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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.


666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 551
    Bryan S says:

    “Actually I’m not much interested in economic modelling”-Gavin

    “Taxing CO2 emissions would do more than just reduce CO2 emissions by whatever marginal amount the demand/supply curve produces”-Gavin

    I strongly suspect that Gavin has been dabbling in some economics textbooks in his spare time. That is a big step forward, but I would urge him to at least admit that indeed he has at least a passing interest in economic models.

    The whole policy discussion centers squarely on political economy and things like marginal utility, like it or not. Gavin’s comment indicates that he understands this too well.

  2. 552
    Bryan S says:

    Gavin,

    In a recent comment to Ray Pierrehumbert, I commended to him the works of Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom. Ray chose not to post my comment.

    Are you familiar with her work?

  3. 553

    #549 Steve Fish

    And you gotta love the method of thank you again, and here’s my spin technique.

  4. 554
    DrTskoul says:

    @Jon #546.

    Have you tried physorg.com?? Talking about a pissing contest. We are all sitting down and playing with our tea-sets here in comparison.

    I get your point. However, you have to understand the levels of frustration that many people are feeling, when good, truthful science is treated as conspiracies of left-leaning tree-huggin bunch of hippies. And when seeing that deception, manipulation and blatant lies from politicians, religous leaders, right-wing amoralists and so on is keeping the naive and ignorant hostage to a coming mess!!

    I’ve read the threads and really apart from a couple (e.g. Holly Stick) you have not been treated as an insect as you assert. Keep in mind, (this is known and well studied since the era of the bulleting boards in the infant internet) that apersonal texting and posting allows for higher degrees of aggressive behavior. In person debate is different. Talking to a monicker, a nick-name and ethics and inhibitions go to the way side.

    I get it. Do other people get it?? Don’t care. Learn, question, and please pick your “Experts” really carefully. There are a whole bunch in here, lurking.

    @Gavin

    Got some of your code. Pretty cool. It’s always funny to see that the actual solver part of the code is so small.

  5. 555
    ccpo says:

    FYI: Recession ended? Check the blue line. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/gross-domestic-product-charts

    “…and statistics.”

  6. 556
    Salamano says:

    @541.

    Your point on my wordiness is agreed-to. :)

    I did not introduce “contrarian” publication into the conversation, someone else did. It clearly exists (or existed) as a reality. Even if your dichotomy of “science” and “crap” was the rule in the publishing world, it would still be legitimate for both to be published. The “crap” would still get ignored. I suspect that the “crap” may not be as “crappy” as you say, because somehow other scientists are banding together to try to prevent it from being in the literature at all, rather than allowing it to be in press and ignored. [perhaps, you would respond, because it is "crap" :)]. Crap gets published every day. I see no reason for it not to continue… That way everyone can see everything, and time, comments, responses, and citations will show the crap as crap. Even highly respectable publications at one time can become crap later, and vice verse…so I don’t see how some of what your saying should justify keeping ‘contrarian papers’ out of press if they are advancing conclusions that arise out of reproducable methodology, etc.

    [Response: In most fields you would be correct. But in climate science and a few other highly politicized fields, "crap" papers are forever being plucked out of obscurity and thrust into the public domain with highly misleading press campaigns, often with the support of the authors. When that happens, scientists who write "non-crap" papers are assailed left, right and center (though mostly right) with demands to respond to the "crap" results. It is unfortunately unavoidable - it comes in congressional hearings, radio talk shows, journalists, members of the public, concerned colleagues etc. Every time this happens, someone usually has to go to the trouble of outlining in excruciating detail when such a high-profile media-backed politically-connected piece of "crap", is indeed a piece of "crap". This takes time and effort that would be far more productively spent on doing "non-crap" research. It is frequently personally distressing, because the person or persons who take this on, then become targets of said campaigners. Singer, Lindzen, Spencer, Miskolczi, Soon and Balinuas etc. have all produced "crap" to order with exactly this intention, and effect. Ignoring it is generally untenable. - gavin]

  7. 557
    James says:

    Having been a “lurker” for a number of years, and as a non scientist, one aspect of this thread allows me to offer a comment for the first time. I have a background in marketing, PR.

