Why is this left and right?

OK, the voting is over. The vote (at closing) was CA 20,242; BA 18,993, but scrutinizing is still taking place. Thanks to everyone who supported Climate Audit. Both blogs obtained an incredible number of votes today and can walk away with both satisfaction and amazement. The volume in the Science blog today seems to have been far larger than any other race. Since mid-morning eastern, both Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit have amassed votes at almost exactly the same frenetic pace.

Prior to this vote, I (and doubtless many CA readers) had been unaware of the Bad Astronomy blog (and other interesting nominees who have undeservedly not attracted the attention that deserved) and I’m sure that this same holds in reverse. I hope that readers of each blog will take the opportunity of this introduction to visit the other site; I’ve added a link to Bad Astronomy in my very short blogroll.

Like many issues, the voting seems to have divided on left-right lines. While I realize that much of my support has come from right-wing sources, I don’t think that the analysis that’s done here is anything that should either comfort right-wing people or offend left-wing people. Sometimes the argument is made that, if Mann’s Hockey Stick were wrong, it means that the climate situation would be actually worse than people think. I ask “left-wing” readers to ponder this for moment: if the errors in Mann’s (and similar studies) result in a disguising of a problem, shouldn’t people concerned about AGW impact be on the cutting edge of attempts to analyze the Hockey Stick and see if there any defects in the analysis? Shouldn’t they be demanding that all the data used in these studies -even Lonnie Thompson’s – be available so that each one of them can be properly analysed?

Back when views on Iraq were more evenly divided, I sometimes compared what I do to being a CIA analyst arguing that sometimes an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube and not evidence of WMD. That wouldn’t mean that proponents of the war couldn’t argue the matter using different arguments or that the war was or wasn’t justified, or that the subsequent occupation of Iraq was or wasn’t botched. All it means is that policy-makers shouldn’t be basing their decisions on questionable information about aluminum tubes. This was a line of argument that used to rub right-wing people who liked part of my message the wrong way, but I hope that it says something about me.

I’ve said on many occasions that, if I had a big policy job, I would be guided by the views expressed by large institutions. Unlike some “skeptics”, I don’t argue that decisions should be deferred pending perfect certainty. I have business experience and know that people make decisions all the time with uncertainty – you have to. At the same time, if you’re going to make effective decisions, you need to have the best possible information. And I vehemently disagree that scientists can use the “big picture” as a justification for being careless with their details. People should try their hardest to get the details right as well as the big picture.

So for any new readers, who have arrived because of this contest, welcome. To Bad Astronomy, it’s been an interesting way to meet. To Phil Plait, let’s have a beer some time.

PZ Myers at Pharyngula comments on the vote here and Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy here.


  1. L Nettles
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    That was fun, now back to science.

  2. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    That was interesting.

    I agree, Steve, this kind of thing is way to political at times. Hopefully any new visitors see that the “politicized denialist blog” claims are simply unfounded. And realize the work you do is in the benefit of climate science.

    The rain doesn’t care for whom you vote, and your outlook upon society and law and war and the rest doesn’t stop the ice from melting. Thinking the ice is melting doesn’t make the ice melt. The weather, and hence climate, is neutral. It just is. We just want to know what it is, so we know we’re not underestimating it any more than we’re overestimating it. It is what it is.

    The numbers are still going up, they’re probably adding votes that were pulled for verification (another reason it’s bursty, I’d think.)

    Results not final until winners announced and all.

    When I started: 20,242 to 18,981
    Now: 20,246 to 19,030

  3. Jeremy Friesen
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    The posts of the hosts at Phar and BAB have been markedly political with plently of ad homininem. It’s nice to see that the host of this blog maintains neutrality and civility.

  4. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Hey, I’m a liberal in the sense that I put social and economic justice for ordinary working people at the top of my agenda, and I support you. That may not be “left” anymore, but it sure ain’t “right” either.

  5. Sean Egan
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Looking at the rules I understand the number of votes could go down as dodgy votes are removed from the count. Anyone know why numbers are still rising 30 minutes after the pole has close? I guest as they say on the site, we need to wait the file result.

  6. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    The problem with left and right is that it puts you in one box and others in anothewr box. Sometimes there are things in the other box that you like or want but having already climbed into one box it is difficult to wander over and have a peek in the other box. I find it rather silly and wonder why supposedly intelligent people jump into boxes.

  7. Follow the Money
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    “Left Right”

    It’s unforutnate, but the AGW-questioners are sometimes labeled “right wing” in North America because 1. They are confused with the pro-polluters and 2. the Warmers have more money and have framed questioners as lackeys of the petroleum cos.

  8. MarkR
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    SteveM. let me congratulate you on reaching this position. I bet you never saw it coming when you started this Blog years ago.

  9. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    In an ideal world, this would be a non-ideological issue, and would be approached as dispassionately and professionally as you describe.

    But this is earth in the 21st century. Everything’s political. Everything’s a statement. This is the way it’s going to be for a while. Anything that can be used as a political club will be.

    It’s just the way it is, and the way it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

  10. PHE
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    Why is this left and right? It just ad hominem from those who need to ridicule or marginalise those who arguments they can’t defeat. The UK is relatively unique in having an establishment and media who (i) fell hook line and sinker for the case for invading Iraq, and (ii) who have fallen hook line and sinker for the ‘proof’ and ‘overwhelming threat’ of AGW. To doubt the case for invading Iraq (as I did), you were a pacifist, lefty who would “have blood on your hands” (as said Bliar). To now doubt the case for AGW (as I do), you are a right wing Bush-lover who has no care for the environement. I am not anti-war, and believe invasion of Afghanistan was justified. I totally support protection of the environment and ‘do my bit’. In both cases, scepticism comes from making the effort to judge the evidence we are being presented with, and not simply believing the headlines, or allowing yourself to be bullied into political corretness. For me, the main point is that you cannot use twisted evidence or bad science to support an argument just because you are convinced you are right. The fact that my Iraq scepticism has now been proven more than 100% justified now gives me faith and confidence in my current judgement on AGW. A major support also comes from the excellent work of Steve McIntyre.

  11. boris
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    A problem with the aluminum tube analogy …

    There are areas and situations where not only real guns are prohibited but realistic fake guns are also.

    IMO the aluminum tubes were a similar deal. Drawing distinctions about their likely intended use misses the point.

  12. BigFoot
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    I have a curious personal observation. Every conservative or right-wing person that I know expresses some skepticism, in varying degrees, to AGW. This would include public figures. On the other hand, every left-wing and ‘liberal’ person I know is adamantly in agreement with AGW.

    Is the sceptisim a result of a conservative mind-set or is it a product? Conversely, is AGW embraced by leftist because it somehow fits their politics and views?

    This whole subject should be apolitical, and yet it is decidedly not. My glib response to those who question my skepticism about AGW is that I believe in God. Yet, why should that have any bearing?

