In the penalty box…

Over at Climate Audit, I’m in the penalty box.

Steve McIntyre has written a post titled “FOI Myth 1 – USA” in which he responds to the Nature editorial “Climatologists Under Pressure”, which among other issues, discusses the CRU Hacked/Leaked emails.

Here are a few relevant quotes from the editorial:

The e-mail archives stolen last month from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, have been greeted by the climate-change-denialist fringe as a propaganda windfall (see page 551). To these denialists, the scientists’ scathing remarks about certain controversial palaeoclimate reconstructions qualify as the proverbial ‘smoking gun’: proof that mainstream climate researchers have systematically conspired to suppress evidence contradicting their doctrine that humans are warming the globe.

This paranoid interpretation would be laughable were it not for the fact that obstructionist politicians in the US Senate will probably use it next year as an excuse to stiffen their opposition to the country’s much needed climate bill. Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails. [my emphasis]

I’ve highlighted the more inflammatory words.

This is an editorial – it expresses a clear point of view. It is not a scientific document and there is no scientific proof presented for most of the claims. It also takes a point of view on the CRU event, as well as other issues relating to what could be called the climate war – the public debate between on the one side, climate scientists and their supporters and on the other side, the skeptics, both real (those who feel the data is not yet sound enough to act) and those who could more properly be called “contrarians” (those who just don’t accept the science and argue against AGW) and finally, those who could be called “denialists” – paid to deny climate change either directly or doing so primarily because of their economic interests.

Frankly, given its tone, I can see how the editorial would incite the ire of people like Steve McIntyre, who claims to be a neutral puzzle solver just out to audit the IPCC reports, especially since he is often the subject in the emails. That a very renowned science journal like Nature takes such a strong editorial stance must be fodder for angry posts like the McIntyre posted today.

The editorial includes the following paragraph which appears to be the main focus on Steve McIntyre’s post:

If there are benefits to the e-mail theft, one is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts. [my emphasis]

I’ve italicized the words or phrases that are key to my response to McIntyre because to me they are what is contested:  highlight yet again, some climate-change researchers, and often in the form of.

In my review of the Nature piece, the editors are using the current CRU email hack/leak to highlight the larger issue of harassment of climate researchers by denialists.  They use the terms “yet again” to refer to the fact this has been an ongoing issue. They use the term “some climate researchers” — note they do not refer to all climate researchers. Finally, they use the words “often in the form of” requests for information under the US and UK Information Acts. So the harassment is not solely due to FOI requests.  FOI requests form a part of this harassment.

Is it likely that many climate scientists have been harassed over the years by those who deny climate cience or are skeptical of it?  I expect many climate scientists, such as James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt and Mike Mann receive numerous private emails of a critical or even abusive nature. I know from reading Hansen’s commentary that he had to have police escort because some of the more rabid denialists threatened him at Copenhagen. So it is clear that some climate scientists have been harassed. I also know that there have been several posts on Climate Audit and other skeptic blogs urging followers to submit requests for information directly or through FOI. So, there appears to be evidence that this harassment is real.

Citing this particular paragraph, Steve McIntyre posts the following:

Climate scientists have recently been promoting the myth that providing data in response to FOI requests was interfering with their work. Nature uncritically accepted this myth in a recent editorial calling for action to protect climate-change researchers from “endless time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts.”: [my emphasis]

I’ve emphasized what I see as key in his post — note that he is indicting all climate scientist — not just “some” as Nature did and calling it a “myth” that providing data in response to FOI requests was interfering with their work, directly denying Nature’s claims that scientists are harassed by them.

While the scientific method is supposed to require fact checking, in this case, the mantra had merely been repeated over and over by climate scientists like a sort of tribal chant and, without carrying out even a modicum of due diligence to determine the veracity of the claims, Nature joined into the chant.

He argues that Nature uncritically and without fact checking, accepted the “mantra” of the climate scientists that FOI requests are burdensome.

His purpose in the post:

Today I’m going to review the allegation that U.S. scientists have been unduly burdened by FOI requests, showing that they haven’t.

So clearly, he states outright that he will review the allegations and show the claims are wrong.  He then goes on to enumerate the three FOI requests he submitted to US scientists. Based on that evidence, he states that:

Nature’s claim that US scientists have been inconvenienced by “endless time-consuming demands for information” under FOI is totally untrue.

Finally:

The claim by Nature and various climate scientists that U.Sclimate-change researchers had been subjected to “endless time-consuming demands for information” under U.S. Freedom of Information requests is unsupported by the record something that could have been easily determined had Nature carried out any due diligence, instead of relying on gossip.

I was first off the post when it came to comments, and after charging that Steve did not in fact prove his case and overstepped the Nature editorial, he moderated me and deleted not only my posts in the moderation queue but also other posts that went through before I was placed in moderation.

