Two Minutes of Denialist Chumming

“A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”

Most of you will be familiar with the title of this post, and of the paragraph taken from Orwell’s 1984.

I’m struck, after reading around the denialosphere, at the vitriol levelled at Eric Steig and his 2009 paper. Dumbstruck.

Here’s a sampling from Steve McIntye’s latest Chumming Expedition. Six Ten posts so far on the Steig – O’Donnell dispute.

Note the highlighted words: Chum chum chum. Guaranteed.

Steve McIntyre (Feb 13, 2011, 3:18 pm)

Over the past few days, Eric Steig aka Reviewer A has made a series of increasingly puzzling and strident outbursts, as the inconsistency between his RC post of Feb 1 as Eric Steig and his conduct as Reviewer A has been exposed

Steig’s post contained a trick (TM- climate science). It omitted any quotations from or consideration of his Second Review or the responses to the Second Review, which, after all, had been what provoked Ryan in the first place. Andrew Revkin noted up Steig’s response, but didn’t notice Steig’s trick

In Steig’s First Review (as Reviewer A), Steig made one unsubstantiated statement after another, all of which were biased towards coercing our results towards higher trends in West Antarctica. Steig characterized our optimized values of k_gnd as “suspect” and alleged:

Yesterday, Steig placed his latest and wildest diatribe online at two blogs …

Going back now and parsing Steig’s recent statements, one sees one untrue statement after another. Consider first his Feb 8 email:…

Here’s the two minutes of hate in response in the comments:

don Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PermalinkReply

In the purported words of T.E. Lawrence, “Take no prisoners! No prisoners!”

Craig Loehle Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM | PermalinkReply

they say never bring a knife to a gunfight, but perhaps Steig should not have brought mere petulance to a contest with people with photographic memory and a WRITTEN RECORD of what happened. Unbelievable.

.

Philip Bratby Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM | PermalinkReply

I don’t think it matters to them what the witten record shows. What matters to them is the story they put out to their followers and their media contacts.

Chris S Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PermalinkReply

It’s difficult for Steig to maintain credibility with his pants around his ankles.

thisisnotgoodtogo Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PermalinkReply

Exposed and coming unglued before our eyes.

Perhaps Professor Jones could form some kind of support group for Climate Scientists at the end of their ropes ?

Maybe a shoulder ? “Sush, I know dear, me too”

DominicPosted Feb 13, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

So if I look at what he said I see him criticise iridge publicly and say that it was worse than TTLS because it understates long-term trends. He never mentioned this in his comments. Indeed your results, which he had already seen, clearly showed the opposite (which I would guess is one of the reasons which made him encourage you to use it). On that basis I find him guilty of dodgy scientific behaviour.

Frank K.Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 5:10 PM | PermalinkRepl

My thoughts exactly – Steig has (from the tone of his collective comments on this matter) become manic and, again, I hope he receives some help for his problems.

He also seems fond of the punctuating remark “GET IT?”. Sounds somewhat threatening, actually…

P Gosselin Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM | PermalinkReply

ENTERTAINING! Steig must be a quite the sloppy record-keeper to get that tangled up.

russep3 Posted Feb 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PermalinkReply

Steig’s usage of statistical techniques reminds me of the quote my 6th form Maths teacher used at the beginning of our Stats lectures…”An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination.” Originally from Andrew Lang I think.

Duster Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 11:47 PM | PermalinkReply

Ideally, he would have to apply different methods and show that his original results were conformable. Instead he seems to have done his best to obfuscate and obstruct the publication of the paper, and then to minimize the apparent differences and their significance to his interpretations. And now, rather than address the issue as science, he is arguing the “record” of the review process, which, again, he should not have been party to.

Bernie Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 1:22 AM | PermalinkReply

Nicolas:
I agree Steig was a logical choice as a reviewer – but why as an anonymous reviewer. I believe knowing that Steig was definitely Reviewer A would have led to a different response to his review from O’Donnell et al. I am sure a fourth reviewer would have been more forcefully requested at an earlier point in the proceedings.
I remain puzzled why Steig chose to act as an anonymous reviewer.

KnRPosted Feb 13, 2011 at 6:14 PM | PermalinkReply

Steig as clearly made statements on hand they denied them on the other.
His acted in a way that is not fitting for a person reviewing a paper for publication. He may have broken the ethics involved if he involved the ‘team’ in this review without telling the editor. And in the end wither through arrogance or foolishness had made more trouble for himself. Steig09 got all the press , the front cover of Nature the BBC etc, in contrast O’Donnell’s paper was going to get none of that and reality would have despaired into the academic wilderness if it were not for his current actions.

Ken Denison Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM | PermalinkReply

Others have pointed it out but I think it is worth repeating that there are (at least) two issues here:

1. Duplicity by Steig which this excellent post makes crystal clear.

2. That the results of S09 are random noise, not anything linked to reality, which O10 made abundantly clear.

Harold Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 10:15 PM | PermalinkReply

Just because he didn’t show it to someone doesn’t mean someone didn’t see it. It also doesn’t mean he didn’t show his review comments to someone before he sent them. I agree he was likely hiding / delaying his impending embarrassment, and he doesn’t seem sophisticated enough to use one of the sly deniability maneuvers.

Mailman Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 6:54 PM | PermalinkReply

Steig on the other hand appears to have been deliberately obstructing the publication of O’Donnells paper…most likely as a direct result of previous actions by the hockey team in stopping other papers from being published.

Steve McIntyre Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PermalinkReply

another point to keep in mind – Broccoli had already blown off our request that Reviewer A be treated as a conflicted reviewer or that his review, at least, be sent to unconflicted reviewers for consideration before requiring us to make more major revisions. We had no reason not to believe that the editor wasn’t hand-in-glove with Steig (this had happened in other cases and is evidenced in Climategate correspondence). That the editor had required another “major revision” after the Second Version certainly suggested that he was hand-in-glove with Steig and would use any pretext to reject.

Dirk H Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM | PermalinkReply

“Reviewer A” delayed the publication with 88 pages of criticism. In the end “Reviewer A” turns out to be the guy who published the paper that is practically rebutted by O’Donnell et.al. That’s not a molehill; that’s a reason to abandon the compromised process of peer review in climate science completely as it does not *add* scientific value but is -obviously!- intentionally used to *destroy* science.

There’s much much more but you get the flavour.

Lucia has her own chum post: seven posts now on the subject of the Steig O’Donnell dispute. Here’s one with a few examples of the hungry guppies.

Reviewer A = Rod Blagojevich of Science?

7 February, 2011 (15:21) | politics Written by: lucia

Reading Steig’s recent article at RC, the thought that came to mind was “Steig and Blago! Some men have some real testicular fortitude!” It really takes something to try to spin a paper that shows yours up so badly as supporting your results. But.. more later.

Now it seems Steig may have even more testicular fortitude than Rod Blagojevich. Ryan O’Donnell just crossposted at both Climate Audit and The Air Vent.

The post contains many technical details, but I also noticed this:

I mentioned at the beginning that I was planning to save the best for last.

I have known that Eric was, indeed, Reviewer A since early December. I knew this because I asked him. When I asked, I promised that I would keep the information in confidence, as I was merely curious if my guess that I had originally posted on tAV had been correct.

I thought… wait a minute. If Eric was reviewer A, he sure as heck did his best to give the impression he was not. Read this comment by Eric Steig which appeared at The Air Vent in December.

yan, if you don’t mind sending me a preprint, and a link to your reconstructed data, I’d appreciate it.

I will presumably have more to say after I get a chance to read the paper, but it’ll be a month or more as I’m simply too busy with current projects.

If Eric Steig was reviewer A and he wrote that deceptive mealy mouth comment he is truly the Rod Blagojevich of climate science.

Written by lucia.
Here’s Jeff Id:

jeff id (Comment#68298) February 7th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Lucia,

We all suspected it already because the wording of Reviewer A was very close to some RC comments. Ryan didn’t tell me he had confirmation at any time before this. It actually was a team review IMO with Mannian commentary interspersed throughout. I recall on reading the first reviews that it seemed like several personalities and writing styles. Now that they are posted, people can see for themselves.

We basically had a group of reviewers so hostile that we were forced to not use the originally submitted methods. The whole paper was re-written to avoid certain unfair criticisms.

No doubt in my mind that Reviewer A wouldn’t have let S09 through.

Zer0th (Comment#68319) February 7th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

At first blush this seems more damning than the pal/hostile review shenanigans hinted at in the ClimateGate emails.
.
I remain staggered by the extreme hubris displayed by the masters of the universe over at RC.

MikeC (Comment#68323) February 7th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Steig wasn’t doing the Blago, He’s from Seattle… land of the superrior shroomies

Hoi Polloi (Comment#68325) February 7th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

So Steig told RyanO that he was reviewer A. How the heck does he think he was getting away with this scam? Are them guys at Unreal Climate living on a different planet, or wat? Fercrissakes this is the 21st century, we have Intarnet! Or was he counting on RyanO’s decency? I mean, this is mindboggling. May be Bugsy can explain this.
Paging Mr.Bugs! Mr.Bugs, you have a telephone call at the front desk!

jeff Id (Comment#68326) February 7th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Ryan,

“Eric said that Review A was entirely his, and, in retrospect, I have no reason to disbelieve him.”

