Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sue climate scientists instead

Letter sent to Sydney Morning Herald 1 May 2009.

Dear Editor,
Prof David Karoly argues that coal companies could be exposed to legal action if the climate catastrophe predicted by IPCC computer models eventuates (Dear Coal plants, you’re doomed, 1/5). Spending our precious time, money and human resources tackling a natural climate cycle that ultimately we have no control over, sucks resources from other worthwhile projects such as research for cures for cancer, malaria and flu, reducing habitat destruction, deforestation and improving the standard of living in third world countries, etc. Will Prof Karoly be the one to explain this to the millions that could have been saved if we spend our resources stopping the unstoppable? On the flip side I guess, given the climate continues to ignore the models, those adversely affected could always sue Professor Karoly and other activitist scientists and former politicians who seem to have lost all objectivity on this issue.

IPCC: David Copperfield would be proud of you

Upnpublished letter to THE AUSTRALIAN 1 May 2009

Dear Editor,
The issue of certainty is central to the IPCC arguments for action on carbon emissions; if there is a lack of certainty then the need for urgent action is diminished. We often here from IPCC scientists that there is 95% certainty in the science of climate modelling. Yet when we look at the Radiative Forcing Components used in computer climate models reported by the IPCC in Assessment Report 4, the error for net anthropogenic forcing is a staggering 112.5%! Treatment of errors is part of the scientific process and it appears to be very poorly addressed and explained in IPCC reports.That the IPCC manages to turn a 112.5% error into 95% certainty is surely one of the greatest scientific tricks made on the public. David Copperfield would be proud of you, Richard Feynman would not.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prince of Precaution in Space

Australia's most famous environmentalist, Tim Flannery, has lent his name to a scheme by the world's most infamous self-publicist, Richard Branson, to burn untold tonnes of greenhouse gases so rich people can become space tourists.
See SMH for full story HERE

I'm sure there's a new book in here somewhere...

IPCC process leaves door open to cherry-picking

From today's Australian newspaper by Marc Hendrickx:

IN his praise of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Peter Doherty (Letters, 22/4) ignores the fact that the IPCC process is dominated by a small clique of climate scientists who review their own work for inclusion in IPCC reports. This unusual process apparently overrides the generally accepted practice that peer review be conducted by a qualified, anonymous third party. I don’t imagine this sort of review process would be tolerated in the medical sciences. It hardly comprises an honest approach to science and leaves the door open to manipulation and cherry-picking of research results.
Another Nobel prize-winning scientist, American physicist Richard Feynman, described this sort of practice as “cargo cult science”—one that is missing “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty”. As Feynman said, “The first principle (of science) is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” The time for honesty and healthy self-scepticism from the IPCC is long overdue lest they continue to make fools of us all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Impish Professor's Cargo Cult

Coming soon from Little Skeptics Press

The Impish Professor's Cargo Cult
ISBN 978-0-9805943-4-8

Inspired by a Richard Feynman’s essay “Cargo Cult Science”
some extracts...

“In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas -- he's the controller -- and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.”

'But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school -- we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty -- a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid -- not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked -- to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. "
"We've learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science. "

"For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of his work were. "Well", I said, "there aren't any". He said, "Yes, but then we won't get support for more research of this kind". I think that's kind of dishonest. If you're representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you're doing -- and if they don't support you under those circumstances, then that's their decision."

"In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another."

The IPCC is cargo cult science in action. The IPCC form looks perfect, they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, it looks like science to journalists and is sold as such to the layman, but they're missing something essential, because while the cash certainly is raining in, the observations continue to disagree with the models. It's time the IPCC ended its Cargo Cult mentality!

see for full text of Feynman's essay.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Prince of Precaution Unleashed Chocfest Challenge

A special Easter challenge for ABC Unleashed viewers-correctly name the cast of the AGWM 2020 featured in the book and win a free copy of the Prince of Precaution signed by the author. Simply watch the video and lookout for the AGWM2020 ideas forum. The first person to send the names of the 22 attendees to the email address at the end of the video wins a copy of The Prince of Precaution to enjoy with your family. If no one guesses correctly then the entry with the most correct answers will win.

Happy Chocfest everybody!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prince of Precaution on ABC unleashed

For a short time you can add your own comments about The Prince of Precaution at the ABC unleashed site here:
How they managed to take a 2Mb video file and turn it into 9 Mb is beyond me! For a quicker download the video is also available on You Tube HERE

Thanks to Kevin Rudd's stimulus package a limited number of professionally printed copies in brilliant colour are available for $17.50 plus postage ($2.50 in Australia-regular). See if you can recognise the attendees of the AGWMonster 2020! Who are the spineless bureaucrats? What's hiding in the bushes? These questions answered and more.
Thanks Kev!

Also available after easter 2009 are newly printed versions of "We're not scared anymore Mr Gore-Special edition". Also $17.50. (Thanks again Mr Rudd!)

Special combo offer - If you order the Prince with Mr Gore postage is free.
Savings are also available for bulk orders (>50)-send queries to

Payment through PAYPAL ONLY.
Send money through paypal to Include mailing instructions and you can expect Mr Gore and/or Prince Tim blubbering at your door in no time.
Note that the cost just covers my expenses. If anyone is inclined to donate or buy the movie rights for many many 1000's of dollars please do!