Pharyngula

2007 Weblog Awards?

I’m surprised to see Pharyngula has been nominated for Best Science Blog in The 2007 Weblog Awards — I hadn’t been paying attention at all. I am a bit disturbed by the company I’m keeping over there, though: I’m in the running with a couple of conservative junk science blogs. Go vote for one of the other people: I like In the Pipeline, Invasive Species is terrific, bootstrap analysis ought to do well, and they’ve even got that space-case, Bad Astronomy in there…sure, you can give him one or two votes (this is the one where you get to vote every day).

There’s also this odd blog called “Paryngula” — I’m pretty sure that’s me.

Comments

  1. #1 Brownian, OM
    November 2, 2007

    Paryngula’s only at 9.9% of the vote as of now, Dr. Myrs. Looks like you need to do some more hand-kissing and baby-shaking.

  2. #2 Sastra
    November 2, 2007

    You might also want to tell them that the name of your blog is “Pharyngula,” not “Paryngula.”

  3. #3 CC
    November 2, 2007

    Let me make a suggestion, PZ — get ahold of the award organizers and ask that your blog be removed from the list of candidates.

    As I’m sure you realize, these awards have nothing to do with quality — it’s pure popularity, and those on the Right are way better at freeping online polls like this, which means it’s quite possible that one of those “junk science” blogs would end up winning, at which point they would be able to crow about how they vanquished the great PZ Myers.

    Seriously, contests like this have no value, and you should take a stand and make it clear you want nothing to do with it.

  4. #4 CC
    November 2, 2007

    By the way, PZ, do I even need to point out how little respect you should have for an award that can’t even spell the name of your blog correctly?

  5. #5 Freddy
    November 2, 2007

    Are you calling ClimateAudit a conservative junk science blog ?
    If so, why ?

  6. #6 Dustin
    November 2, 2007

    While you’re answering Freddy’s question, PZ, do you also adopt the position that the sky is blue?
    If so, why ?

  7. #7 Geoff
    November 2, 2007

    I also did not know that ClimateAudit was a conservative junk science site as I have been living in a water tank in a cave on Mars with a blindfold on, a bucket over my head while blasting heavy metal music for the past ten years.

  8. #8 Neil Schipper
    November 2, 2007

    The link for “In the Pipeline” points back to yourself. Pls delete this comment when fixed.

  9. #9 James Stein
    November 2, 2007

    Well, Pharyngula’s at 36% now.

  10. #10 Jay
    November 2, 2007

    Well, given that ClimateAudit’s author has been debunked by the RealClimate crew for years, yet continues to ignore those debunkings is an indication of where ClimateAudit leans. I actually sat there and read through a lot of their posts, and while they attempt to sound incredibly scientific, they rarely will EVER put up a concrete conclusion of their findings, instead just casting doubt like so many conservative monkeys cast poo.

    In essence, they may as well just have two posts:
    Bristlecone Pine data could be faulty, but we’re not sure.
    and
    Hockey sticks are for playing hockey, not climate science!

    Actually, that is probably just one long post for them. Close the ClimateAudit blog, we’ve got it all done!

  11. #11 Moses
    November 2, 2007

    Are you calling ClimateAudit a conservative junk science blog ?
    If so, why ?

    Posted by: Freddy | November 2, 2007 12:04 PM

    Is this serious?

  12. #12 Sili
    November 2, 2007

    Here’s a proper link for Derek Lowe’s In The Pipeline.

    I really should get back to reading that. His is one of the first blogs I read. But until I get over the depression from failing to finish my Ph.D. I can’t handle reading about chemistry. Annoying really.

  13. #13 John A
    November 2, 2007

    So Climate Audit has been “debunked” by Real Climate? That requires something scientific called evidence.

    Please reference any scientific papers proving that Climate Audit or Steve McIntyre has been debunked. Any at all. The NAS Panel report (for all of its doublespeak) lays not a glove on Steve McIntyre, repeating every single criticism made of the Mann Hockey Stick and calling for proper archiving of data, transparency of methodology, the proper use of statistical metrics to detect spurious correlations and strongly recommending against the use of stripbark trees such as the bristlecone pines used in nearly every study.

    I’m also startled to find out that Climate Audit is a right-wing blog. Since when is it “right-wing” to replicate well-known climatological papers? Or apply the scientific method to critically examine statistical issues? Do some self-proclaimed “progressives” not believe in such things, or is it just the knee-jerk reaction to cast aspersions without evidence?

    Since Steve McIntyre has previously described himself in American terms as a (Bill) Clinton Democrat, exactly what is the definition used here? Anything to the Right of Trotsky perhaps? There’s nothing on the blog that rightwingers can claim as theirs, since Steve keeps political discussion to a minimum.

    Oh yes, and the sky is blue. I know this because Exxon Mobil paid me to say so.

  14. #14 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Surprised at the mischaracterisation of ClimateAudit by PZ and others here. Steve McIntyre is a thoughtful, objective scientist; his posts are always specific to scientific areas he is interested in, and he is quite willing to criticise papers of poor quality whichever side of the fence their conclusions fall.

    And yes, there is a lot of coverage (amongst other things) on the Bristlecone Pines; but given that the vast majority of the recent temperature chronologies depend heavily on them (and their closely related cousins, the Foxtails), I think it is quite a good idea that someone actually checks that they are meaningful temperature proxies. There is relatively little to support the manner in which they are being used in the temperature reconstructions (and a fair amount that calls it into question).

    Steve has done what any scientist would: gone out and collected out-of-sample data (by updating the chronologies to the present day). If they are valid temperature proxies, they should be setting new highs in the last thirty years or so (since they were last updated). If they aren’t, it raises some serious questions about the vast majority of paleo temperature reconstructions. The data are currently being processed, and will be published – even if the data show they are valid proxies. Which is how science should work, no?

    There is no question that the wider issue of climate science has become highly politicised – on both sides of the debate. But to then assume someone holds a political position because of their views on climate science is a logical fallacy (affirming the consequent/hasty generalisation). Seems a shame I would have to point that out on a scientific blog.

  15. #15 Ray C.
    November 2, 2007

    OK, gave the ones I didn’t already know a look-see, and it looks like these are the real science blogs:

    SciGuy
    In the Pipeline
    Journey By Starlight (“John A” needs to read this, stat.)
    Pharyngula (duh…)
    Bad Astronomy Blog
    Invasive Species Weblog
    Sciencebase
    Bootstrap Analysis

    And these are the corporate whores:

    Climate Audit (I am reminded, when reading this blog, of certain evasive tactics used by squid.)
    Junk Science (Does Mr. Douse-the-world-with-DDT What-climate-change? Tobacco-doesn’t-cause cancer really need any introduction here?)

  16. #16 Scholar
    November 2, 2007

    I’ve submitted a few of your stories to netscape (propeller). They tend to do quite well. Here is an example…

    http://religion.propeller.com/story/2007/07/18/religion-makes-you-nuts/

    Keep up the good work PZ.

  17. #17 Jared
    November 2, 2007

    Surprised at the mischaracterisation of ClimateAudit by PZ and others here. Steve McIntyre is a thoughtful, objective scientist

    I’ve never read ClimateAudit or any work by Steve McIntyre but, based on his bio on Wikipedia, I would think he is underqualified to discuss climate science.

    Just like most ID “scientists”, he does not have a degree in a relevant field (e.g., climatology). Instead, he has a degree in mathematics (and philosophy, politics and economics).

    On the other hand, it’s possible to have relevant experience or knowledge without a relevant degree but his experience seems limited to being an executive for mining and mineral exploration companies.

    He could be correct but I am usually hesitant to trust mathematicians (or economists or philosophers or political scientists or mining executives) when they write outside their own field.

  18. #18 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Jared,

    Try arguing the science, the evidence, the reasoning, not the person. And wikipedia, whilst useful, is not a panacea.

    Steve McIntyre has successfully published controversial views in peer-reviewed climatology journals; either he got lucky, or he has some insight which has eluded climate scientists up to now.

    If you have a technical disagreement with his points, send him a note. A good technical counterpoint to his work usually gets put up as a head post.

  19. #19 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    Since when was science about discussing the scientists and not their science?

    PZ Myers, what are your reasons for considering Climate Audit “conservative junk science”. McIntyre revealed the infamous YK2 bug for one example, and has made significant contributions to our understanding of paleoclimatology and station data.

    Contrary to the false claim repeated in above post(s), Realclimate have NOT refuted McIntyre or other contributors to CA on these questions. They have instead taken the stance of refusing to debate them.

    Everyone is welcome on CA to debate the science. If you think he has got something wrong, why don’t you join in, and debate the issues?

  20. #20 melior
    November 2, 2007

    I hear rumors that PM Zyers guy over at Paryngula is a shrill angry hellbound freethinker. Much as I like Bad Astronomy I may still have to vote for him every day.

  21. #21 Ray C.
    November 2, 2007

    McIntyre revealed the infamous YK2 bug for one example

    Wow, that means he’s right about climate change and the IPCC is wrong. I think I’ll get off the train and buy myself a Hummer. Whew, the polar ice cap isn’t melting after all!

  22. #22 Moses
    November 2, 2007

    So Climate Audit has been “debunked” by Real Climate? That requires something scientific called evidence

    One of the hallmarks of junk science is the refusal to adequately address criticisms by pretending they’ve never been made. We see this all the time in the “Intelligent Design” field. We see it with climate change deniers (as opposed to legitimate, scientifically-based skeptics):

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/page/2/index.php?p=121

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/page/2/index.php?p=199

    There are those posts and multiples papers and discussions linked/discussed at RealClimate, regarding the “hockey stick” issue including the flaws of the MM098 paper. There are further discussions regarding McIntyre’s continual disenguous claims.

    Please reference any scientific papers proving that Climate Audit or Steve McIntyre has been debunked. Any at all. The NAS Panel report (for all of its doublespeak) lays not a glove on Steve McIntyre, repeating every single criticism made of the Mann Hockey Stick and calling for proper archiving of data, transparency of methodology, the proper use of statistical metrics to detect spurious correlations and strongly recommending against the use of stripbark trees such as the bristlecone pines used in nearly every study.

    You seem to be the kind that would refuse to listen to any debunking of your claims. However, not everyone is willing to accept assertions. Especially assertions that appear to be propagandist in nature:

    More recently, the National Academy of Sciences considered the matter. On June 22, 2006, the Academy released a pre-publication version of its report Report-Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years,[27] supporting Mann’s more general assertion regarding the last decades of the Twentieth Century, but showing less confidence in his assertions regarding individual decades or years, due to the greater uncertainty at that level of precision.

    “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes …

    Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales.” [28]

    One point of contention relates to McIntyre’s requests for Mann to provide him with the data, methods and source code McIntyre needed to “audit” MBH98.[19] Mann provided some data and then stopped. After a long process – in which the National Science Foundation supported Mann – the code was made publicly available [20]. It happened because Congress investigated after an article in the Wall Street Journal [21] detailed criticisms raised by McIntyre.[22] Congress was especially concerned about Mann’s reported refusal to provide data. In June 2005, Congress asked Mann to testify before a special subcommittee. The chairman of the committee (Joe Barton, a prominent global warming skeptic) wrote a letter to Mann requesting he provide his data, including his source code, archives of all data for all of Mann’s scientific publications, identities of his present and past scientific collaborators, and details of all funding for any of Mann’s ongoing or prior research, including all of the supporting forms and agreements. [23] The American Association for the Advancement of Science viewed this as “a search for some basis on which to discredit these particular scientists and findings, rather than a search for understanding.”[24] When Mann complied, all of the data was available for McIntyre. Congress also requested that third party science panels review the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick. The Wegman Panel [25] and the National Academy of Sciences [26] both published reports. McIntyre and McKitrick claim their findings have been largely confirmed by these reviews. [27] Nature reported it as “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph.” [28]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

    So, basically, McIntyre claims victory when all he really did was force a small adjustment to something that was essentially correct: The Hockey Stick Graph.

    Yet, McIntyre still seems to claim that global warming is bullshit and the Hockey Stick Graph is wrong and that he won, even though he didn’t. The only thing that won was a small correction to the model, and for that we’re grateful.

    If MyIntyre was a scientist, he’d probably be happy about getting credit for the small correction. Improvements to any model, even if small, are important and worthwhile. Yet… A whole blog devoted to denial, recriminations and whining.

    I’m also startled to find out that Climate Audit is a right-wing blog. Since when is it “right-wing” to replicate well-known climatological papers? Or apply the scientific method to critically examine statistical issues? Do some self-proclaimed “progressives” not believe in such things, or is it just the knee-jerk reaction to cast aspersions without evidence?

    This is pretty tortured and lame. However, continuous politicalization of the scientific process this isn’t science by McIntyre. McIntyre, a retired mineral and oil man, has been in the lead in fueling global warming deniers with false information. We can see this by his actions as he continues to politicize the issue, beating his one-note drum, yet fails to address the multiple papers that have minimized his erroneous claims.

    The irony is that he has made some minor contributions to solidifying the Global Warming Paradigm by catching a few errors and firming up Mann’s model and cleaning up some NASA data. So, for all his decade of denial, he’s gone nowhere and only made things more accurate (better) in the model. So, at least he’s a USEFUL crank.

    Since Steve McIntyre has previously described himself in American terms as a (Bill) Clinton Democrat, exactly what is the definition used here? Anything to the Right of Trotsky perhaps? There’s nothing on the blog that rightwingers can claim as theirs, since Steve keeps political discussion to a minimum.

    Oh yes, and the sky is blue. I know this because Exxon Mobil paid me to say so.

    Actions speak louder than words:

    … While I have been unable to locate any documents confirming this, there is a record on the Ontario Government website of Steve’s 1991 testimony to a legislative committee re. Bill C 70, “An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act to provide for an Employee Wage Protection Program”. In his presentation, Steve complains about liabilities for mine directors, bitches about civil service wages, trash talks unions a bit, and whines about environmental regulations.

    So, while none of this information is earth-shattering, it does help slot Mr. McIntyre rather neatly on the ideological spectrum as a small business Conservative with interests in the petroleum industry.

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/08/who-heck-is-steve-mcintyre-portait-of.html

    Summation of McIntyre: Mathmatician with life-long ties to oil & gas industry and conservative politics. Currently has no know means of support beyond oil & gas industry consulting. Has forced a minor correction to the so-called “Hockey Stick” and is associated with many Global Warming Denialists operating in the public sphere (primarily US Government).

    Is considered, in the court of scientific opinion, a “Global Warming Denialist” and purveyor of crank/junk science.

  23. #23 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    To my knowledge McIntyre hasn’t stated any exact views on climate science or asserted that “the IPCC are wrong”. That is your imagination. He has audited data with support from dozens of others, and considerable contributions have been made to the science.

    If you considered climate science to be a science issue, and not 100% a political one, you might understand why it is valuable work?

  24. #24 Brownian, OM
    November 2, 2007

    He could be correct but I am usually hesitant to trust mathematicians (or economists or philosophers or political scientists or mining executives) when they write outside their own field.

    Hell, I’m reluctanct to trust economists, philosophers, political scientists, or mining executives even when they are writing within their own fields.

    But that’s only because I’ve met so many of them.

  25. #25 Moses
    November 2, 2007

    The nice thing about McIntyre’s aficionados is that they’re a step-up from the usual mouth-breathers we get. They’re lying about McIntyre, but that’s okay.

    For those who want to get a decent summation, read the “Hockey Stick” Controversy at Wikipedia. You’ll see, after that article, that his trolls are seriously mis-stating McIntyre’s influence and accomplishments and terribly mis-categorizing his political leanings.

    Yes, NASA made a small error. Yes, Mann made a small error. Neither of these errors makes a great difference in our current paradigm.

    No, McIntyre hasn’t “dis-proven” Global Warming and his flock of yes-men refuse to acknowledge that McIntyre did not refute Mann, but caused a small correction. Further, there are multiple (new) papers that confirm Mann.

    In short, BFD, as the NAS said: Mann is pretty much right; not perfectly right, such is the nature of science using the type of data and means of analysis available to Mann, but pretty much.

  26. #26 Ray C.
    November 2, 2007

    To my knowledge McIntyre hasn’t stated any exact views on climate science or asserted that “the IPCC are wrong”.

    I noted upthread that “I am reminded, when reading [Climate Audit], of certain evasive tactics used by squid.” His tactic seems to be to spew ink rather than come out with what the hell he’s saying. A favorite tactic of denialists of all stripes.

    He has audited data with support from dozens of others,

    Such as?

    and considerable contributions have been made to the science.

    Such as?

  27. #27 Jared
    November 2, 2007

    Try arguing the science, the evidence, the reasoning, not the person. And wikipedia, whilst useful, is not a panacea.

    You do realize I bluntly acknowledged that I know nothing about Steve McIntyre and ClimateAudit?

    Since I’m not a climatologist and know very little about climate science, my point was that I have to trust someone and his background would make me very hesitant to trust him over climatologists. (On a side note, I find it odd calling him a scientist since it seems that he is more a mathematician).

  28. #28 Jenn
    November 2, 2007

    Dear Paryngula,

    I want you to know that I am getting about 30 times more referrals from your blog then from the actual 2007 Weblog Awards posting :-).

    *hugs*

  29. #29 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    Mann has been pretty much refuted. Not just small corrections. Even IPCC dumped the hockey stick from their presentation (it was included in 2001, but not in 2007). The whole field of dendro-climatology seems to be in a crisis. There seems to be too much random noise in the tree ring samples to use them as reliable climate proxies. And Steve McIntyre and others have put in thousands of hours to help us see this.

  30. #30 Moses
    November 2, 2007

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/09/deniers-rediscover-hockey-stick.html#links

    Here’s somemore on McIntyre’s failings to erase Global Warming.

