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Sounds perfectly sensible to me

Leading climate scientists have ridiculed and criticised comments made by controversial Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson during an interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

During a new four-hour interview on Spotify’s most popular podcast, Peterson – who is not an expert on climate change – claimed that models used to forecast the future state of the climate couldn’t be relied on.

Peterson told Rogan that because the climate was so complex, it couldn’t be accurately modelled.

He said: “Another problem that bedevils climate modelling, too, which is that as you stretch out the models across time, the errors increase radically. And so maybe you can predict out a week or three weeks or a month or a year, but the farther out you predict, the more your model is in error.

“And that’s a huge problem when you’re trying to model over 100 years because the errors compound just like interest.”

Peterson said that if the climate was “about everything” then “your models aren’t right” because they couldn’t include everything.

This doesn’t sound sensible.

“He seems to think we model the future climate the same way we do the weather. He sounds intelligent, but he’s completely wrong.

“He has no frickin’ idea,” she said.

Different models produce different outputs. Different assumptions put into the same models produce different outputs. We have no one model, with fully known interactions, which all accept as being valid.

Different runs of the same model produce varied outputs.

We have a range, that is, of answers, not the one true and valid one. What Peterson has said is entirely true.

57 thoughts on “Sounds perfectly sensible to me”

  1. In fact Peterson is spot on. I used to work for climate scientists, and helped support a project that used UK Met Office models, yes the same ones used to give the weather forecast, to run short-term predictions on a 3 month rolling basis. The rationale (one of the rationales) was to learn which parameters for these weather models best aligned with the real world.

    This was distinct from other projects that used UK Met Office models to perform long-term predictions of our climate.

    The whole point of the project was to address the point Peterson makes.

    Odd that some scientists are so keen to mislead us.

  2. The truth hurts the cause, so they’ll cover it up and use an argument from authority rather than address the point, as then they’ll show he’s right.

    The basic physics is relatively simple, and correct. It’s the catastrophising models that are wrong.

  3. @Andrew Again

    The basic physics may be simple, but there’s a huge gulf between simple and easy. Weather is chaotic, and there’s no reason to believe climate isn’t, either. As such, any model will be either so vague as to be useless or wrong; history tells us that the “climate scientists”* opt for the latter.

    *Not actual scientists because they do not use the scientific method

  4. Fair enough then Tim. You’re the one that “believes” in this garbage, not us*

    Show me one model or prediction made by these models that has become true over time?

    * – For a given value of belief.

  5. Peterson is not a climate scientist so we can ignore him. However, this rule does not apply to:
    De Caprio
    Prince Jugg Ears
    Everybody on the BBC etc. etc.

    We MUST trust the ‘expert’ scientists right?
    “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible”. IPCC Executive Summary of Working Group 1 – ‘The Scientific Basis’.

    And as some bloke said “all models are wrong. Some are useful”.

    John Galt +1

  6. You don’t have to be a building inspector to recognise crap brickwork. If the model output is consistently wrong (and it is in the climate case} anyone is allowed to question it, and indeed question whether the thing can be done at all. Those who wish to defend it but rush to the ‘he’s not qualified’ argument are showing that they have nothing else. I watched a couple of hours of Rogan/Peterson yesterday. It’s effectively a new medium because of the lack of time limits on a free-ranging discussion. No other form quite does it. A book explains a position better but has no interaction. Nor does a lecture. And TV or radio just do not have the time anyway even if they were not rigidly controlled as to content and editorial policy. I will b e watching Rogan in future. If I can find the time..

  7. The models are full of “constants” that because they are not real constants can be tweaked to make the model fit past results (or anything you want for that matter) so they all agree about historical conditions. As they model past the current date and into the future the assumption is that the model is correct and the constants are set to the right values. All things being equal (CO2 production etc.) over time all the different models lead to a different result. Following the principles of the scientific method this proves that at most only one of the models is correct and the others are wrong. It’s somewhat naïve to believe that hidden among all those duds is that one correct model.

  8. I’m not sure if the physics of a huge, complex and dynamic system with numerous drivers, many of which are non-linear is that simple, but they do at least need to be identified and understood to some degree before modelling of the system can be attempted. There are errors, and these errors magnify over time and if the relationships between variables are not understood, these discrepancies increase over time as well.

    What Jordan Peterson is saying is obvious!

