Wolfgang Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing writes:

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.

With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 [2], the main author’s personal homepage [3], the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism” published by Forbes [4], and the story “Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?” published by Fox News [5], to name just a few.

The criticism that Wagner finds compelling is presumably this. This reminds me of what happened in 2003, when several editors at Climate Research resigned because of the publication of Soon and Baliunas, another paper that should not have been published.

Comments

  1. #1 M
    September 2, 2011

    Huh. I knew this paper was bad, but bad papers get published all the time. It was certainly overhyped, but the skeptic blogosphere can overhype a “new ice age” because of a passing breeze. I’m surprised that this rose to the level of resignation… there are far, far worse skeptic papers out there which were much more embarrassing for the editors to have published (even leaving out E&E) (for example, whatever Salby is about to publish…)

    -M

  2. #2 Sou
    September 2, 2011

    I hope Spencer and Braswell are feeling guilty that the editor felt forced to resign.

    I expect instead they are livid that their con was exposed and made more prominent by the Editor acting so honourably.

  3. #3 sharper00
    September 2, 2011

    In the world of climate change skepticism this will be taken as more evidence the paper (or rather the way is presented on Spencer’s blog etc) is correct.

  4. #4 Alex Harvey
    September 2, 2011

    So I guess the editor received so much green hate mail that he resigned – yep? Has anyone, so far, found out why Kerry Emmanuel thought the paper was good?

    “Kerry Emanuel of MIT, one of two scientists who said the study was good, said bloggers and others are misstating what Spencer found. Emanuel said this work was cautious and limited mostly to pointing out problems with forecasting heat feedback. He said what’s being written about Spencer’s study by nonscientists “has no basis in reality.”

    Associated Press.

  5. #5 Sou
    September 2, 2011

    Just spotted a tweet about this from the UK Guardian – @Guardianeco.

    Searing resignation by journal editor over ‘fundamentally flawed’ #climate #sceptic paper http://t.co/lLpu96a @leohickman story soon.

    Spencer will be very displeased :D

  6. #6 bigcitylib
    September 2, 2011

    -M,

    if you read the whole note it sounds like Wegner was concerned that this kind of high profile snafu was NOT was his little journal needed at this point in its existence. So it was perhaps the combo of the paper being awful and the amount of hype it generated (all negative for Remote Sensing).

  7. #7 MapleLeaf
    September 2, 2011

    Alex,

    “So I guess the editor received so much green hate mail that he resigned – yep?”

    Your comment is both an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory and a strawman, try again. Note too how Emmanuel noted that what is being written by nonscientists about Spencer’s paper has no basis in reality. I’m sure with time Emmanuel will also change his mind on the validity of the S&B paper.

    This is very sad for the editor, but it also speaks greatly to his integrity and ethics…kudos to Dr. Wagner, I hope this does not affect his career, if anything it should bolster his credibility, so I hope that he does not have to suffer because of Spencer’s failings.

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    I’m moved to echo Mapleleaf’s comment about Wagner.

    The fellow took a very public and a very decisive stand on the matter, and he deserves credit for calling out Spencer and Braswell, as well as the Denialati blogosphere and media, for their patent exaggeration of the paper’s import. Good on him for doing so.

    This will probably cause a huge ruckus in the denialist cesspits over the next few weeks. I reckon that it’ll be a race between WTFUWT and Codling to see who can most quickly be the most petulant.

    Curry will probably just say that she knew this all along.

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    Heh, [Spencer's doing a pretty good job of petulance](http://backupurl.com/91sr69) all by himself.

  10. #10 Marco
    September 2, 2011

    Spencer, unsurprisingly, stands by his article, and proclaims that if it is retracted, it is for political reasons:
    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/editor-of-remote-sensing-resigns-over-controversial-climate-paper-co-author-stands-by-it/

    Note Wagner indicating why he thinks it is flawed:
    “The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers”

    Yep, that’s Spencer in a nutshell: get paper refuted, publish new one ignoring criticism, get it refuted, publish yet another one ignoring the criticism. No longer works for climate journals, because reviewers there are more likely to know of the criticisms, hence they tried a new journal.

  11. #11 D. C. Sessions
    September 2, 2011

    In the world of climate change skepticism this will be taken as more evidence the paper (or rather the way is presented on Spencer’s blog etc) is correct.

    As distinct from — what? — that they would take as evidence that they are wrong.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    Heh, again. [Watt's has just posted Spencer's hissy fit on WTFUWT](http://backupurl.com/l22jd7).

    That’s cheating – Watt’s is contracting out the petulance.

  13. #13 Sou
    September 2, 2011

    Here is the Hickman article in the Guardian.

  14. #14 Sou
    September 2, 2011

    On his blog, Spencer has asked for a published debunk of his article: If some scientists would like do demonstrate in their own peer-reviewed paper where *anything* we wrote was incorrect, they should submit a paper for publication.

    According to Hickman, he’ll get one from Andrew Dessler next week, in a different journal – Geophysical Research Letters.

  15. #15 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    There’s a lot of chatter already on WTFUWT. They can’t accept that their beloved ‘paper’ is actually fit only to wipe an arse.

    I’m curious to see if I will be permitted past moderation:

    >

    Bernard J. says:

    >

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    >[September 2, 2011 at 10:08 am](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/02/breaking-editor-in-chief-of-remote-sensing-resigns-over-spencer-braswell-paper/#comment-734825)

    >Here’s an idea – Spencer & Braswell 2011 was and remains crap, and Wagner is calling it.

