Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Roy Spencer's "Pre-determined political goal"

From Michael Tobis, quoting an anonymous source:

On the claim that climate alarmism is due to research funding: this incentive exists in all science, yet it's never occurred in the past. And there's no evidence that it's occurring here: there's no way to dismiss the null hypothesis that scientists are worried because the data are worrying.

On the other hand, there is evidence that climate skeptics are truly working off an agenda. See Spencer's statement "I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government." There's no way that you can reach that conclusion by looking at data. It's a pre-determined political goal.
Sometimes I think the people who claim funding determines results are really saying that they themselves would alter the product of their work if they were paid enough, and so they think all other people have the same level of integrity. In my experience what scientists really love are ideas, and they relish the chance to propose and prove good ones, and tear down and destroy bad ones. Intellectual integrity is all they have, and everything they have.


The Croquist said...

Actually it makes sense to me.

Since he is funded by a government contract he is saying that part of his job it to wisely spend the taxpayers and not waste it. When I worked for Bank of America I had the same attitude. That seems reasonable. The second point "minimize the role of government." is similar. You can argue that it is political in nature but trying to avoid what you consider unnecessary government intrusions is not a bad thing.

When James Hansen was arrested did you call that political or that he was working off an agenda?

David Appell said...

Hansen is certainly also political. It has compromised his authority as a scientist, but I suspect he got to a point where he decided he'd done enough scientifically and needed to speak out on his policy beliefs as well.

David Appell said...

After thinking about my comment, I change my mind. Hansen is simply acting on what his understanding of the science tells him--which is the overwhelming scientific consensus among scientists. He has good reason to be concerned.

Spencer, on the other hand, is putting his politics above science. His quote about minimizing government is independent of his science -- that is, it is an ideology. He said that he sees his job as implementing his ideology. That's very different, and very, very telling.

frflyer said...

Yeah sure Croquist

He is paid to do science. Period

Just about all of the so called skeptic scientists are motivated by this same small government, no regulations ideology.

Anyone who has read Naomi Oreskes' book "Merchants of Doubt" would know this is true.

In fact the entire climate change denial phenomenon comes from this ideology. Read her book which details the history of this.

The Croquist said...


Maybe the reason you changed your mind to think that Hansen is not being political is that he agrees with you while Spencer disagrees with you. Hansen’s conclusions support the idea of more government regulation. In my opinion you support that. It may come as a surprise to you but in many ways I agree including the environment.

Spencer is assumed to be, and I don’t doubt, to the right of the political spectrum. Hansen appears to be to the left. As such Spencer supports limited government and Hansen supports the more government. That doesn’t mean that one is evil and the other good. In the end the science will win out. You are correct in that “the consensus” supports Hansen’s conclusions but science is not a democracy. If science was a democracy the Sun would still be circling the Earth and astrology would be front page news on your local newspaper.

“Spencer, on the other hand, is putting his politics above science.”
Do you really believe that? Reading Spencer’s blog suggests otherwise. He has two posts discussing the divergence between the RSS and UAH satellite numbers over the last 10 years or so.

He is posting that the UAH (his) numbers are probably more accurate then the RSS numbers. The UAH numbers show a greater increase in trend then RSS. If he was a paid hack as “frflyer” infers then he would support the RSS numbers instead of the UAH numbers.

“He said that he sees his job as implementing his ideology. That's very different, and very, very telling.”

That is completely untrue. You are twisting his words around.

David Appell said...

Why does Hansen appear to be "from the left"? Do you know anything at all about his positions on other political issues or how he votes?

I don't support more government regulation unless it's necessary to solve a problem. And climate change is a huge problem. Is that a solution that doesn't require govt intervention? If so, what is it? I honestly have no idea where Hansen stands on govt regulation (do you?); I suspect he sees it as the best solution to this huge problem. So does most everyone else--the "free market" is, of course, a notorious failure at preventing abuse and degradation of the Commons. Cap-and-trade used to be the conservative solution to this failure, as when they proposed it for the sulfur problem causing acid rain. But now they're against it because the Democrats are against it (the same has happened with mandates for health insurance). I think a carbon tax is simpler and more elegant.

