Crichton at Senate EPW Committee

Michael Crichton made very intelligent testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee here. He mentioned certain hockey stick critics favorably. It looks like he read Top 15 Reasons for Withholding Data at climateaudit. Go to minute 41:20.


108 Comments

  1. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 9:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I rather enjoyed that. Does anyone know how to capture the feed so I can email the Crichton segment to all my relatives and everyone I have ever known?

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I hadn’t realized how strict the medical protocols were for blinding. It would a good idea for one of the interested committees to have an authoritative medical person review the corpus of Hockey Team work for independence or even better – ask the National Academy of Sciences or similar institution to report back to them on whether climate science is consistent with medical blinding protocols, and, if not, why it shouldn’t be. Obviously this whole idea of partner-swapping coauthors constituting any sort of “verification” has always seemed ridiculous. My comparisons have been to business models; Crichton placed it in an academic context, which is probably more familiar to the parties involved.

  3. Louis
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve got to admit it was very satisfing to see what we have been reading here get such good platform. I’m sure you guys must feel a great personal satisfaction that your work has been recognized. And finally someone has acknowledged that being an outsider doing replication work is in fact a plus not a negative. (As in stlye of The Emperor’s New Clothes).

  4. Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 1:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding comparisons with medical practises, an interesting article appeared below. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol309/issue5734/news-summaries.shtml

    Flawed Statistics in Murder Trial May Cost Expert His Medical License, Eliot Marshall, In 1999, renowned child abuse expert Roy Meadow overstated the low odds of two infants in the same family dying suddenly for unexplained reasons, helping convict a mother of murdering her two sons. On 15 July, a professional panel ruled that Meadow should be “erased” from the register of physicians in Britain for his statistical blunder.

    His ‘crime’ was to to compute the odds of each death as independent risks. Doesn’t this sound similar to assuming independent errors by stating signficance of climate trends using OLS regression while knowing the errors are autocorrelated?

  5. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 1:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    After listening to one of my senators make a complete and total fool of herself during her opening statement, let me apologize for Barbara Boxer. She made it clear that she does not understand the issues.

  6. Hans Erren
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    for completeness the link to the video recording

    September 28, 2005 Full committee hearing. A hearing to discuss the role of science in environmental policy making.

    http://epw.senate.gov/epwmultimedia/epw092805.ram

  7. Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Barbara Boxer is my Senator also, but I make no apology. She is a fool and we will all suffer until she is gone. More important to California, is that our legislature and the executive branch are making policy based on the UN IPCC Report, which is centered on the hockey stick. Our economy is doomed unless we get the IPCC report totally discredited.

  8. Paul Penrose
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 5:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I found it particularly interesting that Mr. Crichton’s detractors did not try to refute what he said, but rather attacked him personally for being a “fiction writer”. Typcial. Apparently it’s not possible to be educated, intelligent, and informed on the subject and also write successfull works of fiction.

  9. TCO
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    transcript or windows player version? I don’t feel like having malware-like RealPlayer on my system.

  10. Hans Erren
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO, I bet the senate has a stenograph department which has literal transcriptions of their sessions, I know the parliament in Holland has this service. You could write the senate a letter. :-)

  11. TCO
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    you can get plenary level stuff no problem. This was a comittee though. Have had hard time in past getting that stuff.

  12. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My opinion of Barbara Boxer sank even further when she cross examined Dr. Gray. In my opinion, Boxer’s behavoir was reprehensible. She was no match intellectually, so she resorted to character assasination.

  13. Hans Erren
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 11:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    look also at time 1:32 when Crichton is answering Inhofe’s questions

  14. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Sep 29, 2005 at 11:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, Boxer is a ditz. She tried to catch Dr. Gray on what James Hansen’s background is, Gray nailed it (astronomy), and Boxer rattled on as if she had made some kind of point while talking over Dr. Gray and then Crichton. I wish one of those guys would have stood up and said “Look you B****, you work for me! Now do some representing instead of pushing your self-serving Big-Government agenda”. But I think they were too shocked at her behavior.

  15. Hans Erren
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    check sen lisa murkowski of alaska at 1:51:00 on verification

  16. Paul Gosling
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 2:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Stop Press!

    Appearing before a Senate committee soon –

    Mary Shelly advising on the safety of xenotransplantation.

    L Ron Hubbard advising of future direction of NASA programs.

    Pope Benedict XVI advising on birth control and family planning.

  17. Paul H
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There are a number of excellent speeches by Michael Crichton on his official web site. I recommend “Remarks to the Commonwealth Club” and “A speech to the Joint Session AEI-Brookings Institution”. These speeches are rather wordy, but well worth the read.

    http://www.crichton-official.com/speeches/

  18. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #16

    L Ron Hubbard advising of future direction of NASA programs.

    If you look into US space activities a bit more, you’ll find that at least one noted scifi writer, Jerry Pournelle, has been very involved over more than 3 decades. I suspect that most independent thinkers will find his views on manned space travel more reasonable and more interesting than NASA’s plans. For one thing, he’s long pointed to the need to cut the cost of launching into low earth orbit by a factor of 10-100x, something that now seems achievable by Rutan’s group or one of the other recent startups, but still is not a significant NASA goal. Check out http://www.jerrypournelle.com for an interesting blog (and which may be THE first blog ever).

  19. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Single Stage to orbit. The way God and Heinlein intended it.

  20. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 1:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not to mention Arthur C Clarke and communication satellites.

  21. John Hekman
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul Gosling’s point is more along the lines that you shouldn’t look to a celebrity to tell you about science. This is something the left is particularly fond of doing, because most celebrities are reflexively lefties. It would be better if M & M had been making the points made by Crichton. So do the ends justify the means? IMHO, no. We should let Michael Crichton make speeches lots of places, but not rely on him to testify before Congress.
    His speeches are terrific. I am kicking myself that I missed the one at Caltech, which is one block from my house.

