Spewing Venom??

Last year Steve McIntyre insinuated that Gavin Schmidt was dishonest after one of McIntyre's comments was held up in moderation: (link in quote is mine)

Posting at realclimate is a little thing. I was once involved in trying to detect a business fraud many years ago. A friend told me that to look for evidences of dishonesty in little things, as someone who is dishonest in big things will also be dishonest in little things. In passing, realclimate was able to locate and post URLs for versions of the VZ and Huybers Comments, but was seemingly unable to do so for our Replies.

So I ask the question again: is Gavin Schmidt honest about welcoming "serious discussions and rebuttals" at realclimate? About being in favor of openness in climate science? Or even about my being allowed to post at realclimate?

Maybe Tim Lambert will step up and criticize realclimate this time at his own blog.

McIntyre's own posting policy states:

As to posting rules: I have total contempt for the censoring of scientific comments at realclimate and do not do that here. I don't allow discussion of religion and will mark anything even close as spam. I get tired and bored of ad homs and personal taunting of other posters. I don't have time to monitor everything so the handling of taunting is inconsistent: sometimes I let it go because the person is just making a fool of themself, sometimes I get fed up and delete it.

McIntyre does not seem to follow this policy all the time. He often delivers ad homs and personal taunts himself. Even though John Hunter had archived his data and personally provided it to McIntyre , he tore up his posting rules:

the next post from you that appears on this blog will give the url to the requested data. Any other posts regardless of topic or merit will be marked as spam. If that's not agreeable to you, then best of luck with your studies.

McIntyre's co-blogger John A then quoted from and linked the two Tom Harris pieces I criticized earlier. I posted a comment making the same point about CO2 that I made here. My comment disappeared. Fortunately other commenters made similar points and Steve was sufficiently embarrassed by John A's nonsense about CO2 that he rewrote the post, replacing John A's endorsement of Harris with his own disagreement. Further down thread McIntyre offers a rationale for his conduct towards Hunter and me:

I also distinguish between "civilians" and professionals. I don't believe that you can find a single unkind word from me to a "civilian" (and I don't regard you and Lambert as "civilians".)

So if McIntyre feels like abusing you, he classifies you as a non-civilian and away he goes. Anyway, some more of my comments were deleted. This happens fairly often there, presumably the doing of John A who has stated:

I exercise my moderating powers at Steve McIntyre's behest, often putting posts that I suspect Steve will not want to host into a moderation queue - sometimes they come back and sometimes they go in the bin.

Then the comments were restored. I asked for explanation. McIntyre responded by deleting half of my comment and writing:

Tim, "I" did not delete any of your comments, let alone "all" of your comments. There are dozens of comments of yours on this site, nearly all of them trolling. I happened to notice some comments by you had been spanked by the spam filter and restored them. I don't know why it did this, but the insight of the spam filter sometimes amazes me. By the way, Tim, when's your long-awaited Mann Screws It Up Again article coming? Or do you find that question abusive?

This story is not plausible, so I suggested that John A had done the deleting, rather than the spam filter:

Steve, I know how Spam Karma works. It doesn't decide that posted comments are spam unless it is triggered by another comment from that same poster. Someone manually marked my comments as spam. If it wasn't you, it's pretty obvious who it was.

The part of my comment that you deleted was not "taunting". Let's try it again as a question: Why do you feel entitled to abuse me and call me names? What's the deal with this "civilian" thing?

McIntyre responded by deleting my comment (and all my subsequent ones), claiming I was spewing venom and challenging his integrity.

All right, I've probably tried the patience of my readers enough, but do you think that my comment challenges McIntyre's integrity or is this more climateaudit paranoia?


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I just noticed that CA runs SK2, so there could be the answer. A bunch of comments in quick succession can trigger the moderation, then previous comments disappear as well. They don't get edited, however.

Tim, I was involved in that latest thread at CA as well, and while I was far from innocent _ I was pretty damned snarky_ that thread also illustrates JohnA's tendency to misrepresent (and I'm being circumsepct with that choice of word) the science, participant's arguments including but not limited to my own, and (apparently through a highly-developed mind-reading ability) personal motivations of others. As Steve M. says in the Gavin Schimdt thread, "A friend told me that to look for evidences of dishonesty in little things, as someone who is dishonest in big things will also be dishonest in little things." Exactly.

having been involved in flames there, it's pretty obvious that Steve McIntyre tries to maintain an aura of objectivity but let's his cheerleaders (headed by John A) go wild. Anything goes to prop up his ego, it seems. The whining about realclimate from climateaudit, and in fact the whole climateaudit modus operandi is a lot of "study the mote in my enemy's eye whilst ignoring the beam in my own."

Sweet, delicious eye beams.

