Watt about the hilarious goof?

I started writing this post yesterday, and then decided not to finish it. I have, however, changed my mind and thought I would post a modified version. Watching the Deniers wrote a recent post called Anthony Watts:Dishonest misrepresentation of sea ice graphs, no surprise there. The accusation was that Anthony Watts had doctored a graph so as to remove the range of uncertainty and make it seem that the sudden change in sea-ice extent wasn’t quite as severe as it actually is.

It turns out, however, that you can simply select not to include the uncertainties when you create your own figure and so the figure wasn’t doctored, Anthony had simply left out something that many would regard as important. A post very quickly appeared on Watts Up With That (WUWT) called Watching the Deniers makes hilarious goof while accusing WUWT of doctoring NSIDC images. The author, Eric Worrall, says

I have of course lodged a complaint with the Australian Press Council about this lie. I encourage other Australians to complain through official channels about climate lies propagated by alarmists.

Really? You couldn’t just have pointed out why the accusation in the Watching the Deniers post was wrong. You feel the need to make an official complaint. Surely you wouldn’t normally officially complain about something that you find hilarious. Anthony Watts does, however, go on to say

I’ve left a comment explaining Mr. Marriott’s absurd misconception and asked for an apology. We’ll see if it passes moderation, and he lives up to his “professional services” label.

So, Anthony’s comment passed moderation at Watching the Deniers and the author of the original post has removed his accusation but maintains (and I agree) that leaving off the range of uncertainty in the long term average is questionable. So, as far as I can tell, the author of the Watching the Deniers post has done as they were asked and corrected their post and removed the accusation of doctoring the NSIDC graph.

However, the comments on the WUWT post were remarkably unpleasant about the author of the Watching the Deniers post, including snide remarks about their sexuality. Personally, I think such insults are completely unprofessional and unacceptable and reflect more negatively on the person making the insult than on the person being insulted.

Watching the Deniers has, therefore – quite understandably – written a new post titled Hypocrisy over at WUWT? Will Anthony Watts remove the personal and defamatory insults made against me on WUWT and apologise? I agree. If Anthony is going to criticise a post on another blog and claim that they’ve accused him of something he hasn’t done, he should at least be willing to acknowledge when they do as he asks and should at least suggest that he doesn’t condone the insulting comments made about the author on his own blog. If Anthony Watts has any actual interest at all in a dialogue about climate science, this is the least he could do.

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26 Responses to Watt about the hilarious goof?

  1. I think Watts already answered. Watts last post starts with the insult: “I’m sure the greenies will be following this closely, rooting for a hurricane to hit that nearby oil platform or coal power plant onshore.”

    I see no indication of a willingness to engage is a civilized dialogue about climate science. We should try to stay as civilized as possible, so that the difference is clear to any third party.

  2. Yes, I noticed that new post with that Anthony’s assertion that greenies would be keen for a Hurricane to hit an oil platform or coal power plant. You’re right, it doesn’t suggest that he has any real interest in a dialogue.

  3. And now you understand why I’m such a stickler for civil behaviour on my channel and website.

  4. Indeed. I guess there are a number of reason why I’ve tried to remain civil. Partly it’s just my nature, I think – although who am I to judge myself, it minimises the chance that I will give ammunition to those who disagree with my views, and, it makes it more likely that an uncertain third party (as Victor indicates) will take my views more seriously than the views of those who are happily throwing insults around.

  5. Bingo.

    I have to say I’m not perfect, I’m after all still a human being with emotions and I can have a bad day. But at least I make an effort to be civil and fair, and when needed I correct myself or apologize if something I said was unwarranted.

    So far it has been effective in creating this scenario (the civil discourse on my channel/website, the rest outside of it): http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20130407.gif

  6. Rachel says:

    Well this speaks quite negatively of the WUWT site and Anthony Watts. Perhaps it is just more proof of the increasingly outlandish voices there and the complete absence of integrity.

