American’s social democratic future | Lane Kenworthy

America’s Social Democratic Future

The Arc of Policy Is Long But Bends Toward Justice

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Since March 2010, when U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the ACA has been at the center of American politics. Tea Party activists and their allies in the Republican Party have tried to stymie the law at nearly every turn. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted more than 40 times in favor of repealing or defunding it, and last October the House allowed a partial shutdown of the federal government in an attempt to block or delay the law. The controversy surrounding the ACA shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

Obamacare, as the law is commonly known, is the most significant reform of the U.S. health-care system in half a century. It aims to increase the share of Americans who have health insurance, improve the quality of health insurance plans, and slow the growth of health-care spending. But the fight over the law is about more than just health-care policy, and the bitterness of the conflict is driven by more than just partisan polarization. Obamacare has become the central battleground in an ongoing war between liberals and conservatives over the size and scope of the U.S. government, a fight whose origins stretch back to the Great Depression and the New Deal.

Opponents of President Franklin Roosevelt’s innovations were silenced when the New Deal’s reforms were locked in during the Truman and Eisenhower years, and the U.S. welfare state took another leap forward under Lyndon Johnson, whose Great Society agenda expanded public help for the poor and created the government-administered health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid. But the following decades saw few major additions and some notable setbacks, including the failure of President Bill Clinton’s health-care reform effort in 1994.

The passage of Obamacare has caused such controversy in part because it seems to signal a new stage of government activism, leading some conservatives to oppose it as a decisive and possibly inexorable turn to the left. “Precisely because the Affordable Care Act is the realization of a half-century long liberal dream,” the conservative commentator Peter Wehner wrote recently in The Weekly Standard, “if it fails, it will be a crushing blow not just to Barack Obama but to American liberalism itself. Why? Because Obamacare is in many ways the avatar, the archetype, of modern liberalism. That’s true in terms of its coercive elements, its soaring confidence in technocratic solutions, its ambition to centralize decisionmaking, and its belief that government knows best.”

Such apocalyptic arguments vastly overstate Obamacare’s practical significance. But they also obscure the more interesting reality, which is that the ACA represents another step on a long, slow, but steady journey away from the classical liberal capitalist state and toward a peculiarly American version of social democracy. Unlike in, say, northern Europe, where social democracy has been enacted deliberately and comprehensively over the years by ideologically self-aware political movements, in the United States, a more modest and patchy social safety net has been pieced together by pragmatic politicians and technocrats tackling individual problems. Powerful forces will continue to fight those efforts, and the resulting social insurance policies will emerge more gradually and be less universal, less efficient, and less effective than they would otherwise have been. But the opponents are fighting a losing battle and can only slow down and distort the final outcome rather than stop it. Thanks to a combination of popular demand, technocratic supply, and gradually increasing national wealth, social democracy is the future of the United States.

NORDIC MODELS

Social democracy originated in the early twentieth century as a strategy to improve capitalism rather than replace it. Today, people generally associate it with European social democratic political parties and the policies they have put in place, especially those in the Nordic countries, such as Denmark and Sweden. Over the course of the next half century, the array of social programs offered by the federal government of the United States will increasingly come to resemble the ones offered by those countries.

This prediction means something quite different today than it would have a generation ago, when the label “social democratic” referred quite narrowly to policies that made it easier for people to survive with little or no reliance on earnings from employment. In the 1960s and 1970s, the practice of social democracy mostly meant maintaining a large public safety net. Today, that’s too narrow a conception. In recent decades, the Nordic countries have supplemented their generous social programs with services aimed at boosting employment and enhancing productivity: publicly funded child care and preschool, job-training and job-placement programs, significant infrastructure projects, and government support for private-sector research and development. At the same time, the Nordic governments have adopted a market-friendly approach to regulation. Although they maintain regulations to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, they balance those protections with a system that encourages entrepreneurship and flexibility by making it easy to start or close a business, to hire or fire employees, and to adjust work hours.

As pioneered by the Nordic countries, modern social democracy means a commitment to the extensive use of government policy to promote economic security, expand opportunity, and ensure rising living standards for all. But it aims to do so while also safeguarding economic freedom, economic flexibility, and market dynamism, all of which have long been hallmarks of the U.S. economy. The Nordic countries’ experience demonstrates that a government can successfully combine economic flexibility with economic security and foster social justice without stymieing competition. Modern social democracy offers the best of both worlds.

Still, the notion that the United States is likely to further increase the size and scope of its welfare state might seem blind to the reality of contemporary American politics. But step back and consider the long run. The lesson of the past hundred years is that as the United States grows wealthier, Americans become more willing to spend more to insure against risk and enhance fairness. Advances in social policy come only intermittently, but they do come. And when they come, they usually last.

That trend is likely to continue. U.S. policymakers will recognize the benefits of a larger government role in pursuing economic security, equal opportunity, and rising living standards and will attempt to move the country in that direction. Often, they will fail. But sometimes, they will succeed. Progress will be incremental, coming in fits and starts, as it has in the past. New programs and expansions of existing ones will tend to persist, because programs that work well become popular and because the U.S. policymaking process makes it difficult for opponents of social programs to remove them. Small steps and the occasional big leap, coupled with limited backsliding, will have the cumulative effect of significantly increasing the breadth and generosity of government social programs.

This is not a prediction about the timing or conditions under which specific policy advances will occur. It’s a hypothesis about a probabilistic process. Over the long run, new programs will occasionally be created and existing ones will occasionally be expanded, and these additions and expansions are unlikely to be reversed.

FALLING SHORT

To understand why the United States is on the path to social democracy, one must recognize that although it is a rich country — and in the next half century, it will grow even richer — it nevertheless suffers from serious economic failings. These are deep-seated problems; although exacerbated by the Great Recession and the feeble recovery, they predate the country’s recent economic troubles.

First, the United States does not ensure enough economic security for its citizens. Too many Americans have incomes so low that they struggle to make ends meet: among the 25 million households in the bottom fifth on the income ladder, average income is just $18,000 a year. Too many Americans experience sizable income declines: each year, about one in seven U.S. households suffers a drop in annual income of 25 percent or more. Too many Americans have no health insurance: even when Obamacare is fully implemented, between five and ten percent of U.S. citizens still won’t have coverage, a far higher share than in any other rich nation. Finally, too many Americans will soon reach retirement age with little savings and inadequate pensions: average household savings as a share of disposable household income fell from ten percent during the 1970s to just three percent during the first decade of this century, many employees with defined-contribution pension plans contribute very little to them or cash them in early, and the bursting of the housing bubble depleted the sole asset of many middle-class homeowners.

Second, the country is failing in its promise of equal opportunity. Most women and many African Americans now have a much better chance to obtain an advanced education and to thrive in the labor market than did their counterparts a generation ago. Yet the story for Americans who grow up poor is much less encouraging. Among affluent countries for which data are available, the United States has one of the lowest levels of intergenerational earnings mobility. An American born into a family in the bottom fifth of incomes between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s has roughly a 30 percent chance of reaching the middle fifth or higher in adulthood, whereas an American born into the top fifth has an 80 percent chance of ending up in the middle fifth or higher. Moreover, recent decades have witnessed large increases in the gaps between the test scores and college completion rates of children from low-income families and those from high-income families, and the same will likely be true for their earnings and incomes when they reach adulthood.

Third, too few Americans have shared in the prosperity their country has enjoyed in recent decades. In a good society, those in the middle and at the bottom ought to benefit significantly from economic growth. When the country prospers, everyone should prosper. But since the 1970s, despite sustained growth in the economy, the incomes of households in the middle and below have risen very slowly compared with those at the top. According to calculations by the Congressional Budget Office that account for inflation, the average income for households in the top one percent soared from $350,000 in 1979 to $1.3 million in 2007. For the bottom 60 percent, the rise was quite modest: from $30,000 to $37,000.

These failures owe in part to changes in the global economy, especially the increasing competition faced by U.S. firms. American companies selling goods or services in international markets confront foreign rivals that are far more capable than in the past. Domestic industries face more competition, too, as technological advances, falling construction and transportation costs, and deregulation have reduced barriers to entry. In addition, shareholders now want rapid appreciation in stock values. Whereas a generation ago, investors in a company were happy with a consistent dividend payment and some long-term increase in the firm’s stock price, they now demand buoyant quarterly profits and constant growth.

These shifts benefit investors, consumers, and some employees. But they encourage companies to resist pay increases, drop health insurance plans, cut contributions to employee pensions, move abroad, downsize, and replace regular employees with temporary ones — or computers. Such cost-cutting strategies end up weakening economic security, limiting opportunities for low-skilled labor, and reducing income growth for many ordinary Americans — trends that are certain to continue into the foreseeable future. In the coming decades, more Americans will lose a job, work for long stretches without a pay increase, work part time or irregular hours, and go without an employer-backed pension plan or health insurance.

Some believe that the best way to address the stresses and strains of the new economy is to strengthen families, civic organizations, or labor unions. Those are laudable aims. But these institutions have been unraveling over the past half century, and although advocates of revitalizing them offer lots of hope, they can point to little evidence of success.

An influential faction in Washington favors a different solution: shrink the federal government. According to this view, reducing taxes and government spending will improve efficiency, limit waste, and enhance incentives for investment, entrepreneurship, and hard work, leading to faster economic growth. But this approach is predicated on the false notion that the growth of government limits the growth of the private sector. Over the course of the past century, the United States has gradually expanded government spending, from 12 percent of GDP in 1920 to 37 percent in 2007. Throughout that period, the country’s growth rate remained remarkably steady. Other evidence comes from abroad: among the world’s rich nations, those with higher taxes and government expenditures have tended to grow just as rapidly as those with smaller governments. Moreover, even if cutting taxes and reducing federal spending did produce faster growth, the record of the past few decades suggests that too little of that growth would benefit Americans in the middle and below.

Another possible response to this state of affairs is to grin and bear it. In this view, there is little anyone can do to ameliorate the ill effects of the modern economy, so the wisest course of action for ordinary Americans is to adjust their expectations and carry on. But the United States can do better than that — and the best way to address the country’s socioeconomic failings is to expand public insurance.

RISKS AND REWARDS

Most of what social scientists call “social policy” is actually public insurance. Social Security and Medicare insure individuals against the risk of having little or no money after they retire. Unemployment compensation insures individuals against the risk of losing their jobs. Disability payment programs insure against the risk of individuals’ suffering physical, mental, or psychological conditions that render them unable to earn a living.

Other U.S. public services and benefits are also insurance programs, even if people don’t usually think of them that way. Public schools insure against the risk that private schools will be unavailable, too expensive, or of low quality. Retraining and job-placement programs insure against the risk that market conditions will make it difficult to find employment. The Earned Income Tax Credit insures against the risk that one’s job will pay less than what is necessary for a minimally decent standard of living. Social assistance programs, such as food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, insure against the risk of being unable to get a job but ineligible for unemployment or disability compensation.

Over the past century, the United States, like other rich nations, has created a number of public insurance programs. But to achieve genuine economic security, equal opportunity, and shared prosperity in the new economy, over the course of the next half century, the federal government will need to greatly expand the range and scope of its existing social insurance programs and introduce new programs.

The government could help low-income American households with one or more employed adults by increasing the statutory minimum wage and indexing it to inflation and by increasing the benefit offered by the Earned Income Tax Credit, particularly for households without children, for whom the credit currently provides only a small amount. For households in which no one is employed, the solution is more complicated. Those who can make it in the labor market should be helped and pushed to do so, which will require extensive, individualized assistance. The federal government should also increase the benefit levels and ease the eligibility criteria for its key social assistance programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, general assistance, food stamps, housing assistance, and energy assistance.

Several initiatives could help reduce the incidence of large involuntary declines in income: public sickness insurance, paid parental leave, and expanded access to unemployment insurance. Currently, nearly one-third of American workers get no paid sick leave, U.S. law requires only 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, and only 40 percent of unemployed Americans qualify for unemployment compensation. The United States would also benefit from a wage insurance program. For Americans who get laid off and cannot find a job that pays as well as their prior one, wage insurance would fill half of the gap between the former pay and the new lower wage for a year or two.

By boosting the incomes of poor households with children, an increase in the Child Tax Credit would help reverse the widening gap in inequality of opportunity. Schools help offset gaps in childrens’ capabilities that result from differences in families and neighborhoods. Having children enter school earlier in life could reduce the disparities that exist when they arrive for kindergarten. Indeed, some analysts have concluded that the impact of schooling is largest during the prekindergarten years.

For the elderly, a helpful addition to the U.S. safety net would be a supplemental defined-contribution pension plan with automatic enrollment. Employers that have an existing plan could continue it, but they would have to automatically enroll all employees and deduct a portion of their earnings unless an employee elected to opt out. Employees without access to an employer-sponsored plan would be automatically enrolled in the new universal retirement fund, and workers whose employers did not match their contributions would be eligible for matching from the government.

The final piece of the economic-security puzzle would take the form of increased federal spending on public child care, roads and bridges, and health care and federal rules mandating more holidays and vacations for workers. Such changes would raise all Americans’ quality of life and free up their income for purchasing other goods and services.

What about shared prosperity? The best way to ensure that household incomes rise in sync with the economy would be to get wages and employment rising again for those in the middle and below. Adjusting for inflation, the wages of ordinary Americans have not increased since the mid-1970s, and the employment rate is lower now than it was in 2000. Policymakers also ought to consider a public insurance remedy: not only increase the benefit offered by the Earned Income Tax Credit but offer the credit to middle-income Americans and index it to GDP per capita.

Of course, spending on insurance comes at a price. Americans will need to pay more in taxes. Moreover, the existence of insurance increases the incentive for people to engage in risky behavior or to avoid employment. However, insurance also has economic benefits. Better education and health care improve productivity. Bankruptcy protection encourages entrepreneurship. Unemployment compensation encourages a more mobile work force and makes it easier for workers to improve their skills. Programs such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit enhance the educational and economic prospects of children who grow up in poor households. And, crucially, social insurance allows a modern economy to hedge against risks without relying on stifling regulations that specify what businesses can and cannot do.

The experience of the world’s rich countries over the past century should allay the fear that growth in the size and scope of public social programs will weaken the U.S. economy. There surely is a level beyond which public social spending hurts economic growth. But the evidence indicates that the United States has not yet reached that level. In fact, the country is probably still well below it.

BIG PRICE TAG, BIGGER PAYOFF

Some observers, even many on the left, worry about the applicability of Nordic-style policies — which have succeeded in the context of small, relatively homogeneous countries — to a large, diverse nation such as the United States. Yet moving toward social democracy in the United States would mostly mean asking the federal government to do more of what it already does. It would not require shifting to a qualitatively different social contract.

But can the United States afford social democracy? Although the added cost of creating the new programs and expansions described above while also maintaining Social Security and Medicare would depend on the exact scope and generosity of the programs, a rough estimate of the cost is an additional ten percent of U.S. GDP, or around $1.5 trillion. (An economic downturn, such as the one precipitated by the financial crisis of 2008, tends to skew GDP and tax revenue figures, so it is best to use data from 2007, the peak year of the precrash business cycle.) If ten percent of GDP sounds massive, keep in mind two things: First, if U.S. government expenditures rose from 37 percent of GDP, their 2007 level, to around 47 percent, that would place the United States only a few percentage points above the current norm among the world’s rich nations. Second, an increase in government spending of ten percent of GDP would be much smaller than the increase of around 25 percent that occurred between 1920 and today.

As a technical matter, revising the U.S. tax code to raise the additional funds would be relatively simple. The first and most important step would be to introduce a national consumption tax in the form of a value-added tax (VAT), which the government would levy on goods and services at each stage of their production and distribution. Analyses by Robert Barro, Alan Krueger, and other economists suggest that a VAT at a rate of 12 percent, with limited exemptions, would likely bring in about five percent of GDP in revenue — half the amount required to fund the expansions in social insurance proposed here.

Relying heavily on a consumption tax is anathema to some progressives, who believe additional tax revenues should come mainly — perhaps entirely — from the wealthiest households. Washington, however, cannot realistically squeeze an additional ten percent of GDP in tax revenues solely from those at the top, even though the well-off are receiving a steadily larger share of the country’s pretax income. Since 1960, the average effective federal tax rate (tax payments to the federal government as a share of pretax income) paid by the top five percent of households has never exceeded 37 percent, and in recent years, it has been around 29 percent. To raise an additional ten percent of GDP in tax revenues solely from this group, that effective tax rate would have to increase to 67 percent. Whether desirable or not, an increase of this magnitude won’t find favor among policymakers.

A mix of other changes to the tax system could generate an additional five percent of GDP in tax revenues: a return to the federal income tax rates that applied prior to the administration of President George W. Bush, an increase of the average effective federal tax rate for the top one percent of taxpayers to about 37 percent, an end to the tax deduction for interest paid on mortgage loans, new taxes on carbon dioxide emissions and financial transactions, an increase in the cap on earnings that are subject to the Social Security payroll tax, and a one percent increase in the payroll tax rate.

POLITICAL SPEED BUMPS, NOT ROADBLOCKS

These kinds of tax reforms and the social insurance programs they would fund will not arrive all at once. It will be a slow process, partly owing to a series of obstacles that social democratic ideas are sure to face. But none of the barriers is likely to prove insurmountable.

One basic problem, critics might point out, is that Americans aren’t fond of the idea of big government. Although this is true at an abstract level, when it comes to specific government programs, Americans tend to be strongly supportive. For instance, according to the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, since the 1970s, a large majority of Americans — always over 80 percent and often more than 90 percent — have said that they believe the government currently spends the right amount or too little on assistance to the poor, on enhancing the nation’s education system, on improving and protecting the nation’s health, and on funding Social Security.

Skeptics might also note that expanding social programs will hinge on electoral success by Democrats, and it is possible that the Democratic Party’s fortunes are dimming. Democrats have lost support among working-class whites, a main element of the New Deal coalition that dominated U.S. politics from the 1930s through the 1970s. Yet Democratic presidential and congressional candidates have fared well with a new electoral base of city-dwelling professionals, women, African Americans, and Latinos. The flood of private money into election campaigns, encouraged by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, might put Democrats at a fundraising disadvantage. But private campaign contributions have been growing in importance for several decades, and so far, the Democrats have managed to keep up. And although demographics, electoral coalitions, and campaign funding certainly matter, the condition of the economy tends to be the chief determinant of the outcome of national elections. If Democrats manage the economy reasonably well when in they are in charge, they are likely to remain electorally competitive.

Another potential roadblock is the rightward shift in the balance of power among organized interests outside the electoral arena, which exert substantial influence on policymaking. Since the 1970s, businesses and affluent individuals have mobilized, while the labor movement has steadily declined in membership. Yet this shift has managed to only slow, not stop, the advance of progressive social policy.

A final potential obstacle to American social democracy is the structure of the U.S. political system, in which it is relatively easy to block policy changes through congressional maneuvering or effective vetoes. Given this structure, the kind of disciplined obstructionism demonstrated by congressional Republicans during Obama’s tenure would surely threaten the forward march of public insurance. Sooner or later, however, Republican leaders will turn away from the staunch antigovernment orientation that has shaped the party’s strategy and tactics in recent years. In the long run, the center of gravity in the Republican Party will shift, and the GOP will come to resemble center-right parties in western Europe, most of which accept a generous welfare state and relatively high taxes.

Three things could potentially trigger such a shift. One is a loss by a very conservative Republican candidate in an otherwise winnable presidential election. If the party were to nominate a member of its far-right or libertarian faction in 2016 or 2020, that candidate would almost certainly lose, which would prompt a move back toward the center. Another factor favoring Republican moderation is the growing importance to the party of working-class whites. Recently, several thoughtful and prominent right-of-center voices, such as David Brooks, Ross Douthat, David Frum, Charles Murray, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Reihan Salam, have noted that working-class whites are struggling economically and could benefit from government help. To shore up electoral support among this group, more top Republicans will come to favor — or at least not oppose — the expansion of programs such as the Child Tax Credit, early education, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Social Security, and even Medicare and Medicaid.

Perhaps most important, clear thinkers on the right will eventually realize that given Americans’ desire for economic security and fairness, the question is not whether the government should intervene but how it should do so. An expansion of social programs would not necessarily mean more government interference in markets and weaker competition. Here again, the Nordic countries can show the way. The conservative Heritage Foundation collaborates with The Wall Street Journal in a project that grades countries on ten dimensions of economic freedom. Although the United States has lower taxes and lower government spending than the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden score better, on average, on the other eight measures, including the right to establish and run an enterprise without interference from the state, the number of regulatory barriers to imports and exports, and the number of restrictions on the movement of capital. Americans want protection and support. To deliver those things, policymakers must choose between public insurance and regulation, and conservatives ought to prefer the former.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AMERICA

Perhaps what is most important to note about the United States’ social democratic future is that it will not look dramatically different from the present day. The United States will not become a progressive utopia; rather, it will become a better version of its current self.

A larger share of adults will be employed, although for many, the workweek will be shorter and there will be more vacation days and holidays. Nearly all jobs will be in the service sector, especially teaching, advising, instructing, organizing, aiding, nursing, monitoring, and transporting; only around five percent will be in manufacturing or agriculture. Most Americans will change jobs and even careers more frequently than they do today. More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings. Families, community organizations, and labor unions might grow even weaker than they are now.

But by filling in the gaps in the public safety net, the federal government will improve economic security, equal opportunity, and shared prosperity for most Americans in spite of these changes. A social democratic America will be a society with greater economic security and fairness. Its economy will be flexible, dynamic, and innovative. Employment will be high. Liberty will be abundant. Balancing work and family will be easier. Americans will pay higher taxes than they currently do, but the sacrifice will be worth it, because they will receive a lot in return.

The United States has come a long way on the road to becoming a good society, but it still has further to travel. Happily, its history and the experiences of other rich nations show the way forward. One reason the United States is a much better country today than it was a century ago is that the federal government does more to ensure economic security, equal opportunity, and shared prosperity. In the future, it will do more still, and the country will be better for it.

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Day 4 Your free download (Olly’s language foundation)

Hi Tony

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series of emails on how to get started learning a new language.

If you missed days 1-3, I created a temporary archive where you can catch up on them:

Click here to catch up on days 1-3

– – – –

As I promised yesterday, I wanted to let you know about my exclusive new video course. 🙂

It’s all about how to make fast progress and become fluent in a new language quickly!

Click here for more information

I say “exclusive” because it’s not actually possible to buy this course from my blog!

The reason I have it set up like this is because I only want to attract people like you who are serious about their language learning, and who have the commitment to read all my emails up to this point!

I’ve spent many months developing this course, which includes over 4.5 hours of video training and expert interviews.

If you’re currently learning a new language and want to know how to make progress quicker, this is for you.

Click here for more information

Look out for another email from me tomorrow in which I’ll answer some of your questions about the course in more detail.

Take care,

– Olly

P.S. If you have any questions about the course right now, feel free to reply to this email and let me know!

Day 3 How to plan your day for maximum progress (Olly’s language foundation)

Hi Tony

In yesterday’s email, I talked about creating a study system that you can have confidence in.
I also gave a practical example of how I use textbook dialogues to start building my foundation in a new language.
But the best activities in the world are no good to you unless you actually do them!
So in this email I want to talk about staying focused and scheduling your study time so that you keep improving.
Focus, focus, focus
One of the things that I used to struggle with a lot was sitting down to study, and thinking: “What should I do today?”
Keen to get started, I would pick up a textbook, browse a language website, watch a YouTube video, and before I know it I would find myself confused, slightly overwhelmed, and with no idea what I should actually be doing.
Sound familiar?
I would waste huge amounts of time because I didn’t have a clear idea what to do.
To avoid this problem, you need to have a strategy.
It doesn’t have to be a complex one, but you have to know what you’re going to do BEFORE you sit down to study.
So I want to do right now is give you a clear system for how to do that.
The three pillars of daily study
There are three “pillars” of language learning that you have to cover on a regular basis with your studying.
They are:
  1. Input
  2. Output
  3. Revision
We don’t have the space to go into detail about all of these here, but to over-simplify:
  • Input is when stuff goes in – “learning”. You could be listening to a dialogue on a podcast, studying a chapter from a textbook, or reading a book.
  • Output is when you use the language for something – “practice”. This could be writing a diary or speaking with a language partner.
  • Revision is consolidation – “learning x2”. This is when you set aside dedicated time to go back and look again at what you’ve been learning. You might go back to a textbook chapter you studied last week, or review vocabulary on flashcards.
(My email from Day-2 was all about input)
Now the important thing about the 3 pillars is that you’ve got to make sure you cover all of them.
Not occasionally, but consistently.
But which one of the three do you think is most likely NOT to get done?
For most people it’s output – specifically: regular speaking.
The simple reason that this gets left by the wayside is that it involves arranging a dedicated time with another person.
You know what it’s like! Speaking just gets put off. You tell yourself: “I’ll just study a bit more first with the textbook – it’s easier. I can do it on my own.”
…and then speaking never happens.
…and sure enough, your speaking never improves!
Plan the difficult stuff first
So when I set about planning my week, the very first thing I do is to schedule my speaking sessions in advance, for the whole week.
I recommend you have at least two speaking sessions during the week (ideally three or four), but even if you can only manage the one session… it’s vital that you schedule it in to ensure it happens.
If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. (It’s a concept called pre-commitment that I wrote about in a blog post recently.)
So once you’ve scheduled your speaking sessions, your week already has structure, and you’ve taken care of one of the three pillars: output.
All you have to do then is fill in the gaps during the week, using activities that touch on the other two pillars – input and revision.
A great place to start would be to take the textbook dialogues that I wrote about in Day 2 and work on those after work on your non-speaking days (input).
You could also set aside 10 minutes every lunchtime to study flashcards, or go back and review dialogues from earlier in the textbook (revision).
 – – – –
Hopefully, you can see how approaching your study in this way can form the basis of a sensible language learning system that you can have confidence in.
Many people report having huge difficultly scheduling activities in this way. But that’s because they have no system to follow, no principled way to decide what to actually do. Overwhelm and confusion isn’t far behind.
But with a simple system like this, based on the three pillars, you can remove the confusion and the stress altogether, because all you’ve got to do is make sure you’re covering each of the pillars consistently.
 – – – –
If you like this simplified approach to language learning, my new Language Learning Foundations course might be for you.
The aim is dead simple – to show you exactly how to study a new language in the early stages to make fast progress and become fluent as quickly as possible.
It’s the same proven system that I follow myself when I learn a new language, and that has helped many others to learn too.
But don’t take my word for it:
“There have been so many mornings that I found myself confused as to how to proceed with my study, but your suggestions always put me right on track. I try to apply all of the techniques that you recommend, and I’ve noticed significant gains in my language acquisition.” – Orren T.
It’s a video course in 10 parts, with over 2.5 hours of beautifully simple, practical training.
There are also some fantastic bonuses, like 2 hours of expert video interviews where I grill some well-known polyglots on exactly what they do when they start learning a new language.
(These are great, because I really make them go into more detail than ever before about the early stages of language learning.)
I’ll send you some more information about this in the next few days, but if you’re keen to get started just click the link below:
Best,
– Olly

ttp – hostilities

guthrie says:
February 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm
I think Tol has a point, but we’re talking about someone who is so intellectually superior they regularly make obtuse points, argue against straw men and always leave you with the feeling that they think they are wonderful, yet actually insecure. Secure people don’t wander the internet picking fights whenever their name is mentioned.

Tom Curtis says:
February 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm
I have two things to say about SoD’s post:

1) Ignorance of the relevant scientific theory and related maths is not sound grounds to reject the theory. It follows that SoD’s argument is wrong headed. If people reject the science out of ignorance, then they are in fact deniers.

