Willie Soon Gate

The Willie Soon Controversy

There’s been a lot of talk about the Willie Soon Controversy. Bottom line: Soon was an author on a paper that failed to disclose his extensive funding by the petroleum industry and its friends (over a million dollars to date, I believe) as required. I don’t have time to craft a detailed expose or commentary, but I wanted to get a bunch of resources in one place. I should mention that this is not all about Willie Soon, but rather, about climate science denialists more generally, a few specific others besides Soon, about how crap gets published now and then much to the giddiness of the denialist community, and about the ethical issues plaguing Soon, which have led to, among other things, tens of thousands of people signing a petition to get him sacked from his position at Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics lab.

The Monckton-Soon-Legates-Briggs paper

It all starts with this paper:

Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model, published in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

The paper is by Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates and William Briggs.

The paper has been examined by a number of scientists and others, and found wanting. Here is a selection of the critiques:

On getting bad climate science published in peer reviewed journals

About Soon’s apparent failure to follow disclose, and his funding sources:

Comments

  1. #1 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    February 1, 2015

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/11/05/harvard-smithsonian-global-warming-skeptic-helps-feed-strategy-doubt-gridlock-congress/uHssYO1anoWSiLw0v1YcUJ/story.html

    “Soon said he is required by the center to recite a disclaimer – saying his views are his own, and not that of Harvard-Smithsonian — each time he speaks or writes on anything outside his expertise in solar radiation.”

    From the MSLB paper:

    “W. W.-H. Soon
    Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge,
    MA 02138, USA”

    and

    “Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.”

    So, I’m a wee bit curious if the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics cares at all that Willie used their institution’s good name sans any form of a disclaimer with respect to said institution?

    Just, you know, askin’

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    Evertt … sorry for the delay in freeing your comment, I thought I pressed the button to do so already, but apparently not.

    Anyway, you are actually conflating two entirely different things. The idea of separating the work of an individual from the instituion and of declaring funding are entirely different, non overlapping, standards of practice.

    I believe Soon is on soft money. 100% of his funding for several years comes from the cited industries or their representatives. This means that every single paycheck and benefit he receives is covered by big oil and has been for many years. Therefore a research project carried out in the context of HSCA is undoubtedly and unequivocally funded by those sources. This would be obvious and highly likely were it not for the fact that he affiliates himself with HSCA as his author identity. That fact makes it not just obvious and likely, but certain, and impossible to avoid.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. #3 Mike Whaley
    Anderson, SC
    February 1, 2015

    1. Can you conclusively prove the source and amount of Soon’s funding?
    2. If we question a scientist’s motivation based on funding, doesn’t that cut both ways?

    I am an environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience in the field (consulting, compliance, industrial, etc…) and I hold 2 MS degrees in science. I also teach environmental science.

    [It’s all over for Willie Soon: http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/latest-oil-and-gas/2015/02/21/Noted-Climate-Change-Skeptic-Is-Linked-to-Corporate-Funding/stories/201502210152 -gtl]

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    1. pretty much, yes.

    2. Not sure what you mean. I very much hope you are not suggesting that there is some equivalence between, say, NSF grants to do climate research and Koch Brother’s money to do anti science research.

  5. #5 Tony Duncan
    Brattleboro, VT
    February 1, 2015

    I think that the fossil fuel companies are not ken to have their names associated with this sort of work. If there really WAS some sort of conspiracy or blond spot that showed ACC was not happening there was some major mitigator or it would really not cause any serious problems, they would have jumped all over this. There is just to much money that will be lost for them not to protect their future earnings and stake holders.
    MY view is that they know these guys are not doing real science, so they don’t want to be attacked for promoting their “research” they are happy to have them try to confuse the issue, but do not want to be associated with it.
    they must be VERY happy that this huge issue is being taken on for free by extreme ideologues who have little interest in the truth but are fanatical defenders of fossil fuels financial interests.

