MBH Responses to Barton Letters

There have been posted up at realclimate here. I’ll look at them today. “Public access” to Mann’s FTP site includes blocking: I (and my neighbors on my street who use the same internet server) continue to be blocked from access to Mann’s FTP site and I’ll have to go to another IP address to look at the FTP URLs to see if there’s anything new.

Letters were sent to Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Pachauri and NSF.

Responses: Mann, Bradley, Hughes


  1. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    I’ve read most of his responses and it’s clear he’s stonewalling as usual. And continuing to claim that the failure of his own data to acheive statistical significance using his own methods if the bristlecones are omitted is somehow your fault. He also continues to claim that his code is his personal property. But at the same time he claims that science has moved on, presumably mooting his 1998 paper. So the question is why he hides the code if it’s out of date? Since he also claims it’s possible to reproduce it using his methods what’s his point? Sure his claim of property would/should be valid in a court of law, but the conclusion any resonable person would draw after such a trial found in his favor would be that he was hiding something. And the conclusion to be reached concerning those who aid and abet him in such cover-up is that they are also hiding things.

    And the take-home lesson would be to not believe what he and his team have written since.

  2. John
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Looks like Mann has refused to hand over the computer code. Naughty, naughty!

    Steve: You’re not right. Mann has released a new tranche of computer code – see link at realclimate. (I’m still blocked from Mann’s FTP site). I’ve just finished browsing through 42 pages of Fortran. It will take a while to see where the differences are between the MM/Wahl-Amman emulations and MBH98. It doesn’t look like he’s released the code for the Presisendorfer calculations of retained PCs for tree ring networks that they placed such emphasis on at realclimate last december.

  3. Doug L
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Steve, are we to infer that Mann has figured out a way to inconvience you personally from accessing his site. Is this an unknowable, or is it known to be highly unlikely?

    Steve: This is something that apparently can be done fairly easily, although I don’t personally know how to do it. The server can block a specified IP address. Since I access from a cable network – equivalent to an old-fashioned telephone party line – my neighbors are blocked as well. Our server has the ability to block spam accounts. We’re getting inundated with spam postings, but they are being blocked effectively. The spammers morph IP addresses so its hard to block the hits from spammers. Our erver offered to block individual IP addresses from spammers, but I couldn’t see the point since they morph. On the other hand, my IP address doesn’t morph so Mann can block it.

  4. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    So there is now code available. Should be an interesting next few days here then, if it’s anything like the last time. What are the date-stamps on the files?

  5. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Last Tuesday. Seriously.

  6. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Ah. But the header says “(some additional comments added 2005)”.

  7. T
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Depending on what you use as client, you can use open http or ftp proxies to get around any IP based filters. Not sure of any offhand but a quick google should bring up some results.

  8. T
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Also, if the spam are pretty similar in content, you can use some type of checksum signature to filter on.

  9. John
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    The BBC has reported on this as well. Guess which slant they’ve put on it?

  10. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    John, or John A?

    The only ‘slant’ I can see is towards that oh so silly idea of objectively putting both sides of the story. What slant do you see?

  11. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    You really don’t see any slant, Peter? Hey, here’s a quick test. Between this site and RealClimate.org, guess which on the BBC linked to?

  12. A(nother) John
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    John A:

    You probably missed my last post asking for more details about how you think Lambert is wrong about what entropy is and how it applies to closed thermodynamic systems. However I am still interested in hearing your views.


    Steve: John (Cross), I doubt that you have a sincere interest in this. It’s not an issue that arises out of any work that I’ve been involved in and it’s not something that I fell able to comment on. There’s already a forum on this at timlambert.org; interested parties can pursue the discussion there. Cheers, Steve

  13. Ed Snack
    Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    A(nother) John, I’m interested in your views on whether the Bristlecone Pines (as used in MBH98, 99, and others) are actually a temperature proxy or not. That is, whether the growth “spurt” noted in some of the records actually relates to temperature, or some other factor. If not, and if that information was available in the original study, was it appropriate for those records to be use in an attempt to reconstruct temperatures. No great scientific depths required. Thanks

  14. Posted Jul 18, 2005 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    Peter Hearndon: You can’t be serious that you say that the BBC article was “objectively putting both sides of the story. What slant do you see?”
    There are 30 paragraphs in the article. Thirteen are neutral, another 13 are anti-Barton, while only 4 are pro-Barton – and among the 4 I am counting are these gems: “His letters also talk of “methodological flaws”, “data errors”, and of questions about the authors’ willingness to share their data.” – the reporter quoted Barton directly, but the scepticism absolutely bleeds thru – and the ultimate paragraph Myron Ebell, of the Competitiveness Enterprise Institute and a prominent global warming sceptic, told BBC News: “We’ve always wanted to get the science on trial”, and “we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law”, adding “this could work”. – the clever BBC reporter is there employing some cagey guilt by association. Only the most pathetically naive – or dishonest – could imagine this article to be even remotely objective.
    By the way, if anyone would like to see how I parsed out the paragraphs, I can e-mail you a word document – but I think a quick read of the article should satisy anyone – except, of course, for the most pathetically naive or dishonest, of course.

