Stranger Fruit

Schulte responds to Oreskes

Following on from Oreskes’ reply to Schulte, the endocrinologist replies with an open letter over at SPPI, a contrarian mouthpiece. Schulte notes:

I drafted the paper because I had become concerned that patients were being perhaps unduly alarmed by media reports of catastrophic climate change and were coming to harm through resultant stress. Peer-reviewed studies of patients’ views on the subject of climate change had reinforced my concern… I am an endocrine surgeon with numerous published papers in the medical journals. My sole concern in this debate is the welfare of patients.

Ummmm. Let’s move on. While Schulte makes much about Oreskes responding to his paper (which he sees as being “forthcoming but not yet finalized”), he doesn’t reprimand those contrarians who used hsi paper. I wonder why?

I’ll skip to the end because it becomes clear that poor old Schulte can’t handle the rough and tumble of academic debate.

[Oreskes] has been less than courteous, and less than professional, in having failed to verify the facts with me before thrice having used the word “misrepresentation” in connection with a draft of a paper by me which he or she cannot have read at the time. Worse, the author of the statement has used the word “foolish” about me when he or she had not done me the usual professional courtesy either of contacting me or even of reading what I had written before making haste to comment upon it. I should not expect any properly-qualified and impartially-motivated scientist to behave thus.

If the statement was indeed authored by Oreskes, I expect her to apologize for her professional discourtesy to me, and I invite the Chancellor of her university to enquire into the matter and then, if she be the statement’s author, to ensure that she apologizes promptly and unreservedly.

Well, if you are going to be foolish, you’re going to be called on it. And you don’t need to give someone permission before they call you so. To imagine that you do is, eh, foolish.

[HT to John Mashey for the tip]

Comments

  1. #1 Fergus Brown
    September 7, 2007

    John: as we both appear to be in John Mashey’s virtuous circle, my comments here: http://fergusbrown.wordpress.com/
    Note; I have actually read Schulte.
    Regards,

  2. #2 John Mashey
    September 7, 2007

    In his Open Letter, he complains that “an early draft was circulated without my authority.”

    really? Lord Monckton published a lot of the information on July 19 on the SPPI website.

    If it was unauthorized, Schulte had 6 weeks to ask that it be taken down, and should have been unhappy at Lord Monckton and SPPI., as that was clearly the source of the “unauthorized” info.

    But, on Sept 5, Schulte published his “Open Letter” (sent to Oreskes/Fox on the 3rd, a lot of time to respond), under an SPPI Logo (as part of its Reprint Series) on the SPPI site….
    and the next day, Bob Ferguson sent out a press release about it on BusinessWire (of all things).
    Is that clear enough? :-)

  3. #3 Chris
    September 8, 2007

    Your ad-hom attack on Schulte does not do you credit. In the part of his letter to Oreskes which you carefully omitted, he demonstrates conclusively that Oreskes had not even read his draft paper before using it as the basis for three accusations of “misrepresentation”. In academic circles, a charge of misrepresentation is a serious one, and it must only be made when there is evidence for it. As Schulte’s letter (see http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org) demonstrates, there was no basis for Oreskes’ allegations. The usual rule, if one academic publishes false accusations of misrepresentation against another, is that an apology must be promptly made. Oreskes cannot get away with ducking this – on the facts as given in Schulte’s letter, she will have to apologize.

    It is also revealing, as Schulte points out in his letter, that Oreskes wrote her original essay on the basis of an undeclared and only now-stated preconception that the science of climate was already settled. This now-admitted bias does raise questions about the unanimity she said she had identified in the literature: and, indeed, the part of Schulte’s letter which you so carefully omitted quotes several papers reviewed by her that were clearly contrary to the consensus and yet were counted by her as consensual.

    Frankly, it is time to accept – as the academic world itself largely accepts – that Oreskes’ essay was a political statement more than a piece of scientific research – and a statement whose bias has now been brought out into the open. Oreskes’ essay, which was not peer-reviewed, has been cited in only 17 scientific papers in the three years since it was published. Let’s move on from such largely-futile “head-count” studies and start talking about the science. And, if we’re talking about the science, using adjectives like “foolish” merely because someone comes up with a result you don’t like is exactly the kind of argument that reflects so little credit on you. If you can’t argue the science, don’t resort to ad-hom insults: be silent.

