Dear febrile nitwits

Those “Climategate” emails explained:

It’s amazing what you can achieve by taking someone’s personal correspondence entirely out of context and shamelessly misrepresenting it.

If your audience is made up of dupes and morons who already hate the target.

ELSEWHERE: You’ve got to admire/be appalled by the dishonesty/idiocy of those still running the “they’re trying to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures” line. They either know they’re misleading people, and the “decline” being talked about is not global temperatures at all – or they’re too stupid to bother checking before shooting off their mouths. (I’m guessing this effort by Sarah Palin fits in the second category.)

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129 responses to “Dear febrile nitwits

  1. He makes a good point in his own smug way. A lot of the interesting stuff is elsewhere in the Climategate docs. In essence he has done what Rush and the others have done, focusing on the sensationalist criticisms, and ignoring the more disquieting comments. In essence his target market is the Limbaugh/Beck audience.

    If you want to understand the ‘trick’, try this and this.

    Also, the Climategate docs are not personal correspondence. That is why they are relevant. However, while most of the comments are relevant to scientific matters, there are some personal comments interspersed like when Jones said he was cheered at the death of a sceptic.

  2. Thank you Jeremy. A most informative and well presented video. Don’t expect it to sway any in the wingnutosphere though. Evidence and logic are unnecessary for their position. Indeed they must be ignored – a return of the neo-con/neo-lib ‘I reject your reality and substitute my own’.

  3. Yes SB, that would be this Steve Mcintyre you’d be quoting as an authority.

  4. Link doesn’t work Zoot.
    Tim Lambert at ‘deltoid’ has frequently shown CA to be typical denialist rubbish.

  5. Greenman3610’s Climate Crock of the Week has a bit more detail:

  6. Zoot, if you think McIntyre is wrong, tell me why. If all you can do is ad hom vitriol, save your breath. You guys are not much better than Glenn Beck and his audience.

    As the presenter of the video clip above notes, there are issues raised by the Climategate docs and they will be looked at. George Monbiot rightly observed that the denialists are the ones blindly asserting that the Climategate docs are not a big deal.

    It is clear from the leaked emails that the McIntyre is feared and hated by the Hockey Team. Probably because of his track record in exposing defects in their work.

  7. Monboit can write well, but in the last couple of articles about email hacks at East Anglia in the Guardian his lack of understanding of the banal ordinariness of scientists and their foibles is readily apparent. The entire process of peer review, referee, publication and open critique using scientific method is the way that human error and bias are overcome. This is the process of science.

    If ‘sceptics’ are unable to follow the scientific method’s rigours they will find that no reputable journal will publish their ‘work’. Hmm, this is a situation which uncannily resembles the state of play currently, what a coincidence. ‘Sceptics’ are free to use or misuse the media, fallacious and specious logic and other means to lobby for their point of view in a political debate. They have no recourse for inclusion in the scientific debate as they are unable to satisfy the requirements for their work to be called science.

    The similarities between the ‘logic’ used in creation science, intelligent design and AGW ‘scepticism’ are striking. One starts with an end point premise or argument; ‘God created everything’ or ‘we do not need to change the fossil fuelled status quo’ and you work backwards, cherry picking the evidence you need and ignoring the inconvenient evidence which contradicts. Science is where you modify the premise or argument in relation to the best fit for the evidence. Nether ‘creation science’ or AGW Scepticism are supported by science, they are however supported by powerful lobby groups with deep pockets and an inability to accept evidence which contradicts their a priori conclusions.

  8. My apologies, this link should work.
    SB, Mcintyre has a history of dishonesty (that’s a statement, not an ad hom argument) and if you really want the details Deltoid has a category covering the gory details. Knock yourself out.

    It is clear from the leaked emails that the McIntyre is feared and hated by the Hockey Team. Probably because of his track record in exposing defects in their work.

    No, they find him an irritating nuisance who makes it difficult for them to do their job by, for example, lodging 58 FOI requests within 5 days.

  9. George Monbiot rightly observed that the denialists are the ones blindly asserting that the Climategate docs are not a big deal.
    SB // 13 December, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    He said no such thing.

    These are his thoughts regarding denialists;

    The denial industry…. insists that these emails (which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence) destroy the entire canon of climate science.

    Did you mean to type ‘climate scientists’ instead of ‘denialists’?

    Cheers.

  10. Zoot, if you think McIntyre is wrong, tell me why. If all you can do is ad hom vitriol, save your breath. You guys are not much better than Glenn Beck and his audience.

    The fact that McIntyre’s “trick” explanation doesn’t even cite the Nature paper, which is what the “trick” is actually all about, is a guarantee that it’s factually wrong.

    The specific “trick” is well known – the correction of proxy data from tree rings that becomes unreliable after 1960 (unlike a host of other proxies or direct measures of temperatute.) A measure recommended by those studying tree ring density over time in relation to known climate, and published in nature. Hence, the “Nature trick”.

    This is a perfectly normal procedure.

    And incidentally, McIntyre’s distortion is just “HIDE THE DECLINE” with graphs. There is nothing new about it. It’s the main trope that’s been drawn out and repeated since the start of the whole affair.

    “The trick” and “hide the decline” are a part of the same thing.

    McIntyre et. al. prattle on all without explaining what decline is being hidden – a decline in temperature implied by an proxy known to be unreliable beyond 1960 – and not reciprocated by any other proxy or by direct temperature measurements – nor the reason for it. If he did explain the reason to hide this particular decline, a reason very widely known and uncontroversial amongst climate scientists, then he couldn’t insert his own made up explanation.

    The only difference between McIntyre and the Palins and Becks, is that McIntyre is educated enough to know that his explanations of “the trick” are fabricated.

    Something, as Zoot points out, he has form for.

    Mann et. al. no more fear McIntyre than Dawkins fears Ham – the only concerns they do have are peripheral to the actual science.

  11. LOL thanks Jeremy. “Febrile nitwits”. Says it all really.

  12. He makes a good point in his own smug way. A lot of the interesting stuff is elsewhere in the Climategate docs. In essence he has done what Rush and the others have done, focusing on the sensationalist criticisms, and ignoring the more disquieting comments. In essence his target market is the Limbaugh/Beck audience.

    That is really just a fancy way of saying “Why don’t you talk about all the other emails rather than just these two” which was already addressed in the video.

    Also, the Climategate docs are not personal correspondence. That is why they are relevant. However, while most of the comments are relevant to scientific matters, there are some personal comments interspersed like when Jones said he was cheered at the death of a sceptic.

    I don’t know if you are implying it or not, personal comments actually happen to be entirely irrelevant to the science. Jones cheering at the death of a climate sceptic? Chastise him on that if you must, but it has no bearing on any scientific arguments.

  13. I’ve included Lambert’s response to Palin’s playing this silly game in an update.

  14. 10 points for ‘febrile’.

  15. It is clear from the leaked emails that the McIntyre is feared and hated by the Hockey Team” – SB

    Hated, yes- for being a vexatious serial pest and doing dumb-ass shit like pestering scientists for data that they a) don’t have, or b) have already released publicly. Not to mention continual FOI requests when they have already been turned down as being inappropriate.

  16. Anyone further interested in why Steve McIntyre is a lying sack of shit may like to read the following,
    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/11/mcintyre-provides-fodder-for-skeptics/#more-1233

    SB is excused, owing to his pre-existing commitment to a position on AGW based on blog postings and avoiding any actual science.

  17. George Monbiot rightly observed that the denialists are the ones blindly asserting that the Climategate docs are not a big deal.

    You don’t add a lot to the discussion do you SB – it’s often just deliberate nonsense like this.

    Monbiot’s criticism of the ‘climategate’ emails is quite specifically that they give ammunition to sceptics, not that they undermine the science in any way. His objection to the emails consists soley of his view that, if left unaddressed (which they were at the time he wrote – but are no more), they would be misused in exactly the way you are now misusing them.

    From Monbiot’s article:

    The greatest tragedy here is that despite many years of outright fabrication, fraud and deceit on the part of the climate change denial industry . . . it is now the climate scientists who look bad.