    I’ve been observing this circus since the late 80s when it began. I’m on the south coast and I do recall being told around 1990 that be now I would be living among orange groves and olive trees.

  9. ISTR the (UK) Met Office discontinuing the publication of their “Mid-range forecasts” as it was becoming increasingly obvious (and made so, thanks to the internet) that they were hopelessly wrong.

    I also STR that Dame Julia Slingo (then Chief Scientist for the Met Office) responded to criticism of their climate predictions by claiming that their climate models were tested continually as they were used for weather-forecasting… Admittedly, said “improvement” to their service coincided with a sharp reduction in the accuracy of their forecasts.

    So, who knows? Personally, some years ago I had a good look through the code for the NASA GISS model (considered at the time to be the #1) and if one of my junior programmers had written code that bad he’d have been looking at his P45 before the end of the day!

  10. As we saw with the Climategate drops, these models aren’t exactly “add raw data, plot graph = result”. If they were then they might be easier to understand / defend / attack. But they aren’t. They are a mishmash of raw data, extrapolations / proxies (where data does not exists or did not exist previously) and fundamentally ASSUMPTIONS which may or may not be true, such as the exact relationship between CO2 and temperature.

    Climate has always changed, sometimes gradually, sometimes dramatically and that is true going back hundreds of millions of years and including freak climates such as snowball earth which predates complex life itself. So we’re trying to say “This is where the climate is going to go” based upon an incredibly narrow window of time for which we have varying degrees of data which gets weaker and patchier as we go back in time. Yet based upon this clearly flawed, chaotic and unverifiable approach, we are expected to change our whole way of life and society.

    Sorry, but as Carl Sagan famously said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and a few dodgy graphs and a powerpoint presentation ain’t gonna cut it.

  11. Technically he’s not wrong, though at a point you’re simply denying that monte carlo simulation has any value. The point is what you do knowing modelling is never perfect: In finance, we would recognise the imperfection and then either build in a risk reserve, or update the model to account for additional variables. Or we could decide that all models are wrong and we should therefore just ignore available data and guess – this approach does not have a particularly good track record though.

  12. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Isn’t part of the problem with the climate models that tell us we’re all gonna die the same as the problem with the epidemiological models that tell us we’re all gonna die? That the same model with the same data generates different results each time it is run?

    Oh, that and the fact that the models that produce politically desired outcomes are the ones that get selected for and multiply? A sort of political Darwinism?

  13. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    “I’m on the south coast and I do recall being told around 1990 that be now I would be living among orange groves and olive trees.”

    By now, surely underwater orange groves and olive trees.

  14. In my active period in climmate scepticism I had an internet exchange with a weather forecaster. He explained how the modelling is so good the computer does all the forecasts now. I asked whether the output was issued unaltered. No, an experienced forecaster is needed to look at it before it goesvout and make alterations based on his experience.

  15. @Mike Finn – The same basic problem applies as with Long Term Capital Management though. If they’d analysed more data over a longer timeline they’d have realised that periods of extreme volatility exist and such periods happen more frequently than their flawed model suggests. But that was just about money. The climate models thrown about by the IPCC, NASA and the rest of them are even more flaky and based upon unproven and potentially unprovable claims, since the data (especially historically) just ain’t there.

    Instead of being honest and saying “Yes, it could be true that CO2 causes climate change, but we’ve got no way of proving it”, they’ve spent billions (probably even trillions), created a swathe of dependent scientists, politicians, government departments, climate change advisers and whatnot, all of whom are dependent upon the climate change industry to pay their mortgages and we’re still stuck in the same basic rut.

    Last I saw the actual climate was still trending far below where their most optimistic trends were tracking, but no doubt they’ve “updated the assumptions and recalculated” to adjust for that. In which case that’s not a model, it’s just a pseudo scientific fraud and they ain’t scientists but quacks.

  16. @John Galt

    … and they ain’t scientists but quacks.

    Prof. John Brignell summed it up quite neatly… Putting “climate” in front of “scientist” is the same as putting “witch” in front of “doctor”.

  17. ‘Oh, that and the fact that the models that produce politically desired outcomes are the ones that get selected for and multiply? A sort of political Darwinism?’

    Yes BitFR. That’s what’s always made me sceptical. If they were really trying to solve what they claim will happen, their actions would be quite different.

