Open Thread 48

Time for more thread.


  1. #1 Donald Johnson
    May 16, 2010

    I was hoping someone other than Kane would talk about Iraq and wartime mortality in general, but apparently the climate change issue is what interests people here these days. Anyway, here’s Les Roberts’s reply on the Congo issue–


  2. #2 TrueSceptic
    May 17, 2010

    Just found a link to this in the JREF forums. [Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial]( Did Tim cover this?

  3. #3 Dave R
    May 17, 2010
  4. #4 TrueSceptic
    May 17, 2010

    103 DaveR,

    Thanks. It did seem unlikely that he wouldn’t have done so.

  5. #5 Anthony David
    May 18, 2010

    I see Watts and some local yokels are touring Downunder, tapping the goldmine of angry Aussie pensioners.

  6. #6 MFS
    May 18, 2010

    I’d go and ask a few questions except I’d have to pay a $20-25 admission fee, and I’ll be buggered if I contribute to his financial success…

  7. #7 TrueSceptic
    May 18, 2010

    42 Post hoc,

    How would D-K candidates be rated? Will voting for them be restricted to people who *are* qualified in the subject?

    I think there should be a weighting factor for candidates. The higher the qualifications a person has, the higher the weighting for spouting nonsense, e.g., a Physics PhD would get a higher D-K score than, say, a person with only high-school qualifications, for saying essentially the same thing. The PhD has far less excuse for getting it wrong and for being “unscientific”. There should also be weighting for the arrogance with which the claims are presented and defended and for appeals to false authority, especially the candidate’s own credentials.

    Anyway, I have a great candidate. Read 3bodyproblem’s wisdom on evaporation and convection starting [here]( It goes on a bit; the sheer persistence and arrogance adds hugely to the D-K rating IMO.

  8. #8 John
    May 18, 2010

    Anthony David, you mean the David Archibald?

    Surely an evening to inspire the most withering of limericks.

  9. #9
    May 18, 2010


    Yep, I’ve noted Watt’s is doing the down under tour. He’ll also have co-presenters including Jo Nova.

    I’m planning to attend one to see what they have to say and report back on it. Should be informative 😉

  10. #10 TrueSceptic
    May 18, 2010

    Good program on BBC2 last night on how climate change is affecting wildlife in the UK. Sadly only available in the UK. [Chris Packham on climate change](

  11. #11 TrueSceptic
    May 18, 2010

    Anyone who enjoys Denial Depot will also enjoy Baron von Monckhofen’s own blog, [The Climate Scum](

  12. #12 John
    May 18, 2010

    And so as Climategate fizzles into nothingness, the denialist vultures are beginning to turn on themselves.

    As Miller and Heartland president Joe Bast noted, it was an extremely odd audience reaction: McIntyre received a standing ovation upon his introduction, thanks to his dogged research and unrelenting demand for information and accountability, but then his blase’ attitude about scientists’ behavior — particularly Mann’s — left most of the audience cold and some even angry. The applause for McIntyre was tepid upon the conclusion of his remarks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

    For a laugh, read the comments.

  13. #13 TrueSceptic
    May 18, 2010

    112 John,

    They’re a nice, reasonable lot, aren’t they? Somehow I doubt they will ever be aware just how stupid and nasty they are.

    I think that McIntyre realises what they never will. He craves respectability so can’t afford to be associated too closely with the wingnuts.

  14. #14 stepanovich
    May 18, 2010

    The “Climategate” story
    Told in all its glory
    Of scientists’ conspiracy
    To roast our democracy

    But ask the tellers, ‘Proved it?’
    And they say ‘We moved it’
    While journos strive for on-site
    A substitute for insight

  15. #15 Dave H
    May 18, 2010

    Lindzen’s speech at the Heartland conference is up at WUWT. This quote is doing the rounds:

    “Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition.”


  16. #16 John
    May 18, 2010

    What do they want to be called now, the Climate Heroes?

  17. #17 J Bowers
    May 19, 2010

    This should be a very interesting hearing.