    Funny that you’re using Monbiot as your authority on this when his primary concern was that people like you would overblow the scandal to smear the science. Exactly the what you’ve been doing in other words.

  18. Marek, here is what Monbiot said:

    The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We’ll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again.

    Bruce, I’m not sure if you haven’t read McIntyre, or just don’t understand what he said. His issue is not so much with the divergence problem, which has long been known to be a serious issue, but the way it was dealt with on different occasions. Of particular interest is the lengths ‘scientists’ were prepared to go to to avoid disclosing ‘unhelpful’ data, instead of say, presenting it and then explaining their interpretation of it.

    The most disquieting aspect of this scandal, the one that should give most people pause for thought, is that what is passed off as settled science is not able to be verified because the underlying data and methodology has not been available for checking. This includes the data that Jones says he would rather destroy than give up under FOI, and which coincidentally, CRU seems to have ‘lost’. And on this we asked to formulate major policy.

  19. Full marks to SB for persistance in trolling.

    CRU data – 95 % available. The rest belongs to others.

  20. Phil Jones to Michael “Piltdown” Mann:

    If they ever hear There is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

  21. Yeah, that’s about the size of this scandal – someone suggesting that in a possible future situation they might act in a certain way.

    Did they – no.

  22. It is indicative of an anti-scientific attitude, particularly in circumstances where data has been claimed to have been lost. I guess we will have a better idea of what has been going on after the inquiries have finished looking at these events. You, being a fanatic, are already certain of the answer.

  23. SB, are you having a difficult day at the office?

    Where, in your quote of Monbiot at 1:33 pm, is there any kind of support for your assertion that he reckons the “denialists” are playing down the importance of the emails?

    I was under the impression that you had simply made an error and typed ‘denialist’ when you meant to type ‘climate scientist’.

    If that’s not the case and you’re trying to defend your completely incorrect reading of Monbiot’s words, then we’re in for some fun!

    Cheers.

  24. Marek, as it happens, I am having a difficult day at the office.

    Perhaps the way I expressed myself was infelicitous. My intended meaning, which accords with Monbiot’s reading of the situation, was that those who play down Climategate are the new deniers.

    It seems quite clear to me. On the one hand, are the shrill fanatics claiming that the Climategate documents are, respectively, proof positive of climate fraud, or completely innocuous.

    On the other hand are more thoughtful commentators on both sides of the AGW debate who think the Climatedocs warrant further inquiry.

  25. ‘Climategate’ is going to blow up in the faces of the criminals and liars who are pushing it.

    The whole ‘ClimateGate’ thing is wonderfully ironic. In their haste to ramp up the the drama they seem to have forgotten that the original gatey-thing, was Watergate – you know, breaking in and attempting to steal other people’s communications.

  26. No evidence of any break-ins here, more like the efforts of an altruistic whistleblower. However, it may well be that there is as much danger in the attempted cover-up as in the documents themselves.

  27. Oh, so hacking into the servers at the UEA was not a break-in, nor was the attempted hack into RealClimate to post a link to the stolen material.

    Hmmmm.

  28. No evidence of any break-ins here, more like the efforts of an altruistic whistleblower. However, it may well be that there is as much danger in the attempted cover-up as in the documents themselves.

    I’m pretty sure Bolt wrote something very similar if not exact to that. Please tell me you are not taking your cues from him.

    There has been speculation that the hacking was done by Russian “patriot-hackers” and you can look into that yourself, but as it stands there is nothing indicating that it was done by a “whistleblower”.

    I don’t know what attempted cover up you are referring to, because I don’t believe there is any evidence for one.

  29. Come now Patrick, we all know that you’re in on it too – the world wide global conspiracy to foist one-world socialist/communist govt on us all and make us live in caves eating tofu while scientists fly around the world in personal jets eating cavier (and drinkiung the blood of your first-born).

  30. The denialists desperately try to associate so-called ‘climategate’ with public interest whistleblowers like Watergate. But in fact ‘climategate’ is more akin to the criminal activities (including death threats) the tobacco lobby deployed in an effort to discredit the proven link between smoking and disease causation.

    And just like we scorn today at the tactics used by that group and the people who promoted its cause, so too will the public come to have the same regard towards the denialists and their well funded lobby group in future years. The denialists will be on the wrong side of history. And now the public is seeing exactly the depths to which they will sink, I don’t imagine it will be long before that happens.

  31. OK, now I see your meaning, SB.

    I have to say that I agree with the entirety of your last post.
    Having said that, I balk at the implication that Climate Change supporters are denying the importance of the emails out of self-interest, yet AGW deniers are doing so out of some noble quest for the truth.

    Anyway, hope your ended well.

    Cheers.

  32. There are number of theories. Those who prefer blind belief to a cautious wait and see approach have already decided the emails have been stolen. It is more likely that somebody packaged this lot together internally. CRU has previously left stuff on open servers, so the file may not have been stolen at all. Or maybe someone internally had a conscience, or maybe they were concerned that the files had been collected for easy deletion in the event that somebody started enforcing the FOI rules (per Phil Jones suggestion).

    Patrick I didn’t get that from Bolt. The provenance of the documents has been widely debated for some weeks now. I’ll try to keep in mind that in your looney land once Bolt mentions something it is automatically proved to be false.

    People would not be so concerned if the emails didn’t dovetail so nicely with the previous behaviour of the Hockey Team. If they had behaved like scientists rather than agenda driven politicians there data and methods would be open for all interested parties to check.

    Instead they fulminated about ways to ensure sceptics could not check their data and methods, keeping opposing views out of IPCC consideration, undermining the peer review process and getting unhelpful editors sacked from scientific journals.

    None of this is any interest to true believers. It’s all just politics as usual for them.

  33. Fascinating SB.

    A “blind belief” approach is to take the word of the victims who reported a theft to the police, versus SB’s wonderfully cautious “wait and see” approach which apparently involves wild speculation on “somebody” doing something, all based on the evidene of……er…..absolutely nothing except the fondest wishes of the denialists.

    As for Bolt…..you’e half right SB, his mentioning something usually is a petty good indicator that it’s utterly wrong. Hence, Bolt was one of the first to run hard with the “whistle-blower” crap, naming Tom Wigley, who promptly called bull-shit on Bolt.

    The rest – you know SFA about science, and it shows.

  34. SB, I sort of knew you wouldn’t read the links so I’m not surprised. Even though every point you raise has been refuted elsewhere, you persist in displaying your ignorance.

  35. Bruce, I’m not sure if you haven’t read McIntyre, or just don’t understand what he said. His issue is not so much with the divergence problem, which has long been known to be a serious issue, but the way it was dealt with on different occasions. Of particular interest is the lengths ‘scientists’ were prepared to go to to avoid disclosing ‘unhelpful’ data, instead of say, presenting it and then explaining their interpretation of it.

    I paid attention initially, when he wasn’t so qualified in his criticisms, but when he subtly tried to reposition himself further away from “hide the decline”, I dozed off. Equivocation being a fallacy after all.

    And again, the fact that he pretends to make a criticism of the way the trick is done, without even citing the research that justifies “the trick”, is telling. If he really had a problem with the way the science was done, that’s the place to start.

    As for his bleeting about not being given data – a) the bulk of the data is available, if he can’t address that then he’s not going to make reliable assertions, b) if he’s going to give biased accounts of errors – made obvious by the fact that there must be errors in both directions and the fact that on occasion he only reports them in one direction (see the exaggerated station correction crap Michelle Malkin parroted if you are curious) – then his analysis is worthless in making an accusation of bias.

    Giving him the data he seeks isn’t likely to unveil anything of use. At any rate, if there is any serious allegations of data manipulation, there are authorities that can investigate the non-disclosed data.

    And as pointed out, the data he wants belongs to others – he’s like a mad dog, repeatedly barking up the wrong tree to try and get people to think there’s something up it. Every now and then, someone credulous or someone who doesn’t know any better strolls by and gets duped.

    People would not be so concerned if the emails didn’t dovetail so nicely with the previous behaviour of the Hockey Team. If they had behaved like scientists rather than agenda driven politicians there data and methods would be open for all interested parties to check.