2) No matter how erudite SoD is on history (which remains entirely unproven), and how erudite on science (which he certainly is); neither subject has any bearing on etymology, on which subject he is offering his uninformed opinion. The term “denier” has a history in English longer than modern English has existed. It is a word very easily understood by construction by anybody with reasonable knowledge of English. That is why the term “holocaust denier” was coined in the first place – ie, because people would understand what was meant by “denier” without need of explanation. That same ease of construction means that the term can and has been used in similar contexts entirely unrelated to holocaust denial starting with the title of the Apostle Peter, ie, Peter the denier, and will be used long into the future in similar contexts with no reference to holocaust denial implicit in the term.

It is the attempts by deniers, and now SoD to tie the term exclusively to “holocaust denial” to prevent the use of a perfectly appropriate descriptor that use the suffering of the holocaust victims for tawdry rhetorical gain. Not the other way round.

WebHubTelescope says:
February 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm
It has been a subtle shift but SoD has been veering towards a more fair-and-balanced schtick, especially in terms of giving free-reign in his comments section to the pseudo-science crowd.

My opinion is akin to what somebody recently tweeted — that allowing both sides on certain scientific topics is like having opposing food critics argue the merits of “dog-doodie yogurt”

Brandon Gates says:
February 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm
Web, the frustrating thing about this is that it’s really not immediately obvious to our denier friends that they’re fans of frozen cat crap on a stick. Couching it in those terms goes right into the conspiracy feedback loop and thence to infinty plus three.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Methinks SoD is just a little wee bit biased.

“I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. In fact right now, having found audible.com I’m listening to an audio book The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard Evans, while I walk, drive and exercise.”

So in gaming the word “denial” in a word association sort of way:

Psychologist: Denial
SoD: Holocaust
Sample size = 1

Psychologist: Denial
3% Noncensus: Holocaust (97% of the time), miscellaneous other words (3% of the time)
Sample size >> 1E4

Psychologist: Denial
97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (<> 1E4

So other than that there is a standard word definition for denial and formal psychological/psychiatric descriptions for denial (DSM-V), we can plainly see SoD’s kneejerk reaction given their current reading list. Oh, the ploy of using a complex description of climate science to ‘explain away’ those who might reject the science because it is ‘too complicated’ is a non sequitur, in my book, at least.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm
Well, wordpress messed with part of my comment:

“97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words ( 1E4″

should be …

97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (less-than-less-than 1% of the time)
Sample size greater-than-greater-than 1E4

verytallguy says:
February 4, 2015 at 5:56 pm
In which SoD demonstrates how to listen and respond to opposing views. Kudos.

http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94437

…and Then There’s Physics says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm
vtg,
Okay, that is impressive and rare. Kudos. Only wish more would be willing to acknowledge when they get something wrong in their posts.

John Hartz says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:17 pm
Tom Curtis: Bravo!

PS – Would you be willing to embellish your comment and transform it into a guest post on SkS?

John Hartz says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:22 pm
Observation: This comment thread reminds me of an ESPN panel of experts dissecting the Super Bowl football (American) game on Monday morning. Perhaps there’s merit in the “Climateball” construct after all. (:

WebHubTelescope says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:22 pm
I also never figured out why the Science Of Doom blog uses the word “Doom” in the title.

Most environmentally-conscious types are sensitive about the tag Doomer attached to them. In particular, it’s essentially a slur to anyone analyzing oil depletion.

…and Then There’s Physics says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:25 pm
WHT,
I’m not sure, but I think SoD may have started as someone who was highly skeptical and thought the science was too doom laden. He, however, then proceeded through a process of genuine skepticism and clearly understands the science extremely well and writes some very thorough and informative posts.

Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm
“I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

Short memory.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm
Kind of reminds me of this episode of South Park:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Apologies_to_Jesse_Jackson

“He explains to Token that, as a white person, he will never understand why Token is so upset by the word, and why it can make black people mad when a white person says it in any context. Token is finally satisfied that Stan gets that he does not get it, thus creating an understanding between them.”

So I can see certain specific demographic groups being insulted by certain specific words.

However, I don’t even remotely think that climate Deniers are either solely Jewish or African American, in the same way that those groups, are, well, those specific demographic groups.

Hardcore climate Deniers are mostly old white males, there’s a certain specific pejorative term for whites used here in the Deep South, I use it a lot, and I’m an old white male. But that word does not have the same impact factor, by any means, as words associated with being owned or persecuted or systematically killed, specifically when applied to very specific demographic groups.

In short, Climate Deniers don’t identify with each other BECAUSE of their race.

…and Then There’s Physics says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:33 pm
Richard,

“I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

Short memory.
Back it up, Richard [Mod: Unnecessary]

Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm
[Mod : I said back it up! You do know what that means, don’t you? Now do so, or go away!]

Steven Mosher says:
February 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm
The term denier is saving the planet.
don’t give it up. the cause depends on it.

Joshua says:
February 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm
Anyone using the term “denier” clearly doesn’t give a damn about the victims of the holocaust….not a single one.

The only people who give a damn about the victims of the holocaust are those, like Judith Curry, who clutch pearls from their fainting couches about the deep, deep harm caused by the use of the term.

Just think of how much further along we’d be in dealing with Climate change if only those AGW Lysenkoist, eugenicist, alarmist, Stalinist, poorchildreninafricastarving cultists would stop using the pejorative term “denier.”

Oh, the humanity!!!1!1!!

Windchasers says:
February 4, 2015 at 7:27 pm
I posted twice on that thread so far, not about the d-word but about the hidden premises and attitudes behind AGW skepticism. Psychology and epistemology are quite a bit more interesting than semantics.

Honestly, I don’t care about the use of the d* word. It’s Climateball: it distracts from the real debate. So I use “skeptic” instead.

If you’re getting into an argument about semantics, you’re letting yourself get sidetracked.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm
So if Richard A. Muller was a Denier and is now no longer a Denier, would one say that Richard A. Muller is in Denierment (rhymes with retirement)?

John Hartz says:
February 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm
One of the things about “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” is that no matter how many analysts are engaged and no matter how much analyis is prodcued, the score of the game never changes once the final whistle blows. In other words, I don’t see a lot of value in what’s being posted on this thread. Having said that, perhaps group venting has some value and is needed from time to time. I just hope it doesn’t become the norm for this website.

eli says:
February 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm
Rejectionist hits all the boxes. People who simply do not deny but actively reject. Also obvious meaning for the terminally dense

Lars Karlsson says:
February 4, 2015 at 8:36 pm
Here is some more Delingpole: “Why do I call them Eco Nazis? Because they ARE Eco Nazis”. Complete with a picture of Himmler, with caption “Himmler: he loved nature, furry animals and organic food”.

pbjamm says:
February 4, 2015 at 8:40 pm
Guthrie right on the mark. No sooner is Tol mentioned than he arrives in a narcissistic attempt to make the conversation about himself (and I am falling for it!) by dropping a random comment with no support for his assertion. How predictable.

WebHubTelescope says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm
From my experience SoD is not a worthwhile place to comment, IMO. Good comments get mixed in with pseudo-scientific assertions and it is apparently a breech of “etiquette” to call that stuff dog-doodie yogurt. I was shushed there last month for getting baited by the usual suspect.

Willard says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm
Come on, guys. You play offense. They play defense. They are allowed to hold. You can’t:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football

However, you play offense, which means you have the ball. Keep the ball moving forward. Let them do their touch down dances on their line of 20.

Keep calm and play ClimateBall like gentlemen and gentlewomen.

Richard Betts says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm
Dana

The suggestion that I let stuff on BH, WUWT etc “go unchallenged” is ridiculous.

I often respond to errors, criticisms, misunderstandings & misrepresentations from contrarians, and often in the actual forum where they are made, where they will actually be read by those who need to read them. (As opposed to shouting at a distance from the safety of some other blog).

I realise that you (and possibly ATTP) think I’ve somehow been duped by David Rose into sticking up for him, but I think you’ve missed the point. The reason I highlighted his MoS article as an ‘own goal’ by green bloggers was not to defend him, but to point out that aggressive commentary & accusations of ‘denier’ etc just reflect badly on the side that’s making them (and, by common association, climate scientists, even if we’re not actually signed up to any particular agenda).

Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.

Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want. However, when the hostility and suspicion lead to scientists’ time and taxpayers’ money being wasted on dealing with things like FOI requests and other stuff then it starts to get a bit more real.

Also I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant incidents, having to get the police involved on one occasion (and they took it seriously enough to track down the offending person) and also having to seek legal advice several times. (Incidentally, at least twice this was because of things coming from the ‘green’ side, so it’s not just contrarians who can cross the line).

I think that climate scientists who get caught up in all this have every right to ask people to calm down the hostilities. It’s all very well having ‘hug a climate scientist’ day and the Climate Science Legal Defence Fund – both of which I’m supportive of, especially the former 😉 – but I can’t help feeling that there would probably be just a bit less need for both of these things if people just made more of an effort to tone things down rather than ramp them up.

I’m certainly not saying that all this would go away if everyone stopped calling people ‘deniers’ or whatever. I’m sure there would still be stuff happening. However, I really don’t think it helps to keep fanning the flames.

Just see the big picture, that’s all I’m asking.

Willard says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:23 pm
Every ClimateBall player should use “contrarian”. Otters will learn, either vicariously, or the hard way.

“Contrarian” just works:

https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

Style matters.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm
JH,

What, you mean the game is over? So is the science settled? Who won?
Has humanity become so civilized that no one is bullying anyone or calling them names?
So SoD doing a Judith Curry (up is down than down is up, rinse, repeat, …) isn’t fascinating to you?
SkS is only for true believers in the religion of climate science pron? Keith Kloor still does not have a Klue?

You see, it goes something like this …

There are the hardcore climate science deniers (think Fred Singer or Willard Anthony Watts), nothing will change that basic fact, they will go to their graves (of natural causes) being 110% (these go to 11) in full deniersville. They do not play nice, by any stretch of the imagination.

Do we stoop down to level of the hardcore climate science deniers? No. But we do call them out for what they are. Deniers.

If you think the general public really gives a hoot about climate science, then your American football analogy is apt, because they don’t, they all are already watching the next game.

Willard says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm
Oh, and if you think I agree with Keith or even RichardB, see the comment over there:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/04/climate-communication-undermined-inflammatory-language/

Keith can’t even get his history correct.

***

More on labeling:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/aboutlabeling

I ought to write my Seven Strictures on Labeling one day. Just found my notes back.

***

Just act like [Chill, W. – W]. See if I care.

John Hartz says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:46 pm
Everett F. Sargent:

You have completely missed my point and analogy. The “game” in this case is what’s been posted on the comment threads on SoD. No matter how much praticipants (ESPN analysts) on this thread slice and dice that game, it will change nothing.

My personal goal is to help in whatever way I can to move the dial of public opinion on the need to take meaningful and timely aciton on mitigating climate change.

My frustration about this thread and others like it is the amount of valuable time and energy that a bunch of very smart people spend discussing the banal. That time and energy could be better spent on more productive acitivites — in my opinion.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm
RE: fanning the flames

Truthers
Birthers
Partiers (Tea)
Deniers (climate science)

So Richard (can we get Richard Tol back, I much prefer his brand of humor), how do you think those ‘movements’ got started, perhaps it is, in large part, due to the Internets.

Just, you know, sayin’

[Mod : unnecessarily inflammatory]

…and Then There’s Physics says:
February 4, 2015 at 10:32 pm
Richard B.,

Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.
This may be true but I fail to see the relevance. There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile. Of course, there may be some examples where I could have done better, but that’s not quite the same as being hostile. In fact, one reason I may find this whole discussion somewhat annoying is that my whole intent was to try and remain civil and non-hostile and it had virtually no effect whatsoever on how I was treated.

Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want.
Yes, it’s all just a barrel of laughs for us non-actual-climate scientists.

I’ll make the point that I was trying to make in the post again. I see far more people who object to “denier” associating it with the Holocaust, than I see people who use it doing so. I think it’s offensive to use an horrific event to try and score points against those with whom you disagree. I’m really impressed that SoD rowed back from what he said in his post, as I thought that that part of his post was appalling. If anything, what he did is what we need more of; we need more people to consider what their critics say and to change their position if it is warranted.

I think that Ridley and Rose using extreme examples of verbal attacks to score points against their critics is also appalling. I’m not excusing these attacks, but I think it’s offensive to imply that this somehow reflects on those who have been criticising them. Have Rose or Ridley ever actually engaged with their critics. I’ve never seen them do so.

We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.

I’ll say something that I used to say more often. If I’ve ever said anything offensive or objectionable, or allowed anyone to do so in the comments, people can point this out and I’ll correct it. However, I’m not going to suddenly be less blunt in my criticism of some just because they don’t like it, especially given that they seem to be quite comfortable doing so themselves when they decide to criticise others.

Joshua says:
February 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm
FWIW –

==> “There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile.”

Anders, I see a distinction between your approach to this discussions and that of Dana.

And I think that this:

==> “We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.”

Is quite one-sided.

The hostility in the climate wars is, I think, because folks on both sides are locked into an identity-oriented struggle. The resistance to let got of the label of “denier,” is, IMO, reflective of that struggle, just as are the laughable arguments made my Rose and Ridley and Watts and Montford and Curry, blah,blah, about what is causal for the level of hostility.

…and Then There’s Physics says:
February 4, 2015 at 11:02 pm
Joshua,

Is quite one-sided.
I stand by that in the sense that I think it would reduce significantly if Watts and Montford stopped promoting the nonsense that they do on their site and moderated the comments more strongly. However, I’ll grant you that the denier label could go if that would really help. I don’t actually use it particularly often, so I have no issue with not using it myself. Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world and they would simply move on to trying to control the next bit of the narrative. Of course, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong.

John Hartz says:
February 4, 2015 at 11:31 pm
Folks: It’s time to wake-up and smell the roses!

If everyone who accepts the overwhelming body of scientific evidence about manmade climate change stopped uing the word “denier” tomorrow and started using the word “contrarion” insted, what do you think would happen?

Here’s what I predict would happen.

The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them. Perhaps they would claim it connotes the onset ofr early dimentia. Who knows what they would come up with.

The folk in Deniersville are waging a propganda war. They will do anything and everything in their power to preserve BAU. There is lttle to be gained in engaging them in a serious discussion of any sort.

Joshua says:
February 4, 2015 at 11:38 pm
==> ” Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world.”

Personally, I wouldn’t care. They might think it was a “victory,” but as you say they’d just move on to some other bullshit. In the real world, the use of the word or the lack thereof is, IMO, meaningless. I don’t understand why some “realists” seem to think that them thinking they’ve had a “victory” that is actually meaningless, matters in the real world. Just because they would think they had some kind of victory wouldn’t make it so.

I don’t think that letting go of the term would make any real difference, but I also think that resistance to letting go of the term is more reflective of tribalism rather than a rational approach to moving the discussion forward.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:03 am
OK, so I thought that, if only we could come up with one word to ‘label’ or ‘brand’ or ‘stain’ the hardcore climate science D-word, what would that word be, other than the D-word?

Oops, there I go stereotyping others. We need a marketing campaign.

Well anyways, it might have to be a totally new word, it would have to go viral and be an internet meme, kind of like the Santorum neologism. Or it could be an anagram of (an) existing (word) words. Problem is, we would need a new buzzword now.

If not a new word, than an old word, like dissident or refusenik (oops) or insurgent or recusant or heretic or apostate or paynim (oops) or cretin or …

Problem is, that no matter what you call them, they’re bound to complain.

So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.

Unless, of course, you all want to be ‘branded’ an appeaser like Neville Chamberlain.

It’s like this whole D-word thing is one big cons piracy thing devolving into Godwin’s Law.
😦

izen says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:09 am
@-eli
“Rejectionist hits all the boxes. People who simply do not deny but actively reject. Also obvious meaning for the terminally dense”

Agree, I avoid using ‘climate denier’ unless I know the recipient will be very offended, annoyed and provoked, and that is the response I want.
Rejectionists is my prefered term, although ridiculous, moronic idiotic and suffering from self-imposed ignorance would all be accurate adjectival modifiers that can be appropriately applied.

Willard says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:35 am
> What would that word be, other than the D-word?

Contrarian:

http://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

It just works.

There might even be a correlation, e.g.:

Everett F Sargent says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:36 am
Caller Steve: Whatever side says ‘oh, well, the debate’s settled, we’re not going to debate anymore’, if I was on the side that I felt like I was armed with live ammo and the other side was armed with blanks, I’d want to debate every chance I got just so I could beat ‘em every single time.

WHO radio host Jan Michelsen: Yes! And if they’re ducking discussion, that usually means they’re not up for the task, or they don’t want to acknowledge that anybody disagrees with them, and usually the people who are in authority, the people who have won and captured the flag or the funding streams do not want to risk the ‘buffet’, they don’t want to risk the money trails by even allowing people to question whether they’re proceeding on the basis of sound science.

Willard Anthony Watts: Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore, Katherine Hayhoe, etc. are the ones armed with blanks and they know it, they flee from debate and they flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked.

Me: WTFUWT?

Vinny Burgoo says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:48 am
I propose that all of the people who are currently called ‘climate change deniers’, whether or not they deny anthropogenic climate change or are in denial about it, should henceforth be called ‘climate change Americans’, whether or not they are American.

Not a perfect solution but fewer people would be miscategorized – and of course not even the most dyed-in-the-wool ‘American’ would be able to complain about Holocaust allusions.

Gator says:
February 5, 2015 at 12:52 am
They were deniers before anyone ever called them that; and they will continue to be deniers even if everyone decided not to call them that anymore. When they stop personally attacking scientists they can start complaining about terms.

ligne says:
February 5, 2015 at 1:01 am
Everett: and Then There’s Duane Gish. i can only echo your “WTFUWT?”, with some “what is this i can’t even” for good measure.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 5, 2015 at 1:05 am
Willard,

I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

So, there is a certain orthodoxy in warmunist thinking.

Kind of like water off a duck’s back.

I actually like being called the D-word. Doing the conformist thing is not my style. 🙂

MikeH says:
February 5, 2015 at 1:07 am
http://www.desmogblog.com/andrew-bolt-cuts-ties-climate-science-denying-galileo-movement-over-alleged-anti-jewish-conspiracy-theory

The ones who did not cut ties.

http://www.galileomovement.com.au/who_we_are.php#G

Climate science “skeptics” are hyprocrites? Who knew?

Steven Mosher says:
February 5, 2015 at 1:28 am
“So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.”

Yup me too. I called them doubters from day one

JCH says:
February 5, 2015 at 1:43 am
Does anybody know when the first claim that “denier” was an intentional reference to Holocaust denial first appeared in the climate debate?

Brandon Gates says:
February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am
John Hartz,

The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them.
Anecdotal evidence suggests you are correct. I use “contrarian” exclusively at WUWT in lieu of their preferred “skeptic” and for a time dbstealey took exception to it. Observations elsewhere on this thread that the barrel of red herring is bottomless and overflowing are on the money. It doesn’t matter what tone we use, what labels we use, how much butt we kiss or kick — they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride. They’re holding an all but empty bag which they erroneously think is chock-full of great stuff. What else would we expect?

Willard says:
February 5, 2015 at 2:23 am
> I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

I feel ya, Everett. The always nuanced Greg Laden recently added me to his Twitter list of deniers since I dared ask him to own his schtick regarding the Soon petition:

http://gregladen.com/blog/2015/01/willie-soon-fire-him-soon/

Willard says:
February 5, 2015 at 2:40 am
> they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride.

Then we might as well call them [insert your favorite redacted word].

Judy’s Denizens have yet to find something against “contrarian” after a few years now.

“Denizens” ain’t bad either.

Everett F Sargent says:
February 5, 2015 at 2:44 am
Willard,

Yes, I saw that one, GL can really appear to be clueless at times. Been there, done that.

John Hartz says:
February 5, 2015 at 4:02 am
Meanwhile, back in the real world…

Global warming slowdown: No systematic errors in climate models, Phys.org,, Feb 2, 2015

dhogaza says:
February 5, 2015 at 4:06 am
Stephen “Piltdown Mann” Moshpit:

“Yup me too. I called them doubters from day one”

They are, of course, no different than Holocaust Doubters.

See how easy this game is?

John Hartz says:
February 5, 2015 at 4:30 am
Much to the chagrin of the folk in Deniersville, science is not static…

Study unravels mystery of Antarctic sea ice by Jamie Morton, New Zealand Herald, Feb 4, 2015

Brandon Gates says:
February 5, 2015 at 5:48 am
Willard, pretty much yes. When I’m moved to use a label it’s pretty much about what makes me feel good, just as surely as they obviously relish calling me a “warmunist”, or referring to properly skeptical scientists as “climastrologists”. I’m generally amused by such clever coinages, going so far as to use them to refer to myself. Interesting that Aunt Judy’s Denizens haven’t balked at “contrarian”. I think that’s some pretty good Climateball right there.

OPatrick says:
February 5, 2015 at 6:37 am
Richard Betts:
The suggestion that I let stuff on BH, WUWT etc “go unchallenged” is ridiculous.
No, it’s not ‘ridiculous’. It may be wrong, you might feel you can legitimately argue your case, but it certainly isn’t a ridiculous accusation. Given that the rest of your comment was about the importance of not fanning the flames with incendiary language I thought the use of ‘ridiculous’ here stood out. I wonder how often you describe reasonable, though incorrect, arguments as ‘ridiculous’ at sites like BH?

science of doom – denial 2

Nathan
Stevefitzpatrick

Do you have an example where someone who questioned the equations and their function was called the d-word?
Because what you describe sounds like skepticism; I would be surprised if they were labelled a D, for that.

on February 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Reply stevefitzpatrick
Nathan,

Well there is this little gem frm MikeH above:
“I try not to use the term “denier” because it just gives the pseudo-skeptics the opportunity to play the victim card. But in the years of following this debate, the only people who I have read associating the term climate denier with the holocaust is you above and the psuedo-skeptics themselves when they have run out of other arguments.”

See, it’s obvious no one could ever be honestly skeptical. The starting assumption is that all who doubt do so in bad faith. This is a losing argument when your opponent is actually acting in good faith… I can’t think of a better way to piss people off and make them doubt you even more.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm Nathan
That’s not an example of what you claimed

on February 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm stevefitzpatrick
It is an example of the thinking which leads to the ‘de..ier’ name calling. In this case he simply substitutes pseudo-skeptic for ‘de..ier’. The problem is the same.

on February 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Reply omnologos
Nathan – the N word is just the name of a color in Spanish. If peopleask not to use it I din waste time arguing the dictionary, I’ll just try to be civil and avoid offending.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm Nathan
omnologos
That’s a poor example, as the word is spanish, not a common everyday English word.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:31 am omnologos
Nathan – why would common Spanish have to adapt following the evolution of the N word in English? (same in Italian). Because…if you want to talk to people, there is absolutely no reason to insult them. And the fact that a word sounds insulting in a communication is established by both parties in the communication.

on February 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Reply omnologos
If anybody wants to know what happens to skeptics just pretend to be one for a week. The vultures will find you 8)

on February 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Reply David Young
It happened to me. None other thanBBD who can be very nasty and dead wrong. He said I was a coal industry Lobbyist and a deni##. Of course that was a lie. However stupidity should not automatically be attributed to malice, especially for layman activists who think Hadrians wall is a boundary value.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm BBD
Now, now, David. Let’s not get carried away. IIRC you were making big claims about your publication record which strangely doesn’t seem to exist. I only asked you *if* you were the same David Young who is a coal industry lobbyist and you said you weren’t. And that was the end of the matter. I’m very disappointed to see you misrepresenting our previous conversations here at SoD.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm David Young
My record is public. If you missed it you aren’t trying. You have been too lazy to find it. I won’t go back to Keith’s thread as it is nasty to quote it as you know full well you are either lying about it or have whitewashed it in your own small mind. What I said is true.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm BBD
If what you said was true, David, there wouldn’t have been any problems in the first place.

I’d be disinclined to push that door any harder, were I you.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm stevefitzpatrick
BBD,
David clearly has published in his field, yet you continue to suggest otherwise. Do you believe that David is lying about publications, or are you simply unwilling to admit you are wrong?

BTW BBD, do you have a publication record in any technical field?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:59 am David Young
Just for the record, one could try AIAA Journal, Vol 52, Issue 8, pg.1699, 2014. That one refers to numerous earlier works. Why are some particularly nasty climate activists so quick to assume incompetence when they disagree with someone? Especially poignant when the activist is largely ignorant of the scientific details despite having “read” some papers. Doubly poignant when the nasty activist is too lazy to do any effective research.

on February 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
Well, there are a lot of ways to peel this potato:

The most important peel, the equations in the NCAR model reference depict not the simple concept of radiative forcing but of atmospheric motion. This serves as a great reminder that the amount of energy emitted to space is a function not only of the well mixed constituents but also of unpredictable fluid flow. The simple concept is incorrect at least by being incomplete.

The difficulty lies not with the number or complexity of the equations of motion, but with the non-linearity – we know going into this exercise that linear numerical solutions to non-linear problems are incorrect.

The failings of the applied atmospheric dynamics is is borne out by the missing tropical upper tropospheric hot spot. The hot spot is predicted by gcms for heating, not just heating from CO2 increase. The hot spot is not observed. This represents a failing in the models regarding how energy is convected and so, radiated to space.

The holocaust, of course, is a past event, not a prediction of a future event.

Juxtaposing genocide with carbon dioxide is an appeal to emotion of a false moral equivalence. Even if one can demonstrate ‘inevitable’ temperature rise, demonstrating greater harm than good ( which tends to be removed from the conversation ) is even more tenuous.

“Once people have seen the unprecedented rise in temperature this century, how could they not align themselves with the forces of good?” – Hah! Beyond the further appeal to emotion ‘forces of good’ – the temperature trend displayed indicates a temperature trend from 1910-1945 quite similar to the 1979-present.
To be sure, CO2 forcing was positive during that period, but much less than recent trend. The recent trend is very much precedented. Evidently, also precedented was Arctic sea ice loss as evidenced by the Arctic temperature finger print ( winter warming, summer stasis ) that occurred in the early twentieth century.

Finally, the Nazi analogy is a reminder that bad things can happen when people acquiesce to central governments crusading for good. The Nazis were crusading for the glory of the Reich and justified genocide for the cause. After all, it was simple and obvious to them that aryans were superior and the Reich would last a thousand years. To be sure, genocide and property rights are not equivalent. But should citizens have property confiscated simply because a government declares that they are saving the planet?

on February 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Reply Arthur Smith
I do find it amusing that Richard Tol is incapable of detecting the sarcastic tone SoD is applying in this post.

It does take some experience with scientific analysis to understand either the theoretical or observational evidence for the greenhouse effect and other aspects of climate change. It’s not something that can be made bleedingly obvious to the lay person, and for most people that means accepting the science requires some form of belief, trust, faith, rather than personal knowledge. I think that’s SoD’s point here. But the same is true of much of science and even technology – evolutionary biology, relativity, elementary particles, atoms, lasers, electronic circuits, etc. Do we have a right to be disparaging towards those who don’t trust scientists on one or more of these things? What would actually work?

on February 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Reply verytallguy
SoD,

I have much respect for your blog, enjoy reading your reviews of the science, whether or not it seems in line with the mainstream, and have on occasion referred to you as a great demonstration of what true scepticism entails.

But on this post I feel you are terribly, horribly, wrong when you say:

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d*nier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
Denial has long, common and respectable usage not at all associated with the holocaust in any way (at least in the UK, perhaps it is different elsewhere?).

It is used in describing grief, and the same language and model is also used in business change:

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
The Kubler-Ross model was published in 1969. No-one accused Elizabeth Kubler Ross of comparing people in grief to N*zis.

