Daily Mail caught in another lie

Following the heels of the Rosegate scandal where journalist David Rose was exposed as a serial quote fabricator, the credibility of Rose’s newspaper, the Daily Mail, has taken another body blow with the paper publishing a false story claiming that Phil Jones had admitted that there had been no global warming since 1995.

This is false (see graph below) and Jones made no such admission. Michael Tobis has the details on the Daily Mail‘s dishonesty.


Ever gullible Tim Blair, of course, swallowed the lie, hook, line and sinker. Andrew Bolt will do doubt follow if he gets his voice back.

Update: Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse fall for the lie.


  1. #1 Stu
    February 19, 2010


    rather than believing that the null hypothesis is that there’s no real trend, I can state the following:

    The null hypothesis should always be that there’s no actual trend and that the observed pattern is an artefact of the noise. The less noise, more trend and more data you have, the more confidence you have that the trend is or isn’t by chance.

    Neven says: “What IS the confidence interval used to determine statistical significance? Is it based on something like an average of the baseline period?”

    The confidence interval is always 95%, which is very close to two standard deviations. Plot two standard deviations above and below your mean and see if the observed trend goes outside this range. If it does, you have statistical significance at 95%.

  2. #2 Neven
    February 19, 2010

    Thanks for all the explanations. This guy is assuming a lot of things without looking into them (for instance, he constantly talks about the IPCC whereas it’s CRU’s dataset we’re talking about) and this leads him to conclude that figures are made up out of thin air. Unfortunately I lack specific statistical knowledge to explain to him what the flaws in his thinking are, so I won’t waste my time going into it. It’s hard enough to convince him about things I do know something about.

  3. #3 Lee
    February 19, 2010


    It’s kind of sloppy thinking of it this way, but in the ‘null’ language you’re using:

    The ‘null hypothesis is that the true trend is zero. The observed trend is 0.12 C / decade. Jones said that we aren’t quite 95% sure that we can rule out the possibility that the observed trend for the last 15 years is an artifact of noise in the system.

    However, the confidence interval is on both sides of the observed trend – we also aren’t quite 95% sure that we can rule out an actual trend as high as 0.24C / century, with noise making it look as low as 0.12C.

    Jones is a very good scientist – but he’s piss poor when communicating with those who want to twist his words to make him look bad by misrepresenting him. I find it hard to fault him for that.

  4. #4 dhogaza
    February 19, 2010

    Jones is a very good scientist – but he’s piss poor when communicating with those who want to twist his words to make him look bad by misrepresenting him. I find it hard to fault him for that

    I’ll fault him for offering to submit to the Q&A in the first place. It wasn’t a phone interview, he was given the answers and answered them in writing, apparently. He could’ve gotten help from someone more astute (in regard to the press), at least.

    As I said on the thread over at island of doubt, it’s a good thing to point out the symmetry, that the less than significant observed +0.12C/decade trend over 15 years makes a trend of +0.24C/decade as likely as 0C/decade …

    Keep hammering that point home.

  5. #5 Devils Advocate
    February 21, 2010

    Re dhogaza @ 100;

    [The paradoxical effect can be seen because even though the test is "99% accurate", if one receives a positive response from the test there is still a 99% chance that the test gave an incorrect result."](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_positive_paradox).

  6. #6 jakerman
    February 21, 2010

    That would be Devil’s – [statistically significant](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/daily_mail_caught_in_another_l.php#comment-2274746) means [50% probability](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/daily_mail_caught_in_another_l.php#comment-2274669) – Advocate;

    And Devil’s – I was for statistics until they [didn't say what I wanted](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/daily_mail_caught_in_another_l.php#comment-2274995) – Advocate;

    And Devil’s – Louis Hissink is an [intellectual giant](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/plimer_exposed_as_a_fraud.php#comment-2200665) – Advocate.

    Ever considered changing your name to Dunce’s Advocate?

  7. #7 Yngve
    February 28, 2010

    Reference is often made to the 2500 unanimous scientists who agree on the conclusions in the IPCC Report of 2007. However, during a meeting in Akersberga, Sweden Mr Bert Bolin pointed out that only 400 of them were climate specialists.

    Bearing in mind that there are more than 9000 scientists, many of them climate specialists, who have stated that they are sceptical to the conclusions in the IPCC Report, it would be very interesting to know who those 400 supporting the conclusions are, or were, not to mention the majority of all the climate scientists who are said to support the conclusions in the IPCC Report

  8. #8 Marco
    February 28, 2010

    @Yngve, I’d say, start listing the people you believe are climate “specialists”. Be aware that people like “Ian Plimer” or “Hans Labohm”, or “Arthur Rörsch” or “Sonia Boehmer-Christiansen”, or “Benny Peiser” or “Lubos Motl”, or “Jaworowski” (I always forget the guy’s first name) and a long list of others is going to result in eternal ridicule.

  9. #9 Marco
    February 28, 2010

    @Yngve, I completely forgot. This is a good starting point to learn about climate scientists and the ‘skeptics’ versus the ‘consensus’:
    And Jim’s very liberal with assigning publications.