    I am interested in the identity of the hacker (and I think we can be sure it is a hacker), their motives and their overall strategy.

    When I talk about their motives – I mean in the broader sense rather than the obvious.

    When I talk about the “overall strategy”, I am prompted to question this entirely because of the recent release of “Climategate 2″ emails.

    Before last week, “Climategate 1″ existed in isolation. We probably all thought that was it (I have searched for references from 2 years ago that even suggested that there might be more to come – but I couldn’t find any). In the intervening 2 years the press interest came and went and various enquiries came and went – and things continued as before.

    Climategate 2 emails were released, and to what seems like a much lesser extent, the process appears to be being repeated.

    With the benefit of these two events now, we can start to theorise as to whether the hacker is making his plan up as he goes along – or he has a bigger, longer plan.

    Is he extremely patient and he originally planned Climategate 2 to happen 2 years after Climategate 1? Or is C2.0 merely an afterthought – albeit having involved a lot of work and further risk to his identity being blown (with potential criminal proceedings to follow).

    Only now might we surmise that there might be a C3.0 release. When might that be? What may be the thrust of the content of the releases?

    One could argue that C2.0 is designed to reopen 3 particular threads

    1. Issues regarding FOI requests (upon which an enquiry has focused and found no issues)
    2. provide evidence of a cabal controlling who can publish what and where (again, enquiries have looked at this and found no problems)
    3. The quality/reliability of data coming out of UEA (again, questioned and answered)

    Lastly, I have noticed that the emails that have been released are all sort of “sideways” and/or “downwards”. By this I mean they are between the personalities and the organisations that are at the heart of the issues.

    But there are no “upwards” emails threads.

    No emails to bosses, government ministers, MSM press, TV, BBC. No emails specifically addressed to Dr Pachauri – and none received from any of those parties.

    Is it conceivable that no such emails exist or have they just not been released thus far? If they do exist but have not been released – why haven’t they?

  8. 558

    “Is it conceivable that no such emails exist or have they just not been released thus far? If they do exist but have not been released – why haven’t they?

    Well, it strikes me that when I ‘talk to the boss,’ I’m apt to have a more ‘public’ face on than I do when I talk to my co-workers. Given that the hacker’s goal was self-evidently to embarrass by releasing hasty, bitchy or otherwise less-considered remarks, presumably any more-or-less ‘upward’ emails that may have been hacked would tend to be less interesting to him (or her.) And there would most likely be far fewer of them in the first place, since you don’t bother ‘the boss’ with the mundane stuff.

  9. 559
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Salamano @541, My day job is in a field that is MUCH less politicized than Gavin’s metier. However, people still work to avoid publication of crap papers. Sometimes you get a publication that is simply wrong in some important detail. Sometimes a paper is just flat wrong in every detail.

    If you get the wrong reviewers, they may not see it. And since no practitioner in a field is an expert on all aspects of that field, crap papers can keep on giving years after they are published.

    A craptastic paper merely adds noise. The experts have the uncerstanding to filter out the noise. But the expert is certain to be bothered by non-experts quoting the paper or worse yet basing future work on it. And this is in a field practiced by maybe 800 people worldwide that nobody else cares about.

    In climate science, you have cranks or “Emeritus” types with their own pet theories. You have some researchers deliberately trying to muddy the waters. You have folks from outside the field with only a dim understanding of the science who are convinced that their brilliant insight into the water will make the whole problem of climate change go away. And you have media, business folks and professional idiots and ideologues waiting eagerly to grasp at any straw that floats their way.

    Why wouldn’t you want to nip as many of the craptastic papers in peer review before the C students latch onto them? (And yes, if you are not expert in the field, you are a C student(at best), even if you have a Nobel Prize.)

  10. 560
    James says:

    Re 558 kevin

    I agree. However, surely there would have been some email commentry (with bosses) on events pre 2009 with regards to stance, policy, approach, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be a surprise to learn that there were no “upwards” emails that were of interest to the hacker?

    In the context of the emails released recently, any “lobbying”, persuassion or argument based emails to (or from) the type of people I described (poiticians, MSM, etc) would surely have been presented, as well, as evidence of something – even it is only “influence” in high places.

