"Science", "con-sensus" and censorship

Dr Benny Peiser has put his full correspondance on the Internet regarding his replication of Naomi Oreskes’ "research" claiming that all or practically all scientific papers backed the "consensus" view on global warming.

I put the words "research" in scare quotes, because frankly, if this is research it’s not as I understand the term. "Limited data dredge using search terms" would be more appropriate:

Here is how it begins:

Letter Details:1. N. Oreskes (2004). The scientific consensus on climate change. Science, Vol 306, Issue 5702, 1686 , 3 December 2004

On December 3rd, only days before the start of the 10th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-10), Science Magazine published the results of a study by Naomi Oreskes (1): For the first time, empirical evidence was presented that appeared to show an unanimous, scientific consensus on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming.

Oreskes claims to have analysed 928 abstracts she found listed on the ISI database using the keywords "climate change". However, a search on the ISI database using the keywords "climate change" for the years 1993 – 2003 reveals that almost 12,000 papers were published during the decade in question (2). What happened to the countless research papers that show that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain?

These objections were put to Oreskes by science writer David Appell. On 15 December 2004, she admitted that there was indeed a serious mistake in her Science essay. According to Oreskes, her study was not based on the keywords "climate change," but on "global climate change" (3).

Her use of three keywords instead of two reduced the list of peer reviewed publications by one order of magnitude (on the UK’s ISI databank the keyword search "global climate change" comes up with 1247 documents). Since the results looked questionable, I decided to replicate the Oreskes study.

And so Dr Peiser checked the papers cited by Oreskes.

What did he find and how did Science respond?


34 Comments

  1. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 4, 2005 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Why do we get so much of this ‘I submitted this first rate work to nasty science magazine ‘X’ who for no reason what so ever then reject it. See they’re just part of the pro AGW biased press!’, type stuff here?. J. Daly did something like it years ago, Steve has done it, now Benny Peiser doing it (what’s has weather/climate related qualification anyone?). I guess the idea is that if you throw enough mud some will stick? This tactic sure is getting a bit stuck in the groove though…

    There’s something wrong with the code in this page atm btw. I can’t see all my post so it may be wrongly formatted.

  2. Roger Bell
    Posted May 4, 2005 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Benny,
    Since I doubt that you will get any further with the editorial side of Science, why don’t you try the other side? The AAAS publishes Science – it has a Board of Directors, a CEO, an Executive Officer, a Council,….The Chair of the Board is Shirley Jackson, currently President of Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute and a physicist, … If I were you I might try sending a letter to her with a copy to the CEO . Alternatively, you could try other scientific societies – the AGU comes to mind – or even expand things a bit and try a longer article for, say, the Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post,…
    Your work MUST be published.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the big shots at the AAAS recognise that their underlings have made a major mistake and they should make amends.
    Good Luck and Best Wishes
    Roger Bell

  3. Roger Bell
    Posted May 4, 2005 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Benny,
    Doews Oreskes plan to publish a correction in Science?
    Have you thought of asking the Royal Society to change its response?
    Roger bell

  4. mustafa
    Posted May 5, 2005 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    I am entirely confused whether there is an agreement among climate scientists regarding global warming. I think people believe what they want to believe no matter the evidence.

  5. John A
    Posted May 5, 2005 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Re: #3

    Roger,

    Science did confirm that Oreskes corrected her mistake. It’s in one of the replies to Benny Peiser

    What no-one has picked up is that the meaning of the phrase “global climate change” has changed over time. Before the Hockey Stick came along, it was assumed by almost everybody that the climate naturally varied by large amounts over centuries and millenia, and that man’s contribution was marginal to this process. After the Hockey Stick and especially after the IPCC TAR 2001, the term came to be predominantly used to signify man-made unnatural climatic change. That’s how the term is used today, especially in the news media.

    This is what bothers me about Oreskes’ “research”. No expert reviewer pointed out that this was a massive flaw in her methodology. In order for Oreskes results to have any meaning (even if her results were correct, which Benny Peiser says is not the case), the baseline would have had to remain constant. It would also at least have been interesting to see if the term “global climate change” has been used more or less over time.

  6. Roger Bell
    Posted May 5, 2005 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    John A,
    Thank you for your comment. I don’t have easy access to the Jan 14 Science, but I accept that the change in the search term is there. However, to me the vital point is the fact that Oreskes got very different results from Peiser. The rejection of Peiser’s paper by Science means that other organisations, such as the Royal Society, are using erroneous data in their recommendations.

