0833: "Convincing"

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

I'd say that's over-thinking things. It's just tying into the running joke of graphing things, and in a very funny way.

The only trouble is that I now want to make a graph of the funnyness of the graph-related comics.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby FrederikVds » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:17 pm UTC

It really is a different comic than the other two. The only remote connection between the three is the graphing of relationships, which is an activity so everyday and mundane that I'm surprised anyone even noticed that.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Moose Hole » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:56 pm UTC

Reminds me of that movie So I Married an Axis Murderer.

/because it was lame

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Skorpion » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

JohnofArc wrote:
jwwells wrote:
Actually, the bottom tick mark being at (6,1) implies that he prefers buttered toast rather than regular toast, prove me wrong.


Easy. That's qualitative data, not a quantity that declines/increases with respect to some other variable.

Now, if you'd said the bottom tick being at (6,1) implies that his penis size has decreased over time, I wouldn't be able to counter you.

It's a qualitative assumption based on quantitative data. Like saying that since the level of happiness of their relationship decreases with respect to time, point x,y implies that one or both would prefer to break up now. Except replace happiness with mass of butter per square inch of toast.

Then you're just graphing butter/in2 against time. That doesn't say whether or not he prefers buttered toast, just how much butter he's consumed. If anything it indicates that he doesn't prefer buttered toast, since his average butter intake is on a downward trend. (Of course, correlation is not causality. It's also possible that his doctor has been asking him to reduce his butter intake, or he's been running out of butter.)

Now if the X axis was butter/in2 and the Y axis was disappointment, then you have an argument.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby alexriehl » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:34 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Skorpion wrote:
JohnofArc wrote:
jwwells wrote:
Actually, the bottom tick mark being at (6,1) implies that he prefers buttered toast rather than regular toast, prove me wrong.


Easy. That's qualitative data, not a quantity that declines/increases with respect to some other variable.

Now, if you'd said the bottom tick being at (6,1) implies that his penis size has decreased over time, I wouldn't be able to counter you.

It's a qualitative assumption based on quantitative data. Like saying that since the level of happiness of their relationship decreases with respect to time, point x,y implies that one or both would prefer to break up now. Except replace happiness with mass of butter per square inch of toast.

Then you're just graphing butter/in2 against time. That doesn't say whether or not he prefers buttered toast, just how much butter he's consumed. If anything it indicates that he doesn't prefer buttered toast, since his average butter intake is on a downward trend. (Of course, correlation is not causality. It's also possible that his doctor has been asking him to reduce his butter intake, or he's been running out of butter.)

Now if the X axis was butter/in2 and the Y axis was disappointment, then you have an argument.
Sadness would also work for the Y-axis.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby MathUhhhSaurus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:57 pm UTC

IMPROPER PLOT ALERT!

Lol...in freshman engineering, they hammered into our brains the "importance" of proper plots.

Also, I'm glad I took that class before I saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth...otherwise, I would have believed it.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby mattholimeau » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

anschelsc wrote:To me the scariest thing is that when I looked at the second panel I immediately thought "But those axes aren't labeled!"


Phew, I'm not alone! I feel like I saw it coming, but it was a sweet kind of "I KNEW it!"

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Ichapp » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

CSIGuy wrote:Sounds like someone is going to be...

*Dons a second pair of sunglasses*

... On the ex-axis. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAA


I think we have a thread winner.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby picnic_crossfire » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

BOOM roasted
picnic time!

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:46 pm UTC

OK,
So somebody needs to come up with a Venn Diagram:

People who comment on XKCD cartoons

vs.

People who over-analyse XKCD cartoons (or maybe everything)
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby ASmellyOgre » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:28 pm UTC

I have to admit, the lack of labels struck me, too. However, I was used to the love graphs on XKCD not being labeled, so I didn't expect the punchline at all.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby thkng » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:00 pm UTC

Before i even read the last two panel i was thinking who doesn't label their axes...

