The One — Chopped Down to Size

Over at Climate Audit, McIntyre has stopped his manic posting on the Muir Inquiry long enough to give notice that he was disinvited to the World Dendro Conference.


On December 8, 2009, I received one of my rare invitations to make a presentation to climate scientists – a keynote speech at the plenary session on June 16, 2010 of World Dendro 2010. At the time they had received almost 500 abstracts. It was proposed that I speak on a program chaired by Achim Bräuning, with presentations in sequence by ‘N.N’, Juha-Pekka Lunkka, me, Keith Briffa, Fidel Roig.

Two days ago, I was advised that due to receiving almost 500 abstracts, their biggest problem has been to find more time for presentations and ‘many good presentations are without time and place’, so they canceled the plenary session in which I was presenting and thus my presentation. (This and two other plenary sessions are still listed on the programme.)

They said that they were “sorry for this bad news” and expressed hope that time could be found for such discussion “in some future events” and thanked me for my “interest in WorldDendro2010 Conference”.

He sent a response to the notice, stating that “reading between the lines” some of the other presenters didn’t want to play in the same sandbox as him.

The organizers responded that in fact, “many of the planned speakers … were not very willing to participate in that session”.

Of course, the chorus replies to this news with exclamations that the dendros are running scared and are unable to deal with criticism and fear McIntyre because they’re an inept lot who don’t understand statistics…

Sometimes it’s just too difficult to face up to questions one doesn’t have an answer to. Shame.


so they are afraid to face their “nemesis” face to face in discussion and debate.

Doesn’t say much for their positions, their faith in their beliefs or their desire to find academic truth.


Bloody cowards!


At the Finnish Battle of Thermopylae, 500 caved in fear of THE ONE..


Hahah! THE ONE! Me thinks I’ll adopt that title for McI henceforth.

Here’s more because these are just so delightful.


This was their big chance to prove that climate science gives a fair hearing to all sides. I guess 500 speakers on one side and you on the other was not “balanced” enough for them so your talk got cancelled in order to achieve the balance they wanted.


Not only is McIntyre THE ONE, but he’s also DAVID against the Dendro Goliath.


Steve would be an exciting and interesting guest at any gathering of scientists. Fundamentalist religions like the “Team” generally only invite heretics to a retreat if they can poison their wine or burn them.


Ya know, I really really lost a lot of faith in the human mind when reading the chorus over at CA during the past few months. Fundamentalist religion? Do these people understand the terms they use?  Perhaps a few years of philosophy or logic might help them out a bit in the general comprehension department…


By now, you of all people should know that there are no repeatable, defendable statistics in dendro work. The divergence among samples is so large, even the most sophisticated treatments can’t separate the signals from the noise. By the way, were the results from those samples you took a number of years ago ever published anywhere?


Yes, MR THE ONE, have you published any research using the samples you too a number of years ago? Oh, that’s right — you aren’t interested in doing the work of an academic, but the work of auditor…

Why the hell would anyone invite THE ONE to a dendro conference anyway? Like, he’s made any great contribution to the science…

ETA: I just finished reading over a thread at CA titled “Miracles and Stripbark Standardization“, which, interestingly, is the thread on which the CRU Hack was announced. It’s a very interesting thread because it deals with two big issues at CA — stripbark trees and dendroclimatology. On this thread, a dendro named CB participates, answering questions and commenting on the thread, the commenters and the general level of the discourse and comprehension of dendro. He’s not charitable to Steve M and to many of the commenters.  Needless to say, he’s not well received by many.

I can see how a dendro might regard CA as of somewhat questionable value.

Of course, posting this cartoon in reference to dendro methodology wouldn’t help either, but it might just illustrate the tone taken on CA towards climate science and climate scientists. Hey, I can appreciate a good joke, but only when it is a joke and not a statement of belief.

bender’s final comment on the thread says it all:

Bender  Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PermalinkReply

Re: Ryan O (#186),
All I have seen from CB is air.

The takehome from the thread on stripbark is the fact that engaging these folks in a serious discussion of the science is really worthess.

Got me to thinking that when you want to put out a fire, you starve it of oxygen…

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162 Responses to “The One — Chopped Down to Size”

  1. Fine, you disagree with Steve, but why do you have to adopt such a sneering tone? It does you little credit. I am sure you are well aware that Steve does not use this kind of tone on his blog.

    Your analogy with starving a fire of oxygen is disingenuous. Following this line of reasoning you would silence all critics, thus putting out “the fire” more rapidly. This is not science.

    Please re-read your comments and reconsider both the implications of what you say, and the tone in which you say it.

    Ross Taylor

    • Considering the level of schadenfreude over at CA of late, turnabout is fair play.

    • I am sure you are well aware that Steve does not use this kind of tone on his blog

      Ross – Don’t kid yourself. You know that that’s BS. Where’s McI’s apology to Briffa after the Yamal kerfuffle? His tone, actions and generally putrid behavior towards Keith puts whatever said or implied here in the shade.

      This is not science

      And how many peer-reviewed science papers has Stevie published in the past 5 years again? To presume that the circle-jerk in CA is “science” is risible. Heck, it’s one of the reasons why I’m a “former” skeptic.

      Please re-read your comments and reconsider both the implications of what you say, and the tone in which you say it.

      Tried listening to your own advice? Guess not.

      • Briffa published a paper where the end of the hockey stick had no statistical significance because it relied on too few trees.
        SteveMc pointed this out and illustrated how increasing the sample size could produce dramatically different results.
        Briffa basically agreed with SteveMc but went on to re-do his reconstruction with additional data that increased the sample size. His new reconstruction was the same as the original.
        At this point in time the alarmist crowd declares Briffa vindicated and demands apologies but by doing so they missed the entire point.
        You see from the perspective of scientists and engineers who actually have to adher to QA standards Briffa screwed up big time because he published a paper which made claims that could not be supported by the data used in the paper.
        It does not make a difference that he later showed the claims to be right anyways. They problem is his papers misrepresented the data he used. That is sloppy at best, fraudulent at worst (it depends on whether Briffa knew the sample size was too small but used it anyways).
        The only person who is owned an apology is SteveMc. Briffa should be thanking him for pointing out the error and issuing a correction for his papers that used the inadequate sample size.

        • Lots of distortions above.

          McIntyre and some of his promoters owe many an apology. This should always be the case when one insinuates fraud or deception, and is caught red-handed later.

          McIntyre is an attention-seeker

          who pats himself and his supporters on the back when they are able to successfully manufacture and sell a controversy. This is how politics is done – not science.

        • You provided absolutely nothing that refutes the point about how Briffa published papers that made claims which could not be supported by data used in the paper.
          The fact that this kind of sloppiness is considered acceptable by ‘climate scientists’ is one of reasons why I do not consider their research a reliable foundation for policy decisions.

          • Deniers are unhappy with the implications of climate science’s findings and fear the prospect of climate legislation for whatever reason — self-interest, ideology, sheer curmudgeoness, or just plain fear of change. They feel unable to convince politicians — the decision makers — not to act on the overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is real and primarily the result of human use of fossil fuels. They fear that they will be unsuccessful in convincing politicians that their short-term interests in the status quo outweigh the larger public interest in addressing global warming through climate legislation. Thus, they attack the science by pointing out inconsequential errors, in the hopes of raising enough doubt about it in the lay public’s mind so that politicians won’t act for fear they get ousted at the ballot box.

            In doing so, they’re willing to undermine science itself by raising unfounded public doubt about one of the most amazing advances in human history. Like democracy, science isn’t perfect, but it’s the best system we have. The willingness of deniers to trash science’s public reputation in the service of short-term economic interests, and potentially delay important climate legislation with the risk of long-term serious consequences to global climate is despicable.

            • Would you trust a sloppy doctor? I would not. Sloppy scientists can’t be trusted for the same reason.
              The solution is to do something about the sloppiness. Not whine about the people bringing to the attention of the public.
              We have well established QA processes in engineering and medicine. Scientists should be able to live up to those standards.
              In other words, your claim that ‘it the best we have’ is demonstratably false. Scientists can do better and they should be required to.

              • I want science to be as free from outside interference as possible, and to work as they should work — to explore and discover and research the physical world for its own sake and to keep moving human knowledge forward.

                Policy makers and voters are the ones with the problem — we have to decide how to deal with the implications of science’s findings. What kind of policy should we develop based on the science? We have to take into account the uncertainties and risks of acting and not acting. It’s our problem and it is in our ballpark — not science. We have to figure out how to deal with uncertainties in science and unknown future risks and costs when we make policy and choose politicians.

                Those with vested interests or ideological commitments against legislation don’t want to accept that reality. They want no legislation and so instead of dealing with this matter in its proper realm — politics — they attack the science.

                Denialists say free the code, but I say free scientists to do science. The rest of us have to deal with policy and all its issues.

                • You can’t have it both ways.

                  If you want policy makers to consider the work done by scientists when making decisions then this work must be subject to rigorous review by hostile outsiders.

                  If you want scientists to work freely without such review then their work cannot be considered by policy makers.

                  Which do you choose? It is one or the other.

                  • False alternatives.

                    Science is always uncertain to one degree or another. It is also self-correcting and is already subject to review — that’s what peer-review is all about.

                    Policy makers have to make policy decisions sometimes even when all the evidence isn’t in and the science is uncertain.

                    That’s the nature of the beast and why risk assessment is so important. To be able to assess risk is always easier when the evidence of risk is solid, but it becomes a cost-benefit analysis. It’s admittedly a thorny problem for policy makers and the public.

                    The question we face is this: is the risk of global warming high enough that we feel the cost of implementing GHG limiting legislation is worth it? Is the public interest in addressing global warming worth the economic costs?

                    These are admittedly difficult and complex and politically sensitive questions but they are the real questions, not whether there are errors in a paper on paleoclimate.

                  • In my opinion were are much better off doing nothing about CO2 even if the claims are largely correct because the technology required to reduce emissions while maintaining our standard of living does not exist and any money spent will be wasted.
                    I know you will disagree but if you really believed it was up to the policy makers to decide on the best course of action you should be willing to accept that my POV without accusing me of being ‘anti-science’.
                    If you want insist on using your interpretation of the science as a club to silence people with different opinions on policy then you better be prepared have that science be put under the microscope.

                    • Tim, you are entitled to your opinion. I have no problems with you expressing it. What I do have is a problem if you misrepresent the facts and evidence and if you do so because of vested interests or ideological commitments that are unexamined and unstated. Your opinion is worth as much as any other layperson’s opinion.

                      I say you are anti-science based on your comments about science, not because of your opinion on global warming.

                      My interpretation of science is not intended to silence people — as if I could do that — come on, I’m just an interested layperson with a blog. It’s meant to try to clarify the terms of the discussion and describe what I see as taking place.

                      It’s up to others to determine if it has any value.

                    • There is nothing anti-science in what I say. All I am saying is the current processes used by academic scientists are not good enough if the science is used to make policy decisions.
                      Your response to that argument is to call me ‘anti-science’.

                    • Tim,

                      Your objections are to ancillary processes upon which the science does not rely. One cannot reject the weight of evidence because any one string of evidence is not conclusive.

                    • Lumimous,
                      The weight of the evidence depends entirely on the quality of the processes used to collect it.
                      If those processes are flaws then the evidence has no weight.

                    • You haven’t shown that the processes are flawed, just that they are not perfect. If you are going to insist on perfection you are going to have to wait a long, long time.

                    • Lumimous,
                      The existing processes are controlled by a group of insiders who have stated that their objective is to push for government regulation of CO2 (Hansen, Mann, Briffa, Jones, the editors of Natural, Science and many others).
                      People involved in these processes see no problems with their lack of neutrality. You many be willing to accept the output of such processes but I am not.

                    • Tim,

                      Let me put it this way: If we are to rely on qualitative judgments from simple propositional logic, and its intrinsic excluded middle fallacies, rather that quantifiable second order predicate assessments, for either science or policy, we might as well return to the Dark Ages

                      No one is controlling the process. One must make one’s argument hold water.

                    • I disagree. The technology exists. The existing infrastructure is not eternal and will have to be replaced regardless, and the replacement cost of existing energy sources is increasing while the cost of renewables is declining, even without the savings that will accrue with the eventual economies of scale.

                      Additionally the security issues of energy independence and individual and social economic and libertarian gains from distributed energy systems are, in themselves, worthy enough to justify the initial investments and eventual profits in making the transition.

