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Old 02-08-2010, 14:41   #76
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There's too much of this sort of stuff going on these days and climate related science is one of the biggest offenders. For instance many of the climate temperature figures are deduced by proxy from tree rings but I have yet to see a study that definitively ties a certain tree record to a given temperature record. What about other factors - species, south facing slopes, nutrition, rainfall, etc.

The same is true of the secchi disc. Maybe we are polluting the oceans less and the water is simply cleaner than it has been for quite a while? Certainly dumping sewage at sea has been reduced...

But the biggest factor that get overlooked is this

SCIENCE IS NOT A SET OF THINGS THAT ARE RIGHT OR WRONG

Science is a PROCESS - a methodology rather than a rule book. You posit a hypothesis from which you develop a theory that makes testable predictions and you then carry out experiments to validate or invalidate those predictions. Rinse and repeat.
You've mostly got a correct view of science, but you go sadly awry in the way you use your understanding.

Science IS a process. Gather data, from which you posit a testable hyposthesis, based on which you test the predictions (i.e., if my hypoth. is correct, if I look at X, I should find Y.). If enough correct predictions are made by the hypothesis, and if it and the hypotheses of others explain enough of the way the world works, we finally get a theory.

But any experiment can only test one variable at a time. If the ones not being tested cannot be fully controlled, that becomes a caveat in the experimental conclusions. But does not necessarily require rejection of the entire hypothesis, and especially not rejection of any data collected. Data is the facts, as opposed to the conclusions. If the conclusions can be corroborated by additional data, then we can gain confidence.

My understanding is that the data collected from the discs during recent years has been corroborated by satellite data, so we can gain confidence in the older data.

As you can see, science as a pursuit is simple in the definition but extremely complex in the practice. That's why we leave it to the experts, just like diesel repair, or sailboat rigging. I strive to understand, but rely on those with years and years of learning and experience.

Lots of to all thos here - even those I disagree with on this. I know you are all far ahead of me when it comes to all things sailing and cruising!

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Old 02-08-2010, 14:53   #77
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You've mostly got a correct view of science, but you go sadly awry in the way you use your understanding.

Science IS a process. Gather data, from which you posit a testable hyposthesis, based on which you test the predictions (i.e., if my hypoth. is correct, if I look at X, I should find Y.). If enough correct predictions are made by the hypothesis, and if it and the hypotheses of others explain enough of the way the world works, we finally get a theory.

But any experiment can only test one variable at a time. If the ones not being tested cannot be fully controlled, that becomes a caveat in the experimental conclusions. But does not necessarily require rejection of the entire hypothesis, and especially not rejection of any data collected. Data is the facts, as opposed to the conclusions. If the conclusions can be corroborated by additional data, then we can gain confidence.

My understanding is that the data collected from the discs during recent years has been corroborated by satellite data, so we can gain confidence in the older data.

As you can see, science as a pursuit is simple in the definition but extremely complex in the practice. That's why we leave it to the experts, just like diesel repair, or sailboat rigging. I strive to understand, but rely on those with years and years of learning and experience.

Lots of to all thos here - even those I disagree with on this. I know you are all far ahead of me when it comes to all things sailing and cruising!

Margo
Disclaimer: I haven't read the reports quoted, so I am only talking generalities here.

To add to what you said:

Usually when I read the articles behind the headlines, I find the media reports state things as more definite than the scientific articles. The articles usually have many caveats and qualifications. They usually state what they really think is proved, and what they think is only suggested, and what they think the percentage error is. This percentage error is usually on the conservative side: history usually shows they were closer than the error percentage they publish. However, the media usually just takes the most dramatic sounding quotes.

When I get home this evening I guess I should go read the actual reports and see what they are really trying to convey so I can maybe talk to more than just generalities.

-dan
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Old 02-08-2010, 15:39   #78
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Most quotes in the media is focused on the sensational.
-dan
Dan,

I agree with you here! It leaves those of us who care wondering where to recommend a lay person should look for an objective view. I don't expect the typical voter to be able to read the original literature, but what's the alternative?