Anyway Spencer seems motivated first by his ideology; Hansen by the evidence.

Spencer, on the other hand,

The Croquist said...

This is a deep kept secret David so don't tell anybody...

Almost half of Americans are to the left of center and almost half are to the right. Some are much more to the left or right then others but others, self-described "independents" still lean to one side or the other. Those that are completely in the middle are standing on their barefoot toes on an ideological needle point.

I've got a friend and neighbor who describes himself as an "independent" but when I asked who the last democrat presidential candidate he voted for the answer was "never". As I said, he is a self described "independent".

I've got a right of center friend who explained to me that he considers the NY Times to be a left of center newspaper. He told me this because his mother called it conservative. I agreed but I searched online for past presidential endorsements. The last time the "conservative NY Times endorsed a Republican President was 1956, a few days before I was born. 13 consecutive endorsements for democrats strikes me as evidence for a left of center opinion not a right of center position.

I used the words "assumed" and "appear" to describe both Spencer and Hansen.
Hansen is against coal. That is generally regarded as a left of center position.
Hansen has aligned himself with Greenpeace. Most people would agree that Greenpeace is to the left of center.
Hansen is affiliated with Al Gore. Al Gore is left of center.
Hansen has endorsed a progressive carbon tax. That is generally considered a left of center position.
Hansen has called for putting fossil fuel executives on trial for crimes against humanity. Personally I think that an opinion like that is way left of center.

A quote from Andrew Revkin; "Dr. Hansen has pushed far beyond the boundaries of the conventional role of scientists, particularly government scientists, in the environmental policy debate."

I won't list why I consider Spencer right of center since you didn't challenge me on it.

I don't support more government regulation unless it's necessary to solve a problem either but I don't think that man is significantly altering the climate.

The "free market" has been the greatest creator of wealth and prosperity this planet has ever seen. To call it "a notorious failure at preventing abuse and degradation of the Commons" is simply absurd. It is because of the free market that you have the means to denigrate it. As a freelance journalist you ARE the free market. The free market needs to be regulated but the free market is not the problem, it is the solution.

"Anyway Spencer seems motivated first by his ideology; Hansen by the evidence."

Maybe it's you that is motivated first by ideology. I'm still waiting for you to explain why a 92% failure rate of USHCN stations is unimportant.

David Appell said...

Hansen is against coal because it causes climate change. He's interested in protecting the environment. That, to me, is a conservative position--one truly conservative, deeply conservative, which goes to show you that today's US "conservatives" are not conservative at all, but instead selfish and greedy. They shouldn't be called "conservative" at all (Andrew Sullivan makes a lot about this). How about "Randists?" "Greedians"?

Hansen's alliances are based on hsi concern about AGW. I have no idea where he stands on other political issues--do you? On the other hand, Spencer is clearly Randian -- his writings make clear he's a free market extremist, believes in ID, etc. That's very different.

The Croquist said...


Just because you define anti-coal as conservatism doesn’t make it so. What I said was “Hansen is against coal. That is generally regarded as a left of center position.” I didn’t say that Hansen is against coal. David Appell regards that as a left of center position. Feel free to redefine conservatism in any manner that you like but don’t expect me to buy it.

Now how is Spencer selfish and greedy? Do you have any evidence for this statement?

Roy Spencer blogged on 04/28/2011 and 04/29/2011 about the tornadoes around his home in Huntsville Alabama:

Maybe there is something in there to support your insulting accusation that Spencer is selfish and greedy.

Next you say that “Spencer is clearly Randian -- his writings make clear he's a free market extremist, believes in ID, etc.”

More bad news David, most Americans believe at least somewhat in the free market. Since you are part of the free market I suggest that you at least accept its existence. I disagree with his belief in Intelligent Design but I don’t see what that has to do with his climatology research. What I do see is that it is a convenient foil for people to use for character assassination of him (don’t bother looking in the mirror David, I am talking about you).

So in one post you call Spencer; selfish, greedy, Randian and a free market extremist. In an earlier post you called him a clown. The best I can determine is that you reached this conclusion because he disagrees with you.

PS: Why do you keep ignoring my question as to why 92% of the USHCN stations failing to meet their own minimum standards unimportant?