Friday, 15 August 2014

William Connolley supports the climate faith against expert opinions

Of the current litigation by Prof. Michael Mann against The National Review and Mark Steyn, William Connolley (the Stoat) states... and so on. Found by the lost.


  1. William Connolley / August 15, 2014
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    > William Connolley supports the climate faith against expert opinions

    Congratulations. You spelt my name right. Very few “skeptics” manage to do that.

    However, that’s about as good as it gets. I “support” the std.ipcc viewpoint on global warming: see for example or That’s not faith; that’s based on the published scientific research. And even the “skeptic” world admits that the balance of expertise is overwhelmingly on the IPCC “side”.

    Steyn isn’t an expert on the science; he’s a know-nothing.

  2. (to which he replied)

    manicbeancounter / August 15, 2014
    The expert opinions I refer to are legal ones, not in climatology.
    You do not appear to have got beyond the title. Your opinions on climate give you no special legal insights. In fact, your inbuilt prejudices in the case seem to have resulted in an inexpert evaluation which is clearly wrong. You should either provide a counter argument, or admit you are wrong.

    Looking at the realclimate consensus article, the point 4 is an issue of ethics. That is outside the expertise of climatology. Also which policy evaluation, effective policy implementation, and minimizing any adverse side effects are other areas where climatologists have no expertise to offer.

    Missing from both articles is drawing on the wisdom from other areas (climatology is very much a new and applied subject) and the past dangers of consensus and group belief. For instance, medicine provides many examples where “expert” consensus defended harmful practices and procedures against new scientific knowledge.

  3. (to which I replied. Moderation now off, it seems)

    William Connolley / August 15, 2014
    > point 4 is an issue of ethics. That is outside the expertise of climatology

    Very perceptive. As the RC article says:

    1. The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]
    2. People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)
    3. If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]
    4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)

    I’ve put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It’s probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are. Most (all?) of us here on RealClimate are physical scientists – we can talk sensibly about past, present and future changes in climate, but potential impacts on ecosystems or human society are out of our field. If you want to see the IPCCs own summary, it’s here.

    So, errm, yes. We’re well aware that its out of our field. I said so. It would be great if you could acknowledge that, rather than writing as though I’d omitted it.

  4. (and his reply. I thought this was somewhat dull, and so didn't reply. However, he's made several appeals to me to reply ( so I thought I ought to)

    manicbeancounter / August 15, 2014
    There are number of points wrong with your highlighted statement, but principally that the vague demarcation between expertise and opinion is not adhered to. I do not hear empty opinion statements on ethics or policy by Phd climatologists being challenged by colleagues as being outside their area of expertise. But if an expert on policy-making and policy implementation, like Lord Lawson challenges policy with cogent arguments, they are called climate deniers. It is an empty statement.

    But that is not the subject of my article. I have accused you of going against expert opinion, and substantiated that accusation. You had the opportunity to answer my accusation with counter-arguments. Your evasion leads me to conclude that I am correct. You still have that opportunity to mount a counter-argument. I suggest you actually read what I have said, and the various briefs that I quote, and provide the counter-arguments. This is what I understand to be debate. It does not have to be tonight, or even over the weekend. But until such time, I will keep on gently reminding you that one of your dogmatic opinions is unsubstantiated.

  5. William Connolley / August 17, 2014
    > I have accused you of going against expert opinion, and substantiated that accusation.

    I said Steyn was running away, by trying to get the case dismissed. You quote Steyn’s AC brief, which says that he’s like the case to be dismissed. What you’ve quoted from Steyn supports what I’m saying, not what you’re saying.

    The “expert opinion” you quote in support isn’t expert legal opinion, its primarily from journos. Its their opinion, which is fair enough, but not legal. You’ve also quoted Steyn in support of his own claims, but he’s a bozo not an expert.

    Its odd to see you suddenly so deferential to expert opinion. The weight of expert opinion on the science of climate change, which you’re rather reluctant to discuss, is clearly the IPCC’s. But in that case, oh no, you reject the expert view. This puzzle is easily resolved: you’re simply accepting the views that coincide with your own.