Are there media or government sources that at least TRY to be objective? I kind of think so, though few and far between, but hard to convince anyone else of this in today's highly polarized atmosphere. Once people start thinking even the experts are lying to make points for "their side", what can we do.?

Genuinely asking here - I'm at a loss.

Also curious to me is which scientific findings seem to draw all the fire. So many findings beings published in the different branches of science never raise a comment from the typical voter. I think it might be because of the dire implications of climate change data that leads people to WANT the conclusions to be wrong. Not necessarily the self serving desire to keep up a luxurious lifestyle, but the horror that humans could actually have that big an effect on the world simply by eating, traveling, raising children, etc.

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Old 02-08-2010, 16:50   #79
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Questioning is one thing, knowing your limits is another.
Sounds kind of high and mighty to me. Sorry I am not smart enough to be worthy of questioning a scientist....

Once again, why so sensitive to you point of view being questioned? My views are questioned daily by people who have 1/10th the knowledge that I have in my field. I just answer them and move on without a bruised ego.

I will agree that if you explain something and they still do not like the answer (or cannot understand the answer) then it is their problem not yours.

As far as the media goes I do not believe anything that they say unless it is backed up by complete facts, not chopped up pieces that suit their needs. Best used as a reference point where to look for the real story.
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Old 02-08-2010, 17:24   #80
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I will agree that if you explain something and they still do not like the answer (or cannot understand the answer) then it is their problem not yours.
Wish I could feel that way! I'd stay calmer, and have a better sense of humor about it. But people are voting on the basis of their stubborn misunderstandings and that's worrisome.

Quote:
As far as the media goes I do not believe anything that they say unless it is backed up by complete facts, not chopped up pieces that suit their needs. Best used as a reference point where to look for the real story.
Exactly! That is if the reporter/commentator bothers to provide any! Haha.
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Old 02-08-2010, 17:51   #81
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But any experiment can only test one variable at a time. If the ones not being tested cannot be fully controlled, that becomes a caveat in the experimental conclusions. But does not necessarily require rejection of the entire hypothesis, and especially not rejection of any data collected. Data is the facts, as opposed to the conclusions. If the conclusions can be corroborated by additional data, then we can gain confidence.
I wouldn't disagree with any of that

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My understanding is that the data collected from the discs during recent years has been corroborated by satellite data, so we can gain confidence in the older data.
This is where we part company. My training was in physical science - physics, applied maths, astrophysics and nuclear/quantum theory - and something they repeatedly hit you over the head with was instrument calibration. Basically how can you trust your measurements? If you measure with thermometer "A" and you then replace it with thermometer "B" then you need to run them in parallel so that any difference in their readings can be accomodated and the historical data set adjusted into line with the current data set. Has that happened? Have the measurements for climate research been cross-checked and cross calibrated over time? So far, from what I have seen the answer is "no" and we are trying to measure very small changes here so errors in the instrumentation may well have an enormous effect. I worry that the error bars are way larger than the variation within the data.

It is all very well correlating satellite data with Secchi disc data but all that does is correlate those two things. What it does not do is correlate Secchi discs and phyto-plankton. What about other factors such as ambient light? I'm willing to bet that I'll see deeper on a sunny day if I dip the disc on the sunlit side of the boat than if I dip on the shaded side of the boat. What about time of day? What about if I make the measurement in the outflow of a major river system? The amazon's outflow can be detected over 100 miles off shore and measurements taken there are not representative. What if the sea contains less rubbish than it did previously.

The only way to be sure is to pull up a litre of seawater and start counting but that would be enormously tedious which is why they use proxies, but the danger of a proxy is the effect of a missing of neglected factor which turns out to be significant.



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As you can see, science as a pursuit is simple in the definition but extremely complex in the practice.
Agreed

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That's why we leave it to the experts, just like diesel repair, or sailboat rigging. I strive to understand, but rely on those with years and years of learning and experience.
Once again I agree, but the history of science is littered with 100% dead-sure theories that turned out completely and utterly wrong. The classic is the "Flat Earth" which most people believed in from the dawn of time until a few hundred years ago. Semmelwies's discovery that doctors washing their hands reduced patient mortality was discounted for years. A more recent example is Marshall's discovery of Helicobacter Pylori and its implication in stomach ulcers and intestinal disease - he was run out of Australia because every proper doctor knew that bacteria could not live in the stomach and ulcers were caused by excess acid. These are just three examples but there are no shortage of other ones.

