“Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?

I wonder if many politicians, or in this case ex-politicians, are capable of seeing the irony and contradictions in their public statements. Or perhaps porkies are just the stock in trade of politicians so irony doesn’t even come into it.

But hows this for irony – Rodney Hide is lecturing scientists about the nature of scientific knowledge (see Faith, not facts, drives global warming). Here’s what he says about claims by climate scientists that greenhouse gases like CO2 can lead to global warming.

That’s religious zealotry in action. Science is never that certain. The best-ever scientific knowledge was Newtonian mechanics. And Einstein blew it to bits. That’s the nature of science. It gets nearer the truth but can never declare the truth.

Only religious fundamentalists have certitude. Their knowledge is a belief system that’s immune to real world experience and facts.

I guess Rodney sees himself as more a religious fundamentalist than a scientifically literate person because he then goes on to declare – with the ultimate amount of “certitude:”

“The world stopped getting warmer 17 years ago. That’s incontrovertible.”

“Incontrovertible” is it Rodney? That sounds like a statement of faith.

Let’s look at some data

Firstly global temperatures: Here’s the data for the last 17 years:

17-years

Global temperature anomalies for 1996-2012 (Average annual temperature data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Sciences),

Yeah – I know. There’s a lot of noise so all we can say from that data is the warming rate is in the range of  -0.02 and 0.17 °C/decade (95% confidence level). That’s the problem with such short time periods. Perhaps we should put that data in the context of the long-term trends:

Line plot of global mean land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present, with the base period 1951-1980. The dotted black line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. [This is an update of Fig. 1A in Hansen et al. (2006).]

Still believe that “The world stopped getting warmer 17 years ago. That’s incontrovertible,” Rodney? Willing to put money on it? More important – would you as a politician be willing to commit the fate of your grandchildren on such an extreme claim?

Well, if you still think your claim is “incontrovertible” have a look at some more data. Here’s data for the change in the total earth’s heat content – storage in the ocean as well as atmosphere, land and ice.

Total_Heat_Content_2011_med

And some more detailed data for the melting of ice – globally, Antarctic and Arctic (Click on the image if the animated gif is not changing):

GlobalSeaIce

(The last two figures are from Skeptical Science: A Big Picture Look at Global Warming)

Rodney assures us that “Anyone can do science. And scientists can often fall short.” Sure – but we surely expect more than this from scientists – professional or not. Rodney has simply taken a bit of non-representative data, extracted it from context, ignored everything else and declared his firmly held belief (one could even say “religiously” held belief) as “incontrovertible!”

Worse, while he is telling such porkies he is dishonestly demanding something from scientists which is extremely silly. That they just shut up with their ideas and conclusions until their data is completely “incontrovertible.” Until it can be presented with absolute “certitude.” They should STFU till they have the absolute truth – after he has already acknowledged that science “gets nearer the truth but can never declare the truth.”

He would love that, wouldn’t he? It would give him and his ultra-conservative political mates a completely clear field.

But wouldn’t it be irresponsible to gag scientists like that? Surely we want governments to use the country’s scientist to get the best current data and conclusions – even as we acknowledge that it is never the final story.


Footnote:

Perhaps this is what is leading Rodney Hide astray. In a comment at the climate pseudosceptic/denier/contrarian blog Climate Conversation Group Rodney acknowledged he is using that blog as a resource (a fabulous resource and mine of information“) Bloody hell, no wonder he has it so wrong. He really has to widen his reading.

Mind you, one of the resources he may have used is Richard Cummings who claims in comments on that blog he has shown that our scientific understanding of the fundamental properties of greenhouse gas molecule is all wrong! I suggested that he should present his findings at this year’s New Zealand Climate Change Conference. And this crowd could also present their analysis of New Zealand’s temperature record which they produced as an alternative to that of NIWA. However, they seemed to consider these suggestions offensive and banned my comment!

Incontrovertible my arse.

See also: Dear Rodney Hide

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22 responses to ““Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?

  1. In a comment at the climate pseudosceptic/denier/contrarian blog Climate Conversation Group Rodney acknowledged he is using that blog as a resource.

    How precious. He uses a fucking blog to figure out that the world isn’t warming. It’s not possible to make that sound even more stupid. That’s weapon’s grade dumb right there. How does this man tie his own shoes?

    Meanwhile, the rest of us have NASA and every single scientific community on the planet.

    NASA: Climate Change; A Warming World (HD)

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  2. Cherry-picking statistics to try and prove your point does not change the truth of climate change. Morons like you are an insult to science.