                  • Tim,

                    No, you want it both ways. You self-proclaimed “skeptics” love to throw stones. Well any opposition political party will tell you how easy that game is to play.

                    McI and his ilk need to be held to the same scrutiny and critique and standards as the IPCC and the climate science community and related disciplines. After all, if we are to develop global policy based on the claim made by “skeptics” that everything is going to be OK, then we had better be pretty damn sure that we subject their arguments hold up to intense scrutiny….because if we do nothing and the “skeptics” are wrong, then we are really screwed.

                    So far the skeptics have not provided evidence to refute the integrated knowledge of the climate science community that there is much cause for concern. Moreover, the “skeptics” have been flying under the radar, disseminated misinformation, nit picked, blown small errors horribly out of proportion, engaged in libel and defamatory comments, slander and more, all without being held to account or scrutiny by the scientific community, media or the legal system. Is it any wonder that informed and reasonable policy makers are ignoring the McI’s of the world?

                    Also, if anything, the “skeptics” are obstructing and hindering the advancement of climate science and science in general. History is going to paint a very poor picture of McIntyre et al.

                    Mann’s initial work had some flaws/limitations, when he addressed those issues it had no significant impact on his results. His results have been corrorated by numerous independent studies published in reputable journals. Not to mention the myriad of independent proxy studies that also show a HS-shape curve.

                    Anyhow, the HS is just a distraction from the real issue here. Really, McI is just playing a elaborate game to detract from the reall issues. Climate sensitivity is what it all boils down to– and climate sensivity does not care about PCA or sample sizes. Climate sensitivity has been identified by numerous studies to be around +3C for doubling CO2, of concern is that the PDF for the climate sensitivity is strongly skewed and has a tail that goes much higher than 6C. Lindzen and other “skeptics” (e.g.., Monckton)have tried to “show” that it is lower (or rather force it lower), and they have failed.

                    Right now you should be praying that sensitivity is closer to +2C, because we are easily going to double CO2 if we continue on this path.

                    Hopefully the free ride granted by so many to the likes of McI is over or will be very soon. His acolytes will not be swayed, of course, but then again, they’ll be standing knee deep in water and still claim that the sea level is not rising.

            • I wonder which one of your categories James Hansen falls into with his opposition to the primary climate legislation currently under consideration–Cap and Trade? Does he oppose Cap and Trade out of self interest? Ideology? Sheer curmudgeon-ness? or just plain fear? Hard to say, but if opposition to Cap and Trade makes one a “denier”, sounds like James Hansen is a denier.

              OTOH, overwhelming scientific evidence of AGW doesn’t mean that any specific piece of legislation being proposed is overwhelmingly certain to actually reduce carbon emissions. As you titled your blog post of Feb 16 “One of these things is not like the other.”

              James Hansen isn’t alone in his opposition, beyond just the usual suspects in the right-wing arena. I ran across what appears to be a fairly liberal organization of scholar activists–the Transnational Institute located in The Netherlands. Here’s their take on Cap and Trade (from an interview with Oscar Reyes):


              “The Nation: Explain cap and trade. How does it work?

              Oscar Reyes: The idea behind cap and trade is that it sets a limit on pollution. It provides permission to pollute to industries and then it uses a trading mechanism – the market – to allow them to exchange these permissions to pollute between themselves with the idea that this system allows for the cheapest available pollution reduction mechanism. That’s the idea behind it. Unfortunately cap and trade doesn’t work like that. In fact: it simply doesn’t work.

              The Nation: Why doesn’t it work? What’s the problem?

              Reyes: It doesn’t work for three reasons.

              The first reason – and there’s two parts to this – is that it simply doesn’t reduce emissions. What we’ve seen in the European Union, where the largest cap and trade scheme exists – it’s called the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme – is that far too many permissions to permit were handed out, which floods the market and pushes the price of these permissions down. And that’s because governments are far too susceptible to lobbying by corporations that are involved in the scheme. A secondary problem with this trading scheme is what’s called carbon offsets. This is a secondary type of carbon market, where instead of a company limiting its own pollution, it investments in what is called “emissions savings offsets,” most of which are located in the global south. The problem with these projects, when you look at them, is that they actually don’t lead to emissions reductions. The idea is that you set up a baseline for these projects – a scenario for what would happen – and then the credits are issued accounting for what would have happened versus what actually happened. The problem is that no one has a crystal ball. So, the projects get awarded when they have ambitious sounding claims and tell a convincing story. And there are studies that show that between 30% and 70% of these projects are actually not reducing emissions. Now if you say that you can exchange this kind of project for permits within a system that is meant to reduce emissions, what you end up doing is having a net increase in emissions because you’re flooding the system with things that represent reductions but in fact result in no reduction in emissions.

              A second piece of the problem with cap and trade is that it profits polluters. In the E.U. this happened in two ways. One is that the power sector gets permits for free but they put they pass on the imagined costs of these permits on to consumers, which actually rewards them with billions and billions of Euros. It’s estimated that between 20 and 70 billion Euros will go to the power industry alone in windfall profits. On the other side of the scheme, every other economic sector is given too many credits. For example, ArcelorMitta, the world’s largest steel company: their allocation of permits is about 20% to 30% more than their actual pollution – meaning, without doing anything to reduce their pollution, they have a big surplus of the permits to sell. Estimates are that they actually made one and a half billion Euros since 2005.

              The third reason is a justice argument. Especially with cap and trade and offsets together, you end up transferring the problem of tackling climate change to the global south. You pass on responsibility of this mess that industrial nations have created. The second part of this is the social and environmental damages that are caused by projects in the global south. The U.N.’s main mechanism for offset projects is called CDM – the Clean Development Mechanism. Its not clean and it doesn’t aid development. It costs companies around a hundred thousand dollars to even enter the scheme. What that means is that who gets involved in this scheme is the largest corporate polluters and a lot of financial interests. And really it’s rewarding them for quite minor change or really paper changes, which they then call emissions cut. A lot of coal-fired power plants and hydroelectric projects are funded through this. In fact, most of the hydro-projects at this point apply for funding through CDM. And, since October, bio-diesel plantations – palm oil plantations – have been allowed into the scheme.

              The Nation: So, these sound like problems that might be fixed with better definitions, better oversight.

              Reyes: No, it can’t be fixed.”

              There’s more to the interview and more info on their site. Are they “deniers” because they don’t support the primary mechanisms being proposed for reducing carbon emissions?

              So I wonder, at the end of the day, who may not be the more dangerous players in the politics of climate legislation, Steve McI, some marginal statistician, or folks like Paul Krugman and Steve Chu, pushing hard on action that more than likely won’t address the issues of CO2?

              Are you comfortable that the same banks that drove the world economy into the ground are the same banks (and in some cases, the same exact people) who are huge supporters of setting up the Carbon Markets? I’m also dubious about the red herring AGW advocates float–that Big Oil and Big Energy are against Cap and Trade and Carbon Credits. Not even close. You know they’re loving it–they get in early to game the system in their favor. If AGW is as big a concern as everyone says it is, are you willing to travel down a path for the next 30 years only to find out that it didn’t do a single thing for the climate?

              This is why taking action out of a sense of panic and alarm can lead to doing the wrong thing. In lifesaving situations, the worse thing to do is panic and act without thinking. Talk about short memories. It was only 7-8 years ago that the US (and Britain) *had* to go to war with Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction. What was their key marketing slogan? “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a nuclear cloud.” Fear. Panic. Alarm. Act now or Die. Now we’re in Iraq draining trillions out of our economies. And there are millions in the US who still believe Saddam actually had WMDs (and planned the 9/11).

              Now we’re being presented with another Act now or Die situation.

              You make the claim “Deniers … fear the prospect of climate legislation for whatever reason.” Yeah, and one of those reasons is that the current legislation won’t work. It’s not science that bothers me, just governments, banks, and big business. You spend so much time trying to marginalize science deniers that you extend it to anyone who opposes any legislation that deals with climate. In context of the issues involved in the real world, getting involved in the skirmishes over the various-gates, etc. is pretty trivial.

              It’s your call to nitpick climate science skeptics, but I’d be more concerned with listening to politicians and trying to read between the lines of what they say and what they actually plan on doing. Obama doesn’t inspire much trust–he campaigned and spoke quite a bit about the public option in a national healthcare bill, you know, to keep those bad insurance companies honest. Where’s the public option now? And he’s wanting to mandate 30 million new customers for those same insurance companies. Can’t wait for his successes on climate legislation. I still have hope :-)

              One thing I’ve been thinking about, now that “consistent with climate change” has begun to enter our lexicon. Since AGW is suppose to bring wars over resources, and the Iraq war is really a war over resources, that the Iraq War is consistent with climate change predictions and is further proof of AGW:-) And as everyone knows, Iraq gets really really hot!

              • I wonder which one of your categories James Hansen falls into with his opposition to the primary climate legislation currently under consideration–Cap and Trade? Does he oppose Cap and Trade out of self interest? Ideology? Sheer curmudgeon-ness? or just plain fear? Hard to say, but if opposition to Cap and Trade makes one a “denier”, sounds like James Hansen is a denier.

                Nuance beyond you, perhaps? Let me spell it out then. Deniers and various ‘skeptics’ and contrarians reject climate legislation for a variety of reasons, but the ones that interest me as someone who is all about policy history, is because of vested interests, ideological commitments and fear of change. Yes, some may be against it because they truly believe that the earth is flat global warming is a hoax or not a problem.

                AGW supporters may be against certain kinds of legislation and means of addressing global warming such as cap and trade, carbon taxes, development of nuclear power, geoengineering, etc.

                James Hansen believes that cap and trade will not work as effectively as a carbon tax to achieve the desired end.

                Cap and trade also did little to improve public health. Coal emissions are still significant contributing factors in four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States — and mercury, arsenic and various coal pollutants also cause birth defects, asthma and other ailments.

                Yet cap-and-trade schemes are still being pursued in Copenhagen and Washington. (Though I head the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, I’m speaking only for myself.)

                To compound matters, the Congressional carbon cap would also encourage “offsets” — alternatives to emission reductions, like planting trees on degraded land or avoiding deforestation in Brazil. Caps would be raised by the offset amount, even if such offsets are imaginary or unverifiable. Stopping deforestation in one area does not reduce demand for lumber or food-growing land, so deforestation simply moves elsewhere.

                Here’s his solution:

                There is a better alternative, one that would be more efficient and less costly than cap and trade: “fee and dividend.” Under this approach, a gradually rising carbon fee would be collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas). The fee would be uniform, a certain number of dollars per ton of carbon dioxide in the fuel. The public would not directly pay any fee, but the price of goods would rise in proportion to how much carbon-emitting fuel is used in their production.

                All of the collected fees would then be distributed to the public. Prudent people would use their dividend wisely, adjusting their lifestyle, choice of vehicle and so on. Those who do better than average in choosing less-polluting goods would receive more in the dividend than they pay in added costs.

                I know he calls it a “carbon fee” because of the great fear that exists amongst the American population about another tax, even if it were to save their civilization, but whatever it’s called, it appears that Hansen is just in favor of an alternate form of legislation than cap and trade.

                I am undecided about this issue. In a way, I agree with Hansen on this, but at the same time, I don’t see it happening. Regardless, I am more of a meta-policy person who is interested in the larger historical policy context than the minutiae, which I leave for people who are much more educated in this area and have been examining it longer.

                • you did not understand…”pollutes” are using this scheme as a charter to make profits. In another example, an Indian steel-maker acquires an anglo-dutch steel-maker, acquires their polluting credits and closes their operations in order to expand his lower-cost Indian operations. Net result, unemployment in the Uk and Netherlands, the same level of pollution (although maybe far worse because the indian operations are not so tech advanced) but it’s happening in India where it is all rosy.

                  Is this a flawed mechanism?

          • You’ve provided absolutely nothing that supports your claims. I’ve provided plenty of evidence that McIntyre’s “analysis” was sloppy and his claims were misleading.

            • You posted links to other websites without explaining what points were important.

              I specifically explained why I think that SteveMc points are valid.

              The key one is: Briffa acknowledged that SteveMc was right to critize the small sample size by re-doing his analysis with data that was not used in the original study.

              Can you provide a counter argument?

              • You really are skimming the pond scum out of CA. The simplest way to show McIntyre’s criticism was worthless was to use a larger sample and show it made no difference, which is what McIntyre should have done, if he could have done it correctly, and then he would have seen that it made no difference.