  31. #31 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    bigcitylib is not to be taken seriously. He is a vile and vulgar creature who has been trolling on the “denialist” blogs for years. Never debates anything. Never argues the science. Always includes an insult. A lackey really. He was also a common nuisance on Pielke’s blog. Please don’t refer to him.

  32. #32 Wondering Aloud
    November 2, 2007

    Real Climate debunking anything? I don’t get it are you trying for satire? I love how people hold up Real Climate as some sort of paragon of accuracy.

    If you are bothered by being catagorized with Climate Audit and Junk science.com than you certainly should not be involved. How dare they discuss actual data!

  33. #33 Che
    November 2, 2007

    The 07 IPCC report does contain the “hockey stick.” The Wall Street Journal falsely reported that it had been dropped but it was not. In fact the hockey stick has been strengthened and duplicated, by other scientists, in IPCC 07. It should be known that WSG has a history of false/bad reporting on global warming.

    McIntyre’s work has been refuted and discarded by climatologists. Basically his argument was that GW is just a statistical quark and using better calculations would show this. Wahl and Ammann 2006 show that using his calculations yields no significant difference. Before them, numerous others, besides RC, also pointed out the flaws in his paper. Just search google scholar for them.

    Additionally McIntyre has published twice in the journal Energy and Environment, a poorly reviewed social science journal that chiefly publishes contrarian work.

  34. #34 shiftlessbum
    November 2, 2007

    The abstract from the Wahl and Ammann paper cited above (can be found here; http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/WahlAmmann_ClimaticChange_inPress.pdf)

    “The Mann et al. (1998) Northern Hemisphere annual temperature reconstruction over 1400-1980 is examined in light of recent criticisms concerning the nature and processing of included climate proxy data. A systematic sequence of analyses is presented that examine issues concerning the proxy evidence, utilizing both indirect analyses via exclusion of proxies and processing steps subject to criticism, and direct analyses of principal component (PC) processing methods in question. Altogether new reconstructions over 1400-1980 are developed in both the indirect and direct analyses, which demonstrate that the Mann et al. reconstruction is robust against the proxy-based criticisms addressed. In particular, reconstructed hemispheric temperatures are demonstrated to be largely unaffected by the use or non-use of PCs to summarize proxy evidence from the data-rich North American region. When proxy PCs are employed, neither the time period used to “center” the data before PC calculation nor the way the PC calculations are performed significantly affects the results, as long as the full extent of the climate information actually in the proxy data is represented by the PC time series. Clear convergence of the resulting climate reconstructions is a strong indicator for achieving this criterion. Also, recent “corrections” to the Mann et al. reconstruction that suggest 15th century temperatures could have been as high as those of the late-20th century are shown to be without statistical and climatological merit. Our examination does suggest that a slight modification to the original Mann et al. reconstruction is justifiable for the first half of the 15th century (~ +0.05), which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years. Our results are also used to evaluate the separate criticism of reduced amplitude in the Mann et al. reconstructions over significant portions of 1400-1900, in relation to some other climate reconstructions and model-based examinations. We find that, from the perspective of the proxy data themselves, such losses probably exist, but they may be smaller than those reported in other recent work.”

    Emphasis added WRT reference to McIntyre.

    FYI

  35. #35 Doug Clover
    November 2, 2007

    Buddenbrock if you are going to tell porkies it is best not to be too specific it makes fact checking very easy. For your information section 6.6 of the AR4 Working Group I report is a full discussion of Palaeoclimatic Proxies. Their value and uncertainities (you know real science) are discussed. There is comprehensive discussion of all the reconstructions including the Mann, Bradeley and Hughes (1999) paper you so easily dismiss.

    You will also be pleased, however, to know the McIntyre, S., and R. McKitrick, 2003 and 2005 are also included in the discussion and put in their correct context. Yes they found some errors inthe first MBH paper (1998). MBH then revisited the work for the 1999 paper but McIntyre anhd is merry cohort have not moved on unlike the science which is progressing all the time.

    Just FYI the IPCC conclude (I better directly quote from page 474 of the report or be accused on something nefarious)

    “The weight of current multi-proxy evidence, therefore, suggests greater 20th-century warmth, in comparison with temperature levels of the previous 400 years, than was shown in the TAR. On the evidence of the previous and four new reconstructions that reach back more than 1 kyr, it is likely that the 20th century was the warmest in at least the past 1.3 kyr. Considering the recent instrumental and longer proxy evidence together, it is very likely that average NH temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were higher than for any other 50-year period in the last 500 years. Greater uncertainty associated with proxy-based temperature estimates for individual years means that it is more diffi cult to gauge the
    significance, or precedence, of the extreme warm years observed in the recent instrumental record, such as 1998 and 2005, in the context of the last millennium.”

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch06.pdf

    Doesn’t sound like the proxy method has been dismissed by the IPCC does it?

    There seems to be a lot similar between those that lie for God and those that lie for the fossil fool industry.

  36. #36 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    You do realize I bluntly acknowledged that I know nothing about Steve McIntyre and ClimateAudit?
    Yes you did, but you still felt you knew enough to vocally dismiss his work (in particular, by the fallacy of guilt by association to ID theorists) based on the person he is.

    Since I’m not a climatologist and know very little about climate science, my point was that I have to trust someone and his background would make me very hesitant to trust him over climatologists.
    Aside from the appeal to authority (which, in certain conditions, can be valid), it is possible as a scientist to pick apart certain arguments from another field – particularly where the arguments are statistical issues (the centre of the issues around the temperature reconstructions).

    In order to wind the temperature of this debate down a bit (I don’t want to start a blog war!) I’ll give an example I hope we can both agree on. I’m always interested in scientific scandal and error (in part so I can minimise the risk of falling into the same trap!). Aside: I would recommend the book “False Prophets”, by Alexander Kohn, as an excellent read on the topic.

    For my neutral example: I thought the infamous “Torah Codes” was a fascinating example. For those that don’t know, this was a scientific study into whether “stop codes” from biblical texts had predicted events that the original text predates. You can imagine the furore caused by this.

    The idea was that stop codes (taking every nth character from a text) of certain words describing events were unusually close in the original bible text – far closer than would be expected by chance. Careful analysis was required, with skills from various areas, including linguistics, statistics, history etc.

    Despite great care in the statistics calculation (a very careful and complete sampling criteria were defined that allowed replication and validation), a number of very subtle errors were found in the methodology that inflated the significance of the findings. Predictably, some of these were discovered by an outsider who took an interest (a mathematician, funnily enough). Particularly when problems relate to statistical analyses, it is often possible – perhaps even easier – for people outside the science to spot problems, because statistics is (comparatively) universal.

    I would say, if you are unwilling to investigate the issues, then I can understand your viewpoint and appeal to authority of the climate scientists. But as someone who has looked in great detail at the problem at hand (including writing my own code to replicate parts of the processes and independently test some claims), I can say that the issues McIntyre raises are valid and relevant. I can only suggest that if you have a genuine interest in the topic that you do similar yourself.

  37. #37 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    (including writing my own code to replicate parts of the processes and independently test some claims)

    boy, does that sound familiar.

    rather much like the IDiots rewriting the code for Dawkin’s “Methinks it’s like a weasel”.

    I rather suspect if we took a close look at Spence’s “code” we would find serious flaws in either assumption or execution… or both.

    of course, Spence isn’t saying he’s a global warming denier… exactly.

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    (I don’t want to start a blog war!)

    riiiigggghhhhtttt….

    that’s why you’re here, eh Spence?

  39. #39 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    Doug Clover, your only so-called-argument seems to be the appeal to authority. IPCC = “the real science you know”. That’s not science. That is an assertion.

    The fact that the dendro-climatologists refuse to debate the issues openly and can go to lenghts to withold data should set your alarm bells ringing, if you were seriously interested in the topic.

  40. #40 shiftlessbum
    November 2, 2007

    Spence wrote;

    “I would say, if you are unwilling to investigate the issues, then I can understand your viewpoint and appeal to authority of the climate scientists. But as someone who has looked in great detail at the problem at hand (including writing my own code to replicate parts of the processes and independently test some claims), I can say that the issues McIntyre raises are valid and relevant. I can only suggest that if you have a genuine interest in the topic that you do similar yourself.”

    I do not follow this field very much and I am largely unfamiliar with the body of work. But I was wondering, WRT to your admonition above, what you think of the work of other professionals in the field who also have “looked in great detail at the problem at hand” and have come to the conclusion that rather than McIntyre’s findings being “valid and relevant”, they instead have found them to be “without statistical and climatological merit”?

    I am not, EN-OH-TEE, not flaming you here Spence. I am asking a sincere question from a standpoint of (mostly) ignorance.

  41. #41 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Re #33

    From that paper you link, two points:

    Table 2S, Cross Validation r^2 1400-1449 step 0.000008

    Nice.

    Also, that paper depends on calculations from the following paper to be valid:

    Ammann, C.M. and Wahl, E.R.: in review, ‘Comment on “Hockey sticks, principal components,
    and spurious significance” by S. McIntyre and R. McKitrick’, Geophys. Res. Lett.

    Only, I searched for this comment, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Probably because it doesn’t exist. It was rejected from GRL. Unfortunately this isn’t the only lie in the paper. McIntyre did not present an alternative reconstruction (as you highlight in the conclusion). He demonstrated the lack of robustness. The statistical relevance should be obvious. As there are no valid confidence intervals, there is no valid statistical comparison between recent and historic temperatures possible. Period.

  42. #42 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    How dare they discuss actual data!

    junk science spends just as much time spinning actual data as they do trying to fake it.

    you should try spending some time looking at the history of the “Intelligent Design” folks to see the parallels.

    oh, wait, global warming deniers are just as likely as IDiots to project, so they are also just as likely to fail to see themselves doing so.

    IOW, it’s entirely hopeless for me to ask you to self-examine by looking at parallels.

    oh, well, maybe someone who has a chance might bother to take a gander and see the parallels for themselves.

  43. #43 Brownian, OM
    November 2, 2007

    The whole field of dendro-climatology seems to be in a crisis…And Steve McIntyre and others have put in thousands of hours to help us see this.

    The fact that the dendro-climatologists refuse to debate the issues openly and can go to lenghts to withold data should set your alarm bells ringing, if you were seriously interested in the topic.

    Buddenbrock, you must be moonlighting from your regular job at the Discovery Institute whistleblowing the Great Transitional Fossil Cover-Up.

  44. #44 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Re #39

    Thanks for the cordial reply. I will try and reign in some of the rhetoric. I hope to answer this as best I can.

    As Steve has noted, the paleoclimate reconstructions have little or no bearing on the consequences of (say) doubling CO2 concentrations. That is an entirely separate issue that should not be conflated with the issue of historical temperature reconstruction. They are linked, but only very indirectly in terms of the scientific issues.

    My personal take on the significance issue is that there are two serious issues with the current crop of reconstructions. The first is the sampling criteria, which is rarely explicitly defined. In the Torah Code example, the methodology for selecting which words to test for were laid out in excruciating detail. In temperature reconstructions, it is rare for the selected samples to be properly identified, let alone the criteria for selection.

    This is partly wrapped up with the limited amount of data available; good temperature proxies going back 1000 years+ don’t grow on trees (sorry bad pun). OK some might grow on trees but they are hard to come by. But without a clearly defined sampling strategy, it is impossible to replicate the work as out-of-sample data becomes available. This allows experimenter/researcher bias to enter the problem, the problems this causes are well documented with Blondlot’s N-rays.

    The second issue is that of confidence intervals. The primary claim is that the modern period (late 20th c.) is warmer than any other period in recent history (last 1000 years). Yet if confidence intervals are indeterminate in that period, how can you make a valid comparison?

    On this basis, I would argue it is impossible to claim with any statistical significance that the modern warm period was warmer than any other recent warm period. If this is the claim (which, for example, MBH98 and others have made), then there is a statistical significance to the issue; but it is more that prior claims lack significance.

    Hopefully, with further work and analysis, confidence intervals can be computed and significance (one way or the other) can be determined, but we are not there yet (in my humble opinion).

  45. #45 shiftlessbum
    November 2, 2007

    Spence wrote;

    “Also, that paper depends on calculations from the following paper to be valid:
    Ammann, C.M. and Wahl, E.R.: in review, ‘Comment on “Hockey sticks, principal components,
    and spurious significance” by S. McIntyre and R. McKitrick’, Geophys. Res. Lett.
    Only, I searched for this comment, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Probably because it doesn’t exist. It was rejected from GRL.”

    Hmmmm. That is odd. I found this; http://web.mit.edu/~phuybers/www/Hockey/Huybers_Comment.pdf

    which has the same title and does address the issue. In fact, my reading of the Wahl and Ammann paper suggests they applied Huyber’s critique of McIntyre to their analysis and found it supported their hypothesis. I am not sure what you meant by this critique of Wahl and Ammann’s paper since we have no idea why the subsequent review article was rejected. Maybe you can expand on that?

  46. #46 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Re #44

    Wow, that is impressively quick! You are quite correct to highlight this paper. Wahl and Ammann raised around three or four points. They only made one point of merit which had already been covered by Huybers (as you link) and Steve’s published response to Huybers:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/mcintyre.huybersreply.pdf

    Steve’s reply recognises the error that Huybers correctly identifies – but Huybers also made a separate error (a repetition of an error made by Mann). Only Steve’s final reply includes the calculations with all errors on all sides resolved (that I am aware of).

    In short, Huybers was a valuable correction and contribution to the topic, Wahl and Ammann was really a step backwards – and was rejected on this basis.

  47. #47 John A
    November 2, 2007

    Unfortunately the Wahl and Ammann paper requires the support of another paper which they submitted and was rejected. It’s called “check-kiting”. Without it, the claims made by Ammann and Wahl cannot be sustained.

    Huybers’ comment was replied to here. Needless to say, Huybers’ comment was shown to be fallacious.

    Steve McIntyre is an extremely competent mathematician and his work is focussed on statistical matters. As someone pointed out the Hockey Stick was still in AR4 buried amongst all of the other reconstructions, the totality of which was produce white noise rather than a single identity for “global mean temperature” whatever that means. Thanks to Steve, we now know that ALL of those other reproductions fail statistical tests for significance, and no wonder since they use Mann’s wholly debunked PC1 as if it were a meaningful proxy, and Mann’s fallacious technique for integrating treering samples.

    You’d think genuine scientific nerds would be excited to see science in action in replication and in proper use of statistics, but maybe PZ has got the Friday late night crowd in.

  48. #48 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Postscript to #44 – sorry about this

    I am assuming that is why it was rejected. Of course, I am not privy to the referee’s or editors comments, so I could be quite wrong in the details.

  49. #49 Doug Clover
    November 2, 2007

    Buddenbrook said

    “Doug Clover, your only so-called-argument seems to be the appeal to authority. IPCC = “the real science you know”. That’s not science. That is an assertion.”

    A couple of points

    1 You earlier stated that te IPCC had dismissed Mann et al. I provided a reference that proved that statement wrong making you either a liar or ignorant, which is it?

    2 You then replied with the quote I have copied above which is that a scientifically peered review of the climate science with actual references to the science itself is just assertion and argument from authority. If that is what you think you don’t understand science or the scientific process. I conlcude you are not a scientist or trained in science and therefore unqualified to make that judgement.

    3 You state that dendro-climateology is in crisis but provide no peer reviewed sources (CA and Junk science don’t count). Please provide a reference (no link required as I have access to most scientific journals).

    Waiting

  50. #50 Jared
    November 2, 2007

    you still felt you knew enough to vocally dismiss his work (in particular, by the fallacy of guilt by association to ID theorists) based on the person he is.

    I actually did not dismiss his work since I admitted that he could be right. I referenced IDists to explain why I have developed a bias against scientists who write outside their field (e.g., mathematicians and engineers tackling biology).

    Aside from the appeal to authority (which, in certain conditions, can be valid), it is possible as a scientist to pick apart certain arguments from another field

    Of course, it’s possible for a random scientist in another field to find errors but not as likely as a scientist in that field. Also, as you note, an appeal to authority is valid in certain conditions but appealing to experts is usually valid so even mentioning the fallacy seems a little strange.

  51. #51 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    In your postings on climate change, PZ Myers, you seem to refer to climate alarmism skeptics as the equivalent of creationist (and even holocaust deniers)?

    How equipped are you to make such an assertion? How familiar are you with climate science and the issues involved?

    May I point you to the interview of Roger Pielke Senior, a climate scientist, which is the best summation of the “skeptic” position that I am aware of: http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/04/30/interview-by-marcel-crok-of-roger-a-pielke-sr-jan-2007/

    …and may I ask you whether that truly is reminiscent of creationism in your view?

    Personally I can say that I was an alarmist for ten years, that was before I looked into what the other side were arguing. Eventually I couldn’t but conclude that many of their arguments and questions were sound, relevant and important. What turned me away from IPCC and RC (etc.) was their refusal to openly debate these important questions. This has been documented in detail by Pielke among others. Analysis of the review process (available online) adds to the credibility of this accusation. For an example difficult questions on the reliability of computer modelling (e.g. multi-modelling) were arbitrarily rejected.

  52. #52 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    “You earlier stated that te IPCC had dismissed Mann et al. I provided a reference that proved that statement wrong”

    No, you read/understood me wrong. Or I explained myself inaccurately (English is not my native tongue). I said they had dumped Mann from their presentation, unlike in 2001. It’s still in the full report, buried deep down, but it’s not in the summary for policy makers (and the public) that 99,99% people will read. Mann himself contested this furiously, and called it a smack to his face. Check the review process.

  53. #53 DLC
    November 2, 2007

    Perhaps more to the point, where does a legitimate critique of a given report end and egregious nitpicking or attempting to pull apart someone else’s work (for whatever reason) begin?
    Not just in climatology, or any of the sub-branches of the science, but in all fields of scientific endeavor. Legitimate science requires legitimate critique, even (and sometimes especially) critique by people who are not experts in the field but who have enough knowledge on that or related subjects to offer a valid criticism.