The term was supposedly originated by Freud as:

a psychological defense mechanism postulated by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.
(quotes from Wiki)

Personally, I feel to accuse anyone using the term “d*nier” in its general usage as conflating their target with Holocaust perpetrators is in very poor taste.

Many of those who challenge the science of global warming are truly in denial, in the sense put forward by Freud, being unable to reconcile their own political and economic values with the simple facts of a world warming by human hand.

Personally, I feel to accuse anyone using the term “d*nier” in its normal usage as conflating their target with Holocaust perpetrators is in very poor taste.

Some advice if I may? Just stop.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Reply DeWitt Payne
vtg,

You should rethink your position. Saying that someone is in denial about climate change is not the same as saying that anyone who does not agree that any climate change is going to be catastrophic and that (sarc) we should all go back to being hunter-gatherers (/sarc) is a climate change d****r. Words and phrases often have semantic connotations beyond the dictionary definitions. I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.

Being in denial in the Kubler-Ross sense also implies that you are actually aware on some level that you’re wrong. I doubt that’s true of most of the people who have been labeled as d….rs.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm Richard Drake
Yes, getting a tad more linguistic about it, we’re not looking for denial on its own or the interesting phrase “in denial” but terms of the form “[abstract noun] denial” and “[abstract noun] denier”. That form began with Holocaust denial and denier in the English-speaking world. Here’s a useful summary from Bishop Hill contributor in 2010:

I am a psychologist, and the term “denier” is not a psychological term. It first came into use in the late 1960’s in relation to the WWII Holocaust. As hro001 demonstrated above, it is an emotion-packed term. And as he points out, it generally means “politically motivated falsifaction [sic] of history”

All the references you give come from the 1990’s and later, and clearly derived from the earlier use, typically for the emotional impact.

The term “denial” as in “he is in denial” is a psychological term. I have no idea who used it first, but it is very, very old. I think Freud used it, but I read the English translations of his work so I don’t know the German word he used. It is typically used in the sense of refusing to accept reality.
So SoD’s right to take climate denier and its cognates the way he does. Some of the blindness on this is I fear willful but, much worse, entails a significant insult to the memory the victims of the real thing. Surely much better, on this of all aspects of the climate debate, to play it safe.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm verytallguy
DeWitt,

I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.
I disagree. Completely.

This is phraseology commonly used with no connotation whatsoever for the holocaust

recent examples in from a simple google news search:

The Guardian on Rotherham Council

Instead, I found a council in denial. They denied that there had been a problem, or if there had been, that it was as big as was said. If there was a problem they certainly were not told – it was someone else’s job. They were no worse than anyone else. They had won awards. The media were out to get them.
WSJ on Thailand

Thailand’s Dictators in Denial
The junta takes a harder line against popular politicians.
SportsJoe(!):

LIVERPOOL FAN IN DENIAL TRIES TO PROVE THAT MARIO BALOTELLI IS A REAL GRAFTER
AzFamily:

Valley doctor worries people are in denial about measles vaccine
Are all these people making connotations to the holocaust? Seriously?

on February 4, 2015 at 5:20 pm Richard Drake
Are all these people making connotations to the holocaust? Seriously?
No, none of them are and none of us are saying that. We’re looking for something of the form “[abstract noun] d****l”. Plus explicit references to the Holocaust as people do, which are many in this case. Please see my comment preceding yours.

on February 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm verytallguy
Richard Drake,

whilst your demand for abstract nouns is rather pedantic and misses the point, I’m happy to oblige:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7948893/George-Osborne-attacks-deficit-deniers.html

Noting that Ed Miliband is Jewish and no-one accused Osborne of anything at the time.

There really is nothing to conflate the word “denier” specifically with the Holocaust.   In my opinion, for what it’s worth, it’s distasteful to do so.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm Richard Drake
There’s no doubt the pattern I’ve described has begun to be used elsewhere. I also spotted deficit d****rs, indeed I made it an entry in my personal wiki on 20th August 2010. I’m that much of a word nerd. Most of the time that stuff us simply fun. The case of Climate D***** sadly isn’t.

Because if you think that this later one-off usage (people have also mentioned AIDS d*****) is enough to wipe off the map all the examples of explicit comparison with Holocaust D****l, starting with Deborah Tannen on Jim Lehrer’s Newshour in 1998, and the fact that when Climate D***** and its variants became really trendy, around 2007, the Holocaust variant of the meme was the only other game in town and thus obviously intended as an allusion, you are clutching at anachronistic straws. Why this great felt need to be defensive? Do those that deploy this phrase not care that if they are wrong their usage has among other things served to trivialise and minimise one of the most heinous crimes in history?

on February 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm Tom Scharf
vtg,

Since we all agree the word can be used innocently and interpreted not so innocently, can those using the word innocently not find a better method to communicate their true intent? It’s hard to believe that people don’t understand this word is loaded.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm David Young
Toms point is telling. You should use terminology that is not loaded unless your purpose is to denigrate and insult. Those who use the d word do so knowing it will intimidate some into silence and is insulting to many.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Reply BBD
(Re-post. This got caught in moderation upthread because I forgot to edit the d- word in the quoted text.)

SoD

Count me with the others here who suggest that you have been conned by the re-definers of language who describe themselves as ‘sceptics’.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d_nier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
That interpretation was created by language re-definers (self-describing as ‘sceptics’, remember) who are highly adept at playing the victim for tactical advantage.

It is THEY who are guilty of what you write, not someone using the word d_nier to mean exactly what is says: someone in d_nial.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
The victim card is mostly poking the left with their own stick for entertainment purposes and nothing more. The left is hyper-sensitive to terminology when it comes to issues such as race relations, so the use of this term doesn’t live up to their own moral standards. I don’t think too many tears are really shed here.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Reply Joshua
==> “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. …It’s heartbreaking to read about the war and to read about the Holocaust. Words fail me to describe the awfulness of that regime and what they did.”

What is the point of this rhetorical flourish? To suggest that knowledge about, and sadness about, mass murder somehow reflects an inherently causal explanation for “concern” about the use of the D word in the climate wars?

Would the same logic apply for the ubiquitous comparisons of “realists” to Lysenko or Stalin or Pol Pot or McCarthy or Eugenicists or Mao or N*zis or eugenicists of my newest favorite Genghis Kahn?

In fact, I think that the overly-dramatic “outrage, outrage I say” about the use of the D word amounts to exploitation of a serious issue – holocaust D..ial – to score points in the climate wars.

None of this “concern” about the D word has anything to do with the science and, IMO, is no better than the similarly exploitative arguments that I often see from “realists”: That the D word has an authoritative and objective definition (that doesn’t include a connotation holocaust D..ial). No one actually knows the intent of someone using the D word unless the labeler stated their intent, and no one actually knows the interpreted meaning by those so labeled, except the person doing the interpretation. And from both sides, the chances are the labeler and labelee will filter their impressions through the partisan screen of the climate Jell-O fight.

IMO, the drama-queening from “skeptics” about the use of the term is pretty much equally matched from “realists” that if they don’t use the term their letting the Ders “define language.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that these discussions exchanging the same opinions happen over and over in thread after thread, with no meaningful or measurable outcome (that I can see, at least) except that perhaps people on both sides (and the same characters that bicker about this issue in blog thread after blog thread) might just be a smidgen more entrenched in their own sense of victimhoood

on February 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Reply Richard Drake
There are category errors all over this. SoD is objecting to d****r and its cognates as totally inappropriate to the science of atmospheric physics. Climate policy as currently conceived can hand significant powers to government – unelected power in the case of the EPA in the USA, from what I’ve read here in the olde country, for example. Or it can lead to crony capitalism as wealthy landowners in Britain get zero-risk handouts for allowing wind turbines to despoil our shared environment. If one has concerns about unelected power or crony capitalism one is perfectly entitled to reach into history and spot some warnings there. Politicised science is another legitimate issue and those of us concerned about it are bound to head for Lysenko or the eugenicists up to 1945. These can never be proofs of what’s happening now but they are legitimate places to go for warnings. What SoD is rightly objecting to is the Holocaust d****l analogy being applied to the science, as it so often is. Why can’t we agree on this most obvious of points?

on February 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm Joshua
Richard –

Let’s take your comment from above:

90% of my disgust is about the fact that anyone using this rhetorical device clearly doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the Holocaust.

[…]

No, we are the ones that care about those victims so much that we cannot stand for language to be abused in this way.
I think that is a very obvious overstatement, founded on fallacious reasoning. In fact, you have no logical basis on which to assert that: (1) anyone using the term “doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the holocaust,” and (2) “skeptics” as a group “care more about those victims” than “realists” as a group.

But what’s further is that you add these elements:

10% is about its incredibly harmful effect on decent, intelligent public debate of climate, science and policy.
First, you have no way of determining the impact on “intelligent public debate” of the use of that term. None. For example, how could you possibly distinguish it from the impact of so many other pejoratives sprinkled around liberally from “skeptics?” How could you distinguish he impact of that term from the polarizing politicization related to the policy implications of climate change policy? Do you really think that someone pimarily interested in “decent, intelligence public debate” would be unable to get past the use of the D-word, and to be rendered thus incapable of reasoned exchange of view?

And then you will go on to try to legitimize the comparisons to Lysenkoism (where people were imprisoned and executed) or eugenicists (whose racism laid the groundwork for the racism of Nazism), even as you decry the massive hard resulting from hyperbolic rhetoric on the part of “realists?”

Sorry, but IMO, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:54 pm Joshua
And to be clear.

I don’t defend the use of the term. I think that it’s in balance counterproductive, and I think that the argument that somehow the term is necessary in order to make progress, or that in not using the term a “realist” would be relinquishing ground and handing “skeptics” some kind of language-definition victory, are also fallacious. I see no advantage to be gained from using the term.

The term, even if used as some “realists” say that they intend it’s meaning – to suggest that “skeptics” are “in d..ial” – is basically, IMO, based on fallacious reasoning.

In my interpretation, the term essentially means that someone won’t admit openly something that they know at a deeper level to be true – perhaps because of inability to face their true feelings or perhaps because they are “motivated” by self-interest or some other goal they won’t own up to in good faith.

My sense is that most “skeptics” fully believe their arguments to be true, just as do “realists.” I think that calling them the D-word is making an argument without evidence (judging someone’s psychology or motivations without actually knowing enough about them).

And BTW – I see “skeptics” using the D-word quite a bit these days in the “skept-o-sphere” to refer to “realists,” and I have yet to see one “skeptic” jumping up to express their outrage, outrage I say.

on February 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Reply BBD
IMO, the drama-queening from “skeptics” about the use of the term is pretty much equally matched from “realists” that if they don’t use the term their letting the Ders “define language.”
But they do, Joshua. They insist on being called ‘sceptics’. Or are you d*nying that this is a key re-definition of language to their advantage? 🙂

on February 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm Richard Drake
Sceptic is just a label, one that Richard Lindzen dislikes because he thinks it implies the ‘consensus position’ we are deemed to doubt is so muddled as to not deserve this level of credence! But he’s surely talking there about dubious claimed consensus across atmospheric science, particularly high-sensitivity enhanced greenhouse, posited impacts and the appropriate policy responses. We’ll never find a label that everyone thinks is strictly correct etymologically. What this thread is about is a wholly inappropriate analogy coming in on the back of climate change d****r. If everyone agreed to eliminating that usage we’d be behaving more like compassionate human beings and that cannot but affect all aspects of a very important debate.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Reply Joshua
And SoD –

Just to be clear…your rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that your view on the use of the term “denier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of your views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “denier” in the climate wars.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Reply Joshua
And SoD –

Just to be clear…your rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that your view on the use of the term “d..ier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of your views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “d..ier” in the climate wars. Suggesting otherwise looks exploitative to me.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Reply afeman
Now I feel like anybody who asks where I work is invoking the NSDAP.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Reply Joshua
DeWitt –

While I agree with you here:

==> “Words and phrases often have semantic connotations beyond the dictionary definitions.”

I think that you carry that too far here:

==> “I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.”

An argument from incredulity?

You don’t know their intent. Why would you find it hard to believe that they might not intend the the use of the term to be any way other than your interpretation? You are turning your own statement upside down – you don’t know their intended semantic connotation.

IMO, is is clear that term is generally viewed as a pejorative and not as a descriptive term, but the connotation of “holocaust d..ial” is far from clear, and the interpretation as a pejorative is no different than the use of “alarmist” or “Lysenkoist” from many of the same players who claim concern about the putative “holocaust d..er” connotation of the D word.

Sorry – but IMO, when someone who claims concern about the D-word then turns around and uses pejorative labels with similar connotations, and like the “realists” then says in defense that they only use the term because it is accurately descriptive – I am not particularly moved.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Reply David Young
The d word is clearly a term meant to insult and draw on the associations with Holocaust denial. A scientific term? Perhaps a pseudo scientific term used by shameless activists to try to get people to censor themselves. Activists who don’t hesitate to misrepresent their own motivations and actions. You know psychological science is particularly subject to cultural prejudice.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Reply BBD
Argument from assertion, David. Wrong-o.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm DeWitt Payne
BBD,

Don’t go on a college campus in the US today thinking that the labelled one isn’t allowed to define the meaning of the label, take offense and file a formal complaint. Current campus speech codes, which I think are atrocious, do exactly that.

And it wasn’t an argument from incredulity. It was an opinion. I’m not trying to prove anything.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm JCH
There’s this category. They’ll say anything to win.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm Tom Scharf
DeWitt,

Stop it with your micro-aggressions.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Reply Nathan
Rubbish, this is a claim you cannot prove.
English is an evolving language.

People are using the Holocaust here as a weapon, it’s revolting.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Reply Windchasers
SOD: great post. But I think you’re half-hitting, half-missing the point.

I’ve been in quite a few arguments about AGW lately with friends and groups on Facebook. Some of these are old debate partners, so I know where they stand on the issue, and I know I have no hope of convincing them, so I’ve moved on to better understanding their epistemology, their reasoning behind why they believe what they believe. There’s more going on than just not understanding the science.

Here’s the point: most of us don’t understand the science of most fields. Why doubt this field? Why doubt the scientific result of *any* field, for that matter, if you lack expertise there?

The “skeptics” tend to have a few traits in common:
1a) Fiercely independent. Their default is to distrust and view suspiciously subjects they don’t understand for themselves.
1b) They tend to have more belief in their own competence, rather than doubting their own competence/knowledge and giving the scientists the benefit of the doubt.
2) They tend to be ideologically opposed to the perceived consequences of AGW: more government involvement.

1b is a reason I see a lot fewer full-time scientists who reject AGW. If you’ve gotten a PhD, you usually realize just how little you actually knew about your own field before hand, and by analogy, how little you know about other fields. You realize the depth of your incompetence. So you know that you can’t critically analyze the claims of those fields without a helluva lot of work – unless, of course, that most of the scientists in that field are just idiots, which would be a rather bold stance to take. More likely, if a result looks obviously bad, you don’t actually understand it well. In my experience, when I dig into the subject, this tends to be verified.

This attitude is not what I normally see from the AGW skeptics. Rather, it’s the precise opposite: “the scientists are idiots, and I’m easily able to pick apart the flaws in their work”.

The point is that *none* of us are able to actually fully study and critically analyze all of the sub-fields of climate science. We lack the time and expertise. So the question becomes “what’s your default stance?” Is it one of incredulity, or that the scientists know what they’re talking about?

I’m an “alarmist”, not because I believe that climate scientists have exhaustively explored every single possibility that could refute AGW, but because I can grasp the basic science, and because most of the “debunkings” that I see from skeptics don’t look very solid. Which tells you that my default stance is somewhere between agnosticism and trusting the scientists.

TL;DR: When it’s too hard to show people “proof” that they can really grok, they tend to fall back to some sort of default stance, predicated by other positions.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
Windchasers,

I’m fully hitting my own point. But not hitting your point at all.

Most of this blog is dealing with people confused about the basics. Many of them are fully convinced they have a firm grasp of the subject. I agree with you. I find it hilarious.

Still, many people want to understand the strength of a position. I think that’s why the IPCC reports exist – instead of a 1 page press release, saying “we know what we are doing” they wrote quite a lot (must be a few thousand pages in WG1). And that’s a good thing.

If you take any field, the experts are going to understand the subject way better than you and me. Of course.

But – and here’s the small fly in the ointment – if they are extremely convinced of something, does it mean it is true?

I could take economics as an example. Nate Silver does a great job in his book, The Signal and the Noise, which I recommend, of comparing economists forecasts with reality (among other topics). The forecasts, and the uncertainty around the forecast provided by economists, do not compare well with reality.

How can Nate Silver be so arrogant – he’s not an economist – to compare economists predictions and uncertainty calculations with reality? What does he know about economics?

But many people are interested in the result. Economics and climate are both important in our future. And it’s not just “skeptics” who are over-confident in their ability.

That doesn’t mean I believe climate scientists are “wrong” or that “skeptics” are right. I refer you to all the other articles in this blog for demonstration of this. I’m very impressed with most climate science work.

When I look at something like say paleoclimate they are truly (literally and figuratively) digging under every rock looking for new evidence and looking for ways to check previous calculations and estimates.

I started this blog because I’m interested in climate, because I have questions that I wanted to research, and because so many people have legitimate* questions – but are insulted instead of answered on blogs where people do know physics.

Although to be fair it’s only after they commit the cardinal sin of questioning the answer, or of generally not accepting the “right” answer at face value first time when they get insulted.

Oh sorry, I thought this was the climate blog.
No, this is the insulting room, down the hall, 3rd left.
– Monty Python allusion.. for fans.

[* legitimate = it’s a reasonable question to ask even if the answer is already published in a journal and not in doubt, even if the answer is already clear for 100 years in textbooks and not in doubt].

on February 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm Windchasers
I’m fully hitting my own point. But not hitting your point at all.
+1. I’ve had the issues of epistemology on my mind a lot lately, so I read your post in light of that, and ignored all the d-word stuff (which I personally don’t really care about).

But – and here’s the small fly in the ointment – if they are extremely convinced of something, does it mean it is true?
Of course the answer is “it depends”. If I want to judge the results in another field, I look to how rigorous the methodologies are that underlie the expert’s opinions, and I see how well they can falsify alternative hypotheses and remove the effects of confounding factors. Fields where these are harder to do tend to progress more slowly (e.g., economics or medicine).

Repeatibility is another aspect of trust, of course. I might trust a verified study of the effect of some drug on rats, more than a non-verified study of the drug’s effect on humans.

But ideally, all of these issues should factor into the experts’ confidence, too, if they’re objective and if they’re any good. Good scientists recognize the limits of their work’s significance and certainty.

I started this blog because I’m interested in climate, because I have questions that I wanted to research, and because so many people have legitimate* questions – but are insulted instead of answered on blogs where people do know physics.
I appreciate this blog. Just wanted to let you know.

About 15 years ago, I was working through my views on evolution vs creationism, and similar blogs like Panda’s Thumb really helped me. There were some insults thrown my way, sure, but it was mostly fair insults, saying “do your DD. Here are some links”.

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but at the same time, I can understand frustration with those who form strong opinions before they get educated, and particularly so if they’re resistant to changing those opinions when new data comes along. But that’s another subject.

In any case, it’s important to have somewhere where the data is laid out in a way that people can easily understand it, and (hopefully) in a neutral, friendly, not-emotionally-charged setting.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
“They tend to have more belief in their own competence”

Not really. What they believe is that if the communicator is not able to deliver what they believe to be a convincing argument, then possibly the argument needs further investigation and the benefit of the doubt is not given. When the primary thrust for a conclusion is an argument from authority it doesn’t help.

When the subject in question is environmental science which has a very checkered history on the reliability of their conclusions and an overly zealous activist movement, it doesn’t help.

When the first deep dive you take is an investigation into the mathematics of the Hockey Stick which made the IPCC cover, it doesn’t help.

When the further down you look into items such as extreme events, extinctions, and sea level rise, and you find that the science is being overstated by the media, it doesn’t help.

When the science allegedly has a high risk to society, but nuclear, fracking, and hydro are taken off the table by those most alarmed, it doesn’t help.

Most of the science is reasonable, much of how it is interpreted and reported by politicians, activists, and the media is not.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Reply Roddy
verytallguy, I looked up on Wikipedia examples of ‘something denial’ as a phrase. Only found three in common usage, Climate d, AIDS/HIV d, and Genocide/Holocaust d, so the objections to its use can’t just be waved away by saying it is an ordinary word.

see the ‘See also’ section at the bottom of the entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

on February 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
In an earlier comment I’ve responded on how the d term is used or not.

It’s a completely different subject (from the main point of this article) to discuss more general use of insulting terms, but seeing as I have opened up the article for more general debate..

There is a huge range of opinion that is tarred with the ‘d..r’ insult. I’m sure we can all agree that it is not meant as a compliment. Perhaps those applying it are calmly thinking it’s just a statement of fact (leaving aside the issue of its relationship – or not – to the Holocaust).

Leaving aside another completely different point about whether insulting people is a good overall strategy in a large political debate (obviously it has pros and cons from the point of view of “winning” when we are not concerned about good taste and etiquette)..

There is an interesting point about the range of ideas that are tarred with being from ‘d..rs’ – everything from not knowing the absolute basics of radiation through to much more complex topics. This is picking up the comment from stevefitzpatrick earlier.

A lot of people, including myself, actually worked in environments which used finite element analysis (models) to solve engineering and physics problems. In my case it was a long time ago and semiconductor physics but the principles are the same.

From the very small pool of people I know, those who have a good, or excellent, understanding of models are more skeptical of GCM outputs than those who have no understanding of how models work.

How can this be?

From the many comments on this blog and other blogs that I have read, many people who question the % likelihood of GCM outputs being correct are doing so from the experience of working with real models. Not from being in denial of basic science. (Of course, there is a huge volume of comments from people questioning GCMs because they have no idea about the absolute basics – see this blog for evidence).

Questioning the reliability of a complex model is not denying basic science. Unless – and I only realized this just now – GCMs have solved the problems that beset other modeling endeavors.

In my very out of date case, back in the dark ages, the model would predict, for example, if we etch this shape on the edge of the silicon, and cover it with this much oxide, the p-n junction will break down at this voltage. They break down at the edge – so edge effects are the most important, and there the slope, overall shape and thickness of dieletric are all important. Then we wait a few weeks while we, or others, make samples (doping junctions at high temperatures in furnaces, acid etching, growing oxides in furnaces, wearing ‘bunny suits’).

The voltage breakdown of the new samples turns out to be quite a bit lower than predicted, which is bad. The modeling guys play around with the parameters in the model. Now the model matches reality. Great, next prediction with our revised model is – we etch this shape, use this much oxide and voila!

Except voila never came.

The model was never great at predicting what to do next. And we were just using electric field theory in a 3-d grid and whatever equations related to how the p-n junction worked (none of which I would have any recollection of now). That’s pretty simple stuff.

By comparison, fluid mechanics, necessary in climate models, is proven to be a much harder problem (for reasons clear to those who understand non-linear equations and modeling).

One of the key problems was obtaining knowledge of parameters. Papers in the field gave ranges of empirical parameters but using those never gave the right future values. On the other hand, finding parameter values so that recent experiments lined up with model results was pretty much a breeze. Predicting the future was harder.

The people who had to produce the results didn’t have a lot of confidence in the models. The people who worked on the models believed in the value of the models.

We gradually improved products really through trial and error, with knowledge of the basic physics of electric field breakdown at a boundary as the guide to what to try next.

Of course, none of this has any relevance to climate science so I don’t know why I brought it up (Richard T – satire alert).

None of this means climate models are a waste of time, or can’t tell us anything. GCMs are invaluable.

Unfortunately, in the excitement of the polarized, invective-laden atmosphere of climate science debate, everyone not 100% in agreement with “the right camp” is labeled with the same terms as those who hilariously believe the last 100 years of physics is “all wrong”, or can’t do basic maths and “use” this skill to “prove something” about climate.

But none of that was the reason for writing the article. It was probably listening to my history book – The Coming of the Third Reich.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Reply Windchasers
I’m in materials modeling, actually, so I also have some experience with non-chaotic modeling.

On the one hand, I can say that modeling has come a long way in the last 20 years. On the other hand, we still frequently push out too far, with too little understanding of the accuracy of the parameters or the model. In materials we have a long way to go in bridging lengthscales from top to bottom, and that seems to also hold in climate modeling.

But the efficacy of modeling is extremely problem-dependent. If the problem is well-formulated and the results primarily depend on well-understood subparts, then the modeling can produce amazing insights. As the quality of the parameters and their interactions decreases, so does the quality of the results.

Remember “all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

So of course the models are imperfect, and have problems. The question is whether these problems affect the results that we’re looking for. (Also, would we know if the problems did, and furthermore, can we quantify these problems’ effects on our result?)

But many of the “skeptics” I talk to don’t care about that question. They see a problem in the models’ results, any problem, and they assume that it’s deadly for the results, without actually thinking through whether it matters and how much.

I’m not happy with the climate models right now. I’m far from satisfied. But I don’t yet see any evidence that they’re missing something extra and important, something that would change the main results.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm stevefitzpatrick
Sod,
“From the very small pool of people I know, those who have a good, or excellent, understanding of models are more skeptical of GCM outputs than those who have no understanding of how models work.

How can this be?”

As you note, part of the skepticism is due to experience with modeling, but part is due to experience working on difficult and not fully understood problems in a ‘noisy’ (in an informational sense) environment. The final part is that the models have pretty consistently predicted far more warming than observed. Taken together, these things tell me that the models are very unlikely able to make accurate long term predictions. I find empirical estimates of sensitivity far more convincing.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Reply Richard Drake
Profoundly useful reminiscence and reflection SoD. One of the many things most deployers of the D-word won’t do is say who definitely lies outside its mocking scope.

“Of course I don’t include Lindzen…”
“McIntyre is annoying but he’s not denying basic physics…”
“Richard Tol is bad at spotting irony but…”

It a catch-all, for anyone who disagrees with Climate Central and their issue-de-jour. At that point it really becomes rather ridiculous. Oh, apart from those who had to go through the real Holocaust. They’ve been trivialised once again but do we care? Nope, we having too much fun winding up anyone who doubts the output of a GCM or anything downstream from there.

On a scale of 1 to 10 of impressing the ‘other side’ by the quality of your argument mark me down as number unobtainable.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Reply Gator
GCMs are not the reason people believe the earth is warming. If your friends are using their previous experiences with bad models as an excuse to ignore basic science, then yes, they are d’s. CO2 absorbs IR. CO2 is increasing. That increase is caused by human activities. We have observed a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2. Where do the models fit in?

There is a question of how much temperature will increase in the coming years; there is a question of what affect that increase will have. If only the discussion were focused on these questions!

D’s are people that d**y the basic science, usually for some BS reason like “well, my models never worked” but really because “don’t raise my taxes!”

on February 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm scienceofdoom
Gator,

The point is a bit more subtle. My friends and acquaintances who understand models are very scientifically literate and none of them doubt CO2 as a GHG, or that the earth is warming, or that CO2 is a principal cause.

Where do models come in?

If you read chapter 11 of IPCC AR5 you will see that models are necessary for attribution.

The comparison is of model simulations with GHG increases vs model simulation without GHG increases. I wrote two articles about this, referenced in this article. Here is the later one.

This is how the determination is made of, as you describe “..a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2..”

You are free to attribute motives or political agendas to people who ask questions or claim something different from consensus climate science in this [non-standard] article – but in the rest of the blog we stay away from it, as described in the Etiquette.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm Climate Weenie
“If you read chapter 11 of IPCC AR5 you will see that models are necessary for attribution. ”

Not just attribution.

