I Guess It Got Lost in the Mail

A Climate Audit reader in Australia drew CSIRO’s attention to criticism of their data stonewalling here at CA. CSIRO promptly told the Australian reader that the “appropriate CSIRO climate scientists and Communications team have responded accordingly to Stephen McIntyre and David Stockwell directly, in order to address their concerns” and that “some of the direct responses have even been posted on the http://www.climateaudit.org website”.

Well, for the record, they haven’t responded to me “directly” in the sense that anyone from CSIRO actually sent me an email of any sort and, to the extent that they are claiming to be responding to my particular criticisms, it is untrue that “some of the direct responses have even been posted on the http://www.climateaudit.org website”.

Also for the record, I was not a party to any of David Stockwell’s original inquiries and merely read his account of his encounters with CSIRO as any other reader of his blog might have done. CSIRO correspondence with David Stockwell was posted at his website and I quoted excerpts from this correspondence in my previous posts. All of this correspondence pre-dated my particular posts, the earliest of which was on July 14, 2008 and cannot possibly constitute a “direct” response to my posts.

Here is the correspondence:



The Original Inquiry from an Australian Reader

Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2008 12:48 PM
To: Enquiries
Subject: Climate Audit Discussion on CSIRO

No doubt you are aware that CSIRO is currently being discussed on Steve McIntyre’s site Climate Audit. However, on the off chance that you are not aware, here is the website address: http://www.climateaudit.org.

It looks like CSIRO has some fence-mending to do.

Cheers,
,,,,,,,

CSIRO Response

Dear …
From: Enquiries at csiro.au
Sent: Friday, 18 July 2008 10:00 AM
To: …
Subject: Our Ref: TP16.. – RE: Climate Audit Discussion on CSIRO

Thank you for your email.

Yes, we are certainly aware of the comments and activity related to CSIRO on Steve McIntyre’s blog website.

The appropriate CSIRO climate scientists and Communications team have responded accordingly to Stephen McIntyre and David Stockwell directly, in order to address their concerns. I believe some of the direct responses have even been posted on the http://www.climateaudit.org website.

CSIRO scientists welcome open and serious debate, discussion and questioning of their science through the peer-review process. They also stand by the results of their research. CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists.

You may also be interested to read the article by Dr Paul Fraser, Chief Research Scientist with CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research Division, titled “The science of discussing climate change”, which was published in The AGE newspaper and is available on our website, as per the following link: http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pfcj.pdf

To learn more about CSIRO’s current research into climate change, please visit: http://www.csiro.au/science/ClimateChange.html

I hope this assists with your enquiry. If you have any further enquiries regarding CSIRO and its research capabilities, please contact us at enquiries at csiro.au

Kind regards,

James Davidson
Information Officer
CSIRO Enquiries

CSIRO Fact-Checking

CSIRO Information Officer Davidson stated:

I believe some of the direct responses have even been posted on the http://www.climateaudit.org website.

Let’s see. If he’s referring to my quoting from the emails to David Stockwell, I can locate two such quotes in my posts.

In this post , I criticized the statement by CSIRO that “some of the media reports have misinterpreted the findings of the report”.

So when Hennessy said that

“some of the media reports have misinterpreted the findings of the report”

this seems extremely unjustified in relation to the article that David cited. I find it difficult to understand exactly where he thinks this article went astray. But if he did, as noted above, CSIRO has an obligation to write the agency and set the record straight about exactly what they think the news agency misinterpreted.

This particular criticism did not appear at David Stockwell’s website and, to my knowledge, no CSIRO climate scientist or official has made any response to this particular criticism either here or anywhere else, be it mealy-mouthed or otherwise,

The only other quotation from a CSIRO response was in the first post where I quoted:

In the most recent episode, CSIRO stated:

I’m not able to hand over the data from the 13 models, due to restrictions on Intellectual Property, but I can describe the methods used to determine statistical significance.

This particular statement is not a “direct response” to the criticism. It was the original refusal itself and it’s what I criticized.

Why would CSIRO send out a response where the particulars are not merely untrue but the inaccuracy of which can be easily checked? Maybe they used someone from the Team as a fact checker.

