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Diamond planets, climate change and the scientific method

Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar. Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded…

Science follows certain procedures, but does the media get the signal? CSIRO

Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar.

Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded that it was certain to be crystalline. In other words, we had discovered a planet made of diamond.

Following the publication of our finding in the journal Science, our research received amazing attention from the world’s media.

The diamond planet was featured in Time Magazine, the BBC and China Daily, to name but a few.

I was asked by many journalists about the significance of the discovery. If I were honest, I’d have to concede that, although worthy of publication in Science, in the field of astrophysics it isn’t that significant.

Sure, there are probably somewhere between six and a dozen quite important theoretical astrophysicists around the world who would have been thrilled at the news (after all, the diamond planet fills a gap in the binary pulsar family).

But in the overall scheme of things, it isn’t that important.

And yet the diamond planet has been hugely successful in igniting public curiosity about the universe in which we live.

In that sense, for myself and my co-authors, I suspect it will be among the greatest discoveries of our careers.

Our host institutions were thrilled with the publicity and most of us enjoyed our 15 minutes of fame. The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been.

How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists.

Imagine for a minute that, instead of discovering a diamond planet, we’d made a breakthrough in global temperature projections.

Let’s say we studied computer models of the influence of excessive greenhouse gases, verified them through observations, then had them peer-reviewed and published in Science.

Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.

People on the fringe of science would be quoted as opponents of our work, arguing that it was nothing more than a theory yet to be conclusively proven.

There would be doubt cast on the interpretation of our data and conjecture about whether we were “buddies” with the journal referees.

If our opponents dug really deep they might even find that I’d once written a paper on a similar topic that had to be retracted.

Before long our credibility and findings would be under serious question.

But luckily we’re not climate scientists.

Our work is part of the astonishing growth in our knowledge of the universe, made possible by huge leaps forward in instrumentation and telescope technology.

Method

It may come as a big surprise to many, but there is actually no difference between how science works in astronomy and climate change – or any other scientific discipline for that matter.

We make observations, run simulations, test and propose hypotheses, and undergo peer review of our findings.

We get together (usually in nice locations around the world) and discuss and debate our own pet theories, become friends and form a worldwide community.

If you are a solid state physicist, an astronomer, or doing laser optics, the world is happy to celebrate your discoveries, use them in new products such as WiFi, and wonder about the growth in knowledge and technology.

Of course we all make mistakes. But eventually the prevailing wisdom of the community triumphs and the field advances.

It’s wonderful to be a part of that process.

But on occasion those from the fringe of the scientific community will push a position that is simply not credible against the weight of evidence.

This occurs within any discipline. But it seems it’s only in the field of climate science that such people are given airtime and column inches to espouse their views.

Those who want to ignore what’s happening to Earth feel they need to be able to quote “alternative studies”, regardless of the scientific merit of those studies.

In all fields of science, papers are challenged and statistics are debated. If there is any basis to these challenges they stand, but if not they fall by the wayside and the field continues to advance.

When big theories fall, it isn’t because of business or political pressures – it’s because of the scientific process.

Sadly, the same media commentators who celebrate diamond planets without question are all too quick to dismiss the latest peer-reviewed evidence that suggests man-made activities are responsible for changes in concentrations of CO2 in our atmosphere.

The scientific method is universal. If we selectively ignore it in certain disciplines, we do so at our peril.

Join the conversation

177 Comments sorted by

  1. Peter Miller

    Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

    Matthew, that is a genuinely superb piece of insight. Tweeted and favourited.

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  2. Paul Richards
    Paul Richards is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Thanks for the article, enjoyable and well written.
    The concept of peer review is about 300 years old, importantly it is the foundation of modern science.

    The best analogy for peer review is that it acts as a like filter, on an email client.

    Rubbish ideas are kept from being published so that other scientists don’t waste their time reading scientific spam. Only ideas that are not obviously rubbish make it into the literature, and once in the literature, the scientific marketplace of ideas determines their ultimate fate.

    Unfortunately we all have have to deal with those trawling scientific spam. Even if it is done with total sincerity, they are only trawling through rubbish then promoting spam science.

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  3. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    Thanks - well written - hopefully this article will be more widely promulgated (I've tweeted it - others please follow!).

    Unfortunately we don't see the world as it is - we see the world as we are. Or in other words "I'll see it when I believe it" - it's natural human disposition and we are all guilty.

    That's the great strength of the scientific method - it gives us a way to overcome this human perceptual bias limitation.

    P.S. Great discovery too :)

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  4. Rod Lamberts

    Deputy Director, Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science at Australian National University

    Thanks Matthew.
    A nice way to both talk about something that deservedly captures our imaginations as well as make an extremely important point about science in the public eye.

    And well done on mentioning climate in an article without the first comment being an 'anti-climate change' troll, too. Very rare indeed!

    Cheers,
    Rod

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  5. Nick Kermode

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Thanks Matthew, succinct and very insightful. Congratulations on your work also!

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  6. Michael Ashley

    Professor of Astrophysics at UNSW Australia

    Matthew - excellent article, well done!

    The people who are attacking climate scientists have no concept of how science is done. Thank you for giving your insights.

    Your readers may be interested in helping one climate scientist, Michael Mann, resist attempts to make his private emails available to the "American Tradition Institute" -

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/donation/

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    1. Ralph Emerson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sylvia Soltyk

      The possibility of a diamond planet way off in the distance has very little to do with public policy, the direction taken by world economies, or choices that may determine our very existence.

      I understand the point but it's really a very narrow perspective lined with conflated rhetoric.

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    2. Dave McRae

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ralph Emerson

      Your first point is valid - and the phenomenon bizarre. The analogy is that of a person being pushed from an aircraft and as he descends he uses his mobile phone to ring his wife to inform her that Newton was indeed a tosser and he'll be home sooner than expected.

      The faller intensely dislikes the possible, or in this case probable, implications of physical reality so it deny reality by slagging the discoverers of those physical properties.

      Rhetoric, nope.

      Thank you Mathew for a most interesting and well written article.

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    3. Ian Enting

      Honorary Senior Associate, Faculty of Science at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Dave McRae

      the variation is the faller who calls out $1000, $5000, $20000, $100000 ...... in the belief that once he price gets high enough, market forces will produce a parachute

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  7. Jon Brock

    Software developer

    You don't have to be a climate scientist to get public approbation. All you have to do is act like one. I propose that you form a Union of Concerned Diamond Scientists which seeks to influence the diamond industry worldwide through new legislation and social pressure, all based on the projected existence of a huge diamond in deep space. Then you'll find people suggesting anti-science courses of action like waiting and seeing what real effect your discovery has before upending entire industries and livelihoods.

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  8. Frank Lazar

    logged in via Facebook

    It's simple. Your Diamond Planet not only doesn't ask us to give up anything it appeals to our dreams of avarice. Even if all that diamond would collectively wind up being worth less than glass. :)

    Climate change analysis holds a giant mirror to our habits and forces us to ask unpopular questions about our lifestyles. It challnges vested interests that have Trillions invested in us staying just the way we are. We're so invested in our lifestyle that the voices of denial are easy to listen to, to give into. Climate analysis is the voice that's telling us that our longterm policies have no clothes on and it doesn't even have the saving grace of being funny.

    And you're surprised that the bulk of the planet wants to burn them all in effigy?

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    1. Frank Lazar

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      My bet is on the "we pay the price" option myself. Because basically those with money are lodged into the mindset that they themselves will not be the ones footing the bill.. That money provides an infinite shield as long as they themselves have an infinite supply.

      But actually the truly delusional in the main are perhaps the climate change scientists themselves. In the belief that rational analysis will prevail against ambition, the desire for third world countries to join the First World, and simple greed.

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  9. Tom Clark

    logged in via Facebook

    Funny thing is that the climate change denial hypothesis - that scientists who believe in anthropogenic global warming are biasing their findings to get more grants - has no evidence going for it! If you actually stick with science, then as Matthew says you can't be selective in how you apply it. But of course in certain (mostly conservative) quarters, science isn't even considered the standard by which we should make up our minds about matters of fact. Scientists should get out front in making the case for their unrivaled epistemology, otherwise we're toast, http://www.naturalism.org/epistemology.htm#rivals

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Tom Clark

      Thank you for this link - very articulate and illuminating - wish the denialists would read it and learn :)

      (although I think you are being overly nice when you call climate change denial a "hypothesis" - that implies that holders of it accept their denial is falsifiable based on evidence - never met one yet who accepts that!)

