2012-03-16 15:45:50Fred Singer Debunks and then Denies
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.110.129

Follow-up on John Mason's Singer post.

Fred Singer Debunks and then Denies

2012-03-16 17:28:50
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

Nice one, Dana. Both barrels there!

Cheers - John

2012-03-16 17:30:00
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
193.167.135.17

I think it needs tone control. Too much acid, which puts off some readers. Also some other things direct from the main point: like bringing up Al Gore.  More reference to the science, and less discussion of Al Gore IMO!

2012-03-16 17:57:19
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

This tone works for deniers. I think people are sick of pussy-footing around in the debate but agree about Al Gore - political deniers have really done the job on him.

2012-03-16 18:24:31
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

I guess any mention of Al Gore could be potential denier-fodder, although he was right in the context in which Dana is discussing him. The risk is a protracted raking-over of what Gore did or didn't say cluttering up the comments, having said which things have moved on since An Inconvenient Truth - they've moved on a lot. Another way to frame this is to ask why constant references to Gore are even required if the deniers' story is so good - to which the answer is that the story is so weak and riddled with self-contradiction that they have to keep bringing up the same lame old talking-points.

Cheers - John

2012-03-16 19:15:55
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
193.167.135.17

I'd personally change the tone to what SkS' intro banner is like.

'let's be skeptical - it's good that Singer applies skepticism to some claims. But why doesn't he apply it universally? A real skeptic would ask why he ignores the ocean heat data, a real skeptic would ask why choose only 1988-2000...' etc.

2012-03-17 02:05:34
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I'll have a look at the tone, but Singer's comment about the lag was specific to Al Gore (the only thing he said was 'this is a good argument against Al Gore'), so I can't really not mention Gore.

2012-03-17 02:13:10
Doc Snow
Kevin McKinney
kdmsooboy@comcast...
76.17.37.231

Some suggestions:

1)  Sentences #2 and #4 say (in part) the same thing; I'd delete the clause "debunking a few of the worst climate myths," from sentence #2 and leave it in #4.

2) I'd cut the sentence about Bastardi down a bit:  " For example, the myths that the greenhouse effect has been falsified or that increasing CO2 has no effect, argued by weatherman Joe Bastardi on Fox News, most recently just a few days ago."  I'd also make it a dependent clause to the preceding sentence, since there's actually no primary verb.  ("Most" is in red because it's a fix for a small typo.)

3)  Toward the end of the "CO2 lags" section, a possible deletion:  "As in the past, this CO2 increase is and will continue to drive global warming."

4)  Alternate wording for last sentence?  "It is unfortunate that the temptation to score points against Al Gore leads Singer into scientific incoherence."

5)  Alternate wording, next para?  "This conclusion is clearly correct."

6)  Re-order, perhaps, to explain the curve-fitting first.  Perhaps something like:  "Curve-fitting involves using many parameters and allowing them to vary with no physical constraints until the curves best fit the observational data. This is something actually done by many of Singer's fellow "skeptics" (e.g. Roy SpencerSyun-Ichi AkasofuCraig Loehle, and Nicola Scafetta.)  Unlike them, the climate models used in the IPCC reports use variables which are constrained by physical reality."

2012-03-17 06:22:12
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Doc, I incorporated your suggestions, and changed the tone slightly, but I didn't find much that I felt really needed changing.  I'm open to specific suggestions if anyone has them.

2012-03-17 06:30:50
Andy S

skucea@telus...
209.121.15.232

Typos: estabilsh and occassions in first two paragraphs

Style suggestions

"is not just denial, it's extreme denial" for me denial is a kind of absolute thing, black and white. Perhaps you could say that Singer is indulging in denial of basic facts that even "deniers" don't deny and have some quotes from Watts and co that came out after the BEST study was realeased [come to think of it, what's happened to the peer review of that study?].

Singer Feedback Denial and Curve Fitting Irony

Finally, Singer makes a very ironic accusation of the IPCC.

"[the IPCC] makes arbitrary assumptions about clouds and water vapor, which produce the most important greenhouse forcings.  One might therefore say that the IPCC's evidence is nothing more than an exercise in curve-fitting."

Considering that so many of Singer's fellow "skeptics" have actually engaged in curve fitting exercises (i.e. Roy SpencerSyun-Ichi AkasofuCraig Loehle, and Nicola Scafetta), this accusation is incredibly ironic. 

I think you are overdoing it a bit here. I would drop the second mention of ironic and reconsider the incredibly. Also has Singer endorsed these other curve-fitting exercises, has he classified Spencer et al as skeptics rather than deniers, or has he just been silent on the details of the curve-fitting aspects of their work?

Otherwise, this is a really good debunking and I don't think the overall tone is inappropriate (perhaps I'm looking at a revised, toned-down version compared to the one that Mark commented upon).

2012-03-17 07:03:06
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Andy.  Actually you were looking at the old version.  I got rid of that third 'incredibly ironic' in the new version.

I replaced the 'extreme denial' by pointing out that Pielke Sr. used to deny ocean warming, but no longer does (though he does still downplay it), and thus it's a fact that at least some of his fellow "skeptics" don't deny.

2012-03-17 09:05:33Little nitpick
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.175.176
You defend the IPCC treatment of water vapor by citing papers released after AR4. Perhaps some mention of the basis of IPCC's handling of water vapor, followed by how subsequent research has affirmed the science.

BTW, kudos to whoever added Singer's quotes to the database (I'm guessing Dana):

http://skepticalscience.com/feed.php?a=quotes&s=9&m=&b=3

2012-03-17 09:46:40
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Well, Singer is criticizing AR5 (though he does also talk about AR4 quite a bit).  I'll have a look at what AR4 said about it though.  Couldn't hurt to add whatever research they referenced.

Kudos to me indeed!

2012-03-17 10:17:19
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.175.176

One of these days, we'll have to launch our "deniers debunking myths" resource. With this latest fad of claiming the middle ground, the database is filling up nicely. In fact, now we have a good theme to go with the resource - what is the actual middle ground.

2012-03-17 15:20:18
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.3.26

There is no middle ground:

2012-03-18 06:04:54
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Hi Dana,

FWIW, I had a quick read and it looks really solid, well done as always.

The only sentence that might be miscontrued is this one:

"What the CO2 lag tells us is that this time is different, because this time there is no lag, thanks to humans burning fossil fuels and releasing tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year."

I know hat you are saying wrt to the CO2 emissions lag, but some may interpret to mean that there are now no lags in the climate system when there are still lags and positive feedbacks (even in the carbon cycle). Not sure what to suggest to avoid that, but maybe it is a non issue.

But the main point is that he is making a strawman argument and you solidly address that :)

2012-03-19 04:25:33
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

I forgot this...

2012-03-21 22:38:35
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
193.167.135.17

Also, I don't see if you've defined 'radiosonde' anywhere. It's one of those things that's always worth mentioning; most people know what a weather balloon is, few understand radiosonde!

2012-03-22 01:55:33
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Good point.  FYI I'm waiting on Kevin's temperature trend tool to get finished and published, since I used it in this post.