A Two-Way Street

Reader Jan at Lucia’s makes the following sensible comment – one that has particular irony given Gavin Schmidt’s umbrage against Fred Pearce the day after Steig’s Feb 1 post that precipitated the present controversy:

Jan writes (Comment#69196) February 11th, 2011 at 2:47 pm :

I might suggest another mistake. It appeared that after the release of O10, there was some burgeoning respect and trust for each other on the part of the antagonists. I therefore think it was a mistake of Dr. Steig to endanger that fragile state of trust and respect by posting his rebuttal to O10 without giving Ryan O’Donnell, et al a head’s up and perhaps a chance to respond privately before posting it to the world.

Had he done so, Ryan would have, at least, had the opportunity to challenge the apparent hypocrisy of recommending one method during review and then proposing to criticize that method in a public blog post where nobody but those involved could have been aware of what had actually unfolded during the review process. After all, Dr. Steig had been given that ‘head’s up’ opportunity, although initially anonymously, with respect to the published paper. He was well aware that he was no longer anonymous to Ryan and as he himself had blown his cover. While I gather Dr. Steig felt that a lack of anonymity opened up the potential for some abuse, abuse, especially of trust, is a two way street.

I think giving Ryan an opportunity to comment privately in advance on his post would have been, by far, the fairest and most ethical way of handling the situation. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

In the week preceding Ryan’s angry post, the Team boycotted the Lisbon reconciliation workshop in order to perpetuate its fatwa against critics. Gavin Schmidt’s excuse for maintaining the fatwa was widely discussed last week. On Feb 2, Gavin widely broadcast his umbrage ( e.g. here) at Fred Pearce’s characterization of his refusal to attend the Lisbon reconciliation workshop as because the “science was settled”. Ironically, this is the precise terminology used by EPA in their Statement of Litigation (but that’s another story), when Gavin’s precise words were that the science issues presented by the organizers in their proposal (including climate sensitivity) were not “‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”. To many readers, this was a distinction without a difference, but, for whatever reason, it was important to Gavinm, who complained bitterly:

Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

Gavin’s Complaint was echoed by Joe Romm, William Connolley and others, all of whom called for Pearce’s head for not contacting Gavin.

Now think about a two-way street. In the days following Steig’s Feb 1, did Gavin or anyone else ask Steig whether he had contacted Ryan to clear up potential misunderstandings? Didn’t think so.


93 Comments

  1. sharper00
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    How is this a two-way street?

    Situation #1: Pearce attributed a statement to Schmidt as if he said it thus readers of the article were under the impression Schmidt said “the science is settled”. Publishing such an interpretation of someone’s words without checking it’s what they meant is clearly unprofessional and sloppy.

    Situation #2: Steig published what he perceived to be flaws in the O’Donnell paper. He didn’t publish his interpretation of the O’Donnell paper as if it was its contents. Furthermore he did so on a blog in an environment where the authors have equal right of reply via their own blogs at any time. Would it be nice to have contacted the authors of the paper so they could prepare a response? Perhaps but then it appears to not have occurred to many and is only being highlighted as an option now, it likely didn’t occur to Steig either but who knows.

    Speaking of two-way streets: Is it simultaneously a “conflict of interest” for Steig to review the O’Donnell critique but also inappropriate for him to not let O’Donnell review his critique?

    “In the week preceding Ryan’s angry post, the Team boycotted the Lisbon reconciliation workshop in order to perpetuate its fatwa against critics. Gavin Schmidt’s excuse for maintaining the fatwa was widely discussed last week. “

    There’s basically no way to have this statement make any kind of sense. It looks like you wanted a word that suggested “Religious and militant” so you went with “fatwa” because it suited the tone, not caring it made no sense in either a literal or metaphorical context.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It is precisely because of the militantly dogmatic manner, which is embodied by Team members, that the word “fatwa” is an absolutely ideal word. It makes perfect sense.

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Simon Hopkinson (Feb 11 17:30),
        No, it’s bizarre. How can Gavin deciding that he doesn’t want to spend a week going to a meeting in Europe which seems pointless to him constitute a fatwa, in any sense? Anthony Watts made the same decision – was that a fatwa?

        • Tom Gray
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

          They did not make the same decision. Watts could not attend because of pressing business duties. Schmidt had objections to the conference program. These decisions are not comparable let alone the same.

        • JohnH
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

          If Watts made the same decision for the same reason as Gavin why did he give extensive coverage with several articles on his blog.

        • Stephen Parrish
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

          Mr. Watts had a very important prior engagement. If I recall, he and his son crafted a pikachu pinewood derby car for competition in Cub Scouts. This is the penultimate Father/Son affair in American Cub Scouts. I would move heaven and earth to not miss it as well.

        • TimG
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          I really don’t understand the logic here.
          Would it have been acceptable if Gavin said he would not go cause it is ‘not a priority’ for him?
          Why does Gavin offering some half-baked excuse change anything?

          Basically, Gavin did not think it was worth his time. Same for Watts. The excuses offered are meaningless. Both are entitled to spend their time in the manner they see fit and should not see the need to justify it to anyone other than their family or employers.

        • BillyBob
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

          He said: “My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate.”

          That’s political.

          A fatwa is quite accurate.

    • bernie
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steig’s assumption that his review should not be public makes no sense – asking Ryan to keep his role in the review process anonymous is really cheeky. Ryan should not have agreed to such a request. I am sure Steve McIntyre would have been indignant at such a brazen request. I have no problem with Steig reviewing the paper but it is mind boggling that he simply didn’t ask for a chance to respond to the paper at the time of publication. Instead he made repeated efforts to adjust the focus so as the paper might appear less critical of his original work. If he had drafted a response to the article in JoC the editor would certainly have sent a copy to RyanO for his response prior to any publication. So, in my opinion, letting RyanO know that he was in essence writing a rebuttal at RC makes perfect sense.

