RealClimate logo


Technical Note: Sorry for the recent unanticipated down-time, we had to perform some necessary updates. Please let us know if you have any problems.

A mistaken message from IoP?

Filed under: — rasmus @ 6 March 2010

The Institute of Physics (IoP) recently made a splash in the media through a statement about the implications of the e-mails stolen in the CRU hack. A couple of articles in the Guardian report how this statement was submitted to an inquiry into the CRU hack and provide some background.

The statement calls for increased transparency, and expresses concerns about the public confidence in science if the transparency is absent. The IoP statement, however, fails to note that the issue of transparency is far more general applicable than just to mainstream climate science. It should also involve the critics of climate change, as noted by New Scientist.

The statement also fails to clarify what level of transparency they expect the climate scientists to reach. Which scientific discipline should we use as a role model? I know of none that is more transparent than climate science, and in large part that s due to the IPCC. Ironically, without this transparency, the climate-change deniers would not get as much ammunition. For instance, note how the attacks on the NASA GISTEMP product have become more vehement in recent months even though the code base and data have been available for years and clearly demonstrate that the criticisms are bogus.

Another question arises is whether the IoP follows its own recommendations in its own publications?

The statement of the IoP was made on the behalf of its 36000 members, but as a member of IoP myself, this came as a surprise. According to the Guardian, there was only a small group of people behind this, and other IoP members was obviously not very impressed. The IoP did, however, make a second statement after their initial one was misrepresented by the climate-change deniers (there is some confusion about versions).

The irony of this affair is that the IoP will not disclose who were responsible for the original statement, thus not living up to the standards they set for others.

Furthermore, it’s a paradox that the IoP based the statement on stolen private e-mail exchanges, while putting disclaimers about confidentiality, especially as it asks people to delete any e-mail before they go astray:

This email (and attachments) are confidential and intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the intended recipient please notify the sender, delete any copies and do not take action in reliance on it

Transparency is essential for trust and confidence in science – as in all matters – but claims about lack of transparency are easy to make. It’s another question whether the alleged lack of transparency in climate science has had any impact on anyone’s ability to verify the science.

Update
Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission‘ in Physics World

March, 19: Further Comment on DeepClimate.org


345 Responses to “A mistaken message from IoP?”

  1. 301
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Matthew L. says: However the fact that there is Prima Facie evidence means that there is a case to answer.

    No data or emails were deleted; no crime was committed.

    Hacking UEA was a crime, and when the perp is found, much will be revealed.

  2. 302
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence.”

    There is no evidence of deletion of information.

    The emails are no proof, no more than if I email someone “I could kill that bloody dog who keeps pooping in my garden” is proof I have killed animals.

  3. 303
    Matthew L. says:

    #299, 300 Jim, CFU
    How do you know that no data or e-mails were deleted? Surely that is what the the ICO was going to investigate had it not been time barred – and what the inquiry is still looking into?

  4. 304
    Nick Gotts says:

    Matthew L.
    The ICO is investigating, as the very letter you linked to says. The time limit for a possible prosecution has passed, that does not prevent an investigation.

  5. 305
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “303
    Matthew L. says:
    11 March 2010 at 12:06 PM

    #299, 300 Jim, CFU
    How do you know that no data or e-mails were deleted?”

    How do we know you’ve stopped beating your wife?

    We don’t know any data or emails were deleted, and emails that were PURPORTED to be deleted are available in the very same stolen archive. As have several datasets that have been described as having been deleted.

    Given that several cases exist where the statement “emails and data has been deleted” is proven wrong, the onus is on you to show that some data has gone.

  6. 306
    Matthew L. says:

    #300 Nick
    I think “very sloppy” is a bit harsh. Maybe the correct word should have been “series” rather than “set”, but it is a pretty fine distinction.

    What is your view of the fact that it was not just one mistake but six sets of mistakes that were being corrected?
    – Normals for stations in Australia and New Zealand
    – Standard deviations
    – Additional stations in the US
    – Re-cycled Canadian station ID
    – Incorrect latitude and longitude values
    – Missing minus sign: Baruunturuun, Mongolia

    I think “very sloppy” would be better applied to the work that led to these mistakes.