  4. #4 John Lynch
    September 8, 2007

    @ Chris

    You clearly don’t know what “ad hom” means, don’t you?

    Let’s move on from such largely-futile “head-count” studies and start talking about the science.

    At which point the contrarians clearly lose. Nice try.

  5. #5 John Lynch
    September 8, 2007

    Oh, and it’s probably worth quoting Peter Irons (source):

    More to the point, and a case Mr. Little should have discovered by due diligence, is an opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Dilworth v. Dudley et al., 75 F.3d 307 (7th Cir. 1996). For your edification, and that of Mr. Little as well, let me summarize and quote from this opinion, written by Chief Judge Richard Posner, one of the most highly respected federal appellate judges. The case involved a book by a mathematics professor at DePauw University, in which he characterized an article by an engineer and amateur mathematicians as the work of a “crank,” a term that is synonymous with “crackpot.” In upholding the district judge’s dismissal of this defamation case under Rule 12(b)(6), Judge Posner wrote that the term “crank” is an opinion and “is mere ‘rhetorical hyperbole.’ … To call a pereson [sic] a crank is basically just a colorful and insulting way of expressing disagreement with [the author's] master idea, and it therefore belongs to the language of controversy rather than to the language of defamation.” In my opinion, Judge Scheindlin would be more impressed with Judge Posner’s opinion than in dictum from a Mississippi judge. Judge Posner, by the way, also wrote that terms like “scab,” “traitor,” “fake” and “phony” (far more pejorative than “crackpot”) “are incapable of defaming because they are mere hyperbole….” Judge Posner added, “By publishing your views you invite public criticism and rebuttal; you enter voluntarily in one of the submarkets of ideas and opinions and consent therefore to the rough competition of the marketplace.”

    If Schulte is too fragile to handle the “rough competition” on an admittedly toxic topic like global warming, perhaps he needs to stick to endocrinology.

  6. #6 Chris
    September 8, 2007

    I don’t think Schulte is a “contrarian”, whatever that may be, and I don’t get the impression that he’s the least bit interested in getting into some sort of childish political argument. The case quoted by John Lynch does not help Oreskes at all, because she made three separate and widely-publicized accusations of misrepresentation, all of which were false, and she made the cardinal error – which casts doubt upon her credibility as a scientist – of doing so befoe she had actually read the paper on the basis of which she was alleging misrepresentation. It does not help Lynch either, because he adopted Oreskes’ word “foolish” and made it his own in the context of having given Oreskes the space on the web to circulate her false and baseless allegations of “misrepresentation” against Schulte. Lynch, therefore, like Oreskes, shares the responsibility for circulating and propagating the allegations of “misrepresentation”. Had he not decided to add a series of increasingly snide and desperate comments of his own, he would have enjoyed the legal immunity conferred by the telecommunications legislation on the operator of a website which merely circulates other people’s material. By making the allegations his own and endorsing them with such lamentably unscientific enthusiasm, however, he has exposed himself to the legal action which may well follow if Oreskes does not come forward quickly with an unreserved apology to Schulte. As to the phrase “ad hominem”, I am well aware of its meaning. It would be better if, in future, Lynch learned to confine his blog to the “rem” – that is, if he has the scientific competence to do so, which – on the evidence of his recent activities, I for one beg leave to doubt.

  7. #7 John Lynch
    September 8, 2007

    Ignoring a long and pointless attempt to scare me into thinking that the big bad contrarians will come sue my ass, I’ll turn to this:

    It would be better if, in future, Lynch learned to confine his blog to the “rem” – that is, if he has the scientific competence to do so, which – on the evidence of his recent activities, I for one beg leave to doubt.

    As, the joys of anonymous mud-slinging. Of course, “Chris” has the “scientific competence” to comment on all of this and what’s more, the *legal* competence to make broad statements about culpability.

