Burden of proof

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, July 16th, 2012 - 54 comments
Categories: climate change, humour - Tags:

54 comments on “Burden of proof”

  1. Galeandra 1

    Two hours without a comment. Nothing to worry about then? Seemed pretty logical to me though.

    • McFlock 1.1

      yep. I guess the local tories are still het up about saying only 3 people attended the asset sales marches and that poll trends mean nothing other than a labour leadership coup.

  2. Murray Olsen 2

    Or possibly what this guy is saying is so obvious to anyone with half a brain that only Pete George could disagree.

    • NickS 2.1

      And Pete’s too busy “trying” to save Peter Dunne from overdue political extinction due to the consequences of his own actions :3

  3. Recall the product, sort of has my vote, but rather we didn’t create the ‘produce’ in the first place, recalling can be so bloody, but inevitable.

  4. Richard Christie 4

    Today the space-trippers who make up Climate (cough cough) Science Coalition opened their case against NIWA, accusing them of scientific fraud and covering up allegedly skewed temperature records.



    • Carol 4.1

      LOL @flatearthers!

    • Anne 4.2

      As someone who contributed to the gathering and dissemination of temperature data in the 70s and 80s, let me assure readers the claims from this Climate Science Coalition – or whatever these ideological right-wing nutters call themselves – is piffle.

      Remember who their parliamentary representative used to be? John Boscawen. I heard him in The House make some idiotic statements that must have left the real climate scientists reeling in disbelief. The weather instruments at Albert Park for instance were in an enclosure separated by a scientifically acceptable distance (as laid down by the WMO) from both current and future growing flora.

      I look forward to NIWA and their lawyers turning them into a nation-wide laughing stock.

      • Richard Christie 4.2.1

        I suspect that rather than deliver to the CSC a well deserved bollocking, the courts will just dismiss the action and state that the peer reviewed literature is correct forum for scientific debate.

        Courts of law are ill equipped to adjudicate on science and have previously shown themselves as scientifically illiterate on too many occasions to count.

        • Anne

          I expect you’re right RC but even so… it could and should give the Greens and Labour a chance to give this bunch of venal nut-cases a well deserved bollocking in the debating chamber.

          And weka (below) is so right. What a waste of increasingly meagre NIWA resources.

      • weka 4.2.2

        What a waste of NIWA resources though, and in the same week when staff cuts were announced.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Well, there’s one solution to that – the judge in his finding fines the CSC triple full costs and awards them to NIWA. These fines to be personally met by the CSC backers who names will also be made public.

          • Richard Christie

            Action has been brought by a Trust I believe, fronting for CSC.

            Can the trustees be made liable? .

        • Fortran


          Was it not three people only in Lauder, which had been automated ?

          • mike e

            fartrain we are an agricultural based economy we need every bit of help we can get.
            just more short sighted crap from nactional.
            look at biosecurity more cuts more mistakes.

          • weka


            As president of the International Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution, ICACGP, which reports to the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, IAMAS, I write you concerning your article entitled “NIWA station comments ‘misinformed'”.

            I and my colleagues have been collaborating successfully with the NIWA scientists for over 25 years. The measurements of atmospheric measurements made at Lauder and related sites, by NIWA, provide unique and very significant contributions both to fundamental research in Earth Science and provide a key part of the evidence base, required for the monitoring, evolution and development of international environmental policy

            I therefore disagree strongly with the opinions of a spokesperson for Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce quoted in the Otago Daily Times. The spokesperson denies the substantive issue and focusing on the appropriateness or the international scientific community commenting on a decision made by NIWA management.

            Whilst respecting that the Management of NIWA have difficult choices to make to establish the priorities for their evolving research programme, it would be irresponsible and reprehensible of myself and ICACGP not to point out that their current plans lead to a loss of a unique capability in the Southern Hemisphere of strategic global long term significance, which has been and is a credit to New Zeeland.

            Professor John P. Burrows M.A. Ph.D.

            Director and  Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen Germany and Fellow of the UK National Environmental Research Council Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Oxfordshire U.K.

            My name ist Justus Notholt, and I am professor at the University of Bremen in Germany. I have co-operated a long time with NIWA Lauder.

            The suggested cut at Lauder is a disaster for global climate research. Lauder is one of the very few sites in the southern hemisphere where climate change is measured. Climate change requires observations for centuries, and Lauder has a long and very good record.

            I do not understand why in the northern hemisphere the importance of investigating climate change is increasing and at the same time the atmospheric observations at Lauder are closed.

