Fraudulent?

Greg Laden has a good post about Judith Curry’s recent post in which she implies that the Hockey Stick might be fraudulent. I recommend reading Greg’s post, but essentially he points out that it’s perfectly normal to take a large number of different datasets and combine them to try and illustrate something relatively simple. In the case of the Hockey Stick graph, it’s to try and present our global (or Northern Hemisphere in some cases) temperature history over the last millennium.

If you want to know more about the Hockey Stick controversy, you can read Greg’s post. I thought I might just make a broader point. Maybe I’m just odd (yes, yes, okay, I am), but as far as I’m concerned, the important question – when it comes to something like the Hockey Stick – is whether or not what it presents is a reasonable representation of our millenial temperature history. All these claims of fraud, misconduct, etc. just seem to be attempts to undermine a result without actually showing that what it presents is wrong. In fact, I would argue that if a scientific result is based on fraud/misconduct, it should be trivial to show that it’s wrong (i.e., redo the work in a non-fraudulent way and present the correct result, or show that you can’t reproduce the result). It’s certainly my opinion that all these accusations of fraud/misconduct are really just because the Hockey Stick graph presents a result that some find inconvenient.

I mentioned in an earlier comment that I was engaged in a scientific debate with another group who, in my view, are presenting their work in a way that somewhat overplays the significance of what they’re doing. However, what they’ve actually shown is interesting and quite important, but not really for the reasons that they suggest. I do find it quite annoying that they’ve written some papers presenting their results in a way that sounds much more interesting than – in my view – it warrants (their papers are getting more citations than mine 🙂 ). On the other hand, I’ve managed to write a couple of papers in response and can show that what they’re suggesting is wrong without needing to make any suggestions of scientific misconduct. At the end of the day, we gain understanding even if there are some blips along the way.

It would be much better, in my view, if people were willing to be more careful about what they present and not overplay the significance of their results, but scientific debates are perfectly normal and can, typically, take place without throwing around accusations of fraud and misconduct. There are certainly occasions when it is valid to make an accusation of fraud or misconduct, but this would normally be when someone cannot replicate a result and it becomes clear that the original researchers were fundamentally dishonest in some way. A mistake does not constitute fraud, nor does doing something in a way that others might disagree with.

That’s really all I was going to say. I just still find myself being amazed by what some people seem willing to say. I know that by now I should no longer be amazed by what anyone says, but I still am. I don’t really see how throwing around accusations of fraud and misconduct helps us to gain scientific understanding but, my guess, is that that isn’t the goal of those who do so.

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279 Responses to Fraudulent?

  1. Rachel M says:

    Wow. I can’t believe Judith Curry’s post title. Accusing someone of fraud is defamatory if it’s false and I really don’t think the addition of a ? improves it all that much; perhaps marginally, but that’s all.

  2. Rachel,
    Yes, I find it equally strange. I get the impression that a lot of this is just a personal clash between Judith and Michael Mann. Judith implies that his work is fraudulent, he responds by calling her a science misinformer. I suspect this started with Judith supporting Andrew Montford’s book (The Hockey Stick Illusion) but it’s probably got to the point now where there’s no going back.

  3. BBD says:

    When is it going to dawn on certain commenters that insinuating ‘fraud’ in the MBH99 hockey stick is self-harming? Much as claiming that 9/11 was orchestrated by the powers that be or a/n other crank conspiracy theory?

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  4. BBD says:

    Can we take ‘fra*d’ off the auto-moderation register please? At least for this thread…

    😉

  5. verytallguy says:

    Greg’s post is highly entertaining and  hits the bullseye

    Judith Curry and the flock of winged monkeys and child molesters that comment on her blog

     (I hope the latter is factually correct, or the my learned friends may be rubbing their hands.)

  6. BBD,
    Done.

    When is it going to dawn on certain commenters that insinuating ‘fraud’ in the MBH99 hockey stick is self-harming?

    This is what I would have thought, but it seems that some (with sufficiently thick skins) seem able to make whatever kind of claim they like, and when it turns out to be wrong (or not necessarily true) they just move on to something else without any real repercussions. In fact, these very people, complain bitterly whenever anyone any remotely similar accusation in their direction. I think the tern for this is victim bully.

  7. vtg,
    I believe that that claim is true and – like Greg – I’ve been similarly surprised that Judith has no issue with that person commenting. I also enjoyed his comment about no monks being available in the late 20th century to help produce colour figures.

  8. Interesting to note that Ms Curry, who accuses others of fraud, is about to give a presentation for the George C. Marshall Institute on the 16th*. That’s the George C. Marshall Institute which, as Naomi Oreskes says, “has lobbied politically to create a false perception of scientific uncertainty over the negative effects of second-hand smoke, the carcinogenic nature of tobacco smoking, the existence of acid rain, and on the evidence between CFCs and ozone depletion.”** Which all sounds pretty fraudulent to me: but I can see how Ms Curry’s belief in ‘deep climate uncertainty’ fits right in.

    *http://marshall.org/events/state-of-the-climate-debate/
    **http://www.desmogblog.com/george-c-marshall-institute

  9. BBD says:

    She hasn’t really got any further to fall, has she?

  10. BBD,
    I don’t know about that, but I’m not sure how she can get out of the hole. It’s pretty deep now.

  11. Marco says:

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=07472bb4-3eeb-42da-a49d-964165860275
    http://docs.house.gov/meetings/SY/SY18/20130425/100766/HHRG-113-SY18-Wstate-CurryJ-20130425.pdf
    In these testimonies, Curry cited her paper “Climate science and the uncertainty monster”, but did not point out the comment by Hegerl et al, that sunk several of the claims in her paper. She left out inconvenient data and can under no circumstance claim she wasn’t aware of the comment.

    Draw your own conclusions of whether this is:
    a) just fine
    b) sloppy
    c) questionable
    d) clear misconduct (fraud?)

  12. Marco,
    I haven’t seen Hegerl’s paper, but shall have a look. Judith also likes to refer to her Consensus paper which – as far as I can tell – tries to argue that the IPCC is an attempt to define a consensus position, rather than being an organisation that attempts to present the current consensus position. As far as I can tell, her Consensus paper is really just an argument against her own strawman.

  13. pblackmar says:

    I have spent a great deal of time reading blogs, tweets, papers, abstracts, etc. as an interested bystander to the climate change battles. Often over matched due to a limited science background, I nonetheless have found much of it interesting.

    However, I now find myself growing tired of the constant name callling and mud slinging and am ready to move on to the next phase. What are the various options available to us to limit carbon production? What are the predicted results of such programs on the atmosphere, economy and lifestyle? What are the implications of such programs on developing regions? Is it possible to persuade other parts of the world to follow suit and install such programs?

    Basic problem resolution is to identify a problem, determine options, implement best alternative. It’s time to debate the alternatives with the same vigor as debating the existence/non-existence of AGW. And, lets take all the money on both sides that is going into the current debate and use it towards developing new energy technologies.

    Are there are reputable blogs like this one where such topics are discussed?

    Thx

  14. pblackmar,

    Are there are reputable blogs like this one where such topics are discussed?

    Thanks. I think Skeptical Science is an excellent overall resource. RealClimate is also good, but has gone a bit quiet recently. If you want to know more about the details of the science itself, Science of Doom is excellent. I find myself referring Isaac Held’s blog sometimes when I’m looking for scientific details. Arthur Smith has some good posts, but also a little old (I think). I also enjoy Eli Rabett’s blog and William Connolley’s.

    What I find is that it’s quite difficult to have the kind of discussion that I think you would like because there are still some who don’t want to accept that there is a problem to solve. My personal background means that I’ve been focusing on the science itself, or writing posts expressing opinions that I think I’m qualified (in some way) to express. The details of how we can solve the problems we face and what impact that will have on our societies and economies is a little beyond my expertise, so I’ve tried to avoid it (not always succeeding, of course). Admittedly, that doesn’t stop others, so maybe I should dive in and see how it goes 🙂

  15. Marco says:

    pblackmar, the blogs ATTP points out are probably not for you if you want to see discussions on mitigation/adaptation. You would probably be better off at Barry Brook’s http://bravenewclimate.com/
    It has a moderated forum, and personal attacks are uncommon. That doesn’t mean there are no robust discussions.

    The Oil Drum has sadly stopped, but you could check out the site to get some background information and read the discussions.

    I’m sure others have additional suggestions.

  16. pblackmar says:

    ATTP

    Thank you. Your blog and followers have been very helpful. As a non-scientist, the web can be a bit overwhelming trying to determine the credibility of information, particularly given the volume available on this topic.

    As for you diving in, take the jump. As long as you give links to legitimate sources of information (as it seems the norm here), there are plenty who will benefit from your work.

  17. “On the other hand, I’ve managed to write a couple of papers in response and can show that what they’re suggesting is wrong without needing to make any suggestions of scientific misconduct.”

    The issues with trying to debunk a wrong scientific argument are twofold. (1) It takes a lot of time to do the work. As somehow said commenting on a SkyDragon book on an Amazon review: “contains numerous misconceptions of physics. To correct or explain all of them would need a document almost as long as the book itself.” (2) By criticizing a totally wrong paper you can open yourself up to Rovian criticism of a minor mistake in your own argument. Like when you label a misspelling as “mispelling”. If you are not preaching to the crowd, it is you that will get skewered.

    It’s basically a thankless task.

  18. WHUT,
    You’re right. It’s isn’t trivial to debunk an incorrect argument. In my particular case, one problem is that the details are quite complex. Most who understand the details agree. However, the broader community don’t all appreciate these details and so are willing to accept a result as being plausible even if it really isn’t.

  19. BBD says:

    pblackmar

    You may find David Victor’s book Global Warming Gridlock of value if you are interested in public policy. I can only speak for myself, but I would recommend it highly.

  20. ” (I hope the latter is factually correct, or the my learned friends may be rubbing their hands.)”

    Don’t worry. It’s absolutely true and the guy has been on Curry’s site for a few years. What’s worse, Curry knows all about it and for some reason will not ban the guy. The moderators at http://PhysOrg.com did just that several years ago, so he moved on to CE.

    [Mod : I’m just going to remove this line. People can find out who this refers to by going back to Greg’s post and can find the evidence to support the assertion if they wish to. I would rather not have to explicit an association here.]

    The point that Greg Laden is making is in exposing the blatant hypocrisy. Here we have Curry condoning (?) Steyn’s slander and the real thing is lurking below taking several potshots at Mann. Quite sickening.

  21. pblackmar says:

    Marco, BBD thank you for the suggestions.

    ATTP

    As it seems this whole business stresses you out at times, I have re-posted a tongue and cheek post at http://pblackmar.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/yippease-2/. I can only leave it up for a while before I must remove it. Hope it brings a few chuckles. Thx again

  22. As it seems this whole business stresses you out at times.

    Ooops, is it that obvious? 😉

  23. andrew adams says:

    Don’t worry. It’s absolutely true and the guy has been on Curry’s site for a few years. What’s worse, Curry knows all about it and for some reason will not ban the guy.

    I’m not sure about this. I think it’s a least defensible to say that he has been dealt with by the relevant authorities and therefore he shouldn’t necessarily be excluded from all civil society, at least those parts of it where he not likely to pose an actual threat to others. Which is not to say I would object if Curry did decide to ban him. Mind you, there would certainly be a case for banning him on the grounds of his batsh*t insane opinions, although that would hardly apply just to him.

  24. Andrew Adams,
    I agree in principle. I think your point is well made, but I’d rather we didn’t delve into this issue in too much detail.

  25. andrew adams says:

    I think the reason Mann gets accused of fraud rather than just being mistaken is partly down to sheer malice, but it’s also part of a wider narrative whereby alarmist scientists saw the MWP as being a bit threat to their narrative and so were determined to make it disappear.
    This is despite the fact that a) the MWP does not disprove the AGW narrative and b) by the time MBH99 was published AGW was already seen as such a threat that Kyoto had already been enacted two years earlier.

  26. andrew adams says:

    Anders,

    Yes, agreed.

  27. Andrew Adams,
    Indeed, I was going to make a similar point in the post but decided it was getting convoluted enough as it was. The basic message from the Hockey Stick is that we’ve had a broadly stable climate for a thousand years or longer (10000 if you consider Marcott et al.) – until we started changing it, that is. If the basic Hockey Stick is wrong in a major way, then one conclusion is that we’re much more sensitive to small perturbations than we think we currently are. That would imply that we should be even more concerned than we currently are. That people think that showing a large MWP means we can be less concerned (it’s happened before) just shows how little they understand the underlying physical processes that likely drive changes to our climate.

  28. BBD says:

    And anyway, subsequent work has shown that there was indeed no global and synchronous ‘MWP’ and that the very term is obsolete and misleading (PAGES-2k 2013).

    This ‘fraud’ stuff is libellous and stupid.

  29. Joshua says:

    Yuck,

    Not trying to be a school marm here, but I find this thread to be disappointing.

    When I read Laden’s post, I thought that the “flying monkeys and child molesters” comment to be an example of the kind of juvenile and tribalistic rhetoric I commonly find among “skeptics,” and the effect it had on me was to undermine my confidence in Laden’s science (just as such rhetoric does when I see it coming from “skeptics’). So by extension, I consider it a black mark on this site to see not only indifference to Laden’s rhetoric, but actually support for it.

    The flying monkeys comment is kind of funny, and it does create an image that bears a certain resemblance to the gestalt of Climate Etc. – but what is the point of using such rhetoric? Seems to me that the only outcome can be a hardening of tribal lines and a doubling-down on name-calling (not that I think that the differences between the hardcore “skeptics” and “realists” – the only folks like to read Laden’s post – are likely to be reconcilable in any significant degree anyway).’

    But the “child molesters” comment is, IMO, more than just useless – I find it offensive. Oliver is perhaps not out of the mainstream at Judith’s in terms of how he leverages the climate wars as a proxy for political warfare (he seems to buy into the whole AGW is a leftwing conspiracy line of thinking), but it’s hard to say that his views are characteristic of the Denizens. But more significantly the whole guilt by association implication w/r/t child molestation is really taking the lowest road on the map. And the notion that Judith should somehow be responsible for the history of people who comment at her site is another example of what I see at Climate Etc. on a regular basis – people trying to leverage serious issues to score points in the climate wars. It’s at the same level as when “skeptics” exploit holocaust denial to score points about the term “denier.”

    A simple request. Leave that kind of nonsense for the “skeptics.”

  30. Chris says:

    My guess is that Judith Curry is positioning herself as an expert witness for the forthcoming Michael Mann vs National Review et al trial of the century!

  31. Joshua,

    A simple request. Leave that kind of nonsense for the “skeptics.”

    I was trying to. I think Andrew Adams made a fair point. I’m actually not that comfortable discussing it at all.

  32. Joshua – you forget the relevance – Steyn’s article against Mann. Greg was simply throwing the shit back in their face – with a *real* example at Climate Etc.

  33. I’ve posted this at Curry’s:

    Professor Curry, are you being paid to attend the Marshall Institute and Texas Public Policy Foundation events? Aren’t both of these groups overtly political and overtly partisan?

    Prior to the Montreal Protocol do you believe that CFCs were affecting ozone in the atmosphere? Was the Marshall Institute fraudulent(?) for claiming otherwise? Do you believe that secondhand-cigarette smoke has deleterious health effects? Was the Marshall Institute fraudulent(?) for claiming otherwise.

    Recently Dr Roy Spencer, one of the “star studded” (sic) experts who will also be at the TPPF event, questioned whether the global increase in atmospheric CO2 was anthropogenic. Was Dr Spencer being fraudulent(?) with this claim? Is it not easily shown that the increase is anthropogenic? Shouldn’t we characterize anyone that questions the nature of the atmnospheric CO2 increase as either ignorant, a charlatan, or a fraud(?)? And anti-science too – since multiple lines of scientific evidence show the anthropogenic origins?

    If a scientist publishes a paper accusing other scientists of “circular reasoning” – but it is then shown the reasoning is *not* circular, is the original charge just wrong or fraudulent(?)? In either case, should the scientist then cite the paper to others – say for instance congress – without including the caveat that parts of the paper have been shown to be in error? Is failing to do so fraudulent(?).

    Is making an accusation by including a question mark a coward’s way of avoiding responsibility?

    Does Greg Laden win the internet today?

  34. Joshua says:

    Kevin –

    ==> “Joshua – you forget the relevance – Steyn’s article against Mann. Greg was simply throwing the shit back in their face – with a *real* example at Climate Etc.

    It wasn’t lost on me. I think that Steyn’s rhetoric is juvenile. Worse, it is a cynical exploitation of a serious issue (child molestation) for the sake of scoring cheap points.

    When I see “skeptics” defending that kind of rhetoric – in particular those who decry “name-calling” and such (as Judith does often) – I find it an example of selective reasoning and tribalistic application of judgement criteria. Since I see that kind of reasoning so often at places like Climate Etc., that’s why I put “skeptic” in quotes.

    I like to think that I can come here and see higher and more consistent standards applied.

  35. I like to think that I can come here and see higher and more consistent standards applied.

    So would I, but it doesn’t always work that way. I’ve never said that I really know what I’m doing 🙂

  36. Tom Curtis says:

    Joshua,

    OK, I did raise my eyebrows at Laden’s oblique suggestion that Curry may be extremely hydrophobic, and notice of the irony re Steyn’s accusations that Curry can find no fault with, and her forbearance with regard to a prominent poster on her site. But was he wrong to make those references?

    I don’t think so.

    First, let us dispose of the argument that use of such insults turns minds of. Had that been true, the climate change deniers would never have got a hearing, and radio shock jocks would have no audience. You may want it to be the case that such insults turn people of, and they may even turn you of (which would be a peculiar irrationality), but there is no reason to think they turn people of in general.

    Second, I will grant that such insults tend to reinforce tribalism – but tribalism on this issue is bone deep already – most especially on the side of the deniers. And no amount of polite exchange will change that, so that is not a good reason.

    Indeed, it is a good reason to insult, IMO. The fact is that the criticisms of AGW from climate change deniers are not rational. They are not scientific, but pseudo-scientific. Being polite in our debates with, or about climate change deniers suggests that it is possible to have a reasonable conversation with them, but no such reasonable conversation is in fact possible.

    In the Creation wars, one of the things that was very rapidly learnt was that creationists always wanted to debate evolutionists because there task was to create the appearance of a debate, where none existed. Conversely evolutionists would no more debate creationists than, to paraphrase Dr Klinghoffer, they would debate “…an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist.”

    Greg Laden, with his insults, merely conveyed with suitable scorn the fact that neither Curry at Climate Etc, nor her acolytes are in fact worthy of debate. Nor will they be so until the clearly embrace science by forgoing pseudo-science (such as Salby’s) and actively requiring of their fellow travellers that they also forego pseudo-science by rigorously criticizing it when it occurs.

  37. For those who are interested, here’s a link to data/code that replicates Mann’s hockey-stick results, and also shoots down the “Mann’s short-centering mines for hockey-sticks” claim: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0pXYsr8qYS6OXRzZGdNcDlvaDg/edit?usp=sharing

    The code was written by Eugene Wahl and Caspar Ammann for their paper “Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence”.

    The master zip-file at the above link contains two zip-file data/code bundles.

    The WAHL-AMMANN-2007-NOAMER.zip file contains data/code that demonstrates that the “short-centering” issue in Mann’s NOAMER SVD/PC processing really is a non-issue. This code even generates PDF plots that show the (non)-effect of Mann’s short-centering convention.

