Monday, May 12, 2014

Richard Tol Stakes Himself on a Hill, Ethon Takes a Nibble

Richard Tol is engaged in staking himself on a hill so that the animals may take a nibble.  Several are so engaged including the Weasel and ATTP.  In passing Dickie reveals why he, Steve McI, Carrick, Lucia, Brandon and several others near and dear to Eli are simultaneously risible and impossible

Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:May 12, 2014 at 5:56 am@Dana
Results derived from incorrect methods are, by definition, incorrect.
Given that all economic work is incorrect, Tol boxes himself in. The confusion between incorrect and imperfect is the tool of those seeking to confuse. Box’s extended rule is that the results of imperfect methods can be useful. Given that all methods describing the real world are imperfect, this is useful.

Much of the attack on Mike Mann, John Cook, the IPCC, Al Gore and others to be named later uses the confusion between imperfect and incorrect.  Bunnies may strive for perfection, but outside of formal logic, perfection is never to be reached, and even there, some things can never be proven.

Of curse, the Tols, McIntyres, Carricks, Brandons and Lucias of the world, amongst others, would never believe this except for their themselves, and thus waste everyone elses time and patience.

43 comments:

climatehawk1 said...

This generous assessment assumes good faith, which I personally doubt.

And Then There's Physics said...

Much of the attack on Mike Mann, John Cook, the IPCC, Al Gore and others to be named later uses the confusion between imperfect and incorrect.
Yes, about a year ago I had thought that the difference - in science at least - between imperfect and incorrect was obvious. Sadly, I've learned a lot about what is obvious and what isn't in the last 12 months or so.

willard said...

Stolen information is, by definition, stolen and blackmailing correspondence is, by definition, blackmailing:

I’ve sent John Cook an e-mail alerting him to what material I have, offering him an opportunity to give me reasons I should refrain from releasing it or particular parts of it.

http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/a-teaser/#comment-1118

willard said...

The expectation that IT people such as Brandon can translate back and forth IF and ELSE constructs might have been too high:

"IF you don't give me a reason, I release D," is quite similar to "Give me a reason, ELSE I release D" @Corpus_no_Logos & @shubclimate.

https://twitter.com/nevaudit/status/465841999497920512

Bunnies might appreciate some pussyfooting about the word "blackmail."

Dano said...

the confusion between imperfect and incorrect.

It DOES seem as if the new meme spreading now is that "114 of 117 models/predictions were wrong" is what the faithful are spreading now. This is what they are misleading the flock with now.

Best,

D

John Mashey said...

Science indeed progresses by creating models that are better approximations to reality.

Newton wasn't perfect, but sure was useful.

Better models don't even always replace less good ones, if the latter are computationally easier or more understandable, and "good enough" in their domains. I.e., in science, study of model hierachies can be instructive.

In engineering, one often has to use model hierarchies. For instance, in semiconductor design people use circuit simulations, logic sims, instruction-level simulators, timing analyzers, and then worry about power usage and heating issues.

Nobody does a from-the-individual-electron-up sim of a new chip. :-)

Magnus Westerstrand said...

According to some decarbonising will save money... http://www.climasphere.org/#!article/IEA-Decarbonising-the-economy-will-save-71-trillio

Lotharsson said...

"Results derived from incorrect methods are, by definition, incorrect."

So at the risk of summoning the demons, one must speculate as to whether Tol is Mr. Keyes, or merely proffers the same trite confusion? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hairdos derived from incorrect methods (sticking a fork in the electrical outlet) are, by definition, incorrect (and quite possibly incorrectable).

Hank Roberts said...

Crazy Climate Economics
New York Times ‎- by Paul Krugman ‎- 16 hours ago
Everywhere you look these days, you see Marxism on the rise. Well, O.K., maybe you don't — but conservatives do....

Anonymous said...

All economists are wrong, but some are useless.

Lionel A said...

