The NAS NRC panel on temperature reconstructions has released its report.

The press release states

There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers, and other “proxies” of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new report from the National Research Council. Less confidence can be placed in proxy-based reconstructions of surface temperatures for A.D. 900 to 1600, said the committee that wrote the report, although the available proxy evidence does indicate that many locations were warmer during the past 25 years than during any other 25-year period since 900. Very little confidence can be placed in statements about average global surface temperatures prior to A.D. 900 because the proxy data for that time frame are sparse, the committee added. …


The Research Council committee found the Mann team’s conclusion that warming in the last few decades of the 20th century was unprecedented over the last thousand years to be plausible, but it had less confidence that the warming was unprecedented prior to 1600; fewer proxies — in fewer locations — provide temperatures for periods before then. Because of larger uncertainties in temperature reconstructions for decades and individual years, and because not all proxies record temperatures for such short timescales, even less confidence can be placed in the Mann team’s conclusions about the 1990s, and 1998 in particular.

The committee noted that scientists’ reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent. The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or “Little Ice Age,” from roughly 1500 to 1850. The exact timing of warm episodes in the medieval period may have varied by region, and the magnitude and geographical extent of the warmth is uncertain, the committee said. None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.

Realclimate on the report:

However, it is the big picture conclusions that have the most relevance for the lay public and policymakers, and it is re-assuring (and unsurprising) to see that the panel has found reason to support the key mainstream findings of past research, including points that we have highlighted previously:

At Climateaudit on the other hand:

I’d characterize it more as schizophrenic. It’s got two completely distinct personalities. On the one hand, they pretty much concede that every criticism of MBH is correct. They disown MBH claims to statistical skill for individual decades and especially individual years.

However, they nevertheless conclude that it is “plausible” – whatever that means – that the “Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium”. Here, the devil is in the details, as the other studies relied on for this conclusion themselves suffer from the methodological and data problems conceded by the panel. The panel recommendations on methodology are very important; when applied to MBH and the other studies (as they will be in short order), it is my view that they will have major impact and little will be lefting standing from the cited multiproxy studies.

Update

David Appell:

This should finally put an official end to the silliness that’s gone on for the last few years. I don’t doubt that McIntyre will continue to bloviate, but journalists especially now have no reason to give him any traction.

Roger Pielke Jr.:

My reading of the summary of the report and parts of the text is that the NAS has rendered a near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al.

Coby Beck:

Well, the report is out and it seems to be a fairly strong vindication of Mann et al. There is some more fuzzy language that will surely be seized apon by some but there is certainly nothing to support the allegations of errors, omissions and frauds that had been thrown around. The main conclusion is that many other studies support these same findings and that this is not a central issue in the present and future of climate change.

Comments

  1. #1 jre
    June 22, 2006

    Downloads, etc. are available here.

    McIntyre barks, but the caravan has moved on.

  2. #2 garhane
    June 22, 2006

    So it seems the good and very large ship MBH sails on, loaded with accretions, having (unfortunately) sliced in two a dingy manned by two pirate wannabees. I personally am still waiting to see respectful attention paid to the Bristlecone Pine. It has still not be given the honours it deserves for storing 9000 years (or even more) of climate records.

  3. #3 anthony
    June 22, 2006

    “I’d characterize it more as schizophrenic. It’s got two completely distinct personalities.”

    Actually schizophrenia refers to disfunction with the perception of reality which if… oh never mind.

  4. #4 Jeff Harvey
    June 23, 2006

    Its been a rotten week for the s(c)eptics on several fronts:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060623/ap_on_sc/global_warming

    However, don’t expect the denialists to shut up any time soon. Since a scientific ‘victory’ has, is, and always will be beyond them (and they know this), they will undoubtedly continue to do everything in their power to continue to muddy the waters in order to ensure that there is no political will to deal with the problem of AGW.

  5. #5 Hans Erren
    June 23, 2006

    yup, nitpicking is fun!

  6. #6 Hans Erren
    June 23, 2006

    merriam webster on plausible:

    Main Entry: plau·si·ble

    Pronunciation: ‘plo-z&-b&l

    Function: adjective

    Etymology: Latin plausibilis worthy of applause, from plausus, past participle of plaudere

    1 : superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious (a plausible pretext)

    2 : superficially pleasing or persuasive (a swindler…, then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman — R. W. Emerson)

    3 : appearing worthy of belief (the argument was both powerful and plausible)

    - plau·si·ble·ness noun

    - plau·si·bly /-blE/ adverb

  7. #7 Tim Curtin
    June 23, 2006

    Hans: I prefer your bingo, and (1) and (2) are the joint winners, while (3) is also ran, being based on the circular arguments, first that tree ring proxy series “generally exhibit strong correlations [the NAS elsewhere rules out ALL statistical correlations as being invalid]with local environmental conditions”, when the latter are defined by the former”, and secondly, that while there is no real evidence for temperature before 1600, and there is proxy evidence a the Little Ice Age, Bingo, we are now warmer than we were in 1600-1850. Moreover, since there is by definition inhomegeniety between proxies 1600-1850 and measured temperatures 1850-2006, nothing of value can be derived from comparison thereof, more so when there is zero correlation between teh rpoxies and the temperatures isnce 1850. Oh dear, I forgot that correlations are ruled out by the NAS as ever having any validity, unlike the zero R2s which always “prove” their case.

  8. #8 Jeff Harvey
    June 23, 2006

    Hans,

    Nobody nitpicks more than the anti-environmental crowd. I have been dealing with this lot for almost ten years, and it never fails to amaze me to what depths they’ll go to twist the empiricial data to bolster their views. Convenient facts always get in the way, but I have encountered some of the most amazingly absurd arguments one could imagine in defending the status quo.

    To be honest, many of the arguments put forward by the astroturf lobbying groups and their coterie of bought-and-paid-for scientists are an embarrassment. I fully understand why Paul Ehrlich said that he was ‘depressed’ when writing ‘Betrayal of Science and Reason’. Paul stated the obvious: why did he have to write a book defending empirical science and a broad consensus amongst his peers against a small group of well-funded shills? Doug Futuyma said more-or-less the same when he wrote ‘Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution’ in 1982. At that time, with Reagan in the White House, there was a revival in using creation to explain the origins of life on Earth. Futuyma, in the foreward, argued that he felt it was crazy for him to have to write a book defending evolutionary biology at a time when it should have been regarded as factual, rather than just theoretical, biology. And yet, here we are, 23 years later, defending evolution again from the latest political attempt to impose creation on education through ‘intelligent design’.

    My point is that there is really little difference between these two attempts to undermine science – I see creationism and anti-environmentalism as two sides of the same coin.

  9. #9 Hans Erren
    June 23, 2006

    “bought and paid for”
    Jeff please note that the bulk of skeptics is retired, who finally don’t have to consider their careers anymore. I agree there are some strong contrarians, but hey, there are also strong alarmists.

    Any idea what the motive of Steve McIntyre is?
    Full disclosure.

  10. #10 Kevin Wilson
    June 23, 2006

    I have a question regarding the use of tree ring analysis in Mann. Can anyone help me?

    I was reading about an essay about Mann’s “hockey stick” graph from: http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm

    I have summarised his points into these five points, can anyone give me some guidances if they are correct or not, and can someone give me a source so I can read more about it, thankyou.

    1. Tree rings are only laid during the growing season, not the whole year, and so they dont tell us little or nothing about annual climate.

    2. Tree rings do not record night temperatures since photosynthesis only occurs in the daytime, which mean it get a false impression of the annual mean temperature.

    3. All a tree ring can tell us is whether the combined micro-environmental conditions during the growing season were favourable to tree growth or not. This is because tree rings are influenced by numerous factors other than temperature, such as rainfall, sunlight, cloudiness, pests, competition, forest fires, soil nutrients, frosts and snow duration.

    4. Trees only grow on land. And since 71% of the planet is covered by oceans, seas and lakes, tree rings can tell us nothing about the maritime climate, even though the oceans are known to be the prime determinants of climate conditions throughout the world.

    5. These factors could mean these `annual average temperatures’ are seriously contaminated by heat island and other local errors. If the calibrating temperatures are wrong, the whole tree ring temperature reconstruction for the distant past is also compromised.

  11. #11 Eli Rabett
    June 23, 2006

    I’ve read the chapters describing dendrology, statistical analysis and multiproxy studies, and I think in detail the report is indeed a mixed bag and surprisingly superficial in many cases. The discussion about multiproxy results is severely marred by getting v. Storch and Zorita wrong, and probably unduly pessimistic wrt the precision and accuracy of the studies. (BTW I don’t recall our friends Sally and Co. being mentioned). As far as statistical methods, they basically come down right, MBH’s original methods had serious problems from the standpoint of statistical analysis, but these did not significantly affect the results. Note how most of the detailed criticism in the NAS report on this point wrt the actual reconstructions goes away when you throw out v. Storch and Zorita. Probably the best step forward would be to have a group of statistically wise men with a couple of climate people sit down and settle on best practices.