    Folks who claim that the “hockey stick” seen in the NOAMER data is an artifact of Mann’s short-centering are blowing smoke, and this code will make this very clear to those who have the requisite mathematical background (i.e. a basic understanding of the SVD algorithm, least-squares methods, etc.).

    The WAHL-AMMANN-2007-GLOBAL.zip file contains data/code that replicates Mann’s stepwise global reconstructions. It’s a much tougher slog than the NOAMER code above (but I’m slowly RTFM’ing my way through it).

    All of the above runs “out of the box” on my iMac and Linux laptop. To run it, you will need to install R (http://r-project.org) on your systems first. If the NOAMER code does not automatically display the PDF plot files it generates, that means that you are missing an R graphics/plotting package. No problem — just use whatever PDF display software you have on your system to look at them.

    (Getting this to run on Windows machines might take a little more work — I haven’t tried, though).

    To run the NOAMER code at the Unix/Mac terminal command-line, simply cd to the directory where the code has been unzipped and type: R CMD BATCH analysis.R

    For the global reconstruction code, run this command: R CMD BATCH mann_masterfile.r

    The above commands will generate .Rout files that contain logging/error info that can help with trouble-shooting if things don’t work.

    But the bottom line is, all the data&code needed to verify that Mann’s hockey-stick is a genuine result (as in “not a fraud”, Ms. Curry) are freely available and have been so for years.

    Final note: For those who don’t know R very well (such as yours truly), all the above will be a *very* tough slog. You will need to embrace the letters “RTFM”.

  38. Caerbannog,
    Thanks, I’ve been trying to get the McIntrye & McKitrick code to work, but it keeps crashing and I finally gave up. Maybe I’ll try again with this if I get a chance.

  39. wharf rat says:

    Marco…
    The closest place to an Oil Drum hangout is Ron Patterson’s (Darwinian) blog.

    http://peakoilbarrel.com/

    Rat

  40. Marco says:

    Thanks, wharf rat. Bit too much oil, though 😉

  41. Joshua says:

    ==> So would I, but it doesn’t always work that way. I’ve never said that I really know what I’m doing :-).”

    Generally I think I do see higher and more consistent standards applied here. I think what you’re facing is the difficult of maintaining those higher and more consistent standards over time. My experiences is that there is a natural tendency is to become more identified – not the least because there’s a concerted effort by others to shape your identity.

    With stronger identification, there’s a stronger tendency towards identity-protective and identity-aggressive behaviors. Things that perhaps would have seemed out of line previously begin to seem acceptable, because they become identity reinforcing.

  42. Joshua,
    I think what you say is exactly right. It’s quite hard to remember what motivated me to do this in the first place and to remember the standards I tried to set when I did so. That’s why it useful when some people point out when I appear to be getting it wrong. Admittedly, there are actually a large number of people who think I’m getting it wrong, but only a small number I’d be willing to listen to. Also, having a moderator who is willing to even moderate my comments is very useful 🙂

  43. Tom Curtis: “Indeed, it is a good reason to insult, IMO. The fact is that the criticisms of AGW from climate change deniers are not rational. They are not scientific, but pseudo-scientific. Being polite in our debates with, or about climate change deniers suggests that it is possible to have a reasonable conversation with them, but no such reasonable conversation is in fact possible.”

    Why not simply say that the way you say it here: “The fact is that the criticisms of AGW from climate change deniers are not rational. They are not scientific, but pseudo-scientific.” Why resort to such horrible rhetoric?

    I have not read the post of Greg Laden about Curry, but I unfollowed the guy on twitter because his hyperbolic ugly rhetoric turned me of. That is a pity because he is clearly knowledgeable (if also overconfident about his knowledge) and smart.

    Personally, I would prefer there to be a very clear difference in tone between the blogs of the political extremists and the blogs on science. It may be sometimes hard not to return in kind, but the difference in tone helps reasonable people to more clearly see who has the good arguments. And I simply do not want to give up my moral values and go down to the level of these people.

    Tom Curtis: “First, let us dispose of the argument that use of such insults turns minds of. Had that been true, the climate change deniers would never have got a hearing, and radio shock jocks would have no audience. You may want it to be the case that such insults turn people of, and they may even turn you of (which would be a peculiar irrationality), but there is no reason to think they turn people of in general.”

    The ugly tone may be convincing, especially for people who already identify with that group and now learn that nastiness towards climate scientists belongs to that group’s identity, but it is not conductive to rational thought. Convincing and well-thought are two different things.

  44. Victor,
    Your comment reminds me of something that I may have mentioned before. It seems that in many contentious topics, one “side” can engage in extreme rhetoric and get away with it, while “the other” has to avoid it because it typically backfires if they do become more extreme. If you consider American politics, there appear to be a good number of right-wing people (Beck, Hannity, …) who seem to be able to gain audiences by saying extreme things (it does backfire sometimes, but needs to be pretty extreme to do so). The other “side” seems to be people like Jon Stewart, Colbert, John Oliver (they’re not specifically left-wing, but more so than Fox News, for example). Similarly in the climate debate, some get away with things that many would regard as unacceptable but others get heavily criticised for doing so. As much as I agree with Tom that insults don’t turn minds off, I also completely agree with you that it’s not conducive to rational thought. My gut feeling is that both of these points are correct; the subtlety being that some are not actually interested in rational thought (even if that is what they claim to be aiming for).

  45. Magma says:

    After setting the context, Curry begins her comments by damning Mann with faint praise with the weak and grudging statements:

    In a scientific or professional context, ‘fraud’ is inferred to refer to research misconduct, which is characterized by falsification, fabrication and/or plagiarism. I don’t think that this is the case with regards to Mann’s hockey stick, and Steve McIntyre has said previously that he doesn’t think so either.

    She then follows it up with a thicket of words that boiled down amount to the sly claim that “well, Mann probably was acting fraudulently in some reasonable senses of the word”.

    I’ll repeat a question I’ve asked before: At least in the public arena, is Curry even pretending to act as a disinterested research scientist anymore?

  46. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    ==>First, let us dispose of the argument that use of such insults turns minds of. Had that been true, the climate change deniers would never have got a hearing, and radio shock jocks would have no audience. You may want it to be the case that such insults turn people of, and they may even turn you of (which would be a peculiar irrationality), but there is no reason to think they turn people of in general.”

    I think that “in general” the turn people off when they identify with the target and they turn people on when they identify with the insulter. I tend to think that there is a relatively small % of people that are unaligned, and who are consistently turned off (or on) by insults irrespective of the source (and how they identify in relation to the source).

    I’m speaking for myself, here – not trying to make some larger argument about the societal-scale dynamics. If the issue were less polarized, then maybe arguments along those lines could be made – but since climate change is so strongly identified with how most people identity along the lines of “world view” – I think the impact of insults is noise amid the signal.

    ==> “:Second, I will grant that such insults tend to reinforce tribalism – but tribalism on this issue is bone deep already – most especially on the side of the deniers. And no amount of polite exchange will change that, so that is not a good reason.”

    I don’t mean to suggest that as a reason [not to insult].

    => “Indeed, it is a good reason to insult, IMO. The fact is that the criticisms of AGW from climate change deniers are not rational. They are not scientific, but pseudo-scientific. Being polite in our debates with, or about climate change deniers suggests that it is possible to have a reasonable conversation with them, but no such reasonable conversation is in fact possible.”

    Up to there, I don’t really disagree. But I do disagree at that point because I think your logic doesn’t hold up. I think it doesn’t have much impact “in general” because the lines are already drawn. Doesn’t have much of a negative impact and does’t have much of a positive impact. People respond to the insults in easily predictable ways. Steyn insults Mann and most “skeptics” pat each other on the back. Laden insults Judith and “realists” say “Way to go, Greg.” Same as it ever was.

    I don’t see any mechanism by which it makes a difference in either direction, because the influence of identification overrides the direct impact of the rhetoric. The direction of the impact of the rhetoric, to the extent that it exists, is a function of the original identification. So my point is that the net effect is minimal. No one’s orientation is changed. At most, the already preexisting orientation is strengthened to some degree. So what? In the end, it’s really just same as it ever was.

    ==> In the Creation wars, one of the things that was very rapidly learnt was that creationists always wanted to debate evolutionists because there task was to create the appearance of a debate, where none existed. Conversely evolutionists would no more debate creationists than, to paraphrase Dr Klinghoffer, they would debate “…an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist.”

    I don’t by the “no debate exists” line of reasoning. In fact, there is a public debate – whether you think there are scientific merits to both sides of the debate or not. You can’t just will that reality away because it doesn’t fit with your view on the science. You and I have run up against this basic roadblock before. I see this disagreement as being roughly equivalent to the prescriptivist vs. descriptivist perspectives on the meaning of words.

    ==> “Greg Laden, with his insults, merely conveyed with suitable scorn the fact that neither Curry at Climate Etc, nor her acolytes are in fact worthy of debate. Nor will they be so until the clearly embrace science by forgoing pseudo-science (such as Salby’s) and actively requiring of their fellow travellers that they also forego pseudo-science by rigorously criticizing it when it occurs.”

    I don’t agree. I think he also conveyed juvenile behavior and a willingness to exploit a real problem (child molestation) to score cheap points in the climate wars. That you can say what he “merely conveyed” does not alter my perception of what he conveyed. Once again, IMO, your argument is the parallel to when “skeptics” try to tell me that when someone calls someone else a “denier,” they are “merely convey[ing]” a comparison to holocaust deniers. Your (or their) perception of what someone is “merely conveying” does not create reality.

  47. BBD says:

    Magma

    Of course not. She’s very clearly aligned with the misinformers and she is proactive, not disinterested.

  48. Joshua says:

    My response to Tom is stuck in moderation. Is the “d” word in the moderation filter?

  49. ATTP: “Your comment reminds me of something that I may have mentioned before. It seems that in many contentious topics, one “side” can engage in extreme rhetoric and get away with it, while “the other” has to avoid it because it typically backfires if they do become more extreme. “

    That they can get away with that, is because their audience does not mind or likes it and the rest of the world does not expect any better from this group.

    That our side cannot get away with that is because we expect higher standards. I like that. I like that a lot. And would like to keep it that way.

    That they behave like that and that their audience is fine with that is a sign of the lack of conservative and Christian values among the climate “sceptics”. That leaves us with one last group on the right wing. Living in Germany, where people know their history very well, I would not want to copy any behavior from that group.

  50. Joshua says:

    ==> “I’ll repeat a question I’ve asked before: At least in the public arena, is Curry even pretending to act as a disinterested research scientist anymore?”

    Actually, I disagree with BBD there. She is, absolutely, claiming that she is acting as a “disinterested research scientist” in that she insists that her contribution is non-aligned policy-wise. Personally, I think that she does so by using highly arbitrary (in the sense of subjective) definitions of terms. And I think that she fails to quantify the measures she uses in making that claim. But she is absolutely making that claim. If she can make such a claim after giving testimony at the behest of Republican Congressional members (and conflating “global warming” with trends in mean surface temps in the process of doing so), then she will undoubtedly continue to make that claim while participating in that conference. And I predict that she will continue to ignore requests to support her claims (w/r/t what comprises “activism” and “advocacy”) scientifically.

  51. > Greg was simply throwing the shit back in their face – with a *real* example at Climate Etc.

    As far as I can remember, Greg has never been personally insulted by Judy or by the Denizens. Now, it will turn into a food fight. A food fight Greg himself started.

    Which ClimateBall ™ profits most from these food fights?

    Saying “Mann carried out scientific misconduct when he did something that is normal to do, and in fact, that he didn’t actually do” would have been enough. That’s already qui funny as it is.

    ****

    Incidentally, GaryM compared me and Joshua to two of the three monkeys. Not that I mind much. It’s just that if spectators who seldom thread on these ClimateBall ™ threads could think a bit before typing, that would be nice.

    At least Greg went there and posted his link.

    ***

    The main reason why playing the man is wrong is that it can be used against you. Judy tried it recently against me. By saying that I needed adult supervision, in our case Pekka, it gives me the role of a child. I saw enough kid movies to know that being a kid provides me with lots of weapons. I think she will now be more circumspect.

    Same thing yesterday with hockey videos.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/11/fraudulent-hockey-stick/#comment-627407

    Or take Chief’s rant, where he said I had structural problems with vague ideas or bridges:

    Chief seems to take issue with the issues he attributes to me — and by extension “them”. Something like a “structural problem with vague ideas and bridges.” Ideas, I seem to have shown an appreciation for their vagueness. Bridges? I must confess having a problem with vague bridges. All of them, except perhaps Jeff. Jeff Bridges is Ze dude, after all.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/11/fraudulent-hockey-stick/#comment-627347

    I seldom have to worry much about piling on at Judy’s. But then it’s because I can retaliate. My ancestors played this kind of ball game before most of the Denizen’s countries existed.

    Anyway.

  52. Victor,

    That our side cannot get away with that is because we expect higher standards. I like that. I like that a lot. And would like to keep it that way.

    Yes, I just need to keep reminding myself of this. It’s harder than it seems and sometimes what I would really like to say is very different to what I should say.

    Joshua,
    Indeed, although if you have to keep reminding people of what you are trying to do, maybe you aren’t doing a particularly good job of doing it in a way that makes it obvious (I say that with acknowledged irony).

  53. anoilman says:

    Is this a bad place remind folks that Judith Curry does work for oil companies? Work, that there are already sources for, and that they used to use? If she’s going to question motives, I want to start with hers. How much money is she being paid? Is this ongoing? Is she making money through speaking engagements? Are moneys arms length now? (I recall her hubby may be involved.)

    Being the knob that I am… which hockey stick? Mann’s results have been replicated repeatedly with different methods, and different data sets. (One used water sampled from wells in Alberta. And as we all know oil companies fake data? Is that where Judith wants to go with this?) As far as I’m concerned, Mann ’98 and ’99, are out of the picture, but I do get there is considerable difficulty in gathering samples of disparate forms and trying to tie them global temperatures.

    If I recall, Mann was initially against the working on the hockey stick. It wasn’t until he saw the correlations that he concluded that there they could produce some data with skill. His was one of the first attempts at this kind of work, and from what I heard, there were multiple minor mistakes. I’m not sure how thoroughly it covered globe for sampling.

    I bet if I looked at his papers again I’ll find that all this was discussed. Anybody got a link to his papers?

  54. Joshua says:

    ATTP –

    ==> “Indeed, although if you have to keep reminding people of what you are trying to do, maybe you aren’t doing a particularly good job of doing it in a way that makes it obvious (I say that with acknowledged irony).”

    Not sure what that was in reference to….

    But anyway, sometimes, when people have to keep reminding each other what they’re trying to do, it’s because the engagement lacks good faith (on the part of one or both participants).

  55. Now I read the Laden piece. Could only find one sentence that I would have preferred he would not have written. And I did not find the above suggested reference to Curry being a witch. Overall a lot better founded and friendly than the average WUWT post.

  56. Tom Curtis says:

    Victor, I do say it nicely and rationally like that. When I do, I get accused being impolite, and resorting to insults. That is a very standard ploy by deniers, ie, to take offense at any negative description or indeed (as disputes over the word “denier” show) any description that does not paint them in a favourable light. As a result of that ploy, attempts to be “non-offensive” will merely be leveraged into a requirement to describe the “debate” on denier terms.

    In the mean time they will happily and ad nauseum accuse supporters of climate science, or climate scientists of fraud, of being part of religion, of being part of a conspiracy, of only commenting because you are paid to comment by the government, or of actively desiring genocide (all insults that have at one time or another been directed at me personally). My patience for the antics of deniers probably ended when, on WUWT I was (possibly accidentally) associated with the KKK (which I find particularly offensive given family history). Watts solution was to delete the offending post after I drew attention to the inconsistent moderation, insist that I was the first person to mention the KKK, and to refuse to allow me to correct the record.

    So, (1) we need to completely reject the idea that we should not insult deniers because if we do not, we will find the language to describe the dispute is continuously shaped be deniers by false pleas that some description or another is an insult. Further, (2) we need to show a bit of common sense. There is no way imaginable that there is not “a very clear difference” between here, or Skeptical Science or virtually any science orientated blog I’ve looked at and even the best of the denier sites. If you think there is you have just become inured to the level of insult habitually directed at defenders of science even at “high class” denier blogs like Climate Audit.

    Even in this case, Laden’s insults are a very mild if picturesque analogy of the behaviour of commenters at Climate Etc and an actual true claim. In the mean time we are supposed to consider that worse than Curry’s unwarranted accusation of fraud and the endless echos of that charge that will have followed it in the comments. Or not notice the difference between that and the discussion of “child molester” here which was almost entirely focussed on verifying that it was true (even when first brought up here by vtg) and therefore not something we should take offense at ourselves.

  57. Tom Curtis says:

    Victor, who in literature most famously has a “flock of winged monkeys” as servants?

  58. Joshua,
    I really just meant people who feel obliged to explain what they’re doing. Am out for dinner this evening so could expand later when not using my phone while waiting for the bus 🙂

  59. Tom, ah, sorry for being such a natural scientist. Should still read the wizard of Oz.

  60. ATTP, pay attention to your loved ones and not to your phone.

    Tom, just for the record, the post of Judith Curry is clearly very ugly and puts her in a very bad light. Would she wish to do so, it makes it harder to come back to scientific community. Trust is hard to build up and easy to lose and she sure made a determined effort over the years.

  61. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    Wotts: Apologist for bad research

  62. Magma says:

    anoilman says:
    September 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm
    I bet if I looked at his papers again I’ll find that all this was discussed. Anybody got a link to his papers?

    @ anoilman

    Mann has an up-to-date bibliography on his webpage, with links to many open-access, author’s reprints or preprint versions of the papers he’s authored or coauthored. Not all of the links are still functional, however.

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/Mann/articles/articles.php

  63. verytallguy says:

    Tol: Author of bad research

    #FreetheTol300

  64. Another reason why playing the man is suboptimal is that it could be ignored, just like Richard’s cheap shot above.

    So not only playing the man can hinder one game’s plan, but it leaves the ClimateBall ™ opponent with a variety of counters, ranging from tit for tat to poor me, from reactionary tantrums to dignified grandstanding. By violence or by silence the exchange can expand in every direction, to the joy of peddlers and food fighters.

    As long as the ball gets played, I could not care less. My own playing style can accommodate cheap shots.

  65. Catmando says:

    Wotts: Apologist for bad research

    Blu [EU], Richard. That’s a bit rich coming from you.

    [Typo fixed. -w]

  66. As long as the ball gets played, I could not care less. My own playing style can accommodate cheap shots.

    Or you could choose not to play idiotic games at all and just do some math and science and treat the rest of it as entertainment. That’s my approach. I’ve found it works well for problem solving.

  67. Steve Bloom says:

    I find it difficult to imagine that the errors in which Bob Ward caught Tol weren’t intentional. Actually the graph the latter constructed out of that handful of disparate IAM results might stand as the classic example of how not go about such things, much more so than the Lamb cartoon. Maybe I’ll suggest an addendum to Greg.

    FTR, the child molestation stuff is a matter of public court record in Missouri. I viewed the documents some years back, and while I didn’t keep the links I’m sure they’re not hard to find for anyone who’s curious.

    That said, I agree that OM’s criminal record shouldn’t be grounds for banning him from a climate blog. What should do for that is his endless stream of anti-scientific blather and in particular his continued (last time I checked) advocacy for the “iron sun,” a truly world-class crank idea. But Judy clearly has another standard.

  68. Perhaps the only slip Greg Lade made was including the Elliot Wave chart, but everyone knows that the stock market is all game theory, which really can’t be modeled. I chalk up to including that chart because it is real data that someone will analyze as best they can.

