A Brief Reminder that Models Aren't Always Right

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storm clouds

Physicist and occasional Reason contributor Russell Seitz has an interesting letter to the editor on climate models in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. Seitz' letter reminds Foreign Affairs readers and editors that in recent decades they…

…have seen the nuclear winter melt down, the energy crisis metastasize into an oil glut, and the population bomb implode. This breathtaking string of global systems modeling fiascos leaves some analysts asking why climate models are deemed sacrosanct when variables as critical as the sensitivity of the climate to the doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have failed to converge on uncontroversial values.

Climate sensitivity refers to the equilibrium temperature increase expected to result from doubling the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fourth assessment report (4AR) finds that climate sensitivity is "likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius with a best estimate of 3 degrees, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5 degrees. Values substantially higher than 4.5 degrees Celsius cannot be excluded."

What does Seitz mean by "fail to converage on uncontroversial values"? One example might be a recent talk in Washington, DC. by Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen who argued that new data suggests that climate sensitivity is around 0.5 degrees centigrade (see slides 18 through 22) which is far below the IPCC figures. 

See Seitz' Foreign Affairs letter here. In addition, you might want to take a look at Seitz' Reason article on the implications of carbon prohibition

NEXT: An Ounce of Government Funded Prevention May Not Be Worth the Cost

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  1. This breathtaking string of global systems modeling fiascos leaves some analysts asking why climate models are deemed sacrosanct

    Gosh.

    I’m sure there’s a good reason; maybe our pet climatologist, Chad, will explain it to us.

  2. converage= an average that doesn’t come up with the number you wanted 🙂

  3. Ron, what do you believe now? The majority of the warming has come from Co2 or alternately, the increase in solar output from the 1920s to 1980s.

  4. An important thing to remember about theoretical models: they’re always wrong. They’re either out-and-out incorrect, or they’re incomplete.

  5. Warty — we just need more datapoints!!!!! There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE MODEL!

  6. My model is perfect, but your bad data is fucking it up!

  7. hammeredHead: I am trying to avoid confirmation bias as best I can. Most peer-reviewed work points to man-made warming, but could the researchers be suffering from their own confirmation bias?

  8. …leaves some analysts asking why climate models are deemed sacrosanct…

    A: Groupthink

  9. carbon prohibition = telling Al Gore to shut up.

  10. Not sure where Seitz got his information on nuclear winter — there was an article in Physics Today just last year claiming that, if anything, nuclear winter would be WORSE than predicted back in the 80s. Even their models of a “small” regional nuclear war between Pakistan and India, using ~100 fission devices, would throw enough dust into the atmosphere to disrupt global agriculture for a decade.

  11. P Brooks-

    Chad is one thing; MNG, however, might now be finally warming to the bitter cold reality that “the consensus of scientists” is cool to AGW.

  12. Seitz is the progenitor of the information, AstroPaul. He got that from Freeman Dyson.

  13. Thanks Ron.

    I personally blame funding bias and how it effects the creation of the models, the analysis of the results, and even the adjustments to the raw data. There has always been more effort devoted to proving rather than disproving AGW. This is can be disastrous in scientific fields still in their infancy.

  14. AstroPaul

    Those results seem unlikely as nearly 1000 atmospheric tests were conducted between 1945 and 1963. Nothing happened to the weather.

  15. If AGW proponents are so sure of their results, why do they feel the need to lie about their results (see the now infamous hockey stick and the claim that so many of the wamest years of the last century occured in the late 90s), and why do they try so hard to make sure that doubters are not allowed to speak?

  16. AstroPaul: I don’t know about the research you’re referencing, but Seitz published extensively on nuclear winter when it was a “hot” topic in the 1980s. See his article “The Melting of Nuclear Winter” from Foreign Affairs in 1983-1984.

    Recall that nuke winter proponent Carl Sagan predicted that the smoke from the Kuwaiti oil well fires in 1991 “might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia….” Didn’t happen.

  17. Recall that nuke winter proponent Carl Sagan predicted that the smoke from the Kuwaiti oil well fires in 1991 “might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia….” Didn’t happen.

    Thus, all scientists everywhere are wrong about everything.

  18. Those results seem unlikely as nearly 1000 atmospheric tests were conducted between 1945 and 1963. Nothing happened to the weather.

