Monckton continues to entertain:

Dear Professor Serene – A Fellow of the APS has drawn my attention to a new policy apparently adopted by the Executive Board of the American Physical Society, to the effect that every paper published in any APS journal must in future carry a disclaimer to the effect that it has not been peer-reviewed. The Executive Board appears to have acted thus because Lawrence Krauss, a notorious, Marxist political activist who found uncongenial the conclusions of a paper by me that appeared in the July 2008 issue of Physics and Society, came under pressure from his political faction to undermine and repudiate my paper by means other than the usual scientific debate. Krauss was not able to debate the content of my paper scientifically, since it was beyond his expertise.

Gee, and I thought Krauss was a theoretical physicist. Krauss also publicly defended evolution against the people trying to push Creationism into science classes, so maybe that makes him a Marxist in Monckton’s eyes. Feel free to speculate in comments if you can explain where Monckton’s delusion comes from.

Monckton continues with:


It was Krauss who ordered a disclaimer to be posted above my paper, saying a) that it had not been peer-reviewed, when it had been;

No, it hadn’t

b) that the majority of international scientific opinion opposed its conclusions, when he had no scientific basis for that statement;

Actually he did. See, for example, the IPCC report

and c) that the Council of the American Physical Society disagreed with my paper’s conclusions, even though the Council had not in fact met to consider my paper.

But the Council had already resolved that

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Monckton again:

Under pressure from me, and from numerous Fellows and members of the APS, two of Krauss’ three falsehoods were removed, but the falsehood about the paper not having been peer-reviewed remained in place. The paper had in fact been meticulously reviewed by an eminent professor of physics, who was also the review editor of Physics and Society. He was fully competent to conduct the review, since his intention was that my argument should be understandable to any physicist, whether or not he or she were a climatologist.

This is editorial review, not peer review.

I am concerned that the Executive Board has now either prevented peer-review from taking place in the APS’ journals or insisted, as Krauss did to his great discredit, that its editors should lie to the effect that papers with which the APS Council might disagree have not been peer-reviewed, even when they have been.

Just in case there was any chance of Serene taking him seriously, Monckton finishes with:

Therefore I invite the Executive Board, however tempted it may be by the lavish taxpayer funding available to those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere occupied by CO2 since 1750 can somehow put the planet at serious risk, to resist the State-subsidized ending of the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, to reconsider the Council’s policy declaration in favor of the new faith, and to allow open, scientific debate on alleged (but non-existent) “global warming” and other scientific issues within the pages of its journals without posting silly, unscientific, and mendacious disclaimers over learned papers, such as mine, that its editors have commissioned, reviewed, accepted, and published.

Geepers, I wonder what Monckton’s score on John Baez’s crackpot index is up to now?

Comments

  1. #1 jre
    October 16, 2008

    Thanks for the continuing Monckton watch.
    He is slightly less scary, and slightly more entertaining, than a creationist or a troofer, so it’s a welcome break.

    Side note: you may want to break the two paragraphs in the blockquote immediately after “But the Council had already resolved that”, so as to make it clear that the first is from the APS, and the second from the Discount Monkey.

  2. #2 lawrence
    October 16, 2008

    thanks for defending my honor! :)

    Lawrence Krauss

  3. #3 Zeke
    October 16, 2008

    Is there a Godwinian corollary for calling your opponent a Marxist?

    In some ways, I think Monckton is slightly more frightening than, say, your run of the mill creationist, since so many people appear to take him seriously. He has mastered the simple art of obfuscating poor reasoning with poorer math.

  4. #4 Brian D
    October 16, 2008

    I met Krauss a few years ago when he delivered an excellent talk with the delightful title “Science, Non-science, and Nonsense” at my campus. It included an interesting introduction to the scientific method (both in terms of everyday critical thinking and academic peer-review), with special focus on the topics of climate change (focus on Bush’s interference) and intelligent design (focused on the Dover trial and bypassing peer review; one example he used was an Oreskes-style search for “intelligent design” in journals that, after you removed the engineering papers (where “intelligent” meant “good”), he got fewer hits than an Amazon search for UFOs). After the talk, the question period almost fell into a shouting match when a fundamentalist challenged him on several of his claims, particularly those relating to observations of God.

    Given how most fundamentalists tend to think in very similar fashions, especially in terms of us-vs-them mentality, it’s quite likely that this fundamentalist classified him under her ultimate “them” banners — things like “unbeliever” and “atheist” (even though Krauss didn’t deny God — he was politically neutral on the subject, but that didn’t stop the labelling). Monckton, who defines himself as a conservative of the Thatcher era and an “elite” aristocrat (i.e. above the common worker), naturally defines “them” as collectivist pro-workers — in a nutshell, the Marxist philosophy.

