Phil Jones vindicated some more

The International Panel set up to examine the work of the Climate Research Unit has cleared the CRU of all charges of misconduct:

We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work
of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely
that we would have detected it.

They also point the finger at who is to blame for the failure to release all the weather station data. The UK government:

It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were
important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of
environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted
a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by
government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of
processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and
seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in

See also: Eli Rabett.


  1. #1 JamesA
    April 14, 2010

    I had a quick trawl of the British newspaper headlines to see how they reacted and the most comical denial belongs to the Daily Telegraph, who lead with the title “‘Climategate’ scientists criticised for not using best statistical tools“. Everywhere else I could find (including even the Daily Mail), start with CRU’s vindication as the headline. The Telegraph article only begrudgingly admits this four paragraphs in.

    Interestingly, the Telegraph do dwell on Lord Oxburgh’s oil industry connections, while most other sources (including the BBC) seem to be quicker to point out his green energy links. It’s like there’s this rule in the British press that there has to be some kind of implied controversy somewhere.

  2. #2 John
    April 14, 2010

    No doubt the Telegraph will find a sex scandal in it somewhere.

  3. #3 MapleLeaf
    April 14, 2010

    Great news, but hardly surprising. And not a whitewash, there was some justified critique.

    Did the denialsits really/honestly in their hearts of hearts think they had a case?

    I bet Monckton is doing another Hitler rant right now.

  4. #4 Sou
    April 14, 2010

    The dedicated deniosaurs won’t change their tune. However I hope journalists give all this scientist-bashing a rest and write about more important matters.

    It’s about time they concentrated more on what can be done, discussing political and regulatory changes that are needed to get rid of coal etc.

    I see that a Peruvian glacier caused a tidal wave yesterday, and of course the tropical glaciers in South America will all have disappeared soon, along with the water supply for thousands of people.

  5. #5 Clippo
    April 14, 2010

    I subscribe to the Daily Telegraph – (effectively I get it for half price) – but I’ve never taken their GW stuff at all seriously. They have always treated this subject as potential for controversial debate (and therefore controversy sells more newspapers).

    Booker makes laugh with his weekly silliness, & of course Lords Munchkin and Lawson have past editorial links with the DT.

    That said, all this stuff is the best advert I’ve seen for the old maxim “don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers”.


    I’m not sure if it has been suggested anywhere else but I’m going to look into suggesting Phil Jones gets an OBE or some other Royal award.

  6. #6 Sou
    April 14, 2010

    There were quite a few parts of the report worth highlighting, a couple of which I’ve picked out below:

    The prominent observation that “CRU did a public service of great value ” – about time someone official came out loud and strong in praise of CRU. Without them we might not have realised the risk of disaster we face.

    And the questioning of FOI application in academia:
    “unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context.”

    I agree, FoI should not apply to academic research. It’s quite the wrong mechanism.

  7. #7 John Mashey
    April 14, 2010

    re: #1 JamesA

    Well, the Telegraph has an element of cluelessness.

    Lord Oxburgh is an old friend, via my wife (who did her PhD at Imperial College, where he was the Rector (#1) for years.] He used to come visit the SF Bay Area moderately often. IC also used to have several-day IC alumni meetings in various places around the world, and he attended. Each had little field excursions, of which the San Franciso one had a nice hike around Tiburon, with running commentary by Ron on the geology. (He’s a geoscientist).

    He is very smart, very knowledgable, and very blunt, for example:
    Oil chief: My fears for the planet by David Adam (*that* freaked some people) or
    Peak oil by David Strahan (likewise).

    Some nonobvious history: Shell got into trouble with some miss-statements, and they needed to pull in somebody with integrity and reputation to help clean up the mess, hence tapped Ron as Chairman of the Board.

    Note, of course, that Lord Ron is actually a member of the House of Lords, unlike someone else we know.

  8. #8 Steve Reuland
    April 14, 2010

    Did the denialsits really/honestly in their hearts of hearts think they had a case?

    What difference does it make if they have a case?

    Did you hear about how Glenn Beck raped a murdered a girl in 1990? I’m not saying he did, but there’s a lot of people out there who claim so, and Beck has not provided conclusive proof that he didn’t. I’m just sayin’.

  9. #9 Muzz
    April 14, 2010

    The last one had a committee stacked with ‘Labor types’ apparently, so that couldn’t be trusted (plus it was a bit on the short side, in time and brief, I guess).
    This time we’ll be hearing how the deck is stacked with ‘science types’, no doubt.

  10. #10 DavidCOG
    April 14, 2010


    > No doubt the Telegraph will find a sex scandal in it somewhere.

    And eventually the Daily Mail will find a link to knife-wielding, glue-sniffing Muslim teenage mothers from Poland.

  11. #11 Jeremy C
    April 14, 2010

    John @ 10 you forgot to mention that the Daily Mail will find all this out through astrology.

    (All praise to Private Eye for inventing the wonderful phrase, “shurely some mistake: editor”)

  12. #12 Jeremy C
    April 14, 2010

    Whoops! I meant DavidCOG, not John.

  13. #13 Mike
    April 14, 2010

    Oh gawd. I had just a small hunch this might happen. Another vindication.

    Let’s start bracing ourselves for the third round of screaming, ranting cries of “a conspiracy to hide the conspiracy!”

    You know the denialists have plenty of loonyism left in them yet.

  14. #14 Dave Andrews
    April 14, 2010

    John Mashey,

    As you apparently know Lord Oxburgh and place great store in what he says, I trust you will take to heart his second conclusion

    “We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists”

    And bear in mind that this comment mirrors perfectly that of Wegman in his report. Perhaps you will also point this out to other posters on this blog?

  15. #15 el gordo
    April 14, 2010

    ‘The Panel was not concerned with the question of whether the conclusions of
    the published research were correct. ‘

    No, they are more concerned with the integrity of CRU and maintaining a facade of normalcy.

  16. #16 MapleLeaf
    April 14, 2010

    Actually, CRU have done work with statisticians– read Foster et al. (2010).

    Really trolls (you know who you are), best thing for you to do right now is to say nothing. The contrarians have suffered enough damage lately without contrarians mouthing off and spouting about conspiracy theories on blogs.