  6. #6 Marco
    February 1, 2015

    Mike,

    1. information about Soon’s funding throughout the years comes from official records. A list is available here:
    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/CASE-STUDY-Dr-Willie-Soon-a-Career-Fueled-by-Big-Oil-and-Coal/#a4
    Whether that is all the funding he received is unknown – e.g., the Heartland proposed budget document lists him for an expected 1500 dollar.

    2. In this case the journal makes it clear such potential CoIs need to be reported. Soon didn’t. Whether theý should also have reported that the Open Access fee (and publication fee?) were paid by Heartland is a bit less clear.
    Remember that a lot of the funding for Soon comes directly from organizations that have financial interests in the outcome of the research. It’s like a MD writing a paper about the benefits of a drug and not report that he is a consultant for the company that developed the drug in question. That’s grounds for retraction. For example, one of the many issues with Andrew Wakefield was the fact that he did not disclose his own patent on an alternative MMR vaccine and had been in contact with litigation lawyers that were pursuing a case for vaccine injury.

    One thing is getting funding from companies (I have!), another thing is to not report that funding in a paper that is more than just periferally relevant to the business model of that company.

  7. #7 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    If we question a scientist’s motivation based on funding, doesn’t that cut both ways?

    The motivation behind most scientists’ work is to feed and shelter themselves and their kinfolk. Once that is more or less going well, then their motivation is to expand human knowledge. A tiny few scientists have greed as their motivation, and an even smaller few have their expansion of sinister political ideologies as their motivation. Willie Soon appears to be skipping the primary and secondary motivations, and has joined the tiny few.

  8. #8 Aristotle
    Frankfurt
    February 1, 2015

    So then I am concerned that you, yourself did not explain what your scientific objections are to this paper of the four authors. Even though you have given references to what some others have written on the matter, this is (in law) mere hearsay.

    Assuming that you have in fact read the paper, what are your scientific objections, with references to whichever part of their paper you disagree with?

    This essay of yours here, comes across as a meaningless, illogical rant. Really, if you want to make a cogent argument, that’s fine, but unfounded allegations and ad hominem remarks, does not challenge what they wrote in any logically recognizable fashion.

    It is like calling a politician you may not like, a “Fathead who should be sacked”. That will neither persuade him to change his actions or thinking. Nor would that persuade any member of the public that you are right, or that the politician is wrong and ought to be sacked, do you see?

    If Soon and the others are wrong in their assumptions, then argue the facts about that, instead of attacking the source of funding, which by the way you never proved.

    On the other hand, making unfounded assertions, and then stating that they are facts is actionable in the courts. You are treading a dangerous path towards huge fines and even perhaps confiscation of your assets. Do beware.

    [It’s all over for Willie Soon: http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/latest-oil-and-gas/2015/02/21/Noted-Climate-Change-Skeptic-Is-Linked-to-Corporate-Funding/stories/201502210152 -gtl]

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    February 1, 2015

    If we question a scientist’s motivation based on funding, doesn’t that cut both ways?

    At least in my field, you are required to disclose the source of your research funding, even if it’s a government agency (NASA, NSF, and AFOSR being the three most common for US-based researchers in my field). You are also supposed to disclose your ownership in a company which you have formed to commercialize your research, if there is one. The point is to clarify whether you or the people who fund you have a commercial interest in the outcome of your research. Government agencies generally don’t have a commercial interest in the research they fund, but private for-profit corporations, such as the oil companies alleged to fund Soon’s research, frequently do (otherwise they wouldn’t be funding the research).

    Most of Soon’s colleagues at CfA are honest astrophysicists who are funded by government agencies; possibly some get donations from private foundations (which they are required to disclose). By listing CfA as his affiliation and not disclosing his funding sources, Soon implies that he is supported either in a similar manner, or through CfA’s internal funds. That’s a problem especially when it isn’t true. It would not be an issue if Soon were claiming to be supported by internal funds of a petroleum company with which he declared an affiliation, because he wouldn’t be hiding the source of his funds.

    Tony @5: Whether or not the oil companies want to be associated with Soon’s research is irrelevant. If they are funding him, he is supposed to say so. If they don’t want to be associated with him, they should cut off his funding.

