Wednesday, February 02, 2011

That Ol' Devil Rabett

Eli has been wondering who fronted the money for the Great Lisboa Reconciliation Bunfest. Well, he SHRTFR which was posted at Tony's Place. With the exception, of Nick Stokes, who has an excellent set of links at moyhu, they were all arrivistes pretty much pushing themselves in the way we have all become fond of Roger for, and ranging pretty much from outright denialists to sort of warmers with Nick a talented amateur being perhaps the furthest towards the rational. On the other hand, evidently Gavin Schmidt was invited, took one look at who was coming and demurred at being bacalao gustado bacalhau guisado for the others to dine on. You can find the list at Nick's place. Explicitly Jerry Ravitz, who organized the thing is pissed that no one listens to him and you can find several more of that ilk.

UPDATE: Gavin clarifies in the comments

Just for clarity, I had no idea who else they had invited. Rather, my decision not to go was based purely on their initial assessment of why there was conflict in the climate debate. They appeared to think that it was actually related to reconstructions of medieval temperatures and differing analyses of ice extent. Since these are not even close to the reason why climate science is politicised, I saw little purpose in trying to 'reconcile' on points that are completely tangential to the real causes of conflict. I have no regrets about not going.
Frankly sort of the difference between being salted cod stew and salted cod sausage.
--------------
Eli finds that the workshop was supported by the Gulbenkian Foundation. Most people who know of the Gulbenkian associate it with the world class museum in Lisboa (go, sell the bunnies and by all means go), but those of us old enough know Calouste Gulbenkian as Mr. Five Percent, an Armenian, born in Istanbul, trained as a petroleum engineer, who organized and took 5% (better 5% of a large company than 100% of a small one) of many of the biggest oil companies on earth, especially in the middle east.

Dig a bit deeper and you find that today, the principal support of the Gulbenkian Foundation is ownership of a large share of Partex, Gulbenkian's worldwide oil and gas company.

Now some, not Eli to be sure, might think that this is the equivalent of the Workshop being funded by the Exxon Corportation, but their museum sucks.


72 comments:

Anonymous said...

"For guidance on untangling all this, we are better served by history, sociology and jurisprudence than by the conventional philosophy of science."

Anything but data and physics.

Pete Dunkelberg

Anonymous said...

Pete,

You got in just ahead of me. "Post-normal science" is just the latest manifestation of "post-modern science", "feminist science" or "whatever-you're-having-yourself-science" we saw in the 1990s, i.e. an opportunity for pretend-radicals to sneak their agenda past the best sentry for truth that we have.

I see knowing wrong with good, old-fashioned science as it was for Einstein, Planck, and Feynmann. Call me a grumpy old codger if you like.

Toby

Magnus Westerstrand said...

Who attended?

EliRabett said...

See the list at Nick's place.

J Bowers said...

Wahaayyy, it's official! From Nick Stokes' list:

"Steve Goddard Science and Public Policy Inst., VA, USA"

Shouldn't that officially be pSPPI now? Think of all those letterheads that need changing. If only they'd known.

Gavin said...

Just for clarity, I had no idea who else they had invited. Rather, my decision not to go was based purely on their initial assessment of why there was conflict in the climate debate. They appeared to think that it was actually related to reconstructions of medieval temperatures and differing analyses of ice extent. Since these are not even close to the reason why climate science is politicised, I saw little purpose in trying to 'reconcile' on points that are completely tangential to the real causes of conflict. I have no regrets about not going.

John Mashey said...

I suspect Gavin understates regarding no regrets.
"I was given an opportunity to fly thousands of miles and spend a few days bashing my head against a wall, but I have no regrets for passing on this chance."

As for Steve Goddard and SPPI:

1) Oddly, he is not listed @ SPPI.

2) The contact for SPPI is:

Primary:
Robert Ferguson
Science and Public Policy Institute
5501 Merchants View Square
# 209
Haymarket, VA 20169


Secondary:
Robert Ferguson
SPPI
209 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Suite 299
Washington, D.C. 20003"

Basically SPPI = Ferguson working out of his house.
5501 Merchants View Square = UPS Store.

I guess Goddard works out of a PO Box :-)
Someone ought to go take a picture and post it.

The 209 PA Ave address is a 3-story red brick building, visible on GoogleMaps streetview, above a cafe, with white door at right marked 209.
Someone local (hint) might visit and see if 299 is a real office or just virtual to provide the obligatory Washington DC address.