  17. #17 JamesA
    April 14, 2010

    Dave Andrews @ 14 Just checking, but you didn’t miss the bit where they said that using better stats wouldn’t have changed the conclusions of the papers, did you?

  18. #18 MapleLeaf
    April 14, 2010

    Oh and trolls, McIntyre is not a statistician.

    Isn’t it a lovely day today? 🙂

  19. #20 Jeremy C
    April 14, 2010

    And Dave Andrews did you not think that that the committee by saying that the CRU would benefit from a wider relationship with statisticians meant that would just help confirm the CRU’s work before a wider audience, non discriminating audience, and so silence the mindless hounds (well nothing silences mindless hounds).

    BTW. It was a pity that Wegman was too busy employing his own network of associates to help him write his report as some impartial professionals would’ve just told him to drop it, no case. Another example of blinding by ideology. When are you guys ever going to learn.

    PS. WTalking about when are you guys ever going to learn when are you goign to send me your details Dave?

  20. #21 MapleLeaf
    April 14, 2010

    I liked this, I think Dr. Allen had a certain failed auditor in mind when he says this:

    “Yet climate scientist Myles Allen of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, is cautious about the panel’s call for improved bookkeeping so that others can later review a body’s work: “Science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems and either confirming or refuting published results, not by ‘auditing’ old calculations. There is a danger that if climate science starts to be treated as a bookkeeping exercise, this would actually impede progress in understanding how the real Earth system works.”

  21. #22 Vince Whirlwind
    April 14, 2010

    “…close collaboration with professional statisticians…”.

    Sounds like a good idea.

    Pretty much rules out any collaboration with retired mining entrepreneurs, ex-weathermen, or boggle-eyed loons.

  22. #23 watchingthedeniers
    April 14, 2010

    This is indeed good news, add this to the growing list of inquiries, investigations and the like and the deniers charges of “fraud” and “conspiracy” start to look even more shaky:

    > Climate scientist Michael Mann cleared by Penn State
    UK Parliamentary Committee finds no evidence of fraud committed by CRU

    > Amazongate was a journalistic “beat up”

    > Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman has been audited by accounting giant KPMG and found to be clear of any charges of financial irregularities

    Question is, how will the spin this?

  23. #24 el gordo
    April 14, 2010

    ‘All eyes are now turning to the inquiry headed by higher education official Muir Russell that is investigating whether the leaked e-mails are evidence of poor scientific practices, such as improperly withholding data. That panel should deliver its conclusions before the end of spring.’

    A little bit too narrow for my liking.

  24. #25 Donald Oats
    April 14, 2010

    Time to start some more enquiries. Sooner or later one of them must say something quote-mine-worthy (if you are a user of the portcullis and all that, just sayin’).

  25. #26 ChrisC
    April 14, 2010

    But… but… Alllll Gooooooreeeeeee!

  26. #27 Sou
    April 14, 2010

    Sorry to go a bit OT again, but G Bird is getting more foul-mouthed every day. I rarely alert mods, but had to with his latest contribution to the Nova post on Unleashed.

    Maybe if someone else can complain the ABC will delete it more quickly. It’s quite disgusting.

  27. #28 Don Wigan
    April 14, 2010

    ‘All eyes are now turning to the inquiry headed by higher education official Muir Russell that is investigating whether the leaked e-mails are evidence of poor scientific practices, such as improperly withholding data. That panel should deliver its conclusions before the end of spring.’

    Dunno where you picked that up from, El Gordo. But if it’s an enquiry into the selective leaking of the hacked emails it might be a worthwhile exercise.

    After all, we have seen enough evidence now to conclude that these were released deliberately to mislead, when it has become clear that there is no problem with the integrity of the research or the conclusions drawn.

    The leakers must have already known that before they tried to mislead the world with cries of ‘conspiracy’ from the likes of McIntyre.

  28. #29 quokka
    April 14, 2010

    #26 Sou. Birdy reminds me of a character from Dr Strangelove. I’m expecting him to start on fluoridation and precious bodily fluids any time now. Where is Kubrick when you need him?

  29. #30 Fran Barlow
    April 14, 2010

    Interesting Sou

    The main article is off the frontpage of The Drum so it isn’t easily accessible. You have to search google for it.

    Oddly enough when I was searching I went to Ms Codling’s own site and found her touting for support. One poster (Mattb) was being explicitly asked by Ms Nova to repay her hospitality (ostensibly because MattB, if I am to believe it, is a supporter of mainstream science) by coming to her aid at The Drum against “ad hom” attacks. This was compared to bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party.

    You have to laugh. What a fragile ego she must have. How amusing that her willingness to tolerate dissent from her party line entails a payment in publicly massaging her ego.

    March 4th, 2010 at 6:00 pm
    March 4th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Matt, you have enjoyed the hospitality of Jo Nova for many months now. You would have also read some of the disparaging comments at the Drum.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you defend(where appropriate) at the drum site, your long time host. (sort of like bringing a bottle of wine and a plate to the bbq)

    “MattB” later responded that he’d said some “kind words” about her on a Hamilton post …


  30. #31 Sou
    April 14, 2010

    I should have posted the link to the Nova article. Here it is.

    GB is nasty to Lotharsson, jakerman, Jones and Mann and uses appalling imagery.

    I think Nova herself is a bit off in the head. Not as bad as GB, but she loses her cool very easily. Maybe it’s the internal conflict from publicly denying what she knows to be true. (I’d term it cognitive dissonance except I don’t think she believes what she’s writing.)

  31. #32 Chris O'Neill
    April 14, 2010

    el gordo the village idiot:

    ‘The Panel was not concerned with the question of whether the conclusions of the published research were correct. ‘

    No, they are more concerned with the integrity of CRU and maintaining a facade of normalcy.

    That’s right. They’re in on the conspiracy too.

  32. #33 John
    April 14, 2010

    El Gordo knows The Truth, man.

  33. #34 el gordo
    April 14, 2010

    No CON the terms of reference are too narrow, or so the sceptics grumble. Freddy Singer thinks it’s a whitewash and I happen to agree with him.

  34. #35 Mike
    April 14, 2010

    El Gordo, it is abundantly clear to us that despite three completely seperate inquiries (and counting) that have found there is no actual evidence of conspiracy or data fudging, you guys will continue calling for taxpayers money to be spent on inquiries until one of them finds what you darn well want it to find.