Manabe-Strickler demonstrated that without convection, the atmosphere radiates less effectively than with convection. The non-radiative transfer of heat in part determines the resulting radiative transfer to space.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:12 am Gator
SOD, if what you say is true, then the people you are talking about are not d*n*rs. But if they are really so involved and so interested, I would hope they are actually reading the papers and questioning results. In my experience, that is not common. Many people will go straight from “I know models” to “global warming is crap.”

So your friends really have in-depth discussions about attribution and technical issues in modeling? Or do they just say — attribution requires modeling, I know modeling, it’s hard — I don’t believe it.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:49 am steven
“We have observed a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2.”

Unless of course there was a change in poleward ocean heat transport according to this literature:

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~brose/page1/files/Rose_Ferreira_JClim2013.pdf

http://water.columbia.edu/files/2011/11/Seager2005OceanHeat.pdf

So tell me, is the Gulf Stream an indicator of poleward ocean heat transport or an anomaly and how do you know?

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n6/fig_tab/ncomms1901_F5.html

on February 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Reply David Young
SOD, This is my situation too. I’m actively working in CFD and mathematics used to solve PDE’s. That’s why my experience with being called a denie was so insulting. It was simply a lie and an insult.

I have learned a lot from climate blogs especially yours!! CFD can learn from atmospheric sciences too.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:06 pm scienceofdoom
David Young,

I would be very interested in a poll of researchers who are actively involved in modeling in fluid dynamics (outside climate science). There must be a lot – it’s a big field with aeronautics, heat exchangers and lots of high value research.

“How reliable do you believe climate model predictions of future temperature are, assuming the various scenarios for GHG emissions are correct – at 20 years, 50 years and 100 years?”

There’s probably a few more questions that could usefully be added.

I have no idea what the results would be but I wonder if there would be less confidence in the reliability of climate model predictions than the generally scientifically literate population. (Whatever that means, maybe I have to downgrade my wish to the general population).

Maybe someone has already done this?

And a note for concerned heretic watchers new to this blog – I have no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am omnologos
Sad isn’t it when both SoD and Kloor find it necessary to go for brownie points, and clarify, clarify and clarify again that they ARE part of the Good Guys Brigade indeed, and have NO DOUBTS about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

You are missing a very important point.

I have been labelled a D many many times. I have even collected all the insults received during a brief period in the Greenfyre blog

http://omnologos.com/the-agw-debate-challenged-game-1-word-list/

The insults haven’t gone away…they just resurface whenever I say anything in “warmist” blogs.

What’s the issue? The issue is that in my About page there is a text from 2007 where I clearly state that I have no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

It’s from eight years ago. Yet the “concerned heretic watchers” would not and will not accept my membership of the Good Guys Brigade.

And who wrote that text? Why, Willis Eschenbach of WUWT fame. This should obviously and clearly and definitely destroy Kloor’s defense. WUWT is not the Very Bad Place he tried to describe in order to get brownie points.

Know what, the vituperated Bishop Hill has a blog owner who I suspect would subscribe to the same – that is, he has no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years. There is a category of self-style Lukewarmers: Ridley, Lomborg, Lawson among them.

However, as seen countless times and for at least seven years and again in this thread, and about Ridley and Lomborg and Lawson, this does not matter. The people who utter the D word do not care about what the objects of their ires actually think: because the issue is not one’s opinion on the GHG properties of CO2, and not even what the temperature record says, or what the equations may indicate, or how good the numerical solutions we call Models are.

The issue for those who want/need to use the D word has been indicated by the Guardian some time ago: a skeptic is somebody who thinks at least some of the alarming claims made about climate change are exaggerated.

Conversely, a Believer is somebody who thinks no alarming claim is exaggerated.

In other words, a Believer does see the world as destined to a fiery and burning death. With the catastrophe approaching, anybody who doesn’t agree we’re a few years away from total collapse of civilization and more, is put in the D category.

You guys, (SoD and Kloor) are hovering about, almost ready to fall in the B camp. Maybe you should make it clear to yourselves and to your readers.

Are some claims of what is going to happen about global warming and climate change, exaggerated?

on February 5, 2015 at 3:16 am David Young
Yes, SOD, such a survey would be interesting. What I’ve found in my decade long journey into uncertainty in fluid dynamics is that there are 2 distinct classes of scientists.

The first class is not too familiar with the technical details but perhaps uses the codes or perhaps sells the codes. There is a strong positive results bias in the CFD literature that I instinctively knew was there 35 years ago. In the last decade, we’ve documented it carefully and will have a new statistical analysis coming out this year sometime. Basically, the CFD literature is very misleading. There is a large class of people who believe the literature is representative of actual code performance, especially outsiders and non-scientists. They are mistaken.

The second class is those who actually write the codes and the engineers who are actually accountable for the performance of real products. This class includes virtually all turbulence modelers, who are as a group quite clever and rather honest. They know all about the problems and issues, but I’ve found that even in this class there is a bias that the codes and methods are better than they really are. I’ve made at least a score of converts in this camp in the last decade though. These people are generally honest and have high integrity.

The real question is will I be able to complete this program of work before I face my inevitable departure from this interesting and fun world.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Reply Nathan
So please, give an example where someone who was genuinely skeptical was called a ‘D’

on February 5, 2015 at 12:40 am David Young
Did you read the responses, Nathan? I am an example. It was at Keithe Kloor’s a year or so ago. It was pretty nasty and unpleasant.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
I think everyone agrees that this is probably one of the most difficult modeling problems around. How much we can trust these predictions is a big question.

I think models this complex require an iterative process of code – test – analyze results to become significantly better.

I know it is against the rules to bring up weather modeling, but I have watched with great interest the evolution of hurricane tracking models over the last 20 years. I live in Florida. 20 years ago they were pretty poor, and their tracks were only useful up to a 24 hour threshold. Today they give reliable cones 3 days out.

How do I know I can trust these models? Because they perform against observations over and over and over. (Note: Hurricane strength predictions are still poor).

How did they get better? They examine every track against observations and determine where the model went wrong and what the most important parameters are. They do it iteratively, they didn’t just lock themselves in a room for 20 years thinking great math thoughts. I’d feel a lot better about climate predictions if they had 500 years of detailed observations in the bank.

In this view, we are on climate model v1.0. Unfortunately the iteration loop time is probably 50 years. How good is v1.0? I have no idea and I don’t sense other people do either. Good enough to say more CO2 = higher temperatures? Very likely. Good enough to say it will be +3C instead of +1.5C by 2100? Doubtful. Good enough to tell the Audubon Society that 50% of North American birds will go extinct? Very unlikely.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm scienceofdoom
Tom Scharf,

I know it is against the rules to bring up weather modeling..
Really? No, it’s not.

In fact we looked at weather forecasting in Ensemble Forecasting.

One of the most interesting points is that weather forecasts for some time now have been run as ensemble forecasts (with slightly different initial conditions and also slightly different parameters) – then the % likelihood of events are recorded. Later the % forecast of events is compared with the % of events that took place.

So, if we run 100 ensembles and get 5 with the chance of a severe storm, the severe storm is forecast at 5% probability. Then there is a plot of % forecast vs % actual – which should result in a straight line: 5% probability events happen 5% of the time, 20% probability events happen 20% of the time and so on.

The “under-confidence” or “over-confidence” of the models is then identified and the work of resolving the problems takes place.

What is important is that running 1 model simulation with the “best observations” as starting points and the “best estimate of parameters” does definitely a worse job than an ensemble forecast.

For one thing, it can’t identify the probability of an extreme event (because there is only 1 outcome in the simulation). But also, it doesn’t get such good results even in the more normal cases.

Weather forecasting is much easier than climate modeling because we can test the results.

Climate modeling is intended to produce statistics of weather. I question the length of time necessary for the statistics to converge – as explained in Natural Variability and Chaos – Four – The Thirty Year Myth.

I believe asking questions about these kind of things is a good idea.

And a lot of these kinds of questions are articulated by climate scientists in their papers – although I haven’t seen this one expressed like this.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am Tom Scharf
I’m only joking, if you make analogies between how chaos limits weather modeling and how this might also limit climate models you typically get shouted down in a lot of forums. I have read all your modeling post and learned quite a lot. The statistics of chaotic systems with the pendulum was very interesting.

I think they do much the same thing with ensembles and hurricane forecasts. The spaghetti plots of predicted hurricane tracks for different models is one of the most useful things they do. It is so useful that they routinely show it on local television weather forecasts. You can intuitively quickly determine if the models are in tight agreement and that usually indicates higher reliability.

The 7 day out models are actually pretty reliable for if a hurricane will make landfall or be a fish storm. This would have been hopeless 20 years ago. They are still terrible at hurricane season prediction.

This is actually one of the reasons I started looking into this subject. After Katrina Florida insurance rates spiked immediately when they stopped using historical disaster costs and instead relied on climate models which predicted more frequent and stronger storms. That hasn’t been a successful prediction so far.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Reply toby52
I have “debated” with both climate science deniers and Holocaust deniers, and there are many traits spookily in common.

Mostly, there is a pronounced to seize on a small corner of the evidence and thrash it to death (growth of Antarctic sea ice, or differences in eyewitness accounts of Treblinka)

Another is to talk about large myths, especially conspiracy theories – green scientists are conspiring to introduce Communism by the back door, or the Jews own all the newspapers and media so control the news etc.

To be “in denial” is an accepted term – like the alcoholic who won’t admit a drinking problem, or the spouse who won’t face the obvious fact that their partner is a cheat. These are the ones who cannot face the consequences of accepting unpleasant facts – Holocaust deniers cannot face the fact that anti-Semitism can have and had genocidal consequences. The evasion of climate change deniers has already been mentioned.

There are vaccine deniers, Moon landing hoaxers and Kennedy assassination obsessives who are in a similar boat. Call a spade a spade, and a denier a denier.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Reply Richard Drake
You may see common traits, that’s your prerogative. But has it never occured to you that you may be trivialising the Holocaust if you use Climate D****r? Conspiracist is a useful word. Crazy conspiracist sometimes fits the bill. But as SoD put it:

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
Despite your obvious and principled contempt for those you have run into who express doubt on aspects of climate science and policy that you feel you understand much better than they do, did not this paragraph give you any pause for thought?

on February 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Reply roddycampbell
This is the first blog I’ve read on SoD, and the entertainment value was high, the points quite subtle, and the author’s comments in this section really good. Bookmarked!

on February 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
roddycampbell,

Thankyou.
Unfortunately, you might find the rest of the blog to be very dull. Full of science and no discussion of motives. Let’s see.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
It’s funny to blacklist d-e-n-i-e-r when invoking the holocaust at all is an indirect way of dropping the d word.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
I found that Keith Kloor has written a Collide-a-Scape article and referenced this.

I always appreciate his work and this one is (thank goodness) no exception.

I also saw in the comments that someone has referenced a page of cherry-picked quotations that helpfully backs my original claim so, of course, I’m highlighting it.

Thank goodness, rescued.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Reply Richard Drake
The same list of quotations republished by Watts Up With That, SoD, of which I said earlier:

Seeking to squirm out by saying you mean less than Holocaust denial is less than convincing given the extent of this history and the dearth of examples of people like yourself calling out those in your own camp who have made the analogy absolutely explicit. See WUWT last year for some useful examples if you want to make a start in putting this right.
May I reiterate this point. The claim from many here is that when they use the D-word it has nothing to do with the Holocaust. But why not? Presumably because they agree with you that such a comparison between two such different categories of error would be repugnant. And, if so, surely they can at once point to the times and places where they publicly complained about the many explicit comparisons listed by Popular Technology.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Reply Shub Niggurath
I find the article highly biased and lacking in depth.

This is Kloor’s characterization of WUWT/BH/JN:

consistent ideological bias
skepticism that runs in only one direction
slanted criticism,
marred by conspicuous omissions
selective use of facts.
overall tone is hostile
conspiratorial.
not true skepticism
confirmation bias masquerading as skepticism
No skepticism whatsoever,
no critical thinking skills
“climate skeptics”
not true skeptics
don’t think skeptically
captive to their ideologically-driven biases

In support of this characterization, Kloor offers a topic he researched but they did not but linked to in passing.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am Joshua
I think Shub gets some stuff right in this comment (although certainly not all)..but what Shub doesn’t get is that Keith has a special magic that makes his name-calling effective while everyone else’s is counterproductive.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:03 am | Reply Nathan
Those quotes are where people have linked the two; something I think is pointless and stupid. But the fact that they had to spell it out undermines the idea that simply using the D word means you are linking it to Holocaust D.

Claiming that using the D-word implies you are linking it to Holocaust D appears to be a syllogism; and that’s a pretty weak (if not the weakest) form of logic.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Reply eli
The last holocaust survivor in Elis family died a few months ago, so forgive Eli for not taking the beats of those trying to rule out using a perfectly good and accurate label for their ostrich act.

However, how about rejectionist. Perfectly accurate for those who reject science including the anticancer and those who reject climate science

on February 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Reply Brandon Shollenberger
The people defending the use of “denier” in the global warming debate generally won’t be open about how the word has been used in said debate. They’ll often divert the discussion into uses of “denial,” a different word or find other ways to say there is no reason to make an association with the Holocaust.

There are two central problems to this. First, it is abundantly clear the association exists given people’s reactions. Even if people don’t think “denier” should be associated with the Holocaust, it is clear it is in the minds of at least some people. People defending the use of the word never seem to recognize this. When confronted with it, they often say it is nothing but a dishonest ploy to trick people. You can see such in a number of responses to this post.

The second problem is people have intentionally associated global warming “deniers” with Holocaust deniers. I remember back in 2007 people complaining when Ellen Goodman said:

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.
That was in the Boston Globe. Just last year, we had the Guardian publish an article which said:

And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
And people like Chris Mooney lament the lack of cooperation from journalists in pushing the “right” scientific messages, saying:

Rather, in each and every story, journalists have to make a judgment about how credible their sources are. The obvious reductio ad absurdum is Holocaust deniers: Should their perspective be provided, for “balance,” any time someone writes about the Holocaust? Of course not.
George Monbiot once said:

Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.
DeSmogBlog, a favorite resource of some of the very people we’ve seen respond to this post denying any association between “denier” and Holocaust once said:

These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.
Jim Powell, whose work on studying the global warming “conensus” helped spark the infamouse Skeptical Science paper on the subject published a book which said:

Those who abjure global warming are not skeptics; they are deniers. To call them skeptics is to debase language as much as to call the Ku Klux Klan “prejudiced,” Holocaust deniers “biased,” or Flat-Earthers “mistaken.
There are many more examples, and I limited myself to people creating explicit associations. I didn’t even touch on the constant references to Nazis/World War II. Distasteful ones like the Skeptical Science Hiroshima app may be excused, but we have people like the head of the IPCC, Richard Pachuri, demonizing people by saying things like:

If you were to accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.
People intentionally associated global warming “deniers” with Holocaust deniers. It’s been explicitly done in popular media and by science communicators in the global warming arena. It’s accepted enough they are willing to put it in books. Even the head of the IPCC compares people he dislikes to Hitler.

The association is real. The association was intentional. The association is disgusting, and it disgusting people continue to defend it.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am | Reply Nathan
Sure, where people make the link it’s pretty revolting, but to claim that the D-Word IMPLIES an association with Holocaust D is poor logic.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
There are others that deny that temperature trends are less than Hansen testimony:

The IPCC quickly changed its tune in AR5 ( by adjusting scenarios ) so they would have to deny that temperature trends were less than the 1.8C per century low end trend of AR4.

Others deny that hot spot is a failure of the model dynamics.

Others deny that carbon dioxide enhances plant growth and crop yields.

Others deny that globally, drought appears to be declining:

There is plenty of denial

on February 4, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Reply Nathan
So what?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:03 am Climate Weenie
Indeed.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Reply Keith Klor
Joshua writes:
“What is the point of this rhetorical flourish? To suggest that knowledge about, and sadness about, mass murder somehow reflects an inherently causal explanation for “concern” about the use of the D word in the climate wars?”

Just when I think your trolling can’t reach greater heights, you always surprise me, Joshua.

SoD: Great post. Spurred me to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Reply Shub Niggurath
Your article contains a barrage of ad hominem shots at skeptical blogs. The thrust of your conclusion is that people need to re-consider calling climate skeptics names because they – the name-callers – would not look good to ‘fence-sitters and lurkers’, i.e., argument from consequence.

Knowing the history of the term and knowing how it came into use in the climate, as Shollenberger recounts above, how did you find yourself hesitating to come up with an unequivocal condemnation?

on February 4, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Reply Joshua
Glad I can still impress you, Keith.

I remember back when you highlighted one of my comments from Judith’s over at your bog – when you were similarly impressed. In fact, called you it “brilliant’ (or something like that).

In fact, you felt so positive about my views that you sent me a personal email(s?) telling me how much you respected my views.

Of course, that’s before I disagreed with you on some issues – most specifically your use of name-calling in your posts about GMOs, and in response you started in with name-calling toward me, and calling me a “troll.”

The message I conveyed in that comment at Judith’s – the one that you wrote a post about – was actually very similar to the one I just expressed w/r/t to SoD’s post.

Look at Richard Drake’s comment from above:

90% of my disgust is about the fact that anyone using this rhetorical device clearly doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the Holocaust.
I think that there was a similar tone to SoD’s original post – as if somehow calling someone a “denier” meant that they didn’t understand or appreciate the history of the holocaust. I disagree with the implication.

If it wasn’t the implication of his rhetorical flourish – where he started by describing his interest in the topic – and I was wrong, then he’ll get over it. I made it clear that I have no reason to believe that his views about the holocaust are anything but sincere.

It reminds me of when Ridley began an article where he accused environmental researchers as a class of being corrupt, by a discussion about how he’s always been a champion of science (as if those who disagree with his views aren’t).

What cracks me up about you, Keith, is that you often hand-wring about the impact of name-calling even as you regularly name-call yourself. Nice way of showing your concern about the use of the D-word – by using the T-word.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Reply Joshua
Also interesting that here:

http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94485

This T-word makes an argument very similar to the one that you highlighted on your blog post.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Reply cgs
I really, really enjoyed this post, because many times I run through the same process in my mind. “Start with the GHG theory, and etc.” I typically mull over a few more steps, such as “We have data that shows CO2 is increasing; we know this CO2 is ours because of the relative abundances of isotopes; part of the attribution analysis must consider the apparent cooling of the stratosphere and the warming of the troposphere, and etc.”

A big thumbs-up to your entire blog! I very much like the tone you set.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Reply SmallChange
On a BAU emissions path (i.e., RCP8.5), by the end of the 21st century… which is going to have been worse? The holocaust of WW2? Or the global climate holocaust?

The challenge is with those who seem to think the latter isn’t possible, when the overwhelming body of research tells us there is a very high likelihood of it occurring.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Reply billovitch
Here’s another recent example of a noun in apposition with “denial”, of the type Richard Darke claims is a trend with its origins in the term “holocaust denial (on the somewhat dubious evidence of some dude sounding off on the Bishop Hill blog) :

http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2014/08/21/god-denier-richard-dawkins-in-trouble-over-tweets-urging-downs-syndrome-abortions/

So the Jewish Business News is calling Dawkins a God – denier. Hmm, are they trivialising the holocaust here?

Maybe out of kindness to those who feel that whether of not people are actually making a comparison with holocaust denial when they use the word or its cognates in other contexts we should seek to regard the term as POLITICALLY INCORRECT. Funny, though, that those who are hostile to the idea of AGW being a significant problem for mankind tend to have a strong hostility towards “political correctness”.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Reply billovitch
Oops, that should be “Richard Drake”

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am | Reply Eamon
Looking at Google Ngram for the years 1980-2008 I find that the word “denier” is referenced at least 200 times more than “holocaust denier”.

This does not indicate that the two words are synonymous.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:14 am | Reply Climate Weenie
How about ‘hysteric’?

That’s what I think about the emotional reaction many have global warming – hysteria.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:49 am Eamon
On NGram hysteric has a general lead over denier, but then again hysteric can be an adjective as well as an identifier.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:22 am | Reply billovitch
Here’s an idea. How about using the term AGW-dismisser or climate change-dismisser. It would cover all those who think that, on the basis of what we know, AGW can be dismissed as a significant problem, This would include the various contributors to this discussion who certainly don’t d**y that there has been some warming but claim that we know too little to justify any action on the matter.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:13 am | Reply Climate Weenie
Yes.

Recent decades warming is at around 1.5K per century – a rate which also occurred from 1910-1945.

But what of it?

Most disaster scenarios are NOT scientific and along the lines of children worried about monsters under the bed ( since we’re invoking Nazis here ).

No matter how many times one shines the light under the bed, the child reverts to the monster when left to their thoughts.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:24 am | Reply About the Holocaust and Climate Change skepticism | Omnologos
[…] comment posted at the SoD and Keith Kloor‘s […]

on February 5, 2015 at 12:42 am | Reply Frank
SOD: Many consensus climate scientists refuse to publicly debate skeptical scientists. They claim that this spreads misinformation to many (especially reflexive right-wingers, rebels, simple-minded contrarians, etc.) and provides skeptics with undeserved attention and status. I don’t accept these arguments. However, if I substitute “Holocaust den1al” for “climate change den1al”, I these arguments may have some validity. If a few crackpots try to get publicity for the former, are they entitled to the same kind of full public debate that climate skeptics would like to see? If not, who decides whether public debate is warranted? It appears as if the CAGW consensus has succeeded in equating these two positions and suppressing debate.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:35 am | Reply SmallChange
Your use of (C)AGW reveals your position here. The “catastrophic” aspect of AGW is a function of the emissions path we choose.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:16 am Climate Weenie
So if there were some level of warming, and no adverse impact, would you care?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:18 am | Reply Climate Weenie
So, warming rates are less than the low end projections.
Findings of harm don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny.
These are things that need to be part of the discussion.

on February 5, 2015 at 5:00 am | Reply Tom Scharf
I suppose the question is whether they believe a public debate would improve one side’s position or not. The fact that team science appears to believe a public debate would not strengthen their position is a bit curious. I think they are comfortable with their current appeal to authority and debating themselves through the normal academic channels. That’s fine, but one shouldn’t gripe about what the public’s view is if you are not willing to engage critics.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:21 am | Reply Sou
Why is it that a perfectly good word which is defined by the flagship English language dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary, as follows:

D…r – noun
A person who denies something, especially someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
a prominent d…r of global warming
a climate change d…r

…is purloined by people for whatever purpose.

I probably can’t even post a link to the definition as it seems the word is so reviled here that it disallows it being printed. Just Google the word + Oxford Dictionary and select definition 2.

This article is most unfortunate. It is wrong in so many ways. Not just in the abuse of the English language (a wrong definition of the word “d…r”) but in a mistaken appreciation of what it *means* to reject climate science, and a mistaken understanding of what it *takes* to accept or reject climate science.

One doesn’t have to know how to work out equations to accept climate science any more than one has to understand the intricacies of biology to accept evolution, or the details of geology to appreciate the age of the world, or the ins and outs of modern physics to accept that there are tiny particles, or an in-depth understanding of the immune system to accept or reject the value of vaccines.

People reject climate science for all sorts of reasons, but only very, very rarely would it be because they find equations too complex. Social science tells us that it is much more likely to be because it is incompatible with a person’s world view and/or their ideology. Many people pretend to reject climate science because they have a vested interest in doing so (and/or because it is part of their job description) – such as the professional disinformers (who feed off science d…rs).

This article seriously detracts from the blog, which is a shame, because otherwise you have some very good articles here, SoD, for people who *are* interested in the mathematics of climate science.

There are already way too many apologists for people who wilfully reject climate science to the detriment of society. It is dismaying that you seek to fan the flames now, SoD, just when the US tide could be starting to turn in favour of science.

Why did you do it?

on February 5, 2015 at 3:28 am | Reply David Young
Good grief, Sou, what a litany of superficial and unscientific nonsense. Did you read Brandon Schollenberter’s comment about the association and how it has become established by common usage in the press?

Who is apologizing for anyone? Some people are wrong on a whole host of issues. Some people sympathized with the enemy during the civil war. Abraham Lincoln’s approach was far more effective and humane than the approach of the radicals. Why do you feel that name calling is going to help change their minds or do anything other make you feel virtuous in some strange way. Name calling is for children, not adults.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:28 am | Reply scienceofdoom
Sou

..There are already way too many apologists for people who wilfully reject climate science to the detriment of society. It is dismaying that you seek to fan the flames now, SoD, just when the US tide could be starting to turn in favour of science.

Why did you do it?
Because I am part of an evil empire of disinformation. I have worked carefully for over five years to allay suspicion – and now, [cackle] I have fooled everyone and can move to the next phase of our masterplan to destroy the world!!

Oh, you have unmasked me, damn you.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am | Reply Climate Weenie
This post appears to illuminate your biases SOD.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:30 am | Reply Nathan
SoD

“On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d…r’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.”

This is the problematic part of your post.
There’s a use of absolutes here that is simply not true. Nor have you adequately made the case for this claim.

It’s the kind of claim that ATTP criticised in his post “2+2=4, therefore Einstein is wrong”. The two parts of your claim do not equate.

To claim that the use of the d word trivializes the Holocaust is… well… wrong. Perhaps in your head it does, and everyone will respect your choice not to allow the term because you find it offensive, but that is very different from claiming that is what the d-word does.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:30 am scienceofdoom
Nathan,

I have already responded to this point above:

From the many comments, not just this one by MikeH, it looks like I was wrong..
on February 5, 2015 at 3:39 am | Reply scienceofdoom
Climate Weenie,

I would like my biases to be out there in the spotlight, whatever they are.

I am frequently accused of bias on this blog (and other blogs where I nowadays rarely comment). When you start a blog you expect criticism and there are no surprises for me.

Well, one surprise has been the very low level of name-calling and “motive-attribution” towards people with different viewpoints.

Hopefully the bias you are talking about is the concern about trivializing the Holocaust and I agree I am probably biased there.

Oh you meant that it is now clear that I am part of the evil empire of disinformation..

I’ll let everyone else throw bias claims out there.

I’m interested in understanding climate science and if I don’t understand it very well, people can claim nasty motives, bias or anything else.

I’ll let the posts I have written, and the comments I have made over the last five or more years be my statement and my defence.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:47 am Nathan
Sorry SoD must have missed that.

Really appreciate your blog and work.
Just want you to know that.

on February 5, 2015 at 4:53 am | Reply Rob Ellison
What a very small blogoshere it is. The very same commentators – most of whom I blithely ignore – making the very same comments on the very same trivial points.

The physics are relatively simple conceptually. Greenhouse gas molecules resonate with IR emissions in certain frequencies. Excited greenhouse gas molecules collide with nitrogen and oxygen such there a local thermal equilibrium evolves. Greenhouse gas molecules may also gain kinetic energy from adjacent molecules and emit in IR. Add more greenhouse gas molecules and the number of interactions with IR photons increases. IR photons are absorbed and subsequently emitted in all directions – both the surface and the atmosphere warm tending to a new conditional equilibrium at TOA.

Physics is not about equations as such – these are merely another way of conceptualising process. And probably not the way exceptional physicists – or exceptional anything – primarily work.

The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined. …. This combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs which can be communicated to others.
Albert Einstein

The simple fact is that increased greenhouse gs concentrations in the atmosphere increase temperatures – all other things being equal. Nothing more can be reasonably said. It can be shown by experiment and observation at laboratory and planetary scales.

e.g. http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/321/Harries_Spectrum_2001.pdf

Differences would exist even in a warmer equilibrium state due to deflection of photon paths in a greenhouse gas enriched atmosphere. By the nature of the observing instruments.

All other things are never equal – in the complexity of the Earth system. Complexity science suggests that the system is pushed by such things as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation. Complexity involving abrupt and unpredictable changes in system state evolves from interactions of simple components.