      As to your question “Is it simultaneously a “conflict of interest” for Steig to review the O’Donnell critique but also inappropriate for him to not let O’Donnell review his critique?” You need to ask it differently because I do not understand the question. If you are suggesting that O’Donnell should have sent Steig his post before he went public with it – I think it would have been wiser to have done so. This in itself would have probably resulted in some more temperate language. But then I do not know what posts were attempted by other OD10 authors prior to RyanO’s response.

      • sharper00
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “You need to ask it differently because I do not understand the question. “

        Steig and the journal are being criticised for reviewing the O’Donnell paper which is a critique of Steig’s.

        Steig is also (now) being criticised for not giving O’Donnell the opportunity to review Steig’s critique of the O’Donnell paper.

        You can’t simultaneously criticise Steig for both. They are different actions in different domains but I think it’s fair to say that publishing a blog post is one where the onus on providing others of advance notice and a right to reply is significantly diminished.

        “If you are suggesting that O’Donnell should have sent Steig his post before he went public with it – I think it would have been wiser to have done so.”

        What I think would be wise for everyone is to work closely on figuring on what the hell is actually happening in the Antarctic. Clearly the trust between everyone has been shattered and this likely won’t happen.

        • bernie
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          One of the things I am critical of Steig for is reviewing a paper critical of his own work while retaining a cloak of anonymity. Nothing good and plenty bad can come from such a behavior. The role,actual behavior and intentions of the journal editor are unclear and I accept RyanO’s view that the editor should be seen as doing a good job under difficult circumstances. That some see a problem with asking an author to review a paper that is critical of the author’s earlier work is unrealistic. That a journal should in anyway allow that reviewer to be an arbiter of whether or not the article should be published is another matter entirely – but since the article was published this seems to be moot with respect to the actions and decisions of the editor.

          I still do not see how the two actions you describe are of necessity contradictory particularly if the primary issue is anonymity.

        • Derek H
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          I’m not criticizing Steig for providing comments on a paper criticizing his own paper — or the editor for asking Steig to do so. Both seem entirely reasonable.

          On the other hand, Steig criticizing a method that he himself suggested in his reviews — then denying that he had suggested that technique and suggesting that OMCL used it to hide bad statistics — is highly questionable. The fact that they were considering the technique anyway is beside the point — Steig himself appears to have suggested and endorsed its use then he tries to criticize its use and claim he thought it was faulty.

          Lost in all this is the fundamental point that S(09) was badly flawed and appears to only have been accepted because it helped make a PR point desired by AGW proponents.

          I care less about whether Steig should have been a reviewer than about the fact that his “science” (which got so much press because of the “shocking” picture he created) was bad, wrong, fundamentally flawed, etc.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

          Interestingly in 2007, the team were discussing in their delicate way, that the science was only un-settled in the area of sea level rise “In this one respect (sea level rise) I agree with today’s Journal editorial that the science is not yet settled.” said Curt Covey (who was promptly set upon for not making the case for warming strongly enough in other areas). So presumably the science was largely settled and beyond debate in 2007. What happened subsequently?
          http://eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=776&filename=1170724434.txt

    • Alex
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The summary of Gavin’s reply is pretty damn spot on in my book. You can hardly get any closer to saying the science is settled.

      • sharper00
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “The summary of Gavin’s reply is pretty damn spot on in my book. “

        Not in Gavin Schmidt’s book and he’s the one the statement was attributed to.

        “You can hardly get any closer to saying the science is settled.”

        You could, for example, say “The science is settled” or “Settled, the science is”.

        More seriously you’re assuming you and Gavin Schmidt have the same understanding of what it means for a scientific matter to be “settled”. It’s quite clear that you do not and that it’s therefore not appropriate for you to project your understanding onto his statements.

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

          Good – as the cartoon Gavin once said – I’m glad that is settled…Or..”When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

        • Ron Durda
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

          sharper00,
          you write above “…that it’s therefore not appropriate for you to project your understanding onto his [Gavin’s] statements”.

          The simple answer is, “Waddya mean is not appropriate!!!”. The long version is that with all due respect you appear here to be not thinking deeply enough about the fundamentals of effective communication. Those who do it successfully–those who can get others to agree and/or act in ways they want them to–all know that you begin with two fundamentals, (a) WHAT exactly you want to get across, and (b) WHO you are talking to. This is so basic (but not always automatic) that we all sometimes fail to think about it enough, if at all, before we speak out. Gavin’s confusing aggressive explanation may be because he was flustered about being publicly outed and thus (a) became deeply out of tune with how to express what he himself really wanted to say, or (b) he utterly failed to consider who he was attempting to persuade. On the other hand maybe Gavin just calculated that this was a great opportunity to get in a cheap shot. Regardless, the onus in something like this is on Gavin-the-message-maker to anticipate what the message receivers make of the message itself.

          In any event sharper00, it’s for you to decide what you want to say, but keep in mind most here understand that saying “3+1” or “2+2” is equivalent to saying“4”.
          Ron

        • Ron Durda
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

          Re above reply:

          Sorry, proof reader on holidays. First line, second paragraph, should say, “Wadayya mean it’s not appropriate!!!”
          Ron

        • Menth
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

          The way I’ve seen it is that Gavin takes offense to having been falsely quoted as saying “the science is settled” which is something he explicitly does not believe. What I surmise he and many others believe is that “the science is NOT settled because it could be much worse than thought but not better”. Climate sensitivity is either high or VERY high. Sea level will either rise significantly but perhaps also an extreme amount. Let’s not be too certain about things, that would be unscientific.