I believe he submitted the review 100%, if Cuccinelli subpoenaed Steig’s emails, I would bet some big cash that there were copy-pastes from Mann. Admittedly it is just a guess though, there was too much Mannian style hostility and phraseology.

Maybe that’s my next blog–phraseology, this climate stuff is too anti-science.

Carrick (Comment#68329) February 7th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I think it’s worse that even that: Eric forces the removal of the TLS method in favor of REGEM iridge method, then has the cahones lack of ethical standards to attack the method he himself pushed for in the reviews.

This is totally shameless.

Derek H (Comment#68348) February 8th, 2011 at 12:55 am

I would just point out that just because someone is an arrogant and defensive pus-filled boil on the hind end of humanity doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong. (I still think Steig and Schmidt ARE wrong but there’s no causal link between their behavior and their scientific validity — or lack thereof — of their beliefs).

I’m also amazed that RC doesn’t see their arrogant hand-waving, so reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz, loses them support rather than wins converts.

There’s plenty more where that came from. It’s clear that this is more than just analysis — it’s chum. And the two minutes of hate that takes place in the comments? Blatant smear.

Pure and simple.

About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

129 Responses to “Two Minutes of Denialist Chumming”

  1. I’d like to comment that as a peer-review on a high-profile article like o’Donnels (or Steigs for that matter) takes at minimum probably something like 6 months the economic value of science is not easily measured in quarters.

  2. This episode prompted me to pen some thoughts on morals and ethics, both of which, as Peter Singer points out, have their roots in ‘customs of a people’, or in my words, acceptable behaviour of members of a society.

    I would describe the examples above as a demonstration of loose morals, or immoral behaviour, or unethical behaviour (depending on the particular comments and the particular authors of said comments).

  3. What an interesting post! Policy Lass, I’m sure by “chum” you must be referring to the more obscure meaning of the word, ie some kind of bait… but the primary meaning, of friends spending time together, fits rather nicely don’t you think?

    Even more interesting is your use of the term “denialist.” Yes, it is so appropriate here! The recipient of this vitriol, and his chums, surely are perfect examples of those living in denial.

    To put it nicely, you do realize of course that the underlying issue here is one of proper use of statistical tools for proper statistical analysis. Steig, who publicly admits he is no statistician, managed to get an egregiously incorrect paper published as a cover article in nature. And now, when caught out by a team that knows its stats, is in denial.

    As are his chums.

    Even more, to hide the reality, he laid out a bit of chum by “suggesting” the editor “require” a particular stat tool be used, because its results better matched his own (seeking a particular result is itself a bit suspect don’t you think!) And then laid a bit of chum for his own chums by publicly deriding the people who complied with his request (at the insistence of the editor who also complied.)

    So, who’s your chum? The denialist Steig, or those who found him out and seek to have the record corrected?

    What great theater! :-D

    Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim cher-ee! When you’re with a sweep You’re in glad company…

    • Whether you see O’Donnell 10 as offering an improvement on, correction to or a refutation of Steig 09, It is really only a very minor moment in the greater scheme of things relating to Antarctic temperature trend analysis and science. O’Donnell had his 15 minutes of fame and showed himself to be a someone who attacked Steig publicly in fit of pique that his paper was criticized, and in the process betrayed a trust and broke the rules of anonymity in the journal that published his work to get back at Steig for perceived wrongs. Not a good start to a career in science!

      His work will be referenced for a short time, but soon it will be ignored and ultimately forgotten in the coming years, especially if warming over the Antarctic continent increases. I suspect that Steig and co-authors will continue to do actual science and publish in the peer reviewed literature, furthering knowledge in the process. O’Donnell and fellow authors? More chumming.

      I am not foolish enough to believe that what the “auditors” are doing has anything to do with furthering knowledge and improving science, and everything to do with casting doubt about the science and scientists to achieve policy goals. It’s so clear that this is the case that I don’t really need to provide much in the way of analysis — the posts and comments speak for themselves. The chumming on the part of McIntyre, Lucia and others and the feeding frenzy in the comments is so apparent it needs no description.

    • Mr Pete asserts:

      >”Even more, to hide the reality, he laid out a bit of chum by “suggesting” the editor “require” a particular stat tool be used…”

      Is that true Mr Pete? Which “particular stat tool” did Steig “require” O’D etal to use?

      In fact Stieg asked “the editor to insist that the [tool producing the]‘most likely’ be shown. But his review did not argue that the ‘most likely’ was definitely iridge, only that it was ‘perhaps’ iridge. The review leaves the choice of ‘most likely’ up to the authors. – John N-G”

      http://blogs.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/02/steig_this_is_not_complicated.html

      A fabrication that Mr Pete makes to build a false narrative.

      • jakerman,
        You left some crucial bits out of your narrative:
        a) O’D et al were using TTLS as the main tool. That was the “default”, accepted by all reviewers other than Steig.
        b) Steig’s suggestion for requiring the “most likely” result tool also “suggested” leaving TTLS on the floor (because of the k_* issue)
        c) AND Steig urged that iridge definitely be pulled in instead of highlighting it in later work
        d) AND in his next response, Steig approved of the change — it was clearly the change he was seeking.

        The editor certainly saw it the same way in Round 2, requiring them to do the “major rework” asked for by Steig and noone else.

        So, if this is a “false narrative” it is one shared by the editor of the journal.

        Go argue with him; I’ve got no dog in this hunt. It will be entertaining to sit back and wait for the rest of this to play out. (Probably take a few years.)

        Remember, this is science, not politics. Votes only count in the short run. In the long run, good science wins. Even over our paucity of good data.

        • Mr. Pete really should read links he is offered before commenting further.

          His inbuilt narrative may take a hit, but as it does so in search of truth and freedom, he will be happy in the end…

      • Mr Pete, given that I have just exposed one fabrication in your claims, I am not going to accept your subsequent assertions and interpretations. Given the lack of trust you are seeking to nurture I require you to produce facts that I can verify and interpret for myself. Start by linking to the evidence for each of your claims and sub claims in a, b, c, d etc.

        Your narrative is full of supposition and built on speculation and insertion of motive. It is not one shared by the editor so I have no need to argue with him. The Editor knew of Steig’s connection to the paper and judged this again his input.

        Let’s dissect your point A for example against the facts presented by John NG http://blogs.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/02/steig_this_is_not_complicated.html#drop

        “a) O’D et al were using TTLS as the main tool. That was the “default”, accepted by all reviewers other than Steig.”

        Reviewer B states that he/she doesn’t really understand the statistics, saying

        “I am not conversant with the statistical nuances of the analyses by Steig et al. and the approach adopted here, so trust that Eric Steig or Michael Mann will provide that needed expertise.”
        Reviewer B has not seen any other reviews at this point, but is fully expecting that Steig or Mann ought to be one of the other reviewers.

        Reviewer C states that he/she carried out his/her review of O’Donnell et al. without re-reading Steig et al.

        Reviewer D, was only brought in for the second round, and finally seems to have looked at O’Donnell et al. and Steig et al. side by side.

        • Waiting for a download so I returned :)

          jakerman…Ummm… what did I fabricate? Please at least point to my “fabrication”? Also please point to my suppositions about motive? I have now pointed you to the exact paragraphs that I paraphrased for my statements above. I had no intention of assigning motive, just to relay some facts.

          You ask for references for my a/b/c/d above. Sure! This has all been heavily discussed and quoted elsewhere. Yet (are we surprised) various parties do some selective quoting to support some idea or other.

          My first recommendation (of course) is to go read the Real Thing. You probably have no more time than I do. Honest answer: I skimmed some of the reviews, and read versions 3 and 4 because I did a “diff” of the two. Other than that, I (quickly) looked for the longest online quotes I could find. Yes, I too depend on others to at least bypass the longer “rocket scientist” parts.

          I honestly don’t have much time to do your homework for you but at the same time I agree that I didn’t go to the trouble of recording URL’s etc. SO, briefly, here’s the links you need:

          a of course is the initial submission. Perhaps easiest evidence: search for “ttls” then “iridge”. Your first search will highlight a number of things. Second search will fail. To find where O’10 added the iridge test (showing that it produced essentially the same result as their TTLS work, and saying they’d do more with it in “future work”, you must go to their first response to Steig’s first review, page 4 para b.

          b and c are found in steig’s second response, page 4, para 4. (Beginning and end of that paragraph.)
          d in his third and final response, page 3 bottom para.

          For your sleepytime enjoyment :), I’ll add the editor’s decision requiring “major revision” for round three — which of course aimed directly at the work Steig requested. Everything else was pretty minor, work-wise.

