[ExI] Phil Jones acknowledging that climate science isn'tsettled

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 04:01:03 UTC 2010

On 18 February 2010 12:30, Max More <max at maxmore.com> wrote:
> Emlyn,
> See this is what happens... I'm spending way too much time on a point that
> really doesn't matter... I just find it frustrating that it's difficult to
> come to a conclusion even about a relatively narrow issue like temperatures
> trends in the most recent years.

Hey, here we come to one of the really fundamental points about this.
How much time can you spend on stuff like this?

On one hand, you want to be an informed person, be able to hold only
opinions for which you have a rational basis. On the other hand, the
world is really vastly too complex for any one person to do that and
also function effectively. We're stuck with this efficiency tradeoff -
do I try to "focus across the board", and fail miserably, or do I
trust other people regarding the vast majority off stuff, the stuff
about which I know too little to comment.

Of course we do the latter. We temper it as much as possible with
meta-level techniques for judging knowledge not by the too-complex
content but by the approach and structure of those who work with it
(eg: religious "knowledge" can be rejected in part because of the
unsupportable approach and structure), debating techniques, prodding
for inconsistencies, etc etc.

With regard to the climate issue, it's clear at least to me that it is
far too complex to understand as a lay person. You either dive in deep
and become at least an amateur climatologist (like Darwin was an
amateur biologist, ie: you live it), or you trust the people who do.

As far as I can tell, the various minor scandals notwithstanding,
there are a lot of specialised people in this field who know their
stuff, and they say there's a serious, anthropogenic warming problem.
Most of what they argue about is the details, the scale.

> I don't think you can rightly dismiss doubts about claims of continued or
> accelerated recent warming by looking only for those who start their charts
> with 1998. I agree completely, however, that it's right to criticize those
> who do so.

There's so much written about all facets of this problem, that good
broad filters make sense IMO, and the first one I use is to remove
anything where people are boldly making specious claims, which they
must either know to be specious, or else they are incompetent.

I did consider for a while simply ignoring all content from the US,
and I still think that might provide a clearer picture, but since Lord
Monckton turned up it doesn't quite look as viable.

> Sorry for wasting your time and mine on this rather insignificant (but
> annoyingly nagging) issue.
> Max

Even though I cut a lot of what you wrote, I enjoyed your response
Max, there's a lot of meat in it. This whole climate change issue is
depressing, fundamentally because there's not much upside, but it's
important enough to be spending a few cycles on, so it's not a waste
of time. And, Searle's not involved, which is a relief, no?


http://www.songsofmiseryanddespair.com - My show, Fringe 2010
http://point7.wordpress.com - My blog

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