  22. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought that Crichton made points that we would have been unable to make. For example, his comparisons to medical and drug processes were based on his personal experience and were highly pertinent. He’s a pretty unique type of celebrity because of this experience.

    People throw stones at me because of my background. However, one can possibly argue that you have to come at modern-day climate science from the outside to have an accurate perspective on what’s going on. There are many bad habits and procedures that have now settled in and none of them even realize it.

    As a simple example near to home, Crichton explicitly pointed out what was involved in an independent medical study. As supposed refutation of this claim, Mann pointed to Ammann and Wahl as "independent" verification of his claims. Regardless of my personal views on the articles, at a minimum, it is undeniable that Ammann has been a coauthor of Mann and Wahl has been (I think) a student of Ray (Rafael? – oh, oh, sarcasm) Bradley and that there have presumably been many points of personal interaction. This does not meet Crichton’s definition of "independent" and it’s laughable to see that this is what they show.

  23. John Hekman
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree, Steve, that Crichton is qualified. Uniquely qualified, I’m not so sure. He has been advocating a double-blind policy for science funded by the Govt. for some years, and that is a terrific, unimpeachable idea. But others can testify about how the FDA requires drug-testing be done.
    My point is that there may come a time when those trying to discredit your work may slime your supporters by saying “Oh, yeah, they rely on celebrities like Michael Crichton to make their points.”

  24. TCO
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve only told you about ten million times, Steve that you will get a lot further couching your concerns in methodology/ethics by referring to the way science is supposed to be done (ala Wilson, Feynmann, journal policies, etc.) rather than the econ/business, M&A I-banker stuff as if it is some brainstorm**. I don’t need any insights into the heresies* of Luther or Calvin to know that it’s wrong for a bishop to steal money from the church coffers. I respond better to someone citing Aquainas or Paul!

    *Just kidding, Protestants, I’m an agnostic.

    **It’s actually very interesting to get insights from how things are done in different fields, but you needlessly conflate issues by bringing the issue as from outside the tent rather than as getting back to the true religion. HAve that discussion of the comparison way further off on the side.

  25. John A
    Posted Sep 30, 2005 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I believe that Mann was Ammann’s PhD supervisor. These submissions by Wahl and Ammann are not independent in any sense, they are methodically incestuous.

    I think it’s obvious to the Barton Committee, being very experienced in the areas of due diligence and the role of independent audit from the Enron collapse, will have much to say about this behavior, especially when the financial stakes are so much higher.

  26. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 2:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #25. ‘John’ ‘A’, I suppose you don’t have any evidence for your slurr on the scientific integrity of Mann and Ammann? I very much doubt it other that assertion and, no doubt, a similarily undignified swipe at me.

    You’re trying to plant malicious little seeds, seeds which find fertile ground only in the minds of those who support places like this.

  27. John A
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 5:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter,

    I have plenty of good cause to doubt the scientific integrity of Mann, Ammann and the rest of the Hockey Team. To say that Ammann is not independent of Mann is not a slur, but a statement of opinion based on civil law in multiple countries on what constitutes “conflict of interest”.

    I note your continuing campaign to ignore evidence which does not conform to your beliefs and malign those who don’t subscribe to them, by making highly personalized attacks. We are still waiting for one of your posts that actually addresses the clear ethical issues raised, but it may be a very long time.

  28. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Come on, Peter, you’re not one of these crazy “it’s all the fault of Bush/Halliburton/Exxon” types.
    Go and read the next thread, “Wahl and Ammann at GRL”, and tell us what you think. I would be interested to know how you see it.

  29. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 6:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #27 ROFLMAO, “I note your continuing campaign to ignore evidence which does not conform to your beliefs and malign those who don’t subscribe to them, by making highly personalized attacks” ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, ‘John’, very entertaining, just let me compose myself!

    Honestly, don’t you read what you write? What else was post #25 but another part of your continuing campaign to ignore evidence which does not conform to your beliefs and malign those who don’t subscribe to them, by making highly personalized attacks? As I said, malicious little seeds…

  30. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 7:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#25, 29

    Did the numbers change or something? I can’t see what you’re trying to point out. What evidence is John ignoring? And what maligning is he doing? “Methodically incestuous” refers to the fact that, as Steve proved a long time ago, A&W clearly had access to ALL of Mann’s procedures, something Steve wasn’t privileged to have.

  31. TCO
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 7:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t think that JohnA’s comment was a slur either. How is it a slur to note that Mann and Amman worked together?

  32. per
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 7:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 30
    hi dave
    I am not clear on your point about A&W. As far as I can recall, A&W had access to the same,publically available set of facts as M&M, and to the well documented M&M work; hence their extremely good replication of M&M, and lesser replication of MBH’98. I am not aware anyone has made the suggestion that they had privileged access.
    I suspect John A’s comment is a tad hyperbolic. The A&W paper is certainly independent of MBH in some sense; but clearly, the personal and professional relationship between Bradley and Ammann (Ammann did 3 years of his PhD with Bradley) could be expected to be close. By some standards, such a relationship could preclude W&A’s paper from being considered an independent appraisal of MBH’s paper.

    Given my UK background (and hence liability to legal action), I certainly wouldn’t support “methodically incestuous”. Methodical means something very different from methodological; in context, I am thinking it must mean systematic and planned.

    yours
    per

  33. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually I suspect John’s statement intended “methodological.” Indeed it’s easy to confuse the terms and I didn’t notice the mistake until you pointed it out. And I believe, though proving it would be something else, that A&W had access to Mann’s actual working methods, as opposed to just the schematic working procedures which were published. I’m not sure what Steve thinks, as opposed to what he’d be willing to say in public. But perhaps I’ll go look at what he said when A&W’s paper first came out.