56 Comments

  1. kim
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    Moshe? Inapp? Not a cough in a carload.
    =========================

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    A thought crossed my mind about Australian drought models. Maybe they could ask Michael Mann to have some French rain fall in Australia instead of Maine.

  3. Richard
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    Information Officer – really? It reminds me more of a Soviet style commisar. As an Australian scientist working in agriculture, it concerns me that CSIRO continues to peddle in selective use of climate data to support the “science” of their climate models. CSIRO have always have a wonderful reputation for gold benchmark science, but as “ianl” alluded to yesterday, the climate section has become extremely well funded through the use of media and alarmist calls of our climate deteriorating. Yet, they seem totally uninterested in some of the proxies out there that could reveal a lot to us about natural Climate variation. I am not suggesting that AGW is not real, nor that it could have an impact on Australian agricutlure systems. But why aren’t CSIRO forthcoming and forthright in answering legitimate questions from David Stockwell? What have they got to hide? I know that other scientists in CSIRO have been deeply concerned about the amount of science in their Climate Science section for some time.

  4. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

    one of my favorites. and there’s a drought!

    The Hollow Men
    Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1888-1965)

    MISTAH KURTZ — HE DEAD.
    A penny for the Old Guy

    I

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
    Remember us–if at all–not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.

    II

    Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
    In death’s dream kingdom
    These do not appear:
    There, the eyes are
    Sunlight on a broken column
    There, is a tree swinging
    And voices are
    In the wind’s singing
    More distant and more solemn
    Than a fading star.

    Let me be no nearer
    In death’s dream kingdom
    Let me also wear
    Such deliberate disguises
    Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
    In a field
    Behaving as the wind behaves
    No nearer–

    Not that final meeting
    In the twilight kingdom

    III

    This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man’s hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death’s other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.

    IV

    The eyes are not here
    There are no eyes here
    In this valley of dying stars
    In this hollow valley
    This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    and avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    Sightless, unless
    The eyes reappear
    As the perpetual star
    Multifoliate rose
    Of death’s twilight kingdom
    The hope only
    Of empty men.

    V

    Here we go round the prickly pear
    Prickly pear prickly pear
    Here we go round the prickly pear
    At five o’clock in the morning.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the shadow
    For Thine is the Kingdom

    Between the conception
    And the creation
    Between the emotion
    And the response
    Falls the Shadow
    Life is very long

    Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    and the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow
    For Thine is the Kingdom

    For thine is
    Life is
    For Thine is the

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  5. Dave
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    I love the line from their response….

    CSIRO scientists welcome open and serious debate, discussion and questioning of their science through the peer-review process. They also stand by the results of their research. CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists.

    …right off their website word for word.

    I guess it’s best to stick with the company line…we only debate(haha) research through the peer-review process…

    In other words, our friends looked at it and gave it the old rubber stamp of approval, now everyone else just move along, no need to verify the results, the debate is over, there’s a consensus ya know.

  6. The Hollow Men
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    I don’t represent CSIRO, I don’t work in the climate science field, I haven’t posted on anyones behalf, I don’t even know the names of the authors of the report, and the opinions in my comments reflect my personal thoughts only.

    I chose the monicker because I was watching the ABC1 comedy show (about political intrigue) of the same name before I posted. I have no desire to be the centre of attention of any blog so I think it is time this hollow man does disappear (with a whimper – not a bang) which is sad because I had hoped to contribute.

    Steve: I didn’t mean to put you into any attention. I was puzzled as to what CSIRO could conceivably have meant. I’ll delete the reference in the head post and any related speculations and will delete this post as well after you’ve had time to read it.

  7. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Re # 5 – Dave beat me to it. It is great to see the oen debate and welcoming of questions, except for the problem –answers.

  8. Larry Sheldon
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    For whatever it is worth, I am opposed to deletion of non-troll stuff.

    And riddle me this: If CSIRO (or anybody else) lies about that which is public record, why would anybody believe anything they say that is not in the public record?

  9. Paul
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    The “science” of discussing Climate Change?????

    Now that is a wierd concept.

