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.


  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 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.

  4. #4 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.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

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


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

  6. #6 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.

  7. #7 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.

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007

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



  9. #9 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.

  10. #10 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.

  11. #11 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.


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

  12. #12 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2007


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


    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?

  13. #13 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.


    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…

  14. #14 Spence
    November 2, 2007


    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.

  15. #15 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.

  16. #16 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.

  17. #17 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.


  18. #18 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.


    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.

  19. #19 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.

  20. #20 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.

  21. #21 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    bye bye.


    come again soon.

  22. #22 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.

  23. #23 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2007

    It’s like your following a script


    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:

    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.

    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.

  24. #24 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.

  25. #25 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:


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

  26. #26 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.

  27. #27 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.

  28. #28 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.

  29. #29 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?


  30. #30 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.

    (you guys are funny)

  31. #31 Ichthyic
    November 4, 2007

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

    you mean as opposed to just plain deluded?

  32. #32 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:

    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.

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