"All economists are wrong, but some are useless."

Perhaps we could go further than that with,

all economists are wrong, but some are dangerously so.

willard said...

Combining the two anonybunnies' quips:

All economists are wrong, but some are hairless.

Anonymous said...

"all economists are wrong, but some are dangerously so. "

Krugman comes to mind.

Russell Seitz said...

All social engineers are dangerous , but some are more useless than others .

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a Tol hairy economist and Bigfoot?

Bigfoot is camera shy.

Russell Seitz said...

While Tony's crew has already recruited Bigfoot to the Coolist cause, the sasquatch's interdimensional UFO drivers have proved camera shy .




Pinko Punko said...

All economists are wrong but some have their pants on fire.

Anonymous said...

All economists are wrong but some have their hair on fire.

Anonymous said...

Some economists are useless, some are dangerous, some are like Bigfoot, some have their pants on fire, some have their hair on fire... but they ALL have one thing in common (two if you count being an economist): they are wrong.

There, that should pretty well cover it (especially with the dots ...)

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:10: what has Krugman gotten wrong? he said the stimulus was going to be too small and it was. He said inflation fears were misguided and they were. He said the whole "confidence fairy" theory of why austerity would work in a depressed economy was nonsense and it is.

name something major he got wrong, please.

garhighway

dbostrom said...

Why has Tol lashed himself to a she-goat? And what's with his sudden fixation on a pawn shop?

Strange times.

Carrick said...

Eli does me, and possibly others, an injustice when he claims that I somehow do not realize that research is by necessary perfect. This is something that I said recently to Robert Way: Put another way, just about everything in experimental science has warts. The question is only which warts matter the most, not whether they exist or not.

So yes, I'm quite well aware that all research is imperfect. To be truthful, all research is flawed, but some research is useful, while other is crap. Simply getting through the peer review process means that it's worth considering whether it is useful or just crap.

Let's take the example of Cook et. al, and their so-called 97% consensus. That 97% number comes by combining abstracts with rankings 1-3 of his table 2, with most in category three, which is "implicit endorsement: Implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gas emissions cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause".

This happens to be what I call the "weak AGW statement". (I'll touch on the "strong AGW statement" below.)

But actually, the number must be far higher than 97% if we talk about researchers, rather than papers. There are a few odd ducks who really don't accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, who are researchers, or that humans are the cause of CO2 gases, but that number must be really small.

The actual "weak AGW consensus" must be well over 99%. I'm thinking maybe 50 out of roughly 10000 researchers who publish climate-science related papers probably the correct ratio, and I'm likely being generous with the "50" number. So what went wrong? How did Cook get so terribly wrong?

And how does to it help anything to misstate a virtual unanimity as if there were really any significant debate over this one point?

I could tear through with Cook's paper, because frankly it's a terrible paper, and in my opinion an embarrassment to anybody who allowed their name to be attached to it. I have literally seen high school science projects that were executed better.

And I shake my head in wonderment that scientists like Eli are willing to endorse this, though it is obviously not for the science that he endorses it, but for the political message, which involves the deliberate and conflation of the weak AGW statement actually tested by Cook with the strong AGW statement, which is "AGW is real and dangerous".

[If you are walking on thin ice on a lake, what is the risk you will fall through? You can't calculate it, but you know it's significant. And you know walking on the ice is dangerous. I use the word "dangerous" as something that has a significant but not categorizable level of risk of net harm. Most mountain climbers won't undertake climbs that have risk of harm, unless they can quantify the level of risk. "That's too dangerous of a climb."]

I have no idea how many scientists fall into category "not tested", but I'd assume at least 97%. Richard Tol's own work clearly spells out that there's a danger associated with global warming. There may or may not be a "sweet spot" where a modest amount of warming could have a net benefit, but .. so what?

Few expect that the net effect of AGW activity will be "modest warming" over the coming centuries. It's like arguing that the water that leaks in a boat can be used to wash clothes, before the boat sinks when the leak turns into a deluge.