  12. #12 Jeff Harvey
    June 23, 2006

    Hans,

    Any idea what the motive of Steve McIntyre is?

    You tell me: people ask me this about Bjorn Lomborg all the time. Pretty well all of the sceptics have their own personal agenda, as far as I can see. In most cases I think its probably political, as many of the sceptics are associated with fervently right wing think tanks that receive large dollops of corporate money and which aim to eliminate or reduce impediments in the pursuit of private profit. McIntyre’s name has appeared in the George C. Marshall Institute, which is pretty dumb of him if he wants to assume the mantle of being seen as ‘independent’. In fact, most of the prominent sceptics, irrespective of the fact that they are not prominent scientists (the two are VERY different) are probably grinding some sort of political axe. Lomborg, in my opinion, is different: I believe his aim was fervent self-promotion. Heck, being a sceptic often seems to work, frequently elevating completely obscure scientists/academics to celebrity status overnight.

    With no disrepsct to McIntyre or most of the other climate change sceptics, how many are esteemed academics with tens if not hundreds of peer-reviewed papers to their name and many more citations? I am a virtual unknown in the public eye (and what is known about me is based on my Nature review of Lomborg’s polemic). I’ve thus far published more than 55 peer-reviewed papers (I have 12 in submission right now) and my articles have been cited more than 600 times in the scientific literature; compare that with Lomborg, with but a single peer-reviewed paper to his name and 21 citations in total. Yet Lomborg is an international celebrity and I am a nobody. I really couldn’t care less about this, but it does go to show you that style over substance pays, even in science. How many peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature does Steven McIntyre have? Or Ross McKitrick? Or Myron Ebell for heavens sake? But each of these guys is sought out as an ‘expert’ on climate change. I find it hard to take all of this seriously, but the media does.

  13. #13 Carl Christensen
    June 23, 2006

    Jeff, Isaac Held had a good point of this “motivation” for the skeptics on realclimate.org. Basically it’s easier for people to take a “skeptical” or “contrarian” stance and just batter away & nitpick at the science. It requires no original thought, and people with no experience in the field feel they can barge right in and make grandiose pronouncements about AGW etc. Plus they are assured of getting publicity from their friends in the right-wing think tanks (CEI, Cato, etc), corporate media etc.

    How many times have I seen Myron Ebell (at beest, an economist) on a panel as if he is a “skeptic scientific authority”; and his background is in politics & economics and shilling for right-wing think tanks. And it’s a way for these forgotten, retired academics to try and remain relevant, and those stuck in another field at little known schools (i.e McKitrick at U. Guelph) to get some much needed attention.

    McIntyre’s motivation also seems to be primarily egotistical (“I coulda been an (academic) contender but I became a sellout for mine operators”), as well as sticking with his mining & petroleum buddies by reverse engineering (he claims “auditing”) data which he has little or no experience in.

  14. #14 Dano
    June 23, 2006

    I have a question regarding the use of tree ring analysis in Mann. Can anyone help me?

    Yes, I can help:

    Stop reading John Daly for understanding.

    HTH,

    D

  15. #15 Dano
    June 23, 2006

    But each of these guys is sought out as an ‘expert’ on climate change. I find it hard to take all of this seriously, but the media does…Yet Lomborg is an international celebrity and I am a nobody. I really couldn’t care less about this, but it does go to show you that style over substance pays, even in science.

    Yeah, Jeff, but you’re a millionaire from being in the left-wing green lobby. Not sure why you’re complaining, as you’ve got all that money and power too. Sheesh. These environazis always want moremoremore, and pretty soon they’ll be running the gummints of every country and we’ll be eating granola and riding bikes everywhere, while our economies collapse.

    [/sarcasm]

    Best,

    D

  16. #16 jp
    June 23, 2006

    Mr Wilson

    Using the John Daly site for information on climate change and specifically tree rings as proxy indicators of climate is similar to watching an Adam Sandler film for intellectual stimulation. There is a rich literature on tree rings and climate, I would start with Fritts 1976 text (Tree Rings and Climate). For journals consider the Tree Ring Bulletin (now Tree Ring Research)and Dendrochronologia. With respect to the points that you have raised there are many variables that influence the width and density of the annual growth ring in a tree, some are related to climatic conditions prior to and during the period of growth, while others are related to host of other biotic and abiotic factors. John Daly did not discover this, it has been appreciated for over a century. Not all trees or groups of trees will yield data from which climatic information can be extracted. The science of dendroclimatology is all about extracting that information, where and when possible. Tree rings sites are selected because they represent locations where there is a high sensitivity in the ring growth to climatic conditions. These sites are not urban, often they are near the range limits of the species (e.g. near alpine or latitudinal treeline) Most of the points raised by Daly show a deliberate attempt to misunderstand or misrepresent the basics of dendroclimatology and it comes off as quite silly. For example Point 1: tree rings tell us nothing about annual climate. Spring and summer ring growth can be influenced by climate (weather) conditions in other times of the year, such as winter snowpack depth (e.g. which can influence soil temperatures and moisture in the spring period) and winter temperatures and winds (e.g. which can influence dessication of the plant tissues). In fact the growth in a given years tree ring is not simply a function of the temperature on a group of days or month but rather a function of several months or years preceeding climate. There are series of techniques used in dendroclimatology used to measure the correlations between ring growth and climate that address these issues and result in a proper calibration between ring growth and climate. Tree rings are but one proxy indicator of climate there are many others. They do not exist in isolation which is why multi-proxy examinations are powerful and worthwhile.

  17. #17 Ian Gould
    June 23, 2006

    “Convenient facts always get in the way, but I have encountered some of the most amazingly absurd arguments one could imagine in defending the status quo.”

    I am consistently saddened by the apparent inability of the more sensible “skeptics” like Tim C and Hans to condemn the blatherings of the likes of Ken Ring.

    For that matter I’d be interested in hearing Hans’ view of our recent discussion with TimC about what may or may not have been “displaced” from the atmosphere by the increase in CO2 levels.

  18. #18 Ian Forrester
    June 23, 2006

    To continue the hockey analogy I think that the referees (NAS panel members) as well as making their ruling should also have issued penalties. May I suggest that a two year penalty for high sticking, two years for delay of game, five year penalty for deliberate attempts to injure (the reputation of their opponents) and a game misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct would be appropriate? I think we all know whose numbers are on the jerseys of those who should be sent to the sin bin.

  19. #19 per
    June 23, 2006

    it is kind of noticeable that the good TimL merely quotes other people, and doesn’t deign to put his own thoughts down about the NAS report.

    What’s the matter, Tim ? Frightened ?

    MBH claimed 95% confidence limits for the last millenium, and claimed that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the millenium at P<0.05. The NAS panel have rubbished that claim.

    MBH’s claims are now “plausible”.

    I do believe that Tim is being circumspect, and I can guess why :-)
    cheers
    per

  20. #20 Tim Lambert
    June 23, 2006

    per, if you want to comment here, please use the name “David Bell”.

    Your assertion that MBH gave p value of <0.05 for their claim is a fabrication.

  21. #21 z
    June 23, 2006

    Of course, there is another “hockey stick” involved in climate change; when Carolina beats Edmonton for the Stanley Cup, you know something must be seriously wrong with northern winters.

  22. #22 per
    June 23, 2006

    “Taking into account the uncertainties in our NH reconstruction (see Methods), it appears that the years 1990, 1995 and now 1997 (this value recently calculated and not shown) each show anomalies that are greater than any other year back to 1400 at 3 standard errors, or roughly a 99.7% level of certainty.”
    what was that about fabrications, tim ?

    I do also notice that you are very keen to hide behind other people’s comments on this, Tim ? you appear to be frit ! scared that steve m. will come in and take you apart again ?

    toodle-pip !
    per
    p.s., don’t forget:
    http://timlambert.org/2005/02/brignell2/

  23. #23 Theo Richel
    June 23, 2006

    Yes Jeff I believe you have published 55 pieces in the peer reviewed literature. But after 30 years of science journalism I am just not impressed anymore. Have just seen too many examples of failure of this system, crap getting through, good stuff being blocked. Lots of peers, little review, and instead of acknowledging the faults of the system and trying to remediate it you simply keep on repeating the old mantras. Somewhat autistic really
    The hockeystick and stem cells controversies both show: peer review is not enough, certainly not when a particular science receives a lot of public attention. Then an audit is absolutely necessary. There just is too much at steak. The more you shout at the competition the less I trust you. You could regain trust if you, or the people you suggest to represent, approached people like M&M and engaged in an open debate. But your behaviour in the Lomborg debate has shown that you want anything but that. You wonder about the psychology of McIntyre and others, but you do not clarify your own motivation. You are angry, but you do not want a solution. Why would anyone take you serious then?

  24. #24 Lubos Motl
    June 23, 2006

    Dear Jeff Harvey,

    if you are interested in my secret personal agenda why I am so deeply irritated by the alarmists and spend time on it, it is because people with sloppy reasoning and a dishonest approach who never wanted to understand things in quantitative depth and who preferred to build on their large number – the large number of sloppy and dishonest people – have always been poisoning my life.

