Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2010

The Hockey Stick Icon

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 5:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Mann says hockey stick should not have become ‘climate change icon':”

“I always thought it was somewhat misplaced to make it a central icon of the climate change debate,” he said.”

He thought it. He just didn’t mention it anywhere except the East Anglia emails.

— DRJ

40 Responses to “The Hockey Stick Icon”

  1. And here I thought not believing in the hockey stick model was tantamount to being a Holocaust Denier.

    Have I mentioned how much I detest computer modelers? Especially when they have a political axe to grind, as they usually do.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  2. Mann would have more credibility if he hadn’t engaged in fraud to hide those “uncertainties” he now falsely claims he always made “clear”.

    Refusing in a congressional hearing to release basic statistical methodology will do that to one’s reputation.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  3. SPQR, it was aaaaaalllll about the politics.

    I dealt with these types in graduate school. Remember Paul Ehrlich? No one ever makes these people accountable for their predictions.

    And they want to fundamentally mess with the world economy based on their computer model. Which, may I remind you, is not back-predictive. So why trust it forward-predictive?

    Also, remember “Nuclear Winter”?

    When the science bus is driven by politicians, bad things happen.

    Sorry to be irritable, but I try to be a good scientist. These people make me angry.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  4. Angry, Eric? Why should you be angry that Mann and his co-conspirators created a graph of temperature proxies, crafted from carefully selected and artfully pruned graphes, all to specifically and dramatically, falsely, illustrate the claims that recent warming was unique — but now rues that it was made into an “icon” ?

    Tarring and feathering went out of style far too soon.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. You know, on campus, it is still the kiss of death to be a “climate doubter.”

    Even though the freaking models are uncertain, and politically motivated. I’m by no means a famous scientist, but I take my profession seriously, and I am aware of the limitations of my field and my own knowledge. I teach my students that the three most important words in science are “I don’t know.” Because we can fix that. But if one is certain of something that is not true, well, that is very difficult to fix. Ask Al Gore. I mean, after he cleans up from his last massage.

    Hubris” was a crime in the ancient world, and for good reason.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  6. It’s not out-of-style, just practice – like the death penalty.

    AD - RtR/OS! (209868)

  7. Could Mann’s Hockey Stick dreams be derailed by the release of Gore’s Second Chakra? Gibberish begets gibberish.

    dfbaskwill (c021f2)

  8. Silly readers…..how could you not have known Mann’s intent? How dare you judge him now for your failure?!

    As Don Rickles might say, “You’re a bunch of hockey pucks!” Mann just tried to give you the shaft, is all.

    Ed from SFV (b9f6bb)

  9. Mann, “what I meant to say before you interrupted me was …

    HeavenSent (a9126d)

  10. LIAR!

    Dmac (ab1849)

  11. #5 Eric Blair:

    I’m by no means a famous scientist, but I take my profession seriously, and I am aware of the limitations of my field and my own knowledge. I teach my students that the three most important words in science are “I don’t know.” Because we can fix that.

    An extremely important concept~understanding that there is much we just don’t know. One of my favorite illustrations is to ask what your neighbors ate today…each meal & snack, for half a dozen houses in each direction.

    I mean, if you don’t even know that, how can you presume to make economic decisions for someone you don’t know…whether half a city or half a world away?

    And the guys who tell me they know the average global temperature to within a tenth of a degree? I understand, from a scientific point of view, that it is a useful fiction to work with…but it has no place at all in explaining that work to a layman.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  12. In a related development, Barack Obama was heard expressing regret that hope and change had become a central icon for his Administration. He said that he has no idea how that happened.

    JVW (8aff2c)

  13. I have heard that at one time some engineers claimed that trains would not be able to go faster than 25 mph or some such, because “all of the air would rush out” and passengers would die. If that tale is indeed true, that might be the earliest example of mathematical models having nothing to do with reality, but definitely not the last.

    At some point I picked up the idea that there were two perceptions about scientific knowledge. One perspective thinks of scientific knowledge as a large but finite amount of information, and like a huge pie that you can attack from the outside, with each bite it is gradually conquered.

    The other view is scientific information is like starting at a point in the dark and exploring greater and greater distances from the start, as you learn more you are actually presented with more questions, and after a period of time you know much more than what you once did, but the ratio of what you know to what you have questions on becomes smaller and smaller.

    Life was simple when physicists thought atoms were like little balls, still simple when it was like a solar system with electron “planets” orbiting a nuclear “sun”, multi-shaped cloud distributions of the probability of an electron’s presence in the vicinity of a conglomeration of atomic particles and subparticles held together by who knows what forces, not so simple anymore.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  14. EW, I like to ask my overconfident students what makes the bread pop up in a toaster when it does.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  15. I like to ask my overconfident students what makes the bread pop up in a toaster when it does.

    I suspect it’s a bi-metal coil.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  16. Hi John: bimetallic strips that change their shape with extended heating are indeed one way. But there are others. Here is a fascinating look:

    http://home.howstuffworks.com/toaster.htm

    My point, with my students, is how much we take for granted, and how little we know about things in our everyday lives. It ought to make us more humble than we are!