  7. Michael Jankowski
    Posted May 6, 2005 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    A couple of double-standards here.

    (1) The mud-slinging goes both ways. When a skeptical article comes out, many in the AGW crowd attacks the journal’s staff, editors, and motives. Some even acuse specific editors or journals of being voices for the skeptics. On a slightly related note, when I once posted links to articles showing the EU had forced Russia to sign Kyoto in exchange for WTO endorsement, I recall your rebuttal to me was to try and discredit the sources.

    (2) I don’t think Dr. Peiser needs climate-related qualifications for this little letter to Science. I think a well-motivated high school student could have done this, or maybe even a farmer with an interest in climate-change as a hobby. Dr. Peiser appears to be a jack-of-all-trades at John Moores University, ranging from sports sociology to asteroid impact studies. I feel certain you find this to be insufficient. But what is SO INFURIATING is that you apparently never applied the same standards to Oreskes. Shame on you. FWIW, Oreskes was once a field geologist and is now a professor in the Department of History and the Program in Science Studies at Stanford. I don’t quite see a climate science background in there anywhere. It seems to be her background in climate science would at best be comparable to, say, someone in the mining industry, and we know what some people in the AGW crowd feel about that as a qualification.

  8. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 7, 2005 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    Michael, I actually admitted, I forget my actual wording, that the EU had done something like offered somthing in return for signing. Quid pro quo and all that…

    I do apply the same standards actually. I’ve followed the debate on the newsgroups, Deltiod and the rest. I’m not convinced Pieser found what he said he found. But I think the reaon he was not published was not that but that of ‘parallel publication’. However, I do think there is a conssnsus around things like the Co2 rise is anthropogenic, the rise in temperature is part anthropogenic, we will se more anthropogenic warming. The debate is all about the amount. Btw, getting infuriated is not the way to go. I am entirely open to reading about alternative climate reconstructions or surface records. Why doesn’t a sceptic scientist put forward one rather than this endless niggling away at the work of others? Criticism is easy ( I find it so :)) – let see some sceptic do some original work and put that on show! Why doesn’t Steve not just say hockey stick is broken but show what he thinks past climate was?

  9. Dub
    Posted May 7, 2005 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    re. #8: ahh, but infuriating people is what you’re all about isn’t it Peter, with your constant niggling, evasiveness and double standards, hey? Be honest for once. ;-)

  10. Michael Jankowski
    Posted May 7, 2005 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    I thought I’d discussed the questions in #8 with you before, but maybe not.

    If Person A has his study and Person B has his study, and A and B are done independently but don’t have the same conclusions, what happens? Some people side with A, and some side with B. That’s pretty much the end of it. A and B both think/say their results are right, as do their supporters. People could use study A as a reference to support one idea and others could use study B, and both would be “valid” yet conflicting.

    The hockey stick situation is more like result A is generally accepted based on a number of studies, then B comes along and conflicts with A. What solves the conflict? Coming up with another study that shows A, or showing that B was flawed in the first place and eliminating the conflict altogether? Allowing B to be used as supporting evidence for dictating public policy, or showing that it shouldn’t have been used in the first place and making sure it won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be used anymore?

    If Steve or someone else does an “original work” that conflicts with the hockey stick, what will happen? Nothing. Some will support one result, some will support the other, and some will be undecided. Many will likely question the author’s climate-related expertise, who funded him, etc. But if Steve or someone else reveals methodological flaws in Mann’s work – especially flaws supported by impartial mathematicians, statisticians, etc – then you’ve really got something.

    And IMHO, nothing works better than taking Bs results – after B supports the idea that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – and then showing that the B results are flawed. Since B and his supporters had jumped on board with B’s results and the data used to get the results, they would have no choice but to accept the corrected results, too.

    Look at Peiser. He tried to duplicate Oreskes’ work and found the results didn’t mtach. That’s similar to what M&M did with Mann’s work. I think that’s effective. Now if Peiser had done an “original work,” what would that have been? Would he have done google or yahoo searches on the internet instead of ISI? When he came up with his results (assuming they conflicted with Oreskes’ findings), do you think people would’ve said, “Well, Oreskes’ was wrong and Peiser is right,” or do you think some would’ve sided with one and some with the other? Would politicians and authors stop referring to Oreskes’ work as evidence/support?