    Anyway, if anyone knows of a true left-wing liberal who isn’t solidly in the AGW camp let me know!

  13. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    It was Steve’s Blogk Party and he can cr(y)ow if he wants to.
    Was great all around.

  14. PHE
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Confidence also comes from the weak, shoddy and highly selective arguments presented by Realclimate. If theirs represent some of the strongest arguments for AGW, then we don’t have a lot to fear from AGW. (Classic example: ‘Great Global Warming Swindle film was: biased, distorted, misleading, supported by oil producers, etc; Al Gore’s film well he didn’t get everything right, but most things were right and the basic message was right – a ‘nice’ film that we should show in all our schools).

  15. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Actually Boris is close to the correct answer. The aluminum tube analogy was not the best analogy, but also for a different reason; the governmental intelligence agencies of several major governments presented their best evidence. If the intelligence agencies failed, it’s because of the way the respective governments did or didn’t manage them.

    The climate issue, OTOH, is being driven by a slew of NGOs and other various parties with ties to the government, but still maintaining a lot of autonomy (i.e. Hansen is getting NASA money, but operating out of Columbia University). There’s no central organization, and no accountability.

    So the Iraq intelligence and the climate issues are really apples and oranges. The fact that the Iraq intelligence became a political football after hostilities started is more telling than the fact that there was a consensus before.

    I’m itching to say something else, but I know it’ll get snipped.

    I don’t want the analogy to spiral off either. I agree with you on the lack of accountability. The prima donna and cavalier attitude of important scientists should have been dealt with long ago.

  16. Larry Grimm
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    “..but I hope that it says something about me.”

    Yes it does, and in a most positive way in my mind. You’ve been remarkably apolitical in the way you’ve managed this site. That others use it for political purposes says a lot – you are having a huge impact. Keep up the great work. You are actually getting something done. Remember, good science stays around, whereas political opinion is ephemeral and gone tomorrow.

    As you are looking darn good in the poll – my congrats. Bad Astronomy is a pretty good site and I recommend it to readers of this site. Phil likes to moralize once in a while, but for the most part he has some interesting stuff.

  17. John Hekman
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    As usual, Steve and commenters at this site are more gracious than the supporters of AGW. Phil Plait says “And now we see an anti-global warming site — and it would be dishonest to call it anything else; although others have defended it saying he only attacks those who misuses statistics, where are his attacks on those who use GW statistics to deny it exists?”

    Talk about non-sequiturs. This site has examined mostly published works by AGW Climate types. If Plait thinks that there are published papers that mis-use statistics to deny that “it” (he doesn’t say AGW) exists, then what are they? More likely he means pulic statements that he thinks mis-use statistics to deny AGW. That is not the focus of this website. If this site were to take on the public statements that mis-use statistics to argue in favor of AGW, it would consume the internet.

  18. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    #14: Real Climate’s characterization of Al Gore’s film, a film who’s exaggerations were obviously ridiculous from day 1, was what stopped me from even periodically reading over there. If they cannot concede that a stupid political film got its facts wrong, which it clearly and demonstrably did, how are they going to concede something that matters personally to them, i.e. their own research?

    Personally, I think anybody yelling about liberal-this and conservative-that are imbiciles. It’s childish and it’s a waste of time. Responses to problems or situations are conservative or liberal (among other things), but people shouldn’t be; they should judge that each and every time they take action. You’re conservative because you hate gays and don’t like public debt? You’re liberal because you like saving trees more than saving people? No, you’re just an idiot for not thinking for yourself, regardless of what you decide to do. The hockey stick is clearly wrong, and there’s nothing political about it.

  19. Jim B
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    BigFoot – agree completely, I’m a big time skeptic of AGW but I’m not really conservative. I’ve voted conservative and liberal (I like to read the issues and vote for the best person, call me crazy). I’m pro gay rights and have many, many, gay friends and volunteered for many gay events, I’ve even taken my 3 year old son to a few of the tamer events. I would be happy to see the decriminalization of pot (although it’s not my thing and should be very regulated), and for gosh sakes legalize and regulate prostitution, so those who want to, can safely. But even with all those views I tell people that I am skeptical of AGW, I’m branded a “Loyal Bushie”, or an “Industry Shill”.

    It’s very disappointing it’s come to this, but too many would rather name call than discuss the facts. Name calling is easy reading scientific papers and using your own mind is very hard.

  20. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    P.S. Steve, I just tried the Bad Astronomy link; the hyperlink is simply “http:///”

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    #18. My main reason for focusing on mainstream articles is they are the articles that are being relied on for policy purposes. If opposing articles were being relied on, I’d spend time looking at them. My time and energy is finite and I don’t think that it’s reasonable for people to expect to me to do a whole lot more than I already do – while also demanding that I make more journal articles. If Phil Plait or one of his readers wishes to cross-post a thread here auditing an anti-AGW article, they are welcome to do so.

  22. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    re: # 12

    is AGW embraced by leftist because it somehow fits their politics and views?

    Well, I don’t know how long Steve will let this run, but he did ask about it in the title. Let’s see. I think the answer to your question is yes. Leftists want more control via government, so placing a large amount of the world’s economy under control of an international governing body is definitely in accordance with their politics and their views.

    Now the reverse is of course true of those on the right. We want individual control and thus “IPCC uber alles” is only going to be accepted, if ever, when all the Ts are crossed and the Is dotted.

    A good example of how this plays out is in a sense an answer to your request. Take the Book “Cool It” by Bjorn Lomborg. He is not himself a rightest in any sense of the word and thus should be for AGW, but while he accepts what the IPCC has to say, he comes to much different policy positions. And for that reason he’s hated on the left and supported on the right.

  23. BarryW
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Re 12

    The left/right split on AGW has become dogma but isn’t totally valid. [snip]

    The real split is pro/anti industrialization. Would the left (or the right) feel the same way about AGW if it was shown to be the product of “green” activities, or if it was only the poor causing it, or if it was really natural? How would they react if it was actually beneficial? Libertarians and some conservatives would be more likely to lean to the anti-AGW because they see the proponets want to use the state to control their lives through draconian laws to reduce CO2. Liberals who are anti business or pro green that see business as bad want to believe AGW because they see it both as proof of the evil of industrialization and as a means to exert the control they have not been able to achieve through other means. I think there is a great deal of frustration among liberals and greens over not getting the general public to accept their agenda and seeing the reaction to the hype has embolden them.

  24. DaleC
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Bigfoot, November 8th, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    for one at least, google on

    Alexander Cockburn global warming

    (no quotes)

    There are plenty more. Inhofe’s recent speech mentions several. See here

  25. Doug
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    I left the US when Bush was reelected. Still get called a Bush supporter by a people who knew I left the US because my political beliefs, based on this one issue. I was dismayed how many science oriented people from the other blogs were quick to charcterize this site without reading it. Science and politics must remain separate. How else could I read Lubos regularly?

