onsdag 20 mars 2013

The Alarmist-Skeptic-Denier Hierarchy

In the scientific discussion on global warming by a CO2 "greenhouse gas effect", we find the following main positions:
  • Alarmist: Doubled CO2 will cause warming of an alarming 3 C.
  • Skeptic: The effect of doubled CO2 is much smaller than 3 C, probably so small that it cannot be observed.
  • Denier: There is no real evidence indicating that doubled CO2 can caused any observable warming. 
The discussion is carried by strong feelings in a hierarchy with alarmists being so upset with skeptics that they refuse to discuss with skeptics, and skeptics being so upset with deniers that they refuse to speak with deniers, and deniers being upset because nobody at all is willing to listen to their message.

But the real dividing line is between alarmists and skeptics/deniers with the difference between skeptic and denier more semantic than real: 

In science, an effect which cannot be observed may be considered to be non-existing, that is the effect is denied existence until detection. It is also possible to argue that the effect in principle is there, but is too small to be detected by instruments available today, that is the effect is allowed existence before actual detection. The net result in both cases is an effect beyond present experimental detection, and it is a question of vocabulary whether or not such an effect can be attributed existence. 

Maybe this could help to make skeptics less upset with deniers and direct their frustration instead to alarmists.  

11 kommentarer:

  1. I've actually started to draw the main line between your skeptics-and-alarmists (whom I call theorists) and your deniers (whom I call empiricists).

  2. Deserves to be repeated!

    Today we have far too much computer modeling and far too little experimental physics, which is where this should be decided, not in the bit splicing of proxies a thousand years old that frankly seems, especially after reading the climategate II emails, much like the world of alchemists a thousand years ago, getting money from the King to research how to turn lead into gold, or in this case, how to influence the development of a global civilization.
    Climate science is far too important to our future to leave it in the hands of climate scientists, its time to bring in the adults, the experimental physicists who can give real answers.
    WUWT 2011-11-29 Dennis Ray Wingo

  3. If I wrote the above post, I would say there are 2 dividing lines: 1) The POLITICAL line, between the politically-promulgated consensus (alarmists) and its critics, and 2) The SCIENTIFIC line, between those who accept the basic consensus "science" of CO2 greenhouse effect (alarmists and lukewarmers/skeptics) and those who deny that science. I deny that consensus science utterly, based upon what I consider the definitive evidence of my Venus/Earth temperatures comparison.

  4. You have car insurance, even though the chances of crashing is less than one in several thousand, home insurance versus fire, water damages and more even though the risk is less than 1 in hundred.

    But for climate change, you insist to continue, business as usual even though 99% of scientists and 99.9% of recent years peer-reviewed papers all state the same - Climate Change is Real - and WE are doing it.

    Why is that? The odds make Russian roulette look safe...

  5. Harry: It is difficult to prove the non-existence of an effect too small to be detected, that is to deny existence. But that is not the question. The scientific question is to give positive evidence of the existence of the effect. If there is no evidence, then there is no reason to believe that the effect is real and speak about it as if it is à reality.
    Thomas: Your numbers are inflated. But that is irrelevant because real science is not decided by consensus, only by argument. Politics is different.

  6. Claes: I deny its existence, you say there is no reason to believe it is real. Then, of course, we must fight to the death over our "diametrically opposed" positions...(insert horse laugh here). I invite everyone to think about what that says about the intellectual climate in the world today (and take your time--you have one hour, and 97% of your grade in this life depends upon your answer).

  7. It is difficult to perform big scale experiments that simulates the nature, so we have to wait some years to see what the nature tells irself. In perhaps 10 years we know more.
    Here are two links with some interesting diagrams. (Harry: I think your discoveries are worth more attention)



  8. I agree with you in the sense what has no scientific evidence can be denied existence. I just seek to find a way to avoid non-constructive arguments about the Pope's beard.

  9. Lasse H, I do not know why you would read the unskeptical and misnamed "skepticalscience" blog. The person who runs it John Cook has no technical qualifications and when he calls people who disagree with his views "deniers" he does not demonstrate ethical principles. Some people say John Cook, who is a psychologist, has psychological problems.

  10. Lasse H, see this Lewandowsky and Cook in spectacular carcrash at http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/3/21/lewandowsky-and-cook-in-spectacular-carcrash.html
    Updated on Mar 21, 2013 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

    There has been great hilarity overnight, with Stefan Lewandowsky and Skeptical Science's John Cook making complete fools of themselves again.

    It started when Barry Woods was examining the supplementary data to Lewandowsky's latest paper, the one that analysed sceptic reactions to his previous carcrash paper on various blogs and tried to present these as evidence of "conspiracy ideation".

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