    As for Peiser, I don’t quite see why the fact that his results had already reached the internet in some form was cause for not being published. If a researcher submits an abstract for publication and presentation at a conference, does that prevent later publication of that research in a journal, too?

    Regardless of whether or not Peiser should have been published, I think a major correction should’ve been made by Science.

  11. John A.
    Posted May 7, 2005 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Re: #10

    I think the point is that replication and audit of scientific work is every bit a part of the scientific method as the original work. It’s not enough for a work to be widely established or widely believed to be true, it must be tested, replicated and audited.

    Last night I watched a program on the uncovering of the “Piltdown Man” hoax. Again, the scientific consensus for many years (nearly 50) was that Piltdown Man was an early hominid which shared characteristics of both modern humans and apes – a Darwinian “missing link”. It was only when the original evidence was checked that the hoax was discovered, a classic piece of replication and audit. This is the process of science. It did not falsify Darwin’s evolution but it did demonstrate (if proof were needed) that scientific consensuses can be very wrong about a particular study, especially if that study happens to confirm what people already believe to be true or very likely.

    What Steve McIntyre did is science. It is every bit as important that Mann’s work is checked as well as Steve’s. That others get “similar” results depends very much on what counts as “similar” – but even so, it does not rescue Mann’s flawed methodology or validate his conclusions.

    What Benny Peiser and Dennis Bray did was science. Benny Peiser tried to replicate Oreskes’ research using the same procedure, data and protocol and found massive flaws in the results, and therefore the conclusions. Dennis Bray, similarly, tested the hypothesis that “most climate scientists subscribe to the scientific consensus promoted by the IPCC”. He came to a radically different conclusion.

    For myself I am not interested in what people believe. If I wanted to know what a large number of people believed, I’d go to a church or a religious sect. What I am interested in, is what one person can prove unambiguously, rigorously and replicably. That’s the difference.

  12. Jeff Norman
    Posted May 7, 2005 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Re: #8

    Peter said, “Why doesn’t a sceptic scientist put forward one rather than this endless niggling away at the work of others?”

    I have seen this “argument” made about historical climate reconstructions in other forums. The problem is that the available data is insufficient to the task. Proxy records do not measure temperature. They are used to estimate regional climate changes.

    Part of the sceptical argument is that these are insufficient for estimating hemispheric let along global temperature reconstructions.

  13. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Re #9 A anonymous contibutor tells me to be honest. ROFLMAO!! That’s lightened up my morning :)

    Re #11, John, I actually tend to agree. But you *believe* in Steve don’t you, like I believe the IPCC? So, at the very best we’re equally religious? Or, to put it better, you believe in Steve’s refutation? I don’t, so who’s the believer? Btw, I think what Bray and Peiser did was flawed. Do you allow me to think that, or must I stick to the recieved truth here that they were perfect pieces of science work?

    Re#12 OK, that’s an non inflammatory opinion. But, when I say I think that at present temperatures are probably as warm as they have been for two millenias the best you can say I ‘my opinion is we don’t know that’ not that I’m wrong? My opinion is that we can say it’s likely it’s vary warm at presnt – and that it’s likely it will warm further – see you in 2010!

  14. John A
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Re: #13

    John, I actually tend to agree. But you *believe* in Steve don’t you, like I believe the IPCC? So, at the very best we’re equally religious? Or, to put it better, you believe in Steve’s refutation? I don’t, so who’s the believer? Btw, I think what Bray and Peiser did was flawed. Do you allow me to think that, or must I stick to the recieved truth here that they were perfect pieces of science work?

    Peter, often its difficult with you to decide whether you’re trying to be obscurantist, trying to get a rise from people, genuinely baffled, completely ignorant, or a combination of all the above. Perhaps if you had read what I said and not try to twist it into what you think I might have said, or you would have said, we would all get along.

    I’ll repeat my point about belief:

    I am not interested in what people believe. If I wanted to know what a large number of people believed, I’d go to a church or a religious sect. What I am interested in, is what one person can prove unambiguously, rigorously and replicably.

    That’s where Mann’s work falls down, because no-one can replicate it. Just in case you try the “but other studies produce similar curves” schtick, I’ll repeat that producing similarities to other works, as with the Piltdown Man skull, is no defence against bad methodology and invalidates the results. Other studies that supposedly reproduce similar curves (such as Moburg or Esper) have gone to great lengths to explain why their curve is radically different from Mann’s.