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  10. Alessandro Grasso

    logged in via Facebook

    Imagine a threat coming from outer space. One that is not really verified, but then, after a few years, is shown to be baseless after all.
    What if we "had" to launch in a multi-trillion global effort to counter hypothetical threats from the proposed Sun twin star, Nemesis (that turned out not being there in the first place)?
    Of course, no one suggested that star to be really that much of an impending threat, let alone taking action (but it was supposedly dangerous in driving cyclical meteor impact…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Pish posh.

      "Many climate scientists publishing studies not favourable to AGW" (it's not a hypothesis by the way - its emperically observed data) = a few who are constantly reubtted in the peer review process if you actually read the facts.

      I think tthe toon in this link describes your denialist attitude in spades
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/SkS-Weekly-Digest_13.html

      perhaps it's time you actually studied the evidence??

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    2. Nathan McKnight

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Unfortunately, the only "rave reviews" climate scientists get are those of fellow scientists. The population at large ignores them or outright reviles them, while embracing non-scientific alternatives.

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    3. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Nathan McKnight

      If you are not living under a rock, you must recognize that almost all of the media outlets, from the BBC to Jay Leno to major newspapers and so on, are very determined in depicting the science as "settled", and giving prominence to studies claiming to link global warming to almost a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g nasty.

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  11. Greg Krsak

    logged in via Facebook

    Of course, the author is correct. But:

    Prevailing bias is equally as powerful as prevailing wisdom.

    It is, in theory, still possible that climate scientists and their peer reviewers are biased in their beliefs and reviews. They've formed a community, all of their work is done within that community, and they are fighting for a common belief.

    Now, I'm a registered Independent, but here's my opinion: Climate science is like a [insert religion here] state, without the religion. I'm fine if there really is human-caused-and-threatening global warming; equally fine if there isn't. I do not, however, get the impression that the "climate science side" of the issue is being unbiased.

    Collective, loosely-organized, semi-conscious human bias in large groups. It does exist. Sometimes.

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    1. Nathan McKnight

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Krsak

      Prevailing bias is a serious problem, but science is the only system of knowledge that actively tries to avoid such bias. Unfortunately, the prevailing bias of the general public (at least here in the US) is that climate change is nonexistant or unimportant. Climate science is the antedote to that bias.

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  12. Arnout Vreugdenhil

    logged in via Facebook

    Climate isn't the only field in which it happens. I think this whole story would still apply if you replaced "climate" with the word "evolution".

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    1. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Arnout Vreugdenhil

      Actually, it's a shame that if you don't count those that believe in a catastrophic "Climate Change" as a fact despite evidence being sketchy, and those who deny the evolution of the species, in the US you end up with very few remaining prudent, reasonable people. It's like the left and the right both needed their own way to butcher science for political reasons. The fact that creationism is untenable, while AGW has some credibility, only helps further murkying of the waters, with too many clever people being swept away with the impression that everything is obvious, and there are some journalistic sources that are 100% right because they are left-leaning.

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    2. Mike Fox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      you read this entire article that's what you got out of it? the entire point was that it doesn't matter how the media reports it, the scientific community is self correcting, and that community has accepted man made climate change as well supported

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    3. Dan Gruhn

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mike Fox

      If that is the point then the article is wrong. Evidence against AGW has been suppressed (just ask Jasper Kirkby who is just recently been able to proceed with his research). The UN-IPCC reports have been doctored (the UN's second assessment report, in 1996, showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today, but the 2001 report contained a new graph showing no medieval warm period.) Not to mention that the AGW models don't match observed readings (take a look at data accumulated by the UN-IPCC itself, but analyzed and published by NIPCC http://www.nzcpr.com/guest98.htm). We are nowhere near the temperature or sea level changes that the AGW models predicted. Generally, those who study models think AGW is real and those who actually study the climate don't.
      The "scientific community" is not immune to bias and suppression of unwanted results. The scientific method is, but that is not taking people into account.

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    4. Chuck Magee

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dan Gruhn

      Obviously the author is part of the Copernicean cabal intent on imposing a centralized galactic government and wasting our tax dollars on astrophysical 'theories'.

      Astrophysical calculations routinely yield results that simply don't agree with telescopic observations, so the entire field is obviously a hoax. Just like the moon landing.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Dan Gruhn

      You offer no evidence of suppression - in fact Kirkby himself has said ""At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step"

      Your comments about the IPCC reports show you have have selective bias (and are plain wrong)

      In fact current models do match observed data surprisingly well.

      Actually the vast majority of those who study climate disagree with you so you have mispresented that too.

      Lastly every single national science body of credibility accepts the reality of AGW - but somehow you know better?? Teeny bit arrogant or presumptious on your part Dan?

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      While some championing particular sides of the debate are certainly ideologically motivated (particularly the non-scientists), this is very different from the climate science itself being ideologically driven.

      If one believes climate science (and the IPCC in particular) are driven by ideology rather than sticking to the facts, then it should be trivial to identify specific major errors (with references) and demonstrate how these are skewing the major scientific conclusions of climate science…

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    7. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Fox

      Mike: the science is self correcting, but only on the long term!
      Peter: sarcasm is an easy way to avoid discussing critical issues, while still acting smug and in control.
      Mark: the point is, Kirkby is behaving admirably, considering the typical attitudes shown by people in the field. But he's in fact displaying the prudence and self restraint that would theoretically be needed by all scientists.
      Sadly, this is not the case.

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    8. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      When scientists are seriously debating about things like the assumed relying on buckets (or maybe not) for ships' water temperature measurements from Pearl Harbor to the 80s, or the merits of choosing the _sign_ to attribute to a given proxy for temperature; or when datasets gets lost, fudge factors are introduced and so on, the scenario is completely different from hard science, where you can devise an experiment and reproduce the results in another laboratory.

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      While there are ongoing debates within climate science, one should distinguish between those that do and do not have a major impact upon the principal findings of mainstream climate science.

      It is also worthwhile noting when debates are occurring within science and when they are primarily occurring in the blogsphere.

      For example, there is discussion of errors associated with different methods of measuring water temperature (e.g., buckets). While some bloggers suggested this would have a major impact…

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    10. Ian Enting

      Honorary Senior Associate, Faculty of Science at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Dan Gruhn

      "UN's second assessment report, in 1996, showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today"
      would you care to tell us where? The nearest I can find in the second assessment report is 600 years (1400 onwards), for northern hemisphere only, as Fig 3.20 P175 and reproduced in the technical summary: (fig 10 on p28)

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    11. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      You have to admit the situation is less than ideal. The buckets were just an example: relying on guesses about what buckets were used (or not) for an entire generation in order to reconstruct a measurement's systematic errors is hardly a way to get scientific results. Ex post facto you can minimize this problem's impact on broader data collections, and this was just a random issue i casually came across yesterday. But the problem of not having reproducible results still remains.
      It's absurd to expect…

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    12. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      The situation is never ideal in any area of science (astrophysics, seismology, climate science). Measurements are almost always dogged by random uncertainties and systematic errors. Remote observations and proxies are sometimes the only option, when ideally one would like direct measurements. Some research groups do not achieve best practice (e.g., releasing data etc). Archival data is pressed into service for tasks it was not originally designed for.

      However, the scientific method does address…

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    13. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      So where - pray tell - is your evidence of suppression which you asserted?

      Opinion doesn't counter fact - not does unfounded assertion establish truth.

      The truth and facts are these

      1) The Greenhouse effect is a real physicial phenomenon well established
      2) CO2 is a greanhouse gas that has been on the increase
      3) isoptopic and other evidence shows that man put it there (in excess of the natural re-cycling ability)
      4) Increased greenhouse gases increase the warming of the planet (and lead to increasing…

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    14. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      The fact that you are attributing to me a conspiracy theory about suppression does not mean that I said so.
      But, keeping an open mind, I've read about a number of questionable, unscientific practices, or studies that want to read too much into limited data, being cavalier about huge error bars. This, coupled with the red hot political climate, the name calling and hysteria of the media, should give everyone pause. There are good reasons to believe that only a few scientist can keep their cool and…

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    15. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      That's a large amount of irrelevant verbal gymnastics to avoid confronting or refuting the simple facts I have raised in support of AGW.

