Savant Idiots

There was a commenter at a blog I shall not mention who simply could not get anything I mentioned. Anything at all.

There was the blog owner at another unmentioned site who simply could not see anything wrong in people describing a prominent climate skeptic’s work as non accidentally cherry picked bad statistics [that] generated misleading graphs – all in the comments section of a blog post allegedly questioning where the dividing line stands between scientific criticism and libel (on the back of Mann’s latest juridical foray).

There was the anti-GMOer who turned pro-GMO for reasons that virtually coincide with all that’s good in climate skepticism, and still refused to abandon the “planet is doomed, skeptics are evil” party line. And he was not alone.

There was the superstar multimedia physicist who simply could not make any reasonable point about climate change, and wrote what was probably the longest badly thought-out column in the history of the Multiverse. And he was not alone.

There was the accidental Nobel Prize winner who wrote column after column about how fearful climate change is, and how wrong it is to live in fear. Sadly, those points never appeared in the same column.

There was the famous environmentalist who took a February flower for the end of the world, in the first recognized case of weather-related anthophobia.

There was the climate scientist who became the best thing that ever happened to climate skeptics, and would not have been able to win a debate against a primary-school Year-1 distracted opponent.

There were countless climate scientists who were so specialized in their own little field, they started reading and linking to the almighty pile of scientifically sounding garbage written by a cartoonist and the climate blogger with the biggest conflict of interest imaginable, a site where no research was safe from manipulation.

When climate alarmism is around, rooms really look clever.

52 Replies to “Savant Idiots”

  1. BBD – three apples are more than two oranges. The decade 2000-2009 can be compared with a dataset with a resolution of three centuries.

    Maths correct, meaningfulness zero. It ain’t too difficult. Pluto’s mountains might or might not exceed on the 100-m scale the 150-km-scale inferred heights.

    1. Something to think about: if GAT had increased to modern levels at any time in the last 5ky, then why didn’t the Schnidejoch ice field melt?

      This ice-field in the Western Swiss Alps began to melt in the hot summer of 2003, revealing wood, leather and other perishable artefacts dating back ~5ka to the late Neolithic. These materials could not have survived unless *continuously frozen* when deposited and since deposition. From Grosjean et al. (2007):

      “The critical point in the context of this paper is that leather requires permanent embedding in ice in order to stay preserved and, as it is observed today, deteriorates very quickly if exposed at the surface. In consequence, the finds at Schnidejoch suggest permanent ice cover at that site for the last 5000 years, more specifically from ca. 3000 BC until AD 2003.”

      G07 provides detail about what an unusual but informative archive Schnidejoch actually is, essentially by virtue of its altitude:

      “Schnidejoch is a binary and non-continuous archive (‘open or closed’). It operates at a precisely defined and constant threshold (Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) at 2750 m) and responds immediately and most sensitively to small perturbations if climatology fluctuates around that threshold value.”

      The authors go on to point out that the oldest ice at Schnidejoch (wherein the late Neolithic artefacts were preserved) formed as precessional forcing waned and the Holocene Climatic Optimum faded. Only now has it melted:

      “Our findings suggest that at the archaeological site this glacier was smaller in 2003 than at any time during the past 5000 years.”

      Interestingly, there are *four* distinct assemblages of finds at Schnidejoch. Working forwards chronologically from the late Neolithic, these are dated to early Bronze Age (4100–3650 cal. yr BP), Roman Age (1st–3rd century AD), and Medieval times (8–9th century AD and 14–15th century AD).
      Each group of artefacts was deposited during a warm period when glacial retreat opened the Schnidejoch pass. But none of these warm periods was warm enough to melt the 5ka ice. None was as warm as the late C20th.

      Why is 5ky-old ice melting *now?* And what does this tell us about the frequency of warming events of modern magnitude since the end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum?

      1. no, please, I don’t have any will to move on this conversation to evermore irrelevant items. You do not understand “resolution” and that’s why the contemporary behaviour of a glacier suddenly pops up in a discussion about thousands of years of global temperatures.

        Glaciers as everything else react to “local” conditions (where “local” depends on the size of the glacier). Another simple truism.

      2. Wow. Not only are you incapable of understanding that your obsession with resolution in M13 is a red herring, you can’t see how Grosjean07 ties in with Marcott. You are a very long way from being as clever as you suppose. And you should RTFR. Your remark about glaciers as proxies demonstrates that you completely fail to understand what is special about Schnidejoch – even though I provided a quote to guide you along.