    >Ockahms razor gentleman. It just happens to cut you the wrong way.

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    How delightful – Watts has replied:

    >REPLY: Heh, your argument reminds me of the many that pronounced “plate tectonics” to be “crap”. – Anthony

  17. #17 Sou
    September 2, 2011

    Now it’s in Forbes as well – in an article by Peter Gleick. News travels fast – maybe not so many people have bootlaces any more.

    Doesn’t make up for the Heartland article that Forbes published – though it does point it out.

  18. #18 Bernard J.
    September 2, 2011

    OK, I can already call [my earlier prediction](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/editor_of_remote_sensing_agree.php#comment-5032301).

    Watts has it all over Codling, but he did have the unfair advantage of being awake when Codling probably was not.

    And [Curry was obligingly predictable](http://backupurl.com/4tu4cz):

    >JC conclusions: It is regrettable that Wagner resigned as editor-in-chief, since his editorial makes it sound like he was doing a good job in establishing a new journal. While a new journal wants to publish high profile papers in order to establish itself in the community, I can certainty understand his regret at the attention (amount and type) that the Spencer & Braswell paper received, which was way over the top.

    >As discussed in the original Spencer and Braswell thread, there were certainly flaws in the paper, but not particularly outrageous ones. A better editorial process should have caught some of these flaws, but it is hard to fault the editorial process followed by the editor.

    >My advice to Remote Sensing is this. As an online journal, I recommend going to a discussion journal format, such as ACP (Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry). The paper is open for public discussion (ACPD), and then the paper may or may not be accepted for publication in the archival journal ACP. Note Anastassia Makarieva’s controversial paper discussed here previously remains in limbo in ACPD, I suspect it won’t be published in ACP in its present form. In any event, her ideas got out there and ACPD is published as a discussion paper, but not accepted for the archival journal.

    >The broader issue is the politicization of the scientific review process. I have been dealing with this issue since the publication of my controversial paper in 2006. I have dealt with this by addressing the editor and telling them that I expect this paper to be controversial. I list examples of reviewers on both sides of the debate that have made public statements on the topic, and requested that they not be reviewers, and requested an extra effort to identify impartial reviewers. In my two most controversial papers (most recently the uncertainty monster paper, which is now in press), this has worked well.

    >The overhyping of scientific results by the author or their institution is always a mistake. Often the media takes control of something (Webster et al. 2005 paper on hurricanes and global warming is a good example), and things quickly spin out of any control that the author might have.

    >I interpret the overhyping of the Spencer & Braswell paper to backlash against the “consensus” that routinely trivializes (or worse) any skeptical paper. And consensus scientists are in charge of most of the editorial boards of the most relevant journals. I suspect that the editor-in-chief has no strongly held or publicly stated opinion on the subject of global warming, or he might have been more wary of how to deal with a paper by Spencer, which is likely to be associated with controversy.

    >So should the paper by Spencer & Braswell have been published? Ideally, it would have undergone a more rigorous peer review and have been improved as a result of that process. Spencer & Braswell make some points that are worth considering, but this needs to be done in a more rigorous manner (and with much less hype.)

    Give it up Judy. You lost your façade of apparent objectivity, impartiality and wisdom long ago. It’s only the intellectual pygmies that constitute your coterie who haven’t yet cottoned on to the fact that you change your stance faster than Jackie Chan fighting a hundred villains.

  19. #19 MarkB
    September 2, 2011

    Would be nice to know who those 3 reviewers were and why the “editorial team” selected them. Was it a case of just rolling with the ones S&B suggested?

    “But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three
    reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors. This selection by itself does
    not mean that the review process for this paper was wrong. In science, diversity and controversy are
    essential to progress and therefore it is important that different opinions are heard and openly
    discussed. Therefore editors should take special care that minority views are not suppressed, meaning
    that it certainly would not be correct to reject all controversial papers already during the review
    process. If a paper presents interesting scientific arguments, even if controversial, it should be
    published and responded to in the open literature. This was my initial response after having become
    aware of this particular case. So why, after a more careful study of the pro and contra arguments, have
    I changed my initial view? The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have
    already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which
    was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers.
    In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a
    minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it
    essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review
    process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly
    accepted by the journal. This regrettably brought me to the decision to resign as Editor-in-Chief―to
    make clear that the journal Remote Sensing takes the review process very seriously.”

  20. #20 pough
    September 2, 2011

    The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper…

    Surely Spencer won’t continue to ignore them.

    On his blog, Spencer has asked for a published debunk of his article: If some scientists would like do demonstrate in their own peer-reviewed paper where anything we wrote was incorrect, they should submit a paper for publication.

    Never mind.

  21. #21 Marco
    September 2, 2011

    Over at retractionwatch some of the usual suspects are already trying to minimize the damage, trying to make it into some kind of conspiracy (Doug Proctor) and complaining that public statements should not matter (Omnologos).

    But I look forward to Dessler’s article…

  22. #22 MarkB
    September 2, 2011

    Should public statements matter? Assuming hypothetically that the paper had no problems but the author made public statements grossly twisting and exaggerating the results, I think that would still matter, as it hurts the reputation of the journal. People would end up associating the journal with claiming the Earth is flat rather than the paper saying it’s just not a perfectly round spheriod. Obviously, Spencer can’t control what everyone says, but he can control what he says.

    Alex Harvey quotes Kerry Emanuel in a comment above. What he left out is

    “I cannot see how Spencer’s statements to Fox are supported by his data. I must say I am disconcerted to hear him spinning his own work.”