    I still remain unconvinced you know what ad hominem means. It is also worth remembering that such arguments are not always invalid – though denialists and contrarians of all types seem to thing so.

  8. #8 Tim Lambert
    September 8, 2007

    “Chris” isn’t anonymous. I would think that he is Christopher Monckton . There’s some discussion on his connection with Schulte here

  9. #9 John Lynch
    September 9, 2007

    I guess I didn’t mean anonymous, more faceless.

  10. #10 Ralph Cotton
    September 9, 2007

    I drafted the paper because I had become concerned that patients were being perhaps unduly alarmed by media reports of catastrophic climate change and were coming to harm through resultant stress.

    That’s gotta be the lamest excuse for being a crackpot in the entire history of crankery.

  11. #11 John Mashey
    September 9, 2007

    For context, and as samples of language, I offer:

    October 30, 2006: SNOWE AND ROCKEFELLER WRITE TO EXXONMOBIL

    “Senators John (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) today called on the world’s largest oil company to end its funding of a climate change denial campaign.”
    http://snowe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=9ACBA744-802A-23AD-47BE-2683985C724E

    December 11, 2006 MONCKTON: SNOWE AND ROCKEFELLER APOLOGISE OR RESIGN

    Monckton writes “Uphold Free Speech About Climate Change or Resign, An Open Letter to Senators Snowe and Rockefeller”, 8 pages.

    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20061212_monckton.pdf

    This is hosted on Frontiers of Freedom website, under “Center for Science and Public Policy”.

    “You must honour the Constitution, withdraw your letter and apologize to ExxonMobil, or resign as Senators.”

    “You must go.”

    “We need honest science. Therefore we do not need the UN.” (referring to IPCC).

    “You commend Britain’s Royal Society, once a learned body and now a mere Left-leaning political pressure-group, for having clumsily attempted to interfere with ExxonMobil’s funding of groups that are sceptical of what you inaccurately call a ‘consensus’ to the effect that climate change is a ‘global problem’.”

    “In the circumstances, your comparison of Exxon’s funding of sceptical scientists with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold.”

  12. #12 John Mashey
    September 9, 2007

    I will point out once more, that Monckton’s piece was on SPPI since July 19, and rather than complaining about it and getting it removed, Schulte published his letter to Oreskes/Fox on the same SPPI website a few days later, thus destroying any idea that this was independent action.

  13. #13 Chris
    September 9, 2007

    The argumentum ad hominem is classified as one of the informal logical fallacies of relevance. As with any fallacy, it invalidates the argument and, therefore, is best avoided by those who wish to be taken seriously in scientific discussion. Oreskes please note.

    Are all the responders to this blog incapable or willing of talking about the science rather than childishly slinging mud?

    Here’s a test. Look up Table SPM-2 of the IPCC’s 2007 report. Add up the predicted contributions to sea-level rise from melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets over the whole of the present century. Now compare the result – 1.7 inches – with Al Gore’s film, which suggests that existing coastal populations in the tens of millions are threatened by a sea-level rise of 20 feet.

    Now, answer honestly. Which result do you prefer? That of the scientific consensus, or that of an inexpert politician? If you prefer Gore’s 13,000 per cent exaggeration, ask yourselves whether you are looking at this question objectively. If you prefer the IPCC’s figure, ask yourselves why you have not, any of you, at any time, even once, commented in your blogs as adversely on Gore’s irresponsible exaggeration as you have on the work of the scientists whom you excoriate – often without evidence – as “deniers”.

    I note that none of you has yet had the courtesy to admit that Schulte’s letter to Oreskes does provide compelling evidence that she falsely accused him of misrepresentation three times when he had neither misrepresented nor even criticized her. Among honest and competent academics, allegations of misrepresentation are only made when the accuser has actually read the material complained of, and only then when misrepresentation has actually occurred. Oreskes is in deep trouble over her misbehavior towards Schulte, facilitated by your blog entry publicizing her ill-considered and improper comments. Face this, and prepare your own apology. Further bluster will not help you and will not impress your readership.

  14. #14 John Cross
    September 9, 2007

    Chris: While it is always useful to look at basics, you must be sure that you have your facts correct or you may end up looking foolish.

