Johann Hari on Journalismgate

Johann Hari has written an excellent article in The Nation on the scandalously poor reporting in the main stream media on climate science and scientists:

Yet when it comes to coverage of global warming, we are trapped in the logic of a guerrilla insurgency. The climate scientists have to be right 100 percent of the time, or their 0.01 percent error becomes Glaciergate, and they are frauds. By contrast, the deniers only have to be right 0.01 percent of the time for their narrative–See! The global warming story is falling apart!–to be reinforced by the media. It doesn’t matter that their alternative theories are based on demonstrably false claims, as they are with all the leading “thinkers” in this movement. Look at the Australian geologist Ian Plimer, whose denialism is built on the claim that volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans, even though the US Geological Survey has shown they produce 130 times less. Or Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker, who says the Arctic sea ice can’t be retreating because each year it comes back a little… in winter.


Many Americans assume that if a story has been in the news section of a reputable English newspaper, it has been fact-checked. One recent climate “scandal” that spread from Britain shows how these stories actually originate. In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the umbrella organization of the world’s climate scientists–explained that 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest is at risk of dying if there is even a slight reduction in rainfall. This is true. It is the view of the most distinguished scientists in the field. The IPCC sourced this claim to a report by the World Wildlife Fund–when, in fact, it should have referred to a report by professor Dan Nepstad, whose work is mentioned only in passing by the WWF.

It was a minor footnoting error–but when a denialist blogger named Richard North noticed it, he announced he had found the IPCC making fake predictions. He tipped off the Sunday Times, owned by Fox king Rupert Murdoch. The newspaper’s journalists quoted Dr. Simon Lewis, a leading rainforest expert, who explained that it was a very minor mistake and that the core claim is accurate. The paper ignored the bulk of his comments and mangled his quotes to make it sound like he agreed that the IPCC had been talking rubbish–and ran the “story” under the headline “UN Climate Panel Shamed by Bogus Rainforest Claim.” It gave credit for “research by Richard North.” The story was then zapped all over the United States as Amazongate, and as a result millions of people are now under the impression that the Amazon is in no danger. The Sunday Times refuses to admit it made a whopping error–in a story that attacks the IPCC for supposedly making a whopping error.

Read the whole thing.

Also worth reading is Mark Hertsgaard in the same issue:

Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who has been surveying Americans’ views on climate change since 1995, says that, in fact, Americans remain overwhelmingly convinced that man-made climate change is happening and must be confronted. “The media is sensationalizing these polls to make it sound like the public is backing off its belief in climate change, but it’s not so,” argues Krosnick, who delivered a paper on the subject at an American Meteorological Association briefing in Washington a day after the Gallup poll was released. Krosnick says that Americans’ views have remained quite stable over the past ten years and that in November 2009–the very time the media were full of stories about the stolen British e-mails–a whopping 75 percent of Americans said they believed that global temperatures are going up.

Krosnick, whose academic specialty is the wording of survey questions, suspects his colleagues at Gallup and elsewhere have gotten misleading results because of the way they worded their questions: their phrasing ended up testing whether Americans believed in the science of climate change rather than the phenomenon of climate change. “Most people’s opinions are based not on science but on what they experience in their daily lives,” Krosnick told me. “So our surveys ask people if they have heard about the idea that temperatures have been going up over the past 100 years and if they agree with this idea.” The 75 percent of Americans who answered yes to that question amounts to “a huge number,” says Krosnick–a far higher level of agreement than pertains on most political issues. Where climate change deniers have had an effect, he adds, is in reducing, to 31 percent, the number of Americans who think all scientists agree about climate change. “But most Americans have thought that [scientists don’t all agree on climate change] for the entire fifteen years I’ve been polling on this issue,” adds Krosnick–further tribute, it seems, to the media’s longstanding habit of giving a handful of deniers prominence equal to the vast majority of scientists who affirm climate change.

Hat tip: Climate Shifts.

Comments

  1. #1 Vince Whirlwind
    April 21, 2010

    I can’t answer your stupid questions SamG, as you have no authority to pose them to me.

    Furthermore, the “ardent religious-like qualities of the advocacy” you display through bizarre assertions such as “Totalitarianism is always cloaked by altruistic causes” and other such feats of intellectual pygmicity means I’m pretty much going to limit myself to farting in your general direction.

  2. #2 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    “almost none of you have any expertise or scientific training.”

    you can have scientific training while not being a scientist.

    “use of the term ‘denier’ is grammatically incorrect if you can not provide unequivocal proof that the science is settled”

    uh, *grammatically* incorrect? not sure that was the word you were looking for there.

    incidentally, see how i can pick up on your misuse of language, despite not being an author?

    “how many posters here, who are not scientists; advocate socialism?”

    oi! i’m a First International Libertarian Titoist, not one of those soft “socialists” of which you speak. get your terminology right!

    “We can get to the science later.”

    how about we get to it now? how about you tell us about the masses of evidence you clearly have, that can blow AGW (and 200 years of radiative physics into the bargain) out of the water?

    you complain about there not being enough science on this blog, but you’ve dodged every attempt by the other posters to talk about science. why is that?

    “So far this thread has ticked all the right boxes for me.”

    hey, me too! you made an otherwise boring day yesterday not only bearable, but actually quite enjoyable. thanks for being such a great [lol-cow](http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Lol-cow).

    by the way, i notice you’ve just made a number of posts, without once mentioning boners. well done; it must have been very hard for you.

  3. #3 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Dave H

    evidence is one matter, actual proof is another.
    Don’t turn the argument around. Remember, you have not answered my questions and are therefore not in a sound position to parade your faith (socialism) as science.