        • Sam the Skeptic
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

          I’m only an illiterate peasant who has made his living using the English language to get across simple concepts to other illiterate peasants.
          I’m not coming because the “science issues presented by the organizers in their proposal (including climate sensitivity) were not ‘”conflicts”’ in any real sense within the scientific community” is about as close as you’ll get to saying “there is nothing scientific for us to debate”.
          Since the comments I’ve seen also refer to the MWP and climate sensitivity (not sure where the ice comes in) and the Lisbon conference, as I understand it, was set up to try to get some agreement about dealing amicably with these still contentious points, it seems to me that the science is far from settled but since Gavin is not coming because there is no “conflict” in the science community this can only be because the science (as far as these matters go and as far as he is concerned) is settled.
          On the other hand, you NEVER put words into anyone’s mouth without making sure they agree with them. Pretty close to Rule 1 in the Journos’ Handbook (or was in my day).

    • DEEBEE
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Situation #1: Pearce attributed a statement to Schmidt as if he said it thus readers of the article were under the impression Schmidt said “the science is settled”. Publishing such an interpretation of someone’s words without checking it’s what they meant is clearly unprofessional and sloppy.

      ================================
      OK other than repeat Gavin’s remarks verbatim and state “He said what he said”. It would be interesting to know what you think he said? Then one can see whether Fred was too far afield.

  2. Mike Mangan
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You had me at fatwa. Well said.

  3. Jay Cadbury
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Frankly, this entire conundrum has made everyone stupider. 0 Points are to be awarded to everyone. Here is what Gavin said:

    “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

    Okay, so the causes of conflict in climate change are not ice, the MWP or climate sensitivity. So which is it? Either he means these topics are too hot to debate or he means there is no controversy. Tamino and realclimate just work together. Then, they act as if Fred Pearce made up a horrible lie or something.

    Here is what I say, these realclimate guys and their cohorts are nothing but cowards. All I see is a lot of talk and no action. I guess it is pretty humiliating when Steve McIntyre, who isn’t even a climate scientist can catch your mistakes. Steve, correct me if I am wrong but you can use any numbers in Michael Mann’s MWP construction and get the same graph line? What a shameful idiot. And shame on all the other scientists who support them. If I was president I would see to it that any of them on the government payroll be fired immediately. Then, I would reinstate William Happer and give him a good 2 hours to explain to everyone how Al Gore fired him to begin the global warming hoax.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

      Really? Because I thought that that’s PRECISELY why Climate Audit, WUWT and many of the other skeptical leaning sites exist??? Does that not seem like Gavin is once again saying, intending to say “the science is settled”?

      • DEEBEE
        Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

        If you take Gavin’s statement at face value, then the difference of opinion on the scientific issues is driven by politics. If Gavin really believes that then his own views on the scientific issues also must be political. That is either brutally honest and indicates we scientifically know nothing about these issues or Gavin is not including himself (and other consensus people) and others are playing politics with their scientific disagreements. All of this feels like biting into a diet rice-cake.
        IMO either Gavin is clueless (NOT) or he is a masterful Machiavelli at crafting vague statements (possible – he is smart) or has a cadre of people around him crafting vague statements, because they know that the vagueness would require paraphrasing to convey any meaning and thus will allow the “team groupies” to chime in with juvenile “It is, it is not” debate.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

          Re: DEEBEE (Feb 12 09:10),
          Well, actually, Gavin thought he was writing a private email in response to the organiser, not crafting something for the bloggers.

        • jknapp
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

          So Fred Pearce can’t paraphrase what Gavin said but you can tell us what Gavin thought?

        • DEEBEE
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

          Nick I am disappointed

  4. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A couple of points. It never hurts to have a quick, private conversation before going public. Second, O’Donnell et al won on the science and Steig’s responses to date have all pretty much conceded that, albeit with lots of distracting hand waving and self pity.

    Finally, it is quite apparent that the “Team’s” communications approach – Deny, Delay, Delete – is no longer working. In itself, that is a significant step forward. More civil people, such as those gathered in Lisbon, are getting on with the close examination of the science and data; the Team is fading as fast as a temperature signal in a bristlecone core.

    • John Carpenter
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      This is an important point. Those concerned with the science, rather than their pride, will bring more diversified views into the fold. The relevance of the arguments made by skeptical scientists can not be ignored indefinitely.

      After years and years of the team making the rules, you can hardly expect any team member to cross the aisle and begin a dialogue with those they have tried to sideline. Unfortunately for them, science will not permit this over the long term. As nature yields to no opinion, the rest of the scientific community will find them less and less credible and in effect they will sideline themselves.

  5. Salamano
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    What about Eric Steig’s comparison to himself not receiving the final response copy before print (as a reviewer of O10) to your upsetedness of the same with regard to a paper of which you were a reviewer?

    Are these situations nearly identical? Or did you have a separate conditional arrangement with the editor that you would review the paper if you also got to comment on the final copy before it hit the press? A condition that Steig himself could presumably have asked for, but did not..?

  6. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s only a one way street; this is a dirty war, no prisoners made. You by all means must know that. The more you get to the core the uglier it gets.

  7. timheyes
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Furthermore, there is some irony in the Steig/The Team critiquing O10 on a blog when they repeatedly grumble about blogs such as this critiqing papers rather than writing/publishing to/in the relevant journals.

    If Steig had problems with O10 shouldn’t he be writing to JoC?

    The more I hear about the(climatological) peer review process the more I feel that it is an anachronism in 2011.

  8. golf charley
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is all very well suggesting a common sense approach, but in climatology,

    a) the Team make the rules,

    b) the Team are entitled to bend or break the rules as suits them

    c) if in doubt about b), see a)

  9. suyts
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gavinm,/b>, who complained bitterly:”

    New way to reference the Gavster?