    Clearly somebody at the Met Office Hadley centre has undertaken a quite in depth audit of the data since they took it over from UEA/CRU. I would not be surprised if it was finding these errors that led to this much overdue announcement:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/pr20100224b.html

    A fair point about the ICO and bad manners. However, I don’t think you can call their objectivity into question. I would be very surprised if the ICO had any “denialist” agenda :-)

    Just the usual British over-zealous bureaucracy at work.

  7. 307
    Deep Climate says:

    Not directly on IOP’s, but relevant to another misguided U.K. committee submission, namely that of Steve McIntyre (also includes the forthright rebuttal of spurious claims from CRU’s Tim Osborn).

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/10/mcclimategate-continues-yet-another-false-accusation-from-mcintyre-and-mckitrick/

    How do they get away with it? That’s the inevitable question as I examine one of the most specious – and despicable – “climategate” allegations from contrarians, namely the oft-repeated claim that climate scientists at East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit inappropriately adjusted certain tree-ring temperature proxy data to provide a better match with instrumental temperature record.

    In an extraordinary interview with FoxNews in December of last year, economist Ross McKitrick alleged that scientists were “faking the match” between proxy and temperature data. McKitrick averred this was “not being honest with the reader” and even invoked a comparison to falsified experimental medical research. Stephen McIntyre of ClimateAudit recently claimed that the “artificial correction” seemed “to have entered the CRU toolkit” (in his submission to the U.K. parliamentary committee examining allegations arising from stolen CRU emails, no less).

    Yet a close examination of the computer code and ensuing research bears out the key contention of the firm rebuttals from East Anglia University, as well as CRU scientist Tim Osborn, namely that the specific adjustments in question were for private exploration only and never incorporated into CRU scientists’ subsequent published research. So, once again, McIntyre and McKitrick have made odious and unfounded accusations, based on non-existent evidence. They should withdraw these specious allegations immediately.

  8. 308
    Brian Dodge says:

    “I stress this section for one and obvious reason. The Information Commissioner(I.C.) finds lack of compliance and it extends beyond the CRU itself.” David Alan — 10 March 2010 @ 10:44 PM

    “The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act …” Jonathan Leake @ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7004936.ece

    In correspondence with The University of East Anglia, Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith has confirmed that Leake was lying.

    “As stated above, no decision notice has yet been issued and no alleged breaches have yet been put to the University for comment. That matter has yet to be addressed, but it will be over the coming months.”
    “Errors* like this are frequently made in press reports and the ICO cannot be expected to correct them, particularly when the ICO has not itself referred to penalties or sanctions in its own statement.”
    Graham Smith http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/ICO+response+to+UEA

    *Spock: “Ah! Mr. Scott. I understand you’re having difficulty with the warp drive. How much time do you require for repair?”
    Scotty: “There’s nothing wrong with the bloody thing.”
    Spock: “Mr. Scott, if we return to Space Dock, the assassins will surely find a way to dispose of their incriminating footwear, and we will never see the Captain or Dr. McCoy alive again.”
    Scotty: “Could take weeks, sir.”
    Spock: “Thank you, Mr. Scott. Valeris, please inform Starfleet Command that our warp drive is inoperative.”
    Valeris: “A lie?”
    Spock: “An error.” tnmc.homestead.com/Q20StarTrek6.html

  9. 309
    flxible says:

    ML@306 – Your interpretation re “finding these errors” appears a bit cavalier: “The new analysis will add to, and refine, the existing data sets which all show global and continental-scale multi-decadal trends of increasing temperatures, following on from the pioneering work of the University of East Anglia (UEA) over the last 30 years.”

  10. 310
    Hank Roberts says:

    Just to be really clear who was saying what
    — the first 2 lines of 308 above are quoting from the posting David Alan wrote here at RC (March 10th, 10:44pm). David Alan was there quoting the IOP’s statement to Parlaiment.

    The IOP statement was wrong, per the quote in 308 from Graham Smith

    The IOP got it wrong;
    David Alan repeated the IOP error.

  11. 311
    Dave G says:

    Matthew L. says: 11 March 2010 at 10:02 AM said:

    “You need to have prima facie evidence to pursue a case. Your statement that “Nothing there saying that illegal disobedience of FOIA happened.” is of course true as the only place where a statement that “illegal disobedience happened” can be judged properly is a court of law.

    However the fact that there is Prima Facie evidence means that there is a case to answer.”

    There is only a case to answer if a crime has been committed. As the Deputy Information Commissioner talks of “a potential offence”, it is clear that he is undecided about whether an offence has been committed. Does “prima facie evidence” relating to a “potential offence” amounts to “a case to answer”? Not in any reasonable legal system, or any reasonable person’s mind.