    I imagine that most sceptics want the terms of reference extended to include whether Phil Jones or other climate scientists were ever naughty boys when they were in grade school. Then, when it is exposed that they hid a live hampster in Deputy Headmistress Miss Maple’s office desk when they were 7, it will finally be known to the world that they could never be trusted.

  35. #36 Lotharsson
    April 14, 2010

    Did the denialsits really/honestly in their hearts of hearts think they had a case?

    The more I see, the more I think Ms Nova genuinely thinks so. Despite her science degree, she seems a bit clueless about how science works, and clearly hasn’t read the papers that she snipped the graphs from.

  36. #37 jakerman
    April 14, 2010

    Lotharsson or anyone else using “” marks on the drum.

    When I use “” I get my text botched with code. I noticed Loth is getting clean “quote marks”, why me?

    Any tips?

    BTW I wonder if there is a limit to long the ABC will allow this thread to go?

    1140 comments and counting.

  37. #38 Lotharsson
    April 14, 2010

    …by coming to her aid at The Drum against “ad hom” attacks…

    Amusingly she’s resorting to ad hom herself, presumably when she doesn’t feel she has an argument. And given that she’s quite willing to do a Bird-like “no it’s not” without any substantiation, that’s saying something.

    I think Nova herself is a bit off in the head. Not as bad as GB…

    I’ve been noting some behavioural similarities with GB (“no, it’s not” and primary-school like retorts), although I agree she’s not in the same league.

  38. #39 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    And while we’re at it, it’s amusing to see Ms Nova’s conspiracy theory that Zibethicus and I are agents of JP Morgan combined with an appeal to my lack of authority because I don’t use my real world name.

    And until you identify yourselves with a reputation that matters, we’ll just assume you are agents of JP Morgan OK?

    As I said:

    Ms Nova, just like Graeme Bird above, was against argument by appeal to authority until she was for it.

    (Bird was earlier complaining about jakerman and I attempting to undermine the reputation of eminent scientists such as Plimer…which is rather at odds with his claim that appeal to authority is fallacious. I wish they’d make their mind up!)

  39. #40 John
    April 15, 2010

    Did the denialsits really/honestly in their hearts of hearts think they had a case?

    Of course. They exist in echo chambers and genuinely believe that they know The Truth. It’s quite a shock for them when they venture out of their denialist bio-dome to find that they’re out of their depth (i.e Brent in the Emperical Evidence thread)

    Gordo is just jealous of the “gravy train” he’s not a part of:

    What worries me, is why the coal industry isn’t a little more combative against the climate change zealots? Ralph Hillman became the new executive director of the Australian Coal Association last August.

    He is a government man, being a former ambassador for the Environment and the OECD. He was also head of the Trade Development division of the Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    Is he the right man for the job? Does he know that AGW is a monstrous fraud? Does the coal industry have a PR arm? If not, I gladly offer my services for a small consideration.

  40. #41 Chris O'Neill
    April 15, 2010

    Also regarding New Scientist’s story on this, it says something that is a little bizarre:

    Hand agrees with Mann: he too says that the hockey stick – showing an above-average rise in temperatures during the 20th century – is there. The upward incline is just shorter than Mann’s original graphic suggests. “More like a field-hockey stick than an ice-hockey stick,” he told New Scientist.

    The upward incline is supposed to be the instrumental incline. That instrumental record has not changed significantly since Mann’s original paper. Also, there is the ongoing obsession with Mann’s original papers almost to the exclusion of more recent papers with better statistical methods.

  41. #42 watchingthedeniers
    April 15, 2010

    @ 27 Sou

    Mike from WTD here.

    Ignore Bird Sou, he hit my site with really vile stuff a few weeks back, but I shut him down. Honestly the language. See also PZ Myers blog for the “G Bird” thread.

    As with all trolls, do not feed. I was subject to a cyber bullying campaign from him and other Jo Nova forum posters.

    At first I was shocked, but now I’m “meh”. I’ve learnt how to handle them.

    In the end they are angry little men you can’t reason, debate or hold an intelligent conversation. All they have is their hatred for anyone who dares question “their” beliefs.

    Bird is a *very unwell* person who is desperate to get attention – any form of attention.

  42. #43 jack horner
    April 15, 2010

    Do they think we came down in the last shower? All the authors of this Oxbow character’s report are PROFESSORS! Of course they would close ranks behind one of their own.

    I want to see an IMPARTIAL report on this matter by a panel of eminent tabloid op-ed columnists. Who will of course all read the 11 key scientific papers at issue.

  43. #44 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    When I use “” I get my text botched with code. I noticed Loth is getting clean “quote marks”, why me?

    I don’t know. It looks like a bug in their website, but I think I’ve had it happen to me once or twice.

    I’m using Firefox, but I sometimes have The Drum in an IETab so it’s Internet Explorer – which suggests it’s not just browser-specific.

  44. #45 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    jakerman, it might be single quote chars that are getting screwed up at The Drum. I saw that on one of your recent posts.

    IIRC some websites “escape” single quotes because they can be used to attack databases, but I don’t know if that’s the reasons.

    Try replacing any single quote chars with either double quotes or maybe a backquote or something and see…

  45. #46 jakerman
    April 15, 2010

    Cheers Lotharsson,

    Unfortnately even my apostries are getting munched.

    Thanks agian.

  46. #47 Gaz
    April 15, 2010

    Freddy Singer thinks it’s a whitewash and I happen to agree with him.

    Well you must be relieved to know you’re not the only one in the whole wide world to be left out of the consipiracy, El Gullibo.

    Keep searching, though, there may be others. You could form a little club and have meetings and elect officals and such.

  47. #48 watchingthedeniers
    April 15, 2010

    Heads up guys (apologies TimL for the post) but I’ve got wind of the deniers counter offensive. It’s starting, as expected 😀

    A good source of mine alerted me to a new email campaign by the Institute of Public Affairs that is hitting Australian MP’s *today*.

    Contributions from Pilmer, Monckton I suspect that this will go to conservative politicians on both sides and may become a reference point. It’s a slick site, evidence of a big PR push.