    For example, the IPCC projection is as you point out for this century, however I am not aware that Mr. Gore put any time limit on his prediction. Thus unless you can produce some supporting documentation that says that Mr. Gore was using a time frame of 100 years for his prediction I am afraid you have misrepresented Mr. Gore and according to post 6 above you may have exposed yourself to a legal action. I would recommend that you contact a Dr. Dan Johnson in Canada, I understand he has had some success in defending against bogus legal action.

    Regards,
    John

  15. #15 Fergus Brown
    September 9, 2007

    To ‘chris’. You say that Oreskes claim of misrepresentation is incorrect. The following is from Schulte:

    “The question whether there is a unanimous scientific consensus about climate change was investigated by means of a review of the recent peer-reviewed literature, carrying forward the research by Oreskes (2004), whose short essay had stated that none of 928 abstracts of papers published between 1993 and 2003 and found on the ISI Web of Science database using the search term “global climate change” had rejected the scientific consensus to the effect that -

    This appears to be a prima facie misrepresentation of Oreskes’ work. So who needs to apologise to whom?

    I would also draw your attention to the strong similarity between some of the content of Schulte’s reply and the content of Lord Monckton’s ‘essay’ of July 19th, published by the SPPT.

    PS: I bet you’re thinking about quibbling about that comma…

    Regards,

  16. #16 stewart
    September 9, 2007

    Flail on, Chris! Pomposity is always a substitute for knowledge (or t least amusing to the bystander). I don’t recall (except in the precis I’ve seen of Schulte) that the consensus was ‘We’re all gonna die’. I understood it to mean that there is an anthropogenic contribution to current climate change. Can you point me to the place in the IPCC or statements by the various national academies of science that give the updated consensus definition?

  17. #17 Boris
    September 9, 2007

    “If you prefer Gore’s 13,000 per cent exaggeration, ask yourselves whether you are looking at this question objectively.”

    Come on, Chris, you seem somewhat smarter than this. Gore clearly says that the 20 foot sea level rise is possible if Greenland melts or half the WAIS melts. The IPCC is talking 2100. So your 13,000 percent increase is not an apt comparison.

    Perhaps you’d care to comment on Monckton’s slaughter of physics or Michael’s erasure of graphs or the Heartland Institute’s fabrication of quotations or Swindle’s falsification of graphs and misrepresentation of Wunsch or CEI’s “CO2 is life” campaign or–well, never mind, I don’t expect you to acknowledge the lies and inaccuracy of the denialists.

    But I’m glad you apparently accept the IPCC consensus position. Good for you!

  18. #18 Boris
    September 9, 2007

    Oh, and I imagine any legal action against Oreskes will result similarly to the threats against Monbiot and Wikipedia.

    That is, nothing will come of it.

  19. #19 Tim Lambert
    September 9, 2007

    Chris Monckton writes:

    Here’s a test. Look up Table SPM-2 of the IPCC’s 2007 report. Add up the predicted contributions to sea-level rise from melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets over the whole of the present century. Now compare the result – 1.7 inches – with Al Gore’s film, which suggests that existing coastal populations in the tens of millions are threatened by a sea-level rise of 20 feet.

    A test. Good idea.

    Table SPM-2 is not about sea level rise. Table SPM-1 is about sea level rise, but it’s observed rise last century, not predicted this century. Table SPM-4 is predicted rises this century, but does not break things down into contributions from Greenland and Antarctica. The range of numbers in SPM-4 for sea level rise go from 18-59 cm, but the table states excludes “future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow”. When Gore talked about 20 feet of sea level rise, he was talking about the possible consequences of changes in ice flow. The IPCC report does not contradict him. In fact, they say

    Global average sea level in the last interglacial period
    (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher
    than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat
    of polar ice.

    In other words this supports Gore’s suggestion, thought no-one knows how long it would take for sea levels to rise that much.

    So, the result of test is that you don’t have a clue about the science, Chris.

