Jane Fraser, columnist in The Australian , writes a column based on “facts” she got from a chain email:

Back to Plimer. He says he knows how disheartening it is to realise all your savings on carbon emissions have been eaten up by natural disasters. You’ve suffered the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up ’til midnight to finish your kids’ “The Green Revolution” science project, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet, selling your speedboat, holidaying at home instead of abroad, replacing all those light globes that cost you 50c with ones that set you back $10 . . .

Well, he says, it took just four days to flush all these good works down the drain. In those four days the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed enough volcanic ash to negate every single effort you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions.

This is not true. Fred Jourdan (Prof. of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology) states:

The eruption in Iceland emitted a fairly small amount of CO2. In fact most recent estimates show that the flights that were grounded by the eruption would have emitted about twice as much CO2 as the volcano itself.

Fraser continues with:

Plimer adds he doesn’t want to rain on our parade too much (not half!), but he should mention that when Mt Pinatubo erupted in The Philippines in 1991, it threw out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire time on earth.

This is wrong by a factor of 30,000. Each year humans emit 700 times as much as Pinatubo did.

Fraser continues.

I agree with most of what Plimer says. It makes sense to me.

Not only is it the case that the stuff about volcanoes that Fraser repeats is untrue, Plimer didn’t say it. While Plimer has said things about volcanic emissions that are stupidly wrong, he didn’t write the email that Fraser is quoting. As often happens with chain emails, Plimer’s name got added to the original version of the email at some stage. Factcheck.org debunked an earlier version back in June 2010 when it looked like this:

I know, I know …. (have a group hug) … it’s very
disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission
savings you have accomplished while suffering the
inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids,
buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up til midnight to
finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science
project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning
supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper,
putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling
your SUV and speedboat, going on vacation to a city park
instead of Yosemite, nearly getting hit every day on
your bicycle, replacing all of your $1 light bulbs with
$10 light bulbs … well, all of those things you have
done have all gone down the tubes in just the past week.
The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in
the past week has totally erased every single effort you
have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.

You can see a version of the chain email with Plimer’s name on it here, where Jerry Pournelle is taken in, and here and here, where bloggers correct the falsehoods.

Fraser does disagree with what she thought Plimer said on one point:

I have one bone to pick with him, however. He adds to his list of moans and groans — and these have absolutely nothing to do with global warming — that he is always in danger of being hit by a car or a bus. …

Me, I worry about being knocked over by cyclists. I know they’re doing their bit for the environment (ha!) but are so dangerous, especially when they’re whizzing along on the pavement and you can’t hear them coming. Blow them all!

I don’t have numbers for Sydney, but in London from 2001 to 2005 there were 534 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles and just one by a cyclist. It’s likely more people were killed by being struck by lightning than being struck by cyclists.

Fraser also has this argument against global warming:

I am not a fan of the idea of global warming, especially after this Sydney winter. It has been the coldest I can remember

Not only is she confusing weather with climate, she’s wrong about the weather. June, July and August have all been warmer than the average for the past 30 years.

Fortunately it should be easy to get Fraser to correct her errors. Since she seems to believe anything that gets sent to her in an email, I’ll just send her an email.

Hat tip: Scribe

Comments

  1. #1 Chris O'Neill
    August 24, 2011

    Yet another factoid:

    It’s called deception.

    Tim Lambert made a claim about (easily checked) cited data. That claim was correct. He also made a claim about Fraser’s claim. Fraser used the term “Sydney”, not “Observatory Hill” in her claim. So if anywhere in Sydney falsifies Fraser’s claim then Fraser’s claim is false. Sydney Airport is in Sydney. Therefore Fraser’s claim was false and there was no deception in claiming Fraser’s claim was false.

  2. #2 Chris O'Neill
    August 24, 2011

    Always a favorite denialist factoid:

    the tarmac, next to jet engines, acres of concrete and a temperature gauge

    No doubt, all those jet engines and acres of concrete suddenly appeared since winter 2010.

  3. #3 Vince whirlwind
    August 24, 2011

    So…..now we can say “there is some debate as to whether Jane Fraser’s opinions on the weather are correct”.

    (ie, the facts say one thing, Fraser says the opposite, and Factoid is arguing her case). Yet another manufactured “debate”.

    And factoid has the gall to call others deceptive….