  10. Paul
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    I just had a brief look at “the science of discussing climate change”. The work of this blog and its owner is all the evidence one needs to counter the central argument in that article, vis. discussion should only be held through peer reviewed papers.

    Arguable the single most iconic result published in support of the aggrevated AGW theory was debunked outside the peer review process. Nay, it was debunked despite the peer review process.

  11. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    it was a clean hit. he didnt get his head up.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    #10. Many readers hold a different view on formal publication than I do. I do not suggest that blogs are an alternative to publication in academic journals.

    And for #10’s benefit, we published criticisms of Mann’s hockey stick in academic journals – not without some difficulty – and, without publication in formal literature, I doubt that we would have got much headway. Our reviewers were supportive and we were a feature article in one GRL issue. Having said that, we were more than a bit lucky in reviewer selection as no one from the Team reviewed the article.

    Now that I’m better known, the review process for a submission last year to GRL was bilious. However, I’m sure that the material could have found a home. The problem for me is primarily the success of the blog – it has such a large audience that it becomes a priority.

    My criticisms of journals and review processes are (IMO) more nuanced than most readers and different than what readers think and comes in part from my experience with securities prospectuses.

    One of my complaints with some academic publications is, that, without proper archiving of data and methods, they all too often descend into long-winded editorials. That’s nothing to do with blogs vs journals – merely holding journals as publications of record to a standard.

  13. Jeremy
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Why should an organization stand by it’s scientists?
    Seriously, why should any honest organization claim to do such a thing? Shouldn’t they instead be more interested in standing by truth whatever form it takes?

    I wouldn’t expect the company I work for to stand by me if I stick my neck out and make claims that I cannot support.

  14. Richard deSousa
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Crickey… more of this intellectual property crap… how can these clowns claim IP when they’re using tax money to do their research??? They’re a bunch of cowards.

  15. MPaul
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    “CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists”.

    What an odd sentence. I’m hoping that the author was referring to this narrow and specific context, as in “we’ve investigated the situation and, as it related to the way that they have handled the debate at Climate Audit, we stand by our scientists”. But it almost seems like what they mean here is that they really think its their duty to stand by their employees and defend their actions regardless of what those actions might be. So if an employee is violating the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, they will unequivocally defend that employee.

    I’ve seen this behavior in other large bureaucracies. Its usually an indicator that they need new administrators.

    No institution or company, as a matter of policy, can ever “stand by their employees” no matter what those employees do. This is a very basic governance issue. One of the primary duties of administrators is to ensure that their employees comply with laws and policies. I’m quite surprised to see CSIRO include such a statement in a formal communication. Could you ever imagine such a statement showing up in a 10Q?

  16. Jon
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Why would CSIRO send out a response where the particulars are not merely untrue but the inaccuracy of which can be easily checked? Maybe they used someone from the Team as a fact checker.

    Nope, no personal feelings against these people whatsoever.


    Steve:
    I disagree with organizations or individuals recklessly making untrue statements. When they do so in circumstances where the lack of truthfulness can be easily checked, there;s an element of pointlessness added to it. Perhaps you have a different attitude. I hope not.

  17. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Eye rolling.
    Irony.
    Dry humor.
    Satire.

  18. MPaul
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    I just read Paul Fraser’s article that was referred to in the CSIRO letter. Setting aside the factual errors in the article, his basic premise is that peer review is the best process for ensuring the quality and accuracy of very complex scientific work.

    There’s been a bit of a revolution in the software world over the past few years. Its called Open Source. The basic idea is that software developers publish their source code under a license that allows other to modify and redistribute the code. Before Open Source took root, most source code was considered top secret stuff, a bit like the recipe to Coca Cola.

    Open Source allows a broad class of people to do what previously only a very elite class of people could formerly do — examine source code and make changes. The result has been that Open Source software is inherently higher quality because more people are looking at it. Bugs are more easily discovered, software coding standards are more easily enforced and algorithmic efficiency is more easilly obtained.

    You could argue that open source is a form of peer review. But there’s a big difference. Open Source embraces collaboration. The concept of a ‘peer’ in open source is much broader. Junior people help find bugs, senior folks run projects and the rock stars set the architectural agenda. Ultimately, the project maintainers decide what changes to accept and to reject.