    Stop wasting everyones time.

  4. #4 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    ‘pygmicity’

    Yes, your verbosity is admirable but irrelevant.

    Scientist?

    No.

    Socialist

    Yes.

  5. #5 Dave H
    April 21, 2010

    @SamG

    Yawn.

    > Don’t turn the argument around.

    Hypocrite, and also unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “grammar” it seems.

    Which part of AGW is true?

    Evasive.

  6. #6 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    …what validates your opinions above those of the skeptics…

    A much lower level of Dunning-Kruger effect with regard to the science, I’d say. In other words, speaking for myself, a lack of confidence in my own opinion in areas where I am relatively uninformed and unskilled.

  7. #7 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    It’s amusing to find someone coming in here asserting “socialism” as some sort of slur, noting that this is rather common in the US – where most of the country has no clue what “socialism” actually looks like but thinks that all sorts of policies that would be considered mildly-right-of-centre in most other Western democracies are “socialist”. I guess the Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaughs and their fellow travelers have also done a great job defining “socialism” as practically the same as both “communism” and “fascism” (Jonah Goldberg’s Dunning-Krugerness on that particular topic being expressed for posterity in an unintentionally amusing book entitled “Liberal Fascism”, IIRC), at least for their poor audiences who usually don’t know any better.

    “Socialism” with connotations of communism or fascism is rather uncommon in Australia – where the host and many of the commenters on this blog reside. I’ve been out of the UK too long to know if it has that sort of resonance there.

    So I call “Slur Fail”. Try again, Sam.

  8. #8 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    Remember, you have not answered my questions and are therefore not in a sound position to parade your faith (socialism) as science.

    Why does “Shorter SamG: “Respect my authoriteh!” spring to mind? ;-)

  9. #9 P. Lewis
    April 21, 2010

    ligne said

    by the way, i notice you’ve just made a number of posts, without once mentioning boners. well done; it must have been very hard for you.

    LOL.

    Can’t help thinking that SamG is engaging in the blog equivalent of frotteurism!

  10. #10 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    “I’ve been out of the UK too long to know if it has that sort of resonance there.”

    not that i’ve noticed. then again, we’ve got a national health programme, so we’re clearly just a step away from being a 70m-strong Red Army Faction.

  11. #11 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, I’m going to assume you’re not a mathematician with deep expertise in the relevant areas. Given that assumption:

    1) Did Wiles prove Fermat’s Last Theorem?

    2) Was the Four Colour Theorem proved?

    Provide reasoning for your answers.

    For bonus points detail analogous reasoning for the vast majority of climate science for which you have no deep expertise.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    April 21, 2010

    [SamG](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/johann_hari_on_journalismgate.php#comment-2449345).

    I am trained at Bachelor, Postgrad Diploma, Masters, and PhD levels.

    I’ve worked in scientific research and in tertiary education for 25 years.

    I know a little bit about science.

    I know when untrained people, ideologues, and vested interests ignore, misunderstand, and/or misrepresent science in order to avoid the implications of the same.

    If you cannot mount a clear, concise and scientifically-evidenced/supportable case, instead of engaging in an [ignorant](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/johann_hari_on_journalismgate.php#comment-2446620) and a [puerile](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/johann_hari_on_journalismgate.php#comment-2446672) diatribe of distraction and irrelevance, then you are a denier/denialist.

    Get over it.

    Yawn.

  13. #13 jakerman
    April 21, 2010

    So a troll walks into a bar and says in a lound voice:

    *None of you have the scientific training to debate the science.* (Except him over there, but I can’t understand why he in on political blog, this is a political blog right?).

    Then the troll turns and announces, I on the other hand think the scientist are wrong.

    The Troll stands and waits for a reaction, and … the people turn back and ignore the poor troll who’s just exposed his own folly.

  14. #14 TrueSceptic
    April 21, 2010

    173 Ender,

    Well said. There are some genuine sceptics who doubt the existence of AGW and they can be reasoned with. Most, however, are not at all sceptical. They are highly credulous and show no ability to practise critical thinking. With few exceptions they are delusional right-wing anti-science fanatics and should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

  15. #15 GWB's nemesis
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, I am a full professor on an endowed chair in a science discipline in an old, high quality, research-intensive university in the UK. I give keynote lectures at international conferences around the world (e.g. this year in the US, Portugal and New Zealand). I have written the leading (scientific) textbook in my field.

    Does that meet your standard of being a scientist?

  16. #16 Jeff Harvey
    April 21, 2010

    Its good to see SamG getting his due here now. I certainly enjoy all of the posts coming in rebutting his puerile nonsense.

    TrueSceptic summed up the difference between an honest sceptic and a dishonest denialist @213. As far as I am concerned, very few scientists fall into the category of genuine scepticism with respect to climate change. There are some, but not many; most are in denial and that will not change. That many have allied themselves with far-right think tanks is no accident; it merely reflects their own political views.

  17. #17 TrueSceptic
    April 21, 2010

    215 Jeff,

    There is the problem of identifying dishonesty. If someone says something that is demonstrably false, or in contradiction to something else they have said, both of which AGW denidiots do frequently, they are liars only if they realise what they are doing. Can someone be a liar if they are too delusional to distinguish truth from falsehood or evidence from propaganda?

  18. #18 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Jeff

    I said that you were behaving like an imbecile, and you were. Your tirade over a jocular post revealed more about your prejudices than you know.
    I don’t have to correlate socialist ideology with pro AGW views. The readers have done that for me.