    You see it all the time with ideologues, denialists and the more extreme conspiracy nuts — basically anyone driven to fundamentalism. The more extreme their personal ideology is, the more specific and narrow their complaints get. (This doesn’t always apply to the individual — a skilled orator can speak to a *crowd* of fundamentalists this way regardless of his personal beliefs. Certain televangelists come to mind, as does Lindzen’s “third world kleptocrats!” conspiracy theory.)

    On a semi-related note, the Krauss talk I mentioned was what motivated me into studying the issue of science interference, climate change, and denialism in general to a greater degree. So essentially, he’s to blame for my current obsession. ;)

  5. #5 ChrisC
    October 16, 2008

    “…learned papers, such as mine…”
    < \blockquote>

    Ha!

  6. #6 John Mashey
    October 16, 2008

    re: “numerous Fellows and members of the APS”:

    Well, we know of (Fellow) Gerald Marsh (RC #1 and (member) RC #2 and Larry Gould.

    The latter, who gave Monckton glowing support at SPPI, continues in the Fall 2008 APS New England Section Newsletter, including a note from the Viscount.

    Note the disclaimer.

    Does anyone know of any others inside APS?

  7. #7 Dano
    October 16, 2008

    Let’s focus.

    The APS response is perfect – “this is not a peer-reviewed paper, and don’t you chimps claim it is”.

    Of course Lord Crazy wants no part of this, as he cannot get published but can dissemble about being peer-reviewed.

    So it’s not crackpottery, it is mendacity. Dissembley. FUDdery.

    Best,

    D

  8. #8 z
    October 16, 2008

    well, technically, it may have been peer reviewed, and rejected.

  9. #9 bi -- IJI
    October 16, 2008

    Brian D:

    > as does Lindzen’s “third world kleptocrats!” conspiracy theory.

    If I remember correctly, THIRD WORLD KLEPTOCRATS!!! was from S. Fred Singer. :)

    In any case, so what we have at hand is a gigantic Marxist plot involving

    1. the world’s scientific societies who maintain an iron grip on prizes and awards which the lone scientist so desperately needs, aided by
    2. the world’s alternative energy Czars, who are given pork-barrel deals by
    3. the world’s left-leaning politicians, who have been infiltrated by
    4. the world’s environmentalist groups, …

  10. #10 Steve Bloom
    October 16, 2008

    OT: Does anyone have any info on John Nicol? He’s the head of the Australian Climate Science (Denial) Coalition and recently the author of an egregiously bad non-PV “paper” purporting to overturn the radiation physics basis of the greenhouse effect. He’s supposed to be an emeritus physics prof from John Cook University, but there’s no trace of him on the JCU site and not much elsewhere on the web.

  11. #11 Tim Lambert
    October 17, 2008

    Nicol is listed [here](http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/mathphys/staff/physics/alumini.shtml) as alumni at James Cook. He’s not an emiritus professor at all, but “Senior Lecturer Department of Physics James Cook University Now Retired to Brisbane”

  12. #12 Brian D
    October 17, 2008

    Frank: Slip of the fingers; I’d been arguing about Lindzen earlier. I meant Singer (his free-market anticommunist Cold War mentality is clear enough for anyone to see, while Lindzen is a lot harder to nail down).

  13. #13 James Haughton
    October 17, 2008

    I make the index score somewhere over 120; the most significant uncertainty being whether complaining about “notorious marxists” scores points on the “brownshirts” index score (33) on a technicality (they were National SOCIALISTS after all).
    I was tempted to give him double for (21) for claiming that he actually has a share of the IPCC’s prize as a “reviewer”.

  14. #14 guthrie
    October 17, 2008

    The funny thing being that you don’t have to be a Marxist in order to be a collectivist pro-worker sort of person. In fact many such people are explicitly against Marx and his view of the world.

    But I wouldn’t expect Monckton to be able to tell the difference.

    According to this page:
    http://genesis1.asu.edu/~krauss/dpageinterview.html

    The only Marx Krauss really likes are the Marx Brothers. Perhaps Monckton didn’t bother reading the article properly?

  15. #15 WotWot
    October 17, 2008

    those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere occupied by CO2 since 1750 can somehow put the planet at serious risk,

    Anybody who thinks that tiny amounts of a chemical substance cannot cause serious disruption to a complex biophysical system should try ingesting 50 micrograms of pure lysergic acid diethylamide, or a few milligrams of polonium, and then report back to us, if they still can.

    It is now quite clear that Monckton will just go on making ever more idiotic, narcissistic, and extravagant claims. He is becoming a quite sad case.

