Friday, August 26, 2016

Reiner Grundmann, Daniel Sarewitz and What's His Name: Sokal Science


Following quick on the heels of Reiner Grundmann's Nature Geoscience Comment demanding that scientists go back to the barracks and leave the hard work to the social scientists, came Dan Sarewitz, telling scientists that they are killing science and need to leave the barracks and enter the real world. The competition for the longest and most verbose strawman is indeed hard and the Garudian has brought up another competitor.

ATTP has been fishing these waters, but Eli wonders whether somebunnies have  discovered the a primitive Sokal Science generator changed a couple of words and are just grinding out version after version of  "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Climate Change", hoping no one notices.  Eli assumes that sooner or later one of the editors who, shall the Rabett say, fell for these April Fools jokes will look up from the grass and notice that all of the latest are but simple rip offs of the original.

 It is great fun ripping through the original Sokal Science article and comparing it to the recent Grundmann, Sarewitz and what's his name nonsense.  Indeed

Finally, postmodern science provides a powerful refutation of the authoritarianism and elitism inherent in traditional science, as well as an empirical basis for a democratic approach to scientific work. For, as Bohr noted, ``a complete elucidation of one and the same object may require diverse points of view which defy a unique description'' -- this is quite simply a fact about the world, much as the self-proclaimed empiricists of modernist science might prefer to deny it. 
In such a situation, how can a self-perpetuating secular priesthood of credentialed ``scientists'' purport to maintain a monopoly on the production of scientific knowledge? (Let me emphasize that I am in no way opposed to specialized scientific training; I object only when an elite caste seeks to impose its canon of ``high science'', with the aim of excluding a priori alternative forms of scientific production by non-members.
Where has Eli heard that before?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Good Luck With That

Willey Miller continues to channel Eli




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eli Volunteers.


Over at ATTP's Tony B came up with the perfect non sequitur.

 Persons such as Mosh, ATTP and Eli could surely spike the guns of those making these claims by offering to work with the claimant in turning their information into a paper of a standard capable of being peer reviewed, but leave the actual submission to the claimant.
Don't know about those other guys, but Wiley speaks for Eli



Friday, August 19, 2016

Risk, Hazard and Jill Stein

The difference between Hazard and Risk bedevils the public driven by journalists, politicians and grifters with agendas.  Combinations of the three are not uncommon in Eli's experience.  Cancer risk is the playground most populated.  A recent article in Science by Kai Kupferschmidt (go ahead, it is open) lays this out

Officially released at 3 p.m. EST on 15 June, the news immediately raced around the world, spread by hundreds of websites. Judging by reader comments, many found it reassuring, whereas others were spooked. The message: Coffee doesn't give you cancer after all, but very hot drinks might, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization.
But scientists grumbled that the hot drink verdict left the public none the wiser, because IARC couldn't say how big the risk is.  
So the IARC has now moved coffee from "possibly carcinogenic" to  "not classifiable as a carcinogen", which, of course in click bait country is taken as "maybe carcinogenic".  Proving something not something or other is about impossible, there is only a single material that the IARC classifies as "probably not carcinogenic", and not a few willing to say that "probably not" means maybe.

There are any number of folk willing to claim that all chemicals are carcinogenic.  This has lots of downsides because folk think that all chemicals, foods, what nots have the same risk profile, which means they avoid to their detriment many things that can benefit them, and indulge in many things that they should be using a ten foot pole to avoid.  Eli is not the only Rabett to have noticed
It has become a recurring pattern: an IARC announcement, followed by confusion, controversy, and criticism. In October 2015, IARC made headlines when it declared processed meat a carcinogen, putting it alongside plutonium and smoking in its classification scheme. Statisticians and risk communication experts, however, were quick to point out that the risk was very low. A few months earlier, IARC announced that glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide, was “probably carcinogenic,” a verdict that helped fuel efforts to ban the chemical in the European Union, but was at odds with that of many other agencies, including BfR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Jill Stein is only an issue because of the remote possibility that she may tip the US election to Donald Trump in one state or another.  That and the annoyance that her Jill Boys (aka former Bernie Bros) cause in places where no sane bunny goes, AKA Twitter.  So Eli has been in a set two with a bunch of em who are leaning on Stein's tweet
Chris Mooney had a fine take down of this going into detail and ending
Any presidential candidate, from Trump to Clinton to Stein, has every right to dig in and explain all of this. Moreover, that candidate could easily justify the conclusion that we have good reason to worry that sea level rise by 2100 could be considerably worse than the IPCC suggests — if we don’t get our acts together. That is the way the sea level rise story is trending these days. br />

But what’s more questionable is to cite only a worst case scenario, without explaining the state of the evidence or scientific opinion overall.
Of course, the three meter by 2050 comes from the extreme estimate of Hansen et al, which has been well discussed pretty much everywhere, the operative paragraph being
We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response.
Everybunny else remotely suspected of having a clue thinks maybe 2 m at most by 2100 and much less by 2050, which is bad enough, but Stein cherry emphasizes a ten year doubling rate.  So, Eli is trying to arrange a bet with Steve Bloom and maybe Brad Johnson (nah, Brad is too clued in but he is not above confusing hazard with risk).
Oh yeah Jill Stein got into trouble trying the same finesse confusing hazard and risk on vaccination and homeopathy

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sinking Santa


Eli, as the bunnies know, has been wondering about 2016 Arctic sea ice.  As Neven and Jim Hunt point out there is a large storm blowing up there which is doing interesting things.  Today there is blue water up to 85N in a large area on the Siberian side.  More to the point it looks like Santa's workship is flooding, with broken ice up to the pole, to the extent that a small sloop could probably make it (perhaps with some aid from a large icebreaker here and there)



Since toy shipping has to start in September to reach the children in December, this is indeed a threat to Christmas.  Santa (Jim Titus) many years ago prerecorded a message:


If you don't see the player your browser does not support the audio element. Listen here

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Slight blogging break for Brian

I probably won't be blogging for a few weeks, but I'm sure Eli will find carrots to chew on.

