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Friday, July 25, 2008

RealClimate's analysis of the Monckton "paper," and my partial explanation for Roy Spencer's curious behavior exhibited during the Boxer hearing

RealClimate's analysis of the strange Monckton "paper" can be found here:

Below, comment #50 (not #1), which reflects an opinion on some of the odd psychology of the deniers (and now I have to look up "Dunning-Kruger effect" -- more on that later; ok, I googled it, and it explains a lot, see below the Marion Delgado comment):
  1. Marion Delgado Says:

    Okay, at some point even the sincere valid scientists clinging to the phlogiston are no longer going to be respected by their colleagues. So, no, they are not 100% people who are whores, liars, cranks, crackpots, out of their disciplines, over the hill, etc. etc.

    But it’s definitely approaching 99% of them, and since their numbers are approaching 1% of the relevant scientists, not sure why anyone should consider the 1% of the 1% that’s sincere, qualified, and actually doubts AGW to a strong degree. They’re a tiny and aging handful, and when they pass on, honest and skilled denialism on AGW will die with them.

    Moreover, science is not settled by the three-ring-circus that is a debate with glib charlatans like Monckton or Crichton. The climate denialism faithful are too lacking in education and fundamental scientific understanding to understand climate change themselves, so they turn to authorities, but unfortunately, they don’t even have the level of competence or discernment to pick real authorities, choosing science fiction writers, bored useless British royalty, and TV weathermen over atmospheric scientists; and they have fixed, obsessive delusions, for instance that (mostly “capitalist” but to a bizarre extreme) economics should determine science, or politics actually determines science. But whenever those things happen, that’s a failure of science.

    So the underlying problem is a lack of understanding of science coupled with a very bad Dunning-Kruger effect.

OK, this explains the incredible performance of Roy Spencer during the Boxer hearing this week -- he seemed like a little kid, squirming and using all kinds of body language to show his disagreements and frustration, odd tones of voice not suitable for such a hearing, which displayed his lack of maturity. I have often noticed that the behavior of the crowd of commenters on the blogs like climateaudit resembles that of 12-year-old boys (sorry, men, but girls have a different type of behavior that does not describe what I have seen on the denialist blogs).

From Wikipedia (

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon wherein people who have little knowledge (or skill) tend to think they know more (or have more skill) than they do, while others who have much more knowledge tend to think that they know less. Dunning and Kruger were awarded a 2000 Ig Nobel prize for their work.

The phenomenon was demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December 1999.[2]

Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" (as Charles Darwin put it).[3] They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,

  1. Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
  2. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
  3. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
  4. If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.


Anonymous said...

I am a lead on AR4 wg3 choosing to remain anonymous. The kind of ad hominem attack shown on this blog is baseless, nappropriate, gross generalization and truely harmful to our effort. Many qualified people not on the IPCC have provided reasonable response to peer reviewed literature and IPCC studies incl. TAR AND AR4 etc. I believe that the UNFCCC (Rio) conventions have greatly contributed to the difficulties we face today to further climate science by allowing science and policy to be confounded by precautionary principle. Within IPCC unknown to the public there is extreme heated debate esp. on when and how to frame perceived risk by, well, basically fabricating scientific consensus and probability of outcomes. The only reason I continue this is because I believe someone has to counter balance the deception.

Tenney said...

Regardless, the peer-reviewed research since AR4 was published all points in the same direction or worse.