For the record, my stance on the editorial is clarified above. It clearly takes a position of support for the climate scientists in the emails, blames a great deal on the “denialists” and those who submit FOI requests for information, characterizing it as “harassment”.  As an editorial, it does not provide scientific level proof for its claims. Editorials are not intended to do so. They are opinion pieces expressing a point of view on an issue. They are not research papers and as such, clearly should be seen as such. I acknowledge that it is inflammatory.

Now, McIntyre can say pretty much what he likes on his blog. It is his blog and he is the administrator. However, when one creates a public blog like Climate Audit, one can expect that some readers will disagree with your posts. Yes, moderating is perfectly fine — I understand that he wants to keep his posts on topic and minimize the coatracking and OT posts. However, I was on topic. I was not coatracking. I was highly critical of his post. I was highly critical of his post. That bears repeating. I did not back off. I was blunt rather than sweet and flowery. In response, I was called “childish” and “pathetic” and when I did not back down, I was moderated and my posts deleted.

Here were the posts in moderation the last time I saved the page:

Susann

Posted Dec 29, 2009 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Steve: Susann, I’m sorry to be rude, but your reasoning here as elsewhere is pathetic.

To be polite, you claim to debunk a myth, yet you only supply a small bit of evidence — for someone interested in data and evidence, you provide very little and not enough in my estimation to prove that it is a myth.

If you had limited yourself to a reasonable claim and used your own experience to support it, you wouldn’t be subject to such critique. But you went well beyond the content of Nature’s editorial.

Sorry, but I found your post to be unsupported and overreaching, to be polite.

He then deleted the post.

In response to a different post, Steve McIntyre posted the following:

Steve: Susann, would you try reading what I wrote. I said that Nature’s allegation was “unsupported by the record”. I am unaware of any published record or evidence supporting their allegation. You think otherwise. Where is it? Where is the record supporting their claim? They made the allegation.

They’re supposed to be a “science” magazine dealing in evidence, not myths.

This was my response, which was held in moderation and then deleted:

Susann

Posted Dec 29, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Susann, would you try reading what I wrote. I said that Nature’s allegation was “unsupported by the record”.

Perhaps you could read mine as well. I was not critiquing Nature’s editorial, but your claims about it. You claim that “climate scientists” are promoting a myth, implicating all climate scientists, yet you provide no evidence of it. Nor have you satisfactorily proven it is a myth, nor have you debunked it as a myth since the only data you provided was your own 3 FOI requests.

I am unaware of any published record or evidence supporting their allegation. You think otherwise. Where is it? Where is the record supporting their claim? They made the allegation.

My focus is *your* allegations. I see no support for them.

They’re supposed to be a “science” magazine dealing in evidence, not myths.

You’re supposed to be about auditing the claims of scientists and reviewing the data to see if it supports their claims. I see no data presented other than your own to support your claims about Nature’s editorial. Surely you don’t think yours are the only FOI requests sent to climate scientists?

This too was deleted.

And another post that was held in moderation before being deleted:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

susann’s comments saying whether Mr Mcntyre did ‘due diligence’ in verifying whether Nature magazine has evidence that scientists are harassed by FOIA is plain and simple internet trolling. The rule is simple: do not argue the argument, argue the issue.

You misunderstand my comment. I was not joining in the chorus of “oh how terrible is Nature’s editor!”, I was commenting on Steve’s post.

In particular, on the assumptions he made about the issue. He first of all does not discriminate among climate scientists — they are all promoting a myth — here is his quote:

Climate scientists have recently been promoting the myth that providing data in response to FOI requests was interfering with their work.”

Are “all” climate scientists promoting this “myth”? Where’s the evidence that all are doing so? How many climate scientists are there? Show me the evidence that they are all promoting this. There is none provided.

Next, we have the issue of the “myth” itself — is the claim that providing data in response to FOI requests was interfering with climate scientists’ work factual or not?

The only evidence Steve provides is his own 3 FOI requests. He is but one “skeptic” — surely there have been other FOI requests submitted to the various climate related institutions in the US… Yet, he doesn’t provide any other evidence, hence I conclude that there is not enough evidence to make that conclusion and thus, the idea that it is a “myth” is not supported.

I was criticizing Steve’s claims, not Nature’s.

So, apparently, Mr. McIntyre is intolerant of criticism of his posts.

Yanno, if he would just admit he overstepped and revise his words to reflect more accurately what the Nature editorial contained, I would have agreed with him that his own 3 FOI requests probably weren’t that great a burden on the US climate scientists in question.

Here is what I would find acceptable:

Some Climate scientists have recently been promoting the claim that providing data in response to my FOI requests was interfering with their work. Nature uncritically accepted this claim in a recent editorial calling for action to protect climate-change researchers from “endless time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts.”