I started watching SPPI back in 2007. Unlike CATO/CEI, which are actual organizations, this is Ferguson plus selection of usual advisors and maybe some funding from the UK.

JCH said...

After saying she would do a review, Judith attempted to not review "Slaying the Sky Dragon". They protested. She relented and started a thread for discussion. It's interesting.

She's the Climate Scientist of the Year. Eli has bunnies. She has cracked pots. Bunnies apparently will get you no awards, and attract no black gold.

Tenney Naumer said...

Thanks for this Eli

cthulhu said...

what IS post-normal science? im really going to have to look that up one day

willard said...

Post-normal science is a concept that is supposed to solve some problems with Kuhn's concept of normal science:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thomas-kuhn/

Someone who does not buy into Kuhn's conception of science can ignore the concept of post-normal science altogether.

From my experience, most scientists do not buy Kunh's conception of science.

My main criticism of this idea of Ravetz is the name. Prefixing a concept describing science with "post" is asking for some trouble. (Just think Post-Rock.) The association with PoMo is too easy.

So move along, nothing to see.

shewonk said...

Ravetz and Co. and the whole PN approach is wrong. It's that simple. They claim there is something wrong with "normal science", requiring a new approach to doing science, hence the "post' prefix. They advocate for changing the way science is done in response, including an "extended peer" community.

Science is fine, or at least, it was until the war began. It's normal politics that's the problem and there's nothing "post" about it. Just plain old normal politics. What we are seeing is a policy war; a war declared by a particular interest group against science in an effort to determine what policy -- if any -- is developed to address a particular policy problem -- in this case, global warming.

All the "post" BS is just that. BS.

YMMV.

David B. Benson said...

Toby --- You are a grumpy old codger

as am I.

PDA said...

I thought "Steven Goddard" was a group pseudonym, like "Publius" or "the Editors" or "Fox News." Are there pictures?

shewonk said...

Don't write off the links to postmodernism so easily.

Postmodernism, in a nutshell, is a rejection of the modernist project and philosophy, which includes a belief in universal truths, values, reason and the possibility of objectivity, and politics which aimed to enshrine these truths. Postmodernism made its way through the humanities and social sciences in the 1970s and beyond, but has been so far unable to weasel its way into science. Indeed, science is the last of the disciplines to be colonized by its fungal threads, but obviously some are trying to get their stinking hands on it. ;) I have no worries for science, actually. It's far too rational to succumb to Postmodern irrationalism.

Read this article in American Thinker.

Here's Ravetz, from Braun's article:

This is a drastic cultural change for science, which many scientists will find difficult to accept. But there is no turning back; we can understand post-normal science as the extension of democracy appropriate to the conditions of our age.

For us, quality is a replacement for truth in our methodology. We argue that this is quite enough for doing science, and that truth is a category with symbolic importance, which itself is historically and culturally conditioned.


IOW, there is no "truth" except that which is historically and culturally "conditioned". Read a bit of Ravetz et.al., and find that the PN crowd feels science is not about truth but about a particular "conditioned" truth -- one that anyone can participate in creating and thus the references to "democracy". So much for universal laws of physics... Instead of the scientific method and peer review, we get democratized extended peer communities. Think of it -- instead of Einstein and Bohr and Kepler and others, we'll get Mosher and McIntyre and Curry!

Hands off my science, PNS nutters! Science don't need your 'stinkin democracy.

Hank Roberts said...

> Postmodernism, in a nutshell, is a rejection of the
> modernist ... belief in ... the possibility of objectivity

Isn't there some political group that rejects Einstein's relativity because they think it counter to their idea of objectivity?

Sorry, I have only a vague recollection of reading something and tossing it when I was a teenager.

shewonk said...

"The direction into which scientific development has been led by the theory of relativity is a false one. For this reason, we consider it right, not only to reject the whole conception of Einstein, but also to substitute another name for the name expressed by the words "theory of relativity" as applied to problems of space, time, mass and movement for great velocities." A. Maximov, in the Soviet journal, Questions of Philosophy, 1953. You can find the quote in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1957.

Lazar said...

"The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world. Here is a list of 33 counterexamples: any one of them shows that the theory is incorrect."

http://www.conservapedia.com/Counterexamples_to_Relativity

J Bowers said...

Relativity had problems from the get go. Einstein said that a person's political persuasion seemed to govern whether it was accepted or not. http://www.jossgarman.com/?p=584 (but you probably knew that anyway)

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Good god, that c*pedia page is awful!

Andy S said...

As a young researcher reading Kuhn I was a little disappointed to find out that what I was doing was normal science. I got over it but not everybody does, it seems.