  12. 312
    David Alan says:

    @ #286 Nick Gotts says: “I would have thought, that as a “man of science”, you would have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself with these facts.”

    You say I should acquaint myself with the facts. The section of the IoP statement that I address is where it says: “The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner.”

    You also make mention of an article in the Sunday Times.

    I don’t know if this is the same article you are referencing, but in it, and here’s an excerpt from that article:

    Professor Jones denied that he had tried to prevent alternative views being published by influencing the process of peer review under which scientific papers are scrutinised.

    He said: “I don’t think there is anything in those e-mails that supports any view that I have been trying to pervert the peer review process . . .” He added that it “hasn’t been standard practice” in climate science for all data to be disclosed.

    Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative Chancellor and a leading climate sceptic, said that those who wanted to check the university’s research should not have been forced to resort to making requests under the Freedom of Information Act.”

    Phil Jones himself mentions that he influenced the process, but not to prevent alternative views. So he says. The fact remains. He acknowledges he attempted to influence the peer review process.

    Thats the facts.

    [Response: Every time any scientist writes a review they influence the peer-review process. When did "influence" become a dirty word? Plus this has absolutely nothing with the FOI request in question. - gavin]

    In addition, Hank Roberts in comment #310 says: ” The IoP got it wrong; David Alan repeated the IoP error.”\

    Gentlemen, I feel this is one of those elephants in the room moments. If Phil Jones says he tried to influence the peer review process and the I.C.O. says that he wasn’t in compliance, where can you sit there and say there is an error by either me or the IoP ? I don’t know how it can be more concise.

    [Response: The issue is not conciseness but relevance. Are you of the opinon that the ICO is supposed to be policing journal reviews? Or that FOIA is designed to improve peer review? - gavin]

    Let me remind you gentlemen.. and ladies, that the statement made by the IoP and my remarks regarding this whole affair are not to place blame, but to bring back credibility were credibility lacks because of this self evident disclosure. ‘Men of Science’, and I include myself in this discussion, must learn from the mistakes of others or we are bound to repeat them. The scientific method must be applied to all sciences, even climate science, as I am surely aware Phil Jones is at this very moment.

    David Alan

  13. 313
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “I would be very surprised if the ICO had any “denialist” agenda :-)

    Comment by Matthew L.”

    There’s no need for an agenda just to be wrong.

    And the deputy here was wrong.

    As are you.

  14. 314
    Matthew L says:

    # Dave G.
    we are getting way OT here. But seeing as you ask…
    “There is only a case to answer if a crime has been committed.”

    Not always. It quite often happens that a criminal case will turn not on whether a particular person committed a crime, but whether their actions constituted a crime or not.

    A person’s defence may be that they admit to the action, but that the action was legal (or at least not criminal). In these instances the “case” that needs answering is whether or not a crime has been committed.

    The ICO has prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed. They will investigate and see whether one has or hasn’t in their opinion. It might well be that the ICO thinks an action by the CRU was criminal, but the CRU’s defence may be that it was legal.

  15. 315
    Geoff Wexler says:

    The comments section at

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/41965

    is conducting a kangaroo trial. The Annex to the original IoP submission used a dog-whistle and the dogs are now holding a rally.

  16. 316
    J Bowers says:

    Well, there’s a big opportunity for everyone to correct some misinformation.

    Physicsworld.com (a website of the Institute of Physics) has an article on the IoP submission. Check out who’s first in the comment list banging on about deleting proxy data, etc.

    ‘Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission’ March 11.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/41965

    It takes a minute to sign up. I’m quite gobsmacked by some comments already made there.

  17. 317
    Matthew L says:

    #313 CFU
    Nick was questioning not whether the ICO was “wrong” but whether they are “objective”.

    In this case to be “objective” means “undistorted by emotion or personal bias”. I don’t know about emotion (he seems a bit angry) however I doubt whether you could accuse him of bias. As I said, I doubt whether he is bothered either way about the science behind global warming.

    You can be “objective” and wrong as well as “subjective” and right.

  18. 318
    Dave G says:

    Matthew L says: 12 March 2010 at 5:07 AM

    “The ICO has prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed.”

    Not unless they know that emails were actually deleted. If no emails were deleted, no crime was committed and evidence, prima facie or otherwise, becomes irrelevant.

