Respectful Insolence

How to respond to annoying reviewers…

You know, I have three manuscripts in the hopper with two of them having recently been returned to me with reviewers’ comments. Frustratingly, one of these is a manuscript that I’ve been trying to get published for nearly a year now. Given that I appear to have some work to do over the long holiday weekend coming up in order to answer reviewer criticisms and get the manuscripts ready for resubmission (you know what I’ll be doing either Friday or Saturday–and it won’t be shopping), I truly appreciate this bit of advice on how to deal with the wayward reviewer who doesn’t appreciate the importance of my work, sent my way by DrugMonkey

I think Hitler may have a point here. (Watch for some crank to quote mine that!) It really is always the last reviewer, especially when there are three reviews. In any case, personally, unless the journal’s Cancer Research or above, in general I don’t do lots of extra experiments to get a manuscript accepted; that is, unless the reviewer points out something I clearly missed or an obvious control that would strengthen the paper a lot, which happens on occasion. Experiments that can be done quickly I’ll also consider doing, but I won’t go hog wild and do new animal experiments or start constructing scads of new plasmids just to get a single paper accepted, particularly if I have no real use for the data and assays otherwise.

Instead, if I can’t persuade the reviewers, I’ll just withdraw the submission and send it to a different journal. Amusingly, though, there has been one time a few years ago when the original submission went to a lesser journal and got reviews like the one above. I actually did the extra experiments, back then not being confident enough to argue with reviewers why they were superfluous. After I had done the extra experiments and made the revisions, I decided that the paper was now too good for the original journal. So I withdrew the submission and sent it to a better one.

And I got it accepted too. Sadly that is a one-time event in my career.

Comments

  1. #1 BladeDoc
    November 25, 2009

    What movie is this?

  2. #2 Alex R
    November 25, 2009
  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    November 25, 2009

    BladeDoc,

    It’s Downfall. Recaptioning this scene has been an Internet meme for a while now — some of them have turned out quite funny.

  4. #4 Harry Eagar
    November 25, 2009

    Considering what I know to be your views about climate, I wouldn’t let this post be found by any ClimateGate critics, Orac.

  5. #5 Joseph
    November 25, 2009

    One of the emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) has been interpreted by the deniers as an attempt to subvert the peer-review process. In reality, it was speculation regarding one particular editor who is suspected to be a denier who infiltrated a journal, and who was apparently ignoring peer-reviewers. What the email said is that if they had proof, they could get the guy fired or something to that effect.

    I’m sure it was embarrassing for that to be made public, but it was not what the deniers say it is.

    Either way, I’m wondering if infiltration of the peer-review process by woo-meisters is a new tactic.

    Case in point, a recent autism-related incident: The Adams chelation study, published at BMC Clinical Pharmacology. It’s a randomized trial that doesn’t find between-group differences, but the spin of the paper is that both groups benefited.

    The paper is “peer reviewed” and you can look at the reviews at BioMed Central (BMC). The peer reviewers are none other than Richard Deth and Raymond Palmer, who are two well-known mercury militia researchers, very invested in mercury-related hypotheses. How is it even possible that the peer reviewers would be these two guys?

  6. #6 Scientizzle
    November 25, 2009

    Get your Hilter-Downfall meme info here

  7. #8 Mark P
    November 26, 2009

    I’m sure it was embarrassing for that to be made public, but it was not what the deniers say it is.

    Think now. If Orac saw the goings on which we see in those climate papers in a medical journal, and wrote a scathing post, whose side would you be on? “Embarrassing” doesn’t begin to cover it.

    Fixed data. Smearing opponents. Dodgy peer review. Irregular methodology. One man, unchecked science. Lots of anecdotal evidence. All sounds pretty familiar in the medical area, except this time the anecdotes tend to involve polar bears. The medical equivalent regularly gets the beating it deserves here, but apparently climate science has a different set of rules.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. Read the released material at face value and it looks worse than shabby. Google the Harry-read-me.txt material is you want a laugh/sob.

    Of course that says nothing about what other climate scientists might be doing. Perhaps their material is above board. That’s why they release all the data and all the methodology. (Hint: this is sarcasm.)

  8. #9 trrll
    November 26, 2009

    The peer reviewers are none other than Richard Deth and Raymond Palmer, who are two well-known mercury militia researchers, very invested in mercury-related hypotheses. How is it even possible that the peer reviewers would be these two guys?