  20. #20 Eli Rabett
    September 9, 2007

    Let me pose a real ad hominem argument. Does anyone wish to say that Schulte has any clue about climate science or any science associated with climate. If not, and anyone who tries it exposes himself, how does what Schulte has written differ from what a fifteen year old cribs off the INTERNET for her Jr. High School Science class? (Having read both, Eli would give the nod to the fifteen year old). Why is this being taken seriously by anyone.

    All Chris and Schulte are doing is to put on the harumph regalia, something worn with style by Brits with nothing to say, too much money, an excess of idle time in which to make mischief and a surfeit of misplaced self-regard.

  21. #21 Nathan
    September 9, 2007

    I’m not afraid of Christopher Monckton!

  22. #22 John Mashey
    September 9, 2007

    re: #20
    Now, Eli, we still don’t really know whether Ms. Brynes did that work herself …

    Have people caught Bob (SPPI) Ferguson’s press release to Business Wire taht I mentioned earlier?

    Researcher Demands Apology for Professional Discourtesy from Essayist Who Claimed Climate “Consensus,” Reports SPPI
    http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070906005790&newsLang=en

    Note that Schulte is a (medical) researcher, while Oreskes (a published geoscientist & scientist historian) is just an “essayist”.

    Note Chronology:
    Sept 3: Schulte letter -> Oreskes + Fox

    Sept 5: Schulte letter pub;ished at SPPI, under SPPI logo
    Sept 6: Ferguson press release

    When the dust is settled, this will make a lovely study in denialist tactics and disinformation spread in the blogidiocy.

    Google: less than half all published scientists endorse global warming
    is up to 1.1M hits

  23. #23 MarkH
    September 9, 2007

    Just thought I’d chip in a comment about crank fallacy use.

    Cranks often resort to crying “ad hominem”. Chris’ paragraph is telling.

    The argumentum ad hominem is classified as one of the informal logical fallacies of relevance. As with any fallacy, it invalidates the argument and, therefore, is best avoided by those who wish to be taken seriously in scientific discussion. Oreskes please note.

    This is actually untrue. Logical fallacies do not automatically invalidate arguments. This is known as the fallacist’s fallacy. For instance, I could say, you are wrong because of x, y, and z, and your endless repetition of debunked arguments shows you’re nothing but a denialist troll.

    Oops! Ad hominem right? Nope. The mere presence of a fallacious attack does not invalidate the argument, and in this case was a piece of extra information that was entirely true (not all ad hominems are irrelevant).

    Arguments with cranks often go this way. You start with:
    1. Crank says something stupid.
    2. Commenters correct him, ask for proof.
    3. Crank repeats stupid assertion
    4. Commenters demand proof, correct nonsense
    5. Crank changes topic to new line of attack – equally stupid assertion
    6. Commenters start going nuts – correct new nonsense.
    7. Crank repeats original idiotic assertion.
    8. Commenters call him a crank.
    9. Crank spots ad hominem, declares victory.

    Nice job there Chris. Did you read the Howto or something?

  24. #24 JB
    September 9, 2007

    Resorting to the “he has exposed himself to the legal action” comment (as Chris has done above) is a sure sign that one is grasping for straws in support of one’s argument.

  25. #25 RBH
    September 9, 2007

    Goodness me. And look at this, just in the news today:

    The Greenland ice cap is melting so quickly that it is triggering earthquakes as pieces of ice several cubic kilometres in size break off.

    Scientists monitoring events this summer say the acceleration could be catastrophic in terms of sea-level rise and make predictions this February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change far too low.

    Prof Correll is visiting Greenland as part of a symposium of religious, scientific, and political leaders to look at the problems of the island, which has an ice cap 3km thick containing enough water to raise worldwide sea levels by seven metres.

    Seven metres > 20 feet. And the rate of melt is increasing, making the IPCC forecasts look on the conservative end of the range of possible sea level rise in this century.

    BTW, what else would one call a plagiarizing denialist but “crank”? Loon?

