Very like a fruitcake

Alternatively, “Despair of the Dork Side part 2″. But I’d thought I’d stick with the Hamlet theme.

So, no sooner does AW write not one but two barking mad posts about CO2 (see DotDS) than the what-I-had-thought-comparatively-sane Jo Nova complete the trilogy with It’s an Unsettling Climate for skeptical scientists like Murry Salby. Its all totally hatstand, as you’d expect. Salby is a brave noble scientist whose ideas are being suppressed – suppressed I tell you – by the black helicopters. But the truth is that Salby’s mad ideas on CO2 are drivel; I took them apart and plenty of other people have too; its not difficult, after all. But every now and again its good to be reminded just how disconnected from reality the “skeptics” are.

But I did learn two quasi-interesting things from that:

1. Salby… submitted a paper on his initial findings to the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. … Salby received a letter rejecting his revised paper on the basis of a second reviewer’s claim—contradicted by the first reviewer—that his paper offered nothing new and that all of it had already been covered in the IPCC’s reports. So the claim is that Salby has a paper. Unfortunately, there’s no dates for any of that, or even a title for the paper, and while we’re lead to believe that its about his CO2 work, even that isn’t said: all we’re told is it’s “his initial findings”. You might have thought that he’d release a pre-print onto the wub, if its so great; and indeed if the black helicopters are suppressing his work in the journals he might as well. Or then again, perhaps it just doesn’t exist.

2. The second, utterly contradictory claim, is that Salby has already published his CO2 work in a text book. Yes, really. And this brilliant theory is contained in comments within the very same thread. This is where you see the epicycle-like mind of the “skeptics” at work: they all have totally contradictory theories, but they never challenge each other. Kenneth Richard [August 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm] propounds the its-all-been-published-before theory. But can’t then explain why Jo Nova is complaining about Salby being censored. Or indeed, how Salby can possibly be trying to publish, in a paper, material that KR thinks is already published. As it happens, he also can’t point to where in the said book Salby claims that the CO2 rise isn’t human caused. If you follow the links you’ll find that the text book does indeed contain some pretty dodgy stuff (see comments around August 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm for example).

And now for something completely different… science

RC on the hole in Siberia is the latest in the methane saga.

Not-science-but-economics-or-maybe-really-politics: Monbiot On Saving Nature with Price Mechanisms. I was wondering about writing a whole post on it, but can’t raise the enthusiasm, so you’ll have to make do with my long comment over there.


* A challenge? from ATTP.
* John Mashey’s comment there supplies some more detail


  1. #1 ligne

    the two webcitation links in quasi-interesting thing 2 appear to be borken.

    [Sorry about that, I didn't check them. I think its a flaw in webcite's software. I've replaced them with the datestamp, which you can search for in the cite -W]

  2. #2 John Mashey

    Yes, at least some of it is in his 2012 textbook, one that may not do any good for the reputation of Cambridge U Press.
    See my review at Amazon. That’s extracted from a much more detailed one I have not yet published.

    However, I am delighted to see Jo Nova attempting tyo raise Salby, yet again. It is a superb example of Pseudoskepticism with display of exceptionally strong Morton’s Demons.

    Usefully, it does help calibrate a few more folks into the science-based-skeptic vs pseudoskeptic-dismissive buckets.

  3. […] Source: Very like a fruitcake [Stoat] […]

  4. #4 John Mashey

    See this note at ATTP.

    Although he’s writing for the US’s Manhattan Institute, Rupert Darwall is one of yours, I think. A new one for me.

  5. #5 ligne

    “[Sorry about that, I didn't check them. I think its a flaw in webcite's software. I've replaced them with the datestamp, which you can search for in the cite -W]”

    hey, no problem. i now rather wish you hadn’t fixed them… that’s some conspiratorial cesspool she’s built for herself there.

    that said, i did rather enjoy Kenneth Richard’s “how can Salby’s claim be unreferenced? this is a Well Referenced Textbook!” counter-argument.

