Reaction to the Marcott is a case in point. I suspect some psychology student out there has decided to get their thesis out of it.
The embargo on the paper broke at 2 pm Eastern time on Thursday, March 7th. Andrew Revkin's article was up at 2:07 pm. The first comment on the first WUWT post about it was at 5:21 pm ET. It was, of course, immediately dismissed, based only on the press release and some tweets.
I had to chuckle at the cacophony of Twitfests going on today over this new study from Marcott et al. I especially liked the Mother Jones headline being Tweeted: “The Scariest Climate Change Graph Just Got Scarier”.Here are the reasons some of his commenters immediately dismissed it:
It rather reminds me of some people being fearful of certain religious icons.
OSU, well that says it all.And these are just from the first dozen comments, of over 150. No intelligent thought at all -- Everyone just stupidly piled into their clown car, until finally someone calls them on their reflective thoughtlessness:
If the paper is correct and the world was cold until the industrial revolution then it’s hard to argue that global warming is a bad thing.
they say “warmer than 70-80% of the previous 10,000 years” so the obvious question is:
What happened during the missing 20-30%? ...And how much warmer were they, to be so carefully omitted?
Here is my take away: The current temps are not as high as past interglacials. The warming trend of the past 100 years is not duplicated in the paleo record. The rest of the press release is the normal propoganda. Warmer than 70% of the previous record? Spin baby spin!
A drought of science and intelligence. -- Don’t any of these “scientists” have a clue? Don’t any of these “scientists” have any shame? Don’t any of these “scientists” realize how hostile the public is going to be towards them when they decide they have had enough and rise up?
The paper has set the site into a worried frenzy, with at least a half dozen posts already -- with one post claiming it couldn't be true because its global reconstruction didn't agree with a single ice core from a single location. One, by Don Easterbook, actually analyzes the paper without bothering to obtain any of the data:
Without any original data to assess, how can we evaluate the validity of the conclusions?Everyone piles back into the clown car, until Steve McIntyre points out that, yes, the data is available:
In other words, Easterbook, who calls himself a scientist, had his mind all made up before seeing any of the actual data, or even trying very hard to find it. I'm sorry, but that is not how scientists do things.
Alas, it doesn't seem to have shamed him.
So Kudos for Steve McIntyre. But then he writes a blog post based on an email he sent to Marcott which was rather accusatory in a way I can't imagine scientists ever doing based on looking at such complex data for just a couple of days. And even though Marcott replies that their results for 1890-1050 A.D. are "probably not robust" (scientist-speak for 'not reliable'), McIntyre doesn't think that's good enough:
I agree that the 20th century portion of their reconstruction is “not robust”, but do not feel that merely describing the recent portion as “not robust” does full justice to the issues.
Marcott et al is a complicated paper. It combines a lot of data and statistical analysis and the scientific people at least ought to soak in it for a good while before firing aimlessly. I guess the days when people wrote rebuttal papers, or even a letter to the journal editor, are over for good.
Reactions from certain quarters were completely predictable, data or not. That is to say, they're coming from an emotional need, not a scientific need.
There is obviously no data that will convince these quarters, no results, on any part of the picture. All the data is bad -- all of it, except what agrees with their position, which will be accepted immediately and equally without thought.
Anything that goes against their emotional need will be immediately dismissed, emphasis on "immediately."
They won't even bother to get the data. Most won't even read the paper. Many won't even get past the first paragraph of the press release. They just go to WUWT to commiserate.
It's their fault really. People like Watts & 90% of his commenters clearly aren't interested in the science, even though they pretend to be. They've made that clear by their actions. Too many obvious pieces of bullshit like this and this and this.
At the same time, while I don't think this kind of raw denialism will ever go away completely, I get the sense their heart isn't in it anymore. Not really. Too much data has piled up -- oceans warming, ice melting fast, sea level rise continues, big storms and heat waves and droughts get too much attention -- and they realize the world has turned a corner. Nations might not cut greenhouse gas emissions, but they know that by not cutting them they are causing climate change. They, everyone, knows we should be cutting them, somehow, that we need to be doing something about the problem, even if it's just agreeing to accept the consequences.
I think the debate has come a long way in the last several years, despite the "haitus" (that really isn't) and the hacked emails and failure at Copenhagen and the other COPs. The professional deniers at the D.C. think tanks don't seem to have the same enthusiasm for their game, we have a President who at least accepts that climate change is occurring and who at least appoints people who want to do something about it. Climate scientists have fought back against their harassment. Marcott and his co-authors seemed completely prepared for this kind of reaction from certain quarters, and effectively blunted it.
And more and more scientists and technologists agree that the case for AGW has been made, the problem is real and we need to do something about it, whether it's energy miracles or more nuclear or geoengineering (and certainly less coal). And especially the younger generation doesn't have the truculence and anger of the old white guy conservatives. People are understanding that it's not whether climate models predict every little up and down in annual temperature, but that you can't keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at this rate without some kind of significant changes over the decades. Maybe it's the heat waves in Moscow and D.C., or maybe it's the drought in Texas, or maybe even Hurricane Sandy, but there seems to be a sense things are indeed changing, that the monkey is loose, and I think that has taken some real steam out of the denier movement. And people are just disgusted with how they play the game:
In a hundred years, when the history of these decades is written, this picture will grace some chapter on climate change and readers will shake their head in disbelief, that people once actually thought and acted like that.