I'm not some sort of anti-science nut, quite the opposite in fact, I am a very, very pro-science nutter. I believe that science has brought forth some of the greatest achivements in human history and that it will continue to do so, but I really do worry about how climate science has been so highly politicisied and the effect that has on objectivity. That's what scares me most.
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Old 02-08-2010, 17:53   #82
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The problem with mistrusting scientist really got bad when the whole "Global Warming" problem came up. I do not even want to start that conversation, just bringing up the straw that broke the camels back for a lot of people.

The media and politicians take some poor guys hypothesis (once again not talking about global warming) and present it as fact. A few years later it is disproven, the politicians and media that once praised him look at him like he failed them. Once again politics and the media ruin good science.

My brother works in a lab doing genetic research. The problem he always complained about was getting grants (mostly government). You always had to show progress or you risked not getting future funding. He had to set the bar low and make small steps forward to allow the research to continue. It was impossible to go for what he thought was the "brass ring", if he did and was wrong the whole lab would be out of work and the research would be over. This is a poor way to award grants it does not inspire scientist to reach for the stars.

Last year he was awarded a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. They award grants to forward thinking scientist that have the ability to make major steps forward in medicine. The do not demand results and encourage non-standard thinking. This freed him to pursue the direction he thought was right, not the one that would get him the next grant. This is the way science should work.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:40   #83
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Well, heres my two inflation adjusted cents.

a. The earth is excepting sunlight essentially a closed system. What this means is that over the past few billion years the earth has absorbed a bunch of energy from sunlight and a % of that energy has been converted into carbon. Ie plants use the sunlight too fuel photosynthesis which makes them grow, animals eat the plants(which makes them grow) or other animals(etc etc). So basically it's a big energy to matter conversion system, life on earth converts sunlight into matter and because all life on earth is carbon based that means carbon matter.

b. Over the past few 10s of thousands of years (and most especially the past few hundred years) we've discovered ways too use this stored sunlight too help ourselves. Few hundred thousand years ago some bright spark of a primate discovered fire. They used it too cook their food and clear forests etc etc. Few hundred years ago some bright spark of a hominid discovered coal and oil, and now we use these highly concentrated deposits of carbon energy(converted sunlight) too run our cars and run our power plants.

c. The earth is still a closed system, which means that all this extra carbon we've been burning too help us get along is going too stay in that closed system.

d. Carbon it turns out is a greenhouse gas, it makes the earths temperature increase by reducing the amount of heat energy from which leaves the earth, just like in a greenhouse.

e. This will have an affect upon the earth.


So i guess the real question is how much of an affect the amount of carbon we put into the environment is having? Well i figure that the most logical thing to do to find an answer for that question is too hire a bunch of people who are trained too study this sort of stuff too find out.

We can even give them a funny name... like climate scientists or something.

ps:- In case you couldn't tell I'm in favour of environmental protection in general. I'm like a few posters here generally skeptical of people who say the world is going to end, but I'm also a realist. Stick me in a building with no access to the outside air and eventually I'm going too run out of oxygen. Stick me in a building with heaps of plants and no food and eventually i'll run out of food. Thats cause the room is a closed system. The earth is just a bigger version of that, it'll take longer but there is still the same risk that we'll run out of oxygen/fertile soil/water/habital land/food/oil/twinkies etc etc.

I'd personally prefer it if that time was along way off and I didn't have too worry about this sort of stuff but given whats at stake (ie humanity) I'm willing too go out on a limb and suggest we hire some people too find out one way or the other just what is going on and if we should start doing something about it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:20   #84
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... My brother works in a lab doing genetic research. The problem he always complained about was getting grants (mostly government). You always had to show progress or you risked not getting future funding. He had to set the bar low and make small steps forward to allow the research to continue. It was impossible to go for what he thought was the "brass ring", if he did and was wrong the whole lab would be out of work and the research would be over. This is a poor way to award grants it does not inspire scientist to reach for the stars.