We need a name to categorize the kind of behaviour exhibited by Dr Curry. Stoat has patented the term "Going Emeritus" to describe the condition when curmudgeonliness overwhelms rationality in retired scientists. Dr Curry, alas, has not yet retired, so this term does not fit. We are familiar with the term "Going Postal", used when a hitherto normal employee tragically runs amok. May I therefore suggest the adoption of the term "Going Postnormal"?

J Bowers said...

If anyone wants to see another email list after John O'Sullivan did a Monckton, head over to Frank's place, click on "exposed the mass e-mailing list" or "cached", and see Morano and Lawson Cc'd along with fruityjanitor.

http://ijish.livejournal.com/12996.html

Note the current British Prime Minister and other parliamentarians on the list, as well as other well knowns.

willard said...

> For us, quality is a replacement for truth in our methodology.

This would describe a pragmatist conception of truth quite well:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatism/

Arguing that pragmatism (or any kind of relativism for that matter) leads to postmodernism might prove unhelpful.

***

Speaking of po-mo theories, Foucault's main inspiration behind his archeology of knowledge is, quite interestingly, Kant. So the father of postmodernism borrowed the term from an obscure text by the grand-dad of the Moderns. Let's wonder why.

shewonk said...

I might say that Postmodernism is the antithesis of Modernism, hence Foucault's borrowing from Kant. It contains within it the very imprint of modernism so it never really escapes the modernist moment. It is not, in other words, the synthesis. It never escapes nor transcends that which it critiques but is caught up in its whole ethos, only in the negative like a child rebelling against its parent in order to find its own identity.

But perhaps I should just say it's "fashionable nonsense." ;)

Jakerman said...

She Wonk:"Science is fine, or at least, it was until the war began."

There is a second layer to this issue worth addressing. I.e. Which war? a) The post normal attack on science? Or b) war on pure research with the post normal corporate requirement for researchers to gain industry partners to get government grants?

The parts of science that the deniers are attacking might be fine, but the parts they are silent about are not(I.e. industry needs directing goverment resoruces in organisation like CSIRO). Lack data sharing in GMO trials. And privatisation of public intelectual property, (on the shoulers of giants) i.e. biotech patents.

susan said...

Not all emeriti are bonkers, I hope.
--
Great work! I particularly enjoyed the codfish stew.

I was greeted at my doorstep tonight by a rabid denier (having a cigarette at the door) who demanded a "rational" conversation but wasn't interested in the facts. He ended by telling me I was drunk and walking away dignified like. (I had had a beer but I've had a bellyful of this stuff and wasn't having any - sorry about the descent into personal anecdote. Despite this incident, I find that on the whole, the *public* is beginning to get it. Surprising how many deniers are smokers.)

(Susan Anderson)

sigh ...

susan said...

garn! Trying to learn something, ended up clicking on those guys and increasing their "popularity".

pointer said...

Methinks another Alan Sokal moment is just aroung the corner, with the hapless guppies of the prank Curry and her tribe.

Jakerman said...

"Postmodernism made its way through the humanities and social sciences in the 1970s and beyond, but has been so far unable to weasel its way into science."

After studying aspects of Post-mondernism I don't know what it is. One way of reading Postmodernism is as a reaction against the over-reach of scientific positivism into areas where the evidence couldn't support it. I.e positivist claims that whites were smarter than blacks, men smarter than women. The critique reveals that the data actually said men score better on a particular test in a particular cultural context. I.e. stick your positivist claims back where they belong and report the evidence in the context with its methods, caveats and limitations.

Am I being too kind to PM?

In this context it is little wonder that PM "has been so far unable to weasel its way into science."
As PM is the other side of the boundary of science. Turf wars betwen PM and science are more with social science. I can't think for the moment where PM and physical science come to contact/blows or share turf? Quantum mechanics maybe?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics)

Anonymous said...

shewonk says:

IOW, there is no "truth" [in Post Normal Science] except that which is historically and culturally "conditioned"... the PN crowd feels science is not about truth but about a particular "conditioned" truth -- one that anyone can participate in creating and thus the references to "democracy". So much for universal laws of physics.

So by that yardstick, what do they propose to do about gravity? Put it to a committee? Have a vote? And if the vote flies in the face of the science, will a majority vote outweigh the reality of them hitting the floor with a dull thud every time they jump off a tall building?

The anoybilby also known as SteveC

willard said...