    Spoken like someone who’s already made up their mind, which strangely enough you were counselling others not to do.

    Instead they fulminated about ways to ensure sceptics could not check their data and methods, keeping opposing views out of IPCC consideration, undermining the peer review process and getting unhelpful editors sacked from scientific journals.

    Wow. Now you’re pre-supposing as a part of your argument, that which you set out to argue.

    Talk about an axe to grind.

  36. Bruce, if we are going to make serious decisions, it should only be done on the basis of science that is open to verification. the Hockey Team cabal fails miserably at this.

    It is all very well and good to say that the data belongs to someone else. All that means is that studies which use that data should be discarded for decision making purposes.

    I’ve made up my mind to actually try and understand this stuff, but given the hysteria around the debate, to be cautious, particularly given the lack of transparency in many areas.

    You would think that given the useful contribution McIntyre has made – showing the errors in Mann’s principal component method, pointing out errors in the GISS temperature series, correcting the data used by Steig in one of his recent Antarctic studies – his attempts to assist would be welcomed rather than be scorned by the scared.

    The Climtegate docs look less like a conspiracy to commit scientific fraud, and more like paranoid groupthink laced with a sense of their destiny to save the planet.

    And I don’t think describing fulminations pre-supposes anything.

  37. If they ever hear There is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone” – SB

    What completely nonsensical drivel.

    It means you go and ask the person it belongs too, not someone else.

  38. Hmm, cut and paste weirdness.

    That should have been,

    It is all very well and good to say that the data belongs to someone else. All that means is that studies which use that data should be discarded for decision making purposes. – SB

    What completely nonsensical drivel.

    It means you go and ask the person it belongs too, not someone else.

  39. Bruce, if we are going to make serious decisions, it should only be done on the basis of science that is open to verification. the Hockey Team cabal fails miserably at this. It is all very well and good to say that the data belongs to someone else. All that means is that studies which use that data should be discarded for decision making purposes.

    Oh what rubbish. McIntyre isn’t the be all or the end-all, or even a part of climate research. The data is available to anyone who needs it, and at any rate, if McIntyre wants the data that belongs to someone else, then he should ask that someone else. He’s barking up the wrong tree and knows full well why his FOI requests to the wrong people are being denied.

    I’ve made up my mind to actually try and understand this stuff, but given the hysteria around the debate, to be cautious, particularly given the lack of transparency in many areas.

    And what about confirmation biases? Or undue credulity – you’ve already demonstrated that in your willingness to see McIntyre’s FOI request to the wrong people as something wrong with the process.

    You would think that given the useful contribution McIntyre has made – showing the errors in Mann’s principal component method, pointing out errors in the GISS temperature series, correcting the data used by Steig in one of his recent Antarctic studies – his attempts to assist would be welcomed rather than be scorned by the scared.

    You’re simply presuming that these contributions are useful. There are numerous reasons why this isn’t the case. Firstly, if finding errors inside an acceptable margin doesn’t alter conclusions – and over exaggerating them is counter productive.

    Further, a lot of McIntyre’s “corrections” aren’t corrections. Such as his botch up of the use of RSS satellite data to “correct” the GISS temperature series, which naturally he blamed on RSS (even though they had a readme warning how the data can be used.)

    And when McIntyre does make genuine corrections, they are biased – he reports the errors in one direction. Even if the data he was reporting on was rigged, he’d still find more errors underestimating temperature increases, because errors happen.

    Or perhaps you’ll tell us it was useful when McIntyre claimed that because a set of tree-ring data (Schweingruber), contradicted directly measured temperatures, the directly measured temperatures (Briffa) were wrong. Seriously, claiming that the proxy is a better measure than what it’s a proxy for, when in contradiction, is silly.

    And this is so often what McIntyre does when he gets the data. It’s tedious in addition to being useless. What’s to be thankful for?

    Scientists can’t engage in this kind of bad faith and inept conduct and expect to be part of a reliable, honest, robust scientific investigation.

    Good luck with your understanding, SB.

  40. paranoid groupthink laced with a sense of their destiny to save the planet.

    To me that more or less sums up the attitudes from your own side of the argument, saving the world from mad, corrupt scientists and lefties conspiring to take over the world and other such themes which seem to be central to the whole climate denialist, err, climate sceptic movement.

  41. Bruce:

    Or perhaps you’ll tell us it was useful when McIntyre claimed that because a set of tree-ring data (Schweingruber), contradicted directly measured temperatures, the directly measured temperatures (Briffa) were wrong. Seriously, claiming that the proxy is a better measure than what it’s a proxy for, when in contradiction, is silly.

    Do you really believe this is what the argument is about, or that McIntyre made that claim?

    Michael:

    It means you go and ask the person it belongs too, not someone else.

    Private research is all well and good, but no rational policy-maker would rely on secret science.

  42. There’s nothing ‘secret’ about the data available from the various national meteorology centres.

    Your penchant for conspiracy is amusing. Asking the wrong people for the data doesn’t mean it’s ‘secret’.

  43. The fact is that the Climategate documents show the lengths the Team is prepared to go to to avoid scrutiny. True it may only be paranoia rather than fraud. That sort of thing may be appropriate politics, but it is the opposite of scientific inquiry.

    Even before Climategate Jones expressed his attitude to open science:

    “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

  44. The degree of public availability of climate data is actually quite amazing, all the whining not withstanding.

    Jones’ comment was in regard to one particular vexatious serial pest in the form of Steve ‘ lying-sack-of-shit’ McIntyre. Scientists have no problem working with reasonable people.

  45. Sure. A serial pest is anyone who tries to check Jone’s work to see if there is anything wrong with it. No wonder he has stood down from his position pending an inquiry. No wonder Monbiot called for him to resign.

  46. Do you really believe this is what the argument is about, or that McIntyre made that claim?

    I think McIntyre’s competence is entirely relevant to the question of meaningful participation in the science. And I know he made that claim, as much as he may try to backpeddle.

    That sort of thing may be appropriate politics, but it is the opposite of scientific inquiry.

    The data only needs to be open in as far as experiments/processing can be repeated for it to be a scientific process. Beyond that, whether or not it’s available to the general public isn’t a scientific matter, it’s purely an FOI matter.

    Sure. A serial pest is anyone who tries to check Jone’s work to see if there is anything wrong with it.

    Or someone who confects something wrong. McIntyre’s track record of false positives, misrepresentations and inconsequential anomaly hunting casts him in the same category of pest as creationists.

  47. McIntyre made 59 FOI requests in 5 days.

    They were all rejected – vexatious.

    Steve McIntyre is the Peter Hoare of science.

  48. Brusc you are too funny. If you really believe that McIntyre’s argument is that the instrumental temps are wrong or a better measurement than proxy data, that at least explains your strange attitude. However, you have got this point hopelessly wrong.

    Also, if the data is to be used for major policy decisions it needs to be as robust as possible. You are unlikely to get that from the paranoid Hockey Team cabal who are running scared of anyone who wants to check their work.

  49. Yes, that’s why the vast majority of the data is publicly available and they publish their work in the heavily scrutinised peer-reviewed literature. This is how the clever scientists hide – in plain sight!!

  50. Brusc you are too funny. If you really believe that McIntyre’s argument is that the instrumental temps are wrong or a better measurement than proxy data, that at least explains your strange attitude. However, you have got this point hopelessly wrong.

    Oh for pity’s sake SB, I’m referring to a previous mistake of his, prior to the whole “Climategate” rubbish. I’m not talking about what you linked to – if you’d been paying attention you’d know that.

    You are unlikely to get that from the paranoid Hockey Team cabal who are running scared of anyone who wants to check their work.

    Presupposing your conclusions again.

    I never get tired of watching you fumble with basic reasoning, SB.

  51. Bruce, McIntyre’s point on the divergence problem, for as long as I have been reading him, is that the discrepancy calls into question the validity of using the relevant proxy for any period, particularly older periods where there is no instrumental record.

    You attributed a completely specious argument to McIntyre and now you try to brush it aside, suggesting that in fact you realise that he doesn’t actually hold that view. I am sure you have a name for this fallacy – fibbing perhaps? You are too clever by half.

