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Bastardi's Wager 672

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-all-a-matter-of-degrees dept.
DesScorp writes "AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has a challenge for climate scientists. He wants one or more of their rank to accept a bet about temperature trends in the coming decade. Bastardi is making specific predictions. 'The scientific approach is: you see the other argument, you put forward predictions about where things are going to go, and you test them,' he says. 'That is what I have done. I have said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.' Bastardi's challenge to his critics — who are legion — is to make their own predictions. And then wait. Climate science, he adds, 'is just a big weather forecast.' Bastardi's challenge is reminiscent of the famous Simon-Ehrlich Wager, where the two men made specific predictions about resource scarcity in the '80s."
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Bastardi's Wager

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  • real science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eleuthero (812560)
    Hypothesis followed by observation... admittedly, it cannot be repeated, but it is, at the very least, a step in the right direction. All too often people let their emotions / politics / media-lust get in the way of doing actual work towards understanding the planet we live on. Is it showmanship for him to do it this way? Sure. But at least it is showmanship with a useful point.
    • Re:real science (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Desler (1608317) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:50PM (#34882670)

      And what is that useful point? To inject more politics and bullshit into the scientific process? I'm sorry, but despite what these oil-company backed think tanks say, there is no global scientific conspiracy to force you back into the dark ages and to live like vegan hippies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eleuthero (812560)
        All I've seen of late is rhetoric on both sides. Yes, the data for climate change is available to any who look at it, but we could use some popular media group paying attention to that data instead of blasting one side or the other as if there's a grand scientific debate going on. By focusing on a bit of showmanship by Bastardi, the media might actually start paying attention to real data (because it would heighten interest in the "debate"). And helping people actually learn is not a bad thing.
        • Re:real science (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Desler (1608317) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:23PM (#34883134)

          There is no real debate. The people who actually know the science are largely in agreement about the conclusions. The "debate" being spoke of is faux debate stirred up by people from think tanks funded by oil companies. It's about as meaningful as fundy wackos going on about how there is large debate over the legitimacy over the theory of evolution.

          • "There is not debate" is what the people drinking the coolaid say now to refute anyone who denies global warming. Rarely does anyone point to data. The guy in this article is supported by large corporations who are willing to bet large sums of money on what he predicts. In other words, they put their money where HIS mouth is. I don't see anyone betting on Al Gore other than publishers who can profit from his rhetoric right now. If I could bet real money, I'd raise this guy .1 degree C and say temps will dec
            • by paiute (550198)

              I'd raise this guy .1 degree C and say temps will decrease 0.3C in ten years (but that has to be hedged for the rise in air traffic in China).

              You just accidentally your own argument.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by TapeCutter (624760)
              "Rarely does anyone point to data."

              Here [realclimate.org], knock yourself out.
        • Re:real science (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pottymouth (61296) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:25PM (#34883160)

          The fact is the debate would be too boring for anyone to care. If there is a warming trend or a cooling trend (and there's no clear evidence either way, face it...) we're talking about a temperature change so small no one not using this as an excuse to get more funding for something or get (re-)elected cares. That's why it's so insane. Those that want to embrace the whole "Climate change" insanity couldn't care less about the climate (Hello Al....) they just want power over others and money to do as they please.

          THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT SCIENCE OR CLIMATE (any more than traffic tickets are about public safety)!! WAKE THE HELL UP!

        • Re:real science (Score:4, Insightful)

          by williamhb (758070) on Friday January 14, 2011 @09:43PM (#34886168) Journal

          All I've seen of late is rhetoric on both sides.

          This is also rhetoric - it's a very old trick to silence your critics.
          1. Challenge your opponents to make predictions on a 10 year timescale.
          2a. If they accept, for the next 10 years you say "You can't criticise me yet, wait til the 10 years are up!"
          2b. If they don't accept, for the next 10 years you say "Clearly you don't really know what you're talking about or you'd have been happy to accept my 10 year challenge."

          And that gives you 10 years where you can bat away any criticism, without needing to produce any evidence, and take the moral high ground while you're at it.

          3. After 10 years, make a very slightly revised challenge (for the following 10 years). "Ah, yes but if we include the new Blenkinsop adjustment then yes it would have warmed slightly in the previous 10 years, but that minor fluctuation is nothing to the cooling that will take place in the following 10 years..."
          4. Repeat ad infinitum.