    We can only guess – but my money would be on there being more to come and that some “upwards” emails will appear at some point in the future.

  11. 561
    Kenny B says:

    But when a single editor makes it a habit, or a journal (like E&E) becomes a regular conduit for that kind of thing, the reputations of the editor and the journal are going to suffer.

    You seem to be using as a justification for the actions against Frietas that he, and thus the journal, was habitual in its errors. Could you provide examples of these bad practices that CR had committed prior to the S&B paper of 2003 that would lead you to believe he, and CR, should be subjected to such behavior at that time?

    [Response: Funny you should ask... - gavin]

  12. 562
    DrTskoul says:

    And you have C students at the undergraduate level who become presidents.

  13. 563
    Radge Havers says:

    Salamano @ 556

    Salamano somehow suspiciously suspects, and offers this sophisty:

    “I suspect that the “crap” may not be as “crappy” as you say, because somehow other scientists are banding together to try to prevent it from being in the literature at all, rather than allowing it to be in press and ignored.”

    Yeah who needs first rate journals? Who needs standards? Let them mix in as much incompetence and magical thinking as possible, that way we can open the door for propagandists and nihilists to muddy the waters. It’s so much more efficient to make the busy scientists who have to read journals professionally wade through mountains of useless baloney.

    Such is the persistent world view of conspiracy sniffers who have the exhilarating glory of their olfactory hallucinations. Since they can’t be bothered to get their hands dirty sorting out actually crap, they can’t imagine that anyone else has to do it in real life.

    Damn, it’s so much easier to make elaborate accusations than to do, you know, actual work. More fun too.

  14. 564
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    James #557, the problem for the marketers of this product is that version 1.0 didn’t match the hype. Some journalists made themselves look very silly when they reported on the packaging before opening the box. Consequently the demand for version 2.0 has shrunk.

  15. 565
    Utahn says:

    Salamano, I also work in a somewhat less politicized field (medicine) and am subject to and perform peer review. I second what Ray Ladbury said in 559, but would say he sugarcoated it. Crap papers published in medicine lead to people having procedures they shouldn’t have, taking meds or not taking meds they shouldn’t or should take, or generally practicing medicine in ways that may cause much, much harm.

    I would argue that the stakes in preventing crap papers being published are high in medicine, and high in climatology. Letting crap through is not an exercise in free and fair discourse, it literally causes harm, death, damage, and waste. Why would I try to let crap through??

  16. 566
    Silk says:

    “Why would I try to let crap through??”

    To be fair n’ balanced.

    (Only kidding)

  17. 567
    Utahn says:

    Salamano, I’m sorry about your recent boreholing – but looking at that post, you said, in part (at risk of boreholing myself I suppose):

    “Allowing this stuff to be in peer-review removes a key criticism (the whole ‘gate-keeping’ thing) so that it can no longer be pointed to as a stifling of competition or academic censorship, or whatever else. The draw-backs come in the form of wasted time and annoyance, but the continued reps in re-demonstrating the strength of the science will just continue to work over time…”

    As I said above, the drawbacks do not come in just wasted time and annoyance, but wasted lives and money as well. In addition, where does quality come into play? Don’t you think the peer-review process should have every peer-reviewing person ensuring the highest quality papers get published? It’s not just 3-4 people doing the reviewing, even if the fact that you see email quotes from a few of the reviewers makes it seem so…

  18. 568
    JW says:

    Gavin: I sincerely commend you for continuing to monitor this thread and to respond to inquiries, even though many of the inquiries are nothing more than attempts to bait you. Regarding the tired issue of the emails, Phil Jones hit the nail on the head a few years back when he said: “I wish people would spend as much time reading my scientific papers as they do reading my e-mails.” Keep up the good work…

  19. 569
    john byatt says:

    Free access to springerlink until 31st Dec,

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/42822h838776m102/

    sorry Stefan if this has any negative outcome for your new Ferrari, condo and yacht in the Bahamas.

  20. 570
    EJD says:

    [Response: Funny you should ask... - gavin]

    Hindsight is nice, but more to the point, do you have any examples of contemporary complaints prior to 2003 that would show you thought they had a habit of printing bad stuff that you thought would justify your actions? Von Storch’s resignation mentioned nothing of a history of bad papers, just ‘recent months’ problems.