  4. #4 Lotharsson
    August 24, 2011

    > Lotharsson Unfortunately I do read what you wrote. I didn’t imagine it. @188 you wrote “YOUR heavy investment in debating scientific assessment of Fraser’s claim as if the assessments might have merit is utterly redundant.” I replied “I have not debated Fraser’s claim.”

    Yep, that’s the one. And you *still don’t get it*. So you’d better read it **again**…and let’s try this once more, slowly…

    1) **You** debated *a scientific assessment of* Fraser’s claim, precisely as I said. You are not disputing that point, I take it?

    2) If you **actually** believe Fraser’s claim was irrelevant, you would likely only consider claims Tim actually made shorn of any reference to Fraser’s claim – which, *on that basis*, are entirely accurate.

    3) If you argue the scientific assessment of Fraser’s claim, arguing that you “did not debate Fraser’s claim [itself]” is irrelevant (and revealing) sophistry. Fraser’s claim is fundamentally embedded in Tim’s assessment of it! You wouldn’t be arguing about which weather station(s) represent “Sydney weather”, because **Tim didn’t even reference the term** when making 30 year comparisons, and it only arises because Tim was **referencing Fraser’s claim**, said claim being about “Sydney”.

    Go, check. I’ll wait.

    The bit you’re looking for is:

    > Not only is she confusing weather with climate, she’s wrong about the weather. June, July and August have all been warmer than the average for the past 30 years.

    Feel free to quote the bit where **Tim** specifies that **he** chose “Sydney” as the scope of his weather comparison.

    What’s that, you say? You can’t, because it’s a **Fraser** quote that sets the context that specifies that it’s about “Sydney”?

    Yep. That was my point.

    Take the merit or otherwise of Fraser’s claim out of the picture, and (a) Tim’s comparison is moot, and (b) Tim’s comparison is not even specified to be about someone’s conception of a generic “Sydney”.

    If you *really* thought Fraser’s claim was irrelevant, the sum total of your argument would be “Scientific assessment of irrelevant claims is irrelevant; those assessments should be ignored or retracted”. By arguing on the basis of Fraser’s own definition you elevate Fraser’s claim to relevance.

    And so…will you acknowledge that by your own admission that Fraser’s claim is irrelevant, your points of contention about which weather station(s) represent Sydney weather are also irrelevant?

    Man up, you can do it!

  5. #5 Lotharsson
    August 24, 2011

    > @70 you fail to identify that a 30 year average had been specified by Lambert.

    When accusing someone of not owning up to errors, it rather undermines your case when your accusation is in error. Especially if it is in error **twice**, and one of them is the **very error you falsely accuse the other of making**. I’ll admit you may not be a liar here – merely deeply mistaken.

    Try reading @70 again *very carefully this time*, and note that it is not referring to Tim’s comparisons. It is referring to a comment made by MFS, which refers to a data page that **you** provided in @64, which – irony of ironies – links to a BOM page that provides averages for “Use all years of data” rather than the most recent 30 year baseline.

    Did you perhaps fail to identify that a 30 year average was being used, and then accuse others of that failure *when they discussed the very data you erroneously cited*? Will you perhaps admit that your claim I was in error on this point was erroneous?

    > @102 you don’t comprehend the significance of switching data.

    Sure – and black is white, and up is down! [/irony]

    In 102 I point out that *even the BOM* notes that Sydney Airport is considered **long-term data relevant to Sydney**. That (a) calls into question your assertion that ONLY Observatory Hill is representative when someone talks about “Sydney weather” and (b) provides a data point addressing *precisely* the issue of data **selection** (“switching” is an inaccurate frame here) and the significance thereof.

    > @170 you don’t comprehend the failure to identify switched data.

    That’s a bizarrely incoherent claim, and it appears to have no relation to @170. Feel free to try again.

    > @188 you don’t understand that half a month’s data can’t be used in a statistical comparison.

    No, that is **your** fundamental and repeated error, despite having been schooled several times on this point.

    Half a month can indeed be used, with caveats about the uncertainty introduced by using different periods – and especially when it can be demonstrated, as it has been here, that the use of half a month is **almost certainly favourable to the claim being disputed**. And most especially when the claim being tested was made *before the half month in question had been completed*, in which case half a month is highly appropriate because using any other period *would not address the claim*.

    [Which you aren't addressing - no really, we all get that. Nod, nod, wink, wink ;-) Yep, when you address the assessment of the claim, you really really really aren't addressing the claim itself. We'll all nod and pretend we agree with that "logic" if it will make you feel better.]