          And hey presto, you can say whatever you like for as long as you like.

      • by Burnhard (1031106) on Friday January 14, 2011 @08:39PM (#34885708)
        Since when is Bastardi oil company backed? He makes a living giving forecasts. People pay him for forecasts because other organisations (like the UK Met Office) have their heads so far up Global Warming's arse, their medium and long term predictions are no better than chance. If his forecasts were crap, he'd be out of a job and his company would have folded. These other tax-payer funded organisations have no such worries, which is why they can afford to spend their time spreading propaganda, rather than actually coming up with good forecasting models.
    • Re:real science (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interval1066 (668936) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:16PM (#34883018) Homepage Journal

      "All too often people let their emotions / politics / media-lust get in the way of doing actual work towards understanding the planet we live on.

      And THAT, my friends, are the truest words I've ever heard uttered regarding this debate.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:46PM (#34883496)

      Showmanship is fine. After all, the Randi foundation has used the showmanship of its million dollar prize for a while now to punch holes into all kinds of quackery. But as I read through Bastardi's claims and comments, I was disappointed to see nothing new and some pretty standard failings.

      “The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says this is the warmest decade ever — well, that’s like you wake up every morning and weigh 175 pounds, and one morning you wake up and are 175.1.”

      No, it's more like weighing 175 lbs in the last decade, and then discovering that your average in the current decade has been 176. And that your weight has been increasing for the last 5 decades.

      We started using objective satellite data in 1978.

      He must have missed all the commotion about satellite data that revolved around what satellites are measuring, how they're measuring it and how their data fits into all the other data that's been collected. Specifically: a temperature station on the ground that produces a different reading than that of a satellite looking at infrared emission for that geographic area isn't (necessarily) wrong. It is measuring something completely different, and merging the two is hard.

      Carbon dioxide is a trace gas, a tiny gas, part of this huge system. You’re trying to tell me that’s going to control the system and influence the energy of the system? When you have things like the sun, which is obviously the greatest contributor to the world’s energy? It almost defies common sense.

      I started to lose confidence at this point. It's a standard argument from incredulity: I don't understand this, therefore it can't be true. He also confuses what's causing global warming: it's not only the energy input that controls how much warming occurs, but also how much energy is lost to space. And the problem that everyone's been talking about is that less energy is lost to space than before.

      CO2 is still increasing, and the overall temperature has leveled off.

      Because CO2 isn't the only thing that controls the Earth's temperature. If he had actually read the research and would understand climate science, he'd know that, and he'd know that this bit of info is widely known. My personal prediction 5 years ago was that we'd be getting back to a regular warming schedule in the next 1-3 years, based on nothing else than knowing that the sun was entering a quiet period then.

      That’s not how the atmosphere works — for every step it takes away from the norm, the more likely it is to turn back

      I don't know if he was misquoted, but that's not how the atmosphere works. There is nothing in the atmospheric cycle that regulates CO2 movement. Oceans absorb CO2, plants consume it, but that's not the atmosphere. Finally, he is not providing any numbers for his belief that the atmospheric CO2 content is controlled by negative feedback loops. Historic data on CO2 concentrations would actually indicate the opposite - that there can be wild fluctuations.

      Fifth, today’s weather exhibits no unique patterns that require a unique explanation. They’re nothing we haven’t seen before

      Now we're getting into weather. If he's going to lecture people on climate patterns and predictions, he should stay on topic.

      And that’s just Bastardi’s point. It’s disingenuous to say we have conclusive proof of the future of such a torturously complicated system.

      Ok, not something he said, but still - another lame argument from incredulity. There's plenty of complex systems out there, and many have been understood - just not by everybody.

      Whereas a significant portion of today’s climate scientists are politically motivated, Bastardi has only one incentive in his job: accuracy. He

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:47PM (#34882626) Journal

    For the record, meteorologists are not climatologists. This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:51PM (#34882686)

      Or a physicist building a bridge.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For the record, telling engineers that they have no business making bets with their physicist "betters" is likely to get you laughed at by both engineers and physicists.

    • Correct (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      meteorologists are not climatologists.

      That is correct. Meteorologists are not foolish enough to pretend they understand climate well enough to predict what the climate will do for the whole earth over an extended period of time.

