Articles like this give the impression that climate change doubters and believers talk from two legitimate but different scientific frames of reference.
Roy Spencer is one of the main proponents paid as an academic scientist who claims that the human effect on climate is negligible. Barry Bickmore of Brigham Young University critically analyses Spencer’s position. In a 2008 paper:
Spencer was only able to obtain this result by assuming unrealistic values for various model parameters. If realistic values are used, the effect Spencer described is negligible.
Then in later work Spencer “claims to show with his simple climate model that, not only is climate sensitivity low, but most of the global warming in the 20th century can be explained by a natural cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.”
I took apart Spencer’s climate model, programmed it into my computer, and showed that, once again, he was only able to come to his conclusions because he was willing to use absurd values for some of his model parameters. Furthermore, he used a bizarre statistical technique that he apparently just made up, because it was capable of giving him nearly any answer he wanted.
Bickmore has also done a detailed review of Spencer’s latest book, written to bypass the peer review process.
The sequel to Bickmore’s job on Minchin was that Minchin claimed he was not quoting Spencer, he was in fact quoting John R. Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s State Climatologist and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in his Congressional testimony. Bickmore’s response is that Christy in his testimony was quoting Spencer’s views anyway.
silkworm on another thread, points out that Spencer is a creationist. Apparently he has a belief system that allows him to play with the rules of science in order to get the “right” answer. One can’t imagine him changing his mind in the face of evidence.
So my attitude remains to regard him as an unreliable source and spend my time elsewhere.
In the first link Professor Andy Hoffman talks about a “logic schism” and “framing battles”. But when you get down to it he’s comparing a bunch of editorials written by the pro AGW camp as against letters to the editor from the other mob. And he analysed “qualitative data gathered at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in May 2010—the largest annual climate change denier conference in the world.”
I recall having a look at that conference. It seemed to me to contain science, at best, of the quality shown by Spencer.
Hoffman is in fact talking about the public discourse on climate science, rather than climate science.
Recently I drew attention to Dan Kahan’s view that that you can divide the population into hierarchical-individualists or egalitarian-communitarians, at least in the US. Your hierarchical-individualists are likely to be Republican voting climate sceptics or deniers, while the egalitarian-communitarians vote Democrat and accept AGW.
Much as I find this categorisation attractive, experience tells me that it is impossible to predict why people think and believe as they do, and the variety is almost infinite.
But both Hoffman and Kahan share essentially the same view about what it takes to change your mind, namely someone who shares the same values and world view. I think a genuinely traumatic life experience could also do it, which presumably is what is behind flood victims being more likely to accept climate change.