                Instead he worked up the baying dogs, and everyone chased after them. By the time everything was done McIntyre was shown to be wrong. It’s time to start calling such behavior out. If Stevie wants to hold the IPCC accountable, he has to be held accountable for his many mistakes and misleading attacks on others.

              • Briffa never acknowledged that the small sample was too small, as McIntyre claimed. In fact, he has shown that it was sufficient to get a good idea of what was going on, but with a larger uncertainty than with a larger set.

                He (or rather, his Russian colleagues) showed that it indeed was a robust result.

          • READ the links from Mark B in comment #1. Lots of people showed that McIntyre was blowing ignorant smoke. Of course he simply pulled in his ears and kept blowing.

      • I am sorry, we do not live on the same planet. You seem to believe that throwing out abusive terms like “circle-jerk” and “BS” are valid arguments. I obviously cannot communicate with you as we do not speak the same language. Why do you hide behind a pseudonym? I am not even sure that you are worth this response, whoever you are.

        • They aren’t valid arguments but they may be valid labels. Deal with the arguments.

          • I am sorry I don’t understand. You wish me to deal with arguments that are not valid (as you have just stated). I don’t wish to be unfair, perhaps you meant you wish me to deal with the “Valid labels”, ok, well then let me go back and look at the labels. I commented ” I am sure you are well aware that Steve does not use this kind of tone on his blog” which was “labelled” as BS. The BS test seems to me to be a pretty subjective one and seems to assume that I know that I am not telling the truth. Well, I don’t. I have followed many blogs over the last few months and although Steve M is often rather “grumpy”, he seems to be often grumpier with his fans than with his critics. I have genuinely never seen the kind of tone adopted in this blog exhibited on his blog, but I will try and keep an open mind on that.

            Secondly, the “circle-jerking” shall we call it “label”. As a metaphor it has a certain vividness, but please explain to me why this kind of language us justifiable (you seem to defend it as a “label”)? Isn’t this kind of metaphor applicable to most, if not all blogs? Are there not regulars who make comments and discuss issues, rightly or wrongly, the more informed and the less well informed?

            I have no problem if Steve is ultimately shown to be wrong in his criticism of Briffa. Nor should you have any problem if Steve is shown to be right.

            • You have every right to be insulted at the tone of my post, Dr. Taylor, just as I have the right to be disgusted at the tone of CA. Really though, tone is just a matter of etiquette and has no bearing on the substance of the evidence or arguments at either blog. We should be ignoring the tone if we really are interested in the substance.

              The work of most scientists can be and is criticized on a regular basis. It’s part of normal science and McIntyre pointing out an error is not a miracle or cause for accolades.

              • I agree, except on one point. I am afraid that I am old fashioned, and believe that etiquette does actually matter- it is not “just etiquette”, it is a question of courtesy, even to opponents, something that you have displayed to me this evening.

                • I understand your position but please understand that what you consider offensive language is, to me, just honest emotion, whereas the sly innuendo and smear over at CA is truly offensive to me because it is deceptive.

                  I hope I can articulate this but to me the sly innnuendo over at CA is more insulting that outright claims in more base language. By hiding behind civil-appearing but still offensive comments, CA is able to appear that there is no insult being made.

                  I would rather you be honest with me and call my words BS than for you to hide behind civility and insinuate the same because it’s just more honest. You must own your words and their implications when you cite “BS” openly, whereas people can get away with not owning their words through false civility.

        • Ross:

          If you think that McI’s allegations, smears and frequent misuse of ellipsis to paint different, misleading contexts of original sources does not equate to BS (just one example here)…then good for you!

          Ross, if you think that years of online statistical tomfoolery without any publication in high-impact science journals like Science, Nature or PNAS (or even Climate Research or GRL – lets be generous) over the past 5 years does not merit the term “circle-jerk”…then good for you!

          I am sorry, we do not live on the same planet.

          Ross, I’m happy being on Earth in the 21st Century, thank you very much. But hey, if you think that the circle-jerking BS in CA’s for you, go ahead and wave his flag on whatever planet or epoch you pretend to exist in. I’m happy for you. Really. :-)

          Ross, I’ve lurked in CA long before you recently started frolicking with the peanut gallery there. I gave up on it after I realized that his work at CA will never be taken seriously by climate scientists – especially if he doesn’t get it published. Surely since his work is so goshdarn important, the biggest science journals would bend over backwards to print McI’s work, yes? Even during the recent Briffa smear by McI, there was a standing offer for him to submit his “work” for peer-review. Did McI do so? No. More circle-jerking.

          What also didn’t help was when his actual contributions of significance, however minor (e.g. the whole hoo-ha about the 1934 US STR), would be blown out of proportion either by him or his fawning chrous. Doesn’t your “open mind” recognize sycophancy when you see it?

          Here’s another anecdote about McI – feel free to disbelieve it if you are so disinclined. I socialize with a very famous climate skeptic who has recently kept a low profile. Lets just say that this person wouldn’t touch McI with a 50 ft pole, or be associated in any way with him, because McI doesn’t know climate 101. I recall he told me this – “And yet, he calls himself a CLIMATE auditor!” Exactly.

          Why do you hide behind a pseudonym?

          I could ask the same of you. Don’t throw stones etc.

        • Dr. Ross,

          One can find on CA plenty of remarks made that could be interpreted as contemptuous or scornful. (Hint: search for “irony”.) So one could quite easily find that statement dubitable.

          The analogy refers to a natural way of people to react to criticism. One does not need to agree with it to understand it. The analogy can be taken as merely describing what is happening.

          You are well entitled to believe that this is not science. I don’t know exactly what science is, but I am willing to bet that scientists behave the way you disagree with quite often enough to find it normal. One just has to remind oneself of his own experience with academia to convince oneself.

          That said, I am not condoning Susann’s tone or remarks. It’s her blog, after all. We could paraphrase what John A said a while ago: “I can hardly blame [her] for editorializing in an editorial, can I?”

    • “I am sure you are well aware that Steve does not use this kind of tone on his blog.”


      “in contrast, James Hansen and his disciples have a more jihadist approach”

      Other times it’s a tad more subtle…

      “The second image below is, in my opinion, one of the most disquieting images ever presented at Climate Audit.”

      It’s enough to get his readers riled up and get the ball rolling. And considering how McIntyre was clearly wrong on that issue, one would think the Boy Who Cried Wolf would no longer have much standing.

  2. Focusing on the commenters of most blogs is the easiest way to rack up cheap points, be it CA or RC. And to answer your questions about “who would invite him to a dendro conference?”, the conference is organized by The Association for Tree Ring Research, The Tree Ring Society, the Asian Dendrochronology Association, and others. Apparently one or more people in these groups thought it would be worthwhile. It’s only some of the speakers, who have possibly butted heads with him in the past, who have objected.

    I agree with Dr. Taylor; your tone and insults are kind of embarrassing.

  3. Pathetic. Steve McIntyre’s work to date has done the science of Dendroclimatology yeoman service by exposing seriously flawed methods. For that, alone, dendro’s everywhere should be grateful, inasmuch as he has spared them the embarrassing task of doing it themselves, and enabled them to avoid such egregious mistakes in the future. His expertise in statistics and his hard earned familiarity with the subject matter should have been welcomed, not disdained, but I guess some people are less interested in truth than they are in solidarity.

    • Science is generally self-correcting, often over the short term and sometimes over the medium and long term. It’s embarrassing to make mistakes but everyone does at some point or another. It is not embarrassing to correct mistakes. It happens all the time in science. Read any journal on a regular basis and you will see lots of evidence of this in action.

      • Well I have no interest in turning the economic foundations of society upside down while science ‘self-corrects’.
        If scientists want that kind of luxury then they should stay in the lab and keep out of politics.
        If they want to dabble in politics then they need to learn that the people affected by their science are the ones that get to decide what qualty control standards they should be held to.

        • The hockeystick does nothing with the firmly established impact of increasing greenhouse gases. At best, the original hockeystick reduces climate sensitivity(!!) to small changes in forcings. It would be really alarming if e.g. Loehle’s reconstruction is much more accurate on a global scale.

        • “Well I have no interest in turning the economic foundations of society upside down…”

          Sounds pretty alarmist to me. Such an irrational fear is one catalyst for global warming denial.

        • Read up on Hugh Hammond Bennett to find out why scientists getting involved in politics is not always a bad thing, especially when averting disaster regardless of the obstacles in their way.

          Bennett, the Crusader

          From his experiences in the field, Hugh Bennett had a conviction of the importance of erosion. But this conviction was not accepted nor appreciated in the Bureau of Soils, where Bennett’s reports were received with indifference and skepticism. Soil conservation meant little or nothing to the public, including farmers. As Bennett later described it, “The term conservation had scarcely attained dictionary status.” He also noted that, as a student at the University of North Carolina, no attention was given in textbooks or by the instructor to the role of land in economics or politics. The Bureau of Soils likewise had given no emphasis to erosion…

          …Bennett was called by a Senate committee to argue the case for the proposed legislation. His appearance and what followed it are now legendary. A Bennett biographer, Wellington Brink, graphically describes the event:

          “The witness was not cheerful, but he was persistent, informed, and courageous. He told a grim story. He had been telling it all morning. Chapter by chapter, he annotated each dismal page with facts and figures from a reconnaissance he had just completed. . . . The witness did not hurry. He did not want to hurry. That extra ace he needed was not yet at hand. Well he realized that the hearing was beginning to drag. Out of one corner of his eye, he noted the polite stifling of a yawn, but Hugh Bennett continued deliberatively. . . . Bennett knew that a dust storm was on its way. He had newspaper items and weather reports to support this knowledge. But it seemed mighty slow arriving. If his delaying tactics were successful, the presence of the swirling dust—material evidence of what he was talking about—ought to serve as a clincher for his argument. Presently one of the senators remarked—off the record—’It is getting dark. Perhaps a rainstorm is brewing.’ Another ventured, ‘Maybe its dust.’ ‘I think you are correct,’ Bennett agreed. ‘Senator, it does look like dust.’ The group gathered at a window. The dust storm for which Hugh Bennett had been waiting rolled in like a vast steel-town pall, thick and repulsive. The skies took on a copper color. The sun went into hiding. The air became heavy with grit. Government’s most spectacular showman had laid the stage well. All day, step by step, he had built his drama, paced it slowly, risked possible failure with his interminable reports, while he prayed for Nature to hurry up a proper denouement. For once, Nature cooperated generously.”

          What would Limbaugh, Inhofe and the anti-AGW lobby make of that I wonder? I can just see the headlines.

        • You’re in effect saying that scientists shouldn’t do science because the implications of that science — that we have to do something to curb GHG emissions — scare you.

          The implications of the science are that we’ll have to change our source of energy or find ways to make it less damaging to the environment. We’ll have to rethink our lifestyle. We’ll have to develop new technologies that aren’t so threatening to the environment — and ourselves.

          Your post smacks of economic alarmism. The mistakes in the science, for what they’re worth, have done nothing to undermine the overall science and thus do nothing to reduce the implications of it — which is why I don’t feel compelled to doubt the science. Instead, it’s the ‘skeptics’ and their tactics and methods that have caused me to become skeptical of them, not AGW science.

          As to your alarmism, have you read any of the work done on the economic impact of climate legislation and of change to industry resulting from it, not to mention new green industries that arise to deal with it? It’s not all doom and gloom. Some of it is quite positive.

          • I am saying the science used to make decisions that affect the public then the standards are much higher than the stuff.
            Someone would have to crazy to take a drug based on a study prepared by the average dendro or fly in a plane designed the average climate modeller.
            It would be nice if scientists were not these arrogant prima donnas who think they can do no wrong. Unfortunately, they are. And until they clean up their act I have no interest in discussing major policy changes based on their claims.

            • Tim, your anti-science stance is vacuous. You are making huge claims about science and scientists and have shown no evidence to back them up. If that’s the kind of quality assurance common to engineers, then I’ll stick with the scientists, thanks.

              This makes me think of Sheldon, who claims that — engineers are the oompa loompas of science. ;)

              • You want concreate examples: look at the world of dendros where scientists sample many trees – test them for correlation with temps of interest during the calibration period and throw out the samples that don’t match.
                Would you trust the results of a drug study that followed the same procedures? Or would you (correctly) insists that picking data based on whether it gives you the expected results is junk science?