  26. John A
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    I think PZ has come seriously unglued. Rather sad, really.

  27. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    20, it’s tribal. It’s like who’s your favorite football team. Here’s something to think about:

    One the one hand, it’s conservative in the extreme to want to maintain a status quo, whether that’s measured in temperature, CO2, or whatever metric you chose.

    OTOH, it’s progressive to want to default to the position of economic growth, particularly among the masses.

    So, which side of this issue should liberals be cheering for, and which side should should the torches-and-pitchforks conservatives, who just want to live the same way their ancestors did 500 years ago be for?

    The political position of this issue is really backward, if you look at it logically.

  28. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Bigfoot, there are few AGW sceptics on the Left. Alexander Cockburn comes to mind. More importantly, many environmentalists are sceptics, because they are disturbed by the environmental consequences of AGW policies. I personally have seen the vast tracts of tropical rainforest cleared for palm oil cultivation, much of it for biofuels.

    And to answer your second question, the Left has used AGW to promote a raft of policies. The scepticism on the Right is both about the advisability of these policies and their justification (i.e. AGW itself), and the two tend to go hand in hand (as do support for AGW policies and AGW itself on the Left).

    Of course, people can be sceptical in a scientific way, independent of their politics.

  29. Steve Moore
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    Clips from a site called Cognitive Daily:

    The the issue with McIntyre is he’s a toiler, attacking a small part of the AGW field endlessly, long after everyone has moved on and accepted paleoclimate records as valid while highly uncertain.

    (emphasis mine)

    I read Climate Audit, and I don’t understand anything because the language and the words there are incomprehensible for someone who doesn’t know politics

    Climate Audit is a political not a scientific blog.

    C.A. is written in such a poor manner that general public can´t tell if it´s true or not (because it is unbearable to read).


    I couldn’t read any more. My jaw started to ache from hitting the floor.

  30. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Well done Steve and all the CA regulars who helped.

    I spent a bit of time the past few days soliciting votes for CA. Because I think it is important that this level of rigor be encouraged on the net.

    I suspect it is left/right because AGW is the last great hope of the bossy left. The old anti-capitalist arguments simply didn’t work, identity politics are failing, it turns out that there are actually people in the world who are not susceptible to reason and really do want to wage jihad…so what is left? Well, if you are a “good person” and you believe you should spread your goodness, by law and, if necessary, by force, you have to have a sincere conviction that your way is the only hope.

    Combining “science” with a global scale disaster scenario creates the “enemy” which we must all join together to fight. And, if you are on the left, having that common enemy – especially if it will fit into an anti-corporate, anti-globalization, neo-Puritian world view – is precious.

    Climate Audit – as one of the warmists pointed out – provides information and ammunition, to people who are, at best skeptics and, at worst, think AGW is a crock. And these people undermine the left’s sole remaining large scale narrative.

    For the first time in a couple of decades the great Global Warming Scare has given the bossy left some traction. But if AGW turns out not to be true or true but entirely manageable the left will have lost out on its huge investment in the UN and Al Gore and, in Canada, David Suzuki. I expect they will fight very hard indeed to prevent that from happening.

  31. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    29, Martin Durkin, who produced the Great Global Warming Swindle is a leftist, as was Phillip Stott, who was featured prominently in it. They’re both old-fashioned populist leftists.

  32. John F. Pittman
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Congrats Steve.

    To those who posted of politics/left vs right..I just see the women being sawed in half by yet another parlor trick method.

  33. Andrey Levin
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations to Steve for winning, and most of all for creation of such vile blog with wide reach.

    As for strange behavior of vote counting, I assume most of complainers do not regularly watch real time stock market tickers. They have same strange behavior – sharp jumps, minute discrepancies between different reporting systems, changing numbers after closing bell, etc. Just the way these systems work.

    Left/right: AGW theory is universal tool. Practically everybody can adapt and use it to their advantages – just like “one size fit all” condoms. It is already used by nuclear lobby, oil companies, and even coal power companies begin seriously weight advantages of carbon sequestration (which will double the price of commodity they sell).

    On political arena AGW is used as extremely powerful tool for power grab, apparently by what is considered “left” in western democracies. Semi-communist China and communist Cuba and N.Korea do not embrace AGW. Their rulers already have all the power they can dream of.

    All the utility of the AGW theory does not make it scientifically sound. So I hope Steve and regulars will continue to poke holes in the rubber.

    Re#11, Boris:

    Indeed, try to point fake gun at the cop…

  34. dover_beach
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    Completely agree, Aaron. Myers post was just appalling.

    [snip – no c-word]

  35. James
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    I ask “left-wing” readers to ponder this for moment: if the errors in Mann’s (and similar studies) result in a disguising of a problem, shouldn’t people concerned about AGW impact be on the cutting edge of attempts to analyze the Hockey Stick and see if there any defects in the analysis?

    No. Concern is not equal to competence. Most concerned people understand their limitations and leave science to the scientists. Just caring about something is not enough to put anyone on the cutting edge.

    Shouldn’t they be demanding that all the data used in these studies -even Lonnie Thompson’s – be available so that each one of them can be properly analysed.

    You’re begging the question. Without data you cannot qualify the analysis, yet your justification for requesting the data is that the analysis is improper.

  36. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    Regarding political left and right, this does not seem to be consistent. A year ago, I exposed the work of Chuine et al. on grape harvests as bogus; this was blogged on ClimateAudit, here:

    There was a very positive response from a few left-leaning blogs. For example, Classically Liberal blogged it positively with the title “The grapes of math: Global warming fraud?”. And History News Network blogged it positively as “The Science is Disputed”.

  37. Anthony R
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Steve,I have never posted on here before, but I had to come to congratulate you on all your success, regardless of who ends up being declared the winner. The fact that this site did as well as it did is a breath of fresh air and a reminder of my faith in humanity.
    I’m a lot younger than most of the readers here, but I’ve been following the best I can and I have found your work and integrity against the iron bandwagon to be admirable to say the least.
    It is a bit discouraging to see how many people choose to support to the death a popular cause for no reason other than it is popular, or assert that your work must be some mechanism of a crazy denialist underground just because they see the information as too complex for their tastes.

    There is something that must be said about all of this, that I think you and most people are too professional to say. However, I can say it freely because I am at the age where I can do that:
    These people that attempt to shoot you down and slap all logic in the face- particularly the most popular ones- are pretty good at putting up this refined, worldly and clear thinking front when things are going their way. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it is extremely satisfying to see them drop their act and lose all of their composure in a childish temper tantrum when they run out of answers and feel forced to retreat to the iron Ad Hominem Bandwagon.
    I feel that it really speaks to their character, and what their definition of research really is.
    Keep up the great work.

  38. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    PZ Myers says:

    I’m not at all interested in visiting his [Climate Audit] site.