  52. You attributed a completely specious argument to McIntyre and now you try to brush it aside…

    What do you mean “brush it aside?” McIntyre’s attempted use of an unreliable proxy to discredit another source of data (Briffa) that is in line with direct temperature recordings necessarily implies that his choice of proxy is more reliable than direct temperature recordings (or any other proxy that falls in line with direct temperature recordings.) His accusation against Briffa was that because Briffa’s data was out of step with McIntyre’s proxy (which was out of step with everything including direct temperature measurements), that Briffa’s data was cooked – despite his backpeddling after the fact. (Scroll down to the section about McIntyre’s denial in response to Briffa’s rebuttal.)

    What’s so hard about this for you to grasp, SB? The specious opinion I attributed to McIntyre is a logically necessary implication of his argument, even if he doesn’t spell it out.

    I am sure you have a name for this fallacy – fibbing perhaps? You are too clever by half.

    I gather you have some dodgy quotes from hacked emails to demonstrate that I’m fibbing to you?

  53. Hmmm…. Something happened to my blockquote tags. At least the link is in tact.

  54. The divergance relates to one proxy series and it’s a recent one.

    Asd usual, Steve overeaches and falls flat on his face.

  55. Asd usual, Steve overeaches and falls flat on his face.

    I’ll say. I mean if you want to discredit a set of proxy data, and you have direct measurements of what the proxy data is supposed to imply, you go to the direct measurements to show contradiction, not another proxy. (Otherwise you go to the host of other proxies being measured.)

  56. Bruce, here is the bit where you got it wrong:

    Or perhaps you’ll tell us it was useful when McIntyre claimed that because a set of tree-ring data (Schweingruber), contradicted directly measured temperatures, the directly measured temperatures (Briffa) were wrong. Seriously, claiming that the proxy is a better measure than what it’s a proxy for, when in contradiction, is silly.

    McIntyre does not suggest that the ‘directly measured temperature’ is wrong. You are clearly misunderstanding the argument. (Not surprising if you rely on hyperventilators like Deltoid.)

    He does suggest that Briffa’s selection of data that matches the instrumental record, and his exclusion of a larger amount of data that does not, merely revives the divergence problem.

    The problem isn’t that the ‘directly measured temperature’ is wrong. It is that the divergence of the proxy from the directly measured temperature indicates that the proxy may not be a reliable indicator of temperature, particularly for periods which can’t be checked against the instrumental record.

  57. McIntyre does not suggest that the ‘directly measured temperature’ is wrong. You are clearly misunderstanding the argument.

    Okay. I see what’s happening here. I botched what I typed last night – referring to Briffa’s proxy data as directly measured temperatures – which obviously they only approximate.

    My bad. I didn’t re-read what I wrote and I thought I was clearer.

    All the same, all it demonstrates is that the proxy data McIntyre introduced is unreliable (which is really non-controversial). If McIntyre wants to argue that Briffa’s proxy data is off on the basis of a contrary bad proxy, then it logically follows that McIntyre is elevating this bad proxy to a status more reliable than the instrumental records, which Briffa’s proxy approximates.

    It is that the divergence of the proxy from the directly measured temperature indicates that the proxy may not be a reliable indicator of temperature, particularly for periods which can’t be checked against the instrumental record.

    An individual proxy measure is obviously susceptible to contextual influences that we may not be aware of, nor even be able to be aware of. But this isn’t even nearly the problem you make it out to be.

    It’s why multiple proxies are used (i.e. not just tree rings) for a given period – a proxy, or several proxies that become unreliable stand out against their partners. Smaller errors in individual proxies, when all the data is combined (with data from bad proxies removed) cancel each other out. And then the end product has to overlap with similar temperature reconstructions from the periods before and after.

    Pointing out that any given single proxy can possibly go wrong in some context is non controversial. It’s already known.

    Exaggerating the significance of a single proxy that deviates is, as I’ve already said, like creationist anomaly hunting. And if you search Answers In Genesis or Creation Ministries International, I suspect you will find similar examples – although they’ve both had site makeovers since I last looked.

  58. Not surprising if you rely on hyperventilators like Deltoid.

    Actually, I only checked Deltoid later on in this conversation – my initial comments were from memory. And at any rate, could you demonstrate why Tim Lambert is any less reliable than McIntyre et. al.?

  59. Bruce, this is the summary;

    ‘Scientists know nothing about science, says the man in the street.’

  60. Not examining evidence that challenges your assertions, proceeding with an obfuscating diatribe and presenting specious distraction arguments etc. This modus operandi is shared by a particular kind of ‘contributor’ to debates. Luckily for some there are several (including myself apparently) who cannot resist giving the scandinavian bogeyman a morsel, I hope they are tasty.

    Climate dilemma is serious, best minds and best methods are needed. Real scepticism where actual science, not faux news propaganda, is informing the debate and where the relative virtues of mitigation methods are identified is the aim, not a perpetuation of the status quo made easier by the action of ranting obscurants.

  61. Thanks Bruce.

    Have another drink, Stewie.

  62. Thanks Bruce.

    NP. If it’s not too much, to save me going through everything I’ve written with a fine-tooth comb, if it’s not too much, is there anything else you think I need to clarify?

  63. A useful point of clarification might be what SB thinks McIntyre has actually shown that wasn’t already known?

  64. You can tell I didn’t go through that last sentence with a fine-tooth comb either. *Facepalm*

  65. Plimer vs Monbiot is on lateline now.

    ALready Plimer has said Copenhagen isnt’ about science, it’s about a great big tax.

    LOL.

  66. Shit SB, I really misunderestimated you.
    Not just “climateaudit” but now “WUWT”?

    What about Inhofe?

    Monckton, maybe?

    Is “climategate” the best thing you have turned up to calm the concern that we have a problem.

  67. What ClimateGate/SwiftClimate/whatever has shown is that the people involved are not scientists but politicians.

    The release of data, programs and emails has shown that the basic information we are using to form public policy is not as clear cut as we were lead to believe. When scientists are willing to admit to each other that they cannot explain certain trends and yet do not say that publicly there is a real cause for concern.

    What has always concerned me about the climate change argument is the single minded concentration on CO2 emissions as if nothing else had any effect. And the political solutions to this are so modified by corporate and political concerns that they have no real effect. Do you really think the ETS scheme proposed by the government will have any real effect on emissions? Does anyone deny it would have real economic effects on the general population?

    I would heartily support an environmental bill that encouraged more efficient use of resources, recycling of materials, more sustainable resource usage and local development of alternative energy sources. The ETS provided none of that.

  68. Bruse:

    If McIntyre wants to argue that Briffa’s proxy data is off on the basis of a contrary bad proxy, then it logically follows that McIntyre is elevating this bad proxy to a status more reliable than the instrumental records, which Briffa’s proxy approximates.

    That is not what McIntyre wants to argue!

  69. What has always concerned me about the climate change argument is the single minded concentration on CO2 emissions as if nothing else had any effect.” – ShaneG

    This single statement demonstrates that you’ve never read any scientific paper on AGW.

  70. confessions,

    yep, just seen Plimer – tax, tax, tax.
    “Biggest scientific fraud in history” etc etc.

    ROFL!!!

    Tony Jones really pinned him down on the whole volcanic CO2 thing – in the end Plimer admitted his claim was just his own “deduction”, falsely claiming that the USGS figures don’t include submarine volcanoes and when he was told that they do, went off on a gish gallop (one of many).

  71. Shane, don’t mind Michael. Sadly he is afflicted with that sad combination of infinite self-regard and the crystal certainty of the made-up mind. All you will get from him is waspish contempt.

  72. You probably don’t understand the multiple problems with that one sentence either, do you SB?

  73. Michael, obviously you have a sharp mind. The problem is that it is sphincter-like in its operation – closed tight and full of shit.

  74. Is that a ‘no’?

  75. Plimer was a shocker. He did not answer one single question put to him, couldn’t mount a reasonable defence of his book against claims of fabrication, couldn’t remember bits that had been written in his book, and is still persisting with his ‘the world hasn’t warmed in 10 years’ meme. This is the man the denialists have hitched their wagons to – no wonder they are constantly shown up as cherrypickers who distort and misrepresent the science.

