The Island of Doubt

What ails journalism

David Roberts at Grist, riffing on This American Life’s Ira Glass, nails it on the head:

“…news reporting is declining in part because of just this phenomenon: reporters do not react like human beings. The audience doesn’t see or hear themselves in most news reporting. When covering something amazing, reporters are not allowed express awe. When covering something unexpected, they’re not allowed to express surprise. And when faced with conservatives celebrating and reinforcing one another’s ignorance, they’re not allowed to show gall or outrage. Or mock.

People reading these stories get “the facts,” but facts without context or affect are inert. There are no cues about what the facts mean. The strongest cue is the presence of the story itself, which says, “These are legitimate participants in our political dialogue, with something to say worth repeating.”

That’s exactly how I feel. This is not something new, by the way, but a modus operandi that has been drilled into journalism students and cub reporters for decades. It simply doesn’t work. There are days I feel betrayed by the professors who taught me the fundamentals and the editors who helped me hone my skills. But it’s not really their fault. They were only passing on what was taught to them.

Perhaps this collapse of mainstream media we are seeing will result in something new in the way of a journalistic ethos: one that respects accuracy and evidence-based reportage, but isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

Comments

  1. #1 hibob
    February 12, 2010

    Be careful what you wish for: Fox News leads in adding mockery, outrage, and gall to their reporting. Some of it is even genuine.

  2. #2 the sage
    February 12, 2010

    James doesn’t even realize he is part of the problem. sad.

  3. #3 Lance
    February 12, 2010

    James,

    “Perhaps this collapse of mainstream media we are seeing will result in something new in the way of a journalistic ethos: one that respects accuracy and evidence-based reportage, but isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.”

    There are these things called “editorials” that allow the journalist to step forward and express his or her personal opinions. Your column is an example.

    These instruments present selective information designed to influence the opinion of the reader in favor of a biased perspective. They are clearly labeled as editorial, so as not to compromise the regular reportage which scrupulously strives to present information only. The ultimate goal is to let an informed reader draw his own conclusions. To do otherwise is to insult the reader and distort the purpose of a free press.

    To suggest that news reporters abandon impartiality indicates a serious and fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of journalism on your part. Such an “ethos” would of course be nothing new however. Propaganda has been around since the advent of the printed word and before.

    This is at least your second post advocating changes to journalism that would ensure that your favored views on climate change wouldn’t be challenged in the media.

    Does it even occur to you that you could be wrong?

    Even if you are correct and climate change presents an existential threat are you willing to reconfigure the rules of journalism in your zeal to see that your side of this one issue is accepted by the public? From my perspective the main stream media is already heavily biased in favor of advocacy on the topic, but I would recoil at the idea of abandoning an impartial press to win this one particular argument.

    At the risk of invoking Godwyn’s Law I have to say that it sounds like you are paraphrasing Joseph Goebbels, “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.” It seems that you are calling on “right thinking media” to “supervise” the information it presents on climate change to help form the “correct” public opinion.

    Is this really the message to which you wish to be associated? Perhaps a counselling session with one of your journalism professors is in order.

  4. #4 dhogaza
    February 13, 2010

    To suggest that news reporters abandon impartiality indicates a serious and fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of journalism on your part. Such an “ethos” would of course be nothing new however

    In other words, in Lance’s world, every time someone circumnavigates the world, or any time a story talks about some spacecraft in orbit, journalists should display their impartiality by giving equal time to the Flat Earth Society.

  5. #5 dhogaza
    February 13, 2010

    Even if you are correct and climate change presents an existential threat are you willing to reconfigure the rules of journalism in your zeal to see that your side of this one issue is accepted by the public?

    The problem with this, of course, is that “the rules of journalism” underwent a revolution in the last century, at least here in the US, where seeking truth became a basic tenet of the trade.

    Thus the golden years of investigative journalism, where you could have a somewhat conservative Woodward exposing the Watergate scandal because, whatever his views of politics might be, the story leading to *truth* was compelling.

    Of course, your most fundamental error is in insisting that there are two equal sides to the issue.

    There aren’t, of course. On the one hand, we have science. On the other hand, liars like you. It’s obvious why you denigrate the notion that journalists should seek truth, rather than present lies as being equal to science in the name of “impartiality”.

    Every time you post, Lance, you expose yourself.

  6. #6 Lance
    February 13, 2010

    dhogaza,

    My post was only peripherally about climate change. James has announced the whole of western journalism as a failed enterprise. He refers to the “collapse of the mainstream media” and then says that he has been “betrayed” by the professors and editors that trained him on the “fundamentals” of journalism.

    He calls for a “new…journalistic ethos” where by information that supports his view of climate change is “evidence based” and “accurate” and where the reporter should make editorial judgements about what view of the issue should even be mentioned to the reader.

    You of course agree with his agenda driven propaganda so you bizzarely portray my defense of universally accepted standards of journalism as “lying”.

    If they ever institute a Ministry of Climate Truth you are a shoe in for the job of Minister in Chief.

  7. #7 dhogaza
    February 13, 2010

    So, Lance, should every article about satellites in orbit be “balanced” with interviews with the Flat Earth Society?

    Or is it just climate science that should be so lucky.

  8. #8 dhogaza
    February 13, 2010

    drat! owned again by Lance. bb b bb bb b bub bbut but ….he’s a liar!

  9. #9 Bird Harrasser
    February 13, 2010

    Obviously sour grapes since James never gets included in any of the blog popularity polls. heh heh

  10. #10 Lance
    February 13, 2010

    dhogaza,

    Infantile references to the “flat earth” theory, even if repeated, do not eliminate legitimate criticisms of AGW theory or excuse the distortion of journalistic ethics in defense of said theory.

  11. #11 Bozotheclown
    February 13, 2010

    Even if you are correct and climate change presents an existential threat are you willing to reconfigure the rules of journalism in your zeal to see that your side of this one issue is accepted by the public?

    This made me laugh. It sounds like Hermione Granger saying, “We could die, or worse, get expelled!” By all means let’s not sacrifice any journalistic standards merely to preserve our existence. Ha Ha. Priorities.

    He calls for a “new…journalistic ethos” where by information that supports his view of climate change is “evidence based” and “accurate” and where the reporter should make editorial judgements about what view of the issue should even be mentioned to the reader.

    That’s bullshit dhogaza. You are misrepresenting James. All he’s saying is reporters should be the human beings they are and neither apologize for it nor pretend they are soulless cameras without brains or hearts. Had he said,”…one that respects accuracy and evidence-based reportage, and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade” your charge might have some merit. But that’s not what he said.

  12. #12 Bozotheclown
    February 13, 2010

    Apologies dhogaza, that was Lance not you…

  13. #13 llewelly
    February 14, 2010

    Lance | February 13, 2010 11:37 AM:

    Infantile references to the “flat earth” theory, even if repeated, do not eliminate legitimate criticisms of AGW theory…

    That would be a big problem if you had actually raised any legitimate criticisms of AGW.

    … or excuse the distortion of journalistic ethics in defense of said theory.

    I think David Roberts and James Hrynyshyn mistaken to think that reporters show emotions would help people understand news better. However – no one needs to deceive to show their emotions. And showing emotions is not the same as writing a long editorial. I don’t see either David Roberts or James Hrynyshyn as excusing “the distortion of journalistic ethics”.

    dhogaza’s comment is different: he is arguing that for scientific topics, only legitimate scientific information should be included. It’s very important that people not be misled by grossly wrong notions such as creationism, flat-earth notions, or, yes, AGW denialism. That’s not “distortion of journalistic ethics”; on the contrary: knowingly reporting anti-science as if it deserves equal footing with science is gross rejection of journalistic ethics. Of course – most reporters don’t do it knowingly. They do it because they are deluded. That is not an ethical violation, but it is nonetheless a gross error.

  14. #14 Lance
    February 14, 2010

    llewelly,

    That would be a big problem if you had actually raised any legitimate criticisms of AGW.

    Well maybe that’s because I didn’t present any criticisms of AGW science, since it wasn’t the topic of this thread.

    Like dhogaza you are so eager to distort the science of the earth’s climate in the name of environmental advocacy that you are ignoring the actual topic of this thread which is a “new ethos” for journalism.

    I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that people that are willing to distort science for their cause would also be willing to deligitimize the ethical foundations of journalism in the name of that same cause.

    But, OK I’ll play along for a while here.

    In your “new journalism” only statements that represent “legitimate scientific information” would be allowed in news reports.

    Who decides what is “legitimate scientific information” a governing authority?

    Who would comprise this authority? The IPCC? The NRDC? GreenPeace? The Union of Concerned Scientists? Grist? DeSmogBlog? Joe Romm? You and dhogaza?

    Should stories have to pass screening by these authorities before being published? Should they be censored to comply with these new “standards”?

    If a journalist does not meet the standard that the appointed authority feels is adequate what shall be the sanction? Issue an official rebuttal to the story? Demand that the reporter be sanctioned or punished by said authority?

    Or would the judgement of the individual journalist be the standard?

    Aren’t they already doing that? Do you really suppose that they look for sources they know are disreputable just to present a “false balance”? Do you suppose that would be in keeping with the current journalistic “ethos”?

    Perhaps they should be sent to re-education camps to learn this new “ethos”. Maybe the existing journalism schools can be legally compelled to teach and enforce this new “ethos”.

    Really, please tell me how this “new ethos” would work because it sounds to me that you are really advocating the “old ethos” of agenda driven propaganda.

  15. #15 Phil
    February 14, 2010

    Now even “Nature” – the “International weekly journal of science” published an editorial (3 Dec 2009 “Climatologists Under Pressure” [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/full/462545a.html]) is admitting there is no real evidence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming other than unproven theoretical computer models, that are based on highly suspect manipulated data.

    May the Farce be with you!

