Yet another pointless pile of septics

An alert antipodean reader points out... (no, I'm not going to link them, why inc their hit count. In fact they are so pointless I won't bother demolishing their junk, but I will poke fun at them for a bit). They make the traditional septic claims of being experts in climate and disciplines related to climate change (the latter usually means "geologists") and their first up is... Vincent Gray, whose chief claim to fame is... being an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yes, its the same thing as ever: IPCC is the gold standard and if you've got nothing else you can try to cling to their coat-tails. Its worth pointing out, though, that "Expert Reviewer" is a near-meaningless status: it certainly doesn't imply that they've asked you to review their stuff.

Another one is Chris de Freitas (of the Baliunas+Soon / von S resignation fame).

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I noticed that one of their experts is a TV weatherman.

By Mark Paris (not verified) on 02 May 2006 #permalink

Uh, do you mean sKeptic? Tho septic does seem apropos...

After fooling around with denialist, I've settled on Potemkin science, something that appears elaborate and impressive but in actual fact lacks substance: "the Potemkin village of this country's borrowed prosperity" (Lewis H. Lapham). After Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, who had elaborate fake villages constructed for Catherine the Great's tours of the Ukraine and the Crimea (from the American Heritage Dictionary.

RE: "I noticed that one of their experts is a TV weatherman."

Yes, but Augie Auer is also a real meteorologist. He worked for the NZ Met Service as (I think) Chief Forecaster, which is a management role filled by a person with forecasting experience. Before that he was at University of Laramie, Wyoming. I recall him giving a seminar in the 1980s on urban effects on weather, based on a study of the effect of the urban area of St Louis on boundary layer processes. So he's not your usual TV weather presenter.

It doesn't stop him from spouting the most awful nonsense on climate change, though.

By Mark Hadfield (not verified) on 02 May 2006 #permalink

Forecast metereology is an entirely different field from atmospheric science as it applies to things like climate. I have a phd in atmospheric science but don't ask me to forecast weather.

By Mark Paris (not verified) on 03 May 2006 #permalink

Now all alarmist crackpots in climate science - various Manns, Schmidts, Connolleys, Joneses, Hugheses, Bradleys, and many others - can be replaced by a simple script.

It calculates the future climate from random data and proves that it is statistically significant by having a high re-statistic. See

[Let us know when you're prepared to bet on your belief in no-future-warming - W]

Dear William,

there will be warming with probability about 50% and cooling with probability about 50%. This is a meaningless discussion. If I were obsessed with the idea that we are sure about the answer and the answer is important - obsession like yours - I would happily enter various bets. But the main difference between two of us is exactly that I am not obsessed by these things, and I consider those who are to be irrational lunatics.

If you offer me 50:1 in the bet, I will make a bet. Otherwise you will have to look for crackpots whose only difference from you is that they believe global cooling instead of warming.


[Asking for 50:1 odds on something that you think has a 1:1 probability of occurring is not consistent. The obvious explanation is that you too don't believe your 1:1 assertion - W]

Dear Eli Rabett,

it is pretty clear that many body barbers have already been used - compare the spokesperson from the press conference above to the photograph in the upper left corner of this blog.


Love the Monk-e-mail

U can expect One soon Lubos.

Climate Change is a daily event, even hourly, which does affect (effect) one both Globally & locally.

Question: Does the Internet "cause" Climate Change, or is Internet the cause of Climate Change, Mental & Physical?

If not Spiritual or more ethereal.

Q @

I had a look at Lubos's so called "Predict your Climate" link and it let me know the level of understanding of the usage of the RE statistic in reconstructions by that link's author, i.e. practically useless.

Roughly speaking, the RE statistic gives a positive value if the forecast mean is closer to the mean in the verfication period than the mean in the calibration period. The calibration period in "Predict your Climate" appears to be 1856 to 1994. The mean chosen for the "random" forecast is the 1994 temperature. As we all should know, 1994's temperature is a lot closer to the average of 1995-2005 than the average of 1856-1994 is. So surprise surprise, the RE statistic is significantly more than zero.