    Like

  3. Charming, Eric!

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  4. I can find any number of blogs that tell me space aliens regularly visit earth, or that Elvis never died, so basing an opinion on any blog (including this one) is plain dumb. Personally I prefer to base my opinions on what I read in peer reviewed papers in academic journals,in articles published in prestigious and credible magazines like Scientific American and National Geographic and the websites of organisations like NASA and even The World Bank than blogs. But then I’m more interested in the truth than in conspiracy theories.

    I have just had a look at the Climate Conservation Group blog – hilarious stuff!

    Like

  5. I agree, David, the people at that blog are a funny lot.

    I am not allowed to comment there any more – no great loss as it’s a pretty poisonous atmosphere. However, I do find it psychologically interesting as they illustrate very well how humans do tend to be selective regarding information to fit existing bias. They are an extreme example, but nevertheless a good illustration. With the added benefit of illustrating the bullying techniques that ideological groups use to impose their strict conformity, and the vindictive hostility towards “intruders.”

    Like

  6. Speaking of cherry-picking…

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – How to Pick a Cherry

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  7. Mad Monckton is another pseudosceptic who has cherry picked two points in the curve to illustrate his claim that Arctic ice has not declined. You have to be pretty dishonest to do that.

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  8. Stuart Mathieson

    Rodney should put his money where his mouth is (like Shell, Gen Electric and many nation states including China) rather than putting his mouth where the money is (Exxon, Koch bros. etc).

    Like

  9. I replied to Hide on the NBR website above.
    Hide countered with a disingenuous appeal to balance and to reading sources so as to making one’s own mind up.

    What is interesting is that NBR then blocked any further response from me.

    I copy here what they refuse to post. (Acknowledgment to Cedric for the arguments used).

    Those with any sense will go to the original sources or to their representatives. The very people who do the actual work and have the relevant expertise. NASA for example – or the list of august institutions cited on NASA’s website: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus . NASA have even been considerate enough to lay it all out in plain English for all to read.

    What they ought not to do is rely on flat-earth style science-denial internet blogs for their scientific information as a certain Mr Rodney Hide does. Mr Hide even endorsing information found in sites such as local Climate Conversation group. I supplied a link to this endorsement in an earlier reply but NBR appear unwilling to allow posting of that reply.

    Internet blogs, Fox News and tabloid newspapers simply do not cut it.

    If you are confused on climate go to the original scientific sources.

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  10. I’m not so sure, Rodney Hide was in dancing with stars – was Jim Salinger? And Sarah Palin also doesn’t believe in climate change and she can see Russia from Alaska – name ONE climate scientist that can do that? Nope, climate change is a scam invented by Al Gore in cahoots with Nandor Tancos and the greenies to crush the delicate flower of western capitalism. If you guys don’t stop this alarmist nonsense Gina Reinhardt will face a cold and bleak winter.

    Muppets, too funny!

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  11. Well, David, you are a Ning Nong (sic) and it didn’t take long for you to be threatened with banning or snipping!

    And they pretend not to understand my point about bullying. Being so bloody childish they ask me for evidence when they know I can’t comment there!

    That’s the ultimate in silo behaviour.

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  12. Yeah, I’m quite proud of that. The thing is, when you look at their position objectively, it’s nothing short of idiotic and of course they’re going to ban or snip anyone who dares to suggest that the emperor has no clothes. They have to engage in silo behaviour because their arguments have been countered so many thousands of times and all they have to back them are a handful of blogs and a smattering of PhDs. They remind me of Comical Ali declaring that the Americans were being driven out of Iraq by Saddam’s armies.

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  13. Climate conversation blog or Hy Brazil?

    Treadgold is second from the left, Richard Cumming the choir master:

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  14. (Acknowledgment to Cedric for the arguments used).

    You are too kind. I’m just passing them along from the old Intelligent Design broo-ha-ha from a few years back. Glad they came in handy.

    Hide countered with a disingenuous appeal to balance and to reading sources so as to making one’s own mind up.

    I’m surprised he didn’t say something like “Teach the controversy”.
    Science denialism: only the labels change.

    Should We Teach the Controversy? HD version

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  15. Pingback: Confusion and distortion – has global warming stopped? | Open Parachute

  16. For the record here is more of Hide’s unmitigated nonsense, in this case from the House of Representatives.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1002/S00101.htm

    “…..Climate-gate is now the greatest scandal in the history of science.