    It isn’t a matter of me believing Steve McIntyre or disbelieving Michael Mann or the IPCC. It’s about results that fly in the face of scientific work done before and since as well as the extremely suspicious behavior of someone who looks like he’s covering up, that causes me to question his results and the motives of people who give him credence for things they have not checked and will not check.

    You can think what you want about McIntyre, Bray and Peiser, but unless you can demonstrate your disbelief with reference to facts which are indisputable, I’ll have to characterise your behavior here as irrational and motivated by a personal religious conviction which is wholly divorced from reality.

    I reject wholly the notion that this is all about credence and belief. That is the substance of religion and politics and not science.

  15. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    John,

    Can’t you answer any post, just one would be nice, from someone who you disagree with without resorting to the kind of isults your reply ‘Peter, often its difficult with you to decide whether you’re trying to be obscurantist, trying to get a rise from people, genuinely baffled, completely ignorant, or a combination of all the above’ was? Go on, give it a try sometime!

    I am not ‘completely ignorant’ neither are you – jese, give the insults a rest will you! As to ‘motivated by a personal religious conviction which is wholly divorced from reality.’ honestly, are you so blinded by your prejudices that you think that???

    Copy taken for reference.

  16. John A.
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    You have not answered a single post, at any time, with reference to reprodicible, checkable and testable facts. Not once. Instead you make personal attacks and make “tu quoque” claims that others’s statements are matters of “belief” or that other’s opinions which disagree with yours are “ad homs”. I have answered lots and lots of comments with references to facts. That I cannot do so with yours says much about the quality of your dialogue.

    Please stop trying to divert attention from this central fact. I am not “blinded by prejedice” except to statements that can be checked. As I’ve written, and you have ignored, science is not a matter of belief in “who do you trust” or “what so-and-so thinks is most likely”. Those things are matters of personal belief and religious conviction.

    If I write that you appear to be “motiviated by a personal religious conviction which is wholly divorced from reality”, it is because that is the inescapable conclusion based on your output. You accuse me of being “as religious as you”, which is a clear insult to what I have expressed time and again, that religious belief and scientific insight are radically different things.

    I notice you do not bother to deal with the central premises of what I have written, preferring to retreat to snide insinuations of what you think I am meant to believe. You hade claim after claim about the future of climate without a scintilla of evidence. You have characterized this whole excerise as one of differing “beliefs” whatever that may mean.

    At the bottom, to increase the snideness, you proclaim that you take a copy for reference. I have not ever removed a single statement of yours from this site and you have no reason to impugn that I have.

    Either get to grips with the evidence presented or leave.

  17. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    I’m mystified, John, I *agree* with you in post #12 and I *agree* re what science is – *get it*? Like you *I’m not religious*. I trust science and the scientific method. How much plainer can I put it?

    Look, I could quote you the whole ruddy IPCC TAR and I know you wouldn’t accept a single contentious word of it.

    OK, lets go with your replication line. Who’s replicated all of Steve work here? If he and you are so hot on repliction please let me see the detail of how each of your and Steves post have been replicated, by independent other, and the details checked by the same people before publication here. Lets see the audit trail of *your* work.

    Cue more insults I suspect.

  18. John A
    Posted May 8, 2005 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: #17

    Peter, you cannot resist putting words in my mouth:

    Look, I could quote you the whole ruddy IPCC TAR and I know you wouldn’t accept a single contentious word of it

    Untrue. I have quoted the IPCC TAR myself as there is quite a lot I agree with. I do not agree with some statements which are not backed up with good evidence and obviously I do not agree with some of the conclusions, since those conclusions are not well supported by the evidence presented.

    Who’s replicated all of Steve work here? If he and you are so hot on repliction please let me see the detail of how each of your and Steves post have been replicated, by independent other, and the details checked by the same people before publication here. Lets see the audit trail of *your* work.

    I am not making the claims, merely giving my opinion on why I think certain claims may not be true BY REFERENCING FACTS not opinions, on why such claims may not be true , I am not making scientific claims: Mann is and Steve McIntyre is. Steve’s work has been replicated by others, as he has said in other comments. Mann’s work has not as he has not seen fit to produce all of his working, despite the huge sums being spent partly based on the veracity of his conclusions.