            The arguments about the financial investments by NIWA and mentioning the total number of employments of 66 persons are misleading. What is planned is simply closing the atmospheric observations at NIWA Lauder, and for me that’s a big mistake.

            The concerns expressed about the Lauder station by scientists around the world can be explained by the very high quality of Lauder data making it the unique station of this sort in the Southern Hemisphere.

            Such high quality can be achieved only if measurements are checked by measurement scientists. Technicians can ensure the good functioning of the instruments but they are not trained for checking the validity of the data.

            If NIWA wants to keep Lauder as a measurement station  recognised worldwide, it is crucial to maintain a competent scientific staff. This necessity is a pre-requisite for international measurement networks. Only carefully checked measurements time series are useful for the study of the evolution of climate parameters.

            Sophie Godin-Beekmann (CNRS, France)

            Comments from other scientists and interested parties is at 

            • weka

              From yesterday

              The scientists and international agencies involved in atmosphere research have pointed out Lauder’s strategic location, its global value, and aired concerns that job cuts at the station could jeopardise the quality of the data collected.

              An email sent to the ministers last week, signed by 200 international scientists, voiced “extreme concern” about proposed changes at the facility.

              Details at

  5. Bob 5

    As I said on the last Climate Change thread, If you frame your arguement solely around pollution then I completely agree. We should be doing more to reduce reduce pollution in our waterways, we should be doing more to reduce CO (that’s carbon monoxide, not dioxide) Sulphur and other pollutants in our air, we should be looking at ways of reducing consuption of plastics, and other substances that take millenia to break down, we should be recycling more heavy metals from cell phones, computers, batteries etc and fining those who just dump them. We should be doing a lot to protect our environment for future generations, and we have made a start, but trying to change peoples mindsets on science which cannot be proven (there is a lot of comelling evedence on both sides of the arguement, so the public will never buy into it fully) is not the right way to go about it. Push the direct environmental inpacts, heavy metal poisoning, respiratory issues, pictures of rubbish accumulating in the natural environment etc and make changes based on these reasons.

    If the side effect of this is the reduction of CO2, and greenhouse effect/global warming/climate change or what ever they decide to call it next is achieved, then we win on both sides. But as you can see, there is always going to be scepticism of science when they change the theory and say its proven, then change it again, it’s alot easier to prove our air quality is causing health issues, water quality causing loss of aquatic life and reduction of natural habitat is causing the decline of animal species. Work from this basis and the masses will follow, work from the climate change platform, and people (including myself) will constantly push back until proven.

    By the way, Scientists can’t even ‘Prove’ what causes Gravity, there are theories (just like there are Climate Change theories), so saying Climate Change is proven is just rediculous. Not one single climate model that has managed to predict the last 14 years of slowed warming!!!

    While I’m at it, can someone please explain to me how the ETS helps? I can see how it helps collect revenue, just not what they are using this revenue for.

    • Richard Christie 5.1

      No Bob, (I’m trying to be nice here), there isn’t “comelling evedence on both sides of the arguement”

      Do some homework.

      • Bob 5.1.1

        Here you go Richard, from the beloved Muller himself, look at Figure 1-5, seems to be a fairly constant cycle in climate, of which we are in a standard warming phase http://muller.lbl.gov/pages/IceAgeBook/history_of_climate.html

        • Bob

          I especially love this comment ‘These data should frighten you. All of civilization developed during the last interglacial, and the data show that such interglacials are very brief. Our time looks about up. Data such as these are what led us to state, in the Preface, that the next ice age is about to hit us, any millennium now. It does not take a detailed theory to make this prediction. We don’t necessarily know why the next ice age is imminent (at least on a geological time scale), but the pattern is unmistakable.’

        • Richard Christie

          The “the climate has changed before” PRATT.

          Well done Bob, you’ve referenced the first PRATT on the list. Please check before you bore us with the rest:


          I’ve every scientific institution on the planet on my side of the argument, you’ve got, let’s see, Ian Wishart, Anthony Watts and Chris Monckton NMHL (Never a Member of House of Lords) and a few internet blogs.

    • Murray Olsen 5.2

      What different theories of gravity are there, Bob?

      • Bob 5.2.1

        Here you go Murray, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation the current theory is that a body of mass causes a ‘bend’ in the spacetime continuium as mooted by the theory of General Relativity. Although the theory of General Relativity itself does not tie in with Quantum Mechanics without the unproven String Theory, therefore gravity cannot be proven. So as Richard Christie would say, do some homework.