Last year he was awarded a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. They award grants to forward thinking scientist that have the ability to make major steps forward in medicine. The do not demand results and encourage non-standard thinking. This freed him to pursue the direction he thought was right, not the one that would get him the next grant. This is the way science should work.
You might be interested in this study:
Abstract:
Despite its presumed role as an engine of economic growth, we know surprisingly little about the drivers of scientic creativity. In this paper, we exploit key dierences across funding streams within the academic life sciences to estimate the impact of incentives on the rate and direction of scientic exploration.
Specically, we study the careers of investigators of
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which tolerates early failure, rewards long-term success, and gives its appointees great freedom to experiment; and grantees from the National Institute of Health, which are subject to short review cycles, pre-dened deliverables, and renewal policies unforgiving of failure.
Using a combination of propensity-score weighting and dierence-in-dierences estimation strategies, we nd that HHMI investigators produce high-impact papers at a much higher rate than two control groups of similarly-accomplished NIH-funded scientists. Moreover, the direction of their research changes in ways that suggest
the program induces them to explore novel lines of inquiry.

http://pazoulay.scripts.mit.edu/docs/hhmi.pdf
http :// pazoulay.scripts.mit.edu/docs/hhmi.pdf
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:35   #85
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Well, heres my two inflation adjusted cents.
...............................
I'd personally prefer it if that time was along way off and I didn't have too worry about this sort of stuff but given whats at stake (ie humanity) I'm willing too go out on a limb and suggest we hire some people too find out one way or the other just what is going on and if we should start doing something about it.
I think that about sums it up, pretty straight forward thinking. I would only add that I think we have already got some pretty good consensus on the science. It is the damn human element that is sticky. Keep you boat, you might need it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:27   #86
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As with any "chicken-little" or "end of the world" predictions there is major money to be made by the smart folks who jump on the "bandwagon." As stated above, science is not a "business" and how much you earn to feed your family depends upon how well you can feed "doom and disaster" to the news medias.
- - Present day society is slanted towards the "30 minute" resolution as in soap operas and TV dramas. Thinking beyond in terms of years, decades, centuries and millenia, and more is not possible by modern man. It is as if the world 1st world has ADS.
- - Here is a link to a simple history of the world temperatures in which you can see how cold and how hot this were - way back when . . .
Climate History
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:55   #87
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I am not a scientist.
The global warming scam began when I was younger. I checked out their supposed evidence, and I found it wanting, way back then.
It has come back to life on the promise of billions to be made in the carbon market. This latest drive is money related, not science.
If you think not, do a little research on how the numbers they are spouting are obtained. I did, and I came to the conclusion that they know exactly what I know. And my knowledge is based on better true data.
I found whole multi year reports for areas like Siberia to be fiction, with the authors admitting that they had never even placed the equipment.
I found the website looking into the siting of the equipment in the US. The test site used at my old high school is deep between two parallel one story wings of the building. They are about 25 feet apart and front on a large black top parking lot. After checking out the siting for many of the recording sites, I came to the conclusion that many of them had never been capable of producing accurate results at any time in their histories. Sited a few feet off large blacktop parking lots seems to be the most common problem.
The data disagrees with the data recorded in nature on almost 100 percent of all natural markers.
What little real data there is conflicts with the mainstream interpretation of the falsified and proven corrupt data. Like tree ring data that has been excluded because it is "unreliable".
Large portions of the data from the recording stations was adjusted because they did not agree with the other "methods" they used. Adjusted up, not down.

I believe that any intelligent thinking person that takes the time to actually look behind the curtain will come to the same conclusion I did off the data found. No real "scientist" would approve any of it, or none that I know.
Only those willing to stare at the curtain and imagine the show behind it can back the global multi-billion carbon trading scheme.
I would be open to any real science on the subject that is not based on this data.
Climevangelists need not apply here!