  7. BBD says:

    Just imagine if SkS or RC posted an informationally-selective and potentially misleading graph. Imagine the frothing and howling that would ensue. We’d never hear the end of it.

  8. dana1981 says:

    Watts has always had an exceptionally thin skin. His blog levels all kinds of unfounded accusations and insults towards people he doesn’t like, for example James Hansen, Mike Mann, and Al Gore. But if anyone dares say anything the least bit critical of Watts, he loses his mind.

    I think it makes sense if you try to understand his psychology. Watts craves fame and respectability. He’s gotten a small measure of it through WUWT, but only from deniers. So he’s very sensitive to being ‘disrespected’. At the same time, his blog achieved its popularity by making those various accusations about climate scientists. Thus in order to maintain the measure of ‘fame’ he’s achieved, he has to dish it out, but pshychologically he’s delicate, and he can’t take it coming back at him.

  9. Our Eric writes to the Oz Press Council about lies *against* the House of Watts; ignoring those *from* the House of Watts? That’s a Murdochian level of cheek. Bless.

  10. Fragmeister says:

    If the deniers are so sure of their case, why do they keep running to hide behind the mummy’s skirt we call the law? Complaints to regulators, threats of legal action. I know most of it is bluster but it shows a lack of confidence in their own ideas and competence if you ask me that they have to use threats instead of evidence and persuasion.

  11. BBD says:

    Since not everyone here may be familiar with Eric Worrall, here is a comment of his from Watching the Deniers:

    You can’t ignore us – because we can and will stop you from implementing solutions you favour, unless our conditions are satisfied.

    We don’t believe there is a problem – so it is you who has to come to us. I don’t like coal, but I don’t fear it the way you do.

    See it as blackmail, with the future viability of the ecosystem at stake, if you will – but work with us, or watch our deadlock destroy your world.

    Your choice.

  12. Edohiguma says:

    Funny, you whine about “civilized dialogue” and the “deniers'” refusal to do so… when your leading weirdos make commercial about exploding people who produce “too much CO2” and dead polar bears raining from the sky, while one of your leading assmonkeys made a ridiculous graph and completely ignored 2,000 years of proven temperature development (proven by factual archeological evidence, not tree ring data manipulation.)

    You people are hilarious. And yet still fail to prove a damn thing. No surprise there.

  13. What’s that got to do with me? I’m not involved with commercials about exploding people or dead polar bears. Plus, not really whining, simply pointing out that the level of dialogue is – unfortunately – very poor as proven by your use of the term “assmonkey”. You’ve essentially illustrated the point I was trying to make.

  14. Rachel says:

    This is a pointless comment from Edohiguma and worthy only of the trash.

  15. Possibly, but I’ve yet to apply any moderation and, currently, think that it’s worth allowing such comments so that others can make their own judgement of their merits. Of course, I haven’t yet been bombarded by rude and unpleasant comments, so my view may change in time if that were to happen.

  16. People like me have condemned this video, it missed the humour mark and it played into the narrative some folks are trying to establish about environmentalists:

    “The script for this commercial was written by Richard Curtis (writer of for example Blackadder, Four Weddings and Notting Hill). A very well known comedic writer. So the idea behind this commercial was trying to make a funny video about what they are trying to achieve.
    What they were trying to go for, by the looks of it, was some self mockery and trying to explain their program. Which they actually do during the entire video. With the suggestion that joining them is best for your own interests. Not in the way of preventing someone from blowing you up, but with saving yourself from the consequences of climate change. But missing the humour mark by miles, and so horrendously I’m at a lost for words.”

    That they were attempting humour becomes really obvious if you read the following article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film

    But then again, one video can’t be used to condemn everyone. You deal with the people who are behind it.

    And I suspect I know which video you’re referencing with the polar bears:

    Again, I don’t like these kind of videos because of their emotional aim and sensationalism. It can be a very potent way of communicating a message, but this I find goes too far.