    Someone might want to inform Spencer of that. He’s giving a kudos to Emanuel.

  23. #23 Jay Pettitt
    September 2, 2011

    “Should public statements matter? Assuming hypothetically that the paper had no problems but the author made public statements grossly twisting and exaggerating the results, I think that would still matter, as it hurts the reputation of the journal.”

    I guess Wagner feels that he let his journal and the peer review process be misappropriated for political ends under his editorial watch.

  24. #24 bluegrue
    September 2, 2011

    @#16
    Bernard, it gets even better. Anthony edited his reply, it now reads
    >_REPLY_: Heh, your argument reminds me of the many that pronounced “plate tectonics” to be “crap”. Oh and it is [Occams razor](http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FOccam%2527s_razor&rct=j&q=occams%20razor&ei=ohFhTpyPKrDUiALskvmxDg&usg=AFQjCNF84W7jolTAzmttuT6WBHtaRGB1XA&cad=rja)- Anthony

    Never mind the missing apostrophe, the very first line of the linked wikipedia article starts:
    >Occam’s razor (___or Ockham’s razor___)[1] often expressed

    Own goal!

  25. #25 dhogaza
    September 2, 2011

    Bernard J, if you have the patience to educate Anthony Watts …

    How delightful – Watts has replied:
    REPLY: Heh, your argument reminds me of the many that pronounced “plate tectonics” to be “crap”. – Anthony

    Actually, it was Wegener’s physically impossible mechanism of continental drift that was (rightly) pronounced crap.

    It was plate tectonics that brought physical life to the notion that the interlocking shapes of the continents weren’t sheer coincidence.

    Anthony, Anthony … “plate tectonics” != “continental drift”.

  26. #26 Jonas N
    September 2, 2011

    Well

    Occam’s razor would suggest that W Wagners explaiantion for his resignation pretty much is what he is prepared to tell. And there he said quite a lot of things, none of them essentially criticizing the paper. More about the media, some RC-post, that Spencer&Braswell wasn’t preapproved by modellers, that the reviewers found it sound (weren’t adhering to the party line) and that the paper got attention.

    I believe him, that these are the reasons he is prepared to give publicly. I would expect, as in any similar situation, that there is more to it than meets the eye, than is formally made public by the party involved. But what is presented is, if anyhow possible, not wrong or untruthful in a formal way.

    What I’m saying is that one should take Wagner for his words, accept that this is his best explanation, and keep in mind that the full story contains more information, bits and pieces, we probably never will find out. Wrt what he says, it can be read pretty favoruably. It is definitely not anything adressing the contents, rather it is about the reaction it got. Had he had any formal or more biting criticism about its contents, he would have presented it. Now it only modellers and RC not agreeing.

    Generally, I’d take that as a given for anything underminig the CAGW-narrative.

  27. #27 elspi
    September 2, 2011

    Oh look, the troll Jonas is back, but he still cannot read.

    “none of them essentially criticizing the paper”

    Wagner actually said

    “The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers. In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents.”

    He said not only is the paper wrong, but it was known to be wrong long before it was published.
    (Maybe the troll should look up the definition of refuted before he posts again.)

  28. #28 t_p_hamilton
    September 2, 2011

    Jonas N must have a different standard of not critiquing a paper than I do:”And there he said quite a lot of things, none of them essentially criticizing the paper.”

    Wolfgang Wegner:”So why, after a more careful study of the pro and contra arguments, have
    I changed my initial view? The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have
    already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which
    was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers.
    In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a
    minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it
    essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review
    process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly
    accepted by the journal.”

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2002/pdf

    Not to mention unethical behavior of claiming things being supported by the paper which were not.

    Just trivialities to the JonasNs of the world, I suppose.

  29. #29 bluegrue
    September 2, 2011

    Re: Jonas N

    Jonas N conveniently forgot about this part of the letter:
    >With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 [2], the main author’s personal homepage [3], the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism” published by Forbes [4], and the story “Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?” published by Fox News [5], to name just a few.

    He is protesting Spencer exaggerating his findings in the University’s press release (they have lots of direct quotes from Spencer) and his blog. It’s not as if someone else had twisted poor Spencer’s findings.

  30. #30 Jonas N
    September 2, 2011

    TP Hamilton
    Wagner is citing others criticizing the paper, that is true. After the fact, and even before the fact. So? Is not taking a stance on the facts, only mentioning that others have been, or subsequently do! Did anybody really expect anything else? Did Wagner think that the AGW shouting-crowd suddenly would exhibit a complete reversal of personality!? I doubt that very much.

    No, I think his words should be taken literately, and carefully evaluating what he is not saying. And that his official stance contain the best arguments he has to offer (and leav out all the poorer ones)

    The W&B paper purports to highlight difficulties with the how the high-positive-feedback assumptions not being confirmed by the empirical observations.

    It is quite pointed about what it is criticizing. The ‘talkbacks’ have all been about very different aspects. And I think that this is a telling story ..

  31. #31 Composer99
    September 2, 2011

    Is it just me, or is the first paragraph of comment #29 word salad?

  32. #32 elspi
    September 2, 2011

    OMG Jonas go back to 3rd grade and learn how to read.

    “have already been refuted in open discussions” IS TAKING A STANCE.

    Which syllable of the word REFUTED can you not parse?

  33. #33 Former Skeptic
    September 2, 2011

    #30 – it’s not just the first paragraph.