    I’m not sure there are legitimate scientific reasons to exclude Dr Deth, who is an academic pharmacologist with relevant research publications (I don’t know Palmer). However, it is disturbing that neither reviewer balked at the authors’ spinning a clear negative result in the original comparison to placebo endpoint so strongly as a positive result in a placebo controlled trial. The citing of the literature is also severely out of balance, with little acknowledgement of contrary views.

  9. #10 trrll
    November 26, 2009

    If Orac saw the goings on which we see in those climate papers in a medical journal, and wrote a scathing post, whose side would you be on?

    I doubt if Orac would make judgments based on selected stolen emails. I imagine that there are very few scientists who could not be made to seem to be doing something improper by private communications quoted out of context. As a biologist, I find the level of transparency & data sharing in the climate science community to be quite admirable.

  10. #11 DrFrank
    November 26, 2009

    Well, it’s nice to see that climate change denial has been reduced to stealing personal emails and using them out of context in an attempt to smear a few academics.

    Also, what’s with this constant fixation on that single decade-old “hockey stick” graph? If that graph were shown to be completely fraudulent in every possible way it would make bugger all difference, as the basic conclusions are supported by thousands of independent peer-reviewed papers.

  11. #12 Joseph
    November 26, 2009

    I’m not sure there are legitimate scientific reasons to exclude Dr Deth, who is an academic pharmacologist with relevant research publications (I don’t know Palmer).

    I’m not concerned so much about their qualifications. I just think it’s strange that exactly these two guys would turn out to be the peer reviewers. (Normally, we wouldn’t even know who the peer reviewers are.)

    Dr. Deth once called Kathleen Seidel to try to convince her about the mercury hypothesis (which was the anti-vax hypothesis at the time.) He ended a subsequent letter with this: “I would like to make a virtual wager that within the next 18-24 months scientific evidence will make the thimerosal-autism link a near certainty. If you are willing, I’ll let you name the stakes.” That was in March 2006.

    Dr. Palmer has produced two papers doing basically the same analysis: Associating mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in Texas to the administrative prevalence of autism by school district. He attended a rally/demonstration in Texas with other parents of autistic children to protest coal-fired power plants.

    I suppose it’s possible that the editors simply looked for researchers who had done other work on mercury and autism. The results of this method don’t give me much confidence in the process, though.

  12. #13 Enkidu
    November 26, 2009

    We recently submitted a paper and got back comments from 3 reviewers… over 30 questions to be answered! There were a couple of “easy” experiments mentioned that we should do, so we spent the 6 week resubmission period doing those and answering all the reviewers comments (almost a manuscript in and of itself!).

    Send that all back to the editor… no lie, a few hours later, paper accepted. No way the editor read all that!

  13. #14 Katharine
    November 26, 2009

    Obligatory –

    Hitler has only got one ball
    Goering has two but they are small
    Himmler has something similar
    And poor Goebbels has no balls at all

    Hitler has only got one ball
    Mussolini has two, but small
    Stalin, he was three-ballin’
    And that’s the dictator’s rise and fall

    Hitler has only got one ball
    The other is in the Albert Hall
    His mother, the dirty bugger,
    Cut it off when Hitler was small

    She threw it into East Germany
    It landed between the deep blue sea
    The fishes got out their dishes
    And had scallops and bollocks for tea

  14. #15 trrll
    November 26, 2009

    I’m not concerned so much about their qualifications. I just think it’s strange that exactly these two guys would turn out to be the peer reviewers.

    Most journals ask the authors for suggested reviewers, and often follow the suggestions if the suggested reviewers are qualified and have no immediate conflicts (you probably won’t get away with suggesting your collaborator). Most journals use anonymous reviews, but not all (and many fields are small enough that one has a good idea, anyway). I suspect that Dr Deth got sucked into the mercury/vaccine story because it seemed consistent with some of his basic research findings. It can be very seductive when things just seem to “fit.”

  15. #16 DLC
    November 26, 2009

    There’s a scene in another movie wherein Ike and the senior command staff are discussing the D-Day invasion, and Ike finally says “Go” that would make for a good “okay, we’ll submit it for peer review” clip. Except it’s in English, and subtitles in the same language would be silly.

