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Climate Denial, i.e. Free Speech Now Subect to Prosecution


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these are largely impossible to predict.

There is uncertainty, but if the expectation is that the effect of the 'right' is positive then I think that justifies the 'right'. I think the overall effect of freedom of speech, religion, thought, etc. is good so I support them.

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There is uncertainty, but if the expectation is that the effect of the 'right' is positive then I think that justifies the 'right'. I think the overall effect of freedom of speech, religion, thought, etc. is good so I support them.

This opens up the path for people to define anything as a "right" if they think it will have a positive result. And that of course is precisely what various social movements are about, and you've railed against this in other threads (i.e. "the right not to encounter anything offensive if you're non-white or female").

I think individual freedoms are worth supporting not because we can necessarily always assume that these freedoms lead to good results but because freedom has its own intrinsic value.

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This opens up the path for people to define anything as a "right" if they think it will have a positive result.

They could, and they would be wrong, and I would disagree with them.

freedom has its own intrinsic value.

I agree, but I classify this intrinsic value as part of the outcome. I also think that the value of freedom can be empirically quantified using empirical data; and from there one just needs to define an empirically justified social welfare function and maximize expected social welfare using the best data available.

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They could, and they would be wrong, and I would disagree with them.

I agree, but I classify this intrinsic value as part of the outcome. I also think that the value of freedom can be empirically quantified using empirical data; and from there one just needs to define an empirically justified social welfare function and maximize expected social welfare using the best data available.

I don't think "social sciences" (to the extent that they are sciences at all) are even up to the task of quantifying these things meaningfully, let alone predicting how one can optimize social welfare. These sciences are still in their infancy, at little more than the classification stage, with no existing theories that can make consistently correct testable predictions.

Also, when it comes to valuing freedom and trading it off for other things to "maximize social welfare", you might consider that not everything can be well modeled as a smooth function of some parameters. Certain functions can have discontinuous transitions at various thresholds, bifurcations, and non-deterministic properties. When it comes to freedom, I would say that a society either meets some minimum threshold or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, then it's not a society worth living in regardless of what else it may have done to "optimize social welfare". Especially since history clearly shows that anyone who thinks they are up to the task of determining and implementing the "greater good" usually create just the opposite.

Edited by Bonam
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are even up to the task of quantifying these things meaningfully

Not yet.

let alone predicting how one can optimize social welfare.

Once you have an objective function, just just maximize it. That's the easy part.

you might consider that not everything can be well modeled as a smooth function of some parameters.

Maybe. I think it makes sense to go with the best models available. Which means the ability of the model to fit empirical observations has to be traded of with model simplicity (example: Akaike's information criterion).

and non-deterministic properties.

Get an estimate of the probability distribution and maximize expected social welfare while taking into account all forms of uncertainty.

I would say that a society either meets some minimum threshold or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, then it's not a society worth living in regardless of what else it may have done to "optimize social welfare".

That's a model that arguably has some very interest predictions. I wonder if it agrees with empirical evidence. Maybe you can list some countries that you don't think meet your threshold and we can see if there is any correlation between self-reported happiness and income.

Especially since history clearly shows that anyone who thinks they are up to the task of determining and implementing the "greater good" usually create just the opposite.

Before the wright brothers, everyone who tried to fly in an airplane failed. Does that mean they should have never tried? Did these past temps use empirical evidence, or statistics when trying to define their 'greater good' function?

Edited by -1=e^ipi
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Not yet.

Correct.
Once you have an objective function, just just maximize it. That's the easy part.

Demonstrating that your function has any basis in reality is the hard part. And no one has done that yet or even come close to it. Social sciences are about as close to deriving a function that accurately predicts social welfare as the bible is to explaining how the universe works.

Maybe. I think it makes sense to go with the best models available. Which means the ability of the model to fit empirical observations has to be traded of with model simplicity (example: Akaike's information criterion).