  18. Prof Michael Mann, an atmospheric scientist at Penn State University, said Peterson’s comments – and Rogan’s facilitation of them – was an “almost comedic type of nihilism” that would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous

    Surely that should be “self-proclaimed Noble laureate Michael Mann”. You know, the only that’s been running scared of Mark Steyn for the past decade.

  19. Leading climate scientists

    Reminder that haruspices, augurs, witch doctors, splanchnomancers, Chinese fortune cookies and The Simpsons have a better record of predicting the future than ‘leading climate scientists’.

  20. William – In answer to “But It’s dramatically accelerated in the last couple of decades”

    My answer to that would be ‘stop lying’.

    We know for a fact that climate change hasn’t ‘dramatically accelerated’ over the last couple of decades, because we remember the ancient, far off days of the late 90’s / early 2000’s.

    Pretty ironical that you posted an edgy cartoon about Jesus and Mo while promoting the far shittier and more easily disproven religion of The Science ™, lol.

  21. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” I’ve never found that persuasive.

    Like anything else all they need is good evidence, especially in the sense of their withstanding attempts to “falsify” them i.e. to disprove them. As long as the attempts were intelligent, diligent, competent, intensive, and extensive, then if the claims survive attempts at falsification they can reasonably be entertained.

    Though I suppose the state of several “sciences” today is such that attempts that were intelligent, diligent, competent, intensive, and extensive would constitute extraordinary evidence.

  22. The funny thing is they keep wittering on about their models, while admitting they cannot predict the solar cycle, or explain the secondary ways the solar cycle impact the Earth: e.g the correlation between sunspot absence and the Little Ice Age. Now possibly linked by solar magnetic field/cosmic rays/cloud chamber effect. Maybe.

    “We admit that all the input variableas are beyond our explanations, so if we assume they are all constant, we can make predictions….”

    Magicthighs and Broomfondle. Charlatans all. And they are beginning to run scared. Good. They have much to be scared about.

  23. Like anything else all they need is good evidence, especially in the sense of their withstanding attempts to “falsify” them i.e. to disprove them. As long as the attempts were intelligent, diligent, competent, intensive, and extensive, then if the claims survive attempts at falsification they can reasonably be entertained.

    Sure, but there’s a big difference between someone claiming that “White mice prefer grapes to cucumbers” therefore you should add grapes to Mr Whippies food bowl for a happier mouse and claiming that “Co2 causes climate change” therefore you should live in a yurt and eat bugs.

    I’m pretty sure that most people would require and expect a bit more evidence for the latter than the former, regardless of the diligence of the science.

  24. A communication’s in from Tosser Central.

    I suppose silly little boys knocking on the door and running away is a form of communication.

  25. Greta Thunberg is right.
    Global warming could wipe out civilisation,
    Peterson is sucking up to far right elites.

  26. Ah, Greta Thunberg the Child Oracle of Doom. It has more of the aspects of a religion with every day that passes. Are the condition of goats’ entrails amongst the inputs to climate models?

  27. Every climate model is heavily parametrised. Each model assigns different values to these parameters. Modelers run their model and see how badly it models the past. The only feature of the climate it attempts to match is the global average temperature. (Remember, the past record of global average temperature is of the last 150 years and is itself the output of a model.)

    The climate modelers then fiddle with the parameters until the output of the model roughly matches the output of the global average temp model. Then they declare a climate emergency. The values of the parameters they end up with differ from model to model as do the predictions of global ave. temp. in the future.

    The historical temperature modelers then change the parameters in their model, (cooling the past, warming the present, removing the ‘forties blip’ etc. etc.) and the climate modelers then have to change their model parameters to match the new ‘global temperature record’.

    And our elite betters are basing the future economies of the western nations on this complete mish-mash. (The eastern nations are wisely saying ‘after you bro.’).

    The resolution of this colossal crime will be a terrible time to live through and I doubt that I personally will live to see it, but meanwhile my contempt for the likes of Mann, (and Connolly) is limitless.

  28. @John Galt – So the thing to do would be to write a better model that learns from previous mistakes and allows us to test the hypotheses being made here. We don’t see much of that, and just saying the existing models are incorrect is a bit of a motte and bailey argument given being wrong to a given degree does not tell us whether the conclusions being drawn are right or wrong.

  29. @Carl Pierce – the Swedish doom goblin- an underdeveloped teenager with a history of mental health problems who never went to school is your expert? I think you’re on the wrong blog.