    [Response: Even the emails mention two earlier Soon papers, also the paper reviewed by Wigely, etc. (email 3681). - gavin]

  21. 571
    Peter Backes says:

    I watched a South Park rerun tonight that seems apropos to a recurring theme in this thread:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/episodes/s11e09-more-crap

    ;-)

  22. 572
    dhogaza says:

    EJD: why are you too lazy to read the e-mails yourself, rather than demand that RC do your work for you?

  23. 573
    Hans says:

    Why does Phil Jones say, “Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020.”
    This is problematic on multiple levels. First, he admits here what he is loath to admit in public, that warming has ceased. Second, if warming is going to lead to catastrophic consequences, why in the world would he wish for it?

    [Response: I imagine that he would become increasingly fed up with people using short-term trends to make long-term forecasts. The forecasts being discussed are the Smith et al, DecPreSys (initialised decadal predictions). All of which show the same long term warming but have different decadal variability. This has nothing to do with what Jones or anyone else actually wants to happen. - gavin]

  24. 574
    Ros says:

    Thank you for your courteous acknowledgment of my grump Eric. I hope you will allow me to respond to John (506)

    Thanks JPR, and John I thought I was being upfront by making that statement as I am aware that cAGW is considered to be the latest fall-back position of “deniers”. And also that all was not lost in Realclimate’s attempts to inform the stubborn uninformed. Nevertheless I seize up when the going gets rough and I see plenty of evidence here and elsewhere that I am not alone.

    The claims I make, one, that I have been reading Realclimate for some time. I do not know how to substantiate that claim to you.

    Second I claim that the tone in Realclimate is unnecessarily rude at times with the implication that the rudeness is directed at the very lay persons that Realclimate hopes to inform, or at best disturbing for those laypersons. I give an example, and claim that rudeness negatively affects an argument. Are you sure that you want to say that I have no expertise and understanding in what constitutes civil discourse and that I should instead say that I don’t know whether or not the language here is at times rude?

    May I offer you a quote from Christopher Lasch with the suggestion that you take time to read it and reflect on your perspectives.

    “Opposition makes humanitarians forget the liberal virtues they claim to uphold. They become petulant, self-righteous, intolerant. In the heat of political controversy, they find it impossible to conceal their contempt for those who stubbornly refuse to see the light-those “who just don’t get it” in the self-satisfied jargon of political rectitude.

    Simultaneously arrogant and insecure the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension…..

    Argument is risky and unpredictable, therefore educational. Most of us tend to think of it (as Lippman thought of it) as a clash of rival dogmas, a shouting match in which neither side gives any ground. But arguments are not won by shouting down opponents. They are won by changing opponents’ minds-something that can only happen if we give opposing arguments a respectful hearing and still persuade their advocates that there is something wrong with those arguments. In the course of this activity we may well decide that there is something wrong with our own….

    As Lippman understood these matters, knowledge is what we get when an observer, preferably a scientifically trained observer, provides us with a copy of reality that we can all recognise. Dewey, on the other hand, knew that even scientists argue amongst themselves. “Systematic inquiry” he contended, was only the beginning of knowledge, not its final form. The knowledge needed by any community-whether it was a community of scientific inquirers or a political community-emerged only from “dialogue” and “direct give and take”

    “If I find a contradiction like that in my own thinking, I really would reexamine my perspectives to resolve the issue, otherwise I might say something that falls into the stupid category… and sometimes I do. And then when I am corrected I learn. That seems to be a problem for some people though. Likely be cause people like to think they are right, rather than admit they may be wrong. But that is belief, not science.”

    A little belittling and pompous perhaps?

    Hank I actually find the language in the few emails I have read a lot politer than what happens here and elsewhere. A good read, even if rather stressing, wit goes a long way to making a message more readable. But like much of the language on the web about climate change still very blokey. Peter Watts is having fun, not trying to persuade. For you an interesting post at Club Troppo “The inevitability of blog tribalism?”

    http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/11/19/the-inevitabilty-of-blog-tribalism/

  25. 575
    EJD says:

    [Response: Even the emails mention two earlier Soon papers, also the paper reviewed by Wigely, etc. (email 3681). - gavin]

    Perhaps you could provide a link because in the two prominent email locations I searched 3681 does not describe what you say it does.