          The rest of the quotes you contributed (from the other reviewers) are certainly interesting but off-topic. What they demonstrate is an unsettling additional point that gives me pause:

          O’10 (and S’09 too) is a climate statistics paper, being reviewed by non-statisticians… including Steig (for completeness someone might want to link to his statement on that — he’s not a statistician and unable to evaluate these tools professionally…IIRC that’s his reasoning for thinking nobody would take him seriously about asking them to rework their paper to use the “better” iridge results.)

          We all want good science. Why isn’t there a hue and cry when stats papers are reviewed by non-statisticians? Shouldn’t science be reviewed by people able to properly assess the validity of the content?

          sleep well…

        • Mr Pete asks:

          >”jakerman…Ummm… what did I fabricate? Please at least point to my “fabrication”?

          See here: http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/two-minutes-of-denialist-chumming/#comment-4257

          Mr Pete asserts:
          >”Even more, to hide the reality, he laid out a bit of chum by “suggesting” the editor “require” a particular stat tool be used…”
          Is that true Mr Pete? Which “particular stat tool” did Steig “require” O’D etal to use?

          In fact Stieg asked “the editor to insist that the [tool producing the]‘most likely’ be shown. But his review did not argue that the ‘most likely’ was definitely iridge, only that it was ‘perhaps’ iridge. The review leaves the choice of ‘most likely’ up to the authors. – John N-G”
          http://blogs.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/02/steig_this_is_not_complicated.html
          A fabrication that Mr Pete makes to build a false narrative.

          Mr Pete writes:

          >”Also please point to my suppositions about motive? “

          From my quote:

          “Your narrative is full of supposition and built on speculation and insertion of motive.”

          Your false narrative requires your fabrication (above), and it depends on your supposing Steig was trying to block publication, and trying to dictate changes that made the paper weaker.

          • As understood by both the authors and the editor, Steig’s “suggestion” for a required change also included statements that:

            * he saw iridge appeared to give better results
            * he didn’t like their TTLS results
            * he explicitly wanted iridge pulled into the current paper

            They all clearly understood Steig’s intent and preference for iridge from this. And, as I have said before, Steig also indicated this himself in his following review.

            Janet, now you reveal your own suppositions and speculations.

            You claim I am supposing Steig was trying to block publication. I do not think that, I vehemently disagree with that. That’s your view, not mine.

            You also suppose I think Steig was trying to dictate changes that made the paper weaker. I don’t think that either!

            Not that motives really matter (this IS supposed to be science, right?) but the narrative that makes the most sense to me is this:
            WARNING: this is all unsupportable opinion. You are free to disagree and I won’t argue about it!
            1) Steig understandably believes his own work
            2) Steig, by his own admission, doesn’t really understand the tools he himself used. He is not a statistician. In car terms, he knows how to drive at a certain level of proficiency but is not a mechanic, not a designer, not a race car driver. Nothing horrible about that; the other reviewers apparently are in the same position!
            3) Steig is/was more or less incapable of weighing in professionally on the tools themselves. His interest is in the analysis results.
            4) Because of #3, Steig’s bent is to seek changes that make the data results of the paper agree with his.
            5) After the fact, most likely Steig learned enough about the supposed weakness of iridge so that he felt he could blog on it. Probably not wise for a non-statistician.

            Of the above, #4 is not very good science, #5 is not very good in relationship terms. Nothing that can’t be fixed except for the explosive flame-war nature of Internet interaction.

            The real disconnect, if this narrative is anywhere close to correct, is that Steig and others continue to believe the scientific tussle is about analysis results while O’Donneell etc write a paper about statistical methods.

            Bottom line: AFAIK, I’ve fabricated nothing, have made my assertions based on factual statements not suppositions, and it is others here who have been speculating and inserting motives.

            If this were not the Internet, where flame wars are still the norm, I would hope we could shake hands and continue becoming friends. Too much to ask? Oh well, I’m not gonna sweat it.

          • Mr Pete, you should simply link quote and link to Steigs comments and we’d be able to discuss them and debate interpretations and context. That is far preferable to you fabrication falsehoods and attributing them to Steig i.e. :

            ”Even more, to hide the reality, he laid out a bit of chum by “suggesting” the editor “require” a particular stat tool be used…”

            Mr Pete writes:

            “Janet, now you reveal your own suppositions and speculations. You claim I am supposing Steig was trying to block publication. I do not think that, I vehemently disagree with that. That’s your view, not mine. You also suppose I think Steig was trying to dictate changes that made the paper weaker. I don’t think that either!”
            This was my supposition, that you subscribed to this false narrative. An uncharitable, worst case narrative (contradicted by Stieg’s recommendations) that comes through clearly posts of others that that share some similarity to your claims. I am heartened to read you state that my supposition about you sharing this narrative is wrong. Do you believe O’D subscribed to this narrative when he broke confidentiality with Steig?

        • Fabri

          Mr Pete writes:

          >* I skimmed some of the reviews, and read versions 3 and 4 because I did a “diff” of the two. Other than that, I (quickly) looked for the longest online quotes I could find. Yes, I too depend on others to at least bypass the longer “rocket scientist” parts.*
          This is a common flaw in “blog science” debates. Players shooting off half informed. Its why I’m pro-science not anti-science like the chummers.

          • I see. So Janet, how many of the paper versions and 88 pages of review+reply did YOU read before now?

            And how much of the deep math do YOU understand, and don’t need to skip over?

            After all, you are saying my admission is an example of “shooting off half-informed” and that you are more pro-science than me (even though you know absolutely nada about my background and/or experience.)

            Be honest here…

          • Mr Pete, I am pro science cos I respect the process, and rigor. I weigh peer reviewed papers in credible journals more than blog debates. I give more credibility to O’D10 than than O’Donnell spouting off hot headed claims on CA.

            Likewise, your assertions about S’09 being “completely wrong” and your biased comments about what Steig’s intentions were are not consistent with good process. My belief is that if you wrote a paper on this topic in a good journal that those claims would not make the cut.

            This is my criticism of half-informed “blog science” debates.

        • Janet = j akerman

  4. I’ll just pitch in that MrPete has been subtly disingenuous on a wide variety of blogs for at least a decade, in my personal experience.

    I no longer believe a word he says …

  5. MrPete:

    What an interesting post! Policy Lass, I’m sure by “chum” you must be referring to the more obscure meaning of the word, ie some kind of bait… but the primary meaning, of friends spending time together, fits rather nicely don’t you think?

    Off to a bad start due to your inability to distinguish between noun and verb.

    For the record, dictionaries define the *verb* “to chum” as:

    –verb (used without object)
    3.
    to fish by attracting fish by dumping cut or ground bait into the water.
    –verb (used with object)
    4.
    to dump chum into (a body of water) so as to attract fish.
    5.
    to lure (fish) with chum: They chummed the fish with hamburger.

    Shewonk’s headling includes the word “chumming”.

    MrPete, I hate to explode your weak argument by pointing out that a noun never takes the “-ing” form, but, I’ve known you for a decade or more in a variety of blogs, and this is pretty much up to your level of expertise …

    • Oh c’mon dhogaza, you can do better than that :) Did you have to leave yourself so wide open to correction? Why begin with definition #3?

      Here’s the #1 and #2 definitions from the dictionary (I just googled and grabbed the first thing that came up. Not exactly hard…):

      intr.v. chummed, chum·ming, chums
      1.
      a. To be an intimate friend.
      b. To display good-natured friendliness: chummed around with the other teammates.
      2. To share the same room, as in a dormitory.

      Sure looks like “chumming” is a verb with #1 and #2 meanings as noted.

      And to complete the response, I honestly don’t know how you have known me in a variety of blogs for a decade or more. Perhaps you remember better than I do (could be… I am closing in on the downhill-side of life :) .) AFAIK, I’ve been involved with blogs for less than half a decade, although I have probably been online longer than anyone here.

      OK, now I’ll return to the Real World.

      (BTW, obviously I have no way to respond to dhogaza’s “subtly disingenuous” comment. Sounds like the kind of thing that would be better to discuss over a beverage. Perhaps we can arrange a meeting…Colorado, perhaps California…or somewhere more interesting! :) )

  6. shewonk, it is good form to respect a wish for anonymity even when quoting text from a blogger who doesn’t. If an oversight, please correct.

  7. Jeff Condon (aka JeffID) made a number of appearances at Bart’s blog over the last day or so and made essentially the same argument that MrPete makes above – that his intentions were noble and that he and his coauthors, O’Donnell, Lewis and McIntyre did the work because it “… improved the method so it might be used by others correctly”. There was no ulterior motive. It was all in the name of good science. Etc.

    Further, and it got quite snarky (from both sides), Jeff Condon and others suggested that it was Steig who was in fact the nefarious bad guy who had an agenda and attempted to undermine the good science that Condon and his colleagues were trying to advance. Again, this is the angle MrPete is pushing.

