"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Climate Maths for Dummies


We have become used to climate scientists modifying data to give a desired answer and it is no surprise Australian climate guru Will Steffen puts his own slant on poll results by simply discarding many of the opposing votes.
Nick Cater of the Australian has the story:
Climate scientist Will Steffen has found a solution for what he calls the “increasingly toxic, partisan, adversarial atmosphere” bedevilling civic debate.
He was galvanised by an opinion poll published in The Canberra Times that found ACT residents were going cold on the proposal to build a tramline in the federal capital.
When the ACT government surveyed taxpayers 10 months ago 55 per cent thought it was a good idea. Now, according to a Reachtel poll of 1446 territory residents, support has fallen to lest than 39 per cent while more than 46 per cent oppose it.
Steffen smelled a rat. How could anyone fail to see the benefit of investing the best part of a billion bucks in a 12km light rail line from Civic to Gungahlin, wherever Gungahlin might be?
Why would Canberrans not wave their hats at the prospect of travelling down Northbourne Avenue at a thrilling 30km an hour, a speed only marginally slower than George Stephenson’s Rocket?
Steffen and co-author Barbara Norman spotted the outlier.
“Only 15.8 per cent of intending Liberal voters support light rail,” Steffen and Norman wrote in The Canberra Times last Thursday, “while for all other groups (Labor, Greens, Others and Undecided) support for light rail varied between 42 per cent and 63.5 per cent.
“That anomalously low level of support among Liberal voters immediately caught our attention and prompted us to reanalyse the poll results.”
The “strong skew” of Liberal-leaning respondents, claimed Steffen, “can easily generate a misleading impression of what the poll numbers are actually showing”. Steffen and Norman’s solution was to remove 446 Liberal voters from the result.
The result of this “reanalysis”, claim the authors, is that 51.9 per cent support light rail, 3.2 per cent oppose and 14.9 per cent are undecid­ed.
There is no explanation of what became of the other 30 per cent but clearly they don’t count.
Write Steffen and Norman: “For the more than two-thirds of Canberrans who are not intending to vote for the Liberals, there is very strong support for light rail, a nearly 20 per cent lead over those who oppose it.”
So that’s settled, then. Everyone agrees a tram to nowhere underwritten by the taxpayers in the most car-friendly capital in the country is a wonderful idea. Everyone, that is, except those dolts who vote Liberal who don’t really count.
Why stop there? Why not apply the Steffen method to the 2013 election? After all, it works in Belarus where President Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected with 79.6 per cent of the vote at the 2010 election, and appears to be in little hurry to organise another one.
This insight into Steffen’s methodology may cause us to look afresh at his startling claims about climate change and his forecasts for the end of the world as we know it.

2 comments:

  1. It's staggering that he would think it OK to pull such a deception anytime, for any reason.

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    Replies
    1. My guess is you could add diligently and often.

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