Today I’m going to review the allegation that U.S. scientists have been unduly burdened by my FOI requests, showing that they haven’t.

The claim by Nature and various climate scientists that  I have subjected some U.S climate-change researchers to “endless time-consuming demands for information” under U.S. Freedom of Information requests is unsupported by the record – something that could have been easily determined had Nature carried out any due diligence, instead of relying on gossip.

Yes. I would have agreed to that.

I’ve answered FOI requests before — yes, they can be time consuming — but as government workers, it is considered part of our job. We have FTEs dedicated to responding to them. And yes, if the data and code necessary to replicate research was archived somewhere so researchers could access it, there would not be the pressure to respond to FOI requests for data and code. I’ve already agreed to that.

Since I’m no longer permitted to post there and my posts disappear, I guess I’ll have to start my own blog responding to Mr. McIntyre’s posts.

I welcome comments, corrections and opinion.


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About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

24 Responses to “In the penalty box…”

  1. Is this from Susann?

    I am glad I can read your response to what I posted on CA. I called what you did trolling because you seemed to call out Steve M for not investigating Nature’s claims that researchers were harassed by FOI requests. Overall, in the present circumstance I would say Nature is responsible for substantiating their claim that FOI requests are a tool for harassment which exactly mirrors what Jones and others claim in their emails, not McIntyre.

    My own personal experience in India where the equivalent law is called RTIA – the right to Information Act, has been that government and public officials expected and indeed acrimoniously protested that the act would flood and inundate offices with requests. But that has not been the case – atleast in the area I am familiar with (in a large tertiary care medical institution handling complex cases).

    But I am totally with you on posts being deleted. I am skeptical of dramatic climate change. Yet I wandered over to RealClimate innocent of what goes on over there and had a rash of my posts deleted. I’ve not commented extensively on blogs in the recent past and I was appalled to find moderators *deleting* posts. I guess I come from an earlier age when post deletion on forums and online discussions was the last resort. I’ve participated in online discussions, been the moderator of a forum, been a member of many online communities. I have only very rarely encountered post deletion. Users would troll, be a nuisance and get banned ultimately. But I do not remember post deletions.

    So RealClimate’s behavior was extremely surprising.

    I believe people should be allowed to say whatever. Even as I read the posts you’ve put up above I can understand what you were trying to get across although I may not agree with you or be very happy with the direction you were taking criticizing McIntyre’s post. For example, you criticize McIntyre for apparently blaming all climate scientists for contributing to the myth that FOIA requests are harassment when he should have been more specific. When I read the passage I did not get the meaning that he was trying to bunch all climate scientists – I knew who he was talking about. Nevertheless…

    I have earlier voiced my concerns about post deletion on CA. CA is a decent site and should not go the RealClimate way – which was planned to be run in the “post-queuing selective deletion” fashion. But I agree with you that CA has become an important site and post deletion is not becoming. Maybe there needs to be some mechanism like Youtube comments where posts flagged by the moderator can remain hidden but can be viewed if required.

    Anyway those are my thoughts. Sorry to have rambled on! 🙂

    Cheers
    Anand

    • I am glad I can read your response to what I posted on CA. I called what you did trolling because you seemed to call out Steve M for not investigating Nature’s claims that researchers were harassed by FOI requests. Overall, in the present circumstance I would say Nature is responsible for substantiating their claim that FOI requests are a tool for harassment which exactly mirrors what Jones and others claim in their emails, not McIntyre.

      An opinion piece is just that — it presents an opinion. Steve was expecting too much from it — it was not a scientific work, nor should it be subject to that level of expectation.

      In contrast, Steve McIntyre’s post was more than an opinion piece –it claimed to be a debunking of a myth and that brings with it a heavier burden of proof. I called him out for claiming to have debunked the “myth” without doing so adequately. His blog post contains a number of claims and those claims have to be put to scrutiny as much as Nature’s claims have to be put to scrutiny. YMMV. I think there is a lot of uncritical acceptance of whatever he posts by everyone except us “trolls”. That’s sad, especially since he and the blog are supposed to be about a close audit of evidence. He feels that the work of the IPCC and climate scientists should be held up to close scrutiny but when we do it to him, he deletes?

      My own personal experience in India where the equivalent law is called RTIA – the right to Information Act, has been that government and public officials expected and indeed acrimoniously protested that the act would flood and inundate offices with requests. But that has not been the case – atleast in the area I am familiar with (in a large tertiary care medical institution handling complex cases).