The bottom line is that we are making changes to a complex system with unknowable consequences – that may include warming or cooling surprises. Global warming is by no means guaranteed. The knowable future includes more or less extreme climate shifts every 20 to 30 years. The policy basis can’t therefore be defined by sensitivity or any other simplistic prognostication. It can only be characterised as decision making in uncertainty. Climate shifts are unmistakably evident in climate data and unmissable by the apocryphal 10 year old. It seems the epitome of climate ignorance to even talk global warming and not abrupt climate change.

One thing seems pretty certain – the future will look pretty much like the past – extreme. For comparison – red intensity for the 97/98 El Nino was 99.

Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

It suggests that emissions are potentially problematic – but that a rational response begins by accurately defining the problem. Electricity generations plays a relatively small part in the bigger emissions picture – that include contributions to forcing from black carbon.

To build an effective policy response to uncertainty, complexity and instability in the climate system – and addressing the broad range of emissions – requires a far more broad ranging policy framework. Sadly not pointless point scoring by climate warriors who mostly seem not to understand all that much.

on February 5, 2015 at 5:08 am | Reply puckerclust
I’m puzzled by this entire discussion. According to Webster, the word-that-shall-not-be-uttered dates back to the 15th century. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Holocaust, but (not being a Holocaust “skeptic”) I do know that it took place in the 20th century. So you-know-what had been in use for 5 centuries before there was a Nazi party. It seems to me that that the faux outrage over the use of that-which-shall-not-be-named is a transparent attempt to shame those who are using a perfectly good and legitimate descriptive term. Or maybe it’s just a sign of remarkable lack of etymological literacy combined with thin-skinned readiness to take offense, like those who have gotten the word “niggardly” banned from college campuses.

That said, I am glad that (for the most part) the word “skeptic” has been put in quotes by commenters on this blog. As it turns out, most of the world’s most prominent skeptics agree with the scientific consensus (see http://bit.ly/1G0gTPf) . So if we are going to ban a word that is being used improperly and out of context, perhaps it should be the “s-word”).

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science of doom – denial

Nathan
Stevefitzpatrick

Do you have an example where someone who questioned the equations and their function was called the d-word?
Because what you describe sounds like skepticism; I would be surprised if they were labelled a D, for that.

on February 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Reply stevefitzpatrick
Nathan,

Well there is this little gem frm MikeH above:
“I try not to use the term “denier” because it just gives the pseudo-skeptics the opportunity to play the victim card. But in the years of following this debate, the only people who I have read associating the term climate denier with the holocaust is you above and the psuedo-skeptics themselves when they have run out of other arguments.”

See, it’s obvious no one could ever be honestly skeptical. The starting assumption is that all who doubt do so in bad faith. This is a losing argument when your opponent is actually acting in good faith… I can’t think of a better way to piss people off and make them doubt you even more.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm Nathan
That’s not an example of what you claimed

on February 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm stevefitzpatrick
It is an example of the thinking which leads to the ‘de..ier’ name calling. In this case he simply substitutes pseudo-skeptic for ‘de..ier’. The problem is the same.

on February 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Reply omnologos
Nathan – the N word is just the name of a color in Spanish. If peopleask not to use it I din waste time arguing the dictionary, I’ll just try to be civil and avoid offending.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm Nathan
omnologos
That’s a poor example, as the word is spanish, not a common everyday English word.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:31 am omnologos
Nathan – why would common Spanish have to adapt following the evolution of the N word in English? (same in Italian). Because…if you want to talk to people, there is absolutely no reason to insult them. And the fact that a word sounds insulting in a communication is established by both parties in the communication.

on February 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Reply omnologos
If anybody wants to know what happens to skeptics just pretend to be one for a week. The vultures will find you 8)

on February 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Reply David Young
It happened to me. None other thanBBD who can be very nasty and dead wrong. He said I was a coal industry Lobbyist and a deni##. Of course that was a lie. However stupidity should not automatically be attributed to malice, especially for layman activists who think Hadrians wall is a boundary value.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm BBD
Now, now, David. Let’s not get carried away. IIRC you were making big claims about your publication record which strangely doesn’t seem to exist. I only asked you *if* you were the same David Young who is a coal industry lobbyist and you said you weren’t. And that was the end of the matter. I’m very disappointed to see you misrepresenting our previous conversations here at SoD.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm David Young
My record is public. If you missed it you aren’t trying. You have been too lazy to find it. I won’t go back to Keith’s thread as it is nasty to quote it as you know full well you are either lying about it or have whitewashed it in your own small mind. What I said is true.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm BBD
If what you said was true, David, there wouldn’t have been any problems in the first place.

I’d be disinclined to push that door any harder, were I you.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm stevefitzpatrick
BBD,
David clearly has published in his field, yet you continue to suggest otherwise. Do you believe that David is lying about publications, or are you simply unwilling to admit you are wrong?

BTW BBD, do you have a publication record in any technical field?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:59 am David Young
Just for the record, one could try AIAA Journal, Vol 52, Issue 8, pg.1699, 2014. That one refers to numerous earlier works. Why are some particularly nasty climate activists so quick to assume incompetence when they disagree with someone? Especially poignant when the activist is largely ignorant of the scientific details despite having “read” some papers. Doubly poignant when the nasty activist is too lazy to do any effective research.

on February 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
Well, there are a lot of ways to peel this potato:

The most important peel, the equations in the NCAR model reference depict not the simple concept of radiative forcing but of atmospheric motion. This serves as a great reminder that the amount of energy emitted to space is a function not only of the well mixed constituents but also of unpredictable fluid flow. The simple concept is incorrect at least by being incomplete.

The difficulty lies not with the number or complexity of the equations of motion, but with the non-linearity – we know going into this exercise that linear numerical solutions to non-linear problems are incorrect.

The failings of the applied atmospheric dynamics is is borne out by the missing tropical upper tropospheric hot spot. The hot spot is predicted by gcms for heating, not just heating from CO2 increase. The hot spot is not observed. This represents a failing in the models regarding how energy is convected and so, radiated to space.

The holocaust, of course, is a past event, not a prediction of a future event.

Juxtaposing genocide with carbon dioxide is an appeal to emotion of a false moral equivalence. Even if one can demonstrate ‘inevitable’ temperature rise, demonstrating greater harm than good ( which tends to be removed from the conversation ) is even more tenuous.

“Once people have seen the unprecedented rise in temperature this century, how could they not align themselves with the forces of good?” – Hah! Beyond the further appeal to emotion ‘forces of good’ – the temperature trend displayed indicates a temperature trend from 1910-1945 quite similar to the 1979-present.
To be sure, CO2 forcing was positive during that period, but much less than recent trend. The recent trend is very much precedented. Evidently, also precedented was Arctic sea ice loss as evidenced by the Arctic temperature finger print ( winter warming, summer stasis ) that occurred in the early twentieth century.

Finally, the Nazi analogy is a reminder that bad things can happen when people acquiesce to central governments crusading for good. The Nazis were crusading for the glory of the Reich and justified genocide for the cause. After all, it was simple and obvious to them that aryans were superior and the Reich would last a thousand years. To be sure, genocide and property rights are not equivalent. But should citizens have property confiscated simply because a government declares that they are saving the planet?

on February 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Reply Arthur Smith
I do find it amusing that Richard Tol is incapable of detecting the sarcastic tone SoD is applying in this post.

It does take some experience with scientific analysis to understand either the theoretical or observational evidence for the greenhouse effect and other aspects of climate change. It’s not something that can be made bleedingly obvious to the lay person, and for most people that means accepting the science requires some form of belief, trust, faith, rather than personal knowledge. I think that’s SoD’s point here. But the same is true of much of science and even technology – evolutionary biology, relativity, elementary particles, atoms, lasers, electronic circuits, etc. Do we have a right to be disparaging towards those who don’t trust scientists on one or more of these things? What would actually work?

on February 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Reply verytallguy
SoD,

I have much respect for your blog, enjoy reading your reviews of the science, whether or not it seems in line with the mainstream, and have on occasion referred to you as a great demonstration of what true scepticism entails.

But on this post I feel you are terribly, horribly, wrong when you say:

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d*nier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
Denial has long, common and respectable usage not at all associated with the holocaust in any way (at least in the UK, perhaps it is different elsewhere?).

It is used in describing grief, and the same language and model is also used in business change:

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
The Kubler-Ross model was published in 1969. No-one accused Elizabeth Kubler Ross of comparing people in grief to N*zis.

The term was supposedly originated by Freud as:

a psychological defense mechanism postulated by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.
(quotes from Wiki)

Personally, I feel to accuse anyone using the term “d*nier” in its general usage as conflating their target with Holocaust perpetrators is in very poor taste.

Many of those who challenge the science of global warming are truly in denial, in the sense put forward by Freud, being unable to reconcile their own political and economic values with the simple facts of a world warming by human hand.

Personally, I feel to accuse anyone using the term “d*nier” in its normal usage as conflating their target with Holocaust perpetrators is in very poor taste.

Some advice if I may? Just stop.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Reply DeWitt Payne
vtg,

You should rethink your position. Saying that someone is in denial about climate change is not the same as saying that anyone who does not agree that any climate change is going to be catastrophic and that (sarc) we should all go back to being hunter-gatherers (/sarc) is a climate change d****r. Words and phrases often have semantic connotations beyond the dictionary definitions. I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.

Being in denial in the Kubler-Ross sense also implies that you are actually aware on some level that you’re wrong. I doubt that’s true of most of the people who have been labeled as d….rs.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm Richard Drake
Yes, getting a tad more linguistic about it, we’re not looking for denial on its own or the interesting phrase “in denial” but terms of the form “[abstract noun] denial” and “[abstract noun] denier”. That form began with Holocaust denial and denier in the English-speaking world. Here’s a useful summary from Bishop Hill contributor in 2010:

I am a psychologist, and the term “denier” is not a psychological term. It first came into use in the late 1960’s in relation to the WWII Holocaust. As hro001 demonstrated above, it is an emotion-packed term. And as he points out, it generally means “politically motivated falsifaction [sic] of history”

All the references you give come from the 1990’s and later, and clearly derived from the earlier use, typically for the emotional impact.

The term “denial” as in “he is in denial” is a psychological term. I have no idea who used it first, but it is very, very old. I think Freud used it, but I read the English translations of his work so I don’t know the German word he used. It is typically used in the sense of refusing to accept reality.
So SoD’s right to take climate denier and its cognates the way he does. Some of the blindness on this is I fear willful but, much worse, entails a significant insult to the memory the victims of the real thing. Surely much better, on this of all aspects of the climate debate, to play it safe.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm verytallguy
DeWitt,

I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.
I disagree. Completely.

This is phraseology commonly used with no connotation whatsoever for the holocaust

recent examples in from a simple google news search:

The Guardian on Rotherham Council

Instead, I found a council in denial. They denied that there had been a problem, or if there had been, that it was as big as was said. If there was a problem they certainly were not told – it was someone else’s job. They were no worse than anyone else. They had won awards. The media were out to get them.
WSJ on Thailand

Thailand’s Dictators in Denial
The junta takes a harder line against popular politicians.
SportsJoe(!):

LIVERPOOL FAN IN DENIAL TRIES TO PROVE THAT MARIO BALOTELLI IS A REAL GRAFTER
AzFamily:

Valley doctor worries people are in denial about measles vaccine
Are all these people making connotations to the holocaust? Seriously?

on February 4, 2015 at 5:20 pm Richard Drake
Are all these people making connotations to the holocaust? Seriously?
No, none of them are and none of us are saying that. We’re looking for something of the form “[abstract noun] d****l”. Plus explicit references to the Holocaust as people do, which are many in this case. Please see my comment preceding yours.

on February 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm verytallguy
Richard Drake,

whilst your demand for abstract nouns is rather pedantic and misses the point, I’m happy to oblige:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7948893/George-Osborne-attacks-deficit-deniers.html

Noting that Ed Miliband is Jewish and no-one accused Osborne of anything at the time.

There really is nothing to conflate the word “denier” specifically with the Holocaust.   In my opinion, for what it’s worth, it’s distasteful to do so.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm Richard Drake
There’s no doubt the pattern I’ve described has begun to be used elsewhere. I also spotted deficit d****rs, indeed I made it an entry in my personal wiki on 20th August 2010. I’m that much of a word nerd. Most of the time that stuff us simply fun. The case of Climate D***** sadly isn’t.

Because if you think that this later one-off usage (people have also mentioned AIDS d*****) is enough to wipe off the map all the examples of explicit comparison with Holocaust D****l, starting with Deborah Tannen on Jim Lehrer’s Newshour in 1998, and the fact that when Climate D***** and its variants became really trendy, around 2007, the Holocaust variant of the meme was the only other game in town and thus obviously intended as an allusion, you are clutching at anachronistic straws. Why this great felt need to be defensive? Do those that deploy this phrase not care that if they are wrong their usage has among other things served to trivialise and minimise one of the most heinous crimes in history?

on February 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm Tom Scharf
vtg,

Since we all agree the word can be used innocently and interpreted not so innocently, can those using the word innocently not find a better method to communicate their true intent? It’s hard to believe that people don’t understand this word is loaded.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm David Young
Toms point is telling. You should use terminology that is not loaded unless your purpose is to denigrate and insult. Those who use the d word do so knowing it will intimidate some into silence and is insulting to many.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Reply BBD
(Re-post. This got caught in moderation upthread because I forgot to edit the d- word in the quoted text.)

SoD

Count me with the others here who suggest that you have been conned by the re-definers of language who describe themselves as ‘sceptics’.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d_nier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
That interpretation was created by language re-definers (self-describing as ‘sceptics’, remember) who are highly adept at playing the victim for tactical advantage.

It is THEY who are guilty of what you write, not someone using the word d_nier to mean exactly what is says: someone in d_nial.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
The victim card is mostly poking the left with their own stick for entertainment purposes and nothing more. The left is hyper-sensitive to terminology when it comes to issues such as race relations, so the use of this term doesn’t live up to their own moral standards. I don’t think too many tears are really shed here.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Reply Joshua
==> “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. …It’s heartbreaking to read about the war and to read about the Holocaust. Words fail me to describe the awfulness of that regime and what they did.”

What is the point of this rhetorical flourish? To suggest that knowledge about, and sadness about, mass murder somehow reflects an inherently causal explanation for “concern” about the use of the D word in the climate wars?

Would the same logic apply for the ubiquitous comparisons of “realists” to Lysenko or Stalin or Pol Pot or McCarthy or Eugenicists or Mao or N*zis or eugenicists of my newest favorite Genghis Kahn?

In fact, I think that the overly-dramatic “outrage, outrage I say” about the use of the D word amounts to exploitation of a serious issue – holocaust D..ial – to score points in the climate wars.

None of this “concern” about the D word has anything to do with the science and, IMO, is no better than the similarly exploitative arguments that I often see from “realists”: That the D word has an authoritative and objective definition (that doesn’t include a connotation holocaust D..ial). No one actually knows the intent of someone using the D word unless the labeler stated their intent, and no one actually knows the interpreted meaning by those so labeled, except the person doing the interpretation. And from both sides, the chances are the labeler and labelee will filter their impressions through the partisan screen of the climate Jell-O fight.

IMO, the drama-queening from “skeptics” about the use of the term is pretty much equally matched from “realists” that if they don’t use the term their letting the Ders “define language.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that these discussions exchanging the same opinions happen over and over in thread after thread, with no meaningful or measurable outcome (that I can see, at least) except that perhaps people on both sides (and the same characters that bicker about this issue in blog thread after blog thread) might just be a smidgen more entrenched in their own sense of victimhoood

on February 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Reply Richard Drake
There are category errors all over this. SoD is objecting to d****r and its cognates as totally inappropriate to the science of atmospheric physics. Climate policy as currently conceived can hand significant powers to government – unelected power in the case of the EPA in the USA, from what I’ve read here in the olde country, for example. Or it can lead to crony capitalism as wealthy landowners in Britain get zero-risk handouts for allowing wind turbines to despoil our shared environment. If one has concerns about unelected power or crony capitalism one is perfectly entitled to reach into history and spot some warnings there. Politicised science is another legitimate issue and those of us concerned about it are bound to head for Lysenko or the eugenicists up to 1945. These can never be proofs of what’s happening now but they are legitimate places to go for warnings. What SoD is rightly objecting to is the Holocaust d****l analogy being applied to the science, as it so often is. Why can’t we agree on this most obvious of points?

on February 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm Joshua
Richard –

Let’s take your comment from above:

90% of my disgust is about the fact that anyone using this rhetorical device clearly doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the Holocaust.

[…]

No, we are the ones that care about those victims so much that we cannot stand for language to be abused in this way.
I think that is a very obvious overstatement, founded on fallacious reasoning. In fact, you have no logical basis on which to assert that: (1) anyone using the term “doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the holocaust,” and (2) “skeptics” as a group “care more about those victims” than “realists” as a group.

But what’s further is that you add these elements:

10% is about its incredibly harmful effect on decent, intelligent public debate of climate, science and policy.
First, you have no way of determining the impact on “intelligent public debate” of the use of that term. None. For example, how could you possibly distinguish it from the impact of so many other pejoratives sprinkled around liberally from “skeptics?” How could you distinguish he impact of that term from the polarizing politicization related to the policy implications of climate change policy? Do you really think that someone pimarily interested in “decent, intelligence public debate” would be unable to get past the use of the D-word, and to be rendered thus incapable of reasoned exchange of view?

And then you will go on to try to legitimize the comparisons to Lysenkoism (where people were imprisoned and executed) or eugenicists (whose racism laid the groundwork for the racism of Nazism), even as you decry the massive hard resulting from hyperbolic rhetoric on the part of “realists?”

Sorry, but IMO, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:54 pm Joshua
And to be clear.

I don’t defend the use of the term. I think that it’s in balance counterproductive, and I think that the argument that somehow the term is necessary in order to make progress, or that in not using the term a “realist” would be relinquishing ground and handing “skeptics” some kind of language-definition victory, are also fallacious. I see no advantage to be gained from using the term.

The term, even if used as some “realists” say that they intend it’s meaning – to suggest that “skeptics” are “in d..ial” – is basically, IMO, based on fallacious reasoning.

In my interpretation, the term essentially means that someone won’t admit openly something that they know at a deeper level to be true – perhaps because of inability to face their true feelings or perhaps because they are “motivated” by self-interest or some other goal they won’t own up to in good faith.

My sense is that most “skeptics” fully believe their arguments to be true, just as do “realists.” I think that calling them the D-word is making an argument without evidence (judging someone’s psychology or motivations without actually knowing enough about them).

And BTW – I see “skeptics” using the D-word quite a bit these days in the “skept-o-sphere” to refer to “realists,” and I have yet to see one “skeptic” jumping up to express their outrage, outrage I say.

on February 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Reply BBD
IMO, the drama-queening from “skeptics” about the use of the term is pretty much equally matched from “realists” that if they don’t use the term their letting the Ders “define language.”
But they do, Joshua. They insist on being called ‘sceptics’. Or are you d*nying that this is a key re-definition of language to their advantage? 🙂

on February 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm Richard Drake
Sceptic is just a label, one that Richard Lindzen dislikes because he thinks it implies the ‘consensus position’ we are deemed to doubt is so muddled as to not deserve this level of credence! But he’s surely talking there about dubious claimed consensus across atmospheric science, particularly high-sensitivity enhanced greenhouse, posited impacts and the appropriate policy responses. We’ll never find a label that everyone thinks is strictly correct etymologically. What this thread is about is a wholly inappropriate analogy coming in on the back of climate change d****r. If everyone agreed to eliminating that usage we’d be behaving more like compassionate human beings and that cannot but affect all aspects of a very important debate.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Reply Joshua
And SoD –

Just to be clear…your rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that your view on the use of the term “denier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of your views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “denier” in the climate wars.

on February 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Reply Joshua
And SoD –

Just to be clear…your rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that your view on the use of the term “d..ier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of your views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “d..ier” in the climate wars. Suggesting otherwise looks exploitative to me.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Reply afeman
Now I feel like anybody who asks where I work is invoking the NSDAP.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Reply Joshua
DeWitt –

While I agree with you here:

==> “Words and phrases often have semantic connotations beyond the dictionary definitions.”

I think that you carry that too far here:

==> “I find it difficult to believe that many of those who use that phrase are not aware of that particular connotation and intend it to be taken exactly that way.”

An argument from incredulity?

You don’t know their intent. Why would you find it hard to believe that they might not intend the the use of the term to be any way other than your interpretation? You are turning your own statement upside down – you don’t know their intended semantic connotation.

IMO, is is clear that term is generally viewed as a pejorative and not as a descriptive term, but the connotation of “holocaust d..ial” is far from clear, and the interpretation as a pejorative is no different than the use of “alarmist” or “Lysenkoist” from many of the same players who claim concern about the putative “holocaust d..er” connotation of the D word.

Sorry – but IMO, when someone who claims concern about the D-word then turns around and uses pejorative labels with similar connotations, and like the “realists” then says in defense that they only use the term because it is accurately descriptive – I am not particularly moved.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Reply David Young
The d word is clearly a term meant to insult and draw on the associations with Holocaust denial. A scientific term? Perhaps a pseudo scientific term used by shameless activists to try to get people to censor themselves. Activists who don’t hesitate to misrepresent their own motivations and actions. You know psychological science is particularly subject to cultural prejudice.

on February 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Reply BBD
Argument from assertion, David. Wrong-o.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm DeWitt Payne
BBD,

Don’t go on a college campus in the US today thinking that the labelled one isn’t allowed to define the meaning of the label, take offense and file a formal complaint. Current campus speech codes, which I think are atrocious, do exactly that.

And it wasn’t an argument from incredulity. It was an opinion. I’m not trying to prove anything.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm JCH
There’s this category. They’ll say anything to win.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm Tom Scharf
DeWitt,

Stop it with your micro-aggressions.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Reply Nathan
Rubbish, this is a claim you cannot prove.
English is an evolving language.

People are using the Holocaust here as a weapon, it’s revolting.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Reply Windchasers
SOD: great post. But I think you’re half-hitting, half-missing the point.

I’ve been in quite a few arguments about AGW lately with friends and groups on Facebook. Some of these are old debate partners, so I know where they stand on the issue, and I know I have no hope of convincing them, so I’ve moved on to better understanding their epistemology, their reasoning behind why they believe what they believe. There’s more going on than just not understanding the science.

Here’s the point: most of us don’t understand the science of most fields. Why doubt this field? Why doubt the scientific result of *any* field, for that matter, if you lack expertise there?

The “skeptics” tend to have a few traits in common:
1a) Fiercely independent. Their default is to distrust and view suspiciously subjects they don’t understand for themselves.
1b) They tend to have more belief in their own competence, rather than doubting their own competence/knowledge and giving the scientists the benefit of the doubt.
2) They tend to be ideologically opposed to the perceived consequences of AGW: more government involvement.

1b is a reason I see a lot fewer full-time scientists who reject AGW. If you’ve gotten a PhD, you usually realize just how little you actually knew about your own field before hand, and by analogy, how little you know about other fields. You realize the depth of your incompetence. So you know that you can’t critically analyze the claims of those fields without a helluva lot of work – unless, of course, that most of the scientists in that field are just idiots, which would be a rather bold stance to take. More likely, if a result looks obviously bad, you don’t actually understand it well. In my experience, when I dig into the subject, this tends to be verified.

This attitude is not what I normally see from the AGW skeptics. Rather, it’s the precise opposite: “the scientists are idiots, and I’m easily able to pick apart the flaws in their work”.

The point is that *none* of us are able to actually fully study and critically analyze all of the sub-fields of climate science. We lack the time and expertise. So the question becomes “what’s your default stance?” Is it one of incredulity, or that the scientists know what they’re talking about?

I’m an “alarmist”, not because I believe that climate scientists have exhaustively explored every single possibility that could refute AGW, but because I can grasp the basic science, and because most of the “debunkings” that I see from skeptics don’t look very solid. Which tells you that my default stance is somewhere between agnosticism and trusting the scientists.

TL;DR: When it’s too hard to show people “proof” that they can really grok, they tend to fall back to some sort of default stance, predicated by other positions.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
Windchasers,

I’m fully hitting my own point. But not hitting your point at all.

Most of this blog is dealing with people confused about the basics. Many of them are fully convinced they have a firm grasp of the subject. I agree with you. I find it hilarious.

Still, many people want to understand the strength of a position. I think that’s why the IPCC reports exist – instead of a 1 page press release, saying “we know what we are doing” they wrote quite a lot (must be a few thousand pages in WG1). And that’s a good thing.

If you take any field, the experts are going to understand the subject way better than you and me. Of course.

But – and here’s the small fly in the ointment – if they are extremely convinced of something, does it mean it is true?

I could take economics as an example. Nate Silver does a great job in his book, The Signal and the Noise, which I recommend, of comparing economists forecasts with reality (among other topics). The forecasts, and the uncertainty around the forecast provided by economists, do not compare well with reality.

How can Nate Silver be so arrogant – he’s not an economist – to compare economists predictions and uncertainty calculations with reality? What does he know about economics?

But many people are interested in the result. Economics and climate are both important in our future. And it’s not just “skeptics” who are over-confident in their ability.

That doesn’t mean I believe climate scientists are “wrong” or that “skeptics” are right. I refer you to all the other articles in this blog for demonstration of this. I’m very impressed with most climate science work.

When I look at something like say paleoclimate they are truly (literally and figuratively) digging under every rock looking for new evidence and looking for ways to check previous calculations and estimates.

I started this blog because I’m interested in climate, because I have questions that I wanted to research, and because so many people have legitimate* questions – but are insulted instead of answered on blogs where people do know physics.

Although to be fair it’s only after they commit the cardinal sin of questioning the answer, or of generally not accepting the “right” answer at face value first time when they get insulted.

Oh sorry, I thought this was the climate blog.
No, this is the insulting room, down the hall, 3rd left.
– Monty Python allusion.. for fans.

[* legitimate = it’s a reasonable question to ask even if the answer is already published in a journal and not in doubt, even if the answer is already clear for 100 years in textbooks and not in doubt].

on February 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm Windchasers
I’m fully hitting my own point. But not hitting your point at all.
+1. I’ve had the issues of epistemology on my mind a lot lately, so I read your post in light of that, and ignored all the d-word stuff (which I personally don’t really care about).

But – and here’s the small fly in the ointment – if they are extremely convinced of something, does it mean it is true?
Of course the answer is “it depends”. If I want to judge the results in another field, I look to how rigorous the methodologies are that underlie the expert’s opinions, and I see how well they can falsify alternative hypotheses and remove the effects of confounding factors. Fields where these are harder to do tend to progress more slowly (e.g., economics or medicine).

Repeatibility is another aspect of trust, of course. I might trust a verified study of the effect of some drug on rats, more than a non-verified study of the drug’s effect on humans.

But ideally, all of these issues should factor into the experts’ confidence, too, if they’re objective and if they’re any good. Good scientists recognize the limits of their work’s significance and certainty.

I started this blog because I’m interested in climate, because I have questions that I wanted to research, and because so many people have legitimate* questions – but are insulted instead of answered on blogs where people do know physics.
I appreciate this blog. Just wanted to let you know.

About 15 years ago, I was working through my views on evolution vs creationism, and similar blogs like Panda’s Thumb really helped me. There were some insults thrown my way, sure, but it was mostly fair insults, saying “do your DD. Here are some links”.

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but at the same time, I can understand frustration with those who form strong opinions before they get educated, and particularly so if they’re resistant to changing those opinions when new data comes along. But that’s another subject.