    -cheers

  16. #16 Erasmussimo
    February 14, 2010

    Phil, the URL you provide does not link to an existing page. I find yor claim incredible and the fact that your support link is broken is highly suspect. Perhaps you could provide a corrected link?

  17. #17 Bird Harrasser
    February 14, 2010

    Was there any actual “man made” warming to begin with?
    The answer is : NO there wasn’t.

    The Times of London delivers a separate blow to the AGW movement today in a report on scientific review of the data used to claim man-made warming of the planet over the last few decades. Several researchers have found that the measurements of temperatures in the AGW record that showed temperature increases mainly came from land development and urbanization, not from actual temperature increases. They have made their findings public through peer-reviewed studies that come at a very bad time for the IPCC and AGW advocates:

    “The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.

    The doubts of Christy and a number of other researchers focus on the thousands of weather stations around the world, which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

    These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.
    Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

    “The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”
    The IPCC faces similar criticisms from Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, who was invited by the panel to review its last report.
    The experience turned him into a strong critic and he has since published a research paper questioning its methods.

    “We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

    Such warnings are supported by a study of US weather stations co-written by Anthony Watts, an American meteorologist and climate change sceptic.
    Watts’ study has not yet been peer reviewed, but it shows the questionable conditions of temperature measurements in many of the IPCC-cited weather stations. One weather station is located next to an incinerator, while others have air-conditioning units in close proximity to the instruments. Apparently more than one is adjacent to waste-treatment plants, which generate significant heat.
    These revelations come on top of a series of embarrassing disclosures about the IPCC report. Another research team at Loughborough University may expose even more. Terry Wills will publish a paper in Climatic Change that will argue that the IPCC misread its data, and that the temperature fluctuations it saw are just as likely to be random weather than any systemic trend, whether caused by greenhouse gases or not.
    The struts have begun to collapse under AGW hysteria.

    3 ppm CO2 catastrophe. What a joke.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    February 14, 2010

    is admitting there is no real evidence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming other than unproven theoretical computer models, that are based on highly suspect manipulated data.

    Well, the link works for me, and the editorial says no such thing.

    May the Farce be with you!

    May your lies land you in hell …

  19. #19 James Hanley
    February 14, 2010

    I’m a mild skeptic of, at least, the stronger claims of AGW. But even I note that Phil’s link doesn’t say what he claims it says, and Bird Harrasser provides no citations or links for people to follow and check up on his claims.

  20. #20 Lance
    February 14, 2010

    Phil’s link works for me.

    It is an editorial in Nature that is an AGW apologetic. It is an attempt to white wash “Climategate”.

    Even though it attempts a “move along, nothing to see here” dismissal of the emails that show the truly disgusting anti-scientific (and illegal) behavior of some of the leading scientists at the CRU at the University of East Anglia, Phil is correct that the only defense of the work of these discredited scientists they can make are the following lame appeals,

    First, Earth’s cryosphere is changing as one would expect in a warming climate. These changes include glacier retreat, thinning and areal reduction of Arctic sea ice, reductions in permafrost and accelerated loss of mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Second, the global sea level is rising. The rise is caused in part by water pouring in from melting glaciers and ice sheets, but also by thermal expansion as the oceans warm. Third, decades of biological data on blooming dates and the like suggest that spring is arriving earlier each year.

    Firstly some of these claims are just false, such as the claim that “spring is arriving earlier each year. “Each” year is an obvious exaggeration.

    Also the fact that the rest of these claims maybe true in no way suggests that fossil fuel burning is responsible. They are completely consistent with natural variability since we are in an interglacial period and things like sea level rise have be going on for centuries.

    They realize this and try to rescue their illogical plea with the following,

    But when climate modellers test this assertion by running their simulations with greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide held fixed, the results bear little resemblance to the observed warming. The strong implication is that increased greenhouse-gas emissions have played an important part in recent warming, meaning that curbing the world’s voracious appetite for carbon is essential

    So the proof that these changes, most of which have been going on for centuries with little or no CO2 contribution from human beings, are caused by fossil fuel burning is that models that presuppose a high sensitivity to CO2 don’t give high results with out added CO2.

    Talk about circular reasoning! That a once respectable scientific journal would resort to this level of question begging is a sad testament to their transformation to a tool of political advocacy.

    In fact they don’t even hide this advocacy,

    The strong implication is that increased greenhouse-gas emissions have played an important part in recent warming, meaning that curbing the world’s voracious appetite for carbon is essential ….

    After all, the pressures the UEA e-mailers experienced may be nothing compared with what will emerge as the United States debates a climate bill next year, and denialists use every means at their disposal to undermine trust in scientists and science.

    Yes, according to Nature the real problem wasn’t the deliberate and criminal actions of these scientists to mislead, hide data and break FIA laws in the name of the cause, it was the fact that they had to be “goaded” into these despicable anti-scientific behaviors by those evil “denialists” that had the temerity to ask to see the scientific evidence.

    It looks like James’ new “ethos” is alive and well at the journal Nature,

    After all, the pressures the UEA e-mailers experienced may be nothing compared with what will emerge as the United States debates a climate bill next year, and denialists use every means at their disposal to undermine trust in scientists and science..

    James, you must be so proud.

  21. #21 dhogaza
    February 14, 2010

    Oh, Lance, you are *so good* at misreading things you disagree with. The editorial does not, of course, claim to be a comprehensive review of the evidence in favor of global warming.

    So the proof that these changes, most of which have been going on for centuries with little or no CO2 contribution from human beings, are caused by fossil fuel burning is that models that presuppose a high sensitivity to CO2 don’t give high results with out added CO2.

    This is an outright lie. The forcing from CO2 comes from 60-year old physics.

    The sensitivity is a model output, not a presupposition, AS YOU WELL KNOW and AS YOU CAN VERIFY BY STUDYING, FOR INSTANCE, THE SOURCE TO GISS MODEL E.

    Who do you think your lies fool?

    Also, you know, in my country, our legal system insists that people are innocent until proven guilty. It is the same in the UK.

    And yet you place yourself in the position of being judge and jury and outright declare that climate scientists have engaged in illegal behavior.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  22. #22 dhogaza
    February 14, 2010

    James, you must be so proud.

    Count Lance among the pitchforks and torches crowd.

  23. #23 mandas
    February 14, 2010

    dho

    Leaving aside the topic thread of journalism, it’s interesting to contrast the denialist position of your wannabe pretender(Bird Harrasser in this guise) and Lance. BH is the extreme denialist, ie the Earth is not warming at all; while Lance has actually admitted that the climate is changing, but that, “…these changes, most of which have been going on for centuries with little or no CO2 contribution from human beings…”, and “…They are completely consistent with natural variability since we are in an interglacial period and things like sea level rise have be going on for centuries….”.

    So on one hand there is no climate change (BH), while on the other there is climate change, it’s just that it isn’t man-made (Lance). I wish these guys would get their stories straight. However, given these apparent inconsistences, I would ask both of them to produce the evidence for their positions.

    BH – Could you please show temperature records etc which show that there have been no increases in temperature over the past century or so.

    Lance – Could you please provide evidence of the natural forcing mechanism that has caused the temperature increases (there must obviously be something that is causing the change).

    Then, how about you both have a debate about your relative positions, and how the other person is obviously wrong. Because you both can’t be correct.

  24. #24 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    Then, how about you both have a debate about your relative positions, and how the other person is obviously wrong. Because you both can’t be correct.

    Once you understand that both have the goal of helping the inactivist position, i.e. the do nothings, then it is obvious that their positions are both correct.

    It’s not a congruence that tech/science minds willingly wrap their mind around, but as long as you understand that the goal is no action, at any cost, it’s obvious they can be snuggle-bunnies in any bed you choose to give them.

  25. #25 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    dhogaza,

    Things don’t become true because you put them in caps.

  26. #26 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    First off, I’d like to retract my claim that the link that Phil provided was broken; it turns out that the browser I was using (on another machine) tossed the last characters of the link. So I read the editorial and I certainly agree that Phil’s assessment of that editorial is the reverse of the truth.

    I’d like to agree with Lance that there are some serious issues regarding journalistic integrity, but I think that ultimately Lance and James are in essential agreement. I agree that the ideal of absolute journalistic objectivity is impossible to attain. All news exists within a context, and that context is usually subjective. I do not begrudge a journalist bringing their own context to bear, so long as the journalist makes a good-faith effort at maintaining intellectual integrity. The reporters at the Economist news magazine impress me as having hit upon the best combination of informed context and journalistic integrity.

    Lance’s assertion that the Nature story is an attempt to “whitewash” the emails is ironic in that it zeros in on the “suggests that each spring comes earlier” clause as an obvious exaggeration. While Lance is correct in the observation, it is of piffling consequence. Throw in appropriate cover-your-ass verbiage and the thrust of the statement remains sound. In essence, his complaint is that the wording is insufficiently CYA for a gotcha-grabber like Lance. And calling it a “whitewash” is a far greater exaggeration that the “earlier spring” comment.

    Next, Lance complains that the evidence demonstrating an overall increase in global temperatures does not by itself prove the AGW case. He’s right, of course; but the same could be said of any page, graph, or chapter ripped out of IPCC AR4. Sure, the individual elements of the argument do not prove the entire case — and Lance’s claim that those individual elements should individually prove the case is patently absurd. If you want to evaluate the entire case, take into account the entire argument.

    Next, Lance proffers the false claim that the observed increases in temperature “are completely consistent with natural variability since we are in an interglacial period.” The most salient feature of the observed temperature increases is not the absolute value of the temperature but its rate of change. The observed rate of change over the last 40 years is five to ten times higher than the highest positive rate of change known for any similar length of time during the Holocene.

    Next, Lance makes this statement:

    So the proof that these changes, most of which have been going on for centuries with little or no CO2 contribution from human beings, are caused by fossil fuel burning is that models that presuppose a high sensitivity to CO2 don’t give high results with out added CO2.