  19. 319
    Completely Fed Up says:

    ML 315: “In this case to be “objective” means “undistorted by emotion or personal bias”.”

    Nope, it means be objective. As in don’t accept one side’s story.

    The emails are an edited subset of a theft of much larger data volumes preselected to imply whatever denailists need to be seen.

    The Objective way to look at the data is to see if there really is a problem.

    This neither the Deputy ICO nor you have done.

    [edit]

  20. 320
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS re 317 where did “Nick” come from?

    “I would be very surprised if the ICO had any “denialist” agenda :-)

    Comment by Matthew L.”

    is a comment by you, ML, not Nick.

  21. 321
    Matthew L. says:

    # 320 CFU
    PS re 317 where did “Nick” come from?
    The post I was commenting on when I made this statement was #300 Nick Gotts, where he states:
    “It was grossly unfair of the Deputy Information Commissioner to give the statement he did to the persistent journalist Leake, without even the courtesy of informing UEA or the affected individuals he was going to do so; and must cast some doubt on his objectivity in this matter.”

    and I reply in #306

    A fair point about the ICO and bad manners. However, I don’t think you can call their objectivity into question. I would be very surprised if the ICO had any “denialist” agenda :-)

    Anyway I think we have flogged this one to death. I have made my point and you have made yours. Feel free to have the last word.

  22. 322
    Doug Bostrom says:

    I just love this– irony so thick and gooey and dripping all over, it threatens to suffocate:

    In a statement, the IOP says it regrets that its submission to the inquiry has become the focus of what it calls “extraordinary media hype” and that the evidence “has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that the IOP does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming”.

    “Extraordinary media hype”, “interpreted by some individuals to imply”. Delicious. Beautiful. You can’t make this stuff up.

    Eat crow, sloppy, careless IOP. Now walk in the other person’s shoes.

    Read the rest of the IOP’s eerily familiar words here:

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/41965

    BTW, I don’t think I was the first to point out on this site that IOP’s “evidence” would explode, messily. Sure enough.

  23. 323
    addis says:

    You wrote, “The IoP statement, however, fails to note that the issue of transparency is far more general applicable than just to mainstream climate science. It should also involve the critics of climate change, as noted by New Scientist.”

    The only question here is the data and methods used to publish articles in scientific journals. These must be publicly available. Don’t confuse any document with an article in a scientific journal.

    You also wrote, “The irony of this affair is that the IoP will not disclose who were responsible for the original statement, thus not living up to the standards they set for others.” There is no irony here. There is a big difference between asking for data and methods for an article in a scientific journal to asking the names of people who wrote a report. The first is to reproduce scientific resulsts, but the second is for a witch hunt.

  24. 324
    flxible says:

    addis: ” There is a big difference between asking for data and methods for an article in a scientific journal to asking the names of people who wrote a report. The first is to reproduce scientific resulsts, but the second is for a witch hunt.”
    Actually in this case, the 2nd is to identify the witch hunters. The accused have the right of knowing the origin of the accusations IMO.

  25. 325
    Doug Bostrom says:

    addis says: 12 March 2010 at 4:46 PM

    There is a big difference between asking for data and methods for an article in a scientific journal to asking the names of people who wrote a report.

    An anonymous attack on the character of individuals who in turn sign their name to their own work is inherently defective with regard to accountability and credibility, “addis.” If the authors of the report believe what they wrote and have no credibility issues of their own, they should have absolutely no problem being accountable for their work.

  26. 326
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re addis: “Witchhunt” against IoP? That’s rich.

  27. 327
    Ray Ladbury says:

    addis, I believe that the members of IoP have a right to know who is speaking in their name, don’t you?

    I for one would be quite curious about how such a wildly imaginative document as the “IoP statement” could have come out with the IoP impramatur. No, this isn’t a witchhunt. We know witches don’t exist. Dishonest energy execs…they do exist, in spades.

  28. 328
    Andreas Bjurström says:

    289 Nick Gotts,
    Oreskes is a professor of History and Science Studies. It is telling that you have to do an definition exercise to exclude science studies from her expertise to be able to conclude that you can accept her research.

    (I very much agree with your critique of extreme relativism).