    I only had a vague idea that the field of climate science was not exactly an example of a sharp, rational, unbiased treatment of questions – simply because the worst physics students in Prague chose that field – until I studied how it actually works which was a shock for me (several years ago, after the 2000 elections in which my ideas and opinions about these matters were largely neutral). I simply dislike crackpots, people like you (if you allow me to be explicit) who want to politicize all questions and whose dishonesty can be seen on 50% of their acts.

    I mention you in particular because I have also studied your shameful exchanges with Prof. Lomborg which made me ashamed to be a remote part of the same community as you are.

    The hysteric global warming movement is an irrational politically motivated and dogmatic framework to study uninteresting questions in an unscientific way whose goals are pre-determined (although rationally unrelated to the questionable scientific findings), combined with a the desire to increase the amount of bias in between science and journalism as much as possible, in order to fool all people into believing that we face a major threat which would allow far left-wing people to try to establish new methods how to control every individual citizen and corporation on this planet.

    In reality, there is no material evidence that the recent warming is unprecedented on the millenial timescale; there is very little evidence that we can already disentangle the human influence from the natural background; and there is an overwhelming evidence that the proposed policies are just a waste of money; and there is a significant evidence that many people with power over climate science – such as you – are using strikingly unfair tools to deal with the people whose conclusions are politically inconvenient.

    I am happy to see that it is plausible that the NAS members are not quite like you.

    Best wishes
    Lubos

  25. #25 jp
    June 23, 2006

    It truly is astonishing that someone of the character of the previous poster holds a position at an American University. Many words but no substance, much like string theory. Evidence would suggest that the worst physics students in Prague did in fact not enter the physical sciences but rather have slipped into an alternate reality dominated by paranoia.

  26. #26 Carl Christensen
    June 23, 2006

    So Lubos, a string physicist, holds up Lomborg, an economist (not to mention economist McKitrick & “mineral engineer” McIntyre) as climate experts.

    Is there any other field in which so many hacks from outside of the field claim to be the experts?

  27. #27 Tim Lambert
    June 23, 2006

    per/David Bell seems to think that a millenium is 600 years …

  28. #28 per
    June 24, 2006

    “Your assertion that MBH gave p value of <0.05 for their claim is a fabrication.”
    “a 99.7% level of certainty.”
    I still think you are scared to say anything substantive on this, ‘cos when you do, you are shown up.
    cheers

    per

  29. #29 Stewart
    June 24, 2006

    Anyone have access to the latest Lancet? Check this gem. “Analyses of the 2003 heat wave in Europe have concluded that it was a truly extreme event and the summer of 2003 was probably the hottest in Europe since 1500″, from the paper (actaully a public lecture transcript) Climate change and health, The Lancet, Volume 367, Issue 9528, 24 June 2006-30 June 2006, Page 2101-2109. Fiona Sima and Phil Mackiea.
    Worthwhile considering for the ‘global warming is good for you’ crowd. Dammit, how can these climatologists keep getting it wrong when they have economists trying to set them straight? Don’t they have economists in the various NAS?

  30. #30 Hans Erren
    June 24, 2006

    Jeff,

    A scientific topic that has become so important for political decisions needs only one thing: Full disclosure.
    Show the data, show the method, show the result.
    Mudslinging doesn’t help.

    Ian Gould,

    Once more: Ken ring is a crackpot.
    The current rise in atmospheric CO2 is manmade. From the anthropogenic emissions approximately 40% per year is sequestered in sinks. The sinks are not saturating but increasing.
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/sink.htm

  31. #31 Jeff Harvey
    June 25, 2006

    Great! The pseudo-contrarians are coming in thick and fast!

    First, to dipsense with Lubos: If you want to debate me an any of the gobbledegook in Lomborgs book e.g. cherry picking data, ignoring piles of relevant studies with different conclusions, consistently mistaking correlation with causation, basically dispensing with the natural economy and focusing on the material economy (in spite of the dependence of the latter on the former), misquoting scientists or making unsubstantiated smears to undermine their status, misunderstanding important but basic concepts in environmental science, etc. etc. etc. etc. then feel free to do so. I debated Lomborg in Holland in 2002 and I raised all of these salient little points with him, and, give fifteen minutes to rebut me, he did not even try, except to defend his feeble attempt to smear the reputations of Edward O Wilson and Paul Ehrlich. Why? Because he couldn’t, Period. I didn’t find the guy at all intimidating because he knows so little about a field I have studied for ther past 20 years. Is it any wonder that several attempts were made for us to debate before and after (or to speak at the same venue) and Lomborg either claimed to be ‘busy’ or actually backed out? Some advice Lubos: don’t waste my bloody time with pedantics. Sound science is not based on your whatever-motivates-you-today and you know it. I have no idea what does motivate you in elucidating the truth in science, as elusive as that is, but to reiterate, science is against you and the majority of ‘denialists’ with respect to the fact and potential consequences of anthropogenic global change (including global warming). Most importantly, Lubos, for every one of you who is ‘ashamed’ of behavior re: Lomborg and his book, I have received reams and reams of support from fellow scientists, incuding some who are leaders in their fields of research. I was quite delighted that Edward O. Wilson gave me particular thanks, something he rarely does. Thus, your opinion means nix to me.

    Theo, I assume that you are one of the coterie of Dutch contrarians that make my life a misery. And sure I am angry. I am angry when I see science being distorted, mutilated, twisted, and throttled to bolster a political/corporate agenda and a single worldview. I am angry when I see people who have done little, if anything, to advance our knowledge in critically important areas of fundamental and applied science suddently throw their hats into the ring to espouse that they are the new ‘sages of wisdom’ who have ‘seen the light’ and who argue for policies to maintain the staus quo in spite of the vast abyss in which humanity is headed. I am angry because these people have, to partially quote John Holdren, crossed the line that divides controversial, if not rigorously performed science, from complete rank incompetence. They have wasted a lot of people’s time with their histrionics, and have seriously muddied the public’s understanding of important contemporary issues. At a time when we need to confront the political, social and environmental impediments in order to secure a sustainable future, there are powerful, vested interests who are doing everything in their power to ensure that what remains of the planet’s material and economic wealth remains in the hands of the privileged few – irrespective of the costs in the mid to longer term. These forces are intent at maximizing short-term profit for a few at the expense of long term security for many. I have lectured widely on this topic and none of this should be at all controversial – it is only because of the power that the elites have used in manipulating information through the mainstream media and their utter contempt for public opinion is it that my words are interpreted by some to be ‘outlandish’ or even ‘crazy’.

    The fact is, like it or not, peer-review keeps science safe. Without it, every crackpot idea – from flat earthers to alchemsts to creationists – suddenly becomes a part of the mainstream. The MBH paper was rigorously peer-reviewed; your dislike of peer review is probably because the conclusion of the MBH paper does not blend with your own view on climate change. Tough. I see an analogy with the recent pronouncements of support for ‘democracy’ by Bush and his neoconservatve government (after all of the other conditions for attackign Iraq were proven to be based on fabrications). Where democracy supports the political, military and above all economic interests of US corporations and financial institutions, it is supported. Where it conflicts with these interests, it is downplayed or even ignored. These are not my words, but quoted in part from Thomas Walker, who held the portfolio overseeing “Democracy Enhancement” in the Reagan administration. The analogy also applies to those who support the broad scientific consensus on AGW and those who don’t. This, Theo, may explain your contempt for peer-review.

  32. #32 Jeff Harvey
    June 25, 2006

    One last point: reading Lubos’ post, one would get the idea that M & M were vindicated by the NAS panel. Earth calling Lubos… wake up man! What gives you the power to understand AGW in a way that the 2,500 scientists contributing to the 2001 IPCC draft doesn’t? Or the NAS panel for that matter? Their conclusions remain unchanged: that the last 20 years of the 20th century were very likely the warmest over the planet’s surface over the past two millenia, and that human forcing is likely to play a significant role. No scientific panel will ever go further than this! The results literally vanquish the arguments of the denial lobby. Utterly demolish them! Yet, you come on then come on here to defend the NAS by implying that they downplay the human component? AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

  33. #33 per
    June 25, 2006

    “Their conclusions remain unchanged”
    wrong. The NAS panel specifically disagree with the claims of MBH’98; specifically, they stated that reconstructions from before 1600 have unquantifiable levels of uncertainty. This is very different from MBH’98, which claimed 99.7% certainty.
    “that the last 20 years of the 20th century were very likely…”
    the NAS panel did not use “very likely”; they used “plausible”
    “The results literally vanquish the arguments of the denial lobby.”
    wow. i am feeling vanquished already. If only you hadn’t got your words completely wrong, and if only the words didn’t mean something completely different, you would be right.
    cheers
    per

  34. #34 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    Dear Jeff Harvey,

    besides reading my postings, it may also be a good idea for you to read the report. The NAS report has confirmed every major technical criticism of MBH by M&M and has not found any problems with M&M. It confirmed that the usage of the PCA method was wrong; the statistical significance of all results before 1600 is zero (which, by the way, means that the whole MBH99 is bogus); it said that the bristlecone pines should not be trusted as temperature proxies (these trees were primary to obtain the “hockey stick” shape); they criticized that the data and software were not available; the panel has announced that all dendro conclusions before 1100 are statistically worthless, and so forth, and so forth.