  6. #6 Lotharsson
    August 24, 2011

    “(a) alls” -> “(a) calls”

  7. #7 MFS
    August 25, 2011

    This is getting rather Brent- or Curtin-esque, isn’t it?

  8. #8 MFS
    August 25, 2011

    Well, how interesting, I just discovered that the mere mention of the names of some famous Deltoid trolls is automatic grounds for moderation!

    I guess I’ll have to wait for my post to come out of moderation.

  9. #9 rhwombat
    August 25, 2011

    Erm MFS, I think that’s how moderation software works, and Tim (Lambert) is a computer scientist, despite what idiots like factoid/tones9 excrete.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    > This is getting rather Brent- or Curtin-esque, isn’t it?

    Indeed, although the schtick here seems a little different.

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    August 25, 2011

    >[I did not accuse you of making up data](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4925446).

    Eh?

    [You said](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4912560):

    >When you don’t have complete data, you aren’t allowed to make it up.

    >[My emboldened emphasis]

    If you’re not implying that I engaged in “making [data] up”, why then did you make that statement?

    >So no matter how sure you are that the second half of August is going to be warmer than the 30 year average, you just can’t make that assumption.

    I’ll type this slowly so that you can read it without being confused…

    I made no “assumption” about the second half of August’s temperature record. What [I said](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4907152) was:

    >waiting for the second half of the month’s data is not likely to improve things, because the southern winter is ending.

    >[My latter emboldened emphasis]

    This is not an “assumption”. It is a statement of likelihood. Of probability. It is a statistical inference, supported by physical fact.

    And one does not need [a complete dataset](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4913134) before engaging in statistical inference. It’s essentially the point of statistics in the first place, and any basically competent person knows how to account for any caveats given in this case.

    You aren’t, and you couldn’t.

    >It’s a very simple scientific principle which you and Lambert do not obey. And you both claim to be upholding scientific integrity.

    I still claim it, and I claim that you do not. If you did, you’d answer my question about determining the best estimate of Sydney’s climatic trend in annual temperature.

    >You should know that when you have half the data, you can’t assume what the other half of the data is going to be. It is irrelevant how likely or unlikely an event is. That’s science. You still don’t get it.

    Repeating your nonsense doesn’t make it right. Exactly what “assumption” did I make? And why is likelihood irrelevant in statistical description?

    >The BoM has determined that Observatory Hill best represents Sydney weather.

    Reference?

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    August 25, 2011

    >>This is getting rather Brent- or Curtin-esque, isn’t it?

    >Indeed, although the schtick here seems a little different.

    Lotharsson.

    I’m hoping that it is in fact Curtin, because I’d really like to know how [his lowball whiskey mixer turned out](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/open_thread_62.php#comment-4893935).

  13. #13 factoid
    August 25, 2011

    Nick @198
    1. Wrong. Weatherzone maps identify Sydney AP as Mascot. As do most media such as SMH, Telegraph, 7 and 9. Pity Lambert doesn’t.

    2. Where Fraser lives is irrelevant. There is one weather station identified as Sydney. Any other station cited should have been identified in Lambert’s statement.

    3. So it’s OK to skim over a false scientific statement, as long as the statement it is discrediting isn’t true.

    4. Wrong. Sydney’s climate is recorded at Observatory Hill.

    5. My criticism of Lambert is warranted.

    6.Lambert’s abuse of scientific principles speaks for itself.

    Vince @199
    Correct except the BoM supports my statements, and it doesn’t matter how you spin it.

    Chris @200
    Now this is funny. We can select anywhere in the city to falsify the statement. We don’t even have to identify it. I can’t wait for the evening news to present the weather report from different weather stations every day. As long as they are in Sydney, it’s OK. And they don’t even have to inform us.

    Vince @202
    Wrong. To repeat. I never argued Fraser’s case, only the scientific irrelevance of what she wrote.

    Lotharsson @203
    A truly remarkable piece of convoluted logic.
    Enough rope.

    Lotharsson @204
    My data using 30 year average was correct in my first post @53.
    The link I posted @64 was incorrect. I attempted to correct it @67, and did so @69.
    Your argument @70 was not against the 30 year average.

    Sydney Airport still aint Sydney.