    Of course nothing happened, since the theoretical cause of nuclear winter is large amounts of dust being lifted into the stratosphere.

    Thus, all scientists everywhere are wrong about everything.

    You get a lot of that on a creationism thread. Shudder.

  19. Tony: Nope.

  20. Once again, we learn that men of science, and those that worship them, you know, the types that are big bang zealots, have as many bats in their belfries as Jehovah”s Witnesses or Scientologists or Patriots’ fans who claim that Peyton Manning sucks.

  21. Warty-

    Science is full of loonies, too. In fact, a failure to acknowledge such is indicative of disorder.

  22. Note, I did not state that “ALL” scientists are crackpots.

  23. Thus, all scientists everywhere are wrong about everything.

    No Tony, not even you are wrong about everything, as hard as that might be for the rest of us to believe. But if that’s what you got from it, then you’re even dumber than I gave you credit for. At least we can now all see your reading skills and ability to draw inferences (or lack thereof) on full display which ought to help in properly assessing the rest of your comments.

  24. libertymike,

    You’d have to claim that most climate scientists are crackpots to believe as you do. Not only that, but they’re part of a massive global conspiracy involving all major scientific organizations and the industrialized countries they inhabit to deceive us all. Who’s the crackpot here?

    Oh why can’t scientists be more like libertarians, who aren’t cult-like at all!

  25. Justin Case,

    Ron cited one instance in which Carl Sagan (not a climate scientist) was wrong about something. Now there can be no added value to this factoid in this discussion. Who cares whether Carl Sagan was wrong once about something he wasn’t an expert about? What does it have to do with anything? The only reason he cited it was to cast doubt on what scientists say in general about the subject, which is fallacious.

  26. Tony
    I thought the letter at the heart of this was almost laughable: “scientists have been wrong about stuff, ergo they are wrong about this.” Jesus!

  27. Hey, not just scientists, but BEN FRANKLIN!

    So THERE! Debate OVER!

  28. “Not only that, but they’re part of a massive global conspiracy involving all major scientific organizations and the industrialized countries they inhabit to deceive us all.”

    But Tony, climatology is an immature and inexact science, unlike the science of economics* that libertarians base most of their ideology on!

    *well, actually a couple of schools of economics, some, like the Austrian models, that aren’t really science, or something like that

  29. I am so confused. I think I need to check my privileges at the door and think about polar bears and the poor people on Tuvalu in order to come up with an appropriately correct opinion.

  30. Tony, you read the threads here. Do you think that there is some kind of monolithic liberatrian consensus-on anything? Look, you can see that we also suffer from an acute strain of “the narcissim of minor differences.” I don’t like it, but, I admit that I have it too. The point is that your cult commnet is off base.


  31. Ron cited one instance in which Carl Sagan (not a climate scientist) was wrong about something. Now there can be no added value to this factoid in this discussion. Who cares whether Carl Sagan was wrong once about something he wasn’t an expert about? What does it have to do with anything? The only reason he cited it was to cast doubt on what scientists say in general about the subject, which is fallacious.

    Far be it for me to answer for Ron, but that is not what the comment was for, and your taking it that way furthers my conclusions above. The comment was in answer to questions about the nuclear winter hypothesis and its credibility of which Carl Sagan was a leading (perhaps THE leading) proponent. His mistake about the similar mechanisms he anticipated following the Iraqi oil fires is clearly relevant to his credibility in the nuclear winter debate. The comment was hardly “casting doubt on what scientists say in general” as you somehow managed to misread.

  32. But Tony, climatology is an immature and inexact science, unlike the science of economics* that libertarians base most of their ideology on!

    Yeah, supply and demand…so outdated. what a stunning tu quoque, MNG!

  33. and for all you retards who think that Ron Bailey is somehow saying that all science is wrong, well, fucking learn to read. The title of the post is “A brief reminder that models aren’t always right”. And then he lays out some examples of “consensus” models that have been subsequently found to be bunk (i.e. the population bomb).

    If you can’t hack that, go back to the fourth grade.

  34. But Tony, climatology is an immature and inexact science, unlike the science of economics* that libertarians base most of their ideology on!

    No. Libertarianism is first a moral philosophy which places paramount importance on the integrity of the individual human. Economics by itself is normative, not positive, so without an accompanying moral philosophy it can’t make any value judgments. The philosophy is therefore not based on economics, but rather economics informs the choices faced. Without the philosophy what economics says about one particular choice or another is neither good or bad.