      If you cannot refute them or publish some good science to make a case to overturn well established science then I fail to see how anything you say warrants a substnative contribution

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    16. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Dan Gruhn

      Hmm - just who is supressing what?

      http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Talisman+Energy+kick+started+climate+skeptic+fund/5399766/story.html

      "A major Alberta-based oil and gas company helped to kickstart an elaborate public relations project designed to cast doubt on scientific evidence linking human activity to global warming with a $175,000 donation in 2004 channelled through the University of Calgary, a newlyreleased letter has revealed...
      ...The information was withheld initially by the university…

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    17. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I'm not saying that increased CO2 is not, per se, increasing temperatures. Or that temperatures have not increased. You are attacking a straw man.

      The point is, this is not sufficient to say that predictions of future climate are accurate.
      (Ask people trying to convince the FDA that their drug is effective, as I said.)
      Or that one cannot find a number of disturbing mistakes or misrepresentations of reality wherever he can verify alarmist claims.
      You see, when people jump at the opportunity to frame everything in a grand green development vision, like you suggested in this very page when you came out of the blue, changing the topic completely, speaking in support of solar panels, things start to appear fishy.
      This predicted crisis is way too perfect as an opportunity for the green agenda.

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  13. Nathan McKnight

    logged in via Facebook

    I hate to add to the embarassment of praise, but this article is yet another fantastic contribution to science. It would be nice to see a full-fledged movement within the scientific community to counter such widespread maladies as climate denial, HIV-denial, evolution denial, etc.

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    1. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Nathan McKnight

      You cannot declare an idea false by conflating it with another idea, completely unrelated and demonstrably false, only because in your mind they are connected.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      The ideas are connected, as they are all attacks on science that arise when the science confronts preconceived ideas and/or ideology. It should be said these attacks can come from both the left and right of the political spectrum.

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    3. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      This is circular reasoning. You feel you can apply it because you are confident that, by other means, you already ascertained that the attacked ideas are good examples of science, and denying them is unscientific. Then, only at that point, you can draw parallels with other fields.
      This kind of attitude is understandable, when many of the people you are confronted by are themselves also conflating unrelated fields due to an anti-intellectual attitude.
      Still, this is about the sorry state of US political debate, not the content discussed.

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  14. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    'Diamond' planet? It strikes me that people don't know there science nearly as well as they should. After-all, we know that somewhere in the Universe is a planet where all the unattended pens go.

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  15. Harold Nations

    logged in via Facebook

    Great article, great insight, marred somewhat by the fact that your diamond planet is, as you and you co-authors know, isn't made of diamond and isn't really a planet. Great tag to hang on a very interesting object that may well have a crystalline carbon core, but that doesn't make it a "diamond" unless one redefines diamond to have a totally different atomic structure and a density several orders of magnitude greater than what's found in an engagement right. It's disappointing that more journalists haven''t put this SOMEWHERE in their stories ......

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    1. Matthew Bailes

      Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at Swinburne University of Technology

      In reply to Harold Nations

      Hi Harold,

      I agree it is disappointing how many science journalists do anything except cut and paste press releases.

      But the density of pure diamond is ~3.5 g/cc, the mean density of our object ~ 23 g/cc. So we're not "several orders of magnitude" difference as you claim. In fact less than one.

      Degenerate objects obey an inverse mass-radius
      relation so if this thing lost mass it would expand and approach
      the density of diamonds on Earth if indeed it is a Carbon
      white dwarf core. We could happily…

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  16. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    A generous article with nice touch of self-deprecation. Comments about the various reasons that climate science has been so roundly attacked also hit the mark .Other scientists besides climate experts also figure in conspiracy theories and accusations of grant-led or profiteering motives -for example those involved in developing GM crops ; sometimes those involved in trialling new medications etc - plenty of accusations about big pharma, multinational corporations aiming for domination . and so forth. Old bogeys keep on keeping on , for example the anti-fluoridation movement, opposition to vaccination programs etc

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  17. Erik Useyourbrain

    logged in via Facebook

    If the discovery diamond planets, were planned by a secret group of elitists in 1969 and they published a book called "The first global revolution" where they discussed using "Diamond Planets" as an excuses to depopulate the world, by blaming diamond planets for increased temperatures on earth, while at the same time you getting MASSIVE funding from UN groups headed by Maurice Strong and Al Gore, then I think your paper on "Diamond Planets' would have a little more scrutiny.

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  18. Alan Dix

    logged in via Facebook

    Great piece, although maybe a little glassy eyed about science. Yes it tends to correct itself eventually, but often only after many years of stasis when those who took views opposing the status quo were seen as kooky, fringe or unscientific. Then, suddenly, Kunh-ian paradigm shift and the roles reverse. This happened with light and polarisation in the late 19C and in the 1960s with continental drift. For climate change this was a little more gradual, but certainly when I was in school in the 1970s, global warming was still in the eco-freek category. Those outside the scientific community find it hard to distinguish the pseudoscience from genuine opposing views, but inside we need to respect the rebels whenever they are working with real data, models or theories, even if they go against the accepted scientific wisdom - not because they are always right, but because sometimes they are, and that is where the new insights come from.

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    1. Stephan Lewandowsky

      Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol

      In reply to Alan Dix

      Alan, good point, I basically agree. Note however that the precedents you cite were resolved within the peer-reviewed literature and not by an elaborate architecture of pseudoscience created by "think tanks", policy "institutes", pseudo "conferences", and so on. It is important to bear this in mind.

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  19. Bruce Bingham

    logged in via Facebook

    As a long term environmentalist Im fully behind you here; astute observations!! Having a vague grasp of warp energy physics I also realise it'll be some time before DeBeers takes ownership (tee hee).
    By that time perhaps newspaper editors will have evolved into something close to intelligent beings.
    Congratulations on your discovery, no doubt one of many, many more to come from your community in the next few years.

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    1. Peter Miller

      Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

      In reply to Bruce Bingham

      Bruce, it might surprise you (though maybe not) to hear that scammers have tried to make money off interstellar 'diamonds' in recent times. I wrote about it here: http://www.tetherdcow.com/?p=4776

      As you will see, I didn't get any response to my questions regarding how such a project would be undertaken...

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  20. dubz2008

    logged in via Twitter

    A fabulous point, except that about 25-30 years ago the scientific opinion was that we were heading for another ice age.

    And not that long ago a man was killed by scientists for claiming the earth was round, not flat.

    A diamond is a diamond, no-one has ever debated that issue. To say a diamond is a diamond, therefore climate change THEORY is absolute, is about as unscientific as it is possible to get.

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    1. Peter Miller

      Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

      In reply to dubz2008

      "And not that long ago a man was killed by scientists for claiming the earth was round, not flat."

      Er. What?

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    2. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to dubz2008

      Very well said Dubz... And when they start wanting to tax me to save the planet because "Diamonds" are the next threat to "Gaia", I will stand up and protest on that issue as well.

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to dubz2008

      "25-30 years ago the scientific opinion was that we were heading for another ice age" is a myth that gets repeated often in the climate debate.

      The idea that global cooling was imminent had, at best, mixed support in the 1970s (40 years ago) and little observational evidence. This is very different from the current (near consensus) opinion of mainstream science regarding climate change, which is supported by multiple lines of evidence.

      This is discussed in detail at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling and http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-1970s-science-said-about-global-cooling.html

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    4. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      The shame is that you you do not use your brian to realise that there is a very real cost to fossil fuel use/CO2 emissions pollution now that we are all paying (but producers are not).

      These costs are enormous even without climate change. The burning of Coal for example produces 600x the deaths per KWh of power produced compared to Solar PV. The health cost burden of premature deaths etc (in the IS alone) from Fossil Fuel burning is estimated to be about $120B US per year according to the US National Academy of Sciences.

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    5. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to dubz2008

      Dubz2008 "And not that long ago a man was killed by scientists for claiming the earth was round, not flat."