    But of course, the ankle-biters go after him for showing an Elliot Wave chart. Which gets back to the fact that one can’t make any mistakes when doing a criticism.

    The Rovian strategy is to go after your opponent’s strengths and marginalize that first. Kerry was a decorated Vietnam war veteran — go after that first and discredit. Michael Mann is pretty smart — go after some mistakes he has made and then discredit.

    Counter-criticizing the critic illustrates that the critic is not as smart as they may appear.


  69. What should do for that is his endless stream of anti-scientific blather and in particular his continued (last time I checked) advocacy for the “iron sun,” a truly world-class crank idea.

    Curry may not believe in that stuff, but she may have absorbed it subliminally. Over the last few years, her commenters have brought up Bose-Einstein statistics in many discussions, including the Iron Sun guy, who believes a Bose-Einstein condensation is happening inside the sun. And the hydrologist dude from Australia has mentioned it probably dozens of times — I know because I tried to counter his claims on many a thread — see http://contextearth.com/crackpots-etc/ where I documented the atrocities.

    Repeated propaganda like that is straight from the Frank Luntz/Rupert Murdoch playbook. It really does work. After a while, the person that heard it can’t remember whether it was right or wrong science. Since none of her commenters ever goes after their team-mates, she probably has no clue any more.

    from an APS transcript


    DR. CURRY: But we have only really started looking at these kind of topics. If you are interested, I can send you a list of papers I have been recently. But this is known/unknown category.

    DR. LINDZEN: They all relate to particle processes influencing cloud condensation.

    Curry really wants to be the first should her crazy theory of Bose-Einstein statistics on cloud nucleation pans out. This is what her co-author Vitaly said on her blog.


    Thus, if in the future, B-E statistics will appear to be valid for nucleation at low T, the first reference will be this book.

  70. Rachel M says:

    I don’t have a problem with commenters who have prior criminal convictions commenting on a blog. Seems fine to me. Unless of course they’re commenting on the blog of their victim. But that’s not the case here.

    False accusations of fraud and scientific misconduct are definitely not ok and nor is a false accusation of child molestation. I’ll also add that insults should not be tolerated. However what is insulting is a little bit subjective and Skeptics will find insults in things that I do not regard as insulting. I think if you can’t show at least a bit of respect for someone when addressing them, then it’s best not to address them at all.

    It might be worth reminding people of a recent New Zealand defamation case: A former New Zealand All Black, Joe Karam, recently won a defamation case and was awarded over half a million New Zealand dollars against two individuals who posted defamatory statements to a Facebook page. They falsely accused Joe Karam of fabricating facts. One of the comments was – “Karamalisation equals to ‘fudge the facts’”. The judge described this as “defamatory and without defence.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11239379

  71. ” nor is a false accusation of …”

    You mean like when Michael Mann got compared to Jerry Sandusky by a pundit? “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science”http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/309442/football-and-hockey-mark-steyn

    I really don’t know who has read what, but I do keep track of what is going on and point out the hypocrisy as I see fit.

  72. Rachel M says:

    You mean like when Michael Mann got compared to Jerry Sandusky by a pundit?

    Yes. That’s exactly what I meant. That’s definitely not ok.

  73. > Or you could choose not to play idiotic games at all and just do some math and science and treat the rest of it as entertainment.

    There are games people find entertaining. Among them we find throwing popcorn on other commenters in blog comment sections.

    Thomas’ self-serving lack of self-reflection may not suffice to diminish the spirit of ClimateBall ™.

  74. BBD says:

    Willard

    Keep it coming. Never mind TLE being grumpy. Were it not for you, I would never have found my socks, let alone my feet, in this game. Credit where credit is due.

  75. verytallguy says:

    OK, so just to say that I was trying to make the point that for me at least the combination of absurdity but also underlying malevolence that comes across in the climate etc comment section was nicely captured by Greg.  As I said in an earlier thread,  it would be nice if this blog doesn’t descend into the overflow from judith’ s self constructed sewer.    Apologies for my part in dragging it down. Also Willard was right about Tol.

    Vtg

  76. I don’t find games to be very entertaining, but certainly the cranks and crackpots never fail to entertain. ClimateBall is very low on the science comedy and entertainment scale. Even Russell’s Beowolf is more thought provoking and provides a great deal more comedy. The usenet in its heyday was vastly more entertaining, and the entrance fee and deposit, stakes and the payouts were considerably less, making it possible for almost anyone to play, and even more to lurk and be entertained. Sadly now ClimateBall is only a game for the high rollers of the world, and the poor are reduce to fetching drinks and providing entertainment or watching from the sidelines.

  77. > go after some mistakes he has made and then discredit.

    One can try to discredit first:

    [T]t might improve your credibility, if you didn’t link to a post in which the author makes a case that the fr*ud discussed here was that IPCC printed the hockey stick in B/W (which, in fact, they even didn’t do). Just my two cents.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/11/fraudulent-hockey-stick/#comment-627488

    I count more than two cents. One, a paraphrase. Two, “fraudulent (?)” becomes “fr*ud”. Three, an unclear fact: what is it that the IPCC didn’t do? Four, an implicit inference step between that fact and Greg’s point. Fifth, a jump from that inference to Greg’s credibility.

    Interestingly, it looks more plausible when you do it in the order Jean S did. This rhetorical trick reminds me of a preemptive strike. This is a common trick in auditing sciences.

    I can find examples on requests.

  78. > Sadly now ClimateBall is only a game for the high rollers of the world, and the poor are reduce to fetching drinks and providing entertainment or watching from the sidelines.

    Poor poors. Tell us more about your half-island, Thomas.

  79. John Mashey says:

    In 2010, during Curry’s interviews with Keith Kloor, she mentioned Ed Wegmsn, got some pushback, then several times called Deep Climate “reprehensible” for exposing Wegman Report’s plagiarism, wrote numerous factual errors that she knew little about the Wegman Report, … And with more pushback, blamed others for the diversion and declared the topic off limits.

  80. Eli Rabett says:

    When Eli plays Climate Ball the bunny prefers the Emperor’s New Clothes version, the one that came with the plain brown rapper (yes, think about that). Just to rant off into the sunset gets zero points, pointing and goggling at the absurdity of folks like McIntyre and Singer, good fun and when it gets really deep a bit of anger for taste.

  81. Eli,
    Talking of Singer, your most recent post is a story about which I was unaware and about which I almost wish I was still unaware.

  82. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Do read Oreskes & Conway’s Merchants of Doubt and Hoggan & Littlemore’s Climate Cover-up if you haven’t done so already.

  83. Kevin O'Neill says:

    John, In a comment at CE I’ve quoted a couple paragraphs from your “Strange Scholarship In the Wegman Report” DeepClimate post.

    I’ve also posted it in the comments at Greg Laden’s in case it doesn’t make it past the CE moderators. Sometimes all you can do is go, “Huh?”

  84. Steve Bloom says:

    Ah yes, Willard as Mr. Rourke. The rest of us are reduced to calling for “the plain, the plain.” 🙂

  85. This is pretty funny. The chewie-dude Brandon Shollenberger debuted this HockeyStick=Fraud presentation on Climate Etc yesterday.

    Is he using a vocoder or what? This is way over the top, like he’s trying out for a minor part on BBT.

    How in the world is anybody supposed to find out if they are getting punk’d ?

  86. Kevin O'Neill says:

    I listened to about 35 seconds of the audio and had to turn it off. If that’s the way he talks in real life ….. ??? I don’t even know. Nothing comes to mind as a comparison …. well, that’s not technically true, but what does come to mind is not very charitable and without knowing his specific personal situation I’d never voice it in public.

  87. Tell us more about your half-island, Thomas.

    Tell me more about your half a planet, willard, quickly now, before it diminishes even further. Oh, I forgot, it’s all just a game to you.

  88. ­> it’s all just a game to you.

    Here are some more games, Thomas:

    http://www.rand.org/topics/game-theory.html

    Please contact RAND to tell them to stop their stupid games and save the planet instead.

  89. I can very simply point out to whomever is reading these comments here the difference between willard and I. Willard refers to himself in his comment as being ‘us’, and I refer to … myself.

    What have you done lately, willard? Oops, sorry, I forgot, you’re some anonymous guy on the internet who is obsessed with whatever somebody else said a long time ago … on the internet.

    I can only suggest that if you want somebody to contact RAND, that you do it yourself. I myself find the educated and scientists and engineers just as entertaining as the cranks and crackpots. But it’s not a game to me, it’s just … comedy. So get out there and play the game if you like, but you probably shouldn’t expect everyone else respond favorably to your pleas and demands to play your games, at least not by your rules. If others consider that to be grumpy, then so be it.

  90. Okay, maybe we can avoid another TLE versus Willard comment thread. Agree to disagree, or whatever prevents this degenerating.

  91. On Curry’s Fraudulent(?) thread, Curry is getting big help again from the IronSun guy :


    As the credibility of AGW crumbles, AGW promoters proclaim that “Curry’s Credibility Crumbles”
    Such is the perverse way of climate propaganda!

    Note the key phrase “perverse way”. Note the definition of irony.

    Incidentally, Curry must be reading AT’s tweets, since the credibility crumbles link was an obscure Daily Kos diary (only a few comments) — and now she decides to play the “poor pitiful” me routine with it.

  92. Joshua says:

    ==> “whatever prevents this degenerating.”

    Stable door, horse, bolting?

  93. Joshua says:

    ==> “now she decides to play the “poor pitiful” me routine with it.

    I think that Judith might have a “rewards card” for victim-playing. Use it 10 times and you get a free espresso.

  94. Joshua,

    Stable door, horse, bolting?

    “degenerating any further” 🙂

  95. WHUT,
    Yes, Judith and I exchanged a few tweets about that yesterday. To be fair to Judith, the act of speaking to an organisation (whatever their past history) isn’t really sufficient to argue that someone’s credibility has crumbled. That would – for example – come from repeatedly supporting pseudo-scientific ideas.

  96. > whatever prevents this degenerating.

    Cf.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/fraudulent/#comment-31395

    Throwing popcorn does not degenerate anything, AT. It’s an old practice:

    http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/ennui.htm

  97. Joshua says:

    ==> “To be fair to Judith, the act of speaking to an organisation (whatever their past history) isn’t really sufficient to argue that someone’s credibility has crumbled. ”

    Agreed. I’d also add that the definition of “crumbled credibility” is subjective, of course. Judith’s “credibility” has increased over time measurably for some even as it has decreased for others. No doubt, speaking at that conference will sustain that trend if not accelerate it. Speaking of “credibility” as if it lies outside of subjectivity and identifications seems to me to be rather unscientific. Again, that’s the kind of logic I criticize from “skeptics.”

  98. BBD says:

    ATTP

    To be fair to Judith, the act of speaking to an organisation (whatever their past history) isn’t really sufficient to argue that someone’s credibility has crumbled. That would – for example – come from repeatedly supporting pseudo-scientific ideas.

    Meow!

    🙂

  99. I do not always reply to Richard about bad research, but when I do, I try to mention Gremlins:

    We had a discussion the other day of a paper, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change,” by economist Richard Tol.

    The paper came to my attention after I saw a notice from Adam Marcus that it was recently revised because of data errors. But after looking at the paper more carefully, I see a bunch of other problems that, to me, make the whole analysis close to useless as it stands.

    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change/

    But planet’s sake, I know, I know.

  100. Willard,
    As I see it, Tol’s errors are simply Gremlins and these errors don’t effect the result, despite it appearing completely different once the errors are corrected. Mann (and Bradley & Hughes) using a non-standard technique is regarded as fraudulent and this apparently makes their result completely wrong despite using the standard technique making little difference and their result appearing broadly similar to most studies done since their work was first published. If it sounds like I’m confused, it’s probably because I am.

  101. BBD says:

    That’s the general idea!

  102. Seeing as I have been partly responsible for relentlessly pushing the #OwnGoal meme at Climate Etc, to the extent that Greg Laden picked up on it, I wanted to give a neat example of one.

    The idea of an Own Goal is simple. A skeptic thinks he has figured out some aspect of climate that purports to debunk the consensus view. Unfortunately, the amount of effort he expends runs counter to his intent.

    Exhibit A is Steve Goddard, who is now looking at tidal gauges and asserting that this debunks sea-level rise: http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/understanding-the-bulge/

    He actually went to the trouble of creating a neat 3D visualization, explaining:

    ” Apparently they believe that water likes to pile up in mounds, and to help visualize their BS I created a 3D animation.”

    Thanks Goddard, you just described how ENSO works. Own Goal !

  103. BBD says:

    So in SG’s reality, warm water doesn’t expand and the equatorial atmospheric circulation doesn’t exist. Or something. I’m confused… 🙂

  104. anoilman says:

    WHUT I don’t see how the Own Goal is there. Meaning, I don’t understand why ENSO piles up water.

    However, I was under the impression that ocean rise was uneven, and you can’t just blindly look at tidal gauges to understand it. You have variance in gravity, plate tectonics, and of course subsidence. Disparity in measurements are a well understood element of ocean rise.

    Apparently the University of Colorado understands this, even if Steve Goddard doesn’t mention it;
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/map-sea-level-trends

  105. anoilman says:

    Oh… and I remember this when it happened;
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/2011-la-ni%C3%B1a-so-strong-oceans-fell

    Craig Loehle wrote a paper claiming that the ocean decline was indicative that global warming was over.

  106. BBD says:

    AOM

    WHUT I don’t see how the Own Goal is there. Meaning, I don’t understand why ENSO piles up water.

    The equatorial atmospheric circulation pushes warm surface waters from East to West across the tropical Pacific. The warm water ends up in the West Pacific Warm Pool. Net result is a lump in Western Pacific sea level. When the East-to-West winds weaken, the warm water rises to the surface and – El Nino.

  107. Tom Curtis says:

    WHT, among my favourite XKCD cartoons are those in which he shows informative data graphically, as in this case:

    What I particularly liked was the Marianas trench (and Mauna Loa) with an accurate horizontal scale. A sobering reality check after too many hollywood movies 😉

    I wonder if Goddard would like the same reality check for his “hump”?

    Off course, that is a rate of increase rather than a specific size. So perhaps he needs to convert it to a decadal average.

    I wonder why he doesn’t do these things given the need Curry has discovered for accurate representation…

  108. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is wondering if Prf. Yang was going to come out at the Texas Barbecue, because if not only 2 of the 3 necessary out of 100 will be there. Sadly it seems that they did not invite Richard..

  109. Web wrote:
    >Since none of her commenters ever goes after their team-mates, she probably has no clue any more.

    None??!! Web, that is not true, and you know it is not true.

    To take an example you yourself give (“Curry really wants to be the first should her crazy theory of Bose-Einstein statistics on cloud nucleation pans out…”), Pekka and I (he and I are both Ph.D.s in elementary-particle physics) both explained, in Judy’s comments, why it is highly unlikely that Bose-Einstein will ever prove relevant to H2O condensation. Our points were not ridiculed or denigrated.

    Of course, I and several others also pointed out that you were wrong when you mistakenly claimed that an ordinary H2O molecule was not a boson! (I invite anyone competent in physics to read Judy’s thread on her new book in which Web stated multiple howlers, such as “But not for physical matter such as water molecules, which obey the Pauli Exclusion principle and thus every molecule must exist in a different state But not for physical matter such as water molecules, which obey the Pauli Exclusion principle and thus every molecule must exist in a different state “). Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

    Again and again and again, I and others have pointed out, in Judy’s comments, the looniness of the sky-dragon nonsense, and of “the Iron Sun guy,” and of the “hydrologist dude from Australia.” (No, we do not do it every single time they post, because we assume regular readers already know it and because we have other things to do.)

    Judy has made clear that she knows this stuff is nonsense, but, for better or worse, she has a very, very, very permissive policy on allowing comments.

    You know this as well as I: you have posted far more often over there than I have. No, lots of us have criticized the loons in Judy’s comments section and, of course, have been accused of being secret agents of the AGW conspiracy in response (not by Judy!), even though we are also accused of being secret denialists by the other side if we raise scientific questions about the “climate consensus.”

    C’est la vie.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

  110. physicistdave
    The first person to point out her mistakes will obviously get the arrows.

    I really don’t care if I made the mistake of not realizing that the H2O is a boson, and that I screwed up the exclusion principle. I know enough physics to know that what she was proposing was not a high-T phenomena. My mistake does not negate her mistake. She was the one that published the Bose-Einstein statistics nonsense, all I did was write some comments. And of course the “adult supervisors” such as you and Pekka eventually verified that I was right.

    About the hydrologist Ellison — he has written at least a dozen times about the possibility of Bose-Einstein statistics playing a role, and I have them documented. Of course Curry appreciates Ellison’s input, contrary to what you say. Otherwise she wouldn’t have allowed him to write a top-level post a couple of months ago. So WHUT’s up wid dat?

  111. Dude, water has three complex nuclei with many electrons. Its bosonic character as related to Bose-Einstein statistics is VERY distant and obscure, as in negligible or non-existent, because it has bending modes and is subject to hydrogen bonding. At 170 K it can hardly be considered a boson in the BEC or B-E sense. Get over it. Now if you can up the density of electron or proton solvation, you might have something related to, for instance, sodium ammonia solutions, but even their relationship to BECs and B-E statistics is highly controversial, and this has nothing to do with nucleation or freezing of pure water. With Bose-Einstein we are interested in density, temperature and mass, and this would only concern atomic level impurities concentrated within a polar solvent.

  112. Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote, seemingly to me:
    >Dude, water has three complex nuclei with many electrons. Its bosonic character as related to Bose-Einstein statistics is VERY distant and obscure, as in negligible or non-existent, because it has bending modes and is subject to hydrogen bonding. At 170 K it can hardly be considered a boson in the BEC or B-E sense. Get over it.

    Young person, I was one of the people on Judy’s blog who pointed out that the B-E statistics were probably irrelevant to H2O condensation!

    You are confused, young man.

    Where did you say you got your Ph.D.?

  113. Ah, Web – you are still so hung up on your little mistake about bosons!

    But the important point is that you still will not admit that you were prevaricating when you said:
    >>Since none of her commenters ever goes after their team-mates, she probably has no clue any more.

    That is not true, and you know it is not true, as I showed in my earlier post. A number of people in Judy’s blog have been quite critical of the loonies.

    Paul, your continual alienation from the truth does not make you look very good.

    Everyone makes mistakes: why can’t you just say “Ooops!” and own up to the fact that what you said about Judy’s commenters was untrue?

    Dave

  114. PhysicistDave,

    Where did you say you got your Ph.D.?

    I’m neither interested in Judith’s idea about Bose-Einstein statistics nor in petty spats about who has the biggest PhD. Take it back to Judith’s if that how you like to behave.

  115. That’s a good question, Dave.

    Have you asked Judy or Vitaly?

  116. physicistdave said:

    “Ah, Web – you are still so hung up on your little mistake about bosons!”

    I am so over that, because I didn’t publish it, unlike someone else did … hint, hint.

  117. John Mashey says:

    Well, perhaps Dr. Curry will explain her Boson ideas at this event whihc Roy Spencer describes as star-studded.

  118. It’s all too common to attack the perceived opponent by picking an error or weakness in some small detail and using it as proof that the opponent is worthless and that we should dismiss much more based on that.

    There are certainly weaknesses, arguably even significant errors, in the MBH papers, but noting that does not weaken the arguments of climate science. The two short paragraphs of the K&C book are not perfect, but that tells almost nothing about the book as whole.