    ‘SamG displays the common thread that runs between Denialism and antisocialism.’ -Vince Wirlwind

    ‘The well funded PR campaigns will continue to use the same tactics of the Swift Boat crew that, for instance, managed to get a draft dodging layabout elected the president of the free world over an actual decorated combat veteran. Do you think that anything climate scientists can do can compete with a machine of this power?’ -Stephen Gloor

    ‘Nowadays we have a number of the same PR companies, faux scientific institutes and think tanks – even some of the same “scientists” – who mounted a deception campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco apparently doing the same on AGW science, using much the same methods.’ – Lotharsson

    ‘and therefore…what? That stupid people are more likely to be right-wing?’ -True sceptic

    What an incredibly naive perception of the political spectrum; right wingers are evil and the left are benevolent torchbearers of truth. okay….I’m so dumbfounded by your complete neglect of the truth that I now understand how such immensely flawed human beings got away with communism. -Arrogance.

    You’re not a climate scientist? Fair enough, because a climate scientist wouldn’t touch a political blog like this with a ten foot poll.

    I concur with ‘Balance’

    ‘I thought Deltoid was a science blog but, having read through168 posting, there appears to be more drivel than science. If SamG and responses to his inane views were exclude, there might have been more debate on the subject matter – Journalismgate.’ -Balance

    Yes, he dislikes me but he clearly doesn’t think much of many of you either.

  19. #19 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Excellent, GWB’s nemesis

    We should talk.

  20. #20 jakerman
    April 21, 2010

    Having steered clear of all scientific discussion and attempt to bait people away from science the troll walks into the bar and announce: *I have now turned this into a non-science blog.*

    The Troll was very please with his new powers because he new he’d be on foreign soil if he’d had to debate questions of science.

  21. #21 chek
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, unless you’re all the same person, every week troll clones very much like you drop in here, spout your simplistic, hand-me-down political ideology for a bit, get your annoyingly arrogant misconceptions of something you’re clearly clueless about ripped to shreds, then sod off again until the next one arrives.

    Apart from the mounting evidence of a commonly encountered brand of off-topic,reality-denying stupid, what impact do you think you (and your like-minded cohorts) think you have?

    Believe me, it’s much – nay far, far less than you might think.

  22. #22 Jeff Harvey
    April 21, 2010

    SamG,

    How deep in the quicksand must you wallow? You write, “a climate scientist wouldn’t touch a political blog like this with a ten foot poll”.

    Really? Deltoid is recommened reading by many very qualified climate scientists, including the team at RealClimate. I have spoken with others who have similar views. The fact is SamG that you probably have never spoken with a single climate scientist in all of your life. So that crushes one of your stupid asinine remarks.

    Then this, “I now understand how such immensely flawed human beings got away with communism”.

    No one here denies that communism was not a deeply flawed appalling polticial and economic systems. But how is capitalism faring? The current brand of free market absolutism flouted uinder the ‘Washington Consensus’ has turned the global economy into something of a casino. It has also been an ecological disaster. And the ‘shock doctrine’ spelled out by Naomi Klein and others is doing nothing whatsover to alleviate poverty; quite the contrary. Check the ratio of capital flows from the underdeveloped south to the developed north over the past 40 years and you will see that this ratio had actually increased from about 3:1 in 1970 (which is bad enough given the disparity between the two) to 7:1 (by 2003). Moreover, every nation in the developed world is in ecological deficit; that is, the rich world extracts far more from its own land masses than can be sustainably produced. The only way that consumption and waste production as currently defined allows ecological ‘debtor’ nations in the north to sustain this disparity is through the north foisting completely unjust economic and trade policies on the south. Samir Amin, Africa’s leading economist, spelled it out clearly at the World Social Forum at Peurto Allegre (Brazil) in 2003, when he stated bluntly that the ‘quad’ is not interested in a coherent trading system that benefits the south; it is only interested in ‘looting’ their resources. Irish economist Patrick Bond (2006) in his book, ‘Looting Africa’, as well as American economist Tom Athansiou in his book, ‘Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor’ expand upon this theme. Comments by influential politicians and planners such as Kissinger, Kennan, Nitze and Brezinski have echoed this theme over the past 50-60 years. The MSM unsurprisingly gives it a free pass.

    Finally some advice SamG: I do not think that GWBs nemesis wants to talk with a nincompoop like you any more than the rest of us would. Your posts reflect a kindergarten level understanding of the world. Methinks you are a neo-Rand acolyte. Several of these sad people have commented on deltoid before, and their views are about as simnple as yours.

  23. #23 Marion Delgado
    April 21, 2010

    The trolls only waste as much time as you’ll let them waste.

  24. #24 John
    April 21, 2010

    SamG is funny. He still hasn’t answered a single scientific question posed to him, but he’s called us all socialists.

    Life is so much simpler when you’re armed with The Truth, ain’t it Sam? Who needs facts or evidence?

  25. #25 airmax
    April 21, 2010

    I am shocked – shocked! – that a denier would lie to me.Funny how, when you dig, they look so much alike; SamG could be Brent’s clone

  26. #26 airmax
    April 21, 2010

    I am shocked – shocked! – that a denier would lie to me.Funny how, when you dig, they look so much alike; SamG could be Brent’s clone

  27. #27 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    Nowadays we have a number of the same PR companies, faux scientific institutes and think tanks…

    Apparently SamG includes this quote of me in an attempt to “correlate socialist ideology with pro AGW views”. Weird – as are some of the other quotes chosen to illustrate his claim.