        Intellectual dishonesty or just hopeless?

      3. Can’t imagine you dishonest – not after the total debacle about resolution. But I’d question the judgment of whatever teachers you have had in your youth.

  2. BBD – it is ironically very apt for your comments to fill up this thread. A little knowledge is really dangerous and you’re the best example of that.

    You have uncritically believed in the Marcott et al conclusions. Luckily others haven’t, and when pressed to specify, Marcott himself argued that his work’s resolution was no less 300 years…thereby making all decade-related statements absolutely meaningless. You haven’t understood that simple point either.

    You have uncritically believed in Tamino’s silly computations. Perish the thought Marcott himself has never endorsed that pinnacle of stupidity, nor anybody else as far as I know.

    You have also not once attempted to explain how to get sub-resolution features out of any data set, not even in the case of Pluto where I provided you a great opportunity, obviously and expectedly missed. The subject is arcane and alien to everything you know.

    I am now convinced you do not know what “resolution” means – despite the very clear words by Marcott on the topic. Therefore you will continue arguing about decades or even a century and a half.

    Happy time for you and Tamino ahead. Perhaps you two can name a mountain of Pluto before it is seen?

    1. “You have uncritically believed in the Marcott et al conclusions”

      “You have uncritically believed in Tamino’s silly computations.”

      Just verbiage, Maurizio. Noise.

      Anyone reading this who has followed the links can see that for themselves.

      1. …because you can’t argue your points.

        That’s not surprising either, because “your” points are Marcott’s and his conclusions (later recanted) and Tamino’s (which neither of you understood – surely radar theory is another subject where your knowledge is zilch).

        There is no possible skepticism by people deprived of independent thought. There is no independent thought by people who possess only half knowledge.

      2. That’s not surprising either, because “your” points are Marcott’s and his conclusions (later recanted) and Tamino’s (which neither of you understood – surely radar theory is another subject where your knowledge is zilch).

        Another blatant misrepresentation of Marcott. There was no “recantation”. Let’s have an unambiguous quote where Marcott “recants”. This is the second time you have made a false claim about what Marcott said.

        Then you argue that *I* didn’t understand Tamino’s results, which is frankly absurd.

        Still, since you clearly cannot understand M13, I will have one last try at explaining it to you.

        M13’s conclusions about the C20th do not require that its Holocene temperature reconstruction be capable of resolving at sub-300y. This is a complete red herring introduced by McIntyre, IIRC and repeated by those – like you – who have neither read the paper nor understood the authors’ explanation of it at RC.

        What M13 did was to use the instrumental record for modern temperatures and compare the values for the decade 1900 – 1909 and 2000 – 2009 with the AVERAGED, SMOOTHED range of Holocene temperature derived from their reconstruction. They pointed out that the C20th warmed from the coldest levels of the AVERAGE, SMOOTHED Holocene range to the warmest levels of the AVERAGE, SMOOTHED Holocene temperature range. If you go back to RC, as I suggested yesterday, all this is carefully explained.

        There is no need for high resolution in the Holocene reconstruction for this comparison to be made. Here’s the actual quote, again. Read it carefully:

        “Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 (34) has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.). These temperatures are, however, warmer than 82% of the Holocene distribution as represented by the Standard 5×5 stack, or 72% after making plausible corrections for inherent smoothing of the high frequencies in the stack (6) (Fig. 3). In contrast, the decadal mean global temperature of the early 20th century (1900–1909) was cooler than >95% of the Holocene distribution under both the Standard 5×5 and high-frequency corrected scenarios. Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P. ”

        Is light beginning to dawn yet, Maurizio? I really, really hope so, especially given that your OP is about how you are supposed to be the smartest guy in the room.

      3. “There is no possible skepticism by people deprived of independent thought. There is no independent thought by people who possess only half knowledge.”

        Dear God you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. The irony is agonising.

  3. As per the Pluto example, Tamino has demonstrated nothing more than his ability of moving numbers around. In the real world there are very clear mountains and craters and other features on Pluto, but they are impossible to find using current resolution capabilities…even if we could clearly spot them already, if we ever knew where they were.