    This statement includes two falsehoods: first, the statement that the observed changes have been going on for centuries. This claim is flatly contradicted by Figure 6.10 in IPCC AR4. Moreover, Lance claims that the existing models “presuppose” a high sensitivity to CO2. Sensitivity to CO2 is a variable to which a number can be assigned. The value used in the models is most emphatically NOT “presupposed” — it is calculated using a rational method that yields a defensible result. If Lance doesn’t accept the value used in those models, Lance should offer his own calculation. Simply rejecting the hard work of other people as “presupposition”, without even analyzing their work or critiquing its specifics, is intellectually fraudulent.

    Next, Lance offers these wild fabrications:

    Yes, according to Nature the real problem wasn’t the deliberate and criminal actions of these scientists to mislead, hide data and break FIA laws in the name of the cause, it was the fact that they had to be “goaded” into these despicable anti-scientific behaviors by those evil “denialists” that had the temerity to ask to see the scientific evidence.

    This is all propaganda and no logic. He accuses the scientists of a host of crimes and sins, and offers not one iota of evidence to support his presuppositions. If Lance wishes to make a case, he should MAKE HIS CASE: offer evidence and logic that lead to conclusions. Merely spouting propaganda seems to me to be a waste of perfectly good electrons.

  27. #27 the sage
    February 15, 2010

    Once the self-proclaimed “climate scientists” are in jail for attempted crimes against humanity, they should come for the pseudo-journalists who did their damnedest to cover up the attempted fraud.

  28. #28 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    dhogaza,

    Below you will find the IPCC’s definition of climate sensitivity from AR4 Chapter 8.

    8.6.2.1 Definition of Climate Sensitivity

    As defined in previous assessments (Cubasch et al., 2001) and in the Glossary, the global annual mean surface air temperature change experienced by the climate system after it has attained a new equilibrium in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration is referred to as the ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (unit is °C), and is often simply termed the ‘climate sensitivity’. It has long been estimated from numerical experiments in which an AGCM is coupled to a simple non-dynamic model of the upper ocean with prescribed ocean heat transports (usually referred to as ‘mixed-layer’ or ‘slab’ ocean models) and the atmospheric CO2 concentration is doubled. In AOGCMs and non-steady-state (or transient) simulations, the ‘transient climate response’ (TCR; Cubasch et al., 2001) is defined as the global annual mean surface air temperature change (with respect to a ‘control’ run) averaged over a 20-year period centred at the time of CO2 doubling in a 1% yr–1 compound CO2 increase scenario. That response depends both on the sensitivity and on the ocean heat uptake. An estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity in transient climate change integrations is obtained from the ‘effective climate sensitivity’ (Murphy, 1995). It corresponds to the global temperature response that would occur if the AOGCM was run to equilibrium with feedback strengths held fixed at the values diagnosed at some point of the transient climate evolution. It is computed from the oceanic heat storage, the radiative forcing and the surface temperature change (Cubasch et al., 2001; Gregory et al., 2002).

    The climate sensitivity depends on the type of forcing agents applied to the climate system and on their geographical and vertical distributions (Allen and Ingram, 2002; Sausen et al., 2002; Joshi et al., 2003). As it is influenced by the nature and the magnitude of the feedbacks at work in the climate response, it also depends on the mean climate state (Boer and Yu, 2003). Some differences in climate sensitivity will also result simply from differences in the particular radiative forcing calculated by different radiation codes (see Sections 10.2.1 and 8.6.2.3). The global annual mean surface temperature change thus presents limitations regarding the description and the understanding of the climate response to an external forcing. Indeed, the regional temperature response to a uniform forcing (and even more to a vertically or geographically distributed forcing) is highly inhomogeneous. In addition, climate sensitivity only considers the surface mean temperature and gives no indication of the occurrence of abrupt changes or extreme events. Despite its limitations, however, the climate sensitivity remains a useful concept because many aspects of a climate model scale well with global average temperature (although not necessarily across models), because the global mean temperature of the Earth is fairly well measured, and because it provides a simple way to quantify and compare the climate response simulated by different models to a specified perturbation. By focusing on the global scale, climate sensitivity can also help separate the climate response from regional variability.

    Note the part about using “forcing agents”. The forcing for CO2 is assumed to be high thus the the models report back a high sensitivity to CO2. They then use this exaggerated value to run future projections that surprise return temperature values higher than the actual observed temperature.

    Thus if they have miscalculated the climate forcing due to
    CO2 the models will calculate an unrealistically high climate sensitivity. Garbage in garbage out (GIGO) as they say in the computer biz.

    You are either willfully ignorant to the determination of the “climate sensitivity” used in AOGCM’s or a (here comes your favorite word) LIAR!

    Saying that climate models use simple “60 year old physics” to determine the climate sensitivity to CO2 is a dodge meant to fool the scientifically uninformed.

    Stop repeating this falsehood.

  29. #29 Dboi
    February 15, 2010

    God knows what all the communist che guevera lovin treehugger enviro whack jobs are gonna do now? Already did the ozone thing so that’s out. The whales and seals thing is old hat.

    Killer meteorites anyone? Man-made tectonic shifting?

  30. #30 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Lance, where in the long quote do you read that “The forcing for CO2 is assumed to be high”? I don’t see any such statement; your claim is a fabrication.

  31. #31 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    Oh, and the feedbacks from water vapor based on the overly high CO2 climate sensitivity are also over estimated in most AOGCM,s further exaggerating the expected warming.

    Now let’s talk about actual observations as opposed to computer models for a moment.

    There has been no statistically significant warming for more that ten years even though CO2 levels have increased at an accelerated pace.

    Sooner or later the science will adjust to this reality as it always does. The modest warming of the last century will be seen for what it is, a less than one degree variation in mean global temps due to natural causes with a small immeasurable contribution from anthropogenic causes.

  32. #32 Fat Lady
    February 15, 2010

    b b b b bb bbbubububbbbbbbut consensus!!!

    bbb b bb b b bbbubt Liars! bb bb bbubb but science and peer review! bub bb b bb b bbbu

    “The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.
    The doubts of Christy and a number of other researchers focus on the thousands of weather stations around the world, which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

    These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.

    Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

    “The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

    The IPCC faces similar criticisms from Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, who was invited by the panel to review its last report.

    The experience turned him into a strong critic and he has since published a research paper questioning its methods.

    “We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

  33. #33 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    Eurasmussimo,

    You at least make a few cogent points while entirely missing the point.

    The largest scientific inaccuracy in your post is the following,

    The observed rate of change over the last 40 years is five to ten times higher than the highest positive rate of change known for any similar length of time during the Holocene.

    Not only is the warming period you cite not unique in the Holocene it is not even unique in the last century. But don’t believe me here are the words of climate scientist and noted alarmist Phil Jones in a recent BBC interview,

    As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.

    Oh and the last ten years of your mentioned 40 year period have seen exactly zero statistically significant warming so you may want to leave them out.

    The most demonstrably false non-scientific accusation you make is,

    He accuses the scientists of a host of crimes and sins, and offers not one iota of evidence to support his presuppositions. If Lance wishes to make a case, he should MAKE HIS CASE: offer evidence and logic that lead to conclusions.

    Phil Jones has resigned as head of the CRU at East Anglia and an official investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late. This doesn’t mean that no crime was committed.

    Many other activities shown in the emails are clearly unethical and anti-scientific. That nature, and you, would defend them is pathetic.

  34. #34 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    1975-1998

    Is not 40 years.

  35. #35 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    an official investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act

    Please provide a link to the results of this official investigation. No, I’m not asking for a link to one statement made by one ICO bureaucrat to the press. I’m asking for support of your claim that there’s been an official investigation.

  36. #36 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    The forcing for CO2 is assumed to be high thus the the models report back a high sensitivity to CO2.

    The direct forcing due to CO2 in the atmosphere comes straight from physics, and Lance knows it. Lance is lying.

    It is not “an assumption”. If Lance knows of published physics that refutes the basic mechanism by which CO2 warms the planet, settled in the 1950s, he should publish cites.

    There’s a reason lance doesn’t take on the scientists at Real Climate, or folks like Eli over at Rabett Run.

    Oh, yeah, hey, Lance, Eli has an article running right now that goes over how CO2 leads to forcing and how the magnitude is calculated.

    Run right over there and refute it, please.

  37. #37 Incovenient FACTS
    February 15, 2010

    FACT * Neither the rate nor magnitude of recent warming is exceptional.
    FACT * There was no significant warming from 1998-2009. According to the IPCC we should have seen a global temperature increase of at least 0.2°C per decade.
    FACT * The IPCC models may have overestimated the climate sensitivity for greenhouse gases, underestimated natural variability, or both.
    FACT * This also suggests that there is a systematic upward bias in the impacts estimates based on these models just from this factor alone.
    FACT * The logic behind attribution of current warming to well-mixed man-made greenhouse gases is faulty.
    FACT * The science is not settled, however unsettling that might be.
    FACT * There is a tendency in the IPCC reports to leave out inconvenient findings, especially in the part(s) most likely to be read by policy makers.

    3…2….1….dhogaza meltdown begin, ready GO!

  38. #38 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    Better yet, where is this paper wrong in its conclusion of CO2′s contribution to the radiation budget?

    Of course, regardless of whether or not modern understanding is correct or not, the models don’t just “assume” a certain level of forcing due to CO2. It is built upon physics such as that in the referenced paper. It is the relevant literature that is the source of the forcing value.

  39. #39 Friends of Lance
    February 15, 2010

    dhogaza is driving along claiming that “the physics of a lead acid battery generating 12 volts is intact”… while the wheels have fallen off said car, as it careens, on fire, headlong over a cliff into the ocean at 120 mph.

    Very ostrich-like.

  40. #40 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Lance, you claim that “Not only is the warming period you cite not unique in the Holocene it is not even unique in the last century.”