In any case, it’s important to have somewhere where the data is laid out in a way that people can easily understand it, and (hopefully) in a neutral, friendly, not-emotionally-charged setting.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
“They tend to have more belief in their own competence”

Not really. What they believe is that if the communicator is not able to deliver what they believe to be a convincing argument, then possibly the argument needs further investigation and the benefit of the doubt is not given. When the primary thrust for a conclusion is an argument from authority it doesn’t help.

When the subject in question is environmental science which has a very checkered history on the reliability of their conclusions and an overly zealous activist movement, it doesn’t help.

When the first deep dive you take is an investigation into the mathematics of the Hockey Stick which made the IPCC cover, it doesn’t help.

When the further down you look into items such as extreme events, extinctions, and sea level rise, and you find that the science is being overstated by the media, it doesn’t help.

When the science allegedly has a high risk to society, but nuclear, fracking, and hydro are taken off the table by those most alarmed, it doesn’t help.

Most of the science is reasonable, much of how it is interpreted and reported by politicians, activists, and the media is not.

on February 4, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Reply Roddy
verytallguy, I looked up on Wikipedia examples of ‘something denial’ as a phrase. Only found three in common usage, Climate d, AIDS/HIV d, and Genocide/Holocaust d, so the objections to its use can’t just be waved away by saying it is an ordinary word.

see the ‘See also’ section at the bottom of the entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

on February 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
In an earlier comment I’ve responded on how the d term is used or not.

It’s a completely different subject (from the main point of this article) to discuss more general use of insulting terms, but seeing as I have opened up the article for more general debate..

There is a huge range of opinion that is tarred with the ‘d..r’ insult. I’m sure we can all agree that it is not meant as a compliment. Perhaps those applying it are calmly thinking it’s just a statement of fact (leaving aside the issue of its relationship – or not – to the Holocaust).

Leaving aside another completely different point about whether insulting people is a good overall strategy in a large political debate (obviously it has pros and cons from the point of view of “winning” when we are not concerned about good taste and etiquette)..

There is an interesting point about the range of ideas that are tarred with being from ‘d..rs’ – everything from not knowing the absolute basics of radiation through to much more complex topics. This is picking up the comment from stevefitzpatrick earlier.

A lot of people, including myself, actually worked in environments which used finite element analysis (models) to solve engineering and physics problems. In my case it was a long time ago and semiconductor physics but the principles are the same.

From the very small pool of people I know, those who have a good, or excellent, understanding of models are more skeptical of GCM outputs than those who have no understanding of how models work.

How can this be?

From the many comments on this blog and other blogs that I have read, many people who question the % likelihood of GCM outputs being correct are doing so from the experience of working with real models. Not from being in denial of basic science. (Of course, there is a huge volume of comments from people questioning GCMs because they have no idea about the absolute basics – see this blog for evidence).

Questioning the reliability of a complex model is not denying basic science. Unless – and I only realized this just now – GCMs have solved the problems that beset other modeling endeavors.

In my very out of date case, back in the dark ages, the model would predict, for example, if we etch this shape on the edge of the silicon, and cover it with this much oxide, the p-n junction will break down at this voltage. They break down at the edge – so edge effects are the most important, and there the slope, overall shape and thickness of dieletric are all important. Then we wait a few weeks while we, or others, make samples (doping junctions at high temperatures in furnaces, acid etching, growing oxides in furnaces, wearing ‘bunny suits’).

The voltage breakdown of the new samples turns out to be quite a bit lower than predicted, which is bad. The modeling guys play around with the parameters in the model. Now the model matches reality. Great, next prediction with our revised model is – we etch this shape, use this much oxide and voila!

Except voila never came.

The model was never great at predicting what to do next. And we were just using electric field theory in a 3-d grid and whatever equations related to how the p-n junction worked (none of which I would have any recollection of now). That’s pretty simple stuff.

By comparison, fluid mechanics, necessary in climate models, is proven to be a much harder problem (for reasons clear to those who understand non-linear equations and modeling).

One of the key problems was obtaining knowledge of parameters. Papers in the field gave ranges of empirical parameters but using those never gave the right future values. On the other hand, finding parameter values so that recent experiments lined up with model results was pretty much a breeze. Predicting the future was harder.

The people who had to produce the results didn’t have a lot of confidence in the models. The people who worked on the models believed in the value of the models.

We gradually improved products really through trial and error, with knowledge of the basic physics of electric field breakdown at a boundary as the guide to what to try next.

Of course, none of this has any relevance to climate science so I don’t know why I brought it up (Richard T – satire alert).

None of this means climate models are a waste of time, or can’t tell us anything. GCMs are invaluable.

Unfortunately, in the excitement of the polarized, invective-laden atmosphere of climate science debate, everyone not 100% in agreement with “the right camp” is labeled with the same terms as those who hilariously believe the last 100 years of physics is “all wrong”, or can’t do basic maths and “use” this skill to “prove something” about climate.

But none of that was the reason for writing the article. It was probably listening to my history book – The Coming of the Third Reich.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Reply Windchasers
I’m in materials modeling, actually, so I also have some experience with non-chaotic modeling.

On the one hand, I can say that modeling has come a long way in the last 20 years. On the other hand, we still frequently push out too far, with too little understanding of the accuracy of the parameters or the model. In materials we have a long way to go in bridging lengthscales from top to bottom, and that seems to also hold in climate modeling.

But the efficacy of modeling is extremely problem-dependent. If the problem is well-formulated and the results primarily depend on well-understood subparts, then the modeling can produce amazing insights. As the quality of the parameters and their interactions decreases, so does the quality of the results.

Remember “all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

So of course the models are imperfect, and have problems. The question is whether these problems affect the results that we’re looking for. (Also, would we know if the problems did, and furthermore, can we quantify these problems’ effects on our result?)

But many of the “skeptics” I talk to don’t care about that question. They see a problem in the models’ results, any problem, and they assume that it’s deadly for the results, without actually thinking through whether it matters and how much.

I’m not happy with the climate models right now. I’m far from satisfied. But I don’t yet see any evidence that they’re missing something extra and important, something that would change the main results.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm stevefitzpatrick
Sod,
“From the very small pool of people I know, those who have a good, or excellent, understanding of models are more skeptical of GCM outputs than those who have no understanding of how models work.

How can this be?”

As you note, part of the skepticism is due to experience with modeling, but part is due to experience working on difficult and not fully understood problems in a ‘noisy’ (in an informational sense) environment. The final part is that the models have pretty consistently predicted far more warming than observed. Taken together, these things tell me that the models are very unlikely able to make accurate long term predictions. I find empirical estimates of sensitivity far more convincing.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Reply Richard Drake
Profoundly useful reminiscence and reflection SoD. One of the many things most deployers of the D-word won’t do is say who definitely lies outside its mocking scope.

“Of course I don’t include Lindzen…”
“McIntyre is annoying but he’s not denying basic physics…”
“Richard Tol is bad at spotting irony but…”

It a catch-all, for anyone who disagrees with Climate Central and their issue-de-jour. At that point it really becomes rather ridiculous. Oh, apart from those who had to go through the real Holocaust. They’ve been trivialised once again but do we care? Nope, we having too much fun winding up anyone who doubts the output of a GCM or anything downstream from there.

On a scale of 1 to 10 of impressing the ‘other side’ by the quality of your argument mark me down as number unobtainable.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Reply Gator
GCMs are not the reason people believe the earth is warming. If your friends are using their previous experiences with bad models as an excuse to ignore basic science, then yes, they are d’s. CO2 absorbs IR. CO2 is increasing. That increase is caused by human activities. We have observed a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2. Where do the models fit in?

There is a question of how much temperature will increase in the coming years; there is a question of what affect that increase will have. If only the discussion were focused on these questions!

D’s are people that d**y the basic science, usually for some BS reason like “well, my models never worked” but really because “don’t raise my taxes!”

on February 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm scienceofdoom
Gator,

The point is a bit more subtle. My friends and acquaintances who understand models are very scientifically literate and none of them doubt CO2 as a GHG, or that the earth is warming, or that CO2 is a principal cause.

Where do models come in?

If you read chapter 11 of IPCC AR5 you will see that models are necessary for attribution.

The comparison is of model simulations with GHG increases vs model simulation without GHG increases. I wrote two articles about this, referenced in this article. Here is the later one.

This is how the determination is made of, as you describe “..a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2..”

You are free to attribute motives or political agendas to people who ask questions or claim something different from consensus climate science in this [non-standard] article – but in the rest of the blog we stay away from it, as described in the Etiquette.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm Climate Weenie
“If you read chapter 11 of IPCC AR5 you will see that models are necessary for attribution. ”

Not just attribution.

Manabe-Strickler demonstrated that without convection, the atmosphere radiates less effectively than with convection. The non-radiative transfer of heat in part determines the resulting radiative transfer to space.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:12 am Gator
SOD, if what you say is true, then the people you are talking about are not d*n*rs. But if they are really so involved and so interested, I would hope they are actually reading the papers and questioning results. In my experience, that is not common. Many people will go straight from “I know models” to “global warming is crap.”

So your friends really have in-depth discussions about attribution and technical issues in modeling? Or do they just say — attribution requires modeling, I know modeling, it’s hard — I don’t believe it.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:49 am steven
“We have observed a temperature increase that cannot be explained except as a response to increasing CO2.”

Unless of course there was a change in poleward ocean heat transport according to this literature:

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~brose/page1/files/Rose_Ferreira_JClim2013.pdf

http://water.columbia.edu/files/2011/11/Seager2005OceanHeat.pdf

So tell me, is the Gulf Stream an indicator of poleward ocean heat transport or an anomaly and how do you know?

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n6/fig_tab/ncomms1901_F5.html

on February 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Reply David Young
SOD, This is my situation too. I’m actively working in CFD and mathematics used to solve PDE’s. That’s why my experience with being called a denie was so insulting. It was simply a lie and an insult.

I have learned a lot from climate blogs especially yours!! CFD can learn from atmospheric sciences too.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:06 pm scienceofdoom
David Young,

I would be very interested in a poll of researchers who are actively involved in modeling in fluid dynamics (outside climate science). There must be a lot – it’s a big field with aeronautics, heat exchangers and lots of high value research.

“How reliable do you believe climate model predictions of future temperature are, assuming the various scenarios for GHG emissions are correct – at 20 years, 50 years and 100 years?”

There’s probably a few more questions that could usefully be added.

I have no idea what the results would be but I wonder if there would be less confidence in the reliability of climate model predictions than the generally scientifically literate population. (Whatever that means, maybe I have to downgrade my wish to the general population).

Maybe someone has already done this?

And a note for concerned heretic watchers new to this blog – I have no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am omnologos
Sad isn’t it when both SoD and Kloor find it necessary to go for brownie points, and clarify, clarify and clarify again that they ARE part of the Good Guys Brigade indeed, and have NO DOUBTS about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

You are missing a very important point.

I have been labelled a D many many times. I have even collected all the insults received during a brief period in the Greenfyre blog

http://omnologos.com/the-agw-debate-challenged-game-1-word-list/

The insults haven’t gone away…they just resurface whenever I say anything in “warmist” blogs.

What’s the issue? The issue is that in my About page there is a text from 2007 where I clearly state that I have no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

It’s from eight years ago. Yet the “concerned heretic watchers” would not and will not accept my membership of the Good Guys Brigade.

And who wrote that text? Why, Willis Eschenbach of WUWT fame. This should obviously and clearly and definitely destroy Kloor’s defense. WUWT is not the Very Bad Place he tried to describe in order to get brownie points.

Know what, the vituperated Bishop Hill has a blog owner who I suspect would subscribe to the same – that is, he has no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years. There is a category of self-style Lukewarmers: Ridley, Lomborg, Lawson among them.

However, as seen countless times and for at least seven years and again in this thread, and about Ridley and Lomborg and Lawson, this does not matter. The people who utter the D word do not care about what the objects of their ires actually think: because the issue is not one’s opinion on the GHG properties of CO2, and not even what the temperature record says, or what the equations may indicate, or how good the numerical solutions we call Models are.

The issue for those who want/need to use the D word has been indicated by the Guardian some time ago: a skeptic is somebody who thinks at least some of the alarming claims made about climate change are exaggerated.

Conversely, a Believer is somebody who thinks no alarming claim is exaggerated.

In other words, a Believer does see the world as destined to a fiery and burning death. With the catastrophe approaching, anybody who doesn’t agree we’re a few years away from total collapse of civilization and more, is put in the D category.

You guys, (SoD and Kloor) are hovering about, almost ready to fall in the B camp. Maybe you should make it clear to yourselves and to your readers.

Are some claims of what is going to happen about global warming and climate change, exaggerated?

on February 5, 2015 at 3:16 am David Young
Yes, SOD, such a survey would be interesting. What I’ve found in my decade long journey into uncertainty in fluid dynamics is that there are 2 distinct classes of scientists.

The first class is not too familiar with the technical details but perhaps uses the codes or perhaps sells the codes. There is a strong positive results bias in the CFD literature that I instinctively knew was there 35 years ago. In the last decade, we’ve documented it carefully and will have a new statistical analysis coming out this year sometime. Basically, the CFD literature is very misleading. There is a large class of people who believe the literature is representative of actual code performance, especially outsiders and non-scientists. They are mistaken.

The second class is those who actually write the codes and the engineers who are actually accountable for the performance of real products. This class includes virtually all turbulence modelers, who are as a group quite clever and rather honest. They know all about the problems and issues, but I’ve found that even in this class there is a bias that the codes and methods are better than they really are. I’ve made at least a score of converts in this camp in the last decade though. These people are generally honest and have high integrity.

The real question is will I be able to complete this program of work before I face my inevitable departure from this interesting and fun world.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Reply Nathan
So please, give an example where someone who was genuinely skeptical was called a ‘D’

on February 5, 2015 at 12:40 am David Young
Did you read the responses, Nathan? I am an example. It was at Keithe Kloor’s a year or so ago. It was pretty nasty and unpleasant.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Reply Tom Scharf
I think everyone agrees that this is probably one of the most difficult modeling problems around. How much we can trust these predictions is a big question.

I think models this complex require an iterative process of code – test – analyze results to become significantly better.

I know it is against the rules to bring up weather modeling, but I have watched with great interest the evolution of hurricane tracking models over the last 20 years. I live in Florida. 20 years ago they were pretty poor, and their tracks were only useful up to a 24 hour threshold. Today they give reliable cones 3 days out.

How do I know I can trust these models? Because they perform against observations over and over and over. (Note: Hurricane strength predictions are still poor).

How did they get better? They examine every track against observations and determine where the model went wrong and what the most important parameters are. They do it iteratively, they didn’t just lock themselves in a room for 20 years thinking great math thoughts. I’d feel a lot better about climate predictions if they had 500 years of detailed observations in the bank.

In this view, we are on climate model v1.0. Unfortunately the iteration loop time is probably 50 years. How good is v1.0? I have no idea and I don’t sense other people do either. Good enough to say more CO2 = higher temperatures? Very likely. Good enough to say it will be +3C instead of +1.5C by 2100? Doubtful. Good enough to tell the Audubon Society that 50% of North American birds will go extinct? Very unlikely.

on February 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm scienceofdoom
Tom Scharf,

I know it is against the rules to bring up weather modeling..
Really? No, it’s not.

In fact we looked at weather forecasting in Ensemble Forecasting.

One of the most interesting points is that weather forecasts for some time now have been run as ensemble forecasts (with slightly different initial conditions and also slightly different parameters) – then the % likelihood of events are recorded. Later the % forecast of events is compared with the % of events that took place.

So, if we run 100 ensembles and get 5 with the chance of a severe storm, the severe storm is forecast at 5% probability. Then there is a plot of % forecast vs % actual – which should result in a straight line: 5% probability events happen 5% of the time, 20% probability events happen 20% of the time and so on.

The “under-confidence” or “over-confidence” of the models is then identified and the work of resolving the problems takes place.

What is important is that running 1 model simulation with the “best observations” as starting points and the “best estimate of parameters” does definitely a worse job than an ensemble forecast.

For one thing, it can’t identify the probability of an extreme event (because there is only 1 outcome in the simulation). But also, it doesn’t get such good results even in the more normal cases.

Weather forecasting is much easier than climate modeling because we can test the results.

Climate modeling is intended to produce statistics of weather. I question the length of time necessary for the statistics to converge – as explained in Natural Variability and Chaos – Four – The Thirty Year Myth.

I believe asking questions about these kind of things is a good idea.

And a lot of these kinds of questions are articulated by climate scientists in their papers – although I haven’t seen this one expressed like this.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am Tom Scharf
I’m only joking, if you make analogies between how chaos limits weather modeling and how this might also limit climate models you typically get shouted down in a lot of forums. I have read all your modeling post and learned quite a lot. The statistics of chaotic systems with the pendulum was very interesting.

I think they do much the same thing with ensembles and hurricane forecasts. The spaghetti plots of predicted hurricane tracks for different models is one of the most useful things they do. It is so useful that they routinely show it on local television weather forecasts. You can intuitively quickly determine if the models are in tight agreement and that usually indicates higher reliability.

The 7 day out models are actually pretty reliable for if a hurricane will make landfall or be a fish storm. This would have been hopeless 20 years ago. They are still terrible at hurricane season prediction.

This is actually one of the reasons I started looking into this subject. After Katrina Florida insurance rates spiked immediately when they stopped using historical disaster costs and instead relied on climate models which predicted more frequent and stronger storms. That hasn’t been a successful prediction so far.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Reply toby52
I have “debated” with both climate science deniers and Holocaust deniers, and there are many traits spookily in common.

Mostly, there is a pronounced to seize on a small corner of the evidence and thrash it to death (growth of Antarctic sea ice, or differences in eyewitness accounts of Treblinka)

Another is to talk about large myths, especially conspiracy theories – green scientists are conspiring to introduce Communism by the back door, or the Jews own all the newspapers and media so control the news etc.

To be “in denial” is an accepted term – like the alcoholic who won’t admit a drinking problem, or the spouse who won’t face the obvious fact that their partner is a cheat. These are the ones who cannot face the consequences of accepting unpleasant facts – Holocaust deniers cannot face the fact that anti-Semitism can have and had genocidal consequences. The evasion of climate change deniers has already been mentioned.

There are vaccine deniers, Moon landing hoaxers and Kennedy assassination obsessives who are in a similar boat. Call a spade a spade, and a denier a denier.

on February 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Reply Richard Drake
You may see common traits, that’s your prerogative. But has it never occured to you that you may be trivialising the Holocaust if you use Climate D****r? Conspiracist is a useful word. Crazy conspiracist sometimes fits the bill. But as SoD put it:

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.
Despite your obvious and principled contempt for those you have run into who express doubt on aspects of climate science and policy that you feel you understand much better than they do, did not this paragraph give you any pause for thought?

on February 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Reply roddycampbell
This is the first blog I’ve read on SoD, and the entertainment value was high, the points quite subtle, and the author’s comments in this section really good. Bookmarked!

on February 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
roddycampbell,

Thankyou.
Unfortunately, you might find the rest of the blog to be very dull. Full of science and no discussion of motives. Let’s see.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
It’s funny to blacklist d-e-n-i-e-r when invoking the holocaust at all is an indirect way of dropping the d word.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Reply scienceofdoom
I found that Keith Kloor has written a Collide-a-Scape article and referenced this.

I always appreciate his work and this one is (thank goodness) no exception.

I also saw in the comments that someone has referenced a page of cherry-picked quotations that helpfully backs my original claim so, of course, I’m highlighting it.

Thank goodness, rescued.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Reply Richard Drake
The same list of quotations republished by Watts Up With That, SoD, of which I said earlier:

Seeking to squirm out by saying you mean less than Holocaust denial is less than convincing given the extent of this history and the dearth of examples of people like yourself calling out those in your own camp who have made the analogy absolutely explicit. See WUWT last year for some useful examples if you want to make a start in putting this right.
May I reiterate this point. The claim from many here is that when they use the D-word it has nothing to do with the Holocaust. But why not? Presumably because they agree with you that such a comparison between two such different categories of error would be repugnant. And, if so, surely they can at once point to the times and places where they publicly complained about the many explicit comparisons listed by Popular Technology.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Reply Shub Niggurath
I find the article highly biased and lacking in depth.

This is Kloor’s characterization of WUWT/BH/JN:

consistent ideological bias
skepticism that runs in only one direction
slanted criticism,
marred by conspicuous omissions
selective use of facts.
overall tone is hostile
conspiratorial.
not true skepticism
confirmation bias masquerading as skepticism
No skepticism whatsoever,
no critical thinking skills
“climate skeptics”
not true skeptics
don’t think skeptically
captive to their ideologically-driven biases

In support of this characterization, Kloor offers a topic he researched but they did not but linked to in passing.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am Joshua
I think Shub gets some stuff right in this comment (although certainly not all)..but what Shub doesn’t get is that Keith has a special magic that makes his name-calling effective while everyone else’s is counterproductive.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:03 am | Reply Nathan
Those quotes are where people have linked the two; something I think is pointless and stupid. But the fact that they had to spell it out undermines the idea that simply using the D word means you are linking it to Holocaust D.

Claiming that using the D-word implies you are linking it to Holocaust D appears to be a syllogism; and that’s a pretty weak (if not the weakest) form of logic.

on February 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Reply eli
The last holocaust survivor in Elis family died a few months ago, so forgive Eli for not taking the beats of those trying to rule out using a perfectly good and accurate label for their ostrich act.

However, how about rejectionist. Perfectly accurate for those who reject science including the anticancer and those who reject climate science

on February 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Reply Brandon Shollenberger
The people defending the use of “denier” in the global warming debate generally won’t be open about how the word has been used in said debate. They’ll often divert the discussion into uses of “denial,” a different word or find other ways to say there is no reason to make an association with the Holocaust.

There are two central problems to this. First, it is abundantly clear the association exists given people’s reactions. Even if people don’t think “denier” should be associated with the Holocaust, it is clear it is in the minds of at least some people. People defending the use of the word never seem to recognize this. When confronted with it, they often say it is nothing but a dishonest ploy to trick people. You can see such in a number of responses to this post.

The second problem is people have intentionally associated global warming “deniers” with Holocaust deniers. I remember back in 2007 people complaining when Ellen Goodman said:

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.
That was in the Boston Globe. Just last year, we had the Guardian publish an article which said:

And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
And people like Chris Mooney lament the lack of cooperation from journalists in pushing the “right” scientific messages, saying:

Rather, in each and every story, journalists have to make a judgment about how credible their sources are. The obvious reductio ad absurdum is Holocaust deniers: Should their perspective be provided, for “balance,” any time someone writes about the Holocaust? Of course not.
George Monbiot once said:

Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.
DeSmogBlog, a favorite resource of some of the very people we’ve seen respond to this post denying any association between “denier” and Holocaust once said:

These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.
Jim Powell, whose work on studying the global warming “conensus” helped spark the infamouse Skeptical Science paper on the subject published a book which said:

Those who abjure global warming are not skeptics; they are deniers. To call them skeptics is to debase language as much as to call the Ku Klux Klan “prejudiced,” Holocaust deniers “biased,” or Flat-Earthers “mistaken.
There are many more examples, and I limited myself to people creating explicit associations. I didn’t even touch on the constant references to Nazis/World War II. Distasteful ones like the Skeptical Science Hiroshima app may be excused, but we have people like the head of the IPCC, Richard Pachuri, demonizing people by saying things like:

If you were to accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.
People intentionally associated global warming “deniers” with Holocaust deniers. It’s been explicitly done in popular media and by science communicators in the global warming arena. It’s accepted enough they are willing to put it in books. Even the head of the IPCC compares people he dislikes to Hitler.

The association is real. The association was intentional. The association is disgusting, and it disgusting people continue to defend it.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am | Reply Nathan
Sure, where people make the link it’s pretty revolting, but to claim that the D-Word IMPLIES an association with Holocaust D is poor logic.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Reply Climate Weenie
There are others that deny that temperature trends are less than Hansen testimony:

The IPCC quickly changed its tune in AR5 ( by adjusting scenarios ) so they would have to deny that temperature trends were less than the 1.8C per century low end trend of AR4.

Others deny that hot spot is a failure of the model dynamics.

Others deny that carbon dioxide enhances plant growth and crop yields.

Others deny that globally, drought appears to be declining:

There is plenty of denial

on February 4, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Reply Nathan
So what?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:03 am Climate Weenie
Indeed.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Reply Keith Klor
Joshua writes:
“What is the point of this rhetorical flourish? To suggest that knowledge about, and sadness about, mass murder somehow reflects an inherently causal explanation for “concern” about the use of the D word in the climate wars?”

Just when I think your trolling can’t reach greater heights, you always surprise me, Joshua.

SoD: Great post. Spurred me to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Reply Shub Niggurath
Your article contains a barrage of ad hominem shots at skeptical blogs. The thrust of your conclusion is that people need to re-consider calling climate skeptics names because they – the name-callers – would not look good to ‘fence-sitters and lurkers’, i.e., argument from consequence.

Knowing the history of the term and knowing how it came into use in the climate, as Shollenberger recounts above, how did you find yourself hesitating to come up with an unequivocal condemnation?

on February 4, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Reply Joshua
Glad I can still impress you, Keith.

I remember back when you highlighted one of my comments from Judith’s over at your bog – when you were similarly impressed. In fact, called you it “brilliant’ (or something like that).

In fact, you felt so positive about my views that you sent me a personal email(s?) telling me how much you respected my views.

Of course, that’s before I disagreed with you on some issues – most specifically your use of name-calling in your posts about GMOs, and in response you started in with name-calling toward me, and calling me a “troll.”

The message I conveyed in that comment at Judith’s – the one that you wrote a post about – was actually very similar to the one I just expressed w/r/t to SoD’s post.

Look at Richard Drake’s comment from above:

90% of my disgust is about the fact that anyone using this rhetorical device clearly doesn’t give a damn about the real victims of the Holocaust.
I think that there was a similar tone to SoD’s original post – as if somehow calling someone a “denier” meant that they didn’t understand or appreciate the history of the holocaust. I disagree with the implication.

If it wasn’t the implication of his rhetorical flourish – where he started by describing his interest in the topic – and I was wrong, then he’ll get over it. I made it clear that I have no reason to believe that his views about the holocaust are anything but sincere.

It reminds me of when Ridley began an article where he accused environmental researchers as a class of being corrupt, by a discussion about how he’s always been a champion of science (as if those who disagree with his views aren’t).

What cracks me up about you, Keith, is that you often hand-wring about the impact of name-calling even as you regularly name-call yourself. Nice way of showing your concern about the use of the D-word – by using the T-word.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Reply Joshua
Also interesting that here:

http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94485

This T-word makes an argument very similar to the one that you highlighted on your blog post.

on February 4, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Reply cgs
I really, really enjoyed this post, because many times I run through the same process in my mind. “Start with the GHG theory, and etc.” I typically mull over a few more steps, such as “We have data that shows CO2 is increasing; we know this CO2 is ours because of the relative abundances of isotopes; part of the attribution analysis must consider the apparent cooling of the stratosphere and the warming of the troposphere, and etc.”

A big thumbs-up to your entire blog! I very much like the tone you set.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Reply SmallChange
On a BAU emissions path (i.e., RCP8.5), by the end of the 21st century… which is going to have been worse? The holocaust of WW2? Or the global climate holocaust?

The challenge is with those who seem to think the latter isn’t possible, when the overwhelming body of research tells us there is a very high likelihood of it occurring.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Reply billovitch
Here’s another recent example of a noun in apposition with “denial”, of the type Richard Darke claims is a trend with its origins in the term “holocaust denial (on the somewhat dubious evidence of some dude sounding off on the Bishop Hill blog) :

http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2014/08/21/god-denier-richard-dawkins-in-trouble-over-tweets-urging-downs-syndrome-abortions/

So the Jewish Business News is calling Dawkins a God – denier. Hmm, are they trivialising the holocaust here?