  6. Murray Olsen 6

    Do you get your knowledge of climate science from wikipedia as well?
    If you think gravity can’t be proven, you should have no objection to jumping off the Sky Tower. However, I’ll be charitable and accept that you may have meant that scientists do not have a single theory that combines all the forces of nature in a single mathematical framework. Is that what you meant to say? If you’re going to comment on science, you need to be a little more precise. And as for homework, I’ve done heaps of it, but thanks for your concern.

    • Bob 6.1

      My apologies on 2 fronts Murray, firstly the link to Wikipedia was the simplist link to provide without knowing your level of scientific knowledge, secondly, I should have been more specific with my reference to Gravity. I just get annoyed by the ‘Scientific Consensus’ and ‘Scientifically Proven’ lines that get thrown around on this site without any ability to back it up (apart from IPCC reports, which only compile the latest scientific findings, which people here seem to take as hard proof).

      • Richard Christie 6.1.1

        Wrong again Bob.
        It’s the climate change deniers who harp on about proof.
        Climate scientists evaluate the evidence.

      • Richard Christie 6.1.2

        Actually Bob, your comment

        I just get annoyed by the ‘Scientific Consensus’ and ‘Scientifically Proven’ lines that get thrown around on this site without any ability to back it up (apart from IPCC reports, which only compile the latest scientific findings, which people here seem to take as hard proof).

        should really disqualify you from further comment.

        “…without any ability to back it up (apart from”

        (wait for it)

        “…apart from IPCC reports…”

        (now the knockout)

        “…which only compile the latest scientific findings…”


        What would be a better source of evidence for scientific consensus Bob?

        A hyperlink to a no-name blog?

        The Oregon Petition?

        Rodney Hide’s say so?

  7. Zetetic 7

    the joke is the theory of climate change is far better understood and proven than gravity theory.

    • Bob 7.1

      The joke is, people believe your statement to be true

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        You really should explain to us what you think you mean by these three words: theory, evidence and proof.

        You keep using them, but I’m not sure why.

        • Bob

          In the context of what I have been writing on this thread, I am using ‘Theory’ as an idea, something that may explain what is happening, ‘Evidence’ being what has been measured and gathered (based on current knowledge) which unfortunately, in the climate debate is being used to fit the theory, rather than the other way around, and ‘Proof’ can only ever be used loosley in science. To gain recognition of proof in science you have to have evidence to support your theory to a probability of 5 Sigma (1 in 3,500,000 chance of you being wrong).

          The Climate Change ‘Theory’ uses data gathered from a huge range of sources (temperature records, Ice core samples, satellite data, tree rings, our knowledge of Milankovich cycles, Sun spot records etc) which is used as ‘Evidence’ and tries to bring them all together to say that Humans are now causing the Earth to warm faster than previous models expected.

          There are many issues I have with this, there has never been a climate change model that has predicted a trend for any 5 year period (apart from retrospectively amending them for unforseen occurances like La Nina, if the science was sorted they would have already predicted the La Nina events!), temperature records are only a couple of hundred years old (a blink of an eye in long term climate), Ice core samples show CO2 following increases in warming which is explained away by then having a positive feedback causing more warming (which model explains when we hit the magical point where this turns back to glaciation? This must happen otherwise the positive feedback would surely warm the planet exponentially?), satellite data I have no problem with, other than the small amount of data in terms of historical reference, Tree rings are an in-exact yet useful tool, and Milankovich cycles are themselves disputed in scientific circles.

          I hope this helps (while opening me up to expected criticism, which I thoroughly welcome)

          • Richard Christie


            • Bob

              Care to elaborate?

              • Colonial Viper

                All noise no signal

                • Bob

                  Thank you for your enlightening input into the discussion CV, you really are a bundle of knowledge. Good to see that once again, when faced with an absence of anything worthwhile to add the discussion you aren’t disheartened and comment worthlessly anyway.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just same as you

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I’ll put it in words you may be able to understand:

                    You’re spouting waffle. Everything you say is wrong.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    Oh dear.


                    “All noise no signal” is a concise and complete summation of your contribution to this thread. It is also a phrase that is well known to me at least, since it comes up frequently in discussions of matters scientific. An apt response in other words.

                    Draco also sums it up nicely.

                    You don’t appear to know what a theory is. You don’t appear to know what the scientific method is, nor indeed how it has been applied over the last one-hundred plus years in climate science.

                    The only thing left for me to do is to quote Wolfgang Pauli: Das is nicht einmal falsch.

                    You mentioned satellite data.

                    I note that it shows stratospheric cooling precisely as predicted by Manabe and Weatherald in 1967.