  76. Well, they’ve hitched their wagons to a falling star. ‘Crash and burn’ time is approaching.

  77. Plimer was pretty bad. His book is interesting but sloppy in places.

    The thing that sets Monbiot apart from his closed-minded fellow-travelers is his willingness to call out the Hockey Team over Climategate. It’s the difference between caring about the truth and playing politics.

  78. You’re one to opine on ‘truth’ SB, with your constant misrepresentation of Monbiot on the stolen emails.

    Yet again, Monbiot’s position is that the science is unaffected by a few lines in a few emails.

    Those who use them to try and cast doubt on the science are the ones “playing politics”.

  79. Here is another quote from monbiot to go with the one I gave earlier:

    Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

    I am not misrepresenting Monbiot on this point and I am not implying that he has changed his views on AGW.

    Monbiot acknowledges the problem and confronts it. Political hacks pretend there is no problem. They are the new deniers.

  80. Monbiot’s concern is the affect this may have on the public confidence in the science- ie the politics. As he has repeatedly said, this does not affect the scientific position on AGW one iota.

  81. Except he called for e re-examination of data referred to in the emails, but hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your prejudice.

  82. Monbiot has elevated himself in my opinion.
    He is one of the few people out there who argues his point without too much hyperbole and, as SB has pointed out, accepts when his side of the fence is looking shabby.
    I believe he is a man of true intellect and principle.
    Which is why the Movement Conservatives hate him!

    Plimer, on the other hand, is a disgrace.
    The Lateline interview illustrated perfectly how his primary interest is to cash in on the ‘Denialist” industry.
    The number of times he raised his book into camera shot was directly proportional to the amount of times that he had nothing of worth to say.
    He was completely incapable of defending the factual infelicities in his book.

    Ian Plimer is a nobody who is trying his best to pad out his supperannuation account before he becomes completely irrelevant or senile, or both.

    Cheers.

  83. Oh, BTW.
    Just to reinforce how Plimer is a pillock of the first division, cast your eyes over this take down of his shoddy science and facts presented in his anti-creationism book called Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism.

    I don’t normally champion Creationists over sane and normal people, but in this instance, I have to say; “Go, you God-botherers!!”.

    Cheers.

  84. George Monbiot;

    the evidence has hardened up to a startling degree….the science of man-made global warming is now as solid as the science linking smoking with lung cancer….

    You keep confusing the science with the PR and politiking around the science.

  85. Michael, no one doubts that Monbiot’s justified criticisms of the CRU crew have not diminished his support for the AGW theory.

    His skill is reason. Yours is politics, and the blind casuistic obstinacy that comes with that.

  86. Sorry for being so focussed on the scientific facts of the matter.

    Please keep spinning away…..

  87. The Climategate documents highlight the need for re-checking the science, a point with which Monbiot agrees. Your attitude of ‘move along, nothing to see here’ is anti-rational and anti-scientific.

  88. There are hundreds of seperate lines of evidence all leading to the same conclusion. The whole of CRU could disappear and the case for AGW would be unaffected.

    However, it won’t, because the CRU data is robust.

    Realclimate have a very useful post up providing all the links and data for people to do their own checking of the CRU data via some basic statisitical sampling.

    All the data-whiners and concern-trolls could go over there and actually do the work themselves to see if the data is ‘suspect’.

    Naturaly, this is not the kind of thing that inerests them – much better to whine loudly and inconclusively then to apply themselves to the task at hand. I think what stops them is the frightening possibility that they’ll find it’s all ok. Then what?! – they’d have to STFU!

    Expect the data-whiners to avoid this exercise like the plague and keep on making vague allegations.

  89. The Climategate documents highlight the need for re-checking the science, a point with which Monbiot agrees.

    That’s not really an accurate statement SB. From Monbiot’s Guardian article on 7 Dec:

    Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed – the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents – the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal.

    While you are correct to point out that Monbiot is critical of the behaviour of those trying to dismiss the importance of the climategate emails (with comments such as “Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it’s not science.”) you are quite obviously incorrect to suggest that Monbiot believes that the science of AGW requires re-checking.

    He doesn’t. His view is that the scientific evidence is unequivocal, as spelled out above. He is clearly critical of the unscientific behaviour of the climategate scientists, but he in no way extrapolates from this that the science behind AGW is questionable.

    What Monbiot does do, however, is highlight the danger of the climategate emails being misused in exactly the way you have sought to use them here, i.e.:

    The denial industry, which has no interest in establishing the truth about global warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire canon of climate science.

    You really are a hoot SB. You make hysterical, sweeping and highly ideological condemnations of the science behind AGW based on nothing more than hacked private emails between four scientists, and then have the temerity to accuse Michael of being anti-reason and anti-science because he dismisses the significance of those emails.

    And you cherry pick Monbiot to make your case!!

  90. By the way Jeremy, great use of the word ‘febrile’.

  91. Monbiot acknowledges the problem and confronts it. Political hacks pretend there is no problem. They are the new deniers.

    Who said actually said “no problem”, in unmistakable, non-rhetorical terms? There’s a world of difference between saying there’s no conspiracy and that many of the FOI claims are vexatious, and saying that everything is lemon-peachy.

    The Climategate documents highlight the need for re-checking the science, a point with which Monbiot agrees. Your attitude of ‘move along, nothing to see here’ is anti-rational and anti-scientific.

    And there is a world of difference between “nothing that you see here” and “nothing to see here”. It’s a question of proportion and specifics, which are being shot out of the water by a heaping load of hysterical conspiracism.

    And unless you are going to demonstrate how any of the essential qualities of science are being compromised (falsifiability, repeatability etc.), please reconsider spouting “anti-science” as if it means something.

    Just because McIntyre doesn’t get the info he wants, for whatever reason (even bad reasons), doesn’t mitigate against the repeatability – people other than McIntyre can repeat data analysis and analyse different data from the same periods.

  92. Mondo, you are completely over the top. I quoted Monbiot as authority for the propositions he made about the Climategate documents. This is precisely to demonstrate that even AGW alarmists can be rational.

    And clearly Monbiot’s comments make plain that some of the scientific data needs to be re-considered:

    Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

    Monbiot well exemplifies the difference between rational people and caterwauling political shills.

  93. Bruce falsifiability has always been an issue with the Hockey Team. It has proved extremely difficult to gain access to their data and methods. Notoriously, “Piltdown” Mann had to be subpoenaed to get data out of him.

    If I actually believed the Hockey Stick graphs (and their successors) were good science. I would have a much different opinion about AGW. I am sceptical precisely because the most compelling studies seem to fall into the category of unverifiable assertion rather than science which can in fact be verified.

    At the moment what we are fed a variety of excuses: ‘the data belongs to someone else’, ‘I am not giving it to you because you might use it to prove me wrong’, ‘here’s the data, but I am not going to give you the details of what I did with it to normalise it’, ‘technically the disclosure rules don’t apply this data’.

    Sadly, politics appears to be driving the science, so I would prefer to stand back and wait until the issues are analysed by people other than the Hockey Team cabal.

  94. Monbiot well exemplifies the difference between rational people and caterwauling political shills.

    Absolutely SB – and as a rational person Monbiot is arguing that the science on AGW is unequivocal.

    As a rational person he has also dismissed the climategate emails as irrelevant to the AGW debate (although he obviously accepts their relevance to the credibility of the actual scientists implicated).

    You, on the other hand, continue to try to elevate those emails beyond any rational semblence of importance. You wield them as a sort of all-encompassing proof that should somehow give pause to global climate scientists the world over.

    I think your febrile (thanks Jeremy) attachment to these emails is ridiculous. I think your ongoing attempts to extrapolate the content of these emails so as to be relevant to the entire body of climate science smacks of ideological desperation.

    And I think you’re aligning yourself with a group of campaigners whose dishonesty is far more apparent and far more damning than anything disclosed in the emails.

  95. And as I’ve pointed out to you SB, the CRU data is freely available for re-analysis.

    Real Climate have a step-by-step guide.