    “Half a month can indeed be used, with caveats about the uncertainty introduced by using different periods – and especially when it can be demonstrated, as it has been here, that the use of half a month is almost certainly favourable to the claim being disputed.”
    Another gem. I must have missed those caveats in Lambert’s notes. So you don’t need complete data, especially if half the data is favourable to your claim!! You really don’t have a clue.

    Bernard @209
    answered @197

    You are ignorant about fundamental principles of science. Firstly, incomplete data must be clearly identified as such. Lambert did not. Second, it doesn’t matter what the month is. Or how favourable the data is. Or what the probabilities are for the second half of the month. It is invalid to compare a monthly average with half a month’s data. The assumption you made was that “the second half of the month’s data is not likely to improve things.” It is always necessary to measure all data, and have complete data for analysis. It is what defines science. Otherwise it’s clairvoyancy.

    Are you seriously still saying Observatory Hill isn’t the Sydney station??
    What is then?? The BoM labels it as Sydney. Pretty simple isn’t it?
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/cvg/av?p_stn_num=066062&p_prim_element_index=0&p_display_type=enlarged_map&period_of_avg=&normals_years=&p_comp_element_index=0&redraw=null&p_nccObsCode=201

    You should go to the climate data page
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml?bookmark=201
    Enter Sydney. The Sydney station is 66062. That is Sydney – Observatory Hill.

  14. #14 Nick
    August 25, 2011

    Factorrhoid,you have not advanced your ‘argument’ with any more evidence than you have already ‘presented’. Weatherzone,a client of BOM, is the syndicated provider to those media organs.They all use the same layer format. The second,information rich layer of that format uses a map identifying Sydney AP as Sydney AP,as does the written table of stations below…ALL of which are sourced from BOM,and all of which are used in assessing the state of Sydney–the connurbation–weather and climate. You have attempted to say most maps ID the airport site as ‘Mascot’. This is not true.

    Sydney’s ‘climate’ is recorded at multiple stations,viewable in monthly or seasonal reports. Fact,not factoid.

    Fraser’s phone-it-in column remains the complacent,predictable,and wrong nonsense that senior columnists regularly get away with,and no amount of facetious squirming from you changes reality.

  15. #15 Bernard J.
    August 25, 2011

    Facwitoid.

    I note with curiosity that you carefully avoid any response about the suggestion that you are Tim Curtin. Given that this is classic Curtin behaviour whenever any of his sockpuppets are called out, I am really starting to think that Vince has the right of it.

    The fact that you have now repeatedly said:

    >You are ignorant about fundamental principles of science.

    only adds to my suspicions as Curtin was desperate, as a non-scientifically trained person, to impute that professional scientists were less aware of the processes of science than was he. And Curtin would similarly hold on to a bogus factoid like a dog with a bone, just as you do…

    >Firstly, incomplete data must be clearly identified as such.

    Erm, Facwitoid, anyone who followed [Tim Lambert's link to the data for the current August temperatures](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201108/html/IDCJDW2125.201108.shtml) would clearly see that the month’s data is “incomplete” whilst the month itself is. If you need advice in order to understand this you’d also need instructions on how to point your old feller at the porcelain.

    >It is invalid to compare a monthly average with half a month’s data.

    Seriously, your ‘point’ is a fatuous and completely unscientific one. Anyone who used that link from the 15th through to the end of the month next week would know straight away that Lamber’s reference is occurring in real time, and would interpret it accordingly.

    Interestingly, from the 15th through to today, all recalculations of the August 2011 means for 9:00 am and for 3:00 pm temperatures are greater than the historical August means, reinforcing the point made on this thread by a number of people, that your horror at not having a complete month’s worth of data was – to put it mildly – misplaced… Do the exercise yourself and graph it, and try to understand why we are all laughing so much at your foolishness.

    >Are you seriously still saying Observatory Hill isn’t the Sydney station?? What is then?? The BoM labels it as Sydney. Pretty simple isn’t it?

    Ob Hill is a Sydney station. Just one of many. It is the one closest to the business centre, but that neither means that it represents Sydney’s overall climate, or that is represents the climate at Fraser’s apparently very cold corner of the city.

    And once more to demonstrate a point – how are you progressing with calculating the weighted means of all Sydney stations, in order to determine a ‘mean’ climatic profile for the city?

    It’s pretty simple isn’t it?

  16. #16 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    > Lotharsson @203 A truly remarkable piece of convoluted logic. Enough rope.

    Run away, run away!