  26. #26 Chris
    September 10, 2007

    On sea level: Gore’s film implies that existing populations are at risk of sea-level rise. The IPCC’s table of contributions to sea-level rise, which was not in the final draft approved by the authors, and was inserted by the IPCC bureaucracy as Table SPM-0, and was originally added up incorrectly, and has been renumbered since, shows that the total contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise throughout this century is 1.7 inches. The IPCC mentions “dynamical ice-flow” as potentially increasing this figure, but its timescale for the 4 to 6-metre rise observed in previous interglacials is “several millennia”. Since the IPCC estimates that the probability of humankind having any influence at all on sea-level rise is little better than 50:50, we may infer that Gore’s suggestion that existing populations are at risk from a 20ft sea-level rise is indeed a 13,000 per cent exaggeration – one of at least 20 errors and exaggerations in his movie.

    On the invalidation of arguments dependent upon fallacies: any fallacy (whether formal or informal) renders any argument that is dependent upon it invalid, since a valid argument is one whose premises entail its conclusion in accordance with the norms of logic.

    On Monckton’s “slaughter of physics”, please provide details of any alleged errors in Monckton’s published work, with some outline of why the offending passages are thought to be scientifically erroneous.

    On Monbiot’s article, Monckton compelled the Guardian to print a comprehensive and strongly-worded correction under his name the day after the Monbiot piece appeared. Monbiot – a zoologist with no knowledge of the physics of radiative transfer – made a number of elementary and serious errors in his article. He said the standard radiative-transfer equation applied only to blackbodies, when its emissivity term allows it to model greybodies and whitebodies as well; he said that a differential incorporating terms external to the equation was a term in the equation, when it is not; he said Monckton had obtained an incorrect value for a derivative from the equation, when in fact Monckton’s value was that published by the IPCC; and so on. A growing number of papers in the peer-reviewed literature support Monckton’s conclusion that climate sensitivity to anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect is not more than half the IPCC’s central estimate, and may be considerably less than that. The IPCC itself, aware of the failure of observed temperatures to rise anything like as fast as its models had predicted, introduced into its 2007 report a very large negative radiative forcing for particulate aerosol pollution, as an attempt to bring its theoretical models into line with observed reality: however, a recent paper points out that the aerosol forcing is strongly positive, leaving no room at all for the IPCC’s very high central estimate of climate sensitivity to anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect. Best not to dismiss Monckton’s physics too hastily.

    On Monckton’s legal threats against Wikipedia: looking at the history page for his bio shows that on at least three occasions, following mentions of libel action, Wikipedia staff amended the bio either to remove libels or to provide balancing material. For instance, at one point Monbiot’s scientifically-inaccurate article attacking Monckton was referenced without any reference to the reply by Monckton correctly pointing out that it was Monbiot – not a mathematician – who had no knowledge of the physics of radiative transfer. After protests which appear to have been authored by Monckton, the page was changed to include both references. Reading both articles, it’s clear that it was Monbiot, not Monckton, who was guilty of perpetrating “pseudo-scientific gibberish”.

    On whether Schulte misrepresented Oreskes, he didn’t. She reviewed 928 papers and found that “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position”.

    On how the “consensus” was defined, Schulte used Oreskes’ own definition, taken from the IPCC’s reports: that more than half the observed warming of the past half-century was likely to have been anthropogenic. He found several papers whose abstracts did not endorse the consensus thus defined; and, after Oreskes’ accusations of “misrepresentation”, he checked her 928 abstracts and found some that also did not endorse the consensus which she had found to be unanimous.

    On criticisms of Schulte’s approach: those criticisms apply just as much to Oreskes’ essay as to his paper. My own view is that “head-count” analyses of this kind do not tell us very much about the underlying science. In the end, there is no substitute for reading the scientific literature directly.

    On how the papers reviewed were selected: Oreskes had originally stated that she had used the search term “climate change” on papers in the ISI Web of Science database. However, Dr. Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University found not 928 but several thousand papers that used this term in the period reviewed by Oreskes, so Science was forced to publish a corrigendum in which she admitted that her search term had actually been “global climate change”. That is the search term which Schulte used.

    On the supposed misrepresentation of Karl Wunsch by Channel 4′s “Great Global Warming Swindle”, a considerable correspondence before the broadcast between Wunsch and the program-makers establishes that Wunsch was fully aware of the line which the program would take, and that he was accurately quoted, in context.