  16. #17 Phoenix Woman
    November 26, 2009

    The climate-change denialists spend a lot of money pushing lies. Luckily, they’re not hard to debunk.

    By the way, FDL’s looking forward to having DeSmog Blog founder James Hoggan on with his book, The Great Climate Coverup on the December 6 book salon.  In the mean time, check out DeSmog Blog for more sanity in a world of Exxon-funded “expert” nonsense about the “climate change” emails.

  17. #18 Mark P
    November 27, 2009

    Well, it’s nice to see that climate change denial has been reduced to stealing personal emails and using them out of context in an attempt to smear a few academics.

    Some nice non-reasoning here.

    Some rotten apples in the “denial” basket – so we throw the lot out. Some rotten apples in the “warming” basket – no problem, they aren’t representative.

    You use the word “few” to describe hundreds of relevant documents. Many of which are very detailed. (The e-mail portion, by the way, is not the important bit. That would be the files where they discuss how they are removing data they don’t like and making up data they do like.)

    Then you resort to ad hominen, assuming that the only use the documents have been put to is as a “smear”. Yet if you go to the best “denial” sites you will see that serious work is being put into analysing them. Sure they are having fun laughing at their opponents. But no worse than what you engage in above.

    Note: the provenance of the documents is of zero relevance except as evidence in some legal proceedings. They are either true or false. I note you don’t even claim them to be false.

    If they cannot support the “deny” claim, show that. Don’t resort to arguing that they can be ignored because you happen to not approve that the person leaked them. But you don’t need evidence of theft, do you?

    Also, what’s with this constant fixation on that single decade-old “hockey stick” graph?

    Because that graph, changed the paradigm. After that point it was easy to support warming and hard to deny.

    So now the burden of evidence has swung to the “deny” crowd, while the “warm” crowd can say outlandish things with impunity.

    Worst of all, the data and the techniques the “hockey stick” is based on is actually what almost all following climate assessments use.

    Follow this link back to the original data:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/uh-oh-raw-data-in-new-zealand-tells-a-different-story-than-the-official-one/
    Don’t trust the “deniers”. Go to the original source and you will see that the straightforward collection of temperatures over a century, which shows no warming, is “adjusted” to show the correct result.

    What annoys me is that in twenty years you won’t be able to find a “warmer”. Everyone will always have been a “denier”.

  18. #19 Orac
    November 27, 2009

    What annoys me is that in twenty years you won’t be able to find a “warmer”. Everyone will always have been a “denier”.

    ROTFLMAO!

    Wanna bet?

  19. #20 trrll
    November 27, 2009

    Also, what’s with this constant fixation on that single decade-old “hockey stick” graph? If that graph were shown to be completely fraudulent in every possible way it would make bugger all difference, as the basic conclusions are supported by thousands of independent peer-reviewed papers.

    The interesting thing is that this is not at all unique to climate-change denialism. Evolution denialists attack Darwin. Germ theory denialists attack Pasteur. AIDS denialists attack Gallo. It is as diagnostic as a tinfoil hat–even if they sound superficially reasonable at first, it invariably turns out to be wrapped around a hard core of paranoia.

    It is so different from the way scientists think that it seems almost incomprehensible. Scientists are always interested in the latest, most comprehensive data and methods. Why would anybody want to debate the early work? The early work may be of historical interest, but it invariably has limitations and methodological weaknesses that have been ironed out by later studies. But of course, if denialists engaged fully with the literature and the huge mass of evidence, they wouldn’t be denialists.

    Denialists do not see scientists as a disorganized band of individuals each hoping to prove everybody else wrong, but rather as a huge game of follow the leader. In the denialist universe, a few dreadfully flawed papers by a single scientist somehow (they are never very clear about how this happens) instantly creates an orthodoxy. Everybody else immediately jumps on the bandwagon to get published or funded. They all then conspire to deny access to the tiny but brave band of mavericks who challenge the orthodoxy. If one can disprove the original work that started the whole thing, then the Emperor’s New Clothes will be revealed as the fraud they are, and the entire edifice will come tumbling down like a house of cards. Most denialists came late to the party, and since they haven’t read the literature (aside from what they see as the “key” papers), they are unaware that the actual history if the field is quite different than they imagine–that instead of everybody jumping on the bandwagon at once in response to the original papers, it is a story of individual investigators, one at a time, slowly becoming convinced by their own work that the primary conclusions are broadly correct. The “brave mavericks” usually turn out to be die-hards who either had retired from actual research (and thus never had the opportunity to be convinced by their own work), or else people from other fields who imagine that their expertise in that field has bestowed upon them such brilliant scientific intuition that they can now see the truth in a different field without actually bothering to do the work.