    What you’re doing is simply a guilt by association fallacy. You cannot use some random video against someone who isn’t associated with it.

    The cherry on top I find is that you call Dr. Michael Mann one of our “leading assmonkeys” (I suspect you’re referencing his research). If you complain about the other side not being polite, be polite yourself, or else it can make you look like a hypocrite:

  17. Marco says:

    Let’s also remember that this comes from the blog whose owner several years ago wrote a report that accused NCDC of deliberately(!) removing temperature stations to inflate the warming trend. That false claim, in two ways false, was later silently removed from the report. I have yet to see Anthony Watts apologize for this false claim.

    It’s discussed here:
    Note that the link to the report of Watts and D’Aleo now refers to a newer version that does not include this claim

  18. BBD says:

    while one of your leading assmonkeys made a ridiculous graph and completely ignored 2,000 years of proven temperature development (proven by factual archeological evidence, not tree ring data manipulation.)

    The latest research (PAGES 2k) independently confirms the Mannean Hockey Stick of MBH98/99. Look at the pretty picture.

    The graph you mock is neither ridiculous nor an artefact of data manipulation in the sense you imply.

    You people are hilarious. And yet still fail to prove a damn thing. No surprise there.


  19. BBD says:

    Of course, I haven’t yet been bombarded by rude and unpleasant comments, so my view may change in time if that were to happen.

    On current form Wotts, it’s only a matter of time. If I may say so, it’s encouraging to see more bloggers openly questioning the online misinformation, even if they are bullied and attacked for doing so. Perhaps especially if they are bullied and threatened etc.

  20. bratisla says:

    “The latest research (PAGES 2k) independently confirms the Mannean Hockey Stick of MBH98/99 as a dozen did before . Look at the pretty picture.”

    Corrected for complete accuracy and strenghtening of the message. 😉

    McIntyre cannot “audit” the studies as fast as they get out. Poor Steve.

  21. Bill Jamison says:

    “Anthony had simply left out something that many would regard as important”

    nope. Anthony simply continued to link to the original chart that NSIDC still produced on a daily basis. Most of the charts created by other agencies that show similar data fail to include the STD. As NSIDC says adding the STD provides context but it certainly isn’t necessary for that chart considering it is designed to let you know where the current year fits compared to the long term average. Is including the STD better? Yeah it is. It’s good to know whether the variance is within the normal range or not.

  22. Fair enough. I can’t claim to know precisely what Anthony did. My understanding was that he had generated the chart and chosen not to include the STD, but happy to be corrected if that wasn’t the case. Even if he did, I don’t think it’s a major issue. If I have an issue with regards to this it relates to the style of rhetoric he seems comfortable allowing on his site.

    I will say that the only chart I can find of the same type on the NSIDC site includes the STD. I don’t think that this is a huge issue but, as you seem to suggest, the variance does add knowledge about where the current data fits within the normal range.

  23. Bill Jamison says:

    Ben your understanding was wrong. NSIDC generated that chart on a daily (?) basis and has for years. WUWT simply linked to it. If you go to the WUWT Sea Ice Page and mouse over any image you can see the link. WUWT doesn’t host any of those images. It really was a silly mistake of Mike to make that claim.

    But as I’ve said, even if WUWT had used a chart they specifically generated it would still be a silly claim since other charts on the Sea Ice Reference Page do show the STD.

  24. Bill Jamison says:

    BTW NSIDC has changed their page so that both links resolve to the same image – in other words if you use the URL that used to show the chart without the STD you’ll now get the chart with STD shown.

  25. Fine, as I said, happy to be corrected. Names not Ben by the way. As I mentioned, my issue is more with the accepted rhetoric than with Anthony leaving out the STD (or, maybe more correctly, linking to one without an STD).

  26. Well, I did notice that it seemed hard to find one without an STD now.

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