An interesting little saga. WUWT had a post up as An interesting issue with ice core data. That’s a link to the webcitation, beacuse as of now the post has been removed from WUWT, on the grounds that it was utter drivel. Which is correct – it was. Pretty well the whole thing was error, but for outstanding stupidity it doesn’t get much better than:

Prior to the Little Ice Age, most of the areas where today’s core samples are taken, were not covered with ice. The ice that scientists have stated is hundreds of thousands of years old can be no more than a maximum of 650 years in age…

[Even the commas are wrong.] Any number of commenters point out this is trash, in words such as:

The ice domes of Greenland are only 650 years old!? I can’t believe you published something this silly, Anthony

To which the only response is “why are you surprised?” My best guess is that AW was trying to “do a Curry” – put up something that was basically denialist junk, but just call it “an interesting issue” and so duck any flak. Unfortunately AW is stupider than Curry and is incapable of evaluating the validity or plausibility of text (and writing the word “text” there makes me wonder if this wasn’t a Sokal-type hoax: people deliberately sending AW drivel in the hope he’ll post it. Might be a fun game).

ps: I think the source of the drivel might be holodiscustechnical.com/.

[Update: poking around in the entrails of WUWT is a cheap way of generating posts, but I'll try to avoid doing it too often. R sends me a more complete version of the post, just before it was declared too embarassing to be allowed to live. AW had added:

I don’t disagree with Richard Telford, Mike Ossander, Don Easterbrook and others who have pointed out issues with this essay. There is value though in calling out such issues. Most importantly, the participants and readers in the discussion get to see why the claim made is wrong.

Science gives us the freedom to be wrong, because otherwise, we’d never learn anything. Clearly this article is wrong in many assertions.

For my part, last night I only got to read and check the first part of the submission about plasiticty, and then I got distracted at home with family issues. The post had been set to autopublish overnight, and I didn’t get back to it, and simply forgot it was in the que. I apologize to readers for this oversight.

This lapse is probably a sign that I need a true vacation away from the duties of running WUWT, which has been ongoing almost daily since November 2006.

Would anyone want to volunteer to be editors to make that possible?

He's wrong to say there is value in calling out these issues; that's merely his excuse for unthink (which he eventually realises; if it was actually true, he wouldn't have subsequently removed the post). Science, or science communication, doesn't advance by writing up drivel. If you're purporting to communicate with the public, you need to at least have a clue. Signal to noise is hard enough already. But the suggestion that he might throw in the towel is interesting. VV suggests WUWT readership is declining.]

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    2013/06/04

    While it was up, I took the trouble to provide a brief Amazon review of Hunt’s hilarious self-published book

  2. #2 Philip J Clarke
    UK
    2013/06/05

    And yet the proposal that the increase in CO2 is bee and bug-farts survives …

    “It is extraordinarily difficult to imagine that these natural sources are not at play during this current period of warming. They most likely are the primary cause of the currently observed CO2 spike. And yes, we humans, as co-inhabitants of this Earth, are emitting CO2. But so are microbes and insects emitting. And each of them is emitting with ~10 times our current anthropogenic emission. In both cases (microbes and insects) there is every reason to believe that their populations are geometrically exploding in this current highly favorable environment to their existence.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/04/an-engineers-take-on-major-climate-change/

    As whoever is responsible for keeping the crazy off the site is clearly asleep, a parody submission is surely in order, Poe’s law notwithstanding.

  3. #3 John Mashey
    2013/06/05

    WebCite is crowdsourcing for funding.
    Help them, as the easy ability to capture priceless gems like this will need replacement.

    But in some sense, I’m sad it wasn’t another Sojal, which might have been more fun.

  4. #4 Bob Loblaw
    2013/06/05

    William Hunt seems to have an account at GoComics:
    http://www.webcitation.org/6H8sK7Sz8

    Amusingly, he’s just made this enlightening comment:
    “That made me cringe. I’ve known 5 women who went into porn.”

  5. #5 bratisla
    2013/06/05

    ” people deliberately sending AW drivel in the hope he’ll post it. Might be a fun game”

    I must admit I was tempted to do that, regularly, to see if I can gain the trust of the site and finally finish in a flamboyant style by admitting at the end of one article I was a Poe.

    Fortunately, I have better ways to spend my energy.

  6. #6 Thomas P
    2013/06/05

    If there is a value in calling out such issues, why did Watts remove the article?

  7. #7 Martin Vermeer
    2013/06/05

    There’s at most two wrong commas. Exaggerating as usual

  8. #8 Dikran Marsupial
    2013/06/05

    It wasn’t *that* much worse than the numerous threads that WUWT has run on the rise in atmospheric CO2 being natural – none of those survive the most basic sanity check either.

  9. #9 Victor Venema
    Bonn
    2013/06/05

    Does someone have the programming skills to automatically make a copy of the first version of every WUWT post?

    Watching the deniers II.