  54. #54 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Jared,

    You used an appeal to authority. That’s why I mentioned it. Appeal to authority can be valid, but should be treated with caution. It is therefore noteworthy.

    I am used to most people dismissing sound AGW/sceptic arguments with association by fallacy smears, or through appeals to authority. I have a bit of a trigger finger on those. Kudos to you for accepting that Steve might be right. Shame on you for invoking the fallacies beforehand though. Now do the right thing and read some of Steve’s posts on ClimateAudit 🙂 Don’t get too wound up by the commentators though, as with any blog you get all sorts. Me included.

  55. #55 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    “You then replied with the quote I have copied above which is that a scientifically peered review of the climate science with actual references to the science itself is just assertion and argument from authority. If that is what you think you don’t understand science or the scientific process. I conlcude you are not a scientist or trained in science and therefore unqualified to make that judgement.”

    If you assert that Mann et al are right, even if they have convincingly been proven wrong, and that they are right because their work, when it was approved, before it was shown to be full of errors, was peer reviewed, and that the refutation does not count, because it was not “peer reviewed” and is just “internet junk science” then yes, you are arguing from authority and not asserting the scientific issues.

    I do admit that McIntyre should attempt to publish more of his work, and many others have tried to tell him that on CA. But the fact that he hasn’t published much yet, doesn’t diminish the value of his work.

  56. #56 Doug Clover
    November 2, 2007

    Buddenbrook said

    “It’s still in the full report, buried deep down, but it’s not in the summary for policy makers (and the public) that 99,99% people will read. Mann himself contested this furiously, and called it a smack to his face. Check the review process.”

    Could you please provide a ref it is my understanding that the review process of the SPM is not publically available, but I could be wrong.

    I would note, however, that the SPM involves considerable Govt input and way the results were presented in the SPM was strongly influenced by the US, PRC and Saudi Govts (while still reflecting hte state of the science it may not reflect somne of the more concerning uncertainities). That is why I have spent the last 3 months reading WG1 WG2 and WG3.

    Another point it was most probably a good thing that the Proxy reconstructions were not included. They are just part of a much larger body of evidence telling a very consistent story. Putting it up front would have just brought the CA AEI etc. crowd out frothing at the mouth. As one small comment here demonstrates.

    Finally whenever I have gone to Realclimate, Open Mind, or Deltoid and asked a lay person’s question I have always found the response from them clear, polite, informative, fair and convincing. Perhaps you should try again and pay close attention to the answers they give?

  57. #57 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Doug

    I’ve posted at Deltoid and received mixed responses. I’ve posted thoughtful, carefully crafted statements at RealClimate and they simply never appear.

    The likes of CA and Deltoid suffer from the usual blog issues (cheerleaders, poor sig-to-noise) but RealClimate actively interferes with the debate.

    There is a lot of poor science generated by some climate sceptics but Steve McIntyre is all too often lumped in with them, when his work is actually very good. It shouldn’t surprise you that we have a trigger finger to defend him when he is ungraciously smeared as a conservative mouthpiece or similar (which is simply untrue).

  58. #58 Doug Clover
    November 2, 2007

    “If you assert that Mann et al are right, even if they have convincingly been proven wrong, and that they are right because their work, when it was approved, before it was shown to be full of errors, was peer reviewed, and that the refutation does not count, because it was not “peer reviewed” and is just “internet junk science” then yes, you are arguing from authority and not asserting the scientific issues.”

    No I am arguing for quality. Any scientist’s work that is not published cannot be tested by the scientitic process. McIntyre demands it of others he should do the same. I look forward to when he publishs his dendro work and just as importantly I looked forward to the response it receives in the peer reviewed journals.

    Sorry but not publishing does diminish the value of his work as science.

    PS I don’t think that Mann is right or wrong (certainly not proven convincingly wrong). He made some claims in MBH 98 and 99 that are most probably overstated certainly the IPCC think so.

    He has added some useful insights and that work is being built on. Further work may over turn some of all or his earlier conclusions. However, the results are generaly consistent with what other studies have found. I would find it very surprising if he (and Moberg and Biffra et al) were found wrong at a general (trend) level.

  59. #59 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Doug,

    I think most agree that we would like to see Steve publish more. But then, I sometimes figure Steve has certain similarities to me: I see climate as a serious issue, and since I have scientific skills, I want to dig into it and understand the issues. I reckon Steve is doing this more for his own understanding than anything else, and if he can publish off the back of it, why not.

    This is an interesting and thought provoking point:

    PS I don’t think that Mann is right or wrong (certainly not proven convincingly wrong).

    I think I know where you’re coming from, there are some semantics that are important here. It may yet be proven that the historical temperature reconstruction is a hockey stick. Does that mean that Mann is “not wrong”?

    There are problems with this viewpoint. Mann made basic errors in his statistical analysis, and from this made unsupportable statements. This was discussed recently at the American Statistical Association Climate Change Workshop; Richard Smith considered whether the error did not matter (as it may subsequently come true) and summarised with the “equation”:

    Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

    There are follow on problems; outputs from Mann’s work have been used in detection and attribution studies, and other work, on the assumption that the stated confidence intervals (known to be wrong) are correct. How far has climate science been misled by this curve? Probably impossible to say at this point, but it could take another decade before it sorts itself out fully.

  60. #60 Mrs Tilton
    November 2, 2007

    I’m not much for campaigning, but as long as you’re headed to the Weblog Awards’ site, consider voting for Lindsay as “best individual blogger”. Let’s keep the scumbag Reynolds and the psychotic Anchoress from winning.

  61. #61 Moses
    November 2, 2007

    There is a lot of poor science generated by some climate sceptics but Steve McIntyre is all too often lumped in with them, when his work is actually very good. It shouldn’t surprise you that we have a trigger finger to defend him when he is ungraciously smeared as a conservative mouthpiece or similar (which is simply untrue).

    Posted by: Spence | November 2, 2007 7:26 PM

    I really don’t have the time to engage in a protracted brush war with denialists. So this’ll be my last post on the issue. However, McIntyre has generated very little “science” and an awful lot of press. Some of his “science,” (on his blog) embarrassingly, seemed to confirm Mann’s model; especially after it was found he apparently left some inconvenient things out and they were put back in.

    And while I don’t have time to put the torch to all the pro-McIntyre spam, including McIntyre the “Clinton Democrat” crap you people spew, there are some things that need to be made clear:

    1. Science is a process and is self-correcting over-time through the process of peer-review. In this case, McIntyre found some minor errors in Mann’s paper and corrected them. He also found an error in some NASA data and that was corrected. These are, as far as I know, McIntyre’s total positive contribution to the process.

    2. That Mann’s science had an error doesn’t make it “bad.” Despite ignorant assertions thereof. To put it in perspective, Millikan was wrong when he measured the charge of the electron, yet he won a Nobel prize for determining the charge of the electron. Millikan had a systematic error, much like Mann in his hockey-stick work. This was later corrected and the “correct” value is now known.

    Or, more to the heart of biology on this blog. Look at Darwin, he was very much right and set the core precepts of Evolutionary Biology that are with us today. But it wasn’t exactly perfect with the inclusion of some Lamarckian Inheritance in his theory:

    When the first tendency was once displayed, methodical selection and the inherited effects of compulsory training in each successive generation would soon complete the work; and unconscious selection is still at work, as each man tries to procure, without intending to improve the breed, dogs which will stand and hunt best. On the other hand, habit alone in some cases has sufficed; no animal is more difficult to tame than the young of the wild rabbit; scarcely any animal is tamer than the young of the tame rabbit; but I do not suppose that domestic rabbits have ever been selected for tameness; and I presume that we must attribute the whole of the inherited change from extreme wildness to extreme tameness, simply to habit and long-continued close confinement.

    Lamarckian inheritance is something that is widely regarded as wrong today. Yet Darwin’s inclusion does not invalidate the core of the Theory of Evolution.

    Or Einstein and his General Theory of Relativity. In general relativity, gravitation is due to space-time curvatures which causes inertially moving objects to tend to accelerate towards each other. Yet, as we know now, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity doesn’t give us a perfect number for the forces of gravitation.

    Yet nobody in his right mind denies the basic concepts that electrons exist, or that gravitation exists or that evolution is phony unless there other reasons for it: Ignorance, Denialism, Economics, Religiosity. And yet, here we are in an analogous situation where a denialist has found a small error and is doing the functional equivalent. Which is why he gets lumped into “junk science” and “denialism.”

    3. There are multiple reconstructions that confirm Mann. Yet your group keeps harping time and time again on Mann’s error. STFU and get beyond it. Here’s a list of the papers that all confirm each other, and Mann, yet use different methods to determine their mean temperature lines:

    P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, T.P. Barnett, and S.F.B. Tett (1998). “High-resolution Palaeoclimatic Records for the last Millennium: Interpretation, Integration and Comparison with General Circulation Model Control-run Temperatures”. The Holocene 8: 455-471

    M.E. Mann, R.S. Bradley, and M.K. Hughes (1999). “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations”. Geophysical Research Letters 26 (6): 759-762

    Crowley and Lowery (2000). “Northern Hemisphere Temperature Reconstruction”. Ambio 29: 51-54. Modified as published in Crowley (2000). “Causes of Climate Change Over the Past 1000 Years”. Science 289: 270-277.

    K.R. Briffa, T.J. Osborn, F.H. Schweingruber, I.C. Harris, P.D. Jones, S.G. Shiyatov, S.G. and E.A. Vaganov (2001). “Low-frequency temperature variations from a northern tree-ring density network”. J. Geophys. Res. 106: 2929-2941

    J. Esper, E.R. Cook, and F.H. Schweingruber (2002). “Low-Frequency Signals in Long Tree-Ring Chronologies for Reconstructing Past Temperature Variability”. Science 295 (5563): 2250-2253

    M.E. Mann and P.D. Jones (2003). “Global Surface Temperatures over the Past Two Millennia”. Geophysical Research Letters 30 (15): 1820.

    P.D. Jones and M.E. Mann (2004). “Climate Over Past Millennia”. Reviews of Geophysics 42: RG2002
    S. Huang (2004). “Merging Information from Different Resources for New Insights into Climate Change in the Past and Future”. Geophys. Res Lett. 31: L13205.

    A. Moberg, D.M. Sonechkin, K. Holmgren, N.M. Datsenko and W. Karln (2005). “Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data”. Nature 443: 613-617

    J.H. Oerlemans (2005). “Extracting a Climate Signal from 169 Glacier Records”. Science 308: 675-677

    4. Related to your claims of RealClimate not addressing McIntyre or letting you people post/debate on their site. They don’t have to. Just like HIV researchers don’t debate with HIV denialists, it’s not a matter of “fear” but simply because it’s a complete waste of time pursuing denialists and their circular arguments, putting out brush fires over small communication/experiment errors or addressing claims that have been rebutted 1000 times.

    I mean, really, look at the 10-year record of bullshit from McIntyre and his sycophants over this issue. Yet the science marches on and Mann’s work, while not perfect, is JUST ONE OF MANY that gets the same results from widely different experimental data sets.

    5. McIntyre doesn’t publish original research work. He does do some criticisms. He makes much more of those criticisms than is warrented in the pursuit of Global Warming Denialism. In regards to his “corrected NASA” data, NASA says this:

    August 7,2007: A discontinuity in station records in the U.S. was discovered and corrected (GHCN data for 2000 and later years were inadvertently appended to USHCN data for prior years without including the adjustments at these stations that had been defined by the NOAA National Climate Data Center). This had a small impact on the U.S. average temperature, about 0.15C, for 2000 and later years, and a negligible effect on global temperature, as is shown here.

    This August 2007 change received international attention via discussions on various blogs and repetition by some other media, with no graphs provided to show the insignificance of the effect. Further discussions of the curious misinformation are provided by Dr. Hansen on his personal webpage (e.g., his post on “The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla”).

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    In short, McIntyre’s whack-bullshit was called. The errors were pretty much insignificant and had no real impact. Yet the denialists use it to attack all of global warming theory.

    So, really, I’m tired of the ponce’s running over here to defend the crank. You people are no better than the tax-protesters I deal with in my line of work. You’re no better than the evolution deniers in my wife’s line of work. You’re no better than the HIV deniers. You’re just a bunch of cranks who’ve made two, ultimately, insignificant corrections with which you cast aspersions on the whole scientific process and the AGW theory.

  62. #62 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    especially after it was found he apparently left some inconvenient things out and they were put back in.

    shocker.

    :p

  63. #63 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    You sound mentally ill Moses, seriously, my condolences. I advice you to seek therapy for this condition.

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    You sound mentally ill Moses, seriously, my condolences. I advice you to seek therapy for this condition.

    ahh, nice comeback, buddy!

    I’m curious… does that one work well over on your normal blog?

    ’cause if it does, that would indeed say volumes about the quality of the place you’re coming from.

  65. #65 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    It’s not a comeback.

    All the studies he listed have been discussed and analysed in detail over on CA. He obviously isn’t familiar at all with the topic, and his so called argument is purely from authority. Bit like a religious person, so there is nothing to discuss with him, really.

    But that’s one thing, many people are like that, when they aren’t familiar with the topic. I used to be bit like that when I was an alarmist and ignorant.

    But Moses, he was seething with anger and madness. I’m serious. Normal people just don’t do that. His post gives you an ill feeling. Something is wrong there. You just don’t write stuff like that.

  66. #66 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    He obviously isn’t familiar at all with the topic, and his so called argument is purely from authority. Bit like a religious person, so there is nothing to discuss with him, really.

    excuse me, but that wasn’t just a list of references, and your attack appears little more than standard ad-hominem.

    But Moses, he was seething with anger and madness.

    just like anybody would who grows tired of seeing the same old shit espoused over and over again, but even then, I’m failing to see the “madness”.

    you sure you’re on the right blog?

    when Moses says this:

    So, really, I’m tired of the ponce’s running over here to defend the crank. You people are no better than the tax-protesters I deal with in my line of work. You’re no better than the evolution deniers in my wife’s line of work. You’re no better than the HIV deniers. You’re just a bunch of cranks who’ve made two, ultimately, insignificant corrections with which you cast aspersions on the whole scientific process and the AGW theory.

    looking at the blog you so highly recommend, I tend to agree with him.

    If you wish to pretend otherwise, why not point to your own published corrections and let us judge for ourselves?

    Frankly, between you and Spence, I smell a rat.

  67. #67 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    I used to be bit like that when I was an alarmist and ignorant.

    LOL, i just saw the EXACT same argument from a creationist named Leigh on a different thread here, but with slightly different wording:

    “I used to be a scientist and firm believer in evolution, until I started to see the truth behind the research.”

    ayup. sure sounds similar.

    *psst*

    nobody here has their head in the sand, and isn’t really anxious to follow you in doing so.

  68. #68 j
    November 2, 2007

    Buddenbrook, I would advise you not to dismiss others for being angry. It smacks of condescension.

  69. #69 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Re #59

    Wow, quite an impressive bit of venting. No, I can’t force you (or RealClimate) into a debate. But the scientific process does kinda encourage that debate thing. I know your claim regarding RealClimate is weak. If I post a bad sceptic argument on RealClimate, it gets through, complete with inline response telling me what a jerk I am. If I post a carefully crafted question, that cannot be easily fobbed off, then it doesn’t get posted. That isn’t avoiding debate in the sense you present; that is skewing debate.

    I’ll try to pick out the scientific aspects of your posts from between the verbiage and ad homs:

    1. Science is self-correcting. Yes, but it requires people to do this. McIntyre found fundamental problems – not “minor” errors (the NAS panel won’t support you here, they pointedly recognised errors but did not quantify the consequence). These fundamental problems apply to other studies also. McIntyre is part of the self correcting process (in this instance)

    2. People like Millikan and Darwin were clearly brilliant forerunners in their fields. Mann is hardly the first person to attempt a temperature reconstruction. The technique (of using PCA on proxies to develop temperature reconstructions) dates back to the 1970s; systematic multi-proxy studies appeared in the early 90s. Mann just did the same thing, incorrectly, and got a politically preferential result which caused it to get heavily promoted. Hardly nobel prize stuff. As to whether “ignorant” people think it is bad science, I’m sure Richard Smith and Ed Wegman as eminent statisticians will be terribly upset about you calling them ignorant. No, on second thoughts, I don’t think they’ll care.

    3. Those studies are certainly not “independent” by any reasonable measure. Some of them actually use the MBH98 PC1 (incorrect output) as a proxy! Most use similar methodology with small variations (either variance matching, or inverse regression type methods as per Mann). Most use the same input data (virtually all reconstructions use the same few sets of Bristlecone Pine data which have dubious relationship with temperature). Whilst Steve McIntyre has not directly addressed these studies in the literature, Brger and Cubasch illustrated (see ref below) serious robustness problems which underpin pretty much all of these reconstructions. The work shows how a multitude of reconstructions can be achieved with minor variations in method; we all know how bias in sample selection can cause havoc with statistical significance. This is why the NAS panel would not fully endorse temperature reconstructions prior to 1600. And we haven’t even started on the divergence problem yet! We are just scraping the surface of the problems here.

    4. I’ve already explained why your claim about RealClimate holds no water. They’re happy to debate when someone posts an easy answer question, they duck the difficult ones. McIntyre doesn’t have a “10-year” publication record, his first significant pub was in 2004, around 3 years ago. Negative results are as important as positive results, so don’t hoist that fallacy on us please; but if it is really important to you, when he updates the Bristlecone Pine series in the near future, he should get a publication off the back of it, and be “adding” to the scientific data.