  29. 329
    Arthur Dent says:

    It is interesting to observe the opprobrium being heaped on the IoP because it relied on its normal internal procedures to produce its statement and did not ballot everyone of its members. Previously many august institutions such as the American Institute of Physics and teh Royal Society have produced statements supportive of the “consensus” view using exactly the same processs, i.e. without balloting all their members and the reaction here was, well nothing.

    [Response: The issue is not the issuing of statements, but whether they made enough effort to know what it was they were talking about. No one is calling for a ballot on every issue, but the backlash the IoP is feeling is a strong indication that this statement was not in line with the informed opinion of their membership. You didn't see a reaction to their statement on climate science, or the AGU statement, or the AMS statement etc., because these were. That is what 'consensus' means. - gavin]

  30. 330
    Hugh Laue says:

    329 Arthur Dent
    I’m not sure the point has been made here yet but there is a big difference in a professional society making a statement on a scientific issue such as AGW and making a submission on emails stolen from scientists and taken out of context. It is impossible to draw and conclusions from emails as to whether good or bad scientific practise had been or was being carried out at CRU. The IOP should surely have rather said that it was outside of their area of competence to comment. At the very least a competent dendrologist should have been consulted on the “hide the decline” statement. The IoP statement was ill-considered at best.
    But the self-righteous manner in which denialists are spinning this proves once again their complete lack of scientific and moral integrity. And read this http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/over-reach.html

  31. 331
    peterr says:

    @Completely Fed Up @ 11 March 2010 at 11:33 AM

    [i] The emails are no proof, no more than if I email someone “I could kill that bloody dog who keeps pooping in my garden” is proof I have killed animals.[/i]

    A more appropriate analogy is if you emailed several people saying:
    “Please help me kill that bloody dog who keeps pooping in my garden, and pass the request along”.

    This would still not be proof that you have killed animals but it would be evidence in support of your role in a conspiracy (in the legal sense and not the tinfoil hat sense) to harm animals. Whether you were serious or if this constituted an actual offence in your jurisdiction would remain to be determined. But it would hardly be considered trivial.

    And whether the emails were inappropriately released by someone with legitimate access (eg a concerned colleague in a poorly access controlled environment) or hacked into by animal rights activists might affect whether a crime had been committed through this disclosure, but when the emails were recognized as authentic by the authors the facts remain to be addressed.

    The analogies used is debates like this tend to oversimplify. But it is a little more problematic when analogies that may be apt in one narrow sense lead reason well astray in other significant respects.

  32. 332
    Completely Fed Up says:

    peterr: “A more appropriate analogy is if you emailed several people saying:
    “Please help me kill that bloody dog who keeps pooping in my garden, and pass the request along”.”

    Nope, that’s nothing like as close an analogy.

    And if the dog is still alive 8 years later, that is rather proof that YOUR email was hyperbole.

    Or is it Schroedinger’s Dog?

  33. 333
    Dave G says:

    peterr says:
    15 March 2010 at 9:26 AM

    “A more appropriate analogy is if you emailed several people saying:
    “Please help me kill that bloody dog who keeps pooping in my garden, and pass the request along”.

    This would still not be proof that you have killed animals but it would be evidence in support of your role in a conspiracy (in the legal sense and not the tinfoil hat sense) to harm animals. Whether you were serious or if this constituted an actual offence in your jurisdiction would remain to be determined. But it would hardly be considered trivial.”

    To continue your analogy, the dog wasn’t killed, though. I understand that some of the emails which Jones suggested should be deleted, were actually amongst the hacked emails (and were thus not deleted). Until evidence emerges that emails which were the subject of FoI requests were actually deleted, I don’t think a crime has been committed.

  34. 334
    Nick Gotts says:

    Oreskes is a professor of History and Science Studies. It is telling that you have to do an definition exercise to exclude science studies from her expertise – Andreas Bjurström

    On the contrary, it is telling that you distort what I have said, and the history of your own subject. If you look into the latter, you will find that “Science studies” is an older and more comprehensive term than “Science and Technology Studies” or “STS” – which is what I have referred to as objectionable. STS was founded in the 1980s by scholars committed to a relativist methodology. As Wikepedia says: “In the 1980s, a turn to technology occurred as science studies scholars such as Trevor Pinch and Steve Woolgar argued that technology could be examined using the principle of symmetry.” The so-called “principle of symmetry” is that science (and technology) should be studied in a wholly relativist fashion: “that science studies scholars should remain neutral with respect to the truth claims science makes: they should explain the success or failure of a scientific theory in the same terms. According to the Strong Programme, the outcome of all scientific controversies—successful or not—should be explained by social factors.” Oreskes, very obviously, does not work within this ridiculous constraint – hence she does not use the terminology “STS” or “Science and Technology Studies”, which are closely associated with it.