    Climate Science, on the other hand, defines ‘peers’ in a very narrow and elitist way. Climate Scientists effectively choose their own peers. If you’re not with the agenda, you are not a peer. We’ve seen examples where a world’s leading statistician criticizes the statistics used by a climate scientist, only to be told he is not a ‘peer’ because he is not a climate scientist.

    I think peer review is the best process, but it requires openness, transparency and inclusion to be effective — all of which are missing in climate science.

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    #18. we’ve been over this point enough times and I don’t want to debate it. One more time, I personally am not advocating blogs or open source as a substitute for journal articles. However, I do advocate that journals improve their standards of review.

  20. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    Re Teh Hollow Men poem

    The T.S. Eliot estate defends its copyright very vigorously. They even refuse permission for scholars and critics to quote from the poems in scholarly books and papers. I would suggest removing the poem as soon as possible.

  21. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    They also stand by the results of their research. CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists.

    I always thought that science was about advancing knowledge step by step. I have difficulty reconciling this with the idea of “sand by the results of their research”. Every scientific result is tentative and subject to falsification and even refutation or at least that is what I thought. It appears that others have different opinions. Einstein falsified Newton but then Newton did not work for the CSIRO.

  22. MPaul
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    #19, Steve, nor am I. I’m saying that expanding the definition of ‘peer’ would help the process. More inter-disciplinary involvement in journal review, more transparency of data and methods, etc., would benefit the process. When you submit comments to journal articles under review, they are often summarily dismissed. I get the sense that they are often not even read. The truth is, many elite climate scientist do not consider you a peer and view your presence as foreshadowing a raid of the ivory tower by the unwashed. Whereas, I think the newer generation of scientist is more likely to take the view that modern science has become so complex that interdisciplinary involvement is essential. You knowledge of applied statistics is, in all likelihood, superior to Mann’s and he should take notice when you comment in this area.

    One of the roles that Climate Audit plays (perhaps not your intended role) is to re-shape the attitudes and to re-frame belief systems as it relates to the nature of peer review. Jones, Mann and Hansen will never change their ways. But the newer generation of scientist (who read this blog) are more comfortable with the way the internet has reshaped collaboration, and are influenced by the discussions that go on here.

  23. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    re 20. That’s funny, given that Eliot thought that “immature poets imitate, and mature poets steal”

  24. per
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    re:#12

    i do think it is important that SM publishes (and continues to publish) in the peer-reviewed literature. It does provide credibility in a way that a blog doesn’t.

    I also wouldn’t read too much into one series of bilious comments. They happen to everyone, from top to bottom of the scientific tree. Often, they are banal, but it is often the case that the more spiteful the comment, the easier it is to disregard.

    I do wish you success in future publications.

    per

  25. Joe Crawford
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Ref: MPaul #22 – “You knowledge of applied statistics is, in all likelihood, superior to Mann’s and he should take notice when you comment in this area.”

    I don’t think I would restrict Steve’s expertise and importance to just statistics. Steve’s rather unique experience in auditing for mineral exploration financing covers a broad range of talents. By the time he finishes with a paper, you can not only rest assured that the statistics are up to snuff, but you will also know how well the data, the algorithms and even the computer code support the conclusions.

    I guess I’d be torn between fear and respect if I saw him walk in the door on a project in which I was involved. But, I’d also be proud if/when I made it through with my skin still intact.

    Joe

  26. Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    #19, #22 Steve, I think MPaul has a point that is important. Compare the situation here with the history of religion. I don’t think Martin Luther planned for a moment, when he posted his 99 Theses, to start the Protestant denomination; but in the end, the Catholic church didn’t want him. Certainly Charles Wesley tried his hardest to remain within the Anglican church but was eventually forced to form his own denomination – the Methodists. Over many years, rapport has been gradually rebuilt as it has been realized that all groups have broadly the same aims, each group helps a different section of people best, and the differences provide stimulation for growth and reform.