    It turns out that the prestigious agencies involved in leading climate change science were breaking official information laws, arbitrarily adjusting raw data, hiding the reasons for those adjustments, then somehow contriving to lose the original unadjusted data so that it could not be independently checked, thereby making claims that were not remotely justified by the state of the science, and in some cases simply making it up.

    The so-called scientific agencies responsible for the climate-scare have ruthlessly suppressed competing theories and contrary data controlling and manipulating the peer review process.

    Government sponsored climate science has proved to have more in common with the Spanish inquisition than Popperian science.

    Climate-gate, Glacier-gate, Africa-gate has left the once vaunted IPCC totally discredited.

    I have always been a skeptic.

    When I started studying environmental science in 1975 many of the same so-called scientists were trying to scare the pants off us all with the coming of a new ice age. That’s because the world had been cooling for thirty years. It then warmed apparently for twenty-three years. So the same scientists turned global cooling into global warming. When the warming stopped in 1998, and the earth started to cool, the scare switched to climate change. That way the alarmists couldn’t be wrong.

    They were right whatever the temperature.

    Our own NIWA is caught up in the scandal and its scientific credibility shredded.

    NIWA’s raw data for their official temperature graph shows no warming. But NIWA shifted the bulk of the temperature record pre-1950 downwards and the bulk of the data post-1950 upwards to produce a sharply rising trend. Their warming trend is not a consequence of measurement but of manufactured adjustment.

    Well, there may be good reason for the adjustment.

    So, before Christmas, I asked NIWA to disclose the adjustments and their reasons. They said they would.

    But they have just told the Climate Science Coalition they don’t have the record of the adjustments.

    NIWA’s entire argument for warming was a result of adjustments to data which can’t be justified or checked.

    It’s shonky. The entire thing is. But on the basis of shonky science, our government is whacking Fonterra with a $100 million-a-year bill, taxing the average dairy farm $10,000 extra and hiking fuel and power costs to every business and householder in the country.

    Even if the science was perfect you wouldn’t have an ETS. But the science is not just settled. It’s descended into a farce.

    The total cost is over a billion dollars a year. A billion we don’t have. A billion we can’t afford. A billion for nothing.

    It’s madness……”

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  17. It turns out that the prestigious agencies involved in leading climate change science…

    Do these prestigious agencies have names or do you want us to guess?
    Ok.
    I’m going to guess…um….NASA and every single scientific community on the planet?

    …were breaking official information laws, arbitrarily adjusting…

    Woah, slow down there Tex.
    So, you’re claiming that NASA and every single scientific community broke the law. What? All of them? At the same time?

    (…awkward silence…)

    ..breaking official information laws, arbitrarily adjusting raw data, hiding the reasons for those adjustments…

    All of them? Really?? And nobody noticed and successfully brought criminal charges? How very odd. Do go on…

    then somehow contriving to lose the original unadjusted data…

    Sorry. “Somehow”? What do you mean “somehow”? What specifically are you claiming?

    .. so that it could not be independently checked, thereby making claims that were not remotely justified by the state of the science, and in some cases simply making it up.

    Yeah but if we’re talking about NASA and every single scientific community on the planet then…um…well…it’s just a tad difficult to organise. What are the basic mechanics of the operation? Who’s paying for this? Who’s in charge? How are they keeping discipline in the ranks?
    Black helicopters? Kidnappings? Mind altering drugs?

    The so-called scientific agencies…

    So they still don’t have names yet? Ah, that’s a pity. Well let’s continue with NASA and every single scientific community on the planet.

    “….responsible for the climate-scare have ruthlessly suppressed competing theories…

    Ok. Um…how? Specifics? How does one “suppress” a competing theory?
    What theories are suppressed? ‘Cause I can google “competing theories” rather easily. It’s just that they are unsuccessful. They were published, looked in detail and and then the scientific community moved on to bigger and better things. That’s what happens in science. Theories don’t get enshrined. If they can’t compete then…(shrug)…hard cheese.

    …and contrary data controlling and manipulating the peer review process.

    Ok. But again….how? What are the nuts and bolts of the operation? Let’s start with the science journal Nature and all the peer reviewed climate change articles they have published in the last thirty years. Then we can move on to all the other journals.

    (…crickets chirping…)

    Government sponsored climate science has proved to have more in common with the Spanish inquisition than Popperian science.

    Well, it was either going to be the “Spanish Inquisition” meme or the “Galileo” one. It’s routine schtick. Obligatory really. A couple of “Al Gores” are all that’s needed to round it off.
    Konspiracy theories ur dummm, Rodney. Dummm!

    Monty Python – Spanish Inquisition Torture Scene

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