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View Diary: Professor Michael Mann is suing the National Review (133 comments)

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  •  Don't mess with the Mann (22+ / 0-)

    Nate Silver overextended himself. Mann is correct, of course. Nate has done great work on baseball and politics, but he doesn't understand climate change.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 08:16:44 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Nate does understand prediction systems. (11+ / 0-)

      Stochastic calculus can be applied to the performance of prediction systems, quite apart from what it is these modelling systems are predicting.

      Scott Armstrong's work implied that he had done the hard work to analyze climate model predictions. In fact, he had not. All he applied was simple descriptive statistics, topped off by ignoring/erasing the models that incorporate atmospheric gasses.

      Nate devotes far too much space to the highly questionable claims of a University of Pennsylvania marketing Professor named J. Scott Armstrong. Armstrong made a name for himself in denialist circles back in 2007 by denouncing climate models has having no predictive value at all. Armstrong’s arguments were fundamentally flawed, belied by a large body of primary scientific literature — with which Armstrong was apparently unfamiliar — demonstrating that climate model projections clearly do in fact out-perform naive predictions which ignore the effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. As discussed in detail by my RealClimate.org co-founder, NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt, Armstrong simply didn’t understand the science well enough to properly interpret, let alone, assess, the predictive skill of climate model predictions.
      This is an important point.

      Those of us with at least some advanced training in statistics can still be bamboozled with false claims such as the Armstrong construct.

      Nate screwed the pooch. Nobody is perfect.

      Armstrong ??? That SOB set out to construct a complex lie -- which ended up taking specialists to unravel.

      That's why this is important.

      The deniers/coal_biz/oil_biz billionaires are buying well trained brains to spread their lies.

      We need to be more careful.

      (The same phenomenon took hold decades ago with the primary, minimally polluting rival to fossil fuels. Check any estimates of the risks of nuclear power against the last 60 years experience. Apart from the bizarrely badly designed and operated plant at Chernobyl, nuclear does not kill people.

      Meanwhile coal mining kills 2,500 a year, another several hundred thousand from lung diseases, puts mercury into the ocean, and drives global warming. But you'd think that nuclear power was a big killer. The worst threat on the planet. Despite the fact that nukes have been killing nobody decade after decade.)

      •  He also engaged in false equivalence (5+ / 0-)

        Scientists defending and explaining facts isn't the same as deniers ignoring those facts.

        Most disappointing to me of all was the false equivalence that Nate draws between the scientific community’s efforts to fight back against intentional distortions and attacks by an industry-funded attack machine, and the efforts of that attack machine itself. He characterizes this simply as a battle between “consensus” scientists and “skeptical” individuals, as if we’re talking about two worthy adversaries in a battle. This framing is flawed on multiple levels, not the least of which is that those he calls “skeptics” are in fact typically no such thing. There is a difference between honest skepticism — something that is not only valuable but necessary for the progress of science — and pseudo-skepticism, i.e. denialism posing as “skepticism” for the sake of obscuring, rather than clarifying, what is known.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:53:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, indeed. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steven D, Eyesbright

          One minor point: "false equivalence" is more of a grammatical form than a logical construct.

          Each argument that presents in the guise of "false equivalence" can be more carefully described using the informal fallacies. You will find "Begging the Question" at the heart of many of them -- it's a cheap little trick, not requiring more than 10 seconds brain work to construct.

          I've got a copy of Rush Limbuagh's 1992 book "The Way Things Ought To Be" in hand. Surprisingly, it does not reek of swamp water and putrid flesh.

          Logically, it does. I can read three pages at a whack. Then I get dizzy.

          Perhaps this business of "false equivalence" is part of the general Dumbing Down movement. Turn on a television and you will not see much of critical thinking or of facts. Not on the news programs.

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