    Like the case of Piltdown man “show me the bones of contention”. It’s the only way to be certain one way or the other.

  19. fred
    Posted May 12, 2005 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

    I suggest looking at Peiser’s “34 abstracts (that)reject or doubt the view that human activities are the main drivers of the “the observed warming over the last 50 years”.

    You can find a link of them here:

    http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/cgi-bin/blog/science/peiser.html

    Do they really ‘reject or doubt’ the consensus view? See for yourself.

  20. Louis Hissink
    Posted May 16, 2005 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    Fred,

    taking issue with 34 abstracts from the total of 928 abstracts is, to put a fine point to it, being a tad over-reactive?

  21. Roger Bell
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone here know of Fred Singer? He is an atmospheric scientist who is now at George Mason Univ in Northern VA and he runs a Science and Environmental Policy Project, http://www.sepp.org. So I I go to The Week that Was section and click on the May 14 line and guess what I found. Prof Dennis Bray conducted a survey of 530 climate scientists and found 30% sceptical of global warming. So he wrote a letter to Science saying so, even though he isn’t a sceptic himself. Science had his letter in hand while they were approving Oreskes’ one. The editors of Science refused to publish any of the “numerous” letters sceptical of global warming that they received.
    Nature has been misbehaving as well – but you can read about at Fred’s site.

  22. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 19, 2005 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #21,

    Was that the survey in which anyone with access to a climate sceptic newsgroup could participate and on a anonymous basis? I *suspect* it was. How can such a study give meaningful data? If it’s full of anonymous comments how can such a study be audited to see if one side or the other hasn’t packed the survey with their views? It can’t…

    If it’s not the survey I’m thinking of, then, again, please point to me where it was audited? (oh, and replicated transparently ;)). You wouldn’t be here expressing the pov’s you do if you were not in favour of both being rigourously applied would you? :)

  23. Roger Bell
    Posted May 19, 2005 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Peter,
    You can read all the details for yourself in the Week That Was for May 7 and 14 on http://www.sepp.org. I know no more than what is there. However, I do notice that the number of people strongly agreeing with anthropogenic activity as the cause of global warming was the same as that strongly disagreeing.
    Let me ask you a question, Peter. How come Oreskes didn’t find any of these dissidents? Just how did Oreskes select the papers she analysed? Was her study audited or refereed?

  24. John A
    Posted May 19, 2005 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: #23

    I’ll answer that. Oreskes did not find the dissidents, because the filter she used tended to exclude those who did not subscribe to the “consensus”. Normally in opinion polling you look for neutral terms, and in the case of comparing attitudes over time, you make sure that the filter has remained neutral. This did not happen.

    I’m also a skeptic of the contraction of political terminology in order to prevent dissent or even thought (this is from George Orwell): Thus “anthropogenic climate change” is contracted to “climate change”, and “man-made global warming” is contracted to “global warming”. Thus skeptics of “global warming” are “contrarians” and skeptics of “climate change” are “deniers”, both terms are loaded with meaning but without explanation of that meaning (and indeed, debate is not allowed).

    It is the contraction of terms used in the debate, that causes me the most disquiet about the whole debate. It really is Orwellian in the darkest political sense of the term.

  25. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 20, 2005 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Re #24,

    John, mentioning only in passing the political attack, I don’t like the terms bandied about either. I don’t like ‘sceptic’, or ‘contrarian’, or ‘believer’, or ‘deniers’, or ‘hockey stick team’, or any of the probably hundreds you, and I too, use. I, and I’m sure others, are open to your suggestion of how you views might be better summed up, *I really would like to use a better word (or phrase) than contarian or sceptic*. So, what’s it to be??? And will you stop some of the offensive terminology you so liberally use???

    Words are only way of saying things quickly. The alternative is ClimateAudit becomes ‘The place where Steven McIntyre, assisted by ‘John A’, ‘audit’ the work of Michael Mann, … during the years 1998-2005 with particular emphasis on the one paper …etc etc etc’? Pretty snappy…Is that how you want us to refer to this place?

    Sorry, but it’s enivitable you views will be summed up somehow, as mine are. That’s how language is – nothing Orwellian about it (unless that is what you want to see…).

  26. John A
    Posted May 20, 2005 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    Re: #25

    The one constant of this blog is the wretched personalized attacks of Peter Hearnden, farmer and climate expert. It can always be counted on, rain, sunshine, the sun rising and setting, and Peter Hearnden making a “tu quoque” attack on this weblog usually in response to a comment he barely comprehends.

