapp) and say if you think their comments should carry the same weight (1 vote each), as say, Robert Socolow or Burt Richter?

    ReplyDelete
  47. #27

    That's pretty much my preferred taxonomy for what it's worth. But it's become more trouble than it's worth to use the term "denier" as Nick says.

    I would also say that attribution is connected to climate sensitivity. To me the IPCC AR4 positions on recent warming attribution and climate sensitivity are pretty well inseparable. I don't see how you can have low anthro attribution for recent warming, and yet consensus CS, or vice versa. And a lot of folks don't really declare themselves on CS, but do on attribution (e.g. Curry).

    So it comes down to "reasonable" and "unreasonable" critics of the consensus, I suppose. And there may be more of a continuum int the crucial lukewarmer range.

    Still it should be relatively easy to place scientists on that continuum with Curry and von Storch towards the consensus side of lukewarmer and Lindzen and Spencer closer to the denier end. It's more difficult to classify the non-scientists such as McIntyre and McKitrick.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I haven't used the d* word for the same reason as Nick and also Greg Craven: "And notice I’m referring to you as skeptics, not denialists. In a debate, it’s just way more productive for each side to refer to the other as that side prefers. If you’d like to return the favor of civility, you can refrain from calling me an alarmist"
    (http://www.manpollo.org/education/videos/get_what_you_want/get_what_you_want.html )

    I've mostly used "skeptic", but have noticed at WUWT recently that "they" also strongly dislike the "scare quotes". Reminds me of the Dutch saying: When you give them your hand, they take your whole arm.

    I think contrarian is a good one, or dismissive (as in the 6 America's study: Climate dismissives and climate concerned)

    I find it actually more difficult to figure out a good name for the mainstream view: Climate concerned is too long; I can only find descriptions, but not one word that encapsulates the right meaning.

    Btw, DeepClimate: Jeroen vs Sluijs referred to the extremes in the debate; I didn't interpret his comment that he referred to mainstream scientists as "alarmists". But that's alos just my interpretation. I don't know how he meant it.

    Bart

    ReplyDelete
  49. John Mashey gets very testy, launches off with the word of the week ("misleading"): a) Carrick understands how science societies (including APS) do position statements, in which case his comments are simply misleading

    I'm wondering if John thinks that "misleading" is a synonym for "inconvenient fact". Either way, that word does not mean what he thinks it means.

    Reality check time: Societies don't only adopt position papers written by unelected committees, they can indeed "vote" for them as a society or via their elected representatives to the society. Adoption of the APS policy statement on climate change followed neither of these. See for example the AGU rules on adopting position papers. Rules vary by society, and there have questions raised as to whether the APS leadership followed its own guidelines in the way this "consensus statement" was adopted. In two minutes of searching I even found an example of a society which voted as a whole on a position statement on climate change.

    That said, there's nothing misleading about suggesting that a clearly politically driven position statement was politically driven, when indeed it is an example of the mixing of politics and science.

    While we're still in the lecture session on "how science is done", science doesn't get done run by self-appointed committee with an eye on the political consequences of their consensus statements nor by societal vote (of course I never suggested that either).

    If you're going to launch off into the orthogonal direction of STSD (how that even got in here I don't know, a cat must have drug it in) or Rapp's silliness, and their respective "weights", I would suggest Spencer Weart's treatment on the AIP website and his follow up book has a lot more weight that the APS position statement, regardless how well meaning it was.

    Really the APS policy statement authors owe the people who criticized the policy statement big time, because without their unintentional publication of the statement, probably nobody ever would have noticed or read it.

    ReplyDelete
  50. My previous reply to Mashey appears to have been eaten by the bit bucket. Here's a slightly modified (read less snarky) version of the same reply:

    John Masheya) Carrick understands how science societies (including APS) do position statements, in which case his comments are simply misleading

    Societies don't only adopt position papers written by unelected committees, they can indeed "vote" for them as a society or via their elected representatives to the society. Adoption of the APS policy statement on climate change followed neither of these. See for examplethe AGU rules on adopting position papers. Rules vary by society, and there have questions raised as to whether the APS leadership followed its own guidelines in the way this "consensus statement" was adopted. In two minutes of searching I even found an example of a society which voted as a whole on a position statement on climate change.

    Regarding "how science is done", science gets done neither by societal vote nor by self-appointed committee with an eye on the political consequences of their consensus statements (of course I never suggested that either).

    If you're going to launch off into the orthogonal direction of STSD (how that even got in here I don't know, a cat must have drug it in) or Rapp's silliness, and their respective "weights", I would suggest Spencer Weart's treatment on the AIP website and his follow up book has a lot more weight that the APS position statement, regardless how well meaning it was.

    Really the APS policy statement authors owe the people who criticized the policy statement big time, because without their unintentional publication of the statement, probably nobody ever would have noticed or read it.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Carrick,
    My apologies about the overactive spam filter there. I've been keeping an eye on it during waking hours, and will continue to. I didn't restore your previous comment, since you repeated, but I'm happy to if you'd like.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks, Nick. This is a better version, and says what should be said more clearly.

    ReplyDelete
  53. EliRabett,
    Perhaps you missed my question above. A simple yes or no will do.

    Thanks
    ...............................................
    EliRabet for clarification.

    You said, “ … a word is needed to describe the genus, which covers HIV, vaccinations, climate, evolution and all the other science denial types.”

    Do you believe that individuals who question the “consensus view” of the dangers of CO2 induced global warming are the same individuals who have some issue with “HIV, vaccinations … evolution … “?
    .............................................

    ReplyDelete
  54. Actually, typingtalker, I disagree. I don't think a simple yes or no will do anything other than confuse if your question is inherently confused.

    Just because "exceptional athlete" can describe Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and David Beckham doesn't mean they can play each others' sports. Similarly Chris Monckton, Jenny McCarthy and Kent Hovind are all in denial of science, but not necessarily the same field of science.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Happer&co were unable to enforce their minority viewpoint, generated all sorts of claims about APS leadership, which Carrick repeats, also not bothering to explain why views of Rapp or Nahle should carry the slightest weight. I'm quite familiar wit

    Happer certainly had every chance to lobby the 2010 APS President, since he was in the same department at Princeton. This was actually the first time APS put such a policy out for this kind of consultation, so they went further than required. Although I'm an APS member, I was rather more involved in this, but if Carrick wishes to follow Singer&Happer, he is welcome to them. killfile.

    ReplyDelete
  56. John,regarding this statement: John Mashey a) Carrick understands how science societies (including APS) do position statements, in which case his comments are simply misleading.

    This turns out to be mere prevarication on your part. It's obvious you can't argue honestly since you are now trying to ascribe things to me I never said.

    "killfile" indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  57. For the record, Lukewarmers fall into the lower half of the IPCC consensus range for sensitivity.

    Long ago I tracked down the thread where we initially defined it.. kinda picked up traction when Lucia did her first posts on the IPCC trends

    That's when we started to put harder numbers on it.

    There was an early attempt to categorize CA regulars in 2006

    In 2006, for example, Willis eschenbach put his estimate of the warming due to GHG at .3C

    ReplyDelete
  58. I use AGW convinced and unconvinced (where AGW means most, not some, warming is from the CO2)

    ReplyDelete