During the 12-hour interval that Steig deigned to permit comments on his “Tutorial” about principal components, he made the following backhanded criticism of blogger communications with him:
[Response: Ryan: Unlike most of your fellow bloggers, you have been very gracious in your communications with me. They could learn something from you.
I don't know how many bloggers Steig was in communications with, but I was one of them and I regard my communications with Steig as being entirely proper. Given that Steig has tarred a number of people with the above accusation, it would be nice if he acknowledged that my communications, like Ryan's, were courteous. Below I reproduce my correspondence with Steig to demonstrate this:
On Jan 23, 2009, I emailed Steig as follows:
Dear Dr Steig,
In your article you refer to the development of "50-year-long, spatially complete estimate of monthly Antarctic temperature anomalies." Could I please have a digital copy of this data. Also I presume that this output was derived from corresponding monthly gridded versions of T_IR and T_B and I would appreciate a copy of these (or equivalent) input data as well. Regards. Steve McIntyre
Steig promptly replied the same day as follows:
I have always intended to provide all the material on line; I wasn't allowed to do this before the paper was published. I would have done it already but have been busy answering emails. I should have these up on line next week.
To which I responded:
"all the material" - It would also be an excellent idea to put your source code up. Using statistical techniques that are not well understood to derive newsy applied results is a bit risky and you should err on the side of caution in making your code available to independent analysis.
It would also serve to defuse people who are instantly suspicious of Mann's RegEM. This is an application where it seems much more plausible to me than where it's used to justify bristlecones. I've noted this at my blog as a caveat to instantly suspicious readers.
Regards, Steve McIntyre
A couple of days later, Steig broke off communications with the following comment at CA:
If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be delighted to discuss it, provided it is through the venue of the peer-reviewed literature. I will not further respond to queries from Steve McIntyre by email, nor via this blog. I have always given you the benefit of the doubt, but your thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud (by association!) have crossed an important ethical line. Shame on you.
Over at RC on Feb 3, he posted the following "gracious" comment", along with other comments evidencing similar "graciousness":
To continue with the analogy with financial auditing, let me very clear on what I mean by legitimate: In the business world, auditors 1) don't publicly accuse a company of withholding data prior to requesting said data; 2) are not self-appointed; 3) have to demonstrate integrity and competence; 4) are regulated. On this point, if you are suggesting that Steve McIntyre be regulated by an oversight committee, and have his auditor's license revoked when he breaks ethical rules, then we may have something we can agree on.–eric]
I don’t know how many “bloggers” were in email correspondence with Steig, but I certainly do not think that there is anything inappropriate in the language of my email correspondence with Steig.
It’s interesting to read Steig’s peroration to the commentary on his paper on Jan 27 when the ink was barely dry on the paper, data was still unavailable (the AVHRR data only became available in late March and the Comiso data is still unavailable):
All in all, the critical commentary about this paper has been remarkably weak….The poor level of their response is not surprising, but it does exemplify the tactics of the whole ‘bury ones head in the sand” movement – they’d much rather make noise than actually work out what is happening. It would be nice if this demonstration of intellectual bankruptcy got some media attention itself.
I’m not sure how Steig expected people to be able to “work out” his methodology within a few days of publication without data then being available, without any available of source code or a comprehensive and detailed methodological description.