      I work in government so I am familiar with the whole FOI process, at least for us under our legislation. We have a unit just for FOI processing. I would typically spend several hours working on an individual FOI request, and depending on the request, more or less. We now have a pretty good process in place to do this so it is pretty smooth, but we also have funding to employ staff who are dedicated to this. As well, it is considered part of every employee’s job description — now. It wasn’t always that way. There had to be decisions to actually fund the work and make sure there were enough FTEs to do it. I think a lot of people speak about this without any background in it and so they have no idea how much time is involved and how much of the organization is set aside to ensure compliance. It leads to people making statements without any experience or knowledge to back them up. That said, I do think that there is a movement on the part of many critics of the dominant climate change paradigm to change BAU and that in itself can seem like harassment to those who have not been used to that level of scrutiny. This whole “auditing” movement is something new and the kind of public demands for data and code is new. The best response is just to open it up, but I do think, from reading the emails and blogs that the scientists involved do feel under attack and they do feel they are targeted by those out to discredit them. Circling the wagons is not the best response — openness is — but it is entirely understandable given the political climate – no pun intended even if appropriate. 🙂

      As to post deletion, I think only the real fringe stuff should be deleted — stuff that crosses the boundaries of legality for example, such as threats, abusive language, revelation of personal information, and spam. Legitimate criticism of the blog owner, of posts, and comments should be allowed or else it appears that the blog owner is either a wuss or unable to deal with dissent or criticism.

      As to CA, I go there to read criticism of the dominant paradigm and look for evidence of any problems with it. I do think there is some legitimate work done there and questions raised as a result of CA. I am however highly critical of what I think deserves criticism.

      I value multiple viewpoints and honest criticism so thanks for your post!

  2. My thought is that “climate scientists” does not equal “all climate scientists” to begin with. Adding “some” might have been better but is probably irrelevant. It’s a blog, so time consuming parsing of the content is inappropriate.

    As to Steve generalizing his own FOIA requests with those across the board, perhaps his own extensive experience dealing with the hockey team gives him insight there. The Climategate e-mails also don’t reveal much further so perhaps it’s again not much of a stretch.

    For me the kicker that squashes your argument as irrelevant is what you allude to at the end. It’s part of a government worker’s job, and any taxpayer funded research material that is not categorized as secret (or similar) is subject to the FOIA. E-mails and all.

    Nature’s entire argument, and that of the warmist scientists, is completely bogus. With perhaps the exception of preliminary work (which could be delayed a few months) everything they do should be out in the open. If that’s the case none of them need be bogged down with FOI requests. If they don’t like it they can always go find work in the private sector where the taxpayers aren’t footing the bill.

    • I did parse his post quite carefully, but he shouldn’t be so sloppy, especially for one who should be very cognizant of the power of words. As a former policy analyst and strategic advisor to business interests, he knows very well how words alter meaning. So I found his post to be very sloppy and an overreach.

      ETA: I know people have brought up that I am too sensitive about the word choices McIntyre makes, but let me explain. His post will be read by both followers and people who happen by. Followers may know who and what he refers to in the post, but new visitors or occasional ones may not know the story and will assume he is indicting the entire field. So when he uses the words “Climate scientists have recently been promoting the myth”, he makes it sound as if the entire discipline is somehow doing so. That is sloppy to me. He should be more specific by referring to “Some climate scientists”.

      McIntyre likes to paint himself as just a puzzle solver agnostic auditor, but for someone who is so interested in auditing, making sure all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, he sure uses very questionable language. His followers call him coy, but I think his language betrays him and his point of view. His views seem very clear to an outsider like me, based on his word choice and the tone he adopts when discussing climate science and climate scientists. It is derisive. I’m not saying none of it is deserved, but clearly he has a personal grudge against many climate scientists and I think it spills over in his writing. This may lead to glee among his denialist and contrarian followers, and fill up the tip jar, but it does nothing to promote sound unbiased analysis. I went to CA expecting to find unbiased objective analysis but instead I found some of the most partisan biased commentary, which I found to be very unscientific.

      It seems to me that if one disagrees with an editorial, which is not in my experience intended to provide proof of anything but is instead an opinion piece, then one should provide better proof than his three FOI requests. I found it a joke that he thought he could get away with such a stunt. Apparently, none of his “followers” think he should be careful with words, but then I’m a self-styled critic, not a follower.

      In the end, I found Nature’s opinion piece to be inflammatory and quite whiny because I do support open access to data and code, where applicable, for the sake of replicability. However, I also think that the burden on climate scientists due to FOI requests was neither proven nor disproved in Steve’s post.

      Regardless of the content of Nature’s editorial, there is also the question of Steve’s blog post, and I found it laughable and wanting.

      Apparently, he can’t take a blunt critique of his posts, being used to so many accolades from his followers. The thing about followers? Jim Jones had them in droves…

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Susann,
    I’m glad you linked your blog at Climate Audit. I’m sure I never would have found it if you had not.