If any of you solve climate change while l'm gone, please leave a note. We wouldn't want to forget how to do it if needed again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Pros From Dover Once More


So recently Reiner Grundmann is playing the Roger Pielke Jr. Pros from Dover bit about how physical scientists need leave the hard work of getting anything done on climate change to the social scientists because the physical scientists are so bad at it.  The origin of the phrase, although made famous in the movie M*A*S*H comes from the book

"Hawkeye would walk confidently into a pro shop, smile, comment upon the nice condition of the course, explain that he was just passing through and that he was Joe, Dave or Jack Somebody, the pro from Dover. This resulted, about eight times out of ten, in an invitation to play for free. If forced into conversation, he became the pro from Dover, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, England, Ohio, Delaware, Tennessee, or Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, whichever seemed safest."
Frankly, this ploy has been long used by social scientists (not all, but enough) and policy types (lots and lots) who have not the least idea about how to handle problems based on physical and biological reality but would like to cut themselves a piece of the pie, as large a piece as possible. 

It would, at least for Eli, not be a bad thing if the ones playing it actually knew what they were doing and might save the Congressman's kid, but the Rabett is exceedingly unimpressed by the players of this ploy who at least to his jaundiced eyes are mostly trying to control the debate.

Of course there were tweets, and several people, including Eli were a bit miffed, but Eli was at least nice enough to invite Reiner to the party.  Oliver Bothe had a winner
As soon as Eli finds a good bass player RaptorClan will definitely go on tour but till then on to the blogs, including ATTP and of course Klimazweibel

The Rabett finds this pretty boring, has other stuff to do, note the lack of posts, and really has not contributed much.  If anybunny wants to know, Eli just pointed out, rather obliquely, that Grundman, like Pielke Jr and Kahan only seems to look at one side without really considering what makes (climate, ozone, tobacco, acid rain, etc) for a hard problem is the well organized and financed opposition to action and that what has/is being done to try and find solutions must be evaluated against that mark, not in isolation, but whatever.  Still in the middle of this Hans v. Storch came out with the amazing:
In other words: physicists (and other natural scientists), back into your baracks! If you individually want to be part of the social processes of choosing among options and of deciding, come back without the attiitude of knowing better than others of what is an appropriate response to the problem. The same applies for social scientists, even if their field of knowledge is different from that of natural scientists but also important.
As Eli remarked there are half a dozen ways of Godwinizing that one, but, never fear gentle readers, what better way than what Sherry Rowland said in 1998 in a White House meeting on climate change
"Is it enough for a scientist simply to publish a paper? Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to actually do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?… If not us, who? If not now, when?"
Eli knew of that quote a long, time, but when the Bunny went looking for a source, lo and behold, what popped up was another Klimazweibel post, an appreciation of Rowland written by, you guessed it, Reiner Grundmann.  Even within the Grundmann's context, v. Storch is scorched
His advocacy probably serves as role model for some activist climate scientists. There is one big difference. Rowland operated as individual scientist, not as part of a wider institutionalized body (such as the IPCC). He was an open advocate for CFC controls and did not hide behind 'the science'. He knew that there was controversy about the science and that his research was not shared by many, for quite some time. This did not deter him from making his case patiently, without trying to demolish his adversaries. And adversaries he had many, both inside and outside academia. 
and further in the comments
you are welcome to post Rowland's engagement with regard to climate change.

He did not strike me as a main protagonist in climate change debates, neither was climate change his main area of research. He was very much interested in questions of air pollution, examples are Mexico City and methane leaks from pipelines. In all these cases he made policy proposals that were practical. And he did the same the CFC case.
 which is just utter nonsense.  First of all, and a minor point, it is Luisa and Mario Molina who have been key to both investigating and helping control air pollution in Mexico City, not Sherry.  Second, Sherry Rowland's research on methane leaks was in the context of their contribution to climate change
Since methane accounts for up to 25% of the gases causing the so-called greenhouse effect, plugging leaky pipes in Eastern bloc nations could make an important dent in efforts to forestall global warming, the UCI scientists reported today in the scientific journal Nature.

"Methane is different," said research team director F. Sherwood Rowland, the UCI chemist who discovered in the mid-1970s that the Earth's protective ozone layer is being destroyed by chlorofluorocarbons, another variety of chemicals also implicated in global warming. "Because its lifetime is about 10 years, if we take away just 10% of (the world's methane) emissions, we can get methane in the atmosphere back in balance."
Rowland was concerned greatly with greenhouse gas driven climate change in 1990, but also Rowland was actively engaged, as is Molina today, in trying to both delineate and solve the problems.  Eli would refer Reiner to the summary of the 1997 White House meeting and Rowland's comments endorsing the IPCC as authoritative and calling to action

And as far as Rowland not being a part of wider institutionalized bodies, one only has to read the National Academy press release memorializing him
Rowland was elected to the NAS in 1978 and served as foreign secretary from 1994-2002. The Institute of Medicine elected Rowland in 1994. In 1995, he was a key figure in the creation of the InterAcademy Panel, an international organization of national science academies that has since grown to include the academies of more than 80 countries.
Sherry Rowland was a very nice guy, but he also was a strong advocate for policy based on science and not the paper cutout that Grundmann has sitting in his office.  Kind of reminds Eli of the Republican version of Martin Luther King.