    • suyts
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      lol, well, it seems I inadvertently added to the problem. Trying again.

      “Gavinm,, who complained bitterly:”

      New way to reference the Gavman?

  10. pesadia
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I realise that this is a serious debate, but on a lighter note and with apologies to Isaac Asimov………

    1) A team member must not criticise a fellow team member or, though inaction, allow a fellow member to br criticised.
    2) A team member must persue the Fatwa. except where it would conflict with the first law.
    3) A team member must protect the team’s credibility as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law.

  11. suyts
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anyway, Steve, I’ve watched you from the moment I heard about a statistician making noise toward the “settled” science and the hockey stick. You’ve dealt with these people longer than most skeptics. You’ve had closer contact than most. From what I can glean, they’ve never been fair. They’ve never been upfront. They’ve always had a dirty trick to play. From the stonewalling to the character assassination, to the mischaracterization of views, to the out and out lying, they’ve never considered this a “two-way” street. We can all make assumptions as to the why, but it has always been this way.

    To the many lamenting the anger…..

    I don’t think it reasonable to expect anything different. Steven has set a standard in conduct as far as I’m concerned. But, “Ryan’s angry post” should have been angry. There should be more anger directed towards those people. I know many here won’t see it that way, and maybe, there should be some conciliatory voices out there. But, righteous indignation is a desirable trait and should be encouraged. It needs to be stated over and over again that the people will no longer tolerate this sort of behavior by people that consider themselves worthy of advising our policy makers and making a good living off of our dime. We expect better, we deserve better. They want to do that stuff, do on their own dime. I expect from our civil servants and educators a level of conduct superior than that of the general public. It certainly was expected of me when I served. What goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway just for clarity, if they can’t hold to a modicum of personal integrity, the veracity of their work must be in serious question. Honesty is a one-way street and it permeates throughout all of the works and deeds of the individual.

    • gober
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Agree. That (your 1st paragraph suyts) is, to me, one of the most important aspects of climategate.

      Pre-climategate, SM had been writing for years about how the climate establishment kept blocking his attempts to get data and to understand how they reached their numbers. Time after time the establishment (such as realclimate) told people that SM already had the data, that he was just pestering them, that they had already answered his questions, that of course nobody would ever suggest combining the instrumental record with proxies.

      It seemed to me that SM was more plausible – he seemed to be more consistent, and more willing to lay out an email trail backing up what he asked for, and all the ruses by which he was blocked. And RC seemed less plausible, because it seemed more willing to simply block/edit comments which got to the heart of the matter, so that RC’s readers didn’t actually realise what the other side was really saying. But it was still hard to be sure, because if the establishment was being as disingenuous as SM’s posts portrayed them to be, it was hard to believe that could keep getting away with it.

      So back to climategate… it showed that what SM had been saying was right, and that the establishment’s denials were disingenuous: that people really were blocking him and that, frankly, he was more honest than they were. You don’t need to be a climate scientist to recognise that.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

      @ suyts

      “Honesty is a one-way street and it permeates throughout all of the works and deeds of the individual.”

      Well said.
      “I don’t think it reasonable to expect anything different.”

      Anger is reasonable sometimes, isn’t it ?
      It would be UNreasonable to attempt to be ever more reasonable as the transgressions become more egregious.
      If a pickpocket bumps into you, it’s “reasonable” to apologize, but it’s of course unreasonable to stay apologetic as he reaches into your jacket.

      It can become unreasonable, to try to become more “reasonable” the more outrageous the actions of the opponent.

      Anger,in measure. seems correct.

      However, I am thinking that Steig’s poor behaviour was a ploy to get things back on “usual track”.

      The paper was looking so good…OK, then the thing to do is try to make the people look “not so good”.

  12. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Given that the ‘science’ is difficult to prove, the facts are not compliant, and the inherent risks of debate; the team must switch to brawling. (As any hockey team would). Hence a manufactured argument over Lisbon, converting the O’Donnell rout into a peer review debate, attacks on journalists, plagiarism accusations, etc. I’d anticipate that the brawling intensity and frequency will only increase, the alternative is admitting the truth.

  13. interested observer
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mr. McIntyre

    You’ve always had the knack for the right turn of phrase, but in five years following this blog I’ve never seen anything better than “fatwa”. Science and statistics aside, I have to congratulate you on that one.

  14. Harold Ambler
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not hard to contact? My own experience, with several unanswered phone calls and the following unanswered e-mails, must be unique, then:

    AUGUST 5, 2009

    Dear Gavin,

    I wanted to formally introduce myself to you. It goes without saying that we stand on opposite sides of an intellectual and ideological divide. However, I pray that if we ever formally debate, and I hope we do, we can do so as friendly adversaries.

    I plan to offer Nigel Calder the chance to respond to the Real Climate post Still Not Convincing on my own blog. Would it be possible to let me know who the author was?

    Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely yours,

    Harold Ambler

    http://www.talkingabouttheweather.com

    OCTOBER 5, 2009

    Dear Dr. Schmidt,

    My forthcoming book on climate explores your role at realclimate.org

    As soon as possible, would you be kind enough to offer comment regarding claims that you routinely delete dissenting comments on realclimate.org, that you do so during normal work hours on the East Coast, and that this, inevitably, distracts you from official GISS business?

    Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely yours,

    Harold Ambler

    DECEMBER 9, 2010

    Dear Dr. Schmidt,

    I am attempting to give NASA’s side of the UHI story in my forthcoming book, Don’t Sell Your Coat.

    Is there an across-the-board UHI adjustment applied prior to publication of GISTEMP each month? If so, what is that adjustment?

    Any and all elucidation on the subject of UHI would be appreciated!

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,

    Harold Ambler

    p.s. If you had five minutes to discuss this by phone, I would be extremely grateful.