    Based on those and other comments, it’s almost like SamG has an irrational fear of anything he thinks smacks of socialism, even though he doesn’t quite know what socialism actually is. I’ve met many a soul with similar fears on US political blogs. One might almost say it’s a naive perception of the pol… oh, wait, the irony:

    What an incredibly naive perception of the political spectrum; right wingers are evil and the left are benevolent torchbearers of truth.

    SamG has reversed the directionality of the claimed relation (which is certainly not alleged to be 1:1 let alone on-to) thus making this a fallacious strawman. But heck, don’t let me stop SamG happily tilting away at it while he builds up negative capital in the credibility markets.

  28. #28 jakerman
    April 21, 2010

    Brent Hargraves did use quite a few sock puppets.

    Though I think even Brent attempted to engage is some science.

  29. #29 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    “Excellent, GWB’s nemesis. We should talk.”

    we’re finally going to hear some science from SamG? hurrah!

  30. #30 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Those shortcomings have little to do with capitalism and more to do with unregulated growth, imperialism, corporatism etc.
    The same problems exist with communism. But socialism is a purely intellectual ideology which consists of equally ideological converts who conveniently fall under the banner of intellectualism, alternative culture, atheism and benevolent organizations. Their main objective is to regulate human activity via seemingly ‘liberal’ means.
    Almost all environmental groups are guilty of terrorist-style campaigns, missinformation, inducing guilt and ‘holier than thou’ activism against members of the public.

    http://weblog.greenpeace.org/climate/2010/04/will_the_real_climategate_plea_1.html

    The left are not the wise peace stewards they make out to be. They are as flawed and conniving as any member of the public and in many cases worse. It takes a special kind of person to proclaim they have the answers simply because they’re a member of a self righteous scene.

    Does this make capitalists any better? No, of course not but the answer doesn’t lie in bipartisan politics. You had your chance and it killed millions. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

  31. #31 Muzz
    April 21, 2010

    This all must be a taste of things to come.
    “Are you now, or have you ever been a commenter on an Anthropogenic Global Warming blog? Or any science blog?”

  32. #32 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    It takes a special kind of person to proclaim they have the answers simply because they’re a member of a self righteous scene.

    SamG misidentifies what other people think and claim and the reasons for those claims, and passes judgement on the misidentification.

    Better trolls, please.

  33. #33 Dave
    April 21, 2010

    @SamG

    200 posts later.

    Which part of AGW is true?

    Evasive.

  34. #34 Jeff Harvey
    April 21, 2010

    First SamG comes up with this whopper: *You had your chance and it killed millions. You’re barking up the wrong tree*

    May I ask exactly ‘who’ you are referring to here? Since when did social democracy kill ‘millions’ of people?

    Then we get this gem: *Almost all environmental groups are guilty of terrorist-style campaigns, missinformation, inducing guilt and ‘holier than thou’ activism against members of the public*

    This sounds more accurately like the foregin policy of successive administrations in the U.S. But I suppose state terrorism and the worse crime of aggression are not part of SamGs lexicon. Furthermore, he might as well be describing the infinitely better funded anti-environmental lobby in the U.S. By this I am referring to groups like ‘Wise Use’ which act as an umbrella for all kinds of far right organizations. But note how our resident right winger leaves these out of his description.

    And yes, so far, as others have noted, no science. Coincidence? Hardly. SamG is on his right wing ‘rant & roll’.

  35. #35 Neil
    April 21, 2010

    “You had your chance and it killed millions.”

    Projecting there, much?

  36. #36 Paul UK
    April 21, 2010

    Off topic, but very important?

    A *anker (replace * with appropriate letter) has managed to force a university to hand over tree ring data:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18801-uk-university-ordered-to-give-data-to-climate-sceptic.html

    I’m guessing the person in question was spending so much time doing amateur climate science, that a few dodgy packages of sub prime mortgages went un-noticed.

  37. #37 toto
    April 21, 2010

    This (otherwise excellent) blog could really do with a large “Do Not Feed The Trolls” sign right at the top.

  38. #38 lord_sidcup
    April 21, 2010

    Did someone mention Brent Hargreaves? I noticed (with some amusement) that our Brent has submitted evidence to the [Muir Russell panel](http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/Hargreaves.pdf) in the form of a poison-pen type letter along the lines of “Professor Boulton can’t be trusted”.

  39. #39 John
    April 21, 2010

    Thanks for pointing that out, Sidcup. Brent is a special person.

  40. #40 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Paul UK

    That’s wonderful news. Why do you think data should be intellectual property?

    Very spiteful indeed. Kinda reflect this blog, don’t ya think?

  41. #41 chek
    April 21, 2010

    Well Brent is after all a subscriber to that website that proclaims itself as run by “a dipstick affected by malodorous thought”.

    Or something along those lines.

  42. #42 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Jeff Harvey

    you are continually making stuff up. Communism is the direct outcome of social justice. Let me guess… you want wealth removed from the banks and upper classes. Next you’ll ban theology and execute traitors.

    ;-)

  43. #43 Mike
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, I’ve stated before that I’m not actually a scientist even though I do have an understanding and intense interest in many scientific concepts. Could I ask a scientific question directly to do with AGW?

    Some sceptics say there is no evidence that atmospheric CO2 rises are from human activities.

    Could I just canvass your opinion on using isotope ratio mass spectrometry in relation to this issue? Do you think it produces valid results?

  44. #44 GWB's nemesis
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, with the greatest respect, what would you bring to any sensible discussion about the science? To date I have seen not a single iota of evidence in any of your posts that you have you could contribute to a meaningful discussion.

    There are many others here, including some without a formal science education, who can contribute meaningfully, which is why I follow (and occasionally contribute to) the discussion on this blog.