    These are just two examples. Picking any argumentative climate site, that approach to attacking the opponent is prevalent – and in almost all cases combined with personification of the issues. The apparently very deep personal animosities between JC and MM tell how far that can easily lead even between two working scientists.

    This kind of behavior is very visible on this site as well in spite of the declared (and real, I’m sure) goal of Trying to keep the discussion civil.

  119. Pekka,

    This kind of behavior is very visible on this site as well in spite of the declared (and real, I’m sure) goal of Trying to keep the discussion civil.

    Sure, I don’t claim to hold some kind of moral high ground. I would argue, however, that your moral superiority would be more justified if you’d avoided the last sentence of your comment. It doesn’t add much, and there’s an element of irony to pointing out common failings in how people engage in this topic, while essentially making one yourself.

  120. ATTP,

    I was pondering, whether I should include the last sentence. I included it having the following in mind

    In that sentence my purpose was to tell that your site is better than many, and also that I recognize that you make a genuine effort in the direction I consider right. At the same time I tried to tell also that I dislike many of the comments I read here from others.

    It’s difficult to get all the nuances right in a blog comment even in own language, and more so in a foreign language.

    I protest strongly against the I idea that I would indicate moral superiority. The point of my comments is the superiority of some values. I try to tell, what are my values implying, of course, that I perceive the values of some others (or the implications of those values) as different from mine. Emphasizing my values and my way of interpreting them is not an expression of moral superiority, but they were not my values or my interpretation if I would not believe in them.

    Actually I have been often attacked (not only in connection to climate issues) for being too understanding on different sets of moral values, i.e. for telling explicitly or implicitly that I’m not ready to condemn some more foreign values as inferior. Tolerance of different sets of values is one of my most central values, but naturally only within limits.

  121. Pekka,

    I protest strongly against the I idea that I would indicate moral superiority.

    Okay, my apologies. I don’t really mind criticism as it is often justified. Sometimes, though, criticising the behaviour of others can come across as appearing superior, even if that isn’t the intent. I don’t claim to be guilt free in that regard either.

    At the same time I tried to tell also that I dislike many of the comments I read here from others.

    I don’t always like the comments that some make either, but I get enough flack about censorship without trying to insist that noone express an opinion that might be a bit objectionable. In my view, much of what people are willing to say with regards to this topic is objectionable and I do wish (as I think Victor was getting at earlier) there was more of an attempt to set a better example. Easier said than done, though, and I have trouble criticising those who feel the need to speak more bluntly than some might like.

    I’ve been reading some of the comments on Judith’s most recent posts and some of what people say is – IMO – truly awful. Nick Stokes, for example, is someone who not only understands MBH and M&M05 very well and has done a lot of work trying to understand the different issues related to that topic. Yet, he still gets treated remarkably badly by some despite his ability to remain level-headed and polite. I think it’s disappointing that someone like Nick Stokes can’t comment on a site like CE without being able to take a fair amount of flack when he does so.

    I guess, in reverse, some people get flack when they comment here, but I don’t think there are many cases of people who try to engage as Nick Stokes does, who get flack. I may be wrong, though.

  122. PhysicistDave says:

    [Mod – Sorry, not interested. WHUT may well have said something that wasn’t strictly true. You’ve pointed it out, but could quite easily have done so in a way that was less confrontational and unpleasant. Also, you weren’t specifically mentioned, so I’m not sure why you’re so bothered and, since you weren’t named, you don’t really have any right of reply.

    Plus, I’m not your youngster. You have no idea who I am and I’m the only one who’s really allowed to be condescending here.]

  123. Climate Etc is very tolerant of all kind of comments. In relative terms it’s dominated by rather stupid comments, including fairly aggressive attacks on main stream scientists, but being tolerant it allows equally comments presenting opposite views. People who defend views contrary to the numerous skeptics must understand, where they are posting, and what the reactions are. On the positive side, the site offers an opportunity to reach some people, who might be difficult to reach elsewhere, and who are ready to listen to reasonable arguments.

    That Judith Curry publishes so often posts related to Michael Mann and his legal controversies is one of the things that I dislike most in her behavior.

    The ongoing legal case is of interest as a case where the relative weights of freedom of speech and behaving in a defamatory way are contrasted, but Climate Etc is not a legal blog. I cannot avoid concluding that the only real reason for writing those posts is to attack Mann and to give a forum for others to join in the attack. That also defending comments are given a forum is a bad excuse in this case.

  124. Pekka,
    Yes, we’re very much in agreement there.

  125. PhysicistDave says:

    Web wrote to me:
    >I am so over that, because I didn’t publish it, unlike someone else did … hint, hint.

    Web,, any honest person can check this out: you did write, “Water particles don’t have integer spin.”

    Well, this is an error in physics: any water molecule (or group of water molecules) composed of the most common isotopes do have integral spin, as I and others have explained to you.

    You did also write:
    > But not for physical matter such as water molecules, which obey the Pauli Exclusion principle and thus every molecule must exist in a different state.

    This is also false for water molecules made of the most common H and O isotopes: it is a basic theorem of quantum field theory (the spin-statistics theorem: the standard reference is the famed Streater/Wightman book)) that integral spin = bosons; the Pauli Exclusion Principle applies to fermions, not to bosons.

    Like Pekka, I have no particular axe to grind in the great catastrophists vs. denialists debate. I rarely post on these forums. But, when I saw these errors in physics posted by you, Paul, on Judy’s blog, I pointed out the errors, because I do care about physics.

    I also agreed with you on Judy’s blog that it is unlikely that the bosonic nature of water molecules is relevant to water condensation or to other empirically observable features about H2O.

    I realize that this forum is not dominated by actual scientists,and it is clear that many people here are more interested in the childish, tribalist game of denialists vs. catastrophists. I’m not.

    I and Pekka do care about the physics. Are you still unable to see that the two quotes I just gave from you are errors in physics?

    [Mod : I’ll approve this comment, but I’ve almost had enough of the Bose-Einstein issue on this blog. I don’t really know why it ended up here, it’s got nothing to do with me, I haven’t commented on Judith’s book, I have no particular issue (in any sense) with Judith’s book, so if this goes too far, I’ll just stop it.]

  126. PhysicistDave says:

    [Mod : Okay, enough. Go away.]

  127. Rob Nicholls says:

    Pekka Pirilä said: “It’s all too common to attack the perceived opponent by picking an error or weakness in some small detail and using it as proof that the opponent is worthless and that we should dismiss much more based on that.”

    I’m grateful to Pekka for pointing this out as it is a mistake that I have very often made, and it is something I know am prone to do. I have often commented in haste and regretted it later. With no physics beyond A-level I should always remember that I’m out of my depth. I’m also aware that I have an inbuilt inclination (bias) towards believing that anthropogenic global warming is a really big problem. For these reasons I have really tried to give Dr Curry and others with similar views the benefit of the doubt, and have endeavoured to look beyond the often very obvious errors to see if there’s some substance to their criticisms (or perhaps I should say “dismissal”) of IPCC WG1’s main conclusions.

    I haven’t yet seen anything that appears to me to have any substance. It could be that I’m missing something as I am untrained, or that my bias, which I have tried look beyond, is preventing me from seeing the truth in Dr Curry’s arguments, but I can only try my best. I think I’ve been very patient, and I don’t think it’s necessarily right to keep an open mind forever if you’ve given someone several years to come up with a decent argument and they appear not to have done so. (Although I don’t follow everything Dr Curry writes and I’m not precluding the possibility that new evidence will apear later which could change things).
    As for continuing to attack papers, IPCC assessment reports and WMO reports which were published well over a decade ago and which have been built upon or superceded by many more recent publications: I had not really appreciated the never-ending nature of this.

  128. Curry seems to be hoping that “her side” in the upcoming case will argue in the same way that “her side(?)” (she is an evangelical Christian, after all) argued in that evolution court case

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

    several years ago, which is in part to try to get the courts to agree to their redefinitions of terms. (Believe it or not, in that evolution case, they tried to get the court to agree to redefine the term “science” such that even by their own testimony in court, astrology would be deemed a science along with astronomy.)

    She argues to have the terms “material fact” and even “fraud” itself redefined.

    She gives the following as the general definition of fraud:

    “Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.” (USlaw.com)

    She then says:

    “Mann’s intentional failure to disclose and efforts to hide the “dirty laundry” could be argued to be fraud.”

    She also says:

    “Scientific misconduct or ‘fraud’ has been traditionally constrained to fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. However, current thinking on responsible conduct of research is beginning to address ethical issues regarding how scientists interface with society regarding their research.

    The responsibility of appropriately communicating to the public is starkly realized in context of the arrest of Italian geophysicists with regards to their communication of earthquake risk [link].

    So, were the WMO/TAR representations of the hockey stick that hide the decline fraudulent, in the sense of “intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act.”? Was the misrepresentation merely a misguided attempt at simplification for the public? It is the issue advocacy of Mann that cements the motivation of ‘inducing the other person to act.'”

    Hmmm.

    If the court accepts Curry’s redefinition of “material fact” applied to the mathematical method Mann used, then by this greatly expanded definition would it not probably become legally safe to accuse almost all researchers of fraud? (This includes the fact that there was no real decline to hide in the first place.) Think about it. Few divulge everything in all their published works or statements about them, and so by this greatly expanded definition one could much more often find something not divulged and call it “material fact” that is fraudulently left out.

    If the court accepts her redefinition of “fraud”, then would it not probably become legally safe to accuse her – and every scientist like her – of fraud in terms of how they communicate to the public? Just replace some terms in what she above writes in a certain way, including “Mann” with “Curry” and “act” with “not act” – would it not hold that what she seems to want to apply to Mann must therefore apply to her and every scientist like her?

  129. When one side continues to use an outdated argument, it’s often better to pay no attention than to make counterarguments. That’s true in particular when the argument presented by the other side is more obviously outdated and of little relevance than strictly and uncontroversially wrong.

    People who cannot stop arguing may well cause damage to their own case and interests. Bringing this case to court may well be an example of that. (I’m not sure of that, but consider that likely.)

  130. KeefeAndAmanda

    would it not hold that what she seems to want to apply to Mann must therefore apply to her and every scientist like her?

    I think that is indeed one of the fundamental problems. I’ve been publishing scientific papers for more than twenty years now and some of what I did 10 years ago, I might do differently had I known then what I know now. However, the reason I know what I know now is because I did that work 10 years ago. Knowledge develops and – especially in emerging fields – we can’t expect everything to be perfect from the very beginning. The only reason that would be a concern would be if some unknown, and significant, error were to propagate through the literature without being noticed. Also, what’s an error? When I say I’d do something different, I don’t mean that I think I made a mistake in some earlier work. I mean that the assumptions I would have made would have been different had I had the same knowledge (and equipment/techniques) then as I have now. This, to me, is simply how science progresses.

    The other issue I sometimes wonder about is why people who would certainly not run around accusing their colleagues and neighbours of illegal behaviour, seem quite comfortable doing something equivalent on blogs and on Twitter. We choose to live in a society where you’re innocent until proven guilty for a very good reason.

  131. Pekka,

    People who cannot stop arguing may well cause damage to their own case and interests. Bringing this case to court may well be an example of that.

    That’s possible but at the same time I think that it is reasonable for a scientist to not have to put up with horrendous accusations and comparisons in the media. As I think Carrick may have been saying on Judith’s blog, if Steyn had simply backed away from some of what he said (that really did seem unnecessary) this could all probably have ended without going this far.

  132. Michael says:

    “I don’t really know why it ended up here it’s got nothing to do with me,…..”

    Judith directed the conversation here – something about no adult supervision here….

  133. Michael,

    Judith directed the conversation here – something about no adult supervision here….

    Okay, yes, that rings a bell. If it wasn’t for Rachel, she may have had a point about the adult supervision 🙂

    Just to re-iterate, I have no particular views about Judith’s book, one way or the other. I have no reason to think that it isn’t an excellent book about cloud microphysics.

  134. Michael says:

    Yes, Judith has far, far more important things to discuss – like Michael Mann.

  135. ATTP,

    What Steyn did is clearly wrong, but seeing such wrong statements by a commentator in an ideologically highly one-sided publication does not have much impact on the readership, as they are used to such language. Using that kind of language is all too common on many types of issues of politics and economics, and also in the interface of science with policies.

  136. Judith directed it here only, when it was brought here by WHUT.

  137. Pekka,
    I agree, but I certainly wouldn’t be happy if someone had said that about me, even if I knew that it was just hyperbole. The other factor that I think people forget, is that scientists are not public officials. We don’t stand for office. We’re simply employees of organisations who happen to do research. That doesn’t mean that scientists are beyond criticism but does suggest – in my view at least – that the kind of vitriol that might be normal when applied to politicians isn’t what a typical scientist would be expecting just because they happen to publish in an area that has relevance to the public and to policy makers.

  138. Rob Nicholls says:

    KeefeandAmanda, I liked what you said about the implications of widening the definition of ‘fraud’, and I note with a smile your quote from Curry which ends up talking about ‘advocacy’ with no hint of irony. (I think ‘to advocate’ must be one of those irregular verbs, see http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0030015/quotes ).

    When you said ‘Curry seems to be hoping that “her side” in the upcoming case will argue in the same way that “her side(?)” (she is an evangelical Christian, after all) argued in that evolution court case’ – I note the use quotation marks and a question mark, perhaps this means that it was only a tentative suggestion. I would just want to say that I’m not sure whether all evangelical Christians would support the same side in the evolution case in question, and I wouldn’t want to assume anything about someone’s opinions on a particular issue just based on her or his religious beliefs.

  139. One of the legal issues is whether and to what extent Mann had become a public figure. Becoming a public figure (I think he is that) seems to have brought him both negative and positive consequences. I don’t believe that he has done his best to avoid becoming a public figure.


  140. Pekka Pirilä says:
    September 15, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Judith directed it here only, when it was brought here by WHUT.

    … but Twitter exchange.
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/15/how-to-criticize-with-kindness

    still going on, with an acolyte of Curry calling Tobis “fat boy”


    mtobis @mtobis tweeted :
    Error is forgivable from @SimonMaxfield8 or @mangan_mike but inexcusable from @curryja

    Mike Mangan @mangan_mike tweeted :
    @mtobis @SimonMaxfield8 @curryja Enlighten us, fat boy. What is the error? Did she use a proxy upside down?

  141. Pekka,
    He probably hasn’t avoided it. I’m not sure that excuses what Steyn said and justified Steyn’s accusations. To be honest, I find this whole saga sufficiently unpleasant, that I have no great interest in discussing it much.

    WHT,
    Yes, I think I was involved in the beginning of that exchange and then muted both of the other participants, just because I couldn’t be bothered carrying on any further. To be fair, it’s not really Judith’s fault if her defenders are unpleasant gits.

  142. Interesting that in Judith’s post about “how to criticize with kindness” the tweet she mentions making

    Wow. This is just like high school. The cool kids aren’t allowed to talk to other groups? Sorry I don’t play by your rules.

    was to me, after I retweeted the Daily Kos article about her losing all credibility because she’d be talking to the Marshall Institute (unless she tweeted the same to others too). What, she doesn’t mention, is that I actually agreed with her. She shouldn’t really be judged for choosing to talk to a think tank. There could be perfectly valid reasons for doing so. I disagree with much of what Judith chooses to say and what she chooses to support, but judging her for choosing to talk to a think tank is unnecessary (IMO).

  143. Steve Bloom says:

    Pekka, why should Mike have some particular responsibility to avoid becoming a public figure? That’s an interesting standard to set up. It’s almost as if you want him to avoid publishing anything relevant to policy. Considering the state of the climate, it seems clear that we need more, not fewer, such scientists.

    Without a doubt material like the accusations being sued over become part of the background to the policy discussion in DC. Two words: Overton window.

  144. Keep in mind that the skeptics like to rely on the fallacious argument of redirecting on trivial mistakes, such as an upside-down proxy.

    They don’t like it when the tables are turned.

    I didn’t like the name of this blog at first, but then after time realized that “and then there’s physics” is the great equalizer in any argument. And the other side just can not compete. That is all there is to it.

  145. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I disagree with much of what Judith chooses to say and what she chooses to support, but judging her for choosing to talk to a think tank is unnecessary (IMO).

    A rare moment of absolute disagreement. These “think tanks” are fronts for vested interest. They are hubs in the war on democracy that spew out misinformation with the aim of paralysing public policy and preserving the status quo that their sponsors find so lucrative. Anyone offering them support in any form has left the building and there is no coming back.

    Actions have consequences.

  146. BBD,
    As much as I agree with you, the act of simply talking to them would seem insufficient – by itself – to judge someone. Mainstream scientists have spoken at Heartland Conferences – mainly to promote dialogue – so there are scenarios where it would be reasonable.

  147. Tom Curtis says:

    @Pekka:

    “When one side continues to use an outdated argument, it’s often better to pay no attention than to make counterarguments. That’s true in particular when the argument presented by the other side is more obviously outdated and of little relevance than strictly and uncontroversially wrong.”

    Earlier Joshua disputed my claim that there was “no debate” between climate science and climate science denial. Clearly my intent was to indicate that there was no scientific debate between the two, in that the climate change deniers readily and repeatedly resort to pseudoscience in pushing their agenda. As in the case in the creation/evolution “debate”, there are clearly reciprocal efforts to influence public opinion. That, however, is not a scientific debate (and the vast majority of climate scientists are not even involved in it).

    What that means is that climate denial has the nature of an extended (sometimes grassroots) PR campaign. But that in turn means the “sometimes it is best to ignore it” argument holds no water. There is nothing publicists like more than to have their message put out without pushback. I agree that the pushback need not, indeed, often should not be in the form of a counter argument. Sometimes it is far better to simply point out what a joke the denier line is. That, however, is not what Pekka is suggesting. He is suggesting simple silence so that (in the case under discussion) vile suggestions can stand unrebutted in the public domain.

    Now, I will grant that it would have been better that that pushback not have come from Mann. Had McIntyre and Curry had an academic interest in criticizing Mann, they (particularly McIntyre as the person whose work is called on in support of the accusations) should have pushed back themselves with clear public statements that disagreement is not fraud, and that accusations of fraud (scientific or otherwise) against Mann are unjustified and unethical.

    But failing ethical behaviour by Curry and McIntyre, Mann had every right, and should have pushed back against the slanders directed against him – and had every right, and should have sought legal redress.

    “One of the legal issues is whether and to what extent Mann had become a public figure. Becoming a public figure (I think he is that) seems to have brought him both negative and positive consequences. I don’t believe that he has done his best to avoid becoming a public figure.”

    As the legal issue regarding being, or not being, a public figure is that under US law public figures have reduced legal protection against slanders, this comment amounts to saying that Mann has brought on himself a situation in which he can be slandered with impunity. As such it is repugnant. Nor is it warranted, as Pekka himself knows – as we can tell from his double qualification – first by limiting it to his beliefs, and then through the passive voice through double negation. In fact Mann has done nothing to actively seek status as a public figure, and fame due to recognition of scientific accomplishment does not make you a public figure.

  148. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Mainstream scientists have spoken at Heartland Conferences – mainly to promote dialogue – so there are scenarios where it would be reasonable.

    Sure, but that isn’t what Curry is doing. She’s promoting her tendentious arguments to corporate shills who will be sure to make political capital out of them because that is what they are being paid to do. This is why JC has crossed a very real line this time.

  149. BBD,
    Except that my point would be that her credibility is based on the arguments that she’s willing to make and support, not on who she speaks too. A fine line maybe.