  10. #10 Christopher Winter
    February 1, 2015

    Conflict of interest rules in aerospace are quite specific: You are required to certify that you do not have any affiliation with someone who has a monetary interest in the outcome of your studies, reports, memoranda etc. Discovery of an undisclosed COI has very serious repercussions.

    I’m sure it’s the same in science.

    Mike Whaley: If we question a scientist’s motivation based on funding, doesn’t that cut both ways?

    Obviously it can cut both ways, and there have been cases of scientists distorting results in order to gain money and/or professional recognition. But every science is a very competitive field; someone’s flawed work will almost certainly be discovered — and the result is disgrace for that someone. Conversely, if the work is not distorted, why should it be criticized on the basis of funding?

    The work of people like Soon and Monckton is criticized because it is flawed, not because of who paid for it. Paying scientists (or a British lord) to publish bogus or misleading conclusions is also wrong, but that’s a different sort of wrong.

  11. #11 Aristotle
    Frankfurt
    February 1, 2015

    Well Mr. Laden. what is your answer to my questions?

    Frankly I object to your politicization of the issue and your supreme confidence in those other opinions, without actually showing your reasoning.

    It does not matter who funds who (or even you), but if all you have is ad hominem, then that is pretty thin, and does not disprove what the gang of four who wrote this paper have stated.

    Again, if You make unfounded allegations. then you are definitely culpable, and could be charged with “Wire Fraud”, and sued for damages. Be aware that legal agencies do read this stuff. So now would you like to clarify your previous statements?

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    Aristotle: This essay is hardly a rant, it is a list. Not even an essay. I would love to lay out my own issues with the paper, but I’ve not had time. But I have read it and I’ve read these and other objections, and I find the paper wanting as do so many others. Me adding more would be redundant, which in itself does not stop me from writing up my own critique, but it certainly puts it on the back burner.

    I am pretty sure I would not ever persuade Soon to change his mind about any of this. No one has made unfounded assertion.

    I take your last paragraph as a threat. You, have suggested that I must beware; your bloviation includes faux legalistic mumbo jumbo indicating that I must change what I do, or stop talking, or something, in order to mitigate against your threat. Anyone who has such a threat for me needs to follow through by contacting Ms. Waite, the person in charge of s Greg Laden’s Blog Department of Threats. Her first name is Helen. If you want to pursue the whole threat thing with me, you need to go to Helen Waite.

    That is all. You are dismissed.

  13. #13 Jesse
    February 1, 2015

    You know, anyone who pulls out pseudo-legal jargon like that generally doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    Dude, libel law doesn’t apply to “unfounded allegations,” and it surely doesn’t apply here, not even if you were to jurisdiction-shop to India or the UK.

    Aristotle isn’t proving that he understands much — would he expect a detailed proof of Arrhenius’ greenhouse law? Heck, why not the second aw of thermodynamics while we are at it?

  14. #14 Aristotle
    Frankfurt
    February 1, 2015

    So you claim to have read the paper of the gang of four, but yet you again give a rather woolly account of what you find untrue within the science of it’s content. It isn’t a question of making Soon change his mind, but rather to convince others that he, or his associates have made some error. Merely naming the URLs for some objections by others, does not actually constitute any such valid criticism though.

    You misunderstand. Certainly there is a threat, and You have exposed yourself to this, by making remarks, and statements which could cause Soon to lose funding, which you have not justified. It matters not who might gain from that, or where the lost funds might then end up.

    Merely this, that you intended that Soon should lose the funds by being removed from his position at cfa. You realized that such unproven, or bogus allegations would be promoted by you and others, hence 18 U.S.C. 1343 is relevant.

    Who is Helen Waite exactly, and how might a person contact her? I suspect that neither Soon nor any of the others would search her out though, but a simple report to the local sheriff , or police would suffice. Still assuming that you are in touch with Ms Waite, then you ought to make her aware of, 18 U.S.C. 1343, as it may apply to you, in this case.

    You have devised a scheme based on unfounded 3rd party allegations, to discredit Soon in particular, and deprive Soon of moneys and/or standing, and you have used electronic communications across State Lines to do so.