  45. #45 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    “Why do you think data should be intellectual property?”

    i thought it was only the Godless communist hordes who had a lack of respect for intellectual property? why do you hate capitalism so much?

  46. #46 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    isotope ration spec what?

    C’mon Mike, your attempt at appearing authentic comes across wanky.

    But I don’t believe we have a negligible effect on the climate, if that helps.

  47. #47 lord_sidcup
    April 21, 2010

    Paul UK #236:

    [Real Climate](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/the-guardian-disappoints/) posted an interesting bit of info on your *anker a little while ago:

    “As an aside, Keenan has made a cottage industry of accusing people of fraud whenever someone writes a paper of which he disapproves. He has attempted to get the FBI to investigate Mike Mann, pursued a vendetta against a Queen’s University Belfast researcher, and has harassed a French graduate student with fraud accusations based on completely legitimate choices in data handling. More recently Keenan, who contacted Wigley after having seen the email mentioned in the Pearce story, came to realise that Wigley was not in agreement with his unjustified allegations of ‘fraud’. In response, Keenan replied (in an email dated Jan 10, 2010) that:

    .. this has encouraged me to check a few of your publications: some are so incompetent that they seem to be criminally negligent.

    Sincerely, Doug”

  48. #48 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    “Communism is the direct outcome of social justice.”

    oh dear, does that mean that the [Catholic church](http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515_quadragesimo-anno_en.html) is communist now?

  49. #49 SamG
    April 21, 2010

    Hi GWB’s nemesis

    regarding Paul UK’s reference, what’s your slant on this:

    ‘Keenan says he believes the Irish data could bolster the sceptics’ case that a thousand years ago there was a widespread medieval warm period on Earth not unlike current warming. But last year Baillie and his colleague Ana Garcia-Suárez published a study showing that Irish oak growth rings are a good proxy for summer rainfall, but not for temperature.’

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18801-uk-university-ordered-to-give-data-to-climate-sceptic.html

  50. #50 Neil
    April 21, 2010

    Oh dear – I think Samwise Samgee has been overdosing on the cartoon version of Hayek: http://mises.org/books/trts/

  51. #51 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    so keenan wants to prove that the medieval warm period wasn’t just limited to Europe by using Irish tree-ring data? what a cretin.

    then again, he seems to think that a warm MWP would disprove modern warming (“fires have happened for millions of years, ergo arson is impossible!”), so i probably shouldn’t be too surprised.

  52. #52 san quintin
    April 21, 2010

    Hi SamG
    I am a regular reader here and irregular poster. Either start debating science with the scientists here (I am a climate scientist with a PhD and over 100 peer-reviewed papers) or go away.

    Like most denialists you have nothing to say. Do you think the earth is flat too?

  53. #53 Mike
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, it’s not an “attempt” to appear authentic. I’ve already admitted (this will be the third time now) to being nothing more than a layperson. I learned all about isotopes, atomic structures and masses, and the use of spectrometry in my last 2 years of high school (I was one of the uncool weirdos who did double maths, physics and chemistry for 2 years and really enjoyed it).

    Yes, you read that correctly. High school. That was a long time ago but I still remember it, and the more I read about climate science, the more bits from high school and Uni come flooding back from being long-forgotten. My curiosity in that was recently rekindled when I read about scientists using it in relation to C13/C12 ratios, so I’ve been reading up a bit about it.

    I mean, it’s obviously not the be-all and end-all, but it’s decent supporting evidence I reckon. I stand to be corrected on that if necessary. What do you think of it?

    Anyway, I think I got the answer I expected. Pretty disappointing.

  54. #54 TrueSceptic
    April 21, 2010

    218 SamG,

    You said (105)

    Surely you are a socialist, as most intellectuals indeed are?

    I responded with (135)

    and therefore…what? That stupid people are more likely to be right-wing?

    If you cannot see why I said that, then your comprehension is even poorer than I thought.

  55. #55 t_p_hamilton
    April 21, 2010

    SamG, 200 posts later

    I suppose the next time I hear somebody say that “de Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt” I should tsk tsk (and cluck, AND wag my finger) about how they are equating the behavior with the Holocaust.

    Agree or disagree?

    Evasive.

  56. #56 AGW Skeptic
    April 21, 2010

    Where did Timothy Lambert get his PhD in climate science?

    Just asking.

  57. #57 Dave Andrews
    April 21, 2010

    san quintin,

    “I am a climate scientist with a PhD and over 100 peer-reviewed papers”

    Surely this doesn’t quite stack up. Why are you not a professor or something if you have published that many papers?

    How long have you been a climate scientist?

    How much actual research did you do on those papers or is it just a case of ‘lending’ your name to a paper so that the publishing record looks better?

  58. #58 san quintin
    April 21, 2010

    Dave Andrews said “Surely this doesn’t quite stack up. Why are you not a professor or something if you have published that many papers”

    I don’t quite understand. Aren’t all Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors in climate change also climate scientists?

    How much actual research did I do? What do you think?

    What are your qualifications?

  59. #59 Dave Andrews
    April 21, 2010

    san quintin,

    Not being an academic I couln’t possibly say how much research you actually did. Why don’t you enlighten me?

  60. #60 Dave H
    April 21, 2010

    @SamG (Rude, abusive, time-wasting, evasive hypocrite).

    Now states:

    > But I don’t believe we have a negligible effect on the climate, if that helps.

    Does this mean that you think that the man’s effect on the climate is not negligible? Is this you finally answering which part of AGW you think is true?