  35. Warty — we just need more different datapoints!!!!! There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE MODEL!

    Get with the program, guys. If the climate hasn’t gotten hotter in the last ten years as predicted by the models, obviously something is wrong with the climate (and not in the good OMG we’re all going to die if we don’t start driving Priuses way, either.)

  36. Justin – good post, but I think you meant “positive, not normative”.

  37. “Economics by itself is normative, not positive, so without an accompanying moral philosophy it can’t make any value judgments.”

    Economics is by itself normative? Huh?

    “Yeah, supply and demand…so outdated.”

    And, actual economists working with data tend to find, so much more complicated and nuanced than classical economics ever thought…

  38. Justin
    Libertarian arguments tend to come in two flavors:

    1. It’s my right blah blah blah
    2. This will never work because blah blah blah economics

    Since one man’s “right” is another man’s bullshit the more “cosmopolitan” libertarians tend to push the latter.

  39. MNG, one does not need to know his Mises from his measles in order to understand that he’s better off keeping more of his paycheck and that climatology is schmimatology.

  40. oh good, then your right not to be killed is just “bullshit”, right?

    dude, that’s fuckin’ weak and you know it.

  41. TAO,

    Of course I wouldn’t accuse Ron of thinking or arguing that all scientists are wrong. But that doesn’t make this post any less fallacious. “Some models have been wrong, therefore these models are wrong.” At best he’s saying they could be wrong. But it’s hard to give Ron the benefit of the doubt on this subject. The selection bias of Reason on the subject of global warming is outrageous.

  42. so, Tony, in the interest of your own confirmation bias, you’ll just accuse others of the same thing? you do realize that Ron “came around” and believes AGW is occurring, right? He said it upthread.

    your lack of reading ability is getting embarrassing.

  43. Tony
    I thought the letter at the heart of this was almost laughable: “scientists have been wrong about stuff, ergo they are wrong about this.” Jesus!

    Apparently your reading and inference skills are right up there with Tony’s.

    Please cite how the letter concludes that they are “wrong about this”? Here is the key phrase for your assistance:

    [The previous mistakes] “leaves some analysts asking why climate models are deemed sacrosanct[.]”

    In other words, why must we accept this conclusion as unequivocally true this time, when we know mistakes have been made in the past? It does not say or imply that the conclusion is unequivocally wrong as your comment suggests.

    There is a rather significant difference between saying “previous errors leave me hesitant to accept current predictions as true” and “previous mistakes mean current predictions are wrong.” But that should be obvious from reading the letter.

  44. I don’t know what this “right” means. It means many things to many people, and a lot of it is nonsense and bullshit.

    If you mean that killing me for no good reason is “wrong” and therefore I have a “right” to life, I guess I see what you mean. But why conjure up this abracadabra nonsense, why not say it is wrong to kill people?

    When most people talk about rights they are talking deontology, which is what is pretty weak.

    And lets not get into where these “rights” “come from” because the answers one usually gets about that are pretty fucking strange indeed…

  45. Justin
    That’s a terrible case of nitpicking. Does it help you if I say “scientists have been wrong in the past, therefore we should not treat scientists holdings as sacrosanct?” Don’t be coy, we all know what he’s getting at: the scientists (even Ben Franklin for God’s sake!) have been wrong when modeling in the past, so why think they are correct on this?

  46. Economics is by itself normative? Huh?

    Sorry, slip of the fingers… I reversed the terms. I meant it is merely positive, not normative by itself and is not a “basis” for libertarianism.

  47. Christ, whatever, dude. I’m not in the mood for your nonsense.

  48. Noone’s suggesting we make it “sacrosanct”, they find it quite more likely than not to be true. He uses the loaded term “sacrosanct” because he is trying to conjure up his opponents as improperly skeptical and too religiously credulous.

  49. That’s a terrible case of nitpicking.

    It’s hardly nitpicking! It’s a fundamental difference that you completely misstated. Previous errors are a legitimate reason for skepticism which the author is expressing.

  50. The problem with the climate is that it’s so damned hard to experiment. You don’t have a control, you can’t isolate variables, etc. So you have to resort to a model. The problem with models, though, is people start mistaking the model for the evidence. You throw some numbers in the Cray X1 and get some numbers out and you start pretend that’s evidence.