  34. cytochrome sea
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO: Yes, I think you have mentioned Feynman about 10 million times. :)

    OT but, one of his friends, Jirayr Zorthian ( I’m assuming you’ve read of him in Feynman’s books ) passed away early last year. I had the pleasure of meeting him previously and he had given some friends and I a tour of his ranch, tea and some good stories. He was a cool fellow.

  35. John A
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Given my UK background (and hence liability to legal action), I certainly wouldn’t support “methodically incestuous”. Methodical means something very different from methodological; in context, I am thinking it must mean systematic and planned.

    I think you are correct. “Methodically incestuous” is confusing.

    What I meant is that to present a piece of research that supports another, from the point of view of scientific ethics, the team doing it should be truly independent and the methodology should be quantitatively different (if you use a different method from the original, but still gets the same answer, then the “robustness” of the original is seen to be enhanced).

    My point is more general. Ethics in climate science have all but collapsed. What we are seeing is more akin to a religious schism, complete with the abuse of political power, the naked desire for fame, wealth and secular authority, the denunciation of competing viewpoints as heresy and their proponents as puppets of an evil conspiracy. A new vocabulary of terms has sprung up which load purely scientific terms with political meaning, for example “climate change” or “global warming”. The new orthodoxy is fully engaged in rewriting the past in order to justify itself, suppressing all competing viewpoints and marginalizing non-adherents. An apocalyptic future is created that unless the new orthodoxy gets its way, War, Famine, Pestilence and Death will be its inevitable consequences. Every extreme weather event is pointed to as evidence of the rightness of orthodoxy’s position, with dire warnings that without drastic sacrifice and repentence, those events will become ever more frequent and destructive.

    Hyperbolic? Some days I’m not so sure that it is.

    We live in “interesting times”.

  36. TCO
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t have a problem with people publishing if non-independant in background. Of course they should be independant in behaviour and consideration. Reasonable question if the “hockey team” meets that test. But can’t rule out people from submitting stuff when they’ve worked with others. This is not an arbitration before a judge.

  37. TCO
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 8:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    cyt sea:
    -where ya been?
    -ok.
    -don’t remember that dude. glad to hear your happy memories of him though. I did meet the General dude from the shuttle investigation.

  38. cytochrome sea
    Posted Oct 1, 2005 at 9:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO: Around, I prefer to read mostly, and usually try to refrain from posting. I don’t like to feel obligated to go back and check for replies, reply to those, etc… Although recently I’ve been posting at other blogs and so am caught up in the trap. :)

    I guess the reason I rarely post here is simply everything is usually covered pretty well in Steve’s posts, so I don’t really have anything to add.

    wrt: Feynman’s friend, in the books he’s usually referred to as Jerry, he was an artist.
    How was meeting the general? (on second thought, apologies to all for being off topic)

  39. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 2:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t think that JohnA’s comment was a slur either. How is it a slur to note that Mann and Amman worked together?

    C’mon TCO, you’re better than that! He didn’t say that…..

    Whatever, moving on in the spirit of absolute scientific purity and honestly John ‘A’ wants, how is any scientist to work if their work must be absolutely independent, and they are to be not at all ‘methodically incestuous’ (or in the the none slurring way of putting it, they build on the work of others)?

    It’s NOT POSSIBLE to do science without building on the work (knowledge) of others! The problem I have is that that becomes, in certain people minds, not independent and not methodically sound – doh.

  40. JerryB
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Crichton has posted text of his testimony:

    http://www.crichton-official.com/speeches/speeches_senate.shtml

  41. John A
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For a person with a medical background, accustomed to this degree of rigor in research, the protocols of climate science appear considerably more relaxed.

    I give Crichton full marks for understatement.

    …any verification of the study by investigators with whom the researcher had a professional relationship-people with whom, for example, he had published papers in the past, would not be accepted. That’s peer review by pals, and it’s unavoidably biased. Yet these issues are central to the now-familiar story of the “Hockeystick graph” and the debate surrounding it.

    Bingo!

  42. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If you build on work of others you should build on accurate work.

  43. McCall
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thx for link in 40 … and “bingo” is right! Too bad A-Professor Famiglietti doesn’t get it! Fast and loose with the facts, the mathematics, and the peer-review and acceptance criteria ain’t gonna convert anyone new — it just screens the positions of those offenders already on the defensive.

    Side note: In my Mozilla version of the page I had a blacked out area; so I linked a IE version and had a different blackout area and was able to put together the entire speech. Maybe it’s MS-WIN version related (my PC is down rev), but did anyone else experience similar blacked out sections?

  44. John A
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    …did anyone else experience similar blacked out sections?

    No. It’s just you

  45. Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, a rather poor try at strawman creation, since that’s not what people are saying.

  46. JerryB
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In two of four browsers, I can get a blacked out area. In both of those browsers the problem could somewhat clumsily be circumvented by choosing an option to prevent downloading images.

  47. John A
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #46

    Which two work and which two don’t?

    What versions are they?

  48. JerryB
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John A,

    In XP Netscape 7.2 did not exhibit the problem, IE 6.0.2900.etc did until I told it not to retrieve images.

    In OS/2 Netscape 4.61 did not exhibit the problem, IBM Web Browser for OS/2 version 2.0 did until I told it not to retrieve images from that site.

  49. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 1:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #45. OK, what are people saying?

  50. Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, am I supposed to believe that you don’t know the difference between the actual research work and its review?

    OK, I’ll believe that you don’t know the difference if you insist.

  51. TCO
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 4:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, unlike John (perhaps) and like you, I don’t have a problem with people doing work in science that is not independant. It is not unusual to have students do work in areas that their professors worked in. I also don’t have a problem saying that such work confirming/denying the work of their former mentors was not done by someone really independant. I’d like to disaggregate the issues. Whenever someone from either side wants to muddy the issues, they morph things together.