    To support your claim, you offer a quote from Mr. Phil Jones: “As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.”

    I suggest that you read Mr. Jones’ statement more carefully. What he actually said was that the difference was not statistically significant at the 95% level. His statement amounts to a statement that the data for the older periods is not reliable enough to draw strongly significant conclusions. The reason for this is that all the data prior to 1980 is aggregated local data, whereas the data after 1980 is much more reliable satellite data. In other words, we have excellent data for the last thirty years, but the data before that is weaker.

    I further suggest that you consult IPCC AR4 WG1 Figure 6.10. It clearly contradicts your claim that the observed increases in temperature “are completely consistent with natural variability since we are in an interglacial period.” Please address this point explicitly. Do you claim that Figure 6.10 is incorrect? Do you claim that it does not contradict your claim?

    You write ” the last ten years of your mentioned 40 year period have seen exactly zero statistically significant warming so you may want to leave them out.”

    No, I do not leave them out, because I do not cherry-pick data. However, you’re talking about a ten-year period. Surely you realize that ten years is a physically insignificant amount of time in climatology. The minimum period of time considered to be climatologically significant is 30 years (If you wish, I’ll be happy to explain why that’s true.) Therefore, your point about the last ten years is meaningless.

    Next, you make a patently false statement:

    “Phil Jones has resigned as head of the CRU at East Anglia”

    That is not correct. Mr. Jones did NOT resign, although many deniers demanded his resignation. He stepped aside temporarily in order to eliminate any suspicions that he might interfere with an investigation. He remains at work at CRU and has every expectation of resuming his full responsibilities once the investigation has been completed.

    an official investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late. This doesn’t mean that no crime was committed.

    This statement is correct. However, the significance of the crime in question is piffling. The counterargument is that the FOIA requests were not honest attempts to obtain information for scientific purposes, but instead part of a campaign of harassment. I myself have no opinion on this question, because an informed opinion requires a deep familiarity with many fine details of the case, which neither you nor I possess. You do not appear to share my scruples.

    Many other activities shown in the emails are clearly unethical and anti-scientific. That nature, and you, would defend them is pathetic.

    Again, you present conclusions without evidence — mere propaganda. The Nature editorial explains in detail what actually happened. Instead of presenting idle bluster, why don’t you get specific and address specific statements in the Nature editorial or the emails themselves?

  41. #41 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Mr. Inconvenient Facts, you present a list of “facts” that are false. I suggest that, instead of merely asserting them, you present evidence and logic to support your claims.

  42. #42 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    dhogaza,

    “1975-1998
    Is not 40 years.”

    Well, finally you have made a claim that I can’t dispute.

    Unfortunately, for you and Erasmussimo, the addition of the next ten years of non-warming only makes the rate of warming smaller, further falsifying his statement.

    Oh, and I used to visit Real Climate and Rabbit Run, but once a site deletes my post or refuses to post it or devowels it etc. I don’t go back.

    Your disreputable pals at those two site do those things because their weak arguments can’t withstand an open debate.

    While I disagree with most of the opinions of the host of this site he is open to criticism and doesn’t sensor his critics. For that he is to be commended.

  43. #43 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Lance, I was hoping you would respond to my #40, attacking your claims regarding temperature change. I note, however, that the counterexample you offer is from the 20th century, during the same period considered to be part of the AGW. I’m happy to revise my earlier statement to say that the period of the last 100 years (which is the period in which we observe dramatic warming) shows the a temperature rise much greater than any previous period. You really can’t contradict my claim — which in turn demolishes your claim that this is all natural climate change.

  44. #44 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    Erasmussimo, (May I call you E?)

    “In other words, we have excellent data for the last thirty years, but the data before that is weaker.”

    Look E, you can’t both claim that satellite data is better and then compare it to past data from surface stations, and even worse from paleoclimate proxies, to make the case that the warming of the last 40 years is unique. You would need high resolution satellite data for the last few millenia to justify this claim.

    You make a similar mistake when amending your time period to the last century. No data of the resolution necessary to dispute your claim exists. This doesn’t make you claim correct it just makes it absurdly unverifiable.

    As to Phil Jones “stepping aside” vs. resigning now your splitting hairs. The fact is he is not the head of the CRU and is under investigation. This didn’t happen because some “denialists” wished it. It happened because evidence of unscientific, unethical and even illegal behavior was uncovered.

    You act as though he is just taking a vacation and somehow I am making all of this up.

    Now who is in “denial”?

  45. #45 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Lance, you are quite incorrect in claiming that good data cannot be combined with bad data to generate usable results. I again refer you to IPCC AR4 WG1 Figure 6.10. It clearly shows the sharp rise in temperatures that has occurred in the last century. Do you or do you not accept the veracity of this graph? If not, why not?

    The difference between stepping aside and resigning is huge. Resigning means that Mr. Jones is out of a job. Stepping aside means that he retains his job and will soon resume his full responsibilities. You don’t see that as a significant difference. I do.

    You seem to have already decided the outcome of the investigation. I disagree with your assessment but I am happy to wait for the final report. The fact that there is an investigation does NOT mean that there has been significant wrongdoing. An investigation is initiated when there is a reasonable basis for thinking that wrongdoing might have been done. I suggest that you wait for the investigation to be completed before you proceed with the lynching. And I’m sure that you’ll retract your accusations if the investigation determines that Mr. Jones has done nothing wrong, just as I will accept any negative conclusions in the final result.

  46. #46 Trent1492
    February 15, 2010

    So many sock puppets, so much unwashed laundry.

  47. #47 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    E,

    Stop playing word games. Phil Jones resigned. Whether that resignation is temporary or permanent is the only question.

    I have read many of the emails in question. That he acted improperly for a scientist at a public institution is not in question. Whether the investigation finds official cause to dismiss him or recommends other sanctions will not change my opinion of him as a person or scientist.
    \
    That you defend his deplorable behavior influences my opinion of you.

  48. #48 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    Lance, I am surprised that you are making such a big deal out of a losing case. Resignation means “voluntarily terminating one’s employment”. Look it up in the dictionary. Mr. Jones did not voluntarily terminate his employment. He remains at work at CRU, he continues to draw a salary, he continues to pursue his research. The only thing that has changed is that he is no longer acting as the executive in charge of the research unit. Moreover, he will return to that position if the investigative report finds no significant wrongdoing on his part. If that happens, you’ll be sure to retract your claims, won’t you?

    That he acted improperly for a scientist at a public institution is not in question.
    Oh yes it IS in question. The only people who accept your claims are your fellow deniers. And while you apparently consider me to be morally inferior because I defend the man, I think I’d rather be deplored by the likes of you than by the many scientists and rationalists who do not castigate Mr. Jones.

  49. #49 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    E,

    I have no interest in parsing the word “resign” so I’ll concede that point if it makes you feel better to think of Phil Jones as having “temporarily stepped down”. In any case he did so in the face of serious allegations.

    So you’re cool with a scientist denying access to his data even in the face of FOI requsets? You have no problem with a scientist attempting to corrupt the peer review process to deny access to scientific journals by scientists with whom he disagrees? I could go on if you like.

    There is a reason he is under investigation. It wasn’t ordered by Marc Morana ya’ know?

    I have read the emails have you? Do you really want to get into a tit for tat defense of the conduct that is revealed in those emails?

    If you have read them and still defend his behavior you are just as deluded as the people that think O.J. is innocent.

    O.J. was found “not guilty” in a court of law but he sure as hell is guilty.

    So is Phil Jones regardless of what the official investigation decides.

    If it goes his way maybe you can dance in the streets like the delusional and biased fools that celebrated O.J.’s acquittal.

  50. #50 mandas
    February 15, 2010

    “…he sure as hell is guilty….So is Phil Jones regardless of what the official investigation decides….”

    Don’t you just love it when people set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner, then decide on the outcome before hearing the evidence.

    That’s why people like Lance have zero credibility on this issue. They don’t care about facts or evidence. They know the answer and nothing will persuade them otherwise. Are you a creationist as well Lance?

  51. #51 dhogaza
    February 15, 2010

    That’s why people like Lance have zero credibility on this issue.

    It’s also one reason why people like Lance are evil.

  52. #52 Erasmussimo
    February 15, 2010

    So you’re cool with a scientist denying access to his data even in the face of FOI requsets?

    Yes, because I have a pretty good idea of what’s involved in that process. First, don’t forget that vast amounts of data and code have been made publicly available. The suggestion that scientists in general and CRU in particular are hiding “the data” is ridiculous. They did fail to publish some of the information they had, but they had good reasons for refusing to do so with SOME of their data: they had received it under confidentiality agreements that forbade them to release it. What made the matter particularly tricky is that this data was mingled with other data that wasn’t so constrained. Separating the open data from the closed data was a huge task which would have diverted resource away from real research.

    I myself was involved in a scientific effort that generated many gigabytes of data, and although I am not the guardian of that data, I know full well that, should somebody demand every bit of that data, the person responsible for providing it would have a difficult time organizing it all. The great bulk of the important data has been made available for years, but there are bits and pieces that are rather snarled up and need some serious sorting out before they could be released. This has nothing to do with criminal intent, and everything to do with the complexity of real data. You seem to think that scientific data just lies around in nice neat files all set to go. That’s a fantasy.

    You have no problem with a scientist attempting to corrupt the peer review process to deny access to scientific journals by scientists with whom he disagrees?

    Your question is predicated on a falsehood. Nobody attempted to “corrupt the peer review process to deny access to scientific journals by scientists with whom he disagreed.” The emails reveal that ONE scientist on ONE occasion expressed a desire to do so. The record also shows that this scientist did NOT act on that desire. Your reasoning would get every man on the planet thrown into jail for rape.