  51. He uses the loaded term “sacrosanct” because he is trying to conjure up his opponents as improperly skeptical and too religiously credulous.

    I would say a good deal of environmentalists are exactly that.

  52. Wheee, look at me, I have “rights!”

    Seriously TAO, whether the concept rights has any use or sense to it is a pretty live concept in philosophy, both now and historically…

    If a “right” just indicates, like a pointer, a correct moral position I just don’t see what it’s use is. Usually people use this term to denote a deontological stance; that even if welfare seems to call for the “right” to be violated it can’t be done because it’s a “right” and therefore magic or something. It’s at best a superflous concept and at worst a very pernicious one.

    This is why Bentham said “natural law is nonsense, and natural rights nonsense on stilts.”

    Now I believe in “positive” rights. A legally actionable claim, something like that. But that stuff is all just a form of rule utilitarianism (it would be best generally to give people this legally actionable claim in all like cases…)

  53. “I would say a good deal of environmentalists are exactly that.”

    And libertarians are relentlessly demanding and exacting of theories and evidence that would lead to calls for less government intervention.

    OK, yeah.

    “The problem with the climate is that it’s so damned hard to experiment. You don’t have a control, you can’t isolate variables, etc. So you have to resort to a model. The problem with models, though, is people start mistaking the model for the evidence.”

    Yeah Brandy I agree economics is like that…Oh wait, I bet you mean…

  54. hm, funny how MNG criticizes us for supposedly, allegedly picking and choosing convenient models, and then does so himself.

  55. Uh, MNG did you just respond to a tu quoque by actually saying “you too?” Now that is stunning…

  56. it cuts both ways, dude. you’re criticizing us for allegedly having faith in economic models…in some kind of attempt to show us that being we should accept the AGW model?

    Um, OK. Good work.

  57. And to follow this out: if libertarians build their house on the foundation of a school of experts within the modeling science of economics and environmentalists build their house on a school of experts within the modeling science of climatology, then I’m pretty confident as to which is being more rational.

    That every major professional scientist’s organization from fields OTHER than climatology have supported the climatolgists findings, my conclusion is even stronger (you won’t find political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, etc., supporting the libertarian-leaning findings of economists)

  58. oh, I see, it’s different when you do it.

    you’re hopeless.

  59. Hell, I’ve long said most academic economists themselves would reject the libertarian version of their field…At least I find myself in agreement with the field I’m granting sacrosanctity too!

  60. My memory goes back only six years. “Population Bomb”? “Acid Rain”? “Energy Crisis”? I have no idea what you mean. But the politicians and journalists are way smarter than you and I.
    We must trust them.

  61. @ hammeredHead: It seems that the difference is mostly soot, which I think is what Warty was referring to. Test blasts generally don’t cause the kind of soot lofting or firestorms that would be expected in the event of an actual war.

    There’s a policy analysis 2-page version of the Physics Today article at http://www.envsci.rutgers.edu/~gera/nwinter/SciencePolicyForumNW.pdf, or the original article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3047679.

    Reading over Seitz’s 1984 article, it seems that his main objections have been entirely answered in the intervening 25 years: the new models include continents, wind patterns, and aerosol modeling. His citations from the original TTAPS nuclear winter Science article are laughably overblown, I agree — but I would also have to disagree with his characterization of Science as the magazine for reasonable survey articles, as it seems to contain mostly oversold cutting-edge results in shallow letter-length papers, in my experience.

    So I’m not sure why he expected better in the case of nuclear winter. And I’m certainly not sure he comes to the issue with an open mind, at this point in time.

    (To be fair, some of the original nuclear winter authors are also on the Physics Today paper, so this is fairly considered as a continuation of that earlier work.)

  62. Uh, yeah, if I accuse you of relying on experts in area one while disparaging others for relying on experts in area two, it’s kind of relevant to compare the standing of the two sets of experts in deciding if its you or I being illogical

  63. Yeah Brandy I agree economics is like that…Oh wait, I bet you mean…

    You’re right, economics is exactly like that. 99% of macroeconomics is pure bullshit. Micro is a bit better because it’s only 60% bullshit.

    Both economics and climatology are great for explaining the past, but fall woefully short at predicting the future.

  64. the only way you’ve compared “standing” is by stating that standing relies on other fields’ acceptance of the conclusions. I didn’t realize that was what science was supposed to be: the political acquiescence from other branches of science.