    Nonetheless, without visiting the site, he accuses me of “simultaneously spreading a plague of lies and ignorance as you go.” Seems to me that he should at least visit the site before making such accusations.

  39. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    You’re begging the question. Without data you cannot qualify the analysis, yet your justification for requesting the data is that the analysis is improper.


    The political position of this issue is really backward, if you look at it logically.

  40. Christopher Alleva
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:37 PM | Permalink


    A very heartfelt commentary about your motivations for undertaking this sometimes thankless task. I myself often wonder how the AGW debate became a lefty-righty thing. But remember, this issue was not thrust into the political arena by conservatives. They are only reacting to the left on this one.

    The only other observation I would make is that conservatives are always mischaractarized. Niether side enjoys a monopoly on truth and justice.
    I like you, share a desire to have the best avaiable information. Climateaudit has become an invaluable resource for sifting through the fog of AGW science getting us a little closer to the truth.


  41. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Oops, that last sentence was an editing error, and didn’t belong there in 44.

  42. John A
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    I don’t see this as a left/right issue either, but it definitely feels like a proxy war between extremists.

  43. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink


    Why is this left and right?

    After reading too many comments on RC, my conclusion is that many intelligent left wing people that should know better are so emotionally involved in their environmental concerns, that they see any disagreement as stupid, ignorant, or evil. Since they seem to think those adjectives generally apply to the right wing, then anyone who disagrees must be right wing.

    28 Larry: I do not think ‘progressive’ has anything to do with economic growth to the left.

  44. yonaton
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink


    I voted for B.A. last year. This year it was your turn. You’re both quite good.

  45. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations Steve. I see this as a win for those who can seperate science from politics over those who can’t. An unreservedly good thing IMO.

  46. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    43, not so much the extremists as the power bases. This is definitely a proxy for other groups and other issues. And as Andrey (#34) said, it can be used as a power grab by any interest, including the oil and coal companies! I’m sure that all stakeholders (including the Saudis) have plans for how to use AGW to their specific advantage. And the only ones who lose as they play this game is the consumers. There are a few honest leftists who have figured this out, but most are saluting the flag.

  47. Mike
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    Congrats. Keep up the the professionalism. It is exceptional. I learn a heck of a lot reading you and the commentators.

  48. Merlijn de Smit
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations on the win. I’ve been lurking here for a very long time – but lack expertise to comment on the issues. Nevertheless I’m fascinated by what I _do_ understand, and the blog has documented quite a few examples of how the scientific process should _not_ work. Which is always very useful.

    I’m happy to state this as someone who’s always been on the European hard left (and to whom, say, DailyKos is decidedly milquetoasty). The polarization of the AGW issue according to Left/Right lines (or Democrat/Republican lines) is terribly unfortunate.

  49. ks
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    A couple questions for Steve –

    In another thread, a reader pointed me to a favorited post titled “What the Hockey Stick Debate is About?” I see that you posted it, but it is quoting McKitrick. My first question, do you share his view “At the political level the emerging debate is about whether the enormous international trust that has been placed in the IPCC was betrayed.” The reason I ask is, as someone that is newer to your site I’m wondering what is the big picture before I try to catch up to years of postings that often are not statistics-laymen friendly. Also since the release of the fourth assessment report with some newer authors, has your views on the matter changed? What is the current relevance of MBH to the AGW question?

  50. MPaul
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve, congratulations.

    There are big problems in the world — disease, famine, infant mortality, poverty to name but a few. We now face the possibility of diverting trillions of dollars in an attempt to ‘solve’ global warming. Those left-leaning friends among us must ask themselves: are we so sure that global warming is real and is it the most significant issue faced by mankind? Are we are willing to divert attention and resources from other issues to attempt a “solution”? If left leaning people are concerned with social justice, are we best served by taking resources from cancer research, or AIDS research, or Malaria research to apply it toward global warming? Before we do so, shouldn’t we look critically at the data? Are we sure that the people pushing hardest for this reallocation of resources are free from conflicts of interest? Are you willing to look a dieing child in Africa in the eye and tell them her ‘sorry, you won’t get the antibiotics you need because even though I can’t point to a single deleterious effect of the alleged warming, and even though I refuse to look critically at the data, I believe as a matter faith its happening, and that it will be bad somehow, and I believe that I can effect the outcome somehow, so I’m taking aid from you”.

  51. Robert Dennis
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    I think Steve McIntyre’s post is more of a lament that it is left-right than a serious question. I think he has a pretty good idea why it is left-right and will continue to be.

    People with liberal political leanings tend to support concerted social action to solve problems they perceive as impacting everyone (“we’re all in this together”). Such concerted action is thought to be best led by government.

    People with conservative leanings tend to be suspicious of most government-led social efforts. They believe ultimately the solution may cause more harm than the problem to be solved, largely because concerted social action may reduce choices individuals can make.

    AGW is an excellent battleground for the left-right divide. To resolve the “A” part of AGW, we need various laws, regulations, spending, and so forth to bring everyone into line with the perceived threat. Liberally-minded people believe this is a reasonable thing to do. Conseratively minded people want to be sure the threat is real before endorsing such ambitious government-led action.

    Of course, the divide at its worst just leads to shotgun-style name-calling. On one level, it is no surprise some people call Steve a “denialist.” But, they clearly don’t read very carefully, either.

    I’m an enthusiast reader of this blog and have been for some time. I am more conservative politically than not, and I started out as a global warming skeptic. After reading this blog (and Roger Pielke, Sr.’s retired blog), I’m a much more nuanced skeptic. I think Steve McIntyre has done a wonderful job focusing on facts and seeking that ever-elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the truth.

  52. Tony Edwards
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    Steve, congratulations to you and your devoted supporters, including me, once I realised that it was going on. I’ve been lurking here for quite a while, posted once or twice. The quote from Cognitive what’s his name had me bemused. OK, I don’t know much about advanced statistics, and have to admit that the details leave me confused, but, by and large, I can follow what is going on. I took a quick look at Myers comment, linked by you and was, frankly, disgusted. Not on my bookmark list. Just one question, all of these adjustments, averaging by various means and PCA’s etc., Shouldn’t the original raw data have some meaning on it’s own?
    By the way, how’s the coring data coming on? I was quite interested in that?
    Further by the way. I live on a small island in the Caribbean, Tortola, and for 25 years have travelled the same road to work which, at one point, passes within a few feet of the waterline. Except for the 10 to 12 inch tide range, this is still where it has always been.
    Some sinking.
    Keep up the good work.

  53. PeterS
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    I’m politically secular – seems like the best way forward.

    It would be good to have a section of this site – or a sister site – which gave summaries of the articles for the intelligent reader… readers with a great interest but who perhaps struggles a bit with some of the science. From reading a few of the competing blogs in the award, it looks like plenty of people drop by here and say “what the @$**°!!” and leave again. It was mentioned on one of the poll threads here that a some of those competing blogs were ‘high school’ level. Well… it may be good to have a ‘high school’ level area here to compliment and explain the great work being done.