    It is better that scientific discussions should be conducted in a polite and scientific manner, rather than by ad-hominem attacks on those with whose point of view you disagree. Of course scientific discussion is harder work than mere yah-boo screeching: it requires much reading of the peer-reviewed literature, much discussion with other scientists, and much wrestling with calculations that are not often simple. It does seem that most of the correspondents on this blog are either not scientists or are allowing political or other non-scientific considerations to intrude upon their argument. Adhere to the science, and do not push it in one direction or another. Follow it quietly wherever it leads, even if the direction of the truth is politically uncongenial. Truth alone is worthy of our entire devotion.

  27. #27 Fergus Brown
    September 10, 2007

    ‘…We have established that Oreskes’ essay does not really lend any scientific credibility to the panicky predictions of a small minority of scientists many of whom have Left-leaning political opinions or connections…’

    From Monckton, July 2007. Ad. Hom.

    Also characterises the NAS and the Royal Academy as ‘liberal’ pressure groups or lobbyists, and Hansen as a supporter of Gore (thus, we presume, another ‘liberal’).

    Pots, kettles…Please…

  28. #28 Eli Rabett
    September 10, 2007

    Chris, let me see now. Gore implied, I take it this means that the fairies told you and the fairies never lie. The more important point is that Schulte has absolutely no qualifications to undertake the study that he did, and qualifications are an issue here as Andrew Dessler has pointed out to great effect. The version of what Schulte wrote that I have read makes it absolutely clear.

    This was equally clear about what Monckton wrote and is brought out strongly in the borehole mystery that Wm. Connolley cleared up. Briefly put Monckton did a Kristen Byrnes, cribbed something out of a paper or off the INTERNET without understanding what the limitations of the underlying data were and mislead his readers. Connolley realized there was a problem, contacted the lead author and got the real story. In this case Monckton was clearly mislead by his naivity. Dessler’s description of this behavior, in the case of Schulte, as hunting the white whale, is right on (to date myself). It describes a lot of what is happening including Monckton, Schulte, the surface station nonsense and more.

  29. #29 John Lynch
    September 10, 2007

    @ Chris

    It does seem that most of the correspondents on this blog are either not scientists

    Just a quick question. Are you a scientist? A climatologist?

    (Not expecting an answer that is verifiable, but just asking none the less)

  30. #30 Tim Lambert
    September 10, 2007

    Chris, table SPM.1 shows the observed rate of sea level rise. Interpreting it, as you do, as a prediction for the rate this century is wrong. The result of the test you proposed is that you failed and showed us that you don’t know what you are talking about. The IPCC does not contradict Gore — they say that they cannot give an upper bound on sea level rise this century.

    Your (why do you keep referring to yourself in the third person?) errors in physics were detailed by NASA’s Gavin Schmidt here.

    Schulte used a different search to Oreskes. Oreskes restricted the results to those from SCI and to just Articles. Schulte did not. Schulte made several errors in his classification as I have detailed at Deltoid.

  31. #31 John Mashey
    September 10, 2007

    Oops, re #11, I forgot a relevant item:
    According to Sourcewatch, FF (where Lord Monckton’s letter to Snowe/Rockefeller was hosted, in the US, not in UK) has been funded by both ExxonMobil and the tobacco companies (not unlike other such entities).

    SPPI funding is not yet clear, i.e.,:
    1) It could be that they decided to spinoff their anti-GW work to SPPI.
    2) It could be that Ferguson decided he could better with his own entity.

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

  32. #32 John Lynch
    September 10, 2007

    Oh, and Chris is indeed Christopher Monckton, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. The email address (bikerbikerbiker@hotmail.com) he submitted here is Monckton’s.

    And, of course, this means the answer to my question in comment #29 is and emphatic “No”.

    Thus his enjoinder to

    [a]dhere to the science, and do not push it in one direction or another. Follow it quietly wherever it leads, even if the direction of the truth is politically uncongenial. Truth alone is worthy of our entire devotion.

    comes from someone who has never practiced science. If coming from a philosopher of science the statement may have worth, from a journalist it is worthless.