    One of the reasons Steve’s blog is so popular is the fact he snips comments to try to keep the discussion centered on the topic. While I love Steve McIntyre, sometimes my posts are snipped as well. Don’t take it personally. Rather try to learn his rules. It is okay to disagree with him, but try to have a point when you comment.

    Your behavior at Climate Audit has been quite poor. You want to argue about specific points and then when you are shown to be wrong, you want to move the goal posts. This is trolling behavior. When shown to be wrong on a minor point, accept it and thank the person. Then say “I still have a problem with…” This at least looks like you are listening and that talking to you is not a waste of time. Trying to determine where agreement exists between parties is just as important as determining where disagreement exists.

  4. This myth is repeated by climate scientists. RealClimate, Tamino, and other blogs use these talking points and their followers repeat them at still otehr blogs. I saw this when they circled the wagons and insisted that sharing code was a bad idea and it just wastes the scientists’ time. Now RealClimate has a post up called Show Us The Code taking the opposite stance. I wonder if any of the followers will see the contradiction.

  5. Hi Susan

    Forgive my deviation from the exact topic – my comment below is more of a general set of observations from someone who has also been a regular at CA but who has remained almost 100% quiet until now. I wanted to share my observations with you.

    I have been reading CA for maybe 2 years or so. I used to be an accepter of the AGW theory, but after hearing about the “hockey stick” I began to dig a bit into the science and came across CA and have found it to be an enthralling read ever since. It’s almost like a soap with the same bunch of characters, both “goodies” and “baddies” !!! But it’s a lot more serious than that.

    While I am still not a convinced skeptic, what I have found out about the quality of the AGW scientific body of research has shocked me (I have a PhD in theoretical physics (statistical physics to be precise) so know a thing or two about science, the scientific method and the general techniques behind the hockey stick).

    While I often disagree with the tone of what Steve McIntyre says and the fact that he sometimes betrays his gleefullness at getting one over on the “Hockey Team” – e.g. earlier this year when a large amount of supposedly unavailable data was found on the Hadley (I think) ftp site, I do find him an honest scientist.

    In particular he shows his workings in a way which lets others check and reproduce his results. In doing so, he exposes himself to the risk of embarrassment over errors. This approach is courageous and is to be highly admired and is the essence of the scientific method. He has shown that blogs can be a powerful tool for analysing, checking and disseminating new research and for checking older research.

    Where I have looked into a claim that he makes (and I have not looked at everything), I have found McIntyre’s work to stand up.

    I am not a convinced skeptic. But as an ex-academic in physics, I have observed the actions of Mann and company and have been appalled by their unscientific behaviour. And what has been incredible about the UEA emails is that they only made crystal clear what many of the readers of CA had been suspecting. Most readers of CA had formed a theory about the modus operandi of the hockey team and the emails confirmed our worst fears. It was almost like having your scientific theory proved by an experiment !! Satisfying but also terrifying.

    OK, there was no massive smoking gun to invalidate the theory just as there is no massive smoking gun to validate the theory of AGW, but the attitudes and behaviours were to me quite appalling.

    Also, I know you may not find the posts and replies at CA to be the ultimate in dispassionate argument, but in terms of style they are far milder than the sarcastic put downs at RC where the moderation and deletion of posts is much harsher than anything McIntyre does.

    Also, small things matter. Their pettiness in refusing to use McIntyre’s name, their failure to acknowledge errors found by McIntyre (which they then correct stating that they found them themselves) just go on and on. I can therefore understand why McIntyre finds them tiresome and unpleasant and he may betray this.

    Still, at the end of the day, you should judge someone by their actions and if the actions are to hide and delete data then you should be wary. If the actions are to openly discuss the data and methods giving any reader the opportunity to poke holes in what you have done then that is something to respect.

    It is very possible that AGW will be shown to be correct (whatever that means since humans must be having some effect on the climate – the question is the size of the effect). However it will not rest upon the work by Mann and co. will be looked back upon in the future as a shoddy piece of work and a disgrace to the practice of science.

    My 2pence worth.

    Dominic

  6. Please, you can’t even get the definition of Lukewarmer correct. As the spokesperson for that movement you should at least ask me. I’d tell you to go read what I have written.

  7. Hi Susann.

    Like Ron Cram, I was drawn to your site through your posts at CA. At rcrejects, we provide a repository where folk can post the full text of posts rejected at climate related posts. We have been operating for close to a year now, and there are many examples of posts rejected at sites.

    The modus operandi of rcrejects was intended to be that posters would keep a copy of their post to a climate site, and if it was rejected (or edited for that matter) they could put their post up at rcrejects. In the event, we have had only a few posts put up directly by posters. However, we often notice comments at various of the blogs we frequent regularly relating to posts being rejected, and we often copy them to our threads. So far no-one has objected to us doing that.