    One of Steve’s main contributions is to increase openness and transparency. Just trying to find out what data MBH98 used required years of work – and, to be honest, MBH98 was one of the better ones. The error in the GISSTEMP may not have been that significant, but it got the code released – which is a huge step forward in terms of doing science in the open rather than behind closed doors.

    Yet the denialists use it to attack all of global warming theory.
    Steve has not used it to deny “all of global warming theory” nor would most over at CA. Sure there are other cranks out there who might, but what are you going to do? Stop doing science in case someone misuses it? Not sensible.

    So, really, I’m tired of the ponce’s running over here to defend the crank. You people are no better than the tax-protesters I deal with in my line of work. You’re no better than the evolution deniers in my wife’s line of work. You’re no better than the HIV deniers. You’re just a bunch of cranks who’ve made two, ultimately, insignificant corrections with which you cast aspersions on the whole scientific process and the AGW theory.
    Ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem. When you run out of scientific arguments, it is all you have left. You claim we have cast aspersions on the whole scientific process and AGW theory – no we haven’t, we have always maintained science is self-correcting, and Steve has gone to lengths to distance himself from any claims regarding the consequences of increased CO2. You are just parroting wrong-headed claims about CA, rather than finding out what it is really all about.

    Kudos to those like shiftlessbum, who are at least spending a bit of time trying to understand the debate, rather than Moses, who has clearly already decided they know everything there is to know about CA, its motives, etc. etc.

    Refs.
    Brger G., U. Cubasch (2005), Are multiproxy climate reconstructions robust?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L23711, doi:10.1029/2005GL024155.

  70. #70 Chris Clarke
    November 2, 2007

    In case anyone’s interested in the lowly pond scum end of the TTLB ecosystem blogs, Creek Running North is a finalist in the Best of The Top 2501-3500 Blogs section.

  71. #71 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    When I was an alarmist, I wasn’t fully aware that:

    1. On global scale the less temperature data GISS had, the more warming they modelled. That there was in addition a probable UHI warm bias (see Anthony Watts Surface Stations survey)

    2. That there was no experimental physical basis for a high climate sensitivity.

    3. That the projections were based on computer models that varied hugely

    4. That the models were based on speculative parameterization, and couldn’t simulate cloud formation, local climates, rainfall or any such thing

    5. That in Vostok ice core data CO2 lagged temperatures by 800-2000 years, and never was in lead

    6. That in earth’s history there had been times when CO2 levels were 10x higher than today, but temperatures weren’t always very high. That in geological data it has been found out, that the correlation between CO2 and temperature could break down for millions of years. Not just periodically, but for very long periods of time.

    7. How unreliable dendro-climatology was

    8. How unwilling the “real scientists” were to discuss these questions, and answer the difficult questions

    9. That IPCC accepted multi-modelling, which is completely unscientific

    10. That IPCC hand picked peer reviewed studies over other peer reviewed studies on basis of how well the studies were in line with the IPCC pre-conceptions (as substantially proven by Pielke Senior)

    11. How complex the climate was, how difficult these questions were and how much uncertainty there was involved

    12. That in USA, where the temperature data was the most accurate in the world, in the Northern hemisphere that should have warmed more, there was effectively zero net warming from 1930’s to 2000’s. (See the above point about the less data there is, the more warming we model)

    13. That GISS and CRU gridded data 2005 disagreed by over 0.5 degrees.

    14. That there was no consensus (see all the peer reviewed studies Pielke has listed on his blog)

    15. How politicized the subject had become

    And many others…

    ->

    On such a basis asserting climate sensitivity with any sort of confidence became impossible. Familiarising myself with enviro-rationalism and the vulnerability paradigm, I seriously started to question whether climate change was our biggest environmental concern in a world of de-forestation, biodiversity loss, clean water shortage, ocean depletion, over-population…

    You see, I, for an example, am a green. And I am an atheist. And I am a liberal. And I don’t work for any multinational corporation. My interest in “denialism” is purely on the basis of vulnerability paradigm. How much interest did the World Water Forum generate? Did you read their summary? Exactly.

    Your stereotypes do not work, and your ad homs only make you look weak intellectually.

    Debate the issues, or admit that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, have never invested serious time into trying to understand the issues, and are purely “arguing” from authority (just like religious persons), and nothing else.

  72. #72 Thadd
    November 2, 2007

    “Steve McIntyre has successfully published controversial views in peer-reviewed climatology journals; either he got lucky, or he has some insight which has eluded climate scientists up to now.”

    yea, because peer review means you can’t be wrong. Ow wait no it doesn’t. Part of peer review is that things that are wrong do get published, so that they can be studied and corrected. Crap, you must have forgotten that part of modern scholarly methodology.

  73. #73 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    *ahem*

    When I was an alarmist evolutionist, I wasn’t fully aware that:

    etc.

    your arguments present in a quite similar fashion to the way we have heard creationists present their arguments here.

    Debate the issues,

    he did. you claimed he was insane.

    you claim not to be an “alarmist”, yet choose to present your argument by comparing global warming to issues you imply (correctly or not), we should be alarmed about. I hope you didn’t expect nobody would catch that?

    yes, I’ve seen that tactic before.

    you can glue whatever fur on yourself you wish, but I still smell a rat.

    why not post your own “corrections” somewhere where we can judge the value of your assumptions and executions for ourselves? seriously, just a link to where you’ve worked it out will do.

    hell, I’ve published papers in zoology, and have a decent working knowledge of statistics. shouldn’t be too hard to judge your efforts, right?

    or are all your “concerns” contained within the debate on that single blog?

  74. #74 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Thadd,

    I never said that Steve couldn’t be wrong. In fact I mentioned an error in one of his publications above (which was corrected and found not to affect the results). My comment was in response to a claim Steve wasn’t a climate scientist. One definition of a scientist is that they are actively publishing. You have taken my comment out of context and distorted it into a strange absolute that had nothing to do with the original discussion. Please don’t do that.

  75. #75 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

    My comment was in response to a claim Steve wasn’t a climate scientist. One definition of a scientist is that they are actively publishing.

    …and one definition of a scientist is that they are actually doing science.

    so?

    If i publish in Rivista Di Biologia, does that make me a scientist?

    judging by the presentation so far, Steve sounds more like a statistician than a scientist, anyway.

    now I never devalue the contributions a statistician can make, but I also don’t consider their input on the design of my own field experiments to be relevant beyond how many and what types of replicates i include.

    perhaps you are overstating the case for Steve being a scientist, eh?

    hmm, speaking of which, I find it very odd that if you feel Steve, or Steve’s work is actually being attacked, that he himself wouldn’t be here to present his own case…

  76. #76 Spence
    November 2, 2007

    Ichthyic,

    I would say Steve is doing science, and those who are published in GRL are (predominantly) scientists. Although if your point is that arguing over semantics probably doesn’t make a great deal of difference, I’d accept that.

    Why isn’t Mann here defending his work? I guess these guys don’t spend their life checking to see which blogs are talking about them today. Most of these arguments are complex technical issues, and to be honest this is really very old ground that we are covering again for CA regulars. Most of the lines of thought made above are just parroting of old claims, so it is just a question of running of old responses (that have to be written from scratch each time… d’oh).

    Sometimes someone comes along, like shiftlessbum, who genuinely seems to take an interest in the debate rather than just reeling off the same old RealClimate (flawed) line – this is good, because these people can sometimes throw up an interesting curve ball. As I said before, if you can come up with a constructive (and original) criticism of Steve’s work, he’ll put it up as a head post on CA. This shows a commitment to open scientific debate.

  77. #77 Buddenbrook
    November 2, 2007

    Flame wars and exchaning personal insults doesn’t interest me Ichthyic. Obviously you do not want to discuss the scientific issues. You only smell a rat because you think in emotional stereotypes and have attached your self-identity to AGW.

    I can happily call myself a water shortage alarmist, as this is threatening 2-3 billion people inside the next 20 years, if we fail to solve the threat (world water forum estimates that an extra 80 billion a year is needed in resources).

    But about AGW alarmism? I’m not sure, as I would guess based on several factors, and acknowledging the huge uncertainty, that 1.0-1.5 seems a more plausible value for climate sensitivty than 2.5-4.0.

    In addition we are quite probably in a maximum when it comes to solar activity, and we could expect around 0.5C solar cooling this century according to many solar scientists.

    e.g. 1.3C global warming wouldn’t necessarily be a negative thing, I don’t consider that a major threat.

    There are bigger threats, like water shortage. You run out of clean drinking water and hell will break loose if hundreds of millions of people are affected.

    I’m also more concerned about over-population and loss of habitat (from other causes than AGW, mostly land use change).

    So if we are going to spend trillions and trillions, let’s spend it on something that will actually help the world significantly, and not on something, that necessarily isn’t a problem to begin with.

    That is the GREEN and altruist stance following the vulnerability paradigm, on basis of estimating the uncertainty.

    Your personal attacks are weak and repeatitive and boring.

  78. #78 Tim Lambert
    November 3, 2007

    I have a roundup of reactions to the NRC report on the hockey stick here. Except for McIntyre (who reckoned that it was “schizophrenic”) folks felt that it was a vindication for Mann.

    McIntyre’s other claim to fame is that he was Rush Limbaugh’s source for his claim that NASA had made an error when they said that 1998 was the warmest year and that 1934 was really the warmest.

    But globally 1998 was much warmer than 1934 — it’s only in the contiguous US that 1934 was as warm as 1998. And NASA never announced that 1998 was warmer than 1934 in the US — they said that there were too close to be distinguished. Because they are so close, even insignificant changes such as adjustments by 0.01 degrees causes their relative ranking to change. I think the ranking changed in each and every of the last five versions of GISS US temperatures.

    McIntyre hyped these ranking changes to try to make it look like global warming isn’t happening and this fed Limbaugh and Drudge and the rest.

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    Flame wars and exchaning personal insults doesn’t interest me Ichthyic. Obviously you do not want to discuss the scientific issues. You only smell a rat because you think in emotional stereotypes and have attached your self-identity to AGW.

    grand assumptions on your part, since I spend most of my time on a blog devoted to developmental biology and anti-religious nutbaggery, and publish in ichthyology and behavioral ecology. funny, but I never seem to have managed to attach my self-identity to global warming.

    I guess these guys don’t spend their life checking to see which blogs are talking about them today.

    ah, but YOU do. wait, who was the one who supposedly has attached his self-identity to the global warming debate again?

    Most of these arguments are complex technical issues, and to be honest this is really very old ground that we are covering again for CA regulars.

    but this is Pharyngula, not CA.

    you were the one who has claimed to be:

    …someone who has looked in great detail at the problem at hand (including writing my own code to replicate parts of the processes and independently test some claims),

    seems if you really wanted to discuss the science, you would jump at the chance to show us your work, right?

    Moses spent several posts showing EXACTLY the “relevance” of Steve’s work to the issue of climate change, and you completely ignored all of his posts until he started throwing ad-hominems (correct, it appears) at you.

    seriously, you guys are funny.

  80. #80 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    Flame wars and exchaning personal insults doesn’t interest me Ichthyic.

    this after having said:

    You sound mentally ill Moses, seriously, my condolences. I advice you to seek therapy for this condition.

    liar.

  81. #81 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “I never said that Steve couldn’t be wrong. In fact I mentioned an error in one of his publications above (which was corrected and found not to affect the results). My comment was in response to a claim Steve wasn’t a climate scientist. One definition of a scientist is that they are actively publishing. You have taken my comment out of context and distorted it into a strange absolute that had nothing to do with the original discussion. Please don’t do that.”

    publishing does not have anything to do with being a scientist. It has something to do with being a scholar or a professional. It may even be seen as part of the scientific method, but thinking about all the countless non-scientific peer reviewed journals out there, pointing out that someone has published a couple articles in peer reviewed journals is a blatant appeal to the authority of the term “peer reviewed” I mean heck, he could be publishing his articles in the JBL and call it peer reviewed.

  82. #82 Buddenbrook
    November 3, 2007

    “Flame wars and exchaning personal insults doesn’t interest me Ichthyic.

    this after having said:

    You sound mentally ill Moses, seriously, my condolences. I advice you to seek therapy for this condition.

    liar.”

    Well, it doesn’t interest me and that was a poor reaction from myself, but to put it in perspective, this had been a thread of constant personal abuse from the ‘AGWs’ (with comparisons to HIV denial and what not) culminating in that post, which I maintain doesn’t come across as something a balanced person would post.

    There is venting, there is personal attacks and then there are posts you just see go way too far, and you can sense the writer is either having an extremely bad day/moment, or he has lost it.

  83. #83 MarkH
    November 3, 2007

    McIntyre is a crank, I must agree. For instance, his overstatement of the importance of his correction to the NASA records. A respectable scientist wouldn’t then start alleging conspiracy theories and a coverup by NASA for what was ultimately a minor correction to the record for a single region that ultimately did not change the global mean significantly. It was lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    The other main focus of his blog, one underemphasized in this discussion, is the attack on the mere idea of measuring a global mean temperature – a classic global warming crank attack that people who actually study climate find very tedious. Tim Lambert has done a great job showing McIntyre’s tendency to cherry pick with his goal of denigrating climate science.

    That’s two of the most important criteria right there. If it quacks like a duck…

  84. #84 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    this had been a thread of constant personal abuse

    bullshit, you must be projecting from wherever you came from.

    look again at Moses’ first post (with the broken tags), and compare it to the one just before you called him “insane”. the rest of the posts were similarly pointing out their disagreement with the conclusions of CA, NOT you specifically. I’M the one who is attacking you guys specifically, and I didn’t even start doing it until you started the personal flaming yourself. You set the stage.

    funny, but somehow I can see why it progressed the way it did.

    btw, you guys DO know why i refer to publishing in Rivista di Biologia, yes?

    bottom line, you boys can run along home now. anybody who buys your arguments will likely go and check you out there.

    I’m done with your BS.

  85. #85 Buddenbrook
    November 3, 2007

    There are too many lies in your post MarkH, for it to warrant a reply. Obviously you people never were interested in a scientific debate to begin with. Funny, with this being the web’s “best scientific blog” and all.

    Bye bye.

  86. #86 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    …oh, might i add that your confusion of personal attack between yourself and CA suggests that it’s both of YOU that have the self-identification issues.

    like i said, you guys are funny.

  87. #87 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    bye bye.

    LOL

    come again soon.

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    to sum up, it rather seems Jay (#10) had already given us the correct lowdown:

    I actually sat there and read through a lot of their posts, and while they attempt to sound incredibly scientific, they rarely will EVER put up a concrete conclusion of their findings, instead just casting doubt like so many conservative monkeys cast poo.

    70 posts later, I can’t see any reason to disagree.

  89. #89 MarkH
    November 3, 2007

    There are too many lies in your post MarkH, for it to warrant a reply.

    Nice dodge. Repeatedly throughout this thread people proved the instances I referred to, and the cherry-picking is documented on Tim Lambert’s blog.

    Obviously you people never were interested in a scientific debate to begin with.

    Ha! You’re such a crank. It’s like your following a script. Debate? What a joke. You ignored every single substantive proof that moses and others provided, and like a perfect troll just repeat the same nonsense over and over. The call for more debate is so perfect, you just made my day.

    Scientific debate is predicated on the honesty of its participants. You and the McIntyrites fail to meet the criteria for being worthy of debating.

  90. #90 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    It’s like your following a script

    LOL

    yeah, it does indeed look like a familiar script, eh?

    In fact, it rang so many bells in my head that I began to wonder if paid commenters really exist (seems quite likely) or are at all prevalent (haven’t a clue).

    I mean, I can imagine if I owned a company that was being dissed on a popular blog, i might find it money well spent to hire some semi-competent bloke to go on that blog and try to push some competing arguments. Hell, we see it on the cable news shows all the time.

    just to be clear I most assuredly am NOT saying our visitors from CA are to be identified as such (not without rock solid proof), it’s just the perception of them following a script made me think of the issue. The perception of them following a script might also be due to them endlessly responding to common objections in the blog where they spend most of their time. However, it did make me wonder just how prevalent the idea of paid commenters might be (let’s call ’em blog shills for short).

    at a quick glance, I can see others have considered the issue as well:

    http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2006/05/sock_puppetryare_telcos_employ.html

    anybody around here who has spent time looking at the issue of paid, professional “commenters”, and can point to proven cases?

    I’m genuinely curious to see if it is even remotely an issue to be concerned about.

    a very quick glance suggests that there are.

    http://valleywag.com/tech/robert-scoble/disclosure-the-aspiring-shills-best-friend-233971.php

    Not saying we’ve just seen it, mind you, I would never accuse someone of that without concrete proof, but the way the arguments were presented made me think to start looking into the possibility.

  91. #91 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    oops, just ignore everything in that last post after the line that starts: “I’m genuinely curious…”

    should have been deleted.

  92. #92 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    ah, i see it’s a big enough issue to warrant at least one entire blog devoted to it, and that it’s garnered it’s own term:

    astroturfing.

    http://trevorcook.typepad.com/weblog/2006/07/pr_bloggers_urg.html

    I figured I might be well behind the times on this issue.

  93. #93 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Ichthyic, you might be impressed by “Moses” but his arguments are incredibly weak. Why else would he spend half his time comparing people who replicate key scientific studies with HIV-deniers, ID-proponents or this absurd non sequitur:

    Lamarckian inheritance is something that is widely regarded as wrong today. Yet Darwin’s inclusion does not invalidate the core of the Theory of Evolution.

    Or Einstein and his General Theory of Relativity. In general relativity, gravitation is due to space-time curvatures which causes inertially moving objects to tend to accelerate towards each other. Yet, as we know now, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity doesn’t give us a perfect number for the forces of gravitation.

    Yet nobody in his right mind denies the basic concepts that electrons exist, or that gravitation exists or that evolution is phony unless there other reasons for it: Ignorance, Denialism, Economics, Religiosity. And yet, here we are in an analogous situation where a denialist has found a small error and is doing the functional equivalent. Which is why he gets lumped into “junk science” and “denialism.”