    House Select Committee Hearing Thursday On Political Attacks Against Climate Scientists

    I’ll bet Ben Santer alone certainly has very much to say.

  18. #18 TrueSceptic
    May 19, 2010

    115 DH,

    I’m all for Lindzen rejecting the term “skeptic”. Denier is much more appropriate.

  19. #19 Think Big
    May 19, 2010

    I crossed swords with one Bill Koutalianos, candidate for the Climate Sceptics party, who turned up on one of the blogs associated with Ross Gittins’ latest article on the SMH website.

    He just proffered the usual smears against the hockey-stick, Michael Mann and the IPCC.

    I ripped into him as fiercely as I could and still get through moderation and then a tone troll calling himself “Hide the Decline” (possibly one of Bill’s asssociates) asked me “why the viciousness” and then in the next breath immediately went on to smear Mann some more

    I’ve a couple more comments awaiting moderation but I’ve tried to be mindful not to give his party any free publicity either. I suspect we’ll be hearing more from the likes of him leading up to the election.

    Any tips on how best to handle these guys?

  20. #20 jakerman
    May 19, 2010

    >*Any tips on how best to handle these guys?*

    It’s asymetrical warfare. Claims are cheap, facts and hard evidence are hard won, and require effort to be ready to recall.

    Thus point out the asymetry of discussing the issue on a news blog, and refer them to the peer reviewed literature and the statements by NAS, Royal Society etc.

    If you want to invest the time, then prod them to produce a some checkable facts and either check out their claims (various good sites to do so) or post them here for others and ask for feedback.

    Re setting people straight. Hank Roberts linked to [this study](, which is briefly summarized by [Scott Mandia here](

  21. #21 jakerman
    May 19, 2010

    PS. I don’t think the Setting People straight study is relevent to those with such a strong cognitive bias as those in the CSP, but of interest for writing for lurkers.

  22. #22 Eli Rabett
    May 19, 2010

    Ah, but you have to understand that some people, not Think Big, of course, would rip Bill Koutalianos a new hole in his chest for repeating such falsehoods as. . . .

    But Think, you have to understand, is simply trying to get the facts on the table in a businesslike way

    repeated endlessly

  23. #23 MFS
    May 19, 2010

    The U.S. National Research Council has just issued three reports on climate change and adaptation. They’re worth a read. You can find them [here](

    Also for those with subscriptions, today’s issue of Nature has two interesting items on ocean warming, an article by [Lyman et al.](, and a letter by [Kevin Trenberth](

  24. #24 Bruce Sharp
    May 20, 2010

    [Donald Johnson](, nice to see you back.

    Thanks for posting the link to Les Roberts’ article. The report Roberts was discussing is [The Shrinking Costs of War]( I haven’t had time to read it completely, but the highlighted conclusions are really counter-intuitive. So counter-intuitive, in fact, that I’m inclined to believe that they’re wildly wrong.

    The director and editor for the Human Security report was Andrew Mack, and [Tim discussed one of Mack’s previous papers]( back in December. That paper seemed fairly good, so maybe I ought to withhold judgment. But when you’re trying to argue that mortality rates fall during war, well… that’s pretty damn hard to believe, no matter how you work the numbers.

  25. #25 Bruce Sharp
    May 20, 2010

    Another link re the article Donald Johnson posted in 101: [The Human Security Report Project’s home page]( currently has links to some articles addressing Roberts’ criticisms. (Sorry for back-to-back posts, but I hate going over that three-link limit and winding up in moderation.)

  26. #26 Dave H
    May 20, 2010


    That setting people straight study is interesting.

    Of relevance is this [paper]( I’ve linked to before, and discussed at [bad science]( Basically, corrections only serve to reinforce contrary perceptions that have been arrived at through idealogical bias.