                • Show me the evidence that dendros do this, then we can talk.

                • Tim, that is absolutely *not* how dendroclimatological studies are done. Your ignorance is showing.

                  • Rattus,

                    Then please explain this statement by the dendro Jacoby

                    If we get a good climatic story from a chronology, we write a paper using it. That is our funded mission. It does not make sense to expend efforts on marginal or poor data and it is a waste of funding agency and taxpayer dollars. The rejected data are set aside and not archived. As we progress through the years from one computer medium to another, the unused data may be neglected. Some [researchers] feel that if you gather enough data and n approaches infinity, all noise will cancel out and a true signal will come through. That is not true. I maintain that one should not add data without signal. It only increases error bars and obscures signal. As an ex- marine I refer to the concept of a few good men. A lesser amount of good data is better without a copious amount of poor data stirred in. Those who feel that somewhere we have the dead sea scrolls or an apocrypha of good dendroclimatic data that they can discover are doomed to disappointment. There is none. Fifteen years is not a delay. It is a time for poorer quality data to be neglected and not archived. Fortunately our improved skills and experience have brought us to a better recent record than the 10 out of 36. I firmly believe we serve funding agencies and taxpayers better by concentrating on analyses and archiving of good data rather than preservation of poor data.

                    A lot of fancy words to say – we look for the trees that give us the answers we want and discard the rest.

                    • I’ll let a dendro or someone with expertise explain or respond. I don’t have the background and won’t try.

                    • Rattus Norvegicus February 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

                      Actually I read it as saying with “a lot of fancy words” that he doesn’t like to waste time with duff datasets. Null results really aren’t very interesting and are generally not going to get published.

                    • Tim,

                      To expand upon your analogy: If one is testing the efficacy of a drug in reducing tumors in mice, it does no good to include data from mice with no tumors.

                  • Rattus,
                    He defines ‘good’ data as ‘data with a signal’. The only way to determine if data ‘has a signal’ is to presume you know what the signal is supposed to be in advance.
                    If you filter your data based on that knowledge you are basically cherry picking the data that supports your existing assumptions about what the signal should be.
                    I don’t see how anyone can defend such a practice as good science.

                    • luminous,
                      There is an objective test to determine whether a mouse has cancer.
                      What Jacoby is doing is deciding which mice have cancer based on the whether they respond to the drug.

                    • I suggest you read some books about dendroclimatology, rather than depend on your interpretation of a short comment by someone. Then come back to us and see if you can back up your interpretation using textbook(!) knowledge.

  4. Ross Taylor #1:
    “I am sure you are well aware that Steve does not use this kind of tone on his blog.”

    No, he just reads between the lines and lets others use an even worse tone on his blog, if he’s not busy suggesting form letters for mass FOIA requests.

    “many of the planned speakers … were not very willing to participate in that session”

    Does that means he’s their Nemesis, or does it just mean they think he has nothing to bring to the table and they would rather go for a beer (he has nothing in the peer reviewed literature, as far as I’m aware) which would defeat the purpose of the conference really, don’t you think? After all, the conference wasn’t set up for Steve McIntyre alone.

    • McIntyre made his name poking holes in science and has attended conferences organized by contrarians and deniers and those who have received funding from denialist organizations.

      If he was all about the science, he’d do science instead of this self-appointed and self-defined role of auditor. He’d collaborate instead of attack from the outside. He’d be constructive instead of destructive. But given his view that climate science, and in particular dendro and paleo were akin to the Bre-X scandal, well, I can understand why dendros would not want to be on the same stage as him.

      His whole blog has been one long attack on climate science, the IPCC and climate scientists — especially dendros. The level of sly innuendo on his blog lately — by him and his chorus — is unprofessional.

      If he really thinks he’d be welcomed into the fold, as an equal, he’s smoking some of that good stuff.

  5. J Temple #3
    “His expertise in statistics…”

    That’s a subject which has intrigued me for a while now.

    Can you elaborate on exactly where this expertise comes from, and how exactly is he qualified to statistically analyse raw data and apply it to the science in some meaningful way?

    • I don’t question his expertise in statistical analysis. I question his contribution to the science. Considering there were 500 submissions to the conference, inviting The One to participate is like a slap in the face of those scientists who have paid their dues.

      Of course, that’s just my opinion, but since this is my blog, I guess I’m entitled to it.

      • I think McIntyre’s supporters confuse his high public profile, popularity among political circles, and extensive blog posts with genuine qualifications. How can someone who is so popular not have special considerations?

  6. For J Bowers cite: Wikipedia
    McIntyre attended the University of Toronto Schools, a university-preparatory school in Toronto, finishing first in the national high school mathematics competition of 1965.[1] He went on to study mathematics at the University of Toronto and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1969. McIntyre then obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship to read philosophy, politics and economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, graduating in 1971.[1][2] Although he was offered a graduate scholarship, McIntyre decided not to pursue studies in mathematical economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1]
    McIntyre worked for 30 years in the mineral business,[1] the last part of these in the hard-rock mineral exploration as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies.[3] He has also been a policy analyst at both the governments of Ontario and of Canada.[4] He was the president and founder of Northwest Exploration Company Limited and a director of its parent company, Northwest Explorations Inc. When Northwest Explorations Inc. was taken over in 1998 by CGX Resources Inc. to form the oil and gas exploration company CGX Energy Inc., McIntyre ceased being a director. McIntyre was a strategic advisor for CGX in 2000 through 2003.[5]
    Prior to 2003 he was an officer or director of several small public mineral exploration companies. He is an active squash player and once won a gold medal in the World Masters Games in squash doubles.[1] {This last shows a fine, intuitive grasp of probability in action}:)

    • This tells me he’s at base a business exec with 30 years experience who’s good at math. He turned down an MIT scholarship to go into the minerals exploration industry — an industry that produces GHGs and would be interested in any legislation to regulate same…

      • That tells me he has experience using science in a field were he would be held accountable for mistakes.
        This makes him a much better judge of the quality of science that a bunch of tenured academics that only care about the number of papers that they can get published.

        • Where he would be held accountable? And research scientists don’t put their careers on the line when they publish, epsecially the more controversial and politicised the subject is? Seen what happens to a scientist accused of scientific fraud? Oh, you must have, given the amount of times fossil fuel mouthpieces have tried to bury science with that one.

          • He was held accountable because if he was wrong he would lose a lot of money ultimately lose his jobs.
            If academics are wrong they simply claim they ‘changed their mind because of new information’.

        • In fact, that really galls me. “Accountable?” What on Earth are you talking about? Where’s Steve McIntyre’s “accountability? Something Steven Chu, that Nobel prize winning physicist, has noticed, too.

          “If you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want. In the end, the core of science is deeply self checking.”

          Who audits the auditors? Anyone remember Enron? “The workings of these companies were so complex that it is entirely possible that the board of Enron and the auditors did not fully understand what was happening. It was enough for them to be told it was OK, legal and above board. Maybe here is one lesson we can learn – if you don’t understand it, don’t do it!…”

          • Noto to Susann. Sorry for the formatting problems above.

          • The onus is on the scientists to show that their conclusions hold up to critical assessment by people that are not part of their back scratching club.
            This, by definitions, requires reviews by non-peers/outsiders who have no interest in anything other than tearing down the work. In climate science these outsiders tend to be people with blogs. In engineering these outsider are lawyers representing clients.
            I can assure you that engineers hate those lawyers as much as climate scientists hate sceptics but they are a fact of life and engineers recognize that it their job to make sure their work can stand up to such scrutiny.
            If climate scientists really believe that climate change requires significant policy changes they are going half do a lot better than whine about critics.

        • You mean, like those involved in Enron and other business scandals — say the recent global near-depression — are held accountable for mistakes? Heck, they just got bigger bonuses!

          But thanks — I needed a good laugh.

    • J Temple: “For J Bowers cite: Wikipedia
      McIntyre attended the University of Toronto Schools, a university-preparatory school in Toronto, finishing first in the national high school mathematics competition of 1965.[1] He went on to study mathematics at the University of Toronto and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1969. McIntyre then obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship to read philosophy, politics and economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, graduating in 1971.[1][2]“

      Right. So, like I also originally asked, can you show me how McIntyre is qualified to statistically analyse raw data and apply it to climate science in a meaningful way? Mathematical analysis, I believe, is not the same thing.

  7. There are thousands of scientists and engineers in private industry using science on a daily basis that are required to adher to riguous quality control processes designed to protect the public from mistakes.
    These processes are annoying, inconvenient but necessary if one is building bridges, designing drugs or running a nuclear plant. There are also necessary if one wants to re-engineer the world economy.
    The time has come for climate scientists to stop whinging about people that expect them to live up to standards of quality which can’t be adjusted or manipulated based on their convenience.

    • And those scientists in the industry get bucketloads of money for that quality control process. My colleagues in industry, when in need of instrument A, *get* money for instrument A. I have to apply for funding and then have a 25% chance of getting the money (and that percentage is because my work is considered very relevant).

      Similarly, millions are put into a separate quality control process in e.g. the pharmaceutical industry. QC/QA is a huge money-drain. Give the universities at least twice the budget they have today, and they may actually put all the QC processes in place so external people can no longer bitch about small errors or poorly organised data.

    • That’s pure strawman. Research scientists are not engineers, or should all aspects of everybody’s job, regardless of whether it’s scientific or not, be based on how enigineers work be engineers are so great?

      It’s clear that many of the detractors of the scientists haven’t got a clue about research science, and hold it up to some kind of fantastical ideal.

      • There are really two choices:
        1) Scientists can learn to follow the QA processes that engineers much follow.
        2) Scientists hand their science over to engineers who will follow QA processes before the science is used to set public policy.
        The current processes are simply not good enough.

        • And both require significant funding specifically for that purpose. Please tell your government to set aside money for that purpose, because at present it isn’t there.

          • Tim,

            Engineers can follow procedures to ensure quality assurance because research scientists working at the edges of knowledge have developed theoretical standards. Asking researchers to follow a priori standards that have not yet been discovered is a recipe for curtailing scientific discovery.

            • The system we have now is academic scientists to research and engineers take the research, determine if it has practical merit and develop solutions.
              We do not develop a nuclear plant based on a peer reviewed paper. We take the concepts in that paper develop rigorous lab tests see how those concepts affect real life systems.
              By doing these tests the engineers are able to catch problems that the peer review system missed.
              We need a similar QA process for climate science. If the scientists are not able to do it then we need to fund people who are able to do it.
              Blindly accepting the output of academics is not an option when the public is affected.

  8. A talented mathematician with limited academic credencials is much more noteworthy than one of limited talent and a life in academia. Steve McIntyre is worth listening to. He is a talented guy who come from a background of accountability.

    • Listen to yourself.

    • I’m wondering when his supporters will ever decide to hold him accountable for his actions, mistakes, and irresponsible rhetoric.

      Dr. Steven Chu said it best recently:

      “If you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want.”

    • He can do statistical analysis and a former business exec.

      He’s not Einstein.

  9. Susann,

    I have to say that your take on that thread at CA is about right. I made a brief entry into that thread and “bender” called me out to another thread to discuss the Salzer paper. His take on it seemed to be that it was all BS. As a result, I read the paper and the supporting material probably a half dozen times and could not see where his criticisms were coming from.

    CB made a much more coherent defense of the paper than I ever could have — after all he had done a lot of work on these trees — but bender’s comment, “this blog is in the toilet”, was really telling about the attitude of Steve and his minions about actual science, since this comment was made about (or since your are Canadian, aboot) an actual discussion of the techniques used in dendrochronological studies. I also found it interesting that McI’s head post was a criticism of the science based on a red herring. The point of Luckman’s preso was that the data Steve criticized would be thrown out of any analysis.

    Why he would have been invited to speak when he was clearly out of his league is beyond me.

    • Here are some of the ‘so called offensive comments’ from that thread:
      CB, thanks for the tree ring references. Coming into a controversial subject (I’m new to this), it’s helpful to get a sense of what believers view as solid ground.
      CB I am waiting for you to show your dendrochronologists stuff here at this thread even though the subject is dendroclimatology. I am layperson trying to get my head around the measurements of tree rings and the reproducibility and accuracy of that process.
      Many of us here (including the proprietor of this blog) understand the issues with proxies and that the vast majority of the researchers investigating the proxies themselves are honest and forthright. The difficulties you raise concerning funding and the fact that the science takes quite some time to be developed are ones we agree with.
      Yet you focus on the resident troll? Why is that? Perhaps you are simply looking for excuses to ignore CA?

