The Island of Doubt

As regular readers will know, I prefer the term “pseudoskeptic” over “denier” when it comes to those who insist we needn’t be worried about climate change. This is because the common denominator among any set of such characters tends to be a misapplication of the scientific method, a failure to apply rigorous skeptical analysis to the subject. Not all of these pseudoskeptics are deniers, as this list from Foreign Policy makes clear.

Indeed, the distinctions among the selected “Guide to Climate Skeptics” make it even more important to choose our descriptors carefully. I would argue that calling them “skeptics” is the authors’ first mistake. But let’s look at each one in turn as FP tries to “sort out the noise from the serious concerns.”

First up is Ross McKitrick, an “economist at the University of Guelph in Ontario; fellow at the Fraser Institute, a free-market think tank.” This is the economist half of the “hockey stick is flawed” duo, along with Steve McIntyre, who doesn’t rate his own entry for some reason. McKitrick may have once been a genuine skeptic, but long after the hockey stick was revised, confirmed and validated a dozen times over, he’s still at it, suggesting no real devotion to science as such. Associating himself with the Fraser Institute, which has never shown any commitment to evidence-based analysis, further undermines his credibility.

Next is Roger Pielke Jr., but not his father. Another curious selection. Pielke gets lot of attention from former NY Times reporter Andy Revkin, but also warrants his own entry in Tim “Deltoid” Lambert’s list of those who consistently get the science wrong. The thing to note is Pielke is not a climatologist, but a social scientist who describes his interests as “understanding the relations of science and politics, technology policy in the atmospheric and related sciences, use and value of prediction in decision making, and policy education for scientists.” He is also not a climate skeptic, accepts the basics of anthropogenic global warming and objected to FP‘s decision to include him on the list.

Number 3 is John Christy, who made a name for himself, along with creationist Roy Spencer, pointing out that satellite data showed the world wasn’t warming anywhere near as much as the ground-based data suggested. A few years ago, though, it turned out the satellites had been miscalibrated and when their data were corrected to take that into account, the discrepancy disappeared. His data for this past month show the Earth is about 0.72 °C above pre-industrial levels. Yet he continues to make contrarian statements. Curious really. Hard to figure him out.

Fourth is Richard Lindzen, the once-respected scientist who is now largely considered a crank. Although he’s obviously a right-wing ideologue, and doesn’t publish much anymore, he’s the most scientifically accomplished on the list and it would be foolish to dismiss him. I would argue that he and Christy are perhaps the only two genuine scientific skeptics on the list and as such his arguments merit consideration. Until now, however, his arguments have failed to withstand criticism from his peers.

Then we have Bjorn Lomborg, who isn’t a publishing scientist or even a denier. He accepts the science, just takes issue with the threat climate changes poses. He is, however, a pseudoskeptic, as he has shown a consistent inability to understand the sources he cites. He argument boils down to a blind faith in our ability to find cheap solutions to energy and climate challenges at some point in the future — before things get really bad. So another non-scientific, non-skeptic.

Next is Freeman Dyson, an aging giant of the sciences who no longer keeps up to date. He seems like to play the contrarian card, but has no serious adherents in the field. Hardly deserving of inclusion.

Freelance mathematician Douglas Keenan wants to be take seriously, but as Gavin Schmidt at Real Climate lays out, is finding that hard to do.

The inevitable Anthony Watts makes an appearance. He has a popular blog, but doesn’t quite get the whole science-as-process thing. As the FP entry points out, his efforts to find flaws in the U.S. temperature-recording network have failed, but he isn’t letting a little thing called peer review get in his way,

Finally we get Christopher Booker, Richard North and Christopher Monckton, none of whom have ever made anything approaching a serious contribution to the debate.

So has FP managed to sort out the signal from the noise? More or less. But the fact that there is only one publishing climatologist (Christy) on the 11-member list tells us much more than do the particulars of the entry.