  34. #34 adelady
    September 2, 2011

    Word salad? Very limp lettuce. Just as bad at picking the right veggies as reading the right words.

    Wagner commented *separately* …. both on criticisms of this paper after its publication and on the authors omitting pre-publication, and the reviewers not picking up, criticisms and analysis already in the literature.

  35. #35 MapleLeaf
    September 2, 2011

    Roy is now making this intriguing claim on his blog:

    “Well, in 20 years of working in this business, the only indisputable mistake we ever made (which we immediately corrected, and even published our gratitude in Science to those who found it) was in our satellite global temperature monitoring, which ended up being a small error in our diurnal drift adjustment….”

    Thoughts? Needless to say, Barry Bickmore was not impressed…

  36. #36 Robert Murphy
    September 2, 2011

    “No, I think his words should be taken literately…”

    Me too.

    Wagner: “…it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal.”

  37. #37 chek
    September 2, 2011

    It is very interesting the way Dr. Roy ‘taxpayer value’ Spencer has never been subject to the “auditors’” attentions.

    What with old ‘Ideology Roy’s’ track record stretching back to the days when RSS even had to correct his piss-poor technical work, his ‘mistakes’ always seem to be in the same direction. What are the chances of that if honesty was ever a factor?

    Of course, evangelical Christian dominionists don’t give a fcuk about such minor trifles. Their li’ll baby Jeezus p*sses on human concepts such as professional integrity.

  38. #38 elspi
    September 2, 2011

    Jonas

    Let me google this for you

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=refuted

    refuted, past participle, past tense of re·fute (Verb)
    1. Prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disprove.
    2. Prove that (someone) is wrong.

  39. #39 Jonas N
    September 2, 2011

    Elspi – When the AGW crowd shouts ‘refuted’ I almost stop listening. Science is not conducted that way! I still cannot see where he (Wagner) opens his mouth himself, just hidning behind others. Well, I guess thats as much as it is worth.

    Murphy – Which part of ‘perciece’ did you find hard to understand?

    Adelady – Sallad is the word.

    If he really thinks this was wrong: Why not just say what was wrong, definitely wrong, which claim was false. And stick to it.

    That there were numerous on the AGW-shouting that didn’t agree, nor wanted those data ever to be seen by a broader audience, is of course obvious.

    Questions is: If its such crap, why are they so annoyed by it?

    PS Let met tell you, I’ve read quite a few of pro-AGW publications, and can confidently tell you that the fuss is not about scientific rigour. Definitely not!

  40. #40 Marion Delgado
    September 2, 2011

    Censorship! Cover-up! Expelled! Peer-review!

    Where’s Ben Stein when climate skeptics need him?

  41. #41 Former Skeptic
    September 2, 2011

    Update from Wagner – the paper will not be retracted by the journal (see the update at the bottom of the post here). I speculate that the publisher, and not Wagner, is keen to increase the journal’s exposure for as long as it can.

    Also of note is how the usual contrarian crowd are doing their best to minimize the fallout in the comments.

  42. #42 chek
    September 2, 2011

    ‘Jonas’ said: “PS Let met tell you, I’ve read quite a few of pro-AGW publications, and can confidently tell you that the fuss is not about scientific rigour. Definitely not!

    Fact-free comedy gold!
    Let me enlighten you that your ‘impressions’ don’t cut it, ‘Jonas’.

  43. #43 elspi
    September 2, 2011

    Witness the goalposts moving at supersonic speed:

    Jonas : “When the AGW crowd shouts ‘refuted’”

    No, Wegman is the one who used the word refuted.

    You are the one who ignored Wegman’s use of the word refuted

    We are the ones reminding you that WEGMAN used the word refuted.

    Try again liar.

  44. #44 elspi
    September 2, 2011

    Sheise
    Wagner not Wegman.

  45. #45 Ark
    September 2, 2011

    Spencer has made it quite clear that he is an ideologue first and a scientist second. As a scientist it should be his job to increase humanity’s knowledge of the world, regardless of whether or not said knowledge is conducive to free-market policies.

  46. #46 Dan L.
    September 2, 2011

    Again we have an illustration of how no disaster to their cause is extreme enough to abash the deniers.

    Like the Wegman fiasco, this only adds another ring to the conspiracy in their fevered minds.

  47. #47 Dan L.
    September 2, 2011

    Again we have an illustration of how no disaster to their cause is extreme enough to abash the deniers.

    Like the Wegman fiasco, this only adds another ring to the conspiracy in their fevered minds.

  48. #48 Dan L.
    September 2, 2011

    Again we have an illustration of how no disaster to their cause is extreme enough to abash the deniers.

    Like the Wegman fiasco, this only adds another ring to the conspiracy in their fevered minds.

  49. #49 Dan L.
    September 2, 2011

    Again we have an illustration of how no disaster to their cause is extreme enough to abash the deniers.

    Like the Wegman fiasco, this only adds another ring to the conspiracy in their fevered minds.

  50. #50 Dan L.
    September 2, 2011

    Again we have an illustration of how no disaster to their cause is extreme enough to abash the deniers.

    Like the Wegman fiasco, this only adds another ring to the conspiracy in their fevered minds.

  51. #51 chek
    September 2, 2011

    As ‘Jonas’ tactic bears witness to – ignore everything else coming down the pike, concentrate on the hockey stick at all costs. Becuz Steve swore it wuz their weak spot.

  52. #52 Robert Murphy
    September 2, 2011

    Jonas:
    “Murphy – Which part of ‘perciece’ did you find hard to understand?”