  65. Come on guys, “supply and demand” are just FAR more complicated than you think!

  66. AstroPaul

    WWII caused an awful lot of soot to be released with the various fire storms in Europe and Japan. Also, most asmopheric testing was conducted at a level wher immense amounts of soil was released in to the atmosphere.

    I do think the nuclear winter theories are relevant to the climate change theories. They demonstrate the inability to predict how various factors will impact the system as a whole.

    In my opinion, the models are not at a point in their development where they should have any influence on public policy. Currntly we have just as much evidence of AGW as the ancient Egyptions did that the Pharaoh produced the annual flooding of the Nile.

  67. My hand is forced to comment (not like in Evil Dead II) regarding the discussion of “rights” that I have seen in this thread and several others. It seems to escape even some of the most eloquent of the commenter’s here (And I do mean that, as I have referenced comments from Epi, LMPNOP, Warty, Sugarfree, etc. in my personal discussion with others as they are often uniquely succinct and on point) that the issue of “rights” in the political/moral sense is an issue of the semantic definition. The most logical of which is: “A right is the ultimate personal authority to perform some act.” Note the key words “personal” and “authority” (you may insert “legitimate” if you feel the need to). The above definition is the philosophical basis for modern libertarianism (IMHO). That all being said, that definition clearly states that I do NOT have a “right” to kill, steal, pee on your lawn BUT I DO have a right to each lawfully acquired broccoli naked in my bathtub. I also have the right to fart on my sofa. I don’t mean to disparage other’s opinions of what a right is but quite simply the only logical answer to that question is the above definition. In this way no rights would EVER infringe upon another individual’s rights, groups cannot have rights as rights are solely individual in nature, and rights are not derived from society/paper/constitutions/my toilet paper roll. All individuals have the same rights but when someone lacks the responsibility (the whole other half of the rights coin) to exercise those rights then “society” steps in, and does so legitimately. If I kill people I forfeit the ability to be free in my society but I still maintain the right. Slaves had the right to be free. They were not able to exercise it due to oppression but they possessed the right none the less.
    ?
    Ok..
    Had to get that off my chest.
    Won’t happen again.
    Ohh and BTW, NO, I do not like Kant (more Lockian myself) but I thought the name was appropriate.

  68. Ron what I meant is reflected in the three dozen peer reviewed sensitivity estimates published over the last century , From 1896 to 1956, these ranged from less than one to more than nine degrees C. in the last half century, the range has rattled around between one and six, with, witsess Lndzen as the new outlier, no sign of settling down to a single value, as well behaved geophysical constants should, when systems are well understood.

    As to what I meant about polemic excess in the Climate Wars , I have already said it

    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/climate_of_here/

    As to nuclear winter melting down, despite attempts to revive it , by the original enthusiasts , the fact remains that the new models project only single digit cooling where the 1983 TTAPS study featured a death-dealing Big Chill with subzero temperatures and global darkness for 40 days and 40 nights- if going from tens of thousands of degree days to hundreds isn’t a meltdown, numbers have lost all meaning.

    See ‘Nuclear Winter Reappraised ‘ elsewhere in the Foreign Affairs website.

  69. Oh…. I do tire of MNG not understanding rational thought properly.

    “Positive” rights can’t exist without first infringing on “negative” rights… You can’t have the “right” to health care without first stripping individuals who are also doctors of their (actually legitimate) right to use their skills & time in a way that seems best to them.

    You’ll note that Thomas Jefferson held individual, natural rights to be “self-evident”. I’ve increasingly been finding idiots like MNG who don’t agree… Not sure what to do about that. For my part, I don’t know what MNG’s values or beliefs are, and thus wouldn’t impose my vision of what he should spend his time doing on him by force… that’s what the dictionary tends to call “Slavery”.

    I’m anti-slavery. MNG is pro-slavery. How odd…

    Further, macroeconomic models are just as much bullshit as climatology models. This is why I don’t put any stock in them… Thus I openly favor the Austrian position – which is absolutely *scientific*, it’s just not positivist… Learn the difference, MNG. The Austrian school, imo, is vastly more scientific than the neoclassical macroeconomic nonsense because it uses *real* data in the form of observations, rather than modeling, and forms conclusions based on deduction… They are rewarded for that view by successfully understanding and explaining cause & effect. Also, unlike the Keynesian douchebags who are on TV all the time, they recognize the limitations of their knowledge and predicting ability and don’t make such enormous asses of themselves.

