Prediction, Retrodiction, Warmism and the Demon Haunted Dark

We are far more impressed by a scientific theory that predicts, than a supposedly scientific theory that retrodicts, even though from the Bayesian point of view they are the same.

Successful prediction tells us that this is an actual theory, rather than a slippery and ambiguous pile of vague fudge factors subject to post hoc reinterpretation.

As you probably know, Global Warming models are 100% successful at precisely “predicting” (retrodicting) the alleged past, even though past climate is not in fact known very accurately.  They are totally unsuccessful at predicting.

By and large, Warmism is not incorrect science, but anti science. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is an attempt by skeptics to make sense out of the Warmist position, to construct a plausible scientific theory that makes the predictions that Warmists predict, but Warmists are not much interested in making sense.

The theory attributed to the Warmists by the skeptics is that water vapor provides positive feedback, clouds also provide postive feedback, so any small nudge tends to have large effects on the climate.

Do Warmists believe the theory that skeptics attribute to them?

Perhaps.  To find out, you would have to sue the model builders under the freedom of information act, and the model builders would stone wall, the courts would favor them, and the model builders would complain they are being persecuted by big oil.

The term “multiplier” in the sense that skeptics use it never appears in Warmist works, only in critiques of Warmism. The term “climate sensitivity” does appear in Warmist works, but it does not seem to be used in the same meaning as in skeptic works. It is not a ratio that can be larger or smaller than unity, not a number, but more like sin and purity, not the kind of thing where one might say the “the climate sensitivity is 2.7” To a Warmist, to assert that the climate sensitivity is 2.7 would be as ridiculous as if a Roman Catholic priest were to say that that the sinfulness of adultery is 2.7 A Warmist paper will say that climate sensitivity is greater than we thought, but will not give a number for what we supposedly used to think it was, nor a number for what we now supposedly think it is – which does not stop them from deducing from this unspecified change in this unspecified number that the temperature in 2100 will be precisely six degrees hotter.

I have not read much of the Warmist literature.  Perhaps there is some that understands the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming attributed to the Warmists by the skeptics, but what I have read seems to me more like inspiration by the spirit of Gaia decorated almost at random by scientific sounding words.  It could be that the author understands and believes a scientific theory that makes the required doomful predictions, but there is no very clear indication that he does.

Steve McIntyre argued that it is likely that clouds create negative feedback. Do Warmists attempt to argue with him? Do Warmists say “no, clouds create positive feedback”? Do Warmists even know the difference between positive and negative feedback?  Nasa discussing clouds sound like they use the terms correctly, but then fail to apply them when discussing the stability of temperatures between the wet season and dry season in the tropics, even though this is an obvious case of negative feedback.

Rather, Warmism is a revival of the old demon worshiping cults. The priests announce the gods are angry, any unusual weather event being evidence of the wrath of the demon gods, and that to appease these hostile and wrathful beings sacrifices shall be made, which sacrifices the priests get to administer.

17 Responses to “Prediction, Retrodiction, Warmism and the Demon Haunted Dark”

  1. tg moderator says:

    Warmism is a cult, and it is a cult of doom. What will happen when it gets really cold instead? By 2022 we will have the doomers talking about ice.
    We have just passed the peak of a rather weak solar cycle, and solar radiance will decrease a bit every year until after 2020. I’m sure all manner of excuses will be made for why there is ice everywhere in spite of all the warming that is taking place. The interesting question is what other cathedral dominoes might topple once the warming domino is tipped over? HBD? Fiat currency? Ever expanding debt bubbles? Renewable energy? A myth will be believed for along time until one day it is pointed out that the empower is not only nude, but frostbitten as well.

  2. Alrenous says:

    For comparison: I’ve read a few random philosophy papers. Well…’read.’ After, I doubted the author was in fact a speaker of English. They failed the Turing test.

    This does not preclude the existence of Dennett, Chalmers, Searle, others I could name but not off the cuff…

    That said, Mann should be climate’s Dennett. If he’s not, you can safely stop looking.

    • Alrenous says:

      Speaking of, Yvain should be Less Wrong’s Dennett. The signs aren’t good. But we have an even better candidate: Yudkowsky. What’s your take on Yudkowsky specifically?

      • Steve Johnson says:

        spandrell pretty much nails him:

        Another good example of blind belief on statistical trends is Moore’s Law. Computing power is increasing like crazy. So we make a graph with transistor count or FLOPs or whatever. Yup, going up. Which means that given enough time, we’ll have computer which are smarter than people, which means that a point will be reached where this smarter-than-humans will make ever better computers themselves, accelerating progress and unleashing the great Singularity where a god-like AI will rule over all humans!! And that AI will know about us in the past and punish according to our present deeds, so you better give away all your money to Shlomo so he can run a swingers club and screw your girlfriend!