    I appreciate you regarding publication and peer review as the proper outlet wherever possible; but times are changing. When I first found your blog I didn’t understand a word and was still an entrenched AGW activist. Only gradually did I realize that this blog held a unique scientific contribution that was, is, and could be in the future, very precious to the integrity of Science, and not just Climate Science.

    A lot can be forgiven so long as there is a striving for integrity. And to date, I see that here, no matter that the actual opinions are very diverse.

  27. ianl
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre

    Thank you for allowing this to be pursued.

    I’m aware, of course, you do not like comments on “policy”, as this only invites abuse in reply, and detracts from the real value on your website.

    However, you can now appreciate the point of my earlier post, I think. In my view, there is almost no hope in progressing this further. It will remain as it is.

  28. EJ
    Posted Jul 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised. Another one bites the dirty dust of non-disclosure. They don’t even claim that the check’s in the mail! And yet they still practice science. These scientists should be scorned and heretofor ignored.

    The American Physical Society reversed themselves today regarding AGW. How refreshing.

    Who is supposed to be paying attention to all this, the Hollow Men?

    Thank You Mr. McIntyre.

  29. Jon
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    I disagree with organizations or individuals recklessly making untrue statements. When they do so in circumstances where the lack of truthfulness can be easily checked, there;s an element of pointlessness added to it. Perhaps you have a different attitude. I hope not.

    You’ve gone out of your way, once again, to attack people that are not involved with the ostensible complaint. And you wonder why no one believes that you are capable of neutrality?

    Steve: Hollow Men didn’t like CSIRO use of IPR as a stonewalling excuse being compared to Phi Jones’ use of IPR as stonewalling excuse. My answer was: if they don’t want to be compared, then don’t use the excuse.

    Same with making untrue statements that are made pointlessly in the sense that their untruthfulness can be easily demonstrated. If they don’t want to be compared to Michael Mann, then don’t do it.

    Here I particularly had in mind my first astonishing experience with tall tales from the Team. As you may recall, in 2003, I originally asked Mann for the location of the data used in MBH98. He said that he had “forgotten” but that Rutherford would locate it for me. Rutherford said that it wasn’t in any one place and would get it together for me -which, as I’ve noted on many occasions, astonished me to say the least. He then directed me to a URL at the University of Virginia. Subsequently, after noticing problems with the data set, I asked Mann to confirm that this was indeed the data set actually used in MBH98. He said that he was too busy to answer any more questions and that no one else had any problems, citing Zorita. After MM03 was published, Mann said that this was unfortunately the “wrong” data set, that I had asked for the data to be presented to me in an Excel spreadsheet and that errors had been introduced at that stage and that I should have checked with them. I promptly posted up our email correspondence showing that we had never asked for an Excel spreadsheet – indeed, fresh handling of the data is completely contrary to what I wanted or requested. The untruthfulness of his reply seemed pointless to me in that it was readily refuted. Looking back, Mann’s false statements were accepted within his community and probably CSIRO’s will be as well. (Little in Mann’s answer was true as the data set to which I was directed had been dated well before my inquiry. Here you’ll have to rely on my say-so as Mann deleted the data set in controversy and a duplicate set of books suddenly materialized.)

    In my opinion, as noted above, both incidents involve making untrue statements that can be easily verified as being untrue and are related as are the IPR stonewalling excuses. If CSIRO doesn’t want to be compared, then don’t do it.

    Well, both are untruthful claims that are pointless in the sense that they are readily refuted. So yes, I think that they are connected, jus

  30. RomanM
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    #28 EJ

    The American Physical Society reversed themselves today regarding AGW. How refreshing.

    Not so fast. A visit to http://www.aps.org/ reveals the following:

    The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

    An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.” This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

    It seems that this was a rogue opinion which has now been dealt with. The consensus holds firm…

  31. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    #29,

    You’ve gone out of your way, once again, to attack people that are not involved with the ostensible complaint. And you wonder why no one believes that you are capable of neutrality?

    To my knowledge, and I read almost everything on this website, Steve Mc has never wondered why no one believes he’s not capable of neutrality, at least not on this blog. In fact, I’d say that 99.9% of the visitors to this blog believe Steve is much more neutral than most of the posters here. It’s only a few bad apples, like yourself, that wish to believe that. My advice to you is to stop projecting your shortcomings onto others.