      They are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

      • Re:Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

        by liquiddark (719647) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:07PM (#34882890)

        They are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

        Meteorologists. Weather predictors. The guys who have been the butt of accuracy jokes for hundreds of years. Are judged by results. That, that right there? That is an interesting position to take.

      • Meteorologists don't predict climate at all. They're weathermen, not scientists, and the scope of their predictions is entirely different.

        Apples and oranges, but of course faux skeptics like yourself would like to muddy those waters, eh?

      • Re:Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Galactic Dominator (944134) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:18PM (#34883040)

        The day climatologists perfect the science is the day meteorologists will be able to give forecasts with extraordinary accuracy. Meteorologists ride on the coattails of climatologists success.

        • Re:Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

          by khallow (566160) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:32PM (#34883272)

          The day climatologists perfect the science is the day meteorologists will be able to give forecasts with extraordinary accuracy. Meteorologists ride on the coattails of climatologists success.

          It's rather the other way around. Meteorology models were around before climatology models were. And accurate climatology models won't help meteorology predictions at all. Climatology knowledge is at the wrong time scale to help with weather predictions. It's like claiming that you'll be able to drive precisely and without error because you know exactly how far it is to your destination.

      • Re:Correct (Score:4, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:23PM (#34883124)

        Bullshit. They are wrong more often than right. They are the butt of jokes for this very reason.

    • This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

      Oh be realistic now. No engineer would try to discredit himself in such a manner. ;)

    • by turing_m (1030530) on Friday January 14, 2011 @06:21PM (#34884164)

      This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

      I'm imagining myself so in love with physics that I could never imagine the possibility that I might want some money some day, or even provide well for a family. I'm imagining myself being suckered into a decade of grad school and postgrads by a professor who is on a decent salary. I imagine him telling tales of professors and the occasional 6 figure making physicist in order to excite the grad students, while glossing over the realities of the number of professorships and 6 figure salaries available compared to the number of grad students/PhDs. I imagine myself perfecting the raised eyebrow along with the expression and voice to make disparaging remarks about working for industry, and especially - (holds nose, dramatic pause;) engineers. I imagine myself buying into the hype for the first few years, and then spending the rest of my life wondering what I was thinking while either continuing to drink the koolaid or making the eventual break for freedom. Am I close?

    • by green1 (322787)

      I don't care. He's made a prediction, let the other side do the same.

      Science isn't about your degree, or the letters behind your name, it isn't about who your employer is, or any of that. It's about whether or not you are right.

      Would you want to ignore a major scientific discovery just because the guy who figured it out didn't have "phd" behind his name?

      If an accountant came up to me while I was working and showed me a better way to wire a network I wouldn't tell him that he's not qualified to do so and con

  • "objective" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:48PM (#34882640) Journal
    Would have to precisely define "objective satellite data" to a specific measuring methodology, technology, and sensitivity.
    • Yeah.

      This is just going to boil down to both of them showing each other the evidence they collected, no doubt in their own methodology, and someones going to say it went up by 0.1 celcius and he's going to show it went down by 0.1 celcius, and they've both got stacks of paper to prove it.

      Set some actual parameters for this wager and it might actually be interesting, as it is, its just the same old BS thats been happening all along.

  • I'd be more interested to see if sea level rises follow the 67% average acceleration figure, or trend towards the more ambitious 300% that thas been bandied about. Or just stay constant.
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:55PM (#34882722)
    As Dr. Pope of the UK Met Office pointed out years ago, events on the timescale of 10 years are "weather"-order fluctuations, not climate. Anybody who (cough) actually bothers to read the literature knows that the annual variation and the 10-year variation are much bigger than the averaged 100 year variation and so frequently go contrary to trend.

    So this is a meteorologist who studies short-term phenomena claiming to be better at short-term prediction than people who study long-term phenomena. Wowee, zip de-doo. If a climatologist accepts his bet and loses, what does it prove? That a climatologist isn't a meteorologist, and I think we knew that already.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:02PM (#34882820)

      So....why do the climate scientists keep citing specific decades if 10 years isn't long enough for it to be climate? Why are the 2000's cited as the hottest decade and called evidence for global warming if it's too short a time period to be used for that? You can't have your cake and eat it too. The use of decades as evidence of climate has been pretty consistent for most climate related papers.