  150. Tom Curtis says:

    WHT:

    “Keep in mind that the skeptics like to rely on the fallacious argument of redirecting on trivial mistakes, such as an upside-down proxy.”

    It is far from clear to me that including the “upside down” proxy was a scientific mistake. If you apply an algorithm to a set of data (in this case, the proxies), you report what the algorithm produces from that set of data. If the algorithm incorrectly interprets one or two of the proxies, that does not justify post hoc removal of the data. It does justify discussing why the algorithm got the wrong result in that particular case once you become aware of it (which I believe Mann has done), and showing the results with and without the questionable proxy to show that they are robust (which Mann has certainly done). In future papers it would justify either improving the algorithm so that it no longer makes that sort of mistake, and/or excluding the types of proxies on which the algorithm fails, with discussion of the reason why.

    Given this, it appears to me that Mann’s approach has been excellent science, whereas what the deniers are demanding of him (in the name of not making a mistake) is post hoc cherry picking among the results – ie, actual scientific fraud, only in their favoured direction.

  151. BBD says:

    I can’t agree. Who you associate with has a direct impact on credibility. Consider if I were in the habit of speaking at meetings of the EDL.

    Let’s remember what JC is actually briefing at the Marshall Institute:

    The George C. Marshall Institute presents a discussion by noted climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, who will present a case that the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified. The following three issues are addressed, which are of central relevance to climate policy:

    – Evidence reported by the IPCC AR5 weakens the case for human factors dominating climate change in the 20th and early 21st centuries
    – The weak linkages between anthropogenic climate change and extreme weather, and the importance of natural climate variability
    – Challenges to decision making under deep climate uncertainty

    Arguments are presented that greater openness about scientific uncertainties and ignorance, and more transparency about dissent and disagreement, would provide policymakers with a more complete picture of climate science and its limitations, and ensure that the science community, policymakers, and the public are better equipped to understand, respond and adapt to climate change.

  152. BBD,
    Okay, your EDL example is well made. I guess I feel that I can criticise Judith for the science (or pseudo-science) that she chooses to promote, without needing to criticise who she chooses to speak to. My concern with making a big deal out of talking to the Marshall Institute is that it feels like the equivalent of the “but Greenpeace” strategy. Maybe I’m just too conscious of ClimateBallTM, even if I do regularly make bad moves.

  153. BBD,
    To be clear, I have no issue with criticising what she might choose to say, just don’t really see the point of criticising who she chooses to say it to.

  154. Tom Curtis says:

    Anders, quotes Curry as tweeting:

    “Wow. This is just like high school. The cool kids aren’t allowed to talk to other groups? Sorry I don’t play by your rules.”

    Curry’s obvious mistake here is thinking that she is one of the “cool kids”.

    The better analogy is that nerds don’t retain their reputation as nerds by aping scientific ignorance in order to gain popularity. (Of course, neither do they gain in popularity either.)

  155. BBD says:

    ATTP

    My concern with making a big deal out of talking to the Marshall Institute is that it feels like the equivalent of the “but Greenpeace” strategy.

    But there’s nothing wrong with talking to a major ENGO like Greenpeace. When contrarians try that one out, they need to be reminded of this simple fact. On the other hand there’s a very great deal wrong with briefing an entity like the GMI the better to enable it to misinform policy makers. Which is what it exists to do.

  156. BBD says:

    This is starting to remind me of one of those Pekka vs ATTP arguments that are actually quite infuriating to read 😉

    We can agree to differ for the sake of everybody else’s blood pressure.

  157. Andrew Dodds says:

    Rob –

    I haven’t done physics since A level either.. My degree was Geology, with computer modeling afterwards.

    My take on these things is very much based on this – if we have a hypothesis about the climate, the first place to look is in the paleo record. The same Paleo record that has significant climate variations on many time scales, the record that prefers an ice-free earth (over the past 500 ma, anyway) but has managed near-complete glaciations, and the same record that has sea level rises that are faster than we can resolve..

    Which basically means that if people are making claims that these things are not going to happen in the current forcing environment – which, again, we know from the record should produce some disturbing effects – they’d better have a really strong argument to hand.

    There is, interestingly, a conclusion from the record as well.. had Humanity emerged during the Late Cretaceous Hothouse – with no ice to melt, and oceans driven by thermohaline circulation – then global warming would be far less of an issue. No ice to melt.. and far stronger negative feedbacks. It’s bad luck that we emerged and industrialized now.

  158. BBD,

    We can agree to differ for the sake of everybody else’s blood pressure.

    Except that, in my opinion, you’re correct. My issue is simply that judging people solely by who they might choose to associate with is counter-productive. So, in my opinion, Judith does herself no favours by associating with Heartland and the Marshall Institute. However, I don’t need to use that association to criticise her position with respect to climate science.

    I guess I still harbour a hope that Judith will recognise that she’s promoting pseudo-science and will suddenly start being less criticial of mainstream views and the IPCC (and maybe realise that her beef with Michael Mann is personal, and that she can still hate him without supporting those who associate him with child molesters). I realise that I’m probably simply illustrating my naivety, but I see no real benefit in acting to push Judith into a position from which there is no reasonable way to escape.

  159. BBD says:

    Andrew Dodds

    There is, interestingly, a conclusion from the record as well.. had Humanity emerged during the Late Cretaceous Hothouse

    If by humanity you mean sapiens sapiens, you are very badly wrong.

  160. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I see no real benefit in acting to push Judith into a position from which there is no reasonable way to escape.

    On the face of it, reasonable enough, but unlike you I have no confidence that JC will ever try and back out of the position she now occupies. And as others have said, it is probably now too late anyway. If what she has done were not so pernicious, I’d even feel rather sorry for her.

  161. BBD says:

    Andrew Dodds

    Sorry, I misread your comment – didn’t see the “had Humanity emerged during the Late Cretaceous Hothouse […]”. Please ignore the above.

  162. Andrew Dodds says:

    BBD – That’s OK.. It was the Sapient Velocraptor descendants in the late Cretaceous. They had this plan to steer an asteroid into orbit for space mining, someone got their units mixed up..

    The other thing to imagine is if we had invented industry during a full glacial episode. Instead of going from 280 to 400ppm, we’d have gone from 180 to 300, proportionately more in a climate that we know to be de-glaciation-prone.

  163. Dave’s interesting question has been redirected at Judy’s:

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/08/vitaly-khvorostyanov-responds/#comment-628494

    ***

    If there’s a debate like you said, Tom, the main objective would be to reclaim ClimateBall ™ fields (or discussion spaces) like Judy’s and Steve’s.

    If it’s mainly a race to credibility, then I submit that there’s no real debate to be had.

    One does not win the Stanley Cup without winning at least one game in Mordor.

    Speaking of which:

    I’m going to spend some time studying it, before making any other comments. Here. About this. Except that I just got a surprise on another subject, and now I’m suspicious of everybody. Guess I should have been from the start.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/11/fraudulent-hockey-stick/#comment-628343

    This, in my book, counts as a win.

  164. Young person, young man. Where did you say you got your Ph.D.?

    ‘Probably not’ is vastly understating the case and you did not support your claims with research and references as I did here on this blog.

    I think willard would agree that is an appeal to authority and credentialism. But since you asked I got it from the school of electrides, electron and proton solvation, sodium ammonia solutions, bismuth-bismuth triidode solutions, BEC, BCS-BEC, electronic BEC and electronic (bi)polarons. Another Richard A. Ogg Jr. you are not.

  165. John Mashey says:

    Thinktanks and associations.
    Would anyone have deny problems with a doctor or statistician who started associating with Altria, speaking at events it helped sponsor, attacking medical researchers, and emphasizing the huge uncertainties on tobacco/disease links, and attacking any public policies, like AU’s plain packaging designed to discourage adolescent use?

  166. Some PhDs are not used to being questioned like that, Thomas. A friend of mine got his PhD only to be addressed in conferences. He’s a middle size pharma millionaire.

    The Internet is new, and knowledge democratization is slow. It was just a slug, prompted by an obvious misreading. There’s no need to feel one-eyed.

  167. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> “I guess I feel that I can criticise Judith for the science (or pseudo-science) that she chooses to promote, without needing to criticise who she chooses to speak to. My concern with making a big deal out of talking to the Marshall Institute is that it feels like the equivalent of the “but Greenpeace” strategy.

    FWIW, probably doesn’t come as a big surprise, but I agree with you.

    ==> ” Maybe I’m just too conscious of ClimateBallTM, even if I do regularly make bad moves.””

    I think it’s just a matter of common sense, actually – irrespective of whether it is a ‘winning” or “losing” strategy.

  168. Tom Curtis says:

    Willard:

    “If there’s a debate like you said, Tom, the main objective would be to reclaim ClimateBall ™ fields (or discussion spaces) like Judy’s and Steve’s.”

    Willard, I did not say there was a debate. I said there was a scientific debate about climate science in which the deniers are for all intents and purposes a no show. And there are to overlapping and significantly grass roots PR campaigns – one supporting public policy based on the science, and one distorting and indeed, completely misrepresenting the science, including throwing in pseudoscientific arguments that they cannot get published in peer review (except in occasional articles that have obviously gamed the system).

    For the PR side of things, it is not necessary to go to any particular site and rebut the arguments – it is sufficient to point out that the sites are rubbish, or (where true) that the protagonists are biased, resort to pseudoscience, examine nit picking detail on very minor errors on one side while ignoring blatant falsehoods, etc on the other, and so on.

    To win the Stanley Cup, it is necessary to go to the home stadiums and contest with the actual teams playing in the cup. It is not necessary to contest with any every rinky-dink bush league team that argues strenuously in pubs how much better a team they are. When “skeptics” actually step up in the peer reviewed literature, and their blog sites reflect what the publish in that literature – then their theories can and should be contested politely at their blog site, or in the peer reviewed literature, or even accepted.

    But so long as they play by the same rules as 9/11 truthers, they should be ignored in the same way, and treated as a joke in the same way.

  169. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    ==> “In that sentence my purpose was to tell that your site is better than many, and also that I recognize that you make a genuine effort in the direction I consider right. At the same time I tried to tell also that I dislike many of the comments I read here from others.”

    I’d suggest that wording is much more effective than the previous wording.

  170. Michael says:

    re: JC – she can talk to anyone as far as I’m concerned…however, this is the same person who’s been finger-wagging at others about the evils of scientists getting involved in policy, advocacy and politicization; it undermines the very integrity of science.

    Or it did.

  171. Joshua says:

    Michael –

    Judith’s definitions of “advocacy” and “activist” have always been subjective, IMO, and she has resisted discussion of how to make those definitions more objectively or scientifically. It leaves me the impression that “activist” in her eyes means someone who has a different view than she.

    It would be nice, since she obviously feels that the issue is very important, if she would take more of a scientific approach to defining those terms and measuring, in some clear and carefully calibrated way, to what degree different people are “activist” or “advocates.”

    Although that said, I think that the whole issue is a bit of a red herring. Activism and advocacy are important forces in our society. Imagine how much worse off we’d be without the benefits brought to society by activism and advocacy,. What matters, IMO, is not whether someone is an activist or advocate, but the quality of their activism or advocacy.

  172. anoilman says:

    John Mashey: A friend of mine was receiving treatment for cancer, and of course drugs from Pfizer… As you know, Pfizer was one of the companies funding pro smoking at Heartland. With facts like that, its no wonder money in the denial machine went dark.

  173. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I think it’s just a matter of common sense, actually

    It is common sense to treat misinformation mills like GMI with disdain. Quite why there is so much delicacy about this is mystifying. Sometimes a robust approach to dishonesty is required rather than yet more verbiage.

  174. cruelclimate says:

    Paul Krugman penned a recent blog entry singularly appropriate to the general discussion here.

    Wild Words, Brain Worms, and Civility
    Noah Smith writes that one should not be rude about people you disagree with, because they might turn out to be right. Indeed; what possible purpose can be served by, say, referring to Austrian economics as a brain worm? Oh, wait.

    Actually, I think that Noah was doing the right thing when he brought in the brain worms, and is off on the wrong track on the civility thing. So let me make the case for brain worms.

    First, picturesque language, used right, serves an important purpose. “Words ought to be a little wild,” wrote John Maynard Keynes, “for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.” You could say, “I’m dubious about the case for expansionary austerity, which rests on questionable empirical evidence and zzzzzzzz…”; or you could accuse austerians of believing in the Confidence Fairy. Which do you think is more effective at challenging a really bad economic doctrine?

    Beyond that, civility is a gesture of respect — and sure enough, the loudest demands for civility come from those who have done nothing to earn that respect. Noah felt (and was) justified in ridiculing the Austrians because they don’t argue in good faith; faced with a devastating failure of their prediction about inflation, they didn’t concede that they were wrong and try to explain why. Instead, they denied reality or tried to redefine the meaning of inflation.

    And if you look at the uncivil remarks by people like, well, me, you’ll find that they are similarly aimed at people arguing in bad faith. I talk now and then about zombie and cockroach ideas. Zombies are ideas that should have been killed by evidence, but keep shambling along — e.g. the claim that all of Europe’s troubled debtors were fiscally irresponsible before the crisis; cockroaches are ideas that you thought we’d gotten rid of, but keep on coming back, like the claim that Keynes would never have called for fiscal stimulus in the face of current debt levels (Britain in the 1930s had much higher debt to GDP than it does now). Well, what I’m doing is going after bad-faith economics — economics that keeps trotting out claims that have already been discredited.

    Nor are zombies and cockroaches the only kinds of bad faith; the worst, as far as I’m concerned, involves refusing to take responsibility for your actual statements. “The failure of high inflation to materialize doesn’t mean that I was wrong, because I only said that there was a risk of inflation”. “When I said that Obamacare spending adds a trillion dollars to the deficit, I wasn’t misleading readers, because I didn’t actually deny that the ACA as a whole reduces the deficit.” And of course, people who engage in that kind of bad faith screech loudly about civility when they’re caught at it.

    When there’s an honest, good-faith economic debate — say, the ongoing controversy about the effects of quantitative easing — by all means let’s be civil. But in my experience demands for civility almost always come from people who have forfeited the right to the respect they demand.

  175. > For the PR side of things, it is not necessary to go to any particular site and rebut the arguments – it is sufficient to point out that the sites are rubbish, or (where true) that the protagonists are biased, resort to pseudoscience, examine nit picking detail on very minor errors on one side while ignoring blatant falsehoods, etc on the other, and so on.

    Then a race it is.

    If it’s a race credibility, telling that a site S is “rubbish” (?) should be worded in a way that increases credibility. Showing how it is so might be required. This means focusing on what contains S, Ans not S itself. Et cetera.

    Playing the ball also applies to abstract entities like websites.

  176. There’s a window of opportunity at Judy’s right now:

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/15/how-to-criticize-with-kindness/#comment-628517

    Anyone interested in co-authoring a book?

  177. Joshua says:

    ==> “Sometimes a robust approach to dishonesty is required rather than yet more verbiage.”

    Well, then, I guess I’m shit out of S.O.L then, eh?

  178. matt says:

    I’ve been reading some of the comments on Judith’s most recent posts and some of what people say is – IMO – truly awful.

    What some find awful, others find entertaining. Compare these comments* to JCs Blog Rules.

    *rabett.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/judith-curry-thinks-plans-to-kill-her.html

  179. John Mashey says:

    Note that Curry+thinktanks isn’t new, it was there in the blog discussions in 2010 at Keith Kloor’s.

  180. BBD says:

    Joshua

    The Krugman quote provided above by Cruelclimate nails it.

  181. BBD says:

    It’s interesting to see who is involved with GMI.

    William Happer and Roy Spencer are Directors. “Round Table Speakers” include Sallie Baliunas, Robert Balling, Tim Ball, John Christy, William M. Gray, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Patrick Michaels, Frederick Seitz (thought he was dead?) and dear old Willile Soon.

    Positively ‘star-studded’.

  182. John Mashey says:

    Seitz was certainly involved, and is dead, but did conti9nue as Chairman of Fred SInger’s SEPP Board for 2 years after being deceased.
    Steve McIntyre was also involved.
    As per Strange Scholarship and the earlier Crescendo…, the 2 key thinktanks for organizing the attack on the hockey stick and Mike Mann were GMI (run by a 25-year American Peteroleum Institute executive) and CEI, going back to 2001. I suspect there is a very good reason why CEI is doing everything it can to avoid going to trial in Mann defamation suit … because there is already plenty of public data, sometimes via accidental FOIAs or GMI’s habit of putting things up on website. it is possible that discovery might just find more.

    And again, much of this goes back to GCSCT 1998, which also had an all-star cast of players.

  183. BBD says:

    Seitz was certainly involved, and is dead, but did conti9nue as Chairman of Fred SInger’s SEPP Board for 2 years after being deceased.

    Now that’s dedication for you.

    Thanks for the link to the American Petroleum Institute’s “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan”. You can draw a straight line from the tactics used by industry shills in 1998 to Curry’s briefing of the GMI. This is from the API’s “Communications” plan:

    Victory Will Be Achieved When

    – Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”

    – Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science

    – Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”

    – Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy

    – Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.

    This is Curry today, briefing the GMI:

    The George C. Marshall Institute presents a discussion by noted climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, who will present a case that the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified. The following three issues are addressed, which are of central relevance to climate policy:

    – Evidence reported by the IPCC AR5 weakens the case for human factors dominating climate change in the 20th and early 21st centuries

    – The weak linkages between anthropogenic climate change and extreme weather, and the importance of natural climate variability

    – Challenges to decision making under deep climate uncertainty

    Arguments are presented that greater openness about scientific uncertainties and ignorance, and more transparency about dissent and disagreement, would provide policymakers with a more complete picture of climate science and its limitations, and ensure that the science community, policymakers, and the public are better equipped to understand, respond and adapt to climate change.

    The song remains the same.

  184. John Mashey says:

    The song goes back to the 1990 book by the GMI folks, which included a cahpter by Christy and Spencer.

    Also, read GCSCT carefully for the part of recruiting teams: the problem for climate anti-science is that they tend to “use up” spokespeople’s credibility and need a continuing supply.

  185. verytallguy says:

    BBD, 

    I think I disagree with you on the GMI and curry, though my initial reaction was the same as yours. 

    It’s actually about what she says,  not where she says it. 

    Imagine if curry went to GMI and gave a talk based on consensus science to challenge the delegates.   I don’t think you’d have any problem whatsoever. 

    Not saying it’s likely scenario mind.

  186. Steve Bloom says:

    Yes, thanks for linking the Krugman post, cruelclimate. His following one (“Cosmic Cato Koch Convergence”) may be even more on point:

    (B)eing wrong is actually a virtue in the eyes of some people, as long as it’s the right kind of wrong. And those people have money and power[.]

    The Brad DeLong post linked by Krugman is very much worth a read too. It’s illuminating to see a case study from the early days of the RWNJ effort to push back against the obvious (to everyone else) lessons of the Great Depression and World War II.

    Anders, I sympathize with your impulse to want to deal with people like Curry solely on the level of scholarship. Unfortunately, good scholarship isn’t what’s causing her stock to rise (an unintended irony on her part). Rather, it’s muddled and confused scholarship within particular policy implications.

    Re your interesting hope for Judy’s academic rehabilitation, can you point to an example of that? I can’t think of one off-hand, at least in the climate arena. It’s understandable why, as climbing down would necessarily involve getting shorted. Being feted in DC (obvious pun intended) and by captains of industry must be quite heady for her. Anyway, at this point her academic reputation is probably to a great degree unsalvageable.