  10. #10 American Idiot
    2013/06/05

    Perhaps Anthony realizes that more and more people are seeing that the emperor has no clothes. Even one of his true (non)believers recently commented that “this seems to be a day with a lot of suspect posts” and has noted the poor quality of many arguments on WUWT.

    By turning over the wheel to someone else Anthony leaves behind the drudgery of day-to-day blog work, yet still can bask in the glory of being the blog’s founder and ultimate boss. He also gets plausible deniability in case any posts are even dumber than usual.

  11. #11 John Mashey
    2013/06/05

    WUWT might be called a “DK Corrall” , with OK replaced by Dunning-Kruger. I.e., serious DK afflictees gather together to convince themselves they know more than anyone who actually does any real research.

    The result is akin to the famous “Everyone in this room is now dumber “” comment in Billy Madison, 32-sec video.

  12. #12 Ryan
    2013/06/05

    The bug respiration post is every bit as stupid as that one was.

  13. #13 Bernard J.
    2013/06/06

    I second John Mashey’s call for Webcite donations. I live a frugal life, but I was more than happy to put a few dollars into their kitty.

    Oh, and it was Sokal… :-)

  14. #14 Harry
    2013/06/06

    If it was actually true, he wouldn’t have subsequently removed the post.

    worth repeating.

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    2013/06/06

    ‘third’ John Mashey’s and Bernard J.’s call for Webcite donations –> http://www.webcitation.org/

    If you don’t know about it already — check it out.
    “A WebCite®-enhanced reference … contains – in addition to the original live URL (which can and probably will disappear in the future, or its content may change) – a link to an archived copy of the material, exactly as the citing author saw it when he accessed the cited material.”

  16. #16 Doug
    ca
    2013/06/07

    What current heating? It hasn’t been global (only NH) and it has taken more than a decade break.. Climatism at it’s best

  17. #17 Rich
    Colorado
    2013/06/18

    If one wants a job that pays well, it seems WUWT and other Fossil Fuel Inc subsidiaries will gladly accept and espouse any anti-global warming creations – however imaginative.

  18. #18 Marco
    2013/06/19

    Seems there is another own goal on its way at WUWT: they’re strongly criticizing a graph, claiming all kinds of misrepresentation and poor analysis, thinking it comes from the IPCC, while in reality it is from Monckton, Christy, Spencer.

    Oops!

    More here:
    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/06/anthony-watts-attacks-christy-spencer.html

  19. #19 Louise
    2013/06/20

    This is crackin’

    “sorry willis, you are not calculating the trend of OHC.

    you are calculation the trend of the change in OHC, because you are assuming the forcing is proportional to the change in OHC.

    your entire post is wrong. what you have proven is that the warming of the ocean is most likely accelerating”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/19/forcing-the-ocean-to-confess/#comment-1341868

  20. #20 David Borth
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    2013/07/01

    Tony fully disclosed and admitted a mistake. Full stop. No story here as much as you and your commenters want one.

    [But there is a story. Because although the apologists will do the best to push the "so what? Everyone makes mistakes" line, the kind of mistakes you make matters. Putting up a post saying 2+2=5 is just dumb, and shows you're incapable of doing even basic maths, even if you retract it 5 minutes later. The errors in this post that AW (I'm not on first name terms, unlike you) approved are basic and show a thorough lack of knowledge; and there's no hiding that.

    Also, I'm rather curious about your "fully disclosed and admitted" claim. That looks to me to be false. If I go to the original link - http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/03/an-interesting-issue-with-ice-core-data/ - I get a not-found. Not a "there was a bad post since removed". So I think you're wrong - AW is hiding his errors, not admitting them -W]

  21. #21 Gerald Wilhite
    Austin, Texas
    2013/07/01

    Obama wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to reduce Earth’s temperature a projected 0.02 C (two hundredths of a degree) by the year 2100.

    The promise of a better life will vanish for the half of the world’s population that lives on less than $2 per day, but their grandchildren might benefit 90 years from now. The prize is an immeasurable decrease in temperature — maybe. This is a program built upon blind scientific ignorance by uncaring, spoiled brat elitists.

    50% of the planet lives in fuel poverty on $2 per day. Babies and the elderly starve while mother’s strip the land naked searching for fuel for their impoverished families.

    Who is blinding Obama to reality? In the EU, Australia, and China political leaders are turning their backs on failed carbon tax programs. The billions they invested in solar and wind projects have done more harm than good, except for the bottom line profits of giant corporations and Obama contributors like GE.

    Meanwhile, through sheer ignorance of sound science and technology, Obama is proudly making sure that the USA will continue to lead the way to world population reduction.

    Our ‘Fuel from Food” ethanol program has already proven our willingness to starve millions just to keep our SUV gas tanks full. Hang on, Brothers and sisters! You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    [Apologies for the long delay in approving your comment - I've been on holiday. I disagree with most of what you say, though. The EU has a (failed) carbon trading scheme, not a carbon tax. Those things that can be called carbon taxes - fuel duties, say - remain. Fuel-from-food is a boondoggle for farmers, most of whom I suspect are republicans; its not supported by most on the "green" side of things; certainly not by me -W]