The alt text was quite nice as well.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Hooch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

I suppose that Randall's writing abilities have been strained by his family life, but this is the first xkcd that I've actually found funny in a while.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:49 am UTC

Also, I'm glad I took that class before I saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth...otherwise, I would have believed it.


Because as we all know, the idea of anthropogenic climate change was formulated by Al Gore, and not something that has been discussed in scientific circles since the 1950s...

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Seeker160 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:25 am UTC

Wow Randall really get out of my head. I know everyone says that all the time on here but yesterday i was talking to my ex about getting back together. After a little while she made a point why it wouldn't work and it was how she said it not what she said the made the difference.

So bravo Randall keep up with the mind reading because it gave me that little boost i need to make it through the week. A little laugh at the irony and bad timing of the universe (Also made me want to start looking at whether tin foil or mesh wire hats are better to protect me.)

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Dauthi » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:12 am UTC

Gathering all the awesome up.

Falkon wrote:"I don't label my.... Of course I label my axes! Come out to the wood shed, dear, and let me show you!" :twisted:

c-square wrote:"Shall I compare thee to some toasted bread with a dairy spread?" :D

Moose Hole wrote:Reminds me of that movie So I Married an Axis Murderer.

CSIGuy wrote:Sounds like someone is going to be...

*Dons a second pair of sunglasses*

... On the ex-axis. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAA
Last edited by Dauthi on Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:09 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby rpgamer » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:32 am UTC

Seeker160 wrote:So bravo Randall keep up with the mind reading because it gave me that little boost i need to make it through the week. A little laugh at the irony and bad timing of the universe (Also made me want to start looking at whether tin foil or mesh wire hats are better to protect me.)

Solid coverage is recommended.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

Username4242 wrote:
Also, I'm glad I took that class before I saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth....otherwise, I would have believed it.

Because as we all know, the idea of anthropogenic climate change was formulated by Al Gore, and not something that has been discussed in scientific circles since the 1950s...

Considering the idea of anthropogenic climate change and believing everything in An Inconvenient Truth are two very different things.

The statistical fallacies are pretty abysmal. I especially love/hate the one spot where Gore's "amazing" PowerPoint graph (I think it's CO2 vs time) folds over and back on itself, so that there are 3 values of y for a given t. This means that no statistical software suite could have generated the graph, so it must have been hand-drawn. Inexcusable. If you have real science backing you up, use it! Don't make crap up.

That aside....we do have some real winners in this thread.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby severach » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

Neither sadness nor disappointment work for the Y-axis. The graph is decreasing over time. Sadness decreasing would give the couple good reason to stay together. Sign errors are definitely a good reason to break up.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:41 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:OK,
So somebody needs to come up with a Venn Diagram:

A: People who comment on XKCD cartoons

vs.

B: People who over-analyse XKCD cartoons (or maybe everything)

You'd have to add two categories:

C: People who fail to see the inherent entertainment value of over-analyzing funny things for the fun of it

and

D: Members of A-intersect-C who feel quite superior about their lack of affinity with A-intersect-B (ie, most of A) and want to hold forth about it.

It would probably look something like this.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:57 pm UTC

I especially love/hate the one spot where Gore's "amazing" PowerPoint graph (I think it's CO2 vs time) folds over and back on itself, so that there are 3 values of y for a given t.


HAH. I actually haven't seen it... after hearing that, I may have to. That's hilarious.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Skorpion » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

severach wrote:Neither sadness nor disappointment work for the Y-axis. The graph is decreasing over time. Sadness decreasing would give the couple good reason to stay together. Sign errors are definitely a good reason to break up.

You missed the key point of my post :) I suggested that neither axis is time.

As far as An Inconvenient Truth goes, I've never seen it, but 97% of climatologists agree that global warming is a real problem and caused by humans. The only debate in the scientific community is whether the effects are bad, or really bad. The so-called global warming "controversy" is a charade fostered by companies with a vested interest in preventing change: http://www.desmogblog.com/oil-companies-funding-friends-of-science
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby enderverse » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:53 pm UTC

I remember back when 70% + scientist were convinced of global cooling. I did a report on it in school. They had all sorts of graphs proving that a new ice age was coming and how we should all be panicking and stop polluting.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby SomeFloridaKid » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

JohnofArc wrote:
jwwells wrote:Relationship status is a unitless quantity. It can be expressed as:

Value of being in a relationship with you
--------------------------------------
Value of the average expected relationship

The bottom tick-mark is, of course, at 1.0, meaning that he's finally hit the point of indifference.