    None of the above has anything to do with Steve McIntyre, its just a concatenation of smears.

    We have yet to discover exactly what places studies like the Mann Hockey Stick on a different philosophical plane so that even to question it gets Steve such absurd levels of vitriol. You’d have thought that someone familiar with the scientific method would applaud such replication but no, for some reason its untouchable. Perhaps we’ve all forgotten that Dr Hwang woo Suk’s scientific fraud was not detected by “peer review in quality journals” but by bloggers.

    Einstein himself had no time for pomposities like scientific consensuses. When a book was published in Nazi Germany in the 1930s attacking Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity called “One Hundred Scientists against Einstein” his reply was: “If I’d have been wrong, one would have been enough”.

    In fact, his thesis became known as a rigorously proven scientific theory precisely because it was attacked on all sides and yet predicted experimental result after experimental result. Eddington, for example, went on his mission to photograph stars during a solar eclipse because he wanted to refute Relativity by experiment – was he a Relativity denier?

    To this day, scientists are trying hard to overturn or improve on the General Theory, yet strangely no-one seeks to vilify these people as “deniers” or compare them with creationists.

    We’re still waiting for PZ to explain why Climate Audit, a blog about statistics and scientific replication of key studies, can be said to be “right wing” or what this has to do with science. After 92 comments we’re still non the wiser as to what PZ is talking about.

  94. #94 Spence
    November 3, 2007

    Thadd, your interest in exactly what determines a scientist seems irrelevant to the discussion, it is an argument to the person (ad hominem), not the substance of the issue at hand. I see no point in arguing over the semantics of what you or I think makes a scientist. If you’ve got a substantive, evidence based point to make about the data, or the analysis, go ahead and ask, otherwise I think we’ve just reached a dead end here.

    Ichthyic, nice appeal to motive without any supporting evidence, keep up the good smearing work, it is a lot easier than answering real questions.

    Tim, the NAS panel followed a careful diplomatic line, for sure. They acknowledged all the errors made by McIntyre were right. They pointedly did not assess the consequences of these errors. But they dodged the difficult questions in the summary of the report with hand waving about other studies. (The other studies problems identified in the same report – one of the inconsistencies you have to ignore to accept the summary at face value) Although the NAS panel did not assess the consequences of the errors, the Wegman report did, and Gerry North specifically endorsed the Wegman report as drawing the same conclusions as the NAS panel report; the consequences of the errors are very significant, as demonstrated by Wegman, as endorsed by Gerry North. Of course, if you ignore all of these problems (amongst others), then yes, Mann was “vindicated”. Although the American Statistical Association weren’t quite as forgiving as you were when they recently discussed the topic at their Climate Change Workshop, dismissing MBH98 as bad science. Hmm.

    MarkH – as far as I am aware, Steve McIntyre has never alleged any conspiracy theory. He has been critical of a failure to make code and data available – but never claimed conspiracy theories, I would presume this is just down to laziness and incompetence. Unless you can provide a specific link showing what you allege, I’ll just assume you’re wrong here.

  95. #95 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “Thadd, your interest in exactly what determines a scientist seems irrelevant to the discussion, it is an argument to the person (ad hominem), not the substance of the issue at hand. I see no point in arguing over the semantics of what you or I think makes a scientist. If you’ve got a substantive, evidence based point to make about the data, or the analysis, go ahead and ask, otherwise I think we’ve just reached a dead end here.”
    If you remember, you were the one to begin with using peer-reviewed publications as some sort of example of “scientistism”, and that it somehow made the arguments more valid. I certainly do not think my argument is ad hominem, instead, I think my point is quite clearly that your argument was pointlessly supporting the person without actually saying anything valuable about the data or analysis, “pro hominem” if you will. The necessity of hiding behind such arguments to support something is hopelessly like IDers or Homeopaths, and deserves no place here, that is simply my point, and deals not with people, but an argument.

  96. #96 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Thadd:

    The necessity of hiding behind such arguments to support something is hopelessly like IDers or Homeopaths, and deserves no place here, that is simply my point, and deals not with people, but an argument.

    You can’t resist reaching for the ad hominems yourself. It’s obviously an affliction.

    To posit that “peer reviewed science” is some sort of gold standard for science is a fallacy – a rather obvious fallacy when in the past few years many frauds have sailed straight through peer review that were picked up by outsiders checking the data and attempting to replicate the results.

    It’s not as if peer review should not be used, but it is not a guarantee in itself that the paper is correct.

  97. #97 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “You can’t resist reaching for the ad hominems yourself. It’s obviously an affliction.

    To posit that “peer reviewed science” is some sort of gold standard for science is a fallacy – a rather obvious fallacy when in the past few years many frauds have sailed straight through peer review that were picked up by outsiders checking the data and attempting to replicate the results.

    It’s not as if peer review should not be used, but it is not a guarantee in itself that the paper is correct.”
    A) That is my point about peer review, its not a valid method of saying someone’s science should be listened to, as the phrase both includes publication outside of any validity in the field and does allow crap through.
    B) Comparing someone’s method of arguing (in this case stating that peer-review is some sort of “gold standard”) to the same method when used by IDers or Homeopaths, is not an ad hominem attack, it is a valid and direct comparison of arguments in order to show that they are not actually useful.

  98. #98 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Comparing someone’s method of arguing (in this case stating that peer-review is some sort of “gold standard”) to the same method when used by IDers or Homeopaths, is not an ad hominem attack, it is a valid and direct comparison of arguments in order to show that they are not actually useful.

    BS. You’re not arguing about the data, you’re casting aspersions about the type of argumentation used.

    You could actually try arguing about the data, the methodology and the safety of the conclusions based upon them, that would be scientific and reasonable.

    What isn’t reasonable is to claim that so-and-so’s opinion is not valid because [insert anti-science crackpot here] uses similar argumentation. That’s just ad hominem.

    What you forget is the necessarily disputatious nature of science means that all of the time strange new ideas and talking points are debated without the need to compare them with IDers and homeopaths.

    Personally I think IDers and homeopaths should be engaged in debate, because when all is said and done, the science rests upon experimental evidence, not upon the relative merits of the argumentation used by either side – that’s where ID and homeopathy fall down.

  99. #99 Foggg
    November 3, 2007

    I am a green. I am an atheist. I am a liberal. And I don’t work for any multinational corporation.
    Posted by: Buddenbrook | November 2, 2007 11:15 PM

    “Look, I’m the denialists’ David Berlinski.”

  100. #100 Jared
    November 3, 2007

    I am used to most people dismissing sound AGW/sceptic arguments with association by fallacy smears, or through appeals to authority.

    We all have biases and are all guilty of stereotyping so I won’t hold that against you. However, noting your own biases helps in communication.

    In this thread, you seem to be focused on playing fallacy gotcha even when there is no fallacy. If someone notes that there are similarities between IDists (or HIV denialists or other cranks) and Steve McIntyre, they are not guilty of the association fallacy unless they are concluding that he is therefore a crank.

    In other words, it is completely valid to claim Steve McIntyre does not have a degree in the field that he is criticizing (like most IDists), he is in a minority criticizing the majority of climate experts (like IDists), and IDists are cranks therefore I am doubtful of his arguments.

    It would be a fallacy if I just said he is a crank based on his similarity to IDists but noting doubt that stems from the similarity is not a fallacy.

    Shame on you for invoking the fallacies beforehand though. Now do the right thing and read some of Steve’s posts on ClimateAudit 🙂

    I actually didn’t use any fallacies as I explained. Nevertheless, on your urging I read/skimmed a few posts on ClimateAudit. It was not an enlightening experience.

    His criticisms are not very meaningful without researching all the literature on the topic (e.g., “Medieval Warm Period in the bristlecone chronology”).

  101. #101 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Jeez, PZ the commenters on your site just suck:

    In other words, it is completely valid to claim Steve McIntyre does not have a degree in the field that he is criticizing (like most IDists), he is in a minority criticizing the majority of climate experts (like IDists), and IDists are cranks therefore I am doubtful of his arguments.

    Yet another smear – and an ill-aimed smear at that.

    This one must be antique, because it was the professional geologists who dismissed Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory not on the data but on the grounds that Wegener was an astronomer by training and not a geologist.

    In point of fact, the questions on the provenance of data and the mathematical treatment of modelling are statistical and Steve McIntyre has already demonstrated great expertise in statistics. Even Michael Mann had to admit under questioning that he was “not a statistician”, and the rest of them are similarly unqualified and clueless, which is why they made such basic mistakes. Ed Wegman who is a statistician of first rank found Steve’s statistical arguments “valid and compelling”, and the Hockey Team are petrified of Steve which is why they resort to ad hominems and laxy argumentation that this site has been recently afflicted with.

    Steve McIntyre is an extremely competent mathematician on statistical issues and the claims made by the Hockey Team are almost all statistical in nature.

    So its a pathetic argument and a fallacious one as well.

    Any more for any more?

  102. #102 Jared
    November 3, 2007

    Yet another smear – and an ill-aimed smear at that.

    Explaining why you are biased against or doubtful of someone is smearing them?

    This one must be antique, because it was the professional geologists who dismissed Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory not on the data but on the grounds that Wegener was an astronomer by training and not a geologist.

    Th difference is I’m not claiming expertise in climatology while saying I’m doubtful of Steve’s arguments based on his background and the situation. A climatologist should base their critique of his ideas on the evidence but people outside the field are completely justified in not investigating every claim in that field (or about that field).

    In point of fact, the questions on the provenance of data and the mathematical treatment of modelling [sic] are statistical and Steve McIntyre has already demonstrated great expertise in statistics.

    Well, this could be true, but without analyzing his statistical arguments, I need to trust someone and choose to trust the majority of climate scientists.

    So its a pathetic argument and a fallacious one as well.

    Expressing doubt since I trust the scientific consensus over an individual mathematician is not pathetic. Nor as far as I can see, fallacious.

  103. #103 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Explaining why you are biased against or doubtful of someone is smearing them?

    When you compare them to promoters of ID, then yes its a smear.

    Th difference is I’m not claiming expertise in climatology while saying I’m doubtful of Steve’s arguments based on his background and the situation. A climatologist should base their critique of his ideas on the evidence but people outside the field are completely justified in not investigating every claim in that field (or about that field).

    But the field of expertise is statistics and the arguments are in the main statistical ones.

    In point of fact, the questions on the provenance of data and the mathematical treatment of modelling [sic] are statistical and Steve McIntyre has already demonstrated great expertise in statistics.

    Well, this could be true, but without analyzing his statistical arguments, I need to trust someone and choose to trust the majority of climate scientists.

    The majority of climate scientists are not competent with statistics but you’d rather trust ignoramuses because they’re in a majority??

    So its a pathetic argument and a fallacious one as well.

    Expressing doubt since I trust the scientific consensus over an individual mathematician is not pathetic. Nor as far as I can see, fallacious.

    It is when you side with the ones who have least expertise. That would put you in the same category as Christians who believe in the pronouncements of creationists because they are fellow believers, wouldn’t it?

    After all, what about the scientific consensus against Wegener? Valid? Trustworthy?

    Or Einstein?

    Or perhaps that’s a fallacious argument as well. Perhaps its just easier to go with the flow, to believe the “truthiness” rather than actually do the heavy lifting of consideration of the facts.

    After all, ignorance pays the same as knowledge and its a lot easier to get mastery of.

  104. #104 John A
    November 3, 2007

    Oh and by the way Jared, don’t put [sic] next to a British spelling of a word like “modelling”.

    Then I won’t have to call you an offensive American jerk.

  105. #105 Jared
    November 3, 2007

    Oh and by the way Jared, don’t put [sic] next to a British spelling of a word like “modelling”.
    Then I won’t have to call you an offensive American jerk.

    Sorry, the double ‘l’ looked so wrong to my offensive American mind.

    The majority of climate scientists are not competent with statistics but you’d rather trust ignoramuses because they’re in a majority??

    I just don’t believe that. Do you have any data to suggest that the majority of climatologists are incompetent?

    It is when you side with the ones who have least expertise. That would put you in the same category as Christians who believe in the pronouncements of creationists because they are fellow believers, wouldn’t it?

    So, I shouldn’t trust the majority of my fellow scientists?

    After all, what about the scientific consensus against Wegener? Valid? Trustworthy?

    If you accept the notion that one scientist cannot investigate all scientific claims, then who should a scientist trust when it is a claim that he has not investigated? Usually, scientists will trust the scientific consensus despite the fact that they could be wrong.

    Or perhaps that’s a fallacious argument as well.

    I don’t think you understand the meaning of fallacious (or at least you’re not demonstrating that you understand it).

    Perhaps its just easier to go with the flow, to believe the “truthiness” rather than actually do the heavy lifting of consideration of the facts.

    Following the path of least resistance is not the motive. You really believe that a scientist has the time to consider all facts and claims?

  106. #106 Hans Kelp
    November 3, 2007

    John A.
    Be careful not to blow a “fuse” wont you! The kind of argumentation you are up against on this site is not worth it. Its good to see youre defending Climate Audit and Steve McIntyre,and I think he really deserves it, but please note that the tone of dialogue here is very similar to the one you experience on RealClimate, and thats
    of no use at all.
    I was curious about Pharanguyla, but I must say that I am sorely disappointed. On this thread I find it more of an “ad hominem” site than of a site discussing purely scientific issues.

    Hans Kelp

  107. #107 Spence
    November 3, 2007

    Thadd,

    You write:

    To posit that “peer reviewed science” is some sort of gold standard for science is a fallacy

    Where, exactly, did I write that peer reviewed science is some sort of gold standard? Please show me the exact quote. I don’t hold that view, and if I have expressed that opinion in a rushed off blog response I would retract it. But I don’t think I have. (In fact, my book recommendation in #36 should make it obvious I don’t have this viewpoint) You’ve imposed that view on me. All you have managed are a sequence of ad hominem / straw man attacks. I have asked you once before: if you believe there is an error in the substance of Steve McIntyre’s work, then address it. If not, why invent claims that I have not made?

    Hans Kelp – I suspect that this site is very good on less controversial scientific topics. It has too much politics running through it to deal with the science of climate change. Steve keeps political debate to a minimum on his site; for such a topic, it is the only way to manage reasoned discussion. That said, at least one commentator here has checked on the details and (seems to have) accepted some of our points are well made, and in some ways, even if one person will listen to our views with objectivity – even if they ultimately disagree (remember kids: it’s okay to disagree in science) – I think that is a good thing.

  108. #108 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “BS. You’re not arguing about the data, you’re casting aspersions about the type of argumentation used.

    You could actually try arguing about the data, the methodology and the safety of the conclusions based upon them, that would be scientific and reasonable.

    What isn’t reasonable is to claim that so-and-so’s opinion is not valid because [insert anti-science crackpot here] uses similar argumentation. That’s just ad hominem.”

    I stand by my opinions that my comparisons to IDers and Homeopaths etc are valid, non-ad hominem examples in refutation of the value of Spence’s statement that
    “Steve McIntyre has successfully published controversial views in peer-reviewed climatology journals”
    Publishing in peer review does not add any value to one’s work, and refuting such a statement is not an attack on McIntyre, just a poor technique of discussion, and examples of other uses of such a technique, even if it is IDers and Homeopaths, does not make it an ad hominem attack.

    I did not say anything bad about McIntyre in my statement at all. Heck, I am not even commenting on his work or opinion, just Spence’s false defense of him.

  109. #109 MarkH
    November 3, 2007

    This discussion is awesome, and of interest to me of course as my area of focus is on cranks and denialists and the tactics they use. Now, while I don’t debate denialists, I will explain a few things about you, your behavior, and our response to it that may even be enlightening.

    One of the key aspects of denialism is the similarity between tactics used between all types of denialists and the related need to disguise motive or ideology. The denialists on this thread are of course upset when compared to HIV/AIDS deniers, or holocaust deniers, what have you, and that is understandable. But that doesn’t mean that the tactics being used aren’t exactly the same. In fact the recurring theme that you hear in this thread, and very typically in arguments with denialists is the need for science to have debate, or be open to criticism, or tolerate dissent. Many of the statements on this thread mirror the holocaust “revisionist” arguments so closely I’ve had quite a laugh. After all, if you ask them they’ll say, they’re not anti-semitic, how dare you! That’s an ad hominem! They’re just interested in truth! They’re interested in uncovering all historic inaccuracies, and making sure the record is absolutely correct. How could you be against that?

    However, scientific (and historic) debate is predicated upon honesty of the participants, standards of evidence, and contribution of data to substantiate position. Debate for debate’s sake is foolishness, and is often what denialists like holocaust deniers or HIV/AIDS deniers specifically desire because it legitimizes them as “the other side”. What you end up with is false parity between people who actually believe in science, and the scientific method, and people who believe the equivalent of flat earth theory as equals. This is not to be desired.

    Now you guys of course get upset because what you see as the unfair shut-down of debate, and since we’re scientists, we should always be open for debate, right? Wrong. We’d be the idiots if we actually believed this.

    McIntyre and his acolytes here are participating in this age old tactic, to decry the need for open debate, and constant re-evaluation of established theories for the enlightened principles of open mindedness. All the while wondering with wide-eyed astonishment that anyone could possibly see an alterior motive in their behavior or of that of the nit-picker in chief. Nevermind the right-wing love-fest that results when McIntyre uncovers an insignificant correction in the record, or the constant nonsense that he’s somehow refuted the hockey-stick. They’re just interested in science!

    Nonsense. What you are interested in is throwing pie in the face of a theory that you don’t like whenever possible for ideological reasons. We are not fooled, and we won’t be fooled into debate, or treating you as equals based on your idiotic appeals to fairness. We can see through you because we’ve seen this before, over and over again, whenever anyone wants to deny a theory without having the evidence to back them up.