  27. #27 Bruce Sharp
    May 21, 2010

    Nobody can ever replace the late [Jon Swift](, but for those of us who still feel his absence, all is not lost. I’d encourage anyone who needs a good laugh to check out Scott Clevenger’s wicked-smart [World O’Crap](

  28. #28 TrueSceptic
    May 22, 2010

    92 John,

    I just have to mention something. Today I had reason to dig out an old Unix course manual. One section starts

    History of the Shells

    The shell was originially written by Steve Bourne with some help from John Mashey.

    I doubt that there was another John Mashey involved in IT/computing at the time. 😉

  29. #29 Phil Clarke
    May 22, 2010

    The dishonesty of Willis Eschenberg

    continues apace at WUWT. He gives a list of the kind of persecution honest ‘sceptics’ have to endure. There’s a lot wrong with the list – e.g. attributing words to Greenpeace that that organisation long ago deleted and disowned, however perhaps most slimy is

    Joe Romm said that skeptics would be strangled in their beds.

    which turns out to be from a comment posted at Romm’s place – that Romm deleted.

    Got that? It is now acceptable to attribute to blog-authors the sentiments expressed in blog comments. Even when those comments have been deleted by moderators

    Now that we know the rules this raises some intriguing possibilities for debate, I am sure you will agree …

  30. #30 TrueSceptic
    May 22, 2010

    129 Phil,

    Are you surprised? Straw man attacks from “sceptics” are seen all the time. isn’t this a deranged strawman-by-proxy or strawman^2?

  31. #31 Phil Clarke
    May 23, 2010

    Surprised? No. Viewed outside the cosy confines of WUWT Escehnbach has just dealt his tattered credibility another blow. I guess I am surprised that he continues to walk with so many bulletholes in his feet:

    Finally, it was a Greenpeace communication, done by one of their employees on their web site.

    Past tense. Willis, it’s a shame that you seem to continue to miss my point in all your responses. Attributing a phrase, lifted from a blog post, after that post has been removed, to an organisation seems to be not exactly in the finest tradition of ethical journalism.

    Next, you find fault with a few of my examples …

    Here’s the list:

    James Hansen of NASA wanted trials for climate skeptics,

    Au contraire. Hansen in fact praised scepticism in his piece and he certainly never called for all sceptics to be put on trial, here is the relevant text:

    Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.

    CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.

    So a true sceptic would be at no risk from Dr Hansen’s proposal. I am reminded of the tobacco executives who testified that they did not believe tobacco was carcinogenic….

    Robert Kennedy Jr. called climate skeptics traitors .

    No, in reported remarks at a rock concert, his problem was with ‘companies that consistently put their private financial interest ahead of American interest and ahead of the interest of all of humanity.’ You have conflated that into ‘climate sceptics’.

    Yvo de Boer of the UN called climate skepticism criminally irresponsible .

    No., he described failure to act on the scientific advice as such.

    David Suzuki called for politicians who ignore climate science to be jailed.

    According to a one-line quote in the National Post. Suzuki never meant it literaly. We know this because he told the ‘newspaper’ so. Still you give us the quote without the response.

    Grist called for Nuremberg trials for skeptics.

    Nope, his target was ‘the denial industry’, those knowingly spreading misinformation in return for renumeration. The opposite of sceptics, you might say.

    Joe Romm said that skeptics would be strangled in their beds.

    0% true. Romm said no such thing, a cammenter at his blog made this distasteful prediction, which Romm pulled.

    A blogger at TPM pondered when it would be acceptable to execute climate deniers .

    So? TPM is an open site – anyone can blog there. An example of Sturgeon’s Law, no more. If you’re worried by this nonsense -which I doubt- you need to develop a thicker skin.

    Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel called for skeptical forecasters to be decertified.

    No, she mused over whether forecasters who make statements out of line with the AMS’s position should continue to be eligible for that body’s Seal of Approval.

    You don’t discuss Suzuki, the best known Canadian AGW supporter, calling for skeptics to be jailed. That has not been atypical of AGW comments, not on blogs, but by people like Hansen and Suzuki and other prominent folks. You want to get outraged now? Where was your outrage when they were saying those things?