When I was 15, in November, closest weekend to the 15th, our family went to the woods. At that time, snow and bad road conditions could be expected. There was often ice thick enough on the sloughs for five or six of us to stand around and talk while we waited for the dogs to strike scent again. We went right across the ice.
Today, bug spray is required most of the time.
There is no doubt it does not get as cold as early or for as long as it used to.
What caused that is debatable.
That is all we know. We don't have long term data to describe what has caused a very slight change in our climate definitively. The Earth's inclination is changing. The sun's output varies. We are heating large expanses of the surface of the planet to higher temperatures in the winter. We are burning fossil fuels to do that for the most part. Our very bodies heat the air around us as we breathe. We alter the chemical make up of the very atmosphere around us.

There is a very real question posed, but so far, no real scientists have stepped forth to accept the challenge that I know of. That is easily proven by simply asking what data the person speaking is using to base their theory on, and then investigating those sources.
And yes, there is a movement by real scientists to correct the problems so that accurate recorded readings can be obtained. They are seeking volunteers to check out their local weather recording site and to record the pitiful condition and placement of most such stations.

Sorry if I upset the Global Warming folks by actually educating myself on the topic. It was not my intent. There is a whole lot on the Global Warming scam that the media has ignored for the most part.
And I use the word scam because several groups are obviously attempting to use false data to whip up fear so that large populations of people will have to pay them to heat their homes, and then still buy their own fuel!
This is the core of support pushing the climate change agenda today. People looking to hold large parts of the carbon trading boards and make billions off of fear.
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Old 07-09-2010, 14:18   #88
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I do not think many people ban specific field scientists and tree-huggers (together they may form some 1% of the population) understand the message. Mass plankton die-off: in what time horizon, die-off or population drop, has it happened before and what were the consequences (and again - in what time horizon) ... and why should WE care.

Yes - there is the change. The change is the only thing there is. No - humans will not do anything to avert it. Could they? We will never learn.

If you buy stuff Made in China, then you should be aware that we have exported our dirty production habits to countries where there is NO control over them whatsoever. This is why we exported them. Read reports on pollution of rivers in China, then ask yourself where the rivers flow to.

This is how this civilization ends. Now some can cover with white sheets and start wailing. Others will go cruising and enjoy what is left.

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Old 07-09-2010, 14:37   #89
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There is a very real question posed, but so far, no real scientists have stepped forth to accept the challenge that I know of.
I suggest you read Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit website. McIntyre is a statistician who has criticised the way much of the information about climate is gathered and presented. He has won many victories over the "frothing-at-the-mouth climate believer" types by simply presenting their own data in a balanced, impartial fashion. He's not a "global warming denier", he simply thinks that most environmental scientists do not know the first thing about analysing the data that they themselves have collected.

Climate Audit

A sample from Bring the Proxies Up to Date!! « Climate Audit

"I will make here a very simple suggestion: if IPCC or others want to use “multiproxy” reconstructions of world temperature for policy purposes, stop using data ending in 1980 and bring the proxies up-to-date. I would appreciate comments on this note as I think that I will pursue the matter with policymakers.

Let’s see how they perform in the warm 1990s -which should be an ideal period to show the merit of the proxies. I do not believe that any responsible policy-maker can base policy, even in part, on the continued use of obsolete data ending in 1980, when the costs of bringing the data up-to-date is inconsequential compared to Kyoto costs.

For example, in Mann’s famous hockey stick graph, as presented to policymakers and to the public, the graph used Mann’s reconstruction from proxies up to 1980 and instrumental temperatures (here, as in other similar studies, using Jones’ more lurid CRU surface history rather than the more moderate increases shown by satellite measurements). Usually (but not always), a different color is used for the instrumental portion, but, from a promotional point of view, the juxtaposition of the two series achieves the desired promotional effect."
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Old 07-09-2010, 17:56   #90
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Yes - there is the change. The change is the only thing there is. No - humans will not do anything to avert it. Could they? We will never learn.
........................
This is how this civilization ends. Now some can cover with white sheets and start wailing. Others will go cruising and enjoy what is left.barnie
I do have some hope, however small, that a miracle will allow our children and their offspring through the bottleneck. Cruising is a way of learning self reliance and useful skills. Beyond that it is fun and self rewarding.
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