    You ask: “What gives you the power to understand AGW in a way that the 2,500 scientists contributing to the 2001 IPCC draft doesn’t?”

    Sorry to say, but the answer is my much higher ability not to fool myself and my higher intelligence and physics background than 2480 of these 2500 people. If you read the amount of politics and amount of completely untrue ad hominem accusations that you and your colleagues have written above, you might in principle become able to understand why my ability to judge these questions exceeds not only the average of 2500 people in the climate science. This is about a rational vs. irrational approach to questions. Once again, climate science is not exactly string theory, so you can’t expect that it will remain unaccessible to economists, high-energy physicists, and former mineral consultants (who was the #1 mathematician in Canada, by the way).

    All the best
    Lubos

  35. #35 jp
    June 25, 2006

    Lubos has determined his intellect is superior to 2480 of the 2500 scientists who worked on the TAR. This can’t be right surely Lubos must be second to no one. Now Lubos what was your methodology, do we have access to the data? We demand full disclosure. There should be an audit, perhaps the “#1 mathematician in Canada” could assist.

  36. #36 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    So Lubos offers “arguments from authority.” Gee, Steve Mac was the “#1 mathematician in Canada”, BWAHAHAHAHAHA. Is he also the #1 squash player and #1 guitarist? What a joke.

  37. #37 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    Lubos,

    I have read about 2/3 of the report now, and am continuing reading it.

    Yes, they point out that the resolution prior to 900 years ago from the dendro recrods means that the error is too large for teh analysis to be meaningful, and that the reconstruction before that may not be real at all.

    However, they also review a lot of other data – glacier dynamics, glacial artifacts, ice cores, sediment cores key among them – and arrive at the conclusion that AGW is still pretty damn strongly supported.

    Honesty on your part would require you to acknowledge that – instead of engaging an ad hominem attack of your own, aimed at my typos.

    But then, you are clearly so superior to everyone else that you don’t have to bother to live by your own rules.

    “all the best”

    -Lee

  38. #38 Eli Rabett
    June 25, 2006

    Darling Lubos has been told that he is the smartest kid in the class so often that he believes it. He tries to use this to blow others off. In any venue except this, he would get a bloody nose for acting the way he does. Actually, I suspect that he did for most of his childhood and now having escaped that fate thinks that he can let it rip.

    Unfortunately for Lubos, you have to crack the books occasionally. Jeff Harvey knows a lot more about the systems he deals with than Lubos, and no amount Lumo like posturing can hide it. The thing many are looking forward to is what happens to sweet Lubos when he loses the position. An Assistant Professor at Harvard who did not get tenure ain’t nearly as imposing as an Assistant Professor at Harvard.

    Our little bubbly boo Lubos might do well to contemplate the future and start making nice. As it is there are a lot of people who would not spit in his ear if his brains were on fire.

  39. #39 Tim Lambert
    June 25, 2006

    Lubos was called to testify in a lawsuit, which contested the claims of String Theory against Quantum Loop Gravity. The lawyer was skeptical. “What makes you such an authority?” he asked. “Oh, I am without question the world’s most outstanding theoretical physicist”, was the startling reply. It was enough to convince the lawyer to change the subject. However, when the witness came off the stand, he was surrounded by protesting colleagues.

    “How could you make such an outrageous claim?” they asked. Lubos defended, “Fellows, you just don’t understand; I was under oath.”

    (Stolen from [Leon Lederman](http://www.edge.org/q2005/q05_5.html).)

  40. #40 z
    June 25, 2006

    “former mineral consultants (who was the #1 mathematician in Canada, by the way).”

    Based on…? Is there a CI95 or similar that goes with that?

  41. #41 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    Eli, I just found this from Maria Spiropulu, while browsing the site at your Leon Lederman link. It seems relevant. Emphasis added.

    “Following Bohr’s complementarity I would spot that belief and proof are in some way complementary: if you believe you don’t need proof, and (arguably) if you have proof you don’t need to believe.(I would assign **the hard-core string theorists who do not really care about experimental scientific evidence** in the first category).

  42. #42 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    Very nice. Note that neither of you has mentioned – or responded to – a single particular question about the climate. No one wants to discuss the correlation coefficients; influences on the bristlecone pine growth; the circulation of water and the growth of ice.

    It’s because you don’t know anything about it, you’re not capable to think about these things, and you are not even interested in them. In fact, you are scared by science, much like many other people whom you believe to reach my toes. Your writings are the best evidence what you’re really interested in: to say just the opposite of the truth, convince other challenged people about these untrue things, and use the general ignorance for political purposes.

    Unlike you, I don’t need to talk about my intellect, unless I am asked, because most people know quite a lot about it, and it is definitely not about being the smartest in the “class”.

    Compare the lousy quality of your hysterical activist blogs with the decent, dynamic, and scientific debates at climateaudit.org.

  43. #43 jp
    June 25, 2006

    Ok Lubos

    What about the influences on pine, water and ice? What is your point? It difficult to comment on the underlying science because you have made no remarks on the science, only vague and untested claims that you are a superior being.

  44. #45 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    err Lubos, compare the hilarious brushing off of detection & attribution studies & climate modelling that continually goes on at climateaudit. It’s obvious that anything outside of Steve’s (and his cheerleaders) area of statistical games with multiproxy studies just has to be bashed so they can’t be concerned with it. When confronted with a real mastermind in the field, like Hans van Storch, the cockroaches go crawling under the woodwork and making lame excuses that they simply “don’t believe” D&A studies etc. Which is why I’ve always said, in my flames over there, it’s only good for entertainment. I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of self-absorded pseudo-intellectual twits.

  45. #46 per
    June 25, 2006

    “However, they also review a lot of other data – glacier dynamics, glacial artifacts, ice cores, sediment cores key among them – and arrive at the conclusion that AGW is still pretty damn strongly supported. ”
    the remit of the nas group was reconstructions over the last two millenia; and they made some fairly clear statements after reviewing the data and theory. Their comments are fairly damning for MBH’98 and ’99.

    Although there is a chapter on models, I find it difficult to imagine that the NAS panel attempted a comprehensive review of the evidence for AGW. Indeed, the chapter seems to focus on how reconstructions are used with the models.

    The review was on reconstructions; i find it perplexing that you should suggest that “AGW is strongly supported” can be a vindication of the fact that the committee does not support the principal conclusions of MBH’98/ ’99.

    cheers
    per

  46. #47 per
    June 25, 2006

    “Which is why I’ve always said, in my flames over there, it’s only good for entertainment. I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of self-absorded pseudo-intellectual twits.”

    Dear Carl
    the quality and impeccable logic of your argument does suggest that you are better placed on Mr (frit) Lambert’s blog.
    toodle-pip !

    per

  47. #48 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    per, are you simply unable to understand what I say, or are you being dishonest. Adn have you bothered to read the report?

    Theri statements are that the methods of MBH are flawed,a dn the undertatinties prior to 900ya mean that one cant interpret the reconstructions from them. I’ve said that quite explicitly, so what the f**k are you on about?

    They also point out quite clearly that this does not alter in any substantial way the conclusions from a lot of interrelated and inter-verifying lines of evidence, that AGW is happening. They also say that this other evidence means that Mann’s claims that the 20th century and the later decades are anomalous, are, they say “plausible,” and in other places, they show explicit evidence showing clearly anomalous 20th century climate.

    I know that a large part of the climateaudit wolf pack is bent on destroying Mann, and somehow feel that this would disprove AGW. Sorry to disappoint you, but yelling repeatedly “Mann got the statistics wrong” does not change what the committee actually said about AGW.

  48. #49 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    per, I stand by my statement that CA & it’s pseudo-intellectual lackeys are only good for entertainment. The paid-off Canuck team of M&M have done what, provided one peer-reviewed paper over the last 5 years, with some statistical games on MBH98. It’s hardly the “smoking gun” you cheerleaders wanted. “Toodle-pip” yourself.

  49. #50 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    Unlike the rest of you, Lee is at least trying to prove global warming by scientific arguments. Below, I attach his most convincing work proving the global warming – unedited. As you can see, what I wanted to say is that climateaudit.org has a very high average quality of the contributions; it was not a universal A grade. ;-)

    http://climateaudit.org/?p=715

    Lee wrote:

    #481. Lubos, yo are jsut too silly.

    Disputing straw-mn forms of cliams I HACE NOT MADE isn’t even first year physics, its first week debate, and the tactic of someone who isnt secure in his argument.
    Adn on the one place where you are at least near the point, there is some worming ,soem off which is likely AGW, and theris MORe heat increase, which wil translate to warming as heat flow continues due to teh increaseed CO2.

