WUWT: taking incompetence to a whole new level

Since we're on fig 7.1.c, I was browsing around for google images and came across the following:

Well, that's certainly odd. The pic is a copy (stolen with no attribution, are you surprised?) of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ipcc7.1-mann-moberg-manley.png]] which I uploaded to wiki (once again I'm moved to comment that although the denizens of WUWT pretend that they don't trust wiki, actually just like everyone else they use it, and forget their scruples whenever convenient. Note also that the current wiki pic has had the green line added by DS). Its from When the IPCC ‘disappeared’ the Medieval Warm Period at WUWT (webcite).

But its had some fake labelling added to it:

* IPCC '90 has been re-labelled "IPCC 1990-2001"
* MBH99 has been relabelled "IPCC 2001-2003"

At least they managed to label Moberg correctly. Its hard to understand those other labels. "IPCC 1990-2001" is intended to suggest it was first used in 1990, and continued until supplanted in 2001. But we all know that is wrong (apart from all the rest, they've airbrushed IPCC '92 and '95 [*] out of their picture; ironically, the post at WUWT is ostensibly about IPCC rewriting history; but I suspect that they don't do irony) and the author of the piece at WUWT knew it too, because he copied it from the wiki page Description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports which explains, with references, where it all comes from. So, he was deliberately lying to his audience. 2001-2003 makes no sense either.

But more amusingly, all his audience is so incompetent that they fail to realise they are being lied to. Although the information is easily available on the web, not one of them has the initiative or intelligence to look for themselves - they just sit there being fed lies, and lapping them up. One, Jay, gets close: By the by – the 1990-2001 plot is of data for a small bit of Europe, not the Northern Hemisphere. Hence the MWP looking less of a feature in later plots – because the evidence for the whole Northern Hemisphere is that the MWP was rather less of a feature than it was in a small bit of Europe. But even this minor correction is too much for some, garnering: You’re out of touch and simply regurgitating RC’s 2007 lying rubbish. Do some homework. Later, I think its clear that Jay has realised that the "1990-2001" line is mislabelled, and can't be directly compared with the other two: The data plot with the strong MWP in fig 1. (labeled IPCC 1990-2001) is a temperature reconstruction for the United Kingdom, a small area in North West Europe. The remaining two data plots in fig 1. are temperature reconstructions for the entire Northern Hemisphere. but the post author (Frank Lansner) refuses to believe this: but please document your UK-claim, i would like to see that, ok?. That's weird: he's copied the picture from wiki, so he knows he is wrong. Is he just trying to brazen it out hoping that Jay doesn't know the exact source?

No, I'm wrong. By 13th March (the post is from the tenth, so that's 3 days of comments before anyone really gets it), Christoffer Bugge Harder shows up to say its all nonsense: I honestly think that all your questions can be answered by simply looking at this wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports The reason why the IPCC conclusions have changed since 1990 is quite simply that back then, no global multiproxy reconstructions with data from before about 1400 existed... and so on; all the obvious truth. Wittily, this is immeadiately followed by Caleb who tells CBH: You need to wake up and realize you’ve been fooled by a hoax.

CBH keeps pushing Lansner: who doesn't answer that point, but does say CBH, you write “You appear to think that the IPCC pre-2001 graph is based on the “1976-2000 proxies” you list?” No, this is by Lamb, former head of CRU. Its based mostly on English data as I have understood it. Note this is precisely the point he has denied earlier as a debating trick. The discussion the segues off into boreholes but Lansner never gives an honest answer, or even addresses the real point.

Oh, and don't get me started on how incompetent his fig 2 is.

[*] Note: I tend to call it '95, because that is what it calls itself. But it was published in '96, I think.


* [Reply: The HTML for Δ is "&+Delta+;". But if you forget to capitalize Delta, you get: δ. — mod.]

More like this

Then he finishes with the obligatory quote by a long dead (but in his time, highly competent) scientist.

"“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” – Lord Ernest Rutherford"

Here's another quote from Rutherford.

"The energy produced by breaking down the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformations of these atoms is taking moonshine."

Science has advanced since then, but people like Lansner honestly expect us to return to the physics of 1920.

Rutherford is always good for a laugh. He locked poor Geiger into a closet for years to get enough statistics for the scattering experiment to establish the nuclear atom model.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 04 Oct 2012 #permalink

Well spotted.

But why no error bars on this png graph? Elsewhere, Wikipedia is to be praised for including the grey mush and ,unusually, stating what it represents.

By deconvoluter (not verified) on 04 Oct 2012 #permalink

This sums up WUWT pretty well:

"But more amusingly, all his audience is so incompetent that they fail to realise they are being lied to. Although the information is easily available on the web, not one of them has the initiative or intelligence to look for themselves – they just sit there being fed lies, and lapping them up."

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 04 Oct 2012 #permalink

Disinformation is not the product of incompetence. Watts' efforts to create uncertainty and doubt about climate science have been working in the U.S. political arena. As soon as you debunk one ridiculous claim Watts will make 5 more.

His credulous audience is not interested in scientific truth. They are playing a political game

By FishOutofWater (not verified) on 04 Oct 2012 #permalink

hi small mannered agw folks, i teach you that on surfacestations.org anthony with his team has brought to daylight the scandal of most severe methodological temperature measurement crimes committed by the agw alarmist co2 church. you should learn that you are on the wrong side of poor scientific morale and decency.