I’d also like to float the idea that it’s the journalists who quote them, rather the pseudoskeptics themselves, that are the real problem these days. Jonathan Leake comes to mind…

Comments

  1. #1 darwinsdog
    March 2, 2010

    “…those who insist we needn’t be worried about climate change.”

    We needn’t be worried about anything. Humans will deplete all the fossil fuels obtainable, then deforest the planet, CO2 will go >1k ppm, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse, low lying rice growing regions of southern Asia will be inundated, biodiversity will be decimated, Homo sapiens will go extinct, the biogeochemical cycling dynamics of carbon will re-equilibrate. You and I will long be dead. Nothing whatsoever to worry about. Take the long view.

  2. #2 Dacks
    March 2, 2010

    Thanks for the link. It’s helpful to put these folks all in one room, so to speak, so you can see the relative strengths and weaknesses of their positions. I’ve posted the link to 2 facebook pages so far.

  3. #3 Phil
    March 2, 2010

    Envirotard Whackjobs get it wrong once AGain…

    [ridiculously long off-topic post redacted by jh]

    -Cheers! Phil

  4. #4 Nick
    March 2, 2010

    @ phil: What does your post have to do with the scientific credentials of the so-called “skeptics” of climate change? Or you just post random cut/paste jobs to any blog entry with a certain tag?

    I’m by no means an expert (or even remotely well-read) in the latest/greatest in the biofuel debate, but I’m under the impression that the folks you refer to as “Envirotards” have also come to the conclusion that biofuels aren’t the panacea for the Earth’s climate and energy sustainability problems. Biofuels use has been primarily promoted by federal government looking for a “quick fix” and made profitable by subsidies. However, I don’t think anyone can argue that it makes environmental sense to cut down rain-forests for biofuel plantations. Profit on the other hand…

  5. #5 Marco
    March 2, 2010

    James, Lindzen is also a publishing climate scientist. Still. His Choi&Lindzen paper recently got thrashed by Trenberth et al. Something with cherry picking…(albeit not directly called as such)
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lindzen-and-choi-unraveled/
    “In TFOW we show that the apparent relationship is reduced to zero if one chooses to displace the endpoints selected in LC09 by a month or less. So with this method the perceived feedback can be whatever one wishes it to be, and the result obtained by LC09 is actually very unlikely.”

    “whatever one wishes it to be”…

    Right you are. I and the post, stand corrected. — jh

  6. #6 ChicagoMike
    March 2, 2010

    I thought the FP article was a little soft on Pielke. Yes he claims to accept the scientific evidence for warming and the need to reduce emissions, yet he’s done terrible damage by spreading misinformation about the scientists and activists who are actually trying to deal with the problem.

    More info here:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/28/foreign-policys-guide-to-climate-skeptics-includes-roger-pielke-jr-meanwhile-andy-revkin-campaigns-for-him-to-be-an-ipcc-author/

  7. #7 Derr Hog Hozer
    March 2, 2010

    Royal Society of Chemistry backs sharing of data in contrast to Climatology’s “standard practice” statement

    While Climatologists prattle on about withholding code and data being “standard practice” The Royal Society of Chemistry has made a statement to the Parliamentary inquiry saying they as an organization support open data sharing. They now join the Institute of Physics in making a strong statement on the practices of Climatologists.

    Uh OH. Data and Code coming out. This is not going to end well for the warmer believer pseudo-scientists. NOt good at all…….people are going to actually have a good look see……… uh oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    p.s. Derr Hogg Hozer is Latin – it means – one that throws nets on pigs.

  8. #8 Here come the judge
    March 2, 2010

    Leading Climatologist Phil “hide the raw data” Jones was SHREDDED yesterday.

    Who’s next? Come and get you some of this…

    “I’m a scientist,” Labour’s Graham Stringer said. “If I want to check your results, I can’t.”

    Dr Jones fiddled with that allegation (he’s not without Westminster talent) but the committee didn’t look persuaded. His reply to a request for information was quoted: “Why should I make data available to you when you only want to find something wrong with it?” Stringer concluded: “That is unscientific!”