    I have read the emails have you? Do you really want to get into a tit for tat defense of the conduct that is revealed in those emails?
    Yes, I have read the emails — not every last one but every one that has been claimed to show wrongdoing. Not one of those emails demonstrates what deniers purport it to demonstrate. All those charges are trumped-up.

    And yes, I’d love to get into a specific defense of them. You make a great many false claims, and I’d love to see you try to back them up.

    There is a reason he is under investigation.
    You insinuate that an investigation is tantamount to a guilty verdict. It is not. It is an attempt to determine the truth — and your presupposition of the results demonstrates your disregard for the truth.

    I now appreciate why you have been banned from other discussions: you present strong opinions and weak arguments; you are quick to accuse and slow to provide evidence. Such behavior is unworthy of serious discussion among reasonable people and I applaud the enforcement of high standards of civilized discussion.

  53. #53 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    mandas,

    I can read. Can you? There are plenty of places on the web where you can read Dr. Phil’s emails. I am not calling for his execution, just pointing out that he is a bad scientist that abused the authority of his publicly funded position.

    Am I supposed to change my personal opinion of his unethical and anti-scientific behavior if an “official investigation” sees things differently?

    Do you think O.J. became innocent because a jury found him not guilty? He was acquitted and I am not calling for him to be killed or jailed, but I sure don’t have to suspend my own personal judgement based on the verdict reached by the jury.

    O.J. is a killer and Jones is an unethical, disreputable scientist.

  54. #54 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    E,

    “I now appreciate why you have been banned from other discussions…”

    Really? Name one.

    Of course it doesn’t surprise me that you would think that censoring people and ideas you disagree with was a good idea.

  55. #55 mandas
    February 15, 2010

    Lance

    Yes I am pretty sure I can read. And you are correct, there are plenty of places you can read a handful of the thousands of hacked e-mails. I am sure, just like me, you have read some, but not all, of them.

    But to suggest that is the sole grounds for determining the guilt, culpability, ethics, sloppiness, or anything else, of Phil Jones or the CRU is to extrapolate far beyond the bounds of credibility. To determine any of those things, you would have to be familiar with ALL the emails (are you?); with the TOR of the inquiry (are you?); with FOI Legislation (are you?); with any official Departmental documents, reports and correspondence (are you?); with Departmental and CRU procedural guidelines (are you?); with witness statements and reports from co-workers (are you?); and with a miriad of other considerations which will be examined by the official inquiry.

    I don’t believe in trial by media, and I don’t believe in kangaroo courts or show trials. I have stated here and in other threads and blog-sites that I think it was entirely appropriate for Phil Jones to stand down pending an inquiry. But since I do not know, and cannot possibly know, all the evidence or full history of the issue, it would be completely inappropriate for me to draw a conclusion based on the scant information that I get from websites and journalists, many of whom have personal biases and who deliberately distort the facts and leave out vital information which runs counter to their prejudices.

    I would strongly suggest you do the same.

  56. #56 Lance
    February 15, 2010

    mandas,

    Let me get this straight you never draw a conclusion on an issue until you have conducted an exhaustive and detailed investigations involving all the possible evidence?

    You must have very few opinions.

    Like you I don’t claim to have read all of the emails. That would require quite an investment of time.

    The emails I have read are very strong evidence that Phil Jones has acted unethically and in a way that is highly inappropriate for a scientist let alone one that is in charge of a publicly funded institution dedicated to providing scientific information to policy makers and the public at large.

    I have not even said that I think Phil Jones should be fired. In fact I have called for no punitive actions at all. I don’t have nor would I want that responsibility. I have just expressed my informed opinion as a citizen and a scientist.

    I have just said he has acted unethically and has purposefully evaded attempts to require him to provide information in accordance with Freedom of Information requests. In fact he has actively persuaded the FOIA officers of the CRU to neglect their duties.

    He has deleted emails, in reference to IPCC AR4 among other legitimately requested topics, and encouraged others to delete emails rather than comply with these requests and has lied in print about having done so.

    He has lobbied other scientists to pressure editors of scientific journals to deny publication of authors he doesn’t like or agree with.

    He has denied access, in contravention of said FOIA requests, to the original data used to formulate the CRU’s global temperature record that the CRU proudly states, on its home page, “…is widely used in climate research…”.

    And when force to comply with these legal instruments has admitted that he “lost” the original data.

    This is just a few of the things that are quite clear from reading a few dozen of these communications.

    Please tell me what further evidence is needed to see that Dr. Jones’ actions have been entirely inappropriate for any scientist let alone one in charge of the Climate Research Unit of a major publicly funded university?

    Unlike our friend Erasmussimo you have struck a reasonable tone.

    Perhaps you can formulate a reasonable response to this straightforward question.

  57. #57 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    Lance, you ask which discussions you have been banned from. I quote from your post #42:

    “Oh, and I used to visit Real Climate and Rabbit Run, but once a site deletes my post or refuses to post it or devowels it etc. I don’t go back”

    I’m pleased to see that you are at last getting specific in your accusations regarding Mr. Jones:

    he…has purposefully evaded attempts to require him to provide information in accordance with Freedom of Information requests.

    As I explained in #52, there are a number of complicating factors that you ignore. Mr. Jones did not have the authority to release all the requested information. You have not responded to my explanation.

    he has actively persuaded the FOIA officers of the CRU to neglect their duties.
    I’d like to see the exact source on that; the emails I read did not indicate such. Perhaps I missed that one. Perhaps you are engaging in a liberal interpretation.

    He has deleted emails, in reference to IPCC AR4 among other legitimately requested topics, and encouraged others to delete emails rather than comply with these requests and has lied in print about having done so.
    Deleting one’s personal emails is not in and of itself unethical. I very much doubt that you or anybody else would be happy to have the public sniffing through the last ten years of your personal emails. If Mr. Jones had a mistress, for example, I’m sure that people like you would love to whip that up into a scandal, regardless of its relevance to the issues. And in order to substantiate your accusation that he lied in print about it, you must present two pieces of evidence: evidence regarding the emails that he deleted and the statement that he made in print regarding those deletions. You have done neither; instead, you have presented only your accusations.

    He has lobbied other scientists to pressure editors of scientific journals to deny publication of authors he doesn’t like or agree with.
    No, you are twisting his words as well as distorting what happened. He expressed a personal desire that other scientists should not support a journal that grossly violated basic standards of scientific publishing. And in fact, in the case in question, many of the scientists serving as editors for the journal resigned their positions in protest of the journal’s actions. Mr. Jones was right.

    He has denied access, in contravention of said FOIA requests, to the original data used to formulate the CRU’s global temperature record that the CRU proudly states, on its home page, “…is widely used in climate research…”.

    I have already explained in #52 the reason why this accusation is false, yet here you are repeating it. Please attempt to rebut my argument.

    And when force to comply with these legal instruments has admitted that he “lost” the original data.
    Some of that original data is 30 years old and was recorded in machine formats that are no longer readable. If somebody asked you to provide sales receipts from 1980, would you be able to comply?

    Please tell me what further evidence is needed to see that Dr. Jones’ actions have been entirely inappropriate for any scientist let alone one in charge of the Climate Research Unit of a major publicly funded university?

    Something solid as opposed to wild unsubstantiated accusations.

  58. #58 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    Lance

    I would answer your question by firstly questioning this statement of yours:

    “…This is just a few of the things that are quite clear from reading a few dozen of these communications…”

    I would like to suggest that none of the things you have accused Phil Jones of have been proven, nor are they ‘quite clear’ from the correspondences. As I said in my previous post, the sources of all of these alleged transgressions are not exactly unbiased and unimpeachable, and in almost every case that I have examined, have ulterior motives. This makes their evidence questionable, and I would rather wait for less-prejudiced information to come to hand.

    My own background – I am a scientist who works in an Australian Commonwealth Government department in both a managerial and operational capacity. So in many ways I have parallels with Phil Jones position, and I understand where he is coming from, particularly with regard to FOI (although in an Australian rather than UK context). From what I have read – and that involves a LOT of reading between the lines – I wouldn’t judge him harshly at all for what he is supposed to have done in that regard. FOI requests vary from the real (which are treated appropriately), to the vexatious (which are not), and in this case the FOI requests certainly appear more malicious than genuine requests for information. And the UK legislation permits the refusal of requests that are either vexatious, or which would involve large costs to the department over a predetermined limit. These fall into both categories.

    So, I prefer to wait until I get all the facts before coming to a conclusion on this issue. As I have said elsewhere, this issue has – at the very least – caused a loss of confidence in the ability of the CRU to do it’s job. And for that reason alone it was appropriate for Jones to stand down. Whether that is justified by all the facts or not is still to be determined. In the meantime, until the facts (the real unprejudiced facts) are determined, we should allow the inquiry to do it’s job.

    However, I would agree with you on one issue. You seem to have a belief that the ‘official inquiry’ cannot be trusted. I have similar concerns, but not for the same reason. Rather than be a cover-up as you appear to be suggesting, my concern is that the inquiry will scapegoat Dr Jones and hang him out to dry as the official whipping boy. Given that some elements of the public – and you are among them – have openly stated that they believe there would be a cover-up and would not trust a vindication – the political response would be to hand you your prize in an attempt to restore confidence in the CRU.

    Unfortunately, because too many people are quick to judge, and then see conspiracies and cover-ups every time their predetermined and ill considered judgements are discounted, proper processes are sometimes circumvented. And that is the great shame of this whole issue.

  59. #59 dhogaza
    February 16, 2010

    Lance – pure evil. I’m serious. He’s smart enough to know better (physics undergrad who flunked his Phd, apparently, or at least DNC’s), yet lies and lies and lies.

    Pure evil.

    Don’t argue with him, he doesn’t give a shit. Just recognize that he’s a liar, and pure evil.

  60. #60 dhogaza
    February 16, 2010

    my concern is that the inquiry will scapegoat Dr Jones and hang him out to dry as the official whipping boy.