    I think it’s worth stating outright what is probably obvious to most reading here: The broad debate about government policies of all sorts is conditioned by efforts to preserve and enhance the recently-won financial gains of society’s elite, with the push-back on action to protect the environment a necessary outcome of that. That climate change policy has consequences far beyond other environmental concerns isn’t sinking in quickly (enough) with the elite and their advocates because this is at bottom all about greed and enhancement of social status, impulses that strongly tend to operate in the short term.

  187. Tom Curtis says:

    vtg, it matters not only what she says, but where she says it. Had she restricted her various ideas to blog discussions, rather than presenting them to the US congress, for example, they would have been relatively harmless. As it is, her venues of presentation clearly indicate a desire by her to prevent action on global warming. Of course, Congress is clearly not the GMI, and this is a different reason for considering venues than that presented by BBD. However, given what she is going to say, presenting her views at GMI is a clear further enabling of the political campaign related to delaying action on global warming – and hence is a concern.

    Clearly, as related to my argument, the choice about what is said has a clear impact about what we should think about her choices of venue, so I am not entirely disagreeing with you.

  188. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, much above you mentioned the efforts of serious climate scientists to reach out to deniers at the Heartland conferences by way of excusing Judy’s presentation to the GMI. I hope the synopsis of Judy’s talk as quoted by BBD wasn’t what you had in mind, since it basically seems to be telling GMI what they want to hear.

    But re those conferences, per a quick search Scott Denning went twice (in 2011 and 2012), but not again, and a scan of this year’s presenters finds no one in such a status. And while Denning says he got a lot of compliments for being there and for being a thought-provoking speaker, he doesn’t seem to think he persuaded anyone of anything (although arguably there could have been an effect on less-persuaded people who viewed the presentation videos). Are you aware of anyone else having made such effort? In any case, it seems to make for a poor balance with GMI’s decades-long string of such activity.

  189. Steve Bloom says:

    Congress and GMI are indeed different venues, Tom, but Judy gets invited to both, plus there will assuredly have been Congressional aides if not the critters themselves at the presentation. (If anyone knows, it would be nice to know the size and character of the attendance at the event, the media presence in particular.)

    It would be hard to know, but I would expect that GMI and perhaps others are assisting Judy in arranging for direct briefings of key Congress members and aides during her trips to DC. Such activities don’t count as lobbying so long as they avoid asking for a vote on specific legislation, BTW, so they don’t need to be reported. Dark money hearts dark lobbying!

  190. Steve Bloom says:

    I endorse Tom’s view as stated in his 10:14 pm comment above. It’s both.

  191. Tom Curtis says:

    Willard, what you say about PR and web sites is obviously false. If it were true, “climategate” would never have got any traction, as it is patently based out of context quotation, and in some cases straight up misrepresentation. If it were true in general for PR, the advertising industry would be essentially non-existent. The denier movement, which was deliberately created (if not wholly carried forward) as a PR campaign, understands this very well. That is why Watts spends so much time focusing on silly photoshopped images, and publishing Josh cartoons. That is why the frequent unwarranted accusations of fraud – or the obsessive critique of “iconic” images by McIntyre. They are selling a story, not criticizing an academic position – and so their tactics resemble academic critiques merely as a form of camouflage. (Note, this is a general comment, and may not be true of particular AGW “skeptics”.)

    In return, if we treat their “arguments” seriously, we merely add credibility to their claim that their criticisms are substantive. Note, substantive, not correct. They do not need to be accepted as correct to sell doubt, which is their primary aim (or at least, the the primary aim of the paid PR campaign that underlines the strength of their movement, if not the objectives of particular deniers).

    Nor do we need to deal with particular arguments of theirs in detail to squelch that campaign. It is sufficient to point out that they are conspiracy theorists, and the equivalent of 9/11 truthers (or Young Earth Creationists, of flat earthers, or Holocaust deniers). We need to spend more time noting that Monckton said:

    “The UN, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jacques Chirac, and other world-government wannabes are plotting to establish nothing less than a global, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship under the pretext that it is necessary to ‘Save The Planet’. Ian Wishart’s book demonstrates that there is not the slightest scientific reason for the new, quasi-religious belief that The Planet Needs Saving. The new religion is merely an excuse for world government. World government will not, repeat not, be democratic government.

    The ‘global warming’ debate is not really about climatology – it is a debate about freedom. It is the aim of the growing world-government faction among the international classe politique to take away our hard-won freedom and democracy forever. I comment this timely book, which makes the scientific arguments comprehensible to the layman. Those who read it will help to forestall the new Fascists and so to keep us free.”

    And spend less time debunking whatever is his latest fallacy de jour.

    We need to spend more time noting that nearly all AGW deniers accept the basic conspiracy theory that climate scientists massage and hide data (despite their data being the most openly and publicly available of all sciences) in order to commit scientific fraud, whether they attribute that to ideological bias, careerism, rent seeking, an objective of one world government or whatever other diverse motive they have raised up.

    At the same time, we need also to spend more time following the Mashey route of showing the deep connections between AGW denial and industry funded right wing think tanks; and Naomi Oreskes’ lead in showing the similarity of tactics in a string of such ideologically/industry connected anti-science movements. Whether or not their opinions are genuinely held at an individual level (and in most cases they are), they only get air because it is convenient to certain industries to pay for them to get air, and to certain politicians (with campaigns funded by those same industries) to give their views air in Congress.

    And finally I need to add (though it should be blindingly obvious) we should only use those tactics because the accusations we will be making are true. And when they occasionally, though accidentally make a genuinely substantive argument, we should address it in the scientific literature. For even in a PR campaign, honesty trumps all other virtues of communication. But we do not need to take the intellectually ridiculous seriously just because a small number of people have been hoodwinked, and a significant portion of politicians find it convenient to leverage that fact to the benefit of their funders and the detriment of their nation.

  192. Steve Bloom says:

    (That last was just to make clear my prior comment wasn’t trying to contradict Tom in any way.)

    Haven’t read it yet, but this new (and unpaywalled) article looks interesting:

    Science communication as political communication

    Scientific debates in modern societies often blur the lines between the science that is being debated and the political, moral, and legal implications that come with its societal applications. This manuscript traces the origins of this phenomenon to professional norms within the scientific discipline and to the nature and complexities of modern science and offers an expanded model of science communication that takes into account the political contexts in which science communication takes place. In a second step, it explores what we know from empirical work in political communication, public opinion research, and communication research about the dynamics that determine how issues are debated and attitudes are formed in political environments. Finally, it discusses how and why it will be increasingly important for science communicators to draw from these different literatures to ensure that the voice of the scientific community is heard in the broader societal debates surrounding science.

  193. Eli Rabett says:

    Prof. Curry’s performance at the APS Panel on Public Affairs subcommittee meeting tells bunnies all they need to know

  194. anoilman says:

    Tom Curtis,

    Data and knowledge in oil and gas is very very secret and kept private. I only wish I had access to data on oil wells like we all have on the climate. For one thing, I think it would enable more people to share knowledge and improve them. The other being that people could make informed decisions on things like fracking. The failure rate for wells isn’t zero…. And you are in for an expensive time if there is a failure because they treat you like garbage… and if there is a lot of wells in the area, you will need to defend yourself no mater what… even if you don’t give permission. Oh… if they drill in your area, you land value goes down because of it.

  195. Steve Bloom says:

    Thanks for that reminder, ELi. Reading it again, now I’m wondering if there’s a connection between the cloud condensation quotes Hank posted late in the thread and the kerfuffle referenced up-thread. Either way, Curry’s essential cluelessness shines through.

  196. Marlowe Johnson says:

    all this pearl clutching about civility and effectiveness belies a quaint naivete about how the world works when it comes to how the ‘low information’ voter actually notices and acts upon these sorts of episodes of willful deceit. it’s an emotion thing. not a fact thing. piss at the wind all you like about how you would like the world to be, but please let’s not pretend that it’s going to change a damned thing.

  197. Andrew Dodds says:

    Marlowe Johnson –

    Unfortunately, you may be right. The actual catastrophe was in the late 1980s to early 1990s, when we had enough information to act, and China had yet to start full-on industrialization.

    We could – had we been rational – integrated the rebuilding of the ex-Soviet bloc with the rebuilding of Western energy infrastructure, whilst insisting that if China wanted to export to us it had to do so without burning coal on an epic scale (and we’d help with the technology) – it really was an epic opportunity. Instead, of course, the fossil fuel lobby steamrollered any action on climate change and the related neocons decided that enforcing hard-right economics and humiliation on Russia was a cunning plan.

    It wasn’t.

    Fast forward to today.. a few European countries have tinkered around the edges of fixing the problem, and as the West we’ve also managed to demonstrate enough hypocrisy to make sure that other big emitters are not going to listen to us. There’s no sign of annual world CO2 emissions even flattening in the next decade. Even mentioning the term ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ in a public forum attracts plenty of abuse; any political initiative is relentlessly opposed. By any reasonable criteria, the battle has been lost.

  198. Tom,

    What I say about what you call PR is not a fact, but a strategical point, which can only be a descriptive inside ClimateBall. It’s an interpretation: I simply let my model unfold. It can’t be false. At best it’s wrong.

    It would be wrong if I claimed we all should play the ball against everyone all the time. I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that if you play the man, the style of game changes. I’m not suggesting playing the man is better, I’m saying that if you are pissing on another site, it brings a kind of race where cheap shots are allowed. There are times when this is warranted, there are other times when it is less so. There’s no clear line in right now in my mind, and this is why I’m doing this modeling. To me, it’s a puzzle.

    What is clear is that if you want to play the man, you should not whine if your opponent does. This is a prescription.

    I also want to make clear that we all understand that pissing on the competitors leads to a pissing match, and that one needs to own that this becomes part of the whole PR package. I don’t want to change this, I want to describe it. ClimateBall as it is suits me fine. ClimateBall players are their own masters.

    The CG example is incorrect because it ascibes to the establishment what belongs to the contrarian side. The roles are not symmetrical. The effect of such episodes are not the same: see how easy it is for contrarian to wash their hands over the tobacco papers or Singer c Lancaster. They can use guerilla tactics way more easily and each of their tactical units are disconnected.

    Think American football: offense can’t hold, while defense can.

    ***

    The Krug makes a valid point, but we should bear in mind that his overall stance relies on the chair from where he pontificates twice a day. He has an authority without which his preaching would fail to talk down people. One does not talk to people the way he does, unless of course they’re your friends or persons with whom collegiality makes such abuses innocuous and even affectionate. Talking down people like they’re the Krug’s avatar only makes ClimateBall players look silly.

    Such clowning might be needed, for all I know.

  199. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Tom Curtis: ‘…”climategate”… is patently based [on] out of context quotation, and in some cases straight up misrepresentation.’

    Some of it might have been but the leaked/stolen e-mails did reveal genuine problems, in particular a ‘culture of non-disclosure at CRU’.

    TC: ‘We need to spend more time noting that nearly all AGW deniers accept the basic conspiracy theory that climate scientists massage and hide data (despite their data being the most openly and publicly available of all sciences)…’

    Except when it’s not. A big part of the Climategate kerfuffle was about CRU’s reluctance to release temperature records. It claimed that the providers of much of the data had forbidden its redistribution. In some cases (most?) this excuse turned out to be baseless: the providers had said no such thing. CRU also refused to release a proper list of the records they used to compile CRUTEM.

    TC: ‘…in order to commit scientific fraud’.

    The CRU crew’s obstructionism seems to have had little or nothing to do with their having anything shameful to hide. It was mostly about keeping ‘their baby’ to themselves, with a large admixture of loathing for the people who wanted to get their hands on it. Understandable, perhaps, but impossible to spin as an example of scientific openness.

  200. Joshua says:

    Marlowe –

    ==> “all this pearl clutching about civility and effectiveness ”

    What are you referring to? Where is all this “all this?”

    ==> “…piss at the wind all you like about how you would like the world to be, but please let’s not pretend that it’s going to change a damned thing.”

    Please describe who is suggesting that someone else pretend that it’s going to change something, and what they are pretending is going to change.

    Do you know what will change things? If so, could you say what it is that will create change, and what will be changed?

  201. BBD says:

    Vinny

    Stop.

    You are now entering the climate science conspiracy zone.

    All the necessary data are and have been available for a long time now. Any “sceptic” with concerns about the validity of the surface temperature data can review it and the methodology employed to homogenise stations etc.

    Raking this old, irrelevant shite up is to prolong – artificially – what was only ever a confected argument by fake sceptics conducting a political hit job in the first place.

    You wouldn’t want to be associated with people like that, surely?

  202. Vinny’s not the one who put CG I and II on the table, BBD.

    If you leave a door open, sooner or later a peddler will insert a foot in your house.

  203. BBD says:

    Well put, Willard. Well put.

  204. Paul S says:

    Vinny,

    When you obtain information from somebody it is done under a licence, which sets out how the information may be used, including further distribution. The licence can be explicit, with both parties agreeing to a bespoke set of conditions. In many cases though licences are implicit, with terms understood by the context. In the case of an academic institution obtaining this temperature data the implicit licence would, I think, typically prohibit sending the data to someone else except for academic use.

    Now, being an implicit license, it’s quite possible the content owner may not actually care about the data enough to take any action upon finding a breach of the terms. However, it absolutely makes sense to operate cautiously on these matters to avoid leaving your organisation open to legal action, just in case they do care enough.

    IIRC, Phil Jones was in the middle of going through a list of data providers trying to get explicit permission to release the data (i.e. setting new explicit licence terms).

  205. Andrew Dodds says:

    Vinny..

    So you trawl through thousands of stolen, private emails from people who are supposedly engaged in a vast nefarious conspiracy, and the best you can come up with is that they don’t like talking to people who continually should abuse at them.

    The surprising thing was that Watts et al didn’t open their inboxes to the general public to show their good faith in all this. That would have shown how pure their motives were.

  206. And of course we see some pushback, where the very topic Vinny is peddling gets discussed.

    Here are 141 words on CG:

    First, they tried to get a journal editor fired for the sin of daring to publish papers that were full of intentional and unintentional errors. Second, everybody agrees that the “decline” caption was inadequate. Third, it did become way too personal for them…though I don’t know if I wouldn’t react the same way if I had discovered that our entire civilization was in danger and others were using dirty tricks to convince people that it wasn’t. My biggest complaint was their unwillingness to share data. Meanwhile, though, we have the PCMDI archive, where every model run from the IPCC is publicly available to download and analyze. So don’t tar and feather the entire discipline.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/39845081323

    It’s the tarring and feathering that matters most. [The establishment has no good counter against it.]

    ***

    If we have to delve into emails, my favorite ones are from Hulme, a contrarian new champion.

  207. izen says:

    @-Vinny Burgoo
    “The CRU crew’s obstructionism seems to have had little or nothing to do with their having anything shameful to hide. It was mostly about keeping ‘their baby’ to themselves, with a large admixture of loathing for the people who wanted to get their hands on it. Understandable, perhaps, but impossible to spin as an example of scientific openness.”

    Gosh what absolute rotters! Obviously a field of research that impacts on human healthy and safety should be open. A policy of ‘commercial confidentiality’ would be unacceptable, as it is in biomedical research.
    (sarc off)

    If you conclude from CG emails that climate science is obstructionist and lacks openness you must be deeply unacquainted with a lot of the field.

    But the spin that makes the emails and the FOI requests a lack of openness is dishonest. Consider a research team that have worked hard to get a grant, that then enables them to work hard collecting data, much of it in the public domain, but some you have to beg, borrow or buy. Then they work hard processing that data to get a useful result. They are completely open about the result, and report quite a bit about why the data and methods make them think the result is credible.

    Someone then asks for all the data they worked so hard to collect and the processing methodology, with the claim this will allow them to ‘replicate and check’ the result. Obviously it would be possible for any researcher to collect the data in the public domain and explain their own methodology when presenting their own result which might dispute the findings of, say the CRU group.

    Instead they make no effort to do their own data collection or methodology, they want all the product of the hard work the research team carried out without the expenditure of time and money on their part.

    They want the use and benefit of all that work without any intention of paying for it or having to work at it themselves.
    The general term for such people is leec… rentiers.
    (civility, must remember, servility…)

  208. anoilman says:

    Vinny, here’s a great video on Climate Gate for you;

    Can you imagine what it would be like to go through private emails in businesses?

    “We got a call from an oil well, they drilled completely off course, and hit another well.”

    “It looks like its really expensive to bring old wells up to grade and prevent leaks into the ground water. I recommend we just cap those wells, and drill new ones.”

    “Oh man! That radio sucks… someone is going to use it, and the entire system is going to simply crash.”

    All of those are real, and one is from a product you’ve more than likely seen Vinny. Behind the scenes is shooting the shit, and asking questions. The way its supposed to be. This is because one doesn’t solve problems by denying them. One solves problems by talking about them.

  209. AnOilMan said:


    Data and knowledge in oil and gas is very very secret and kept private.

    The oil data on Bakken is not quite comprehensive, but there is enough data there to estimate decline trends. The rapid diffusional decline of fracked wells should give the populace concern that the Bakken is a boom followed by a bust.
    http://contextearth.com/2013/10/06/bakken-projections/

    Remember that the phrase “Hide the Declline” applies to oil much more than it ever did to global temperature. There is a real conspiracy on hiding the decline of oil, mainly because of what anoilman is saying — the data is well-concealed.

  210. anoilman says:

    Vinny, here’s a great quote about Climate Gate from Peter Hadfield;

    “Whatever skullduggery there is, it will be investigated. But thankfully it won’t be investigated by febrile nitwits who think proxy temperatures are the same as global temperatures, and who aren’t even aware of what’s in the scientific literature. It will be investigated by people who take the time to go over each message and who understand the science that’s being discussed.”

    WHUT, As I’ve said in our emails… the industry is very backwards. One of my concerns is that in many cases, uneducated people are doing things that are occurring in the real world, and the effects can be quite damaging. (Drilling off course… )

  211. andrew adams says:

    It’s true that UEA/CRU had a less than ideal attitude towards its FoI responsibilities, and that some requests were not handled properly. The Muir Russell enquiry said as much.

    It’s also true that the bad feeling which developed between Jones and certain others also exacerbated the problem and led to them being less open than they otherwise may have been.

    But the ICO ruling on the station data actually recognised that the concern that releasing the data could compromise CRU’s relationships with the foreign NMOs which provided the data was legitimate and it overruled them on public interest grounds not because their reasons for refusing the request were illegitimate.

  212. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Joshua,

    It was a general comment aimed at no one in particular. As far as what’s going to change things…well that would be calamity of course 😉

  213. Vinny Burgoo says:

    2+2=4

  214. Steve Bloom says:

    Has Vinny ever done anything but concern/tone tr*lling? Vinny, I too dislike the implications of climate science, but I don’t react like a spoiled child. You won’t get an ounce of respect for me unless and until you show some sign of having grappled with the science in sufficient detail to have a clue.

    Willard elides the essential role of the Grauniad and its scandal model in promoting CG early on, effectively giving the green light to other media such as the NY Times, compounded by Phil’s very bad decision to clam up. It wouldn’t have been much of a scandal without their self-interested running with the ball. The Grauniad is no denier rag, and indeed that their featuring of CG was against type in a political sense itself gave CG legs it wouldn’t have otherwise had, but they are a scandal rag (and very successfully so, e.g. with the voicemail theft stuff), and apparently judged that there was more to CG than met the eye. That judgement was probably based on past experience with officialdom in other contexts, including the biological sciences where there have been some real scandals (probably induced by the potential for getting rich), not realizing that climate scientists are a different case. In the end there wasn’t more to it, but the Grauniad never did climb down (although they did cover the many exonerations pretty well). That failure says something about the character of the editors and publisher IMO but, well, at base it’s a scandal rag, so what can we expect? Note that Monbiot, who had enthusiastically joined in and whose participation probably made a big difference, did at least climb down eventually.