    His defence was a bit unscientific too: “I’ve obviously written some very awful emails,” followed by a wry smile. But the committee declined to be charmed. Why wouldn’t he release the codes?

    “Because we had an awful lot of work invested in it.”

    Yes, by the sound of it there was considerable data smoothing and oiling and homogenising and substituting and standardising… I don’t know much about statistics but I know what I like. And when a scientist says: “We couldn’t keep the original data, only the added-value data,” all sorts of sirens and alarms go off.

  9. #9 Bail Out! Bail Out! We're going down!
    March 2, 2010

    It has now been revealed that GISS, just like CRU, has done a poor job of ‘preserving and managing’ its data. Although there is no evidence that GISS has destroyed its raw data, as CRU clearly has done, Dr. Reto Ruedy of GISS admits in an email that “[The United States Historical Climate Network] data are not routinely kept up-to-date.” In another email, he reveals that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. “[NASA’s] assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data… may not have been correct,” he says. “Indeed, in 490 of the 1057 stations the USHCN data were up to 1C colder than the corresponding GHCN data, in 77 stations the data were the same, and in the remaining 490 stations the USHCN data were warmer than the GHCN data.”

    Unfortunately, it seems that the discrepancy privately highlighted by Dr. Ruedy was not coincidental, but part of a broader pattern of misrepresentation on the part of GISS. Between 2002 and 2005, GISS chief James Hansen issued press releases headlined “2005 Warmest Year in a Century;” “2006 was Earth’s Fifth Warmest Year;” and “The 2002 meteorological year is the second warmest year in the period of accurate instrumental data.” In other words, global warming is happening and that immediate action is necessary.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2010/03/02/climategate-this-time-its-nasa

  10. #10 Fat lady singing
    March 2, 2010

    What REAL journalists are thinking (not failed pseudo-science bloggers)

    We have been discussing such terminology, and some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

    The editor of our environment website explains: “The former has nasty connotations with Holocaust denial and tends to polarise debate. On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence. Also, some are reluctant to lend the honourable tradition of scepticism to people who may not be truly ’sceptical’ about the science.” We might help to promote a more constructive debate, however, by being “as explicit as possible about what we are talking about when we use the term sceptic”.

    Most if not all of the environment team – who, after all, are the ones at the sharp end – now favour stopping the use of denier or denialist (which is not, in fact, a word) in news stories, if not opinion pieces.

    The Guardian’s environment editor argues: “Sceptics have valid points and we should take them seriously and respect them.” To call such people deniers “is just demeaning and builds differences”. One of his colleagues says he generally favours sceptic for news stories, “but let people use ‘deniers’ in comment pieces should they see fit. The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    Stop denying it James. It’s happening. Your rainbow unicorn world is crumbling.

  11. #11 Erasmussimo
    March 2, 2010

    I have come to use the terms “denier” or “denialist” because so many of the people posting on blogs are grossly ignorant of the science and are obviously engaging in intellectual dishonesty. However, I acknowledge that there are people out there for whom those labels are unfair. “Pseudoskeptic” seems a good term. I’ll try to adopt it.

    A number of pseudoskeptics have posted some falsehoods (#7, #8, and #9). #7 argues that the Royal Society of Chemistry, along with the Institute of Physics, have rejected CRU’s failure to release all its data. This is a lie. The truth is that the official statements of both organizations make no explicit references to CRU, and they both support release of data “in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act” — which in turn provides exemptions for requests that would be inordinately costly to satisfy. Inasmuch as providing thousands of documents that would have to be dug up out of ancient archives in some warehouse would surely cost an enormous amount of money, CRU is obviously justified in refusing to meet the the FOIA request of Mr. McIntyre. Indeed the “vexatious” clause provides another justification of the refusal. If CRU broke the law, there will be a prosecution, but so far the investigations have not revealed anything justifying an indictment. Thus, the claim that the Royal Society of Chemistry has rebuked CRU is the exact opposite of the truth: the RSC has endorsed CRU’s actions

    #8 presents a cherry-picked set of quotes from the committee meeting yesterday. If you want more objective reporting on that meeting, try this link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/01/parliamentary-climate-emails-inquiry

    Basically, it demonstrates that the accusations in #8 are all lies. Sheesh, can’t you pseudoskeptics ever get ANYTHING right?