The horizontal tick marks are left as an exercise.

HINT: They have been in a relationship for exactly six months.

She can do better than somebody who needs everything spelled out for him.

Actually, the bottom tick mark being at (6,1) implies that he prefers buttered toast rather than regular toast, prove me wrong.


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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:28 pm UTC

enderverse wrote:I remember back when 70% + scientist were convinced of global cooling. I did a report on it in school. They had all sorts of graphs proving that a new ice age was coming and how we should all be panicking and stop polluting.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB3S0fnOr0M

Or not.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

Skorpion wrote:As far as An Inconvenient Truth goes, I've never seen it, but 97% of climatologists agree that global warming is a real problem and caused by humans. The only debate in the scientific community is whether the effects are bad, or really bad. The so-called global warming "controversy" is a charade fostered by companies with a vested interest in preventing change: http://www.desmogblog.com/oil-companies-funding-friends-of-science.

Well, atmospheric science is not my field of study (physics is), but I've still taken a look at things now and then. Climate change is happening, yes, and there is an extremely strong likelihood that human activity is responsible for a significant fraction of it. Whether human action can reverse this trend and whether the potential costs of warming could be greater than the costs of effecting change are questions that I, for one, am certainly not qualified to answer. I wonder what the economists have to say.

As far as the link you posted....eh. As a scientist, I take issue with the implication that one-sided funding automagically produces biased results. Granted, a group of scientists funded by an oil company is unlikely to look for evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change, but that doesn't mean that their results are necessarily tainted. You can pay a scientist to say "climate change isn't happening", but that doesn't mean he'll fabricate hard data supporting his statement. Evidence and research should be evaluated primarily on the basis of the research methods and data analyses used.

For example, consider this example from a climate change denial video. Let's say that the researchers' conclusions (1:20 onwards) are completely the result of a big payoff from Shell Oil. Let's say that the researchers even admit this. It still doesn't change the fact that the ice core surveys (particularly, the one Gore uses) shows the CO2 curve trailing the temperature curve by 800 years, not the other way around. Here's the raw data from Vostok, and you can run the numbers yourself if you have Excel or Mathcad. This is the explanation (copied from that page) of the raw data by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:
real scientists wrote:"At the beginning of the deglaciations, the CO2 increase either was in phase or lagged by less than ~1000 years with respect to the Antarctic temperature, whereas it clearly lagged behind the temperature at the onset of the glaciations."
You can see the data laid out in Gore's own documentary:
Spoiler:
Image

In this image, red represents CO2 levels and blue represents temperature (the opposite of what's in the video from before); the x-axis shows years before present (YBP). It's particularly clear that the CO2 levels change after the temperature at the 625000 YBP, 515000 YBP, and 390000 YBP points. However, since this graph is pretty badly constructed (see below), I wouldn't trust it anyway. Trust the raw data; crunch the numbers yourself.
Legitimate perspectives on climate change aside, though, An Inconvenient Truth is both an utter joke and an excellent example of how easily poor graphing obscures the real data (which was the original point made by MathUhhhSaurus and Andromeda321).

To begin with, the front cover of the documentary implies that the human climate change was responsible for the damage done by Hurricane Katrina; this is Gore's "shiningest" point. But there is no upward trend in the number of hurricanes worldwide (see the spoiler'd image below for the hard data). His central argument was a farce.
Spoiler:
Image

Reports indicate that hurricane frequency in the North Atlantic has doubled because of climate change. This is true, but it misses the point of global warming; there has been no increase in worldwide hurricane incidence. In fact, if you put together the linear fits for the three graphs above, you get a net decrease of 2 hurricanes per year from the mean-weighted median average of 32. That's a barely-significant 6.3% decrease, not the widely-touted 100% increase.