    Where there is a whole thread relating to rejection of posts at a climate site, as this thread arguably is, we would normally point our readers to the thread so that they can see the whole context.

    Where a post in a thread on moderation policy is pertinent, we might give prominence by quoting that post separately, but still acknowledge the site/thread from which it came.

    In the case of your postings at CA, I think it best that we point our readers to this thread because the discussion brings out both sides of the debate, it highlights some of the issues regarding moderation, and it also provides more information regarding the experience of some posters at both CA and RC.

  8. Susann, the zealots over at CA will hunt you down and threaten you just like they have done with others. They are no more than a bunch of hypocritical egocentrics who believe that they know more than anyone else, and hold nothing but contempt and hatred for anyone who dares question their self-proclaimed authority. They already ganging up on you here and lecturing you. Think of CA as a meeting place for people suffering from Dunning-Kruger. What really drives me crazy is that it is all done under the pretence/guise of “ethical” science. OMG.

    According to CA acolytes, when RC deletes posts they are guilty of a litany of crimes, but when SteveM does it they willl rationalize and defend their leader, no matter what it takes. Bizarre.

    Has SteveM shared with everyone how many FOIA requests he and his henchmen (e.g., McKitrick) made to UEA/CRU? On that note, he (McI) should be formally cross-examined and investigated as part of the CRU hack investigation. His email accounts should also be audited. If he does have nothing to hide, what is the problem?

    Susann, you are rght about McI’s language revealing his true colours. He is the one who chose to use “jihadist”, and “crack cocaine” after all. That is the problems with trying to deceive people 24/7, you ultimately , invariably screw up or slip.

    CA is reading more and more like WUWT these days, mostly rhetoric and opines and less and less substance. Well, maybe that is not true, there has always been a vacuum of real, solid science there. Me saying that will drive them absolutely nuts, but my reply to that is, well where are all the damn papers stemming from the supposed brilliant research they conduct at CA then?

    What they are very good at is obfuscating, being obstructionist and feeding the denilaists with and endless source of misinformation and propoganda, that and making mountains out of molehills.

    You did a fine job of auditing McI’s piece, as did DeepClimate recently– McI shoud be subjected to the same scrutiny and “standards” that he expects of others, and I encourage you to keep it up should you feel so inclined. Do not be deterred by their bullying.

    CA are becoming increasingly desperate. Until recently they were almost militant in their discipline, but recently the cracks have started to show. The blatant editing/deleting of your posts is the most recent example.

    If more and more people did what you have been doing, McI’s empire would unfold very quickly. Especially, if they shared with everyone that they too have had posts deleted for dissenting views. Maybe you could start a blog where people can post their comments which have been deleted over at CA. You might also want to share your experience with some of the Canadian rags– McI is their darling.

    So keep your cool, and keep prodding and soon the self-proclaimed sheep (McI) will start to reveal the real disingenuous and mendacious wolf he is.

    McI does not like critique, PERIOD, that is why he is on a decade plus witch hunt for Mann. So very sad.

    • I’m actually quite happy to debate with most anyone and find that debating and discussing with people who disagree with me is more fruitful at times than those who agree with me. Also, I do believe that often heat does bring light and people will reveal who they really are when they let down their nice-guy personna to give someone a “smackdown” hence I didn’t bother to even respond to Mosher. Waste of time.

      I really do think all the adulation of his acolytes, er, aficianados, has gone to his head so that he really does believe that he is David.

      I have nothing against people doing technical reviews of the stats or methods, data etc. of climate research if it improves the science and corrects errors. There is a professional way to do it, but McI doesn’t seem to want to do science. The problem I see is that it is done not to improve but to disprove and discredit. It’s all about perception and appearance. If only McI would tell people where he stands and what his interests are so we can all judge, I think he’d be seen less as a white knight and more as a, well… Fill in the blank yourself.

  9. Rattus Norvegicus Reply January 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Gavin McLeod? Wasn’t he the skipper on “The Love Boat”? I think you meant Gavin Schmidt. And Hansen got death threats in Houston, I think, definitely not Copenhagen.

    As for the central point of this post, I notice that ol’ Steve has not posted about the UK FOI requests. In a comment on his blog dated July 24th, 2009, he requested his readers to file spurious FOI requests to the CRU. As reported by Olive Hefferman on the Nature climate blog, in the week subsequent to this post the CRU received 54 FOI requests.

    Steve knows this, yet he is not reporting it. Instead he seems to prefer commenting on how little the people he has been harassing for years think of him. Imagine that.

  10. OMG — Gavin Schmidt! I always think of him just as “Gavin” so I guess I cast around and came up with McLeod ’cause it’s the only other Gavin I’ve ever head of. LOL! Will edit post accordingly.

    Thanks about tip re: Houston — I was sure I read a piece from Hansen about the meeting in Copenhagen but Houston makes more sense.