    Of course, his attack on Monibot as being just “a zoologist with no knowledge of the physics of radiative transfer” [#26] becomes deliciously ironic. Apparently part of the degree course for classics and journalism is physics. Who knew?

  33. #33 guthrie
    September 10, 2007

    Oh great! Monckton has finally turned up to blether garbage on a website I post on.

    So, Chris, would you like to provide evidence for this statement:

    “A growing number of papers in the peer-reviewed literature support Monckton’s conclusion that climate sensitivity to anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect is not more than half the IPCC’s central estimate, and may be considerably less than that.”

    COme on now, evidence? Links to papers?

  34. #34 John Mashey
    September 10, 2007

    re: #32 John

    Rowland Manthorpe writes in:
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2073267,00.html

    “Anyhow, in the years since, and in particular in the last year, he has continued to look at the question, has done the maths (‘Radiative transfer calculations I can do standing on my head’) and formed his own conclusions.”

    “It comes from his ‘training in the scientific method’, while reading classics at Cambridge.”

    Note: Churchill College, Cambridge has long been heavily science-oriented, so there were probably some physicists running around.

    Finally, more relevant, I understand that Lord Monckton was very fond of the debates at (I think) the Cambridge Union Society, with all the political controversy and rhetoric.

  35. #35 Sorry Dude (don't sue)
    September 10, 2007

    I’m sorry. I apologize unreservedly. I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact and was in no way fair comment and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

  36. #36 guthrie
    September 11, 2007

    John, my understanding is that Oxbridge debates are broadly similar to those that take place in the House of Commons, partly because many MP’s have been through that system and model their behaviour on what they did at Uni. This of course has the small problem that science is not decided by rhetoric.

  37. #37 Fernando
    September 11, 2007

    The hidden agenda of Christopher Monckton, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is to win the 500.000 comment contest.

    Fernando, Imaginary King of The Patagonia.

  38. #38 John Mashey
    September 12, 2007

    re: Guthrie
    Science not settled by rhetoric?

    Prima facie evidence that scientists are wrong, and should all resign forthwith, or separate themselves from such behavior, latae sententiae. [Well, I'm not sure about that last bit, as my Latin is very old, but I saw it used recently in Schulte's letter and it sounded impressive, so why not? I'm not exactly sure what laws apply to make this so, but then, I coulkdn't figure out what laws Schulte thought applicable either.]

  39. #39 John Mashey
    September 12, 2007

    re: Guthrie
    Science not settled by rhetoric?

    Prima facie evidence that scientists are wrong, and should all resign forthwith, or separate themselves from such behavior, latae sententiae. [Well, I'm not sure about that last bit, as my Latin is very old, but I saw it used recently in Schulte's letter and it sounded impressive, so why not? I'm not exactly sure what laws apply to make this so, but then, I coulkdn't figure out what laws Schulte thought applicable either.]

  40. #40 guthrie
    September 13, 2007

    I tried to reply to a different post of yours on Deltoid, but it didn’t seem to want to post. LEts try here:

    John MAshey- Monckton proves that he is a paranoid weirdo. The Royal Society is a left leaning pressure group? Only if you are a politician with no idea of what goes on in the real world. Meanwhile, in the real world, the science proceeds without Monckton, and despite his Yorkie like yapping.

  41. #41 guthrie
    September 13, 2007

    I tried to reply to a different post of yours on Deltoid, but it didn’t seem to want to post. LEts try here:

    John MAshey- Monckton proves that he is a paranoid weirdo. The Royal Society is a left leaning pressure group? Only if you are a politician with no idea of what goes on in the real world. Meanwhile, in the real world, the science proceeds without Monckton, and despite his Yorkie like yapping.

  42. #42 Sean O
    September 13, 2007

    I commented on this on my blog “Is It Getting Warmer?” as well. I am amazed that this level of discussion has been realized regarding two essays that were never critically reviewed. In addition, the methodology of both researchers must be seriously doubted. You can read the rest of my thoughts at http://globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/09/11/consensus-discussion-liars-or-statistics/

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