  48. #49 pough
    April 15, 2010

    …have found there is no actual evidence of conspiracy or data fudging…

    The bigger story (which nobody seems interested in talking about) is how big a failure the “conspiratorial data fudging” was in the end. Think about it. They all got together to fudge data, and all they ended up with was pretty much the same thing as denialists Spencer and Christy.

    Either that or all the assumptions of data fudging and conspiracy are just wrong, but we know that can’t be true. Can it?

  49. #50 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    They all got together to fudge data, and all they ended up with was pretty much the same thing as denialists Spencer and Christy.

    I’ve been pointing out similar failures at The Drum, and they just can’t seem to find it in their heads to make a coherent rebuttal.

    For example, the CRU data set warms more slowly than the others. Incompetent fraudsters – made it COOLER in an attempt to create fake warming to support their bogus AGW theory.

    They “dropped” the cooler stations from the thermometer record – but those show a slower warming trend. Bumbling fraudsters made it look COOLER.

    And “they tuned their data to fit their models” – er, which model? They all predict a bit differently. If you tune your data to fit the output of a model, you make it WORSE for other models. Hapless fraudsters.

    Get us some REAL fraudsters from the finance sector and let’s see what they can achieve 😉

  50. #51 Bernard J.
    April 15, 2010

    The Oxburg inquiry seems to be really getting the Denialati in a tizzy about the Evil Communist AGW Conspiracy.

    However, neither the inquiry’s result nor the denialists’ response is unexpected.

    I have to repeat my praise for Lotharsson’s efforts on the Nova thread at The Drum. Jakerman, Sou, Zibethicus, and a number of others have been putting in good work too, and overall they have really popped Nova/Codling’s bubble. She must be wishing now that she’d never posted in the first place, given how scientifically incompetent, and how ideologically blinkered, she appears.

    I’ve lost count now of the number of times that I’ve tried to repeat my reply to Codling regarding the nature of her scientific credentials, or to simply link to the [reposting of the original message on Deltoid]( One or two other comments of mine have made it through, but most seem to disappear.

    I’m not sure if I’m on a moderation/”report” blacklist, or if it’s just a bug with getting the messages through in the first place, but I’m glad to see the others there bearing the standard for scientific objectivity and reason.

    Thanks guys.

  51. #52 James Haughton
    April 15, 2010

    El Gordo: “Freddy Singer thinks it’s a whitewash”.
    [Fred Singer]( ROFL.

  52. #53 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    Jakerman, Sou, Zibethicus, and a number of others…

    I think it really helps to have a number of voices, otherwise they think it’s just one or two totally unreasonable people who are illogical and blinkered or flat out lying in the service of Big Finance or Big Green (or should that be Big Black? Or Big Government? Or the One World Conspiracy to Cede Sovereignty To The U.N. Global Government And Suck All Your Tax Dollars Out Of Your Wallet To Line The Pockets Of … er, is it The Third World In The Name Of Western De-industrialiation And Communism Reborn, or is it Big Big Companies Who Want To Make Billions Off Trillion Dollar Markets? I can never keep up with the latest broadcasts from Conspiracy Central.)

  53. #54 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    You appear to have given up your noble efforts vs Malcom Roberts over at ABC, in the “Whinge” thread. that is wise, as Roberts:


    a) Is one of the most Dunning-Kruger-afflicted people on the planet


    b) Deserves about 10 Physics Nobels for disprovng much of modern physics.

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know more of him?

  54. #55 Zibethicus
    April 15, 2010

    Congrats to all who have put in the hard work over at the thread. You know who you are.

    It’s a revolting job, but I guess it has to be done. Perhaps constant reiteration of the facts will eventually cleanse the Augean stables.

    Certainly, Ms Nova’s descent into downRight Bircher-style conspiracy-calling is at least suggestive of an incipent meltdown caused by the recent and painful overdose of reality.

    In a way you have to feel sorry for her – until you think about what she’s trying to do to others.

    I suggest that in view of the fact that, as Lotharsson points out, the CRU data set is actually a mid-range one, a bit of harping on this fact mightn’t go astray. It seems to me that the Deniosaurs are getting more unreachable than ever, but the undecided might just start to wonder what they’re being spoonfed if they get to hear about things like that – if the CRU were conspiring, why would they do it to get a mediocre result?

    Things like that might reach some people who can’t or won’t follow more detailed discussions.

    If the IPA are out and about again, presumably Alan Moran will reappear on the Drum shortly. One wonders with what line…


    Lotharsson – you think they’re trying to be nasty on the Drum, go check Nova’s blog. I passed by earlier, nose firmly plugged;

    April 14th, 2010 at 12:58 am

    I see these names of the heaters again. Carolus Linnaeus, Lotharsson, Zibethicus,
    and it reminds me of where the hockey team dug up Tamino aka grant foster.
    Trolling for floozies at a renaissance faire.

    What are the chances they’re all members of Open Mind’s green wool tight wearing traveling minstrel band?
    And I mean that in the literal sense, not as a euphemism.

    (end quote)

    I resent and strenuously deny the suggestion that I wear green wool tights. I don’t have the figure for it these days…

  55. #56 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    I’ve just been back to the ABC to see how things are going. I must say I’m surprised. I thought Nova had a science degree, majoring in microbiol or similar. But the only post I noticed where she discussed anything remotely scientific was when she said she’d analysed temperatures, and then referred to those silly charts that have been floating around denialist sites for months. Obviously not hers. Not sure if she’s in with the denialist in-crowd or if she is just a wannabe, but she really showed herself up with that one. Wonder if she regrets that article, given how foolish it makes her look. Especially her silly comments. She has no sense of how to behave on a forum. Just like McLean.

    @41 Hi Mike – agree with you 100%. I rarely respond to GBird. I realise he’s unstable and has a psychological disorder. Sometimes he gets so worked up I wonder if he’ll survive and I don’t want to be the one to tip him totally over the edge. There was another thread where he got a bit carried away (Stephan Lewandowski’s I think) and he just went on and on making less and less sense. I stayed right away.

    I figure the ABC mods have a sense of the ridiculous, which is why they leave his posts (and maybe why they allowed Nova’s article through). Enough rope and all that.

  56. #57 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    Zibethicus – lol.