    Knock yourself out……unless you just prefer to keep “caterwauling”.

  96. It should go without saying, Michael, that the goal of the climategate crowd is most certainly not to have the science re-analysed.

    At the moment the emails are a seed of doubt that can be sown wildly and excessively. Resolution of the dispute, one way or the other, is the last thing these clowns want as it will either:

    1. establish the veracity of the science, or

    2. discredit the scientists in question thus allowing the debate to move on to the remaining 99.99% of the science underpinning this theory.

    Neither of those outcomes serve the purposes of the deniers. It’s much better for them that the impact of these emails remains vague and undefined so that they can continue to use them as a basis for their hysterical conspiracy theories.

  97. Mondo, you are absolutely pathetic on this issue – a frothing politicised tool. My position is not much different after Climategate than it was before – that studies which are unable to be verified (either because the data is not available, or the way the data has been treated is not fully explained) should not be relied. I appreciate that reasonable people can differ on this. I can’t understand the ‘move on, nothing to see here’ approach, other than as politics completely dominating the debate. If that’s your go, fine. But then you are no better than the strident hoons, a thousand or so have been arrested for the violent approach to scientific discourse.

    Ignoring the Climategate documents is just burying your head in the sand. We really need somebody independent to find out investigate why a coder was complaining about being forced to incorporate bad data into another dataset which would thereby become bad itself. We should understand what a ‘scientist’ meant when he thought his work was a reasonable compromise between the demands of science and the demands of the IPCC. We need to know to what extent the peer review process has been gamed by people who threatened to redefine it and to get unhelpful editors sacked.

    And because I would like to see these and other matters investigated you wank on interminably, untouched by reason or thought. The only time you will stop, apparently, is when they prise your spongy cock from your cold dead hand.

  98. SB chooses to keep caterwauling.

    OK.

  99. I appreciate that reasonable people can differ on this. I can’t understand the ‘move on, nothing to see here’ approach, other than as politics completely dominating the debate.

    Why you continue to conflate an observation that the climategate emails are relatively unimportant in the context of AGW theory with an argument that they should not be pursued or investigated is beyond me SB.

    You’re not stupid. You’re capable of understanding the distinction and yet you prefer to respond to all those arguing the former as though they are arguing the latter.

    It’s obvious why. Your agenda is much better served by continuing to elevate the importance of these emails far beyond what is reasonable or even rational.

    It’s funny to me that you genuinely view yourself as impartial in relation to this issue.

  100. Mondo, I don’t think the Climategate documents do anything more than raise questions. They are certainly not proof of fraud or conspiracy. They haven’t much changed my opinion from when we discussed AGW on a pre-Climategate thread here. What bemuses me is that some people cannot bring themselves to admit that the documents do raise serious issues that need to be investigated. At least you have acknowledged this. Sadly others haven’t.

    Now, let’s talk about science. What do you think is the most compelling reason to believe that climate change is anthropogenic?

  101. SB, you’re either not interested in the science or you don’t understand how (capital S) Science works. All of your questions are answered at Realclimate, a site run by climate scientists, but you characterise them as “hyperventilaters”.
    I’ll answer your question with a question.
    What do you think is the most compelling reason articulated by a climate scientist that shows global warming is not anthropogenic?

  102. Now, let’s talk about science. What do you think is the most compelling reason to believe that climate change is anthropogenic?

    Here is one answer. Took me about 2 minutes to Google. I’m sure if you’re serious you’ll be able to find many more.

  103. Excellent question SB, and I’ll take a different tack to zoot in my response.

    My honest answer is that the most compelling reason for my personal belief that global warming is anthropogenic is my understanding that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists worldwide believe that the theory is correct. More specifically, the CSIRO supports the theory and I tend to defer to our national scientific body on matters of science.

    I suppose some will argue that I should make an effort to understand the science, and therefore review the scientists’ work myself, but I guess I’ve already accepted that there’s little chance of this being a worthwhile exercise. There’s just no way I could review their work in any meaningful way based on a (low scoring) high-school science background.

    In the end I believe that all I can reasonably do is observe the protagonists and decide which side appears to be arguing honestly and presenting the most well-supported position.

    At the moment I think the AGW crowd is streets ahead. Arse-hats like Plimer and Bolt are applying far too many obviously dishonest rhetorical tricks to make their case – although I do think they occasionally score valid points against the more hysterical warming prophets.

    Anyway that’s my answer.

  104. I should add that, in my view, the far more interesting and worthwhile debate is “what should we do about it?”.

    In this area I think you will find I am more in line with your views SB. I have recently read ‘Cool it’ by Bjorn Lomberg and I think he raises some really interesting questions about whether putting all our efforts into carbon reduction measures is actually the most sensible way to deal with climate change.

    But while the science is being hysterically challenged by lunatics like Bolt there seems to be little room for nuanced discussion about the preferred solution.

    I think this is a terrible shame, and probably the most pernicious aspect of the denier industry.

  105. Mission fail? No logic or evidence to support vacuous assertions, feeble analysis of evidence, must clutch to straws no matter how weak or ludicrous, do brilliant impersonation of straw man…

    Epic fail as debater, crowning triumph as troll! Excellent amusement all round. Same time next week chaps? I believe a good analogy could bloggy mediaeval bear-baiting. Those cruel, heartless, nimble, vicious, inbred lefty dogs ripping the guts out of the once fearsome but blind and toothless wingnut bear.

  106. Another tact is;

    The most compelling reason for AGW is the lack of natural climate forcings that can explain global warming.

    Cosmic Rays?
    No.
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/r47.pdf

    The sun?
    Disproven.
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0901/0901.0515v1.pdf

    It’s a natural variation?
    No.

    It’s cooling?
    No.
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD012105.shtml

    Natural variations in other climate forcings can’t explain observed warming.

    But we know that CO2 is a GHG. We know the level is increasing, and we know that this increase is anthropogenic.

    Rule out the impossible and you’re left with the probable.

    Observed warming is very probably caused by anthropogenic GHG emissions.

  107. Bruce falsifiability has always been an issue with the Hockey Team. It has proved extremely difficult to gain access to their data and methods.

    Falsifiability is an epistemological property of a theory – it has nothing to do with the difficulty of obtaining data.

    I am sceptical precisely because the most compelling studies seem to fall into the category of unverifiable assertion rather than science which can in fact be verified.

    Well this is just factually wrong. Even if Mann et. al. were as obstructionist as you suggest, or moreso that nobody could gain access to their data, their claims would still in a scientific sense be verifiable because the experiment is repeatable.

    By way of analogy, nobody ever needed the data used to claim that cold fusion was a success – they just repeated the experiment. In this case it turned out not be verified.

    Or let me put all this another way. The Manhattan Project was a scientific endeavour. There was no FOI. There was tight security and the data was not openly published. It was still science – all the hypothesis were falsifiable, and inherently repeatable even if people were kept in the dark.

    What bemuses me is that some people cannot bring themselves to admit that the documents do raise serious issues that need to be investigated. At least you have acknowledged this. Sadly others haven’t.

    Ummm. Seeing as I’m not going back over what I wrote with a fine tooth comb, I’ll save you the job and reiterate something.

    I’ve been arguing that the FOI business in general, and alluded to in the emails don’t raise the issue you appear been interpreting from them. I didn’t say that they didn’t raise an issue – FOI is an issue unto itself, and I did say (explicitly) that that was an issue.

    In as far as that’s an issue, I don’t actually have a crystallised opinion, although I don’t think things are as lacking in transparency as people, or the climategate emails make out. It’s being investigated anyway, so it’s somewhat moot.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not against the investigation. I do hope it’s a bit fairer than even Monbiot is – while I have no opinion on the sacking of any scientists (pending the investigation), I think Monbiot’s interpretation of some of the emails is a bit off.

    I really don’t think he gets the kind of humour and rhetoric that circulates amongst number crunchers. Like those people who think “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” is an actual statement of willing complacency amongst coders, rather than an ironic joke.