Get an estimate of the probability distribution and maximize expected social welfare while taking into account all forms of uncertainty.

Or avoid social engineering altogether.

That's a model that arguably has some very interest predictions. I wonder if it agrees with empirical evidence. Maybe you can list some countries that you don't think meet your threshold and we can see if there is any correlation between self-reported happiness and income.

How much can one really trust "self-reported" happiness from countries that don't meet a minimum threshold of freedom? The people of these countries may have inaccurate information about the reality of their situation or how it compares to other countries and they may fear reprisals depending on how they answer a survey. Do you think we can trust happiness surveys that come out of North Korea, for example?

Before the wright brothers, everyone who tried to fly in an airplane failed. Does that mean they should have never tried? Did these past temps use empirical evidence, or statistics when trying to define their 'greater good' function?

Experimenting with a new device is one thing, experimenting with society is another. The risks are far higher. Untested, unproven models of "social welfare" are not a valid basis for making changes to how our society functions.

Edited by Bonam
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And no one has done that yet or even come close to it.

People have tried, and progress has been made over the years.

accurately

It doesn't need to be perfect. It just has to be the best possible given the evidence. Our estimate of the speed of light isn't perfect, that doesn't mean we can't use it.

Or avoid social engineering altogether.

When did I bring up social engineering? Taxes, health care expenditure, education, military expenditure, climate change policy, etc. All those have to be based on something. Surely an empirically based social welfare function would be a better basis for policy decisions than what is currently done.

How much can one really trust "self-reported" happiness from countries that don't meet a minimum threshold of freedom?

Better than nothing.

The people of these countries may have inaccurate information about the reality of their situation or how it compares to other countries and they may fear reprisals depending on how they answer a survey. Do you think we can trust happiness surveys that come out of North Korea, for example?

This isn't really a good counter argument. Repression or misleading information will reduce the positiveness of the correlation between self-reported happiness and freedom. How would that cause a positive correlation between self-reported happiness and income to suddenly appear?

Untested, unproven models of "social welfare" are not a valid basis for making changes to how our society functions.

So, irrational preference for status quo? In that case, was it a bad idea for countries to move away from absolute monarchies to republics or constitutional monarchies because a few hundred years ago those ways of organizing society were 'unproven'?

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I am not against using empirical evidence to come up with rational economic policy.

What I am arguing against is the idea that it is currently possible to come up with a model of "social welfare" that would be useful in making these above decisions. Not only is the science simply not there to create anything of the kind, but the reality is no one could agree on what even goes into "social welfare". You talk about it as if it is a purely scientific question, but it's not. What someone thinks is good for society depends more on ideology than on data. Some people think social welfare might be maximized by making the distribution of income as close to equal as possible. Others might think social welfare might be maximized by ensuring that homosexuals are punished so that all of us don't go to hell when we die. Yet others might think that to maximize social welfare, one has to do whatever it takes to raise the average level of self-reported happiness surveyed among the population. Others might think that the society that exists today is only a tiny fraction of all the society that could exist throughout the fullness of time if humankind reaches its full potential and therefore that happiness today is secondary to achieving that potential.

Anyone who thinks they could even create a definition of social welfare that would enjoy widespread agreement is deluding themselves.

Not everything in existence can be meaningfully reduced to f = k1*a1^e1 + k2*a2^e2 + k3*a3^e3 + ...

Edited by Bonam
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Whichever. How does society fairly decide who should be able to determine what speech is 'correct' and 'incorrect'? If there is no fair method, then it is better not to restrict people's freedom of speech.

It's difficult, no doubt, and prone to failure to decide on such things. Yet, we do it all the time in a non-controversial way so it can be done.

As with any aspect of governance, there needs to be a cohesive process designed to engender confidence in stakeholders that outcomes should be as fair as possible.

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Anyone who thinks they could even create a definition of social welfare that would enjoy widespread agreement is deluding themselves.