Neither is there conclusive evidence that global warming is making hurricanes more severe; many scientists believe that higher temperatures will actually decrease the severity of hurricanes by smoothing the volatile temperature gradient as you move away from the equator. Regardless, intensity wasn't at issue with Katrina; it was a category 3 when it hit New Orleans. The damage from Hurricane Katrina was not caused by global warming, but by the failure to upgrade the levees to protect from hurricanes in general.
There are many similar errors (with respect to pictures, graphs, and statements) throughout. Here's another graphing-gaffe gem from the presentation:
Spoiler:
Image

This graph shows global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 1958 through 1999. Obviously, this graph is almost completely unlabeled on its axes. The lovely thing is that over this time period, CO2 levels increased from ~320 ppm to ~370 ppm, a mere 0.38%/year increase (raw data from CDIAC.ORNL.gov). If the y-axis was properly labeled and started at zero, this line would barely slope at all. Instead, though, the lack of a proper axis presents us with a mind-blowing 45 degree slope! Yes, cut out more than eight tenths of the data so that it looks more extraordinary; that's what propaganda is for. Even if you say that the black portion of the slide is part of the "graph" (a generous allowance since there are no axis labels), he's still omitted all but the top 24% of the data. But An Inconvenient Truth was about scare tactics, not science. Who are we kidding?
Username4242 wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:I especially love/hate the one spot where Gore's "amazing" PowerPoint graph (I think it's CO2 vs time) folds over and back on itself, so that there are 3 values of y for a given t.
HAH. I actually haven't seen it....after hearing that, I may have to. That's hilarious.
Here's a beautiful screenshot for your viewing pleasure.
Spoiler:
Image

It's fairly self-explanatory. This is supposedly the data from the Vostok ice cores. The y-axis is CO2 in ppm, the x-axis is time. No reliable piece of software could possibly generate an error this egregious. Who drew this graph? I hope they fired him.
Last edited by davidstarlingm on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:40 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby mattholimeau » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:55 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:OK,
So somebody needs to come up with a Venn Diagram:

People who comment on XKCD cartoons

vs.

People who over-analyse XKCD cartoons (or maybe everything)


So, clearly, you're talking about a single circle?

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby hthall » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:26 am UTC

Andromeda321 wrote:The sad thing is I immediately thought upon seeing the second panel "wait, the axes aren't labeled!" Then I read the punchline, and yup, I'm a girl.

Thus proving the last line of the strip.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby BrianX » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:40 am UTC

*screams silently in quiet horror about the introduction of climate science into the thread*

*screams loudly in frustration at the AGW deniers*

*runs off screaming*

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby BioTube » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:01 am UTC

Why do people who insist mankind isn't (solely)responsible for global warming get so much flack? It's one thing if somebody says there's no global warming at all, but claiming that anyone who believes it could be (mostly)natural in source is a "denialist" is nothing more than propaganda. We live in an interglacial period which must, by definition, come to an end, either by frost or by melt.
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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby BrianX » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:39 am UTC

BioTube wrote:Why do people who insist mankind isn't (solely)responsible for global warming get so much flack? It's one thing if somebody says there's no global warming at all, but claiming that anyone who believes it could be (mostly)natural in source is a "denialist" is nothing more than propaganda. We live in an interglacial period which must, by definition, come to an end, either by frost or by melt.


The problem is that the evidence largely supports that human-generated greenhouse gases are causing warming over and above the natural cycles. Any reputable climatologist will say this, and any field biologist working in or resident of a warming-affected area (like, say, northern Canada or low-lying islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans) can attest this as well from direct experience. However, climatology doesn't have anything like the funding or insight into peoples' personal prejudices that PR firms paid by polluting companies do. It's far easier than people want to admit to muddy the waters on a subject and convince people to pass it on. On the other hand, it's very difficult to overcome prejudice with fact. I think there's also a belief among certain people on the Right that (their version of) economics is as much a scientific truth as anything else, and therefore anything that disagrees with it must be wrong or intentionally deceptive; this is completely ass-backwards, but it goes unquestioned by far too many people who might not even think to put it in words.