[But do you have anything to say about the subject under discussion? How about a simple test: do you understand how badly mislabelled the figure from WUWT is? -W]

Climate change deniers/hoakers must be orchestrated by the same people that pushed the JFK assassination conspiracy. They may also believe the Earth is 8,000 years old because the bible tells us so.

Watts would argur that years might have been saved had Geiger had access to some naval artillery and a good supply of tissue paper .

Have any of kai's comments been distinguishable from robot-generated spam? E.g., have any of them ever been responsive to another comment? (Or, for that matter, on the actual topic of any given post?) I don't read every comment here, but I don't remember any such instances, so I was under the impression that kai was either a denialist spam robot or someone who just wants everyone else to know about his/her superiority complex.

[I think he'd have to be a pretty good spambot. He isn't thinking, but he is responding -W]

Actually it appears to be pulled from here and no airbrushing of the one you uploaded to wikipedia is required from this source:


[I made that pic, so I know where it was first uploaded to the web. SS may have nicked it too (actually that's a comment by TC, not SS, so I withdraw that slur) -W]

I might also point out the WUWT article is a guest post by Frank Lanser not something written by Anthony Watts.

[Agree; Lansner is clearly a bozo, but then so is Watts for not being able to tell that the post is junk :-) -W]

What's the origin of the one you uploaded, William?

[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ipcc7.1-mann-moberg.png is the original (ell, nearly: I probably uploaded it to en., not commons. Ah yes, here we go: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log&page=File%3AIpcc7…. Its not easy to find the true history of these things unless you already know it -W]

Disclosure: Anthony Watts banned me from WUWT so I'm no fanboy playing favorites defending the site.

[Ah, join the club -W]

By David Springer (not verified) on 07 Oct 2012 #permalink


I was under the impression that kai was either a denialist spam robot or someone who just wants everyone else to know about his/her superiority complex.

I favor the bot theory. As W says, it's responding to key words and phrases, but that wouldn't be hard to program.

If it's a real person, then I think he/she is more likely to be deliberately trolling, but YMMV.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 07 Oct 2012 #permalink

"Disclosure: Anthony Watts banned me from WUWT so I’m no fanboy playing favorites defending the site."

Yes, Dave, but you're a denier nonetheless, and a scientific creationist as well ... don't be coy.

"His audience is so incompetent that they fail to realise they are being lied to."

I think this is what the logicians call a category error. You're assuming that they care whether they're being lied to or not, but there's no evidence they do.

All they care about is whether something reinforces their predetermined conclusion; its truth or falsity in the conventional sense is irrelevant. So perhaps a better statement is that they redefine "lie" as evidence against the predetermined conclusion, and "truth" as evidence supporting the predetermined conclusion.

Someone should write a "Climate Contrarian Pocket Dictionary."

By American Idiot (not verified) on 08 Oct 2012 #permalink

Dear William,

all I can add is that Frank Lansner is actually no liar - he is merely a breathtakingly ignorant D-K amateur who simply fail to realise even the most obvious inconsistencies. He is well known in Denmark for making absurd internally contradictory claims: Disputing/denying the UK proxies while later arguing with the exact same argument he refused hours earlier is no problem. On our national climate debate page, he recently claimed simultaneously that the CO2 uptake in the oceans had stagnated at the same time he pushed a theory about the oceans being a major source for atmospheric CO2 - which he then went on to claim would soon reach a loft/plateau anyway. The logic of this pretty much escapes me so much that I don´t know where to start trying to correct any of this - and he is too incompetent to understand/realise any of these corrections anyway.

I guess that the only conclusion is that the wiring of the denialist nutter brain apparently prevents such a thing as cognitive dissonance.

By Christoffer Bu… (not verified) on 09 Oct 2012 #permalink

"Oh, and don’t get me started on how incompetent his fig 2 is."

Not taking your advise (sorry), could you provide your shopping list? As a climate amateur with some knowledge of PCA, tree and corals (I´m a biologist), I could think of

- why and how can you set the year 1000 to "zero"?
- which area does it cover?
- are any of your proxies weighted by area?
- have you tried any multivariate statistics, or is it some kind of simple aritmethic mean of something (however you have been able to graft these together)?

I´m sure there are more, but I´d like to hear your opinion as a once-professional. (I tried to ask him about the last couple of points, I think, but he replied something along the lines of "that that would be dishonest because that would be doing just like Michael Mann".

(You just cannot make this up. I suspect that Mann has once compared the mean of two samples with a t-test a some point in his career, and that this will likely lead the true believers to consider this test suspect "by proxy", then).

[The main one was the zeroing at 1000 to create the spurious appearance. That by itself destroys the usefullness of the figure. If that could be corrected, then the weighting and choice of proxies and so on would have to be considered. The problem with all these figures is the one you've spotted: there are a lot of proxies, and if you want something that represents a hemisphere you have to average them, and you have to do that in some vaguely representative way, and pretty soon you've re-invented MBH and got the answer that you didn't want to get -W]

By Christoffer Bu… (not verified) on 12 Oct 2012 #permalink