  61. #61 san quintin
    April 21, 2010

    Like most scientists, I would hardly have authored over 100 papers if I hadn’t put some work in. I guess I’m first author on about 40%. Does that answer your question?

    Now…your point is?

  62. #62 el gordo
    April 21, 2010

    ‘Can someone be a liar if they are too delusional to distinguish truth from falsehood or evidence from propaganda?’

    In a court of law they may still be guilty. When otherwise rational people express Ignorance about the true nature of global warming it’s just an opinion, unless criminal negligence is involved.

  63. #63 Chris O'Neill
    April 21, 2010

    Dave Andrews:

    “I am a climate scientist with a PhD and over 100 peer-reviewed papers”

    Surely this doesn’t quite stack up. Why are you not a professor or something if you have published that many papers?

    What an ignoramus. One does not need to hold a professor’s position or similar in an educational institution in order to be a professional scientist. There are lots of scientists outside educational institutions.

  64. #64 TrueSceptic
    April 21, 2010

    262 El Gordo,

    I’m talking about the difference between delusion and dishonesty. Ignorance (simple lack of knowledge) is another matter.

    “When otherwise rational people express Ignorance…” makes no sense.

  65. #65 truth machine, OM
    April 21, 2010

    I want to know what differentiates most participants here from those at skeptic blogs

    Knowledge and intellectual honesty.

    in light of the fact that almost none of you have any expertise or scientific training

    False.

  66. #66 truth machine, OM
    April 21, 2010

    Where did Timothy Lambert get his PhD in climate science?

    Where did you get your PhD in skepticism?

  67. #67 truth machine, OM
    April 21, 2010

    Surely this doesn’t quite stack up. Why are you not a professor or something if you have published that many papers?

    What, other than your well-established stupidity, makes you think he isn’t?

  68. #68 truth machine, OM
    April 21, 2010

    isotope ration spec what?

    Ignorant moron.

  69. #69 truth machine, OM
    April 21, 2010

    Those shortcomings have little to do with capitalism and more to do with unregulated growth, imperialism, corporatism etc. The same problems exist with communism. But socialism is a purely intellectual ideology which consists of equally ideological converts who conveniently fall under the banner of intellectualism, alternative culture, atheism and benevolent organizations. Their main objective is to regulate human activity via seemingly ‘liberal’ means. Almost all environmental groups are guilty of terrorist-style campaigns, missinformation, inducing guilt and ‘holier than thou’ activism against members of the public.

    Sorry, pipsqueak, but Graeme Bird does this act much better than you do.

  70. #70 Holly Stick
    April 21, 2010

    Meanwhile, in Canada, climate scientist Andrew Weaver is suing the National Post for libel:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-scientist-sues-national-post

  71. #71 MFS
    April 21, 2010

    SamG and Dave Andrews: I have a PhD in biology from an Australian University and have been studying, for the past 15 years, among other things, the polewards range extension of many marine species along the east and west coasts of Australia.

    Care to provide alternative hypothesis as to why species, the distribution of which is constrained by the winter minimum water temperature they can survive, are extending their ranges towards the pole? Why are fish like tailor, snapper and kingfish found further and further south every decade, being now regularly caught in southern Tasmania? Why is the N.S.W. spiny rock lobster Jasus verreauxi now caught in Tasmanian waters?
    What is your alternative hypothesis as to why the toxic, ciguatera-causing dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus now found as far south as Merimbula, when 20 years ago the southernmost limit of its distribution was Stradbroke Island, 1,100 Km to the north?
    If you come to troll on a science blog, expect to be challenged on the science. Measure up or bugger off.

  72. #72 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    Communism is the direct outcome of social justice.

    Methinks someone’s been listening to Glenn Beck talk about “social justice” and socialism, communism, & Nazism…and is gullible enough to treat his abject incomprehension of the terms as authoritative.

    Beck held up cards, one with a hammer and sickle and other with a swastika. “Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That’s what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. . . . But on each banner, read the words, here in America: ‘social justice.'”

    I don’t think Beck is trying to be the stupidest person in the media, but he’s still a top tier candidate…

  73. #73 ligne
    April 21, 2010

    [“You had your chance and it killed millions.”](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFtkJd8w5UQ)

    (i make no apologies. any occasion is good for Mr Izzard.)

  74. #74 Fran Barlow
    April 21, 2010

    Social justice entails the empowerment of all people to pursue their legitimate claims — i.e. a dignified existence, autonomy over matters peculiar to them, scope to engage in activities that further self-awareness. If such a state were approached, it could only produce communism if this expressed the antecedent principles.

    Accordingly if the case could be proved that communism were one outcome of social justice, communism would, by definition be a good thing.

    It’s amusing and revealing that this is what the troll claims to fear.

  75. #75 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    It’s amusing and revealing that this is what the troll claims to fear.

    …because the one thing that Communist states were famous for was that individuals had “autonomy over matters peculiar to them”, right?!

  76. #76 ChrisC
    April 21, 2010

    Not that I wish to contribute to SamG’s annoying requests, since he has yet to utter a single word of substance on this matter, but I may as well just to add to the smack-down he has received.

    I’m a scientist with two bachelors and a Grad. Dip. I’m currently working on a PhD in a climate related field. Before returning to academia, I worked for a number of years in industrial research in atmospheric science.

    A number of regular posters here are working scientists. SamG may or may not be a working scientist. It doesn’t matter, as his idiocy s/he has shown on this thread ranks up there with the best Deltoid has seen in at least a couple of months. SamG could have a Noble Prize, Kyoto Medal and a Fields Medal, and s/he would still be remarkably wrong on climate.