  15. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    ‘Zeil’, of course that’s you view. I’m sure I wont convice you otherwise (and if that implies I think you’re close minded on this so be it). However, at this point, I wont stoop to implying (twice I see… So that people definitely get it presuambly?) you’re either pathetically naive 😦 or dishonest!

  16. Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Peter: You disagree, fine, but about what? Do you disagree that ~43% of the article was given to anti-Barton arguments while only ~10% presented Barton’s side — and that only Myron Ebell could be found as an outside supporter of Barton’s? Or do you think that Barton’s position is so beyond the pale that only the most anemic of efforts would be appropriate to expend on its behalf? Do you believe the reporter had no pre-conceived view of the controversy and the weight of evidence (so clearly against the congressman) merely played itself out in the article? Could you help us out here and explain a little why you think this article is objective?

  17. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Ziel, yes, I’ll answer you if you’ll withdraw the impliction (ad hom actually, but that’s by the by) that anyone (like me) who has the temerity to thinks the article objective (or, even, not hopelessly biased) is ‘pathetically naive’ and ‘dishonest’! Because, if you wont, then what you think of people like me (that you so clearly put) means there’s no point in me answering your questions as you’d just dismiss my answers. Right?

    Btw, I’m pretty certain you wont withdraw your comment, but we’ll see.

  18. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    Peter, I don’t think Ziel needs to totally withdraw his statement. He merely needs to replace the AND with an OR and he has a quite supportable position. Of course the word ‘pathetic’ has tended to have a very negative context lately, but at heart it merely means ‘I feel your pain’. We who see the bias in such news reports react to someone who can’t see it, despite having the evidence of it spelled out in great detail as an object of pity. But being skeptics, we also recognize that people can sometimes pretend not to see something obvious for political or other reasons. When such gamesmanship is denied, this is dishonesty.

    The bias in this particular piece is palpable. Your statement therefore is either something to educe pity toward your lack of judgmental abilities or scorn toward your dishonesty.

    But here I am, getting drawn into one of your personality things. If you want to discuss statements in the article which show an even-handedness toward Burton, fine. Otherwise I’m out of this.

  19. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    Dave, can’t you see that your opinion isn’t, necessarily, the reality? Do, you, honestly, think I’m pretending, rather than being honest in my views? Well, if you do, then shame on you – I told it how I saw it.

    I could spin out a view that you are an object of pity, pretending not to see the objectivity in the article and that you are a dishonest person. How would that end? Would you like that? No, oh, and probably because you are none of those things… Well, pal, neither am I – OK! (remember too, I’m responding to John’s comment, not initialising anything).

  20. ziel
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Peter – I withdraw the comment. I am particularly interested in your opinion on this since it goes to a wider issue of press bias – here’s a specific article that seems so biased to me yet others disagree. Media bias arguments typically fall into counter-examples of bias, versus analyzing a specific case.

  21. John Cross
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Steve: Regarding my post of July 18th, 2005 at 4:51 pm

    My interest might be more than you suspect since I am a engineer and have dome some work in the area. However this is your blog and if you wish to shut down discussion about a topic then I will abide by your wishes. But if this is your policy then I am surprised that you would have allowed the initial post by “John”. For the record, I feel that topics should be discussed as long as the discussion is sensible and polite and I was under the impression that many of those who post on this site agree with this point of view.

    I also commend you for your policy of replying to people using their real names. I look forward to seeing you post the names in a consistent manner, instead of only the names of people who make posts that disagree with the views of Climate Audit.

    John Cross

  22. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    Well, Peter, I do happen to believe in an objective reality. If you say, “I like chocolate better than butterscotch,” I have no right to say that you are wrong, at least not unless I’ve known you for years and have good evidence that in fact you always order butterscotch sundaes rather than chocolate ones, etc. But this is not a subjective sort of analysis here. The article in question states specific things and it’s possible to tabulate the number of things said and analyze each of them as to whether an average reader would consider the particular things said, each in isolation and as groupings, positive or negative. When this is done, the only possible conclusion is that the article is biased against Burton. A person who disagrees is therefore either incapable of objective analysis or isn’t interested in it in the first place.