  30. Any planet on which the climate is not changing, be it fast or be it slow, is a dead of dying planet.

  31. The Doom Goblin famously got started in climate hysteria when she learned that all the polar bears were dying. Since then polar bears have thrived and their numbers kept on rising. But she never looked back and thought: hmm, if that was bollocks, what else might be?

    Mind you, she is mental…

  32. Greta Thunberg is a hero for fighting climate change. She should be admired for her heroic actions.
    moqifen You are a ignorant trolling bully. You are picking on a young woman for having mental health issues that do not invalidate what she says,
    The wealthiest man in the World Elon Musk has Asperger’s, the same as Greta. Elon is a far more successful man that a bullying troll like you. You are on the wrong planet. I think you are stuck up Uranus.

    MC So would you say that about Elon Musk who also has Asperger’s? I think you are an ignorant troll. Grow some brain cells. It is people like you who make society tough for those with mental health issues.

  33. Is that an intervention from William ‘I’m supposed to be a climate scientist but actually I spend all my time deleting other people’s opinions on Wikipedia so really I don’t know how I actually earn a living’ Connolley?

  34. @Helen Porter – Cry harder.

    Greta Thunberg is a globalist shill that was specifically selected for her undeveloped appearance because it made her seem more childlike and therefore innocent. She isn’t innocent of this at all, her back-story is a manufactured combination of lies and misrepresentations which simply doesn’t wash.

    Her handlers (courtesy of George Soros) were feeding the lines she puppeted throughout her period on the world stage. They did this to pull on the heartstrings of the credulous (people like you) and push through their Marxist narrative.

    By enabling and republishing this narrative you are simply perpetuating their fake narrative.

  35. John Galt – On another post on this blog you have commented that you think Joe Biden is a child abuser. The realty is that Joe Biden is a good normal man, who has never abused children.
    You meanwhile are just a far right conspiracy theorist who does not live in the real World. YOU NEED HELP. You are being brainwashed by Trump supporter’s videos on extremist news websites that claim Biden is the virtual antichrist and that Trump is some sort of new Jesus Christ. WKAE UP YOU ARE BEING BRAINWASHED. Trump is a horrible horrible nasty guy.
    Plus Peterson has had mental health conditions himself. So why is it Greta Thunberg should be ignored because she has had mental health conditions. While we should conveniently ignore the mental illnesses Peterson has had.
    I would not dismiss anyone’s views for having had mental health conditions in the past. But it seems one rule for Thunberg and another Peterson as far as the far right wing go.

  36. Anybody worth his Salt knows the *limits* of models. Most people here do. This is not a guarantee that anyone else does.

    I do love the way how the concept of “expert” , or for that matter “moderately educated”, changes whether you’re pro- or con- . Seems to me that any agreement for any position implies “expert” status, while anyone daring to express even mild criticism “amateur” is applied.

    But yeah… someone who is educated in the pitfalls of mathematical simulation is suddenly not suited for criticism about Real Life™ expectations of application of…., because?
    For applying the same strictures that are common in, say, something as irrelevant as engineering? Where one mistake can cause….

    Colour me a turnip….

  37. When just ONE of the climate alarmists’ predictions comes true, I’ll start paying attention. Until then, it’s okay to ask questions and entertain theories.

    So far, Boston is not yet underwater. They say New Orleans is to be completely submerged in about 8 years, but I don’t see anyone leaving.

    Maybe learn to communicate with the rest of society, and you won’t have to worry about the “misinformation” out there.

  38. You meanwhile are just a far right conspiracy theorist who does not live in the real World. YOU NEED HELP. You are being brainwashed by Trump supporter’s videos on extremist news websites that claim Biden is the virtual antichrist and that Trump is some sort of new Jesus Christ. WKAE UP YOU ARE BEING BRAINWASHED. Trump is a horrible horrible nasty guy.

    Pedo Joe has been a corrupt swamp dweller for the vast majority of his political life, enriching himself and his family at the congressional trough, through graft and corruption going back decades.

    As for being a Trump “supporter”, I’m at best ambivalent to him. He’s an egotistical blow-hard who loves himself and his wealth insulates him sufficiently that he doesn’t give much a damn what his opponents say about him. That’s both refreshing and amusing to me, especially the way he BTFO’d Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    The “conspiracy videos” and QAnon garbage I don’t have the time or the inclination for, so sorry to disappoint. You seem to have this fantasy in your head that all those who disparage Pedo Joe for his obvious failings do so because we’re pushing somebody else’s agenda, but that simply isn’t the case. I wave no flags for anyone, simply calling out Pedo Joe for what he is, a dementia addled corrupt politician who used fraud to steal the Whitehouse.