    Firstly, I think it’s important to note that Steig recommended the paper for publication.

    Secondly, I’m not sure that I’m all that convinced by Condon’s stated good intentions. I ended up following a link posted by MarkB and came across the following from a May 30, 2009 WUWT post made by Jeff Condon.

    “The current models ‘apparently’ predict significant warming in the Antarctic based on evil CO2. This is an extremely important point for AGW as if the Antarctic won’t melt, the flood disasters don’t happen. It is critical to AGW that the Antarctic melts. Without rebuttal, this paper (S09) and those which Dr. Steig claimed at RC are being developed by others will be the new poster children for the IPCC.”

    Personally, I think this statement speaks volumes. Perhaps I’m wrong but I think motives do matter in science. I imagine that we’ll hear otherwise loud and clear from auditor fans and that’s fine – but I think it is important to at least keep this statement in mind when considering the motivation behind Condon and his coauthors. These are Condon’s words – no speculation about it. They didn’t do the work to advance the science – they did it to undermine what they (falsely) considered to be a “critical” issue for AGW. Not unlike the notion that it all somehow hinged on the hockey stick.

    • I think motives do matter in science

      I’m not sure I want to go there. If we’re going to rank scientific hypotheses or papers or ??? based on motive rather than science, this will devolve pretty quickly.

      After all, most people would say money is a major motivator, and (by definition) all professional scientists are paid to do what they do. It could be easily claimed that anyone paid to investigate “X” is biased because they want to keep the gravy train going.

      If anything, the overall picture is that we’re spending huge amounts on the assumption that warming has human origins, and very little on the null hypothesis of natural variability. That indicates motive… and also easily explains why we hear so much more about one than the other.

      How about we stick to looking with humility at the available facts? How good is the data, how well do the methods stand up to scrutiny, are they built on a foundation of good math, good hard-sciences work? Are all of the uncertainties of data, models and parameters reasonably well accounted for?

      Forget advocacy, politics, motive. Or is that too hard?

      ‘night

      • I’m not suggesting we rank papers based on motive. In this specific case, Steig thought the O10 paper had scientific merit or he wouldn’t have recommended it for publication, and as far as I can tell, I would agree with that.

        Forget motive? I can see that it would be tidier if Condon’s words were forgotten. Like I said, I could be wrong but my opinion is that motive is important in science – just my opinion. Regardless, given that Condon has spelled things out so clearly, let’s not pretend the motive was only about advancing the science.

        ‘night MrPete

        • But how can we be selective in whose clearly spelled-out motivational statements ought to be weighed vs whose ignored?

          If a “denier’s” motivations must be suspect, why not an “advocate’s”?

          • You’re right, of course, Mr Pete, that both deniers and advocates have motivations and motivations can be suspect. To deny otherwise is to be illogical.

            That’s why I trust the larger and longer peer review process and the scientific method to winnow out the frauds, fabrications, bad data, bad methods, bad conclusions, weak work and irrelevant work. Some will seep into the publication record and may have some short period of impact, but the nature of the beast (scientists) is to challenge and find faults and try to show their own work to be superior. That’s what pushes the science forward.

            It’s the method I trust, it’s the process, and it’s the long-term health of both that I rely on.

            With skeptics and blog science, there is no track record, no process and no method to ensure that what is published has value beyond increasing hit counters or filling tip jars or fostering buzz and building egos – and casting unfounded doubt. I don’t trust the science that comes out of blogland. Motives, which are everpresent in all human endeavours, are not adequately addressed and handled through built in processes in blogland.

          • MrPete,

            I recall a geologist who had a preconceived notion about the size of an ice sheet during the last glacial maximum, and for at least a decade, his field work involved gathering evidence to support this conclusion. The house of cards eventually collapsed but not after wasting reams of paper in various journals, research funding, the efforts of grad students, and pretty much all of the good will there should have been between him and his colleagues. The motive in this case led to bad science. I think this can be a problem regardless of which side of any scientific fence one is on.

            To answer your question, I think I would be inclined to give less weight to those who state up front that their objective is to throw a spanner in the works. Based on Jeff’s May 30, 2009 post at WUWT, it looks – and I emphasize looks – like that was their primary intent. I don’t intend for this to be nasty – there’s been enough of that already – maybe Jeff will provide an explanation that will dismisses this concern.

    • Mel,

      Bad science needs rebuttal. Just because I had already figured out in May that the S09 paper was horribly flawed, spreading peninsular warming across the west antarctic and continent, doesn’t imply motive for the conclusion. It implies that I had already figured it out.

      In case you suspect my claims about the IPCC were groundless, this is the press release Eric Steig put out with his paper.

      http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=46448

      “But new research shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. In fact, the warming in West Antarctica is greater than the cooling in East Antarctica, meaning that on average the continent has gotten warmer, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Quaternary Research Center at the UW.

      “West Antarctica is a very different place than East Antarctica, and there is a physical barrier, the Transantarctic Mountains, that separates the two,” said Steig, lead author of a paper documenting the warming published in the Jan. 22 edition of Nature.

      For years it was believed that a relatively small area known as the Antarctic Peninsula was getting warmer, but that the rest of the continent — including West Antarctica, the ice sheet most susceptible to potential future collapse — was cooling.”

      open your mind just a tweak Mel. Is it possible we had already figured out the truth?

      • Jeff, I’m not doubting that you had identified issues with Steig’s paper as early as May 09. But after reading, and rereading your May 30, 2009 comment from WUWT, I don’t see how anyone could take away the idea that the motivation for what you were doing was only about Steig’s paper.

        If the motive of you and your coauthors was only limited to Steig’s work, then why set up the need for a rebuttal to his paper with “This is an extremely important point for AGW as if the Antarctic won’t melt, the flood disasters don’t happen. It is critical to AGW that the Antarctic melts.” I don’t see how someone reading this could not end up with the impression that the underlying reason for going after Steig’s paper had more to do with trying to undermine a “critical” issue for AGW than the rebuttal of Steig’s work. Was this just a poor choice of words?

        So, on the one hand, it sure looks like you were making the case to the WUWT audience that refuting Steigs paper is essential for blowing a big hole in the theory of AGW. Yet earlier today over at Bart’s blog, you portray yourself as a staunch defender of the theory of AGW.

        I hope you will consider this an opportunity to clear up the confusion.

      • Jeff my problem is that I cannot be sure that some other author won’t come by next year to show that your; work has flaws and over/under-estimates warming/cooling or has some erroneous methodology. Hence, I don’t get my knickers all twisted over a single paper whether from skeptics/contrarians/deniers or scientists.

        • Then learn some math so you can espouse truth yourself.

          • Hey Jeff, I’ll take math if you do a PhD in one of the climate discipline so you can do actual science.

            You know, so you might have some credibility when you espouse this:

            It was really unfortunate that one of the first things I ran into was Mann’s 08 work. I mean that guy stinks to high heaven and for that work to go through peer review, is absolutely unconscionable.

            So instantly I’m seeing fraud rather than stepping into uncertainty first. I really see his work that way but there is always the possibility he’s just incompetent. I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that he doesn’t know what he is doing. There are too many papers of his which use bad math to create unprecedented warming. I’ve learned one proxy type after another for temp thanks to CA and there isn’t one single proxy which doesn’t completely suck.

        • Here is some of Jeff’s “truth”:

          “> A warmer world will produce more food, biodiversity and a nice place for people and critters to live. Polar bears might be mad, but life is hard. And again, we don’t have the technical ability to prevent it.”

        • Given Jeff’s claims about warming be good for food, people and biodiversity (except polar bears) I’d suggest his DK gap is in ecology.

          That would be the climate discipline which would most improve Jeff’s knowledge.

  8. This has been pointed out before (I forget where — if it was you, please stand up!), but if Steig wanted to kill the O’Donnell paper he went about it in the worst way possible.

    The best way to kill the paper would have been to delay replying for as long as possible and then sending in a minimalist response criticising the paper and promising a longer response in due time. Then delay more. And so on. But Steig tried to improve the paper. Harshly, yes, but you don’t get to be a published scientist without developing a thick skin.

    And what does he get for his troubles? Smeared. That’ll teach him.

  9. the overall picture is that we’re spending huge amounts on the assumption that warming has human origins, and very little on the null hypothesis of natural variability.

    The null hypothesis makes no sense. The null hypothesis is equivalent to saying it’s an act of God. Imagine where science would be if we considered acts of God to be valid causes for natural phenomenon.

    * Humans can’t possible fly because when birds do, it’s an act of God.

    * When bone doctors use dirty saws to amputate limbs and the patients die, it’s an act of God.

    * When children get vaccinated and then develop autism, it’s an act of God. Oh wait, it’s not an act of God. It’s the evil vaccine. Andrew Wakefield proved it.

    What nonsense.

    • Pointer, please slow down, and re-read what you wrote. Do you really believe that?