  35. 335
    J Bowers says:

    Worth a read: “Institute denies censoring ‘global cooling’ article”, in the Times Higher Education supplement.
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=407763

    Terri Jackson, Peter Gill and Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen having a ding-dong with others in the comments section.

    “# Terri Jackson 31 August, 2009
    there is overwhelming evidence that the earth has been cooling since 2002 having been static since 1998. look at the proceedings of the World conference on climate change held in New York in March last and you will see that they all agree with me. these include Lindzen, Akasufu and other world names the very cream of climatology. several nobel laureates etc Look at the papers by Easterbrook, Corbyn etc. any warming effect there may be is NOT caused by humans.
    [...]
    # Peter Gill 22 November, 2009
    When you get back from your most recent walkabout Mark try googling CRU and Phil Jones. Poor old CRU have been seriously hacked. The e-mails and other files are all over the Internet and include how to hide atmospheric cooling, how to deal with freedom of information requests and other stuff that I feel sure you will find of interest. All the best as always.”

    Really.

  36. 336
    Andreas Bjurström says:

    334 Nick Gotts,
    You dwell in the past. Much have happened within science studies since the 1980´s. Besides that, I´m an Human Ecologist.

  37. 337
    Nick Gotts says:

    You dwell in the past. – Andreas Bjurström
    That’s a very odd thing for someone supposedly interested in the history of science to say. Evidently your own presuppositions, and their historical roots and use to assert authority, are not to be questioned – only those of natural science. I was simply pointing out your misrepresentations, specifically your inaccurate conflation of “science studies”, which refers to an entire discipline, with “STS” or “science and technology studies”, which involves a commitment to the ridiculous “principle of symmetry”.

    Besides that, I´m an Human Ecologist.

    I couldn’t care less what you call yourself. I’ve criticised the views you have advanced and your claims to an expertise equivalent to that of climate scientists, when you are clearly ignorant both of elementary aspects of climate science – such as how GCMs are constructed and used – and the origins, aims and strategies of AGW denialism.

  38. 338
    Chris S says:

    “Besides that, I´m an Human Ecologist.”

    I had a look on ISI WoS but the only A. Bjurstrom I could find was an Anders (two papers including: Agren et al. (2007) Effective brain connectivity in social anxiety disorder – A Bayesian approach BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Volume: 61.) I’d be interested in seeing what Andreas has published in the field of Human Ecology though.

  39. 339
    Andreas Bjurström says:

    337 Nick Gotts,
    Every time I say something, you are attacking the straw man, but I don´t like him either. I agree with very few of the things you attribute to me.
    For example, I don´t believe in the principle of symmetry, or social reductionism, and science studies is not a discipline but a broad interdisciplinary field rooted in many different disciplines, and I don´t conflate science studies with STS in the way you claim I do (and bibliometrics is NOT part of science studies, but a discipline in its own right). I have not claimed “equivalence” whatever that means, different disciplines have diferent expertise, these are not equivalent. Do you want me to go on? Or perhaps time to bury your straw man?

    338 Chris S,
    Perhaps I´m an undergraduate student in my early 20´s or an old teacher that never have published anything? I wander why you are interested in me?

  40. 340
    Enrique P says:

    While even I, a non-expert, have noticed the egregious distortion in many statements from “skeptics”, I find it most unfortunate that doubters are sometimes met with accusations. On one hand, one has to accept that the situation is not so clear for the uninitiated, and they are needlessly put off by the accusations. There is usually no easy way to know who is actually dishonest when they repeat the spins and distortions or ask questions clearly based on misinformation or even conductive to further disinformation.

    On the other hand, one should have the wider readership in mind when writing responses. There will always be many more people reading without posting, and many who have not read all the earlier posts. Each question, and every misleading statement, is also an opportunity to talk to the audience. One should not be afraid of repeating oneself; one should explain things anew with endless patience, because the most important audience is just those who have not seen it before. Each such opportunity should be used to hone skills in explaining and putting right whatever need to be explained and put right. In light of this it does not matter at all if the original poster deserves your anger. Everything should be written with the silent audience in mind.