    You, if you’ll notice, have assumed that I was choosing the second horn of the dilemma to impale you on, but actually that’s not the case. I’ve run into many people over the years who claim to fail to see bias in media coverage of all sorts of things. I’ve never yet found one who later came back and admitted to lying about it. I’ve seen lots however print statements to the effect that at some point, usually when the spin affected something close to them, they suddenly realize that the bias was there and in fact had always been there.

    As to your challenge that you could say the same about me, go ahead. But don’t just say it, give evidence that the article was objective. Donuts to dimes (unfortunately inflation has long since made original order passe) any evidence you present will be cherry picking individual phrases rather than looking at the entire article.

  23. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 1:54 PM | Permalink


    I thank you for that 🙂

    Now then, to the article.

    I’ve read it again. I have to be honest, I still can’t see the problem. I can’t see any glaring factual errors, to me it gives a good broad view of what is going on. Neither can I see any important omissions, any obvious lack of objectivity. OK, I do conceed nothing is ever perfect: Perhaps longer for good old ‘objective’ Myron? A quote from someone else of similar ilk? (Perhaps the most fruitful area of objection? I’m from the UK, reports from overseas might not be as well researched as reports from nearer home – but it cuts both ways doesn’t it! I hear the US press is highly parochial?). Or more of the letters quoted, or, indeed, perhaps something from Michael Mann? But, overall, in something designed for readers not as engrossed as us, I think it an OK article.

    But, of course, I’m biased…:( So, I’m afraid you (or perhaps Dave) need to tell me not just what’s wrong with it, what’s missing, and what’s wrong with me… but *what would make it objective*.

    I’m ‘running away’ I hear you cry. But no, as fFreddy said on July 11th in the Conflict of interest #2 thread ‘Peter, you a missing the point. It’s not up to the skeptics to disprove AGW, rather, it is up to you and your co-religionists to prove it’. OK, it’s boot on other foot time ;). I’m skeptical the article is slanted, prove that the article is biased and that it isn’t you who are missing the point – then, in the same way, I’ll just dismiss you, so there! (OH, and btw, the ‘co-religionist’ bit is there for completeness, I see nothing religionist in this thread.).

  24. ziel
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Well, heck, I spent the time to count out the paragraphs, and found 13 neutral, 13 anti-Barton, 4 pro-Barton. That seems facially convincing, doesn’t it? And, again, one of the 4 is a terribly cynical quote from “good old “objective’ Myron” – so I could argue that is a Trojan Horse paragraph – not really pro-Barton. From wherever the reporter is from, he could manage to get a quote from Myron but not Ross or Steve?
    So here’s some more facts: 5 Anti-Barton commenters were found (Waxman, Bradley, Crowley, Boehlert, and “one scientist” [paragraph 6]). The BBC reporter could only find 1 pro-Barton commenter, the aforementioned Myron Ebell. In addition, MBH were found to have the support of the AAAS, NAS, EGU, and Nobel-laureate Mario Molina. The reporter acknowledged that “others” support Barton, but again the only one mentioned is the notorious Ebell with his terribly cynical comment. Again, the existence of MM05 wasn’t even hinted at, never mind referenced or quoted.
    Your last post implied – presumable tongue in cheek – that your intent is to deny the article’s bias merely as an excercize in “sauce for the goose” by suggesting that the “skeptic” community similarly stand’s blindly in denial of equally obvious climate change evidence. Fine – point taken – but really, I’ve given quantitative evidence of bias (no re-centering, no proprietary code needed) and have offered my source data for review. What more can I do?

  25. John Hekman
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    Peter Hearndon: The BBC article defines the issue in paragraph 4 by stating that the hockey stick “has drawn much of the fire aimed at climate science from sceptics.” Hmmmm. So AGW proponents are “science” and others are “skeptics.” The very next sentence says “The strategy, in the words of one scientist, appears to be guilt by association: if the hockey stick is wrong, then other science indicating global warming must also be suspect.” I believe that most readers at this point would have their attitude pretty poisoned by this slant. Is this not a slant? Try reversing the statements. If it said the hockey stick “has drawn much of the fire aimed at global warming believers from scientists.” And for the next sentence, “The strategy of the global warming believers, in the words of one scientist, appears to be guilt by association: if the disproof of the hockey stick is wrong then all opposition to AGW must be suspect.”