    Perhaps because I am not in the habit of reading the National Post, perhaps because I prefer to save my outrage for genuinely outrageous statements, this collection of quote-mined, secondhand, misconstrued press reports, deleted blog comments and faux outrage doesn’t do it for me I am afraid.

    Seems I am not alone:

  32. #32 P. Lewis
    May 23, 2010

    OT — not climate related

    Anyone whose grown crystals in school science class (or elsewhere) might like to see how nature does it writ large in Mexico’s Cave of Crystals.

    (The video is in the news section, so overseas viewers should be able to access it)

    Absolutely bloody stunning!

  33. #33 P. Lewis
    May 23, 2010


    Whose –> who’s.


  34. #34 jakerman
    May 23, 2010

    @DAve H, Yes very interesting papers. Of note is the finding that:

    >people who placed themselves ideologically to the right of center, the correction wasn’t just ineffective, it actively backfired: conservatives who received a correction telling them that Iraq did not have WMD were more likely to believe that Iraq had WMD than people who were given no correction at all.

    So the result seem to be a finding for people self identifying as right wing. Or perhaps it because the anti- Iraq infor is seen as “left wing”?

    I’m sure that the same results would not hold for right wingers being “set straight” with “pro-right” data?

  35. #35 TrueSceptic
    May 26, 2010

    Amusing post at [Stoat](

    We’ve all heard of Fred Singer and his [SEPP](, but it seems that a few of the people he lists as being on the Board of Directors and on the Board of Science Advisors are no longer with us. Perhaps Fred can’t bring himself to delete them; he’s getting on a bit himself, after all.

  36. #36 John
    May 26, 2010

    James Delingpole has written an excellent piece of satire:

    As I said when I gave my speech, it was entirely inappropriate that a humble hack like me should be on a panel with such great men – like a lowly swineherd suddenly finding himself translated to Mount Olympus. Then again, I said, it wasn’t such a bad idea that I was there to inject a note of reality to the proceedings.

    The truth is, I said, that the scientific debate is over. The scientists on our side of the argument have won (which is why no Warmist will dare debate Richard Lindzen, and while Al Gore won’t debate anyone at all: they know they’d lose).

  37. #37 Lotharsson
    May 27, 2010

    John, I’m fairly sure it was *unconscious* satire.

    > As I said when I gave my speech, it was entirely inappropriate that a humble hack like me…

    What is this – some self-knowledge? 😉 (Then again, “hack” is often used as slang for “journalist” in the UK rather than “eminently crappy journalist”.)

    > …should be on a panel with such great men – like a lowly swineherd suddenly finding himself translated to Mount Olympus.

    Don’t you get the impression from this and the fawning SPPI post that the debate embodied in large part the British old boys club patting themselves on the back for their privileged social status, with a bevy of adulatory sycophants looking on?

    Of course this is entirely appropriate because it constitutes an exemplary environment for getting to the truth of a scientific question. ``

    > Then again, I said, it wasn’t such a bad idea that I was there to inject a note of reality to the proceedings.

    Ah, so the other speakers … were in fairy land? Interesting observation.

    And the best they could find to “inject reality” was Delingpole? Hard times indeed.

    > The scientists on our side of the argument have won (which is why no Warmist will dare debate Richard Lindzen, and while Al Gore won’t debate anyone at all: they know they’d lose).

    Debate is entirely appropriate to settle a scientific question if you’re a classics major, right? Because it’s all about swaying opinion rather than being correct…

    …and how amusing that Lindzen is juxtaposed with Gore. Why, it’s almost like they’re afraid to debate anyone representing the science who’s an *actual* scientist!

    …and amusingly Delingpole is echoing the creationist schtick – “no-one will [take us seriously enough to] debate us, therefore we claim victory”.

    And Delingpole conveniently forgets that Monbiot destroyed Plimer – a fact he should remember given that Monbiot made Delingpole himself look fairly uncomfortable on TV a few months ago.

  38. #38 Lotharsson
    May 27, 2010

    Tony Abbott [notes]( that Rudd’s declining approval ratings appear to be related to abandoning climate change legislation – and one must wonder if the climate change-approval link is related to his new position that the science is no longer “crap”.