No, Promethean would be "somebody political said something about science, therefore it is not science, it's political." I wonder what the RP Jr. blog about the meteor hitting the earth would be like?

"It is all well and good that there may be policy discussions RE:meteor, but this blog is about science and not about the politicization of such. It is clear that Real Meteor has a political agenda. And while this blog should be seen as distinct from Meteor Audit, we appreciate the discussion and differing viewpoints."

Feel free to improve on that template. I know I don't quite have him down.

I will absolutely say that CA will censor people for what they say. In one post I accused Steve of "dissembling". After that I was unable to post using the same, not anonymous, "nom de net", even though I sent mail to Steve (or was it JohnA?) requesting that my posts be recovered and that I be allowed to post again.

Posting with a different "nom de net" and using an alternate (but still real) email address allowed me to post again. Steve (or was it JohnA?) has repeatedly said that my posts were not censored, but he failed to restore the posts I had made and my name was not cleared from the "spam filter".

The duplicity I have observed at CA makes me wonder at the honesty of M&M's "audit" of the data and algorithms used by climate scientists to evaluate climate sensitivity (the point of the whole exercise, after all). If they quite obviously lie about what is going on at their site, the would not hesitate to lie about anything else.

By John Sully (not verified) on 19 Jun 2006 #permalink

Pinko, it wasn't Spam Karma 2 -- you have to post another comment to trigger it and I didn't do that. I guess it's possible that McIntyre doesn't realize that John A is marking these posts as spam and thinks it's all being done by the spam filter...

Lee, that sort of thing seems to happen with any discussion involving John A. He doesn't seem capable of realizing when he is wrong and resorts to bluster and insults. If you want to see some classic John A, read [this discussion](http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Talk:Taken_by_Storm) where he claims that entropy is a form of energy and temperature is a vector.

Not to be snarky again or anything, but my favorite part of that free-for-all was when JohnA claimed that equilibrium exists even as a concept only in closed systems, and that earth is not a closed system because we receive energy from the sun.


Why don't you just duplicate the site? That should solve your comments issues, and it's perfectly ethical. According to you, anyway.

Mr Lambert,

You moderate my comments, sometimes holding them up for hours until the conversation has moved on. You have altered some of my comments, deleted others and refused to post at least one. You have called me a troll and groundlessly accused me of abuse.

If McIntyre has done everything you say, how is his comments handling different to yours?


Here at Prometheus we are pleased to have for the most part thoughtful comments that....Oh wait. What am I thinking?


Accusing someone as placid, fact-based and downright honest as Steve McIntyre of 'spewing venom' diminishes your own credibility massively. You know full well that there is very little censorship on CA, especially when compared to your own blog or, particularly, Realclimate, who are champion censors.


By Jack Lacton (not verified) on 20 Jun 2006 #permalink

Tim, have you caught the buzz about netvocates? It's a site that apparently pays people to present certain opinions at important blogs. I wonder if it would be worth the effort to ask posters to disclose any direct economic interest they have in posting, in other words whether they are paid advocates?

Netvocates apparently view themselves as an ethical firm, bizarrely. They might feel obliged to honour such a request, and anyway, they would get into trouble if they didn't.

Perhaps that will make censoring less necessary.

I have marked your recent posts Timbo, because you used several sockpuppets to post flames and deceive the spam filter. This is entirely consistent with your policy on your own blog (although its the other way around, as you post the flames and others who contradict you get burned).

What goes around, comes around.

Jack, claiming that I accused McIntyre of 'spewing venom' when I did no such thing diminishes your credibility massively.

John A, I did not use any sockpuppets or post any flames. But you knew that.

Mr Lambert, if you point out that John A and the cheer squad make sh*t up, the sunshine may disinfect their site. That would be bad, because if they can't make sh*t up, what will they do?

Right, John A?



Jack Lacton:

Accusing someone as placid, fact-based and downright honest as Steve McIntyre of 'spewing venom' diminishes your own credibility massively

Steve McIntyre does "spew venom" (insult people):

Preisendorfer keeps things nice and logical and away from ad hoc Mannian recipes or the ridiculous Dummies Guide by Dumb and Dumber


By Meyrick Kirby (not verified) on 20 Jun 2006 #permalink

Hmm.. the irony -

Defending SteveM for not posting flames, when the topic under discussin is a thread initiated by a SteveM top post flame titled "Is Gavin Schmidt Honest?"

>>Hmm.. the irony

Well is it irony, or is it indicative of the sort of "strawman argument" that is so common on CA, and championed by Steve "I Are N Academic" McIntyre! ;-)

Among the hilarious things on CA (outside my own witty posts) is the cowardly "John A" refusing to reveal himself because an actual academic (John Hunter) may "use it to hurt my computer consulting career."