Here is what separates Kant and Foucault's criticism in a nutchell:

> [C]riticism is no longer going to be practiced in the search for formal structures with universal value, but rather as a historical investigation into the events that have led us to constitute ourselves and to recognize ourselves as subjects of what we are doing, thinking, saying. In that sense, this criticism is not transcendental, and its goal is not that of making a metaphysics possible: it is genealogical in its design and archaeological in its method. Archaeological -- and not transcendental -- in the sense that it will not seek to identify the universal structures of all knowledge or of all possible moral action, but will seek to treat the instances of discourse that articulate what we think, say, and do as so many historical events. And this critique will be genealogical in the sense that it will not deduce from the form of what we are what it is impossible for us to do and to know; but it will separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, or thinking what we are, do, or think. It is not seeking to make possible a metaphysics that has finally become a science; it is seeking to give new impetus, as far and wide as possible, to the undefined work of freedom.

And speaking of maturity:

> I do not know whether we will ever reach mature adulthood. Many things in our experience convince us that the historical event of the Enlightenment did not make us mature adults, and we have not reached that stage yet. However, it seems to me that a meaning can be attributed to that critical interrogation on the present and on ourselves which Kant formulated by reflecting on the Enlightenment. It seems to me that Kant's reflection is even a way of philosophizing that has not been without its importance or effectiveness during the last two centuries. The critical ontology of ourselves has to be considered not, certainly, as a theory, a doctrine, nor even as a permanent body of knowledge that is accumulating; it has to be conceived as an attitude, an ethos, a philosophical life in which the critique of what we are is at one and the same time the historical analysis of the limits that are imposed on us and an experiment with the possibility of going beyond them.

Source: What is Enlightenment?

ourchangingclimate said...

I'll admit to be quite intrigued by this workshop, and I think in principle it could be a worthwhile undertaking, though the people present don't strike me as a representative sample of people in the public debate (some of the participants seem to be from one outer edge of possible opinions on climate change).

Gavin, I wonder what you refer to with the organizers'
"initial assessment of why there was conflict in the climate debate." I don't see your characterization in e.g. the statement of purpose (
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/reconciliation-rationale-ws2011.pdf )

I would have gone if invited.

Bart

Alain said...

Is this data sure?
I was believeing it was partially financed by the européen commission, in his targe of 2C ?

it seems every cam imagine it was financed by the other evil finace camp...
could be funny if not serious.

Anonymous said...

Heck, I'll defend po-mo.

Foucault was a bit more nuanced in his arguments than what you'd guess from the way relativism is weilded like a hammer by some. That there are no univeral truths, was not the message.

The tiny enthusiasm for PNS manages to do harm to both post-modernism and the philosophy of science. Adopting a parody of the former, leading to a misunderstanding of the latter.


Anonymous Etc

EliRabett said...

Read the statement of purpose
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/reconciliation-rationale-ws2011.pdf

Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and Joint Research Centre,
EC – 2628
January 2011

Gavin said...

Bart, The pdf posted recently was written more recently, the invitation letter (6/Oct/2010) was different:


At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, 'ice', climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.


This struck me as pointless. Scientific issues are far better off discussed in scientific forums (workshops, AGU, EGU etc.), and since none of these topics are the root cause of any 'conflict', I did not see how any reconciliation was likely to emerge.

shewonk said...

Anonymous, I'll even defend POMO to a point as a necessary critique of some of Modernism's excesses, but that's as far as I'm willing to go. YMMV.

shewonk said...

Gavin is right. If the premise of a conference is wrong, there's not much hope that anything of value will come of it but more imprecision. The premise is that there is something wrong with the science (MWP, sensitivity) and that reconciliation of differing views of the science is necessary, when it is the politics that is the source of the problem. At least IMHO.

Gavin said...

What shewonk said

willard said...

Here is a first example of post-normal science:

[Stud.] - Hey Prof. I have a great idea!...

[Prof.] - Well actually son, we did that back in 06 and wasted two years on it.

Here is another one:

[Stud.] - Hey Prof. here's a great new paper!...

[Prof.] - Son, don't trust that clown.

Source: Amateur Night

J Bowers said...

Youtube: Gavin Schmidt talks about the politics of climate change

shewonk said...

No, that seems to me to be normal science. Here's an example of PNS:

Blogger 1: "it's the sun!"

Blogger 2: "it's socialism!"

Blogger 3: "it's no big deal - look at Greenland during the MWP!"

Blogger 4: "it's the untold trillions!"

Policy Maker: "there is no certainty so I don't have to act!"

Scientist: "sigh..."

willard said...