    You can compare a Schiaparelli map of Mars with the latest we have, and see that all the features we are familiar with were just smudged out in the XIX century drawings. This doesn’t mean Schiaparelli knew what the Nyx Olympica was, or could have thought it as the largest volcano in the solar system. Same for Hellas, a large crater Schiaparelli thought divided in two.

    Marcott knows this and that’s why, in the quote I provided and that you can’t yet google on RealClimate.org, he is very clear that no variability is captured below 300 years. That is, if we knew when the variability had happened, we could spot it. Alas, we do not know.

    The questions about physical plausibilities are a useless diversion. We know that it can happen because it has happened. It is therefore within the realm of possibilities, and it’d be quite peculiar if it truly had never ever happened before. The only way to know would be to find a way to improve the resolution from 300 years to a few decades. Marcott, in his own words, didn’t set up to do that.

    1. And once again, you said absolutely *nothing* substantive about Tamino’s analysis. Nothing. This conversation has become ridiculous.

    2. “The questions about physical plausibilities are a useless diversion. We know that it can happen because it has happened. ”

      In response to substantial increase in GHG forcing since ~1850. When else did it happen during the Holocene? Where is your evidence? You are very fond of argument from assertion, and you don’t acknowledge the basics of physical climatology: you need a substantial forcing increase to drive GAT up by ~0.8C in a century. This is not a useless diversion. It lies right at the heart of everything you are trying to deny by assertion and misdirection.

      1. One more thing. You are fond of putting words in Marcott’s mouth then waving archly at the RealClimate article.

        I suggest you go back and read it again, carefully. When you have done so, you will understand exactly where I am coming from and exactly why you are wrong and how you have misunderstood M13.

        You will also fail to find any quote substantiating your *false claim*:

        “The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.”

        If you could have backed up this nonsense you would have done it by now. It’s always better to admit mistakes quickly when you are dealing with me.

  4. Thank you, Maurizio.
    I do like a post that makes me chuckle, one that makes me Laugh Out Loud deserves a pint.
    Anytime man.
    Cheers,
    JD.
    🙂

  5. Bbd – let’s try it differently. IF there were a temperature uptick in the years 1500-1509, would Marcott et al 2013 have reported it?

    1. What physical mechanism would produce a 0.8C uptick in *nine* years, Maurizio? The flatus of millions of flying pigs? You have descended into silliness now. Real-world climate change of that magnitude resolves over centuries and there’s some very good evidence that it would indeed be captured by M13’s methodology.

      1. Oh please – not Tamino. He’s arguing on his own, among widespread embarrassment

        Ps 0.8C? Said who? Am referring to anything equivalent to 2000-2009.

      2. Ps Tamino is the guy who when asked the radius of an LP would respond to the 150th decimal – mathematically correct but physically inept

      3. Maurizio

        When you are arguing with me, you need to demonstrate that you have a point. It is not enough to go “oh no, Tamino is evil” and then wave away the evidence on the table. What you must do is *demonstrate* that his analysis is flawed and Monte Carlo simulations *would* smear out a 0.9C spike that takes 100y to peak and 100y to return to baseline. If you cannot do this, you have no argument and you should concede the point.

        * * *

        “Am referring to anything equivalent to 2000-2009”

        Congratulations. You have just confirmed that you have not understood what M13 is doing. Read the quote again.

      4. I am not sure we’re talking the same physics. You and Tamino would take a picture of a faraway mountain and pretend people can still be visible, if only the right magnification is used…on the picture!

        His “demonstration” is the most cretin use of subsampling I’ve ever seen. This is however not the way the world works…we do not know if there has been a spike in temperatures in the year 375AD. We have to rely on proxies which might or might not record any spike in temperatures. We do not even know for sure when each proxy actually starts. It’s all fuzzy and messy and physics-y…the total opposite of a pea-brained computation around fabricated data.

        Go on, tell your friends that no temperature variability is preserved in [Marcott’s] reconstruction at cycles shorter than 300 years. None at all. And they talk of 2000-2009.

        Failed, the lot of you.

      5. “I am not sure we’re talking the same physics.”

        The last time global average temperatures were comparable with modern levels was the early-mid Holocene. This was the result of orbital forcing (precession) and that forcing has since waned, hence the ~0.7C cooling over the last ~5ka. Physical mechanisms.

        “we do not know if there has been a spike in temperatures in the year 375AD.”