    Yes, I am waiting for his UK FOI request post. Nature also had an editorial or some other short piece about the number of FOI requests but I couldn’t find it again or I would have posted it. It’s like McI thinks he’s the only skeptic out there. I guess all the adulation gets to one after a while…

  11. SheWonk (how do we address you, Susann or by you moniker), Anyhow you are right of course, McI doe snot do science, and is not at all clear on where he stands about AGW.

    Read this and weep:

    http://tinyurl.com/ygqvlhm

    Just one example of the Canadian media giant (with strong neocon ties) fawning over McI.
    Pass me the Gravol, I feel ill.

    This para is priceless:

    “While McKitrick said he’s dubious about the threat of climate change, McIntyre said he really doesn’t know what to think. “I honestly don’t know whether it is a big problem, a little problem or a medium problem,” he said. “And I don’t think the skeptics have proven that global warming is not a problem.””

    Uh, huh, so why all the bloody effort to refute something that you seem to have no idea about?! His wishy-washy statement here makes no sense and is the antithesis of what a scientist would say. So he admits the skeptics have not proven that AGW is not a problem, yet he is dubious that it is a threat? WTF?!

    SheWonk, here is the URL for the Nature blog by Hefferman:

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2009/08/mcintyre_versus_jones_climate_1.html

    • You can call me Susann.

      To me, there are two tacks to take with respect to global warming:

      1) You accept the consensus position because you are not personally able to judge the science and feel that given the amount of support from various science bodies and communities, it makes sense to trust that the scientists are likely on track — until proven otherwise. There is no shame in this — science is a very highly specialized occupation and it takes years of training to get the competence to judge. If serious questions are raised by competent judges of the science and its conclusions, it makes sense to listen and to see if their criticisms make sense. Even then, it may not be possible for any given individual to evaluate competing claims of scientific validity.

      This is the problem I see with this debate. It’s not about which team played best at the big game and whether the coach made some bad decisions and the GM some bad choices where anyone with an interest can weigh in and make a call.

      2) The other possible tack is to say you don’t really know enough either way and have to remain on the sidelines of the science debate. I don’t think there’s any shame in that either.

      The problem with this approach is that you will be asked to vote for a party or politician who has a clear stance on the issue and you will be asked to judge what to do about climate change.

      it’s messy either way.

      My sense is that there has to be an awfully compelling development of a scientific nature or a lot of other evidence to debunk the dominant scientific paradigm. Breaking the hockey stick is not enough — there are other proxies that show increased temp in the 20th / 21st centuries vs. previous centuries. There is the whole theory of greenhouse effect and the physics that backs it up. There is the instrumental record. There are models that suggest only AGHGs seem to explain recent warming.

      McI may be hedging his bets in order to appear objective or because he really doesn’t know what’s up. I have my suspicions, but they are just that. However, he want into his project of auditing IPCC papers with the whole Bre-X scandal in his mind…

      People have criticized me in the past for talking about Big Tobacco as a model for what’s taken place in the global warming wars and suggesting that I am “framing” the issue but then, I would suggest anyone who goes into a review of the IPCC with Bre-X on their mind is doing the very same thing.

      Everyone frames. People who claim to be totally frame-free are likely either lying or self-deceived.

  12. From Hewfferman:

    “Between 24 July and 29 July of this year, CRU received 58 freedom of information act requests from McIntyre and people affiliated with Climate Audit. In the past month, the UK Met Office, which receives a cleaned-up version of the raw data from CRU, has received ten requests of its own.”

    So 68 FOIA requests in 5 days from people affiliated with CA!!!! No, no, no, McI is not interferring with scientific research at all. Can anyone say liar….?

    • On this issue, I do think that there has been a degree of harassment in the form of requests from laypeople about access to data and methods — not something that scientists probably often get and probably not a development they were prepared to respond to. Those interested laypeople probably wouldn’t do this for any other science question during the normal course of events, but then, AGW is not normal science any longer. It’s a economic and political battlefield.

      Do I think there was tribalism involved in the refusal on the part of some scientists to share data? Yes, to a degree. Do I think that there was some difficult data with problems that maybe some scientists didn’t want floating around in the public sphere? Possibly. Do I think that there were real restrictions on the dissemination of the data because of NDA? Yes.

      Do I think this is a lot of heat but very little light. Most definitely.

  13. Susann,

    Good insights. I feel that you are being too generous at times with McI though.