Here is the first part of a comment:

> My thesis is that Prof. Roger Pielke, Jr. is consciously using his training as a political scientist and his platform (Prometheus, nee Zeus' Eagle) to shape the debate about global climate change. He has is doing this to further both policy goals that he favors and his career.

Here is the second part:

> Nothing about this is wrong per se, but those who disagree with his policy goals and the assumptions from which they either precede or follow need to recognize that his playbook is political and scientific not solely scientific. Trying to meet him on the basis of science alone will, in the long run, be a losing game. In other words, the issue is not only the science, but the tactics.

Compare and contrast: analyze the emphasized sentence in its context, first by using Kuhn's framework, second by using the Ravetz's. Use this analysis to describe what "shaping the debate" means in the first part of the above comment.

Hank Roberts said...

Oh, right:

"... One of those people who argued in favor of this “relativity conspiracy” was Petr Beckmann a libertarian scientist from Czechoslovakia and editor of an Ayn Rand publication. He claimed that he had debunked Einstein’s theory in his book Einstein Plus Two, published in 1987, a full 82 years after Einstein’s famous theory was introduced.

"It is therefore quite fitting that Rush Limbuagh producer and swiftboat-smearer Marc Morano was given the “Petr Beckmann Award ...."

http://bahumuth.bitfreedom.com/climate-denier-libertarian-award-named-relativity-denier

badger badger badger said...

Tallbloke has it in for Einstein as well:

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/hall-of-fame/

To which Judy might reply, "Yes, tallbloke, that's very interesting."

It's very silly turtles all the way down.

Anonymous said...

You have to read this at NewScientist, it defies belief:

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/climate-sceptics-scientists-at.html

"Fred,

This piece, (like your gross misrepresentation of Mojib Latif's speech at the third World Climate Conference in 2009), is riddled with errors. Not to mention clearly being sympathetic towards the "skeptics" and being uncritical of the nefarious actions of the people like Mosher, McIntyre and Curry. These people want the best of both worlds, they attack, slander and defame climate scientists and then at the same time expect to be treated with respect and claim to want to "reconcile". This is nothing but PR campaign by the "skeptics" Fred, and I'm sad to see that it seems you have bought it hook-line and sinker.

Some points, there were probably not 28 climate scientists at the conference. Do you consider Goddard a climate scientist? McIntyre is not a statistician by training. You misrepresented Dr. Gavin Schmidt's position on attending the conference (go to Eli Rabett's place for clarification)-- it seems that you did not solicit his opinion before writing this. The "workshop" was also financed by the Gulbenkian Foundation-- do some research on them Fred, they have ties to big oil.

The scientific literature has shown again and again that the observed warming can not be explained by ENSO or PDO or other internal climate modes, because they simply move heat around in the system. Trenberth et al. (2002, JGR) showed that +0.06 C of the +0.4 C warming (about 15%) observed between 1950 and 1998 was attributable to trends in ENSO.These internal climate modes are internal drivers which can act to mute or enhance the underlying warming trend from higher CO2, they cannot and do not explain the fact that the planet is in a net positive energy imbalance (Murphy et al. 2009). How can the climate scientists you and the "skeptics" are chastising be indifferent to these internal climate modes and oscillations when they have published papers specifically to investigate their role? Please think about this...the "skeptics" love to make unsubstantiated and unsupported claims, because they know they cannot back them up. What does count in this game of "skeptics" is rhetoric, innuendo and opinions, not facts.

This is yet another astounding example of the media failing us. To say I am disappointed by your partisan and uncritical and error riddled piece would be a gross understatement.

I would complain to your editors, but previous experience has shown me that NewScientist has no interest in acknowledging or retracting errors on the climate file, especially it seems when those errors are made by you.

For what it is worth I urge you to please correct the errors pointed out to you here and to revise or retract your piece. Thank you."

ML

EliRabett said...

Willard, that was not science that was policy, and policy by definition is postnormal. FWIW, try this It talks about Ethon's lunch meat, but it really is talking about the entire Lisboa crew

". . . he has directed essentially all his critique at the science community, as if the science community were the basis of the problem. I take the position that the essential problem in the relationship between scientists and the political/policy process is clearly on the political side of the exchange. Say what you will about the shortcomings of scientists, by far the more significant need is for people to have a critique of politics. For this, Roger’s Ph.D. seems to be worthless. He is clueless about how to address the madness of the political process and how to come to grips with the disinformation campaign."

Of course what you noted came from a very young bunny

Sloop said...