    The word “perciece”? Now, when Wagner said “perceive”, as in “I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed”, he meant he found the paper fundamentally flawed. He thought it was fundamentally flawed. He came to the conclusion the paper was fundamentally flawed. Calling a paper “fundamentally flawed” is not mincing words. He took a stand on whether the paper was any good. Really Jonas, you are defending an indefensibly argument. Yet again. Have you the least bit of shame?

  53. #53 Doug Bostrom
    September 2, 2011

    If its such crap, why are they so annoyed by it?

    Sure, if somebody repeatedly dumps buckets of crap over your head, why should you be annoyed? What’s not to like?

  54. #54 John
    September 3, 2011

    This will fuels years of conspiracy theories. How dare Spencer be refuted by so-called “science”.

  55. #55 Charles
    September 3, 2011

    “PS Let met tell you, I’ve read quite a few of pro-AGW publications, and can confidently tell you that the fuss is not about scientific rigour. Definitely not!”

    Jonas, are you just posting this stuff for fun? If not, and if you are the least bit serious, I’d suggest you quit while you have a chance. You’re making yourself look quite silly.

  56. #56 Charles
    September 3, 2011

    “This will fuels years of conspiracy theories. How dare Spencer be refuted by so-called ‘science’.”

    I agree. Seems to me that one of the few cards left in the hands of these folks is the conspiracy card. And the conspiracy just keeps growing to include more and more people in on it.

    You can’t even invoke Occam’s Razor … because the response is that Occam’s Razor is a response invented by the conspirators.

  57. #57 John Mashey
    September 3, 2011

    Charles: please look at:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/rick_perry_peter_wood_and_the.php
    and search for mentions of KILLFILE.

  58. #58 Orson
    September 3, 2011

    Hey. As Tim Ball said himself only days after the climategate emails appeared in 2009: the climate scientists had entered the five stages of (Kubler-Ross) grief. And after Vice President’s temper tantrum at the Aspen Institute, his over-the-top charges of “racism” at AGW skepticism, the 10: 10 “No Pressure” campaign in the UK last October….we see “anger, denial, depression….”

    And no one hear seems to have noticed the prodigious amounts of “bargaining” seen in debates that rarely happened before climategate…but we see them now. As well as the now frequent interjections of AGW-defenders on skeptic blogs. And on and on.

    Tell me, how is Wagner’s move any different? All the while, the IPCC is now a front for Greenpeace. And Wagner proclaims “Peer-reviewed journals…aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review?” – one simply HAS TO laugh! Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi! Or instead, more scientifically: humpty dumpty~

  59. #59 Doug Bostrom
    September 3, 2011

    Orson: “Shh, don’t mention the science.”

  60. #60 Chris O'Neill
    September 3, 2011

    All the while, the IPCC is now a front for Greenpeace.

    I like it.

  61. #61 Chris O'Neill
    September 3, 2011

    Careful elspi, you risk being called immature and a liar by your own definition (whatever that may be).

  62. #62 Nick Barnes
    September 3, 2011

    REPLY: Heh, your argument reminds me of the many that pronounced “plate tectonics” to be “crap”. – Anthony

    Sigh.
    “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan.

  63. #63 John Mashey
    September 3, 2011

    Continental drift.
    I’d guess Watts knows less about that the he dies about climate.
    Read Naomi Oreskes’s book on this to get a better history.
    Many people are under the illusion that science should accept any plausible-sounding idea immediately, even within inadequate data or understanding of the mechanism.
    Naomi shows that more in Europe than in USA thought there might be something to Wegener’s ideas. Post WW II, when the data arrived, almost the entire profession accepted the hypothesis as a striong theory within a decade.

  64. #64 pough
    September 3, 2011

    Which part of ‘perciece’ did you find hard to understand?

    The part of it that makes it not a word.

  65. #65 dhogaza
    September 3, 2011

    Post WW II, when the data arrived, almost the entire profession accepted the hypothesis as a striong theory within a decade.

    Again, the hypothesis that the interlocking shape of the continents wasn’t due to pure luck, yes. Wegener, though, wasn’t the first to notice and state the obvious. There was a lot of evidence beyond the mere interlocking shape of the continents in favor of them having been one deep in the past (matching rock types and the like). But without a plausible physical model, it was rejected.

    But Wegener’s hypothesis regarding the mechanism by which the continents actually move … it was not accepted and is not today. It was bogus. Plate tectonics provides a mechanism which isn’t even vaguely related to Wegener’s hypothesis. Wegener had the continents floating atop the ocean beds, moving a bit like icebergs in the ocean. Plate tectonics shows us that the great plates themselves (tectonic plates being unknown before the post WWII observations discussed by John became available) are moving, carrying the continents along with them. That’s totally 180 degrees opposite to Wegener’s physical hypothesis.

    Own goal, Watts. He’s gotta be in triple digits by this point in his career.

  66. #66 Robert Murphy
    September 3, 2011

    “As Tim Ball…”
    Starting you post by favorably quoting a serial liar does not bode well.

    “As well as the now frequent interjections of AGW-defenders on skeptic blogs.”