  77. #77 Mike
    April 21, 2010

    I’m actually finding this thread has developed into something highly entertaining and quite amusing. Tim must surely be just cacking himself at some of the posts.

    @263. I almost posted the exact same thing Chris, but decided someone else probably would say it anyway! Dave could always have googled “professor” and saved himself the trouble.

  78. #78 Eli Rabett
    April 21, 2010

    Eli Rabett is a not quite failed professorial techno-bunny, who frequently partakes in gay rounds of whack-a-troll. The trolls have a lot to answer for as they vary comment to comment between rabid and delusional.

  79. #79 Fran Barlow
    April 21, 2010

    Lotharsson said:

    …because the one thing that Communist states were famous for was that individuals had “autonomy over matters peculiar to them”, right?!

    Actuallt the key thing wrong here is that the “communist” states most often cited were not an outcome of “social justice” but rather centuries (and in a couple of cases, a millennium) of brutality and misery followed by a violent assaults by heavily industrialised powers that aggravated life yet further. In Indochina alone for example a greater tonnage of explosive firepower was concentrated in this area by the US-led forces than was dropped by all the parties in all the theatres of war in WW2. China, Korea and Indochina were invaded and occupied by the Japanese. And Russia’s Tsar put an essentially feudal subsistence agriculture state into war with Germany destroying its agricultural base and much of its agrarian populace.

    One may argue until the cows come home about what the right historical name for what issued from this context should be, but whatever it was, it was compatible with the human materiel that this past authored — i.e. desperate, fearful, ill-educated, riven by hatreds both recent and longstanding and lacking any grasp of the place of the human being in the social world or even the space to contemplate it.

    We know that some of the people in some of these states had a vision of a better world, but lacking any means to engender it, they and their project were swept aside by the crushing legacy of generations past and present.

  80. #80 Lotharsson
    April 21, 2010

    Tim must surely be just cacking himself at some of the posts.

    I can assure you it’s not just Tim ;-)

  81. #81 John
    April 21, 2010

    Holly Stick @ 270:

    Great news! This will have real reprecussions when he wins.

  82. #82 John
    April 21, 2010

    Still waiting Sam. After you, you are the scientific expert here in possession of secret knowledge unknown to us:

    Tell you what we’ll do, SamG. You give us one scientific reason that the climate has a low sensitivity to anthropogenic Co2 (this is your argument after all) and we’ll let you off the hook.

    Just one!

    Sorry for trapping you with the communist conspiracy thing earlier. See, I was a bit tricky in asking whether you believe global warming was a communist plot. I already knew you did, and I was also certain that you would lie to me if called on it. You did lie. I caught you out. So heh yeah, sorry again. Heh.

  83. #83 Connor
    April 21, 2010

    Oh, look, Anthony Watts has sent out his attack minions.

    Tim, you should do what they do over at WUWT and ruthlessly edit/disemvowel all and any arguments over the use of the word “denier”. If they won’t debate it there I don’t see why the wingnuts should be able to come here and flood the forum with their idiocy.

  84. #84 John
    April 21, 2010

    I’m reading the lawsuit and guess who else is being sued?

    Some anonymous commenters.

    It seems commenters will now have to be careful if they want to throw words like “fraud”, “hoax”, “scam”, “con” around…

  85. #85 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2010

    SamG.

    As so many others have pointed out, you have not made one comment of substance about the science of climate change on this thread, and you’ve had seven colours of snot kicked out of you about your offensive semantic confabulation.

    Just for the record, can you link to the post on this thread of which you are most proud? Why are you proud of it? For its merciless debunking of mainstream science? For its unassailable correctness of English usage?

    Please enlighten us.

  86. #86 Lotharsson
    April 22, 2010

    Anthony Watts has sent out his attack minions.

    He has? I didn’t see any. Perhaps he’s all out of attack minions, and therefore resorting to his crack squad of fearsome attack goldfish? Be afraid, be very afraid ;-)

  87. #87 Charles
    April 22, 2010

    “The trolls only waste as much time as you’ll let them waste.”–Marion Delgado

    I agree with Marion and toto: enough of letting this troll have his way. Although some of you seem to find this amusing, I find these engagements with the likes of SamG a waste of time. Yawn. I’d support a move to disemvowel. The one comment I have found interesting is Holly’s mention of Andrew Weaver’s lawsuit against the National Post. It’s about time that scientists started fighting back in this fashion, and I hope Dr. Weaver is successful in his libel suit.

  88. #88 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2010

    [Holly Stick](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/johann_hari_on_journalismgate.php#comment-2451824).

    I too am delighted at Andrew Weaver’s decision to go for the National Post’s throat. This will indeed be a very interesting case to follow.

    The thing is, the NP will have lawyered its articles prior to publication, and I suspect that they will have cunning defenses that might allow them to wiggle out. Of course, I am no lawyer myself, so perhaps someone better qualified could comment?

    Perhaps cohenite would consider doing so, even though divorce was his purview…

    What I would really like to see though, is for Sir John Houghton to persist with his thought to sue Mr Monckton. I’m sure that there’s a solid case there, if only Sir John has the will to jump into the cesspit.

  89. #89 Mike
    April 22, 2010

    This is amazingly on topic, but I know that our own bastions of science reporting integrity have frequently hidden behind the defence of “I wasn’t reporting facts, it was only my opinion” when legal action has loomed.

    This has been especially successful for columnists like Piers Akerman, and I imagine probably Bolt too. While calling themselves “opinion” columnists, they regularly and quite deliberately misrepresent factual evidence. Like: “my opinion is that the earth is flat, and I therefore think it is clear that scientists have been lying to us all along”.