      I am not sure who you are thinking about here - Are you thinking of Giordano Bruno, the Italian philosopher who proposed that the sun was a star and that cosmological theories needed to go beyond the Copernican model to explain observed facts?

      If so, he wasn't killed by scientists, but by the Catholic Church - burned in fact for heresy on charges of holding opinions contrary to the Catholic…

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    6. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      I'm sorry - was that an attempt at a rational rebuttal?

      Or the pitiful wail of a delusional denialist?

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    7. Rolf Schmidt

      Palaeontologist

      In reply to dubz2008

      If you're talking about the few news stories in the 70s that cried "Ice Age!", apart from being 40 years ago, it was never the opinion of most climate researchers.

      No advanced civilisation ever insisted the earth was flat, neither the Greeks nor the Catholic Church nor the Chinese. You love your myths though.

      You're last sentence is nonsensical.

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    8. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Bruno was also a spy who helped the apprehension of covert Catholics by the English Crown. The reason of his condemnation was exceptionally kept secret. This is rarely mentioned.
      Bruno added nothing original to science; in fact, he was vocally against it, touting the superiority of secret, ancient philosophy and magic.

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  21. Paul Richards
    Paul Richards is a Friend of The Conversation.

    "The Conversation" is an opinion based forum thankfully and something we all can be grateful for. However, peer review gets us closer than opinion to the truth than any known method.

    Picking up science that fails peer review, or is blogged is an insult to most intelligences on this forum. We don't need more scientific spam, we all need less, even those with cognitive bias issues. [You know who you are - your the person at odds with everyone at a party]

    Peer reviewed information will always carry a greater weight of truth than opinion.
    Particularly when opinion is based on filtered science or bloggers regurgitated spam.

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  22. Jack Adams

    logged in via Facebook

    It is unfortunate that the whistleblower at East Anglia was unable to give us the reasons why he or she became so fed up with the global warming industry that a wikileaks-like release became necessary. But the emails show a pattern of using "peer-review" by a cabal of warmists who depend on hysteria for their incomes to be a crime against science of epic proportions. We will never know how many good papers were rejected by this conspiracy, but we know that they admit in their own words that they did this. A blot on science that will go on for a long time. The billions of tax money going to this whitewashed conspiracy is sickening. Just hide the decline and lie about the reason when it is revealed.

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    1. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Jack Adams

      "wikileaks-like release"

      LOLz @ the doublespeak phrase for "hacking"

      Screeching "conspiracy!" often does not mean one exists. Just ask the 9/11 Truthers and Alien Abduction proponents.

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    2. Jack Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      How has "peer review" become such a joke? Out damn spot!!

      from the emails thankfully exposed to the light to show the crime.

      Example one is the email from Tom Wigley to IPCC author Timothy Carter about the Climate Research journal, then edited by sceptic Chris de Freitas before his public beheading to discourage AGW blasphemy.

      "PS Re CR, I do not know the best way to handle the specifics of the editoring. Hans von Storch is partly to blame—he encourages the publication of (peer reviewed) crap…

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    3. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Why would Copernicus be spining in his grave?

      Is peer review only a joke (in your view) in climate science - or in all sciences (to get back to the orgins of this article).

      The East Anglia team has been cleared by several inquiries, but, even if there had been actual wrongdoing do you think it would be appropriate to therefore claim that all other scientists involved in climate research are involved in some conspiracy. Do you know how many people you are accusing and how impossible it is to conspire at that scale?

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    4. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Well said Jack, your summation is perfect. The lie is becoming unraveled and the Whistle Blower at East Anglia exposed the lies and con and should be praised as a hero.

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    5. Jack Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Climate science, unlike most other science, has become a multi-billion dollar/pound/euro industry where careers, departments, and thousands of support staff are dependent upon the unfounded fears they create to scare the public into turning food into fuel, and thus starving many to death in the name of AGW.
      the panels created to "investigate" East Anglia never talked to those who were victims of the cabal. They spent less than four days examining 20 years worth of work.
      Having been on many peer…

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    6. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      I do ot think anyone who promotes conspircacy theories about 911 has any credibility whatsoever - perhaps when you offer some evidence for your ridiculous claims someone might listen :)

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Your evidence for this is zero.

      All inquiries (3 independent ones now I believe) have made it clear there was no malfeasance or wrongdoing associated with East Anglia - but of course there's no convincing flat-earth creationist anti-evolution denilaists is there?

      Maybe you should look at this site and explain why it's wrong?

      http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/

      Your comments are ridiculous

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    8. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      The inquiries to the East Anglia telling information release were just white washes. Have you even read the emails? I have a copy of them all on my hard drive and the ones highlighted by the many researchers who went through these emails is shocking, I confirmed these fruadsters had written what had been claimed and I was shocked. It's clear corrupt fraud, visible with my own eyes, I don't care what some bogus inquiry had uncovered. it's almost as good as the police investigating police deaths in custody in the UK, Since 1998, 333 people have died in the custody of police, ZERO convictions.

      And you want me to take some inquiry on CRU of East Anglia seriously?! Give me a break.

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    9. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Ad hominem attacks Mar, it's the standard practice of people who have no ammunition left in their bullshit gun.

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    10. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      I want you to look at the NASA site - and every single site of every accredited national sience body and explain why they are wrong - with evidence as opposed to trumped up claims

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    11. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      There is nothing ad hominem about me pointing out you offer no evidence - when I have offered plenty. As to my references to your 911 conspiracy position - well - these go the credibility of your position - which is zero

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    12. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Well looks like they delete my reply exposing the con of the NASA linked site.

      No one said the planet wasn't warming, but CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION so I don't care how much "consensus" you have, there is NO CLEAR PROVABLE LINK BETWEEN HUMANS CREATED CO2 AND WARMING.

      To even bring up the notion that humans are more powerful than the sun and cosmic influences is absurd to say the least. I mean you can postulate all you like and pat yourselves on the back thinking how fantastic you all are with your AGW theory, but when it comes to crippling the country and destroying humanity, that's where I take a stand!

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    13. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      They deleted it because you indulged in that which you accuse others of - namely ad-hominem attacks in describing climate scientists using a foul pejorative.

      I note you have failed to refute the evidence of the NASA site or explained why you know better than every single national science body of credibility.

      Perhaps you have poor understanding of the science? - no-one is saying that correlation =causation. There are well cited peer reviewed papers that establish a provable link. I will give you…

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    14. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Conspiracy theories and extremism are fueled, as a reaction, by many of the attitudes shown by liberal media, activist scientist that get arrested for protesting in the streets, and yes, of course, fast tracks to bad papers that support the consensus, or the inappropriate deeds shown in the so-called Climategate. Yes, some of it has been blown out of proportion. And yes, many biased commentators don't even know what they are criticizing. There's still a lot of bad science going on, and signs of it emerge. These things are helping those looneys who are against science and against evidence, and you needn't go far to find them.

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    15. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Again no matter verbal gymnastics you indulge in to obfuscate your position - it really is simple

      Just answer the evidence - either you accept the reality of AGW or you don't

      If not, why not - and what is your established evidence to overturn the well established science I have already posted that establishes the reality of AGW beyond any reasonable doubt.

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    16. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Dear Mark, no matter how many times you repeat the "AGW is real" line, it does not actually make it real just because you repeat it.

      I skimmed over Cynthia Rosenzweig paper and without having to take the time to read every word, my only comment is that, they're basing their data on other IPCC published material, which is the first point of concern. Government funded papers intent on creating climate alaramism to keep the authors employed and secondly after skimming about 50% of the article I just didn't see the AGW connection to the observed changes from warming.

      Just for you Mark, one day I will read it word for word while I sit by the ocean watching the sea levels drop (*NASA) but if this is the best you have, I suggest doing better.

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    17. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Erik Useyourbrain

      I note that again you have persistently failed to rationally refute anything or offer any from of evidence.

      AGW is, alas, real because of the 5 points I outlined and the abundant evidence which you continue to ignore.

      This clearly demonstrates the cognitive competence of your statements. Which is to say - none.

      You will obviously continue to maintain your position from behind your demonstrably not eponymous pseudonym.