    As far as libertarianism… It is primarily a moral philosophy, it’s just a lovely bonus that rational morality & rational economic thinking go hand in hand to produce good things.

  70. @hammeredHead: Atmospheric nuclear tests did create plumes of soil and debris, but soil particles tend to be larger in size, which gives them less surface area for their mass — so the wind can’t keep them aloft as long as it can with smaller particles, and the soil would rain out of the atmosphere shortly after the blast (as “fallout”). The sub-micron soot particles can stay up in the stratosphere for years, held up by continuous wind patterns. And although WWII certainly produced huge quantities of soot, very little of it reached the stratosphere — soot in the troposphere can be removed by clouds and rainfall, or settle out in still air (processes Russell Seitz pointed out in his earlier articles.)

    @Russell Seitz: While I agree that the original Nuclear Winter claims and publicity were an embarrassment for physics in general, transparently political and intemperate — both you and other authors had brought the concern down to a more reasonable level within just a few years after the original publication. The new estimates by the nuclear winter authors are no longer claiming huge temperature swings, but have detailed models which point to a disruption of agriculture, with amplified effects on global well-being.

    I’m not sure how relevant this criticism is to the AGW models — if we were basing the global warming claims on Arrhenius’ single-parameter model, perhaps the situation would be more analogous; but we have thirty years of increasingly accurate models of an admittedly difficult system, all of which predict SOME sensitivity to carbon dioxide.

    While my POLITICAL reaction to this is to question the advisability of destroying modern civilization in order to save it; the SCIENTIFIC question of whether AGW is real has been settled to the satisfaction of most in the climate modeling community. There may be additional positive and negative feedback mechanisms we haven’t considered, but on a planet which has been suffering periodic ice ages for hundreds of thousands of years, I wouldn’t expect those mechanisms to operate on human timescales.

  71. “thirty years of increasingly accurate models”

    Huh? So how many of those predicted the cooling of the past 10 years? 0.

    More like increasingly inaccurate models. If reality doesn’t match the model, guess what? The model is wrong.

  72. TAO
    You and I need a ride from to a party. I call a mutual friend and you call another mutual friend. I say “he says meet us one mile east” and you say “but the guy I called says meet him one mile west.” We argue. I argue we should walk east and you say “hey, that guy is unrealiable 25% of the time, we can’t count on him!” I reply “what? your guy is unreliable 45% of the time, you have room to talk!” Now, who’s being more rational? You can figure out this little parable I assume.

    “because it uses *real* data in the form of observations, rather than modeling, and forms conclusions based on deduction”

    You mean question begging and post hoc rationalizations, don’t you?

    “I’ve increasingly been finding idiots like MNG who don’t agree… Not sure what to do about that.”

    This is one reason to suspect these “rights”; their proponents so often say “hey, I can’t tell them what they are and how you get them, you either realize them or you don’t!” People talk a lot like that about things about which they don’t have any clear concept…

  73. when Economic models are wrong there tends to be shit loads of papers explaining why those modles are wrong and new or modified models are made

    When Climate models are wrong, and as of late have been terribly wrong, in predicting number and size of Hurricanes, Sea Ice extent and actual global temperatures they are not modified and those who try to modify them are labeled as deniers in the same fashion Holocaust deniers are labeled.

    There is no comparison between the methods of developing economic models and climate models.

  74. @JB: You might want to check out http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/ about the “decade of cooling”. Given the standard deviation in the model runs, a pause of 8 years between new “record-breaking” hot years is to be EXPECTED (on average), and 10 years is only slightly less likely — certainly not enough to rule out the models to 95% confidence (that would take an 18-year pause in warming.)

    So you might say that the boring old standard IPCC model successfully predicted a decade without a new record-breaking hot year. It just only predicted it 30% of the time.

    The question is a bit like asking what the odds of getting 10 “heads” in a row is, when flipping a coin. Given enough time, the probability approaches 1 to any precision you like.

  75. Bookmark this thread where MNG gets pernickety about ‘hocus pocus’ rights for the next time he gets in a righteous snit and imagines himself in the part of the gallant knight riding in on his high horse to defend the rights of women like some dweeb pining for the Loretta Swittish looking president of his college’s chapter of NOW while polishing her boots.