  6. #6 Fergus Brown

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is an inherent contradiction, since there are contradictory narratives in play: first, the need to dredge up anything that vaguely resembles ‘legitimate’ scientific skepticism demands that all possible credible sources are credited and lionised; second, the need to push the ‘noble martyr’ meme requires that the champions of the cause be ignored or persecuted.
    From John’s extensive review, it looks like Salby is now bringing the ‘Dunning-Kruger’ argument into play. Personally, I’d be interested to know what Roger Sr., who edited the first textbook, now thinks of Salby; I might ask him…

  7. #7 John Mashey

    1) As I noted in Amazon review, Salby’s first book was well-regarded, and second is mostly an update,unsurprisingly. (Basics of atmospheric physics don’t get overthrown.) The problem is the 20 pages or so of nonsense,

    2) I’m not sure *Salby* is doing anything. Nova didn’t mention any communication from him, and I can’t tell if Darwall was in contact with Salby. So far, I’ve seen no public trace of Salby since his November 2013 UK trip. I f anyone knows of any, I’d love to hear it. Needless to say, Nova’s post was not exactly comprehensive in its coverage, and Morton’s Demons were powerful in that thread.

    3) Here was my comment at ATTP:
    I can’t access the article either, (and I understand why, see 2) but if you are fencing with Rupert Darwall, you might ask him:

    1) Did he notice any of these and address the issues raised before defending Salby?
    Murry Salby: Galileo? Bozo? Or P.T.Barnum? (specifically, the documents linked there)

    Top Physicist Withdraws Support For Climate Sceptic Professor Sacked By Australian University (and if so, did he contact the distinguished scientist Marie-Lise Chanin, a long-time associate of Salby’s?)

    My detailed review of Salby’s book at Amazon.

    I’d be happy to hear that his article actually addressed any of this, BUT IF NOT:
    IF he didn’t notice any of these, his journalism is totally incompetent:
    Google: “Murry Salby” picks up some of these on first page, others later, and issues are discussed in Wikipedia

    IF he did know about this, and simply ignored the Salby’s fraudulent behavior, then that’s evidence for another conclusion about Darwall as journalist.

    2) City Journal thisdescribes itself, and one might think it to be an independent intellectual journal, … but …. it is published by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, i.e., it is a house journal, akin to Heartland’s publications, although less obvious about its identity.

    Fred Singer’s coauthor, Dennis Avery works for Manhattan, whose funding and connections can be found in PDF attached at Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony (Hint: lots of $ from Richard Mellon Scaife, Kochs, JM Olin.) You can find it in this graph attached to Study Details Dark Money Flowing to Climate Science Denial. You can find it in Familiar Think Tanks Fight For E-cigarettes, i.e., it is a think tank with a long history of getting paid by Big Tobacco, which stays in business only by addicting adolescents to something that will kill many. People may want to factor that into any assessment of Manhattan Institute’s house magazine and Darwall’s willingness to publish there.

  8. #8 Eli Rabett

    FWIW the Manhattan Institute has some reasonable people like John McWhorter amidst the fruitcake

  9. #9 freddy

    [Eli -W], what’s the matter with you?

    [Be polite of be gone -W]

  10. #10 John Mashey

    Eli: but it’s a big fruitcake.
    For fun, you might try perusing the archives of City Journal.
    Try searching for cigarettes, as in Smoke in the water or On smoking a cigar.

  11. #11 Dan Riley

    you have a very generous notion of “comparatively sane”

  12. […] Very like a fruitcake […]

  13. #13 Hank Roberts

    The perils of just reading the abstract (and of not understanding it)
    —-excerpt follows—-

    Anthony Watts got confused by the abstract, believing that it shows the opposite of what it really shows, and calls the paper “inconvenient” – code for opposing the consensus.

    A new paper published in Climate of the Past compares temperature reconstructions of the last interglacial period [131,000-114,000 years ago] to climate model simulations and finds climate models significantly underestimated global temperatures of the last interglacial by ~0.67C on an annual basis and by ~1.1C during the warmest month.

    The ~0.67C is correct – it is the proxy-model difference. The 1.1C is not the underestimation the warmest month, it is the bias caused by chronologically uncertain and seasonally biased proxies. He thinks the paper is showing the models are performing badly whereas it is actually showing them perform fairly well.

  14. #14 NikFromNYC

    You really have become a mere orbiter blog. No new reader coming here would know who AW even referred to.

    [You want the glossary -W]

    Salby is just another standard issue maverick, but he’s no crackpot, and he’s not even an activist. He seems to be making a very odd claim, granted, but Watts’ take on it is just standard issue balanced. You on the other hand, are grasping for straws.