    This IS Wire Fraud. You lay yourself open to prosecution. I am not making any threats, but you exposed yourself to this.

    See these precedents for example –
    “The elements of wire fraud under Section 1343 directly parallel those of the mail fraud statute, but require the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme.” United States v. Briscoe, 65 F.3d 576, 583 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing United States v. Ames Sintering Co., 927 F.2d 232, 234 (6th Cir. 1990) (per curiam)); United States v. Frey, 42 F.3d 795, 797 (3d Cir. 1994) (wire fraud is identical to mail fraud statute except that it speaks of communications transmitted by wire); see also, e.g., United States v. Profit, 49 F.3d 404, 406 n. 1 (8th Cir.) (the four essential elements of the crime of wire fraud are: (1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money; (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud; (3) that it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used; and (4) that interstate wire communications were in fact used)

    You may think this an enjoyable game of taunting Soon, but he or indeed the Smithsonian may take a more litigious view. Do you see?

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    Aristotle. What hubris in your choice of name! And would the original approve of your efforts to silence those with whom you disagree with absurd threats? There is no enjoyable game, here, and it really is time for you to go away.

    Who is Helen Waite? She can tell you better than I. Go to Helen Waite.

  16. #16 Aristotle
    Frankfurt
    February 1, 2015

    Mr. Laden, you entirely misunderstand my motives.

    It is not “hubris” as you put it, to choose that name. Literally this; I do not expect unquestioning obedience, because of pride or presumption, in the use of the moniker. I use the moniker as an indication that my standpoint in this discussion is akin to that of the Greek Philosopher Aristotle of Stagira, Chalkidice. You can read all of his works at the archive at MIT, here – – –
    http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Aristotle.html

    It is not my intention to silence your (or any other person’s) right to criticise the science within ANY paper or hypothesis, but what I am saying is that it ought to be on the basis of some scientific rational, do you see?

    When you, or indeed any other person approaches the issue in hand, from a standpoint of criticising the person, rather than what they have stated, then this is illogical, and indeed dangerous territory, both in terms of the debate, and from an unnecessary legal risk to which you expose yourself.

    Your participation in those attacks upon the character of Soon, is sophistry really, because it does not disprove what Soon or the others had written in their paper. It is illogical.

    In the words of my far more illustrious predecessor – – –

    “A sophistical refutation is a refutation not absolutely but relatively to some one: and so is a proof, in the same way. For unless that which depends upon ambiguity assumes that the ambiguous term has a single meaning, and that which depends on like verbal forms assumes that substance is the only category, and the rest in the same way, there will be neither refutations nor proofs, either absolutely or relatively to the answerer: whereas if they do assume these things, they will stand, relatively to the answerer; but absolutely they will not stand: for they have not secured a statement that does have a single meaning, but only one that appears to have, and that only from this particular man.” – OSR 8, para 3 (W. A. Pickard translation)

    I went to Linkedin, and there are very many persons with the name Helen Waite, and none of them however appear to be linked to You or Your web presence though – – –
    “View the profiles of professionals named Helen Waite on LinkedIn. There are 25 professionals named Helen Waite, who use LinkedIn”

    Please do present some logical argument as to why Soon and the others in the gang of four are wrong in their assumptions, or in their hypothesis, which has been peer reviewed apparently. Please do not however apply sophistical refutations involving direct or indirect attacks upon the person, because this does not in fact refute the hypothesis of the gang of four, do you see? I certainly hope so this time.

  17. #17 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    The original Aristotle kept back human knowledge by centuries, though he thought he was doing the opposite. This newer and less improved model seems to be doing that deliberately. If I understand the broken version of Aristotle here, stating the observed facts about Willie Soon is, and I am quoting Broken Aristotle here, “actionable.”

    Hey, Deteriorated Aristotle! Willie Soon failed to disclose who his employers are when he was required to do so. Now then, please sue me for writing that: My name is David Rice, and you can have the tort litigation papers served to me on Fridays and Sundays at the FBI Substation at Shiprock during business hours—- just ask the desk duty officer to summon me and I’ll be right down.