    Steve: That’s a good comment. It’s definitely not a question that I’ve ever raised at the blog nor is it one that I’ve actually “wondered” about nor been troubled by. There are some things that I’m neutral about, but there are many things that I’m not neutral about. I’m not “neutral” about data archiving, due diligence or proper disclosure. I am in favor of all these things. I’m not neutral about mendacious and evasive answers from government organizations. I particularly dislike these things. But Jon and others shouldn’t extrapolate that into assuming that these morph into grudges that consume every fibre of my being. One of the nice things about the blog is that I have my say and get on with things. If the same things recurs, as they do, I have my say again and get with things again. If they change their policies, I’ll be happy. Once it’s off my chest, I’ve done what I can do and certainly don’t harbour any grudges on my part, though sometimes the other parties resent being brought into the sunshine. That’s too bad.

  32. Jon
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Same with making untrue statements that are made pointlessly in the sense that their untruthfulness can be easily demonstrated.

    Like equating publishing scientists with organized criminals and street magicians?

    Steve: Oh puh-leeze you’re getting feverishly excited. I took issue with statements of fact that could be readily checked. CSIRO wrote to an Australian saying that they responded to me directly. including at Climate Audit. They didn’t. Mann said that I asked for an Excel spread sheer; I hadn’t. Both matters of fact. I have never “equated” publishing scientists with organized crime. Even at Tamino’s, while they do not like the way that I portray facts and events, they recognize that I do not personally make accusations of fraud. I have established blog rules forbidding readers from using such language and have deleted a number of reader posts that break this rule. There are not many occasions where people look at lists of 30 people at a meeting to decode who’s new, who’s in and who’s out. Two prominent examples of such analysis were the analysis of new Politburo photos in the 1950s – you’re probably too young to remember this and I was young then, but people really didn’t know much about what was happening in Russia and so every photo would be dissected to see who was in it. That’s what I was doing with the Jones 29. Another example was seeing who went to the famous Allentown or Scranton syndicate meeting in 1959 or so. Those were examples of that sort of analysis. So far you haven’t provided any more pertinent illustrations. I’d be interested in any better comparisons which illustrated the activity, but these were ones that came to mind. But note that I was commenting on my parsing of the lists.

    That parsing did not “equate” the two. Implying that it does is characteristic of the sloppy thinking that permeates this field. Instead of quoting what I say, you say that I said something that I did not say and certainly do not think.

  33. Jon
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Oh puh-leeze you’re getting feverishly excited.

    That’s rather amusing, as you seem to be the one devoting paragraphs of over-explanation (are you trying to persuade me, or yourself?) to one sentence comments.

    Steve: well, you’re making untrue statements about me on my blog. That’s what I’m responding to. If you would stop transforming what I did say into something that I didn’t say, then I’d save some time. And you asked for some context for why I mentioned the Team in connection with making untrue statements so I gave you one.

  34. Real Richard Sharpe
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    Jon says:

    Like equating publishing scientists with organized criminals and street magicians?

    Or perhaps equating skeptics with holocaust deniers and insisting that oil industry execs should be charged with crimes against humanity …

    I wonder who is going over the top here.

  35. Pat Keating
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    30 Roman

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

    The position of the APS is quite a lot milder than you would have us believe. If you read it carefully, it says nothing that 90% of the participants in this blog don’t believe. The big question and debate is over how much — is it a very minor effect or a major issue?

  36. Pat Keating
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    31 Steve

    though sometimes the other parties resent being brought into the sunshine.

    I think you understate the situation. Mann’s reputation is ruined — I think he must feel a lot more than resentment.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    #36. I don’t think that you’re correct. He got a tenured position at Penn State subsequent to our criticisms. He’s a prominent member of the climate science community. He’s doing fine.

  38. dearieme
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    I’ve worked in Australia. CSIRO used to have a well-deserved, very high reputation. It seems that “Climate Science” pollutes much that it touches.

  39. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    It looks like we have a troll here. In other words if you cannot deal with science directly, do not bother with twisting statements. Zamboni time.