    BTW, you are implyign that there is some kind of curoff beyond which CO2 has no relevant effect. Either you really do know some physics adn knwo somethig aobu tthis field, in which case you know that the logarthmic result of CO2 concentration for heat retention is calculated and supported by physical results, and not all that steeply declining as you imply – in which case you are being dishonest – or you dotn know, in which case your physics really sucks..

  50. #51 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    another funny hypocrisy for the Lubos crowd, i.e. string theorists who bash climate scientists. I mean, come on,
    string theory has absolutely no scientific reproducability, yet you’re so keen to be on the McIntyre “audit” bandwagon. And Steve Mac’s fave claim-to-pseudo-intellectual fame “Wall Street Journal” even bashes sting theory, HAHA!

    http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articleArchive/jun2006/notevenwrong.php

    physicist, heal (or at least audit) thyself! ;-)

  51. #52 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    Lubos, I am a shitty typist; mea culpa.

    But I at least address what you say, whereas you attribute to me arguments I havent made, in straw-man idiotic form, and then pretend that you have somehow one-upped me when you dispute them.

    It is a fundamentally dishonest technique, and it is one of your most frequelty used.

    Adn at least I’m not tryign, as you are, to defend the assumption that temperature increase to the new steady state temperature should be effectively instantaneous with increased heat. I’m just a lowly biologist, but even I know better than that.

  52. #53 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    Dear Carl,

    look at yourself what kind of a thinker you are. You see that someone has found scientific conclusions in a field that you don’t understand – namely the climate science – so your reaction is to jump into another field that you understand even less, by several orders of magnitude, namely high-energy physics.

    Do you think that a relatively smart kid from the basic school would believe you that you have defended any statement about the climate by jumping to completely absurd and crazy statements about theoretical physics? You have absolutely chance to compare with me in the climate science that is supposed to be your field. Do you think that anyone will believe you that you can say something useful for us about theoretical physics that you have not seen in your whole life and we have studied it intensely for decades, with all of our 160 of IQ?

    People like you are intellectually and morally deficient parasites of the society and I wonder how many more years we will need before someone takes notice. Among the far left-wing fanatics like all of you here, the truth has no value whatsoever. All your lives are based on a gigantic pile of lies, and whenever one of you is inconvenient for others, they pick one of these lies and start to intimidate their former colleague even though this lie has nothing to do with their previous lie.

    Sorry, but we in science are actually doing science which is an organized and rational search for the truth. If it is done properly, we can clearly see, for example, that string theory is the only mathematically possible framework for physics beyond quantum field theory, and we also see that it is impossible to extract any temperature signals before 1600 that would allow us to say anything about the comparison of the present climate and the medieval climate.

    You don’t like it, for purely political reasons, you will never like it, but you are irrelevant for science. You should enjoy the salaries that you and similar parasites are still receiving from the public sector, and at least close your mouth.

    Best wishes
    Lubos

  53. #54 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    “absolute chance” -> “absolutely no chance”

  54. #55 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    oh my…

    *edging away from the ranting gesticulating guy on the street corner…*

  55. #56 Lubos Motl
    June 25, 2006

    Dear Lee, when you’re a biologist, it is certainly more justifiable that you have elementary holes in thermodynamics, including the meaning of the word “heat”. But why the heck are you trying to argue about these physics questions with a physicist? And modestly speaking, with a physics assistant professor from Harvard? Do you really feel so sure that you understand these things better? Or is it just because you were educated in an environment in which regardless how much idiotic statement you made, it will be applauded as long as it is a fanatically left-wing statement? I just can’t understand these things. 99% of the things you wrote is complete crap. You must suffer from a complete inability to judge your own abilities. Best, Lubos

  56. #57 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    Lubos, You are the one arguing that one should assume that there is no lag in temperature increase with increased net heat transfer to the earth.

    Have you ever put a teakettle onto a flame? Clearly, by your argument, that fact that it doesnt boil immediately means that it will never warm up.

  57. #58 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    err, Lubos, I’ve worked with more climate scientists than you probably have worked with your dead-end field of “string theory.” again, it’s laughable that you can’t even do anything in your own field, so you’re trying to jump over to climate by riding the coattails of some Canadian hacks who also aren’t in the field. I guess you’re a Czech anachronism, puffed up with your own ego and appeals to your inflated intelligence (you share that with Mc & Mc)

  58. #59 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    >Sorry, but we in science are actually doing science which >is an organized and rational search for the truth.

    HAHAHA, yeah right, and you do that by zealously following non-scientists such as M&M, and slamming the climate scientists in the field. What you and your Cato-Institute-esque minions offer is “faith based science” — not surprising since you’re a relic of the unproven & unworkable “string theory.” I sort of know how you must feel, 10 years ago I was doing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, but I grew up! ;-)

  59. #60 Theo Richel
    June 25, 2006

    Oh Jeff H.,
    There is a band, I think they call themselves the Right Brothers, who made a song ‘Bush Was Right’. You can Google for the clips or better, don’t: they’re funny and fun is an area where you havent been seen for a long time. I think the band made that song for that particular kind of people that start to spout blood from their ears as soon as they hear the name of the President of the US ( with whom I do not agree on the Iraq/stemcell side, but wholly on the Kyoto side btw).

    I know very well what the advantages are of peer review, but I do not understand your fetishism about it. It is so abundantly clear that PR is only a small first step to good science, but from your postings I understand that peer review is beginning AND end of good science. I would have thought that the fact that Bjorn Lomborgs book was peer reviewed would have made you thinking, but apparently not.

    There are a lot of papers in which sensible people ( I really wouldnt know how to divide them along your favorite pro/con Bush scheme) ponder the merits of the peer review system and try to think of alternatives, changes, but apparently it doesnt reach you. One of these ideas is an audit. What do you think of that? I am not going to check your postings to find out whether you think Steve McIntyre is an oil-stooge, but even if he were, what do you think of his suggestion to archive data and make them more freely available. Wouldn’t that advance science? Are your insect-data archived? Publicly available? Btw Lomborg was audited as well and no major errors were found.
    And also: your apparent conviction that only a graduated fashion specialist ought to be allowed to say that the emperor has no clothes is beyond comprehension. Aren’t you an insect-specialist? To what areas does that qualify you? Do not misunderstand me: I judge people by what they say, not by their position, so you are welcome, but is it not you yourself who makes Jeff Harveys life so miserable?

  60. #61 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    Theo-

    umm..a ctually it is NOT true that Lomborg was audited and no major errors wer found. He was investigated for fraud, and they found, jsut barely, that teh charge of overt fraud in his wrogn statemnts could not be supported. From Wikipedia:

    On January 6, 2003 the DCSD reached a decision in the complaints. The ruling was a mixed message, finding that the book was scientifically dishonest, but Lomborg himself not guilty by virtue of lack of expertise in the fields in question.[3] Specifically, they cited TSE for:

    1. Fabrication of data;
    2. Selective discarding of unwanted results (selective citation);
    3. Deliberately misleading use of statistical methods;
    4. Distorted interpretation of conclusions;
    5. Plagiarism;
    6. Deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results.

    The wording of the ruling left no doubt that the DCSD, while not finding Lomborg guilty, was not exonerating him either:

    Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty. … In view of the subjective requirements made in terms of intent or gross negligence, however, Bjørn Lomborg’s publication cannot fall within the bounds of this characterization. Conversely, the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.

  61. #62 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    so how was Lomborg’s book “peer reviewed” and “audited?” It was reviewed by, say, fellow economists of Lomborg who know zilch about climate? Why don’t you post some actual facts to your claims before you “pooh pooh” everyone? It’s hilarious that the skeptics come from every area BUT climate science!

  62. #63 Kevin Donoghue
    June 25, 2006

    Lomborg is a statistician. AFAIK he is not an economist and The Skeptical Environmentalist was not peer-reviewed (but then neither was most of the material it discussed).

  63. #64 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    http://www.lomborg.com/biograph.htm

    OK, he’s a political scientist (from his bio above), I don’t see anything about statistician (I was wrong about him being an economist although his work seems to be of an economist bent, i.e. Copenhagen Consensus). And his “anti-AGW arguments” are mainly from an economic cost-benefit analsyis rather than on climate science.

  64. #65 Dano
    June 25, 2006

    Lomborg’s lil’ book is a polemic, put out in the Social Science section of Cambridge books.

    And why folks believe that a PoliSci prof can wade into about, oh, twenty disciplines in which maybe he has taken a class and think that he can repudiate the entire discipline in one lil’ book is beyond me. Maybe the denialists will grasp at the smallest straw to uphold their rose-colored worldview.

    Pathetic little wankers.

    Best,

    D

  65. #66 per
    June 25, 2006

    Lee:
    “I know that a large part of the climateaudit wolf pack is bent on destroying Mann”
    straw man #1

    “feel that this would disprove AGW.”
    straw man #2

    “”Mann got the statistics wrong” does not change what the committee actually said about AGW.”
    Of course, the committee was about temperature reconstructions, not AGW; and we agree that Mann got the statistics wrong.