    I confess to having olive green wool tights, made by Christian Dior and bought many years ago in Georges (for those old enough to remember). I used to flatter myself they looked quite smart with a lovely Jaeger winter suit (still got the jacket, but not the skirt).

    And speaking of the climate, these days the green wool tights mostly get worn under ski pants up at Falls Creek.

  57. #58 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    I resent and strenuously deny the suggestion that I wear green wool tights. I don’t have the figure for it these days…

    LOL! I resent it too – mine are modern hardcore thermal tights and they’re most decidedly not green. It doesn’t go with my complexion 😉

  58. #59 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    I rarely respond to GBird. I realise he’s unstable and has a psychological disorder.

    I generally try and avoid it too, but on some points it seems worth it.

    I thought Ms Nova refused to have him at her website, but IIRC he’s posting over at her self-congratulatory thread about The Drum.

    And I dryly note that in her world, apparently having many comments is a success – never mind that most of them point out the emperor has no clothes.

  59. #60 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    Oh, and to make sure there are no lingering misconceptions – you know how they tend to get blown up into evidence of dastardly deception and the like – my thermal tights aren’t wool!

  60. #61
    April 15, 2010

    RE Nova’s site, I’ve been tracking it for some months now, thre is very little discussion of the science (surprise).

    However, there is a great deal of talk about how the finance industry is “controlling” the debate and are really “behind it all”. She notes that the greens and scientists are ‘working to further the vested interests” of the finance houses.

    Sometimes I think it is coded wording you, know, that other *conspiracy* theory about “international finance*. No proof, but have been digging.

    It’s hard to put together a coherent picture of her world view, but I’m trying 😉

  61. #62 MattB
    April 15, 2010

    Hi Fran in #30,

    I remember that discussion I think my kind words were along the lines of “ahh a lot of folks a Nova’s site are ok, they’ve just got the science wrong.” For my sins I am a regular there mostly because I like arguing, I like to know what skeptics think, and on most mainstream sites there is very little I can add to the often expert opinions expressed.

    I have a feeling, however, that the post you quote was from one of her #1 fanbois, not Jo herself. They do tend to think it is the least I can do for their tolerance of my mainstream science views:)

    I’ll get dobbed in over there by the flying monkeys, but Jo Nova’s site has an uncanny resemblance to the dying days of Marohasy’s blog… too little science, too much conspiracy, then kaput.

  62. #63 MattB
    April 15, 2010

    And may I just put on record that my “kind words” predated the request:)

  63. #64 MattB
    April 15, 2010

    And Fran you intrigued me to go back and find out what I had said on a Hamilton piece.


    I’m 100% of the belief that the skeptics have generally got the science wrong, and that AGW is a real situation that needs action in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions.

    However, I blog a lot at JoNova’s site, and until they changed the blog software in to a community and needed registration etc I blogged alot with the lovely Agmates community. I would genuinely say that 99% of posters at those two sites are just honest fair-dinkum aussies who have the science wrong at varying degrees of wrongness. (as have I most likely) There are plenty of educated folks who think that AGW is a crock and maybe it is time we accept that and deal with it, just as we do with any other political issue at hand.

    Need I point out to you that the anti-nuclear movement whips left-leaning types up in exactly the same manner, backed up by the same style of pseudo science and emotive arguments.

    On the whole though this is a good and thought-provoking piece, but to characterise the motley crew at JoNova and Agmates as some sort of organised collective of obscure extreme right wing nut-jobs I think only reinforces their viewpoints that there are those who would rather smear them rather than confront the science.



  64. #65 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    @ John Mashey #53

    I picked up this tidbit from one of his posts. Malcolm Roberts is a member of the Carbon Sense Coalition, which is chaired by a grandfather in Queensland. There is a pdf file on the site that has more details. He’s a management consultant, I’m guessing in HR going by the name of his operation. Looks like your first guess (D-K afflicted) is correct.

  65. #66 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    @ MattB
    I remember that exchange. Nova’s site is one thing. I’ve only been there once for a look see (yesterday) and from what I read I have to agree with Clive Hamilton, especially after the Unleashed diatribe.

    Re AgMates, from what I can see of it, that’s just a site for farmers, mainly. There’s a crew there that talks about climate and are very much in the denier camp, some most vehemently. But there are others there who take a stand against them. Agmates isn’t only about climate, it’s just another networking site. It’s unfortunate that a crowd used it to organise the Monckton tour. Gave the whole site a bad name.

  66. #67 MikeH
    April 15, 2010

    jakerman @ 37
    The ABC encode their web pages using char set “iso-8859-1” (probably to support foreign languages). Your browser is most likely posting the more common utf-8 (like this page) and the html encoded characters are getting mixed up. Try to avoid pasting text from anything other than notepad. Or depending on your browser try checking the menu “View>Encoding” (in IE8) and making sure Auto Select is ticked. Hope that helps.

  67. #68 MattB
    April 15, 2010

    Agmates used to present like a regular blog, and I just stumbled across it one day and hung around. It was good honest discussion and Steve had no pretentions of being across the science really. It then turned skeptical and attracted a hardcore crowd. Same for JoNova’s site… I once commented there that I’d just done 12 rounds with Birdy, and she replied that she would not have his kind around. But since Unleashed he is a regular. Trying to wean myself off to be honest;)

  68. #69
    April 15, 2010

    @ MattB and Sou

    I was on Nova’s boards for some time, and share your sentiments as well. Many of the “sceptics” there are actually intelligent, articulate etc.

    However they are being actively mislead. I make a distinction between “deniers” – the professionals such as Nova, Bolt, Monckton, Watts – and the “sceptics”, the ordinary individuals who have been “tricked” (see my pun on Mann meme there?).

    I noticed how much Nova shapes the discussion on her posts, very selective in what she will allow through: if it looks like an argument strong enough, then

    Plus, professional deniers such as Richard S. Courtney (form Europe) will actually *intervene* if things look bad. Several times when I posted real science studies and made a little headway, Courtney would pop in like a denialist superman. He’d blind them with science, and they believed him.