Look at it this way: You can talk about Al Gore or bring up the alleged scandal of Climate"gate", but at the end of the day the data says what it says. You can either accept it as is, or you can assume that several large swaths of the scientific field (including not just climatology, but oceanography, population biology, and big chunks of geology, paleontology, and geochemistry) are all fraudulent, and that scientists are willing to falsify results in a potentially career-ending manner for an absolute pittance in compensation. If that seems plausible to you, you might be a denialist.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:04 am UTC

BrianX wrote:*screams silently in quiet horror about the introduction of climate science into the thread*

*screams loudly in frustration at the AGW deniers*

*runs off screaming*

My apologies. I wasn't trying to introduce debate over global warming or hold forth as a denier; I was merely taking issue with the unfounded assumption that funding = biased data. That, and pointing out a few egregious graph-related gaffes in An Inconvenient Travesty.
BrianX wrote:....at the end of the day the data says what it says. You can either accept it as is, or you can assume that several large swaths of the scientific field (including not just climatology, but oceanography, population biology, and big chunks of geology, paleontology, and geochemistry) are all fraudulent, and that scientists are willing to falsify results in a potentially career-ending manner for an absolute pittance in compensation.

See, that's just the problem. When I look at the actual physical data (for instance, seeing that CO2 trends follow temperature and not the other way around), I am really curious as to how so many climatologists, oceanographers, population biologists, geologists, paleontologists, and geochemists are all saying that human-produced CO2 causes the current warming trend. I am really honestly curious.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

See, that's just the problem. When I look at the actual physical data (for instance, seeing that CO2 trends follow temperature and not the other way around), I am really curious as to how so many climatologists, oceanographers, population biologists, geologists, paleontologists, and geochemists are all saying that human-produced CO2 causes the current warming trend. I am really honestly curious.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8

This guy's entire series is probably one of the best on climate change information on Youtube, but this video in particular answers your question.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:03 pm UTC

Username4242 wrote:
See, that's just the problem. When I look at the actual physical data (for instance, seeing that CO2 trends follow temperature and not the other way around), I am really curious as to how so many climatologists, oceanographers, population biologists, geologists, paleontologists, and geochemists are all saying that human-produced CO2 causes the current warming trend. I am really honestly curious.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8

This guy's entire series is probably one of the best on climate change information on Youtube, but this video in particular answers your question.

Ahah. So whenever there's a glacial shift, climate leads CO2, but everywhere else (like now), CO2 leads climate. Sounds contrived, but I'm sure it probably isn't. Makes good enough sense.

But it isn't a strawman.
the video you provided wrote:The strawman here is that climate scientists say, "Throughout history, CO2 has always and in every case been the single controlling factor of global temperature." The reason that's a strawman is nobody says that.
See, the problem is, someone did say that (or something very close to it). Someone who won a Nobel Prize for saying it. Someone that we all listened to and considered to be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the subject.
Al Gore wrote:We're going back in time now—650,000 years—here's what the temperature has been on our earth. Now, one thing that kinda jumps out at you is, "Do they ever fit together?" ....The relationship is actually very complicated, but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: when there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.
Gore says that CO2's effect on global temperature is by far the most powerful relationship between temperature and CO2; the opposite is true. Rapid cyclic increases in global temperature boost CO2 levels by causing outgassing; this relationship far outweighs the CO2-causing-climate-change effect. So, you can hardly blame skeptics like me for looking at the data and saying, "No, Gore, you're an idiot; if you represent scientific consensus on climate change, this is stupid."

Gore takes a graph that clearly shows the reaction of CO2 levels to temperature around glacial periods, claims that it shows CO2 controlling temperature changes, and displays an unlabeled exaggerated graph of CO2 vs time in recent history to scare his audience. That's not science; that's propaganda. I'm glad to know that there's a fairly viable explanation for the obvious discrepancy, but that doesn't change how utterly ridiculous An Inconvenient Truth is. Gore's bad science and scare tactics may be good at convincing laypeople and children that the polar bears are in imminent danger, but they are practically begging for the more educated and skeptical audience to act as deniers.