    How dare they! The nerve! Why can’t they be like the “skeptics”, who never post on pro-AGW websites? Oh wait…

  67. #67 Robert Murphy
    September 3, 2011

    To elaborate on the Wegener/plate tectonics issue, a similar type of problem happened with the acceptance of evolution. Before Darwin there were quite a number of different evolutionary hypothesis; the idea was “in the air” for a while. The “species problem” vexed naturalists, who saw that the story from Genesis did not match the geological record, nor did the patterns of fossil deposition. Clearly, there were many species that once lived – species that were quite different from those living today – that no longer were extant. Extinction was a reality. How did new species come about? Well, that was not an easy question to answer. The simplistic proposals of a Lamarck or of a Robert Chambers rightly were rejected as being woefully inadequate. It wasn’t until Darwin came up with a plausible mechanism and presented his evidence in a simple but elegant argument that evolution won wide acceptance. (Ironically, by the end of the 19th century few evolutionists accepted natural selection as a main force for evolution. That had to await the Modern Synthesis in the 1940′s)

    As was said above, plate tectonics won pretty quick acceptance after it was proposed, as did evolution after Darwin provided it with a plausible mechanism. The scientific community will usually pass on something that doesn’t seem to make physical sense, however.

  68. #68 Jim Shewan
    September 3, 2011

    Can’t you people see AGW for the massive fraud that it is . The wealthy governments of the world will stop at NOTHING until they achieve their objective of making their own hydrocarbon reserves WORTHLESS.
    Having achieved this they will err– somehow–ummm corner the market for pushbikes and horses and there by take over the world.

  69. #69 dhogaza
    September 3, 2011

    Excellent tie-in with evolution, Robert Murphy.

  70. #70 Scribe
    September 3, 2011

    The skeptic meme of framing the “theory” of AGW as a lie foisted on humanity to achieve a world government has always puzzled me, but I’ve never delved too much into it (reasons: obviously BS, and life is too short). But for those amused by the workings of the paranoid conservative mind (in which thoughts are amygdala-dominated according to research), some laughs/tears are to be found at the Jim Puplava website, which currently features a series of podcasts by conspiracy theorists. BTW, Puplava himself is an AGW skeptic who has given Plimer and Bjørn Lomborg platforms to spout their nonsense.

  71. #71 jamesc
    September 3, 2011

    Jim, can’t you see it’s the Communists taking over? by forcing up the price of consumer goods the Industrial base is shattered and thus China wins…obviously.

  72. #72 Eduardo
    September 4, 2011

    Isn’t the editor responsible for publication of a paper? Yes.

    Can he reject a paper? Yes, he can.

    Why didn’t he reject Spencer’s paper? Because reviewers didn’t object it, of course, because there was nothing to object.

    Then he got a rap in his knuckles and WAS ASKED for his resignation. This is the simplest explanation. Occam’s Razor…

  73. #73 elspi
    September 4, 2011

    The delusional trolls are coming out of the woodwork on this one.

    From troll Eduardo we get:

    “Then he got a rap in his knuckles and WAS ASKED for his resignation. This is the simplest explanation. Occam’s Razor…”

    Yes the only thing that isn’t explained by that is the letter of resignation. YOU KNOW, THE TWO PAGE VERY EXPLICIT LETTER OF RESIGNATION THAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS POST.

    Yes, aside from all the evidence, it explains everything.

  74. #74 Bernard J.
    September 4, 2011

    Heh, it seems that Watts has revoked my ability to post on his thread, because my last submission simply evaporated into the æther rather than being put into the moderation queue. Apparently Tony doesn’t want to play with me anymore.

    No matter, here is said post. Perhaps someone else can point Mac the Knife to it…

    Mac the Butter Knife said on 3 September 2011, at 9:19 pm:

    …it should be quite simple for a scientist like you to enlighten all of us as to their errors and to demonstrate where they went wrong, with empirical evidence illustrating their mistakes.

    Why ask me – after all, aren’t I just a “rude ecologist” (unlike the polite denizens of this blog…)? I’d only be reinventing the wheel anyway, even though it simple enough to point out Spencer’s and Braswell’s manglings of ocean modelling, El Niño/Southern Oscillation, and disparate periods of data comparison – to start the list…

    Far better to ask the climatological experts who have already started to pull the wings from Spencer’s flies. Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo have done so at RealClimate, and Barry Bickmore has savaged Spencer as well. In fact, Bickmore makes quite a sport of popping Spencer’s climate fantasy bubbles

    Dive into those resources, and swing your fairy wand at the coalface of science. If you don’t like their working, or their interpretations of empirical evidence, have it out with them – after all, that’s where the buck stops, and not with “rude ecologists”. And if you’re really starved for “working”, go visit The Science of Doom, where Steve is always much more polite than mere rude ecologists, and where he is happy to show you all the working you might desire.

    Show them wrong, and you might just have a case. Arguing with rude ecologists who simply point out that your emperor is wearing no clothes won’t really make much difference to your cause.

    Of course, what you really need to read is Dessler’s peer-reviewed rebuttal that is coming out on Tuesday. You and your buddies have all been demanding it, so grab your teddy bears because you only have two more sleeps to wait. You’ll need to start sharpening now though, Mac, otherwise nothing you can say by way of response will have even a remote chance of cutting it.

    And if you can’t grok Dessler’s paper when it’s published, maybe then I’ll come and help you with your workings…

  75. #75 Mikem
    September 4, 2011

    @69. What is it with these denialist idiots who quote Occam’s razor without the faintest clue how it actually works or what it means?

    The simplest explanation is only generally preferred if all other evidence is equal. In this case, the other evidence is not “equal”. Like his freaking personal letter of resignation actually explaining why he resigned!

    I’m just getting so sick of not only explaining really basic fundamentals of science which I learned in high school to these morons, but also the basic principles and concepts of rational and logical thinking which they “believe” they are actually using!