      I said: the null hypothesis is natural variability. In other words, “nature” does it anyway. IOW, what if current warming is inside the range of natural variability, and Earth’s systems are more resilient than some can imagine.

      Rather than stretching your imagination just a teeny bit to consider that possibility, you have to bring in Acts Of God.

      So you say “the null hypothesis [natural variability] is equivalent to saying it’s an act of God.” Yes, imagine…

      * What if gravity were a valid cause for the earth’s motion around the sun? Horrors! It *has* to be a 24th century human-designed machine, inserted via time travel into the core of the son. Nothing else makes sense!

      * What if radiation from the sun were a valid cause for warming our atmosphere? Shock! Can’t be!! No, you see it’s the contrails from the jets. We designed them so they spray huge amounts of CO2 while simultaneously capturing any rays from the sun. That way no natural effects from the sun can possibly affect the earth.

      Pointer, you are very funny!

      C’mon. You are the first person I have ever found online who wants to assert that that 100% of warming is human in origin, that there is NO WAY natural variation can explain it, whether from the sun, tectonics, earth chemistry or any other source.

      I would love to see how you explain the evidence we have of past ice ages, and emergence from ice ages. If today’s warming requires human-created CO2… how did the world ever recover from the last ice age?

      Who built the huge CO2 generators 1000+ years ago, to push the arctic treeline wayyy north of where it is today? The evidence is startling; we’re not even close to catching up.

      How did people in the middle ages manage to melt the glaciers in the alps, to build vibrant villages that eventually got covered by ice, and only now are being uncovered again? Must have been the middle-ages Olympic mountain-fire teams?

      Are we REALLY that powerful that now everything in the universe derives from anthropogenic sources?

      This blog has funnier readers than I thought!

      • Who built the huge CO2 generators 1000+ years ago, to push the arctic treeline wayyy north of where it is today? The evidence is startling; we’re not even close to catching up.

        How did people in the middle ages manage to melt the glaciers in the alps, to build vibrant villages that eventually got covered by ice, and only now are being uncovered again? Must have been the middle-ages Olympic mountain-fire teams?

        Cite your sources, please.

      • Pointer, please slow down, and re-read what you wrote. Do you really believe that?

        Perhaps you should re-read it, until you understand it. The hypothesis that the recent warming is due to natural factors we already know about is a perfectly valid null, but it’s been tested and found wanting. The hypothesis that the recent warming is due to some unknown natural factor is functionally equivalent to ‘a wizard did it’.

        • I didn’t say either:
          * natural factors we already understand
          NOR
          * unknown (unknowable?) natural factors

          If you really believe the natural-factors hypothesis has been tested and found wanting, all I can recommend is that you step back, take a deep breath, and get a new education. The project is bigger than I have time to engage in. I’m certainly not going to convince you to change your mind.

          [I learned a hard lesson back in Y2K days: once people have committed to a particular perspective, and particularly once they have taken action, it is VERY hard for them to adjust their view. That's one reason I am such an advocate for humility in science, for appreciating the uncertainties. Once we think We Know, we tend to stop learning.]

        • The “null hypothesis is natural variability” meme is as close to catechism as the pseudoskeptic worldview has. I’ve been trying for as long as I’ve been on climate blogs to get someone to explain to me what “natural variability” means to them if it’s not the various inputs that have already been accounted for. I swear, it’s like asking a committed Catholic how God can be both the Father and the Son: they become simultaneously offended and inarticulate.

          Of course, when you ask the ones who should and do know better, it’s like you can hear them muttering under their breath: “hey rube…”

  10. Edit: Sorry, that first paragraph is a quote from MrPete —

    “the overall picture is that we’re spending huge amounts on the assumption that warming has human origins, and very little on the null hypothesis of natural variability.”

  11. Looks as if a lot of people have been side-tracked by MrPete. The original post has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of either paper. It’s about malice and chumming and the effectiveness of malicious innuendo in dog-whistling.

    I fail to see what good it does except rile up the deniers and make normal people realise the perfidy of denier chums. The primitive tactic cannot persuade any rational people who can think for themselves – too transparent and too indicative of lack of substantial argument, best used when there is no rational argument.

    The main protagonists have already hung O’Donnell out to dry after using his childish tantrum to further their ends. I wonder if they have any limits at all?

    • Sou,
      A suggestion:
      a) let go of EITHER “bias”. Imagine just wanting good science and not caring what the final outcome is, other than “correct.”
      b) go back and read your own and other comments
      c) first, try to sift the science from the rest. Which paper and which authors are aiming for good science?
      d) Then, (still avoiding any bias) look to see if either community is free from “chumming” “malice” “innuendo” etc.
      e) If you like, try to evaluate which one is “better” whatever that means.

      It’s sad, really. About as bad as when I was growing up, and my best friend’s uncle was being excoriated for trying to introduce geology papers that gave evidence for plate tectonics. What a crackpot they thought he was. Little funding, painful peer review, the whole bit.

      People just assume We Know. No willingness to continue the honest exploration. Got to Convert everyone. Got to Advocate for The Solution. Two decades from now we’ll “know” the Next Great Thing.

      Yes, there are people frustrated by the attitudes of the activists. There are some amazingly smart people who don’t buy AGW and/or have moved away once they dug in.

      HOW long has it been that we’ve known about the contribution of livestock methane to the equation? And HOW much are we willing to stake on an equation that had a new 20% factor introduced less than five years ago?

      I’m not a denier of Warming. I’m a denier that we Have A Clue. I’m a denier that we Know How To Fix It. I’m a denier that we Understand even the major elements of the climate system. And I’m in good company — just check the LOSU chart I linked in AR4. Our understanding level is “low” or worse for more than half.

      I look at our nation’s coastlines and see how intervention has screwed things up. Yellowstone. Corn-based Ethanol. Everglades. GMO’s. Wind energy. etc. Over and over we make one change only to discover Unintended Side Effects. Oops.

      Sorry for the minor rant. I’m not angry at anyone here; I hope I have not been abusive. You’re just like I was, before I began to learn a lot more about the uncertainties of science. (And began to learn at least a little how to avoid being tooooo snarky/abusive online! My apologies to anyone I flamed in the 1980′s and 90′s! :) )

      • “I’m a denier that we Have A Clue”

        There are plenty of clues for those who aren’t in denial.

        It’s pretty nonsencia to say that we don’t have a clue – rather similiar to the Creationists excuse of ‘irreducible complexity’, ie, we can’t have a clue.

        Getting back to the topic – what else can you expect but chumming from those who always have one eye on the hit-counter?

      • I’m not a denier of Warming. I’m a denier that we Have A Clue.

        What you specifically don’t have a clue about, is that uncertainty makes everything worse. This is about risk management — having clues helps you bound the risks you need to manage.

        • My statements about Having A Clue are science-based. Go look at the LOSU diagram I linked.

          Uncertainty can make it worse, OR better. Uncertainty is certainly (smile) unsettling, but doesn’t automagically make things worse.

          What many people fail to grasp is that risk management involves not only risks surrounding the problem under investigation, but also risks surrounding proposed solutions.

          And people are particularly bad at recognizing, let alone estimating, the risks of our solutions.

          When we don’t know what the real issue is, it is very hard to determine whether or if it is even possible to devise a solution that will help.

          The history of intervention shows we are just as likely, if not more likely, to make things worse rather than better. LOTS of “oops”es.

          Can’t just look at one side of the equation.

          I will also say something else, hopefully quite uncontroversial: there is a (smaller than we’d like) set of proven actions we can take that can hardly hurt anyone or anything.

          At the least, a general commitment to living “lightweight” on the planet is always a Good Thing.

          • Mr Pete, can I ask you your opinion on Ozone depletion and CFCs?

            While I know that the issue of Anthropogenic GHGEs are more complex, the basic tactics and strategy of DuPont at the time was the same as deniers of GHG-AGW today which included denial and delay. The chairman of DuPont said: "No ozone depletion has ever been detected...all ozone depletion figures to date are based on a series of uncertain projections." DuPont also created a front organization, the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy -- sound familiar? Deniers such as Exxon have created or funded their own versions --such as "Heartland Institute", a prominent denial organization.

            When Dupont couldn't deny the science any longer, it sought to delay action for as long as possible -- until its patent ran out. ;) Then, once that ran out, they dumped the remaining CFCs into countries with lax or no regulation. So you see, we have a very good model of how industry acts when its livelihood is threatened. It's called denial. Find uncertainties, overplay them, deny the science, and delay regulation as long as possible to make a many $$$ as possible. Damn the damage.

            When I look at global warming denial, I see the same ol same ol. You can dress it up in faux skeptic clothes but it's the just more of the same tired denialism.

          • Uncertainty can make it worse, OR better. Uncertainty is certainly (smile) unsettling, but doesn’t automagically make things worse.

            You’re joking, right? Uncertainty always makes things worse, because you have to prepare for the full range of possible outcomes. The only way it can make things better is, if you can somehow argue that the high end of that range doesn’t really exist… but doing so successfully is called certainty. And you don’t have it mate.