    #9 makes wild accusations that NASA has committed crimes against science. Those accusations are based on a selected release of quotations from emails — the source does not release the entire set of emails nor the context in which they existed. Gee, who’s withholding data now?

  12. #12 Phyllograptus
    March 2, 2010

    @Erasmussimo
    The Royal Statistical Society comes right out and points the finger where it belongs and puts out maybe the best reccommendations defense for good science I have seen.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc4702.htm

    “2. The Society welcomes this opportunity to submit evidence to the Science and Technology committee on the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia inquiry.”
    &
    “4. The RSS believes that the debate on global warming is best served by having the models used and the data on which they are based in the public domain. Where such information is publicly available it is possible independently to verify results. The ability to verify models using publicly available data is regarded as being of much greater importance than the specific content of email exchanges between researchers.”
    & most importantly
    “9. More widely, the basic case for publication of data includes that science progresses as an ongoing debate and not by a series of authoritative and oracular pronouncements and that the quality of that debate is best served by ensuring that all parties have access to the facts. It is well understood, for example, that peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is ‘correct’. The best guarantor of scientific quality is that others are able to examine in detail the arguments that have been used and not just their published conclusions. It is important that experiments and calculations can be repeated to verify their conclusions. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this.”

    With regards to the Royal Society of Chemistry submission. It relates directly to the CRU.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc4202.htm
    “1. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) welcomes the opportunity to submit formal written evidence to the consultation on the disclosure of climate change data from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia.”
    The words climatic research unit, are right there just not capitalized or abbreviated into the acronym CRU
    &
    “4. The apparent resistance of researchers from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) to disclose research data has been widely portrayed as an indication of a lack of integrity in scientific research. The true nature of science dictates that research is transparent and robust enough to survive scrutiny. A lack of willingness to disseminate scientific information may infer that the scientific results or methods used are not robust enough to face scrutiny, even if this conjecture is not well-founded. This has far-reaching consequences for the reputation of science as a whole, with the ability to undermine the public’s confidence in science.”
    &
    “7. It is also imperative that scientific information is made available to the wider community for scrutiny: the validity and essence of research relies upon its ability to stand up to review. In fact, advances in science frequently occur when the prevailing view is challenged by informed scepticism, this is fundamental to the scientific method and should be encouraged, even if controversial. The RSC firmly believes that the benefits of scientific data being made available and thus open to scrutiny outweigh the perceived risks. To this end, scientific information should be made available on request as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act. Furthermore, research needs to be presented in an accurate and reliable manner in the correct context in order to optimise this process. It may also be necessary to incorporate an independent auditing system into peer review with the ability to demand access to raw data sets to ensure best practices are being adhered to.”

  13. #13 Hey! Get This . . .
    March 2, 2010

    One defense against credentialed pseudoskeptics is to give the general public some science that they can internalize without formal study. Try ‘Dead ‘Ol Pits Society – Grand Canyon of the Colorado’ at the link, or an earlier example ‘Dentistry & Glaciers’.

  14. #14 Phyllograptus
    March 2, 2010

    @Erasmussimo
    With regards to the Institute of Physics
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm
    their submission states
    “The Institute is pleased to submit its views to inform the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry, ‘The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia'”
    &
    “2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.”

    Its hard to be more condemning of the CRU and as they point out other reasearcher that the above statement & I would like to point out they do preface the above comment with the following statement
    “1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.”
    However as that Dr. Jones in his testimony admitted that he had written some “pretty awful” emails I don’t see that the IOP point one being called into practice.