  16. #16 pough
    October 17, 2008

    Anybody who thinks that tiny amounts of a chemical substance cannot cause serious disruption to a complex biophysical system should try ingesting 50 micrograms of pure lysergic acid diethylamide, or a few milligrams of polonium, and then report back to us, if they still can.

    Better yet, get as blotto as a lord or the realm and drive about. When stopped by the police, just slur the Monckton Defense!

  17. #17 Dano
    October 17, 2008

    Therefore I invite the Executive Board, however tempted it may be by the lavish taxpayer funding available to those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere occupied by CO2 since 1750 can somehow put the planet at serious risk,

    The phrase I always use (often to good effect) is: increase your Valium or Ambien or Atavan from 5 to 8mg. That is the equivalent dosage increase. Get back to us in a few on how you feel.

    Usually I get bumbling and stumbling as a reply.

    Best,

    D

  18. #18 Nick
    October 17, 2008

    More Munchhausen from Monckton

  19. #19 Chris O'Neill
    October 17, 2008

    those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere occupied by CO2 since 1750 can somehow put the planet at serious risk

    Or for a radiation example you could try running a ruby laser without the 0.03% Chromium content in the ruby.

  20. #20 z
    October 17, 2008

    “those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief”

    to the primitive mind, science must indeed seem like theology.

  21. #21 WotWot
    October 18, 2008

    #16

    He he he.

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    October 18, 2008

    The Monckey refers to:

    those who genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere occupied by CO2 since 1750 can somehow put the planet at serious risk

    and in doing so thinks that the scientific audience won’t notice that a “one-ten-thousandth part in the proportion of the atmosphere” actually represents a 35% increase in CO2 itself. Playing cute with numbers and people’s impressions thereof, is the mendacious peer.

    As to the insinuation that low concentrations of a substance cannot have a significant effect, I like to keep my example focussed on the atmosphere. Quoting the electronic smart-arse, “[a]bout 90% of the ozone in our atmosphere is contained in the stratosphere. Ozone concentrations are greatest between about 20 and 40 km, where they range from about 2 to 8 parts per million. If all of the ozone were compressed to the pressure of the air at sea level, it would be only a few millimeters thick”.

    Would the viscantcount suggest that atmospheric ozone has no relevance for the biosphere?

    And does he really think that he can fool an educated person with his slipperiness with numbers?

  23. #23 Barton Paul Levenson
    October 18, 2008

    The lethal dose of airborne fluorine is 0.1 ppm, one part in ten million. Would Lord Monckton like to try breathing such air? After all, the fraction of fluorine in it is tiny.

  24. #24 TrueSceptic
    October 18, 2008

    Lord Munchkin likes to make threats of legal action, which are never followed up, of course.

    Does anyone know at which point, if any, it would become necessary or effective to take him to court for libel? Should he be allowed to make false, insulting, and defamatory claims for as long as he likes?

    Or is it better to continue to mock this arrogant twerp and refute his false claims?

  25. #25 Hank Roberts
    October 18, 2008

    > take him to court …?

    ‘I don’t keer w’at you do wid me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘so you don’t fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas’ me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘but don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.

  26. #26 TrueSceptic
    October 18, 2008

    25 Hank,

    Just wondering. People do get sued for less and it can go to court.

    I mean, people in general can’t just go around telling lies about others, can they?

  27. #27 z
    October 18, 2008

    Furthermore, I would like to speak out about the common quasi-theological belief that covering your body with a piece of fabric a few mm thick will cause your temperature to rise appreciably, when you are already covered with 50 some miles of atmosphere.

  28. #28 Ian Forrester
    October 19, 2008

    More verbal diarrhea form the Discount Monk:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/5g4to7

    This is an open letter to John McCain.

    Here is an example of his torture of the English language:

    “It will be a radically-tyrannical dictatorship – perhaps the brutal gerontocracy of Communist China, or the ruthless plutocracy of supposedly ex-Communist Russia, or the crude, mediaeval theocracy of rampant Islam, or even the contemptible, fumbling, sclerotic, atheistic-humanist bureaucracy of the emerging European oligarchy that has stealthily stolen away the once-paradigmatic democracy of our Mother of Parliaments from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere”.

    We should all feel sorry for the Discount Monk since, as I have previously disclosed, he suffers from two severe medical afflictions.

    The first is he is suffering from an enlarged ganglial ochrea (which can be abbreviated as EGO) and secondly he suffers from low ileal artery receptor disease (which can be abbreviated LIAR).

  29. #29 bi -- IJI
    October 19, 2008

    Monckton has too much time on his hands.

  30. #30 TrueSceptic
    October 19, 2008

    28 Ian,

    Thanks. This is great stuff, but I can’t completely suppress my long-term suspicion that the Munchkin is a parodic creation.