    [Response: 3681: (Wigely): "I have had papers that I refereed (and soundly rejected), under De Freitas's editorship, appear later in the journal -- without me seeing any response from the authors.", 2106: (von Storch): "In fact, it was not the first article by these authors, which was perceived by different readers as methodically questionable (CR 18:259-275; CR 22:185-186/177-188; CR24:91-92/ 93-94).", 2272 (Hulme) "[Wolfgang Cramer resigned from CR a few years ago over a similar concern over the way de Freitas managed the peer review process for a manuscript Wolfgang reviewd]. …. This is by no means a one-off – I could do the analysis of de Freitas’s manuscripts if needbe.”,.. Need I go on? – gavin]

  26. 576
    Kenny B says:

    I’m wondering, if in your view Frietas should have been fired for letting through Soon et al 2003, which claimed there was a divergence problem in tree ring proxies, [edit]

    [Response: This was not the claim of Soon & Baliunas that was in contention, indeed it wasn't mentioned in any of the critiques. The issues were their ridiculous approach of deciding whether 20th Century temperatures were anomalous. They concluded they weren't - not that it couldn't be decided because the proxies were no good. Revising history to make it seem that the S&B debacle was about the Briffa MXD record is just nonsense. - gavin]

  27. 577
    concerned citizen says:

    Does anyone have time/desire to reply to this? http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3707172.html

    It’s just an opinion letter, but it gets lots of eyes because it’s on the Australian ABC website.

  28. 578
  29. 579
    Veritas says:

    I see now how this site works. Why did you not allow my comment about [edit]. That’s just another reason why people believe that something is being hidden.

    [Response: What is being hidden is the endless repetition of tired insults and talking points. Take it elsewhere. - gavin]

  30. 580
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Ros, sometimes the only adequate response to the ridiculous is ridicule. Merely saying, “You are incorrect,” after the 5th instance of someone claiming there is a global cabal of scientists plotting global domination under the aegis of the UN somehow doesn’t seem quite adequate.

    The simple fact is that some people are ineducable. You will never convince a committed creationist of the validity of evolution no matter how strong your evidence. Likewise, you will never convince a true climate denialist that we are changing the climate regardless of the evidence you present.

    Frankly, I suspect that the rigidity of the opposition stems from a deep-seated insecurity–at heart, these people know they are clowns. A creationist substituted denial of reality for his or her lacking faith. A libertarian insists deny the reality of climate change because at heart they lack faith that capitalism could cope with such a challenge.

    These are not attitudes or philosophies worthy of respect. They deserve to be ridiculed mercilessly precisely because their proponents will not learn.

    Mark Twain once said, “Never teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work and it annoys the pig.” Me, I’ll settle for annoying the pigs.

  31. 581
    Steve Metzler says:

    @574 Ros

    (Ray chimed in while I was writing this, so consider this to be in addition to what he just said)

    That’s a nice bit of concern trolling there, but you are misunderstanding the main purpose of this blog: to communicate the science of climate change to laypersons who are willing to invest some time to learn about it.

    Ideally, we would all be reading the scientific literature. But even though I’m reasonably well versed in maths, and have managed to come to grips with some of the statistics (but only after two years of dedicated effort reading and following links from here and tamino’s site), I still get that ‘deer in the headlamps’ look when I stray too far beyond the abstract of a paper. So, people like me rely on outreach sites like this to explain the results (and mistakes!) in the peer-reviewed literature. And if I don’t understand a concept behind one of the explanations, I go read up on it.

    Now… if contrarians, or skeptics, or deniers, or whatever you want to call them come in here with quote-mined excerpts from stolen private e-mails, alleging scientific fraud and demanding ‘explanations’, then it’s bound to ruffle a few feathers. The group have kindly offered to provide context to these e-mails where possible. But really, this is politics, not science.