  39. #40 jakerman
    May 27, 2010

    Why is Radio National giving a [free swing to Matt Ridley](

    This comes on the heels of this unchecked and unresponded to [free swing to Ian Plimer](

  40. #41 jakerman
    May 27, 2010

    Some [more from Ridley’s archive](,9171,994022,00.html), Jeff Harvey will love this one!

  41. #42 jakerman
    May 27, 2010

    Matt Ridley:

    >The question that people disagree about is whether that one degree of carbon dioxide induced warming would produce two more degrees of water vapour induced warming, which is essentially what the IPCC argues.

    >I’m increasingly convinced that the empirical and theoretical evidence doesn’t support that view and that on the whole clouds will more likely slow or mitigate the carbon dioxide warming rather than exaggerate it.

    What empirical evidence would that be? A decade of missing heat? Which is [not missing any more]( Global Brightening as identified by Pinker and much vaunted and abused by Monckton is consistent with feedback [predicted in models](

    But give us the theoretical evidence Matt?

    >But it’s very hard to pull a global climate signature out of a local weather pattern as it were **of a few decades long**. Which is why as you say nobody’s quite sure exactly what’s happening.

    So what has convinced Matt Ridley is if no positive feedback? More than a few decades of observations?

    >But, you know, there is absolutely no doubt, if you look at the models, that the number of people in the world at increased water stress as a result of the predicted climate change

    Including those experience flooding? Perhaps they will open the doors to the hundreds of millions of water stress refugees?

    >The evidence suggests that we are actually going to see higher crop yields, slightly higher rain fall, no major change in storms,

    Not were the most vulnerable live in Africa much of Asia and South America. But at leas the well to do in northern Europe, Russia and Canada will open the doors to the starving g hundreds of millions (just like they did in the last century ).

    >no significant change in, well, a very slow change in sea level, no huge damage to habitats.

    What? Well he’s right if you don’t count the habitats that will suffer, such as small islands states, alpine habitats, the cryosphere, much of Africa, Asia and South America, Australia. We don’t count though.

    Then in the following century the Northern rich will start to feel the bite of warming a little more pressingly.

  42. #43 vagueofgodalming
    May 28, 2010

    This is concerning. I think I can anticipate how it will be presented.

    “mainly in physical sciences”, or, to paraphrase, “I’m a physicist, therefore I can do any other branch of science better than the professionals, I just choose not to.”

  43. #44 Lotharsson
    May 31, 2010

    [Imputing “scientific impotence” as a denialism method](

    > …one of these methods, which the authors term “scientific impotence”—the decision that science can’t actually address the issue at hand properly. It finds evidence that not only supports the scientific impotence model, but suggests that it could be contagious. Once a subject has decided that a given topic is off limits to science, they tend to start applying the same logic to other issues.

    Hmmmm, wonder how often I’ve seen that method used before…?

  44. #45 poiuyt
    May 31, 2010

    Here is a paper recently submitted to the Arxiv: “Are Uranus & Neptune responsible for Solar Grand Minima and Solar Cycle Modulation?“.

    Detailed solar Angular Momentum (AM) graphs produced from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) DE405 ephemeris display cyclic perturbations that show a very strong correlation with prior solar activity slowdowns. These same AM perturbations also occur simultaneously with known solar path changes about the solar system barycentre (SSB). The AM perturbations can be measured and quantified allowing analysis of past solar cycle modulations along with the 11,500 year solar proxy records (C14 & 10Be). The detailed AM information also displays a recurring wave of modulation that aligns very closely with the observed sunspot record since 1650. The AM perturbation and modulation is a direct product of the outer gas giants (Uranus & Neptune), this information gives the opportunity to predict future grand minima along with normal solar cycle strength with some confidence. A proposed a mechanical link between solar activity and planetary influence via a discrepancy found in solar/planet AM along with current AM perturbations indicate solar cycle 24 & 25 will be heavily reduced in sunspot activity resembling a similar pattern to solar cycles 5 & 6 during the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830).