      • by bunratty (545641) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:07PM (#34882894)
        Because stating that 2000's was the hottest decade is comparing that decade to the 1980's, and 1970's, and 1960's, and 1950's, etc. Those periods of time are more than 10 years long. The global average temperature has been warming for 40-50 years.
        • by msauve (701917) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:43PM (#34883438)
          "The global average temperature has been warming for 40-50 years."

          It's been warming for much more than that. 20,000 years ago, there was 2,000 feet of ice above the spot where I'm sitting. If only cavemen hadn't used so much CO2 releasing fire.
          • by fishexe (168879) on Friday January 14, 2011 @06:07PM (#34883908) Homepage

            "The global average temperature has been warming for 40-50 years." It's been warming for much more than that. 20,000 years ago, there was 2,000 feet of ice above the spot where I'm sitting.

            Yes, but not continuously. It cooled heading into the Little Ice Age [wikipedia.org], for example.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by msauve (701917)
              Well, if it has to be monotonic, then it works both ways. It hasn't been warming continuously for the past "40-50 years," either.
          • Yep, long term (Score:4, Interesting)

            by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday January 14, 2011 @06:23PM (#34884186)
            I was looking at property on lake Huron, and the water levels are down over the last 10 years leading to some undesirable things (nice sandy beach with 200 feet of marsh and then water). Some blame global warming, some blame dredging, and the agent tells me "it will be great when the lake level returns to normal. All the while I'm thinking "It's been receding ever since the glacier melted, what makes you think it's coming back?". We haven't even measured temperature the same way for 40 years.
  • Flatlander (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tancred (3904) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:55PM (#34882730)

    Another weatherman who thinks what he's doing is climatology. He's a little like a 2D character in Flatland that doesn't understand 3D. I hope someone takes him up on his wager, as long as there's a disinterested 3rd party to judge the result and hold the cash.

    • by agbinfo (186523)

      He's a little like a 2D character in Flatland that doesn't understand 3D.

      Is this a reference to Gamow's One, Two, Three... infinity? In that case, Gamow showed ways for the 2D character to imagine 3D. There might be some hope for him yet.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:58PM (#34882762)
    I have faith in the civility and objectiveness of slashdotters, even on climate change issues.
  • Missed the Issue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RetroGeek (206522) on Friday January 14, 2011 @04:58PM (#34882764) Homepage

    The Earth gets hotter, the Earth gets cooler.

    But do WE have an impact on this variation. That is the question.

    • by Surt (22457) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:05PM (#34882858) Homepage Journal

      Even before we ask that question: if the earth gets both hotter and cooler, does it matter?
      Who cares if we have an impact if it doesn't matter?

  • That Bastardi!
  • John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel who is a complete skeptic about global warming [telegraph.co.uk]. Ironic that's all.
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:07PM (#34882888)

    ...that he would offer this wager after the warmest year on record. A more reasonable wager would be on whether or not 2020 will be above the historical average for the past century. Smart money says "yes".

  • If he's gives 1:1000 odds then maybe he can convince Richard Lindzen to take that bet and put his money where his foot is.
  • One wonders if the guy knows something about the trends in that one data set that make him confident enough to make this wager. It'd be much more interesting to see him suggest a statistical analysis of multiple lines of evidence, the way the real scientists (and, to their credit, the reputable skeptics) have been doing it.
  • Lose / Lose Wager (Score:3, Interesting)

    by burnin1965 (535071) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:20PM (#34883070) Homepage

    Doesn't a wager normally involve an ante?

    If Bastardi wins the wager what does he gain, karma points? There will be big wins all around for individuals, businesses and governments.

    If Bastardi loses the wager he loses what? It appears if we wait and Bastardi turns out to be wrong we will be behind by one more decade on addressing the issue and a heavy price will be paid by everyone.

    And while he has some valuable points as far as the accuracy of climatologists making predictions his analogies seem a bit off.

    He claims they are using recent trends but does not define "recent" while the trends I have seen go back several decades or centuries. In geologic time centuries are recent trends but is this what he means? I suspect not because then he questions the use of data in longer trends.

    And in another analogy he compares a 0.06% change in your weight form 175.0 lbs to 175.1 lbs over a decade to a 0.6% increase in global temperature from the mean of around 57.563 F to 57.923 F. While the increase in temperature over a decade doesn't look significant his comparison is off by an order of magnitude and that is ignoring the irrational comparison of the complexities of an individuals body weight to that of global temperatures.