The Workshop’s statement of purpose “Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” is an embarrassingly muddled essay that proposes an inappropriate (to the degree it’s even characterized) conflict resolution process to resolve a conflict itself fallaciously characterized. Both its articulation of the conflict and the proposed conflict resolution process are of little to no value IMHO to anyone responsible for advising elected or executive government leaders on CC and AGW. Although devoting time to deconstructing this turgid turd of an essay is tempting just for the blogo-sport of it, it is not worth my effort to do so, nor your time to read it.

Suffice it to say that conflict resolution strategies and techniques (including mediation, facilitation, negotiation) used to address public policy disputes are minimally applicable to natural science debate and knowledge development.

As to the preceding PNS/PoMo discussion, there are areas of social science where it is essential to explore the values, norms, and beliefs of the observer in order to understand usefully what and how they observe, particularly social science disciplines that stem from or are relevant to public policy processes.

IF the CG Foundation and the Lisbon and Joint Rsch Centre were anything more than a oil-saturated cadre of concern trolls, they’d be proposing to facilitate a risk analysis and management discussion to help public, and private, decision makers formulate and pursue AGW mitigation and adaptation policies and actions. That’s the model of structured dialogue where exploration of how human values and histories determine individual and collective perception and interpretation of empirical facts can be accomplished in a valid, insightful manner

The folks and orgs trumpeting this workshop are just pitiful.

Anonymous said...

@ J Bowers, thanks for the youtube link. "The forces of confusion" indeed.

The Anonybilby known as SteveC

dhogaza said...

"Tallbloke has it in for Einstein as well:

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/hall-of-fame/

To which Judy might reply, "Yes, tallbloke, that's very interesting.""

He's a believer in the ether, and I don't mean the gas you can sniff, either!

How about a Goddard and Tallbloke Lecture Series on Physics, that would be a hoot!

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Yep, tallbloke certainly falls into the nutter category. I say this only because ether (or aether) was convincingly disproved by the Michaelson-Morley experiment about 15 years before Einstein. The research wasn't ignored, it was shown to be wrong.

willard said...

> [P]olicy by definition is postnormal.

I am not sure how to make sense of this definition.

It could be a way to say that "postnormal" is a synonym of "value-laden".

It could also way to say that it's a synonym of "pluralistic".

Both pluralism and refusing the fact/value dichotomy seems natural enough to me. But YMMV, I suppose.

***

The point is this: trying to defend science or scientists by political means lies outside normal science. This blog is a very good example: it's science, but with some value added, something like scientific warfare, or simply wordsmitting. Without this added value, I am not sure I'd be here.

Some might say this is postnormal science. They might have a point. I'd even say it, if I'd care for labels.

In any case, "postnormal" is too ugly to pursue this.

dhogaza said...

"Yep, tallbloke certainly falls into the nutter category. I say this only because ether (or aether) was convincingly disproved by the Michaelson-Morley experiment about 15 years before Einstein. The research wasn't ignored, it was shown to be wrong."

But it made perfect sense, of course, that something that acts like a wave must require a medium to propagate ... and the physics based on this "wrongness" led to the practical development of radio[telegraph] communication, etc.

To some degree, like Newtonian mechanics still works if I want to bash your head in with a club, rather than do something more esoteric.

Tallbloke, though, is rejecting follow-on physics, as is that CJ dude who's starring in Judith Curry's post (made to debunk his idiocy, but it's not clear her rationaliy is winning, not a surprise since she's spent a couple of months chasing away those who are rational).

Anyway, it's kinda cool that a nutter like Tallbloke could get a free ticket to Lisboa to attend a conference intended to bring down much of modern science (oh, sorry, "build bridges by virtue of the fact that any climate scientist attending would hoist a white flag).

And Goddard.

The wow-ness factor's nice.

Steven Sullivan said...

Eli, a cursory perusal of the stuff the Gulbenkian Foundation funds (on their UK website) hardly supports the Exxon-like conspiracy model. E.g.,

http://www.gulbenkian.org.uk/partnerships/environment.html
http://gulbenkian.org.uk/partnerships/recent-grants-awarded.html

Do you have any other evidence that the Foundation is on the dark side of climate policy?

--Steven Sullivan

ourchangingclimate said...

Thanks Gavin, I understand your point better now.

Shewonk sais: "The premise [of the workshop] is that there is something wrong with the science"

No, the premise is that participants in the *public* debate disagree about the science, which is true. Whether that disagreement is a root cause of the increased conflict is another matter, and I agree with Gavin that it's not the main factor.

