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  • Seth Barrett Tillman: Conlawprof and Climate Change

    Posted by Jonathan on August 21st, 2019 (All posts by )

    Interesting observations:

    On August 18, 2019, on Conlawprof, Professor BBB wrote:
     

    Your note reveals a common misunderstanding of the predictive models. First, the models tend to under-predict. That is, the observed macro-effects exceed what the models predict. The models and reports also tend to under predict global temperatures. (The IPCC noted that “the [observed] level of warming in 2017 was 0.15°C–0.35°C higher than [predicted] average warming over the 30-year period 1988–2017.”) [citing: ]

     
    I note that Professor BBB adds the word “predicted”. It is not in the original quotation. I checked the original quotation in IPCC5, and it struck me—generalist though I am—that he had inadvertently inverted the meaning of the quoted material. But not being expert, and realizing that different minds might reasonably disagree about such things, I promptly wrote my friends at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Secretariat…

    Seth links to a paper he wrote whose abstract includes this passage:

    Legal academics and the public are fascinated by both constitutional text and the processes by which it is interpreted. The precise role for legal academics in the interpretation of such charters is controverted. Doctrine and case law as established by the courts remain the core of academic legal discourse. Case law is, after all, the object about which doctrine is based, built, and extended. But the interpretation of constitutional text through case law comes with costs — it seems to lack democratic legitimacy, and where unconnected to text and history, it has a tendency to fence out (even the well-educated) the public. On the other hand, when legal academics shift to text and history, their work gains populist credentials, but, at that point, the legal academic risks his privileged position. For the legal academic has no monopoly, or even highly developed expertise, with regard to textual exegesis or the best use of historical materials…

    Substitute “scientists” for “legal academics”, and “climate data” for “text and history”, and there might be some kind of parallel here.

     

    16 Responses to “Seth Barrett Tillman: Conlawprof and Climate Change

    1. Grurray Says:

      That’s a good point. There’s this view, particularly among the Leftist elite, that scientists priestly and unimpeachable when they comment about topics relevant to public affairs, but when they step out of their narrow field of expertise to make value judgements, their opinions are no more automatically valid than anyone else’s. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins come to mind. They are now considered authorities on every topic under the sun when it wasn’t exactly clear if they were even very good in their original scientific fields.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      In fact, one could argue that their normative positions are increasingly self-serving due to the link between their funding and the magnitude of their predicted consequences and the public support for their efforts. Recommending government regulatory interventions carry association with increased research and monitoring resources.

      Death6

    3. Jay Guevara Says:

      For my part, I always go to Constitutional law professors for my scientific insights, just as they come to physical scientists like me for their Constitutional law insights.

      What this idiot fails to grasp is that he is talking about models, not Holy Writ. Economists have models too; who places much, if any, faith in those? Financial institutions have a most compelling reason to generate predictive models – much more so than smelly socks climastrologists do – and yet they fail dismally. See, e.g., Long Term Capital Management, which had how many Nobel Laureates in economics? Yet modeling the climate – entailing the dynamic interaction of physics, chemistry, geology, AND biology, and the coupled differential equations arising therefrom – is vastly more difficult than modeling the economy, I’ll wager.

      Those believing in Warmageddon bleat that the predictions are based on computer modeling and historical data.

      I respond that “Jurassic Park” was based on computer modeling and fossil data.

      And in this context I laughed upon reading that the climastrologists sheepishly admitted that they’d neglected to include the effect of the 35 active volcanoes on earth that are belching out all manner of gases. Oops.

    4. Jay Guevara Says:

      @ Grurray, re Neil deGrasse Tyson:

      His resume screams “failed graduate student who was granted his Ph.D. with the implicit understanding he would not try to go into research or do anything serious in the field.”

      How do I know? I have one of those myself. Sooner or later, every PI does.

    5. Jay Guevara Says:

      Sorry, one more.

      In fact, one could argue that their normative positions are increasingly self-serving due to the link between their funding and the magnitude of their predicted consequences and the public support for their efforts.

      It’s worse even than that. Climastrology was a sleepy backwater until AGW came along. Now, it’s a Cinderella story, with its practitioners jetting to, e.g., Bali to cluck in chorus, having Presidents and Prime Ministers on speed dial, having research funding thrown at them, having reporters hanging on their every word, etc. They can’t believe their luck. For once in their lives, they matter.

      Now suppose you’re a climastrologist, and find a devastating riposte to the AGW claims. (“Nah, nothing to worry about. They misplaced a decimal point. Everybody relax and go back to your business. Everything is under control.”)

      If you voice that publicly, you’ll be as popular as the guy who cuts off the beer at a party. You can confidently expect to have all future grant proposals – which will be reviewed by the people you just pissed off – rejected, as well as future manuscripts submitted for publication. Funding, and publications, are oxygen to an academic career, and your oxygen just got cut off. No funding, no publications, no students, no invitations to speak, no nothing. You will be among the walking dead for the rest of your career, someone people point at and talk about in hushed tones as you pass, the subject of pity, if you’re lucky. You might as well go to a devout Muslim country and publicly question Mohammed’s sexual proclivities and be done with it.

      That’s why the only people in the field to speak out against AGW are retired, or otherwise untouchable. Hell, if I were in that field, I’d keep my mouth shut, too. Why flush many decades of hard work?