    Many years ago when the ‘information superhighway’ was in its infancy, great claims were being made for its free access and exchange of information in a bright future. It appears that Climate Audit is one of the few shining examples of that lofty dream and ambition put into practice today. Well done.

  54. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Let’s draw a distinction here. “Left-right” isn’t political, it’s ideological. Politically, there are all manner of machinations, and reasons to align with one group or another. This is why, for example, the US senate voted 95-0 to not ratify Kyoto. That was politics sans ideology. I think the odd thing here is how it’s become highly ideological. You’re not pure if you don’t express your support for the cause. That’s different from political. Different in kind of a scary way.

  55. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    L nettles says it all. politics and religon are fine for the occasional
    “random fruiting” ( Mrs doubtfire. I loved that scene) but in doses larger than
    a post it get’s tedious. I’d rather learn something. I’m religiously agnostic
    and politically libertarian. So you should be free to send yourself to hell if you
    believe in it. But dont tell me to go there.

  56. Spence_UK
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    The “Bad Astronomy” link on the blogroll seems to go nowhere, needs a little fixing!

    PZ has really lost the plot now. With regard to the NAS report, he has said:

    The climate scientists produce an assessment that supports the global warming argument

    The global warming argument? What has the NAS panel report got to with the global warming argument? Followed by

    McIntyre babbles and pretends the report casts doubt on global warming

    Oh look, no evidence or quote, just an assertion. And again, it is obvious PZ is unable to differentiate between the topic of the report (historical temperature reconstructions) and the “global warming argument”.

    As for the bozos that are now claiming I never looked at McIntyre…nonsense. I’ve been reading RealClimate since it first appeared on the web

    Oh boy. This could explain a lot.

    I’ve seen McIntyre’s blather several times before (and been bored by it)

    Not “it contains error X and error Y”, but apparently it isn’t exciting enough to read…

    When I said I see no point in reading his site now, it does not mean I’m completely ignorant of the contents

    Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Given that PZ can’t tell the difference between the “global warming argument” and the topic of the NAS panel report, it is safe to assume he is quite ignorant of the debate. Not surprising if he gets his best info from RealClimate and D**toid.

    Sorry to post this here. I had to get it off my chest, and I see no merit in posting on PZ’s site any more, it will just cause a pointless political flame war.

  57. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    57, and that’s what puzzles me. The blog was created specifically to argue with religious dogmas. That’s fine, but I don’t understand the emotion. Nobody is seriously talking about (to use Gore’s words) “a wrenching transformation of society” because of these dogmas, but they most certainly are because of climate change.

    I understand taking that kind of an interest in the climate issue on practical grounds. But he strikes me as just plain angry that everybody isn’t listening to his pearls of wisdom, just because he’s so special, and everybody should be listening.

  58. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    59, Sorry, but if he thinks Steve hangs out at RC, all I can say is ROFLMAO! That’s priceless!

  59. Larry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    Sorry to post this here, but I just updated, and BA is now ahead of CA, 20684/20632. There’s some monkey business going on. This was supposed to be over 3 1/2 hours ago, and the votes kept coming in. I don’t believe that there were that many votes sitting in routers for that long. I’m just not buying it.

    If that’s how they want to play…

  60. John Lang
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations Steve.

    The science is settled and overwhelming is simply not scientifically true. Accepting the settled science’s extreme prescriptions for fixing the problem would have done a great deal of harm to the economy, society and each and every one of us.

    Fighting against group-think science has always been a tough job. It is in our basic human nature to want to agree with the group-think consensus.

    It has always taken a great scientific mind to break the group-think scientific consensus when it was wrong. One day, they will have to give a Nobel Prize to someone who showed the consensus was not accurate. Today you just have to accept the Weblog award instead. Later maybe for the other one.

  61. Scott
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    60/Larry…I am peripherally involved in climate change science as meteorologist who has written a couple of short, modest papers on “climate change”. I want to quickly point out I am not a climate scientist or an expert in GCM’s. However, I do have a fair understanding of atmospheric science and NWP, etc.. I would characterize myself as an AGW skeptic.

    What bothers me about the whole GW/CC discussion is the degree religion has crept in. And, the “right” is almost as bad as the “left” in how they frame arguments (I am a conservative libertarian…please don’t call me a Republican!). I rarely discuss the issue anymore outside of work because it is so divisive.

  62. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    A while back I talked about
    emotional rewards for professions that were disconnected from reality.

    Essentially. PZ believes he is better than his students and better than his readers and so
    experiences cognitive dissonace.

    The secondary reward of winning a contest offered him some hope of reconciling his
    view of himself with their view of him.

    When that failed, he tried for the terteriary compensation, by throwing his “weight”
    behind Bad astronomy. OPPS.

    He will take it out on his next class of students.

  63. yorick
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    I think the main reason it is Left Right is because, if it is true, then it is a very strong, maybe fatal, blow against free markets. For this reason the Left roots for it and has little interest in finding it to be wrong, and for this reason, the right wants real proof and is naturally extremely skeptical.

  64. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    # 64, Scott, I suppose you have heard some of the derogatory language used to describe the lowly meteorologists who doesn’t tow the fanboy AGW party line. Apparently meteorology is barely a science at all if they are to be believed.

  65. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    PZ is a classy guy, he just edited my post, and posted it in my name. Pathetic.

  66. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Good point. – As a libertarian who thinks GW vs AGW is unknowable at this time – I cringe at the dogmatic anti GW articles the religious right pumps out. I also cringe at the hockey stick hand waving from the left. I’m amazed at the ad hominem attacks from both sides and simply want to sort out the truth. Every time the temperature goes down I hear from my right leaning friends and every time it goes up I hear from my left leaning friends – neither side seems interested in exploring if the issue is really knowable at this time.

  67. deadwood
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    Why left and right? Its easy – our society is polarized and people have by and large adopted the opinions and views of their respective choirs.

    Critical thinking is dead (or at least on life support) in the world today.

    The AGW movement and its green proponents own and occupy the left and all the evil capitalists (along with their denier toadies) live on the right.

    As a practicing environmental scientist I have to deal with both sides to earn a living. I examine facts then report on and about the facts. This week my facts support the right, and last week the facts I reported on supported the left.

    Neither side particularly likes to deal with me, but they keep me busy just the same.

    I really hate it though when my colleagues twist the facts to support their “side”, but that’s life in our times. And I mean colleagues on both sides – not just one.

    Ya gotta keep your BS filters fully engaged.

    Thank you Steve for the breath fo fresh air you have provided in my quest to descipher the babble of AGW. And congratulations on apparently winning this popularity poll. I say apparently because they haven’t added all the CHAD yet.