    McIntyre is on the record, in Macleans magazine (another media outlet fawning over him) stating that “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith”. This was made in reference to his (fr)auditing work at CA. It is very difficult to use the “L’ word when he spouts nonsense like that. McI and McK have been harassing, Briffa, Mann and CRU for ages now. That is not done when one is acting in good faith. Using the term “jihadist” when referring to James Hansen is not an example of acting in good faith, or using the term “crack cocaine” when referring to the Briffa’s and Mann’s dendro chronologies. Why Mann has not filed a harassment suit against McI is beyond me. Perhaps he can’t b/c McI is in Canada. Note that McI does not take on Canadians like Weaver, it is always someone out of country.

    You are right about the big tobacco analogy, except this is much bigger. Have a look at the feature article in Rolling Stone and who is paying for this war on science, mostly coal and oil barons. These people have deep pockets, even more so than tobacco, and believe that they have a lot to lose in a carbon neutral society. To say they are aggressive with anyone gets in their way would be a gross understatement. Was he acting in good faith when accusing Briffa in late 2009 of not providing (hiding) Russian tree ring data and making wild accusations in the public domain to that effect, when McI knew for a fact that he (McI) had had the data since 2004! The list goes on, maybe someone can compile a list of McI’s “acts of good faith”. What a joke.

    Susann, it will be interesting to see how they deal with you at CA if you keep pushing their buttons. Tom P was ridiculed and worse during the Briffa fiasco for showing problems with McI’s analysis of the Yamal data. Briffa and Tom P were right, McI was wrong. Lorax was very critical of the public auditing of science (and other things at CA) and harassment of scientists by McI and McK, and was attacked by a mob mentality at CA and given his/her own “rubber room” so that the McI acolytes could all pile on with the attacks. Maybe you will get your own “rubber room” over at CA 🙂

    • Insight, I suppose that if I’m seen as being too light on McIntyre by AGW supporters and too harsh on him by AGW skeptics then I’m doing something right. 😀

      Seriously, I have been quite critical of McIntyre’s tone and approach to the issue. I think he should, if he wants to be taken seriously and not just be on the outside throwing stones, take it up a notch in terms of professionalism. Keep the snide remarks to personal emails as those involved in CRU emails thought they were doing. To do otherwise makes him look more like a talk-radio host than a self-appointed climate auditor. Maybe Jones et al were wrong to use their work email to do so — that seems obvious now, but although many of us think things about other coworkers or people in our fields, professionalism means you keep it to yourself or at least, don’t leave an email trail.

      As to my time at CA — it’s all just more of the same and in fact, the CRU event has brought out their true colors. It’s really quite entertaining to visit both AGW supporter blogs and skeptic/contrarian blogs to see how both deal with them.

      I was willing to give McIntyre the benefit of the doubt at one point in time but the tone of posts there and the recent deletions of on topic posts seems to betray this notion that it’s all objective auditing for the sake of truth, and that censorship is limited to blogs like RC.

  14. Susann, I concur with pretty much everything you say. I guess my point is is that McI is not the humble and honorable chap that he loves to try and portray himself as. You noted in a previous post that his goal is to discredit the IPCC or anyone publishing a “warmer’ paper at all costs. Nit Pick any paper and you will find errors, what is important is whether or not those errors change the authors’ conclusions. McI so far has found some small errors, big deal, but the work for all the papers that he has chosen to audit (and sometimes draw premature conclusions for his gullible readers to snap up) still stands. But the fact that they were audited and errors found, is all he cares about. The way he goes after Mann leads one to believe that Mann killed McI’s first born or something.

    That said, the folks at CRU said some daft things and I for one do not condone some of the things that they said or alleged claimed they were going to do or were considering doing. My suspicion is that the investigation into CRU is going to say more about the negative aspects of the denialists than it will about the climate scientists. I’ll be very surprised if Jones et al are not fully vindicated. The only sticking point I see is how they dealt with some of the FOIA’s; some improvements need to be made to that system to prevent it being abused by the likes of McI and to ensure that the requests, when legit are executed.

    I cannot imagine working in the environment that they have to– continued harassment, violent threats and even deaths threats, people watching your every move, and questioning everything you do, having ones scientific findings distorted and manipulated by the denialists. No wonder their emails sound snarky and defensive and even paranoid. We really should try and put ourselves in their shoes before judging their words too harshly.

    Just found your blog, and it is reassuring to know that you are out there doing this valuable work. Thanks.

  15. One last comment, for now on McI, I guess what I was trying to say is that sometimes one simply has to call a spade a spade and not pussy foot around. I believe that McI’s approach warrants calling him for what he really is.

  16. Nice work! I’m impressed by your persistence. When cornered, McIntyre kept trying to deflect and dodge your specific points until he finally threw a tantrum and had your posts deleted. I probably would not have displayed the patience you displayed. I tend to get irritated by such dodgy tactics displayed routinely by so-called “skeptics”. You didn’t take the bait but stood your ground. Keep up the good work.

  17. Could the barrage of FOI requests possibly have been harassment?
    See http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/steve-had-little-list.html

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