  52. TCO
    Posted Oct 2, 2005 at 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gen’ral was cool. He thought Feynman was a bit of a ham and a flirt. Felt that they got the right stuff done on the commission. Didn’t seem much interested in discussing that stuff though. Was an exec at an aerospace company and was more interested in his immediate concerns.

  53. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 4:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The idea that you can have totally independent research is a nonsense. What are we all meant to do? Work blindly in our own labs, which of course we would be tied to for our entire careers as moving to another lab would constitute a link, and oh no – contamination! If Crichton thinks that we should all aspire to the standards of drug trials perhaps he should try picking up a newspaper, or heaven forbid reading a few journal articles. He will soon find out that application of these so called ‘gold standards’ is riddled with fraud which has ended up in court on many occasions.

  54. TCO
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 5:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, that’s a very dismissive attitude towards blind trials. Blind trials are a very basic thing and a helpful one. Yes, not everything can be independant. But no reason with the huge amounts of cash flowing into the climate field and the huge decisions to be made, that someone can’t raise the game over the traditional off-streets-keeping practices.

  55. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 6:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    2 points

    1) Blind trials are intended to deal with a specific problem, the placebo effect, which I am sure you know is a very different thing from bias.

    2) Crichtons testimony to the Senate hearing was so bias as be laughable. Look Senetors at these shifty climate scientists, friends and colleges all working together. Look at their shifty practices, they interpret their data, they use statistics for gods sake. If only they would use methods like those of the medical sciences, which never produce bias results, are not open to fraud and where there are no egos and no one ever reviews papers of people they know. Please!

    Perhaps next week he will be testifying on safety at theme parks.

  56. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 7:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Surely there are intermediate points in this: one can surely take the position that the "independent verification" by Ammann, Bradley’s Ph.D. student and coauthor of Mann and Bradley, is not "independent" without necessarily adopting the position that blind medical trials are a prerequisite for climate science. With the hundreds of millions being spent on climate research, surely there is some other qualified researcher who is not associated with the hockey stick authors that could weight on this.

    There is a very substantive reason for requiring independence here. Any "independent" verification attempt would surely report on the cross-validation R2 and the impact under MBH98 methods of not including the bristlecones (among many other things). Ammann deliberately avoids the topics most at issue.

    If Ammann were truly independent, then one might be frustrated with the avoidance, but it would not rise above that. Here, the lack of independence taints the avoidance, giving at least the appearance of duplicity.

  57. John A
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 7:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Blind trials are intended to deal with a specific problem, the placebo effect, which I am sure you know is a very different thing from bias.

    Wrong. Blind trials are intended to deal with more than the placebo effect – they are there to eliminate, as far as possible, errors due to experimentor bias and poor experimental design which may be both conscious or unconscious, so as to improve confidence and replicability in the quality of the results.

    Crichtons testimony to the Senate hearing was so bias as be laughable. Look Senetors at these shifty climate scientists, friends and colleges all working together. Look at their shifty practices, they interpret their data, they use statistics for gods sake. If only they would use methods like those of the medical sciences, which never produce bias results, are not open to fraud and where there are no egos and no one ever reviews papers of people they know. Please!

    This is simply a straw man. Crichton did not claim perfection for medical trialling, but he did point out how much more stringent were the controls upon the design of experiments needed to verify or falsify a claim made upon the efficacy of a drug, compared to the rampant abuse of the peer review/journal citation system in climate science where there appears to be a systemic collapse in scientific ethics.

  58. per
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I note that the crichton testimony has got the usual suspects up in arms !
    just look at: http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/09/why-are-we-having-hearing-that.html

    I quote:
    Why are we having a hearing that features a fiction writer as our key witness?”
    The point at issue is not C’s worthless opinions, …

    but the real clincher is this-
    I haven’t read C’s testimony and probably won’t…

    What more can you add to such fair-minded, rational discourse ?
    yours
    per

  59. Louis
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I read today that an Australian had won the medical Nobel for Medicine for discovering that the primary cause of ulcers was bacterial and this got me thinking about the criticism of M&M as outsiders and I saw this quote

    “The idea of stress and things like that (causing ulcers) was just so entrenched nobody could really believe that it was bacteria,” Marshall said. “It had to come from some weird place like Perth, Western Australia, because I think nobody else would have even considered it.”

    So being an outsider can be an advantage.

  60. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #59: My father was a smart practicing surgeon who cared for a lot of ulcers. He finished his residency around 1954. He didn’t bring his work home. But through some kind of osmosis, I remember the sense of revelation to him of this discovery re ulcers – was it in the 1960s or 70s? – and how convincing it was to him.

  61. TCO
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 2:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, I don’t think you understand what “double blind” is about. They don’t tell the experimenter (doctor) as the double part of the blindness.

  62. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 2:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I also remember when those findings came out, and the hoopla it caused in the pharma industry, a number of whose top-selling drugs (e.g. Tagamet) were designed for symptomatic relief of this “incurable” condition. Many were not happy to see a few cheap doses of antibiotics threaten to wipe out a multi-billion dollar prescription drug business. Of course it took many years for practising physicians to change their prescribing habits, and a new OTC market for the drugs has been found as heartburn remedies…

  63. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Had I been asked to testify I would not have argued the issue in the same terms as Crichton. The medical protocols are instructive but do not necessarily imply a problem in non-experimental work, including empirical climate analysis. In economics no one minds if a single person or team compiles the data, does the analysis and writes it up. The problems arise if, once all that’s done, you can’t see their data and code, or you get obstructed when trying to find out details. The issues there are transparency and disclosure, and this is where things are slowly changing in economics. Crichton does, however, come around to this point as well. If the data and methods are fully disclosed then independence or otherwise of someone doing the replication work is largely irrelevant.