      I am content nevertheless to let readers of this post draw their own conclusions from your persistent failures to demonstrate any form of rational or evidence based argument.

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    18. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I already made an extensive reply to the NASA linked site, the perpetuating con that is promoted by you and your AGW hoaxsters, it was deleted and I cannot be bother retyping and relinking the proof and counter arguments to this Con.

      Sure, delete my reply and then tell me I am not answering, I cannot really expect anything more from the scamsters in the AGW agenda.

      I will leave you with one last comment... "Man Bear Pig"

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    19. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Many of the claims thrown around in the debate can be dismissed (or buttressed) by going to original sources. For example, lets take...

      "The IPCC panel of over 2,000 consists of less than 5% climate scientists. The majority are politicians and functionaries reliant on taxes to keep their jobs in a scam created by Thatcher to discredit union coal miners in the early 80's."

      A google search for "IPCC Authors" reveals that the last IPCC report had just over 800 authors.

      Looking at individual authors, we can see what fraction are scientists rather than "politicians and functionaries". http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch1.html lists the authors of IPCC Working Group II. Using google to search for the webpages of several randomly selected authors, it appears most are scientists working on areas relevant to the WGII (climate, glaciology, seasonal variations of vegetation).

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    20. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      You missed the point completely. I was talking of the disturbing fact that, since some aspects of climate science have been politicized and declared settled beyond facts, this created enough extra excuses for people who want to attack science to do so gaining some more approval from the general population. If you are not rigorous, even 9/11 truthers may get reinforced in their conspiracy theories.

      "either you accept the reality of AGW or you don't": are you kidding me? What is this, some sort of faith?
      What happened to measurable results? The whole point of contention is the magnitude of an effect, and you are implying that one has just to either accept or reject the whole concept...

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    21. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      No one has said anything is "settled beyond facts" except you - it's actually a pretty silly statement.

      Acceptance of the reality of AGW is a belief substantiated by a vast body of consistent evidence - exactly the opposite of faith. If you have substantive evidence to overturn this reality - please offer it. It would be welcome.

      But so far all you have done is cherry pick issues, offer up furphies and not address the basic physics or evidence.

      The evidence and the measurable results are there…

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    22. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I didn't say (obviously!) that people declare something "settled beyond facts"; I said that people declare the matter "settled", while instead it's still beyond what we know as a fact. You see, I tried to answer in a polite and measured manner, but you accused me twice of engaging in "verbal gymnastics". I'd call _this_ verbal gymnastic: your misconstruing a sentence of the opponent as something silly.

      A random post buried in an article is not the place to re-evaluate the whole interpretation of…

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    23. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      The words "declared settled beyond facts" are in your post for all to see.

      You did not say "people declare the matter "settled", while instead it's still beyond what we know as a fact"

      This is in black and white above.

      That is what I mean and meant by verbal gymnastics.

      To overturn the established science of AGW you either have to overturn the points I have raised which are well established OR find an alternative mechanism that has been overlooked.

      I hope that can be done but so far no-one has managed to do it convincingly and had such a mechanism published and peer reviewed literature - which is how scienc advances - by subjecting one's evidence and arguments to collective criticism and feedback. Bloggers in the meanwhile can say all they like - it doesn't change the reality

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    24. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      You are lucky that by now we are probably the only 2 reading this. You insist on accusing me of using verbal gymnastic, while it's evidently you acting like that.
      The passage is: "some aspects of climate science have been politicized and declared settled beyond facts"; which could be INTERPRETED to mean either
      1. they have been both politicized and declared settled, but this declaration is beyond what the real facts are
      or
      2. they have been declared "settled beyond facts"
      Let's say the phrase _per…

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    25. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Alessandro I think it was Popper who said "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood" so I will certainly accept you didn't mean what it appears you said.

      But I still think you are obfuscating and dancing around the issue.

      Do accept the reality of AGW or not? (by which I mean that climate change is human induced and a problem). It's actually a fairly simple question that is capable of a straightforward even if nuanced answer. Yes and No are but two extremes of the answer.

      Perhaps you think it real but disagree about the scope of the problem. Fine, say so.

      Either way given that the weight of the evidence and the expert opinion seems to fall on the side of it being real and a serious problem I think it not unreasonable to put a fair portion of the burden of "disproof" on those who think it not real or not a problem.

      So far I am yet to see a convinceing evidence based argument from you on that.

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    26. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      You fail to recognize that this page is not about the content of AGW theories, but the contention that the science in some fields is politicized, where the original poster pretends to depict the situation as if the politicization were only to come from one side.
      On the contrary, critiques to AGW (often too harsh and unsubstantiated) are a recent development, while Green Scares are a sinister industry dating from decades ago.
      "Denialists" are actually reacting against an ideology trying to take control…

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    27. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Allessandro - I would completely agree the issue of AGW has, unfortunately, become politicised. But to suggest somehow it is one-sided is laughable in the extreme.

      I would suggest the denialism is far more political. They attenpt to go under the guise of skepticism but rather than dispassionately look at the evidence - accepting what is established and perhaps remaining to be convinced on other points (a true skeptic approach) they vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global…

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  23. Jack Adams

    logged in via Facebook

    There are many sources that collect the many views by scientists, including the most recent yesterday when Nobel prize winner for physics in 1973 Dr. Ivar Giaever ( and Obama supporter) resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) on September 13, 2011 in disgust over the group's promotion of man-made global warming fears
    You can find his letter, liked to dozens of other examples of scientists who refute the "proofs" of the "consensus"

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/12797/Exclusive-Nobel-PrizeWinning-Physicist-Who-Endorsed-Obama-Dissents-Resigns-from-American-Physical-Society-Over-Groups-Promotion-of-ManMade-Global-Warming

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Oh please - what a load of rubbish!

      1st Ivar Giaver is not a climate scientist - but a mech eng trained solid state physicist with recent work in bio physics. He's been a known "skeptic" for ages but has never published a single piece of climate science or anything on the topic.

      His resigning in protest at the American Physical Society statements on the validity of Global warming is like Hussein Bolt resigning from the International Association of Athletics Foundations resigning because he does't…

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    2. Stephan Lewandowsky

      Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, your efforts are valiant but will achieve nothing. By definition, a conspiracy theorist "knows" more about the issue than anyone else. Providing more evidence thus achieves nothing, because the "evidence" a conspiracy theorist relies on bears no resemblance to actual evidence. It is a classic sign of conspiratorial thinking that the conspiracy is widened to include more and more people as contrary evidence is accumulated -- hence all the countless exonerations of climate scientists simply broaden…

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      Thanks Stephan - my efforts wont convince Erik or Jack or others of a denialist ilk because, as you well outline, nothing can convince them.

      It is up to readers of this post and others like it, who perhaps have open minds, to draw their own conclusions and perhaps, if they have not yet done so, investigate the various sources and data for themselves.

      I am a physicist by training. When I first heard of AGW (in the late 80's) I was extremely skeptical. As I examined the evidence as it continued to mount I changed my view.

      I am ever mindful of Keynes famous statement about changing ones opinion in light of the facts.

      Climate changes in response to whatever forces it do so - the evidence and physics are abundantly clear that the current change is driven by human produced CO2 emissions.

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    4. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      By your reasoning, everyone who's not agreeing with the latest "fact based" environmental scare, is a conspiracy theorist. You are assigning the role of people who are "not open minded" and who cannot be convinced, by default, to those that disagree with you. I must say you appear to be so involved in the dispute that it's hard to see how _you_ could be convinced of anything different.
      "Experts" and scientific studies were also supposedly behind other big environmental scare, most notably the overpopulation/famine scare, and the infamous DDT ban.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alessandro Grasso

      Alessandro - I wish you would stop putting words in people's mouths.

      Neither Stephan nor I called everyone who disagrees a conspiracy theorist.

      I think Stephan was refering to the argument of Jack Adams (which certainly alleged some sort of conspiracy on the part of Hansen) as well as my efforts to refute Erik (who is a blatant conspiracy theorist about 9/11 as his facebook profile liked to here blatantly publicises). His point being that rational argument won't persuade them .