Next time, try using a forecast mean the same as the 1856-1994 mean and then see how your RE statistic turns out.

It's amazing how someone who is knowlegeable of statistics and appears to be moderately intelligent can make such a basic mistake and also think it's that easy to punch a hole in the RE argument. I guess such silliness is a consequence of being a global warming septic.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 06 May 2006 #permalink

Dear Chris,

I completely agree - but do you also agree that the usage of RE is essentially identical to its usage in the hockey stick reconstructions? If you think that there is some key difference, I will very happily hear the difference.


The hockeystick reconstruction doesn't rely on any artificially chosen mean value for the reconstructed temperature.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 May 2006 #permalink

"Asking for 50:1 odds on something that you think has a 1:1 probability of occurring is not consistent. The obvious explanation is that you too don't believe your 1:1 assertion - W]"

I offered 3:2 odds over on Deltoid (i.e. I put in $3, Mr. Skeptic puts in $2, if the average temp is higher this year than last I win, if not Mr. Skeptic wins); no takers.

Ya know, the important tactic from now on is to reach past the people who keep trying to sieze the microphone and take over the podium, and talk to the people who -- no matter what their personal and deeply held beliefs about politics -- are intellectually honest and willing and able to understand science as the news comes in.

Talking to the bobbleheads is falling for the bait they troll and chasing the red herring -- distraction.

Let's just write the damned fossil fuel industry their liability waiver and lawsuit immunity and get them busy fixing the world. -- the managers watched the tobacco industry executives, and the Exxon bosses, lie their way into disgrace and financial loss in court. They're nervous and their PR outlets are noisy with distraction.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 09 May 2006 #permalink

Vince Gray lately published a letter in the NZ Dominion newspaper, referring to me as a "scoundrel". This followed an article of his in the same paper where the attribution didn't highlight his main work as a scientist - working for the NZ Coal Research Association. He was good at his job (and is an excellent jazz musician). So I sent in a correction. He claimed his attack was because I had not concentrated on the science in his article but on him instead. The Editor did allow me the courtesy of a reply - not easy when his climate change science is totally suspect

By Peter Waring (not verified) on 12 May 2006 #permalink

Further to my post yesterday, Vince Gray's boss at the NZ Coal Research Association was a Peter Toynbee, who died back in 2002. The following obituary was written by one of his associates:
In Memoriam - Peter Toynbee, New Zealand (10 July 02)

It is with deep regret that I have to announce the death of Peter Toynbee, a prominent climate scientist from New Zealand. He was 79. His close colleagues and compatriots, Dr Vincent Gray and Chris de Freitas, informs us -

"...In the last few years he has been fighting a courageous battle against asthma, which he has ultimately lost.

He was a Chemical Engineer who pioneered research in fuel technology with the former Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and as Director of the New Zealand Coal Research Association.

Since his retirement in 1988 he campaigned tirelessly for truth in climate science with newspaper articles and letters, and a number of books, mostly published by himself. He was the local distributor for Art Robinson's Access to Energy and for other magazines and books on climate science, including the rather equivocal 21st Century.

Peter put much of his energy and time into the climate change debate. Is fair to say that Peter initiated the popular struggle by scientists in New Zealand to bring balance to the global warming question. He felt strongly that the public and politicians should be aware that good science is science that freely exposes itself to criticism and does not hide under a veil of consensus claims. Peter's death is a great loss to us here New Zealand."

[Interesting. Skeptics with rather marginal climate credentials seem to shamelessly list themselves as "climate scientists" - W]

By Peter Waring (not verified) on 13 May 2006 #permalink

"I offered 3:2 odds over on Deltoid (i.e. I put in $3, Mr. Skeptic puts in $2, if the average temp is higher this year than last I win, if not Mr. Skeptic wins); no takers."

You're writing about 2006 compared to 2005? I'll take that bet.