    This is at the basis of the perpetual demand for access to primary data. The Climate Change field is almost unique in that a huge amount of the primary data, and even much of the analysis tools, has been made publicly accessible. Climate Change contrarians pore over it, looking for errors. And of course they find them, because any scientific work has errors, just as any book has typos. Yet despite years of “auditing,” not one error has been found that alters the conclusions in any important way. To scientists, this is not surprising, because in practice, mistakes in scientific data, being random tend to cancel out. The way serious errors in science get caught is not by “auditing,” but by different scientists carrying out similar studies by somewhat different methodology, and getting different results. Yet climate change denialists never attempt this–they just demand more and more data. The real reason is that they are not interested in reproducing the work; they are already absolutely convinced that it is wrong, so why even bother to try? What they are looking for is proof of malfeasance, because they are convinced that the entire field is not merely in error but intentionally fraudulent (why huge numbers of scientists, who entered a relatively modestly-remunerated profession out of a desire for discovery, would end up wasting their careers knowingly perpetuating a fraud is another question denialists never seem to confront).

    Having failed to find it in the data (which only convinces them that the data made available is not the “real” data), they are now seeking it in stolen correspondence. And just as it is always possible to find mistakes in scientific data, it is always possible to find examples of people behaving badly in private correspondence, or that at least saying things that can be interpreted as such. And just as they have seized on any little error in the data as evidence that it is all unreliable, they will seize upon each incautious remark as proof of what they already know in their hearts–that everybody in the field is colluding in a grand conspiracy.

  20. #21 D. C. Sessions
    November 27, 2009

    trrl@20:

    The interesting thing is that this is not at all unique to climate-change denialism. Evolution denialists attack Darwin. Germ theory denialists attack Pasteur. AIDS denialists attack Gallo. It is as diagnostic as a tinfoil hat–even if they sound superficially reasonable at first, it invariably turns out to be wrapped around a hard core of paranoia.

    Damn — that turns on some serious lights.

    Is this observation original, or do we owe someone else credit?

    I ask because this has the makings of a serious Internet Law comparable to Godwin’s.

    Anyone else?

  21. #22 Dedj
    November 27, 2009

    I believe it has been around for some time now, definetly before the interwebs.

    I suggest it is similar to, if not an actual version of, the genetic fallacy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy

  22. #23 Mark P
    November 27, 2009

    trrl left out a few:

    Inherited characteristic denialists attack Lamarck and Lysenko.
    Peptic ulcer denialists attack the stress/food consensus.
    And you have to see the really loopy science the quantum types come up with when they deny Newton and Maxwell! Pure giggles!

    The tin foil hat brigade is everywhere! It extends out of just science too …

    Repression denialists attack Freud.
    Socialist denialists attack Marx.

    Will people never realise how serious it is to deny consensus!

  23. #24 Mooloo
    November 27, 2009

    What annoys me is that in twenty years you won’t be able to find a “warmer”. Everyone will always have been a “denier”.

    ROTFLMAO!

    Wanna bet?

    Of course I want to bet! But 20 years is a long way out.

    I’ve been following the climate denial evidence for the last month. I have enough Science to make sense of much of it (Chemistry to post-grad, plus reasonable Physics and Maths) and I teach Maths, so can handle most of the Statistics.

    Previously I thought the science was sewn up, although I disliked the “solutions”, and this would be my first steps into “denial” of any sort. Mostly I’m a SBM type guy.

    The denialist support crew are mostly quite loopy. Claims of conspiracy and fraud abound, based on little or nothing. Their politics is often quite offensive to me as well (Obama being a fully paid up Marxist is a fairly moderate position). I am sure their political nonsense puts off people who would otherwise believe them.

    However, if you ignore the politics and follow the science, they have a very strong argument. Firstly, don’t fall for the straw man that they are denying warming out of hand. We have known for a long time the earth is more or less warming. The issues are the rate of warming (and more specifically the acceleration of the rate) and the cause.