  76. #76 Deech56
    September 4, 2011

    Bernard J, maybe your post went to the spam queue because of the number of links. Good post, though.

  77. #77 trrll
    September 4, 2011

    Wagner said that “comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature.” Comparable is not identical, however, so this is not the same as saying that Spencer’s paper has been refuted, which is probably why it has not been withdrawn. Perhaps Spencer could have made a case that the refutations were themselves in error, or that his work differs in such a way that they do not apply. But he did not do so.

    As a result, the paper is clearly flawed in the sense that Spencer did not acknowledge and rebut criticisms of his approach that he was surely aware of. It is tempting to simply ignore objections that you consider to be invalid, but it is a rookie mistake, and Spencer should have known better. The editor and the reviewers did Spencer no service by letting this pass. If the reviewers were suggested by Spencer, he would benefit from being somewhat more daring in the future and suggesting more critical reviewers. Spencer also committed a faux pas by making public statements about the significance of the work that were substantially more sweeping than what he was willing to submit to peer-review. Strictly speaking, this is not a breach of scientific ethics, but it is widely regarded as a bit sleazy, and the editor clearly felt betrayed.

  78. #78 Bernard J.
    September 4, 2011

    There’s been a lot of chatter from the Denialati about how Wagner’s resignation is somehow evidence of a global scientific conspiracy, or that it was an over-reaction. For so many reasons, as discussed above and elsewhere, this is either ignorant fantasy or deliberate propaganda.

    What is not mentioned is that Spencer’s own responses to Wagner, and to the subsequent professional comment against his paper, are themselves far from shining examples of professionalism. [Eli says on Spencer's blog](http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/09/editor-in-chief-of-remote-sensing-resigns-from-fallout-over-our-paper/#comment-22597) that the professionals have a residual respect for Spencer…

    I would suggest that after this tawdry episode of denialist spinning Spencer will lose even that remnant of respect, and that he might find that any remaining positive reputation, occurring as it will solely amongst the ignorant lay population, will be insufficient to give any professional credibility to future claims that he might desire to make.

    He’s not so much shot himself in the foot as hacked it off with a blunt axe.

  79. #79 Eli Rabett
    September 4, 2011

    Well yes

  80. #80 Russell
    September 5, 2011

    While Oreskes book could do with more acute peer review itself, the extremely long interval between contrarian papers is telling- Spencer started milking this topic in 2007, and his half decade of effort seems only to have lent credence to Silverberg’s Law of Scientific Publication ”

    ’90% of the papers published are junk.’

    Roy now seems bent on proving Minsky’s Corollary:

    ‘So are 95% of the remainder.’

    Both cut in with axiomatic vengeance when there are less than 20 bona fide scientists publishing on one side of an issue, and only 19 published souls attended the original Heartland Conference, where Roy first presented his tautology.

    If he now sounds like a possum in the throes of major organ death , it may be because his cohort’s dribble of dud papers is insufficient to sustain scientific curiosity, or , Pace Al Gore, media attention== it’s hard to draw spectators to a geriatric wrassling match when the stars lack strength enough to lift their folding chairs unassisted.

  81. #81 John Brookes
    September 5, 2011

    Each new climate skeptic paper is like the new monster at the start of each episode of Scooby Doo. Its big, its scary, and supernaturally powerful. But by the end of Scooby Doo, the monster had turned out to be a rather abject looking middle aged man in a costume. And so it is with the climate skeptic paper – its somehow shrunk, and lost its credibility.

    Having watched an episode or two of Scooby, you soon catch on that each new monster is not what it appears to be. But some people must be terminally naive. Whether its Salby, or Pielke or Spencer, every single time they think it really is a monster. Worse still are the people who know that its not a monster, but who encourage the gullible to believe it is.

  82. #82 Jeffrey Davis
    September 5, 2011

    I don’t understand the right wing/septic response to Wagner’s resignation. Even if it were accurate (“political!”) that charge is kind of pointless regarding Spencer who has admitted that he has a political agenda in his work. The accusation by the septics reminds me of the scene in American Graffiti where Mackenzie Phillips leans out of the car she’s been cruising in to insult the car of one of Paul Le Mat’s rivals, “Your car is as ugly as I am!”

  83. #83 Bernard J.
    September 5, 2011

    Over at WTFUWT there’s been a bit of a stink amongst the fundamentalist Denialati because Spencer’s Creationist inclinations have been mentioned in the context if his ability to engage in rational, objective science.

    Now, I don’t usually like to make too much of an issue of spiritual philosophy, but when [Dave Springer came out with this]():

    >If you choose to believe the initial order in the universe was just a matter of accident that’s your business. Just don’t ask me to swallow that notion. I’m an engineer and find it patently absurd that such an intricate clockwork universe happened without design. Machines have origins and in every case where the origin can be determined without ambiguity there was an intelligent agency involved in its design and construction. Therefore, the claim that intricate machines can materialize without intelligent agency involved is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I have yet to see a shred of evidence to support the extraordinary claim that complex machines just happen without purposeful agency.

    I couldn’t help but shake my head in amazement – there are, after all, well-known names for the several fallacies collected within this single paragraph. Spirituality aside, there is obviously occurring, in at least some engineering departments in the States, a failure in acquisition of basic skills in logic.

    If these people want to argue about knowledge at a postgraduate level, they need to have the requisite ability in logic. What is being displayed at WUWT and elsewhere in the deniosphere would embarrass a middle high school student, so poor is the quality…

  84. #84 Chris O'Neill
    September 5, 2011

    Spirituality aside, there is obviously occurring, in at least some engineering departments in the States, a failure in acquisition of basic skills in logic.