                    Patience running out, better things to do…

                  • mike e

                    Bob you must be doug’s cousin the one with a spade in his head.
                    NASA spends $13 billion a year on climate research
                    BOB just makes it up for nothing.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      NASA spends $13 billion a year on climate research

                      This number is definitely not correct.

                    • Bob

                      Kotahi and Mike, Whoops, here is NASA telling us there is no meaningful comparison of models to observed global temperature change:
                      “The analysis by Hansen et al. (2005), as well as other
                      recent studies (see, e.g., the reviews by Ramaswamy
                      et al. 2001; Kopp et al. 2005b; Lean et al. 2005; Loeb
                      and Manalo-Smith 2005; Lohmann and Feichter
                      2005; Pilewskie et al. 2005; Bates et al. 2006; Penner
                      et al. 2006), indicates that the current uncertainties
                      in the TSI and aerosol forcings are so large that they
                      preclude meaningful climate model evaluation by
                      comparison with observed global temperature change.
                      These uncertainties must be reduced significantly for
                      uncertainty in climate sensitivity to be adequately con-
                      strained (Schwartz 2004). Helping to address this chal-
                      lenging objective is the main purpose of the National
                      Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glory
                      mission, a remote sensing Earth-orbiting observatory”


                    • Colonial Viper

                      Or if you ignore Bob’s shitty broken link, made up quotes and missing document, this is the latest actual stuff from NASA:


                      A new U.S. space agency study warns the Earth this century could see rapid and catastrophic climate changes if man-made global warming levels are allowed to reach an internationally-recognized so-called “safe limit” of two degrees Celsius…

                      The scientists say looking at how the prehistoric climate responded to natural changes gives them more insight into determining a dangerous level of man-made global warming for today’s world.

                      Even NASA’s own website says:

                      The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling:


                    • rosy

                      Anyways, the American Meteorological Society (where Bob’s link goes to) state that:

                      In 2007, the AMS issued the information statement “Climate Change: An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society”:
                      “…there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond… Important goals for future work include the need to understand the relation of climate at the state and regional level to the patterns of global climate and to reverse the decline in observational networks that are so critical to accurate climate monitoring and prediction.”

                      That statement holds until Sept 2012. More on their position here, Bob. I reckon the members don’t have a problem with climate change models, in general.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Hey. Bob, do you find it demoralising when it takes people less than half an hour to expose your dishonest misuse of selective quotes?

                      Telling lies about NASA just makes you look deceitful, and says nothing whatsoever about NASA.

                      I have a question: are you deceitful or deceived? Are you consciously lying, or just parroting lies you’ve been spoon-fed?

  8. Mark 8

    Good stuff Bob, well written.
    Unfortunately STANDARD science is that if anything doesn’t fit their model of mutually encouraged and supported mumbo jumbo (all caused by John Key directly) it is obviously wrong, and you are obviously less intelligent/perceptive/honest/caring/green than them here.
    But don’t give up, we all have a duty to show these people up, with their hypocrisy and propaganda- inspired delusions. Unfortunately (or fortunately) not many people read this blog, so the moral & intellectual paucity of the left is not as exposed as it needs to be.
    I am hoping more people will study Sociology 101, that and a bit of intellectual maturity makes it very easy to see the “arguments” here for what they are.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1

      “We all have a duty…”

      So go on then. We’re waiting for you to make some sort of point. You must have some sort of supporting argument for your position beyond the above. What’s that? You’d finished? Well, allow me to retort…

      • Bob 8.1.1

        No Kotahi, it is not up to the dissenters to make a point regarding Climate Change, we aren’t the ones wanting to add a tax that in effect does nothing to solve a problem we haven’t yet conclusively proved!

        Show me one model that predicts glaciation (I haven’t yet found one) as a result of AGW. At no time in the planets history has the temperature moved 1 degree higher than current without this occurring, so why would now be any different? If the science was settled (as everyone here seems to believe) this should stick out like a sore thumb!

        Mark, thank you for your kind words, and I agree with you completely. This is actually part of the reason the more and more people on the street are at odds with the Climate Change theories, because as soon as you question the ‘believers’ like those on this site you just get comments like ‘Arghhhh’, ‘All noise no signal’, ‘You’re spouting waffle. Everything you say is wrong’ and ‘What’s that? You’d finished? Well, allow me to retort (great quote by the way, just not in the context of this discussion)’ without any attempt at answering the questions put forward.