  26. John Hekman
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    “Scientists” have raised valid questions about surface temperature records, about the inconsistency between surface records and troposphere records, about the way CO2 records have been used, about the ice core evidence and numerous other issues. Where exactly is the “guilt by association?” This just plants in the mind of the reader the notion that “skeptics” have taken an itty bitty problem with some measurement thingamabob of MBH and tried to use it to smear all this fine “science.” And you think the BBC is “balanced?” I am going to stop before I say something really nasty that Steve will have to bleep out.

  27. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    John Hekmen,

    But people here proudly describe themselves as ‘skeptics’!

  28. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 3:47 PM | Permalink


    I see someone’s already pointed out the ‘guilt by association’ smear. But let’s go further back, to the very first paragraph. First paragraphs are always important in setting the tone of an article. Here’s what it says:

    “Top scientists have reacted angrily to a US Congressman who has demanded to see the full financial and research records of three climate experts.”

    Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the most biased statement in the article by any means, but it clearly tries to spin the situation. First compare the descriptions of the principals. “Top scientists” vs “US Congressman.” Given the situation it’s legitimate to use ‘top’ for the scientists but something like ‘Senior’ would serve as well without having quite the positive spin as ‘Top’. Likewise if it was desired to spin Burton positively his committee chairmanship could have been mentioned here. Next let’s look at the verbs: “reacted angrily” vs “demanded”. Both rather powerful you might say, but not in this context. Reacted Angrily is meant to imply righteous indignation. Likewise demanded is intended to describe someone overbearing and attempting to do something evil. I might add that the last part of the sentence isn’t necessarily true. Burton did ask for all records pertaining to climate research, but that’s not necessarily all research the individuals have performed. And of course he didn’t ask for personal financial information. All in all the sentence does a masterly job of getting the article off with the slant the writers wanted.

  29. John Hekman
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Further, the BBC takes time and space in this short article to quote at length from Crowley of Duke so that Crowley can equate M&M and “skeptics” with (1) those who reject evolution; and (2) those who believe the earth is 6000 years old:
    “For example, requests could be made to palaeontologists and molecular biologists for all data and files supporting evolution,” he writes in EOS, the house journal of the American Geophysical Union.
    “Likewise, radiochemists could be entrained into pseudo-scientific debate because of all the massive and magnificent geochronological data that have been gathered over the last few decades.”
    Certainly no attitude here. No preconcieved notions. It’s clear to me, if not to Peter, that the reporter was very taken with these brilliant analogies and made lots of space to include them in the “report.”

  30. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    modified Preisendorfer rule N ”

  31. John Cross
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 5:17 PM | Permalink


    If I can correct some errors that you made. In fact Barton did not restrict his request for data to Dr. Mann’s climate research but asked for the location for all published data along with such things like “where and when you first identified the location of this information”. Also while he did not ask for Mann’s personal financial information he did request information about Mann’s private funding.


  32. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    You’re right. I was confusing the stipulation as to the necessary papers which needed to be included in the cv with what funding sources he requested. As to the funding sources, revealing them is no more than you’d have to reveal to the IRS in your income taxes, though perhaps a bit more detailed as you’d have to say what sources went with what research.

    But I don’t think that the data sources applied to non-climate research (if there were any) since if it did he’d have requested research papers of any sort whatsoever.

    I do note, BTW, reading the original letter that it wasn’t a ‘demand’ but a request. What the consequences would be to a respectful demurral to provide some of the requested material I don’t know. I suspect it would require some sort of actual committee action or perhaps even an act of Congress to make it a true demand.

  33. Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    Steve M, You made no objection when Steve Verdon, Ed Snack and John A made personal attacks on me in comments here, but don’t think John Cross should investigate John A’s criticism of me. This seems rather inconsistent.

  34. Ed Snack
    Posted Jul 19, 2005 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    Personal attack, what personal attack Tim ? And complaining about personal attacks does surprise me, having read your own blog and the comments you accept.

  35. Doug L
    Posted Jul 20, 2005 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    [Intended to put this here, it got in another thread by accident, also the grammer was bad at the top]

    For anyone who thinks all the key findings of the Mann study are adequately replicated or backed up by other research:

    ***!!!Climate Science Community Fails To Back Key IPCC Finding!!!***


    Fact based article shows scientists are reluctant to assert that

    “It is likely that the rate and duration of the warming of the 20th century is larger than any other time during the last 1,000 years”

    How’d that happen?

    Could Steve McKintyre have something to do with it? 😉

    [Intended to put this here, it got in another thread by accident, also the grammer was bad at the top, the link on my page should lead back to this article]

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