Friday, August 01, 2008

The Tethered Goat or the Honest Broker

Ethon is back from Boulder. He was so satisfied with the extraordinary feast Pro provided that he passed on the offered Hansen pate and tethered scientist appetizer that Honest Roger offered. Roger managed to pirouette from the recent British Office of Communication Decision that The Great Global Warming Swindle was a sack of effluent to a full bore attack on Jim Hansen and his suggestion about the fate of coal company executives.

It is sad what is happening over at Prometheus, the Professor having lost his audience being reduced to whacking about wildly. Jon played the Devil and won

As I read Lahsen's paper, the U.S. suffers from a particularly virulent strain of extrinsically politicized science and thus, lowering the bar of expertise in the name of democratizing the debate or supporting intellectual freedom, actually devalues good scholarship by diluting it with "simulated scientific authority" just as printing ever more money devalues currency. As I say above, it looks like Gresham's law.

Of course, the alternative raises the perennial question, "quis custodiet?" but I continue to trust the mores of our scientific communities to wrestle with this honestly.

What I take away is certainly that I agree with your horror at bringing lawsuits or criminal prosecutions to bear on climate or political debates. And I also share your aversion to attempts to pressure universities from outside, particularly where the pressure is extrinsically political.

But within the university and within the scientific community, whilst speaking as a professional free expression is a right to which one is entitled only in the context of good scholarship; and so long as the politicization of the community's judgment upon scholarship is only intrinsic there is an obligation to use that judgment to demarcate reasonable dissent from worthless or irresponsible views.

It's a pretty good discussion, and worth reading if only for the double plus good Rogerism, when Jon went away to his day job
Perhaps Jon is busy with other matters. Or perhaps, as he has done before on several occasions at this site, he has just dropped by to levy allegations and then leave the conversation midstream. Do that a few times and you start to get a reputation. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he'll reengage.
That's got it all folks except the advice to read the complete works of Roger Pielke Jr. The victim bully act that makes Roger such a delight, the innocent old me phrase at the end. Still Eli would like to point out that a lot of this arises from the construct that RPJr calls "The Honest Broker" and Eli calls "The Tethered Goat"
The Honest Broker of Policy Options (AKA the Tethered Goat) - seeks to expand, or at least clarify, the scope of choice available to the decision maker. In this instance the doctor might explain to you that a number of different treatments is available, from wait-and-see to taking different medicines, each with a range of possible consequences.
OK, you go to the doctor with your new baby and ask about vaccination. Roger's "Honest Doc" tells you that not vaccinating your kid will significantly increase the odds that she dies young. OTOH, she could also have a terrible reaction to the vaccination and die and, oh yes, assorted nut jobs think that vaccination causes autism. Roger would stake us all out as purveyors of simple solutions, and as we well know there is not a problem in the world that does not have simple, but wrong solutions. So the Tethered Goat tells the patient you have two choices. One kills your kid and the other kills your kid, your choice. No "value" judgments

But is is precisely the value judgments that the doctor's study and experience have prepared him for. He knows more of the evidence than you or I do and we need his advice based on that study and experience. Although it goes against all the "rules" that we pretend to live and campaign by, there are a whole lot of people who know what is better for a whole lot of kids than the kids parents, and if you doubt me read the headlines.

Eli Kildare, OTOH would tell you that the kid runs a terrible risk of damage from the diseases, that it is immoral to not vaccinate the kid and rely on the herd effect and it is an unacceptable risk not to vaccinate. Oh yes, Rachel Carson did not kill millions. It would also be good to say that if the kid is NOT vaccinated, the doc doesn't want you or the kid as a patient because of the danger she will pose to other children during office visits. This is what the science says, but Roger's Tethered Goat can only go so far and not provide you the benefit of his conclusions (that being reserved for Roger).

Providing conclusions based on experience is exactly what Hansen is doing. He is telling us (and Roger) that the scope of choices has narrowed to the point that our civilization either has to take action or die (ok, suffer really bad stuff, like having our livers pecked out daily). You can, of course, listen to Dr. Durovic and take the Krebionzin or equivalently listen to the Drs. Pielke and adapt. As Eli has pointed out, adapting without mitigating is a mug's game that leaves a lot of mugs dead.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Rabett come now. Yes I know Hansen, Team and you acolytes want so badly for the world to believe you, but it just don't happen. India and China are telling you all, in the politest of ways, to get stuffed, and what they and another billion asians and subcontinent duskies also say determines the way of the world.