      • You don’t see the constant innuendo about fraud and deceit over there the way non-worshippers do. It’s practically dripping with it. It’s sly, but it’s real. If Steve had a purely technical blog that focused solely on the methodology, quit with the innuendo and didn’t let the chorus chime in, I might respect it more. But it’s become clear to me what CA is all about.

        It ain’t science.

      • Yes, Tim, you can quote-mine CA and find some non-offensive comments.

        Or, you could read the offensive, arrogant, dismissive comments by, say, Ryan-O in their entirety and find something very different.

      • Tim,

        Are you saying that Bender is the resident troll at CA?

        What is a resident troll, exactly?

        • I rather saw him as the resident pitbull… McIntyre’s Pitbull, except I hesitate to use that because it was intended for Huxley and Darwin and I hesitate to compare McIntyre to so great a scientist. Maybe bender is the resident … blog janitor. He seems to be there to try to clean up what he considers to be the mess caused by “trolls” and the like. Except, the resident blog janitor seems to be Mr. Pete who is far more courteous than bender. Hmm. Now I don’t know where to place bender. Kamikaze blog scientist? Drive by blog scientist?

  10. What CB was getting at is that CA is amateur hour. Stuff that was long ago considered and forgotten emerges as revealed truth and McIntyre and Co do not have the background they need to understand it. It’s all mush

    • Perhaps you need to look at yourselves (I mean some of the commenters generally, not you specifically Eli) . You are entitled to your opinion that CA is amateur hour but other people are reading both this blog and CA and will decide for themselves. I hope I am open minded about every aspect of climate science but the offensive language that seems to be the norm on this blog means I shall not be troubling you again by visiting. Best wishes that you will someday grow up and see beyond the abuse.

      • Dr. Taylor, you are right to point out that people are sensitive to language, which is why a lot of people who accept the science of AGW find CA to be so offensive. The language over there is one of innuendo and smear.

        We should all be focusing on the evidence rather than superficial things such as language and tenor, but it’s hard to ignore language and tone because communication is language and so it does matter.

        What’s more important to me is that the questions raised about climate science by skeptics and contrarians do not undermine the science. They do nothing to discredit basic physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, the evidence about GHGs, and basic climate science. If they could do that, I’d be a skeptic as well.

        If someone could just show me quality evidence that undermines the physics and chemistry and physical evidence, I’d be happy to be a skeptic of AGW because I really really wish AGW isn’t real, but wishes have no place in science or policy.

        • The problem in climate science is scientists are too willing to ignore inconvient and unquantifiable details that potentially undermine their theory.
          For example, everyone acknowledges that cloud feedback could be a net negative and that the climate models are not capable of representing the physics of clouds. Yet that does not stop climate scientists from claiming their models are reliable because they are ‘based on physics’.
          If climate scientists really cared about science they would acknowledge that they can’t model clouds therefore their models tell us nothing useful about the future.

          • “If climate scientists really cared about science they would acknowledge that they can’t model clouds therefore their models tell us nothing useful about the future.”

            Classic denier play. Claim that because uncertainty exists, we know nothing. That’s pretty much McIntyre’s political strategy.

            I recommend the following review article.


            • The problem here is the mispresentation of the models by alarmists who claim that the ‘models are based on the laws of physics’ and therefore can be treated as reliable.
              I would have no problem if alarmists admitted that the models rely on unphysical guessimates for several key processes and errors in those guessimates could result in completely different projections of future climate change.
              But alarmists don’t want to be honest about the models because that would undermine their political adgenda.
              A true scientist would not care about the agenda and be willing to acknowledge the true extent of our ignorance.

              • Tim, whenever I’ve read the primary literature, the actual research, I’ve noted a significant discussion about uncertainty so I don’t know what you’re reading. Perhaps only that on denialist blogs? Doesn’t qualify I’m afraid.

                And please, don’t attribute your own ignorance to others. It’s unbecoming.

                • I am not talking about what scientists say in the caveats in their papers. I am talking about what they say in public when they are faced with criticism of the models.
                  The response is invariably – we can trust the models because they are based on the fundamental laws of physics – a statement that is an outright lie if you read what the literature says about clouds.

              • Tim,

                The greatest uncertainty of clouds has to do with the secondary effects of aerosols, which is itself a mostly anthropogenic effect. It is an uncertainty in model physics, but empirically there is very little evidence to expect that there is any negative feedback from clouds. What evidence there is suggests that the net feedback is positive.

                • The evidence on cloud feedback is mixed. For every study that says it is positive there is another that suggests it is negative.
                  In fact, there are even some climate models that try to model the real physics of clouds instead of using parameterizations and they find that even those models say cloud feedback is negative.

        • I agree with a lot of what you say, however it is interesting that you find the language at CA of innuendo and smear. I have found the arguments to generally be very direct, far from innuendo and smear, and without the insults, which Steve deletes.

          Your last sentence hits the nail on the head but enters territory (that I should state to avoid misleading any readers is beyond my personal competence. I can only rely on the work of others, as perhaps you do.

          For me, the hypothesis that increasing CO2 causes increasing temperatures is an interesting one, but the problem is, like you, no-one has shown me any observational evidence of that. It seems likely (although not certain) that temperatures on several occasions long ago were higher with lower levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, long before the industrial revolution. The rest just doesn’t make any sense in terms of logic to me. I have seen no observational evidence of “forcing” and computer modelling is fine and I am sure provides useful insight, but the models do not seem to be able to project forwards with a reasonable degree of accuracy, so what I am left with is an interesting but rather doubtful hypothesis.

          As for the rest of the shenanigans, climategate, IPCC etc, I suspect it will all come out in the wash and eventually the real scientists (from both sides) will provide us with the answers.

          Finally, can I thank you for a civility in your challenging comments that is not displayed by some other commenters. Perhaps that is all I am saying about Steve. Maybe he is wrong, but to invite him and then retract the invitation? It seems to me that does far more harm than good.

          • I hope you appreciate that those who accept the science find CA to be about smear and innuendo.

            I have no problem with those who want to improve the science — in fact, I think that is what most scientists want and what they strive for. However, I want the criticism to be informed and expert rather than uninformed and amateur. I have seen so much bad science and junk science held up as good when it comes to skeptics and their blogs that I have very little confidence in anything they produce. We’re not talking of a few small errors, but huge whoppers of basic science, basic physics and chemistry and basic biology. This keeps being pointed out but it seems to have no effect on the popularity of their blogs and arguments because this, at least in my estimation, is not about the quality and certainty of the science at base but about preventing policy.

            I agree with you that I must rely on the scientists for explanations of the science since I am not a peer and am unable to do peer review, but my admittedly dim understanding of the science suggests that there is a high degree of agreement among climate scientists and others that global warming is real and a threat to the climate in which our industrial society has develop.

            I don’t have a reason to mistrust their evaluation of the science because they are the ones best able to judge it.

            As to the disinvitation, I have to say that many scientists are very politically naive. Given McIntyre’s obvious disrespect for dendroclimatology and ridicule of that science as a whole, I am surprised that anyone would invite him in the first place and think they only realized their mistake once other presenters refused to participate. He simply doesn’t belong at the conference which is meant for serious scientific discussion and presentation of new evidence. He rejects the science and has clearly implied the scientists doing it are inept and deceitful.

            • The practitioners of homeopathy insist that their discipline is based on sound science.
              Does that mean it is wrong for outsiders to point out things which do not seem to make sense?
              Like homeopathy, dendroclimatology is largely a faith based field because it is impossible to actually verify any claims made. This means the difference between who is deemed ‘right’ and who is deemed ‘wrong’ is largely a popularity contest among scientists.

              • That you compare dendroclimatology to homeopathy does more to discredit to your skills as a logician than it does to support your criticism of dendro.

                Huge sweeping claims with no evidence to back them up amounts to mere opinion, and unfounded at that.

                • Explain the quote from Jacoby I posted above.
                  I believe that quote is more than enough evidence to support my claim.

                  • I put it to you that you don’t understand Jacoby’s post.

                    • No, all you said is you can’t think of any credible rebuttal so you will blindly assume that there must be some explanation out there.
                      The bad news is I have looked for an explanation because I initially found it hard to believe that a scientist could actually take the position Jacoby takes.

                      Unfortunately, the only explanations I have found are basically ‘we are absolutely certain we know what the answer is so it is perfectly reasonable to select trees based on whether they produce the correct answer’

      • Ross Taylor, who said this?

        “James Hansen and his disciples have a more jihadist approach”

        SteveM needs to grow up and show some respect.

  11. I just read the CA thread “Miracles and Stripbark Standardization”, and your characterisation of it seems plucked out of the air.

    A discussion of the science did take place on the thread, primarily between CB, Ryan O, Anastassia Makarieva and Kenneth Fritsch.

    I concede that bender’s comments were slightly irate, but then CB did start the discussion by insulting Steve McIntyre and the site’s readers. He then failed to answer the questions put to him.

    I agree with Ryan O’s characterisation, made towards the end of the discussion, of CB’s contribution :

    “1. You [CB] have no intention of addressing the accuracy issue with using dendro series in temperature reconstructions because you do not have access to the data.
    2. You have no idea how to place numerical uncertainties on the output of a calibration of tree rings to temperature.
    3. You have no idea how to place numerical ranges on the “basic controlling factors” that would ensure that such a calibration remained valid over the entire timeframe of the reconstruction, nor do you have any idea how you would obtain numerical estimates for the actual conditions of these factors.”

    • Show me scientists debating divergence and the use of strip bark cores and I’d be more than interested. I don’t care one whit what Joe Plumber or Janet Cleaner says about dendro thanks.

      I’m elitist in that way.

      • Does this count:
        While “strip-bark” samples should be avoided for temperature reconstructions, attention should also be paid to the confounding effects of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition (Vitousek et al. 1997), since the nutrient conditions of the soil determine wood growth response to increased atmospheric CO2 (Kostiainen et al. 2004).

        • Citing one paper and one argument is not good enough in any measure.

          What matters in science is that the debate occurs and those involved work through the issues. Scientists have to decide which arguments have the most solid evidence to support them. Then they have to decide on how to proceed. They may make wrong decisions, but ultimately, this will show up in their work. This is the way science progresses.

          Admittedly, it’s not perfect for the interests of policy makers but that’s our problem.

      • There is a lot of discussion about the divergence issue in the literature, starting with Briffa’s Nature paper in 1998(9?). One thing is clear: the divergence problem is not is not universal to all sample or locations.

        As far as stripbark goes, Salzer, et. al. PNAS 2009 (open access too!) is a very through study of the effects of various postulated anthropogenic source on the anomalous growth in P. Longavea and come to the conclusion that only temperature changes account for the growth.

  12. Anastassia Makarieva is a scientist.

    Ryan O works in the commercial sector, but will almost certainly have scientific credentials, given his role in establishing laboratories.

    Kenneth Fritsch seems to be scientifically literate and grounded, even if we don’t know his scientific credentials – CB didn’t have any complaints in his discussions with him.

    • Please — establishing laboratories can mean anything. He could have a BA in commerce or an MBA and establish labs for the commercial sector, which doesn’t give him credentials to judge dendroclimatology. Until he clarifies his credentials, none of us can assume anything about them or the value of his commentary.

      As to Kenneth, he has often commented, almost always, that he has nothing to add to the discussions but just cheers Steve on. I can’t speak for CB, but I saw him as trying to be polite and honestly engage people at CA but he obviously has some concerns about the level of discourse there.

      • You say nothing of Makarieva?

        Your objection was that there were no scientists in the debate, but she is definitely one – more definitely than CB, who didn’t reveal any credentials.

        • I never said there were no scientists at CA — I said show me scientists debating the issue not laypeople.

          • I just did, in my post @ 10:32 ? Makarieva is a scientist, and presumably CB is too. By the way, Ryan O’s comments, as an example, are well worth reading – it’s irrelevant what his credentials are, the merit is already present in his contribution.

            You said : “I don’t care one whit what Joe Plumber or Janet Cleaner says about dendro thanks.”

            I pointed out that the level of scientific literacy and understanding demonstrated by the participants in the conversation was above what you presumably meant to imply could reasonably be expected of Joe or Janet Plumber.