    That’s why we compare you to ID. That’s why we compare you to the HIV/AIDs denialists. You behave exactly the same. While your motives are of course, completely different, and may even be admirable, that is irrelevant. And we’re not going to sit here and pretend like your arguments have equal weight, or deserve some hearing as if our goal is to always have some perfect Aristotelean debate. This is nonsense. Your motives are suspect, your tactics are crooked, you’re not really interested in science and expanding human knowledge, we’re not interested in debates with you.

    Sorry. We’ve just seen this too many times.

  110. #110 Spence
    November 3, 2007

    Publishing in peer review does not add any value to one’s work, and refuting such a statement is not an attack on McIntyre, just a poor technique of discussion, and examples of other uses of such a technique, even if it is IDers and Homeopaths, does not make it an ad hominem attack.
    Hilarious. I made a factual statement. Steve has published in peer-reviewed journals. That is a fact. I made no suggestion that this makes his work right. That is something you have invented. That is a straw man attack. Your subsequent linking to ID etc. is a guilt by association fallacy built on a straw man. Sheesh, a high schooler could see the failure of logic you are building on here.

    I did not say anything bad about McIntyre in my statement at all. Heck, I am not even commenting on his work or opinion, just Spence’s false defense of him.
    The only thing that is false is your interpretation of a statement of fact as something more than it ever was. And you have not laid a single valid criticism on either me or Steve’s work. I suspect you are incapable of laying a single valid criticism on Steve’s work as well, judging from your logical meltdown above.

  111. #111 John A
    November 3, 2007

    The majority of climate scientists are not competent with statistics but you’d rather trust ignoramuses because they’re in a majority??

    I just don’t believe that. Do you have any data to suggest that the majority of climatologists are incompetent?

    I don’t say they are incompetent generally, just the ones that abuse statistics in multiproxy studies particularly. Now explain why belief in a majority of blockheads is better than believing one competent expert. Your call.

    It is when you side with the ones who have least expertise. That would put you in the same category as Christians who believe in the pronouncements of creationists because they are fellow believers, wouldn’t it?

    So, I shouldn’t trust the majority of my fellow scientists?

    I didn’t say that. In the absence of definitive empirical evidence, history teaches us that scientific consensuses are nowhere near as infallible as some would have us believe. I’ve cited examples and you’ve avoided every one.

    As for the evidence, there is not even a majority of your fellow scientists to rely on, only a claim of scientific consensus repeated ad nauseam in order to falsely end debate.

    Scientific consensus doesn’t equal one experimental datum.

    After all, what about the scientific consensus against Wegener? Valid? Trustworthy?

    If you accept the notion that one scientist cannot investigate all scientific claims, then who should a scientist trust when it is a claim that he has not investigated? Usually, scientists will trust the scientific consensus despite the fact that they could be wrong.

    So if the issues are statistical and competent statisticians are telling you that the methodology and treatments of data are wrong, why go with the statistical ignoramuses?

    Or perhaps that’s a fallacious argument as well.

    I don’t think you understand the meaning of fallacious (or at least you’re not demonstrating that you understand it).

    Only when you’ve exhausted the gamut of false claims about the type of argumentation is similar to IDers or creationists or [insert anti-scientific proponents here].I think I understand the use of fallacious argumentation rather well.

    Perhaps its just easier to go with the flow, to believe the “truthiness” rather than actually do the heavy lifting of consideration of the facts.

    Following the path of least resistance is not the motive. You really believe that a scientist has the time to consider all facts and claims?

    Ignorance is not a point of view. Especially not in science.

    If you’ve formed a point of view about climate science, then as a scientist you have studied the evidence for and against. To say “I believe the majority” is not a scientific point of view, its a position of intellectual cowardice.

    I don’t ask for omniscience in scientists, merely that like everybody else, they at least attempt to understand the situation scientifically, knowing that all scientific positions are provisional and absolute certainty is elusive. In other words: skepticism.

    To quote Karl Popper:

    “It thus leads, almost by necessity, to the realisation that our attempts to see and to find the truth are not final, but open to improvement, our knowledge, our doctrine, is conjectural; that it consists of guesses, of hypothesis, rather than that of final and certain truths: and that criticism and critical discussion are our only means of getting nearer to the truth. It thus leads to the tradition of bold conjectures and of free criticism, the tradition that created the rational or scientific attitude, and with it our Western Civilisation, the only civilisation which is based upon science”

    Now that leads to the problem that IDers, homeopaths, creationists and other anti-scientists may abuse science and the scientific method by using similar argumentation to those engaged in legitimate scientific debate – that’s the risk. The answer is that the ultimate arbiter of scientific truth is not consensus, the UN, Al Gore nor any statement from a leading scientist, but the result of rigorous experiment battle-tested by rigorous theory, rigorous math and in the teeth often of hostile counter-argument.

    That’s why, thanks to the creationists, we have talkorigins.org, one of the most precious expositions of evolutionary theory and arguments against it being intelligently debunked, that we have.

  112. #112 Robin Levett
    November 3, 2007

    John A:

    After all, what about the scientific consensus against Wegener? Valid? Trustworthy?

    The scientific criticism of Wegener’s presentation of continental drift was, and remains, perfectly valid.

  113. #113 Robin Levett
    November 3, 2007

    Spence:

    Under what nym do you post at RealClimate?

  114. #114 Spence
    November 3, 2007

    Re #113

    I don’t think any of my posts ever made it to RealClimate. The posts I did were right near the beginning of the blog, must be a couple of years ago now. They would have been as Spence (or similar, sometimes I use Spence_UK)

    Unlike here, or CA, or Deltoid, where I don’t spend much time or care on my posts (and therefore may make errors), I was aware that I would be under greater scrutiny, by some well known scientists. So I carefully drafted posts, walked away, came back, re-read them, looked for ambiguity, possible misinterpretations etc. etc. I’d probably spend 2-3 hours on little more than a five line post.

    When you submit these, and they just disappear, after a while you kind of figure it isn’t worth putting in the time and effort. It only took a few posts to reach that view. Plenty of others at CA who have documented failed posts at RealClimate as well (there was a post on CA devoted to it).

    I know they publish bad sceptic arguments because there is no shortage of them on there :^) I’ve been told by others that they have eased their strict censorship from the early months, but I haven’t attempted lately. There isn’t really a great motivation to do so; to be honest, I followed the MBH/McIntyre debate quite closely, but the recent topics discussed on RealClimate haven’t interested me as much. Similar to the Torah Codes, I followed it because it was an interesting story of error in science, but I haven’t investigated other aspects in as much detail.

  115. #115 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “Hilarious. I made a factual statement. Steve has published in peer-reviewed journals. That is a fact. I made no suggestion that this makes his work right. That is something you have invented. That is a straw man attack. Your subsequent linking to ID etc. is a guilt by association fallacy built on a straw man. Sheesh, a high schooler could see the failure of logic you are building on here.”

    If you were not using it as some mark of value of his work or him, why even bother stating it then. it brings nothing to the argument, but especially if you are willing to state that it cannot be used to somehow support his argument or his knowledge of the field?
    Why did you even introduce it to this thread, if you were not implying that it had some judgmental value?

  116. #116 Robin Levett
    November 3, 2007

    Spence:

    Plenty of others at CA who have documented failed posts at RealClimate as well (there was a post on CA devoted to it).

    I do read RealClimate and occasionally throw in my twopenn’orth. I’ve seen complaints of censorship there of difficult questions, but the answer is often too many links in a post or similar; the debate certainly doesn’t seem to lack the best available opposing arguments, so I’m wondering whether your post fell foul of the automatic aspects of the moderation. Did you raise the issue with the RealClimate people when it happened?

  117. #117 Lab Lemming
    November 3, 2007

    The following should give y’all a general idea of how much of an expert Dr. McIntyre is at climatology:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleListURL&_method=list&_ArticleListID=642170254&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=bcb0b98687215656999f6d6979f3b3b7

    You can repeat the search for Mann, or Schmidt, or any other actual working climatologists, if you like.

  118. #118 Spence
    November 3, 2007

    Thadd,

    Remember this is a poll about blogs, and some of the responses seemed to only be interested in addressing the blog posts; I wanted to make it clear that Steve McIntyre has done rather more than just blog. Perhaps everyone already knew that, and it was unnecessary; I thought it better to clarify.

    If you follow my commentary, when I first read Steve’s GRL paper (MM04), I didn’t know enough to be able to determine whether the claims were valid or not; so, I coded up some tests of my own to try and get a better understanding of the problem. It isn’t that hard to do: the MATLAB statistical toolbox has most of the key steps required. It is just a question of plugging some numbers in the right sequence. These tests, in my opinion, confirmed the claims Steve was making; I was only willing to endorse the paper after completing those tests. (Incidentally, the MATLAB principal components routine “princomp”, will not perform the PCA as Mann used it, and needs to be modified to allow it to be performed).

    So the original statement did a number of things:

    * Ensured people weren’t of the view that McIntyre consisted only of posts on a blog;
    * To make it clear that if someone had questions regarding the peer reviewed work, on a technical level, I was willing to give the best answers I could;
    * To set the scene and subsequently explain that I didn’t take McIntyre’s work at face value, and conducted tests myself to confirm his claims (claims that have since been confirmed in a similar manner by other eminent statisticians)

    As mentioned above, these blog comments are rattled off fairly quickly so my apologies if they are not all as clear as they could be.

    Robin,

    As mentioned the word on the blogvine is that RealClimate are better now than they used to be, and I have no evidence to the contrary. Also, when a prominent scientist posts a criticism (e.g. one of the Pielke’s), they really have no choice but to post it; when someone like me posts, they can do what they like, particularly as I prefer to not disclose my full name. On one post, I did flag it up but got no reply. When I saw other people were having the same problem, I was disinclined to believe it was just chance. This is all just my personal take on it all (“IMHO”), of course.

  119. #119 mikep
    November 3, 2007

    Came over to see what the blog was about and ran into this discussion. I was rather surprised to find such a long comments thread with so little discussion of the issues. As an atheist left-leaning Brit (always voted Labour or LibDem) here is my attempt at a summary of the big issues.

    1. There is no dispute that if the bristlecone pines were left out of the original Mann analysis the reconstruction would not have a hockeystick shape. Mann (who had actually performed this calculation) called it “throwing away large chunks of the data”, but there is no dispute about the effect.
    2. There is no dispute that the growth of the bristlecone pines ring widths is not correlated with local temperatures, or that the original collectors of the series suspected (what Macintyre’s recent work suggests is unlikely) CO2 fertilsation.
    3. Wegman has shown conclusively that the method Mann used (incorrectly described as Principal Components Analysis) will produce any desired shape by combining the “target” shape with any number of white noise series.
    4. Most of the other reconstructions since 1998 use variants of the Bristlecone series (and even the incorrect Mann PC1).
    5. So the big issue is whether it makes sense to try and reconstruct the history of past temperature essentially from a small group of doubtful proxies which do all the work.
    6. This issue is further complicated by sample selection biases. It appears that proxies are chosen not on some prior science about how they ought to respond to temperature but on observed correlations. This is like pinning the tail on the donkey by drawing in the donkey after the tails has been pinned up.
    These issues seem to me worth discussing. They are serious issues a million miles from Intelligent Design. And one of the things that is making me sceptical about these issues is the refusal to engage on the issues and to clarify what the differences really are. For example Macintyre ahs repeatedly said he was not trying to do an alternative reconstruction, just examine robustness, yet people repeatedly talk about his alternative (for rhetorical force?). Intelligent Design has been shown up as the fraud it is by good argument. Good argument and not name-calling is what we should have here.

  120. #120 Thadd
    November 3, 2007

    “Remember this is a poll about blogs, and some of the responses seemed to only be interested in addressing the blog posts; I wanted to make it clear that Steve McIntyre has done rather more than just blog. Perhaps everyone already knew that, and it was unnecessary; I thought it better to clarify.”
    Well if it is about blogs, why do we necessarily care what he has written outside of his blog? I still don’t see why these are important.
    As blasphemous as it is to say here, I voted for Bad Astronomy, but I did not really care much for Plait’s book (it was too slow in getting to the good stuff).

    I also don’t really see what your whipping out matlab has to do with anything either. What does your matlab work add to the discussion? Are you a climatologist or a statistician, or a hobbyist?
    Or the fact that you feel you have been discriminated against at some completely different site (I should also say I don’t think you should be at all surprised if you refuse to give your full name and then are not taken seriously).

  121. #121 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    We’re still waiting for PZ to explain why Climate Audit, a blog about statistics and scientific replication of key studies, can be said to be “right wing” or what this has to do with science. After 92 comments we’re still non the wiser as to what PZ is talking about.

    I’m still waiting for a logical answer as to why you even care?

    like i said, if Stevo feels slighted, one might think the man himself would drop by.

    or is it like you tried to accuse US here of, that you really are the one with the problem of self-identification with the issue of climate change?

    seriously, you guys are STILL funny.

  122. #122 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    …seriously, if you clowns REALLY thought you had a serious argument based on data, you’d let the fucking data speak for itself (statistics do that quite well), and not be so concerned about commenters on an entirely different blog, right?

    hmm, could it be that you have an entirely different agenda in mind?

    LOL

  123. #123 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    I coded up some tests of my own to try and get a better understanding of the problem.

    gee, Spence, for someone who apparently was so convinced by his own analysis (you in fact keep mentioning it over and over again), you seem oddly unwilling to post a link to that analysis so we can see for ourselves whether your assumptions and execution are valid.

    third time I asked, btw.

    *psst*
    (you guys are funny)

  124. #124 BKC
    November 3, 2007

    You guys are sad. And you call the other side denialists?!?

  125. #125 Ichthyic
    November 4, 2007

    You guys are sad. And you call the other side denialists?!?

    you mean as opposed to just plain deluded?

  126. #126 Spence
    November 4, 2007

    I know you guys are all struggling a bit with basic concepts here, I’m trying to spell it out in simple terms.

    Thadd, I’m a scientist, but outside the field of climatology (I specialise in remote sensing). When I am researching stuff, my first port of call is to the peer-reviewed literature: whilst good science can come from outside of this, the signal-to-noise ratio is usually so bad it is too time consuming and inefficient. I do not hold peer review as a gold standard; when I find something of interest I run cross-checks. Without this, I would not endorse a paper. I’m explaining to you the reason I endorse the work. Sheesh how difficult is this to really understand?

    Ichthyic, rather than using my code, which requires MATLAB and the stats toolbox, and requires a hand modification to the internal MATLAB PCA routine princomp.m (the MATLAB PCA routine does “proper” PCA, and must be modified to do “incorrect” PCA as per Mann; I can’t post that up without infringing The MathWorks copyright). So rather than bothering with that, as I did, why not just go straight from Steve McIntyre’s R code? It has the advantage of being the complete suite, plus R is free to download and use (MATLAB costs $$$), and no copyright issues. Here’s the code and proxy data from the 2003 article, knock yourself out:

    http://climate2003.com/SI.MM03.htm

    Note the 2003 article would be using a different normalisation method to the 2005 reply to huybers etc. This should be archived at GRL but the link is down at the moment. The html takes you through how the code operates.

  127. #127 Spence
    November 4, 2007

    Added note: sorted the link for the 2004 stuff, can be downloaded from:

    ftp://agu.org/apend/gl/2004GL021750/

    Let us know if you think it is “correct”. Incidentally, it produces identical output to the Wahl and Ammann scripts, so I think you’ll find it is spot on.

  128. #128 Mike Noble
    November 4, 2007

    Lab Lemming? #117?

    I dropped my lame moniker, if you had something substantive to say? (again, if you had something substantive to say? I think you could have tried a hell of a lot better) You might as well do it and quit wasting other’s time.

  129. #129 Thadd
    November 4, 2007

    Z”Thadd, I’m a scientist, but outside the field of climatology (I specialise in remote sensing). When I am researching stuff, my first port of call is to the peer-reviewed literature: whilst good science can come from outside of this, the signal-to-noise ratio is usually so bad it is too time consuming and inefficient. I do not hold peer review as a gold standard; when I find something of interest I run cross-checks. Without this, I would not endorse a paper. I’m explaining to you the reason I endorse the work. Sheesh how difficult is this to really understand?”

    A) why should we care about the endorsement of someone who is outside of the field, is unwilling to give real name and identification etc, and only has to offer an undocumented and unpublished matlab program. I mean, you come to this site talk about how you support this other site, but offer nothing substantial except your road to Damascus experience with Matlab, which really seems just as substantial as Paul’s. This is not an attack on you or anything, just a question of why we should care, when the obvious method of discussion would to actually publish your mathlab syntax and results and discussion statistics etc, instead of giving us a story that has not intrinsic value. As comparison, I frequently have found myself reading crap in my field where people use computers to make up data etc, and have great stories about it, but it means nothing.

    B) My point has been, and remains that peer reviewed is such a broad term that it contains just as much noise as non-peer reviewed. That term involves all sorts of publications that are completely worthless in this discussion, and even if one does get published in a respectful journal in his or her field, that says nothing about the validity of results. For instance, I saw one publication, in a peer reviewed top of the field journal, the other day, where the statistics included were completely incorrect.

  130. #130 hoary puccoon
    November 4, 2007

    John A said:

    “…it was the professional geologists who dismissed Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory not on the data but on the grounds that Wegener was an astronomer by training and not a geologist.”

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG. Geologists dismissed Wegener’s theory of continental drift because he claimed fairly soft granite was plowing through harder basalt. There was no known mechanism to make such a thing happen then, and there is no known mechanism now.

    Geologists accepted the theory of plate tectonics, developed by oceanographers– not regular geologists– because it didn’t contradict other findings, and it had impressive additional data (ocean floor spreading) to back it up. They then accepted Wegener’s collection of fossil data (yes, in spite of his being a climatologist) in support of the new theory.

