In my opinion this entire sorry episode goes straight to the heart of the difference between the way alarmists like Williamson see the world, and the way normal people view the world. Alarmists seem to want their models, theories and opinions to be accepted as established fact. But the reality is their shaky theories are full of poorly supported conjecture and extrapolation.

Eric Worrall on WUWT, quoted by Dellers who has criticised Williamson's facile alarmism:

Friday, 16 September 2011

Candid Calor's Climatological Confessions

An insightful interview of a Dr Calor reported by Dr Briggs (Hat tip:  Hot stuff.  This could be a breakthrough for providing insight into the previously more mysterious thought processes of climatologists.  Perhaps the less virtual of them might see something of their own 'reality' here?  The words of Burns spring to mind:

 O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An' foolish notion
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us
An' ev'n Devotion

  Here is an extract from the interview:

'But satellites don’t directly measure temperature. Isn’t it so that they measure radiation and through a physical-statistical algorithm estimate temperature?
This is natural, yes.
This implies that there is uncertainty in that estimate: another plus and minus. Do you account for that in your estimates?
These satellites are calibrated by very complicated computers, a very expensive process. We are confident in the data they produce.
Taken in all, we are as sure as we are about anything that the temperature has increased a few tenths of a degree and that most of this increase is due to the activity of mankind.
How do we know that?
We build very beautiful, extraordinarily complex computer models which prove this. Although they are difficult to fully comprehend, at base they are very simple.
We know that carbon dioxide captures heat in the lower reaches of the atmosphere. The more CO2 there is, the more heat captured. We also know that a doubling of pre-industrial levels of CO2 will only raise the temperature an insignificant amount. Yes?
So we build into these models a feedback mechanism that says as more CO2 is added, the temperature increases non-linearly. We then run these models and we find exactly what we expected to see: increasing CO2 leads to a positive feedback in temperature!
But aren’t you just seeing what you put into the model? It’s not quite an independent verification of the theory.
You forget that we also have evidence that these models have produced simulations that look, after some processing, like actual observations. That should be enough proof that our theory is correct.
Perhaps. But aren’t there literally hundreds of knobs and dials that you need to tweak to “tune” the models so that they first produce those simulations? Do you have independent evidence that these models predicted new data better than predictions based on the assumption that your theory is wrong?
Look here, young man. I hope you are not going to take the denialist position. If we don’t do something now, by the time we confirm everything, it may be too late.
You can’t argue with that. Thank you for talking to us, Dr Calor.'

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