William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

My Pajamas Media Climategate Article

Pajamas Media

Pajamas Media has published my article What is—and what isn’t—evidence of global warming.

I normally don’t ask, but I’d be grateful if you’d pass this article on, link it around or email it, particularly to those who are most fearful of anthropogenic global warming. It specifies what is the direct evidence we have for AGW and—much more importantly—shows what is not evidence. This is an important subject about which much ignorance abounds.

This is the article I wish I would have done when I went to Spain, where I gave a confusing mathematical version of the same thing. Too many opaque equations!

I’ll be expanding this subject through time.

I showed this to a professor friend of mine who said, “Well, you’ll never work in academics again.” He’s probably right; and isn’t that curious?

20 Comments

  1. Matt,

    On the other hand we have this point of view:

    1. Science tells us that we have a very serious problem — indeed, a grave danger to the continuation of human civilization — from continued anthropogenic GHG emissions and consequent global warming and climate change.

    [ My em ]

  2. Briggs

    November 25, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Dan,

    Well, you can tell this Science guy from me that he ought to calm down. He’s beginning to sound like a “reality” show contestant.

  3. After climategate broke I checked M. Mann’s website & this recent 2-pg paper is an example of the sort of non-evidence discussed in the ‘What Is & Isn’t’ article:

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/MannCommentaryPNAS09.pdf

    Basically, projections are updated based on someone’s guesses that are updated with more recent guesses, where the guesses fill in blanks for which there is no or limited data.

    This reminded me of that entertaining book, “Holy Blood Holy Grail” in which the authors speculate that such & such looks like this, and if that then maybe this other, etc. to come to some entertaining, but wrong conclusions. When some of those (initial presumptions and or final conclusions) were proven wrong they just spun another yarn by applying the same logical rigor, such as it is. Based on sales, they made bundle–so from that standpoint they did “good.”

    Just like the AGW alarmists.

    Follow the money — that’s a good indicator to assess what’s really up when people are up to something. There’s evidence in the e-mails disclosed so far that creative financing was woven into this tangled web they wove.

  4. “Diminishing glaciers did not prove AGW; they were instead a verification that ice melts when it gets hot. Fewer polar bears did not count in favor of AGW; it instead perhaps meant that maybe adult bears prefer a chill to get in the mood.”

    These statements seem to imply an increase of less than 1 degree Celsius would even have these effects or play more than a minor role in the observation. The article would have read easier and been stronger if that whole paragraph were left out. The buffers and balance in the ecosystem are not that fragile.

  5. Briggs

    November 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Quit fooling around, John. People won’t know you’re joking.

  6. This paper is somewhat relevant — the hacked e-mails demonstrate quite a few parallels/patterns that match the themes here:

    http://www.jacksonleadership.com/pdfs/7Habits_IveyBusinessJournal.pdf

    The paper is, “The seven habits of spectacularly unsuccessful executives.” Its a very easy read.

  7. Matt:
    I put it up here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2394412/posts

    I hope I didn’t misrepresent anything.

  8. Good paper. The reason I never believed the AGW true believers is because they claim they can foretell the future and control the forces of nature. I never saw any evidence they could perform those miraculous feats.

  9. Briggs

    November 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    All,

    Let’s keep in mind that the article is the logic about what consists of direct, indirect, and no evidence for AGW theory. I just made a comment there clarifying this.

    I know I’m going to have to build on this (after Thanksgiving).

    I feel this is a very, very (two verys!) important subject. Misunderstandings about the evidence is why so many people are so nuts (to use the technical term).

  10. Have posted the link of WUWT.

    Also incorporated some of your points into a letter to the Times of London. which necessarily has to brief. Also borrowed your description ‘prominent person’.

    Still if you are going to plagiarize by all means use the best. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.

    Kindest Regards.

  11. Matt, excellent response to SteveB on PJM. Sure shot down my causation theory, though.

  12. I forwarded your piece to my academic friends with the comment

    “Seems rather elementary, no?”

  13. Briggs

    November 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    All,

    I’m concerned that the skeptics crowd is too intent on score settling, or they are enjoying the nyah-nyah-nyahing too much. We are missing an opportunity to educate, here.

    More on this to come…

    a jones,

    Copy away. Remember that attribution is golden.

    49er,

    Ratatatatat.

    Marvin,

    Let us know what they say.

  14. Hi all,

    My condolences on the decline in your polar bear population. The polar bear population in Canada is doing quite well.

    Polar bear expert barred by global warmists (Jun 2009)
    Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/5664069/Polar-bear-expert-barred-by-global-warmists.html

    Polar bear worries unproven, expert says (May 2006)
    Taylor noted the estimated number of bears on the Boothia Peninsula, 1,300 kilometres west of Iqaluit, has actually increased to 1,500 animals from 900. He said environmental groups don’t seem to want to take information like that into consideration when pressing their case.
    “Life may be good, but good news about polar bear populations does not seem to be welcomed by the Centre for Biological Diversity,” he said.

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/05/15/polar-bears.html

    Polar bear numbers up, but rescue continues (Mar 2007)

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=1ea8233f-14da-4a44-b839-b71a9e5df868

  15. Dr. Briggs,

    You can’t educate true believers. Their faith immunizes them against the facts.

    It’s like Dan Rather and those fake but accurate memos. He knew the memos were true no matter what contrary evidence surfaced. He didn’t didn’t know anything about military administration, but he didn’t even bother to consult anybody with military experience and ask their opinion. I was the administrative officer in a navy unit, and the idea of the commanding officer writing orders for a physical exam is bizarre.

  16. I thought I has posted a funny comment, until I compared it to the thanksgiving post and the comments which followed.

  17. Briggs

    November 27, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Ray,

    You’re right. But we’re after the middle ground, here. It’s time for the other majority of scientists to start talking.

    And we can convince the public, most of them, anyway.

  18. If you are going to post more on what constitutes evidence will you consider addressing along the way the difference between a conjecture, an hypothesis, a theory and a law, and also what a null hypothesis is and what the null hypothesis should be when seeking statistical confirmation that climate sensitivity is from 2 – 5 degrees C?

  19. Briggs-

    I love this article so much I want to take it behind the middle school and make it pregnant. I’m pasting it to all my friends, and annoying the liberals who repeat the shibboleths without pondering them.

    Thank you much!

    -Steven

  20. Briggs

    December 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Steven,

    I think that is the nicest compliment I have ever received.

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