Steve Mc belittles every single damn scientist who happens to show that "hey, there's something to AGW after all" -- yet he & his cheerleaders claim "objectivity", it's too absurd.

The spaghetti graph is a can of worms.
Stephen McIntyre opened the can.
The genie is out.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 20 Jun 2006 #permalink

Too bad all the genie sees over at Steve's place is the cheer squad, noisily puffing up marginalia, astroturfing FUD phrases and trumpeting tendention.

Surely the genie is disappointed at wasting wishes on a dwelling-in-mom's-basement crowd.

Ah, well. At least the worms can process the CA effluent into compost.



which is your favourite proxy Dano.

And which version

by which author

in which archive?


By Hans Erren (not verified) on 20 Jun 2006 #permalink

The cheer squad, noisily puffing up marginalia, astroturfing FUD phrases and trumpeting tendention.



Hans, you, JohnA & the CA cheerleaders are "one-hit wonders." If, at best, M&M "disproved" MBH98, that's about it. [Deleted. Please Carl, no personal attacks on other commenters. Tim]

And from which concocted vantage point you baselessly slam EVERY DAMN STUDY relating to anthropogenic global warming that you see in the news or in "Nature." [Deleted.]

That's charming, Carl, right in the spirit of the thread.


Well said. Your last post just about sums up the pseudos at CA and their brethren at other 'science' sites (e.g. lobbying groups), like the TCS, GES and CO 2. That lot lives, eats, breathes and sleeps on the hockey stick. They'll be clinging to it for the next twenty years, so be prepared. I've studied the strategies of the anti-environmental mob for the past ten years and they are like a pack of bulldogs - they bite into one facet of complex scientific field, and won't let go. They can't and won't win in any scientific arena, but that isn't their aim. All they want to do is to sow enough doubt over AGW - by clinging to one small part of the science - to render any action to mitigate it as mute. Frankly, its pathetic, but sadly it seems to work.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Jun 2006 #permalink


If I may, I like your comment but I disagree with your 'bulldog' analogy. The widdle denialists are not that courageous or strong.

I think the denialists and contrascientists are like ants.

Ants that find one crumb and promptly and widely** declare that crumb a picnic - nay, a feast.

A one-crumb feast that - hey, everybody! look over there - makes their opponents' buffet look like a pauper's breakfast, while their yummy meal - hey, no marginalization tactics in our camp, no sir - is accompanied by a brass band, trumpeting this feast.

Hmmm...I might be a little hungry this morning...



** The wide dissemination being only, of course, in the Wingut Welfare media.

Thanks for reading that site, Carl, so we don't have to.

Nonetheless, I went over there and #14 comment in the link you gave is a succinct synopsis of the current denialist position meme, as spread by the cheer bots there. Very useful when considering what's in there and what's left out.



Dear Jeff

I have two "irons in the fire" as we Dutch call it. Both very amusing studies. One is a paper under review, the other is an invited conference presentation. Both non-hockeystick topics.

Dano, have good look at the proxy can of worms, it speaks for itself.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 21 Jun 2006 #permalink

The "great hockey stick spaghetti controversy" is a mountain out of a molehill, from guys who are legends in their own mind. No climate scientist is losing sleep over this "scandal" except for perhaps MBH. Outside of a handful of multi-proxy studies, nobody is "relying" on the hockey stick. Polar bears are drowning and Antarctic seas opened up for the first time in 100K years, with or without a hotter medieval warm period than today!

Therefore I see no "smoking gun" that invalidates AGW because of this. Just a few people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. And Hans van Storch, who is the most capable and illustrious scientist the skeptics can point to, is not a skeptic in the CA sense. He just gets annoyed by what he perceives as scientists overhyping AGW. Hell, nobody is rushing to take Annan's bet, for one thing! ;-) Dano is the most spot-on about how the CA crowd, ahem, grabs the wrong end of the stick!

In summary -- to err is Erren... (hope that's not too bad a flame to take out ;-)

oh, and carl, take a good look at the title of this thread.

Got it?

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 21 Jun 2006 #permalink


Your polar bear study is also going to be a red herring. I spoke with a Canadian biologist friend of mine last week and he said that the mean body mass of bears in the Canadian Arctic is in freefall. Moreover, studying the demographics of bears at the present time tells us nothing about temporal/spatial changes in habitat quality and population thresholds. In other words, changes underway in Arctic ecosystems will only have a significant impact on recruitment in polar bears once pack ice thins/declines beyond a specific point. The system is on-linear. Until then, the species will persist in similar numbers, albeit individual fitness parameters - such as body mass, which I mentioned above - will fall.