  108. I really don’t think he gets the kind of humour and rhetoric that circulates amongst number crunchers.

    And the real elephant in the room – the one that the climategate crowd refuses to acknowledge – is that the ‘leaked’ emails have quite clearly been filtered. Someone has gone through a much larger body of emails and cherry picked those that are the most ‘juicy’. In other words there has been a clear opportunity to manipulate the details and data to maximise the impact of these emails on the scientists’ credibility.

    Not one of the sceptics now claiming passionate devotion to scientific method has even admitted that the evidence they are basing their doubts on is an utterly compromised montage of carefully selected emails put together by an anonymous author with a clear political agenda.

    Their scepticism is so obviously selective and their devotion to scientific rigour in the assessment of data is so grossly inconsistent that it’s clear they’re barracking for their preferred position rather than honestly trying to evaluate the science.

  109. Hey, what happened to SB??

  110. Hey, what happened to SB??

    Perhaps the same thing that happened to the thread.

    Personally, I’d like to see his explanation of how using unreliable proxy data (with a lot of “maybes” substituting for actual context) to allege Briffa is cherry picking (which McIntyre did explicitly in the comments), is merely drawing attention to a divergence.

    When I’m corrected by him, I’ll be very angry with my University for not equipping me with the abilities to interpret that which is in front of me. At least not as well as the University of Blogistan does.

  111. Mondo:

    More specifically, the CSIRO supports the theory and I tend to defer to our national scientific body on matters of science.

    Of all people, I would not be trusting the CSIRO with history of suppressing dissent. The attempted suppression of one of their scientist’s papers is a recent manifestation to their attitude to open discussion.

    I would be far more trusting of the scientists if they openly disclosed the data and methods behind their work, and critics had given it their best shot. Instead they have become paranoid and secretive in the face of potential criticism. Whether this behaviour accords with the norms of scientific behaviour, it makes their work more difficult to accept as a basis for major policy decisions.

    Politics, not science, is about consensus. The compromise can be seen in Briffa’s comment about balancing the needs of science and of the IPCC.

    Unfortunately, the “what should we do about it” debate is going to be an entirely political process driven by the political agendas of the participants.

    Michael:

    The most compelling reason for AGW is the lack of natural climate forcings that can explain global warming…..

    CO2 is a GHG. We know the level is increasing, and we know that this increase is anthropogenic.

    Rule out the impossible and you’re left with the probable.

    Observed warming is very probably caused by anthropogenic GHG emissions.

    This is a very coherent argument in favour of AGW (not dissimilar to that put at the Sceptical Science site zoot linked to above).

    There are number of issues which muddy the water here. Historically we have had much higher CO2 levels and lower temperatures, no tipping point or runaway warming. More importantly for the last 10 years, CO2 has been increasing and there has been no proportionate increase in temperature.

    Clearly the effect of CO2 on its own does not produce enough greenhouse effect to be relevant. The theory is that the effect of CO2 is amplified be water vapour feedback. It is far from clear whether this feedback is positive or negative. Also it appears that the impact of CO2 decreases logarithmically with CO2 concentration.

    Bruce:

    Even if Mann et. al. were as obstructionist as you suggest, or moreso that nobody could gain access to their data, their claims would still in a scientific sense be verifiable because the experiment is repeatable.

    We are generally not talking about experimental science here, but analysis of corrected data. If the data is not disclosed, nor the corrections and the basis of the analysis is not fully explained, the ‘science’ involved in this process is not repeatable. We cannot generate new historical data.

    More importantly, this is ultimately about the appropriate basis for major policy decisions. The least we can expect is total transparency. Any work not meeting high standards of transparency should not be used as a basis for major policy decisions.

    Bruce:

    For what it’s worth, I’m not against the investigation. I do hope it’s a bit fairer than even Monbiot is

    Any investigation by UEA itself is unlikely to be fair. As you would know, Australian universities have a miserable track record on investigating themselves.

    Mondo:

    And the real elephant in the room – the one that the climategate crowd refuses to acknowledge – is that the ‘leaked’ emails have quite clearly been filtered. Someone has gone through a much larger body of emails and cherry picked those that are the most ‘juicy’. In other words there has been a clear opportunity to manipulate the details and data to maximise the impact of these emails on the scientists’ credibility.

    This could be for a number of reasons. It is not likely that an external hacker trawled the UEA site, as to compile the emails the hacker needed access to individual computers as well as servers.

    It could have been a collection of emails and data stored in a safe place for easy deletion, which was leaked by a whistleblower with a conscience. If this is true, at least these would be the worst documents and it is unlikely that there would be an worse stuff floating around!

    Bruce:

    I’d like to see his explanation of how using unreliable proxy data (with a lot of “maybes” substituting for actual context) to allege Briffa is cherry picking (which McIntyre did explicitly in the comments), is merely drawing attention to a divergence.

    Here’s my take on it, Bruce. Briffa used a selection of data from a relatively small number of available trees to produce data for the most recent time period. Briffa did not explain the selection method. McIntyre queried the basis of the selection, and produced a variety of charts showing the outcome with all data included, and with only the omitted data included. McIntyre speculated that Briffa may have adopted the data selected by someone else for an earlier study, which may have been appropriate for that study, but may not be relevant for Briffa’s study.

    McIntyre did not maintain that the various charts he created where more accurate than those used by Briffa, but sought an explanation (which should have been in Briffa’s paper) as to the basis of the selection. This is certainly the thrust of McIntyre’s argument, and cherrypicking McIntyre’s comments does not deal with the question McIntyre raised.

    The effect of using the particular selection of data was that the divergence problem, seen elsewhere, was not evident in Briffa’s study.

    Michael:

    Hey, what happened to SB??

    Time of the season – Christmas parties and deadlines! Compliments of the season to you all.

  112. Historically we have had much higher CO2 levels and lower temperatures, no tipping point or runaway warming – SB
    This is a fundamental misunderstanding in 2 ways.

    Firstly, some of the highest CO2 levels were many millions of years ago – when the sun was significantly less bright. Secondly, in previous natural warming events, there was a non-GHG forcing which led the intial warming. And as the denialists will, correctly for a change, tell you, CO2 rise lagged temperature rise. But this is the scary part, the warming leads to a positive CO2 feedback – warming, leading to increase release of CO2 from the carbon cycle, leading to more warming. That is “run away warming” – but it doesn’t mean that Iceland will turn into the Gold Coast.

    More importantly for the last 10 years, CO2 has been increasing and there has been no proportionate increase in temperature. – SB
    This oft repeated sound-bite suggests that its utterance is associated with a significant misunderstanding of what is predicted by AGW. No one has suggested that each year must be warmer than the last – the criticism implicit to this errorneous statement. There will continue to be cooler and warmer years as the interplay between various forcings and cycles goes on. It’s a little like suggesting that in summer each day must be the warmer than the one before it, or it’s not summer.

    Clearly the effect of CO2 on its own does not produce enough greenhouse effect to be relevant – SB
    You have to feel sorry for “clearly” – so abused by those seeking to convey certainty where there is none.

    The climate forcing factor of CO2 is known – and it’s quite relevant.

    Care to produce some evidence to back this random assertion?

    Also it appears that the impact of CO2 decreases logarithmically with CO2 concentration. – SB
    Plain wrong.

    This is a favourite theme of demialsts who, for some unknown reason, think that adding “logarithmically” makes the argument more compelling.

    The common variant of this is that CO2 absorbtivity is ‘saturated’ in the atmosphere, and hence the heating potential of existing CO2 is at its limit.

    Unfortunately for the denialists, they are labouring under yet another fundamental misunderstanding of physics. Though, to be fair, this is a point that recieves very little attention. At the most misconceived end of the CO2 spectrum is the belief that CO2 molecules are themsleves the carrier of the extra heat energy – hence the seemingly logic claim that ‘it’s only 0.02% of the atmosphere, how can it possibly have an effect?’.
    In reality, CO2 acts more like a transportor molecule delivering heat to other molecules in the atmosphere. It absorbs longwave radiation raising it to a higher state, and then usually quickly re-emits, but while in the higher state it does, through collisions, transmit kinetic energy to the much more abundant N2 and O2 molecules. Of course one little CO2 molecule doing this seems like nothing, except that they are doing this for every second of everyday of their life (decades) in the atmosphere – and we’re dumping gigatonnes more of this stuff into the atmosphere every year.