  15. #15 Turboblocke
    March 2, 2010

    Something fishy about the IoP submission: apparently, no one admits to approving it. And the submission states that it was written by the Energy Sub-group. Curious.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/02/institute-of-physics-emails-inquiry-submission

  16. #16 Little Timmy
    March 2, 2010

    Keep going Jimmy! Flailing, and failing. With your head planted firmly between your cheeks in that quiet, warm moist place where the truth just can’t go. Stay in there Ostrich boy.

  17. #17 Erasmussimo
    March 2, 2010

    Phyllograptus, you are reading your own opinions into the statements. Read them again. They both declare all the platitudes about how good it is to release as much data as possible (and in fact, CRU has released most of its data). But when it comes down to nuts and bolts, they are quite clear:

    scientific information should be made available on request as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act.

    Let me make that a little clearer to you:

    as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act.

    That’s the key point they both make: that the FOIA provides the ground rules for the release of scientific information. And the FOIA provides exemptions for both vexatious requests as well as requests that would be unduly expensive to comply with — and both of these conditions were met by the McIntyre requests. Have you actually read McIntyre’s requests? They go on and on for more than thirty pages. There’s even a slip left in there where they have a blank form that says “include country names here”. McIntyre was most certainly harrying CRU (remember, CRU has a total staff of three scientists).

    Thus, the quotes you provide actually endorse CRU’s behavior, because CRU did precisely what they endorse: responding “as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act”.

    The statement by the Institute of Physics is certainly more damning, but remember that the Institute of Physics has nowhere near the stature of the Royal Societies. It is a private charity and it is certainly welcome to its opinions. However, the Institute of Physics has just released a clarification of its statement . This piece of evidence appears to be the work of a small handful of scientists. Meanwhile, there were a large number of statements submitted to the parliamentary inquiry, none of which I have been able to find. It would be interesting to see just how supportive or damning they are.

  18. #18 Turboblocke
    March 2, 2010
  19. #19 Erasmussimo
    March 2, 2010

    Thanks for the link, Turboblocke. I perused some of the submissions. Most are from individuals and as such are of little value to us. However, a few salient points are interesting:

    1. Phyllograptus left out a crucial paragraph from the submission of the Royal Statistical Society:

    8. It is also clearly unreasonable to require that any given scientist having published some research is then condemned to answer each and every question that might possibly arise from it.. For example, requests under the Freedom of Information act or the Environmental Information Regulations could overwhelm small groups of scientists.

    2. The Research Councils UK group submitted a memo arguing that we should wait for the investigation to complete before rushing to any conclusions, a wise precaution, I think. Let’s get the facts before we start lynching people.

    3. The Met Office submitted a detailed scientific statement that does not draw conclusions about the behavior of CRU.

    That’s all the evidence from official bodies; the remainder are individuals, charities, or corporations.

  20. #20 Davidpj
    March 3, 2010

    Pseudoskeptic, eh? That’s a useful term – I have been struggling to find a middle ground between denialist (which I believe some deserve) and skeptic (which I believe is incorrectly applied – I freakin’ founded a skeptic’s club at University, and we actually *did* follow the evidence! Or tried to…) So thanks for that, James.

    The arrogance of non-scientists who cherrypick and reinterpret data of those who have studied and researched for decades or more in the topic is staggering. Valid queries can be raised – I always ask someone who doesn’t research in my field to look over my papers before submission – but (fortunately) they don’t then turn around and sell a story about my lack of integrity to the media if they think they’ve found an error! The benefits of studying an innocuous field, eh?

  21. #21 Rainbow Unicorn Fairy
    March 3, 2010

    It’s clear that the climate science community was just not prepared for the scale and ferocity of the attacks once the public wised up to the shady practices of self-proclaimed ‘climatologists’, said Peter C. Frumhoff, an ecologist and chief scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Climatologists need to acknowledge the errors and just start over using real scientific methods going forward.”

    A number of institutions are beginning efforts to improve the quality of their science and to make their work more transparent. The official British climate agency is undertaking a complete re-do of its temperature data and will make its records and analysis and code fully public for the first time ever, allowing outside scrutiny of methods and conclusions. The United Nations panel on climate change will accept external oversight of its research practices, also for the first time.