  68. John Lish
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    While this race for votes has been entertaining sport, I can’t help but think that the competition is like the analogy of two bald men fighting over a comb. It really doesn’t deserve the level of heat that has been generated.

    The labels left and right are merely clubs to beat ones opponent with as far as I can tell.

  69. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    PZ is doing science at a small liberal arts college.

    connect the dots.

    Unless you love teaching this combination can lead to disturbed behavior.
    A good number of you have seen this. Halpern exhbits some of the traits. PZ
    others. I dont blame them. It’s just a phenomena that is subject to analysis.

  70. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    You don’t get any further left than Alexander Cockburn, and he thinks AGW is a big scam, and that Gore is quietly working for Occidental Petroleum and Big Oil.

  71. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    RE 60.

    He is at the first stage of religious disbelief.

  72. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:13 PM | Permalink


    It’s like the old saying “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach do so at small liberal arts colleges.”

  73. Andrew
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

    Hello. This is my first time commenting here, so I would like to say first off that from what I’ve seen, this is a high quality site and doesn’t deserve the criticisms leveled at it. Whatever your view point, you ought to want to base public policy on science that is correct and verified, not just convenient. Second, I would like to express the view, stated earlier by PeterS, that a sister site that distills the content here down to a level that most people can cope with would be a good idea. I would also like to comment on the issue that this particular thread has raised. I realize that, yes, it is politically convenient for Liberals to support AGW, and yes, it is convenient for Conservatives to oppose it (except at the ballot box, but I’ll get to that later). I would suggest however that labeling Conservatives as “pro-pollution” and liberals as “anti-industrial” is counterproductive, and just plain unfair. Many Conservatives have honest misgivings about increasing the power of the Government over peoples lives, and Liberals have honest misgivings about the possible negative effects of industrialization. Now personally, I lean to the Right politically, and I feel that there is some reason to be skeptical to the claims of alarmists. But I also feel that, if AGW is real, then we really do need to do something about it. We shouldn’t pretend that only Liberals are allowed to offer solutions and only conservatives are allowed to be skeptical. Personally, I think that we can reduce emissions and find alternative energy solutions, but I don’t believe that we should use coercive and socialistic government programs to do so. I think that (and an increasing number of efforts by various energy companies suggests that I’m right) the free market, perhaps with the gentle suggestive measures of tax benefits, will solve these problems. Now, I know what your thinking, “But the Republicans/Conservatives don’t care! They just won’t do anything and will deny there is a problem!”. Well, I wonder what you make of this:


    Notable among those Republicans who believe we ought to do something? Newt Gingrich. For those who don’t live in the US, or are just unaware, noone in their right mind would ever accuse Newt of being a liberal. But of course, you say, “they aren’t really representative, most Republicans are like Inhofe on this, they just don’t believe, and they won’t, true or not.” But why should they have to, if all their economic and government power misgivings are separated from the issue? I think that they would support a measure that benefited energy companies, whether based on science they find politically repugnant or not. I would.

  74. Bill
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    Wow! It’s clear that, win or lose the blogging contest, your real triumph is in this affirmation of your work – that there’s a legion of smart, appreciative people who have been watching your site evolve.

  75. Aaron Wells
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    Deadwood said:

    I say apparently because they haven’t added all the CHAD yet.

    Apparently the chads are now in.

  76. Steve Huntwork
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    “Well, I wonder what you make of this:”


    Well, first off, I did not see any actual data being presented.

    My second comment is best stated by quoting what was said in the artical:

    “The warning came from Inglis’ eldest son, Robert Jr., now 22. His daughter was no less blunt about the congressman’s refusal to embrace the view that global warming was being caused by human actions and that a serious response is needed.”

    Now, I must ask you honestly, is this actually scientific?

  77. Andrew
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    79 Of course not! I’m not suggesting that the AGW people are right or wrong, just commenting on whether this is all left/right. I think it isn’t. Frankly, that’s the weakest part of the article.

  78. Terry
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    The polls may be closed but the counts are still changing.

    The latest is CA: 20636, BA: 20683. This means that since the polls closed CA has had 394 votes added and BA has had 1690 votes added.

    I understand that there is a process whereby they check for irregularities and remove those votes but I cant see why the votes would go up after the close.

    Even if some votes got “stuck” in the system and are now being counted I would have still expected the increase in votes to be roughly equivalent instead of over 4 times more for BA.

    When the tallies actually settle down do they publish the reasons for the increase in votes after closing?

  79. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    Critical thinking is dead (or at least on life support) in the world today.


    I’ll bet half the people who are posting the “denialist” crap on those sites couldn’t carry on a conversation about AGW for more than 2 minutes. And for most of those people, all they could do for those two minutes would be to recount what they could about AIT.

  80. RevYJ
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been lurking for quite awhile and this is the first time I’ve posted. I hadn’t visited the other sites mentioned until today. WOW! How many decades have these guys been breast feeding? No problem spotting the adults is there?

    Anyways, I just hit the tip jar for a hundred bucks. I know a winner when I see one and I consider it an investment. Steve, keep up the good work and whatever happens don’t let them get you down.

  81. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    There’s an interesting paper from the Quarterly J of Econ from a few years ago that tackles the question posed in the title.


    By Peter DeMarzo, Dimitri Vayanos and Jeffrey Zwiebel

    We propose a boundedly rational model of opinion formation in which individuals are subject to persuasion bias; that is, they fail to account for possible repetition in the information they receive. We show that persuasion bias implies the phenomenon of social influence, whereby one’s influence on group opinions depends not only on accuracy, but also on how well-connected one is in the social network that determines communication. Persuasion bias also implies the phenomenon of unidimensional opinions; that is, individuals’ opinions over a multidimensional set of issues converge to a single “left-right” spectrum. We explore the implications of our model in several natural settings, including political science and marketing, and we obtain a number of novel empirical implications.

    The paper models social networking and learning as a Markov chain in which N people try to learn the true values of a vector of L policy parameters by listening to people around them and updating their beliefs about the parameters. Eventually a consensus emerges which is influenced by well-connected individuals, but the consensus is not always true; and — here’s where the connection to this thread comes — eventually the NxL matrix of beliefs collapses to a single vector. One’s views on all L issues can be predicted based on one’s views on a single issue, which would explain why there seems to be a left-right split on a wide range of issues. The authors put it like this:

    Persuasion bias implies an additional general phenomenon that we refer to as unidimensional opinions. Quite often, individuals’ opinions over a multidimensional set of issues can be well approximated by a simple one-dimensional line, where an individual’s position on the line (i.e., “left” or “right”) determines the individual’s position on all issues. For example,many individuals’ opinions on a wide range of essentially unrelated issues, ranging from free trade to military spending to environmental regulation to abortion, can be characterized by the single measure of how conservative or liberal they are.