    > Lotharsson @204 My data using 30 year average was correct in my first post @53.

    You’re not very good at this comprehension thing, or this “facts” thing, are you?

    You posted and cited **no data** in @53. Instead you made **claims about** data (which are indeed accurate, but that’s irrelevant to your charge that I made an error about the averages period).

    > The link I posted @64 was incorrect. I attempted to correct it @67, and did so @69. Your argument @70 was not against the 30 year average.

    Let me try and explain again s..l..o..w..l..y.

    1) My @70 was responding to your @64.

    2) My @70 also referenced MFS’s @65.

    3) MFS’s @65 was also a response to your @64.

    4) So my comment was only responding to @64.

    5) As you agree, your @64 provided a link to an “All years of data” average.

    6) My @70 was responding to **that link**. I should know – I **checked what it pointed to** and that it had the values claimed.

    7) Therefore it was not an error or a “failure to identify a 30 year period” on my part. It was a response to **your argument as presented**. (And you might consider that my response was written before I had seen your attempted and actual corrections – that’s just how this new-fangled “web” thing works.)

    (And sheesh – a primary school kid could understand that!)

  17. #17 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    factoid:

    > Where Fraser lives is irrelevant.

    which disagrees with factoid:

    > I doubt Fraser has an apartment on the tarmac, next to jet engines, acres of concrete and a temperature gauge!

    Which is it? Does where Fraser lives matter, or not?

  18. #18 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    > I must have missed those caveats in Lambert’s notes.

    Clearly Lambert overestimated your intelligence by:

    a) Writing a statement in the middle of August about the current August

    b) **Linking** to historical averages

    c) **Linking** (at the time of writing) to the current half month available at the time

    d) Assuming you were smart enough to understand that because the month wasn’t yet complete, the current month’s data **must be** for half a month, and that the historical averages were for a whole month.

    What can I say? The rest of us seem to have grokked that. Perhaps you could ask him to dumb it down a bit for the slower readers?

    > So you don’t need complete data, especially if half the data is favourable to your claim!!

    ROFL! You really shouldn’t try the “I’m condescending to educate you lot” gambit if you are *that* poor at comprehension and/or logic.

    I and others demonstrated that using the first half of August 2011 for comparison was **unfavourable** to Tim’s claim, and yet his claim (sans discussions of the appropriate data for “Sydney”) still held up.

    If the half month had been favourable to his claim, then I agree – a caveat or disclaimer would have been appropriate.

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    > It is always necessary to measure all data, and have complete data for analysis. It is what defines science.

    Utter bollocks!

    It is always **desirable**, but in many many situations, scientists have to work with the sum total of data they can get – not the pony data they *wish* they had.

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    August 25, 2011

    > I am really starting to think that Vince has the right of it.

    I would have raised this possibility earlier – but I was waiting for some fitted fifth order polynomials to make an appearance ;-)

  21. #21 Scribe
    August 25, 2011

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    I want to thank Factoid for participating in this thread. ▲

    He is a perfect and instructive example of Denialism.

    1. He strains at gnats;
    2. misses the wood for the trees;
    3. does epic battle over irrelevant trivia;
    4. misses the point entirely;
    5. fails to acknowledge the arguments of others;
    6. and defends the indefensible (Fraser, although he insists he is not defending her).

    PERFECT EXAMPLE OF A DENIER.

    Thanks, boyo.

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

  22. #22 Chris O'Neill
    August 25, 2011

    Yet more factoids:

    Where Fraser lives is irrelevant. There is one weather station identified as Sydney.

    What matters is what Fraser expects people to think the term “Sydney” means. Since it’s based on her experience it either means exactly where she lives which would be silly or Sydney in general.

    Any other station cited should have been identified in Lambert’s statement.

    Indeed it was.

  23. #23 factoid
    August 27, 2011

    Nick and others,
    All media use observatory hill as Sydney weather. Are you disputing this?
    I’ve cited several maps which label Sydney AP as Mascot.
    Show me one which labels Sydney AP as Sydney.

    Weatherzone table lists the airport as Mascot.
    The Sydney weather listing is Observatory Hill.
    Mascot gets its own separate forecast to Sydney.

  24. #24 factoid
    August 27, 2011

    In this Deltoid bazzarro-world logic, none of you will have a problem with the following Lambertesque scientific statement:

    “There were many wrong reports about Sydney’s rainfall last month.