    But why conjure up this abracadabra nonsense, why not say it is wrong to kill people?

    When most people talk about rights they are talking deontology, which is what is pretty weak.

    An experiment: Try to define right and wrong without reference to trespass. As in trespass upon a person or property. Good luck with that.

  76. Natural rights is a fucking clear concept MNG.

    It’s not that hard. You don’t get to initiate force against another human being. This means, you don’t deprive that person of their lives, you don’t harm them, you don’t enslave them and you don’t steal their stuff.

    Our entire Constitution and Bill of Rights are based around the concept. It’s pretty easy if you’re not a high-functioning retard.

    Find me a legitimate post hoc fallacy in any of the works of Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, Rothbard… I love that you would prefer to listen to people who create models that consistently fail to describe anything approaching reality – people who, 2-3 years ago were making bold claims about the US economy being rock-solid and laughing at the Austrians – and ignore people with both the track record of success and the non-contradictory logic in their conception of how things work. It’s cool though, you will continue to be confused, and I will continue to profit from superior ideas.

  77. Sean-

    Now take what you have just said and apply the same to the military industrial/national security/ national surveillance/war on terror/war on drugs/prison building/prison administration/international meddling(you know that 750-1,000 military installations worldwide) facts on the ground.

    Result: Natural rights philosophy is incompatible with the warfare/welfare state including the imposition of an income tax to finance all of the above.


  78. An experiment: Try to define right and wrong without reference to trespass. As in trespass upon a person or property. Good luck with that.

    Oh, and do it without referring to hocus pocus like Rawls (with that dis-corporated social contract bullshit) or a burning bush. That is where it gets tough for non libertarians.

  79. J.E.H.-

    I like the bon vivant part best.

  80. Figure 1 of ” Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions ” by R. P. Turco, 0. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman. B. Pollack & Carl Sagan predicts that a 100 megaton attack on cities would result in temperatures falling temperatures would fall from +13 to -21 degrees C: to quote the authors :

    “Case 14 represents a 100-MT attack on … 100 major cities). The
    smoke emission is computed with fire parameters that differ from the baseline case. The average burden of combustible material in city centers is 20 g/cm2 (versus 10 g/cm2 in case 1) and the average smoke emission factor is 0.026 gram of smoke per gram of material burned (versus the conservative figure of 0.011 g/g adopted for central city fires in the baseline case).

    About 130 million tons of urban smoke is injected into the troposphere in each case (none reaches the stratosphere in case 14).”

    Sagan went even further in his Foreign Affairs presentation , asserting that “even a pure tactical war , in Europe, say ” would precipitate a global deep freeze. It is mildly scandalous that the Physics today article fails to reproduce the original results that gave rise to the expression “Nuclear Winter ‘, to let the reader judge whether Sagan’s neologism has stood the test of time.

    The TTAPS authors were not the first to assert the climatologically obvious about nuclear war being a Bad Thing

    We owe the observation that it tends to be cooler in the shade , even of a mushroom cloud to Norbert Weiner’s 1954 Congressional testimony, while the TTAPS article in Science itself derives from Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen’s more soberly titled 1980 Ambio article ” Twilight at Noon”

    As Sagan said at the start of his FA article

    ” Apocalyptic predictions require, if they are to be taken seriously, higher standards of evidence”

    All too true.

  81. Abbey Road Studios
    Sometime in the late 60’s, tape rolling:

    Ringo: What are we rehearsing today?

    Paul: Revolution.

    Ringo: Good. We go all killer on the drum and bass there, mate.

    Paul: Show ’em the chops. It stacks well.

    Ringo: Say, wasn’t there another verse to the song?

    Paul: Quite right.

    Ringo: It went something like ‘if you go around citing Jeremy Bentham, you . . . something, something.’

    Paul: That’s right, ‘If you go around quoting Jeremy Bentham, you wont get laid.’

    Ringo: I was partial to that one.

    Paul: John cut it. Said it made him sad. Said there was a vagabond living in the alley way there who would scrawl Jeremy Bentham quotes on the walls while he took a dump.

    Ringo: I know that one, what a crazy old screamer.

    Paul: Bloody fuckin’ nuisance is what he is.

  82. Thanks very much Mike.

    I can’t claim originality but source material is easy to find. The intention is to play on the bad habit of someone else who tends to come back here with a puffed up ego after a big embarrassing fall.