  40. Jon
    Posted Jul 19, 2008 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    snip

    Steve- I asked you to quote me directly if you were going to criticize things that I supposedly said. In the material snipped, you fabricated quotations, which you then proceeded to criticize. I very seldom snip comments critical of me, but I’m not going to permit you to submit these fabrications here,

  41. D. Patterson
    Posted Jul 20, 2008 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

    43 Jon says:

    July 20th, 2008 at 12:08 am
    And remember kids, #42 and the link are credible. Lonnie Thompson, Michael Mann, James Hansen, et al. are not.

    It’s a big looking glass, but quite easy to fall through.

    While you are fantasizing, Jon, you may wish to tell us exactly which datasets for ice cores, tree rings, or other which the author refused to disclose to the public in the same manner as the refusals by Lonnie Thompson, Michael Mann, James Hansen?

  42. Posted Jul 20, 2008 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

    Re #43

    Jon, it is proven that some of the authors of very influencial articles in the scientific literature have stonewalled the access to the underlying data and methods. That is something that should ring the alarmbells for everyone who is interested in science. If there is nothing to hide, why should one refuse to do give the data and methods used?

    That has nothing to do with SteveM’s personal feelings against those people or your non-quote of what SteveM’s said….

    Further about the link in #42, the article that Lord Monckton wrote for the Forum of Physics and Society, may be controversial, but the warning that someone put in the header is a clear lie: The article was peer reviewed and Lord Monckton reacted on this:

    This seems discourteous. I had been invited to submit the paper; I had submitted it; an eminent Professor of Physics had then scientifically reviewed it in meticulous detail; I had revised it at all points requested, and in the manner requested; the editors had accepted and published the reviewed and revised draft (some 3000 words longer than the original) and I had expended considerable labor, without having been offered or having requested any honorarium.

    and

    If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

    So who is credible here?

  43. TonyA
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    It appears the CSIRO has now responded–not to David Stockwell mind you, but to Andrew Bolt (of Australia’s widest read political blog) who has also been on the case.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/when_wont_the_csiro_come_clean_on_its_scare_report/

    “UPDATE: The CSIRO has rung to say it will now release the data on its website in a couple of days.”

  44. ianl
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    TonyA:

    Now I believe in magic !! Maybe …

    The truth will be in the detail, of course.

  45. trevor
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    There is actually a post from CSIRO on Andrew Bolt’s blog in the thread referred to in #43:

    The data was compiled with the Bureau of Meteorology and the Bureau of Rural Sciences. As such it was not the CSIRO alone which could release the data.
    Following a request by CSIRO to have the data released, the data will be published on the BoM website within the next couple of days.

    Huw Morgan
    Manager, CSIRO Media Liaison.

    Huw Morgan of Canberra

  46. Ian Castles
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Why does CSIRO make things so difficult for itself?

    Kevin Hennessy signed his helpful response to David Stockwell’s initial request as ‘Principal Research Scientist, Climate Change Research Group, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, A partnership between CSIRO (Marine and Atmospheric Research) and the Bureau of Meteorology.’

    Then, in response to David’s follow-up questions, Hennessy said that ‘I’m not able to hand over the data from the 13 models, due to restrictions on Intellectual Property.’

    Soon afterwards the Information Officer, CSIRO Enquiries stated in response to another inquirer that ‘The appropriate CSIRO climate scientists and Communications Team have responded to Stephen McIntyre and David Stockwell directly’ even though, as McIntyre pointed out on Climate Audit, he had neither made any inquiry nor received any response. The Information Officer also said that ‘CSIRO scientists welcome open and serious debate,‘CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists’, etc. He referred the inquirer to an article by a senior CSIRO scientist and to other information about CSIRO’s research that was available on its website. This letter did not mention the Bureau of Meteorology or any organisation other than CSIRO.