    6. Anonymous Says:

      Well said, Jay

      Death6

    7. Pouncer Says:

      “modeling the climate – entailing the dynamic interaction of physics, chemistry, geology, AND biology, and the coupled differential equations arising therefrom – is vastly more difficult than modeling the economy”

      But the declared end state of the UN/IPCC Al Gore style climate science is not just to model, or even predict the climate, but to CONTROL it. By buying and selling tradable carbon (dioxide) credits, or selling indulgences, or simply raising and lowering various Pigovian taxes on emissions, forest management, ocean dumping, whatever, the Supreme Committee on Climate proposes to raise or lower the decade-to-decade measure of climate health.

      This, just in the way Central Bankers use various indices to control the Business cycle, and by tweaking interest rates and fractional reserve requirements and forgiving that debt while calling in another — they propose to ensure the economic climate will always be moderate and healthy and recession free.

      So the expert economists promise, all according to Keynes.

      Just how well is THAT working out? As far as I can tell, the Central Banks have utterly given up attempting to keep currency from “inflating” but now merely try to keep the “inflation rate” within modeled targets. They reduce interest rates to zero during recessions, then moan that they can’t (yet) impose charges to savings customers to store their money, resulting in a negative rate. They have taken on the additional mission of modeling and targeting an unemployment rate, never envisioned at their charter. And some propose they regulate racial disparities in lending etc, other new missions with no relation to their original purpose, or model, or expertise.

      Why would a climate control body be different?

    8. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      Climate Studies is a new field. It has not attracted the best students. Its results could be useful to government officials who like to run stuff.

      Everything flows from this.

    9. tomw Says:

      A ‘scientist’ who will not reveal the base data used in ‘scientific’ work is not a real scientist.
      The whiff of snake oil that surrounds ‘climatologists’ comes from the fact, available to any who are willing to look, that they have predicted both heat waves and freezing cold based upon the ‘data’ they have manipulated ten ways from Sunday.
      Until they allow ‘deniers’ unfettered access to the data, and reasonable explanations as to why it was ‘adjusted’, and why the ranges of time were selected that are used in their graphs predicting doom, they should be shunned as charlatans. IMO.
      tom

    10. David Foster Says:

      Tomw….for each of the major models, there should be a freely-available summary which includes the equations, the key parameters, and the evidence behind those parameters. Plus of course the historical temperature data which has been used to back-test these models, including the raw data, any adjustments to that data, and the rationale for such adjustment. Also comparison between different sources, viz, satellite vs terrestrial.

      Maybe this already all exists somewhere and I just haven’t run into it???

      There are surely several million people in America and other countries who are sufficiently knowledgeable to read and substantially evaluate such documents, based on background in math, physics, chemistry, and agriculture, even if they don’t have the title “climate scientist.”

    11. Jay Guevara Says:

      Maybe this already all exists somewhere and I just haven’t run into it???

      Michael Mann famously refused to release such information because he bleated that others would use that information to poke holes in his methodology and conclusions.

      Well, yeah. If holes CAN be poked, they SHOULD be poked. This is called “science.”

    12. Joe Wooten Says:

      There are surely several million people in America and other countries who are sufficiently knowledgeable to read and substantially evaluate such documents, based on background in math, physics, chemistry, and agriculture, even if they don’t have the title “climate scientist.”

      As in any good test engineer who regularly analyzes huge amounts of data, as I do. I know there are at least several thousand in the USA alone.

    13. Brian Says:

      One of science’s many, many dirty secrets is how completely statistically illiterate the vast majority of professional scientists are. Most can sort of use the t-test, and that’s about it. Another dirty secret is how worthless the referee process often is. Being published should mean nothing. The only thing that should matter is reproducibility.

      But modern climate science isn’t about history any more than the 1619 project is about history. It’s about ideology. Anyone who says “the science is settled, now shut up” is not interested in science, or rational debate.

    14. Jay Guevara Says:

      One of science’s many, many dirty secrets is how completely statistically illiterate the vast majority of professional scientists are.

      In fairness, statistics are not necessary in many scientific fields, such as organic synthesis, the various forms of spectroscopy, and others that do not generate extensive numerical data amenable to statistical analysis.

    15. OBloodyHell Says:

      Tom:

      You missed
      1) droughts in Australia, followed, of course, by floods?
      2) “No more white Xmases” in the UK, followed by several years of severe blizzards for Xmas?
      3) remember “we have to get used to this” hurricanes in 2005? Followed by THE LONGEST interregnum in class-3 or above hurricanes striking the ENTIRE US EASTERN SEABOARD(Maine to Texas) since 1820, when the population distribution along the coast could reliably report such?

      Yeah: “The validity of a science lies in its ability to predict” Climastrology (nice phrase: stealing) ranks right up there with Jeane Dixon.

    16. OBloodyHell Says:

      The only thing that should matter is reproducibility

      You mean that thing that, mainly in “soft sciences”, such as, oh, Climastrology, has gotten so bad that they’ve actually had to take specific and special note of it?

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis

      Note how it expressly doesn’t mention Climastrology? That’s because it’s impossible to even ATTEMPT replication in order to catch any problems….
      :-/

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