Maybe out of kindness to those who feel that whether of not people are actually making a comparison with holocaust denial when they use the word or its cognates in other contexts we should seek to regard the term as POLITICALLY INCORRECT. Funny, though, that those who are hostile to the idea of AGW being a significant problem for mankind tend to have a strong hostility towards “political correctness”.

on February 4, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Reply billovitch
Oops, that should be “Richard Drake”

on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am | Reply Eamon
Looking at Google Ngram for the years 1980-2008 I find that the word “denier” is referenced at least 200 times more than “holocaust denier”.

This does not indicate that the two words are synonymous.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:14 am | Reply Climate Weenie
How about ‘hysteric’?

That’s what I think about the emotional reaction many have global warming – hysteria.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:49 am Eamon
On NGram hysteric has a general lead over denier, but then again hysteric can be an adjective as well as an identifier.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:22 am | Reply billovitch
Here’s an idea. How about using the term AGW-dismisser or climate change-dismisser. It would cover all those who think that, on the basis of what we know, AGW can be dismissed as a significant problem, This would include the various contributors to this discussion who certainly don’t d**y that there has been some warming but claim that we know too little to justify any action on the matter.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:13 am | Reply Climate Weenie
Yes.

Recent decades warming is at around 1.5K per century – a rate which also occurred from 1910-1945.

But what of it?

Most disaster scenarios are NOT scientific and along the lines of children worried about monsters under the bed ( since we’re invoking Nazis here ).

No matter how many times one shines the light under the bed, the child reverts to the monster when left to their thoughts.

on February 5, 2015 at 12:24 am | Reply About the Holocaust and Climate Change skepticism | Omnologos
[…] comment posted at the SoD and Keith Kloor‘s […]

on February 5, 2015 at 12:42 am | Reply Frank
SOD: Many consensus climate scientists refuse to publicly debate skeptical scientists. They claim that this spreads misinformation to many (especially reflexive right-wingers, rebels, simple-minded contrarians, etc.) and provides skeptics with undeserved attention and status. I don’t accept these arguments. However, if I substitute “Holocaust den1al” for “climate change den1al”, I these arguments may have some validity. If a few crackpots try to get publicity for the former, are they entitled to the same kind of full public debate that climate skeptics would like to see? If not, who decides whether public debate is warranted? It appears as if the CAGW consensus has succeeded in equating these two positions and suppressing debate.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:35 am | Reply SmallChange
Your use of (C)AGW reveals your position here. The “catastrophic” aspect of AGW is a function of the emissions path we choose.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:16 am Climate Weenie
So if there were some level of warming, and no adverse impact, would you care?

on February 5, 2015 at 2:18 am | Reply Climate Weenie
So, warming rates are less than the low end projections.
Findings of harm don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny.
These are things that need to be part of the discussion.

on February 5, 2015 at 5:00 am | Reply Tom Scharf
I suppose the question is whether they believe a public debate would improve one side’s position or not. The fact that team science appears to believe a public debate would not strengthen their position is a bit curious. I think they are comfortable with their current appeal to authority and debating themselves through the normal academic channels. That’s fine, but one shouldn’t gripe about what the public’s view is if you are not willing to engage critics.

on February 5, 2015 at 1:21 am | Reply Sou
Why is it that a perfectly good word which is defined by the flagship English language dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary, as follows:

D…r – noun
A person who denies something, especially someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
a prominent d…r of global warming
a climate change d…r

…is purloined by people for whatever purpose.

I probably can’t even post a link to the definition as it seems the word is so reviled here that it disallows it being printed. Just Google the word + Oxford Dictionary and select definition 2.

This article is most unfortunate. It is wrong in so many ways. Not just in the abuse of the English language (a wrong definition of the word “d…r”) but in a mistaken appreciation of what it *means* to reject climate science, and a mistaken understanding of what it *takes* to accept or reject climate science.

One doesn’t have to know how to work out equations to accept climate science any more than one has to understand the intricacies of biology to accept evolution, or the details of geology to appreciate the age of the world, or the ins and outs of modern physics to accept that there are tiny particles, or an in-depth understanding of the immune system to accept or reject the value of vaccines.

People reject climate science for all sorts of reasons, but only very, very rarely would it be because they find equations too complex. Social science tells us that it is much more likely to be because it is incompatible with a person’s world view and/or their ideology. Many people pretend to reject climate science because they have a vested interest in doing so (and/or because it is part of their job description) – such as the professional disinformers (who feed off science d…rs).

This article seriously detracts from the blog, which is a shame, because otherwise you have some very good articles here, SoD, for people who *are* interested in the mathematics of climate science.

There are already way too many apologists for people who wilfully reject climate science to the detriment of society. It is dismaying that you seek to fan the flames now, SoD, just when the US tide could be starting to turn in favour of science.

Why did you do it?

on February 5, 2015 at 3:28 am | Reply David Young
Good grief, Sou, what a litany of superficial and unscientific nonsense. Did you read Brandon Schollenberter’s comment about the association and how it has become established by common usage in the press?

Who is apologizing for anyone? Some people are wrong on a whole host of issues. Some people sympathized with the enemy during the civil war. Abraham Lincoln’s approach was far more effective and humane than the approach of the radicals. Why do you feel that name calling is going to help change their minds or do anything other make you feel virtuous in some strange way. Name calling is for children, not adults.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:28 am | Reply scienceofdoom
Sou

..There are already way too many apologists for people who wilfully reject climate science to the detriment of society. It is dismaying that you seek to fan the flames now, SoD, just when the US tide could be starting to turn in favour of science.

Why did you do it?
Because I am part of an evil empire of disinformation. I have worked carefully for over five years to allay suspicion – and now, [cackle] I have fooled everyone and can move to the next phase of our masterplan to destroy the world!!

Oh, you have unmasked me, damn you.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am | Reply Climate Weenie
This post appears to illuminate your biases SOD.

on February 5, 2015 at 2:30 am | Reply Nathan
SoD

“On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘d…r’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.”

This is the problematic part of your post.
There’s a use of absolutes here that is simply not true. Nor have you adequately made the case for this claim.

It’s the kind of claim that ATTP criticised in his post “2+2=4, therefore Einstein is wrong”. The two parts of your claim do not equate.

To claim that the use of the d word trivializes the Holocaust is… well… wrong. Perhaps in your head it does, and everyone will respect your choice not to allow the term because you find it offensive, but that is very different from claiming that is what the d-word does.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:30 am scienceofdoom
Nathan,

I have already responded to this point above:

From the many comments, not just this one by MikeH, it looks like I was wrong..
on February 5, 2015 at 3:39 am | Reply scienceofdoom
Climate Weenie,

I would like my biases to be out there in the spotlight, whatever they are.

I am frequently accused of bias on this blog (and other blogs where I nowadays rarely comment). When you start a blog you expect criticism and there are no surprises for me.

Well, one surprise has been the very low level of name-calling and “motive-attribution” towards people with different viewpoints.

Hopefully the bias you are talking about is the concern about trivializing the Holocaust and I agree I am probably biased there.

Oh you meant that it is now clear that I am part of the evil empire of disinformation..

I’ll let everyone else throw bias claims out there.

I’m interested in understanding climate science and if I don’t understand it very well, people can claim nasty motives, bias or anything else.

I’ll let the posts I have written, and the comments I have made over the last five or more years be my statement and my defence.

on February 5, 2015 at 3:47 am Nathan
Sorry SoD must have missed that.

Really appreciate your blog and work.
Just want you to know that.

on February 5, 2015 at 4:53 am | Reply Rob Ellison
What a very small blogoshere it is. The very same commentators – most of whom I blithely ignore – making the very same comments on the very same trivial points.

The physics are relatively simple conceptually. Greenhouse gas molecules resonate with IR emissions in certain frequencies. Excited greenhouse gas molecules collide with nitrogen and oxygen such there a local thermal equilibrium evolves. Greenhouse gas molecules may also gain kinetic energy from adjacent molecules and emit in IR. Add more greenhouse gas molecules and the number of interactions with IR photons increases. IR photons are absorbed and subsequently emitted in all directions – both the surface and the atmosphere warm tending to a new conditional equilibrium at TOA.

Physics is not about equations as such – these are merely another way of conceptualising process. And probably not the way exceptional physicists – or exceptional anything – primarily work.

The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined. …. This combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs which can be communicated to others.
Albert Einstein

The simple fact is that increased greenhouse gs concentrations in the atmosphere increase temperatures – all other things being equal. Nothing more can be reasonably said. It can be shown by experiment and observation at laboratory and planetary scales.

e.g. http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/321/Harries_Spectrum_2001.pdf

Differences would exist even in a warmer equilibrium state due to deflection of photon paths in a greenhouse gas enriched atmosphere. By the nature of the observing instruments.

All other things are never equal – in the complexity of the Earth system. Complexity science suggests that the system is pushed by such things as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation. Complexity involving abrupt and unpredictable changes in system state evolves from interactions of simple components.

The bottom line is that we are making changes to a complex system with unknowable consequences – that may include warming or cooling surprises. Global warming is by no means guaranteed. The knowable future includes more or less extreme climate shifts every 20 to 30 years. The policy basis can’t therefore be defined by sensitivity or any other simplistic prognostication. It can only be characterised as decision making in uncertainty. Climate shifts are unmistakably evident in climate data and unmissable by the apocryphal 10 year old. It seems the epitome of climate ignorance to even talk global warming and not abrupt climate change.

One thing seems pretty certain – the future will look pretty much like the past – extreme. For comparison – red intensity for the 97/98 El Nino was 99.

Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

It suggests that emissions are potentially problematic – but that a rational response begins by accurately defining the problem. Electricity generations plays a relatively small part in the bigger emissions picture – that include contributions to forcing from black carbon.

To build an effective policy response to uncertainty, complexity and instability in the climate system – and addressing the broad range of emissions – requires a far more broad ranging policy framework. Sadly not pointless point scoring by climate warriors who mostly seem not to understand all that much.

on February 5, 2015 at 5:08 am | Reply puckerclust
I’m puzzled by this entire discussion. According to Webster, the word-that-shall-not-be-uttered dates back to the 15th century. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Holocaust, but (not being a Holocaust “skeptic”) I do know that it took place in the 20th century. So you-know-what had been in use for 5 centuries before there was a Nazi party. It seems to me that that the faux outrage over the use of that-which-shall-not-be-named is a transparent attempt to shame those who are using a perfectly good and legitimate descriptive term. Or maybe it’s just a sign of remarkable lack of etymological literacy combined with thin-skinned readiness to take offense, like those who have gotten the word “niggardly” banned from college campuses.

That said, I am glad that (for the most part) the word “skeptic” has been put in quotes by commenters on this blog. As it turns out, most of the world’s most prominent skeptics agree with the scientific consensus (see http://bit.ly/1G0gTPf) . So if we are going to ban a word that is being used improperly and out of context, perhaps it should be the “s-word”).

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thentheresphysics – hostilities

Hostilities

There has been a rather extensive discussion on Twitter about hostilities in the online climate debate. It seems to have been partly motivated by the recent articles by Matt Ridley and David Rose, in which they complain about how they’ve been attacked because of their views about climate change. The suggestion seems to be that these articles are illustrating how hostile the online debate has become and that we should be aiming to be less hostile so as to encourage better behaviour (or something like that, I rather lost track of the arguments being made). Personally, I have no problem with it becoming less hostile, I just don’t really think that either of these articles is a particularly good motivation for suggesting it now.

Although both articles highlight some fairly atrocious verbal attacks, my impression is that the authors are really just trying to use a few awful examples to score points against, and de-legitimise, their critics. I actually find it offensive. I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks. If Ridley and Rose think the examples that they highlight are typical of the tone of their critics, then they’re either being incredibly disingenuous or they can’t tell the difference between an attack and a critique, and should probably assume that they don’t have the intellect to engage in discussions about a complex topic.

So, as much as I’d be all for a reduction in hostilities, and a more reasoned approach to discussions about climate science, I see no reason to capitulate to those who appear to be using a few extreme examples to simply score points. I also think we all own our own behaviour. If people want to reduce hostilities, they can simply do so. People are not responsible for how someone responds to what they say, they’re only responsible for what they actually say.

I will admit, however, to what may be a very obvious bias. Although I have no problem with a reduction in hostilities, I don’t really care either way. I have no great interest in engaging in discussions with those who strongly and vocally dispute mainstream climate science. I’ve tried and failed too many times to think it’s really possible or even worthwhile. That doesn’t mean that I would encourage bad behaviour. It just means that I have no great interest in encouraging those I largely agree with to change their behaviour, just so that some of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever encountered might possibly behave a little less atrociously than they are now.

This entry was posted in Climate change, ClimateBall, Science and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to Hostilities

  1. Rachel M says:

    I thought it was a bit pathetic for David Rose (and others) to make such a big deal out of a moderated comment, as though somehow The Guardian or Dana Nuccitelli are responsible for every comment made on the site. The comment was moderated. What else could they do? Turn off the comments altogether? I’m sure David Rose (and others) would complain about censorship if they did that.

  2. I’m still waiting for this one to be moderated.

  3. dana1981 says:

    I think they’re just playing games. They don’t like their misinformation being constantly debunked, so they try to create a distraction by highlighting some stupid offensive comments a few random people on the internet have made. And the ploy has been successful. Instead of talking about how Ridley and Rose are getting the science wrong and misinforming the public, we’re talking about whether efforts to correct that misinformation have been too darned mean to them.

    Honestly, if you’re going to engage in the climate ‘debate’ you need to grow a pair. We’ve all been subjected to insulting and offensive comments at one point or another. Deniers are far worse on this than climate realists. Some climate scientists have even received death threats. None of this should happen, and it should certainly be discouraged, but Ridley and Rose certainly don’t deserve a pity party because of a couple of stupid comments.

  4. dana1981,

    Honestly, if you’re going to engage in the climate ‘debate’ you need to grow a pair.

    Yes, I was going to say something like that in my post. Are we dealing with adults or children? I don’t have the thickest of skins, but even I know you can’t engage in this if you can’t take robust criticism. Offensive stuff you just ignore.

  5. Vinny Burgoo says:

    ATTP: ‘…some of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever encountered’.

    How come?

  6. Mnestheus says:

    Do you imagine realists immune to attack by those who feel entitled to their own reality ?

    It wouldn’t be a climate war if people didn’t belive their own propaganda ,

  7. Vinny,
    I’m a new South African though 🙂

  8. KarSteN says:

    Funny, got hatemails the moment I started engaing constructively (w/ non other than NL) at ClimateAudit. Guess David Rose thinks the hate he receives is different from hate actual climate scientists receive. Pathetic! Chin up, Dana (and ATTP ) … you’re doing a great job, despite some challenging tweets once in a while 😉

  9. KarSteN,
    I’m not sure what NL makes of me after my response to one of his comments on ClimateAudit over the weekend. I wasn’t very impressed by what he’d said and didn’t hide my disdain particularly well. No hate mail, though 🙂

  10. KarSteN says:

    @ATTP: Lucky you 😉

  11. dana1981 says:

    I don’t care about Ridley and Rose’s whining. What’s irritating though is that people who should really know better fall for it and start criticizing me for somehow creating the climate that led to those few stupid comments.

    It’s a pretty massive double standard that the constant vitriol on blogs like WUWT and Bishop Hill and Curry’s go unchallenged (in fact they’re invited on pleasant dinner dates), but a couple dumb comments from ‘our side’ and suddenly we’re being too mean to the deniers. Basically, this:

  12. jsam says:

    Have these chaps never read the comments on the skepticle blogs? Bless.

  13. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: You Brits have the uncanny ability to stir up a hornet’s nest with polite understatement. Your OPs bear witness to this fact. (:

  14. Dana,
    I’m being a bit thick, but I didn’t quite understand you tweet. “criticism shou;d be that we’re held to a standard of perfection, not that we meet it”?

    JH,
    As you may slowly be working out, I’m not actually British (well, kind of, but not quite).

  15. ligne says:

    “[…] wouldn’t have given [David Rose] a hook for his story”? i don’t think that this sort of issue has ever presented him with much of a hurdle before…

  16. [Mod : Huh? You seriously expect me to post your comment?]

  17. John Hartz says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    As scientists and much of the public differ on the causes of climate change, the planet keeps getting warmer … and the effects are adding up.

    Earth’s Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening? by Dennis Dimick, National Geographic, Feb 2, 2015

  18. T-rev says:

    “And the ploy has been successful. Instead of talking about how Ridley and Rose are getting the science wrong and misinforming the public, we’re talking about whether efforts to correct that misinformation have been too darned mean to them.”

    They have also been successful in sidetracking action on emissions mitigation to alleviate the “catastrophe”* So much so they have those who understand and/or agree with the Science and the need for CO2e mitigation are still engaged in profligate emissions.

    It’s like you guys and the deniers are standing in front of an oncoming bus, “debating” the existence of the oncoming bus, equipped with all manner of science on your side you’re intent on proving them wrong, until you’re run over by the bus and none of you (aside from Kevin Anderson) is stepping out of the way.

    *Carl Sagan

  19. Gator says:

    Victim bullies.

  20. izen says:

    Ha, I remember that Delingpole article, and the ‘discussion’ afterwards… not sure if I managed to contribute!

    I did try and resist, in the interests of civility, quoting heret a couple of sentences in James Delingpole’s article.
    But perhaps it shows that sometimes both sides can agree on something.

    “The problem with the Tols of this world is that they are under a naive misapprehension about the climate change debate in particular and the culture wars debate generally. Being both decent, fair-minded people and determined centrists they assume that there must be equal merit and equal fault on both sides of the argument. (What I call the dog poo yogurt fallacy). …
    Sorry to have a go at poor Richard Tol. He’s a damned useful economist, I’m sure, but he’s evidently way out of his depth in areas which require seriously critical thinking.”
    J.D.

    Are people who state that climate scientists are engaged in a fraud or hoax, or at best getting rich by providing a political cabal with a fake threat to ensure world domination REALLY complaining about hostility or incivility! Have they never read an old Delingpole thread or anything current at WUWT. 4fxache.

    I do try and avoid hostility, but I cannot help it if incredulity and ridicule are interpreted as incivility.

  21. Everett F Sargent says:

    Climate believer hate speech = Climate denier hate speech

    or …

    97% Concensus * 3% Hang ‘Em High = 3% Noncensus * 97% Hang ‘Em High

  22. Nick says:

    Ridley has little to say about climate science, but he has been give prominent venues to repeat it.

    I visited his blog post via your link, and there was Ridley tone trolling away, defining himself and positioning the utter reasonableness of his ‘lukewarm’ views…hand-wringing about how he upsets both sides, yet the pro-AGW ‘side’ more…and feeling obliged to incidentally, casually, and truly irrelevantly to the science, note his critics were ‘government funded’. A cue to his survivalist friends, I guess? Really, and I know it’s been said before, Ridley is just a public troll, draping his provocation such unrepentant neo-liberal tinsel.

    Thank the lord the government was there to bail him out in a past life.

  23. There’s a section in Merchants of Doubt where climate scientists read short samples of emails they get regularly.
    Katharine is one of them, but see this for more examples.
    The senders of those are right with Rose and Ridley, as are those who send more death threats and envelopes with white powder.

    Police asked Steve Schneider for sample emails, but he had trouble emailing it to them – their SPAM filter kept rejecting it for obscenities.

    Movie -Those are US schedules for MoD, I don’t think International ones area available yet.
    I’ve seen it twice and strongly recommend it.

  24. dana1981 says:

    ATTP – there were some silly criticisms, i.e. of a zombie photo I used, with the implication that’s what created the climate that led to the stupid comments in question. That’s basically David Rose’s argument.

    I think the correct reaction is to point out that’s a stupid argument, holding me to a standard of perfection (i.e. I’m not even allowed to use photos that might possibly be the genesis of stupid comments). Instead I was criticized for not being perfect by people who should really know better than to fall for that ploy.

  25. Marco says:

    Since Ridley and Rose have resorted to tone trolling, this then in Ridleyian logic means a tacit admission our arguments are hitting home…

  26. Catmando says:

    I note Rose is offended to be called a denier, because he proclaims his acceptance of the consensus view on climate change (hard to see in his articles, I must admit) and because he is Jewish and the word is associated with Holocaust denial.

    The word denier has a deeper history of which Rose must be ignorant. It was used in the same anti-science context in the 1850s and I found a not very secret Carl Sagan speech where he talks about denial and deniers from 1990.

    Denier is a word that usefully describes a person’s position on a matter of fact. Those given the label would do better to ask themselves where their logic went wrong.

  27. Nathan says:

    Science of Doom has an… Interesting point of view….

  28. Nathan,
    Yes, I saw that. I’ve written and deleted two comments on that post, mostly because I don’t think what I have to say would be appreciated. As far as I’ve seen, the association with the Holocaust is made more by those who object to the use of “denier”, than by those who use it. It is certainly my view that most who make the association are simply trying to score points by associating what they regard as an insult with an horrific event. In my view, that’s at least as appalling as what they’re claiming those who use it are trying to do (for which they have almost no evidence whatsoever).

  29. I will admit that there are some absolutely hilarious comments on the recent SoD post.

  30. BBD says:

    SoD has been uncharacteristically thoughtless and gullible.

  31. BBD,
    Yes, I must admit that I was rather surprised myself.

  32. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Given your sense of humor…

    Climate change is no laughing matter, but when all else fails, perhaps it’s time to take humour a bit more seriously?

    SEVEN SERIOUS JOKES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE


  33. Nathan says:
    Science of Doom has an… Interesting point of view….

    In discussing sources of scientific arguments and ideas, the proprietor of the SoD blog offered “If you are talking about websites and blogs, no need, it’s irrelevant to this site.”

    Yet, SoD is a blog, and so by his own logic, we should treat it as irrelevant?

    I go to blogs for info all the time. Pseudo-skeptic blogs are great places to clean up on #OwnGoals !


  34. BBD says:

    SoD has been uncharacteristically thoughtless and gullible.

    Example:


    Richard Tol (@RichardTol)
    SoD’s language signals his intellectual superiority, a bad start to any conversation.

    Is that what being charitable will get you?

  35. WHT,
    I’ve no idea what Richard is playing at in the comment thread on SoD’s post, but that he identifies with people under the age of 10 is no great surprise.

  36. Marlowe Johnson says:

    ATTP I humbly suggest you change the title of the post to ‘Butthurt’. Hostilities is usually reserved for things like the middle east, fallout from golfing weekends, etc….

  37. Marlowe Johnson says:

    ATTP/Rachel apparently words like *buthurt* and/or golf land you in comment moderation…

  38. Brandon Gates says:

    BBD/ATTP,

    My initial read of the post was via the link to Tol’s first comment. Immediate disorientation because I didn’t start understanding what was funny until I hit the integral in the first equation, which Tol himself points to in his second comment. I don’t read SoD as much as I probably should — whenever I do I find it incredibly useful — so I can’t gauge what’s characteristic or not over there. But I found myself surprised as well. “Surely he’s having me on?” I asked myself. On re-reading, no, I don’t think he is. So I identify with Tol’s confusion somewhat, but that doesn’t make it not funny.

    I meant to not pile on Poor Richard, but I’m in a nasty mood with the Tone Police at Watts’ joint … they’ve been quoting Dale Carnegie’s book there of late as well. I just … how … oh screw it. It’s not fathomable, and I just can’t be arsed to even think about figuring it out.

    MikeH sums up my thinking at SoDs: “I try not to use the term ‘denier’ because it just gives the pseudo-skeptics the opportunity to play the victim card. But in the years of following this debate, the only people who I have read associating the term climate denier with the holocaust is you above and the psuedo-skeptics themselves when they have run out of other arguments.”

    My preferred term is “climate contrarian” or simply “contrarian” once it’s established what I mean. My deal is that if I must use a label of convenience, it should be as non-loaded as possible. To me that’s just a tenet of good-faith debate: the terminology used to address one’s interlocutor should not implicitly pass judgement on their position. Anything else is not a debate, it’s a polemic. If I’m going to rip someone a new one, I don’t resort to loaded terminology to do it, I tell them straight up that I think they’re full of shit. And why. And yes by God, I think that’s the respectful way to do it.

    Wouldn’t you know, I got complaints about using the word “contrarian”. I told them tough, I’m not ceding “skeptic” to them. That went a few rounds and then it got dropped.

    SoD’s post is thought-provoking. I agree with much of what he wrote. But I can think of better reasons to not use “denier” which don’t have anything to do with Hitler and also don’t pander to their idiotic conspiracy theories and multiple persecution complexes. I never in a million years would have made that connection in the first place.

  39. Joshua says:

    Tol says:

    ==> “SoD’s language signals his intellectual superiority, a bad start to any conversation.”

    I commented at SoD about how his opening gambit:

    ==> “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. …It’s heartbreaking to read about the war and to read about the Holocaust. Words fail me to describe the awfulness of that regime and what they did.”

    Reminds me of Ridley’s gambit that he’s commenting on climate change as someone who has long been a promoter of truthful science, as if to distinguish himself from those who disagree with him (in a non-pejorative way, of course, because if he did so pejoratively then it would mean that he’s lost the argument).

    SoD’s rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that his view on the use of the term “denier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of SoD’s views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “denier” in the climate wars.

    So unless I’m reading it wrong, I think that Tol might actually have made a reasonable point, and that the point he made might not be so easily aligned with his typical orientation as a climate warrior.

  40. guthrie says:

    I think Tol has a point, but we’re talking about someone who is so intellectually superior they regularly make obtuse points, argue against straw men and always leave you with the feeling that they think they are wonderful, yet actually insecure. Secure people don’t wander the internet picking fights whenever their name is mentioned.

    BOOKMARK

  41. Tom Curtis says:

    I have two things to say about SoD’s post:

    1) Ignorance of the relevant scientific theory and related maths is not sound grounds to reject the theory. It follows that SoD’s argument is wrong headed. If people reject the science out of ignorance, then they are in fact deniers.

    2) No matter how erudite SoD is on history (which remains entirely unproven), and how erudite on science (which he certainly is); neither subject has any bearing on etymology, on which subject he is offering his uninformed opinion. The term “denier” has a history in English longer than modern English has existed. It is a word very easily understood by construction by anybody with reasonable knowledge of English. That is why the term “holocaust denier” was coined in the first place – ie, because people would understand what was meant by “denier” without need of explanation. That same ease of construction means that the term can and has been used in similar contexts entirely unrelated to holocaust denial starting with the title of the Apostle Peter, ie, Peter the denier, and will be used long into the future in similar contexts with no reference to holocaust denial implicit in the term.

    It is the attempts by deniers, and now SoD to tie the term exclusively to “holocaust denial” to prevent the use of a perfectly appropriate descriptor that use the suffering of the holocaust victims for tawdry rhetorical gain. Not the other way round.

  42. It has been a subtle shift but SoD has been veering towards a more fair-and-balanced schtick, especially in terms of giving free-reign in his comments section to the pseudo-science crowd.

    My opinion is akin to what somebody recently tweeted — that allowing both sides on certain scientific topics is like having opposing food critics argue the merits of “dog-doodie yogurt”

  43. Brandon Gates says:

    Web, the frustrating thing about this is that it’s really not immediately obvious to our denier friends that they’re fans of frozen cat crap on a stick. Couching it in those terms goes right into the conspiracy feedback loop and thence to infinty plus three.

  44. Everett F Sargent says:

    Methinks SoD is just a little wee bit biased.

    “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. In fact right now, having found audible.com I’m listening to an audio book The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard Evans, while I walk, drive and exercise.”