Carrick said...

One correct "humans are the cause of [the increase in] CO2 gases".

Carrick said...

Eli brings up the nonscientist Al Gore in this same screed.

It's interesting that he does so, because I blame Al Gore (and John Kerry to an extent) for the current state of the "climate debate" in the US.

I'll start with the obvious --- very few people are involved in a climate science debate. Most people, and that really includes both me and Eli are not an expert on what makes a greenhouse gas act as a greenhouse gas. We trust other scientists work, but that trust is hard earned.

So it's not a climate science debate, it's a climate policy debate. And that doesn't involve radiative physics, but taxation rates, how much energy costs, and things like that.

What Gore has done is manage to turn America from a place where a conversation about climate was possible, into one where it is now virtually impossible. People side with a particular policy not because they understand or trust climate science, but because it's part of their party's political platform.

So Eli, a lifelong Democrat, sides with the DNC, and the DNC has a platform on climate policy, so Eli supports that platform. Eli is not going to be able to convince me that Eli understands the economic implications of that policy nearly well enough to have come to his particular choice for support by studying the economic science. If you look at Eli's writing… it's mostly gone the other direction. And the DNCs climate policy lines up with the Democrats social value system, so that makes sense.

Jeff Condon, a libertarian and Republican, is going to oppose the DNC and support the RNC platform. Even if he becomes convinced about the weak and even strong consensus statements, he will likely continue to do so.

Why? Because this is no longer a debate about climate policy, it's a turf war between two political parties. Gore (and Kerry to an extent) helped effect that transformation, and we can look at the shift in general public support for action on climate to pretty much straight up party affiliation as having occurred as an effect of a political strategy not designed to save the Earth but to improve the DNC's standings.

Eli will naturally assume that anything that is good for the DNC is good for the Earth. Not all of us are equally convinced.

So Eli can claim if he wants that I've harmed the climate policy debate by ridiculing terrible papers and criticizing unethical behavior on the part of fellow scientists. (Oddly, on his blog, Anders seemws shocked, just shocked that anybody would be bothered by unethical behavior. Isn't this a strange world? Unethical behavior no longer appears to matter.)

But I see Eli's venom as much to do with the fact I don't politically align myself with his party's plank, which I don't. (I'm more of a classical liberal, think BIll Clinton, or Robert Reich, whose recent documentary "Inequality for All" is worth a view by the way).

What is really risible is that anything either Eli or I say f**king matters. Rational argument isn't going to win this debate. And disagreeing on tactics (supporting bad papers because you like the message versus decrying bad papers because you think supporting them undercuts science ) isn't going to matter a whiff.

cRR Kampen said...

"Rational argument isn't going to win this debate."

Correct. Only confrontation will. You have been warned by, e.g., Al Gore and found the truth too inconvenient thus setting yourself outside the 'climate debate' (which was over long ago anyway).

So I'm wishing the USA, the Mediterranean and Levant, Brazil and Argentine a Happy Instant Desertification.

"For DoD" and others carrying at least one open eye ", this is a mission reality, not a political debate." - Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright this week.

Carrick said...

You're delusional if you really think confrontation matters either. It's just a debate tactic, mostly used in cliche forming.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Got it, Carrick. Nothing matters and it's all just politics. Meanwhile, reality is going to kick the pasty, white asses of your grandchildren. That about cover it?

Carrick said...

. Meanwhile, reality is going to kick the pasty, white asses of your grandchildren. That about cover it?

I expect a certain level of bellicosity from the rabbet farm, but I admit I'm surprised to see overt racism.

Wow.

guthrie said...

I'd sure like to live in Carrick land, where important issues which involve political actions never, ever get taken up to a lesser or greater extent by one party or another, leading to polarisation.

Shame it's on another planet.