            • Gavin,

              Mr Pete is working on the premise that this is Curryian Uncertainty – the type that always reduces the size of the potential problem.

          • > also risks surrounding
            > proposed solutions.

            Yep. Making things worse still.

        • >”My statements about Having A Clue are science-based. Go look at the LOSU diagram I linked.”

          I wasn’t aware of your science based statements about us having a clue. Only your anti-science denialism that we have a a clue:

          “I’m a denier that we Have A Clue.”

          “What many people fail to grasp is that risk management involves not only risks surrounding the problem under investigation, but also risks surrounding proposed solutions.”

          I suggest you bound this statement to reality with some examples so we know which risk failings you are referring to. I’m happy to discuss the risk on either side. But denialism of the evidence seems to get in the way of these discussions.

      • Meh, who care what Mr. Pete thinks? Or are people just having some fun with him while also gaining some insight into the bizarre reasoning of his ilk? Probably the latter. Carry on.

  12. Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others have those feelings.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    Words on the internet have no tone and all the tone you “hear” is within yourself. In English sentences can have vastly differing meanings and interpretation depending on the tone spoken or heard, hence in the disembodied world of text there is often so huge a disjunction between reader and writer.
    The care one must always exercise when responding is to be aware that the response will give the astute reader a greater insight to your own mind than that of the person you are responding to.
    Hate 2 minutes in Orwell serves as a release from the pain caused by the daily cognitive dissonance in Airstrip One, a mechanism for displacing self-loathing onto politically convenient targets. I, however would not be so crass as to suggest a direct analogy on the other side of the mirror, you might think that but I could not possibly comment.
    And were I a betting man Id be putting money on the theme of the more analytical ideas on this thread being picked up and used on the other side over the coming weeks, limitations after all, are the sincerest cause of flattery.

  13. >”I’m a denier that we Have A Clue. I’m a denier that we Know How To Fix It. I’m a denier that we Understand even the major elements of the climate system. And I’m in good company — just check the LOSU chart I linked in AR4. Our understanding level is “low” or worse for more than half.”

    So Mr Pete makes a strange confession here: he’s “a denier that we have clue”. To gauge at what level of denial this is, do you deny that we have strong evidence that increasing CO2 pp from 280 to 380 ppm produces radiative forcing? Just interested.

    • Sure “in the lab” we can produce some of these things. That’s not the same as understanding what happens in the real world.

      AFAIK, at a global level we see correlation (sometimes better sometimes worse) but haven’t worked out cause vs effect. It’s more complicated than that. Do we have a single GCM that can run stably with true physical parameters? Not that I’ve ever heard. They are all based on a lot of assumptions.

    • Mr Pete, “do you deny that we have strong evidence that increasing CO2 pp from 280 to 380 ppm produces radiative forcing? Just interested.”

  14. limitations after all, are the sincerest cause of flattery

    Love it!

  15. So Mr Pete makes a strange confession here: he’s “a denier that we have clue”.

    But he’s so certain that AGW’s nonsense that he just *knows* we don’t need to do anything about it.

    As is typical of denialists, supposed uncertainty about the science is used to claim certainty that increasing CO2 won’t cause significant warming.

    • You’re supposing, dhogaza…

      I am certain of our uncertainty :)

      I am cautious of our ability to know, at this juncture:
      * whether we are causing a problem
      * whether it is more reasonable to adapt than manage
      * whether we can affect the issue in any significant way (correct or not)
      * whether we can affect the issue in a desirable direction

      That’s WAY different than believing We Know there’s no problem! I’m a firm agnostic on whether there is a CO2 problem or not.

      Here’s something I am certain of: assuming CO2 is the universal bogeyman causes us to miss other very real issues. (Example, as someone who cares about oceans: how many are aware that tourist sunscreen is a serious threat to coral reefs? Almost got lost in the excitement about warm water!)

      • Here’s something I am certain of: assuming CO2 is the universal bogeyman causes us to miss other very real issues.

        Well, it’s a good thing that’s a strawman argument with no bearing on reality, isn’t it?

        (Example, as someone who cares about oceans: how many are aware that tourist sunscreen is a serious threat to coral reefs? Almost got lost in the excitement about warm water!)

        How many? Frankly, I’m too lazy to google up how many people read National Geographic

        And this particular article refers to one bit of research shows a bit more uncertainty than your post would indicate:

        Even low levels of sunscreen, at or below the typical amount used by swimmers, could activate the algae viruses and completely bleach coral in just four days, the results showed.

        Odd that even less uncertainty in regard to CO2-forced warming causes you to be “cautious of our ability to know…”, ain’t it?

        Filter, much?

      • >”Example, as someone who cares about oceans: how many are aware that tourist sunscreen is a serious threat to coral reefs? Almost got lost in the excitement about warm water”

        What are you doing to inform people of the risk Mr Pete? Are you petitioning? Linking in with Enviro groups? What is stopping you making this an issue where you have an positive impact?

  16. JeffId (at Bart Verheggen’s place):

    “Loehle is one of the most honest scientists you will run across”

    WOW.

    SheWonk, you should read the comments in Bart’s post on this mess, one of the O’Donnell authors is making some, err, interesting comments.

    • Maple, this just indicates what Jeff considers “honest”. I’ve seen some comments from Loehle at Climate Etc, and “honest” actually did come to mind. As in “honestly bonkers”.

    • Just visited Bart’s blog. What Jeff Id is saying is that because the local climate where he lives is on the cool side, the rest of the world can go to all heck as far as he is concerned. Let everyone else in the world suffer extreme heat waves, fires, cyclones, floods, lost harvests and lack of food, as long as he can get warm without having to move house. And he doesn’t give a toss about mass extinctions and potential sea level rises.

  17. “Steve McIntyre Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply
    another point to keep in mind – Broccoli had already blown off our request that Reviewer A be treated as a conflicted reviewer or that his review, at least, be sent to unconflicted reviewers for consideration before requiring us to make more major revisions. ”

    McIntyre had no problem being a “conflicted reviewer” of Wahl and Ammann’s critique of his paper. Interestingly, Steig did not see the final revision of the O’Donnell submission either, but he’s not out there yapping about “breach of reviewer agreement”. Total hypocrisy.

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/03/28/letter-to-climatic-change/#comment-47365

  18. In **Are Review Comments Confidential?**, there was this mention:

    > [T]he comments that gave rise to Lucia characterizing Steig as the Rod Blagojevich of Science and Steig the Shameless.

    In **Steig and the “KNUCKLEHEADED REVIEWERS”, there was this other mention:

    > Lucia, normally a genial observer of the climate wars, sharply criticized Steig, first in a post asking the question of whether Steig was the Rod Blagojevitch of Science, followed up by Steig the Shameless [...]

    In both cases at least one relevant post has not been cited, **In Moderation at RC: Yes? No? Whatever?**:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/in-moderation-at-rc-yes-no-whatever/

    Let’s not wonder why, as **speculation can be dangerous**.

    Let us simply note that the existence of this post might explain better the name of the photo posted earlier:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/3327253560/moderation-at-ca-yes-no-whatever-the-post

  19. On the 2011-02-07, at 16:21 EST, Lucia posts **Reviewer A = Rod Blagojevich of Science?** in which we read:

    > If Eric Steig was reviewer A and he wrote that deceptive mealy mouth comment he is truly the Rod Blagojevich of climate science.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/reviewer-a-rod-blagojevich-of-science/

    On the 2011-02-07, at 18:57, Jeff Id comments on his site:

    > I’m not letting Steig get away with his bullshit.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/wrong-is-wrong-a-reply-to-the-real-noise-at-real-climate/#comment-46004

    On the 2011-02-07, at 21:19, Steve McIntyre echoes Lucia on his blog:

    > Lucia covers this point here [Eric Steig posting on the Air Vent], calling Steig the Rod Blagojevich of science (perhaps of Nature?).

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-trick/#comment-253820

    On the 2011-02-07, at 21:41, so 12 minutes later, Ryan O’Donnell interjects:

    > Or maybe the Real Blagojevich of Climate?

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-trick/#comment-253823

    ***

    On the 2011-02-08, at 8:14, so the next morning, Jeff Id conjoins his cowriters:

    > Just to extend the pattern, I’ve got some nice emails telling me the code – which at RC did’t exist – was too messy to present. He’s so nice by email, I almost offered to clean it up for him and release it when he was satisfied.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-trick/#comment-253823

    On the 2011-02-08, at 9:25, so an hour later, Ryan O’Donnell justifies his choice of word:

    > “Demeaning” has nothing to do with it. It is not demeaning to call a deceptive tactic “deceptive”. Eric’s actions are the very definition of the word “duplicity”. I have no desire to post any comment (civil or otherwise) on his turf when it is clear he is not willing to play by rules that are in any way civil or fair.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-trick/#comment-253891

    Yup.

