Structural Similarities of Objections to Nate Silver and Global Warming from RealClimate

I found this article at Realclimate that does an excellent job of depicting the idea that if people don’t want to hear something? They won’t. Nate Silver, in case you live in America but also live in a hole, has the 538 Blog where he does election predictions based upon polling results. He wasn’t the only one predicting a victory for President Obama, to be sure, but he attracted the most negative attention from, largely, conservative commentators. As Gavin Schmidt introduced it, the type of criticisms were eerily reminiscent:

Does this sound familiar? A quantitative prediction is inconvenient for some heavily invested folks. Legitimate questions about methodology morph quickly into accusations that the researchers have put their thumb on the scale and that they are simply making their awkward predictions to feather their own nest. Others loudly proclaim that the methodology could never work and imply that anyone who knows anything knows that -it’s simply common sense! Audit sites spring up to re-process the raw data and produce predictions more to the liking of their audience. People who have actually championed the methods being used, and so really should know better, indulge in some obvious wish-casting (i.e. forecasting what you would like to be true, despite the absence of any evidence to support it).

Yes, I should probably say I’m one of those horribly maladjusted people who tend to think the case for human influence upon the climate is a reasonable conclusion. So, yes, I tend to enjoy reading RealClimate. Oh, I also go to Anthony Watts’ WUWT to see what objections are being raised against whatever new paper comes out in support of AGW. (I’d type anthropogenic, but I’d only strain myself; I can only handle so many polysyllabics each day.) In fairness to Watts, he does have an active site with many contributors, and I would encourage people to check out both. I happen to think RealClimate is more correct in its conclusions and observations, though. And I think Schmidt has made a very good point about the analogous nature of the two camps of objections in response to the source of their ire.

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