    I ran a little experiment on Nova’s blog which got me banned, but it was worth it: [The Dunning-Kruger effect: deniers may “take down” what they don’t understand but at heart they are curious](

    This is what I did:

    *The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias, whereby individuals with limited skills – but with an overconfidence in their skill set – overestimate their abilities. I would contend the denial movement is rich with such individuals, who may be highly competent in other areas, but display a remarkable lack of understanding of science and the scientific method. I tested one such “denier community” for signs of Dunning-Kruger with positive results. While not an actual piece of research, I believe the responses I gathered tend to support the idea that many in the denial movement exhibit cognitive biases such as the Dunning-Kruger effect.However I also learnt that many of the “deniers” are articulate, curious about the world and actively engaged in trying to understand some of the science.*

    It warranted a nice email from Jo herself 😉 They got punk’d. They were not happy.

    Basically, my take these guys are being manipulated.

  69. #70 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    Mike, the responses you got were really good examples of the D-K effect as far as I can tell.

    I agree with you, the posters who present themselves as intelligent and articulate and knowledgeable are the manipulators. They know what’s happening but are pushing a political viewpoint. I figure they are at best amoral, if not immoral.

    There are the occasional visitors who are intelligent and articulate, but once they get some knowledge they have to choose whether to run with the politics or run with the facts. If the latter, they don’t hang around very long.

    The others (what I call the chorus) are just along for the ride. Probably a lot of them are there because they feel comfortable. They are either not interested or incapable of researching the facts. Some of them are anti-intellectual, fear learning and loathe academia. That’s one take anyway FWIW. Doesn’t mean much. Without proper sociological research I’m baffled by the motives and psychology.

  70. #71 Andrew Dodds
    April 15, 2010


    Yes.. for some of them it often seems quite bizarre.

    The thing is, they will happily follow any argument, even fairly complex, as long as the conclusion ‘and therefore AGW is correct’ is never reached.

    If you’ve ever read Orwell’s 1984, you’ll see an accurate description in that of CrimeStop

  71. #72 SteveC
    April 15, 2010

    el gordo (15, 24, 34).
    I still can’t see what you’re whining about. The Panel investigated the methods (of data collection and data analysis) the CRU used. Irrespective of the conclusions, if the methods were suspect that would have been game over, finis, and the Panel would have had no choice but to report on any shonky methodology.

    On top of that, you persist in stating the brief was “too narrow”. What would you have had the Panel investigate – what they had for lunch? What shoes they wore? Whether their socks matched? Pray tell how it is that you know that there is untold skulduggery afoot here.

    In short: either back up what you say with the necessary evidence, or back down and (need I remind you) apologise for continuing to impugn the reputations of people you’ve never met.

  72. #73 Sou
    April 15, 2010

    It’s a long time since I last read 1984. Most apt.

    MattB – congrats on your analysis of the list of ‘non-peer reviewed’ references over on the Nova blog (also doing the rounds of WUWT etc). Their whole exercise was a joke from start to end. First they make up that the IPCC only references peer reviewed literature, and then they set out to disprove what was never said in the first place. Weird. (Could make a good post on WatchingTheDeniers!)

  73. #74 savemejeebus
    April 15, 2010

    The D-K effect accounts for a lot of the misconception regarding climate science, but there are also other cognitive processes that guide one’s choice of belief. There are some recent good studies on cultural cognition which show a causal link between scientific belief and one’s world view:

  74. #75 TrueSceptic
    April 15, 2010

    42 watchingthedeniers,

    Yes, GMB is quite something, isn’t he? Here’s some more of his [shining wit](

    What’s odd is that other “sceptics” don’t seem to complain about him. You’d think they would realise he’s not someone you’d want on your side.

  75. #76
    April 15, 2010

    @ Sou

    I agree with additional comments on the possible rationale or reasons for denial. Interacting with these communities is illustrative, at the very least I feel I gain some insight into how they operate and think.

    @ savemejeebus

    TY for the links, well worth exploring thanks!

  76. #77 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2010

    I noticed how much Nova shapes the discussion on her posts, very selective in what she will allow through: if it looks like an argument strong enough, then


    That was a beautiful implicit demonstration of a concept rather than spelling it out. I’m sure I used to know the technical term for it, but it esc

  77. #78 sy
    April 15, 2010

    The BBC threaten to present the report fairly accurately, but they deem it necessary to ask everyone’s least favourite sports sociologist for comment at the end

  78. #79 sod
    April 15, 2010

    on a somewhat related subject (media insanity around the CRU story):

    many of you will have seen the horrible Der Spiegel piece by now.,1518,687259,00.html

    the article is 100% based on denialist talking points, right up to the “wine in England” episode. it came out shortly before the first CRU report, so many of their comments on Phil Jones were shown to be completely false within days of the article being published.

    i was curious and looking forward for reader reactions, because i knew they would be bombarded with critisism for their biased and completely wrong reporting.

    but Der Spiegel (formerly a left wing paper, that has been moving towards the somewhat right part of the middle over the last decade) managed to shock me more with their choice of reader letters printed, than even the original article did.

    the paper printed four reader replies, under the title “the truth is in the middle” (the middle between science and insanity?), three of which were not critical of the article, but of climate science.

    and the first (of course denialist reply) was by the famous swiss specialist on extraterrestrial influences, Erich von Daeniken.
    (argument: human CO2 did not cause the sea level changes 10000 years ago…)

    Der Spiegel did not ask climate scientists, while writing the article. it focus on reader feedback from the insane.
    sad example of the way that the media is handling climate science.

  79. #80 sod
    April 15, 2010

    fix for the link above: [Erich von Daeniken](

  80. #81 ScaredAmoeba
    April 15, 2010

    #20 Jeremy C

    Re the Wegman Report:
    No-one’s seems to have mentioned this here. John Mashey’s excellent and informative assessment sheds much needed light on the Wegman report plagiarism fiasco

  81. #82
    April 15, 2010

    @ sod post 79

    Yep, I’ve seen that one popping up on denialist sites. Awful article, take this:

    *Despite the enormous uncertainties, there is agreement on at least one issue: Global warming can no longer be stopped.

    But would that be as horrific as has been predicted? Does humanity truly face plagues of biblical proportions? Won’t a warmer climate also have its benefits? And won’t it lead to higher crop yields and more tourism revenues in many places?

    The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. There will undoubtedly be losers, but there will also be winners. Whether global warming is more likely to be harmful or beneficial depends entirely on the location of the observer.*

    Yep the losers will be Africa, SE Asia, Australia, Central America… but really, what do those places matter? Not many people live there, do they?