    CarlC:
    “The paid-off Canuck team of M&M have done what, provided one peer-reviewed paper over the last 5 years, with some statistical games on MBH98.”
    I make it at least three peer-reviewed articles, 2 replies in GRL, and an NAS review of their work which agrees with their criticisms of the “statistical games” which are the essence of MBH’98.

    toodle-pip!
    per

  66. #67 per
    June 25, 2006

    Fascinating that Lee makes accusations of dishonesty.
    he quotes from the wikipedia page on Lomborg, giving the details of the DCSD decision of 06/01/03.

    What Lee fails to mention is that on the same page, it says that the Ministry (on 17/12/03) found that the DCSD decision was flawed, and that the DCSD subsequently invalidated its previous findings, and found lomborg not guilty of the charges.
    So it is TRUE that Lomborg was audited by the DCSD, and that he was found not guilty on all counts.

    I am just wondering why anyone would post such selective, and misleading information ? Is this really the standard of deltoid ?
    yours
    per

  67. #68 Carl Christensen
    June 25, 2006

    per is counting M&M publishing in the Oil Executive Quarterly as a “peer reviewed journal” HAHA!

  68. #69 Ian Gould
    June 25, 2006

    “Do you think that anyone will believe you that you can say something useful for us about theoretical physics that you have not seen in your whole life and we have studied it intensely for decades, with all of our 160 of IQ?

    People like you are intellectually and morally deficient parasites of the society…”

    Yes but at least they’re “intellectually and morally deficient parasites of the society…” who can construct a basic sentence in comprehensible English.

  69. #70 Lee
    June 25, 2006

    per, actually, if you read the part I posted, it says right there that they didn’t find Lomborg guilty of the charges in the first place. I said so, too. As I specifically said, he was investigated and exonerated of charges of scientific fraud – and this did NOT constitute passing an audit of hsi work which was the precise claim that had been made and that I was disputing. I didn’t cite the remainer of that because it was not relevant to the question of whether Lomborg had passed an audit. You are imagining that I argued a differnet point fromteh one I actually argued – and imagination is no substitute for the truth, per.

    But even if I had claimed something closer to what you seem to imagine I claimed, the remainer of that does not help his case. Lomborg’s subsequent “appeal” from NOT being found guilty of fraud, reversed a subset of the findings of fact that the original committee had come to in NOT finding Lomborg guilty of fraud.

    Here is the remainder of the Wikipedia text on that case:

    “On February 13, 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation against the DCSD’s decision.

    On December 17, 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD had made a number of procedural errors, including:

    * The DCSD did not use a precise standard for deciding “good scientific practice” in the social sciences;
    * The DCSD’s definition of “objective scientific dishonesty” was not clear about whether “distortion of statistical data” had to be deliberate or not;
    * The DCSD had not properly documented that The Skeptical Environmentalist was a scientific publication on which they had the right to intervene in the first place;
    * The DCSD did not provide specific statements on actual errors.

    The Ministry remitted the case to the DCSD, which invalidated the previous findings of scientific dishonesty in regard to the book. The Minstry also instructed the DCSD to decide whether to reinvestigate.

    On March 12, 2004, the Committee formally decided not to act further on the complaints, reasoning that they had already found Lomborg not guilty. This effectively closed the case.”

    —-

    So they found that Lomborgs statements in many, many fields which are not social science, cant be fraud because the committee didnt properly outline the standards of scientific practice in the social sciences. Got it – one hell of an andorsemetn of Lomborg’s claims there – not.

    They didnt properly define whether distortion of scientific facts had to be deliberate or not to be fraud – note that this doenst address whether the committee did or didnot find that it was deliberate, only that they didnt properly define it. Another endorsement of something, but not his acuracy.

    TSE may not even be a scientific publication, and they didn’t adequtely establish that it was scientific at all, so it cant be scientific fraud – one HELL of an exoneration there of his scientific claims, per. Stunning, in fact. A major win in an “audit” of his “scientific” work.

    They didnt provide specific descriptions of errors – so they didn’t examine the truth of his claims, only the way he arrived at them – and since he was a social scientist and TSE may not even have ben science, his methods cant be fraudulent.

    You cite this and charge that I hid exonerating data? Get real, per.

  70. #71 Kevin Donoghue
    June 26, 2006

    “…I don’t see anything about statistician….”

    Carl,

    From your link: “It all started in 1998, when Bjørn Lomborg is an associate professor at of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus.”

  71. #72 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Theo,

    Lomborg’s book was audited – by scientists such as myself after it was published. We have found literally hundreds of major errors and omissions – stuff that slipped through the CUP peer review system. If these errors were to be incorporated into a revision, Lomborg would have to drastically alter his conclusions – something which would undermine him completely. One example pertains to his assessment of area-extinction models based on predictions of exponential decay. The models predict that ‘x’ amount of habitat loss results in ‘y’ numbers of extinctions. The models have been widely tested, as I garnered some 40 studies published in three rigid journals – Science, Nature, and PNAS since the mid 1990′s which provided empircal evidence either supporting them or suggesting that they actually underestimate local extinctions because they exclude other processes which drive the loss of species and populations e.g. invasive species, pollution etc. Yet Lomborg claims to debunk the models on the basis of three examples which he gleaned from an article in a book written by two business economists – Julian Simon and Aaron Wildavsky. What is worse is that each example was corrected in issues of Nature and Science that were published more than 4 years before Lomborg wrote his English edition – yet neither corrective is cited in “The Skeptical Environmentalist”. Moreover, when I assertively raised this point with Lomborg in our ‘debate’ he squirmed about uncomfortably in is chair and then said he’d “Look into it”. But of course he won’t. The revised edition of his book, when it eventaully comes out, won’t change one iota. If he was to include only a few of the 40 studies, he’d have to conclude that the predictions of area-extinction models have been tested and are fundamentally sound.

    Lubos, as self-annointed expert on life, the universe, and everything, please tell me why Lomborg did ot include the correctives? As a scientist, I would expect you to condemn this selectivity in citing empirical work, especially as it relies on a book chapter by business economists over two papers in leading scientific journals (plus 38 more). Or do you think that its OK for scientists to selectyively cite literature and to draw conclusions from this? There are many other similar examples like this – Kaare Fog has listed them on his web site ‘Lomborg errors’. On acid rain, forest loss, climate change, etc. etc., Lomborg is super-selective in citing only papers that downplay anthropogenic effects, and omits many more that emphasize anthropogenic effects. And you support this? Why? I think the answer lies more in your political worldview than in anything else. Lomborg also attempts to smear scientists like Wilson and Ehrich by suggesting they support a plan that, as described by anti-envirionmental writers Mann and Plummer, that does not exist. I have seen this method used before by the anti-environmental crowd; in order to disarm your opponents and to legitimize yourself all you need to do is make your opponents look like a bunch of idiots. For Lomborg, with no scientific credentials whatsoever,

    As for Theo, he’s be delighted if peer-review was such that all of the transparently shallow contrarian literature was published. This is why I cited the carrothers quote yesterday – peer review is fine if it supports the arguments of interlopwers like M & M, but it fails because 99.9% of the articles published in peer-reviewed journals go the other way.

    Re: the Bush video, Theo, grow up. Read some history. I do.

  72. #73 Tim Lambert
    June 26, 2006

    “a professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science”? That doesn’t make sense. Since when is statistics a subfield of Political Science?

  73. #74 Kevin Donoghue
    June 26, 2006

    Since when is statistics a subfield of Political Science?

    Well, somebody has to teach statistics to the politics students. Maybe the mathematicians couldn’t be bothered? I could understand that. Anyway the preface to TSE gives a hint as to Lomborg’s daily work:

    In the fall of 1977 I held a study group with ten of my sharpest students, where we tried to examine [Julian] Simon thoroughly. Honestly, we expected to show that most of Simon’s talk was simple, American right-wing propaganda. And yes, not everything he said was correct, but….

    The rest of the book is the “but”.

  74. #75 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Per, or whoever you are,

    The decision to exonerate Lomborg by the Rasmussen government was a political one. As Stuart Pimm said, “It was a pardon from the political leadership”. The Danes couldn’t exactly retain Lomborg in his post with the Dishonesty decision hanging over him. Hundreds of pages of evidence of Lomborg’s dishonesty were submitted to the DCSD. Lomborg did not respond to any of the charges, but instead claimed he’d answered them before, which he hadn’t. What we gleaned from all of this is that its apparently OK in the social sciences to be super selective in the references cited to support a position, even if this means ignoring 90% of empirical studies. Well, in the Earth sciences, this is unacceptable. But since Lomborg’s book effectively dispenses with the natural economy, arguing that humans are more-or-less exempt from the laws of nature, then he gets away with it.

    If you are going to wade into a debate in which you know nothing, then be prepared to take a big fall.

  75. #76 Kevin Donoghue
    June 26, 2006

    Correction to my last comment: “the fall of 1977″ should be 1997.

  76. #77 Theo Richel
    June 26, 2006

    An audit of Lomborg and an audit of the arguments of his opponents is here: http://www.stichting-han.nl/lomborg.htm

    You can also find a lot of useful information on good scientific practice there.