    Two universities are investigating the work of top climate scientists to determine whether they have violated academic standards and undermined faith in science. The National Academy of Sciences is preparing to publish a nontechnical paper outlining what is known — and not known — about changes to the global climate. And a vigorous debate is under way among climate scientists on why their work was never transparent and re-producible to begin with.

    Some critics think these are merely cosmetic efforts that do not address the real problem, however. Public confidence in climatologists appears to be shaken to the point of irrepairable breakage.

    “I’ll let you in on a very dark, ugly secret — I don’t want trust in climate science to be restored,” Willis Eschenbach, an engineer and climate contrarian who posts frequently on climate skeptic blogs, wrote in response to one climate scientist’s proposal to share more research. “I don’t want you learning better ways to propagandize for shoddy science. I don’t want you to figure out how to inspire trust by camouflaging your unethical practices in new and innovative ways.”

    “The solution,” he concluded, “is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science.”

    yeah. no shit.

  22. #22 Marco
    March 3, 2010

    @RUF:
    Funny piece, especially the quote by Willis Eschenbach, just about the pinnacle of anti-science of WUWT (and that’s quite an achievement in itself!).

    It would be nice if Eschenbach stops trying to pass off garbage as science. But I’m not betting any money on it…

  23. #23 dhogaza
    March 3, 2010

    It’s amazing that people like Eschenbach are given any credibility at all by the press. He doesn’t appear to have any science background at all.

  24. #24 mandas
    March 3, 2010

    I apologise for this ‘cut and paste. It is a copy of a post I made on another site regarding this issue, so rather than writing another post, I thought I would be lazy.

    It is important to separate the ‘controversy’ over the CRU emails etc, from the real science of climate change. It has become common practice for the denialist community to allege that, because of some perceived problems with CRU’s handling of data etc, that this undermines the case for climate change. This is NOT the case.

    Indeed, on this very issue, the ‘august scientific bodies….pecking at his (Jones) head…” may have some concerns about Jones, but they are definite about their views on climate change – which fish and chip wrappers like the Daily Mail don’t seem to want to grasp, because it runs counter to their flawed ideologies and luddite views of science. Here is what the Institute of Physics has to say on this issue (the FULL version – not the quote mine used by the Daily Rag):
    (from: http://www.iop.org/News/news_40679.html )

    “…The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
    The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming. That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.
    The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work. It reflected our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk in the present case, and that this has undermined the trust that is placed in the scientific process.
    These comments, focused on the scientific process, should not be interpreted to mean that the Institute believes that the science itself is flawed…”

    I think that’s pretty clear for all you denialists out there. Now can we have a discussion about the issues, not these red herrings that seem to be all you are capable of using to support your lack of credibility on science.

  25. #25 Lance
    March 3, 2010

    James,

    Your list of “denialists” contains the names of two former IPCC lead authors Lindzen and Christy.

    They are both highly respected and accomplished scientists in their field.

    They have published many peer reviewed papers and received many awards for their work.

    They both hold prestigious positions at major universities.

    What were you’re qualifications again?

  26. #26 mandas
    March 4, 2010

    Lance

    I think one of James’ qualifications is the ability to read. I think if you go back and actually read the original post, you might find what James really has to say about Lindzen and Christy, rather than your spin on it.
    Firstly, he used the term ‘pseudoskeptic’ rather than ‘denier’. And I’m pretty sure he credited Lindzen in particular with being an accomplished scientist who’s views merit consideration. But both had flaws in their arguments which have not stood up to scrutiny, yet they still espouse these views as if they are valid. Mind you, that’s pretty much the hallmark of a denier in my book. But then again, I don’t make appeals to authority, but prefer to let the work itself stand or fall on it’s merit.