  64. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #55
    Paul, if you are going to use logical fallacies you should learn to use them in a more subtle fashion. I mean, come on, that was such an obvious straw man argument! Nothing will ever be perfect, however improvment is certainly possible, and the drug and medical device companies are good examples. I’ve worked in the medical device industry for quite a while and their protocols put many of these climate researchers to shame.

    Paul.

  65. TCO
    Posted Oct 3, 2005 at 6:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    No! They are evil pharma companies motivated by free markets and not sharing the results of their R&D for free and (insert ‘marketing’ argument). EVIL!

  66. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 4:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am perfectly aware of the reason for double blind drug trials. It is exactly because if the doctor knows who is getting the treatment this subconsciously influences attention, care, affection, etc., to the patient, which can also influence the patients response to the drug, again part of the placebo effect. The difference between the placebo effect and bias is that the placebo effect causes a measurable change in the subject. I do not think that even the most vehement critics of the hockey team would suggest that any conscious or subconscious wish to find certain results actually changes the width of tree rings.

    The way Crichton presented his evidence implied that the double blind method eliminated error and fraud, and if only the climate scientist would work in this way their results would indisputable. However, the evidence clearly shows that the methods used in drug trails are open to abuse and are abused; they are not failsafe. The problem I have with Crichton giving evidence to the Senate is that he is neither particularly qualified to do so, nor is he an independent witness, having made his views quite clear. Where were the expert sceptics? Why was Critchton there telling the Senators about Steve and Ross’s work instead of Steve and Ross? Maybe someone wanted an autograph for their kids Jurassic Park lunch box?

  67. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 4:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #66

    I do not think that even the most vehement critics of the hockey team would suggest that any conscious or subconscious wish to find certain results actually changes the width of tree rings.

    No, but it can affect the choice of which tree ring (and other data) series get included in a study.

    The problem I have with Crichton giving evidence to the Senate is that he is neither particularly qualified to do so …

    I did notice that, of the five witnesses (an admittedly small sample space), the three who were being sceptical were a doctor, a meteorologist and an epidemiologist, and the two who were not being sceptical were an economist and a lawyer. I’d say that puts the balance of scientific background on the side of the sceptics.

  68. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You would think that as most of the arguments revolve around statistics they might have asked a statistician or two?

  69. per
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 6:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “The way Crichton presented his evidence implied that the double blind method eliminated error and fraud,…”
    I don’t see that implication in his speech. What he quite clearly states, however, is that replication of studies is an essential part of science; that experimental protocols which involve independent review of data are essential in some parts of science.
    you are not addressing these clearly stated points; instead, you choose to invent a fantasy implication.
    strange.
    per

  70. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 7:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t Ross and Steve count as statisticians?

  71. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 9:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #70

    Did they appear before the Senate – no.

    Re #69

    ‘For a person with a medical background, accustomed to this degree of rigor in research, the protocols of climate science appear considerably more relaxed. A striking feature of climate science is that it’s permissible for raw data to be “touched,” or modified, by many hands. Gaps in temperature and proxy records are filled in. Suspect values are deleted because a scientist deems them erroneous. A researcher may elect to use parts of existing records, ignoring other parts. But the fact that the data has been modified in so many ways inevitably raises the question of whether the results of a given study are wholly or partially caused by the modifications themselves.’

    The implication in this is clear. Climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science. Though Crichton specifies medical science as his gold standard the implication is wider. In fact the processes of data handling that Crichton criticises are common to all branches of science. Not least medical science. As for his points about free access to data and replicationof research. Perhaps climate science should ape medical science, Crichton certainly implies as much. Then again maybe not. The medical establishment has its own way of hiding results it does not like. Perhaps Mr Crichton might like to have a look at the Senate Bill S. 470″¢’‚¬?The Fair Access to Clinical Trials Act. Which will require the results of all clinical trials to be made public, not just the favourable ones.

    Some of the methods used in climate science may leave a lot to be desired, but implying that they are uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on is simply nonsense.

  72. Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    MBH98 claimed they used ‘standard’methods, which they didn’t.
    They also claimed they published all source data, which they hadn’t.

    Poor practice.

  73. John A
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 9:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The implication in this is clear. Climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science.

    Yet another straw man argument. Crichton is not arguing that climate science in toto is using methods which are not found in other branches of science. Crichton is arguing that some climate scientists are using methods which are incompatible with the scientific method of objectivity and reproducibility.

    In fact the processes of data handling that Crichton criticises are common to all branches of science.

    Really? Do other branches of science regularly alter fundamental data on which all other scientists rely in the way that some climate scientists regularly change temperature records,tide gauges, precipitation records for weather stations?

    If so, does this mean that because other branches of science do it, it therefore becomes scientifically acceptable to do so?

    The medical establishment has its own way of hiding results it does not like. Perhaps Mr Crichton might like to have a look at the Senate Bill S. 470″¢’‚¬?The Fair Access to Clinical Trials Act. Which will require the results of all clinical trials to be made public, not just the favourable ones.

    What a good idea! Do you support a similar Bill for climate science where the financial implications of their research for public policy are an order of magnitude greater than medical science?

    Some of the methods used in climate science may leave a lot to be desired, but implying that they are uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on is simply nonsense.

    Another straw man. Crichton didn’t say that the problems of climate science are uniquely bad. Only that they are bad in comparison to the amount of money spent and the financial cost of the public policies that are driven by them.

  74. Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My take on the problem in environmental sciences is the general lack of qualified statisticians who work in the area. Those that do produce interesting and valuable results, as do those who move into the area such as M&M. But they are generally hampered by the lack of raw material to work with from the often proprietary attitude of domain scientists about their data, and a very conservative peer review process both in papers and funding panels. Mandating data archiving is one solution, and various shifts in the review process are another. I think a lot of the dynamics are driven by the needs of the information age, where people are becoming part of a data analysis pipeline, rather than craftsman/builders.