    And as far as whether the peer review was allright Cambridge University Press was even supported in this by the competition: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/publications/special/comment_peer_review_politics_and_pluralism.pdf

    And Jeff, there still are a lot of questions you havent answered: does the peer review system have flaws and what are your ideas about how to improve those (replace PR with a real PolitBureau perhaps?). Do you archive your data so that others can check your work? Where? Did you ever apologize to Lomborg for that Holocaust-argument? Or have you backed it up with a peer reviewed study?

    First Lomborgs victory, now Steve McIntyres victory, you guys are losing.

  77. #78 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Theo,

    Grow up man. The HAN hardly audited Lomborg’s book – the real audit was by Kaare Fog, whom I mentioned earlier, and by dozens of scientists such as myself who have actually bothered to study areas that Lomborg hashes up in his book. When Lomborg stated in the preface that “I am not an expert as regards environmental problems”, he made his best and most accurate comment in TSE. I debated a senior HAN member a few years ago on the subject of the importance of biodiversity and was annoyed at what a waste of my time it was: the guy didn’t have a clue about the subject. How can they ‘audit’ a book if their understanding of some relevant tpics is as bad as Lomborg’s?

    As for the Nature review I wrote with Stuart Pimm, I stand by every word of it. The analogies we used to describe Lomborg’s pathetically poor understanding of extinctions are appropriate. Its the unknowns that are the problem: the vast majority of species and genetically distinct populations have never been formally classified, and thus there is no doubt that many have disappeared without being ever being known. This is the same trick used by those to deny there is an AIDS epidemic or fasciost sympathizers have used to deny the Holocaust. Its the same tactic being used by US/UK governments to deny that there has been genocide caused by western bombs in Iraq. As long as no definitive body count of iraq civilians is made by our governments, then problem does not exist. We always count our own dead, but the victims of our aggression aren’t worth counting. This may explain why it is so easy for super powerful and super violent states – and you now who Imean – to routinely violate the UN Charter and the Nuremberg code.

    I liked the gist of the article you attached. It stipulates why polemicists like Lomborg are winning: because it is their message resonates with those who control the vast majority of wealth and power. It has nothing to to with the ‘truth’, but in a heterogeneous world, where vested interests are desperate to maintain the staus quo, there will always be a market for books like TSE which propound pure and utter greenwash. People want to believe in the tooth fairy, or else desperately want to shed some of the guilt they feel in being part of a rapacious economic system which ensures that 20,000 people die from chronic malnutritona every day. Alternatively, there are those who do not give a damn about this fact, but want to ensure that the economc juggernaut enriching the few at the expense of the many remains intact. I accept these facts – but this explains why I will continue to combat those who are willing to send our planet to hell in a handbasket to ensure the continuation of policies that are creating misery on a grand scale.

    Lastly Theo: read my last post again. Instead of evading the issue, tell me if it is acceptable in your view to cite one study t support your argument while excluding piles of studies with opposite conclusions. As I was embarrassing Lomborg by pointing out inconvenient facts, I couldn’t get him to admit that it was OK to be so selective. After all, in the final chapter of TSE he begs the reader to believe that “I have tried to present all the facts” [his words]. He didn’t even come close! All he could blurt out was that “I will look into it”. He’d had four years to ‘look into it’ before publishing his book. Theo, you are defending the indefensible.

  78. #79 per
    June 26, 2006

    “per, actually, if you read the part I posted,…”
    you posted the findings from a committee which were subsequently overturned. The committee found him not guilty, yet you persist in suggesting that the defective functioning of the DCSD is in some way a judgement against Lomborg.

    Jeff Harvey- “The decision to exonerate Lomborg by the Rasmussen government was a political one.”

    Thank goodness you have divine knowledge, jeff, or I would have to imagine you were telling me a flat-out lie because you didn’t like their findings.

    “If you are going to wade into a debate in which you know nothing, then be prepared to take a big fall.”
    Threats ? Does that mean you are going to tell me how wonderful a scientist you are (jeff who ?) at length again ?

    Let the record show, I corrected a singularly misleading selective quotation from Wiki; perhaps you should welcome accuracy with the facts. Or are you like Lee, when any selective quotation is fine, so long as it makes your point ?

    The fact that you are prepared to descend to threats makes clear all I need to know about your scientific credentials.
    Toodle-pip !
    per

  79. #80 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Its the unknowns that are the problem:”
    And you have god-like knowledge of unknown species ? You won’t have a reference, of course…

    “This is the same trick used by …fasciost sympathizers have used to deny the Holocaust. ”
    I wondered how long it would take; what you are trying to say is that Lomborg is a Nazi.
    which university are you a senior professor at ?
    cheers
    per

  80. #81 Hans Erren
    June 26, 2006
  81. #82 Eli Rabett
    June 26, 2006

    With regard to
    “Since when is statistics a subfield of Political Science?”

    There are several large software companies that say it is, such as SPSS….The SS stands for social sciences. The reason, of course, is that in social sciences, including political sciences, the data sucks, and to find anything you require sophisticated statistical analysis. With most physical science experiments you can make do with simple curve fitting, since in most cases you can control the system well enough that the measured quantity is a function of one, or at worst a few variables.

  82. #83 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Per, or should I say DAVID BELL,

    Wikipedia is a contributory encyclopedia. If anything needs peer-reviewing, its Wikipedia. Source watch is far better, in my view, than Wiki.

    I never said Lomborg was a Nazi sympathizer, so stop putting damned words into my mouth. In fact, from what I gather he’s quite liberal minded, and good for him. Just because he uses the same strategy to deny extinctions as another group uses to deny Nazi atrocities implies nothing. Why not have a go at Matt Ridley, one of Lomborg’s big supporters who has used such vile analogies to describe environmental movements? But why am I debating someone whose arguments about science are at grade school level? Can you not debate science, or is it beyond you? Care to discuss ecological or evolutionary models Per or.. is it David? I really enjoy face-to-face debates with contrarians, because most of them haven’t got a clue about the basics of environmental science. In front of an audience, this ignorance is exposed. Sadly, neither you, not Theo, nor Lubo has answered a single point I have made about peer-review, or about just a few examples of Lomborg’s distortions. Why? Because you can’t. Lomborg couldn’t either, but it was harder for him because there were 100 people in the audience awaiting him to answer my specific points. But because he couldn’t, and didnt even try, all he could say was “I’ll look into it”.

    You know David, or is it per… I recall an American expert on acid rain telling me a few years ago that debating people like you is like trying to ‘win a pissing match with a skunk’. His argument was that the contrarians argue that without 100% unequivocal evidence, a problem in their eyes ‘does not exist’. He argued that acid rain levels in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee are 100-500 times low level ambient, and that it is likely that these effects would seriously harm forests. However, the dynamics of forest ecosystems are such that changes occur rapidly over very small temporal and spatial gradients; thus, to fully understand how acid rain affects forests, he’d need a billion dollar grant – never to be funded. And because he does not have the means to fully study the system, the problem therefore ‘does not exist’.

    You contrarian lot never cease to amaze me with your pronouncements of a deep dedication to the scientific method’ when in fact you only want science that reflects your political beliefs and pre-determiend worldviews. I would have guessed this morning that you, Lubos and Theo are either far to the right politically or are libertarians, who believe in a deregulated economy, more power in corporate boardrooms and a neoliberal economic foreign policy combined with fervent support for US military intervention. Am I right guys? I see that Theo has contributed articles to libertarian web sites and Lubos calls himself the ‘South Park Republican’. So much for the ‘scientific method’! Its all based on your political views. Admit it.

  83. #84 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Per,

    I suggest you read the Nature review of TSE I wrote with Stuart Pimm, instead of trying vainly to put words into my mouth. And whay not use your real name? I don’t hind behind a pseudonym, and to their credit Lubos and Theo don’t either.

  84. #85 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Can you not debate science, or is it beyond you?”
    “the astroturf lobbying groups and their coterie of bought-and-paid-for scientists”
    “I believe his aim was fervent self-promotion.”
    “Theo, grow up.”
    I can see the cogency of the logic in your debating style.

    “Yet Lomborg is an international celebrity and I am a nobody.”
    we agree on something !

    “The MBH paper was rigorously peer-reviewed; your dislike of peer review is probably because the conclusion of the MBH paper does not blend with your own view on climate change.”
    Apart from your obvious mastery of telepathy, i thought I would see what your arguments actually are. Here you are arguing on peer-review. You seem to be oblivious to the fact that MBH’98 required a major corrigendum, since the methods section was utterly inadequate, and the original description of the data contained data that weren’t used, didn’t cite data that was, contained unjustified truncations, inadequate citations, etc., etc. That is without starting on the fact that MBH used an unusual PCA method, which was censured by NAS; that the MBH description of its statistics did not even mention that they had done an analysis (r2) which showed their analysis was crap; and that they (MBH) didn’t disclose this. That MBH said that their reconstruction was robust to the absence of dendro, when they knew it wasn’t.