  20. From Bart’s place, H/T to lord_sidcup at Deltoid.

    “Bart,

    Another author of O’Donnell et al. (Lewis) enters the political fray in the right-wing rag “The Spectator”.

    Lewis is chumming in a duo with Ridley, the latter is from the Global Policy Warming Foundation (i.e., an astroturf lobby and disinformation group) which has discredited people like Carter, Plimer, and McKitrick (from Climate*****) on its “academic advisory council”. The title or the Lewis/Ridley piece is:

    “The ice storm – Nicholas Lewis and Matt Ridley expose the bias and bluster behind the latest set of shaky global warming data”

    Quite the generalization and quite the team effort by the CA crowd- they now have enough fodder to feed the “skeptics” for a few more months.

    Pathetic that the contrarians and “skeptics” can’t keep politics out of science.”

    • It’s quite the circular argument – they argue the science is politicized by the evil scientists wanting a socialist paradise which in turn justifies the skeptics politicizing it in wanting a libertarian Eden where oil barons are free to pollute and the invisible hand (of God?) keeps the world livable.

      Of course it was their side that politicized the science, and their side that kept and is keeping it that way. It’s a massive sleight of hand and their followers are too enamored with their role as “skeptics” and protectors of freedom, democracy and cheap oil to see the duplicity.

      They don’t want to see the truth. Susann

      • Simple question: what is the earliest significant politicization we know of in the AGW arena?

        [BTW, be careful with this. Those we love/hate because of their climatology may well be the exact opposite when it comes to politics.]

        • So are the ClimateFraudit faithful going to condemn the spin, slander and vitriol of Lewis and Ridley? Nope– they will probably justify it and defend it.

          Or they will try and detract from it as Mr Pete is trying to do. Spin baby spin! (with apologies to Palin).

      • It’s quite the circular argument – they argue the science is politicized by the evil scientists wanting a socialist paradise which in turn justifies the skeptics politicizing it in wanting a libertarian Eden where oil barons are free to pollute and the invisible hand (of God?) keeps the world livable.

        From their perspective climate science became “politicized” when the data started to lead to the conclusion that action inconsistent with their ideology would be necessary. If something runs counter to their ideology then it too must therefore be ideology and must be balanced with an injection of theirs.

        It’s very similar to the evolution debate. Science has produced conclusions which contradict doctrine, therefore those conclusions must be religious.

        The problem is when people let their irrationality leak into reality and try to ringfence topics as “belonging” to them. Science doesn’t much care for that sort of thing and proceeds regardless and without reference to anything but the data.

        Religions thought the creation of the universe and the origin of man was theirs. Various political ideologies think the management of natural resources is theirs. They’re wrong.

      • Mostly-great responses. I appreciate that!

        My thoughts:

        1) I think the essence of the “politicize” definition has to do with what several people touched on: misrepresenting or influencing the science, in this case for a political agenda. And were I a purist about it, I would ignore the “misrepresent” part of what I just said, because one could argue: science is science and who cares what anybody thinks about it (smile).

        1a) I tend to separate “political” from “policy” agendas, but that’s nit-picky.

        2) I too want to ignore the money angle: funding/defunding is a normal, legitimate function of those who decide what to pay for. Yet there’s an obvious impact of money, or more generally resources and/or attention: we learn more about things that get investigated, and less about things that are ignored. This is huge. [I'm married to an extremely observant science teacher. Standing at the edge of a dusty/sandy rest area parking lot in the middle of remote Nevada desert, I looked and saw nothing but empty. She looked down at the sand, jumped for joy... "look Pete!" I still saw nothing... no, look closer! Down between the grains of sand were tiny 2mm flowers! Invisible unless you got down to look for them.] My thought: there’s unlimited opportunity to learn, we just can’t do it all right away. So ignoring some aspects isn’t necessarily anti-science as long as we admit what we do not know.

        3) I would add a few aspects to Susann’s definitions:

        * casting unfounded confidence is just as unscientific as casting unfounded doubt. They both misrepresent what we do or do not understand. If anything, overconfidence is more common. (I note that nobody has mentioned this so far, which illustrates my point.)

        * We should admit that inadvertent anti-scientific efforts are just as important as purposeful. IOW, any time the agenda becomes more important than the truth, we are heading into anti-science territory.

        * A corollary: Susann’s definition should be expanded to admit that even a professional scientist can politicize the science. Not all anti-science comes from the outside. I frequently see this when the normal falsification battles (100% science!) devolve into discrediting, distorting or negating others’ work.

        4) Finally (? hah – now you’ve got me thinking!), I would break everyone into N groups:

        * Perspective is pro-science, and actions avoid distorting science.

        * Perspective is pro-science, but actions are actually anti-science through any of the problems we’ve listed.

        * Perspective is anti-science. ["Who cares about double-blind studies? Royal Jelly worked for me!"]

        Bottom line:

        Given the above context, a basic question becomes obvious:

        Why is politicization limited to “political players”? Isn’t a scientist also capable of distorting to promote their own perspective of what Ought To Be Done based on their sense about what we do or do not know?

        In some ways, I’m more concerned about this than about the non-scientists.

        • casting unfounded confidence is just as unscientific as casting unfounded doubt. They both misrepresent what we do or do not understand. If anything, overconfidence is more common. (I note that nobody has mentioned this so far, which illustrates my point.)

          The problem here is that people with a political or idealogical agenda declare that scientists themselves have en masse (via the IPCC) misrepresented the uncertainty and thus attempt to redefine mainstream scientific opinion as extreme.

          This argument basically avoids dealing with factual observation and everything relating the “skeptic” movement and shifts the argument to a generally useless back-and-forth over how “certain” each individual thinks various conclusions are.

          • If we look at it a bit more closely, we can see this kind of thing without going outside of the IPCC process.

            I think I’ve pointed already to a link providing the LOSU (Level Of Scientific Understanding) of the scientists themselves, at the end of IPCC scientific deliberations.

            Then, the political/policy “experts” took over, and crafted the summary for policymakers.

            Unfortunately, with no further scientific input, the LOSU message was significantly modified.

            A rather clear-cut case study in one form of politicization “inside the camp” so to speak.

            In reality, this should only reflect badly on the politicians involved, not the scientists. Except that the public generally will tar everyone with the same brush.

            I haven’t found a concise summary of the LOSU-evolution story other than on p. 11 of this paper. If you like you can verify the details on your own. I gave the link for the data used in one of the columns. All of the referenced documents are public.

  21. Simple question: what is the earliest significant politicization we know of in the AGW arena?

    Your reframe neglects the fact we are discussing politicization of science (attacks on science and attempts to undermine faith in the process) not AGW.

    The first time I am aware of AGW being mentioned in politics was LBJ’s speech where he warned of our changing our atmosphere with CO2. Then Bush Sr. promising to cut CO2 emissions. In between the two Thatcher used it a tool to beat up on coal unions so that would be the first politicization.

    • Nixon’s aide, Moynihan, was discussing it in 1969/1970.

      http://www.physorg.com/news197349974.html

      Source documents:
      http://nixonlibrary.gov/virtuallibrary/documents/jul10.php (scroll down to ‘climate change’)

      There is widespread agreement that carbon dioxide content will rise 25 percent by 2000, Moynihan wrote in a September 1969 memo.

      “This could increase the average temperature near the earth’s surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit,” he wrote. “This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.”

    • Mr Pete I suspect that your answer to the question depends on your definition of “politicization” which is based on your view on science’s proper role in society and in the public policy process. I don’t see promotion of science findings per se to be “politicization” even if that promotion is to further an agenda because to me, that is a normal part of the policy process and a necessary function for science — to inform the policy process and be useful to society.

      Instead, at least to me, politicization of science is always anti-science in motive, action and consequence. It takes place when political players go beyond promotion to distort, alter, cast unfounded public doubt or hinder science to further an agenda and influence policy. This is because it is meddling in science and hindering science’s proper function, which has serious consequences for the ability of science to fulfill its role vis a vis itself, in society and in the public policy process.

      In other words, an environmentalist promoting research is not politicization as long as there is no direct interference in, distortion or alteration of, the science or harassment and intimidation of scientists. Some examples (not exhaustive) that qualify according to my definition: a non-scientist altering science reports to change the meaning of the findings in order to promote a political agenda, a politician cutting funding to a science agency to further an agenda in which the science is at odds with that agenda, a politician preventing government scientists from speaking to the media without handlers or a politically approved message, or a corporate-funded PR campaign that seeks to discredit scientists by spying on their families an personal lives. Also qualifying would be the promotion of pseudoscience that does not follow established science or peer-review methods such that the boundaries of science and pseudoscience become blurred – say, for example, promotion of “intelligent design” as being on par with evolution in the science curriculum.

      These are a few examples of politicization because they directly interfere in the science, distorting its findings and altering its proper role in society and the public policy process.