  75. per
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The implication in this is clear. Climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science. Though Crichton specifies medical science as his gold standard the implication is wider. Some of the methods used in climate science may leave a lot to be desired, but implying that they are uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on is simply nonsense.

    however much I read the passage quote, your implications just aren’t there. Apart from which, you are missing the point. When you do medical research that will be used for regulatory decision making (i.e. to support a drug submission), the work must be done to very high standards to ensure replicability and audit trail. Climate science is being used to support extremely expensive public policy decisions; there is no such audit trail nor replicability.
    This is the clearly stated point of his talk. You don’t address it.
    yours
    per

  76. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #74: climate science would be a gold mine for any young statistician. There are lots of interesting problems and to say that Hockey Stick statistics are stone age is to insult Neanderthals.

  77. Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #76. There are lots of opportunities in all areas of ecology too, and its less crowded than econometrics. I shouldn’t be surprised if most of what is believed was unjustified or simply wrong. One expects scientists to welcome opportunities to uncover errors and improve on their work though, not circle the waggons.

  78. John A
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One expects scientists to welcome opportunities to uncover errors and improve on their work though, not circle the waggons.

    As I read the history of science, individual scientists who break the mould tend to be isolated from most of their peers – consider the two Aussie scientists who have just won the Nobel prize for Medicine as an example. Einstein was working in the Swiss Patent Office. Heisenberg was recuperating on an island when he made his greatest insight into Quantum Mechanics. Chandrasekhar was on board a ship when he made his greatest discovery into the nature of white dwarfs and neutron stars. Andrew Wiles solved Fermat’s Last Theorem in his attic.

    Similarly people who discover fakery or fraud tend to be outsiders. The discoverers of the fakery of Henrik Schoen were not materials scientists, for example.

    More importantly, people who break the mould in a particular field are usually ostracised or viciously derided by their peers – the cases of Albert Einstein (Relativity), Alfred Wegener (continental drift) and Derek Freeman (Margaret Mead’s Samoan Hoax) spring most readily to mind.

    Man has a herd instinct, a conservativism of thought that is reinforced by group dynamics and the need to belong. Scientists are clearly not immune.

  79. per
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 6:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “people who break the mould in a particular field are usually ostracised or viciously derided…”

    this is an interesting perspective, but I fear that “usually” is a bit strong. I think that a common theme linking your examples is that einstein, wegener, the australians were outsiders. I am sure that there are many such paradigm shifts originated by “insiders”.

    Another example may be Lynn Margulis, for her vision of the mitochondrion as a bacterial remnant in the eukaryotic cell. A radical theory in its time, and with just about no supporting data, it was proved correct.

    cheers
    per

  80. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Andrew Wiles was hardly an outsider. He was very well respected. His solution of Fermat’s Last Theorem surely has to be one of the most remarkable accomplishments of our time.

  81. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 7:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Let’s cry about it…

  82. John A
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 11:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #80

    But Andrew Wiles did deliberately isolate himself from the mathematical community while he worked on his proof of Taniyama-Shimura. He stopped going to mathematical conferences and symposia.

    I did not bracket Wiles as an outsider, but noted that some of the greatest discoveries have come from people who are isolated from their peers for one reason or another. Pierre de Fermat shunned other mathematicians.

    You are an outsider and someone who is isolated from peers while you do the major thinking and investigating on your research into the methodologies of climate science. Consciously or not, you fit the pattern.

  83. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2005 at 11:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I am flattered to be mentioned in the same paragraph, but stop it right there: Wiles is a truly great mathematician. My stuff is topical, but nothing that I’ve done qualifies as "major thinking". It’s all so simple that it’s fallen between stools. Since the Hockey Team are ultimately doomed to obscurity, so will any commentary on them. I’m content with being topical, I will admire Wiles from afar.

  84. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 3:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #73
    “Yet another straw man argument. Crichton is not arguing that climate science in toto is using methods which are not found in other branches of science. Crichton is arguing that SOME climate scientists are using methods which are incompatible with the scientific method of objectivity and reproducibility.”

    No he does not. Show me any place in the transcript of his speech where Crichton says “some’ scientists or “some’ climate science, excepting his “some scientists complain the task of archiving is so time-consuming’ Crichton is damning the whole of climate science, from proxy studies to modelling.

    You do not think that scientists delete “Suspect values’ …”‹Å“because a scientist deems them erroneous’ that they don’t “use parts of existing records, ignoring other parts’, that outliers are not removed from data? Perhaps you should ask someone how big the pile of unused, unpublished data they have on their desk is. I would guess that in most cases it is at least as big as the pile of published data. You and Crichton may think that scientists should publish all their work, good or bad, but who is going to publish it?

    “what is at issue is whether the methodology of climate science is sufficiently rigorous to yield a reliable result.’ So is Crichton saying that all science is so bad that we have to question if it produces a reliable result? I don’t think so, he is singling out climate science.

    “What a good idea! Do you support a similar Bill for climate science where the financial implications of their research for public policy are an order of magnitude greater than medical science?”

    Absolutely. Though I am sure tax payers would love to hear that research funding on climate science is going to be quadrupled. As I have stated on this blog on several occasions in the past. But tying to undermine the whole of climate science because some scientists did not and now cannot archive data which is some cases is 15 or 20 years old makes no sense. Yes, proper archiving of current work, yes, proper validation of current work, but Crichton was not offering a reasoned position, it was a diatribe against climate science as a whole

    Re #75

    No you miss MY point. The “very high standards’ of drug trials does not “ensure replicability and audit trail’ For instance the Fiddles case, brought against a Californian clinical research company by the FDA. It conducted over 200 drug trials in the 1990s. Dr Fiddles was found guilty of “extensive fabrication and falsification of data’ received 15 months in jail and a large fine. You may say that the audit trail worked here, as the fraud was discovered, but it took years and the process of uncoverering it looks very similar to that which Steve has undertaken with Mann et al. There are lots of examples of this type of fraud, how much more fraud goes undetected? I say again, climate science is not uniquely bad and using the “gold standard’ of medical research as a template for climate science would not eliminate bad practice just as it has not in the medical field. It may make it easier to detect but that is all.