    I’ll ignore the leaked documents, as they tend to inflame the warmers.

    Try this graph:
    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Armagh_an.html
    That’s 160 years of not very much warming!

    In fact it is pretty representative. If you go to any long record of temperature and see the base data, you will get the same thing. For stations in towns there tends to be a slight gradual warming, as the urban heat island effects take hold, but nothing too major. Rural stations show a very slow warming, and no acceleration.

    (Make sure you get the base data, as the warmers have a tendency to add “corrections” and then publish it as if it was the actual values on the thermometers.)

    The dodgy warming is mostly a result of cherry picking which stations to use, with the warmers picking and choosing which to use based on very little other than what result they want. The science in it beggars belief.
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_Part2_GlobalTempMeasure.htm

    Now I realise Orac that you won’t have time to follow all of this. Nor should you IMO. You are doing a sterling job with your field of expertise. I am posting because I know many people with enough science to follow this come here.

  24. #25 Orac
    November 27, 2009

    You do realize, of course, that citing Steve Milloy for climate science is akin to citing Mike Adams or Joseph Mercola for medical matters. In fact, his “ultimate global warming challenge” reminds me, more than anything else, of Jock Doubleday’s “vaccine challenge” or creationists who issue “challenges” to evolutionists.

    Oh, and I have been following the science as best as a physician can, which is why I see so many similarities between AGW denialist arguments and those of supporters of alt-med and creationism.

  25. #26 Harry Eagar
    November 27, 2009

    Sure, Orac, I’ll bet. You name the stake.

  26. #27 Joseph C.
    November 27, 2009

    I know fuck all about climate science, but Climategate is a transparent fraud. What kind of sap believes that scientific questions are answered by stolen emails, conspiracy theories, Rush Limbaugh, and congressional hearings?

  27. #28 trrll
    November 28, 2009

    Inherited characteristic denialists attack Lamarck and Lysenko.
    Peptic ulcer denialists attack the stress/food consensus.
    And you have to see the really loopy science the quantum types come up with when they deny Newton and Maxwell! Pure giggles!

    Except, of course, that real science does not work the way that denialists imagine that it does. Natural selection did not win out by virtue of attacks on Lamark, but by discovery of evidence supporting natural selection rather than acquired characteristics (actually, Darwin and Lamark were not as opposed as some oversimplified modern accounts make it appear; Darwin himself proposed some hypotheses that were very similar to Lamark’s, but which turned out to be incorrect). Lysenko, of course, was a genetics and natural selection denialist, and a good example of the damage that can be done to science when denialists succeed in using politics to suppress valid science. The stress consensus of peptic ulcer causation was not overturned by attacking the original papers that suggested causation by stress; it was overturned by new studies providing compelling new data that was consistent with the infection hypothesis, but not with the older stress hypothesis. And quantum theorists never attacked Newton; they carried out additional experiments, showing that there were experimental paradigms in which the results could be explained by quantum theory and not by older theoretical frameworks.

    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen genuine scientists try to discredit decade-old papers in this way; it is pretty much exclusively the hallmark of the crackpot.

  28. #29 Mark P
    November 28, 2009

    which is why I see so many similarities between AGW denialist arguments and those of supporters of alt-med and creationism.

    Accepted. I did say, from the start, that supporters of non-AGW contain many that are loopy. You have to look past that. You say I cite Steve Milloy. I never did. I said look at the original data.

    If you go to the actual temperature readings for places you see very little warming. Look at the actual values for places like Armagh. Now ask yourself, why those values are flat. Why are they not curving upwards?

    Then look what people do with that data, and ask – does that seem reasonable? Much data is freely available, and most of it is not in dispute.

    The stress consensus of peptic ulcer causation was not overturned by attacking the original papers that suggested causation by stress; it was overturned by new studies providing compelling new data that was consistent with the infection hypothesis, but not with the older stress hypothesis.

    And the climate sceptics publish papers on a regular basis that show the CO2 Anthropogenic Warming hypothesis is wrong. The sun-spot theorists are particularly active. What they can’t get is political traction. They are merely ignored by the warmers, and so most people don’t even know they are doing it.

    Now I don’t know if the sun-spot theory is correct, but you cannot merely claim that all the denialists do is attack the CO2 warmers. That is straight out untrue. Many are attached fervently to alternative hypothesis, and they reject the CO2 mechanism only indirectly.