    Probably in a considerable number of them actually. This is, after all, the USA and creationism. Reminds me of a book written by a mechanical engineer in which he claimed that the second law of thermodynamics proved that evolution was impossible. Things change pretty slowly in the USA, it seems.

  85. #85 Marco
    September 5, 2011

    Bernard, Chris, allow me to quote Peter Medawar:
    Just as compulsory primary education created a market catered for by cheap dailies and weeklies, so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.

  86. #86 Lurker
    September 5, 2011

    Check out Roy’s latest, “Dessler vs. Rick Perry: Is the 2011 Texas Drought Evidence of Human-Caused Climate Change?”. I get the feeling Watts is filling in while Roy gets sedated.

  87. #87 Hank Roberts
    September 5, 2011

    > Silverberg
    Sturgeon, more generally, I think.

  88. #88 John Mashey
    September 5, 2011

    re: 83
    yes, Hank shows continued erudition: Sturgeon’s Law.

  89. #89 Kristjan Wager
    September 5, 2011

    I couldn’t help but shake my head in amazement – there are, after all, well-known names for the several fallacies collected within this single paragraph. Spirituality aside, there is obviously occurring, in at least some engineering departments in the States, a failure in acquisition of basic skills in logic.

    Bernard J, David Springer is a well-known proponent of intelligent design, under a slightly different name, and used to moderate Uncommon Dissent until he got banned – I don’t know how Tim feels about outing of people’s pseudonyms, no matter how well known, so I won’t mention it here.

  90. #90 Russell
    September 5, 2011

    83

    Thanks-I’ll remind Minsky.

    Speaking of dubious attributions, I do wish Mashey would try his who’s whose? prose filters on the foreword of Singer’s NIPPCC , to see if , shades of Revelle, he’s done an inverse Wegman by borrowing a signature to add to his text.

  91. #91 Eli Rabett
    September 5, 2011

    Try Lindzen and Choi as what Spencer and Braswell followed down the path to perdition.

  92. #92 Bernard J.
    September 5, 2011

    [Marco](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/editor_of_remote_sensing_agree.php#comment-5072910).

    Peter Medawar’s observation:

    >…so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.

    is being emphatically demonstrated now on the WUWT thread. There seems to be a hysteria developing that in its expression reminds me of Beatles-mania or similar, and which seems to consist of a mixture of the [bandwagon](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwagon_effect) and Dunning-Kruger effects, and ideological blindness. One could make [many more comparisons](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria#See_also)…

    [Charles Mackay](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds), whose work is included in the previous link, would have been delighted.

    I predict a second wave of deluded self-righteous outrage from the Denialati ranks swelling within the next 24 hours…

  93. #93 Bernard J.
    September 6, 2011

    I’m going to be very interested in any response by Spencer and Braswell, but really, after reading Andrew Dessler’s paper I would be very surprised if they have a defensible answer to Dessler’s straight-forward conclusion:

    >…the evolution of the surface and atmosphere during ENSO variations are dominated by oceanic heat transport.

  94. #94 Bernard J.
    September 6, 2011

    I should also add that Dessler is very restrained in his final words:

    >In addition, observations presented by LC11 and SB11 are not in fundamental disagreement with mainstream climate models, nor do they provide evidence that clouds are causing climate change. Suggestions that significant revisions to mainstream climate science are required are therefore not supported.

    The subtext is damning, however…

  95. #95 lord_sidcup
    September 6, 2011

    If you have a strong stomach, go to Morano’s Climate Depot. You’ll find some anti-Wagner bile immediately followed by Wagner’s email address. I wonder how much hate mail and worse Wagner has received courtesy of Morano.

  96. #96 ligne
    September 6, 2011

    Bernard J., #79: it’s fantastic, Dave Springer truly is the [Salem Hypothesis](http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_Hypothesis) personified!

  97. #97 Sou
    September 6, 2011

    Spencer is having a few problems figuring out where he went wrong, according to his blog. So Dessler has, in addition to his GRL paper, produced a video to help him out.

  98. #98 SteveC
    September 8, 2011

    @ Bernard #79:

    There seems to be a hysteria developing that in its expression reminds me of Beatles-mania or similar, [...]One could make many more comparisons…

    An acute obersvation, though for me Beatles-mania is less appropriate as a descriptor than its contemporary, Cold War hysteria.

  99. #99 Bernard J.
    September 9, 2011

    Luboš Motl is sailing way over a line [over on WTFUWT](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/06/hot-off-the-press-desslers-record-turnaround-time-grl-rebuttal-paper-to-spencer-and-braswell/#comment-737634):

    >Here is the two-year NSF grant Dessler has also exploited for this research:

    >http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1012665

    >Check the number, AGS-1012665, that it agrees with the acknowledgements in the paper. Aside from those $150,000 for less than two years (bad luck, dear U.S. taxpayer: you were not carefully watching your wallet!), he is probably getting a similarly large extra salary from Texas A&M University, too.

    Implying (amongst other things) that grants are salary? The guy really is a grub.

  100. #100 Marco
    September 9, 2011

    Bernard J, it IS for salary!

    As the abstract notes:
    “In addition, the work will support and train a graduate student, thereby promoting the next generation of scientists.”

    Yes, yes, I know, not Dessler’s salary, but who cares when you are on a conspiracy rampage?