    Hulme is indeed the champion.

  215. Steve Bloom says:

    Marlowe: Catastrophe, even.

  216. Another episode where players go for the big tackle and end up almost fumbling the ball. And then they wonder why it’s so hard to counter contrarian clap traps.

    ClimateBall ™ takes discipline, or lots of energy.

  217. Rachel M says:

    I don’t think we need another blog discussion about stolen emails. There are enough of those already. People can go and read the results of the Muir Russell review here if they’re interested:
    http://www.cce-review.org. A copy and paste of some of the relevant findings:

    * On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it. We demonstrated that any independent researcher can download station data directly from primary sources and undertake their own temperature trend analysis.
    * On the allegation of biased station selection and analysis, we find no evidence of bias.
    *On the allegation of withholding station identifiers we find that CRU should have made available an unambiguous list of the stations used in each of the versions of the Climatic Research Unit Land Temperature Record (CRUTEM) at the time of publication. We find that CRU‟s responses to reasonable requests for information were unhelpful and defensive.
    *The overall implication of the allegations was to cast doubt on the extent to which CRU‟s work in this area could be trusted and should be relied upon and we find no evidence to support that implication.
    * On the allegations in relation to withholding data, in particular concerning the small sample size of the tree ring data from the Yamal peninsula, CRU did not withhold the underlying raw data (having correctly directed the single request to the owners).

    And can we be nice to Vinny, please?

  218. BBD says:

    Vinny is peddling, Rachel. Everybody here finds that irritating.

  219. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Nice to me? I f so, I’d have to go elsewhere.

    Oh. But it seems I’ll have to anyway.

    (But thanks.)

  220. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, did you ever get around to defining ‘peddling’? You did promise a definition at some stage.

  221. BBD says:

    BBD, did you ever get around to defining ‘peddling’? You did promise a definition at some stage.

    And that, Vinny, is you graduating to disingenuity, dishonesty and tr*lling. Not to mention treating everyone here as if they were morons with goldfish memory-spans.

  222. Tom Curtis says:

    Willard:

    “What I say about what you call PR is not a fact, but a strategical point, which can only be a descriptive inside ClimateBall. It’s an interpretation: I simply let my model unfold. It can’t be false. At best it’s wrong.

    It would be wrong if I claimed we all should play the ball against everyone all the time. I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that if you play the man, the style of game changes.”

    It is then wrong. For a start, the style of the game has never been as you suggest. Ad homs, often vile ad homs have been both A Watts and S McIntyre’s stock in trade since they respectively started blogging. Likewise J Curry since she started Climate Etc.

    “The CG example is incorrect because it ascibes to the establishment what belongs to the contrarian side. The roles are not symmetrical. The effect of such episodes are not the same: see how easy it is for contrarian to wash their hands over the tobacco papers or Singer c Lancaster. They can use guerilla tactics way more easily and each of their tactical units are disconnected.”

    I have studied enough on racism and on gender issues to know that one sided standards are simply the mark of oppression. That is particularly the case where no corresponding privilege attaches, and in the world of false media balance, there is no corresponding privilege granted to the defenders of climate science. The roles are truly not symmetrical only in that one side is truly committed to science, and is truly the victim of vile ad hominens (Mann being a case in point). Further, one side routinely receives death threats and other hate mail while the leaders of the other side make pro forma statements against such, but then blame the victims for reporting that they have been recipients of such.

    There is no virtue in perpetual victimhood. While when performing actual science, we should expect scientists to adhere to the standards of science – including no ad homs. But in defending scientists from attack in the public sphere we should have no compunction about pointing out how vile the tactics, and ridiculous the reasoning of the other side.

    And later:

    “Vinny’s not the one who put CG I and II on the table, BBD.

    If you leave a door open, sooner or later a peddler will insert a foot in your house.”

    A case in point about the double standards. To discuss things sensibly we need to be able to mention real examples. That does not justify the introduction tire old topics that have been refuted again and again. The sensible response to Vinny’s peddling would have been to simply delete his post, while inviting him to discuss the point on another post in which it was directly germaine and not excessively repetitive (ie, had not already been done to death on that post), and remove his posting privileges if he persists. If not such post exists, invite him to make the point on another website.

  223. >The sensible response to Vinny’s peddling would have been to simply delete his post,

    Speaking of double standards, oppression, and stuff.

    I’ll comment on the other spit balls tomorrow. For I can call these spit balls, right? The Krug gave me his personal benediction.

  224. Rachel M says:

    Everybody here finds that irritating.

    Yes, I understand that because I find complaints about moderation very irritating. But so far I have managed to restrain myself and avoid telling anyone to fuck off despite having been tempted numerous times. Please note that I’m not saying this as a sneaky way of telling people to fuck off now. I have not had this temptation here so far.

    Because there have been numerous responses to Vinny’s earlier comment, I’m not going to go back and delete it and all the subsequent replies. It’s too messy. What I find works much better in these cases is to simply give a warning that this is off-topic from now on which is exactly what I did. If people disagree with this strategy then all I can say is that it’s my judgement to make, not theirs.

  225. BBD says:

    Rachel

    Yes, I understand that because I find complaints about moderation very irritating.

    Of course. And I know the rules here, which is why I thought very carefully before making that comment.

    Like me, you do not suffer from goldfish memory syndrome, so you will recollect that in all the time I have commented here I have never once complained about moderation. This may give you the measure of just how carefully I had to think before speaking as I did.

    You will also recollect that you once said that there was nothing worse than the commenter who presented themselves as sweet reason while maintaining an entirely different agenda. That’s a sentiment I share with you.

  226. Rachel M says:

    BBD,

    Although I quoted part of your comment, I wasn’t really directing my comment to you, but rather to the thread at large. If anything, I was prompted by part of Tom’s comment. This bit:

    The sensible response to Vinny’s peddling would have been to simply delete his post …

    Which suggests to me that how I did handle the situation was not sensible. So my reply was to say that although my strategy was different it was still my judgement to make.

    I know that you don’t complain about moderation and I am very grateful to you for that. And yes, I remember only too well the recent explanations for peddling. Perhaps I can refer Vinny back to this recent discussion:
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/sometimes-all-you-can-do-is-laugh/#comment-30959

  227. Tom Curtis says:

    Rachel, I wondered if that was directed at me. Now that you have made it clear that it was, I make no apology. My comment was not a moderation complaint, and was not directed at you. It was a response as part of a general discussion, to Willard’s trying to blame me for the fact that Vinny chose to peddle his garbage. It is absurd to expect people to so conduct their discussion so that no opportunities for peddling arise – first, because that is an impossible standard, and second, because doing so so constrains the person making the attempt that they will find it impossible to discuss issues effectively. They will not be able to cite example or sources for any attempt to do so can be turned into an opportunity to peddle. Nor can they quote others, for again that turns into an opportunity to peddle with regard to the others quoted (or their blogs, or articles, including articles other than those actually quoted). Even my mere appearance on a “skeptical” blog is taken as an excuse by various denizens peddle on Lewandowsky’s moon-landing paper on the basis that I once publicly criticized that paper. Apparently, to follow Willard’s council of perfection for playing ClimateBall, I must either not comment on “skeptical” blogs, or should not have criticized Lewandowsky’s paper, no matter how flawed it may have been.

    So, I categorically reject the notion that any blame attaches to the person who provided the hook for the peddling, just as I categorically reject any blame attaching to the person who may have been misquoted or quoted out of context. The blame falls entirely on the person who chooses to peddle, or to misquote, or otherwise misrepresent.

    Given that, and given that you do not want the shifts to off topic discussion involved in peddling, the rules and moderation policy should be so organized as to suitably restrict the peddler. And “suitable restriction” does not include not mean allowing the peddler to make their comment, and closing discussion prior to the person they have responded to having a chance to respond (due to different sleep cycles). I find annoying having a topic closed on me while I sleep so that I cannot respond to somebody who has responded to me.

    You are quite welcome to draw inferences about the overall comments policy from my claim. But that overall policy includes the stated moderation rules, policy of implementation, and the actual practise of implementation given that you are a sole moderator who we expect, and want to have more to their life than just reading through endless streams of comments. However, to draw from that a criticism of your actual moderation you have to assume that your moderation is permitted to arbitrary and/or that I do not expect you to have a life – neither of which is true.

  228. verytallguy says:

    Blessed are the moderators” @nevaudit 5:5

    Which is nice ’cause they have a hell of a time.

  229. Joshua says:

    ==> ” I’m not going to go back and delete it and all the subsequent replies. It’s too messy. What I find works much better in these cases is to simply give a warning that this is off-topic from now on which is exactly what I did. If people disagree with this strategy then all I can say is that it’s my judgement to make, not theirs.”

    A very good moderation policy, IMO. If someone doesn’t abide by your warning (assuming that it is specific), then suggests an intent to not engage in good faith.

  230. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    ==> “So, I categorically reject the notion that any blame attaches to the person who provided the hook for the peddling”

    I’m not sure that willard was talking about “blame,” but about cause-and-effect.

    The problem I have with his cause-and-effect equation is that often the behavior he was describing occurs even though no hook was provided. So focusing on whether someone has provided a hook seems to me to be a bit of a mis-direction.

    ==> “I find annoying having a topic closed on me while I sleep so that I cannot respond to somebody who has responded to me.”

    WhereI don’t agree with your position is that you seem to think that responding is going to make some kind of difference in the real world. To extend that thinking, you seem to think that calling someone a “denier,” because in your estimation that is an accurate term, is going to somehow have some kind of measurable benefit. It seems to me that you think that by calling someone a “denier” you are going to prevent “skeptics” from defining terms and how they are used. If I got you right, I haven’t seen any evidence of the cause-and-effect that you postulating.

  231. BBD says:

    Joshua

    You seem to be suggesting that by the same logic, we should not call racists racists, or homophobes homophobes.

    If I am confused, can you explain the disjunct with what you seem to be saying here:

    To extend that thinking, you seem to think that calling someone a “denier,” because in your estimation that is an accurate term, is going to somehow have some kind of measurable benefit. It seems to me that you think that by calling someone a “denier” you are going to prevent “skeptics” from defining terms and how they are used.

  232. I might step in a little here. FWIW, Rachel is a great moderator who has been a great help. Moderation isn’t easy. For some reason that I can’t quite explain 🙂 I quite like Vinny. I agree that there can be some peddling, but I’m willing to be accommodating to those who try to remain pleasant, even if I disagree with some of what they say. Also, I think Vinny may not be a lost cause 🙂 . I have a great deal of respect for Tom both because of his integrity and his knowledge of this subject (which continues to amaze me). So, without wanting to curtail the discussion, my preference would be that we all recognise that moderation isn’t always going to suit everyone, isn’t always perfect, and that this is a sufficiently contentious topic that the odd flare up between people who broadly agree is probably unavoidable.

  233. It’s more about regularity than causality, Joshua. Vinny’s his own man. He’s also my best buddy, but when he is, he’s French. I have no uncle named Vinny.

    I’m not here to blame. I despise blaming.

    A door is useful insofar as it can be open from time to time. To prescribe that a door ought to always be closed would not be reasonable. More so that as soon as words get committed, the door opens up a bit. Now, *that* would be a causal relationship.

    What matters is what to do when a peddler gets his foot in. I don’t think there is one optimal move then. It depends on the situation: the game state, the estimated rank in the league, the number of games remaining, the energy level, the history between the players, the willingness to provide a good show, etc.

    If the referee steps in, that’s good. But in our case, she’s not here watching every second, every move. If every ClimateBall abided by the following rule, there wouldn’t even need for a referee:

    http://meta.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_a_dick

    Players could try to fill the gap. There are many ways. Good comments have been made. But there’s a problem with this: it takes energy, more than peddling. (Baiting can be seen as a war of attrition, if games are not serious enough.)

    This is why I suggest redirection. I personally like NG’s, but Andrew’s is good too. It takes less effort to link to these canned responses than to muster original outrage like Vinny did. Even his 2+2=4 should have taken some thinking. Nice move anyway, Vinny! Please come back later and say 5.

    There is also another move that can be quite useful: occupying the gap oneself. Not to block, but to run. This may be needed when all breaks loose. For instance, a brawl could ensue after the mention of “Oxburgh”.

    In that case, there are good moves to play even in the But CG discussion. The whistleblower status of the miracle worker. Hulme’s quest for a champion. The non-release of CG III. Yamal. Et cetera.

    It all depends, for the most part. What matters most is to observe what the BALL has now become.

    The BALL. There’s always a BALL. Even when physical play is allowed.

    Mind the BALL, dammit. Goals are scored with it.

    Knocking out all the players from the opposition is unsustainable. We’re on the Internet. Goblins comes in an infinite quantity. We don’t have that much turns left. We have a BALL to move forward.

  234. In the above, my ball is peddling. I’m addressing it to ClimateBall players, but it’s dedicated to Vinny. Vinny asked me what was peddling. I’m following up my description.

    My main point in that comment is to show that peddling is a classical bait and switch. The argument I’m putting forward is that bait and switches can be ignored, blocked, or followed through. The last tactical rests on the fact that it’s possible to switch back a bait-and-switch just about anywhere one fancies.

    It would be possible to respond to Vinny’s blaming by adding more blames to the eternal flames of the Internet. But then one gets a blame game.

    I despise blame games. The auditing sciences [amount] to very little without them.

    The audit never ends.

  235. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    ==> “You seem to be suggesting that by the same logic, we should not call racists racists, or homophobes homophobes.”

    I’m not saying what I think “should” or “shouldn’t” happen. I reject that framework as a way to look at my argument.

    That said, I think we’d need to be careful before concluding that these situations are meaningfully parallel. I’m not sure that they are – but for the sake of argument lets assume that they are.

    I’m suggesting that we examine cause-and-effect. What is the outcome of calling someone a racist or calling someone a homophobe? That is a distinctly different action than speaking of the behavior of someone and describing how they reflect racist or homophobic attitudes, and examining the impact of those behaviors on other people.

    Let’s take MLK Jr. as an example. Would it be accurate to say that his strategy was largely reliant on calling people (individually or as a group) racist? Or would it be more accurate to say that his strategy was largely reliant on describing behaviors, the attitudes they reflect, and examining impact of those behaviors? What about Malcolm X?

    To bring it back to the climate wars, I don’t know exactly what an effective strategy would be. What I’m questioning is that, as an example, calling someone a denier will: (1) alter how words are commonly defined by the public and, (2) meaningfully improve the likelihood of implementing polices that target mitigating against the impact of ACO2 on the climate. I’m not promoting a message of “tolerance” or “hand-wringing about civility.” I’m questioning the evidence behind a strategy that is being promoted as meaningfully effective.

    So do you have evidence that calling people “deniers” will, somehow, move the ball forward w/r/t achieving policy outcomes? Do you see calling people “deniers” somehow changing how the public at large comes to define terms? Is there some other example (other than using “denier” or comparing to civil rights issues) that would be more useful for talking about the relative merits and cause-and-effect of different strategies?

  236. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I’m suggesting that we examine cause-and-effect. What is the outcome of calling someone a racist or calling someone a homophobe? That is a distinctly different action than speaking of the behavior of someone and describing how they reflect racist or homophobic attitudes, and examining the impact of those behaviors on other people.

    To me this is nitpicking. By your own logic, it doesn’t matter whether the appellation “denier” is used or not, so why object to it in the first place?

    I, at least, can say that the definition is accurate and so the usage is justified.

  237. As I understand Joshua’s point, it’s that once you’ve chosen to describe someone as a “denier” (or a “racist” or a “homophobe”) any constructive discussion is invariably finished. So, the description may be valid but using it may be counterproductive. So, I guess the issue is whether or not the goal is to achieve something and to then determine to best to achieve that. I don’t know the answer myself.

  238. BBD says:

    ATTP/ Joshua

    Yes – I should be clear that by the time I am likely to use the term denier (or racist, etc) then I have determined that no productive dialogue is likely.

  239. BBD,
    That, I think, is the difficult judgement. Admittedly one could choose to be brutally honest and only say exactly what you believe to be true, irrespective of how it might influence what you’re hoping to achieve. That might show integrity, but I’m guessing Willard would suggest that it might not move the ball forward 🙂

  240. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    I don’t think that asking for evidence in support of an asserted cause and effect is nitpicking.

    Anders –

    I am not really saying that I think anything is counterproductve as much as saying I question whether there is evidence in support of a strategy that is being promoted as being somehow beneficial.

  241. Joshua,
    Okay, yes, I see what you mean.

  242. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I don’t think that asking for evidence in support of an asserted cause and effect is nitpicking.

    You seem to have mixed this cause-effect argument in with the discussion of whether or not “denier” is an accurate description of what deniers do. It’s extraneous, indeed irrelevant, to the discussion I thought we were having.

  243. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    I also question your assessment of what is “accurate.” I think that the term “denier” is pretty ambiguous and dependent on subjective interpretation, and that very commonly it is taken to imply motivation or mindset in such a way that determining accuracy should be subjected to a high level of scrutiny. I just think that using the term generally appears more tribal and identity-politics related than scientific.

  244. Tom Curtis says:

    Anders:

    “As I understand Joshua’s point, it’s that once you’ve chosen to describe someone as a “denier” (or a “racist” or a “homophobe”) any constructive discussion is invariably finished. So, the description may be valid but using it may be counterproductive. So, I guess the issue is whether or not the goal is to achieve something and to then determine to best to achieve that. I don’t know the answer myself.”

    That is his point, but it rather misses the point. No amount of constructive discussion on the internet is going to shift political momentum towards effective policy on climate change one iota. Deniers have generated momentum to stop effective policy not by rational discussion, but by giving their adherents rallying cries as a substitute for thought. If we are to counter that, we need to muster a wide spread cultural recognition that their arguments are based on pseudo-science, and that they have no genuine science to substitute for the science reported on by the IPCC. The best way to do that is to clearly, and honestly identify the pseudo-scientists, and label them as such. (Actually, an even better way is to get a good comedian on the ball – but I cannot summon them up on demand.) When politicians become ashamed to associate themselves with AGW denial because doing so will brand them as intellectual light weights easily conned by what ever snake oil salesman are around, then we will have blunted their game plan. You do not do that, however, only by criticizing their pseudo-science. You have to also label it, and make the label stick.

    Joshua asks for any sign such a strategy is effective. Well to begin with, he has no evidence that his preferred strategy is effective, so that is an curious request for him to make. Indeed, is strategy is so ineffective that it is a truism that you do not persuade people through internet discussions. However, half the political campaigns that have ever occurred show the general effectiveness of the strategy. Just ask John Kerry. The difference in our case is that the accusations behind our labelling are true, and can be shown to be true to reasonable people.

    That does not mean the strategy I recommend will work. But demonstrably the strategy Joshua recommends will not work – and if we do not try something more effective we will be waiting till after the first ice free summer at the North Pole at least before we will get effective policy on climate change. On current estimates, that will be about twenty years too late.

  245. BBD says:

    And this is a first-order strawman 🙂

    I am not really saying that I think anything is counterproductve as much as saying I question whether there is evidence in support of a strategy that is being promoted as being somehow beneficial.

  246. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I also question your assessment of what is “accurate.”

    Question away. Denial is what what it is. Your questioning changes nothing. In combination with your use of strawmen (see above) it does feel rather as though you are reliant on a combination of nit-picking and misdirection.