    I’ve read most of the paper but I don’t have an intuitive grasp yet of how the model works.

  82. Andrew
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    I really think that people who want to protect the environment should be unwilling to consider possibilities unless they involved “Father Government” protecting “Mother Earth”.

    Oops. I mean willing. So sorry.

  83. MrPete
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    Tortola Marine, eh? 😉 — lots ‘o good sailing/scuba memories… someday, maybe again!

  84. tetris
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations are in order. By all accounts, CA is on more people’s screens than you or most of us who participate might have imagined.
    It is nice to see that you opened the door to the very topic you like to avoid, and also the evolution of this particular thread during the day. As you know from my postings, it would be surreal to pretend that the topics raised on CA have no ideological connotations or political implications.

    The growing “cross-over” from the “left”/environmental movement, aspects and reasons for which have been highlighted above by several participants, is very important. PeterS in #82 is onto a delicate but oh so important subject: it is very easy indeed to sidestep the “socialimus” part of that ideology, and its glorification of “Nature” in one of its manifestations, and its pretentions of controlling it in its others further East.

    A growing number of scientists are voicing their concerns, if about nothing else than the crucial importance of due scientific process. Mainstream media are starting to question the “science is settled” party line. This is all good because at the core of the AGW controversy is the chasm between beliefs/ideology and hard facts.

    The strength of CA and the way you have managed it is the relentless focus on verifying the purported “facts” and your unbelievable civility in the face of the loads dirty bits coming your way out of the proverbial fan. That’s why I think you have many more “observers” than meets the eye.

    So let’s get back to “business”: the science and facts, and see what’s left standing in the process. How about another look into UHI issues and picking up on “Where’s Waldo?”

  85. Mike
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    I noticed Judith Curry left a comment very supportive of CA at Pharyngula. She’s argued the opposite side on CA on occasion, so I though that was very classy of her.

  86. rk
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    From the AP, The committee meeting at Bali next month to hammer out the succesor to Kyoto wants industialized nations to reduce their CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 60 to 80 percent

    Let’s see:
    U. S. CO2 fossil fuel emission 1990 = 1,315,008 thousand Metric tons

    20% of that is 263,001 th. Metric tons, which is what the US used in 1903

    40% is 526,003 th. Metric tons, which is what the US used in 1929 and 1941 (it dropped some 35% from 1929 to 1932)

    I hope the anti-anti-science blogs get serious pretty soon and start looking at the magnitude of what they are agitating for.

    Data from:

    Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  87. tpguydk
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    it shouldn’t be a left-right issue. as a handful of others in the thread have said who are like me, some of us “on the Left” are just as skeptical of the things being said about AGW and the IPCC process, and CA fills that skeptical void. Now, more science, please. 🙂

  88. Papertiger
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    RE # 59
    I left a primer on the scientific method for PZ to study, via a few quotes from Karl Popper. The part about Steve funtioning as natural selection for erroneous scientific dogmas is going to leave a welt – I guarantee

    RE # 68 Or not.

  89. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    First time poster.

    I hate to nitpick, but your link to Bad Astronomy is broken. I do commend you for being civil during this entire thing, which is sadly more than can be said for some. I just don’t want there to be any more unreasonable hooks for people to hang flags that scream ‘bias’ on them. There’s already some conspiracy theories going on that the broken link is intentional…

    Steve: Fixed the link. I’ve also grouped it with other sites in Weblogs category.

  90. Mike
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    PZ writes “You can quit whining that you and McIntyre are finding valid errors; it doesn’t matter, since you’re simultaneously spreading a plague of lies and ignorance as you go.”

    Which implies he would rather see errors in scientific work go uncorrected than give his political adversaries any comfort. He knows McIntyre is finding valid errors, but still persists with his ‘denialist’ rhetoric because that’s what his political commitments require him to do. That’s the narrative, and therefore that’s what he does, and correctness be damned.

  91. Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    I think that this is a valid discussion topic. Very intelligent people of both political leanings loose their objectivity when this topic arises.

    Disclaimer: The following two paragraphs are generalizations and use metaphors to illustrate points of view. These points of view are not necessarily my own.

    If man made CO2 emissions are really causing catastrophic global warming, then the following villains will be penalized: the wretched excesses of the affluent West, ExxonMobil and the rest of the petrochemical industry, George Bush, & Halliburton. For some on the Left, this may be too good not to believe. It’s payback time. Kyoto will effectively transfer wealth from the wealthy nations to the poor. The big shots driving their Lexus or SUVs will have to drive smaller cars like everyone else. The Left tends to be less trusting of the motives and benefits of corporations, especially when there is a question about the environment.

    There may be a tendency for the Right to feel threatened and to not accept arguments regarding AGW as easily as someone on the Left. They may feel as if their livelihood is being threatened and may have an inclination of skepticism. Some on the Right may be unrealistically optimistic about how mankind affects the environment. Relative to many on the Left, the Right would be considered skeptical on this issue. The Right can loose objectivity as well.

    Most people on the Right and Left fall somewhere in between, but any leaning may constitute a loss of objectivity.

  92. dirac angestun
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    John A. wrote: “I think PZ has come seriously unglued.”

    I think so too. But to my complete astonishment I discovered, quite accidentally, that his Pharyngula website is listed prominently on Richard Dawkins’ website richarddawkins.net. Dawkins is a biologist and author who has recently become increasingly hostile to religion of every kind. What on earth is his connection with PZ Myers? Myers is a biologist, so that may be part of it. But is Dawkins totally sold on Global Warming in the way PZ Myers is?

  93. Scott
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Sonic and Karl…Funny since most “climate scientists” are atmospheric scientists. It’s the same atmosphere, same physics and forcing functions: only the timeline and event horizons differ. I would argue that climate science leans more heavily into subjectivity because of the heavy dependence on anecdotal evidences (e.g., ocean and ice core samples, tree rings, etc.). GCM’s are grossly parameterized in order to run in a timely fashion. Parameterization is the hobgoblin of all NWP.

    I remember someone mentioned that ensembles were being used to gain insight into long term GCM simulations. I have worked with ensembles, and they can lead you down the wrong path depending on the approach you use to vary model initialization. It can be useful, or misleading.

  94. MarkR
    Posted Nov 8, 2007 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    #59 There is an imposter S McIntyre who posts at RC lately (He writes his name jusy slightly different). Just another attempt by them to muddy the waters. PZ might be mistaking the imposter for the real McIntyre.

  95. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 12:45 AM | Permalink

    Prior to this vote, I (and doubtless many CA readers) had been unaware of the Bad Astronomy blog

    Really? That’s pretty sad. A lot of every day scientists knew about Bad Astronomy from a while back, before attacking Jim Hansen was popular, even “Newsbusters”. You don’t read a lot of science sites, I guess?

    Did you honestly think that a one-sided attack on climate science that failed to show all of the missteps that did not fall in favor of your “peers” (pardon that if you’re not) would get an award?