    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen genuine scientists try to discredit decade-old papers in this way; it is pretty much exclusively the hallmark of the crackpot.

    I would suggest that you aren’t looking very hard, or rather you are looking in the wrong fields. Thing is, in most of science experiments settle arguments pretty quickly. Test and the answer pops out.

    Thing is, climate science is different from physics, chemistry or maths or medicine, because you can’t run an experiment on a big collider or field trials. My interest, prior to this, was history. It is absolutely standard for arguments in that field to go back decades. Does that make the new papers wrong? Hardly. It is just that it is not a subject where experiments are possible.

    However, the other way science advances is via predictions.

    AGW proponents claimed 10 years ago that the rate of warming was accelerating. They made a hard claim. It failed to come true. The world had cooled slightly since then.

    Call me a silly Billy, but they made a claim, and it was wrong. That means the onus is now on them to prove that they are still right. Yeah, yeah, they say that they will be proved right in the long run. Perhaps they will. But currently they have an issue with their predictions.

    What kind of sap believes that scientific questions are answered by stolen emails

    No-one here buddy. In fact I recall saying that I was going to ignore them and deal directly with the data. Not one citation in this discussion has come from them.

    But this post does show that the warmer crowd also deal in all the dirty tricks. Why raise it, except to cast aspersions?

    Here’s a trick though. If you are going to cast doubt on the leaked “e-mails”, take the time to find out that most of the leak wasn’t e-mails. The e-mails are incriminating, to be sure, but the real damage to the Hadley crew is that the methodology of its charts and calculations is exposed. The methodology that they have previously tried to hide.

  29. #30 D. C. Sessions
    November 28, 2009

    Inherited characteristic denialists attack Lamarck and Lysenko. Peptic ulcer denialists attack the stress/food consensus. And you have to see the really loopy science the quantum types come up with when they deny Newton and Maxwell! Pure giggles!

    Well, I do have to give partial credit for being less obvious about the “Gallileo Gambit.”

    Unfortunately for you, the key difference in this case is that in all of the above cases (and Gallileo’s, for that matter) the new approach was based on actually having, like, facts instead of just a chorus of “No!”

    If you want to play “Historical Rerun” the roles get handed out to the people who bring data to the table and those who stick fingers in their ears while attacking the ones with data.

  30. #31 Orac
    November 28, 2009

    Well, I do have to give partial credit for being less obvious about the “Gallileo Gambit.”

    I don’t. That was a pretty blatant example of an appeal to the Galileo gambit, and a scientifically ignorant one, to boot, particularly the bit about ulcers. In fact, the change of the scientific consensus from other causes of ulcers to implicating H. pylori happened astonishingly fast (about a decade, which is amazing for something like this) and its proponents were not nearly as reviled as denialists like to claim.

    Of course, as has been said many times before, to claim the mantle of Galileo, it’s not enough to promote a “heretical” viewpoint in science. One also has to be vindicated, to be proven right. Ain’t happened for AGW denialists, and it’s incredibly unlikely that it will happen.

  31. #32 Joseph C.
    November 28, 2009

    Here’s a trick though. If you are going to cast doubt on the leaked “e-mails”, take the time to find out that most of the leak wasn’t e-mails. The e-mails are incriminating, to be sure, but the real damage to the Hadley crew is that the methodology of its charts and calculations is exposed. The methodology that they have previously tried to hide.

    Ah, and you’ve read the code line-by-line and fully understand it. I see.

  32. #33 D. C. Sessions
    November 28, 2009

    That was a pretty blatant example of an appeal to the Galileo gambit, and a scientifically ignorant one, to boot, particularly the bit about ulcers.

    Of course it was blatant — which, compared to the usual invocation of the Gambit, is subtle indeed. Normally they just say The Name, because they haven’t Clue One what the actual controversy was about [1].

    The H. pylori story has its own legends among the alties, of course. Finding the climate denialists invoking the Warren and Marshall myth is just more proof of crank magnetism.

    [1] For that matter, most of us are off WRT Galileo — his big problem wasn’t science, it was venting his legendary spleen at the Pope (himself a naturalist of no small stature) personally. The saying is that “Newton was an asshole but gravity works.” Goes double for Galileo.

  33. #34 Joseph
    November 28, 2009

    If they cannot support the “deny” claim, show that.