  247. Tom,
    I agree with this entirely,

    If we are to counter that, we need to muster a wide spread cultural recognition that their arguments are based on pseudo-science, and that they have no genuine science to substitute for the science reported on by the IPCC.

    In a sense, the motivation behind this blog was to point out the pseudo-science being presented on others blogs and in the media. Getting there to be a cultural recognition that this is happening, however, is the bit that seems remarkably difficult. To be fair, I don’t know what works and what doesn’t. It’s why I, personally, have find it hard to criticise how others choose to behave. They may behave in a way that I wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective.

  248. Tom Curtis says:

    Joshua, of course using the world “denier” is tribal and identity politics related. That is because the scientific debate occurs in the scientific literature (or fails to because the deniers are largely a no show). The internet “debate” is about politics. The deniers assume a very transparent cloak of “scienciness” to disguise that fact. Had McIntyre really been interested in the science, for example, he would have performed his own reconstructions of past temperatures – on which he has the time and talents to have produced several readily publishable papers. They would have shown, however, the same things that Mann 2008 shows, and so would have been counter productive to his real intentions.

    Only the denier side benefits by pretending this is not the case.

  249. Joshua says:

    I was refering to the use of “denier” as an example of a cause and effect that Tom seemed to me to be describing and that I don’t see happening. I.e., I dont see any beneficial outcome from calling someone a” denier” I don’t see anyone’s definition of terms or use of language altered. I don’t see any benefit w.r.t. public opinion on policy options. I am not saying that it is counterproductive, although I think that may be possible to a relatively insignificant degree.

  250. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    ==> “Well to begin with, he has no evidence that his preferred strategy is effective”

    What is my preferred strategy?

  251. Tom Curtis says:

    Anders, I certainly would not want to dictate that any person follow a particular strategy, and nor am I interested in following so futile a task. In as much as we can generate the recognition that AGW denial is based on pseudo-science, we need people to actually demonstrate that (ie, do the detailed analysis), as well as people to get the message out wider (ie, do the labeling). What we don’t need is people criticizing the later because they have a penchant for the former. If the former alone would work, AGW denialism would have become a fringe movement by 2001.

  252. Tom Curtis says:

    Joshua, you seem to be arguing a ridiculous position that using a term in a particular way cannot shape its meaning. Despite that we see changes in the meanings of words and neologisms all the time. The effectiveness of persuasive labelling is why deniers call themselves “skeptics”, and why the fall all over themselves to insist that a word that has been in use longer than there has been an English language must suddenly have become irrevocably tied to, and only to, holocaust denial. If you were to argue that the use of the word “denier” was counterproductive because the deniers have been, and continue to be more effective at the game of persuasive labelling than we are, your position may have some merit. But to argue that it cannot be done is absurd.

    Further, your strategy is the quiet, polite debate. It may not be fair to call it a strategy, in that you may only do it for entertainment (ie, as an end in itself); but in that case that is all the more reason why it is irrelevant to those who don’t want to see the world burn (figuratively).

  253. Kevin O'Neill says:

    No one denies it’s warming. No one denies CO2 warms the planet. No one denies humans are responsible for the increase in CO2. In fact many pseudoskeptics *do* still believe one or another of these zombie tropes. But the more savvy ones realize that those positions are no longer tenable – the public has moved on. So now they move on to the next rung of the ladder.

    Not all pseudoskeptics are alike. An approach that works with one won’t necessarily work with another. But no approach is going to work with the orchestra leaders. It’s their job to marshal the troops – not play honest broker. An argument could be made that scientific arguments meant to persuade the pseudoskeptic should use the same style that we already know they like – but turned around 180 degrees.

    Unfortunately, they also have some intertwined affinities; anti-government, anti-science, religious fundamentalism, conspiracy ideation, etc. It’s difficult to see how anyone could break through those natural affinities and present a case that wouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

    Like many others, not knowing what the correct answer is makes it impossible for me to criticize anyone else for how they choose to pursue it – whether it be dry technical language or over-the-top ridicule and hyperbole. Ridicule and hyperbole is more fun in my opinion, though 🙂

  254. Tom and Joshua,
    This is where I find myself partly agreeing with both. I certainly agree with this

    What we don’t need is people criticizing the later because they have a penchant for the former.

    I certainly don’t really know what strategy works and hence find it difficult to criticise how others (who I broadly agree with) choose to engage. On the other hand, my preference is to behave in a way that I don’t regret and that is consistent (I don’t claim to always do so, but that’s my aspiration). So, I quite like how Joshua points out when behaviour here is comparable to behaviour on pseudo-skeptic sites.

    I will say one other thing though. I don’t think there is viable strategy at the moment for people like ourselves. We mainly comment on blogs (and sometimes on Twitter). While we have a media that promotes pseudo-science and policy makers who do the same, there’s little we can do that would change this. Maybe we can help a little, but until there is a more concerted campaign to highlight this pseudo-science and make it very clear that it is pseudo-science, nothing much will change (well, until it becomes so obvious that noone can really deny it anymore).

  255. AT,

    Labeling in general could help move the ball, but only if your game plan is to target someone. A bit like dodgeball. The goal would then be to shoot down the opposition in a credibility contest, say.

    Here’s an example:

    Judith’s anti-global approach has it exactly wrong.

    Wicked problems demands an approach that;
    – crosses boundaries
    – embraces the long term view
    – envisage muliple responses
    – accepts that no one approach is adequate and ‘messy’ soutions
    – accepts that we don’t/can’t fully understand the problem

    Judith’s rhetorical appeal to wicked problems is to reject much of the above.

    Judith’s use of wickedness is complete BS (I can’t think of a kinder term).

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/16/jc-at-the-national-press-club/#comment-629380

    Just as he’s about to score, Michael turns around and start to push and shove in the most unsportsmanlike manner there is. Instead of showing why Judy’s assumptions are backwards, he starts a touch down dance. I’ve seen lightning rods that were not that efficient in conducting flames.

    If the point is simply to mock, then of course that works, kinda. If the point is to demonstrate pseudoscience, it’s a swing and miss.

    I would have liked to see that demonstration.

  256. If we are to counter that, we need to muster a wide spread cultural recognition that their arguments are based on pseudo-science, and that they have no genuine science to substitute for the science reported on by the IPCC.

    But what’s the approach that’s most likely to bring that goal even a little closer?

    My views on that may be the opposite of what some others think.

    Basically I think that the closer our style is to that of the opponents the less likely we are to get anywhere. Aggressive style leads only to the impression of symmetry, where neither side is supported by more objective truth than the other.

  257. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    ==> “Joshua, you seem to be arguing a ridiculous position that using a term in a particular way cannot shape its meaning.”

    Hmm.

    That’s not really what I’m arguing – in the sense that your description is generic.

    I am arguing something specific about your assertion about how certain words are shaped by how certain individuals use them, and more specifically, your assertion about how certain other people utilizing a certain strategy will affect how those words are defined.

    ==> “Despite that we see changes in the meanings of words and neologisms all the time. ”

    Of course, and I am doubting your asserted ability to control that process.

    ==> The effectiveness of persuasive labelling is why deniers call themselves “skeptics”,”

    Well, yes. And you have no control over that.

    ==> ” But to argue that it cannot be done is absurd.”

    But I’m not arguing that “it can’t be done.” I’m arguing that I see no evidence to support your outline of specific cause-and-effect.

    ==> “Further, your strategy is the quiet, polite debate. ”

    Actually, no. That isn’t my strategy. I think it is an illusion to think that discussing issues on blogs amounts to a “strategy” in any meaningful, or at least controllable, way. So I am not employing that as a “strategy” and I do think it would be “absurd” to think that such a strategy would be effective in any substantive way.

    I would say that initially, “skeptics” on blogs employing the rhetoric of “AGW is a hoax” was somewhat effective as a strategy. Is it still effective? I think not – because such rhetoric at this point at most, only reinforces existing cleavages in public opinion. Is a counter-charge of “denier” effective? IMO, it probably never was, but IMO isn’t now in any meaningful sense. Who, that isn’t already pretty much set in their opinions about climate change, gives a shit if you or anyone else calls as “skeptic” a “denier” or “anti-science?’ I think hardly anyone. Who do you think will have their mindset changed to any significant degree about climate change because you or someone else calls someone else a “denier” or “anti-science?”

    As far as “strategy” is concerned, I think that participatory democracy in the model of collaborative planning and stakeholder dialog would be an effective strategy.

    ==> “It may not be fair to call it a strategy, in that you may only do it for entertainment (ie, as an end in itself); but in that case that is all the more reason why it is irrelevant to those who don’t want to see the world burn (figuratively).”

    Right. I’m not suggesting that it isn’t irrelevant. I just don’t think that your strategy has the relevance you think it has. I could change my mind if evidence were provided. Considering whether, and to what extent, other processes of societal change might be parallel could be useful, but that such comparisons should not be made lightly. There are many variables to consider, many context-specific aspects to consider. At the bottom line, I don’t see a direct parallel between calling someone a “denier” – in particular but not only on blog discussion threads – and strategies that were employed by people who have struggled to establish civil rights for minorities or homosexuals. In fact, as someone who comes from a tradition of fighting for civil rights, I find the comparison to be kind of distasteful – as if the strategies to move civil rights forward were really comparable to something as simplistic as calling someone else a “denier.”

    These are discussions about political strategy. I’m saying that they are complicated – more complicated than the mechanism that you portray. I don’t think that is “absurd.” There is plenty of discussion among serious and well-informed people about the effectiveness of various strategies for bringing about political change.

    Not sure where else to go with this at this point. You think my argument is absurd. BBD thinks it is strawmanish, nitpicking, and misdirecting. Perhaps it’s time to move on – at least to the extent that it is a direct discussion. I don’t see much to be gained from discussion with people who categorize my opinions in such a fashion.

  258. Joshua says:

    Anders/Rachel –

    Please release my recent comment from moderation prison.

  259. Joshua,
    Already done, I think. I think we have “denier” in the moderation list.

  260. Joshua says:

    Yeah – thanks. you were quick.

  261. Joshua says:

    Re: Michael’s comment over at Judy’s

    ==> “I can’t think of a kinder term”

    IMO, a modified from incredulity. Indeed, a favored tool of “skeptics.” Brandon is an absolute master at it.

  262. Rachel M says:

    Good morning lovely blog commenters!

    Just a quick note: denier is not on the moderation list. I don’t mind people using this word. The only words that will tag your comment for moderation are troll, liar, and idiot. Sometimes comments get caught for reasons unknown to me. 🙂

  263. Joshua says:

    OK – rereading I see a contradiction:

    ==> “..I think it is an illusion to think that discussing issues on blogs amounts to a “strategy” in any meaningful, or at least controllable, way. So I am not employing that as a “strategy” and I do think it would be “absurd” to think that such a strategy would be effective in any substantive way.

    and in the next paragraph:

    […]

    I would say that initially, “skeptics” on blogs employing the rhetoric of “AGW is a hoax” was somewhat effective as a strategy. Is it still effective?”

    ———————————

    So I need to reconcile that contradiction. So here’s an attempt to figure it out:

    Discussions of a “hoax” on blogs were effective to the extent that the discussions in blogs about how “AGW is a hoax” was mirrored by rightwing media and rightwing politicians. Readers on these blogs are outliers, and extrapolating to the broader public is tough to do.

    Now “denier” language in blogs is also extended by leftwing media and leftwing politicians – but the value is limited and I think the limited effect has run it’s course. Gore initially using terms like “denier” has some initial impact (and so, relatedly, perhaps also did the accompanying convos in blogs calling people deniers). But the impact ran its course, and in the end what we have is little progress on adopting policies. Gore continuing to use that rhetoric, or Obama using similar terminology would do nothing effective, IMO. Obama’s a hated figure among much of the American public. It would be hard enough for him to have any significant impact with those who aren’t already ideologically/politically aligned – but the task would be all that much harder if he stimulates the identity protective and aggressive mechanisms of those who aren’t aligned politically by associating them with “deniers.” His discussion of the “97%” consensus is also, IMO, not likely to be impactful. I’m not saying counterproductive (as some argue) but not effective. In the end, I think that the proof is in the pudding. It’s theoretically possible that increasing the public’s knowledge about the prevalence of view among climate scientists might move public opinion towards supporting policies to address climate change – but I think that information would have to come from sources that don’t fit into the preexisting polarized taxonomy.

  264. Joshua says:

    For some reason my next comment is in prison also.

    IT’S A CONSPIRACY TO SHUT ME UP!!!!11!!! YOU’RE JUST AFRAID OF MY DEVASTATING ARGUMENTS11111!!111 CENSORSHIP!!11!!!!!

  265. Joshua,
    I was reading your comment to try and work out what it triggering moderation, but can’t really see what it is. Maybe there’s a “moderate random comment” option.

  266. Perhaps you ought to promote your less polite comments, Joshua, e.g.:

    Don’t bother Chief. He’s vanquishing “the enemy.”

    From behind his keyboard.

    Day after day.

    In thread after thread.

    By posting the same comments.,

    If he keeps at it long enough, his “enemy” will be vanquished.

    If not in this universe, then certainly in some other.

    Sooner or later.

    As long as his keyboard holds out.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/11/fraudulent-hockey-stick/#comment-627361

    I find stylish snark tough to resist. There ought to be a reason why guys like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Bill Maher are as efficient as they are. Same within the evo debate: righteous outrage puts me off. Mileage varies, of course.

    I see no reason to prefer a pure strategy here. As long as there’s lots of stylish snark, I’m happy.

  267. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Re:Don’t bother Chief….”

    Now there’s a comment worth saving. Found poetry, if not intentional. Nicely done, Joshua.

  268. Kevin,
    I notice you’ve also had the ‘dishonest’ treatment. As far as I can tell, there are few who haven’t.

  269. WebHubTelescope says:

    I should start to refer to the Chief as Taz, since he shares many of the traits — a short temper and little patience — as the down-under cartoon character. Any time he is threatened, he spins completely out of control, and spews out volumes of cut&paste nonsense.

  270. Okay, given that I’ve limited Chief’s ability to respond, maybe we could make sure we don’t make any comments for which a response might be warranted.

  271. Tom Curtis says:

    Joshua, if you contradicted yourself (as you did), then your argument was indeed absurd (by definition). The improved argument is that I alone, or bloggers alone will not be able to shift the tide of persuasive labelling from the other side, and that in any event persuasive labels use up their effectiveness, becoming in the end mere tribal identifiers.

    As to the first, granted. But unless bloggers and organizations like 350.org make the effort, the result will be that all persuasive labels related to the debate will have been invented, and developed by the deniers. What I do may not be enough, but unless I and others are prepared to make the effort the fight will be lost.

    As to the second, that is not at all clear. “Racist”, for example, started as a persuasive label in the 1910s, and chugged along fairly ineffectively until the 1960s since when it has gone from strength to strength. So strong is it now that effectively nobody chooses to accept the designation and simply assert there is nothing wrong with it. However, it is a potential fate of persuasive labells. The correct response to that is to reinvigorate your labels, and to invent new ones.

  272. If my memory serves me well, George Lackoff has already observed the asymmetry Joshua considers a contradiction. Here’s a good resource to start on this:

    http://www.cognitivepolicyworks.com/resource-center/thinking-points/

    Basically, he’s saying that progressives do not have the right mind frame to hammer down mantras, slogans, and talking points as efficiently as conservatives do. Jonathan Haidt’s work seems to corroborate that impression. The target audience does not react the same way too.

    So not only are the two roles asymmetric, the establishment being the federative power against a free-for-all aggression from contrarian forces, but the players themselves among these coalitions do not share the same traits. Again, think offense and defense.

    The D word is here to stay. My impression is that there is a need for something more positive, more constructive, something that could appeal to the progressive ideals, like justice. But as far as I’m concerned, anything goes.

  273. Joshua says:

    Actually, willard – it does relate to Lakeoff and what I call trying to out-Republican the Republicans. I have long felt that way about Dems trying to take the low road for quite a while now. They just aren’t as good or as disciplined with that kind of rhetoric. I got into some heated discussions with friends about whether Dems should adopt Rove-like tactics in the 2008 presidential campaign…arguments about how Cheney was drunk when he shot Wiggenbottom comes to mind, and trying to exploit anti-Arab sentiment when Dems wanted to leverage the Bush administration Arab port deal.

  274. AnOilMan says:

    Willard, Joshua, I actually suggested Desmogblog sloganize and hype one issue, and they were solidly against it. Slogans might be neat, but they don’t actually do much, or could even back fire. Anyone buying “Ethical Oil” besides the jack boots in China?

    There was a famous musician who passed away recently, Jesse Winchester. And he really disliked national anthems and national pride. He said that these things don’t unite us, they drive us apart. They are a double edge sword, achieving conformity by driving away the ones who disagree.

    Perhaps the issue isn’t coming up with clever slogans. But the desire to offer more than a hollow discussion.

  275. AnOilMan says:

    Here’s a great discussion on this;

    Sorry it’s Canadian, but it is funny, and it does touch on US politics, where you are constantly being offered non-choices. (Perhaps hollow slogans are driving people away from voting.)

  276. Here’s a nice way to state the problem task:

    Building trust across organizations requires a three-pronged approach. First, we have to know our own values so that we can articulated them with authenticity and authority. Secondly, we must make these values explicit and engage in the practice of radical transparency to leave no questions about where we stand and what we care about. And third, we’ve got to seek out those who resonate with these values at the core level of their personal identity. It is upon this foundation that we can engage in the vital work of building trust.

    http://www.cognitivepolicyworks.com/blog/2012/06/22/the-real-reason-conservatives-always-win/

    So as I see it, the problem is not with the use of the D word, but its vacuousness in building trust. The accusation of racism seems to work well because it promotes its value along the labeling.

    Perhaps the underlying ethos should be expressed along the lines of humanism: the idea that we’re all in it together, but extended to include our future generations. The environmental concerns are present, but what seems to me at the forefront are social issues: public health, security, etc. A super wicked allocation problem that should be decomposed into tractable issues.

    Just like 350 does. The equivalent of a 350 for economic issues might be nice. Perhaps it exists, I’m too busy playing ClimateBall to know about constructive endeavors like these.

    As usual, I’m just thinking aloud. I only think when I type.

  277. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Re: …. we’ve got to seek out those who resonate with these values at the core level of their personal identity. “

    Along those lines progressives have repeatedly failed at making appropriate religious/moral arguments. It’s obvious to most progressives that the teachings of Christ are basically incompatible with conservative policies – especially regarding the poor and disadvantaged – but they rarely make the case explicit.

    Similarly in the climate debate, doing nothing now almost guarantees we’ll need large government efforts in the future. If one is in favor of smaller gov’t, then one should be encouraging individual action to reduce climate change now. It’s the old Fram oil filter commercial: You can pay me now [at the cost of an inexpensive oil filter], or you can pay me later [with an expensive engine repair].

  278. Kevin O’Neill says: “…progressives have repeatedly failed at making appropriate religious/moral arguments. It’s obvious to most progressives that the teachings of Christ are basically incompatible with conservative policies – especially regarding the poor and disadvantaged – but they rarely make the case explicit.”

    If one might be interested, see the main post

    Mitt Romney’s “middle class”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/mitt-romneys-middle-class/

    combined with some comments including the comment

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/mitt-romneys-middle-class/#comment-70378

    (hope the link works) at September 18, 2012 at 5:57 AM expanding on some other comments and a Krugman post for an example of at least one progressive taking a shot at making it explicit.

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