Carrick said...

guthrie: I'd sure like to live in Carrick land, where important issues which involve political actions never, ever get taken up to a lesser or greater extent by one party or another, leading to polarisation.


strawman much?

guthrie said...

Nope, it's demonstrably a fact, that you are living in a fantasy world. You clearly have no idea how politics works, or how vested interests distort things.

Frankly, it's disturbing. But I suppose I should thank you for making some of your thoughts much clearer than you have done before.

Carrick said...

Guthrie, why do you suppose I would mention Robert Reich's documentary if you really feel that I "clearly have no idea how politics works, or how vested interests distort things?"

If anything, I think you are a lot more naive about how we got into this mess than I am. For instance, I suspect you think Gore and Kerry have people's interests at heart. Trusting a politician was your first mistake.

guthrie said...

Hahahaha.
Nope, I don't trust politicians, that's the point, but it applies to all politicians no matter their orientation.
Gore is clearly a booster, something with a long history in America.

Reich's documentary sounds interesting, I'll go and watch it at some point.
The problem however is that income inequality is linked to the kinds of policies espoused by republicans, who also are anti-science, especially AGW.

Anyway, I think Eli can speak for himself, but suggesting that he's a dyed in the fur Democrat who follows only the party line doesn't really fit what I've seen here and elsewhere.

AS for Cook et al, you've slagged it off like nobodies business, but never once given a decent argument as to why it is so bad and how it is ethically suspect.

Anyway, I would have thought that since you think rational argument won't win this debate, you would agree with Gore and others getting involved; politicans are not usually known for their rationality, or rather, it is a narrow sort of rationality which focuses only on their own good and party purposes, rather than the wider issues.

Kevin O'Neill said...

"Politics is not money and power games. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives. It is about lessening human suffering and it is about -- and what a time to say this -- advancing the cause of justice and peace in the world. That is what politics is all about." (January 1990)
Paul Wellstone (1944 - 2002)


"Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world."
-- Martin Luther King Jr, Beyond Vietnam, April 1967

"All I know is that my happiness is built on the misery of others, so that I eat because others go hungry, that I am clothed when other people go almost naked through the frozen cities in winter; and that fact poisons me, disturbs my serenity, makes me write propaganda when I would rather play..."
-- John Reed

The healthcare 'debate' is all we really need look at to decipher the disintegration of political discourse in Washington (a disintegration that has carried over into most state capitals).

There exists a political party that no longer wishes to seek a negotiated agreement on public policy. They are interested in nothing more than their way or nothing. Worse, when you adopt their way, they suddenly oppose it. Obamacare *was* the Republican solution to the healthcare problem in the USA. Once Democrats got behind it Republicans opposed it.

Ever since Republicans decided to buy into the 'voodoo' economic slogans of Ronald Reagan (and emboldened by the tactics of Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich) they have slowly slid into dementia.

It's very difficult to have an intelligent dialogue with an insane person. It used to be that both parties had their fringe elements, but there is no analogue on the left for the insanity that is (now) party dogma on the right.

If there is a sane, responsible politician in the Republican Party he or she must be keeping themselves completely out of the spotlight, because what we see are Tea Party idiots, Obama birthers, ACA haters, Benghazi conspiracy nuts, global warming deniers, etc, etc, etc.

Climate change is just one more item on their mindless agenda. The trend has been obvious for more than 30 years. It has little or nothing to do with Al Gore or John Kerry.


ligne said...

"I blame Al Gore (and John Kerry to an extent) for the current state of the "climate debate" in the US. [...] What Gore has done is manage to turn America from a place where a conversation about climate was possible, into one where it is now virtually impossible."

why are you blaming Gore for this? this wouldn't have become a polarising issue unless *plenty* of other people had responded with "that politician is saying climate change is a problem, but i don't like said politician, ergo it's not". that's not Gore's fault for speaking out, that's squarely in the camp of those who prefer party affiliations to scientific evidence.