      No doubt he is…

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    6. Alessandro Grasso

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      To set the record straight, it was you, before, the one putting words in my mouth.
      Anyway. If I were to argue with people making very different points, some reasonable, some looney, I would clearly underline the distinction, to be fair and avoid the problem visible in this thread: a condescending "Us vs. Them" narrative where many different orthodox posters were conflating together anyone opposing AGW consensus, as a group, pretending that creationism , climate "denialism" and conspiracy theories were all simply consequence of the same mindset, so that you could look down on "us".

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  24. Brett_McS

    logged in via Twitter

    OK, then, let's cut the tens of billions of dollars spent annually on Climate Science to the level enjoyed by, say, Solid State Physics, and I'm sure the world - sceptics included - would be happy to celebrate the discoveries of Climate Scientists. If they make any.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Brett_McS

      LOL - given that the devices you and I are using and the entire communications infrastructure that supports this site, not to mention all of telecommunications, IT, modern electronics and materials etc etc depends on solid state physics I'm sure the climate scientists would welcome the budget increase!

      By the way your figures are grossly exaggerated - alas research on the climate does not amount to tens of billion dollars annually. In the US in 2005 sicentific research on the climate was a little…

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  25. Jack Adams

    logged in via Facebook

    It is interesting that climate science seems to be the gathering point of scientists, pseudo-scientists, politicians, hucksters, money, media and hysteria. No other branch of science seems to be so afflicted. Debate about climate today is not about science, it is about belief systems such as politics and religion. And when billions are involved, the intensity seems to be in direct proportion to the money lining their pockets to promote the orthodoxy of global warming. But some are true believers…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Jack no matter what your bluster about politics and belief systems it still comes down to reliable evidence that has been indepedently validated. If you can't address that then your comments are just so much fluff.

      Again I will repeat

      Here are the facts

      1) The Greenhouse effect is a real physical phenomenon well established
      2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has been on the increase
      3) isotopic and other evidence shows that man put it there (in excess of the natural re-cycling ability) as a result…

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    2. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      The real greenhouse warming of the planet has been over-estimated by a factor of three. Point out that the -18°C composite emitter temperature with space is in the upper atmosphere then claim that if you took out all greenhouse gases, that position would coincide with the earth's surface so greenhouse warming is the present surface temperature, +15°C - (-18°) = 33 K

      The problem is that if you take out the water vapour there are no clouds or ice caps so albedo falls from 0.3 to 0.07. Redo the…

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    3. Danderson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Why didn't you also mention that retreating Antarctic ice mass would be observed? Oh yeah, NOT observed, not net.

      As for the rest of your points in (5) most would be a consequence of warming from natural causes too.

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    4. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      The term "greenhouse" is a misnomer since greenhouses warm through lack of convection and indeed convection is the main form of energy transport in the atmosphere.

      While it is true CO2 has been increasing it is problematic whether it is sourced entirely or in the main from humans; see Knorr and Salby.

      The so-called isotopic indicators of anthropogenic sourced CO2 are problematic; see Segalstad, Quirk, Salby.

      Increased greenhouse gases may increase warming but this ignores saturated wavelengths and increasingly evident negative feedback and forcing from water in the form of clouds; see Spencer and Braswell. It is also the case that in the overlapping spectrums increased H2O and CO2 produce a reduced combined emissivity compared to either in isolation; see Harde, Petschauer, Nahle and Lapp.

      All of the so-called temperature effects are in dispute, as are measures of 'ocean acidification', another misnomer.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Danderson

      Great stuff - perhaps you would be prepared to elucidate what this so-called "natural" source might be?

      The climate doesn't warm by magic you know - it has to have a driver. If you are able to identify one and back up your claim with evidence that would be great news indeed.

      I look forward to the published work from both you and Alistair on this :)

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      The saturation argument was debunked long ago and one has to wonder why it is often repeated (like the spurious thermodynamics argument).

      Raymond Pierrehumbert discusses the saturation issue in an article that appeared in Physics Today some months back (http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf) and the relevant text follows;

      The path to the present understanding of the effect of carbon dioxide on climate was not without its missteps. Notably, in 1900 Knut Ångström (son of Anders…

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    7. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Rancourt replies to Pierrehumbert:

      http://climateguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/radiation-physics-constraints-on-global_12.html

      Rancourt notes:

      "This implies that the induced change in {te} is not simply (anti-)proportional to the considered change in CO2 concentration (change in Cco2) but instead is highly attenuated. Indeed, the decrease in {te} from an increase in Cco2 arises not from an increased absorption at resonance but instead from increased absorption on the outer edges of the absorption band…

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    8. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      There are many many thousands of papers and conference presentations each year, so a few contrarian results are to be expected. To string these results together into a narrative is a mistake that happens all too often.

      The Harde conference abstract makes some rather startling claims but has not been backed up by a peer reviewed journal article. Consequently, we do not know the details of the methods Harde used and cannot determine their validity.

      It should be noted that most (initially) startling claims made by scientists end up being errors. Matthew Bailes has experienced this during his career, as noted in his article above.

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    9. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Well it is good of Matthew to admit he made [a] mistake.

      Harde's findings and the observations they based on are available; why don't you check them Michael. In any event Lu has found a similar saturation in his peer reviewed paper:

      http://journalofcosmology.com/QingBinLu.pdf

      I rather like John Nicol's analysis of why CO2 is [nearly] saturated:

      http://www.middlebury.net/nicol-08.doc

      And of course there is the definitive text on radiation and the climate by Geiger who shows that essentially all back-radiation is from the lowest 600 metres of the atmosphere [see The Climate Near the Ground, 6th edition by Geiger, Aron and Todhunter] which means saturation.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      The climate "sceptics" are fond of their contrarian scientists.

      Roy Spencer (who Anthony Cox has championed in other posts) is not only a climate sceptic but also a believer in intelligent design. Denis Rancourt is not only a climate sceptic, but was fired by the University of Ottawa and is being sued by an academic Denis Rancourt described as a "house negro".

      Denis Rancourt's essay on his blog is one of many online essays that claims mainstream climate science is wrong. Like some of these essays…

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    11. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      How wearisome; I don't "champion" anyone Michael. Having practised law for many years I take a forensic approach to evidence. I was initially inclined towards AGW but on closer examination, following money trails, the disregard of cogent, contrary evidence, manipulation of records [see NIWA and here: http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/audit/anao-request-audit-bom.pdf] and too many 'sharp' practices to mention I am convinced that AGW is rubbish.

      One of the primary things which bugs me is the ad hom default mechanism for AGW advocates; thanks for once again demonstrating it. Your description of Rancourt's predicament and circumstances is inadequate; in respect of the personal law suit perhaps you can provide further details.

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    12. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Forensic? But not openness about motivations? Don't "champion" ??

      Care to comment on your failure to disclose that you were one of the prime authors of the challenge to the BOM temperature data in NZ about which you wrote such a scathing article on the Drum some months ago, as if you were an impartial observer, but conveniently neglected to disclose your personal involvement?

      Also care to disclose that you are the scretary of the "Climate Skeptics" a POLITICAL party opposed to AGW

      Anthony - I understand you don't accept AGW and doing your best to try and discredit it.

      That is fair enough - as long as it's done via evidence and proper science.

      But on these blogs you could at least be clear about your motivations and affiliations perhaps?

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    13. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Uh? I linked to the Audit Application of the BoM temperature record which has my name listed on it; how much more would you like me to declare my scepticism, with a tattoo perhaps?

      As for being the secretary of TCS, Michael was good enough to announce that on another thread.

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    14. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      And just to clarify, I was NOT involved with the New Zealand law case in any way.

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    15. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      You failed to disclose it in the article - that is a simple fact

      Just as you have failed to disclose your political affiliations here on this thread

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    16. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      So, you want me to disclose what I am not or didn't do and what my political affiliations are as a prelude to my comments? Nice.

      Which party do you vote for Mark? The Greens?

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    17. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      The issue is that you are an office holder in a political party with clear political motivations in relation to the science of AGW and it is something you have not disclosed either in your profile or in this thread.

      Such disclosure is clearly relevant to the issue at hand as you should well know

      I, on the other hand, am a member of no politcal party.

      What party I may vote for is irrelevant. As is who you vote for (I didnt ask - I don't want to know - I already know you associate with such lumiaries of open and tolerant thinking as Cori Bernardi - that's enough for me).

