Saturday, February 07, 2009

Alexander Eli Pope

Moved from the comments at Stoat

"Great fleas have little fleas
upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so ad infinitum.
Yet data set fleas are larger still
Than the great disks which hold em
And no one knows where a misprint lurks
Until they stumbles upon one"

-ER with apologies Augustus de Morgan

As is being pointed out by Gavin at Real Climate, the only way of fighting this law of nature is to depend on multiple sources and critically evaluate each. It basically is the rock on which the McIntrye and McKitrick attack on multiproxy paleoclimate evaluations and Roger P Sr's take a picture of a weather station foundered (Roger set it off, by the way he is back for another bite at the apple)



Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Real Climate finally removed RPJr.'s blog from their site.

It's about time....

Mus musculus anonymouse

Flavius Collium said...

RPJr has posted truly awful stuff lately.

That said, it's probably not easy if your father has such a publicized position and viewpoints. The most understandable thing for him would be to shut up. (Not the right thing, which would be to advocate for truth.)

Horatio Algeranon said...

"Real Climate finally removed RPJr.'s blog from their site."

I wonder what that says, given all the "other opinions" they still link to -- including goofy poetry by yours truly, Horatio.

Never in his wildest mousy dreams did Horatio (a mere MPhD -- Doctor of Mousy Philosophy) ever imagine that his opinion would be ranked (by anyone, anywhere, anytime) ahead of that of a PhD'd college professor.

Then again, maybe Horatio is just kidding himself and those links on Real Climate are actually randomly generated. (No offense Eli)

Carl said...

"Real Climate finally removed RPJr.'s blog from their site."

No matter how ridiculous you find the other side to be, debate is always beneficial - you improve your own understanding and if you're correct, then your argument will become ever more convincing. Climate Audit still links to Real Climate despite the bad feelings Steve M and many of the commentators surely have towards the authors of RC.

A little bit of civility is in order, people, even if you believe the other side is far from civil. Your arguments will be respected by the public when you encourage debate and you maintain a tone higher than petty self-righteousness.

Hank Roberts said...

Actually, debate is beneficial in deciding among _opinions_.

Facts, no. Debate was all we had until science came along.

People thought about the same way for 50,000 years or so. Then a few hundred years ago something changed.

Hint: it wasn't debate.

I should remind Robert Grumbine to put the Folsom Point on his list, though. That would take it back a ways further.

http://www.radix.net/~bobg/timeline/theories.html

EliRabett said...

Eli imagines that the delisting was more connected to Roger calling Gavin a thief.

Carl said...

Hank Roberts:
I'd say that's a rather naive view of science.

"Debate was all we had until science came along."

So science doesn't involve debate? Shouldn't debate be considered the sole reason for progress in science? Nothing is a clear-cut, decided fact. Not many pieces of data can be so accurate and agreed upon to make analytic opinion irrelevant. Science is not the end of debate, but rather the basis for it.

It's a sad day for science when debate is replaced with the myth of the immutable fact.

Anonymous said...

"Eli imagines that the delisting was more connected to Roger calling Gavin a thief."

What, did Roger accuse Gavin of stealing all his thunder? (in the press, on the internet, etc)

RE debate: there is a huge difference between actually "debating" the cutting edge of the science and bringing someone up to speed on the basics of science and math.


With RP, Real Climate spent more time on the latter than the former, it seems.

The latter is remedial education and is better suited to basic "101" courses. It is not the most productive way for working scientists to spend their time, at any rate.

Besides, "linking" (ie, a permanent link on the home page) and "debating" are two completely separate things.

Carl said...

Anonymous:
First of all, the opinions expressed earlier hardly seem to recognize the importance of debate in any context.

Of course you believe that the other side of the argument is flat wrong, and being so wrong, they are not worth debating. But you can't define debate on your own terms - for they surely feel the same way about your positions as you do about theirs. The "Your argument's too wrong to even bother addressing" is the worst attitude science could have - especially when the goal is to communicate topics to the public.

Of course, links are far from substantial debate; however, it does foster an atmosphere supportive of debate. Even if you believe the other side is being uncivil (as you claim RPJ is being), the best reaction isn't to ignore it but to react in a civil manner - that's how you gain respect for your opinions.

Anonymous said...

"Your argument's too wrong to even bother addressing" is the worst attitude science could have - especially when the goal is to communicate topics to the public."

First, the fact is, lots (if not most) of the stuff on the internet is simply NOT worth addressing -- period. Should I address all the conspiracy theories on every topic? Get real.

Second: the idea that NOT linking to someone (or removing a link that was previously there) is somehow "unscientific" is simply ridiculous.

Also, the idea that if I do not link somehow equates to "avoiding scientific debate" is just absurd.


"links are far from substantial debate; however, it does foster an atmosphere supportive of debate.

Sorry, carl, but links are not debate in any way shape or form.

Practically speaking, having links on the sidebar does NOT even foster an atmosphere of debate because there are often so many links and many of them will have nothing at all to do with the current topic of discussion.

Links WITHIN a post are a different story, but I can have no link to RP's site on the sidebar and nonethless link to a specific thing that he wrote (FAR more valuable).

This whole "debate" about whether links amount to "debate" is just stupid.




I can also debate someone's points without any link at all.

Anonymous said...

"that's how you gain respect for your opinions."

Thanks for your concern, Carl, but who really cares?

EliRabett said...

When Roger called Gavin a thief

Anonymous said...

And I suppose RP has never adopted/adapted an idea as his own.

No indeed.

This, after all, is the guy who actually seems to believe that he invented the concept of "climate change adaptation".

And who also seems to be under the delusion that he is the originator of the idea that building on the beach leads to increased costs associated with hurricanes.

RP's criticism of Schmidt in this case strikes me as little more than "projection" (criticism of others for your own shortcomings)