        Spikes in global average temperature don’t just pop up and disappear in a year. That would be unphysical.

        What we need is a physical mechanism that elevates global average temperature in the first decade of the C21st to levels last seen *on average* during the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Why are we that warm again? What has changed?

        This is an opportunity to converge on the same physics.

      6. we’re talking observations here. Marcott says his method cannot spot any variability below the 300y timescale. Any. This means the same warming we had from 1850 onwards for 150 years could have happened anytime, for example 150 years before and after 375AD, and still Marcott’s method would not have spotted it.

        Likewise if I take a picture of the Moon with a phone camera, no matter how much I enlarge it on the PC I will still be unable to spot any feature below a certain spatial threshold. Any. It does not matter that I could zoom in a billion times with any mathematically-correct zooming algorithm…what is not there at the beginning, cannot be there at the end.

        If you looked at Earth with a 2,500-km resolution, you’d miss the Himalayas.

        Tamino doesn’t get that. He thinks there are some numbers to manipulate, and he shows the world how to manipulate them. Too bad nobody used Tamino’s matemascombulations to support Marcott _after_ Marcott said that no temperature variability is preserved in [Marcott’s] reconstruction at cycles shorter than 300 years.

        So how do we know if temperatures have ever been higher than in 2000-2009? We don’t. We could at most verify if temperatures have ever been higher than in 1859, in the period 1709-2009 that is. And that’s only possible with CET.

        ps a challenge for you and Tamino…take Pluto’s best maps so far http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto – notice they have a resolution of around 150km – come back with a map with a better resolution than that, before May 2015.

      7. “This means the same warming we had from 1850 onwards for 150 years could have happened anytime, for example 150 years before and after 375AD, and still Marcott’s method would not have spotted it.”

        No, this is in fact incorrect. Despite M13’s proper scientific caution about resolution, Tamino demonstrated unequivocally that their methodology does capture variability equivalent to modern warming on a sub-300y scale. Go and read the link I provided to T’s analysis. Denial is not an argument btw, as a savant such as yourself ought to be well aware. Denial is just noise.

        The second point – which I keep repeating – is that a warming spike such as the modern one requires a physical mechanism. Orbital dynamics does not provide it. GHG forcing during the pre-industrial Holocene does not provide it. So not only is there no evidence for spikes equivalent to modern warming, there’s no physical mechanism either. Such spikes should show up clearly in decadally-resolving proxies like ice cores – and they don’t. You wave your hands but the evidence flatly contradicts you. You talk about using critical thinking, but avoid doing so yourself.

        * * *

        Re your claim that you cannot substantiate with a quote from Marcott:

        “The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.”

        When are you going to *admit* that this is a false claim?

  6. “I see that you’re making the mistake of taking their article at face value, instead of applying a minimum of critical analysis.”

    I dispute this. And we will see.

    M13 states:

    “The 73 globally distributed temperature records used in our analysis are based on a variety of paleotemperature proxies and have sampling resolutions ranging from 20 to 500 years, with a
    median resolution of 120 years (5).”

    You are STILL trying to create a strawman. M13 compared the instrumental record with the Holocene temperature range and found it to be warmer than 72% of the distribution. What I said at Climate Lab Book was this:

    “The evidence suggests that the last decade is probably hotter than any time since the end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum ~6ka”

    And it does.

    You have admitted that there’s nothing wrong with M13. You can see that it supports what I originally said. So why are you making a fuss?

  7. Maurizio

    You made a disparaging remark about Marcott et al. (2013) elsewhere. Here I find you stating that:

    Personally I think that there is just nothing worse than partial knowledge.

    I suspect that you have contradicted yourself, so let us explore this further. What is the problem with M13?

    1. The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.

      If you don’t understand that a study with a resolution of several centuries cannot be used to argue about decades, it is not my problem.

      1. Marcott et al. (2013:

        “Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 (34) has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.). These temperatures are, however, warmer than 82% of the Holocene distribution as represented by the Standard 5×5 stack, or 72% after making plausible corrections for inherent smoothing of the high frequencies in the stack (6) (Fig. 3). In contrast, the decadal mean global temperature of the early 20th century (1900–1909) was cooler than >95% of the Holocene distribution under both the Standard 5×5 and high-frequency corrected scenarios. Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P.