    If the contrarians could actually provide some peer-reviewed literature containing evidence that our understanding of the physics underlying climatology is wrong, or the projected range of climate sensitivity is way off the mark, or something that shattered the consensus view… well, that would be interesting. But has that ever happened? No. So far, the contrarians best efforts have amounted to little more than: “Hey, look, there’s a squirrel!” Every bit of evidence we have, and all that is happening in nature around us, tells us that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate and mankind is the primary cause of this warming.

    Dealing with climate change contrarians is like watching a combination of 50 First Dates and Groundhog Day, and playing a game of Whack-A-Mole™ at the same time. Sometimes it’s obvious that a person hasn’t even bothered to read the thread before posting. That’s inexcusable behaviour (but I’m not accusing you of that, so please don’t take me wrong). That’s why people here get impatient and frustrated.

  32. 582
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I would like to thank the ironically named Veritas for posting such an excellent example of precisely the type of ridiculous commnet I was referring to right before my post.

    Hmm, I wonder if the Borehole might not become a denialist destination someday that gives Tony “Micro” Watts a run for his money.

  33. 583
    Susan Anderson says:

    Science is not a democratic process. It requires intelligence and decades of study, as well as abandoning more lucrative fields of endeavor. It’s a little more complicated than voting for your favorite on a reality show or screaming for your favorite celebrity. It takes hard work to even be accepted to a good science program at a decent institution of higher learning. Of course those who can’t or won’t do the work are all over it since they’ve discovered that they can say if it’s hard work it isn’t worth it.

    I often wonder why it is so easy for me, with my failure to complete differential equations and abandonment of science for art (though for many years I taught scientists how to draw, and I am here to tell you they were my best students – able to think and to set aside their preconceptions, and willing to do the hard work of learning) to sort through the material and spot who has the expertise and who is spreading deceptive material all over.

    One reason, of course, is the almost universal predominance on every level worldwide of dissemination of credible information by credible organizations. Of course, having people tell me I am an idiot for “believing” science works, despite my computer, heat, hot and cold running water, automobile, and many other mod cons which rely on science to work, is helpful as reality bites.

    And for those saying global warming has stopped, just exactly where do you get your blinkers. A few decades of recordkeeping show the climate has changed and is changing faster.

    I know this has been cited before, but it is excellent!
    http://mattgbush.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/who-are-the-biggest-sceptics/

  34. 584
    Susan Anderson says:

    On learning to draw, I could have used the word honest instead of hard for the work I was talking about. The best science students were way ahead of the pack, you could say “talented” at it, and it wasn’t born but made. They had a habit of setting aside their prejudices. Believe me, this is not easy, but to make a good drawing it is almost essential, absent tracing and hours of mindless erasures. Telling the truth as you see it is easy, but it is difficult until you get the knack.

    That charming recaptcha: mobius byurce

  35. 585
    SecularAnimist says:

    Susan Anderson wrote: “It’s a little more complicated than voting for your favorite on a reality show or screaming for your favorite celebrity.”

    Very apt, since AGW denial is basically an entertainment demographic. Like professional wrestling.

  36. 586
    DrTskoul says:

    Susan,

    Do not bring yourself down by saying you don’t understand why you get it so easily. You have skills and abilities and chose to apply those to art. That does not mean that you are not compentent to understand other fields of study.

    A layperson that wants to learn does not come here and authoritatively states that science is wrong, that AGW is a conspiracy etc. etc. etc. An honest layperson that does not understand something will simply state that they don’t understand it and ask for guidance (“Why do orbital forcing does not matter? or Why is the Sun with the gazzilions of Watts of energy coming to the earth is not the main driver of Climate Change?” instead of “You guys are wrong. It is the orbital forcing.” or “It is the Sun stupid” or “You guys are hidding the decline”. Who is pompus? A true scientist first questions himself!!! And after long questioning of ones-self do we convince ourselves of the truth.

    That is the reason we react so forcefully with the pompus statements that we do not know what we are talking about!!!

    reCaptcha : Effie escrying …poor effie!!

  37. 587
    Holly Stick says:

    #583-584 Susan I think for any academic endeavour you need to be objective, to accept evidence that disproves your preconceptions. Possibly scientists are better at this because they have a greater chance of being called out by their peers for not being objective. :)

  38. 588
    Hank Roberts says:

    Y’all showing up rebunking the old claims — where are you finding them?