      By definition, it’s aways the forces that are anti-science that politicize science, although they may present themselves as “friends of science” or as promoting “sound science”. These forces are anti-science precisely because the science and scientific findings threaten their vested interests through the public policy process and the only way they can prevail is to discredit science, distort science and negate science.

      • a politician cutting funding to a science agency to further an agenda in which the science is at odds with that agenda

        Hmmm that’s a bit of a borderline case. The public at large have a legitimate right to decide what research gets funded and what not — after all they are footing the bill. You would have to actually prove that the politician is not exercising that legitimate power, which may be a tall order (proving motive!) depending on the case.

      • Less of border in cases where the politician campaigned on one issue and turned around prioritizing different issues after election.

        Not a borderline case when Gore wins popular vote and then Bush gaged climate scientist.

      • By definition, it’s aways the forces that are anti-science that politicize science, although they may present themselves as “friends of science” or as promoting “sound science”.

        I wouldn’t say *always*. Crank scientists by definition are deeply honourable by their own lights. They are all Galileos. And some politicians may indeed fall under their sway (Hello, Thabo Mbeki!).

        So I think you need a few categories: the deceitful, the deluded, and those willing to deceive to further a deeper delusion.

  22. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.

    Ahhh … this is the *real* reason why tea party types deny the science and insist we do nothing!

  23. MrPete :
    Simple question: what is the earliest significant politicization we know of in the AGW arena?

    Answering a question with a question is rude but sometimes necessary – what do you think “politicization” of a scientific topic is?

    In many countries cigarettes are heavily taxed because of scientific evidence showing they’re bad for people’s health. Does this represent a “politicization” of science?

    • Good question!

      I gave my definition above. Applying it to this example: seems to me the application of knowledge is outside the realm of science.

      Of course, once we do X in response to perceived threat Y, there is an opportunity to study whether X accomplished the desired goal.

      Presumably, the goal is improved health in this case, as the statement was “taxed because…they’re bad for people’s health.” Someone could study whether this heavy taxation was successful in improving people’s health. Probably hard to answer… lots of variables.

      Well, back to the Real World for a while.

      For some reason, I woke up with a song fragment running around in my head and it won’t go away… The Boxer… “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…” Now YOU can be stuck with it :)

  24. On the 2011-02-17, at 13:04, Steve McIntyre posts **N-G: “Reviewers
    may need to be disingenuous”** where we can read:

    > Steig could easily have avoided the conduct that **led Lucia to characterize him as the “Rod Blagojevich” of Science. Steig** was on record as saying that he disdained blog commentary on peer reviewed articles. If he didn’t want to disclose to the public that he was a reviewer of O’Donnell et al 2010, then he could have refrained from public commentary. He could have said that he would reply to O2010 in the peer reviewed literature.

    Around the same time, I could read in my reader:

    > Steig could easily have avoided the conduct that **offended Lucia. He** was on record as saying that he disdained blog commentary on peer reviewed articles. If he didn’t want to disclose to the public that he was a reviewer of O’Donnell et al 2010, then he could have refrained from public commentary. He could **easily** have said that he would reply to O2010 in the peer reviewed literature.

    The emphasis is ours.

    At 13:06, the “Rod Blagojevich” appeared on my reader.

    Yup.

    • Willard, are both 13.04 (Ontario IIRC) and 13.06 local times relative to you?

      • Why?

        I will tell you by email if you promise me to keep it to yourself, if you promise me that you will keep your promise.

        But before that, please tell me everything that will make you feel entitled to break your promise.

  25. Sorry, I managed to place my response somewhere in the middle of the thread-tree. My bad. It’s there.

  26. All,

    With the release of “The Spectator” diatribe, all of the authors in the O’Donnell et al. paper (O’Donnell, McIntyre, Lewis and Condon) have now engaged in unprofessional, unethical and inappropriate behaviour and actions.

    What a stand up crowd. Not.

  27. On the 2011-02-18, at 10:08, Steve McIntyre posts **Limits to “Justified Disingenuousness”**.

    Interestingly, the post first appeared with the title **The Underworld of Peer Review**.

    > [A]t the time that Steig made this comment, he knew that I was one of the coauthors of O2010, which had carried out a comprehensive analysis of Antarctic data from the bottom up. His public statement about being “unwilling” to do the work was completely untrue and malicious.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/18/limits-to-justified-disingenuousness/

    Rod Blagojevich might be underwordly abstracting itself into the concept of disingenuousness.

    A new concept is surfacing: **maliciousness**.

    This concept deserves due diligence.

  28. Meanwhile, Judith Curry reads a paper that discusses confirmation bias and concludes that it proves she’s been right all along.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/18/epistemology-of-disagreement/#more-2435

    • Lol – it only took one person to turn on ten light bulbs.

      All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.

      I enjoyed a couple of the responses, eg

      “Because I already believed what Kelly wrote, he has only served to reinforce my beliefs. You have made it much more likely that I will fail to properly consider future evidence that my beliefs are incorrect.” (John N-G)

      “The thing is to objectively apply this to one’s own understanding of why one disagrees with other rational people. It is a check on one’s own thought processes. A self-assessment. The result of your application of this epistemic approach to yourself is that you are more confident, not less, that you have more insight than the majority of the world’s climate scientists.” (Martha)

      And our friend, Tom Fuller in response to Martha: “I dunno, Martha. You add in a couple of Nobel prize winners in physics, the odd MIT guy, Freeman Dyson, et al, and Judith seems to be in pretty good company.”

      (I expect Tom meant Lindzen when he rudely but accurately referred to the ‘odd MIT guy’, but I don’t know who the Nobel Prize winners in physics are – anyone?)

      • Monckton might have fooled Fuller. Monckton’s claims to sharing Al Gore’s Nobel prize might have appealed to Fuller’s bias.

      • In that case I’d call Fuller bluff. If they had a “couple of Nobel prize winners in physics” they would be poster boys, and Watts would parading them around instead of hysterical attempts Hal Lewis:

        I would describe it [a letter from Hal Lewis] as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door.

        • Actually, I know of two, offhand.

          Google: Robert Laughlin Stanford warming

          Google: Ivar Giaever global warming

          He signed the APS Petition.

          • Someone did an analysis a couple of years ago, it runs something like 100:1 Nobel Prize winners in the NAS who are on record as supporting mainstream climate science vs. those who don’t.

            So, Tom Fuller’s right in saying there are “a couple of Nobel prize winners [in science]” who agree with denialists like Curry.

            Emphasis on “a couple”, maybe even “a few”. As opposed to a whole bunch who are on the mainstream side.

            • The APS Petition analysis showed that with much noise, the organizers got less than half a percent of the APS membership to sign, and the signers were heavily -skewed towards emeritus (like Giaver).
              Such evidence as there was showed political conservative leanings.
              There were relatively few women, but that was less significant, given the small fraction of older physicists who were female.

              There were also signers like Nasif Nahle(biocab), Monckton fans like Larry Gould and Douglass/Knox, and a few authors of pseudoscience books, who cited Beck on CO2 or G&T.

              Given any large group, you can always find a tiny fraction. Most physicists know better.

              While I cannot quote private conversations, I’d say the Stanford community was unamused by Laughlin’s excursions into areas rather outside his expertise.

          • Thanks John.

      • Martha’s comment is worth reading in full – she absolutely nails it (as she often does).

  29. Another good comment by Martha at a different blogpost by Curry:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/20/believing-science/#comment-44904

    So does Martha have her own blog?

    • She certainly rattled someone’s cage :)

    • Good comments from Martha, although she was slightly off:
      As of last November 11, 206 people had signed the petition, as analyzed @ DeSmogBlog

      See p.34, U Rochester box: Sproull, Douglass, Knox, Bodek.

      Thomas Brown isn’t on that list, he was among the relatively few later signers, see this.
      That got them up to ~260, I think. That got them above 0.5% of the 48,000 members, strongly skewed emeritus/retired guys.

      In this analysis, a few academic clumps were obvious:
      4 @ Princeton
      4 @ U of Rochester
      3 @ USC (including Donald Rapp, and Joseph Kunc, Willie Soon’s PhD advisor)

      If unfamiliar with Rapp, see this or this.

      I think that even the partial social network analysis shows that much of this goes on via personal contact. Note of course, that *most* of the members of the U Rochester physics community did *not* sign this, nor did most of the members of the Princeton physics community.

      • So once again, Curry shoots off her mouth without checking the facts. Surprised – not!

        • I went on a 12 step program to wean myself away from curry. You lured me back to scan this thread. What a depressing pile of drivel–with the exception of Martha’s comment.

    • Martha writes very clearly and eloquently with good support for everything she asserts yet Curry never seems to understand the point.

      Conversely I often have a lot of trouble seeing the point Curry is trying to make, or rather I can imagine what it is but it seems far off in the distance relative to what’s being said.

      There seems to be a severe communication problem there which is odd given the supposed goal of improving communication and reconciliation. In reality it seems to have become the “All Climategate All The Time” blog

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