  13. Tim: “In my opinion were are much better off doing nothing about CO2 even if the claims are largely correct because the technology required to reduce emissions while maintaining our standard of living does not exist and any money spent will be wasted.”

    Read this? It may waver your opinion:
    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ancient greenhouse climates were similar to those predicted for A.D. 2100. D. O. Breecker, Z. D. Sharp, and L. D. McFadden (2009)
    Quantifying atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2]atm) during Earth’s ancient greenhouse episodes is essential for accurately predicting the response of future climate to elevated CO2 levels. Empirical estimates of [CO2]atm during Paleozoic and Mesozoic greenhouse climates are based primarily on the carbon isotope composition of calcium carbonate in fossil soils. We report that greenhouse [CO2]atm have been significantly overestimated because previously assumed soil CO2 concentrations during carbonate formation are too high. [b]More accurate [CO2]atm, resulting from better constraints on soil CO2, indicate that large (1,000s of ppmV) fluctuations in [CO2]atm did not characterize ancient climates and that past greenhouse climates were accompanied by concentrations similar to those projected for A.D. 2100.

    • If correct, this would be alarming in the extreme.

      • Sorry to alarm you some more, but it’s time for the denialsphere to buy a rocket and another planet to conduct their CO2 experiment on:
        Palaeoclimate: Global warmth with little extra CO2. Birgit Schneider & Ralph Schneider (2010).

        “A new study concludes that an average warming of 3-4°C (which means 7-8°C on land), previously thought to be associated with carbon dioxide concentrations of 500-600 ppmv, is now believed to be associated with concentrations of only 360-420 ppmv, a range that covers the current concentration of 385 ppmv, rising at 2 ppmv per annum. If confirmed by further research, the implications of this are terrifying.”

        I’ve asked for someone to please debunk it over at RC.

  14. considering divergence:

    That there is evidence of 20th century divergence in some, but not all, boreal tree populations is not in question. That causes for that divergence is a question of ongoing research, likewise. However there is little or no evidence that there is any similar divergence in the paleo record, either internally to tree ring studies or to orthogonal studies of other proxies such as lake sediments, coral growth, benthic deposits, etc., which show a high degree of concilience.

    That there is a mechanical correlation between tree growth and climatic factors, even if the statistical correlation is difficult, but not impossible, to tease out of multi-variate data, is not in question.

  15. Tim,

    Let me put it this way: If we are to rely on qualitative judgments from simple propositional logic, and its intrinsic excluded middle fallacies, rather that quantifiable second order predicate assessments, for either science or policy, we might as well return to the Dark Ages.

  16. Tim,

    Let me put it this way: If we are to rely on qualitative judgments from simple propositional logic, and its intrinsic excluded middle fallacies, rather that quantifiable second order predicate assessments, for either science or policy, we might as well return to the Dark Ages

    No one is controlling the process. One must make one’s argument hold water.

    You can’t.

  17. The process is called ‘peer review’ which means it is controlled by the ‘peers’ and the editors of journals.
    A significant number of editors and ‘peers’ have publically stated their desire for governments to implement specific policies on CO2 regulation. The expression of opinion disqualifes them as a judge of the science.
    The way to remedy this situation is develop a process that cannot be unduely influenced by people with an agenda of any sort.

    • I’ll agree to regulations to limit the political freedoms of journal editors and reviewers when you agree to regulations to limit the spending freedoms of corporations to influence politicians. ;)

    • Tim.

      You don’t have much experience with the bear-pit that is scientific research and its attendant peer-review, do you?

      If you did, you’d understand why your overweening generalisation is so wide of the mark that it would miss every barn in the county.

  18. To expand on Eli’s point about amateurs, CB carefully explained that the usual suspects were not aware of what professional dendros knew and were bashing a strawman.

    What amateurs lack as a group is perspective, an understanding of how everything fits together and a sense of proportion. Graduate training is designed to pass lore from advisors to students. You learn much about things that didn’t work and therefore were never published [hey Prof. I have a great idea!...Well actually son, we did that back in 06 and wasted two years on it], whose papers to trust, and which to be suspicious of [Hey Prof. here's a great new paper!... Son, don't trust that clown.] In short the kind of local knowledge that allows one to cut through the published literature thicket.

    But this lack makes amateurs prone to get caught in the traps that entangled the professionals’ grandfathers, and it can be difficult to disabuse them of their discoveries. Especially problematical are those who want science to validate preconceived political notions, and those willing to believe they are Einstein and the professionals are fools. Put these two types together and you get a witches brew of ignorance and attitude.

    follow the link for more.

    Steve was uninvited because of his behavior in the Yamal farago (links from Mark B above in #1), his unethical pursuit of Briffa for not giving him the data when he had the data after all, his accusations of incompetence and mendicity to dendrologists over the years which have been shown, by CB among others, to be whole cloth, and his role in whipping up the crowd about the stolen CRU Emails.

  19. Wow. Of course, McI’s acolytes are out defending “The one” and his ongoing smear campaign.

    Steve McI has dug his own grave. He has no-one to blame but himself and his shameless and unwarranted attacks on Mann and Briffa (not to mention others, e.g., Hansen). The wheel turns as they say….

    Good riddance. And this is not going to go away by shutting down the comment thread at CA Steve. What are you afraid of?

    The media may also be turning on Steve. Have you read the G&M lately? SteveM admits that he has not done any “science” for a while because he needs to feed his blog followers…..

    Also, this was posted by John Mashey at DC:

    “03/28/02 DeFreitas submits paper, Soon & Boehmer-Christiansen review.
    04/11/02 Soon& Baliunas submit paper (whose first-acked sponsor was the API) to de Freitas
    06/23/02 DeFreitas paper published
    01/31/03 Soon&Baliunas published by de Freitas.

    So, that’s 2.5-month overlap, where Soon&de Fretias are both reviewing each others’ (dodgy) papers.”

    So who is really perverting the peer-review process here??

    Oh, and how about McIntyre lying about having the dendro data since 2004, all the while was badgering others for and making allegations of them hiding data?

    McIntyre has many things to apologize for and many personal apologies to make. He could start with Briffa, then Mann. Question is does he have the integrity or will to do so? We’ll see, but I am not holding my breath. It is much easier to engage in smear and bluster than conduct science. Until he does apologise and contribute to the science in a meaningful and cordial manner he can stay out in the cold and keep running his blog which nowadays is the very antithesis of a science blog. Even WUWT has more data analysis (albeit is hopeless and incorrect) than CA.

    McI could take some good pointers form John Cook on how to run a science blog.

  20. I see the comments over at the CA thread have been cut off.

  21. Susann,

    Do we know who was the correspondant of Steve McIntyre? Somehow, the question has never been asked on CA and now the thread is closed. Maybe it’s Harri:

    The best way to open up debates is to close down threads, perhaps.

  22. Well, this is the first time I’ve visited this site – am wondering who it’s aimed at.

    Of course, every blog does have its regulars and if one only wants to “preach to the choir” and not attract new, interested parties, that’s one thing.

    As someone who is open to information and discussions across the board concerning climate change, I’m very attracted to those where I find information and interesting arguments. This doesn’t mean there can be no sarcasm or snark, outbursts of anger or passion, etc.

    So far, this doesn’t seem to be a very welcoming site to open-minded newcomers so before I give up visiting, I would like to know what the intent is as it’s also unfair to judge just because people are having a “bad day.” For instance, something was said about circle-jerking in reference to another site, but I noted far more here than in that one.

    Well, I will check back again just in hopes this was an offday.

    • Are you the same Kendra who regularly visits Climateaudit, the Air Vent, and WUWT?

      It would explain a lot…

      • “it would explain a lot…”

        I’m not sure what it would explain (though I understand what you mean it to mean). By definition, this is a classic example of an argumentum ad hominem. She posits specific observations in support of her position, you find something objectionable about her, and while you don’t actually say that the places she visits invalidates her claims, you imply it does–or why bring up what sites she may visit? From a simple reading of her points and your counter-point, it validates her claims.

        In another exchange above, Dr. Taylor made similar observations as Kendra, and while I didn’t agree with her position or reasoning, shewonk at least responded to the points he made.

        Of course I could be wrong, and you’ve kept a suicide troll sent by Al QaeWattsIntyre from blowing up this blog…in that case, many thanks!

        • Could you please list the “specific observations in support of her position”? Apart from a *commenter* using the term “circle-jerk”, there’s no observations, just claims.

          If it is the Kendra I think it is, she simply isn’t really interested in rational discussion. Just some quotes from a Kendra:

          “Everytime it looks like the entire hoax is about to collapse, it rises up again in some monstrous way” (Joanne Nova)

          “I know someone who is in a position of influence – ie will be teaching a new class on the politicization of climate science.
          Unfortunately, this person buys the schtick (climategate overblown, evidence stands, etc.)”

          “I’m proud to say that Inhof and Coburn are my two senators” (noconsensus)

          “I stumbled onto the Mosher video yesterday, just because I like to see what’s on video at PJTV anyway, I was totally thrilled to see he was on with Bill Whittle”

          “I was at work waiting for something so opened “algorelied” ”

          Of all the samples I have seen, and admittedly, they were not many, I’ve yet to see her try and have a rational debate on any of the science. I’ve also yet to find her on any of the mainstream climate science blogs, or the more ‘activist’ blogs. It is my strong contention that she came here (well, coming here may have been the result of an Internet search) and commented because Steve McIntyre was referred to in a less than positive way.

          • Marco, thanks for the reply, and well said (or argued :-). That was my only point. I know it takes more effort to write it out, but it clarifies your position (which is now much more robust and makes more sense) and it invites Kendra either to refute or accept it. While your initial comment makes sense to you and Kendra, it makes no sense to those of us who have no clue to who the players are at those sites.

            (btw, I did go over to CA and searched for her name and didn’t come up with anything. I also scanned through some of the threads with lots of comments and did a search on those pages to see if she came up. I didn’t see her and wasn’t going to spend a lot of time trying to beyond that. May have done the searches incorrectly, I don’t know. Nor did I feel like going over to WUWT to try and locate her in the comments. In general, I don’t mind going to papers and other sources listed and reading them, but do prefer a certain level of probability in finding them–links and/or paper titles really help.)

            Of course, your point falls apart totally if it’s a different Kendra ! :-)

          • How absolutely mega-cool? I’ve been stalked and there’s no way Marco could have known that, while slightly over the hill, I’m still drop-dead gorgeous!

            No, Marco, I’m not debating the science. As my other comments should make clear, I’m looking for information. My experience has been very disappointing on pro AGW sites and much better on skeptical sites, but I thought and still think that there must be quality sites on all sides of the issues, from the scientific specifics to the policy debates.

            So now I have my cherry-picked, “out-of-context” history thrown down as a gauntlet. I don’t really mind that I didn’t get away with “anonymity” – after all, I do use my real first name that’s not all that common – but from what I’ve seen of this site, I think a few spontaneous remarks made in the moment are not out of line in any case, so let’s have a look at the horror of my evil past.

            The JoNova comment was made in response to one more platitudinous, non-informative, incendiary remark.

            The second excerpt had to do with someone who had recommended I buy a book to the tune of 30 bucks in response to a painstaking selection of sites I’d given, which included the whole spectrum of evidence and arguments. I was very upset that this person was so cavalier and dismissive about the issues.

            I am proud about Inhofe – he used to even be a believer, in case you didn’t know, but when he looked into it (due to the high cost on his constituency), he felt he did not find enough evidence.

            I like algorelied because it’s easy to see the latest news, including Al’s Journal. I also like to find out any news on him, because arrogant hypocrites fascinate me.

            PJTV is a wonderful antidote to the monotony of the MSM. I’m not ashamed to say I like Whittle, and was excited to see Mosher interviewed.

            So, that makes me persona non grata, fine. What you don’t get is that I really am after getting all sides and hadn’t given up hope, which was why I bothered to come here.

            It’s really amazing that I should be jumped upon as a disruptive troll out to make mischief when I actually am simply a normal inquisitive person who’s looking for good arguments and information – there’s a lot of us out there and I simply don’t get why you should want to alienate us. Talk about conspiracy theory paranoids!

            UAN, I see that if I’m the Kendra responsible for the excerpts (out of context, hahaha, but who cares), that I’m unworthy of any more defense. Marco didn’t find (or cite) all of my comments, however, though there weren’t that many more. You say Marco was “well said” (or argued) and clarifies his position.. “robust” hahaha and makes sense. And that position is…?