    I didn’t mention you at all, yet you turn what I said into (yet another) personalized attack on me and Steve McIntyre. I bet you haven’t even read “1984” because it’s extremely clear you don’t understand the sense in which I used it.

    On the scale of perjorative terms, “Hockey Team” scores pretty lowly compared to the terms used against skeptics both by you, and others on this blog and elsewhere particularly on something laughably called “realclimate”.

    Don’t try to brush me or Steve with the same schtick that has been used against us. “Skeptic” is not a perjorative term, and I am proud to be a skeptic. Skepticism is essential to science and the scientific method.

    “Climateaudit”, is a blog to audit some of the work done in climate science which has direct impact on public policy right across the world. It does not simply focus on Michael Mann’s work with emphasis on one paper – if you count up the references to scientific works there must be around a hundred by now. Oh, and Steve need no help from me to audit Mann’s work – that’s all his work.

    If Mann’s work has featured prominently it is because his works have had an enormous impact on public policy and deserves detailed examination, and rightly criticism of poor methodology, both in data control and statistical quality, that undermines both the public policy that rests upon it, and in the near future the status of science as a bulwark against political tyranny and irrationalism.

    My point about the contraction of terms in order to prevent debate and enforce political conformity is an idea straight from George Orwell, a socialist, who nevertheless saw the chilling effects on personal freedom, civil liberties and democracy, through the manipulation of language, the shading of news events for propaganda purposes and the rewriting of history, all in the service of an unapproachable and uncontestable “consensus” called “the Party Line”.

    That’s what has happened to the terms “global warming” and “climate change” – they have been contracted in order to prevent debate or even thought. In talking to a scientist recently, that person remarked that in some countries, even discussion of AGW in public policy is not allowed.

  27. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 21, 2005 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    "It does not simply focus on Michael Mann’s work…" seriously? Apparently not: "If Mann’s work has featured prominently". Make you mind up… John, there was actually a serious point to my post. But, I give you credit for being able to both make an highly personal attack and complain of personal attacks from the one you attack in one paragraph – you’ve done this before and you’re getting quite accomplished at it… I suspect no one has received more personnal atcks here than me. Oh well. I do know I’m not thick I also know I don’t know everything. Does this place have a party line? Well, how about all those here who think that the magnitude of agw will be in the 1.5-5C range say ‘I’. Lets see how many takers there are shall we.

    John replies: The serious point is that you have repeatedly turned general comments into highly personalized attacks. If someone refers to you, you immediately refer the same point back to the referrer, as you did with the above post. To say that you are someone who appears to get a rise from making personalized attacks, is nothing more than a statement of fact given your output. Your "tu quoque" replies just demonstrate your inability to deal with conceptual thought outside of the narrow agenda that you seem to think is so important.

    I do not make inflammatory personalized attacks on this weblog – you do. There is no serious point to the post. It was a troll. Do it again, and you will be banned.

    Life is too short to spend trying to converse difficult issues without having to raise one’s voice above the noise of people dedicated to wrecking conversation.

  28. Michael Ballantine
    Posted May 21, 2005 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    OK Peter, I will take you up on your offer but not in the way you want. Will we see Global Warming of 1.5 to 5.0C this century? Probably. Will we see Anthropogenic Global Warming of 1.5 to 5.0C this century. NO!
    Just to make this clear, I have yet to see any verified data in support of Anthropogenic Global Warming, as opposed to Global Warming from all causes, during the last 100 years that rises above the noise levels of the data.
    Verified data is data that has gone through proper scientific scrutiny and testing and survived intact. The “Hockey Team” is featured prominently because their papers are being used to support government policies that are going to cost us billions of dollars. Instead of making sure “The Science” is correct, the hockey team is going to ridiculous lengths to avoid this critical step in the scientific process. Any sane person who gives a damn beyond tomorrow should be asking why.
    Focusing equal time on other studies where nothing more than someone’s degree or reputation is at stake is not the purpose of this site. Focusing on poorly done science that we are being forced to pay for is. If that means holding up for ridicule a piece of incredibly sloppy research then so be it. Naomi Oreskes poor use of search terms is not even good enough to research a high school science paper, let alone a paper for actual publication.