    For most of the folks reposting the old stuff, it seems (assuming they’re honest visitors) that they think this stuff is new and true. It ain’t.

    Has some site (WTF, probably?) somewhere done a fresh rebunk?

    New readers prone to believe copypaste bunk to RC thinking it’s a challenge, thinking they’re the first to do so — and get educated, if they want.

    But it’s old, old stuff now.

    Folks, _check_what_you_read_ before believing what guys on blogs claim.

    Ask for a cite first, don’t be credulous.

    Remember: copypaste in haste, learn belatedly.

    If your source won’t give you a cite, ask a librarian for help (and ask yourself why whoever’s making the claim isn’t giving you the help to find where they got it — a real original, not just a chain of blog copies).

    If you can’t get a cite, ask a librarian.

  39. 589
    Russell says:

    Bret Srephens’ The Great Global Warming Fizzle suggests too much influence editorial influence has been imputed to The Cornwall Alliance and The Discovery institute

    His enthusiastic invocation of the torching of Persepolis by Alexander The Great makes it clear that the WSJ Ed Board remains firmly in the hands of fire worshipers.

  40. 590
    Olivier says:

    Phil Jones : « McIntyre and McKittrick and all the other paleoloonies out there » (0818.txt)

    paleoloonies : tinkles deliciously in my french ears !

  41. 591
    vendicar decarian says:

    “Have you tried physorg.com?? Talking about a pissing contest. We are all sitting down and playing with our tea-sets here in comparison.” – 554

    The denialists are almost routed from PhysOrg. That wasn’t the case before I arrrived there in force 6 months ago. They were running rampant.

    The key is to hit them hard and hit them frequently.

    Use the same tactic with “Whatts up with lying” and you will get the same results.

    Needed. 50 people to organize in an attack of honesty on Whatts up and you will make that propaganda outlet useless to the Denialist industry.

    It will take 365 days.

  42. 592
    Clippo (UK) says:

    Re #537, Gavin :-

    1. [Response: Use whatever definition you like. How about papers with authors associated with George Marshall and Cato Institutes. - gavin]

    He/she, (ZT), could also list all authors and compare them with a list of known ‘contrarians’ or ‘deniers’ – (whichever term you prefer) – on websites like Skepticalscience.

  43. 593
    andrew holder says:

    I think most people will not be taking too much notice with the latest mails but little by little public opinion is being divided. Most people, like myself, were under the impression that warming was a given and that CO2 was (is) the smoking gun. Now I would like to know more and have reasoned arguments from both camps. It is annoying that some scientists from both camps are overstepping the mark and, more importantly, losing the moral high ground. We have to have complete openness and honesty, with FOI requests granted whenever requested. Failure to do this will cause futher doubts and suspicion, surely there is nothing to hide?

    [Response: Of course there is nothing to hide, but FOI laws are not blanket rules with no exceptions for good reason. This guidance from the UK ICO on exemptions is quite good on why those exemptions exist. Thus there will always be cases of people asking for stuff that will end up being refused for multiple reasons. This has nothing to do with scientific openness, but more related to the need to have a "safe space" for frank discussions on drafts, the ability of scientists to work on new data without worrying that rivals can FOIA them before they've had a chance to publish, etc. All of these issues have limits of course (i.e. how long can you still be said to be working on something - one year? two years? 20 years? - NSF has a three or five year guidance I think), and so individual requests will still need to be judged in context.

    The big issue with the CRU requests was not related to scientific openness or dishonesty, but rather due to the restrictions imposed by the National Met Services (like the Uk Met Office) on the ability to forward data to third parties (since they are mandated to try and use it commercially). The CRU scientists were caught in a spot between these pressures, and did not handle it as well as they could have. Nonetheless, all that data is now online (and is entirely unsurprising). However the need to get access to data for research purposes that the collectors of that data want to sell is still a problem - particularly for under-resourced small-country met services who don't have much leverage, and this has not been satisfactorily addressed.