        After all the comments back to me, still not one person willing to put there hand up and explain to me how the ETS helps, let alone trying to explain why the ‘settled science’ can’t predict La Nina events and their severity, or where the tipping point is to the start of the next Ice Age.

        • RedLogix


          Here is a proof:

          If A is longer than B, and B is longer than C … then A is longer than C.

          This statement is absolutely true. It can be proven to be true always, there can be no exceptions. (In strict mathematical terms we would also tie down the precise meaning of the word ‘longer’, but for the purpose of this simple discussion I’m assuming the plain obvious meaning.)

          This sort of absolute truth is the domain of logic, mathematics and parts of philosophy. Many of these truths get titled “Theorems’. For instance Pythagoras got a very famous one about right angled triangles named after him.

          In physical sciences by contrast there are no absolute truths. There are no ‘proofs’ in the same sense. What we have instead is ideas or ‘hypothesis’ (I’ll avoid using the word ‘theory’ because it’s easily confused with ‘theorem’) and a body of evidence.

          For some sciences, for instance gravity, we have an enormous body of evidence that backs an hypothesis which we regard as for all practical purposes as true. Note carefully; we cannot ‘prove’ gravity. We cannot even ‘prove’ the Higgs boson that we hypothesise will be the cause of gravity. But this does not matter. Asking for ‘proof’ of gravity is like asking for ‘proof’ of Mozart. It simply does not apply.

          What does matter in science is this: We put up a hypothesis, which is another word for an “idea”. In the case of AGW we have a whole bunch of perfectly reasonable ideas, some of which have been around for almost a century and sustained much scrutiny. Based on these ideas we have constructed a model of planetary climate which strongly suggests that more than 350 ppm of CO2 for any extended period is a bad idea… at least in terms of 9 billion odd humans on the planet as well.

          We then look for evidence to either support the hypothesis or support the ‘null hypothesis’. Constructing these tests for statistical significance takes a substantial degree of skill in the science, statistics, and the hard logical thinking. Tamino at Open Mind is the most accessible of these people. If you, as I have done, spend a month or so reading his superbly professional material you will be well rewarded. The real power of his work is that he pays attention to the real meanings in the information. For instance:

          It’s “only” 3-sigma. As I said earlier, the “5-sigma” requirement isn’t right. And let me ask you in all seriousness: if I told you that a train was speeding toward your own children but I could only prove it to 3-sigma, would you say, “I’ll wait until you get 5-sigma before telling them to get off the railroad tracks”?

          As a result of decades of gathering vast amounts of data, detailed research and study our present understanding is that the AGW hypothesis is far more probably true than any other alternate hypothesis. That is as good a result as you ever get in science, and for all practical purposes it’s all we need.

          It is not of course ‘absolute’ proof. When you demand this, you are asking for something that is irrelevant.

          • Murray Olsen

            A good explanation of how science actually works, RedLogix. Many scientists also work with the idea of falsifiability – that any theory or hypothesis, to be scientific, must be falsifiable. In the case of AGW, I suppose this would require coming up with reasonable scientific explanations for all the data that have been gathered, which make different predictions to the accepted ones. I myself would expect that these reasonable explanations would come from someone with a degree of expertise in the field, not a radio shock jock, a mining geologist who thinks the sun is a ball of hot iron, or someone who has claimed to develop cures for almost all diseases known to mankind. When a scientist makes a contentious claim, the first thing I do is look at their list of peer reviewed publications. Although not conclusive as to their veracity, this does give a useful starting point. Note that I have no peer reviewed publications on climate change, but a reasonable number in other areas. I also have an Outstanding Referee Award from the American Physical Society, so I dare say that I understand the peer review process better than most.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          “can’t explain to me how the ETS helps”

          The ETS is designed to use market signals to reduce carbon emissions, exactly the same way as “cap and trade” was used to improve air quality in the USA. It is a mechanism beloved by adherents of “The Chicago School” – so your ignorance is a little bit surprising.

          “can’t predict La Nina events ” – climate models do not predict weather events. I hope you understand the difference between climate and weather. La Ninas are short term events (measured in years) that have no effect on the long-term trend (measured in decades).

          So there you go, more bullshit claims from Bob – you see, if you want explanations you have to ask for them.

          For more on models and their success in predicting climate trends, I can recommend Barton Paul Levensons excellent summary.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          Bob: “…more and more people on the street are at odds…”

          Really? Are they? You’ve been so full of shite about every single other thing I bet you haven’t even got that right. Recent polls from the USA indicate that once again, you’ve failed the reality check.

          Tell me, are you as completely incompetent in your life as you are in this discussion?

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