    Few things can be more unsettling to those who decide they would like to know more about this dispute, which they have seen in the media, and come to sites like this to have a glimpse of what is going on, what the discussion looks like, etc, than this barrage of mutual accusation. If instead one side is consistently polite, that will have much more lasting effect than a few points not made because one did not find the polite yet snappy way to explain it. One could fear that the readers do not discover how misleading the questions themselves are, or that they do not discover the dishonesty behind a question, but then one is easily led to overrate how long such damage lasts. An impression of honesty, integrity, real authority, etc, has an effect that lasts several times longer, so even if one does not manage to make such an impression each time, one can still win if one keeps trying.

    The public never really decides such questions based on scientific data. The public uses whatever they understand of the dispute to determine who they believe, that is, who they trust. Then they accept the judgment of those they trust.

  41. 341
    Nick Gotts says:

    I don´t conflate science studies with STS in the way you claim I do – Andreas Bjurström

    On the contrary, that is exactly what you did by claiming that I could not appreciate Oreskes’ work, on the grounds that “science studies” is included in her professorial title, whereas I had only ever disparaged “STS”.

    I have not claimed “equivalence” whatever that means, different disciplines have different expertise, these are not equivalent.

    You have most certainly claimed an equivalence of status between the expertise of natural scientists posting here, and that of such as Pielke Jr. Others have shown on the “Brown is Green” thread how completely unjustified this is. More broadly, there is a clear epistemic distinction between climate science and science studies (and the human sciences generally): the study object of science studies includes scientists themselves, who have extensive knowledge of what they do and why they do it: the climate, clearly, has no such self-knowledge. Obviously, individuals’ self-assessment should not be taken at face value; but nor should it be contemptuously dismissed as in your claims that natural scientists have no expertise relevant to science studies: simply by virtue of being practising scientists, they do.

    Do you want me to go on?

    No. I’d much rather you took the time to educate yourself on both climate science and the strategies, aims and history of denialism, before pontificating any further on matters where you are ignorant.

  42. 342
    Andreas Bjurström says:

    Yes, there is no equivalence, but a epistemic landscape where each researcher is very limited in their core expertise. Pielke know some things well that most physical scientists are ignorant about and vice versa. The problem is epistemic hierarchies: that disciplines like physics thinks they know much more than they actually do in areas outside their core expertise because they belong to holier than thou disciplines. That amplify ignorance. It is common that natural scientists think they understand society by being human beings, yet never studied any social science. Few social scientists claim expertise on the physical world from such an ignorant basis. Non-equivalence, in knowledge and power etc.

  43. 343
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “340
    Enrique P says:
    17 March 2010 at 3:07 AM

    While even I, a non-expert, have noticed the egregious distortion in many statements from “skeptics”, I find it most unfortunate that doubters are sometimes met with accusations. ”

    However, you have just done exactly that yourself there, Enrique.

    All you’ve done is not named someone. This is no difference.

  44. 344
    Deep Climate says:

    IOP Energy Group founder is featured speaker at upcoming Heartland conference

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/18/iop-energy-group-founder-featured-speaker-at-upcoming-heartland-conference/


    The controversy over the Institute of Physics biased submission to the U.K. Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee’s investigation of the stolen emails from East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit is about to get a whole lot hotter.

    Terri Jackson, IOP Energy Group “founder” and a key proponent of various IOP pro-skeptic initiatives, is using her past association with the group to advance her new career as a “climate realist”. Her IOP affiliation is hammered in every interview and profile, and was listed with her signature to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Challenge open letter to the U.N. Not only that, it’s the sole affiliation given for her upcoming stint as featured speaker at – wait for it – the upcoming Heartland Institute sponsored climate conference in Chicago, where Jackson will join U.K. contrarian heavyweights like Piers Corbyn and Lord Christopher Monckton.

    Meanwhile, disturbing indications have emerged that the IOP submission may have been leaked in advance to Monckton, raising new questions about the legitimacy of the submission and the process behind it. It’s high time the IOP stopped clinging to the pretense that all is well and started cleaning up this mess.

  45. 345

    Isn’t it time that some effort was made to discover the criminals responsible for the hacking? We are spending inordinate amounts of time and money in a defensive posture, and so little attention is being paid to this aspect of the attack. It would be a good thing to see the tables turned, especially if you consider the ‘law and order’ mentality of the likely perps.


Switch to our mobile site