    This is your poster boy for peer-review. Strangely, when it comes to arguing science, I cannot see the fantastic god-like insight that you claim to have. Perhaps you had better tell us again how wonderful you are ?

    toodle-pip!
    per

  85. #86 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Wikipedia is a contributory encyclopedia. ”
    just out of interest, jeff, weren’t you one of the people who brought complaints against lomborg to the dcsd ?

    Isn’t it a FACT that all those complaints were rejected by the DCSD, and lomborg found not guilty ?

    Oh! That’s right, that FACT doesn’t count because it’s a KKKonspiracy ! The EVIL EMPIRE is teaming up against you ! “it’s a political conspiracy” “it’s all them republicans!” Did you know, Jeff, that they have secret machines that can read your thoughts, and the only protection is to wrap your head in tin foil ?

    I recommend you up your lithium, jeff.
    toodle-pip !
    per

  86. #87 Stephen Berg
    June 26, 2006

    Re: “Here you are arguing on peer-review. You seem to be oblivious to the fact that MBH’98 required a major corrigendum, since the methods section was utterly inadequate, and the original description of the data contained data that weren’t used, didn’t cite data that was, contained unjustified truncations, inadequate citations, etc., etc. That is without starting on the fact that MBH used an unusual PCA method, which was censured by NAS; that the MBH description of its statistics did not even mention that they had done an analysis (r2) which showed their analysis was crap; and that they (MBH) didn’t disclose this. That MBH said that their reconstruction was robust to the absence of dendro, when they knew it wasn’t.”

    Absolute BS. Where on Earth would you get such silly ideas into your head?

  87. #88 Jeff Harvey
    June 26, 2006

    Toodle-pip (sounds better then per),

    Have a go at Lubos. He claims to be more intelligent than 2480 of 2500 scientists (I assume he means who contributed to the IPCC 2001 draft).

    Again, you fail to debate me on facts in Lomborg’s book. Why? I have made a few points; I am willing to present many more blatant distortions. But you just won’t bite, except for a few pathetic attempts at riducule. Why not? Again, in a face to face debate, your histrionics would not wash. Fact is, you won’t debate me on most aspects of envrionmental sciwence because you can’t. Lomborg tried and its just a shame you did not get a chance to see him squirm. Some guy at HAN tried and he was even worse. Its easy to ridicule people on a blog site but I think the vast majority of Tim’s readers and contributors know on which side of the fence most of the scientific evidence lies.

    Moreover, why is that a small band of sceptics, most of whom, are not climate scientists, seems to understand climate better than the vast majority of climate scientists? It must be because you think you are the ones with the superior intellect. Thus far we have you (not a climate scientist), Lubos, who is into string theory, and Theo, who is a journalist.

    Lastly, how may times do people have to say that the MBH paper is but one piece of empirical evidence in a multi-faceted discipline with evidence supporting AGW? MBH was publsihed in 1998, a full 10 years after James hansen argued that climate cghange was udnerway. Or is this your only slender thread of hope for continued denial? What a sad lot you sceptics are.

  88. #89 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Absolute BS. Where on Earth would you get such silly ideas into your head?”

    Dear Stephen

    please be specific about what I have said that is wrong; that is the way of science. Surely it is cowardly simply to spill bile, without even saying what is “BS”.

    cheers
    per

  89. #90 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Can you not debate science, or is it beyond you?”

    that’s funny, jeff, because I engaged on a specific example you gave about peer-review, and which is on-topic for the title of this thread. I say that your example is an excellent example of the failure of peer-review, and I gave several reasons why. I have directly contradicted you when you said that MBH’98 was “rigorously peer-reviewed”; it is blatantly obvious that there was very little that was “rigorous” about the process if they can miss so many major errors in the work.

    All I hear back is the sound of silence…

    or is that the sound of chickens clucking ?

    go on, jeff, tell us again how wonderful a scientist you are, and how we are not fit to lick your boots :-)

    toodle-pip !
    per

  90. #91 per
    June 26, 2006

    hey Jeff

    I forgot how good your mastery of scientific language is:

    “Their conclusions remain unchanged”

    wrong. The NAS panel specifically disagree with the claims of MBH’98; specifically, they stated that reconstructions from before 1600 have unquantifiable levels of uncertainty. This is very different from MBH’98, which claimed 99.7% certainty.

    “that the last 20 years of the 20th century were very likely…”

    the NAS panel did not use “very likely”; they used “plausible”

    “The results literally vanquish the arguments of the denial lobby.”

    If only you hadn’t got your words completely wrong, and if only the words didn’t mean something completely different, you would be right.

  91. #92 jp
    June 26, 2006

    Per, here is a challenge. Can you make one clear and coherent statement regarding the science on any of these issues. Save the strawmen and word games for your cheer squad. Lubos couldn’t do it, can you?

  92. #93 Dano
    June 26, 2006

    jp,

    if lil’ FUD purveyor per can’t obfuscate and mendacicize, he’s got nothing.

    Best,

    D

  93. #94 per
    June 26, 2006

    “Can you make one clear and coherent statement regarding the science on any of these issues.”-jp

    Dear jp,

    I regularly make clear and falsifiable statements, starting from my first post on this thread. My posts of June 26, 2006 10:39 AM, and June 26, 2006 09:34 AM are specific and falsifiable, and address the science.

    Unlike others, my case is sufficiently strong that i do not have to resort to either threats, or to name-calling.

    I will even take you on at dendrochronology, your post of June 23, 2006 12:25 PM :

    “Tree rings sites are selected because they represent locations where there is a high sensitivity in the ring growth to climatic conditions.”
    This is circular. How do you show that there is a sensitivity to temperature ? If you have a completely random population with no response to temperature, some tree stands will show a rise, some a decrease, and some no change over a time period. This is basic statistics. If you simply select those trees with a rise (as 20th century temperature), it doesn’t follow that you are selecting temperature sensitive trees.
    In fact, the recent discrepancy between patterns of tree growth, and global temperatures, was a matter commented on in the NAS report.

    hey- it’s only science.

    cheers, per :-)

  94. #95 z
    June 26, 2006

    “Since when is statistics a subfield of Political Science?”
    “The reason, of course, is that in social sciences, including political sciences, the data sucks, and to find anything you require sophisticated statistical analysis.”

    As I’ve said before, if lecturing statistics to undergrads who are not math majors makes you a professor of statistics, then I’m a professor of statistics too. At least my students weren’t in poli-sci. That’s like being a professor of statistics at a dog obedience school.

    “With most physical science experiments you can make do with simple curve fitting, since in most cases you can control the system well enough that the measured quantity is a function of one, or at worst a few variables.”

    Well, if that’s the case, then laborers in said fields of physical science are in no way qualified to discuss climatology.

  95. #96 Dano
    June 26, 2006

    If you have a completely random population with no response to temperature, some tree stands will show a rise, some a decrease, and some no change over a time period. This is basic statistics. If you simply select those trees with a rise (as 20th century temperature)…hey- it’s only science. [emphasis added]

    This isn’t science, it’s arguing from false premises.

    IOW, you are full of sh*t.

    I’d be happy to sign you in, David, to a dendro listserv so you can argue this weak bullsh*t there. Let me know. I’ll be on vacation next week.

    Best,

    D

  96. #97 Davis
    June 26, 2006

    This is circular. How do you show that there is a sensitivity to temperature ? If you have a completely random population with no response to temperature, some tree stands will show a rise, some a decrease, and some no change over a time period.

    Just curious, per, but could you provide more information showing that there is a completely random population with no response to temperature? I don’t know dendrochronology, but that sounds nonintuitive.

    On the other hand, I can fairly easily imagine that there is a set of observations that would show high sensitivity to temperature. Furthermore, I don’t see that the opposite of “high sensitivity” is “random.” Perhaps I’m missing something.

  97. #98 per
    June 26, 2006

    “This isn’t science, it’s arguing from false premises.”

    actually, what I said was correct, much tho’ you hate to admit it. If you wish to disprove my basic stats, say precisely how.

    vapid abuse doesn’t cut it.

    toodle-pip!

    per

  98. #99 Dano
    June 26, 2006

    actually, what I said was correct, much tho’ you hate to admit it.

    It was correct in the context of your typical evidenceless assertion, nothing more. Just because you say something a buncha times doesn’t make it correct.

    I’d be happy to sign you in, David, to a dendro listserv so you can argue your weak bullsh*t there. Let me know. I’ll be on vacation next week.

    Best,

    D

  99. #100 Lubos Motl
    June 26, 2006

    Dear jp,

    I am sure that your head filled with materials usually found in the restrooms knows very well that what you write are pure lies.

    I have not only written dozens of crystal-clear, penetrating, science-oriented articles about the climate, but my blog is also, modestly speaking, ;-) the world’s #2 most authoratative blog about the climate according to Technorati (among many others).

    http://technorati.com/blogs/climate

    after a propagandistic blog by a large group of politicized scientists.

    With per and Dano, the level of the local discussions here has increased by an order of magnitude, but due to the overcritical concentration of morons, it is still orders of magnitude below climateaudit.org, among others.

    All the best
    Lubos