    ————————————————————————————

    Perhaps he’ll answer now?

    • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 1:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Speaking of Gavin and street direction, I posted this at Lucia’s under her in moderation post. Gavin thought about four hours before posting my comment with an inline reply to my question.

      “captdallas2 (Comment#69237) February 11th, 2011 at 11:49 pm Edit Delete

      Forget Ethics They are Above the Law

      Surfacestations.org started by Anthony Watts is a copyrighted website used for a grass roots effort to evaluate the condition of weather stations in the United States. Mr. Watts, a semi-retired meteorologist, intended to publish the results of the grass roots survey to bring attention to common issues that may impact the quality of meteorological data used for every thing from daily weather reports to potentially determining the accuracy of the theory of global warming within the US.

      Before Mr. Watts could complete his survey, a group of climate scientists used his copyrighted data, without his expressed permission, to publish their own report.

      On the scientific website Realclimate.org there is currently a heated discussion ongoing about what would be considered ethical scientific behavior and proper scientific etiquette. One of those scientists, Gavin Schmidt, stated his unique perspective of ethics in response to my comments:

      #
      captdallas2 says:
      11 Feb 2011 at 3:47 PM

      118 Didactylos

      If I am not mistaken the Watts situation was that his surface station data was used by Menne et al. prior to Watts publishing his own report. It was his data that he had not completely reviewed so he had a legitimate right to review the paper whether or not he was qualified.

      Kinda surprising a moderator did let you know that.

      [Response: Nobody has a 'right' to review any paper. Editors choose reviewers as they see fit. I'm surprised no-one has pointed that out to you. - gavin]
      #
      122
      captdallas2 says:
      11 Feb 2011 at 4:38 PM

      [Response: Nobody has a 'right' to review any paper. Editors choose reviewers as they see fit. I'm surprised no-one has pointed that out to you. - gavin]

      Even if intellectual property is used without prior approval? That is why Watts asked to be allowed to review the paper. Perhaps he should have exercised other rights?

      [Response:No, he should have exercised some common sense. If you don't want people to use data, don't put it online. And as above, editors choose reviewers, reviewers do not choose themselves. - gavin]

      Obviously, my interpretation of ethics and fair play are misguided.”

      As a part time internet writer that has to adhere to copyright laws I found his attitude rather interesting.

      • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 1:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Before everyone jumps on me I said I was a part time internet writer not a “good” part time internet writer.

        • Tony Hansen
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

          ‘….If you don’t want people to use data, don’t put it online’.
          Also a good way to slow down replication and rebuttal.

      • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: captdallas2 (Feb 12 01:09),

        > Nobody has a ‘right’ to review any paper.

        Gavin is correct on this. The context of your comment was peer review, as part of the selection and editorial process at technical journals.

        Presumably in bringing up the Menne/Watts dispute, you meant that you believe it would have been proper for Menne to adhere to informally-accepted standards about how investigators should use unpublished data that has been collected by other investigators. That Menne should have consulted with Watts about this issue (‘reviewed’ his intentions with Watts).

        That is a separate matter.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          Not really. The photographs in the “data” have legitimate copyrights. Watts has copyright for the entire collection of photographs and rights to use the individual photographs. The photographers still have copyright for their individual photos.

          Since Menne et al violated copyright, Watts had a legitimate right to review the paper and actually could have rightfully claimed co-authorship if he wished. By generic journal rules and copyright law, Menne screwed up and added the requested attributions to Watts’ satisfaction. If they wished, each and every photographer could demand satisfaction as well, especially the photographer of the cover photograph which never was properly attributed.

          A little civility at least and apologies really, are due Watts and the photographs rather than insinuations that Watts was improper requesting a review of “His” copyright protected intellectual property that was illegally obtained.

          Someone’s grasp of ethics and legality is wanting. Perhaps it is me?

        • RickA
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

          captdallas2:

          Photographs do have copyright protection, as they are considered works of authorship.

          So you are correct, photographs are different than data or information.

          Sorry about that – I didn’t realize before that you were talking about photographs.

          However, even here, I wonder if there is a fair use defense.

          Fair use of a copyrighted work includes using it for research and scholarship.

          I do think it was rude to jump on the published data and photos and rush to put a paper out before Watts et al could finish the project and put their paper out – but I am not sure it rises to the level of copyright infringement.

          I guess I would leave it that the behavior was rude.

        • Ron Durda
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

          RickA
          My intent here is not to pontificate but instead to try to add a little more meat to the bones of this issue. One of the important elements of Fair Use relates to how much of the copyrighted work is reproduced. It’s very difficult (more likely impossible) to find hard specifications for this sort of issue in one place. However a quick search came up with something from the “U.S. Copyright Office · The Library of Congress · 101 Independence Avenue, SE · Washington, DC 20559-6000 · http://www.copyright.gov, circular 21 rev: 11 ⁄ 2009 print: 11 ⁄ 2009 – 6,000 Printed on recycled paper“.

          This circular 21, titled , “Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians”, contains on page 6 the following related to the Fair Use concept of “how much”.

          “Paragraph “ii” above notwithstanding such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than ten percent of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.”

          Please note, this was a skim search of a 24 page document that may have contained other information more specific to the discussion. However it does include a number (10%), and does seem to me consistent with the general guidelines used several years ago for journalism students in a Canadian school. Hope this is helpful.
          Ron

        • Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

          The individual Photographers should have tipped the team off. The “collection” would apply to fair use, if they were used as an example of the “collection”. So use of a few photos as examples of how the “Data” was collected with proper attribution to the “collection” would have been proper. Each photo they used should have included Watts, he held rights, and the original photographer, who holds the copyright. I use photos all the time and I have to first obtain rights then include the photographer even if I am the photographer. Just like if I published in a peer reviewed publication I would have to reference my own work if I used my previous work in my new paper.