    By the way, SLAPP suits are not only against the law, but the abuser can be sued for the abuse. Do you own anything I’d like to have?

  18. #18 Aristotle
    Frankfurt
    February 1, 2015

    Dear Desertphile, exactly how do you reckon that the original Aristotle “kept back human knowledge by centuries” ?

    Again you attack the person. It matters not one jot whether Soon had disclosed these matters to his employers or not. That does not refute what he or the others in the gang of four had stated in their paper, published in the Chinese Science Bulletin. This is the point made by the original Aristotle, in the writings qouted (OSR 8, para 3), and indeed elsewhere in the treatise On Sophistical Refutations.

    Virtually all of the refutations on this page about the matter of that Paper, and its authors are sophistical. They are false arguments, and do not disprove the hypothesis of the gang of four, and are therefore valueless badinage, in terms of the debate.

    You make some statement about Soon and his employers, and then invite me to sue you for that, but I am not in the least slighted by your allegations, so don’t expect me to get a plane to New Mexico anytime soon. In any case your statement is vague, and ill defined, and again does not refute what he had stated, with regard to the veracity or otherwise of the published scientific paper.

    It matters not whether Soon, or indeed any of the others in the gang of four, have any scientific credentials whatsoever. The truth is the truth, and the paper was peer reviewed and published in an accredited scientific journal. If you have any valid scientific criticism to make of it, then please do so.

    I do not claim to have any authority whatsoever, save that which is implied by my knowledge of logic, and I hope to persuade others to use logical argument, and not resort to sophistry, because sophistry is a distraction.

    You however on the other hand choose to imply that you are somehow connected with the FBI, and as such make use of the argumentum ad baculum, (argument to the cudgel), which again is another example of a logical fallacy. In any case it is not me whom you slight, as I have stated, and so I have no cause to sue you in this matter.

    Your comment adds nothing to the debate in terms of valid critique of the paper, or indeed the hypothesis. I do hope that you will take the trouble to read Aristotle, and maybe Socrates as well, then you will be better versed to put your arguments in a logical fashion.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    LOL Aristotle of Frankfurt. Hou really need to go to Helen Waite.

  20. #20 dean
    February 1, 2015

    I do not claim to have any authority whatsoever, save that which is implied by my knowledge of logic

    So you have no authority at all, since your logic sucks.

    God what an overly self-important ass you are.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    And will he ever manage to get to Helen Waite?

  22. #22 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    Dear Desertphile, exactly how do you reckon that the original Aristotle “kept back human knowledge by centuries” ?

    #1: I am not your dear, and I’m not interested in dating you.

    #2: Aristotle taught his students how to defend a proposition they believed to be true even if it was false. This is the exact opposite of how humanity learns what is true and what is false. Propositions are to be refuted by argument, not defending by argument.

    #3 All of the Stoics, including Aristotle’s teacher Plato, were poisoned by Pythagoras in this regard, so it wasn’t only Aristotle to blame.

    #4 Aristotle’s use of syllogism can be used, and has been used for centuries, to “prove” that which is false.

    #5 Right up to the time of Francis Bacon, Aristotle’s dicta was held as gospel, even against indisputable and irrefutable evidence showing he was wrong: “the ancients” were perceived by Christians and Christianity as exalted and more educated and more intelligent than modern humans.

    #6 What he could not explain by reason, he attributed to magic.

    #7 He some times advocated democracy, but applied only against the poor and only to be engaged in by “the best [people] among the poor.” This injurious teaching was embraced by Feudalism and tyrants for over 1,500 years as the most enlightened and liberal law of governance.

    All of these traits, and more, that Aristotle taught and advocated conspired to hold back human understanding.

  23. #23 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    God what an overly self-important ass you are.

    But at least he isn’t calling himself “Galileo Galilei.”

  24. #24 Dan J. Andrews
    February 1, 2015

    Heh, have to confess I didn’t catch the Helen Waite reference till the second reading (but I was skimming).