  29. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 22, 2005 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    John,

    I like this comment from this site:

    "I believe the best way forward requires us all to raise the standard of our own game and double check everything posted to avoid personal attacks, unintended or otherwise; but also, not to be so blind as to believe that the personal attacks come from one side and not the other, or believe that all of one side of the debate are implicit in the insults. Both sides of this highly polarised, charged debate contain elements that are willing to use personal attacks in these discussions. If we turn a blind eye to one side and not to the other, we are part of the problem."

    from this thread http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=66#comments

    I’m not saintly here, but I tell you that when you’ve been called a ‘useful idiot’ on a nominally moderated blog like this one (and a blind eye has been turned to such comments and the comment has been allowed) *as I have* it does colour your view of the site, and of those moderating the site! When I moderate I don’t allow clear insults – period. We’re the better for it, and we don’t have any anymore! It’s about mutual respect, loose that and we end up where we are here (but,it could be worse, try the NG’s sometimes…).

    Michael, if the planet warms by the minimum you say – 1.5C – what will have caused it if not changes to ghg’s? Could it warm globally by 5C this century due to normally natural causes? I honestly can’t think how, the sun would have to go nuts for it to warm by 5C, globally, in a century. Just my opinion.

    You comments on ridicule are interesting – they are, of course, your opinion. Perhaps it’s an approach I could try? It’s my opinion…no, better not :)

    John replies: When you’ve been compared to Senator Joe McCarthy and subjected to vitriolic attacks in the way that I have then you’ll have a right to complain. Until then, you will confine your comments ENTIRELY to facts and supportable opinions. Any more personal attacks and you will be banned without further warning. No bleating about what others have done (or rather you think they have done). End of discussion.

  30. Michael Ballantine
    Posted May 22, 2005 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    Peter, let me define the word “probably” as used in comment #28 and in general by my colleagues and myself.
    Impossible is reserved for cases where the odds of something happening are 0.000000000000000%
    NO! is for when the odds are non-zero but still well below 0.00001%
    Possibly is for when the odds are between NO! and about 10%
    Probably is for when the odds are between possible and about 50%
    Highly probable and Likely are for when the odds are over 50%.
    With regard to comment #28 this means I think the odds of the planet warming up by at least 1.5C are about 10% so the term is probably. The flip side of that is that I think it is highly probable that the planet will warm by less than 1.5C and than includes having the planet cool down a bit.

  31. hans kelp
    Posted May 22, 2005 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    As i have for some time been watching ( with the greatest of interest indeed ) both this blog as well as the RealClimate blog , i have to admit that with the very limited knowledge i do posses on the subject, it is very annoying for me also to have to witness all of these personal attacks from mr. Peter Hearden on the authors and associates of this site. I do hope that a “solution” on the problem will be found ( in general ) as I strongly feel this kind of opposition is directed only at persons and not at the scientific arguments and as such dosen´t belong to this site!

    Regards
    H. K.

  32. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 22, 2005 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #29

    Sigh! I knew you’d twist the ‘useful idiot’ phrase at some point in time, which is why I pointedly said not to take it literally. That is, you’re not an idiot. But you are unable to see the role you play in the ecology of global warming. The communists called allies who didn’t know what was really going on (presumably because they believed the communist’s lies), “useful idiots”. You don’t apprear to have the scientific knowledge / training to evaluate what those you support are saying, but that doesn’t make you an idiot, just naive.

    But perhaps appearances are deceiving. Step in and make statements which are scientific, ie falsifiable, any time you want. Or ask questions aimed at gaining particular pieces of knowledge related to the actual science at issue.

  33. Peter Hearnden
    Posted May 23, 2005 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #31 amd #32> I am *entirely* happy for the lecture directed at me in post #29 to apply to all. We shall see…

    John replies: I don’t care what makes you happy. It’s clear to me that you want a rise from trolling and personalized insults. Do it again and get banned.

  34. TCO
    Posted Sep 18, 2005 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    I agree with Peter H. The problem is that skeptics have too much of a filter of thinking only of their work as exposing mistakes or bias by the AGWers. Rather than thinking of their work as an independant, different assessment of the situation. In this case, this guy really did redo the experiment. He didn’t get the girl’s tree core data. He rebored the holes! (metaphorically). If Science didn’t want to publish it, he should have gone to other peer-reviewed, abstracted journals. But instead, he pouted and went back onto the internet.

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