    The fact is [July rainfall was below average.](http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=139&p_display_type=dataFile&p_startYear=&p_c=&p_stn_num=063185)

    And 2011 is the lowest rainfall on record.”

  25. #25 Bernard J.
    September 3, 2011

    Just in case Watts or his mods are a little too temperatmental, a copy of [a post I left at WTFUWT](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/02/breaking-editor-in-chief-of-remote-sensing-resigns-over-spencer-braswell-paper/#comment-735286)…

    ——————–

    Mooloo said (2 September 2011, at 6:42 pm):

    Some people are speculating rather too wildly about Wagner’s motivations. For example suggesting that he fell on his sword for accepting the article. Please don’t speculate like that, without some evidence.

    Oh, there is evidence. Try reading the first two paragraphs of Wagner’s resignation letter:

    Peer-reviewed journals are a pillar of modern science. Their aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review that is, as a minimum requirement, supposed to be able to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims. Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.

    After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing.

    [My emboldened emphasis]

    Mooloo also said:

    Perhaps Wagner fought long and hard to get the journal to retract the article, but the editorial board would not permit that. So he had to go.

    Erm, to use your own words, “[p]lease don’t speculate like that, without some evidence”.

    Anthony Watts (edited reply at 2 September 2011, 10:08 am):

    Heh, your argument reminds me of the many that pronounced “plate tectonics” to be “crap”. Oh and it is Occams [sic] razor- Anthony

    Actually, “Ockham” is the precedent version of the spelling, and is almost exclusively used in the area of England where the village is located. The village was known as Bocheham at the time of Domesday, and in some quarters for a time afterward as Hockham, but neither version is associated with the Razor. The spelling Occam is the most recent variant and the least relevant to the context, and for this reason I do not use it.

    Yes, I mixed up the ‘h’ and the ‘a’, but given that is was about 3:00 am in my time zone when I typed that post it’s only puerile churlishness on the parts of those commenters who think that that typo has any bearing on anything.

    But getting back to plate tectonics for a moment. My understanding was always that this theory was developed in the middle of the 20th century, when science had already tested and accepted elements of Wegener’s separate continental drift theory. Part of Wegener’s problem was that some of the mechanisms that he proposed – astronomical precession and “Polflucht” (quod vide) – were demonstrably wrong.

    Interestingly it was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and a number of individual prominent geological types who most vociferously opposed Wegener. It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same… Personally, I’m surprised that the geology discipline was so slow to investigate Wegener’s ideas, as there is nothing particularly amazing about the observation of the pattern of continental tessellation. Heck, even at the age of six and never having heard of continental drift, I used to look at my parents’ globe and wonder if all of the land masses used to fit together…

    However, the comparison of the Wegener case with Spencer’s take on global warming is instructive. Spencer’s notions are akin to Wegener’s Polflucht speculations, which were quickly demonstrated as nonsense, and the final understanding of plate tectonics is similar to the current understanding of ‘greenhouse’ gas action, both of which were arrived at using decades of basic physics understanding and careful observation and experimentation.

    As with the Galileo metaphor, the denialist camp is somewhat muddled in its revisionist interpretations of scientific history and progress.

  26. #26 Bernard J.
    September 6, 2011

    A couple of weeks ago [I tried to explain to factoid](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4941135) that the temperature data for Sydney were not showing what he claimed that they did, and that Tim Lambert was absolutely correct in saying that Jane Fraser was completely wrong that it had been a cold winter.

    Now that the data are complete, it’s time to look at the August temperatures that so bothered factoid. [Here's the August data for Sydney Airport](http://i53.tinypic.com/34dfy1k.jpg), and lest factoid try his Observatory Hill nonsense again, [here is said station](http://i54.tinypic.com/289ao9h.jpg).

    Tim Lambert 1, factoid 0.

  27. #27 Bernard J.
    September 8, 2011

    I see that factoid couldn’t argue against [the actual facts](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-5087748).

    The silly bugger must be so humiliated…

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    September 8, 2011

    The sharp eyed amongst you might have noticed that I contructed the graphs in Excel. The bastard spawn of M$ automatically adds even when dragging legend titles…

  29. #29 Bernard J.
    September 17, 2011

    Factoid?

    Come on, there are [real facts](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-5087748) – real, incontrovertible data – awaiting your acknowledgment and apologetic retraction.

    Why have you gone all shy?

  30. #30 Bernard J.
    October 2, 2011

    Factoid?

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