    If this is valid, Earth will probably be cooling for decades.

  45. #46 Dave R
    May 31, 2010

    >If this is valid, Earth will probably be cooling for decades.

    [No it would not](

  46. #47 poiuyt
    May 31, 2010

    Dave R, thank you, but if the analysis at the BraveNewClimate link were valid, then it should be able to explain the Little Ice Age: does it really?

  47. #48 luminous beauty
    May 31, 2010
  48. #49 Lotharsson
    May 31, 2010

    > This is concerning.

    What is also concerning is that quotes from some of the “agnostic” Royal Society members – if accurate, which, based on past performance, one cannot presume – indicate a lack of comprehension and/or poor reasoning for their campaign:

    For example, the Royal Society climate change pamphlet currently says:

    > “This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change…”

    In response:

    > One Fellow who said he was not absolutely convinced of the dangers of CO2 told me: “This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. …”

    I’m not so sure about that. It suggests that those who seek to “distort and undermine the science” put forth “contentious arguments” – not that everyone who questions is malicious. It appears to be the old “all dogs have four legs, therefore that large four-legged bovine over there is a dog” fallacy.

  49. #50 poiuyt
    June 1, 2010

    luminous beauty, thank you! that’s clear.

  50. #51 lord_sidcup
    June 1, 2010

    #143 and #149

    According to an [article in The Times]( the leader of Royal Society ‘rebellion’ is Sir Alan Rudge, an electrical engineer who also happens to be advisor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Bob Ward, in a subsequent [letter to the Times](, identifies another ‘rebel’ as a metallurgist who happens also to be an advisor to the GWPF (presumably Prof Anthony Kelly).

    I think it is clear who is behind the petition. Ultimately, not much will come of it, although no doubt the ‘rebellion’ will get a lot news coverage than will its resolution later this year.

    The Times article does say:

    “He (Sir Alan) refused to name the other signatories but admitted that few of them had worked directly in climate science and many were retired.”

    Quelle surprise!

  51. #52 TrueSceptic
    June 2, 2010

    The liars have really excelled themselves this time. Story at [canadafreepress]( accusing Gavin Schmidt of fraud.

    Shocking new evidence of a NASA scientist faking a fundamental greenhouse gas equation shames beleaguered space administration in new global warming fraud scandal.

    Note that well know über-cretin Alan Siddons is involved.

  52. #53 Dave McRae
    June 3, 2010

    The denial echo chamber has gone into a new tizz over 43 unknown fellows “forcing the Royal Society to rethink their position on AGW” or words to that effect.

    Google on terms “royal society 43 fellows” for a few pages from SteveFielding, ClimateChangeFraud, GWPF, etc, the usual duplicators.

    From the blog at the Royal Society itself

    The lack of any evidence/research defines these chamber reverbs and no difference here with the usual no references no data, no research, no science. Why is is this stuff entertained, why can’t it be said “you’ve got no research, this is a science based organisation, bugger off but please come back when you’ve got some data”.

  53. #54 DaveMcRae
    June 3, 2010

    ooops – how embarrassment – I had not refreshed this page in a few days and had missed the dozen posts previous

  54. #55 Lotharsson
    June 3, 2010

    Hansen and co-authors report that [the last 12 months have been the hottest 12-month period in the GISS instrumental record](

    Cue the usual denialist tizzies, complete with a whole load of goldfishes in orbit…

  55. #56 John
    June 25, 2010

    Check out the audience of this David Evans presentation:

    AGW scepticism will die when these people do.

  56. #57 P. Lewis
    June 25, 2010

    Lothasson, IIRC, the figure to the end of May was a fraction higher than to the end of April figure too.

  57. #58 JohnL
    June 25, 2010

    From the NOAA State of the Climate for May:

    “The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January–May 2010 was the warmest on record. The year-to-date period was 0.68°C (1.22°F) warmer than the 20th century average.”

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