          The next thing you have to consider is originality of the “data” as a concept. Was surfacestaions.org an original concept? While Gavin’s idiotic comment that Watts should have never put the “data” on the internet if he did not want it used, as in stolen, is why Watts published a detailed copyright on the site. Part of the originality of the concept was to use the “data” with copyright protection, collected online, before publication. Copyright protection is intended to keep ignorant idiots from stealing your concept. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft etc. are continually battling to enforce internet related copyrights. So while Watts may be satisfied, it is in the interest of internet publishers to have copyrights enforced.

          All “data” is not created equally. Depending on WUWT and surfacestations.org traffic, wordpress could take action if copyright violations threaten their profits. Since the Menne et al publication appears to have significantly reduced traffic to the surface stations site, there may be significant damages. Do not be surprised if the internet giants start dipping into their pockets to explain things a little more clearly.

          Since wordpress “recommended” that Watts add adsense to his blog, they recognized the profitability of his blog so wordpress may very well step up to defend “their” profits. When or if I have no idea, but the probability increases with WUWT’s popularity, ie profits.

          It is an interesting situation.

        • Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

          realclimate sent this to the borehole

          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-bore-hole/comment-page-4/#comment-200622

          So they get this

          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-bore-hole/comment-page-4/#comment-200622

          Let us see how strong the pen really is.

        • Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

          Er… (captdumbbutt says sheepishly)

          this
          http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7752098/can_the_united_states_government_steal.html?cat=17

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Gavin says

        > Nobody has a ‘right’ to review any paper

        Anybody can review any paper and that is what they do when they read journals or conference proceedings. Anybody can form an opinion of the quality of the work of any researcher, any group or any community. I know that I have done this in considering the work of a community that I thought was belabouring a solved problem in order to promote their favored techniques.

        This was an insular community which rejected new ideas from the outside because they showed that their favored technique had great difficulties and that these difficulties persisted even after years of research. I do not have to tell the readers of this blog that this community was not alone in being insular and rejecting unfavourable reviews from the outside.

        As one would expect this community is just fading away because it refused to accept outside suggestions and change.

  15. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,
    You discuss a lot of people’s work on your blog, often in uncomplimentary terms. How often do you discuss your post with them beforehand?

    • S. Geiger
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

      At least at this blog contrary views can be heard. That point alone has always meant so much for the credibility of the author, IMO.

    • pete m
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve usually identifies his emails to them for data / explanation. Then how they didn’t respond / ignored him.

      After being ignored for 3 years he tends to not bother contacting them and conduct it himself via other sources.

      Given the hatred with which The Team have dealt with him, it is a little rich you now suggesting he answer your question.

    • glacierman
      Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Nick Stokes (Feb 11 23:43),

      You mean like when he tried to correspond with Caspar Ammann?

      “why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time? ” – http://climateaudit.org/2008/08/06/well-well-look-what-the-cat-dragged-in/

      Or Jones?
      “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. …”
      Cheers Phil

      http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/25/willis-eschenbachs-foi-request/

  16. bubbagyro
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nick:

    The beauty about blogs is that it IS a discussion, right out in the open, before all parties. Peoples’ work “should” be discussed, as long as it is properly characterized. The work can be paraphrased and summarized, as long as it is easy for the reader to access the originals. Not behind the smoke-filled walls of the IPCC, or hiding behind FOIA stonewalls.

    This is the ONLY way to do it, and bloggers should be grateful for these minimal rules.

    Steve ALWAYS abides by these simple constructs.

    I wish the “Team” were as reasonable, but they appear to be averse to sunshine, with only few exceptions.

    • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

      While the rules are minimal there are still rules. Copyrights are protected and blogs should follow copyright laws. Steve’s blog does not have a posted copyright which implies that information posted on his blog is open so direct coping of information from his blog is not illegal. Etiquette and ethics are the only things that should inspire people that use his blog information to provide a link to the original source.

      Anthony Watts surfacestation website has a properly posted copyright, so other than small snippets with a link to continue reading, it is illegal to use his information from that site without written consent. The Menne et al thing where his copyright data was used without his consent is a prime example of illegal and unethical behavior by authors that should be knowledgeable of copyright laws and at least responsible enough to use the code of ethics they verbally hold so dear.

      As you said, “Steve ALWAYS abides by these simple constructs.” He and Anthony do abide by the constructs and copyright law. Isn’t it ironic that the ones that cry the loudest about ethics don’t always bother?

      • Nicholas
        Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It used to be that if you wanted to copyright something you had to do it explicitly, ie, write “Copyright blah blah blah” on it.

        I believe the situation changed about 20 years ago. Now everything is copyrighted to the author by default unless they explicitly say that it is in the public domain (or under some creative commons license or whatever).

        At least that’s how I understand copyrights work in most western legal systems…

        There are differences from country to country though. For example here in Australia, if you sue someone for using your material, all you can get out of the settlement is the value of the material taken. In other countries it’s actually a criminal offense and losing such a suit can be ruinous.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

          My understanding from experience in the US is that if there is no express copyright post, the original author can request a link back or that the work be removed, but has no other “reasonable” legal recourse because of Fair Use interpretation (Anyway I think that is what the lawyer said). Copyright sites like Yahoo Contributor start with that request (proper post with backlink or removal) but can legally have plagiarizing sites removed (which may be ruinous). Yahoo Contributor and under its former name Associated Content have had several plagiarizing sites removed. Suing for actual damages is rare and costly. (when I mentioned the copyright though, the lawyer perked up and asked “What are the damages?”)

          I am not aware of a print media plagiarizing of internet copyright material being enforced.

  17. GrantB
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “If you don’t want people to use data, don’t put it online – gavin”.