    Anyhow, it is good to bring up questions but this wager and some of the comments seem rather dubious.

    • Re:Lose / Lose Wager (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blueg3 (192743) on Friday January 14, 2011 @06:02PM (#34883820)

      And in another analogy he compares a 0.06% change in your weight form 175.0 lbs to 175.1 lbs over a decade to a 0.6% increase in global temperature from the mean of around 57.563 F to 57.923 F.

      From 57.563 F to 57.923 F is an increase of 0.07%. You can't use 0 F as a zero point for percent increase, as Fahrenheit isn't a zero-based temperature scale. I converted to Kelvin. You could equally use Rankine, but that's unacceptably evil.

      It's usually not particularly meaningful to talk about percentage increases in temperature.

      To be fair, it's also not particularly meaningful to talk about percentage increases in body weight.

  • Average Temperature (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ThosLives (686517) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:23PM (#34883130) Journal

    The only thing I've not really been able to figure out from the entire climate discussion is what is meant by "average temperature" in the first place.

    The idea of taking some temperature measurements at various geographic locations and then averaging those values doesn't seem to make much physical sense to me, because there is no meaningful method by which to perform an average. Consider using an "area based average." This sounds reasonable: put your measurements in some regular grid, assume the temperature varies continuously between those points, and compute an average. I would argue that's a terrible method, because temperature is not a continuous quantity: if you put two temperature probes any distance apart, there is no meaningful way to estimate the temperature variation between those points. It could be linear between them, it could be nonlinear such that the temperature is higher between the two points, it could be nonlinear such that it is lower between the two points.

    I am much more willing to look at other parameters which do have a better "average" information content. Sea level, snow cover (both max and min amounts, as well as time spent at those amounts) because those are inherently continuous phenomena that are not subject to interpolation errors.

    Actually, a question and it may actually convince me to accept the concept of "average temperature": do thermal satellites have the capability to do a true area-continuous temperature measurement?

    I have other questions as well, for instance, is average temperature really the critical parameter or is it median temperature? Actual max vs actual min? Is it something more related to the square of the deviation from the mean ("signal power")?

    I have a hard time believing that an area-average temperature is an adequate parametrization of climate. Or, perhaps what I'm asking is, what climate effects are actually correlated so strongly with the mean temperature (how statistically significant is that correlation)? And how geographically dependent is that correlation?

    • by Arlet (29997) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:54PM (#34883650)

      They don't take an average absolute temperature, but an average temperature anomaly, which makes a lot more sense. At each station, they measure the temperature difference between the current temperature, and a 30-year base period. Research has shown there's a good correlation between anomalies of different measuring stations, even if separated by hundreds of miles, even though the absolute temperatures between those same stations could differ by ten degrees or more.

      See here for more info:
      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/1987/Hansen_Lebedeff.html [nasa.gov]

      • by ThosLives (686517)

        This is the first post that attempts to address the issue of interpolation (there was one that indicates high spatial resolution from satellites, which is a different solution). I'll have to follow that link and read up later - I'm still not sure I'm convinced in the first principles analysis even using anomalies, because the way temperature works there is no physical mechanism that would force all anomalies to move together. My hesitation is because while bulk changes would guarantee the anomalies would

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:27PM (#34883178)
    Whatever you think of it's relevance for the theory of AGW, Bastardi has made a specific prediction and challenged anyone to take him up on it. If those climatologists who are believers in AGW are true scientists they should be able to make a specific prediction that we can come back to in 10 years and either say, "Way to go, your prediction is correct" or "Sorry, back to the drawing board on your theory, your prediction is wrong."
    The last major AGW prediction I can recall was that England would not have snow in winter any more. Of course, now that England has had a very snowy winter, those same AGW guys are telling us, "Well, yes, that is what you can expect from Global Warming." I would put a lot more credence into the latter statement if they had told us we could expect a snowier winter in England instead of telling us that England would be getting less and less snow every year.
  • by PingXao (153057) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:28PM (#34883190)

    I like how Bastardi is not grinding any political axes. What he says sounds logical. If you look at the wikipedia entry on him there's mention (but no link) of Bastardi's long-range forecast for this winter, that was released by AccuWeather last October. It has already been shown to be very far off the mark of what has happened the last couple of months. So this guy's track record isn't any better than any other "weather man".