Carl is correct in everything he says about the sceptics. Hans, with no disrespect, you are not a biologist. Thus, I don't expect you to be able to tell me anything aout Nicholson-Bailey models, type 1, 2 or 3 functional responses, K-factor analyses, and neutral models in interspecific competition (and this is just a start). You did not study ecology and thus you are way over your head in discussions on the effects of climate change on the demographics of polar bear populations.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 Jun 2006 #permalink


The update is promsied for "Spring 2006" so it's hardly massively late by the standaqrds of academic conferences.

A few notes on the accompany table which is usually cited by skeptics to clai mall is well with the polar bears.

The two populations noted as "decreasing" have a combined population of 3600 or around 15% of the total. T%he two population noted as "increasing" have a combined population around 20% smaller - which of course doesn't let us make any conclusions about net change without knowign the rates of growth and decrease.

Several other populatiosn are noted as "S?" meaning their sustainability at current cullng rates is in question.

Finally let's note that around a third of the global population is located in Russian populations which are classified simply as "unknown" so potentially half or more of the current global polar bear population is at risk.

That's the problem with postingj links, some times someone actually clicks on them.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

Indeed from the table the strongest decreasing polar bear population is the most "harvested" one. A harvesting moratorium should be a logical first step. But to rely on future ice estimates made by climate models which don't even get their arctic clouds properly responding is way over the top.

Yes Jeff I am a geophysicist, but I would like to see basic recent population data which is after all the fundament (and the reality check)of all your population modelling, wouldn't you?

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink


Population data tell us one thing; individual fitness parameters tell us another. My Canadian friend and colleague is doing his PhD on the metabolic energetics of the western Semipalmated Plover in sub-Arctic Canada, and has a lot of close contact with researchers working with polar bears (he's been based in Churchill, Manitoba for extended periods - a place with a high bear population owing to the easy access of food, garbage etc.). It appears that overwintering bears are emerging from hibernation with lower fat supplies than before, and adult bears weigh less now than they did 30 years ago. This decrease in per capita fitness will eventually ripple through the population, but because the bears are quite long-lived, it will not be instantaneous. Thus, we are probably early into the phase of what we ecologists call the 'extinction debt' - meaning that, while a population or species may be technically extant, it is doomed to extinction because mortality will soon exceed fecundity. Reduced adult mass in bears is a sure sign that they are experiencing severe ecological constraints. The extinction debt may accumulate over decades or even centuries without us actually recognizing it. This may account for declines in the abundance of a species many years after the original habitat perturbation. There are plenty of other examples if you'd like me to cite them.

A population can also appear to be stable without recognizing that the environment in which they occur is a non-linear entity. I mentioned this earlier: once some critical habitat requirement is lost beyond a certain threshold, an apparently stable population will suddenly plummet. The sceptics can deny the effects of AGW on polar bear populations all they want, but they are living in a fool's paradise. The signs are all there for an imminent collapse in polar bear numbers, even if we ignore the per capita decline in fitness. Paul Ehrlich's analogy of the person jumping off the top of the Empire State Building is appropriate here. The hapless victim falls 90 floors, looks up and says, "So far so good!". Ten floors later they splatter on the pavement. For the umpteenth time, ecosystems are complex adaptive systems and their function is decidedly non-linear. Many changes are buffered to a certain point beyond which the system collapses; this is why we ecologists refer to the high degree of evolved functional redundancy that is inbuilt within them. Without this redundancy, in which multiple species fulfil a specific ecological role, we would already be in deep trouble. This is the resilience to which many ecologists refer. However, our understanding of the resilience of critical ecological services to human-induced change is much less clear.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

Jef I am seriously interested. Is there any data available of polar bear quality/quantity in other warm arctic periods?

Holocene optimum

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

While we're asking, durng those earlier periods how many peopel were hunting polar bears with high-powered rifles; how much mercury and organosphates were accumulating in the fish they ate and how many polar bear populations had to compete for food with modern fishing fleets.

Yes, most extant species obviously survived previous warming trends but even without global warming many species are now under extreme pressure from other human impacts - the impact of nitrogen and phosphate run-off on the Great Barrier Reef is another example of this.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

The scientific method = nitpicking.

By definition.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

"The scientific method = HONEST nitpicking.

By definition."

The difference between my definition and yours makes the problem with so-called AGW skeptics clear ...

By Don Baccus (not verified) on 22 Jun 2006 #permalink

Well the NAS report today seems to show that the McIntyre-ish (& groupies) selective nitpicking is not the "smoking gun" they always claimed it was. They did get their fifteen minutes of fame before they crawl back into their holes (and Guelph).

Please, Carl - Guelph's a nice place, and the University there is a good one. McK is an anomaly.


Just a side thought but is it possible that polar bears 30 years ago weighed more because it was very much colder than now and they had to stock up?


By Jack Lacton (not verified) on 26 Jun 2006 #permalink