"the DNCs climate policy lines up with the Democrats social value system"? of course it does: they've gone and developed a solution that fits their policy tastes. the question is: where in fuck's name is the RNC climate policy that lines up with *their* social value solution. as it stands, it looks to me like conservatives/libertarians are simply incapable of coming up with a solution that isn't "do nothing, and hope the problem goes away all by itself" and "shit all over anyone who says otherwise". not a good look.

guthrie said...

Interesting, if Reich is a classical liberal, to judge by his Salon article he's one that has actually read Adam Smith. (Not that I've read much by Smith mind you, I need to read more) INvestment in education and infratrcuture? Higher minimum wage? etc.

Carrick said...

guthrie: The problem however is that income inequality is linked to the kinds of policies espoused by republicans, who also are anti-science, especially AGW.

There's of course no argument there. If the DNC is going to adopt AGW mitigation as a platform, the RNC will engage in an antagonistic platform. That's how politics works in the US.

Anyway, I think Eli can speak for himself, but suggesting that he's a dyed in the fur Democrat who follows only the party line doesn't really fit what I've seen here and elsewhere.


Again that's a strawman argument. I never said he "follows only the party line". I don't believe he does, but I do think the vision that "all of the problems arise due to the other party" are partisan and short-sighted in nature.

AS for Cook et al, you've slagged it off like nobodies business, but never once given a decent argument as to why it is so bad and how it is ethically suspect.

I don't know that I've done all that, but it is a bit too off topic to the main point I wanted to address. No matter what I say, I'm sure you'll have an explanation in any case, so what's the point?

Conversations with close-minded people (which I fully expect you to be on this topic) are generally fruitless.

Anyway, I would have thought that since you think rational argument won't win this debate, you would agree with Gore and others getting involved; politicans are not usually known for their rationality, or rather, it is a narrow sort of rationality which focuses only on their own good and party purposes, rather than the wider issues.


That is pretty close to my own thinking actually. Why did you think it was something other?

Remember I'm not the one who is trying to canonize (or demonize) Al Gore here. I fully expect him to act first in his own interests, then in the interests of his family name (protect his children), then his party, then somewhere after that the US as a whole.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Carrick - it is hard to be *too* cynical when discussing politicians, but not all are cut from the same cloth. Granted they are the exceptions today - not the rule - but they do exist.

The simple facts that Al Gore actually served in Vietnam, was the first tobacco state politician in DC to oppose the tobacco industry, and that "An Inconvenient Truth" was nothing more than a documentary about a slide show that Gore had compiled and delivered an estimated 1000 times to small, town-hall groups across the country after he left elected office undermines the idea that his actions can only be viewed as cynical self-interest.

EliRabett said...

Eli is more in line with the modern Adam Smith, a man of good wit, the elder one being your standard issue dour Scot.

While his, as most bunnies, basic interest in greenhouses, is for the carrot's therein, well, yes, Eli is reasonably well acquainted with someone who has a clue about spectroscopy and energy transfer and such stuff as atmospheres are made of.

dbostrom said...

Carrick: I could tear through with Cook's paper...

But doesn't, actually. Adjectives etc. but nothing specific to "tearing through."

A lot of this going around. "You'll do best to assume it's a terrible paper but nobody can actually describe how so please don't change the topic back to science. Let's stick with vague generalities."

Some people do notice this stuff.

Lotharsson said...

" If the DNC is going to adopt AGW mitigation as a platform, the RNC will engage in an antagonistic platform. That's how politics works in the US."

Are you seriously suggesting that nothing, but nothing, that is significant enough to be part of "a platform" can be agreed upon by both "sides"?

So, perhaps all the Democrats have to do is adopt the inverse of what they want in their platform and automagically the Republicans will oppose it and clamour to do what the Democrats really want? ;-)

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Carrick,
It would take a privileged prat like you to interpret identification of your privileged status as racism. You really are a waste of space.