So you go ahead and tell your little tales of inconsequence, who you like or don't like. Receive you little pats on the back from your anons. Laughable-yes, childish-yes.

How does that arctic ice area go, Rabett. The "end is nigh" is not quite "nigh".

JohnS

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

China did it... China did it... China did it... China did it... China did it... China did it... China did it... China did it... Om... Om... Om...

Anonymous said...

MarkeyMouse says: Lucia has shown definatively and statistically that the "IPCC near term prediction of 2C/century for the trend appears provisionally falsified. I use the weasel term ‘provisionally’ because everything in science is provisional. If the data are found erroneous, or GMST suddenly rockets up next year, or the next year, or sometime in the next decade, then the IPCC projections could turn out to be right. (I would personally consider their stated confindence intervals too narrow, but, if the weather heats up, yes, they could turn out to be right.)

But, basically, the only way to make the IPCC projections to become “correct” is for the weather to heat up or the data to be found wrong." http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/the-huge-swing-07-08-does-that-affect-the-results/

Hansen's Crystal Ball machine is wrong. Don't Hansen et al remind you of the Wizard of Oz? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

Anonymous said...

MarkeyMouse says:

Lucia has shown definatively and statistically that the "IPCC near term prediction of 2C/century for the trend appears provisionally falsified. I use the weasel term ‘provisionally’ because everything in science is provisional. If the data are found erroneous, or GMST suddenly rockets up next year, or the next year, or sometime in the next decade, then the IPCC projections could turn out to be right.

Wow. Is "definativley" anything like "definitively."?

Or is it more like "provisionally"? (the word Lucia "now" uses -- she seems less sure/more careful than she originally was in her claims)

So, what exactly is this nebulous "IPCC near term prediction of 2C/century" that she claims to have "provisionally falsified"?

Lucia has basically created a straw man "IPCC projection" to "knock down" with her "statistics".

In fact, the "2C per century trend" that she keeps referring to actually represents the mean value for a suite of model projections -- ie, not really an "IPCC prediction" [sic] at all.

To say nothing of the fact that the relevant text in the AR4 refers to "about 2C per century" over the first couple decades for this mean value.

Finally, she is just confused about the uncertainty associated with model projections over the short term.

Hint: As Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, it is significantly greater than what she seems to believe.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

I already told MarkeyMouse that he really should see a doctor about his apocalyptic visions of a Phantom Soviet Empire. Perhaps with his tinfoil hat on. But he just won't listen to my advice.

By the way, MarkeyMouse, that pattern on that cereal flake isn't a hammer-and-sickle symbol.

Anonymous said...

Hint: Gavin Schmidt points out that his models are really great and perfect. The end. Well that's that sorted then. And now the IPCC projection is a "straw man"? Yes it really is the Wizard of Oz show.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

"And now the IPCC projection is a `straw man'?"

So what Lucia claims to be "IPCC prediction" isn't a straw man because Anonymous says it's the "IPCC prediction"!

Inactivist `logic' gets more and more fractal each passing moment.

Ambitwistor said...

anonymous,

"Hint: Gavin Schmidt points out that his models are really great and perfect."

Lying doesn't really help your credibility.

Gavin talks all the time about model error. Google RealClimate for "gavin" and "model error" or "model uncertainty". For instance, see the article "What the IPCC models really say".

Anonymous said...

Oh Woe. I now realise that Schmidt and the IPCC have made clear that their Models are not that good and are imperfect, but nevertheless, the IPCC say we should abandon our sinful CO2 based lifestyle, or we are all going to fry? That's the Public perception provoked, encouraged, and allowed, by Schmidt and Hansen et al.

Dano said...

Fortunately for us, wingnuts like anon don't get access to decision-makers to spread their wingnuttiness. If they did, however, something like this would result (August 4, 2008 7:18 AM )

Best,

D

Tenney Naumer said...

Eli, just wanted to stop by and thank you for your support on RealClimate. Tenney