Well... I'll probably finish my blog post for Judith Curry soon. Maybe that might change your mind a bit.

Edit: I will point out that governments often perform Cost-Benefit analyses which try to maximize the potential pareto improvement (which suggests that pareto principle is well accepted), also most people in society agree with principles like equality under the law, so there are some things that most people in society agree upon.

Edited by -1=e^ipi
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also most people in society agree with principles like equality under the law

Except many people have very different definitions of what the word 'equality' means. For example, a lot of people in Canada believe that natives should receive lesser sentences for their crimes because of the bad things that happened in the past. So your statement is really false even if it is superficially true.
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Here's another "denier" who might very well end up in jail.....but seriously, it's worth reading:

Professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert is a retired geologist and data computation expert. He has painstakingly examined and tabulated all NASA GISS’s temperature data series, taken from 1153 stations and going back to 1881. His conclusion: that if you look at the raw data, as opposed to NASA’s revisions, you’ll find that since 1940 the planet has been cooling, not warming.

Link: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/24/german-professor-nasa-fiddled-climate-data-unbelievable-scale/

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Here's another "denier" who might very well end up in jail.....but seriously, it's worth reading:

worth reading? Why so? Would that be because you presume it validates all your past MLW posting that called into question the surface temperature records? I note the article is written by that highly prolific British tabloid denier "journalist" Delingpole - the self declared "interpreter of interpretations"! Why there's even a reference to your past go-to guy, the denier blogger extraordinaire, Willard Watts. I do note as well though that your linked article doesn't say anything about the failures of Watts and just how many more years we'll have to wait for his much self-touted paper in the making - how many years have gone by now and we're still waiting anxiously for that Watts paper that will finally reveal all that is wrong with NASA, UAH, NOAA, JMA, BEST, etc.. Of course, these types of like challenges to the surface temperature record have all been punted... your linked article even speaks to the recent attempts by denier Homewood to claim "fiddling"... but somehow your linked article doesn't speak to the sound debunking Homewood has received.

of course, the easiest punt is to show that the temperature records, from independent agencies with independent processing all present like results. Notwithstanding satellite and surface temperature trends align.

and I'm shocked that GWPF would release this in timed coordination to COP21 - shocked I tells ya!

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... that highly prolific British tabloid denier "journalist" Delingpole - the self declared "interpreter of interpretations"! Why there's even a reference to your past go-to guy, the denier blogger extraordinaire, Willard Watts.

I'm interested in specific misdeeds by these two individuals that take them out of the running for you as a credible commentator on these topics.

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I'm interested in specific misdeeds by these two individuals that take them out of the running for you as a credible commentator on these topics.

Hey Mr, Hardner; what did you think of Mark Steyn's commentary at the climate hearing?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/08/mark-steyns-illuminating-and-entertaining-testimony-to-the-cruz-hearing-on-climate-today/

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I didn't read it until now. It seems like the usual overstatement I read from these types. The pattern goes like this: trump up some minor scientist and/or bloggers who haven't published any major challenges to the conventional thinking on Climate Change, or blow up some minor criticism of Climate Science and fashion it into a giant cover-up, and imply that temperatures are not going up.

Do you think temperatures aren't going up ?

Anyway, there are lots of legitimate ways to criticize the science and economics of Climate Change, but I don't see these ones as worth my time. Steyn even tries to tie the conspiracy into child sexual abuse, if you can believe that.

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Hey Mr, Hardner; what did you think of Mark Steyn's commentary at the climate hearing?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/08/mark-steyns-illuminating-and-entertaining-testimony-to-the-cruz-hearing-on-climate-today/

A lot of reading - but brilliantly stated. Nothing really new - but the compilation of deeds really does speak to the ongoing culture of fear and corruption of the activist climate community. One has to be brain dead not to uncomfortably reflect on the veracity of alarmist projections/predictions.

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One has to be brain dead not to uncomfortably reflect on the veracity of alarmist projections/predictions.