    Desertphile is correct about Aristotle holding back human knowledge. In our biology courses we often were given references as to how the available evidence contradicted Aristotle’s claims so the available evidence was ignored or disputed because of the perception of the ancients being wiser and more educated. Typically, advances in science and understanding could have been made centuries earlier if people hadn’t been overly influenced by Aristotle’s opinions.

  25. #25 Sebastian Sassi
    United States
    February 1, 2015

    Aristotle’s obvious trolling is so obvious that he doesn’t know he’s being trolled.

    Anyway, Ms. Waite’s dept is probably not that busy lately as most threats here have been pretty lame. But she’ll get to you soon.

    Signed,
    Plato

  26. #26 John Mashey
    February 1, 2015

    See p.17 of Heartland Environment and Clmate News.
    Willie Soon writes not about Mercury, but mercury in fish, which he considers Not A Problem/, although others might.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2015

    And his co-author had no problem with the Ozone Hole back in the day. Who are these people????

  28. #28 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    Typically, advances in science and understanding could have been made centuries earlier if people hadn’t been overly influenced by Aristotle’s opinions.

    There are even a few books on the subject, with many examples. The complete works of Aristotle (that are known) are available for free in several formats, and I have a copy for my Kindle Paperwhite reader. Perhaps in ancient Greece some of his teachings were cutting-edge: he said nothing my grandparents didn’t tell me.

  29. #29 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico (yes, that's in the USA)
    February 1, 2015

    Willie Soon writes not about Mercury, but mercury in fish, which he considers Not A Problem.

    And leaded gasoline. Good shit, that stuff: when inside the young human brain, it inhibits the superego and unleashes the id to wreak havoc. Increase environmental lead, and violence will increase about 14 years later as infants become strong enough and unsupervised enough to maim and kill and not know why.

    I wonder how many people were murdered and maimed due to environmental lead that would not have been if the scientists who said lead isn’t a problem had not said so.

    Dr. Mann suggested that some anti-reality pro-free market scientists might be sociopaths who just don’t care about human life. I wonder if Dr. Soon is one of them.

  30. #30 Marco
    February 2, 2015

    Since Aristotle so desperately wants criticism of the actual paper, allow me to provide some that makes it clear why the discussion on funding sources isn’t quite so irrelevant as he thinks it is.

    It’s figure 1 that immediately sets the tone and shows that the authors are biased. In the figure they compare supposed predictions to the actual observations. Let’s for a moment ignore the error of describing the observations as being from a lot of different temperature records – in reality they only showed an average of the UAH and RSS satellite temperature series. Why take those two, when the projections (I will get back to that) actually look at the surface temperatures, not at the lower troposphere temperatures?
    This can be shown using the following graph, which plots the trends of the two satellite series (UAH and RSS) and two of the main surface temperature records (GISTEMP and HADCRUT4)
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/to/trend/plot/rss/from:1979/to/trend/offset:0.14/plot/uah/from:1979/to/trend/offset:0.24/plot/gistemp/from:1979/to/trend/offset:-0.11

    Notice anything in the trends? Those of the satellite series are clearly smaller than those of the surface series. There are other surface records (JMA, NCDC) which are very similar to GISTEMP and HADCRUT4.
    So, we have our first cherry pick: the satellite series, even though the model projections are all compared to the surface series. This inflates the difference.

    Then there is a much more blatant example of bias: the “predictions” they claim in their figure 1 are actuall projections, i.e., they are conditional on various scenarious. Hansen scenario A, for example, projected a much faster increase in forcing than happened in practice. His scenario B was much closer to reality. And yet, they only show scenario A. Why? Obviously because it increases the difference between the (conditional) prediction and the observation. A very similar story goes for the FAR ‘prediction’, where again the most extreme scenario is taken, while reality came much closer to other scenarios, which would cut the predicted temperature by more than half. Again this artificially inflates the difference between (conditional) prediction and the observation.

    That is, each and every selection in this graph is misleading and designed to artifically inflate the difference between model predictions and the observations. None of this is explicitly acknowledged. Figure 1 alone would be enough for the journals I am involved in on the Editorial Board to request a thorough investigation by the academic institutions and/companies involved in the paper. That investigation would need to find out whether this selection bias was conscious (i.e., did the authors discuss which series and predictions to select and did they provide solid academic reasons), or unconscious (i.e., a result of confirmation bias, which must have been very strong here).