  90. #90 Lotharsson
    April 22, 2010

    I too am delighted at Andrew Weaver’s decision to go for the National Post’s throat.

    Indeed. [Popcorn :-)]

  91. #91 Holly Stick
    April 22, 2010

    John @284 The comments at the National Post usually tend to be appalling, bigoted and ignorant. Unfortuenately, other big media outlets get similar appalling comments, perhaps from the same people under various names; but maybe some of the worst perpetrators will be scared out of their atrocious behaviour by this.

    The lists of websites near the end include some notorious rightwing political blogs and forums which follow the denialist line, as well as specific AGW denial blogs that everyone here probably recognizes.

    Bernard J. @288 Hard to say; the NP’s current owner is trying to sell off most of their papers, and I believe the NP itself has always been a money-loser. It seems to be aimed more at rightwing propagandizing than making money. They would be wise to back down and grovel; but I don’t notice much wisdom there.

    Having read some of what the NP published, I doubt that they could weasel out of everything.

  92. #92 el gordo
    April 22, 2010

    It will be harder for Michael Mann to sue a satirist,

  93. #93 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2010

    A link to a [comment about Sir John Houghton’s consideration to sue Monckton](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/andrew_bolt_doesnt_know_or_car.php#comment-2262872).

    And I agree with the previous commenters on the matter of SamG’s trolling. There is one benefit arising from the exchanges though, and that is that it has shown how poorly he was able to attempt a defense of his claim that denialism is necessarily and specifically associated only with the Holocaust.

    To this end, the SamG exchanges illustrate the moral depauperacy of those who are inclined to resort to this confabulation.

    Talk about something blowing up in one’s face…

  94. #94 Mark Francis
    April 22, 2010

    I know Canadian libel law quite well for a layperson, having been dealing with it for years. The problem for The National Post, among other things, is that they attribute statements to Weaver he claims he did not make, and are alleged to present other ‘false facts’ — that is, statements presented as indisputable which are denied by the plaintiff. Fair comment defenses work in libel claims, but not so well when based upon untruths. For example, The National Posts’ editor wrote an opinion column concerning Weaver jumping ship from the IPCC and how that showed that the IPCC was sinking… the only problem is, Weaver wasn’t and didn’t, and denies he ever was. The author’s opinions may be otherwise fair, but any ‘false fact’ underlying it may render a fair comment defense impossible.

    I could write an insightful piece concerning Tim Lambert’s previous life as a bank robber which would leave you all nodding in agreement — isn’t it great how Tim’s pulled his life around?

    Of course, the opinion would be libelous because Tim was never a bank robber.

    Fair comment based on false fact often is libelous.

  95. #95 Fran Barlow
    April 22, 2010

    If Canadian defamation law is anything like Australian law then “good faith” is a test of what constitutes fair comment. If a plaintiff can show that the claims that are the source of the ostensible damage were not merely false but that the defendant ought to have known they were at the time of publication, then the “fair comment” defence collapses.

    Journalists are supposed to fact check but this is in the murky area. One may presume that a journalist who knew that a claim to be published could defame would seek first to verify and corroborate such claims, critically including of course the person whose reputation was in jeopardy. If evidence to the contrary was ready to hand — and that might amount to no more than a claim to the contrary appearing in a simple search of the web on a site that had some credibility, then “good faith” becomes harder to sustain.

  96. #96 SamG
    April 22, 2010

    GWB’s nemesis, do you think it odd that Baillie himself concluded that his chronologies were not good temperature indicators? Perhaps Mann knew this and sought to ‘confuse’ ring growth caused by rainfall as a temperature proxy?

    Similarly, skeptics claim that late twentieth century tree ring data was removed from the 2001 IPCC temperature graph because it showed a decline.
    Is there any merit in this?

    Further, do you find ‘Paul UK’s’ mockery of data sharing incredulous? I know this is not a scientific question but condescension appears to be a hallmark of this website.

  97. #97 Dave H
    April 22, 2010

    @SamG

    Still asking new questions and avoiding old ones?

    Evasive.

  98. #98 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2010

    [Dave H](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/johann_hari_on_journalismgate.php#comment-2452838).

    I sincerely apologise for my presumptuousness, but I feel compelled to fix your question to SamG:

    Still asking stupid new questions and avoiding confronting old ones?

    There… that’s a bit better.

  99. #99 Robert Murphy
    April 22, 2010

    SamG said,

    “Similarly, skeptics claim that late twentieth century tree ring data was removed from the 2001 IPCC temperature graph because it showed a decline. Is there any merit in this?”

    It’s called the divergence problem, and it has been discussed very openly in the scientific literature for over a decade. The decline is a decline in tree ring sensitivity to temperature for some trees in high latitudes. It most certainly is not a decline in temps for the last 50 years – that would go against the measurements of thousands of ground stations and the satellite record. *Skeptics* claim this was all *hidden*, but they are full of it because it has been well known to anyone who has followed the literature, or anybody who read AR4, since it was also spoken of there as well. No *skeptic* uncovered the divergence problem.

  100. #100 SteveC
    April 22, 2010

    SamG 296:

    condescension appears to be a hallmark of this website

    While smear-and-run, diversionary tactics, avoiding answering direct questions and trying (yet failing) to mount challenges revolving around semantics are yours. Oh, and condescending, overweening posturing. And neglecting to read and understand the science.

    If you want to be taken seriously, you at least have to be able to demonstrate that you take the science and the statements made by the scientists on this blog seriously. Failure to do either amounts, in my book, to automatic disqualification from further engagement.

Current ye@r *