  27. #27 Lance
    March 4, 2010

    mandas,

    But both had flaws in their arguments which have not stood up to scrutiny, yet they still espouse these views as if they are valid. Mind you, that’s pretty much the hallmark of a denier in my book. But then again, I don’t make appeals to authority, but prefer to let the work itself stand or fall on it’s merit.

    The above offers no valid evidence refuting either Lindzen or Christy, just assertions followed by personal attack.

    When I first encountered your arguments they appeared to be reasonable and unbiased. As I have observed further they have taken on the tone of advocacy with only the thinnest veneer of objectivity.

    You demand that no one make a “rush to judgement” on the behavior of Phil Jones lest it tarnish his reputation yet you openly smear two eminent researchers as “deniers” because they don’t agree with your alarmist view point.

    Your biases are painfully obvious to even the casual observer.

  28. #28 Mitchell
    March 4, 2010

    You are a worthless piece of shit liar. Go to hell you piece of shit. I’m not paying you a carbon tax you scum.

  29. #29 So bored with this
    March 4, 2010

    Dearie, dearie me. You forgot to smear Professor S. Fred Singer Ph.D. That’s a bit sloppy, but perhaps you’ve never heard of him or Craig D. Idso Ph.D or the NIPCC or their 2009 report “Climate Change Reconsidered”.

    Never mind, you can always fall back on the old canard, eh? They are funded by Oil companies/Big corporations/Alien greys from Zeta Reticuli.

    Fact is people just aren’t listening any more. No one wants to pay even more tax as well as more for goods, fuel and services and suffer an increase in restrictions on the basis of a questionable hypothesis. Especially when the credibility of the scientific method used to support it is being diminished on a daily basis.

    Basically, without public support there won’t be much political will for action on Global Warming/AGW/CAGW/Climate Change (or whatever it’s being called this week). Get over it.

  30. #30 mandas
    March 4, 2010

    Lance

    Trying to win the gold medal in hypocracy at the Denialist Olympics I see.

    You are a great one to make accusations and inuendos regarding James’ qualifications, but you don’t seem to like it when it is done to you in return. I seem to have this vision of pots and kettles in my mind.

    Your support for Lindzen and Christy consists solely of stating that they are respected scientists with awards and many peer reviewed papers. You make no attempt to state that their opinions in climate change stand up under scrutiny. That is purely and simply an appeal to authority, and no personal attacks on me will change that very simple fact. If you are so enamoured with authority and the opinions of respected scientists who have published peer reviewed work, how about you accept the views of the thousands of respected scientists who have published work which demonstrate the facts of climate change, rather than only those which support your world view?

    Further, you make absolutely no attempt to address the points I raised in my post, which was a refutation of your attack on James. James never called Lindzen and Christy denialists – despite your claims to the contrary. He called them both, Lindzen in particular, respected scientists who’s arguments warranted respect. But of course, you would be unable to conduct your personal attack on James’ integrity and qualifications without first putting a ludicrous spin on his post.

    IF you had read the original post – which it appears you either failed to do or, at the very least, failed to understand – James was making the point about who is a denialist and who’s opinions merit consideration. You may have even noticed this statement (if you had bothered to read the post at all):

    “…I would argue that he (Lindzen) and Christy are perhaps the only two genuine scientific skeptics on the list and as such his arguments merit consideration…”

    I am going to give you some good advice, which I know you won’t follow because it doesn’t appear to be in your nature – read and understand the subject before making comment.

  31. #31 Lance
    March 4, 2010

    mandas,

    My reading comprehension is just fine thanks.

    “Fourth is Richard Lindzen, the once-respected scientist who is now largely considered a crank.”

    He doesn’t directly call Lindzen and Christy “denialists”. He just calls them his own version that he personally prefers “psuedo-skeptics”. Of course this is a distinction without a difference since the article is titled Who are the People in Your Denial Neighborhood.

    So if I called you a rectum and then you complain that I called you an asshole you’d have nothing to complain about right.

  32. #32 mandas
    March 4, 2010

    Lance

    I don’t complain if people call me names. It happens all the time. So if you want to call me either a rectum or an asshole, go ahead. I have been called worse by better.