  85. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Paul
    I am glad that we agree that the standards of drug trials “ensure replicability and audit trail‘. Of course I did not warrant that you cannot commit fraud under these circumstances; though I agree with you that the requirement to leave a detailed trail of what you have done so that others are able to replicate, ensures that it is easier to detect fraud.
    No-one has said, or even implied, that climate science is uniquely bad.
    No-one has said that more robust standards of scientific audit would eliminate bad practice; but it would ensure that others could replicated what has been done. Which is a powerful disincentive to commit fraud.
    yours
    per

  86. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 5:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think we will just have to say that the way I interpreted Crichtons speech to the Senate Committee is different to many on this board and leave it at that.

  87. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 6:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The way Crichton presented his evidence implied that the double blind method eliminated error and fraud, …
    The implication in this is clear. Climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science.
    Some of the methods used in climate science may leave a lot to be desired, but implying that they are uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on is simply nonsense.

    I think we will just have to say that the way I interpreted Crichtons speech to the Senate Committee is different to many on this board …

    If you don’t mind, I will just comment that your “implications” above seem to have no relation whatsoever to the evidence Crichton gave, and appear to me to be simply fantasy. Your failure to be able to substantiate any of your points by reference to the text of his speech speaks volumes.
    yours
    per

  88. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 6:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am sorry, but simply saying that your interpretation of what Crichton said is correct and mine is not does not win the argument. I have referenced the text on numerous occasions and said what I think is implied in that text. All your retorts simply consists of “oh no he didn’t.’ That may work well in pantomime, but falls short elsewhere. Unless Mr Crichton makes an appearance to tell us exactly what he did mean we are left with our own interpretations.

    If you want me to point out exactly where the relevant text is and how it can be interpreted AGAIN I will do so at some point, though I am rather busy this afternoon.

  89. Paul
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul… you seem so eager to parse Crichton’s words…find that nugget in what he said in order to discredit everything he said. It seems to me that you hope he’s wrong on a small point so he can be wrong on the major points.

    You can also find out what he means by reading what he’s said on other occasions about the same topic. The link was posted that pointed to Crichton’s site with other speeches…with many of them discussing climate science. There’s no need to play this “he wasn’t clear, so I’m going to interpret it this way.” Reading what he’s said at other times (which is consistent with what he said this time) gives a clear picture of what he meant.

    He said what he meant and he meant that climate science is not transparent enough, there aren’t enough checks and balances and it’s become political more than scientific. Do you disagree with these points?

    He said (on his web site): “I believe we have ample evidence that our current governmental procedures fail to separate reliable information from mere opinion, speculation and untested belief.

    That’s why I argue that policy decisions should be grounded in independently verified studies”¢’‚¬?because that is the only way to get the politics out of science. ”

    Do you disagree? If so, why?

    One last point… I’ve just re-read his remarks. In no place did he say “we must do it like they do it in medicine.” He used examples from medicine to contrast the difference, not to state or imply that the way its done in medicine is the only way.

    Are you afraid of the light?

  90. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #89, jese, you clearly haven’t understood #88.

    As to Chrichton’s ‘independent bla bla…’, well, again, it’s a matter of opinion, not science, who is or isn’t independent. For example I rekon NO ONE here, (bar a very few of us, perhaps Paul Gosling is one) thinks any independent scrutiny of paleoclimatology could possibly show it’s present conclusions, re the last 2000 years or so, to be right (because you all know they’re wrong) ergo an independent audit that did couldn’t be independent – doh!

  91. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter H, no one’s making the silly point that you’re advoicating. With all the scientists in the world, why would anyone choose Ammann, Bradley’s former PhD student and Mann’s coauthor, as “independent”? Or try to pass them off as “independent”?

    In other walks of life, truly independent reviews have been found to be important to avoid bias and error.

  92. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am sorry, but simply saying that your interpretation of what Crichton said is correct and mine is not does not win the argument. I have referenced the text on numerous occasions and said what I think is implied in that text.

    Dear Paul
    you are utterly wrong. I am relying on what Crichton said. You appear to be relying on your “implications”, which are simply fantasies that have nothing to do with what he actually said.
    You produce quotes; and then simply invent an implication which is not actually in the text ! Nowhere does Crichton state that the double blind method eliminated error and fraud, that climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science, or that [climate science is] uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on.

    You argue against your fantasies of what you presume crichton might intend. It is simply bizarre to see you fighting shadows, when you could engage with the substance of what Crichton actually said.
    yours
    per

  93. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For example I rekon NO ONE here, (bar a very few of us, perhaps Paul Gosling is one) thinks any independent scrutiny of paleoclimatology could possibly show it’s present conclusions, re the last 2000 years or so, to be right…

    You reckon wrong.
    If I have a view that MBH was not done adequately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I know what temperatures were for the last millenium. It is a common bit of scientific discourse to show that someone’s methods are inadequate; it doesn’t tell you what the real result you wanted was !

    Of course, if you only see science in terms of good against evil, you are going to have a lot of problems. I recommend that you engage with the arguments.
    best wishes
    per

  94. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #93, Da, sorry per, you used the words good and evil not me. But, perhaps you’re trying to imply something of me. Yeah probably. Do as I say not as I do…

    Re #91. Steve, I never mentioned those blokes! I was talking about what Chrichton said! Who do you think is independent, in his terms? Could one be independent and come to the conclusion the climatologist have the last 2000 years broadly right? Honestly, I don’t think anyone here thinks they could – just what I think. Care to prove me wrong anyone? per hasn’t.