    But, please note: PLATE TECTONICS AND CONTINENTAL DRIFT ARE TWO DIFFERENT THEORIES. Plate tectonics has been accepted because it explains the data and doesn’t contradict basic geology. CONTINENTAL DRIFT HAS NEVER BEEN ACCEPTED. It never will be. It wouldn’t have mattered if Wegener had been the chairman of the Harvard geology department. His theory was rejected because it didn’t make sense of well-established data.

    When you consider that Wegener died on an expedition to collect data in Antarctica, it seems churish, to say the least, to behave as if the geologists’ rejection of his theory was the worst thing that ever happened to him. I’m sure he would far rather have lived to a great age and seen his continental drift theory (although not his carefully-collected fossil data) completely demolished by plate tectonics.

  131. #131 Spence
    November 4, 2007

    Thadd,

    I’m not asking you to accept my endorsement. I’m suggesting – since you obviously care about the topic enough to post on this thread – that you investigate the issue in detail like I did. I assumed it would be wrong, I was surprised to find it was excellent work.

    Why check my code? My code is just double-checking the original code. Why not just go to the original code direct? It makes considerably more sense, is more efficient and easier. The link is above. That’s what I did.

    But no. Rather than investigate the claims with an open mind, you’d rather just go on (and on… and on…) about a claim that I never made about peer-reviewed literature. Given your failure to follow simple logic in a blog, I’m not sure you would be capable of understanding the issues at hand anyway.

    Why are all of you guys so scared of investigating Steve’s work in detail? I’ve put the code up, tell us what’s wrong with it. Or would the resulting cognitive dissonance be too painful to bear?

  132. #132 Thadd
    November 4, 2007

    “I’m not asking you to accept my endorsement. I’m suggesting – since you obviously care about the topic enough to post on this thread – that you investigate the issue in detail like I did. I assumed it would be wrong, I was surprised to find it was excellent work.

    Why check my code? My code is just double-checking the original code. Why not just go to the original code direct? It makes considerably more sense, is more efficient and easier. The link is above. That’s what I did.

    But no. Rather than investigate the claims with an open mind, you’d rather just go on (and on… and on…) about a claim that I never made about peer-reviewed literature. Given your failure to follow simple logic in a blog, I’m not sure you would be capable of understanding the issues at hand anyway.

    Why are all of you guys so scared of investigating Steve’s work in detail? I’ve put the code up, tell us what’s wrong with it. Or would the resulting cognitive dissonance be too painful to bear?”

    Geeze, for someone so concerned about ad hominem attacks before….

    And my issue isn’t necessarily the hole debate with this website you love so much, but the way you behave on this one. You come here, and I assume that you don’t normally read or post here based on some of your phrasing, and throwing out crap arguments.

    As for the peer review thing, thats a huge issue for me, because of my field and its broader abuse in general, and one you obviously care enough to keep responding to.
    Why check your code? because you seek to use it as an argument for why I should spend my time on something else. You give no personal background or even a name, and you state you have this matlab syntax (which really, we shouldn’t be calling code), that somehow illustrates your argument, but you do not in any form make it available or show us results.

  133. #133 Jason Crammer
    November 4, 2007

    “they’re a step-up from the usual mouth-breathers”

    “and terribly mis-categorizing his political leanings.”

    wow… so this is what passes for scientific discourse these days. I’m impressed. Glad to see that a person’s politics or method of breathing is of such primary importance. Keep up the good work, folks. Stamp out every mouth-breathing creationist, and you’ll no longer have all these mis-guided kiddies running around praying and believing they’re created in God’s image. That and 25 cents might get you a fscking cup of coffee. After you’re finished shooting fish in this barrel, there’s plenty of action over at the flat-earth society. What a bunch of worthless asshats.

  134. #134 Spence
    November 4, 2007

    Geeze, for someone so concerned about ad hominem attacks before….
    When pointing out rudeness fails to change another persons behaviour, I like to retaliate in kind. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.) That was for your prejudicial language “road to Damascus” comment 🙂

    And my issue isn’t necessarily the hole debate with this website you love so much, but the way you behave on this one
    My behaviour in this debate? What, like taking a statement of fact and turning it into a straw man inference that was never made?

    Oh no, that wasn’t me, was it. That was you. The intellectual equivalent of walking into a bar, knocking a drink over and shouting “Oi! You spilled my drink”. Well, I bow to your superior debating skills. (That was sarcasm, by the way.) Talking of which:

    As for the peer review thing, thats a huge issue for me, because of my field and its broader abuse in general
    Uh-huh. That’s why I like to check things for myself. I recommend you do the same. (That wasn’t sarcasm)

    one you obviously care enough to keep responding to
    I care when someone keeps claiming that I made an inference that I did not make. It is sad to see it come from someone who would claim to be a scientist.

    Why check your code? because you seek to use it as an argument for why I should spend my time on something else.
    No, once again, you read but you do not comprehend. I provided links to code above. This is the code I spent my time checking. It makes no logical, rational, reasonable sense to double check code which was written to double check the original code, when you can check the original code itself. The quality of Steve’s work was the tenor of my argument, not the quality of my work. But your continued reluctance to look at Steve’s code, despite being given ample opportunity, is noted.

    My usage of the word “code”, from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th edition:
    Code, noun, entry 3: (Computing), a piece of program text

    Seems perfectly correct usage to me. The word “syntax” refers to the grammar, i.e. the rules by which characters can be arranged within a program, not the program itself, and your usage is therefore quite inappropriate. I thought you should know. If English is not your first language, let me know; it could explain some of the misunderstandings we have already had.

    that somehow illustrates your argument, but you do not in any form make it available or show us results.
    No, the content of my code does not form my argument. The fact that I have checked in detail Steve’s work and found it to be high quality, and I therefore commend his work to others. You can choose to do with this as you wish: you can ignore it; you can take my advice and look into it in depth yourself (I’ve given you the links), or you can ramble on here endlessly, mischaracterising my points. The choice is yours.

  135. #135 Thadd
    November 4, 2007

    “When pointing out rudeness fails to change another persons behaviour, I like to retaliate in kind. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.) That was for your prejudicial language “road to Damascus” comment :)”
    How is that a prejudicial statement? it sums up your story of a journey to believe in this specific person.

    “I care when someone keeps claiming that I made an inference that I did not make. It is sad to see it come from someone who would claim to be a scientist.”
    I have since asked why you stated that if you did not mean to actually infer something, but I still have not gotten a reply as to why this was for somehow an important thing to point out.

    “My usage of the word “code”, from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th edition:
    Code, noun, entry 3: (Computing), a piece of program text

    Seems perfectly correct usage to me. The word “syntax” refers to the grammar, i.e. the rules by which characters can be arranged within a program, not the program itself, and your usage is therefore quite inappropriate. I thought you should know. If English is not your first language, let me know; it could explain some of the misunderstandings we have already had.”
    Um, the use in matlab is basically the arrangement within the program, it certainly is not the program itself.
    I am perfectly able to use English, and am quite aware of the distinction here, and have a sufficient knowledge of computers to understand the difference.

    Ok, anyway, I fail to see how you double checking the code is of any value to anyone here.

  136. #136 Hoi Polloi
    November 5, 2007

    Wow… such a hostility against Climate Audit and it’s owners on this thread. I wonder whether anyone has actually visited the CA site? Or do it’s esteemed members get their knowledge from Wiki or other climate blogs? Or is Pharyngula still in a stage in embryonic blog development? Most of the vitriol filled messages seems not to exceed the level of 13 year old nerds…

  137. #137 MartinM
    November 5, 2007

    Well, thanks for those scintillating insights. Your comment has really raised the bar for everyone here, I’m sure.

  138. #138 MrPete
    November 5, 2007

    Jared, you wrote:
    “I have developed a bias against scientists who write outside their field (e.g., mathematicians and engineers tackling biology).”

    If that were really true, you would long ago have recognized that Steve McIntyre, a statistician, is correctly sceptical of Mann and others’ work, as they are, by their own admission not statisticians yet are publishing statistical work using invalid methods.

    Even worse, they are making a horrible statistical mess out of biological (tree) data, with little or no recognition of the on-the-ground realities of these (BCP) proxies.

    As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m one of many CA readers who happen to agree with Steve M’s emphasis on Good Science. So much so, that I and my wife have now taken time to do what Steve suggested could and should have been done by the “professionals” long ago: update the BCP proxies.

    Doesn’t it strike anyone here as a bit disturbing that our “amateur” work is apparently far better basic science fieldwork than that of the professionals? We recorded comprehensive data. We’re not throwing away samples that don’t fit a preconceived conclusion. We look at the observations, in light of background understanding of the biology, to recognize what is most likely true about the situation. None of these basics are being done by the dendroclimatologists. I find that disturbing. So does Steve M. I’m surprised you give such shoddy practices a pass!

  139. #139 MrPete
    November 5, 2007

    (edit: to be accurate, we’ve updated some BCP proxies. We had three key goals: a) See if it really was as hard as “they” said; b) See if the results are as consistent as “they” said (it’s consistently claimed by “the team” that strip bark doesn’t matter, even though MANY have said it does); c) Extend some of the proxies to see if they really are valid or not.)

    If you’re interested in our adventures, google for Almagre and ClimateAudit, and perhaps visit the photo gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/Almagre.Bristlecones.2007

  140. #140 henry
    November 5, 2007

    Moses:

    “1. Science is a process and is self-correcting over-time through the process of peer-review. In this case, McIntyre found some minor errors in Mann’s paper and corrected them. He also found an error in some NASA data and that was corrected. These are, as far as I know, McIntyre’s total positive contribution to the process.”

    One of the ways that science is “self-correcting” is by scientists making their data and processes available for others to replicate and prove (or disprove).

    How can the “peer review” process work when data isn’t available?

  141. #141 Hoi Polloi
    November 5, 2007

    “Well, thanks for those scintillating insights. Your comment has really raised the bar for everyone here, I’m sure.”
    The bar has been “raised” by the esteemed members themselves. But then again if you’re accustomed to this “height” then I can assume that you’re surprised by realising it is not as high as you previously thought and that’s why you can easily jump it?

    “Science is a process and is self-correcting over-time through the process of peer-review.”
    In this particular case “peer-reviewed” has little meaning if it’s only reviewed by its own network.

  142. #142 henry
    November 5, 2007

    Posted by: Hoi Polloi

    “”Science is a process and is self-correcting over-time through the process of peer-review.”

    In this particular case “peer-reviewed” has little meaning if it’s only reviewed by its own network.”

    Also has less meaning if scientists don’t even want to pass on their data and processes to their own peers…

  143. #143 Tristram Shandy
    November 5, 2007

    A simple question: Lonnie Thompson ( you might recall his name from AIT if nothing else) makes claims about the Ice cores under his control. Scientific claims. Do you think he should Publish and archive the raw data so others can look at this data? It’s been 20 years since some of the data has been collected. he refuses to archive the data.
    He is not alone in climate science WRT this practice.

    If a skeptic of evolution published papers, say about the rate of gene mutation, and refused to publish the source data what would say?

    One can still believe in AGW and demand that climate scientists obey the protocals of science. No more hiding data, no more hiding methods. Publish your paper, publish your data, publish your method. At it’s core, this is the
    mantra of CA.

    Let’s make this generic: scientist X collects samples. He is funded by public money. He publishes the results, basically summary results, but refuses for 20 years to share the underlying data.

    Is this your idea of a good robust method? This is a yes or no question.

    Begining your answer with yes or no, would be an indicia of honesty intellengence and open mindedness.

    Have at it.

    YES or NO.

    should climate scientists share data or do they have some kind of proprietary private property claim on the data?

    Then. If someone refuses to share his data Am I rationally obligated to take his word for it and trust his authority?

    Is questioning this reluctance to share data acceptable? or is it on par with holocaust denial?

  144. #144 me
    November 5, 2007

    Pharyngula a science blog?

    How is pharyngula a science blog? I’ve looked through the archives (cursory); I don’t see much science here at all. Some articles about the Daily Show, teenage girls, politics, but I don’t see much science. Where is it?

    It reads more like a political blog to me. Hard for me to fathom.

  145. #145 Fred
    November 5, 2007

    “Yes, NASA made a small error. Yes, Mann made a small error. Neither of these errors makes a great difference in our current paradigm.”

    For sure, wiping out the entire record of the Medieval Warm Period can be classified as a “small error” only if you were an insignificant, unknown physicist, untrained in climate science but capable of “proving” Al Gore’s new religion of Global Warming Disaster.

    Don’t let the pieces of falling sky whack you on the head on the way back to common sense.

  146. #146 LHickey
    November 5, 2007

    Google Wegman Statistics and you will see a backer of Steve McIntire at climteaudit.org. Dr. Mann, the hockey stick man, is not only the AGW darling, and gets reviewed by his peers in the IPCC AGW clique, but gets away with
    1) Cherry Picking data. Substitute Polar Urals For Brisle Cone pine, and the hockey stick shape goes away.
    2) bad statistics (check Dr. Wegmans analysis).
    3) not sharing data so it can be examined by other researchers.
    If you want the truth, climateaudit.org is a good place to start. Not at the AWG booster realclimate.org which is light on science and big on “they say” and ridicule. Time to look at evidence, not merely marginalize your critics politically for being apostates in the climate science AGW religion.
    OK so read both the blogs, and decide who is searching for the truth.

  147. #147 Tim McDonald
    November 5, 2007

    As far as Steve McIntyres credentials, since it is the underlying data and mathmetics he is questioning, and since Waxman agreed with him, as a statistician myself I find their arguments compelling at Climate Audit. I do not claim to be a climatologist, I know enough history to be skeptical of any recreation which eliminates the MWP.

    There is no statistical support for the “hockey stick”. It was scare science pure and simple.

    Global warming is quite likely, but it has been occuring since the 1700s. AGW is a boogeyman.

  148. #148 Costard
    November 5, 2007

    Some information that may (or may not) prove helpful.

    From the Wegman report:

    In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis. However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant
    interactions with mainstream statisticians.

    From North’s testimony on the NAS report:

    Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period A.D. 900 to 1600.

    Author’s note: Mann’s graph was important not just because it showed warming since 1850, but because it showed a negligible MWP.

    From Steve at Climateaudit (and posted here for the benefit of Tim Lambert and others):

    There’s been quite a bit of publicity about Hansen’s Y2K error and the change in the U.S. leaderboard (by which 1934 is the new warmest U.S. year) in the right-wing blogosphere. In contrast, realclimate has dismissed it a triviality and the climate blogosphere is doing its best to ignore the matter entirely.

    My own view has been that matter is certainly not the triviality that Gavin Schmidt would have you believe, but neither is it any magic bullet. I think that the point is significant for reasons that have mostly eluded commentators on both sides.

    and this:

    GISS has emphasized recently that the U.S. constitutes only 2% of global land surface, arguing that the impact of the error is negligible on the global averagel. While this may be so for users of the GISS global average, U.S. HCN stations constitute about 50% of active (with values in 2004 or later) stations in the GISS network (as shown below).

    and this:

    According to any reasonable audit standards, one would conclude that the GISS software had failed this particular test. While GISS can (and has) patched the particular error that I reported to them, their patching hardly proves the merit of the GISS (and USHCN) adjustment procedures. These need to be carefully examined. This was a crying need prior to the identification of the Hansen error and would have been a crying need even without the Hansen error.

  149. #149 Dave Dardinger
    November 5, 2007

    re: # 147

    “…since Waxman agreed with him…”

    Somehow I don’t think Henry Waxman agrees with Steve McIntyre. Though if it helps people here to think better of Steve, perhaps it’s a useful typo.

  150. #150 Harbinger
    November 5, 2007

    One comment said this was an ad hominem site, it surely is, matched only by the zealots at RealClimate. Ooh, was that ad hominem as well? Why all the debate about whether the Little Ice Age existed? Or the Mediaeval Warm period. They are historical fact. Arctic Ice never retreated before? Check the historical record. Wikipedia for the truth? It depends who edited last.

  151. #151 Jason Bintil
    November 5, 2007

    I believe that, at least how we measure it, the temperature anomaly for the global mean has risen since the start of the industrial era in the mid to late 1700s. I agree that land-use change and the burning of fossil fuels has had an impact on the weather, and therefore, in time, the climate. I have read what McIntyre has said, that he mainly supports the conclusions of the IPCC, as do I. I’ve not seen anything in this debate that leads me to believe he doesn’t, for whomever it is he works (If anyone; he’s retired, no? Pension I’d imagine?).

    However, although I don’t deny the temperature is going up, and don’t discount that carbon dioxide plays a role, I question how meaningful the idea of a global average is in the first place, and also I think that focusing on GreenHouse Gasses (or more specifically a single one) is too simplistic. I see land-use is a lot (most?) of whatever effects we’re seeing and has much more of an effect than any single GHG. In addition, burning fossil fuels also puts particulates in the air that moderate whatever is going on with GHG, as well as depositing on ice and cause it to melt faster. Land-use and particulates are the main causes of the observed warming I believe.

    This to me is the key issue — I’d like somebody to show me how much of an effect CO2 has — not some model output, but a reasoning as to how anyone thinks that they can de-couple one single thing from a complex dynamic system. Follow the line of thinking here. We — A) Sample the air over the ground B) Sample the top layer of the water by satellite C) Combine, over the globe, the departure from the number it is from 1961-1990 D) See CO2 levels have gone up E) CO2=’the warming that’s been observed’. Rather a stretch.

    I’m not a statistician, so I can’t gauge the work of any of this, but it seems, whatever McIntyre is (scientist, statistician, bottle washer, cannibal) he’s qualified to look at what’s been done and comment on its worthiness, statistically, much like somebody good in, say, geology or computer programming would be qualified to investigate that particualr aspect of climate change. This is a multi-disciplinary science, and there’s tonnes of people in many career fields involved. Including administrators like Hansen and spokespeople like Schmidt.