    Me, too. On narrow grounds that are defensible (the e-mail suggesting people delete e-mails that might be subject to a FOI, even though at least some of the recipients were outside the UK therefore not subject to a UK FOI). If they do that, the denialsphere will insist everything he’s ever said is felonious, even to the extent of naming his mother, and will prove that CRU is top-bottom corrupt and every bit of science they’ve done a fraudulent attempt to resurrect Stalin from his grave, but this time, on a global scale.

    That’s what Mr. Evil Lance hopes for. That level of persecution.

    Have I said earlier that Lance is pure evil? Yeah … it’s worth repeating though.

  61. #61 dhogaza
    February 16, 2010

    He has lobbied other scientists to pressure editors of scientific journals to deny publication of authors he doesn’t like or agree with.

    So, Lance, do you believe that reviewers who “pressure editors” to not publish papers in well-respected scientific journals that the sun is mostly iron are unethical?

    How about reviewers who reject perpetual motion machine designs?

    Or 6,000 year old earth claims?

    Essentially you’re saying that any scientist who reviews papers or discusses editorial policy of journals in an effort to keep out flat earthism. YEC, perpetual machine nonsense, etc are …

    Acting unethically.

    You’re worse than 99% of the bible-thumping populace.

  62. #62 dhogaza
    February 16, 2010

    He has lobbied other scientists to pressure editors of scientific journals to deny publication of authors he doesn’t like or agree with.

    Boiled down to the fundamental point, Lance is saying that scientific journals should publish everything, and bless crap as thought it’s meaningful.

    Upholding of standards is horrible.

    Given that he’s a PhD drop-out it’s very, very understandable as to why he thinks that science should not just lower standards, but abolish them.

  63. #63 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    E,

    I said that “I” chose to not visit those sites not the other way round.

    Here are some of the emails of which I refer to above,

    December 4, 2008, in an email:

    ”About 2 months ago I deleted loads of emails, so have very little – if anything at all.”

    November 24, 2009, in the Guardian UK:

    “We’ve not deleted any emails or data here at CRU.”

    So first he deletes “loads” of emails rather than comply with FOI requests and then when the Guardian asks about charges that he has done so he lies openly about having done it.

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

    Mike,

    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
    have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
    Cheers

    Phil

    Here he admits to deleting requested information and then asks others to do the same. Apparently he has already convinced Caspar Ammon and Keith Briffa to do likewise.

    Look I could continue this for quite some time but if you don’t have a problem with these obviously unethical and probably illegal incidents of data suppression I don’t really think we have much to talk about.

    Give me some feedback because if you are going to defend these two incidents I’m not going to waste anymore of my time arguing with you.

  64. #64 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    For Christ’s sake dhogaza try to get a grip.

    You are really rolling tonight.

  65. #65 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    mandas,

    Thanks for the thoughtful and informed reply.

    I have been following the whole Jones FOIA thing for some time, years in fact, so I am aware of much of the circumstances of the issue. I am a frequent visitor to Climate Audit and have interacted with many of the people that have made the FOIA requests of Dr. Jones and other climate scientists involved in research.

    I know them to be sincere and honest people looking to find information to replicate or at least verify Jones’ work. They may not agree with his conclusions but as a practicing scientists I hope you would agree that that is not something that is required or even desirable when some one is looking at your research.

    This research was publically funded and has great import to the current state of climate science and the attendant policy issues. That is all the more reason that the data and attendant computer code and documentation be made available for verification to any and all that request it.

    As dhogaza somehow implies is scandalous proof of my inherent evil I have a BS in physics and I have not yet completed my PhD. I teach mathematics at a university in the US (Indiana University Purdue University
    at Indianapolis).

    As a scientist, all be it an unaccomplished one at the moment, I find it more than a little bit disturbing that a scientist that is the head of a research unit of a major public institution would behave in this manner.

    I’m sure as a fellow scientist I don’t have to lecture you on the importance of making relevant data, procedures, calculations and computer code accessible to others for the purpose of independent verification and replication.

    Please look at the small amount of the many disturbing emails that I included above in my response to Erasmussimo.

    If you can formulate an acceptable reason for Dr. Jones conduct as expressed in these items I would be interested to hear it.

  66. #66 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    Not sure why deleting emails is either unethical or illegal – its actually pointless!

    Government departments archive all electronic correspondence for years – and every deleted email can be retrieved.

    So even if deleted, a legitimate FOI request for such emails would be able to obtain them.

  67. #67 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    C’mon mandas, you’re disappointing me here.

    If this attempt is futile because the emails are stored elsewhere it certainly wasn’t apparent to Dr. Jones.

    Why do you think he is deleting and requesting that others delete these emails? As a community service to save disk space?

    For Pete’s sake the subject line is IPCC and FOI. Why is he requesting that communications made between the scientists that specifically relate to the Freedom of Information requests and the the IPCC AR4 be deleted

    Seriously, your response doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and it seems like you are trying to obfuscate the issue rather than illuminate it.

    Jones is quite open about what he wants to be disappeared and why. The email even mentions Climate Audit by name!

    I want to believe you are a dispassionate observer here with the insights and concerns of a fellow scientist but you’re going to have to do better than that rather odd explanation to redeem Dr. Jones in my eyes.

  68. #68 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    mandas,

    In your previous post you state,

    From what I have read – and that involves a LOT of reading between the lines – I wouldn’t judge him harshly at all for what he is supposed to have done in that regard. FOI requests vary from the real (which are treated appropriately), to the vexatious (which are not), and in this case the FOI requests certainly appear more malicious than genuine requests for information. And the UK legislation permits the refusal of requests that are either vexatious, or which would involve large costs to the department over a predetermined limit. These fall into both categories.

    Well as I said I am very well acquainted with the information requested and the parties that requested it.

    The FOIA requests were neither vexatious nor malicious in intent.

    Also since when does a FOIA request have to be vetted before being honored? The requests were not overly onerous nor would they have involved any substantial amount of time or expense for Dr. Jones to comply with them.

    He chose not to because he didn’t want “certain people” to see the data.

    If you doubt the sincerity and reasonableness of the requests and the rights of those that requested them I can put you in touch with the people involved and in fact a detailed history of the entire affair is available at Climate Audit.

    As I said, I had “real time” knowledge of the requests as they occurred and witnessed the stalling, excessively rude responses from Dr. Jones (when there was any response at all) and other unscientific, and yes probably illegal, behavior exhibited by Dr Jones, and others, to perfectly legitimate requests of scientific data, procedures and source code by people who genuinely wanted to verify the science.

    If you are genuinely interested in verifying my account you can easily do so.

    If you continue to say that the requests were illegitimate I will doubt either your sincerity or ability to follow the trail.

    I eagerly await your response.

  69. #69 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    E,

    You are willfully obfuscating rather obvious misbehavior.

    When presented with an email that has the subject line

    IPCC AR4 & FOI.

    You wave the red herring that maybe Dr Jones love life is the reason he is violating FOIA requests and asking others to do the same. Were they all engaged in a huge climate science orgy?

    I don’t think anything further can be accomplished by talking to you when you are so willing to ignore obvious unethical and probably illegal actions.

    No worries. I always knew their would be people that would be willing to look the other way so long as they felt that the scientists involved had their hearts in the “right” place.

    Hey, when you’re trying to save the planet who has time for little details like the Freedom of Information Act and professional, scientific and journalistic ethics.

  70. #70 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    Lance, let’s get into the details. You quote a single line from an email of Mr. Jones on Dec 8. Here is the complete email:

    From: Phil Jones

    To: santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, Tom Wigley
    Subject: Re: Schles suggestion
    Date: Wed Dec 3 13:57:09 2008
    Cc: mann , Gavin Schmidt , Karl Taylor , peter gleckler

    Ben,
    When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide
    by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince
    them otherwise
    showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were
    dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school
    - the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI
    person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also
    aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know
    the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures.

    One issue is that these requests aren’t that widely known within the School. So
    I don’t know who else at UEA may be getting them. CRU is moving up the ladder of
    requests at UEA though – we’re way behind computing though. We’re away of
    requests going to others in the UK – MOHC, Reading, DEFRA and Imperial College.
    So spelling out all the detail to the LLNL management should be the first thing
    you do. I hope that Dave is being supportive at PCMDI.
    The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by
    a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his
    peers!
    If he pays 10 pounds (which he hasn’t yet) I am supposed to go through my emails
    and he can get anything I’ve written about him. About 2 months ago I deleted loads of
    emails, so have very little – if anything at all. This legislation is different from the
    FOI -
    it is supposed to be used to find put why you might have a poor credit rating !
    In response to FOI and EIR requests, we’ve put up some data – mainly paleo data.
    Each request generally leads to more – to explain what we’ve put up. Every time, so
    far, that hasn’t led to anything being added – instead just statements saying read
    what is in the papers and what is on the web site! Tim Osborn sent one such
    response (via the FOI person) earlier this week. We’ve never sent programs, any codes
    and manuals.
    In the UK, the Research Assessment Exercise results will be out in 2 weeks time.
    These are expensive to produce and take too much time, so from next year we’ll
    be moving onto a metric based system. The metrics will be # and amounts of grants,
    papers and citations etc. I did flippantly suggest that the # of FOI requests you get
    should be another.
    When you look at CA, they only look papers from a handful of
    people. They will start on another coming out in The Holocene early next year. Gavin
    and Mike are on this with loads of others. I’ve told both exactly what will appear on
    CA once they get access to it!
    Cheers
    Phil

    As you can see, Mr. Jones’ position is nowhere near as conspiratorial as you claim. Note that he is referring to a RECENT request, but he deleted loads of emails “2 months ago” — in other words, his deletion took place prior to the relevant request, not in response to it. How can that be improper?