    If there’s anyone that’s delusional honey, it’s you. Seek help.

    Love and kisses,

  39. When just ONE of the climate alarmists’ predictions comes true, I’ll start paying attention. Until then, it’s okay to ask questions and entertain theories.

    A bit like Obama buying his mansion at Martha’s Vineyard. If he actually believed all that nonsense about sea-level rise and all being boiled alive in the dregs of the last ice floe then surely he’d have bought somewhere firmly inland and on high ground. The reason he didn’t is that he knows its just another grift.

    As others have said, when one of the predictions actually made ahead of time by climate models comes true, let me know.

    In the meantime I’m gonna do as Obama does and not worry about it.

  40. When I did Environmental Science as part of my degree in the eighties, data was presented showing that relative sea rise on the English south coast was much more due to isostatic rebound* than to the absolute sea level increasing.

    *In the last Ice Age, Scotland was covered in ice, so sank slightly into the mantle. As with a jelly, that resulted in Eastbourne rising out of the jelly, sorry, mantle. With the removal of the ice, Scotland is rising back up and on the other end of the see-saw Bexhill is sinking down.

  41. @jgh. Sort of the same..

    For clogland, subsidence and tilt are still in the range of cm/decade **. Global warming attributes cm/century.

    Guess what the local peeps who made it their career to keep our feet dry are actually worrying about?
    GW adds to their problem, but begging Scandinavia/Gaia to not rise another 1/10th of a mm this year? Good Luck.

  42. @Helen Porter – and who pissed on your chips? Greta is not a hero she’s an ill educated teenager – she’s nothing at all like Elon Musk who as far as i’m aware has not tried to starve himself to death and seems not to be a globalist shill. Musk is a BS in Physics and a BA in Economics whereas Greta didn’t go to school . As for dementia joe it’s obvious that he doesn’t seem to know where he is half the time. From the videos i’ve seen he certainly seems to act oddly around young children what with the hair sniffing and some of the odd comments he’s come out with regarding young girls.
    If your heroes are Greta and dementia joe i’m with John Galt – you need help.

  43. Well done Tim the host for prompting the rapid rebuttal unit to come here. You seem to have attracted the C team though.

  44. Based on previous comment thread I’d suggest more than the fair share of commentators (both occasional and frequent) have a well above average grasp of modelling and mathematics and science in general so it’s sad they couldn’t send anyone to at least attempt a coherent argument
    I’ve done some small scale modelling in my time and am well aware of the implications of trusting the output. I managed to produce some modelling in an afternoon with a handful of factors that turned out to be more accurate than the official Covid models which shows you can sometimes get lucky just guessing variables and that complexity doesn’t always lend itself to a better model

  45. I think some people haven’t grasped the point that fundamentally, some things cannot be modelled reliably beyond a given timeframe.
    It’s very much like financial modelling. If you could create a model which predicts accurately which way the FTSE or the S&P is going, then you would of course make a fortune. There are plenty of these types of models which are poked, prodded and tweaked to show superficial similarities with the past, but that’s not what we’re trying to do.
    We have two essential problems with climate modelling, one is that of feedback, ie it’s a chaotic system, the other is of the “unknown unknowns” – we don’t know all the factors that may be relevent to such a model.
    As a layman, you can only look at testable predictions to see if there are any models which appear to be synchronous with reality and even in those cases any similarities may be down to luck rather than accuracy.
    Anyone know of any climate models which have made testable, accurate predictions?

  46. As a layman in any particular subject, I tend to use wider assessment skills when required. I don’t need to know structural engineering to recognise when someone is trying to sell me a bridge.

  47. I read somewhere that the models have sanity-checking at various points to pick up any ridiculous results. I asked a modeller, back a while, whether they pick, cherry-pick, the results which they carry on to plot as part of the model ensemble. He did not give a proper answer, leaving me to assume that what we see in the graph is only the results which reinforce the narrative.

  48. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    Helen Porter = another of Violet Elizabeth Newmania’s nom de plumes. Sad, so very sad.

    Whatever happened to him? I miss his minor public school rantings, and his Brexit predictions of doom that turned out to be so, snigger, “accurate”.

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