  83. When did nuclear winter melt down?

  84. Come on guys, “supply and demand” are just FAR more complicated than you think!

    Because economics, miraculously, is the one field of human inquiry that hasn’t become more complicated since the 18th century.

  85. Michael Ejercito asks:

    When did nuclear winter melt down?

    Soon after the “sophisticated one dimensional model” appeared, questions were raised about the over the top parameter assumptions as well as the software.

    basically, as more reality-based parameters, and computational power were added to the program, the effects got smaller.

    By 1986 the original tidy had been denounced as ” notorious for its lack of scientific integrity” in Nature, and the attendant advertising campaign hooted at across the political spectrum for the dubious achievement of hiring a PR firm before the scientific publication of the paper. It is telling that soot in the troposphere sphere has come to be regarded as a significant source of global warming, and it certainly didn’t help Sagan’s credibility when the Kuwait oil fires failed to inject the stuff into the stratosphere.

  86. Further, macroeconomic models are just as much bullshit as climatology models.

    Strangely, Joshua Corning (inadvertently I am sure) posted the proper response to this claim…

    “There is no comparison between the methods of developing economic models and climate models.”

    The methodology is very very different, despite using similar mathematical techniques.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

  87. Tony, it’s not like the laws of gravity no longer apply, but vast segments of the population, and most of the political class, like to pretend that supply and demand do not exist.

  88. Because economics, miraculously, is the one field of human inquiry that hasn’t become more complicated since the 18th century.

    Simpleton libs are always trying to tackle the calculus before they have had sufficient practice with adding and subtracting. A few breezy quotes from Krugman and Freakinomics and you think you actually know something. Sadly, as much as I am joking, it is not much of an exaggeration.

  89. AstroPaul, considering that 10 years is still continuing, when will it prove the models wrong? 8 more years and you will say the models are wrong?

    Then I say let’s wait 8 more years before doing a thing. 8 years isn’t going to make that much of a difference anyways.

  90. By 1986 the original tidy had been denounced as ” notorious for its lack of scientific integrity” in Nature, and the attendant advertising campaign hooted at across the political spectrum for the dubious achievement of hiring a PR firm before the scientific publication of the paper.

    What was the purpose of the advertising campaign?

    It is telling that soot in the troposphere sphere has come to be regarded as a significant source of global warming, and it certainly didn’t help Sagan’s credibility when the Kuwait oil fires failed to inject the stuff into the stratosphere.

    It just takes more nukes to achieve a drop of thirty-seven degrees Celsius.

  91. ME: asks “:What was the purpose of the advertising campaign?”

    Depends on whom you ask: 1984 being the height of the Cold War , the Nuclear Freeze Movement was understandably pleased to have what it termed- see the Autumn 1986 issue of The National Interest for particulars) ” a consciousness raising tool.”

    I expresses the view at the time was that ‘nuclear winter ‘ was a bad joke played at the expense of the credibility of the climate modelling community on the eve of the global warming debate.

  92. Try to define right and wrong without reference to trespass. As in trespass upon a person or property. Good luck with that.

    You could base it on honor like feudal Japan or ancient Greece did.

  93. Further, macroeconomic models are just as much bullshit as climatology models.

    Strangely, Joshua Corning (inadvertently I am sure) posted the proper response to this claim…

    “There is no comparison between the methods of developing economic models and climate models.”

    The methodology is very very different, despite using similar mathematical techniques.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    your belief system is garbage:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6440

    documented here and in its links is a take down of how models failed to project current global temps and after the fact manipulated the what was projected and then attempted to cover up that manipulation by the folks at real climate.

  94. It’s good of Josh to cite both sides of the dust-up, but given the considerable powers of anomaly detection of the statisticians at Climate Audit, it seems odd that they have not noticed how far from the bibliometric norm their climate science citations have drifted.

    With several hundred relevant journals to choose from , how come the umpteen sigma pull exerted by the few edited by their own cohort ?

    Methinks this strange attractor less resembles a hockey stick than a pretzel

  95. Ron, it doesn`t look like my comments posted, so I blogged them:

    A brief reminder to Ron Bailey about open-access commons

  96. Roger Zelazny’s SF novel “Damnation Alley” is to the Nuclear Winter concept as climate models are to climate.

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