    Now let’s examine the second quote you provide from the Guardian interview of Nov 24th. Here’s the paragraph in which it appears:

    Jones accepted, though, that the contents of some of the emails were cause for embarrassment: “Some of the emails probably had poorly chosen words and were sent in the heat of the moment, when I was frustrated. I do regret sending some of them. We’ve not deleted any emails or data here at CRU. I would never manipulate the data one bit – I would categorically deny that.”

    Notice the use of personal pronouns: “*I* was frustrated… *I* do regret… *We’ve not deleted… *I* would never… *I* would categorically deny…” Do you see a pattern? He repeatedly uses first person singular EXCEPT when referring to deleting emails. My interpretation, based on reading his other emails and his interviews, is that he is not good at using words with precision (except in a purely scientific context), and here inadvertently expressed a psychological distinction by using “we” instead of “I”, that distinction being that between his personal actions (“I”) and the CRU’s official actions (“we”).

    I realize that you will dismiss this as hair-splitting, but remember, you’re the one making serious accusations and it is morally incumbent upon you to substantiate your accusations. Merely citing a few sentences out of context does not constitute substantiation — you need to show that alternate explanations such as the one I present above are not plausible.

    you’re going to have to do better than that rather odd explanation to redeem Dr. Jones in my eyes.

    Um, you’ve already made up your mind:

    O.J. was found “not guilty” in a court of law but he sure as hell is guilty.

    So is Phil Jones regardless of what the official investigation decides.

  71. #71 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    First off, I’d like to note that the formatting of my previous post (#70) was marred by some problems with the italic formatting, problems that might confuse the reader as to what I myself wrote and what I quoted. This is most apparent in the final sentence, which is a quote from Lance, not my own statement.

    Lance, I’d like to step back and offer some higher-level thoughts on our exchanges. Let’s suppose that some correspondent here were to declare:

    I think that Politician X is a liar.
    This is a purely subjective opinion and we would rightly respond to it with “To each his own” or “Sez you” or “De gustibus non est disputandem”. The most negative response we might offer is “Who cares what you think?” But suppose instead that our correspondent were to declare:

    Politician X is a liar.

    This is an entirely different matter: it is a statement purporting to represent objective truth. We would therefore rightly expect him to substantiate his accusation. Such substantiation would take the form:

    Evidence A + Evidence B yields Conclusion 1
    Evidence C + Evidence D yields Conclusion 2
    Conclusion 1 + Conclusion 2 yields Final Conclusion (that he is a liar).

    Thoughout the great bulk of our exchanges, you have presented arguments of this structure:

    Conclusion 1
    Conclusion 2
    Conclusion 3
    Conclusion 4
    etc.

    As far as I can recall, you have offered evidence only three times: a quote from Mr. Jones, an out-of-context quote from an email written by Mr. Jones, and another out-of-context statement from an interview of Mr. Jones. This leads to an obvious question: Why so much assertion and so little discussion? If your intent here were to engage those you disagree with in a logically honest matter, you’d be presenting your evidence — yet you seem rather averse to logical argumentation.

    A second (and quite telling) observation is that you cherry-pick the arguments you respond to. You have frequently ignored arguments I have offered. Instead, you zero in on a single point and attack there.

    So far, I have been presenting my observations on your postings here. But now I would like to make a leap into hypothesizing. Please recognize that I do not claim that these hypotheses are objectively correct; my only claim is that they do explain the observations. There may be other hypotheses that explain the observations. My reasons for believing these hypotheses are founded in my experiences in teaching and analyzing human behavior. That doesn’t make my hypotheses correct; it means only that the hypotheses have some foundation in experience. (I’ll be repeating this paragraph afterwards to insure that you do not misunderstand my points.)

    I suggest that you are here to argue, not to discuss. That is, you have no desire to explore the truth or to learn; your goal is to score points. More precisely, you seek to score points in your own estimation; you really don’t care whether you are scoring points in other people’s minds — otherwise you wouldn’t use such denigratory language. For example, you initially reacted to me with some courtesy, but that degenerated into verbal abuse as our disagreement continued. You are following the same course with Mandas. The fact that you make no effort whatsoever to find common ground with others suggests to me that you are not interested in altering anybody else’s thinking. Your activity here is solely for your own emotional benefit.

    I will not enunciate my estimation of why you behave in this manner — it would only offend you. My purpose in this post is to suggest that you step back, way back, and ask yourself some hard questions. Why are you here? What do you truly seek to gain by your participation? Why do you have to attack other people? What benefit does it provide you?

    I know full well that you will respond to this post with angry dismissal — who wouldn’t? But I hope that I have planted a seed that might, after your anger has dissipated, lead to fruitful contemplation.

    Best wishes and good luck.

  72. #72 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    Oops, I forgot the repetition I promised:

    Remember, in post #71, I presented first some observations and then some hypotheses. I acknowledge that these are only hypotheses, not established conclusions. I do not claim them to have the logical force of my earlier arguments regarding climate science or Mr. Jones. I believe that there is truth in these hypotheses, and I know that you will deny any such truth. Again, the value of my hypotheses lies not in the answers they may or may not provide, but the questions that they should excite in your own mind. You’re still somewhat young and you are still forming your personality. Take some time to evaluate, consider, and meditate.

  73. #73 Raging Bee
    February 16, 2010

    This is at least your second post advocating changes to journalism that would ensure that your favored views on climate change wouldn’t be challenged in the media.

    Lance, this post advocated nothing of the sort. This sentence alone proves your dishonesty.

  74. #74 Hank Roberts
    February 16, 2010

    “This paranoid interpretation would be laughable were it not for the fact that obstructionist politicians in the US Senate will probably use it next year as an excuse to stiffen their opposition to the country’s much needed climate bill. Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence ….”

    Yes, you paranoid nitwits, Nature is talking about YOU there.
    You know who you are.
    ———

    For James H., a suggestion — since you seem to have acquired the kind of prolific posters in comments threads that over time made Prometheus and later DotEarth unreadable as sources of good information — could you add something like a little “emoticon” as host of the thread to comments, to express how you feel about them?

    Think of the fleeting expressions that would cross Walter Cronkite’s face as he reported the news on television. If you’re not old enough, look at some videos of Cronkite.

    That as a guide for new readers who don’t know who to trust.

  75. #75 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    E,

    Are you a lawyer? You have done a skillful job of obfuscating and dodging my very straight forward points.

    The issue is really quite simple lying in response to a FOI request is not a legal option. Nor is trying to convince others, including the FOI officer of the public institution for which you work to do the same.

  76. #76 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    he issue is really quite simple lying in response to a FOI request is not a legal option. Nor is trying to convince others, including the FOI officer of the public institution for which you work to do the same.

    Actually, it’s quite clear from the email I presented in full that Mr. Jones broke no laws. The FOIA has exceptions for harassment, and he convinced the FOIA officer on site that the FOIA requests constituted harassment. Mr. Jones acted with perfect propriety in passing the issue by both the FOIA officer and his superior. Since he acted in good faith based upon their professional advice, it is patent that he broke no laws.

  77. #77 Raging Bee
    February 16, 2010

    …lying in response to a FOI request is not a legal option.

    You’re the one who’s lying: no one is dodging your points; we’re pointing out that you’re a lying simpleton. Not to mention hijacking a thread about a completely unrelated subject in order to revive an argument that you and your faction lost months ago. Seriously, boy, every single one of your allegations about those hacked emails has already been refuted, and all you can do is keep on saying “nuh-uh!”

    If your case rests entirely on the fruits of random theft, then you have no case. Global warming wasn’t proven by illegally hacking into private emails, and you won’t disprove it that way either.

  78. #78 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    Lance

    Two things. Firstly, I am not sure why you would be ‘disappointed’ about my post #66 regarding the deleting of emails. It was neither an attempt to justify anything, not was it a statement of support for any position. It was just a simple statement of facts. Deleting emails is neither illegal or unethical, even in the face of an FOI request, because such information can be made readily available if required – it is always archived. Any FOI request for email information would HAVE to involve recovery of archived information, because people delete emails all the time. I certainly do it daily (or as soon as I have read them in many cases).

    Secondly, you are continually stating that the FOI requests are from genuine people who do not have an agenda and who are just concerned citizens who wish to verify CRU’s work etc. However, you, me and nearly everyone else here knows just how disengenuous such a claim really is. I have seen the list of FOI requests to the CRU, and it is excessive, vexatious, and designed purely to obstruct and inhibit the work of the CRU. For those of you who have not seen it, here it is here:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/25032/response/66822/attach/2/Response%20letter%20199%20100121.pdf

    If there is anyone out there who does not think that most of those requests are completely unreasonable, then I don’t know what is.

  79. #79 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    Oh – nearly forgot.

    For those who do not think that the list of FOI requests is simply vexatious, I suggest you scroll down to request # FOI_09_97 on page 9 of the list. The requesters actually forgot to complete the request, and just sent in the form letter they were using for all the other requests. The request says:

    “I hereby make a EIR/FOI request in respect to any confidentiality agreements)restricting transmission of CRUTEM data to non-academics involing the following countries: [insert 5 or so countries that are different from ones already requested1]”

    If THAT isn’t vexatious, please tell me how you would define it.

  80. #80 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    My lord, mandas, that truly is astounding! I had heard that Mr. McIntyre had made “more than ten” requests, but I didn’t realize that his requests covered 27 pages! And the Page 9 boilerplate is quite hilarious. Yes, this is about as vexatious as they come. He wants to see any and all confidentiality agreements with Kiribati? The fate of the universe hangs in the balance! ;-)

  81. #81 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    mandas,

    If a party claims that agreements with foreign countries prohibit the release of data it is completely reasonable to ask to be shown those agreements.

    How is that vexatious?