    They cite Storch extensivley in the article, who was involved in the Soon/Baliunus fracas at Climate Research in 2003.

    [Soon and Baliunas controversy](

    Says Storch in the article:

    *Storch, a native of northern Germany and one of the pioneers of climate modeling, recommends a more dispassionate approach. He grew up on the North Sea island of Föhr, where he experienced storm tides at first hand. He learned that humans are tough and adaptable beings.

    “Fearmongering is the wrong way to go about it,” says Storch. “Climate change isn’t going to happen overnight. We still have enough time to react.”*

    She’ll be right mate, nothing to worry about.

  82. #83
    April 15, 2010

    @ Lotharsson post 77

    Haha, you are very correct. As I was saying th [ends]

  83. #84 Marco
    April 15, 2010

    @sod (and others):

    I’m hoping, against the facts, that Der Spiegel is actually doing a protracted April 1st joke. Publishing a letter from Erich von Däniken, provingly false claims in their long series on CRU, it’s like they are doing an experiment: how easy is it to fool our readers.

  84. #85 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    re: #65 Sou

    Thanks… CSC & Viv Forbes are already on some lists I keep… maybe Roberts will get added.

    re: #81 ScaredAmoeba

    Thanks for the plug for CCC, and there will be an update in the near future.

    Keep an eye on Deep Climate … he’s found *even more* (pages and pages) of seeming plagiarism in the social networks text of Wegman, and in a paper that got accepted in 7 days.
    All that has opened up a several separate cans of worms.
    We owe DC a lot… stay tuned.

    re: others
    Considering reasons for anti-science, people might help me out with a classification exercise.

    a) Read p.14 of CCC (catalog of reasons, with codes) and p.15 (how those reasons seem to map onto organizations and people).

    b) Suggest plausible combinations for people, and possibly sequences of who they got there. I.e., some people with multiple reasons may well have accumulated reasons over time, and the ordering might matter.

    c) See if you find reasons that aren’t already listed, or don’t seem to map to any of them. I suppose I omitted “insanity” but I will likely continue to omit that one.

  85. #86 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    Over in that ABC thread, Roberts is very, very sure that the Greenhouse Effect can’t be true, because he *knows* that the cold atmosphere cannot possibly have anything to do with warming.

    Somebody (in Oz) should offer to bet him, with referee being some Oz physics department. jakerman probably deserves the first shot, given the efforts put forth so far, but I think many could profitably get involved.

  86. #87 Dave Andrews
    April 15, 2010


    “Actually, CRU have done work with statisticians– read Foster et al. (2010).”

    Oxburgh was looking at CRU papers published between 1985 and 2008, so Foster et al is irrelevant.

    Moreover, are you implying that John Mashey’s ‘good friend’ and all those other ‘professors’ are wrong in their assessment of the surprising lack of close collaboration with professional statisticians?

  87. #88 Dave Andrews
    April 15, 2010

    Chris O’Neill,

    Yet again you spout about papers using better statistical techniques.

    Pray tell exactly which papers are they?

  88. #89 Chris O'Neill
    April 15, 2010

    Dave Andrews:

    Yet again you spout about papers using better statistical techniques.

    Yet again I have to tell you. is the latest in a long line of papers showing results using better statistical techniques. It’s painfully obvious that you’re being deliberately dense.

  89. #90 MapleLeaf
    April 15, 2010

    Re 87,

    No, Foster is not “irrelevant” to the science. Unless of course you mean to the Oxburgh inquiry. In which case, yes, it was too recent for them to consider.

    I never suggested the panel’s assessment was wrong about the lack of close collaboration with professional statisticians. I am not aware of anyone in the know who would say that is a bad idea. In fact, Jones et al. have started to do that as demonstrated by the Foster et al. paper.

    Just so you know, McIntyre and McKitrick are not statisticians, never mind a professional ones. Bye, bye ClimateFraudit.

  90. #91 Jeremy C
    April 15, 2010

    Dave Andrews, my boy!

    Wonderful piece of insinuation with your wording in @ 87! You made it work well by not quoting the full context of the point number 2 in the Conclusions of the report.

    Now Davie…. tell the truth…. What was their assessment in point 2 of the Conclusions. Yes they were surprised that the CRU hadn’t collaborated more. Not an assessment, rather a comment. As I said a beautiful bit of twisting of what was actually written down.

    Dave my boy, isn’t it a bit smarter to make sure ordinary people like me don’t have access to what you are trying to twist and so smear people because we can see straight through it in…let me see…. 30 secs… Nope!….20 secs…. Nope! less than 10 seconds, yes! Don’t you know this sort of twisting in @ 87 really upsets poor, battling Jo Nova.

  91. #92 JamesA
    April 15, 2010

    I find the unsurprising latching onto the statisticians comment by the denialists rather comical for two reasons:

    Firstly, they’re really having to scrape the barrel in having to dwell on that to try to save face; Phil Jones and CRU didn’t mislead, climate science still works, but their statistical techniques have room for improvement. Well whoopee-fucking-doo.

    Secondly, and on a more serious note, they completely miss the point. Science in general has been moving at a very rapid pace in recent history and the traditional fields, such as physics, chemistry, biology and applied maths have been struggling to keep up in isolation. Many of the big advances of late have necessitated a more cross-disciplinary approach and climate science is no exception. The current academic systems are still in the process of adapting and the point they raise in the report is actually a fairly common theme in modern science; that two fields should be talking to each other more than they currently are.

    But it does NOT mean that a particular field or group have been doing it wrong. It just means that they could be doing it better.

  92. #93 frflyer
    April 15, 2010

    If El Gordo and Chris Oneill want to know about the real conspiracy, the one that is factually based with tons of evidence and five books detailing it, then I suggest they read “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan, Unlike the paranoid delusional, imaginatively creative and completely absurd conspiracy theories of the deniers, this one is a no brainer.
    So since you’re such conspiracy freaks, go for it. As long as your focused on conspiracy theories, you might as well have the real thing.

    Funny how neither one have anything intelligent to add to the conversation, but you’re good at repeating memorized talking points that you learned from liars like Watts, Monckton, Milloy, McIntyre and the rest.