  113. SB, you seem to have missed my question so I’ll ask again.
    What do you think is the most compelling reason articulated by a climate scientist that shows global warming is not anthropogenic?

  114. SB,

    This is certainly the thrust of McIntyre’s argument, and cherrypicking McIntyre’s comments does not deal with the question McIntyre raised.

    It’s not cherry picking SB, to include a pretty serious charge McIntyre is levelling, both strongly implicit in the original post and explicit in the comments – especially when the explicit statements are oddly in contradiction to what McIntyre was saying later on (I guess “crude cherry picking”.

    But no, it doesn’t answer the question that McIntyre was asking.

    McIntyre was asking, which was again, an act of anomaly hunting ala creationism. Some things go without answers for some time, it’s unavoidable in science – and given the lack of contextual details about the proxies available, it’s by no means apparent that the question is even significant.

    McIntyre did not maintain that the various charts he created where more accurate than those used by Briffa, but sought an explanation…

    Sorry, but accusing Briffa of cherry picking necessarily implies a significance of the data left out. McIntyre may have asked questions, may have spent more time asking said questions, but the inference is rather obvious – he’s not “just asking questionstm.”

    And no amount of cherry picking McIntyre’s comments to leave out these accusations and their necessary logical inferences, will alter the fact.

    And while we are on the topic of cherry picking comment threads, your fanciful comments about cherry picking McIntyre’s comments thread are intriguing given your treatment of the hacked East Anglia emails. It’s a good thing I’m a lover of irony. 😀

    Michael,

    Though, to be fair, this is a point that recieves very little attention.

    It probably deserves consideration each time a denialist asks where the blanket layer of CO2 is, do you think?

  115. Ooo… some bad html and editing in that comment. Apologies. I think my browser needs a restart.

  116. Zoot, the thing that once convinced me about AGW was the Hockey Stick.

    The reason was the flat shaft as much as the modern warming in line with atmospheric CO2.

    Since then, I have discovered that the Hockey Stick is highly controversial, as are its descendants. If the current warming is within the limits of normal warming and cooling in the last several thousand years, then there is no compelling reason to believe it is anthropogenic.

    If, the MWP was hotter than now, followed by a little ice age, then it looks more like the post 18th century warming is a natural fluctuation.

    Add to this the fact that during the last 10 years temperatures have not increased in line with increases in CO2 and it all leaves me quite sceptical.

  117. Of all people, I would not be trusting the CSIRO with history of suppressing dissent.

    And with the stroke of a keyboard, SB has entirely dismissed the CSIRO as an authority on science. SB – an executive remuneration specialist (if I recall correctly) – has actually elevated his personal opinion above that of the CSIRO in relation to the AGW debate.

    It is this behaviour from the deniers, more than any other, that convinces me of their delusion. It is strongly irrational to simply dismiss out of hand the input of the CSIRO on matters scientific. To declare them ‘compromised’ by the politics, and to instead give precedence to a personal view based on zero scientific knowledge and built on reading selected internet articles.

    The behaviour is just profoundly stupid. It’s a strange combination of arrogance and ignorance – like a three-year old insisting they can improve telephony outcomes through detailed study of their sesame street phone.

  118. SB, I take it you don’t actually have any climate scientist who disagrees with anthropogenic global warming?
    If you took the time to consult climate scientists (eg RealClimate) you would find all of your “doubts” have been answered.

  119. Mondo, it wasn’t me that beclowned the CSIRO, it was themselves. They have already admitted they are not impartial by imposing rules as to what their scientists can publish. Don’t blame me for the intellectual dishonesty they have willingly embraced!

    zoot I suggest that you read real climate if you want to see classic examples of idiotic behaviour. And if you want a real laugh you can read the Cliamtegate emails to see how realclimate screws its editorial policy to ensure it doesn’t have to answer difficult questions.

  120. If, the MWP was hotter than now, followed by a little ice age, then it looks more like the post 18th century warming is a natural fluctuation. – SB

    Nice work SB – I think you’ve manged to hit all the denialist myths. Tell me, do you read anything other than WUWT and ClimateAudit?

    Here’s the MWP,

    And here’s the modern temp map,

    Compare and contrast.

  121. SB, which climate scientists provide you with the information you use as a basis for your stance on global warming?

  122. They have already admitted they are not impartial by imposing rules as to what their scientists can publish.

    Indeed – as I understand it the recent incident occurred because a scientist published an article containing their political opinion (i.e. Rudd’s CPRS is a waste of time). They were ‘censored’ for failing to stick to the CSIRO’s mandate as a scientific body.

    It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see you misrepresent this as a case of scientific censorship SB. You casually slander the reputation of hundreds of this country’s most distinguished, experienced and respected scientists in a contrived and entirely transparent attempt to simply ignore them.

    Your clear determination to believe that AGW is a scam has led you to completely discard the contribution of this country’s foremost scientific institution.

    I’ll say it again – it’s grossly stupid behaviour.

  123. Mondo, the CSIRO thing is really easy to grasp. Dr Spash was told by the CSIRO that he could publish his work if it was accepted by a peer reviewed journal. It was. He was then told that it was “politically sensitive”, and he could not publish it.

    The dissembling CSIRO statements regarding scientists commenting on policy should be seen for what they are – self-serving cant. Spash is a political economist. All of his work has policy implications. If the CSIRO doesn’t want to be involved in work with policy implications, instead of headhunting Spash it should not have hired him.

    The CSIRO cannot both be a scientific organisation, and ensure that its work conforms to the government’s political sensitivities. Certainly in the highly politicised field of climate science, the CSIRO is more of a political organisation than a scientific one, and its pronouncements in that field should be viewed with caution.

    Zoot that is a silly question. There are plenty of scientists that question different aspects of the IPCC orthodoxy.

    Why don’t you look at Douglass and Christy here giving their personal example of how the Hockey Team game the peer review process.

  124. Oh dear, do you really rely on hyperventilators like Douglass and Christy? No wonder you’re misinformed.
    Completely off-topic: SB, I sincerely wish you a happy solstice.

  125. Mondo, the CSIRO thing is really easy to grasp.

    Indeed it is – Spash’s work was overtly political and the CSIRO banned it from publication on the basis that they are only interested in science. How ironic that you are using the CSIRO’s clear commitment to science (as opposed to politics) as justification for dismissing all their scientists as untrustworthy.

    All while you wholeheartedly gulp down anything Steve McIntrye (an ex-mining company employee and director) ejaculates onto his blog page.

    Your utter lack of consistency in your clearly selective consideration of the evidence belies just how compromised your analysis is. You clothe your argument in faux respect for the scientific process, yet it is quite clear that your main concern is pursuit of a personal ideological agenda.

  126. The above is me by the way SB – getting myself into all sorts of trouble by accidentally blogging under my bosses name. {UPDATE: Fixed. Jeremy.}

    Think I might need to start posting under my real name shortly. Maintaining the anonymous handle is apparently more than I can manage.

    BTW in the spirit of Zoot’s comment above – Merry Christmas to all!!

  127. Merry Christmas Mondo & zoot, and the other interlocutors who make this place such fun. Let’s save the arguments till next year. Or at least until boxing day when the seasonal cheer has been replaced by sheer exhaustion and families tell each other what they really think.

  128. Looking forward to it. In the meantime, happy annual present-exchanging celebration to you all!

  129. The CSIRO cannot both be a scientific organisation, and ensure that its work conforms to the government’s political sensitivities.

    Forgive the rhetorical tautology, but this is true only in as far as it’s true. I’m not willing to accept that this event necessitates that we view the CSIRO entirely as a scientific write-off.

    This incident does cause concern and I’m not happy with it, and it does make me look elsewhere for information on the economics of climate change (not that I looked to the CSIRO for that in the first place). It taints the reliability of any CSIRO commentary on policy.

    But there’s no indication that the natural sciences side of their operation have been subjected to these kinds of pressures. And ultimately, such work is still subject to to peer review.

    I think it’s possible to go too far with drawing conclusions from the Spash incident.

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