On the "post-normal" issue: I was under the impression that it's a characteristic of the science-policy interface for cases where the science is both highly policy relevant and has large inherent uncertainty. That's a recipe for public disagreement and polarization, and the name given to that beast is PNS. What's the big deal?

Bart

badger badger badger said...

It's Einstein instead of Michelson and Morley for the same reason the latter aren't mentioned here:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

I propose referring to tells by number, like John Mashey's (?) motivation index.

EliRabett said...

No, in general Eli supports the Gulbenkian foundation, but

a) Its income IS primarily from ownership of Calouste's oil company so its survival depends on the flourishing of same

and

b) Its history is not as simple as the average bunny might think
---------------------
Established on his death in 1955, the Armenian oil magnate Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian’s eponymous foundation enjoys a high profile in the cultural life of Lisbon and Portugal as a whole. Gulbenkian’s correspondence as well as that which passed among Cyril Radcliffe, José de Azeredo Perdigão, and others involved in helping plan
and then establish the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation indicates that the parameters of the latter’s activities were much fought over in its early years. The course set by the Foundation under Salazar’s dictatorship does not reflect the benefactor’s original intentions, which anticipated more recent models of charitable giving in their scope and dynamism.
----------------------------

The essay by Jon Conlin is certainly worth reading to learn about Gulbenkian and the Foundation.

Anonymous said...

Regarding tallbloke's credibility: take a look on his website for a plug for the book by Miles Mathis titles, "The Un-Unified Field and other problems. Why Einstein's and String Theory's quests for unification were doomed: the fields were already unified, and have been since 1687."


I admit that I have not read a single page of this book. I decided it was not worth the time after I clicked around on Mr. Mathis' website where his home page has the article, "THE GREATEST STANDING ERRORS IN PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICS".

Intrigued, I scrolled down to see that Mr. Mathis has corrected the standard theories and explanations in the fields of:

Relativity,
Calculus,
Quantum Physics,
Electromagnetics,
Gravity,
QED and QCD,
and Other Mistakes.

I was particularly interested in seeing that the true value of pi is 4!

Dr. Curry, if you happen to read this, would you mind explaining how anything that tallbloke has said or "brought to the table" is worth considering for reply.

How would you respond if one of you Georgia Tech students was a proponent of someone who has discovered the true value of pi?

Stu

dhogaza said...

"I was particularly interested in seeing that the true value of pi is 4!

Dr. Curry, if you happen to read this, would you mind explaining how anything that tallbloke has said or "brought to the table" is worth considering for reply."

Why not post over there? She doesn't seem to be moderating at all.

Maybe she'll start a thread similar to the one on the crank physics in "Slaying the Green Dragon" - defending the traditional value of pi.

I would expect three factions to argue it out:

1. Tallbloke and friends, arguing that pi=4

2. The elitist science and math types trying to point out where 3.14159 etc comes from

3. Certain Christian conservatives from the south arguing that pi=3

I'd expect factions 1 and 3 to put on quite a show!

Anonymous said...

Good catch on pi = 3. I think that is in Numbers. Maybe not. My bible theory is rusty after moving out of the South many years ago.

I hesitated to post over there since I hate to add to her hit count, but ...

Stu

dhogaza said...

For those of you who think Stu is just making stuff up ...

"Before we get started, let me answer a couple of prejudices. Many readers, especially those just coming to my papers, will hit a wall at some point in this paper. No doubt many already hit that wall when they read the title. Understandably, π as 4 is a big pill to swallow. This is admittedly one of my most revolutionary papers, and it cannot stand alone. It is a mistake to start with this paper. Those who do start with this paper will be very likely be led to believe I am simply doing the calculus wrong. To these people, I say that it is not I who am doing the calculus wrong. It is Newton and Leibniz and Cauchy and everyone since who has been doing the calculus wrong. I have earned the right to write this paper by first writing three important papers on the foundations of the calculus..."

<a href="http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/miles-mathis-un-unified-field-new-book/>And here is where tallbloke praises mathis.</a>

This is stunning stuff ...

steven said...

I've tried to explain this to skeptics, perhaps I'll have more luck here.

PNS is not a prescription or a new way of doing science.

PNS is far better understood as first and foremost a description of
what happens when you have the following conditions:

When facts are uncertain
When values are in conflict
When Stakes are High
When decisions are urgent....

the the first casualty is "normal" science as described by Kuhn.

Some simple examples. In normal science we trust the truth to win out eventually. We expect bad papers to get countered. Scientists work at their craft solving the puzzles that interest them. There is rush to judgement. No need to have the answer tommorrow. There are no values at stake in the science of superconductivity.