How about the alarmist tack that temperature records have been changed under a grand conspiracy ? Is that still a concern ? People don't seem to be doubting the fact that warming is really happening any more.

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How about the alarmist tack that temperature records have been changed under a grand conspiracy ? Is that still a concern ? People don't seem to be doubting the fact that warming is really happening any more.

The records HAVE been systematically altered to increase the level of alarm, however, you don't need a 'grand conspiracy' - what you need are data custodians who are 'true believers' looking any source of error that may result in an underestimate. They then 'correct' the error based on some psuedo-scientific rational resulting in a more alarm. Over the years the constant search only for 'errors' that underestimate the warming introduces a real bias into the records. Now these biases don't affect the headline conclusions about whether it is warming or not but they do have real policy impact because policies based on exaggerated records will be much harsher than they need to be in order to meet the goals.

Group think is a dangerous thing.

i.e. a lie is not a lie if you believe it to be the truth.

Edited by TimG
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The records HAVE been systematically altered to increase the level of alarm, however, you don't need a 'grand conspiracy' - what you need are data custodians who are 'true believers' looking any source of error that may result in an underestimate. They then 'correct' the error based on some psuedo-scientific rational resulting in a more alarm. Over the years the constant search only for 'errors' that underestimate the warming introduces a real bias into the records.

Group think is a dangerous thing.

i.e. a lie is not a lie if you believe it to be the truth.

By groups do you mean 97% of the world's publishing climate scientists?

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Cite please?

It is a continuous process. Each 'adjustment' has a superficial rationalization but the cumulative effect of only looking ways to adjust the data to cool the past or warm the present results in a real bias. Random chance should result in 50% of the adjustments going either way but 90%+ of the adjustments increase alarm.

Such biases are classic examples of how group think and an obsession with the 'consensus' can result in science that produces extremely misleading results.

Edited by TimG
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How about the alarmist tack that temperature records have been changed under a grand conspiracy ? Is that still a concern ? People don't seem to be doubting the fact that warming is really happening any more.

And they should not doubt it - that's the grand farce in the climate discussion. The world has cooled and warmed regularly - and even if we were all dead, the world would be warming now. Surely you know that. That's why Roman-era villages are being uncovered as glaciers retreat. That's why the Vikings settled, then retreated from Greenland. That's why vinyards used to thrive in England - and then later, they were skating on the Thames. All that before the Industrial Age. That's why I just have to roll my eyes as naive, ignorant or willfully blind "activists" keep shouting "Climate Change is Real!". DUH! The question has always been and still is - how much are humans exacerbating/adding to the natural warming that is occurring at this point in history? And therein lies what a skeptic is. To call these people "deniers" is nothing short of anti-science alarmism.

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It is a continuous process. Each 'adjustment' has a superficial rationalization but the cumulative effect of only looking ways to adjust the data to cool the past or warm the present results in a real bias.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAH_satellite_temperature_dataset#Corrections_made

There's a list of the UAH satellite corrections that I found from a google search. 10 corrections are listed, and of the seven that had an impact three corrections were negative and four were positive. This is one of those canned controversies that people bring up as proof of conspiracy.

If they correct the data to make the temperatures cooler, it's "aha ! they were covering up cooling" but if they correct the data to make the temperatures warmer, it's "they're fudging the data !"

Group think is a real thing but given that you yourself acknowledge warming is happening, don't you think that the clucking about temperature conspiracies is a little much ? I do.

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And they should not doubt it - that's the grand farce in the climate discussion. The world has cooled and warmed regularly - and even if we were all dead, the world would be warming now.

That's called an 'observation'. The science has gone further than to look at things, and has hypotheses over what causes these temperature differences - two major components being atmospheric gases and solar forcing.

To call these people "deniers" is nothing short of anti-science alarmism.

I draw the line at calling people deniers if they say temperatures aren't going up, and they have no smoking gun as to a large conspiracy.

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