    Now, I have seen what Steve has asked for, things like; “I want to take your software and see if it does what it says it does how it’s said to be done.” “Can you show me a formula showing that a doubling of CO2 leads to 2.5 degrees C?” “I only want to read mainstream papers.” “I’m not interested talking politics or reading arguments about thermodynamics.” “Why are the proxies you’re relying on not archived and haven’t been updated for over 20 years?” Are these unreasonable questions? Something a crank asks? I don’t parse it that way.

    I’ve read posts by Schmidt over at Real Climate where he spends days and days in the thread explaining why the code is not worth looking at, and suggesting that the work be recreated. Duh, hello, you could have provided the code 8,000 times with the same effort you’ve spent here explaining why it’s not worth checking, and then suggesting something (recreate it yourself) that has no bearing on the stated goal (I want to check your code to understand it better). That was Spence’s point I think — He checked the work in Matlab (a commercially available program by the way) and found it valid. As I said, I don’t know hardly anything about statistics, and I haven’t done any calculus (which I never was any good at) for years.

    Simple. If you don’t want your motives questioned don’t act like you’re hiding something Is that too simple a concept for anyone to understand? But there’s more, as soon as the code is finally released, you change your methods without telling anyone? Are some of you here that dense to not wonder why that was done? McIntyre is quite clear in his (often satirical) posts — He’s not out to bring down “Climate Science” he’s questioning if things are being done correctly because it’s interesting to him. Like me, I don’t think he cares what the answer is, he just wants to know what it is. What’s the beef with a retired Canadian mathematician checking the statistics and methods of people? Some of them could just stop acting like they’re hiding something and give it up, and not make such a big deal out of it.

  152. #152 Jason Bintil
    November 5, 2007

    Oh, and by the way, what do you call somebody that organizes, goes out, takes tree cores, and sends them to a lab for study in 2007?

    Not a scientist!

    Scientists don’t go out and sample proxies, it’s too hard and it costs too much.

  153. #153 Chris O'Neill
    November 6, 2007

    “Cherry Picking data. Substitute Polar Urals For Brisle Cone pine, and the hockey stick shape goes away.”

    And so does the MWP.

    Maybe people should actually have a look at the proxies before pontificating about them.

  154. #154 Chris O'Neill
    November 6, 2007

    John A:

    “The NAS Panel report .. strongly recommending against the use of stripbark trees such as the bristlecone pines used in nearly every study.”

    IIRC, the one statement the NAS report made on this subject was:

    “While “strip-bark” samples should be avoided for temperature reconstructions, ..”

    In the hands of Steve McIntyre, this statement becomes proof that such samples cannot be used for any reconstructions. When I challenged him on this and the source that the NAS statement was based on, he eventually abandoned using the NAS statement and suddenly changed the argument. Like the boy who cried wolf, his credibility disappeared before my eyes.

  155. #155 Mike Bickle
    November 6, 2007

    Chris, “‘strip-bark’ samples should be avoided for temperature reconstructions” is pretty clear. If those guys want to use the data for a temperature reconstruction, that’s fine. Using data that hasn’t been updated in over 20 years for historical purposes is probably fine, but is it okay if I wonder why it hasn’t been updated? Is it okay with you if I wonder why some data series are not publicly available and are not provided when requested? Is it all right if I wonder about the divergence issues?

    Do I have your permission to wonder why anyone would want to use something the NAS suggests should be avoided? That I find it curious so many others use the original work for their later studies?

    I don’t care if you have a problem with how Steve does business, or if he hyped up what NAS said. He is immaterial in this. What Steve says or does has no bearing on the issue. Did NAS suggest avoiding using them or not?

  156. #156 Steve McIntyre
    November 6, 2007

    I had criticized the over-reliance on bristlecones long before the NAS panel. I criticized this in our presentations to the NAS panel. The NAS panel included a statement agreeing that strip bark bristlecones should be “avoided” in reconstructions. I have cited this statement in a number of posts and continue to cite it. Chris O’Neill writes:

    “In the hands of Steve McIntyre, this statement becomes proof that such samples cannot be used for any reconstructions. When I challenged him on this and the source that the NAS statement was based on, he eventually abandoned using the NAS statement and suddenly changed the argument.”

    I have not “abandoned” using the NAS statement. I do not recollect the exchange in question as I do not recall Chris O’Neill presenting this argument at climateaudit.org, where I try to monitor comments. It is obviously impossible for me to monitor all internet discussion of our work. While I’ll occasionally comment on something that I noticed (as here), I really can’t clone myself to engage with all commenters in all forums. If Chris O’Neill wishes to pursue whatever point he has in mind at climateaudit.org, that would be a more appropriate forum to attract my attention.

  157. #157 Mike Bickle
    November 6, 2007

    For those of you interested in the real story on this (rather than having circular arguments with each other) try reading this:
    The Wegman and North Reports for Newbies
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

  158. #158 Thom
    November 6, 2007

    Steve McIntyre has had his skeptic bedfellows clean up his wiki site. But all the stuff you need to know is still over at Sourcewatch.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stephen_McIntyre

  159. #159 doug
    November 6, 2007

    Climate Audit posts a link to Realclimate.

    Realclimate does not link or usually even acknowledge the existance of climate audit. They snip dissenting comments

    Who is trying to have a one-sided discussion here?

  160. #160 Spence
    November 6, 2007

    Thadd

    How is that a prejudicial statement? it sums up your story of a journey to believe in this specific person.
    Because it is a religious association on a blog that goes to length to be critical of the lack of rationality of religion. Surprised I have to explain it to you. (The Road to Damascus is a flawed analogy anyway, because it constitutes a reversal of viewpoint, whereas I entered the debate with an open mind about possible outcomes)

    These are not the words of a neutral bystander in the context of this blog, neither are:

    with this website you love so much
    Clearly you have used this term pejoratively, as this would imply an emotional attachment to the site rather than a rational one (much as in the above example). I’m not sure how one goes about loving a website, since you used the term I guess you must have some thoughts on the matter. And no, I really don’t want you to explain it to me.

    I have since asked why you stated that if you did not mean to actually infer something, but I still have not gotten a reply
    I quite clearly explained the reason for the statement of fact in the first para of post #118.

    Um, the use in matlab is basically the arrangement within the program, it certainly is not the program itself.
    My original usage is correct as noted by the dictionary, as referenced in my post #134. You can sit there and disagree with the dictionary if you want, but the dictionary won’t change its mind.

    Ok, anyway, I fail to see how you double checking the code is of any value to anyone here.
    Suddenly you discover the common usage of the word code. Hmmm. I am not surprised you fail to see the value, based on the number of simple errors of reasoning you have made here. Those with slightly better reasoning skills will understand. Those would be the only people I’m really interested in reaching anyway.

    Note to self: I really should remember the adage about wrestling with pigs.

  161. #161 Chris O'Neill
    November 6, 2007

    Steve McIntyre:

    “I have not “abandoned” using the NAS statement. I do not recollect the exchange in question as I do not recall Chris O’Neill presenting this argument at climateaudit.org”

    Steve certainly abandoned using the NAS statement and switched to another argument in this thread.

    Although he continues to cite the NAS statement it is not proof that those proxies cannot be used for any reconstructions as the above linked thread shows.

  162. #162 Tim Lambert
    November 6, 2007

    doug, Climate Audit snips dissenting comments. McIntyre’s complaints about RealClimate seem a bit hypocritical.

  163. #163 Tim Lambert
    November 6, 2007

    Here’s the scoop on the Wegman report without McIntyre’s spin.

  164. #164 Chris O'Neill
    November 6, 2007

    “Did NAS suggest avoiding using them or not?”

    NAS’s statement is a restatement out of context from Biondi et al:

    “Such record is not a reliable temperature proxy for the last 150 years as it shows an increasing trend in about 1850 that has been attributed to atmospheric CO2 fertilization [Graybill and Idso, 1993]”

    NAS forgot to mention the 150 years part and its restatement out of context gets quoted over and over again.

  165. #165 Steve McIntyre
    November 7, 2007

    #161. Chris O’Neill alleged that the exchange at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=933 supported his allegation that I had “abandoned using the NAS statement and suddenly changed the argument.” I must say that, when I suggested above that O’Neill had not made this argument at cliamteaudit.org, it never occurred to me that this particular thread could give rise to such a view. I’ve posted the following response at climateaudit here http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=933#comment-156767 and suggest to O’Neill that he continue the discussion at climateaudit.

    My response:

    #100. Chris O’Neill has raised this thread over at Pharyngula. His final comment above said:

    So you don’t disagree that Biondi et al professed no concern for using strip-bark proxies for reconstructions before about 1850 (the NAS panel’s statement was based on Biondi et al’s concern about using them for reconstructions after about 1850) and instead are making your own argument for such concern. That’s OK but it means that your original argument has lost its basis and you’re moving on to a different argument.

    In 101, Willis responded (and I agree with his response):

    ) 1) Steve M.’s original argument is shown in point 2) of the head post, viz:

    2) the NAS panel agreed that strip-bark sites (which include all the relevant bristlecone, foxtail and even a couple of limber pine sites) should be avoided in temperature reconstructions for a variety of reasons.

    Steve is not “moving on”, he is merely explaining some of the “variety of reasons” that bristlecones don’t make good proxies.

    2) We have no instrumental data in the area older than 150 years. Biondi says not to use bristlecone proxies post-1850. Perhaps you can explain how we can use the earlier (pre-1850) portions of the bristlecone record as temperature proxies when we have no instrumental data pre-1850 to either calibrate or validate them against?

    You didn’t respond to this so it’s pretty unreasonable for you to argue over at Pharyngula that I had ceased to cite the NAS panel reasoning and had moved on to alternative reasons.

    Reviewing the post itself: obviously there has been much controversy over the impact of Mann’s erroneous principal components method. Mann’s associates have argued that the error doesn’t “matter” because they can still “get” a hockey stick a different way. In his Reply to Questions, Wegman provides a convincing and devastating rejection of this tactic, observing that statisticians cannot ex post modify their methodology to “get” a preferred answer as follows:

    A cardinal rule of statistical inference is that the method of analysis must be decided before looking at the data. The rules and strategy of analysis cannot be changed in order to obtain the desired result. Such a strategy carries no statistical integrity and cannot be used as a basis for drawing sound inferential conclusions.

    In the post in question, I observed that the NAS panel report provided an alternative argument for establishing the meaninglessness of the Mann reconstruction without principal components being invoked, as follows:

    1) Wahl and Ammann and ourselves agree that an MBH98-type reconstruction without bristlecones is non-meaningful.

    2) the NAS panel agreed that strip-bark sites (which include all the relevant bristlecone, foxtail and even a couple of limber pine sites) should be avoided in temperature reconstructions for a variety of reasons.

    Q.e.d.

    This is obviously not the only defect in MBH, but was a short and sweet argument after the NAS panel. In your comment above, you seek to rebut this argument on the basis that:

    you don’t disagree that Biondi et al professed no concern for using strip-bark proxies for reconstructions before about 1850 (the NAS panel’s statement was based on Biondi et al’s concern about using them for reconstructions after about 1850

    While Biondi et al do not profess concern about strip bark proxies prior to 1850, there is no support in the NAS Panel report for your your assertion that “the NAS panel’s statement was based on Biondi et al’s concern about using them for reconstructions after about 1850″. In the section (STR Preprint, 56) in which the NAS Panel says that strip bark trees should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions, Biondi et al 1999 is not cited (but a number of other publications are cited, including Graybill and Idso 1993, Vitousek et al. 1997, Knapp et al 2001, Tang et al 1999 – some of which we drew to their attention in our presentation. While Biondi et al 1999 may have contributed to their conclusion, there is no evidence that their statement was “based” on Biondi et al 1999 as you allege and there is evidence to the contrary.

    You go on to allege:

    instead are making your own argument for such concern. That’s OK but it means that your original argument has lost its basis and you’re moving on to a different argument

    In comments to the post, I agree that I observed that, in addition to issues raised by the NAS Panel, the results from Miller et al 2006 (which was cited favorably by the NAS Panel) were inconsistent with interpreting [Graybill’s] bristlecone ring widths as MWP temperature proxies. This was simply additional support for the NAS panel position that strip bark trees should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions – a position that seemed sensible to me at the time and still seems sensible.

  166. #166 James Lane
    November 7, 2007

    #163 Tim, the name “Wegman” doesn’t appear in the thread that you link.

    #164 Chris, Biondi et al is not referenced by the NAS panel in the context of their finding that strip-bark samples should be avoided. Stop making stuff up.

  167. #167 Jean S
    November 7, 2007

    #164: “NAS forgot to mention the 150 years part and its restatement out of context gets quoted over and over again.”

    Why is this so hard to you to understand; this has been explained to you several times (including in the link you kindly provided in #161)? If a proxy is unusable for the last 150 years, it is close to impossible to use it in a temperature reconstruction, since you can not calibrate it as we do not have instrumental temperature series beyond 150 years.

  168. #168 Tim Lambert
    November 7, 2007

    Sorry James, let’s try the Wegman link again.

  169. #169 Chris O'Neill
    November 7, 2007

    “2) the NAS panel agreed that strip-bark sites (which include all the relevant bristlecone, foxtail and even a couple of limber pine sites) should be avoided in temperature reconstructions for a variety of reasons.”

    I didn’t respond to this because as far as I as could tell from the NAS panel report the “variety of reasons” phase was not true. This statement was going beyond the reality of what the report said. Exaggeration doesn’t do much for credibility.

    “2) We have no instrumental data in the area older than 150 years. Biondi says not to use bristlecone proxies post-1850. Perhaps you can explain how we can use the earlier (pre-1850) portions of the bristlecone record as temperature proxies when we have no instrumental data pre-1850 to either calibrate or validate them against?”

    This is an entirely separate issue and I would expect if it really was the problem then someone would have brought it up long ago. I’m not really interested in discussing it because it is an entirely separate issue but I’ll just say that the choice of calibration method is up to the reconstructor but he could, for exampe, calibrate from reconstructions made using other proxies (which I have done myself) or correct a proxy using other proxies.

    However the issue here is the quality of Steve McIntyre’s arguments and his consequent credibility. Exaggeration and using it to reach a conclusion and changing the point are poor quality arguments that do nothing for credibility.

  170. #170 cbone
    November 7, 2007

    #162 ” Climate Audit snips dissenting comments.”

    Tim,

    There is a difference between snipping dissenting comments and removing those of a troll like yourself. You were warned on numerous occasions to keep within the posting guidelines, and you chose to ignore them. Don’t blame Steve for your inability to play within the very loose restrictions at CA.

  171. #171 Dan
    November 8, 2007

    I am a CA regular lurker who came here to see what Pharyngula posters had to say about CA. I’ve just finished reading this 170 post thread, and have to say I’m amazed at the hubris and prejudice displayed by the (assumed) Ph. regulars. I understand this is a contentious thing to say, but given the lack of climate science knowledge of most at this site, it is hard to say otherwise.

    To give benefit of the doubt, I think what may be happening is that Ph. regulars are so accustomed to jousting with non-science based “nutjobs” that they have made a lot of bad assumptions. Someone here actually said something like, “I don’t know anything about CA or Steve McIntyre, but…” and then went on to trash him.

    I think the other problem is that, yes, there really is some bad science underpinning AGW theory, and it is hard for people who haven’t followed the subject to believe that. Making an informed opinion on whether CA is a good or bad site cannot be done by “perusing” a few of Steve’s posts there. You have to pay attention and read the pro and con arguments every day. After awhile, it becomes obvious that many, many issues are simply glossed-over by the IPCC and taken as fact by the general public.

    I hope that one or two will find some interest in the subject and will take up the challenge of following the climate debate with as little prejudice as possible.

    Thanks for reading,
    Dan

  172. #172 harold
    November 8, 2007

    #169

    Chris,
    you have not posted your reply on Climateaudit yet.
    Hope to read it there soon.

  173. #173 Chris O'Neill
    November 10, 2007

    Chris,
    you have not posted your reply on Climateaudit yet.
    Hope to read it there soon.

    I’m not greatly interested in posting to an advocacy blog. Steve McIntyre’s ill-founded advocacy can be seen simply by looking at his statements and the NAS panel report statements that they are supposedly based on.

    Steve McIntyre:

    Our point of difference is that we assert that an MBH98-style reconstruction with bristlecones is also non-meaningful.

    which clearly refers to periods such as the early 15th century when bristlecones are needed. His proof of that assertion relied on the following statement:

    the NAS panel agreed that strip-bark sites (which include all the relevant bristlecone, foxtail and even a couple of limber pine sites) should be avoided in temperature reconstructions for a variety of reasons.

    i.e. he’s implying reconstructions covering the early 15th century.

    NAS panel report:

    The possibility that increasing tree ring widths in modern times might be driven by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, rather than increasing temperatures, was first proposed by LaMarche et al. (1984) for bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva) in the White Mountains of California. In old age these trees can assume a “strip-bark” form, characterized by a band of trunk that remains alive and continues to grow after the rest of the stem has died. Such trees are sensitive to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Graybill and Idso 1993), possibly because of…

    and

    While “strip-bark” samples should be avoided for temperature reconstructions, attention should also be paid to the confounding effects of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition (Vitousek et al. 1997),

    The NAS panel report uses the phrase “should be avoided for temperature reconstructions” but the only reason they state for this for “strip-bark” samples in particular is “the possibility that increasing tree ring widths in modern times might be driven by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations”. Obviously this only applies to recent history (since about 1850) when CO2 concentrations have increased. However, McIntyre applies advocacy sleight-of-hand in implying that it applies to bristlecones before 1850.

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