    So in gaming the word “denial” in a word association sort of way:

    Psychologist: Denial
    SoD: Holocaust
    Sample size = 1

    Psychologist: Denial
    3% Noncensus: Holocaust (97% of the time), miscellaneous other words (3% of the time)
    Sample size >> 1E4

    Psychologist: Denial
    97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (<> 1E4

    So other than that there is a standard word definition for denial and formal psychological/psychiatric descriptions for denial (DSM-V), we can plainly see SoD’s kneejerk reaction given their current reading list. Oh, the ploy of using a complex description of climate science to ‘explain away’ those who might reject the science because it is ‘too complicated’ is a non sequitur, in my book, at least.

  45. Everett F Sargent says:

    Well, wordpress messed with part of my comment:

    “97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words ( 1E4″

    should be …

    97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (less-than-less-than 1% of the time)
    Sample size greater-than-greater-than 1E4

  46. verytallguy says:

    In which SoD demonstrates how to listen and respond to opposing views. Kudos.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94437

  47. vtg,
    Okay, that is impressive and rare. Kudos. Only wish more would be willing to acknowledge when they get something wrong in their posts.

  48. John Hartz says:

    Tom Curtis: Bravo!

    PS – Would you be willing to embellish your comment and transform it into a guest post on SkS?

  49. John Hartz says:

    Observation: This comment thread reminds me of an ESPN panel of experts dissecting the Super Bowl football (American) game on Monday morning. Perhaps there’s merit in the “Climateball” construct after all. (:

  50. I also never figured out why the Science Of Doom blog uses the word “Doom” in the title.

    Most environmentally-conscious types are sensitive about the tag Doomer attached to them. In particular, it’s essentially a slur to anyone analyzing oil depletion.

  51. WHT,
    I’m not sure, but I think SoD may have started as someone who was highly skeptical and thought the science was too doom laden. He, however, then proceeded through a process of genuine skepticism and clearly understands the science extremely well and writes some very thorough and informative posts.

  52. “I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

    Short memory.

  53. Everett F Sargent says:

    Kind of reminds me of this episode of South Park:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Apologies_to_Jesse_Jackson

    “He explains to Token that, as a white person, he will never understand why Token is so upset by the word, and why it can make black people mad when a white person says it in any context. Token is finally satisfied that Stan gets that he does not get it, thus creating an understanding between them.”

    So I can see certain specific demographic groups being insulted by certain specific words.

    However, I don’t even remotely think that climate Deniers are either solely Jewish or African American, in the same way that those groups, are, well, those specific demographic groups.

    Hardcore climate Deniers are mostly old white males, there’s a certain specific pejorative term for whites used here in the Deep South, I use it a lot, and I’m an old white male. But that word does not have the same impact factor, by any means, as words associated with being owned or persecuted or systematically killed, specifically when applied to very specific demographic groups.

    In short, Climate Deniers don’t identify with each other BECAUSE of their race.

  54. Richard,

    “I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

    Short memory.

    Back it up, Richard [Mod: Unnecessary]

  55. [Mod : I said back it up! You do know what that means, don’t you? Now do so, or go away!]

  56. Steven Mosher says:

    The term denier is saving the planet.
    don’t give it up. the cause depends on it.

  57. Joshua says:

    Anyone using the term “denier” clearly doesn’t give a damn about the victims of the holocaust….not a single one.

    The only people who give a damn about the victims of the holocaust are those, like Judith Curry, who clutch pearls from their fainting couches about the deep, deep harm caused by the use of the term.

    Just think of how much further along we’d be in dealing with Climate change if only those AGW Lysenkoist, eugenicist, alarmist, Stalinist, poorchildreninafricastarving cultists would stop using the pejorative term “denier.”

    Oh, the humanity!!!1!1!!

  58. Windchasers says:

    I posted twice on that thread so far, not about the d-word but about the hidden premises and attitudes behind AGW skepticism. Psychology and epistemology are quite a bit more interesting than semantics.

    Honestly, I don’t care about the use of the d* word. It’s Climateball: it distracts from the real debate. So I use “skeptic” instead.

    If you’re getting into an argument about semantics, you’re letting yourself get sidetracked.

  59. Everett F Sargent says:

    So if Richard A. Muller was a Denier and is now no longer a Denier, would one say that Richard A. Muller is in Denierment (rhymes with retirement)?

  60. John Hartz says:

    One of the things about “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” is that no matter how many analysts are engaged and no matter how much analyis is prodcued, the score of the game never changes once the final whistle blows. In other words, I don’t see a lot of value in what’s being posted on this thread. Having said that, perhaps group venting has some value and is needed from time to time. I just hope it doesn’t become the norm for this website.

  61. eli says:

    Rejectionist hits all the boxes. People who simply do not deny but actively reject. Also obvious meaning for the terminally dense

  62. Lars Karlsson says:

    Here is some more Delingpole: “Why do I call them Eco Nazis? Because they ARE Eco Nazis”. Complete with a picture of Himmler, with caption “Himmler: he loved nature, furry animals and organic food”.

  63. pbjamm says:

    Guthrie right on the mark. No sooner is Tol mentioned than he arrives in a narcissistic attempt to make the conversation about himself (and I am falling for it!) by dropping a random comment with no support for his assertion. How predictable.

  64. From my experience SoD is not a worthwhile place to comment, IMO. Good comments get mixed in with pseudo-scientific assertions and it is apparently a breech of “etiquette” to call that stuff dog-doodie yogurt. I was shushed there last month for getting baited by the usual suspect.

  65. Willard says:

    Come on, guys. You play offense. They play defense. They are allowed to hold. You can’t:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football

    However, you play offense, which means you have the ball. Keep the ball moving forward. Let them do their touch down dances on their line of 20.

    Keep calm and play ClimateBall like gentlemen and gentlewomen.

  66. Dana

    The suggestion that I let stuff on BH, WUWT etc “go unchallenged” is ridiculous.

    I often respond to errors, criticisms, misunderstandings & misrepresentations from contrarians, and often in the actual forum where they are made, where they will actually be read by those who need to read them. (As opposed to shouting at a distance from the safety of some other blog).

    I realise that you (and possibly ATTP) think I’ve somehow been duped by David Rose into sticking up for him, but I think you’ve missed the point. The reason I highlighted his MoS article as an ‘own goal’ by green bloggers was not to defend him, but to point out that aggressive commentary & accusations of ‘denier’ etc just reflect badly on the side that’s making them (and, by common association, climate scientists, even if we’re not actually signed up to any particular agenda).

    Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.

    Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want. However, when the hostility and suspicion lead to scientists’ time and taxpayers’ money being wasted on dealing with things like FOI requests and other stuff then it starts to get a bit more real.

    Also I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant incidents, having to get the police involved on one occasion (and they took it seriously enough to track down the offending person) and also having to seek legal advice several times. (Incidentally, at least twice this was because of things coming from the ‘green’ side, so it’s not just contrarians who can cross the line).

    I think that climate scientists who get caught up in all this have every right to ask people to calm down the hostilities. It’s all very well having ‘hug a climate scientist’ day and the Climate Science Legal Defence Fund – both of which I’m supportive of, especially the former 😉 – but I can’t help feeling that there would probably be just a bit less need for both of these things if people just made more of an effort to tone things down rather than ramp them up.

    I’m certainly not saying that all this would go away if everyone stopped calling people ‘deniers’ or whatever. I’m sure there would still be stuff happening. However, I really don’t think it helps to keep fanning the flames.

    Just see the big picture, that’s all I’m asking.

  67. Willard says:

    Every ClimateBall player should use “contrarian”. Otters will learn, either vicariously, or the hard way.

    “Contrarian” just works:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

    Style matters.

  68. Everett F Sargent says:

    JH,

    What, you mean the game is over? So is the science settled? Who won?
    Has humanity become so civilized that no one is bullying anyone or calling them names?
    So SoD doing a Judith Curry (up is down than down is up, rinse, repeat, …) isn’t fascinating to you?
    SkS is only for true believers in the religion of climate science pron? Keith Kloor still does not have a Klue?

    You see, it goes something like this …

    There are the hardcore climate science deniers (think Fred Singer or Willard Anthony Watts), nothing will change that basic fact, they will go to their graves (of natural causes) being 110% (these go to 11) in full deniersville. They do not play nice, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Do we stoop down to level of the hardcore climate science deniers? No. But we do call them out for what they are. Deniers.

    If you think the general public really gives a hoot about climate science, then your American football analogy is apt, because they don’t, they all are already watching the next game.

  69. Willard says:

    Oh, and if you think I agree with Keith or even RichardB, see the comment over there:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/04/climate-communication-undermined-inflammatory-language/

    Keith can’t even get his history correct.

    ***

    More on labeling:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/aboutlabeling

    I ought to write my Seven Strictures on Labeling one day. Just found my notes back.

    ***

    Just act like [Chill, W. – W]. See if I care.

  70. John Hartz says:

    Everett F. Sargent:

    You have completely missed my point and analogy. The “game” in this case is what’s been posted on the comment threads on SoD. No matter how much praticipants (ESPN analysts) on this thread slice and dice that game, it will change nothing.

    My personal goal is to help in whatever way I can to move the dial of public opinion on the need to take meaningful and timely aciton on mitigating climate change.

    My frustration about this thread and others like it is the amount of valuable time and energy that a bunch of very smart people spend discussing the banal. That time and energy could be better spent on more productive acitivites — in my opinion.

  71. Everett F Sargent says:

    RE: fanning the flames

    Truthers
    Birthers
    Partiers (Tea)
    Deniers (climate science)

    So Richard (can we get Richard Tol back, I much prefer his brand of humor), how do you think those ‘movements’ got started, perhaps it is, in large part, due to the Internets.

    Just, you know, sayin’

    [Mod : unnecessarily inflammatory]

  72. Richard B.,

    Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.

    This may be true but I fail to see the relevance. There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile. Of course, there may be some examples where I could have done better, but that’s not quite the same as being hostile. In fact, one reason I may find this whole discussion somewhat annoying is that my whole intent was to try and remain civil and non-hostile and it had virtually no effect whatsoever on how I was treated.

    Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want.

    Yes, it’s all just a barrel of laughs for us non-actual-climate scientists.

    I’ll make the point that I was trying to make in the post again. I see far more people who object to “denier” associating it with the Holocaust, than I see people who use it doing so. I think it’s offensive to use an horrific event to try and score points against those with whom you disagree. I’m really impressed that SoD rowed back from what he said in his post, as I thought that that part of his post was appalling. If anything, what he did is what we need more of; we need more people to consider what their critics say and to change their position if it is warranted.

    I think that Ridley and Rose using extreme examples of verbal attacks to score points against their critics is also appalling. I’m not excusing these attacks, but I think it’s offensive to imply that this somehow reflects on those who have been criticising them. Have Rose or Ridley ever actually engaged with their critics. I’ve never seen them do so.

    We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.

    I’ll say something that I used to say more often. If I’ve ever said anything offensive or objectionable, or allowed anyone to do so in the comments, people can point this out and I’ll correct it. However, I’m not going to suddenly be less blunt in my criticism of some just because they don’t like it, especially given that they seem to be quite comfortable doing so themselves when they decide to criticise others.

  73. Joshua says:

    FWIW –

    ==> “There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile.”

    Anders, I see a distinction between your approach to this discussions and that of Dana.

    And I think that this:

    ==> “We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.”

    Is quite one-sided.

    The hostility in the climate wars is, I think, because folks on both sides are locked into an identity-oriented struggle. The resistance to let got of the label of “denier,” is, IMO, reflective of that struggle, just as are the laughable arguments made my Rose and Ridley and Watts and Montford and Curry, blah,blah, about what is causal for the level of hostility.

  74. Joshua,

    Is quite one-sided.

    I stand by that in the sense that I think it would reduce significantly if Watts and Montford stopped promoting the nonsense that they do on their site and moderated the comments more strongly. However, I’ll grant you that the denier label could go if that would really help. I don’t actually use it particularly often, so I have no issue with not using it myself. Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world and they would simply move on to trying to control the next bit of the narrative. Of course, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong.

  75. John Hartz says:

    Folks: It’s time to wake-up and smell the roses!

    If everyone who accepts the overwhelming body of scientific evidence about manmade climate change stopped uing the word “denier” tomorrow and started using the word “contrarion” insted, what do you think would happen?

    Here’s what I predict would happen.

    The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them. Perhaps they would claim it connotes the onset ofr early dimentia. Who knows what they would come up with.

    The folk in Deniersville are waging a propganda war. They will do anything and everything in their power to preserve BAU. There is lttle to be gained in engaging them in a serious discussion of any sort.

  76. Joshua says:

    ==> ” Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world.”

    Personally, I wouldn’t care. They might think it was a “victory,” but as you say they’d just move on to some other bullshit. In the real world, the use of the word or the lack thereof is, IMO, meaningless. I don’t understand why some “realists” seem to think that them thinking they’ve had a “victory” that is actually meaningless, matters in the real world. Just because they would think they had some kind of victory wouldn’t make it so.

    I don’t think that letting go of the term would make any real difference, but I also think that resistance to letting go of the term is more reflective of tribalism rather than a rational approach to moving the discussion forward.

  77. Everett F Sargent says:

    OK, so I thought that, if only we could come up with one word to ‘label’ or ‘brand’ or ‘stain’ the hardcore climate science D-word, what would that word be, other than the D-word?

    Oops, there I go stereotyping others. We need a marketing campaign.

    Well anyways, it might have to be a totally new word, it would have to go viral and be an internet meme, kind of like the Santorum neologism. Or it could be an anagram of (an) existing (word) words. Problem is, we would need a new buzzword now.

    If not a new word, than an old word, like dissident or refusenik (oops) or insurgent or recusant or heretic or apostate or paynim (oops) or cretin or …

    Problem is, that no matter what you call them, they’re bound to complain.

    So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.

    Unless, of course, you all want to be ‘branded’ an appeaser like Neville Chamberlain.

    It’s like this whole D-word thing is one big cons piracy thing devolving into Godwin’s Law.
    😦

  78. Willard says:

    > What would that word be, other than the D-word?

    Contrarian:

    http://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

    It just works.

    There might even be a correlation, e.g.:

  79. Everett F Sargent says:

    Caller Steve: Whatever side says ‘oh, well, the debate’s settled, we’re not going to debate anymore’, if I was on the side that I felt like I was armed with live ammo and the other side was armed with blanks, I’d want to debate every chance I got just so I could beat ‘em every single time.

    WHO radio host Jan Michelsen: Yes! And if they’re ducking discussion, that usually means they’re not up for the task, or they don’t want to acknowledge that anybody disagrees with them, and usually the people who are in authority, the people who have won and captured the flag or the funding streams do not want to risk the ‘buffet’, they don’t want to risk the money trails by even allowing people to question whether they’re proceeding on the basis of sound science.

    Willard Anthony Watts: Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore, Katherine Hayhoe, etc. are the ones armed with blanks and they know it, they flee from debate and they flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked.

    Me: WTFUWT?

  80. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I propose that all of the people who are currently called ‘climate change deniers’, whether or not they deny anthropogenic climate change or are in denial about it, should henceforth be called ‘climate change Americans’, whether or not they are American.

    Not a perfect solution but fewer people would be miscategorized – and of course not even the most dyed-in-the-wool ‘American’ would be able to complain about Holocaust allusions.

  81. Gator says:

    They were deniers before anyone ever called them that; and they will continue to be deniers even if everyone decided not to call them that anymore. When they stop personally attacking scientists they can start complaining about terms.

  82. ligne says:

    Everett: and Then There’s Duane Gish. i can only echo your “WTFUWT?”, with some “what is this i can’t even” for good measure.

  83. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

    So, there is a certain orthodoxy in warmunist thinking.

    Kind of like water off a duck’s back.

    I actually like being called the D-word. Doing the conformist thing is not my style. 🙂

  84. Steven Mosher says:

    “So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.”

    Yup me too. I called them doubters from day one

  85. JCH says:

    Does anybody know when the first claim that “denier” was an intentional reference to Holocaust denial first appeared in the climate debate?

  86. Brandon Gates says:

    John Hartz,

    The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests you are correct. I use “contrarian” exclusively at WUWT in lieu of their preferred “skeptic” and for a time dbstealey took exception to it. Observations elsewhere on this thread that the barrel of red herring is bottomless and overflowing are on the money. It doesn’t matter what tone we use, what labels we use, how much butt we kiss or kick — they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride. They’re holding an all but empty bag which they erroneously think is chock-full of great stuff. What else would we expect?

  87. Willard says:

    > I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

    I feel ya, Everett. The always nuanced Greg Laden recently added me to his Twitter list of deniers since I dared ask him to own his schtick regarding the Soon petition:

    http://gregladen.com/blog/2015/01/willie-soon-fire-him-soon/

  88. Willard says:

    > they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride.

    Then we might as well call them [insert your favorite redacted word].

    Judy’s Denizens have yet to find something against “contrarian” after a few years now.

    “Denizens” ain’t bad either.

  89. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    Yes, I saw that one, GL can really appear to be clueless at times. Been there, done that.

  90. John Hartz says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    Global warming slowdown: No systematic errors in climate models, Phys.org,, Feb 2, 2015

  91. dhogaza says:

    Stephen “Piltdown Mann” Moshpit:

    “Yup me too. I called them doubters from day one”

    They are, of course, no different than Holocaust Doubters.

    See how easy this game is?

  92. John Hartz says:

    Much to the chagrin of the folk in Deniersville, science is not static…

    Study unravels mystery of Antarctic sea ice by Jamie Morton, New Zealand Herald, Feb 4, 2015

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Olly’s book

The proven system to learn foreign language vocabulary and not forgetit

Olly Richards

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Copyright © Olly Richards 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

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About

Hi, I’m Olly Richards and I’m the creator of the I Will Teach You A Language blog.

When I was 19, I went to live in Paris. There was one small problem, though. I didn’t speak French. Not one to back down from a challenge, I decided to learn it. Within six months, and after a lot of trial and error, and ups and downs, I was conversationally fluent.

I had caught the language bug!

I went back to London, and continued to learn new languages. Since then, I’ve become fluent in seven of them, including some of the world’s hardest languages, like Japanese, Cantonese and Arabic.

One day, I decided to start writing about how I do it, and started a blog.

These days, I continue to learn new languages and spend my time producing the highest-quality educational material out there to help others replicate my success.

With hundreds of students, and more than a smattering of success stories, I’ve discovered that anybody can become fluent in another language with the right guidance.

To find out more about me, why not visit the blog, or check out this interview with me, filmed in Cairo, Egypt!

Best wishes, – Olly

SECTION 1 Introduction

KEY POINTS

  1. Learning vocabulary is the most important element of making quick progress in a new language
  2. In order to do this you need an efficient system

for learning

  1. Flashcards with “spaced repetition” are one such system and are extremely effective for learning vocabulary

Of all the challenges facing you in a new language, learning enough vocabulary is probably the biggest of them all.

It’s disarmingly simple, when you think about it.

Whatever else you do, whatever else you learn, however else you study, often your ability to understand someone, or to make yourself understood, depends on one simple thing: Do you know enough words?

For me, there are two important implications of this.

Firstly, learning new vocabulary must be your number one priority when taking on a new language.

Secondly, you need an efficient system for learning that vocabulary.

You often hear people talking about the importance of enjoying the learning process and having fun with the language, and this is absolutely true.

However, it’s also true that a certain amount of “heavy lifting” is needed if you’re to get anywhere with the language.

Given that we’re all busy people, often with limited time for language learning in-amongst other commitments, any “heavy lifting” that we decide to do has to count!

This guide is all about how to do that “heavy lifting”.

It’s about how to learn foreign language vocabulary quickly, and not forget it.

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If you’re looking for an easy-going, relaxing, pencil-and-paper method for learning vocabulary, look elsewhere.

The flashcard system that I describe in this guide does not claim to be particularly fun.

However, it does claim to be effective.

By the end of the guide you will know exactly how to use spaced repetition technology to memorise vocabulary, how to make sure you don’t forget it, and even better, how you can learn in such a way that you have all that vocabulary ready on the tip of your tongue when you come to speak with someone.

It’s a bold promise. But after learning seven foreign languages myself, it’s the most effective and efficient way I know to grow a solid vocabulary core quickly, and to start speaking fluently in months rather than years.

It is nonetheless true that some people do find flashcards boring and dislike using technology. Rather than simply saying: “This is not for you”, however, I wanted to offer a solution to people who feel this way, such that they can still benefit from the huge advantages of spaced repetition technology.

If you fall into this category, you should pay particular attention to the advice in sections 5 & 6. Although the basic study methodology will be the same, by being highly selective about the vocabulary you attempt to

memorise you can drastically reduce the amount of study time required every day.

By keeping your study time to bite-sized chunks, you can benefit from spaced repetition to help you learn the most important vocabulary of all quickly, whilst still leaving you time to study in other ways and do the things you enjoy the most.

Lastly, this guide has been kept deliberately short.

I’m a huge proponent of the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your gains will come from only 20% of the things you do. Learning vocabulary with flashcards is no exception.

I could have easily included five times the amount information, such as more advanced learning strategies, or tips on adjusting flashcard settings, for example, that, whilst very interesting, are not particularly important in the grand scheme of things.

80% of your success in using this method for learning vocabulary will come from following a few simple principles properly, and it’s these principles that are covered in this guide.

Good luck, and if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can reach me any time at: olly@iwillteachyoualanguage.com

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CHAPTER 1 Key Success Principles for Learning Vocabulary with Spaced Repetition

SECTION 1 What is spaced repetition?

KEY POINTS

  1. Spaced repetition is a system for learning

information based on our understanding of human memory

  1. You input new vocabulary into flashcard

software and indicate how well you know each word

  1. Vocabulary is then shown to you at strategic

intervals (unknown words more often) so it enters quickly into your long-term memory and you don’t forget it

  1. By studying in this way, you spend more of

your time studying vocabulary that you don’t yet know well, thereby making learning extremely efficient

Spaced repetition is a system for learning information based on our understanding of human memory. It is often used by flashcard software, to make the learning process more efficient.

Let’s imagine you’re trying to learn ten new words. After inputting them into your flashcard software, you will indicate how well you know each word.

At the beginning, each new word will be shown to you quite often, so that you have plenty of opportunities to memorise it.

As you study, you will naturally start to remember two or three of the words, and you will tell the software which ones. Those two or three words will then be shown to you less frequently.

The better you know the words, the less frequently you will see them, until it gets to the point where you might only see some words every 6 months in order to “keep them ticking over”.

Certain words, however, you will find harder to learn. You will keep telling the software than you don’t know them yet, and you will see them more often – as much as every five minutes!

This is controlled by the spaced repetition algorithm of the software, which knows, based on the “forgetting curve” how often you need to see a word for it to enter into the long-term memory.

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This system, then, is similar to the paper flashcards that you might have used in school to remember geography facts or dates in history.

The big difference, though, is efficiency.

With paper flashcards, there is no system. You waste huge amounts of time reviewing cards that you already know, at the expense of unknown cards that you really need to see more often.

With spaced repetition, however, you automatically spend more time on things you don’t know, and less time on things you do.

The result, when applied to learning foreign languages, is that you can learn new vocabulary many times quicker, by a two- step process:

  1. Seeing unknown vocabulary more often, so you learn it

quicker

  1. Reviewing vocabulary that you know better at strategic intervals so that they enter quickly into your long-term memory

As long as you keep using this system to study over the long term, all vocabulary (however well you know it) will be brought back automatically for you to revise at key intervals, meaning that you never forget it.

It’s no wonder, then, that spaced repetition has become such a huge part of learning foreign languages. It’s an example of a situation in which technology has been a genuine game- changer, and made the dream of become fluent that much easier.

By this point, hopefully you are sold on the potential of spaced repetition as a language learning tool.

If you’re like me and you want to dive right in, you might like to go straight to Chapter 2, download my recommended software, play around a bit, and then come back to the rest of this chapter later.

If it’s your first time using flashcards, familiarising yourself with the software first might help you make more sense of what’s to come.

Otherwise, we’re going to get stuck into the nuts and bolts of exactly how to use spaced repetition flashcards to learn foreign language vocabulary effectively.

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SECTION 2 Getting started with spaced repetition flashcards

KEY POINTS

  1. You should use your flashcard software as the

one place where you “store” all your new vocabulary – no more old notebooks!

  1. By doing this, the software can keep track of all

your new vocabulary, make sure you keep reviewing it, and that none of it gets forgotten about

  1. Making flashcards is easy – simply write word

or phrase in the target language on one side, and the equivalent in English (or your mother tongue) on the other

In order for any system of learning vocabulary to work, it can’t involve too much extra work. This is especially true of a system involving technology. After all, technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not more complicated!

Now, the main principle in any system of learning vocabulary is this: You need a place to store new words and phrases.

In order to memorise new vocabulary, you need to go back to it over and over again. If all the new vocabulary you want to learn is scattered around in different places (notebooks, random bits of paper, Skype chat boxes, etc), you’ve built your foundation on chaos.

What you’re going to do from this point on is simplify everything.

Here’s what the inside of my flashcard app looks like, and what you’re looking at are different “decks” of cards.

Inside each deck are a lot of cards. What they represent is all of the vocabulary that I’ve set about learning over the last year. (Naturally, there is other vocabulary that I’ve learnt

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incidentally, but everything in these decks is something I’ve intentionally tried to learn.)

Now, here’s the important bit.

After having a language exchange, after reading a book, after watching a movie, after hearing something new on the street, I transfer new words and phrases that I want to learn immediately into a flashcard deck.

I put the target language on one side of the card and English (my mother tongue) on the other.

This flashcard app becomes my one place for organising all new vocabulary that I have any intention of trying to learn.

It’s all in one place.

No more scraps of paper and random notes on my iPhone…I have one centralised place where all my new vocabulary goes.

As a result, two things happen:

  1. I can use the search function to immediately find any

word I’m trying to remember

  1. All my new words and phrases take their turn in the

spaced-repetition system, so the software does all the work of deciding when I need to review them next

Can you see how, by organising your learning in this way, the task of actually learning vocabulary is reduced to one simple job?

Simply open the app and review your flashcards each day.

You don’t need to worry about which method you’re using, you don’t need to fret about words that you wrote down somewhere and might forget about, you don’t need to worry about that notebook you filled up 6 months ago and is somewhere on the shelf…it’s all there under one roof.

This is the first and most important part of simplifying your language learning (80/20) – simply remove all the unnecessary parts and focus on doing what matters – memorising the vocabulary.

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Upcoming plans

OK, here’s the thing. There are things on my plate (non-ST-related stuff) that I need to think about tackling.

Put this all into ST first thing in the morning.

1. Do the spreadsheet for the 熱海の捜査官の一号の台詞。 Match up English with Japanese.

2. Watch the rest of The Raid 2.

3. Enter flashcards. Study flashcards. This is pretty much ongoing.

4. Read comics. Catch up on Batman Eternal as a priority over Daredevil or Saga. Anticipate Grayson.

Media Utilities – Variables available

Variables Available: MU_PLAYTIME – Pretty string indicating how long current track is playing MU_PLAYTIME_MILLIS – Total playing time in milliseconds MU_TRACK_PERC – Total track percent played MU_REMAINING_TIME – Pretty string indicating how track remaining time MU_REMAINING_MILLIS – Total remaining time in milliseconds MU_TRACK_NUM – Track number on album MU_TRACK_LENGTH – Pretty string indicating track length MU_TRACK_LENGTH_MILLIS – Total track length in milliseconds MU_ALBUM – Album name MU_ARTIST – Artist name MU_TRACK – Track name MU_COVERART – URI to current coverart MU_CURR_APP – Current application name MU_CURR_PACKAGE – Current application package name MU_ISPLAYING – 1 if playing 0 otherwise

For zooper widget syntax, see this page by jagwar:
http://www.jagwar.de/en/zooper-variables/