      Typical lawyers obfuscation to try and take the attention away from the issue at hand.

      But for the record I have never voted for the Greens.

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    18. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      There is no issue at hand; your point is non-existent; it is like Michael impugning Spencer because he believes in ID; THAT is irrelevant to his climate science.

      And while it is true that I was reluctantly persuaded to get involved in the politics of AGW it was only because I could see this was a political and ideological issue NOT a scientific one; AND I do not expect to have my research and opinions accepted or not accepted on that basis; I always argue the point as objectively as I can and in terms of the science as I see it.

      It is the likes of you who persist in creating the issue that what I say about the science is qualified or subject to my politics.

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    19. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      I disagree. Transparency is always to be preferred. It is a clear value The Conversation expects of all its authors.

      Given the nature of your posts and your very strong political affiliations with an organisation that has the refutation as a political agenda (note - not a purely scientific one) your behaviour is not transparent.

      You showed by your actions on the Drum that you prefer to avoid it. Quite clearly your political motivations go the heart of your observations which can hardy be qualified as disinterested.

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    20. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony
      Many of your points are simply misrepresentation
      Misrepresentations by you include
      1) Your point about how a greenhouse actually works is true but irrelevant. The greenhouse effect is real and exists - No one except the most loony deniers argues with that. So that's a complete furphy and irrelevant,
      2) None of the temperature effects are in fact in dispute - (apart from your politically motivated challenge) When you can offer evidence that they are wrong do so but you will have to explain…

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    21. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      My reference to the misnomer of the term Greenhouse is relevant because it goes to the tactics used by alarmists to rev up the fear aspect of AGW; this and the endless blanket, roof, trapping analogies used to give the Earth as a pressure-cooker image currency have been part and parcel of the AGW agitprop; also part of this promulgation is this:

      http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/2011/09/kids.html

      What's your take on that image Mark?! Happy to be travelling with that since you think transparency…

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    22. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony I always have doubts - and I look forward to perhaps seeing some good science published in the peer reviewed literature that may well overturn established AGW theory. I've yet to see it from you.

      The only credible mechanism I've seen, though it's yet to be established, is the one of changes in albedo and the role of clouds. All the other stuff about temperature being wrong (which you continue to falsely propoagate), CO2 not rising or not being produced by humans, back radiation being non-existent, ocean Ph levels not decreasing has been comprehensively established despite your attempts to deny them

      Your linking of your misrepresentation about the greenhouse effect to the absurd picture is just obfuscation. I never raised that - your introduction of it is no way pertinent to my points.

      Obviously there are extremists on both sides - but actually I see very little in the way of "moderate" behaviours from politcally motivated denialists. Yourself included.

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    23. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      The fact that an anti-AGW scientist is a contrarian is very relevant to these discussions. Contrarians by nature tend to rail against the mainstream, sometimes when mainstream opinion is supported by a large body of evidence. This being the case, perhaps the conjectures of contrarian scientists should perhaps be viewed with some scepticism.

      Several of the articles introduced by Anthony Cox have come from the blogsphere and/or have not undergone peer review. These articles can have significant errors, as highlighted by the emails that are online at http://climateguy.blogspot.com/search/label/Ray%20Pierrehumbert.

      Anthony Cox suggested I read John Nicol's 27-page article on climate (John Nicol is a member of "sceptic" Australian Climate Science Coalition). I have not read it yet but have already found a factor of 100 error on the third page.

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    24. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      You're a funny guy Michael; in fact your droll comments are the main reason I bother participating on this site. In regard to Nicol's excellent essay you would of course be referring to the typo about the distance of the Earth from the sun where Nicol says 1.5 million Klms and not 150 million; a really basic mistake! With grave ramifications for the rest of the essay. You really are an expert at innuendo and ad hom Michael. Still waiting for details of the lawsuit against Rancourt.

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    25. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      I'm surprised someone with Anthony Cox's "forensic approach to evidence" needs my assistance to track down the lawsuit against Rancourt. May I suggest google, wikipedia, Canadian newspapers or Rancourt's own blog as starting points?

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  26. Jack Adams

    logged in via Facebook

    I stumbled upon this little canticle down under but it is like many all over the globe where many are dependent on the money that flows from the ruling class. I have cited many sites that refute AGW alarmist claims, but the warmests seem to be unable to read anything more than what they write.

    here is one specific example taken from links to the sites i have written about. It deals with the fraud of Himilayan glacial "findings" by the 2000 strong IPCC. A handful of them are actually climate scientists…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Jack Adams

      Denialists never tire of recycling old chestnuts do they?

      This issue, which was an acknowledged error, is dealt with quite well here

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/IPCC-Himalayan-glacier-2035-prediction.htm

      The fact is that the IPCC report is enormous - and, guess what - being a human endeavour it contains some errors.

      But these in no way invalidate the reality of AGW. (Just like your spelling mistake above it's Himalayan - they happen but are not always relevant to the overall conculsions).

      Again - to invalidate AGW you have to refute the evidence,ENTIRELY - which despite numerous challenges you have conspicuously failed to do

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    2. Stephan Lewandowsky

      Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, also worth noting that the IPCC's sole (!) error about the glaciers was drawn to the public's attention by .... an IPCC author. The denialists were too busy weaving a conspiracy theory to detect the error.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      Thanks Stephen - I didn't know that.

      It's a good point although in a way the whole thing is a furphy. It's akin to saying that because 0.1% of what someone says is wrong the other 99.9% is wrong too even though that other 99.9% has been indepdently corroborated and validated again and again

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  27. Jack Adams

    logged in via Facebook

    sorry, i don't have hundreds of staff people employed to correct typos unlike the IPCC which spends millions every year producing flawed reports.
    they recanted their fraud that they had hyped with news organizations around the world only after their damage was done, and no press release was issued until they were forced to do so. But the issue is not the report, it is the process that allowed an idiotic "finding" to be "peer reviewed" and adopted as scientific "fact" by untold numbers of "scientists…

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    1. Erik Useyourbrain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jack Adams

      "....i hope you find a real job when the funding runs out for your scam. " ♥

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Jack Adams

      I dont have hundreds of staff either (in fact - sigh - none). Just an open mind and a willingness to look at the totality of the evidence rather than cherry pick any tiny fragments that fit with any pre-disposed existing belief systems.

      I was an AGW skeptic. Now I am not. Shame you folks cant be similarly open minded.

      Again - my challenge - address the evidence raised by my 5 points or please - just be quiet :)

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  28. Alistair McDhui

    Retired engineer

    A good article. I take it that you won't mind if I tell you why, according to new research, the rug has been pulled away from under the IPCC's climate science 'consensus'.

    The palaeo-climate justification for CO2-AGW doesn't stack up. This is because the accelerated warming of the deep southern ocean started 19,000 years ago, about 3,000 years before any CO2 increase in the atmosphere.

    The mechanism is the same as that which gives the 50-70 year Arctic freeze/melt cycle. It's the accumulation…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      No - no-one will mind at all. If what you say is true it's good news for the planet.

      Perhpas you would care to cite the properly credentialed peer reviewed referecnes for this new research?

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    2. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Here's the palaeo-climate data. Stott L., Timmermann A. and Thunell R., Science 19 October 2007: Vol. 318 no. 5849 pp. 435-438 DOI: 10.1126/science.1143791

      As for the optical physics, it's to be published.

      If you have the physics ask yourself why do rain clouds have high albedo? It's not as NASA claims because it's lots of small droplets with high 'surface reflection'. That claim, originally from 2004 has deceived the rest of climate science. There is no such physics..

      The real answer is in…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      The lag between temperature and CO2 rise in the paleoclimate record is well known. An introduction to this issue is provided at http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm.

      CO2 levels are known to respond to temperature rise, and changes in global temperature in the past have been initiated by mechanisms other than CO2 rise. However, just because CO2 did not initiate all the changes in temperature in the historic record does not mean CO2 does not have an impact on climate.

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    4. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      As I'm rather sceptical about skepticalscience, a RealClimate linked disinformation operation, I set out 2 years' ago to reverse-engineer the complete subject. I had worked in global warming issues for 20 years but had assumed the IPCC was doing its job.