    Especially if they might try to find something wrong with it.

    Astonishing, quite astonishing. And they wimp about FOI requests. Their skins are impervious and have absorbed nothing, absolutely nothing, post Climategate.

    • Derek H
      Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “Their skins are impervious and have absorbed nothing, absolutely nothing, post Climategate.”

      I’d say they absorbed something: the need to be Clintonian in their denials, deceptions and obstructions. The science doesn’t need to be discussed or debated (except he didn’t say it was “settled”); there is no search for truth, just reinforcement of their position; they don’t need to release data or methods even under legal subpoena; when finally pinned down on their obfuscation, it’s all “old news”, everyone should just press on.

      It’s sickening enough to see this behavior in politicans from whom we expect it — positively revolting from someone who calls himself a scientist.

  18. KnR
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One notable feature of religions is way there much harder on those the claim to follow the religion but don’t fully support the dogma, than those that don’t follow the religion at all. Pearce’s ‘crime, in these people’s eyes, is that of being a heretic and for that he will be attacked endless by those who seeing themselves as pure in the AGW fait, until he recants.

    For the rest of us, it’s nothing but good news internal strife is far more effecting in bringing a organisations or idea down while the external enemy increase unity.

  19. RickA
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    captdallas2:

    I am an intellectual property attorney, so I couldn’t help chiming in on your copyright issues.

    You don’t need to put a copyright notice on a website or webpage to have copyright protection in the United States.

    That is covered by the Berne Convention – which we joined many years ago.

    Also, you cannot copyright data or information.

    So anybody is free to grab a table of data, feed it into their own programs (like R), do their own analysis and graphs and publish away.

    Now copying text of a paper, graphs, and other features which go above the mere use of data or information can get you into trouble – but I don’t believe that is at issue in the Menne et al. paper.

    What the team did in their paper was just rude and an attempt at a spin job, not a copyright violation.

    • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I am glad you cleared that up. The lawyer I spoke to mentioned “reasonable recourse” which I interpreted as suing for actual damages was generally not worth while. I didn’t mention data to the lawyer. However, photographs were part of the data and I thought photographs were a separate issue since they are considered art just as a graph is.

      • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Anyway, the situation was resolved to Watts’ satisfaction. However, I find it disingenuous that Watts’ request for review is still being treated like he was an idiot when in actuality he just did not lower himself to their standards. Gavin should be savvy enough to moderate such nonsense without perpetuating the myth.

      • patrioticduo
        Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

        You can use the data that is in the graph but you cannot reproduce the graph itself.

  20. David Jay
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Grant B:

    Thin and impervious.

    That is a material that could revolutionize outer wear!

  21. Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think “the science is settled” is a perfectly fair four-word summary of Gavin’s worldview.

    In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.
    - Gavin Schmidt

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Fred Pearce is also a pretty clued up journalist. He knows there is a long history of ‘consensus’ and ‘settled science’ at RC.

      To think, as some have, he was only making his assessment in relation to Gavin’s email beggars belief!

  22. J Bowers
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Instead of speculating on what Gavin Schmidt thinks of “settled science”, why not just go and read what he’s been saying about it?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

    As for why he didn’t go to Lisobon, notwithstanding he was given only four months notice, perhaps this explains more clearly why he thought it not particularly taking time to fly to Europe for:

    • J Bowers
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t expect the video to embeed itself. Apologies if that’s undesirable. But hey.

      • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for the link, a trifle large, in a big brother-ish way, but interesting. Clearly, for Gavin et al, the science is settled enough that there is a consensus, and any dissent warrants a fatwa. However, the science is not settled enough that research by the in-crowd should be stopped. Maintaining this delicate and subtle balance requires immense effort. Hence, very little new research is being performed by climatologists. Balancing, positioning, cutting and pasting, yes; research, no. Incentive to research and improve the statistical analysis, zero.

    • Dave L.
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I listened and came away with the perception that Gavin’s primary motivation is making policy rather than being a scientist. Policy making is politics, not science. If Gavin doesn’t comprehend that politics has corrupted the science of global warming, then he needs to read Lindzen’s: Climate Science: Is It Currently Designed To Answer Questions?

      http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf

      • mpaul
        Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Exactly. Gavin sees himself as part of a policy making body with a policy agenda. The ‘science’ that he produces is simply a tool to help advance his policy preferences. (Which makes RC’s financial support from NASA even that much more problematic). He begins by saying how much politics has corrupted science. I think he himself is exhibit A.

        I’m struck by Steig’s RC posts concerning O10. There are clearly two voices present. I wonder how much of it is actually be written by policy advocate Schmidt.

    • Faustino
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’m a bit deaf, and unfortunately couldn’t crank up the volume enough, so gave up after three minutes. But it seems to me that at the outset Gavin says that problems arise only with those who lack the knowledge or capacity to understand AGW. That is, he seems to deny that there is any “real” criticism, e.g. it comes from people – like those on Climate Audit – that are not qualified to criticise. If this isn’t a claim that “the science is settled,” and that those who contest the received wisdom are, by definition, not scientists, I don’t know what would be.

    • TerryMN
      Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 3:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Only 4 months?!?

  23. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “I think giving Ryan an opportunity to comment privately in advance on his post would have been, by far, the fairest and most ethical way of handling the situation. Sadly, that didn’t happen.”

    As I as I get older, I see that doing “things” behind closed doors is a big part of the problem in many areas of science and politics. While doing things away from the public spotlight can be less stressful and painful for individual participants, for the public at large, it can and should be part of the learning process and not only about the science and political processes but about the participants.

    Leaking information, either from an adversarial prospective or for friendly reasons, has become a big part of the public learning about “things” of which, in retrospect, they should be aware. The remaining problems with leaks is that they can be revealed to fit an agenda of the revealer. I say let it all hang out.