But when decisions are urgent and stakes are high and values are in conflict then uncertainty and the management of uncertainty becomes
the key battleground. Think about the fights folks had over star wars, for example.

One key point with PNS is that science doesnt continue on normally one you hit those conditions. research get directed. value conflicts beled over into the science. interested parties argue two sides: one side saying we have enough certainty ( the science is settled) opposed people arguing that the science is not done yet.

As for its prescription on how to manage these types of situations..
That's a good place to have discussions.

Seen in this light, as an empirical description of the behavior we call "doing science." I think it comports with what we see. The behavior of scientists, what they choose to work on, the questions they ask, and the way they come to conclusions, seems different in a PNS situation tahn it does in a "normal" situation.

For example, try to think of scientific endeavors where the stakes are not high and where there are no value conflicts and tell me you see the same kind of debate that you see around climate science?

Where are the scientists studying new materials saying things like
"we have to speak truth to power?" what astromoner has gotten hate mail? Have you ever seen a governing body of seismology issuing position statements?

steven said...

argg edit function

Some simple examples. In normal science we trust the truth to win out eventually. We expect bad papers to get countered. Scientists work at their craft solving the puzzles that interest them. There is NO rush to judgement. No

EliRabett said...

Carl Sagan

EliRabett said...

Stu, pi are round.

dhogaza said...

"PNS is far better understood as first and foremost a description of
what happens when you have the following conditions:

When facts are uncertain
When values are in conflict
When Stakes are High
When decisions are urgent....
"

well, mosher, how many of the 28 participants would agree that "decisions are urgent"? Very few, is my guess.

"interested parties argue two sides: one side saying we have enough certainty ( the science is settled) opposed people arguing that the science is not done yet."

"enough certainty" doesn't imply "the science is settled". Many people would argue that the accepted range of sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 of 2-4.5C or so implies warming significant enough to warrant action, but that's certainly not an argument that "the science is settled". Scientists certainly aren't saying "the science is settled", nor are they hiding uncertainty, no matter how often the likes of Curry say they are.

Nor is their any reason for scientists to oppose those arguing that "the science is done yet", as the very fact that such a range exists makes it *clear* that the science isn't done yet.

Your strawman characterization is not an accurate portrayal of the argument between the so-called denialists and so-called warmists. It's about political ideologues denying science because they don't like the consequences of the science being right.

Oh, and BTW, Mosher, your "lukewarmist" statements of late tend to fall right in line with mainstream climate science.

Anonymous said...

Cornbread are square. ... Old joke. If you don't know it, then you really haven't missed much.

Okay, I did post on Curry's site. I'm not sure this is kosher (so I apologize in advance, but her response was:

"I don’t make it a habit to judge people based on a book they mention on their website, particularly without knowing why they mentioned this book (note Tallbloke has a degree in the history and philosophy of science, so I imagine that he reads books about the history and philosophy of science.)"

YMMV

Stu

Rui Sousa said...

Please remove your "bacalao gustado" link. It is spelled "guisado", not "gustado". Also, Bacalao is a spanish word, and the conference was held in Portugal, please find a portuguese recipe of Bacalhau.

And the event was organized by the EU Commision Joint Research Centre http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm not the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

J Bowers said...

This article by Mike Hulme might be of interest to those who haven't read it, where he uses Singer's and Avery's book to discuss PNS with regards to climate science.

The appliance of science

J Bowers said...

Rui Sousa -- "And the event was organized by the EU Commision Joint Research Centre ... not the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation."

So I take it they just took out advertising space in the header of the conference's documentation alongside the JRC's title? Novel approach. But Eli said "supported by", not "organised by". Fred Pearce, who was there, backs him up...

"His dream of an instant rapprochement in Lisbon didn't come off. The eventual make-up of the workshop, paid for by the European Commission and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, was too lopsided in favour of the sceptical camp."

Hengist McStone said...

I've read (on a denier site) that the EU was also a funder of the Lisbon Conference. As an EU citizen bunny I resent my taxes going to fund a cheap stunt like this. Can anybody cite some details of the funding behind this conference?

Anonymous said...

well, everything here is true. Gulbenkian is associated with oil company.
What is not true, is the insinuation that Gulbenkian works "favour" or "defence" of oil companies.

gulbenkian foundation finances all kind of research and scientific areas, and there is absolutely no scientific bias in their mission.
Maybe you should look at all what gulbenkian does... you will see there is no connection!