    Trolls trolls and more trolls. You are proving the point of those commenters who wonder if any evidence will ever convince you. Probably not a chance.

  93. #94 frflyer
    April 15, 2010

    Freddy Singer thinks it’s a whitewash and I happen to agree with him.

    And you imagine that Fred Singer is a reliable source? You must be kidding.
    Fred Singer has not had a peer reviewed paper published in 20 years. He is linked to the fossil fuel industry and was once a hired gun for the tobacco industry to give “expert” testimony that cigarette smoke is not bad for you.
    Don’t get me wrong. He was once a good scientist, till he sold out to tobacco, chemical and fossil fuel interests.

    Fred Singer, paid by Philip Morris to testify to cigarette smoke’s safety?
    Oh, did I tell you that Singer also disputes that CFCs deplete the ozone layer? The effect of CFCs on the ozone layer is a well established scientific fact. Since the use of CFCs was limited by the Montreal Protocol, the hole in the ozone has diminished substantially.

    Singer even uses skeptic arguments that are so wrong that serious scientists don’t even respond to such nonsense anymore. I’m referring to statements from Singer like:

    “Both greenhouse theory and computer models predict that global warming should be more rapid in the polar regions than anywhere else, but in July the Antarctic experienced the coldest weather on record.”

    This is the dumbest of arguments, the type repeated by the least knowledgeable “me too” skeptics. For a climate scientist like Singer to point to one month in one location as proof against global long term climate change, is to emulate the least informed and most credulous of warming skeptics.

    The other reason he is off base is that the IPCC actually predicted less warming in Antartica than in the Arctic. This is a common tactic of deniers, claiming the IPCC made predictions that they didn’t make.

    Singer clung to his claim that CFCs weren’t harming the ozone layer in the atmosphere, even after the scientific evidence became unassailable, and a Noble prize was awarded to three scienists who dug up the evidence, and even after CFCs were banned and the ozone layer hole mostly closed up as a result. He is funded by Exxon, Unocal, Shell, Atlantic Richfield, Sun Oil and the Reverand Sun Myung Moon.

    Now there is an unbiased scientist. Put that in your conspiracy theory pipe and smoke it.

  94. #95 Ian Forrester
    April 15, 2010

    I find it ironic that with all the calls for statisticians to be involved that the only statistician who has been involved on an invited basis has been shown to be a disgrace to the statistical borherhood (see his signature on the deniers’ letter to the Bali Conference).

    I am of course referring to Wegman. A full exposure of his misdeeds can be found at:

    and other threads.

  95. #96 Ian Forrester
    April 15, 2010

    oops that should be “statistical brotherhood”

  96. #97 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    re: #95 Ian

    But, see social networks, which links to the one you mentioned, but also the later article.
    There appears to be much more material than in DC’s earlier post.
    I own both of the books mentioned, and the words that DC says are there, are there. Anyone can examine the side-by-side comparisons and decide if there is plagiarism or not.

    I’d expect DC to soon have an article to tie this together … as it just opened several more cans of worms, alluded to in the thread mentioned above.

  97. #98 Donald Oats
    April 15, 2010

    Did the Oxburgh enquiry/panel say that the statistical methods used in any of the 12 papers were inappropriate for the problems? Or were appropriate but applied incorrectly? Nope…and…nope.
    The panelists simply noted the (surprising to them) fact that the climate scientists hadn’t consulted with statisticians more widely, or at least formally enough for statisticians to be co-authors.

    My experience in working with both scientists and statisticians is that this is a common complaint made by statisticians, namely that they aren’t used more in fields where they might contribute effectively. Perhaps this might be addressed in part by universities providing some better encouragement for such collaborative endeavours; perhaps statisticians need some assistance in making contact with members of other faculties who could benefit from statistical expertise. Or, perhaps other faculties could consider paying a part-time or fulltime placement of a statistician with the expertise most appropriate to their kind of work. Certainly Australian statistics departments need the cash, what with the decimation of many of these departments.

    In any case, my experience is that scientists from other fields tend to learn the statistics on the job, and quite naturally the more mathematically trained scientists tend to do that more enthusiastically. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is good to at least discuss with academic statisticians who may be familiar with more recent and refined techniques that can “make the data go further” in answering research questions.

    Now, when is the next of the (countably infinite number of) enquiries due to report (the same thing as the others)?

  98. #99 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    Note: re Wegman

    Just to be really, really clear, the last thing we need is a manufactured fight between statisticians as a group and climate scientists, most of whom seem to get along just fine.

    In general, the observed actions are somewhat mystifying and I do *not* think they are representative of the statistics profession.

    I have an essay on statistics and statisticians, p.172 of CCC.

  99. #100 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    re: #98 Donald

    This is structurally harder than one might think in many places.
    See that 1-page essay I mentioned in #99, especially:

    “I have long heard complaints from statisticians about not getting consulted enough. In fact, that is often a legitimate complaint… However, most places, especially universities, lack enough statisticians to spend much time in long domain-specific joint nalyses, although many statistics departments admirably provide some outreach and statistical support for others.
    Academic statisticians often publish in statistics journals, not unfamiliar ones where paleoclimate reconstructions might appear. Universities rarely insist on multiple-department internal review before allowing submission of a paper externally. Even if they did, nobody has the time to do that often.”

    Part of the problem for co-authorship is that a stats prof:

    a) Needs to get familiar with the application field, at least somewhat, which takes time.

    b) Ends up publishing in some “weird” (to statisticians) journal about the application of known statistics, rather than publishing some new result *about* statistics in a well-known stats journal.

    That is not a recipe to cause a massive inrush of faculty…

    I think there are ways around this, but they aren’t easy. I was somewhat surprised to find that in some *very* good schools, of grad students taking advanced computer architecture (using Hennessy&Patterson), only about half had ever had a stats course. (That’s what the lecture surveys said.) Although a different field, the reasons are relevant. Many stats courses (especially introductory ones) seem more geared to the social sciences and sometimes don’t fit other areas so well. Students then either avoid them if possible, or sometimes departments end up teaching their own stats courses tuned to their own needs.

    My sample is limited, but I would not be surprised if this effect appeared often. Of course, to some extent, if I had anything to do with it, I’d love to see crucial probability and statistics taught more widely in high school, even at the expense of some other math.

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