    Not the average spoof, of course. We are talking Peter Cook levels here. :D

  31. #31 Chris O'Neill
    October 19, 2008

    Monckton has too much time on his hands.

    As realclimate noted when I guess he first came to their attention.

  32. #32 Bernard J.
    October 20, 2008

    A heads-up: Richard Lindzen is being interviewed by Duffy on Counterpoint about global warming. He seems to be confabulating theories and models. In addition, it seems that Dick subscribes to the conspiracy theory (model?!) of science…

    There’ll be an mpeg soon.

  33. #33 truesceptic
    October 20, 2008

    32 Bernard,

    Are you referring to http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf ? It’s a great read for those interested in the workings of a mind showing signs of senility.

  34. #34 Eli Rabett
    October 20, 2008

    Another Reality Check on the monk, who has snuck in a defence of Chillingar and friends.

  35. #35 bernard J.
    October 20, 2008

    TrueSceptic.

    Oh dear.

    Dear, oh dear.

    I hadn’t read that effort of Lindzen’s.

    I’ve seen misbehaviour in science, and I’ve spoken to investigative committees on this very matter, but Lindzen seems to work in a different world of science than the one that I am familiar with, if he believes what he writes.

    There is far too much in that paper to respond to, in the time that I have at the moment, but I will make one observation: where I have seen misbehaviour, conspiracy and fabrication in science, it starts at the bottom of the tree, and it is almost always rapidly caught and dealt with as the repercussions travel upward.

    Excuse me if I am interpeting old Dickie incorrectly, but I can think of no system of science where inappropriate procedure can occur at the top and work its way down. And certainly not to a global extent, and over decades. To attempt to do so would be about as successful as trying to pedal a bicycle backwards.

    To think otherwise would require either an ignorance of science, a clinically pathological level of paranoia, or real insight into a subtlety of political conspiracy that transends any capacity of scientific administration to detect. Oh, and that last option would require a degree of government complicity that would be hard to conceal from just about any part of society, and not just from the boffins.

    And until someone introduces me to the secret handshake, I cannot give credence to that last option…

  36. #36 Jeff Harvey
    October 20, 2008

    The impact factor of Environmental Geology (where the Khilyuk and Chilingar paper was published) in 2007 was 0.722. In other words, this places it very far down the table of journals in the field. It doesn’t surprise me that non-experts who know little of the strength and weaknesses of various peer-reviewed journals would plug a paper in such a weak journal. Most scientists know better.

  37. #37 Former Skeptic
    October 20, 2008

    Jeff:

    I would hesitate to use any isolated value of IF to cast scorn onto any journal’s wider impact, especially within specialized fields. While EG may appear to have a low IF compared to Nature or Science, A quick check on the median IF of the 40 journals categorized in JCR as “geology” is a “mere” 0.793.

    Having said that…it could be that EG is a pretty good geology journal (as Werner A-H has pointed out, good for groundwater stuff), but the fact that K+C published controversial climate stuff in that as opposed to mainstream meteorology/atmosphere science journals speaks more about (i) the dodginess of the paper’s contents and (ii) perhaps poor editorial review processes, rather than the overall weaknesses/low impact of the journal per se.

  38. #38 Rob
    October 20, 2008

    I wonder why only skeptics are polite.

  39. #39 Bernard J.
    October 20, 2008

    Oo, oo – I got it this time Rob…

    Socratic irony!

  40. #40 pough
    October 22, 2008

    The Sweet Lord Monckton Defense:

    Occifer, I shall never genuflect to what is no more than a quasi-theological belief that the increase of five hundredths of a percent in the proportion of my blood occupied by alcohol since earlier this evening can somehow put anyone at serious risk.

  41. #41 Joel Shore
    October 22, 2008

    In response to a letter I sent them ( http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200810/shore.cfm ), the editors of the Forum newsletter were quite clear about the fact that it is not peer-reviewed. Monckton is in the strange position of arguing that Saperstein’s editorial comments constituted peer review when Saperstein himself says that they didn’t.

  42. #42 pough
    October 23, 2008

    Yes, but Monckton’s family has the longer history of peerage, so he should know better than Saperstein whether or not Saperstein’s review was, in fact, peer review.

  43. #43 Dano
    October 23, 2008

    pough, I like your BAC analogy – better than my Valium analogy. Perhaps you can place this in context, wrt drinks per rise in CO2 ppmv, or crazy Monckton statements per .01 rise in BAC…

    Just a thought.

    Best,

    D

  44. #44 JB
    October 29, 2008

    “Krauss was not able to debate the content of my paper scientifically, since it was beyond his expertise.” — Lord of Monkeytown

    In other words, Krauss was not qualified to debate the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin — so he rightfully declined.