    AccuWeather isn't above trying to aggrandize themselves, either. They tried to get the government to close down the National Weather Service and halt the distribution of weather satellite data to the public a few years ago.

  • by Captoo (103399) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:29PM (#34883210)
    Saying that climate science is just a big weather forecast is like saying that newtonian physics is just a lot of quantum mechanics. Doing 5 day forecasts isn't enough to qualify someone to forecast climates. Yeah, it may help, but it's not enough.
  • by sorak (246725) on Friday January 14, 2011 @05:52PM (#34883636)

    IANA climate scientist, but I suspect that three things will happen:

    1. As this is a complicated subject, nobody can predict exactly what will be happening in 2010. Some will be right.
    2. Some will be wrong.
    3. Supporters will claim victory for the first group.
    4. deniers will claim victory due to the second group.
    5. Ten years will have passed, and we will still be arguing about whether we should do something about the issue.

    • Just goes to show how unpredictable the future is... You forecast three possible outcomes and there were actually five.

    • by jimrthy (893116)

      That's probably pretty close.

      And "arguing" is exactly what's going on.

      AGW proponents will still be insisting that the science is all solved. They have the all the answers, and it's as settled as evolution. The debate is over, and we have to force these laws down everybody's throat because, by golly, people aren't smart enough to realize that ethanol will save the planet.

      Skeptics will still be insisting that there still hasn't been any real debate. The only people who go into climate science are already True

    • by Mike Van Pelt (32582) on Friday January 14, 2011 @08:12PM (#34885484)
      Let me just be the first one to say, that I can predict with astounding accuracy what will happen in 2010. :-)
  • Been there done that (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) on Friday January 14, 2011 @09:24PM (#34886074)

    Take a look at http://theclimatebet.com/ [theclimatebet.com] to see an earlier example. A similarly (un)qualified guy offered to bet that temperatures would be unchanged over ten years. He tried to get Al Gore to bet, of course without success. So he started this website to track who would have won. At first it looked good for him and he updated regularly, crowing about his success. But then things changed and started warming up. Now the website is abandoned. He didn't have the guts to document his failure. I imagine much the same will result from this new bet.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @12:16AM (#34886870)
    If you can predict the weather 100 years from now you had better be able to predict the weather 100 days from now. If your prediction of weather 100 days from now is not 100% accurate you can bet 100 years from now it will be totally wrong.

    All the predictions made so far by the AGW community have so far been totally wrong

    There is no uncontrollable warming.

    If early predictions are wrong, the whole model is wrong, it's not going to magically get better in later years.

    Ehrlich said back in the 70's that "England will not exist in the year 2000". Obviously he was wrong. But his web page had this little gem:

    Paul and his colleagues have been compelled to make two of them in an effort to counter the inaccurate information spread by Simon and others.

    So Ehrlich says that "famines of unbelievable proportions" will occur, "hundreds of millions of people starving to death" "England will not exist in the year 2000". Then Ehrlich has the audacity to say Simon is spreading inaccurate information. I don't give a damn how smart you believe you are or how many "Genius Awards" are given to you. If you're wrong you're wrong. Ehrlich is so stubborn that if you read his page you would have thought that _he_ won the bet. [stanford.edu] He (or whoever wrote the page) makes no attempt to defend the idiotic (and now demonstrably false) statements Ehrlich made, but just goes into nuance of "how things could have been worse but for...". They were not, and that was Simon’s whole point, people react to the world they live in, we are not a growth in a petri dish. Ehrlich makes all these excuses as to "why he was wrong" without saying he was wrong, because he still believes that he was right. He still believes he was right and only because those damn snooping kids did England continue to exist past 1999.

    Just read Ehrlich’s page, he does more disservice to himself than anyone else could ever do. The AGW people are cut from the same mold as Ehrlich. AGW cannot be wrong as a matter of pride. It has nothing to do with science, if it did there would be a way to falsify the theory. As it stands now, you cannot. Anything that points to AGW being wrong (e.g.: No uncontrollable warming) is always countered with “OH! Didn’t you know? That’s because of global warming!” It sounds more and more like Ehrlich.

    But what speaks to the heart of this issue is that the AGW supporters don’t hope beyond hope that the skeptics are right. They hope the skeptics are wrong because it is a matter of pride.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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