        You haven’t even read it, have you, Maurizio?

      2. “The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.”

        When did he do that? Have you a link to the exact quote?

      3. Read the quote I provided. It supports what I wrote at Climate Lab Book. M13 compared **average temperature ranges** during the Holocene with the instrumental record. Read the quote. You haven’t understood this at all.

        * * *

        You made what I think is a false claim:

        “The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.”

        I asked to to substantiate it with a *quote*. If you can’t then it would be reasonable of you to concede that you made a mistake.

      4. I have the quote in front of me. But why spoil all your fun, you have read the paper and you can tell me what the resolution(s) are (time-wise).

        Remember if the resolution is, say, 300 years, then eg for CET in 2014 we only have 45 annual data points, from 1819 to 1864.

      5. Still you don’t understand that M13 compared the Holocene range of temperatures with the instrumental record to arrive at the conclusions outlined in the quote I provided. Still. The ~300y resolution doesn’t impinge on those conclusions at all. Read the quote. Slowly and carefully.

        And if you have supporting quote, post it. I really dislike pratting about like this.

      6. After all this is the thread about the danger of having just a bit of knowledge. I see that you’re making the mistake of taking their article at face value, instead of applying a minimum of critical analysis.

        As far as I am concerned they could’ve claimed they had seen evidence of flying pigs – this doesn’t mean that any porcine were actually self-propelling through the air.

        Ps am really curious now…what temporal resolution(s) are claimed, in the paper? I can’t recall. I know what Marcott told Real Climate though.

      7. You said this:

        “The problem with m13 is that people mention it as evidence that the last decades have been exceptionally warm even if Marcott himself has admitted otherwise.”

        Please provide the supporting quote in your next response.

      8. You can’t back up your claims and now, when cornered, you descend into childish evasiveness.

        I think we’re done here.

      9. Hmmm…there is still no evidence you understood the paper, apart from relying on its conclusions. You cannot tell me the resolution(s). I am not sure you even understand what the issue about temporal resolutions is. Finally you cannot google on RealClimate.org.

        I can see the childishness and it ain’t me.

      10. WTF are you on about? I gave you resolutions TWICE above. Two comments. Read the words. As for your false claim about what Marcott said, we’ve demonstrated that you cannot back it up. So end of that.

  8. More than a good post, thank you Maurizio.

    Does anyone else get the sense that the idiots are getting way more desperate & disconnected than savant?

    Does NLP have anything to do with this? (Neuro Linguistic Programming.), or is it just plain cowardice, IE, fear of the future?

    Is this the faint-hearted’s fear of the future manifesting?

    Or is this brainwashing by the 1%s in action?

    The rot goes rather deep.

    Cheers,
    JD.

    1. thank you JD. Personally I think that there is just nothing worse than partial knowledge.

  9. They’re an interesting bunch. Schmidt and Kloor and Cox and Plait are wedded to scientific orthodoxy. Krugman, Monbiot and Lynas, not. The latter two have both changed their minds on biofuels and nuclear energy, and Monbiot’s whole reputation is based on going against conventional wisdom. What would it take to make him change his mind on climate change?
    O/T on the subject of conventional wisdom: how about Renzi and il Cavaliere? Another subject we might agree on, against the odds, maybe. (Nothing about it in the British press of course, though Evans Pritchard is quoting Leopardi at length in today’s Telegraph).

  10. True, but very irritating to read since you have to click on every link to know who you’re talking about, which takes time and effort if your internet connection is not very good.
    By coincidence, the latest article by Nuccitelli at the Graun has exactly the same problem, though it’s much easier to follow since most of Nuccitelli’s links are to Nuccitelli.
    Here are the footnotes to your article:
    Anti-GMOer = Keith Kloor
    Not alone = Mark Lynas
    Superstar physicist = Brian Cox
    Not alone = Phil Plait
    Wrong to live in fear = Paul Krugman
    February Flower = George Monbiot
    Climate Scientist Best Thing = Gavin Schmidt

    1. thanks Geoff and apologies for having inadvertently irritated you (I usually try to do it on purpose 😉 )

      however one point of the post was that the names are not important – there is way too many of them to blame the phenomenon on pea-brained individuals.

    2. that said, zero-knowing Nutticelli is absent for a very good reason – you need to be a Savant in order to possibly qualify as a S.I.

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