One question, then: how do atmospheric scientists and paleoclimatologists tell the difference between temperature affecting CO2 and CO2 affecting temperature?

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:25 pm UTC

I'll see if I can dig up some more information on the leading vs. following issue, but I'll note that though CO2 is often implicated, it's not the only greenhouse gas that can cause major shifts in climate. For example, the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event was initiated by a climactic warming, caused by CO2 emissions from a massive flood basalt province (the Siberian Traps) 250 million years ago, along with probable methane releases from oceanic clathrate storages. It's a pretty fascinating. brutal event. There have been a few other ideas about extinction causes, but from what I understand, it's pretty much clinched that it was largely caused by a tremendous amount of global warming (up to 10.5 Cº).

Methane was also implicated in the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian–Triassic_extinction_event
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene–Eocene_Thermal_Maximum
Last edited by Username4242 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

I suppose I can drop the Vostok data into Excel myself, smooth it with a 10 pt sampling function, then port it over to Mathcad and try to normalize the trends and get an idea of how a temp-vs-CO2-excluding-glaciation-and-deglaciation curve would look like.

What I'm most interested in is a cost-benefit analysis. Obviously, the doomsday predictions are full of hot air (Day After Tomorrow, anyone?), but an accelerated warming trend would still probably have some detrimental effects. It might also have some beneficial effects. Regardless, the disuse of fossil fuels in developing countries will definitely slow their development and cause a great deal of economic stagnation, increased poverty, etc. What's the cost of allowing the warming to continue compared to the costs of using less clean-burning fossil fuel?

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:53 pm UTC

Honestly, as far as the socioeconomic factors go, the IPCC report is the best place to start.

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_dat ... tents.html

Here's a more detailed description of the CO2 vs. glaciation issue.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... p-and-co2/

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

The most crucial thing, IMO, is to be able to derive a roughly accurate plot of temperature vs CO2 that represents actual causality. Maybe it's just the physicist in me, but I feel like I need a continuous, differentiable y(x) or I'm left fumbling about blindly. Because the ice cores show deglaciation effecting the release of CO2, you're left with y vs x where y(x) is multi-valued and thus useless.

Perhaps doubling the level of CO2 will increase global temperature by 3 degrees. What will tripling the level do? Is the true y(x) (where y is temperature and x is CO2) a linear function? An exponential function? If it's an exponential function, does it open up or down? I'd be surprised if it's linear, and even more surprised if it's exponential opening up; exponential positive feedback is rare in nature.

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby Username4242 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

Coming from a non-climate scientist, one needs to remember that CO2 is not the only driver involved here. There are a multitude of factors, all working together. CO2 is an important driver, but it's certainly not the only one, so only looking at CO2 is only looking at a portion of the actual picture, and you're basically running blind if you tunnelvision on it.

However, if you're wondering about the degree to which further changes in CO2 will affect the climate, I'll again refer you to the IPCC. It's quite comprehensive, but probably the most useful source out there. It's also one of the more conservative estimates of future climactic changes.

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_dat ... ts.shtml#1

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Re: 0833: "Convincing"

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

Username4242 wrote:Coming from a non-climate scientist, one needs to remember that CO2 is not the only driver involved here. There are a multitude of factors, all working together. CO2 is an important driver, but it's certainly not the only one, so only looking at CO2 is only looking at a portion of the actual picture, and you're basically running blind if you tunnelvision on it.

Right. Global temperature is a function of literally thousands of variables, all of which are themselves functions of other variables that are simplifications of thermodynamic laws. We would practically need infinite space and time to fully simulate precisely how temperature changes with respect to CO2 while holding all other variables equal.

I just want one proposed equation approximating f(x1, x2, x3....xn), where f is d(temperature)/d(time), x1 is d(CO2)/d(time), and x2-xn can be held as parameters.

Thanks for the links, by the way.


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