    But, yes, warming is a given, and greenhouse gases (not just CO2) are the main smoking gun. - gavin]

    [Response: Andrew, let's not forget that our original contention (mine, at least) about the entire CRU / FOIA thing was that the importance of the data being sought was completely overblown by Steve McIntyre and others. The fact is that CRU the vast majority of the relevant data was already available, and always has been, without anyone having to ask CRU for it. Please read the post I wrote on this here. I agree with you that all scientists should be striving to keep the high moral ground, but people are human, and the scientific facts don't depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people.--eric]

  44. 594
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Andrew Holder, OK, so let me get this straight–you are going to choose your facts based on how nice the people promoting them are?

    Reasoned arguments from both sides? Really? How many climate models have the denialists proposed? How many articles have they published? How many times were those articles cited by others (an indicator that an article advances the understanding of the subject)?

    Dude, here’s a news flash: Science works! And it works despite the fact that the practitioners of it are fallible, irritating, and sometimes unwise human beings. That is the real story here. Not one single result has been refuted or even called into question by the release of these emails. NOT ONE!!!

    Want a better way to choose your facts? Look at which side is doing science.

  45. 595
    Mikel says:

    593 Gavin’s response:

    “However the need to get access to data for research purposes that the collectors of that data want to sell is still a problem – particularly for under-resourced small-country met services who don’t have much leverage, and this has not been satisfactorily addressed.”

    Has this worsened since the UK ICO overuled UEA/CRU over the release of data from other countries? You also indicate that the UK Metoffice also imposes restrictions. Is this still the case, or has the UK Metoffice altered its position following the UK ICO’s Decision Notice?

  46. 596
    Salamano says:

    “I agree with you that all scientists should be striving to keep the high moral ground, but people are human, and the scientific facts don’t depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people.”

    While on-its-face that statement is true, the reality is that scientific facts, when informing policy decisions that have far-ranging impacts, CAN depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people…

    Just like smoking guns, frank confessions, video-taped evidence, and everything else can be stricken from the record, or ruled inadmissable if certain procedures aren’t followed properly. There is a ‘courtroom’ of public opinion, as well as a litany of stakeholders beyond the scientists themselves that are going to be mulling over this information in their head with much less of a grasp of the science, but ever so much more of an ability/responsibility to set the actual policy.

    From what I’ve seen here, the folks at RealClimate understand this to a satisfactory degree as well, even as individuals maintain that they’ll only accept (at worst) a label of being ‘unhelpful’ at times. The fact that numerous folks here have been dedicated to re-explaining, re-enjoining, re-hashing, and re-reasoning much of what has transpired over the past several years– despite Thanksgiving dinners, family engagements, regular academic duties, etc. not only underscores a commitment to see the science through, but also a implicit recognition of how serious these emails and ‘what has been done’ are, even if it’s overtly dismissed as ‘two-year old turkey’.

  47. 597
    Nick Gotts says:

    “We didn’t have no net emissions and yet we have lower temps.” – number 9.

    No, that’s still a false claim – or to put it more directly, a lie – and will remain so however often you repeat it. If you dispute this, kindly show the statistical evidence for a fall in temperatures.

  48. 598
    Nick Gotts says:

    “The fact that numerous folks here have been dedicated to re-explaining, re-enjoining, re-hashing, and re-reasoning much of what has transpired over the past several years– despite Thanksgiving dinners, family engagements, regular academic duties, etc. not only underscores a commitment to see the science through, but also a implicit recognition of how serious these emails and ‘what has been done’ are, even if it’s overtly dismissed as ‘two-year old turkey’.” – Salamano

    It is, of course, no such thing. Simply a recognition of the power of misrepresentation, quote-mining, and other forms of dishonesty.

  49. 599
    J Bowers says:

    “While on-its-face that statement is true, the reality is that scientific facts, when informing policy decisions that have far-ranging impacts, CAN depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people…”

    Barely anyone even knew climatology existed back in 1998, regardless of Kyoto. Even Spencer said at a post-Climategate Heartland conference to the BBC that nobody could have known how hot a topic it could possibly become. Nobody has that kind of foresight, otherwise Soon wouldn’t have sent correspondence showing he was conspiring to undermine AR4 four years before it had even been finished for Greenpeace to find. Even if they’d been declaring undying love for Lindzen they’d have still been pilloried one way or another.

  50. 600
    Tom Dayton says:

    Eric, your “here” link in #593 is broken.


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