    Finally, Andrew Bolt announced on his blog that CSIRO had phoned to say that the data would be published on its website within a couple of days. As noted above (#45) the Manager, CSIRO Media Liaison also advised Bolt that ‘The data was compiled with the Bureau of Meteorology and the Bureau of Rural Sciences’ and that ‘As such it was not the CSIRO alone which could release the data.’ However, ‘Following a request by CSIRO to have the data released’ (apparently the ‘restrictions due to Intellectual Property’ had now evaporated), ‘the data will be published on the BoM website within the next couple of days.’

    In the meantime, CSIRO’s earlier refusal to provide the information that should have been made available in the first place had been the subject of literally hundreds of critical comments on this and other websites.

  47. Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    It’s not uncommon to publish papers on data which has been made available but which you don’t have rights to, usually this is indicated as a footnote, for example:

    “Finally the BLS Cereal data were provided as part of a Senior Faculty Fellowship project I carried out at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are also proprietary.”

  48. jeez
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Especially in situations where “data” is the plural of anecdote.

  49. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    re 47. Quite right. and some of us will WITHHOLD our consent to papers that do not
    have data transparency.

    I have no issue with men, desperate to publish, who use any means at hand to get words
    onto paper. However, If your data is not freely available, if your code or method is not
    freely available, then I am not compelled to believe a single word you say. And, I am not
    being anti-scientific, when I make this demand. Free your data, free your code.

  50. Ian Castles
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    In this case it is difficult to see what the ‘restrictions on Intellectual Property’ could have been. The CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Bureau of Rural Sciences are all agencies of the Australian Government (though each falls within a different Department of State and is responsible to a different Minister).

  51. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Another Australian Office questioned, This time in “The Australian” newspaper,
    by an ex-consultant of the Australian Greenhouse Office.

    Opening para:

    David Evans | July 18, 2008
    I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

    Closing para:

    The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.
    Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.

    Article, interesting reading – http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html

  52. Posted Jul 21, 2008 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #49

    Well in this case the source of the data was made clear so anyone interested would be able to try to obtain the data.
    Statisticians who wish to publish are I suppose need sources of data and perhaps have to make the compromises you describe.
    I presume that’s why Wegman made his plea for involving statisticians in the studies, as you see above he had to make the compromise you deprecate.

  53. RomanM
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    #52 Phil.

    You clearly don’t understand the nature of statistical publications. Statisticians who wish to publish (as statisticians) do NOT need sources of data and will only consider specific data sets if those sets offer inherent methodological problems. In those rare cases, the focus is always on the methodology and not the specific results contained in the data. Wegman made his plea for including statisticians (as statistical consultants) as an integral part of research teams to ensure that the teams use appropriate statistical methods properly in the analysis of the data. Their presence would minimize the misuse of procedures due to a lack of knowledge of the conditions necessary for their application or the use of invented procedures (whose use is not justified on any theoretical basis and whose effects are not understood by their inventors, e.g. Mann PCs which are not PCs).

  54. Paul Foote
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    In the article linked to by TonyA #43, I found the following comment by Bill O Tas that may explain some of the CSIRO’s reluctance to open access to its data. (I won’t believe it is the actual data until what they release , if they do, has been audited and verified. – There is no reason to trust these organizations, their people and anything they say.) That said, here is the post:

    Bill O Tas replied to elsie
    Mon 21 Jul 08 (12:20pm)

    Elsie, governments of all kinds have demanded the CSIRO partly supports itself by selling its research. It can’t sell it if it gives it away to taxpayers for free. The result is government can control the release of results but we can’t know how the results were arrived at without damaging CSIRO’s ability to make a buck from its work. ‘National Security’ is the traditional way to hide government action. “Commercial In Confidence” has become even better. The more government gets into commerce, the more it can hide from us.

  55. Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Re #54

    You clearly don’t understand the nature of statistical publications. Statisticians who wish to publish (as statisticians) do NOT need sources of data and will only consider specific data sets if those sets offer inherent methodological problems. In those rare cases, the focus is always on the methodology and not the specific results contained in the data.

    So how could one replicate or audit Wegman’s data mining methodologies not having access to the dataset he worked with?

  56. RomanM
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    #56 Phil.

    I don’t see how this question relates to my comment. Statistical methodologies are audited by looking at the math. If it’s correct, fine. If not, it isn’t. I must be missing something here…

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