    But for you to suggest that there is a flaw in James’ analysis of Lindzen is to fundamentally misrepresent the facts. The point that Lindzen is a respected scientist whose opinions warrant consideration was conceded. And the point that Lindzen is considered to be a crank by many in the climate science community is also an indisputable fact. I could provide dozens of links to scientists who have expressed the view that Lindzen is out of touch with the facts, but I will actually leave it up to you to do a modicum of research on the subject (which you should have done before you expressed an opinion). Go ahead, research really isn’t as scary or difficult as you seem to believe. You are sitting in front of a computer. Just type his name into Google.

  33. #33 mandas
    March 4, 2010

    And just to get you started with your research project, here is a review of ‘Lindzen & Choi’, which was conducted by Dr Judith Curry. You may have heard of her, because she has become a bit of a darling for the deniersphere for writing a letter critical of the integrity and scientific methods conducted by some of her colleagues. Of further interest, is that the analysis was publised on Steve McIntyre’s ‘Climate Audit’, which is also a popular source of quote mining and cherry picking for the deniersphere.

    Curry opens with:
    “…The most significant critiques include: using an old (uncorrected) version of the ERBE data, ignoring a known temporal aliasing effect in the ERBE data, comparing to the AMIP (atmosphere only, with specified sea surface temperatures) rather than the CMIP (coupled atmosphere ocean) climate model simulations, incorrect handling of the direct response to sea surface temperature change. Each of these issues in implementation of the methodology could easily be fixed, but I would expect that their individual and cumulative impact on the analysis results would be substantial. My assessment of this paper is quite critical (details to follow). In addition to the critiques of the methodology and its implementation linked to above, I have further concerns with the overall methodology that I hope provides a broader framework for criticism of this paper..”

    Her one line summary of her review:
    “…Summary: No confidence in the analysis of LC (Lindzen & Choi)…”

    The source is here:
    http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/18/curry-reviews-lindzen-and-choi/

    I think that is a pretty damning indictment of a “highly respected and accomplished scientist”

  34. #34 Lance
    March 5, 2010

    mandas,

    I read Judith Curry’s critique of Lindzen & Choi the day she posted it at Climate Audit.

    She just cribs the criticisms of others. She’s a nice lady but not exactly an independent thinker.

    Lindzen, like a real scientist, has acknowledged and answered the legitimate criticisms of his peers(Trenberth et al.)and has amended the paper.

    He points out that the main point of the paper, that feedback is negative, remains.

    But you and James can just keep calling him names. Anyone that has a genuine interest in the science will see these slimy tactics for what they are, pathetic distractions.

  35. #35 mandas
    March 5, 2010

    Wow – slimy tactics….pathetic distractions.

    And this coming from a member of the flat earth society whose only tactic is to keep throwing up red herrings such as email ‘scandals’ because they have no credible argument against the science.

  36. #36 So bored with this
    March 5, 2010

    @mandas
    “no credible argument against the science”

    Oh perleez! It’s the same old alarmist mantra “The science! The science!”

    Here are some examples of the quality of “the science”. The source material doesn’t come from a “denialist” website; it comes from the BBC who are well known to have a pro AGW bias.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeff-poor/2009/12/05/bbc-exposes-fudge-factor-climategate-global-warming-computer-programming-

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511701.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm
    (check out the answers to B and D)

    So it seems that Phil Jones the high priest of “Climate Research” (I can’t bring myself to call it science) can’t manage his data or his paperwork, isn’t using version control, source control or quality control on his faulty climate models and considers important aspects of “the science” to be “outside my area of expertise”.

    Here’s another one ….
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/02/parliament_climategate/

    It seems that Jones reckons “It isn’t traditional” for independent people check his scientific papers or his code. What kind of “science” is that?

    It’s not just the suspicious e-mails. The whole of climate research is in an appalling mess and needs a serious overhaul; I’ll leave you to guess why the number of sceptics is increasing at such a rapid rate.

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