      • jim says:

        Less Wrong was designed to appeal to intelligent people, and did so, but when it became a cult, required members in good standing to believe in stupid things.

        When a religion requires its believers to believe in impossible or self contradictory things, like three is one, not a problem. You just say that it trancendeth human understanding, and you can still recruit intelligent priests, who inspire intelligent congregations. But if, like Islam and Less Wrong, you require the faithful to believe in stupid things, you get a stupid priesthood, and pretty soon a stupid congregation.

        The ability to understand analogy is a good measure of IQ. Pretty much everyone above a certain level can understand analogies, pretty much everyone below that level cannot. Its a measure of bandwidth. You have to keep four items and their relationships in all in active consciousness at once. If someone is limited to three items, he is simply hosed. He just cannot do analogies. He winds up mistaking them for similies. A simile only involves three things, “X is like Y in attribute z”.

        Hence the IQ test where the distractor answer treats the analogy as a simile, with one of the four items being ignored.

        I am getting the impression that the level of discourse on Less Wrong is dropping below the level of people who can handle analogies, the turning point being the basilisk incident. That was stupid, and everyone was required to believe it was not stupid.

        • Alrenous says:

          An interesting answer, but not to the question I asked. Are you dodging on purpose, or by accident?

          • jim says:

            Perhaps I was unclear. My take on Yudkowsky is that he is a cult leader who founded a religion, and the religion is stupid.

            Dennett attempts to be a cult leader, less successfully than Yudkowsky, but is more a cult follower.

            If that does not answer your question, question needs clarification.

          • Alrenous says:

            Ah, so you think he did it on purpose, not because he mistook features of his beliefs.

          • Alrenous says:

            Put it this way: Yudkowsky would first like you to believe it’s not a cult. Failing that, that he tried to make it not a cult and couldn’t. (And then just kind of threw up his hands, I guess.) It would seem you believe neither of these things.

            • jim says:

              He would like me to believe both of these things. He would like to believe both of these things. And probably does, even though they contradict each other.

  3. I’m bored with Global Warmism, but back in the day I used to read the scientific literature, and I seem to recall there was an actual debate, with papers on both sides about whether positive or negative feedback was predicted and even measured in clouds and the like. What has always been missing was any route to go from what we know to establishing Warmism, but there were scattered scientific arguments published that argued for some scientific point or other.

    I see in Global Warmism simple crowd-think as ennunciated by Le Bon (1895),
    exacerbated a bit because Al Gore probably read Le Bon before preparing precisely the crowd-leading techniques advocated in Le Bon’s The Crowd. This has the benefit of explaining the religious intolerance, the reasoning by images with overgeneralization, and other characteristics of global warmism, and it also explains many other delusions, such as Vaccinism, and much of what passes for modern economics. This is explicated in detail in my latest post

    • jim says:

      I seem to recall there was an actual debate, with papers on both sides about whether positive or negative feedback was predicted and even measured in clouds and the like.

      I don’t recall a two sided debate about clouds. Maybe I missed it. But if it happened, most Warmists seem to have missed it also.

      What I recall is that the skeptic side produced research demonstrating that clouds produced negative feedback, and the Warmist side produced announcements that this had been refuted by “subsequent research”. The Warmist proclamations of victory generally lacked the word “feedback”, indicating a failure to comprehend the skeptic argument, or even the argument that skeptics attribute to Warmists.

  4. Dan Pangburn says:

    Much of media coverage addresses the injury/ death that occurs from gun violence. Rarely mentioned is the self-protection aspect of gun access.

    The following is from a DOJ report that can be seen at

    “On average in 1987-92 about 83,000 crime victims per year used a firearm to defend themselves or their property.”

    83,000 per year is more than 9 times per hour that get reported. A survey determined that for each occurrence that gets reported, there are about 23 occurrences that go unreported.

    This was the last report on this issue that the DOJ prepared before further reporting activity was cancelled by then President Clinton.

    • red says:

      Hell just pretending to have a gun works. I had 3 blacks thug follow me in my parking garage at night. I simulated that I was consealed carrying a gun, turned towards them and stood ready to draw. They looked me over and turned around and left.

  5. Dan Pangburn says:

    Oops, wrong topic . . .
    I meant to post this:

    Discover the cause of the warming, the end of it, why temperatures are headed down and what to expect.

    There are only two primary drivers of average global temperature change. They very accurately explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with R2>0.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95) and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

    CO2 change is NOT one of the drivers.

    The drivers are given at

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