  31. #31 cosmicomics
    Denmark
    February 2, 2015

    Aristotle’s performance was magnificent – like a comic character from a novel by Fielding come to life.

    Re. the paper, which I haven’t read:

    “It matters not whether Soon, or indeed any of the others in the gang of four, have any scientific credentials whatsoever. The truth is the truth, and the paper was peer reviewed and published in an accredited scientific journal.”

    Christopher Monckton doesn’t have any scientific credentials, but he does have a fairly consistent track record.
    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

    “Briefly, Mr. Monckton makes a number of scientific assertions about (1) the efficacy of warming from CO2, (2) the benefits of elevated CO2, (3) the relationship between CO2 and ocean acidification, (4) recent global temperature trends, (5) and the sensitivity of the climate to CO2. He has also claimed that (6) there is no need to take quick action to address the changing climate. In all cases, Mr. Monckton’s assertions are shown to be without merit – they are based on a thorough misunderstanding of the science of climate change.”
    CLIMATE SCIENTISTS RESPOND
    Response to the Written Testimony of Christopher Monckton In Connection With the May 6, 2010 Hearing Before the Select Committee On Energy Independence and Global Warming
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-response.pdf

    Wouldn’t Monckton’s participation call into question the seriousness of any scientific project with which he was associated, and wouldn’t a collaboration with Monckton reflect poorly on Soon’s scientific judgement?

    The paper was reviewed by and published in the Chinese Science Bulletin. Does anyone know whether the Bulletin and its reviewers have any expertise in the paper’s subject matter? Does anyone know how the reviewers were selected? Does anyone know if the authors attempted to have their paper accepted by another journal, before approaching the Chinese Science Bulletin?
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/clouds-over-peer-review.html

  32. #32 anthrosciguy
    February 2, 2015

    “Who are these people????”

    Reminds me one of the best Jack in the Box commercials:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRO9Uwm1tes

    It’s funny cause it’s true.

  33. […] Willie Soon Gate […]

  34. #35 tomasyn
    February 22, 2015

    Helen Waite gave me such a laugh, thanks – I’ll always have the memory of Aristotle doing a LinkedIn search for Helen Waite…

  35. #36 climatehawk1
    February 22, 2015

    Re Aristotle, perhaps the choice is an intentional one (I’m just being facetious). There is a wonderful discussion of Aristotle and his role in the creation of the Western worldview in Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” a terrific book that I would strongly recommend to anyone who hasn’t run across it.

    In the following passage, Pirsig’s protagonist encounters Aristotle for the first time:

    “Rhetoric is an art, Aristotle began, because it can be reduced to a rational system of order.

    “That just left Phædrus aghast. Stopped. He’d been prepared to decode messages of great subtlety, systems of great complexity in order to understand the deeper inner meaning of Aristotle, claimed by many to be the greatest philosopher of all time. And then to get hit, right off, straight in the face, with an asshole statement like that! It really shook him.”

  36. #37 Craig Thomas
    February 22, 2015

    Cosmicomics asks:
    “Wouldn’t Monckton’s participation call into question the seriousness of any scientific project with which he was associated, and wouldn’t a collaboration with Monckton reflect poorly on Soon’s scientific judgement?”

    It sure does to my mind – why would you collaborate on a research project with a person (Monckton) who lacks any qualification in the area but who does have a very long history of making inanely false assertions?

    I mean, what was there again…
    – allows himself to be misrepresetned as a “scientist”.
    – falsely claims to be a mathematician
    – claims to have been a science advisor to Margaret Thatcher (who herself was an actual science graduate)
    – makes up some bizarre lies about having to sell his house, apparently in order to seek attention from the media
    – claims to have invented a cure for AIDS and a raft of other diseases
    – lied to the US Congress about being a member of the UK House of Lords.

    …and Soon wants this idiot’s name on his “deliverables”?