  82. #82 Erasmussimo
    February 16, 2010

    Lance, the FOIA requests are vexatious because of the combination of 1) enormous effort required to fulfill them and 2) the lack of any apparent benefit to the recipient. The obvious intent of the recipient is to play some sort of “gotcha” fishing game. Research operations have better ways to spend their time than playing gotcha games. Steve McIntyre is welcome to play such games, but for him to insist that other people waste time playing his games is surely vexatious.

  83. #83 Lance
    February 16, 2010

    Also there were a total of 58 requests in five years.

    A request rate of less that six per year.

    Oh my! However did they have time to work!

    I can see that you folks are more interested in excusing poor behavior than requiring scientists to make their data and code available for verification.

    So long.

  84. #84 nsib
    February 16, 2010

    Hi, Lance. I see you’ve decided to give two more reasons why no one should ever trust you.

    Reason #1

    Also there were a total of 58 requests in five years.

    There were 105 FOI requests in that five year period. The 58 you mentioned was merely the number of FOI requests regarding confidentiality agreements.

    Reason #2

    A request rate of less that six per year.

    According to the numbering system used for the list of FOI requests, it seems that nearly all of them were recieved in 2009. You would have to be pretty naive to assume that they were spread out evenly across that five year period. Or dishonest.

  85. #85 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    Lance

    “….Also there were a total of 58 requests in five years…A request rate of less that six per year…”

    ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure about your maths there Lance, by I’m going with 58 divided by 5 equals 11.6.

  86. #86 Lance
    February 17, 2010

    “Not sure about your maths there Lance, by I’m going with 58 divided by 5 equals 11.6.”

    Hehe, you got me there mandas!

    The worst part is that I’m a math teacher! Yes, 58/6 is 11.6. I divided by ten not 5 for some reason. Luckily I don’t teach arithmetic.

    Still my point stands even if you use the numbers listed by
    nrib, 105 in five years.

    This is a rate of 21 per year (I checked my answer this time) or less than two per month.

    This is not an exorbitant amount of requests for data that underpins one the “most widely used” temperature data sets according to CRU themselves.

  87. #87 mandas
    February 17, 2010

    Lance

    I guess you don’t deal with FOI requests then, because two per month every month for 5 years is an EXTREME number of requests for an organisation the size of CRU – which has a staff of around 30 scientists and students (according to their website. If I see one every couple of months or so – and I work in a Department with hundreds of staff – I cringe, because it is a LOT of work.

  88. #88 Lance
    February 17, 2010

    mandas,

    Let’s be real here OK.

    In my first undergraduate physics lab course it was made very clear to all students that providing data, methodology, calculations and attendant materials was not optional. It was a fundamental requirement.

    No data, no grade. Present messaged data with out the original data, no grade. Present graphs with out code, no grade. In fact you would probably be approached by your academic advisor if the behavior persisted.

    As a scientist yourself do you feel that providing the information to verify your work somehow places an undue burden on you?

    That is all that was asked of Phil Jones. That he chose to play games and avoid that fundamental responsibility of any scientist is what caused any and all problems related to this issue.

    As I said I have followed this case from the beginning.

    You are not going to convince me that the folks that requested the data and other materials are harassing Jones. I know better.

    I suspect you do as well but would rather make excuses.

    I’m just not sure why you are doing so. Unlike other anonymous douche bags on this thread I’m not going to call you names or impugn your motivation.

    I notice you never answered my questions about what you thought Jones was doing when he deleted emails that he announced in the heading were being requested by a FOIA request and asked other to do the same.

    And why he lied about doing so when asked specifically if he had deleted emails by a reporter for the Guardian.

    Seriously, do you think that was ethical?

  89. #89 nsib
    February 17, 2010

    You’re pretty good at avoiding reality, Lance, but I’ve seen better. Though I must admit, simply stating that the FOI requests were about “providing the information to verify your work” does save time and effort compared to, you know, actually reading what the FOI requests ask for. Now, having looked through that info, I can tell you that only 14 FOI requests were requests for data, but hey, don’t take my word for it, it’s on the handy link mandas provided.

    And finally

    This is a rate of 21 per year (I checked my answer this time) or less than two per month.

    Using your same logic, I could say that around 23.3 humans have been born each year. Do you see why that’s wrong?

  90. #90 Erasmussimo
    February 17, 2010

    Lance, if 58 requests were spread over 58 years, that would come to only ONE request per year. But there weren’t 58 requests, there were 105; and they weren’t spread over 58 years, the great majority came in just one year. As somebody said earlier, “garbage in, garbage out”. If you base your calculations on absurd situations, you get absurd results.

    Your example of undergraduate physics labs is fine for toy-level physics, but real-world physics is considerably different. The data that was demanded did not consist of a few dozen data points, it wasn’t gathered at the same time, it wasn’t all of the same nature. Remember, the FOI request was for the ORIGINAL data. That original data consisted of reports from many different countries extending over many decades. Much of it was in the form of hand-written entries, in different languages, formatted in different ways, in different units of measurement. The digital data was likely recorded in different formats and stored in different media: paper tape, punched cards, half-inch magnetic tape; magnetic tape casettes; 8″ floppy disks; 4.25″ floppy disks; 3.5″ floppy disks; and direct electronic transmissions (again in different formats). Tell me, if you were required to prepare duplicates of original paper tape, punched cards, half-inch magnetic tape, or 8″ floppy disks, (remember, McIntyre demanded ORIGINAL data, not renditions of it), how would you go about providing those duplicates? Much of the equipment required to produce it no longer exists.

    But it doesn’t stop there. They couldn’t use any of that data in its original form — their first step would have been to reduce it to a standardized form. Some graduate student had to key in all the data. Since the original process started decades ago, before Mr. Jones even entered the picture, it was probably entered in some ancient format — punched cards or paper tape. As the years passed, it was likely reformatted into newer technologies: floppy disk, perhaps, and then huge online files. Along the way, the formats changed, coding systems were developed, more information was added, some of the data had to be recast into new measurement systems more appropriate to the calculations being done. The current dataset is the end result of these decades of modifications and manipulations. But Mr. McIntyre won’t accept the current dataset — he demands the original data. The effort required to collect and organize all that data would be herculean. And yet you dismiss that effort with a wave of your hand. I suspect that you have never dealt with real scientific data.

    I *have* worked with real scientific data on a number of occasions, and I can assure you that getting data organized for publication is hell. One project I carried out involved a compilation of data obtained from a massive literature search, then a series of calculations based on the combined data set. I published the results, but my paper did not include every source of the original data. Had I been challenged to provide citations for every entry in my dataset, I would not have been able to respond.

    I worked on another, much larger project, in which the data were obtained by means of a multimillion dollar effort. We gathered many gigabytes of data. All the original data recordings are squirreled away in a safe place, but they are recorded on a magnetic medium that is now obsolete. A few years ago we realized that the magnetic media were deteriorating and had to be recopied into a new format. The millions of dollars that were spent obtaining the data were long since gone. I cobbled together some equipment out of my own pocket and assembled a hardware-software system capable of transferring the data to a new medium. The PI got a summer intern to transfer the data using my system, but in the time available she was able to transfer only about 30% of the data. Fortunately, this 30% of the data contained about 80% of the useful information, but that other 70% of the data is now almost lost to science. Were some jerk to submit a FOI request demanding that data, I don’t know how we could satisfy that request.

    But you dismiss these problems as trivial.

    You have repeated your claim that Mr. Jones lied to the Guardian. I have already dealt with your claim, but you chose to evade my response. Do you really think that mindlessly repeating accusations will convince anybody here?

  91. #91 Raging Bee
    February 17, 2010

    Let’s be real here OK.

    We ARE being real, Lance. And out here in the real world, people who blatantly lie and base their arguments on stolen emails do not get to lecture actual scientists about ethics.

    We have painstakingly pointed out FACTS about the CRU, the FOI requests, and the work involved in gathering raw data; and all you have done is say “nuh-uh” and keep on repeating the same already-disproven bald-faced lies. Then you talk down to us after getting a simple division problem wrong? Are you even serious?

    I’d call you a “lying sack of shit,” but that would be an insult to fertilizer. You’re not just dishonest, you’re pathologically dishonest; your word is worthless and your patronizing tone is laughable. Grow up two decades and come back when you actually get an education.

  92. #92 Lance
    February 17, 2010

    nsib,

    …I can tell you that only 14 FOI requests were requests for data…

    The other requests were for copies of alleged agreements that precluded, you know, release of data!

    E,

    Your rambling and insulting post is a pathetic attempt to justify sloppy and unethical scientific practices. I don’t see anything worth responding to.

    Raging Bee,

    I haven’t bothered responding to one of your delusional and overly emotional posts in years and this one hasn’t raised the bar.

    The three of you are a perfect example of how much time can be wasted by arguing with anonymous blowhards in cyberspace.

  93. #93 Raging Bee
    February 17, 2010

    Funny how Lance only starts complaining about anonymity in cyberspace AFTER his arguments get debunked and his total moral bankruptcy gets exposed. (What’s your last name again?)

  94. #94 Lance
    February 17, 2010

    Harting douche bag.

    What’s your?

  95. #95 dhogaza
    February 18, 2010

    The other requests were for copies of alleged agreements that precluded, you know, release of data!

    Which, of course, don’t necessarily exist.

    UK MET, for instance, sets as its *default* that researchers will not only not share, but after doing their work, delete all copies kept locally of data given them, unless there’s an explicit agreement stating the contrary.

    So obviously any organization getting data from the UK MET that has not negotiated an explicit sharing/release agreement won’t have Lance’s precious alleged agreements.

    So, Lance, can you show us a photocopy of your written agreement with your wife that you’ll not beat her?

  96. #96 Lance
    February 18, 2010

    Ah, my favorite anonymous blow hard is back.

    dhogaza,

    Then a copy of that “default” agreement would take about twenty seconds to cut and paste into an email wouldn’t it.

    What a bother that would be.

    Or are they “secret unreproducible” agreements that are known only to those climate scientists that belong to the brotherhood?

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