  24. J Bowers
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Good job everyone publishing the science with a contrary opinion amounts to less than 3%. I wouldn’t get too alarmed or read too much into it.

    • harry
      Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 6:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

      If science was a popularity contest you’d have a point. The majority opinion in science has a history of resistance to change, but it also has a history of being replaced.

      • J Bowers
        Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 6:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

        If there was a consistent and demonstrably viable alternative to AGW, then you’d also have a point ;)

  25. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Comment on the Gavin Schmidt video above:

    The lesson I take away from the Schmidt’s comments is that if you are sufficiently vague and general about what you feel the issues are, and in this case AGW and mitigation, you can encompass a very large consensus. In this case most of the skeptics would come under the umbrella that Schmidt attempts to define.

    The disagreement most would have with Schmidt is his implications that the skeptics and critics are not as informed as the climate science consensus and he does it without differentiating the sensible ones from the partisans ones which exist on all sides of this issue. The consensus boundaries in this piece are, of course, per the usual reference left to the readers imagination.

    Schmidt’s most direct comments involve his view that AGW should be handled as any other form of “pollution” and that we are headed in totally the wrong direction in his estimation – all with implications that, for policy purposes, the science is settled.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s division, dissent … Did you pick up the phrase “Those who care about pollution”? Gavin sees himself as an elite guardian angel watching over the dirty unwashed including a tiny group of dissenters who, by association, can never be angels. How far from reality is that? The man needs a psychoanalyst.

  26. Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Gavin Schmidt’s own explanation of his reason for not attending in the update on Fred Pearce’s New Scientist page at http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/climate-sceptics-scientists-at.html :

    None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for
    political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    This sounds to me like “the science is settled” would be a good paraphrase of his position, even if he did not use those exact words in this instance. Since Pearce did not put quotes around it, I don’t see where he is misrepresenting Gavin.

    • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Gavin: “No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.”

      It’s hard to take Gavin at his word when, after questionable and overweighted proxies are properly elminated from the Hockey Stick, we find that when proxy temps prior to 1500 ce cannot be validated and Gavin suddenly decides such things don’t really matter. Since our best understanding seems to show that modern temps are not unprecedented, Gavin, of all people, should be concerned about our level of understanding.

    • stan
      Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Anyone who has had regular dealings with the news media knows that Pearce’s summary is far better than the usual. Gavin ought to be thrilled Pearce was so close to capturing what he meant.

  27. MattN
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The hypocricy of the hockey team is at an all time high it seems….

  28. Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m curious: is a cached version of RealClimate’s June 2009 post “On Overfitting” available?

    The Google cache is the same as what’s currently posted. The site owners appear to have disabled Internet Archive.

  29. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In my comments above about the need for doing things in public I should have added that I found it to be very important in business. When I was in charge of Quality Assurance for a large manufacturing operation we would periodically have product that would show potential problems (not life connected) that our intensive testing would find but that might not be a problem for a customer. My first instinct was to warn the customer, but early in my role I would be told do not do it since it will only cause problems for something that may well not be a problem and youn will by so doing “sensitize the customer. When I would tell the customer the reaction was always” thanks for the heads up we really appreciate it”. We also were able to get the same heads up with our vendors when we calmed down the adversarial approach that inhibits good communication in that part of the business.

    Some of our people also learned to avoid hurt feelings and letting personal emotions enter into business discussions – I think that might have a place in the discussions I see at blogs concerning AGW. I can recall a particularly brutal meeting with a customer that was owned and run by Asians. As was their wont when they expected some pricing concessions they would bring up every real and imagined problem they ever had with our product. After the meeting and at dinner our marketing guy who was as sincere as they come questioned a customer representative, who had attended the meeting and sat through it with his usual stoicism, to the effect that from that meeting he got the impression that we did nothing right in their eyes. The customer looked at our marketing guy with the same stoic stare and said, “do not take it personally, R–, we love you, man.”

  30. patrioticduo
    Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Meanwhile over at RC, the comments read like the way they usually do, but then…

    Eric chimes in with this “[Response: I think if I had problems with a paper of Susan's, I'd write a serious of blog posts criticizing her integrity. That seems to work pretty well. Do you think I've learned nothing from O'Donnell? ...
    ... yes I am kidding.--eric]”

    It’s this kind of flippant and disrespectful commentary from Eric that only serves to isolate the arguing parties rather than bring them together (maybe that is their desire). But with accusations flying in all directions, all I want to do is understand who said and did what so that I can determine who is being honest and who is not. Then I can assign the appropriate level of trust. Meanwhile, the larger point seems to be lost – Steig’s paper predicts increasing Antartic temp’s and the math is demonstrably wrong.

  31. Posted Feb 16, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    While I agree that in retrospect (!) it would have been better communication-wise had Steig contacted O’Donnell before posting, I don’t find these situations equivalent.

    Pearce wrote a mainstream media article in which he wrote “Gavin said the science was settled”, whereas Gavin didn’t say that, or anything like it, at least in my interpretation of how that loaded term is usually meant.

    Surely you are aware of the baggage that the term “settled science” has. Used as a rhetorical weapon (its most prevalent use), it carries accusations of a) ignoring/downplaying uncertainty and b) being unscientific and c) stifling dissent.

    Gavin thinks that the root of the conflict has much more to do with the (perceived) consequences of climate change and of mitigation strategies (my paraphrase of him calling it “political”). Discussing conflict resolution without discussing the root cause (as Gavin sees it) didn’t make a hell lot of sense to him. You may not agree with his assessment of what the root cause of conflict is, but is position is entirely coherent and has nothing to do with the withered meaning of “settled science”.

    I expanded on this at my blog:
    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/lisbon-reconciliation-unsettling/

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