  95. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Alright, Peter. Define what you mean by “broadly right.” I don’t think anyone here would DENY that the present is among the warmer times of the past 2000 years. Does that fit what you’re talking about? Or must it be shown by this putative independent researcher that we are now the warmest era in 2000 years? If that’s what you mean then probably most but not all of the ‘skeptic’ regulars here would expect something different. Which isn’t saying we’d necessarily reject such a finding out of hand.

  96. Michael Crichton
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 9:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My testimony was intended to be an argument for transparency.

    More broadly, I wanted to suggest that the US government needs stricter standards for many kinds of information it uses to set policy. The Vioxx story is one non-climate example.

    In response to the Vioxx controversy, last month a dozen major medical journals published a joint editorial in which they called for a publicly-accessible database for trial results similar to the NIH clinicaltrials.gov, and they said they would not publish results of trials that had not been registered on the database.

    It will be interesting to see if other fields of science follow this straightforward example.

    After all, who opposes transparency?

    (I won’t be commenting further. Thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to read my testimony carefully, and to spell my name correctly. )

  97. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #89

    Crichton gave evidence to the Senate committee. It is reasonable to accept this evidence at face value is it not? It should not be necessary to go away and read all his other works to find out what he meant. Though it is noticeable that directly below the link to his speech on his web site is an advertisement/link to his book State of Fear – we know exactly where he stands.

    re #92

    Do you not understand the meaning of the word implies? At no point have I said that Crichton said

    “double blind method eliminated error and fraud,

    climate science is using methods which are not found in other branches of science or that

    [climate science is] uniquely bad and that the results are therefore not worth the paper they are written on”

    I said these were things that were implied by what he said.

    How else are we to interpret the phrase

    “what is at issue is whether the methodology of climate science is sufficiently rigorous to yield a reliable result”

    when he goes on to criticise the methods, saying at one point they “would not be accepted” in other branches of science. Other than they are not worth the paper they are written on.

    Similarly

    “are their predictions [climate models] of any use to policymakers? I would argue they are not”
    Is he not once again dismissing a whole branch of climate science out of hand.

    Crichton says that practices such as
    “raw data …… modified, by many hands….. Gaps …. filled in. Suspect values are deleted because a scientist deems them erroneous” is a “striking feature of climate science”

    Striking feature! How else should this be interpreted other than that there is something different about climate science which is in some way dishonest. When in fact these are normal practices in science.

    If Crichton (or better still Steve) had stood up there and brought up the serious problems with multiproxy studies which no doubt exist and focused on that I would have had no problem with it. But no, we never hear the word proxy or reconstruction, Crichton bundles up the whole of climate science into one bad bunch. But what should we expect? If the Senate committee was really interested in finding out the truth about the science why did they have a writer of fictional novels testifying. This was just grandstanding and has contributed nothing to finding out the truth about climate or the science behind it.

  98. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have just read Crichtons comment. More transparency in all fields of science. Who can argue with that? But say that, don’t single out climate science.

  99. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Well Paul,

    Just which of the proxy-based temperature reconstruction papers are worth more than the paper they’re printed on and why do you say so given what’s been presented on this site? In particular do you agree or disagree with the assertion that bristlecome pines are not useful temperature proxies?

  100. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #96: Dear Michael, thank you for dropping by. We were very flattered that you cited us in your testimony.

  101. Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Single Stage to orbit. The way God and Heinlein intended it.”

    It was after reading Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” circa 1979, that I came up with the idea of a space elevator.

    It was only many years later that I heard it had been suggested decades before. :-)

  102. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #96: I have some interest in the medical examples on a couple of fronts. A benchmark case for access to medical data has been the Nancy Oliveri case in Toronto, where there was an attempt to withhold data. This specific case led to new benchmarks in which the big journals (New England etc.) required investigators to table experimental protocols with the journals AHEAD of time if they wanted to publish in that big journal. This would be a good step in climate science: Jacoby couldn’t go around after the fact deciding what data to report.

    Nancy Oliveri’s lawyer is another Toronto Mc – Jim McDonald, who’s a close friend of ours, so I’ve followed Oliveri’s many legal battles with interest. The protocols for medical review articles (“Evidence-Based Medicine”) have been heavily contributed to in southern Ontario (e.g. Guyatt). “Skepticism” was a term originally associated with David Hume in Scotland and maybe some skeptical traditions persist in the Scottish diaspora within Ontario.

  103. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Paul
    it is worth noting that the three “implications” you have drawn are not related to anything in the speech.
    I note you have been caught out selectively quoting:

    “are their predictions [climate models] of any use to policymakers? I would argue they are not”

    sounds bad, till you realise that it is prefaced in the speech by:

    “For example, the UN Third Assessment Report defines general circulation climate models as unverifiable. If that’s true,”

    so the answer to your question:

    Is he not once again dismissing a whole branch of climate science out of hand.

    is NO, and his evidence goes nowhere near that.

    It is interesting to see that you use selective quotation and mis-representation as an argument.
    yours
    per

  104. TCO
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    anyone have the chricton testimony text?

  105. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    thanks to paul H
    http://www.crichton-official.com/speeches/

  106. per
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Paul

    …, Crichton bundles up the whole of climate science into one bad bunch.

    it is just worth pointing out that Crichton’s evidence is the opposite of this; he specifically says:

    …I am not casting aspersions on the motives or fair-mindedness of climate scientists.

    I think that is a fairly clear example of the deep chasm between your “implications”, and the text of what Crichton actually said.
    yours
    per

  107. TCO
    Posted Oct 5, 2005 at 8:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    anyone have the Q and A text?

  108. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is he not once again dismissing a whole branch of climate science out of hand.

    Oh yeah =)

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