            While this is great fun, it’s also quite absurd. I have made NO arguments about the science, rather I have declared my interest in all points of view. I expressed my feeling of alienation from this site because of its general tone, quite apart from the focus on McI.

            Obviously, mistakenly, I felt that it would be worthwhile to say that it would be helpful to your science, or your cause, to know that your attitude was alienating me as a newcomer and that that same effect might be felt by others. I was also open to the idea that it was really for insiders only, and I guess you’re making that quite clear.

            I am exactly who I said I was in my last comment, shall I give my full name and address? Shall I tell you what I had for lunch? Ha, just realized, I had no meat and my rebellious nature had decided that with a mandate, I’d never have a meatless Monday, even though I actually do eat, unplanned, vegetarian several times a week!

            I have no ulterior motive. At one time, I would have called myself a “truthseeker” but have been informed that Truth is Illusory (which I actually knew, as I’ve travelled in intellectual circles too). So I’m simply looking for information, for facts.

            Showing the contempt for me that you do, implies an attitude of suspicion and contempt towards everyone you don’t know and therefore don’t trust.

            Instead of just asking me who the hell I am and WTF I’m doing here – no, that would be too simple.

            Why does this remind me of high school?

            • Kendra, as I mentioned to Marco, by articulating his position “… it invites Kendra either to refute or accept it.”

              I see you don’t need my help refuting his arguments :-) and I think you make some very valid points. And thank you for sharing information about yourself! I’ll even accept your still drop-dead gorgeous ;-) though your arguments still need to stand on their own! One problem with the anonymous nature of these blogs is that it’s easy to label folks, then treat them as a label rather than a real human being. It’s also very intellectually lazy. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be snarky with someone in person, even if I passionately disagreed with them, so why would I do that online?

              Marco, I agree skeptic sites can be snarky, sometimes it’s the commenters and sometimes it’s the host. But AGW sites can be just as snarky, including Real Climate, and Gavin can be pretty snarky himself.

              Obviously, the choir is inclined to view their side as, if not pure, far less egregious than the other. What makes the snarkiness unfortunate is that because of the recent attention to AGW from the CRU emails to Copenhagen to the IPCC missteps and maybe the blizzard in DC, there are large numbers of “newbies” coming to these blogs to find out information and depending on their experiences, it could either make them more sympathetic to the issue at hand, or conclude that the worse claims being thrown out there are true.

              If they ask a simple question that’s been answered a thousand times (as if they would know) or repeat something a Glen Beck might have said (though the fact that they went online to ask about it shows they are trying to get more info) and the all the response they get is a harsh rebuke, you’ve lost them, and it’s not anyone else’s fault but your own (the you in this case being the generic “you”.) It’s not that they are stupid, don’t understand the science, or whatnot. If one side treats them with contempt, they’ll assume that side is wrong.

              In the larger debate, we each play a role. The ground swell of support or rejection will be made up of thousands of tiny, almost inconsequential interactions, not just by the major players known to all, but among the millions of anonymous folks that no one knows about. Folks like Kendra. Or Marco. Or myself. Or your neighbors, the parents picking up their kids at school, or the barista that pours your coffee.

              Public opinion–why, it’s kind of like the weather, with thousands of data points interacting over time to become the climate. :-)

              • No need to tell me pro-AGW blogs can be snarky. Problem is, their snark is, in 9 out of 10 cases, much more justifiable. Debunking the same argument a hundred times makes any human being snarky. And often the tone in which the question is asked immediately shows that trying to debunk is of no use: they are not there to truly learn or understand, they’re there to vent some anger. Trust me, I tried for many years to be kind to people who came with ignorant comments (and not just climate science, I started in the HIV=/AIDS area). Never ever was someone swayed who started with “XXXXX is a HOAX!”, or even with “I don’t think there is evidence for XXXXX”. Forget arguing science with someone who comes with “You are ruining the economy”. There may be some who can be swayed, but I really never met them.

      • Yes, Marco, and I visit RealClimate, Climate Progress, the Blackboard, Deltoid and many others – sometimes I see a link to one that’s new to me, as today with this one, to find out whether it could be an interesting and/or productive site. I don’t comment often, so it’s interesting that you remember the few I have made.

        It’s also interesting that you must visit those sites yourself to even know I do.

        It’s also interesting that you make assumptions based on that – shouldn’t you rather be encouraging me to stay with this site?

        If you’ll reread, you’ll realize that my question was whether or not this was a preaching to the choir site or if it wanted to also be welcoming to those who are open minded and searching for information. I was not getting a good impression and, rather than leaving forever in disgust, I decided to simply ask before making a direct complaint/criticism. Perhaps you would have preferred it if I’d simply said, if this site is meant to help persuade amateurs, newcomers, the silent majority, whatever, the first impression of this one is not a good start. So it’s possible I picked up on the snark and posed the question in the same vein, for which I do not apologize since that was the atmosphere here. The one good impression I did have, that “outlier” comments were coming through, gave me the incentive to think something could still be worthwhile here.

        I happen to be someone out there, who’s been researching for some time, an “amateur.” I’m open to all views. So far, so-called skeptical sites have certainly been more accessible.

        I am a little disturbed that shewonk makes sweeping negative statements about “deniers’” motives – much less by what the commenters say, as in every site they can get carried away.

        I’ll come clean with who I am (definitely not a suicide troll from AlqaeWattsIntyre). I’m an American Swiss, living in the Ticino in a small stone house in the Italian part. At the moment, I work in Zurich during the week, for neither Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma or any other Big. I take the train or walk, except in the Ticino where my car lives and is used to get from the train station to the grocery store, then up the mountain. You might pardon me that I’m so spoiled that I prefer not to walk up one hour with baggage and groceries. I have often, though, walked up and down in other circumstances. Occasionally I visit friends a half hr away. That’s it. The train is hydro with some nuke, i.e. low carbon footprint, I think the nuke comes from France (crocodile tears). Woodstove, yes, particulates as well as CO2, but renewable (and no choice, I am not a millionaire, even to “upgrade” to pellet is too expensive and why not use our own wood on our own mountain). In Zurich, I walk everywhere I go, on very rare occasions the streetcar.

        Contrary to shewonk’s surmises about “denier fears”, I have nothing to fear from carbon controls, in fact the Swiss are already involved. I’ll bet you and the others I’ve got you beat bigtime on the carbon footprint.

        It really does you no credit to make assumptions about people. There are a number of us, simply interested and trying to find information, not sneering, namecalling and all the rest.

        If shewonk wants to be a big fish in a small pond of sycophants, fine, I’m out of here. If the purpose was to impart information “unpolluted by skeptical bias” to those in quest, she’s barking up the wrong tree so far because in this thread at least she and you have not succeeded in anything but alienating me.

        I am keeping in mind that the post itself was not an info post, but attitude does tell alot.

        Thank you UAN2001 for stating so well the fallacy of Marco’s comment, I was pretty flabbergasted to see such a ridiculous reply and was relieved not only to see your analysis but that it got published does give me some hope that there might be something of value here.

        In general, the entire situation boils down to a claim being made, a claim that is demanding much from the hoi polloi, in terms of money, in terms of loss of autonomy. This requires proving the case, at least to a reasonable extent (haha – see how generous I am). How does one prove a case? By presenting evidence. How does one get anyone to pay attention to said evidence?

        Well, I think Andy Stern said, “we’ll use the power of persuasion and if that doesn’t work we’ll use the persuasion of power.” Here, and unfortunately on some other sites the power and/or persuasion of contempt, arrogance, sneering and hostility is the option.

        You might want to go for an attitude adjustment, they really taste good, whether you want salt on the rim or not.

        • Kendra, I don’t frequent the sites you do. I do, however, sometimes check commenters, especially when they appear to do a hit-and-run, and make sweeping claims without any arguments. You did. Lo’ and behold, I find comments from you on the typical denier-sites (WUWT, joannenova, and noconsensus). Those comments indicate a certain political ideology (see especially your comment on Inhofe). I wasn’t surprised.

          That you find the deniersites (there really is no other word for most of them) so welcoming is likely because they fit your political ideology. The snark and arrogance is huge on those sites, but because the ‘victims’ of that arrogance and snark is those you perceive as the opposite ideology, you are much less likely to see it as snark or arrogance. Just take WUWT: it continues to attack climate scientists, making sweeping claims that simply never deliver. In fact, in many cases they are simply extremely wrong.
          *THAT* is arrogance. The false claims on WUWT of scientific fraud are frequent. *THAT* is contempt. And then you get all upset when others reciprocate that contempt and arrogance…

          Experience also tells me that being nice no longer works. Nice people are ignored. The media wants soundbytes. The general populace is indoctrinated by soundbytes. It’s sad for the few normal people (although being a minority makes them abnormal), but snark has become the only way for scientists to survive the attacks of the deniosphere. Note that it isn’t just climate science. The media, and quite a few politicians (especially in the US) are constantly attacking scientists, whenever the results don’t fit their ideology. Scientists have let that happen for too long.

          • I see we cross-posted.

            I see you find it important to analyze my ideology. I guess I should wonder what yours is, but that’s not what I’m after here. It doesn’t affect the facts. Maybe it affects the attitude, I am starting to see that in other sites.

            So, as the newcomer/outsider, I’m being subjected to an investigation. I now must prove myself. Actually, I’m willing to do that. My original question, though, was – is this site meant to attract / persuade people outside of the clique or not?

            If you have something of substance to offer, and want to share it with others, but I must show myself worthy you need only make that clear.

            You see me as a hit-and-run. What’s wrong with the simple explanation, which happens to be what happened, I clicked on a link out of interest. So just because it was my first time here, my motives are in question, rather than I just happened to be here the first time. I asked if I’m (or people like me) welcome or not.

            Why set up a barrier from the get-go? Is this a country club?

            • I’m not the owner of this blog, but I’m glad Susann allows me to comment here. If you consider my comments so much of a barrier, too bad. “Blog science” is filled with commenters who are not necessarily of the same breed as the blog owner.
              However, you used *one* post as some kind of evidence that Susann puts up a barrier. I call your bluff on that one. I don’t see you ask the same question elsewhere. Perhaps you can explain that?

              And yes, ideology is of importance. It tells me about the likelihood of someone actually able and willing to understand the scientific arguments. Positive references to PJTV and Jim Inhofe are enough for me to be extremely skeptical about both ability and willingness.

    • Kendra, I welcome you to my blog. Please note that I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV. I am no one in particular. Just an interested person, a snivel servant (as we like to call ourselves), a liberal, a person who finds no reason to doubt the dominant scientific paradigm on global warming despite all the hoopla, and who has invited people to come to her little back yard on the net to discuss global warming science and policy. I am willing to consider skeptical arguments as long as they come with some sound evidence attached and are more than just rhetoric or greenwashing or astroturf. I do not delete comments because this is nothing more than a personal blog for people to discuss the issue and for me to post my opinions and take on things. I don’t claim expertise in anything outside my own field, which is health policy, although I do have (hopefully) some transferable skills in research, policy and science that might help me analyze things from time to time. But I am no authority and do not claim to be one. I have, can and will likely make mistakes, say things that are wrong or that I don’t really mean, and I will generally retract or try to moderate myself, as everyone should. I prefer that people moderate themselves and as such, I am not concerned about moderating the blog tightly the way blogs that are more specialist in focus do. I have nothing against close moderation because some blogs are really diminished by trolls and choruses. Nothing is OT here as long as it relates to climate change aka global warming, whether it be history, policy or science.

      People have a high degree of energy and emotion about this matter. Sometimes, that’s expressed in posts with a bit more snark than I might like in my better moments, but a lot less than I am capable of in my worst. :) If I see really offensive material, I will delete the offending passage, with a note in the post why, but so far, I haven’t had to do that. I agree that some people might be offended at “circle jerk” but frankly, I’m offended at the way denialist assume I am stupid enough to swallow their PR nonsense and bogus pseudoscience. I am a lot more offended at the way terms like “fraud” are thrown around about climate scientists.

      The net of course, is still quite a realm of freedom. You can view blogs, read content, post or not, at your whim. If you don’t like the content or the tone of my blog. there are many other blogs out there and I’m sure something will satisfy but I’m not going to apologize if you take offense to what i post or what people who post here write.

      • Thank you very much, Susann, for your kind clarification and welcome.