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  17. Yeah, Eric, I’ve said for about 30 years, “The more you know, the less you know.” I think that covers it pretty well.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  18. Eric Blair – The thing I really see different in my youth (many years ago), and my nephew now is how many things I tore apart and tried to put back together. He is a reasonably smart 9 year old who loves to read, but I don’t think he has ever taken a screwdriver to anything in attempt to find out what makes it tick. Sometimes I wonder I survived, and I definitely have to wonder what would have happened in my youth had we had VHS recorders when I was nine. I’m picturing gears and shafts and tiny motors spread all over the living room floor.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  19. To paraphrase the bit from Socrates: I am the wisest of men, and yet the stupidest of men. Stupid because there is so much I do not know. Wise because I am aware of the fact.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  20. HB, there is so much integrated circuitry today, it is tough to take things apart! I’m a geneticist, not an engineer. But my nine year old has gotten interested in simple electronics, and so I am learning right alongside him, and I have the soldering gun burns to prove it.

    But he and I are starting to understand circuits and such. We made a light sensitive nightlamp (it turns on when the overhead lights go out, using a photoresistor). And we are getting the principles behind the circuits. Well, my son is. It takes me a while longer.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  21. I remember when I was nine or ten my parents got me for Christmas a crystal radio kit. Which I assembled and spent hours listening to. They still remark that they had intended it to be more of a building thing but I spent at least a year glued to it listening to every thing I could find on the tiny little ear piece. Never did get to interested in electronic theory though. I do remember my Dad (EE and Comp Sci) explaining why it wouldn’t work if you installed the diode backwards.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  22. For my son, it is building robots. So we are working on sensors and motors. Bit by bit, we are getting it together. It’s tough, since the really *cool* robots are VERY complicated, and we are starting with quite simple ones.

    This is silly, but a lot of fun:

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/12/how_to_make_a_bristlebot.html

    My son scaled one up to a scrubbrush that cruises about nicely.

    You can buy commercial ones:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjdCiigaKi0

    They are surprisingly creepy looking. Which kids love, of course.

    They aren’t robots, though. Now we are starting to tinker with these:

    http://www.solarbotics.com/robot_kits/

    I”m way above my paygrade with much of this.

    At least we are doing things together!

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  23. EB, my favorite question is when the discussion turns to economic systems, and someone brings up the efficiency of central-planning, and you reach in your pocket, bring out the ubiquitous Tichonderoga #2 pencil, and ask them to detail every step in the procurement of the raw materials needed, the transport required, and the actual production machinery, plus packaging, distribution, etc?
    Then you ask them where is that office that laid-out all of the details that we just discussed?

    AD - RtR/OS! (209868)

  24. Eric #20.

    In my Post-Socratic education I know enough to know I don’t know enough.

    arch (24f4f2)

  25. Professor Michael Mann conspired to suppress criticism of his work rather than welcoming it as an essential part of the scientific process. What Mann created was not science, it was political advocacy to benefit himself and his political allies. The hockey stick should be the icon of scientific fraud, because that is precisely what is was.

    arch (24f4f2)

  26. I wasn’t paying close attention to the climate discussion in the ’70s, but have been following Al’s Glowbull Warming since it first starting getting traction in the ’80s. Going back to the ’70s stuff, the big fear was The Return Of The Ice Age. Heh.

    The neat thing is that the proposed measures to avoid the perils of TROTIA just happen to be the same things that will save us from AGW. Amazing, isn’t it?

    Red County Pete (fa0b31)

  27. At least he’s honest with himself.

    Scientists and their egos are easy to manipulate. They love that feeling of control, even after they are used by people who are less smart and more capable. I bet he still swells with pride when he thinks about the consequences of his bogus diagram and all the garbage that was given credit because he is a professional scientist.

    Remember this next time a politician or judge assures you that the science is settled. Settled by whom and for what purpose?

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  28. #14 Eric Blair:

    I like to ask my overconfident students what makes the bread pop up in a toaster when it does.

    I remember when you first mentioned that here~and in spite of having fixed a number of toasters over the years, I had to think about it for a bit… 😉

    #24 AD – RtR/OS!:

    and ask them to detail every step in the procurement of the raw materials needed

    I usually never even get that far, when asking the question I outlined earlier…

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  29. Oh, and at nine years old, I remember the look on my mother’s face when she came in the back door into the utility room where I had the furnace apart to see what made the air move…

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  30. Whoops, EW. I didn’t mean to repeat myself! Gotta watch out for that as the years pass, I guess.

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  31. If only Molly Hagerty had a hockey stick handy back in 2006.

    Dave (in MA) (037445)

  32. To paraphrase, Science is an ass. More specifically, some scientists.

    Dmac (ab1849)

  33. Or to paraphrase Thomas Dolby – “he blinded me with SCIENCE!”

    Dmac (ab1849)

  34. The only thing better than an ad hominem attack . . . is an ad hominem lie.

    Icy Texan (3bdfb3)

  35. And with that, I feel like I am over this site. It has been a fun ride, trying to hide my identidy. Signing off as, among many many others…

    boo-sox
    Seattle Slew
    South Carolina Staunch Conservative
    Ed from PA
    Intelliology
    Jeffrey Diamond
    Antibody
    PalinLuvah
    truthnjustice

    “I work here is done” 😉

    boo-sox (8960ab)

  36. i always buy my robot kits online from a reputable store`”;

    Dylan White (d99068)

  37. there are also robot kits on ebay that are made in china and they are great for starters too.,~

    Car Equalizers  (3200b8)

  38. yeah there are lots of Robot kits on e-bay but i always prefer to use the ones made by LEGO `

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