      It hasn't. The debate now is which of the wrong bits are happenstance, incompetence or fraud. That three essential bits of the science, needed to 'prove' the highly-amplified CO2-AGW hypothesis, are wrong is beyond doubt.

      Back radiation is an…

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    5. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      Very interesting Alistair; I'm glad some scientists are still out there with open minds instead of running around like Moses declaring the science is settled and then trying to scare old ladies and children with doomsday predictions.

      You no doubt will be aware of Spencer and Brasell's new paper about feedback and forcing from clouds; David Stockwell has incorporated this in his solar accumulation theory, see here:

      http://landshape.org/enm/global-atmospheric-trends-dessler-spencer-braswell/

      But as far as I know noone has looked, or at least written about the possible impact of the Mie solution. I recommend you contact David Stockwell or at least post a comment at this site.

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      Those denying large swathes of evidence proclaim a little too loudly that their opponents are closed minded.

      If the counter-consensus ideas have merit, then they should be published in peer reviewed papers in reputable journals. (For example, Svensmark's original theory appeared in a major physics journal.) There seem to be many people suggesting the experts are wrong and wanting to rewrite textbook science, but they never get beyond a series of conjectures proclaimed frequently and loudly on internet forums. Science requires a higher standard.

      I'm surprised Spencer & Braswell is still being promoted as a reputable paper, given it led to the resignation of the editor of the journal Remote Sensing. The resignation letter (http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2002/pdf) highlights a number of key flaws with the paper and how it was promoted in the media by its authors.

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    7. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I'm sure you're suprised by many things Michael but I dare say the unseemly haste in which Dessler's 'reply' to Spencer and Braswell was published gratifies you.

      Why don't you do some research on Control Theory and see who stacks up best: Spencer or Dessler, or neither.

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    8. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      Alistair your various posts are full of technical details, some of which I hardly feel qualified on which to comment.
      But I would make the following observations

      First I see you've been quoting this sort of detail (almost verbatim), on more sites than I can count under one guise or another. And you've been doing so for more than a year now with the same technically ladencontent. I wonder why you can't simplify the points?
      I'm also perplexed why you don't try and get it properly published?
      When…

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    9. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      I'm also not a climate scientist. Just a physicist.

      But I would suggest the link to this story is perhaps relevant to where the scientific debate should focus

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=missing-global-heat-may-hide-in-dee

      Plus the comments

      "There is a kind of an interesting debate playing out between Trenberth's idea of missing heat predominantly sinking into the depth of the ocean and another idea that an increase in industrial aerosols is increasing the earth's albedo…

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    10. Michael Ashley

      Professor of Astrophysics at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony - you may be a very fine lawyer, but you are sadly way out of your depth in climate science.

      You may think your arguments here are persuasive, but they are as laughable as mine would be if I tried to win a complex constitutional case in the High Court with no legal representation.

      Just imagine how stupid I would sound trying to argue the law against the best legal minds in the land.

      Well, that's how you come across when you discuss science. The difference is that I know I have no knowledge of the law, whereas you seem to be under the impression that you know more about the science than the experts.

      Don't you have any self-awareness?

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    11. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael Ashley

      Very good Michael; let's have some examples of my cluelessness to justify your conclusion that I am clueless.

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    12. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox did introduce Denis Rancourt's essay to the discussion as a "debunking" of mainstream climate science and the role of CO2.

      The flaws in this essay are very clear from the emails posted at http://climateguy.blogspot.com/search/label/Ray%20Pierrehumbert

      Modelling the atmosphere as a single thin homogenous layer is a gross simplification, highly flawed and can lead to spurious conclusions (as noted in the emails). Denis Rancourt can claim this doesn't matter but he hasn't implemented…

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    13. Michael Ashley

      Professor of Astrophysics at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony - you presumably spent years studying law, and have since accumulated years of experience. I have no doubt that you could run rings around me with any legal argument.

      Now imagine an 18-year old acting as his own sole legal representative on a complex murder charge in the High Court.

      Do you think that the 18-year old would stand a chance? What should the judge say to the 18-year old if the 18-year old asked "Tell me why I can't understand all the legal arguments and conduct my own case…

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    14. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Don't verbal me Michael; I introduced Rancourt's essay as an interesting contribution to the debate; Rancourt declares his model is meant to be the simplest possible using real data; in this respect he uses the same approach that Arthur Smith uses to prove the greenhouse temperature of 33K;

      http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.4324v1.pdf

      As for the company's modelling; would you care to concede some modelling issues with orthodox AGW models, or were they perfect to begin with and only got better?

      And have any further insights on the Nicol paper on saturation?

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    15. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      When Anthony Cox introduced Rancourt and Harde, he finished with the "Nothing like a bit of REAL evidence to debunk the debunkers". This being the case, I think it is perfectly reasonable to conclude Anthony Cox was claiming these papers are robust arguments against mainstream climate science.

      Anthony Cox's comparison of the Rancourt and Smith papers is flawed, and highlights his shallow understanding of science.

      Smith is presenting simple models to show what the temperature of the Earth would…

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    16. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox (Secretary of The Climate Sceptics Party) requested "let's have some examples of my cluelessness".

      In an earlier posting, Anthony Cox used a paper from the "Journal of Cosmology" to back up his arguments. Anthony seems unaware that the Journal of Cosmology is a very well known source of pseudo-science gibberish.

      Recent publications in the Journal of Cosmology include "Sexual Consciousness: The Evolution of Breasts, Buttocks and the Big Brains" and the infamous panspermia paper "Fossils of Cyanobacteria in the CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites". The latter paper won the (joke) Pigasus award from the James Randi foundation on April 1st this year.

      Anthony Cox should check how reputable his sources of information on the climate debate are before posting online. To not do so is to be clueless.

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    17. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Thank you Michael; you are priceless. I find it eerily charming that our 2 resident cosmologists spend their time staring into the vastness of space and yet cannot see what is under their noses.

      Do you have a link to the Breasts, Buttocks and the Big Brains paper? Never mind I recall it was in the MSM recently. I shall be bookmarking that Journal from now on.

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    18. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox keeps me amused too, since he tried to use the Lu paper (from the pseudoscience Journal of Cosmology) in an attempt to buttress his arguments. I suspect Anthony Cox cannot distinguish science from pseudoscience.

      The Journal of Cosmology did indeed publish the Breasts, Buttocks and (as Anthony Cox requested) it is online at http://journalofcosmology.com/Consciousness164.html. Certainly the Journal of Cosmology is amusing for all the wrong reasons and not the reputable source of scientific information Anthony Cox once thought it was.

      One has to wonder if Anthony Cox's apparent mirth and bluster is an attempt to paper over the fact that he is losing the argument when it comes to the facts.

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    19. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Oh no doubt I've lost the argument; the wretched Carbon Tax is before the parliament and will get through. As a matter of interest since the filthy fossils are the bete noire of you superior scientist chappies do you think the renewables, particularly wind and solar, will be an adequate replacement?

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  29. Gordon Briggs

    Engineer

    Your statement:

    Those who want to ignore what’s happening to Earth feel they need to be able to quote “alternative studies”, regardless of the scientific merit of those studies.

    Is emotive and designed to discredit those who want to quote "alternative studies" on the grounds that they want to ignore what’s happening to Earth and that those alternative studies are automatically wrong. This is what is wrong with the current climate debate. It is not in the spirit of science.

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  30. Urthman

    logged in via Twitter

    The problem with this article is that you're confusing two kinds of media coverage. Stories about global warming are Public Policy and stories about diamond planets are Entertainment. There is no category for coverage of Science in the mass media.

    The reason no one questions your story of diamond planets is because no one actually cares whether it's true or not. It's just entertainment.

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  31. harold forbes

    logged in via Twitter

    Great article. It has always puzzled me why people have no problem with the scientific method when it is delivering mobile phones, aeroplanes or medical advances but when it comes up with the impact that billions rather than a few hundred million of humans has then it suddenly is all wrong.
    Money is the nearest thing humans have to a universal belief; maybe 2012 will be the year we realise that the economy and ecology problems are one and the same thing. http://ezinearticles.com/?2012---A-Seismic-Year?&id=6825303

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