        I only posted my first comment / question because I was interested enough to want to know if I should return, despite the hostile vibes I was picking up, although as I said I even intended to anyway.

        My first instinct was to ignore Marco, knowing already he was not the blog owner, but I do like to have fun, too, and I was quite flabbergasted by such a bizarre response, so mea culpa, I couldn’t resist.

        It is your own attitude that counts.

        I also do not have a hard science background – my field is anthropology/ethnology, with a particular interest in its psychological aspects, e.g. the nocebo effect (voodoo!), intracultural/subcultural and language. It is, however, generally recognized as a „soft“ science.

        In terms of hard science, I have also intensively studied epidemiology and toxicology, including their impact in the policy area, as well as climate science. In these fields, I am an amateur in that I have done no experiments myself and have no „credentials.“ (I do acknowledge that epidemiology is not considered a hard science by some).

        My interest here and elsewhere is twofold: discovering the facts and, depending on what those may be, analyzing the various methods advocated to formulate public policy. The latter is your area of expertise so I am quite interested in your site based on that alone. That you may come from the opposite end of the political spectrum is secondary to me. Since you make no claims to scientific expertise yourself, I will no doubt discover on what you base your conclusions and I am assuming that there are qualified scientists who also contribute as well as other amateurs who support their conclusions with substantiation. My main intention is to add to my knowledge, i.e. to learn, not to proselytise. So I actually intended to be just a lurker. Policy threads? Maybe I would have engaged in that to some extent.

        I’ve noticed that there are a couple of more posts regarding mine but have not looked at them closely, as your comment, which I felt was truly written with honesty and integrity, was my first priority. Whatever issues might be raised in the others, I will respond to – or not – directly.

        With this exception, WRT Marco, because it involves you as the site owner:

        I trust that he has apologized privately to you. He undermined the philosophy you have explicated to me. He diminished and narrowed your site by showing hostility and mistrust to a newcomer, even resorting to espionage. He could have asked me directly, hey, I’ve seen you around on skeptic sites, WTF? I would have answered openly. In fact I did. Or maybe he was simply being protective of you. Well, that deserves an apology as well – it’s demeaning in itself. In addition to damaging the reputation of your site. Unsubstantiated claim alert!!!! Yes, I am now making a claim. It’s an argument from authority. Whose authority? Mine. Also, shame on me, a generalization, a sweeping statement. Well, guess what, here goes: Most people like it if they find they’ve affected someone in a positive way, that even if they weren’t seeking it, when the opportunity arises, they like to take advantage of it. And maybe they feel just a bit good about having enlightened someone, having made one teensy-tiny change that might better the world.

        So, thank you again, Susann. I look forward to discovering all kinds of interesting information on your site and, if I should contribute in any way, it will be with the utmost respect.

        • Espionage? I merely checked someone’s openly advertised credentials!

          I wasn’t trying to defend Susann either, she can do that quite well herself.

          Nor do I see a need to apologise. I voiced my opinion. It may have been in strong wording, but without any name-calling. If Susann is not happy with that opinion, she can moderate me. That’s her right as the blog owner.

          • Marco, I truly will not respond to you again. You seem not only to not actually read things, or have no capacity for thought, but also have no sense of humor, which could at least make you more interesting.

            Your “opinion” was not an issue, nor was strong wording or name-calling.


            Now, go ahead and have the last word as scoring points seems to be your main interest.

        • Marco’s language was not directed at me or demeaning of me personally and as to my blog — it was pretty mild compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere. Not that I want this blog to devolve into a cursing match, but a few choice ones now and then are ok. I don’t expect Marco to apologize – that is, until Mosher does. ;) Not holding my breath on that. :)

          A bit of history on this blog, if you aren’t aware of it — a year or two ago I was a bit or a regular over at CA although I was skeptical of its claims to skepticism and objectivity and so I remain today. Because of that, people felt obliged to correct me, which led to many diversions. I left the climate wars in disgust at the vacuousness of the criticisms of skeptics, contrarians and deniers. I only returned after the CRU emails were made public. I honestly wanted to make sure what they contained was what people claimed they contained — the smoking gun that would cause AGW to fall. They didn’t, although the misrepresentation on the part of deniers and contrarians and the apparently-brain damaged press have dealt AGW a temporary blow. When I directly challenged McI and didn’t back down, I was moderated over at CA and my posts deleted and so I started my own blog and have been following various developments here ever since. Interestingly, McI reinstated the posts that were deleted. Go figure. I won’t bother posting there anymore because it’s a waste of time, and besides I can say what I want here without being moderated. :)

          Other than the fact that this is my blog, and I will post what interests me, I do not want to be the topic of discussion or the focus — I am no one important — just another interested person. I hope the focus can be on the science, the policy, and people’s analysis and opinions on both. I have clarified several times that I would consider myself a supporter of the AGW scientific paradigm until there is convincing scientific evidence to disprove it. As I have also said, so far nothing has come along that is convincing — not the hockey stick controversy, not the CRU email saga, not any of the IPCC gates. However, I am always open to consider new evidence. Evidence — not unfounded opinion and not pseudoscience.

          I only expect the respect I deserve based on posting well-argued opinions or views or analyses or the occasional entertaining bit of humor.

  23. Apologies if this has already been addressed here (or elsewhere), but it was noted in this post that McI has been bitching a lot about the choice of investigators for the Muir Enquiry.
    Would it be an utterly pointless exercise to do what he asks, get rid of Geoffrey Boulton and ask McI to attend instead?
    Under the circumstances, would the obvious finding of no scientific fraud put him in a position of having to shut-the-hell-up and, for once, report on the actual facts?
    Or am I just dreaming?

    • In my opinion, appointing McI to the inquiry makes no sense and would turn it into a farce. He is not a scientist. He is a former minerals executive. He has no standing in this matter other than being a primary instigator of the problems facing CRU through his nuisance FOI requests and his blog smears of the scientists at CRU. Sorry, it might appeal to deniers and his followers, who think he’s on the right hand of God or something, but really, he’s not qualified.

    • They *could* have invited McIntyre, but do you seriously think he would accept?

      As you indicate: he may have to actually agree with the findings. Of course, he does have an easy way out: he’s part and parcel of the e-mails, and thus not impartial either…

  24. I like this one as well: “if necessary, annoy them”
    And accuse them without solid grounds for the accusation. And then complain that they’re not being nice to you, so you can play the underdog-card. Nice try.

    Sadly enough, it works for a lot of people apparently. Bad for your faith in the human mind indeed.

  25. Adrian :
    Apologies if this has already been addressed here (or elsewhere), but it was noted in this post that McI has been bitching a lot about the choice of investigators for the Muir Enquiry.
    Would it be an utterly pointless exercise to do what he asks, get rid of Geoffrey Boulton and ask McI to attend instead?

    Conflict of interest, pure and simple. McIntyre put himself out of that loop the day the emails were released to the public through the use of his own keyboard by his own hand. Tough luck.

    As far as I’m aware the only thing Boulton did was to state he agrees with the IPCC’s findings, unless someone can come up with a reliably sourced quote saying he thinks Phil Jones did no wrong, ever. (yawn)

    “Professor Boulton said:

    “At the Review press conference (on February 11), I pointed out that I had worked full-time in the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA from its inception in 1968 to 1980, and that I had a part-time appointment between 1980 and 1986, whilst working primarily in the University of Amsterdam. Since then, I have had no professional contact with the University of East Anglia or the Climatic Research Unit.

    “I was equally clear that although my research is not in the field of modern or recent climate change, I am familiar with its scientific basis and uncertainties surrounding it.

    “I declared my current view of the balance of evidence: that the earth is warming and that human activity is implicated. These remain the views of the vast majority of scientists who research on climate change in its different aspects. They are based on extensive work worldwide, not that of a single institution.

    As a sceptical scientist, I am prepared to change those views if the evidence merits it. They certainly do not prevent me from being heavily biased against poor scientific practice, wherever it arises.”

    Sir Muir Russell said:

    “This Review must determine if there is evidence of poor scientific practice, as well as investigate allegations around the manipulation and suppression of data.

    “As others have pointed out, it would be impossible to find somebody with the qualifications and experience we need who has not formed an opinion on climate change.

    “I am completely confident that each member of the Review team has the integrity, the expertise, and the experience to complete our work impartially.” “

    Going back to: “I declared my current view of the balance of evidence: that the earth is warming and that human activity is implicated. These remain the views of the vast majority of scientists who research on climate change in its different aspects. They are based on extensive work worldwide, not that of a single institution.”

    To put that into perspective, it is no different to what even Pat Michaels says these days.

  26. Response to JBowers #158:

    I’m not sure you’re stating the issue correctly. I believe the issue was that the panel was not suppose to have anyone associated with Climatology. IIRC correctly from a quick perusal a while back at CA, Boulton has characterized himself, or been characterized, as a significant climatologist (consultant/advisor to governments on climate change, etc.). I have no clue to the reality, but I would imagine the facts can’t be too difficult to ascertain. (and I may have it wrong that members were to be outside of climatology.)

    The facts would probably breakdown into one of the following:

    1. Boulton is what McI claims he is (that is, how he’s been characterized at some meetings and I believe even on his CV). In that case, he should be removed from the Muir Russell Enquiry.

    2. Boulton is not what he’s been characterized as, but he presented himself as an important advisor, expert, etc, on Climatology. If that’s the case, he should be removed and rebuked for embellishing his credentials. That’d be pretty pathetic.

    3. Boulton is not #1, nor did he do #2. In that case, there’s no real reason to take him off the enquiry.

    The question of whether Steve McI should be on the enquiry, whether as a replacement for Boulton or not, is a totally separate issue. From the criteria for selection, that members be someone from outside of Climatology, the answer is clearly no. I know folks here and elsewhere have a low opinion of him and his bona fides, but he’s clearly a part of the Climatology world and debate.

    The idea for the enquiry is to have no one with a bias, be it pro-Jones or anti-Jones. The enquiry is set up like any good science experiment, where all bias is removed as much as possible to get the cleanest signal possible. Anyone who holds out or thinks McI should be on the panel clearly doesn’t understand that. A separate question would be, should McI be one of the people interviewed. It may not be necessary to answer the questions being looked at, but it probably wouldn’t hurt.

    I have no clue as to whether Steve McI thinks he should be on the enquiry or not, or whether he’s said that. It’s really irrelevant, since he’s not on the enquiry, nor do I imagine there’s any groundswell of support pushing for that (at least that would make the UEA or Muir Russell take any notice whatsoever).

    The deeper irrelevancy of all of this is that the real point of enquiries like this is political and what outcome is needed politically. People closer to the situation (outside of either AGW or Skeptic camps) would be better informed to answer that. What is the mood of the English people right now and the government? Does Jones need to go for some reason, to restore confidence, as the fall guy, or whatever? If he doesn’t, then he’ll probably stay. If he does, he’ll probably go. Perhaps it’s important that he stays for some political reason. Either way, it’s all about politics.

  27. UAN2001 :
    Response to JBowers #158:
    I’m not sure you’re stating the issue correctly. I believe the issue was that the panel was not suppose to have anyone associated with Climatology. IIRC correctly from a quick perusal a while back at CA, Boulton has characterized himself, or been characterized, as a significant climatologist (consultant/advisor to governments on climate change, etc.). I have no clue to the reality, but I would imagine the facts can’t be too difficult to ascertain. (and I may have it wrong that members were to be outside of climatology.)

    Sir Muir Russell seems to think not. I find it very difficult to imagine he has no idea about the backgrounds of the panel members. Sure, one stepped down, but it’s reasonable to expect Sir Muir to be unaware of a comment made in the press in IIRC China.

    “As others have pointed out, it would be impossible to find somebody with the qualifications and experience we need who has not formed an opinion on climate change.” — Sir Muir Russell.

    For the sake of getting the inquiry going they just need to go with who they have, otherwise the damned thing will never start if every Tom, Dick and harriet in the world had a say. There comes a point where you have to say, “Right, that’s it, we’re doing it.”

    “Professor Boulton’s research is in the field of glaciology, glacial geology, Quaternary science and energy.”

    I guess there’s no conflict after all. I’m sure Lawson and Peiser would have been picketing Russell at his local corner shop if there were.


  1. 2010 in review « The Policy Lass - January 9, 2011

    [...] The One — Chopped Down to Size February 2010 160 comments 3 [...]

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