    Nope. You need to show that they support the “deny” claim. I’ve seen the best the deniers got on this, and it’s not a whole lot. There’s just no evidence of wrongdoing from the leaked documents. There are only tortured interpretations of ambiguous statements and code.

    Follow this link back to the original data:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/uh-oh-raw-data-in-new-zealand-tells-a-different-story-than-the-official-one/
    Don’t trust the “deniers”. Go to the original source and you will see that the straightforward collection of temperatures over a century, which shows no warming, is “adjusted” to show the correct result.

    I believe deltoid has the correct read on this.

  34. #35 Joseph
    November 28, 2009

    Try this graph:
    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Armagh_an.html
    That’s 160 years of not very much warming!

    So a graph of Northern Ireland temperatures is your evidence that the planet is not warming?

    What else you got? I’m pretty familiar with the raw data.

  35. #36 trrll
    November 28, 2009

    The sun-spot theorists are particularly active. What they can’t get is political traction.

    No, what they can’t get is evidence. There is no change in the amount of solar energy coming from the sun, and no evidence of any other plausible mechanism to account for the changes in global temperature. So we have nothing but a correlation. It’s worth noting that the H. pylori guys started out with a correlation, but they at least had a plausible mechanism. That alone wasn’t enough to convince many people, but they collected more convincing data, and in relatively short order transformed the prevailing opinion of the biomedical community.

    Thing is, climate science is different from physics, chemistry or maths or medicine, because you can’t run an experiment on a big collider or field trials.

    Actually, much modern physics is done in mathematical simulations similar to those used in climate science. Many areas of science are largely observational–cosmology, astronomy, evolution, geology–so there is well established methodology. What distinguishes climate science is the huge amount of data available to test the predictions of physical models.

    AGW proponents claimed 10 years ago that the rate of warming was accelerating. They made a hard claim. It failed to come true. The world had cooled slightly since then.

    Except, of course, that this is not true. And if you’ve looked into even the basics of climate science, you know it is not true. Making patently false claims is another thing that leads people to classify you in the tinfoil hat crowd. In fact, runs of climate change models do not predict an inexorable rate of warming over 10 years. They predict large fluctuations up and down that in many runs are sufficient to obscure the warming trends over a decade or so.

    If you go to the actual temperature readings for places you see very little warming.

    So you cherry-pick records from a single location, discard corrections for known measurement errors without even bother to investigate the science behind those corrections, and even then you still see warming, but you dismiss it as “very little.” And you actually think that is evidence against global warming. Again, this is tinfoil hat argumentation.

  36. #37 Joseph
    November 28, 2009

    AGW proponents claimed 10 years ago that the rate of warming was accelerating.

    To expand on what trill said, even if the CO2 concentration were to continue to increase exponentially, temperatures will only continue increase linearly. The equilibrium temperature depends on CO2 logarithmically. For every doubling of the CO2 concentration, the equilibrium temperature might increase by 3C or so.

    If we’re near peak oil, the temperature anomaly might not even reach 1.5C. But we might get into a situation where we have to tackle two problems simultaneously: moderate warming and no oil.

    Let me make a specific prediction. Currently the rate of temperature change is roughly 2C/century. By the 1930s it might be only about 1.5C/century.

  37. #38 Joseph
    November 28, 2009

    Err – that’s by the 2030s.

  38. #39 D. C. Sessions
    November 29, 2009

    If we’re near peak oil, the temperature anomaly might not even reach 1.5C. But we might get into a situation where we have to tackle two problems simultaneously: moderate warming and no oil.

    That’s what put me in the “don’t sweat the details” camp. Regardless of the exact timing for peak oil, it’s coming during the 21st century. Regardless of the exact schedule for global climate change, it’s a Bad Thing over the next century. Regardless of the OPEC strategic plan, the demand for fossil fuels from China and other developing countries is going to make an economy based on cheap fossil fuels really, really unhealthy. Regardless of the details, the geopolitical costs of oil dependence are already extremely nasty.

    I don’t want to leave those four problems — which are mutually reinforcing — to my (hypothetical) grandchildren. Time to do rehab before cold turkey becomes the only option.

  39. #40 Harry Eagar
    November 29, 2009

    So, somebody lead me to the published global surface temperature observations that show that 2009 is warmer than 1909.

    Betcha can’t!

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