    No matter how much “Newsbusters” and their associated right wing pals astroturfed it?

    As a science blog finalist, I presume that the person responsible is happy to talk science. The email address I’m listing is not false, it works, it was a Halloween impulse. I would love to hear your thoughts on climate sensitivity, and if not that on how your website seems to have become a haven for people that you yourself when pressed admit is consensus science.

    What happened to all of the users that demanded NASA’s GISSTEMP source code? Are they still crying foul?

  96. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    how your website seems to have become a haven for people that you yourself when pressed admit reject what is is consensus science.

    Sorry for the mistyping. Seriously, email me if you’re actually interested in working through the science. What is the worst that can happen, you exposing a conspiracy?

  97. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #93, The most annoying aspect to the Left/Right divide on AGW is how those of us on the Right are mischaracterized by the Left. My livelyhood isn’t threatened. I worry about the environmental harm being done in the name of AGW. Yes, I’m a rightwing environmentalist. You’d be surprised how many there are of us. We want real solutions to real problems. In AGW we see phoney solutions, often resulting in environmental damage, to questionable problems, and never mind the lost opportunity to solve real problems. At the risk of repeating myself, every AGW proponent should see the environmental damage being done in the tropics by the quest for biofuels.

  98. Demesure
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

    “Anyway, if anyone knows of a true left-wing liberal who isn’t solidly in the AGW camp let me know!”

    Denis Rancourt:

    I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth.

    Otherwise, a prominent leftist skeptics is Claude Allegre, one of the most prized French scientists, member the French AND American science Academy, ex education minister and ranking member of the French socialist party.

    But I agree with you that AGW is THE best partisane issue anyone can dream of. The 2 cited above are rare GMOs (Global-warming Modified Organism).

  99. Sean Egan
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

    Hey guys,
    The current voting figures 9:24 GMT look stable at
    Bad Astronomy 20,683
    Climate Audit 20,638
    The voting appears to have continued several hours after close. Time to ask what is going on. When is the official result?

  100. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 2:03 AM | Permalink

    When is the official result?

    It was supposed to be last night in Las Vegas. I don’t see any formal announcement on the web page though.

  101. James Lane
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    #96 I don’t think anyone would confuse J.S. McIntyre with CA Steve. But no thanks for driving me over to RC for a look.

  102. MarkR
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

    #100 Demesure. George Monbiot

    It doesn’t get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava(1). The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the county of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought(2). It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks.

    I posted this up on another site last week, and got a technical query as to how many SPG’s could be got in a SUV. SPG’s meaning Swazis Per Gallon.

    Sorry. Bad taste I know. Anyway the point is the left is split on this and in a catfight between itself. On the one hand it wants to do down the filthy rich Western Capitalist Running Dog CO2 emitters, on the other, people like Monbiot, and the Director of The Great Global Warming Swindle are just beginning to realise that the worldwide proletariat will never get heat, light, running water, and proper food, without power, and that comes with CO2 emissions. What to do? They have put themselves in a very deep hole. That’s why if ever that Sierra Club chappy gets tiresome, I just mention that the Stern Report says we only have to spend $27 Billion a year in the UK doing green things instead of feeding the poor and healing the sick, and he disappears. His grey matter doesn’t want to compute that $27 Billion down the drain will cost a lot of third world lives.

  103. MarkR
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    #103. James. Sorry. I’m sure you will rise above it.

  104. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

    Re#104 The very depressing fact is black kids dying in Africa from preventable diseases doesn’t count when it comes to white middle-class urban guilt about driving SUVs.

  105. UK John
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    Congrats Steve. If you can greet success and failure and treat them both the same etc.

    The AGW CO2 panic gang, Gore, Mann, Juckes, environmental lobby et al. have overplayed their hand, exaggerated, altered, deleted, made things up, to the extent that their predictions became bizzare. This could have been the biggest distraction of all time!
    Someone had to stand up and say stop!

    However, a truth does remain, that 6.5 billion of us are using the planets resources at an unsustainable rate, and we need to think about how we go forward.

  106. Robinson
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

    I didn’t read the whole thread and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but CA did *not* win the vote.

  107. Bob Meyer
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    People tend to see what they expect to see. Anyone who follows baseball regularly has probably noticed that umpires tend to call small strike zones for big name hitters and large strike zones for big name pitchers. In a youth baseball game I once saw an umpire call a slow running batter out at first even though he had not only crossed the bag but had started to turn around and go back to first before the first baseman had the ball. The umpire “knew” that there was no way for such a slow runner to beat the throw to first.

    So when certain AGW proponents see that Steve McIntyre is critical of the statistical procedures used by some big name scientist like Mann they “know” that McIntyre is anti-science. They also “know” that Steve believes in Intelligent Design, the Illuminati conspiracy, Bigfoot and flying saucer bases in the antarctic. Even when Steve is obviously justified in a criticism (like objecting to the author of a study refusing to let Steve see his data) it becomes “nitpicking”.

    Logically, most people know that someone can be completely rational in one area of his life and utterly insane in another area. It wouldn’t affect the validity of Steve’s work even if he howled at the moon and thought that he was the reincarnation of St Jerome. But that logic doesn’t seem to matter when core beliefs are at stake. Challenge someone’s most basic view of life and you will not only be “wrong” but stupid, ugly and likely to do terrible things to small animals as well. People’s tendency to see what they expect to see goes through the ceiling when their basic ideas are challenged.

    If it seems strange that AGW could be a core belief that’s because it isn’t. However, it does fit into certain core beliefs and there are a lot of people who measure the truth of an idea by how well it reinforces their basic view of life.

    Unfortunately, whether CA won or placed second in the popularity contest is irrelevant to the quality of the blog since the issue was clearly settled on “core belief” grounds and not on the basis of the level of argumentation of the blog owners and posters. After all, a bad method is not OK just because the answer is correct.

    CA covers the science of GW better than anything else that I have seen, that’s why I read it.

  108. Iain
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    #109, Robinson…can you hear the sound of a fat lady singing? because I can’t 🙂

    Wait until the announcement.

  109. Iain
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

    The weblog awards site is now showing ‘winner not yet determined’ for Best Science Blog. The voting page says that the winner should be announced on Monday.

  110. Robinson
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    112 I also read on their forums that they are going to take the count as it was at closing, which would make CA the winner.

  111. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    re 109:

    I didn’t read the whole thread and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but CA did *not* win the vote.

    Now if Steve gets the majority of votes but doesn’t win, that will make him very similar to Al Gore.

  112. Stefan
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    The American philosopher Ken Wilber suggested a definition of “left” and “right” that, as I recall, goes something like this:

    To the question, “why are there poor people?”, there are basically two broad answers: one is that it’s the fault of the society (the system is oppressive), and the other is that it’s the fault of the individual (people are lazy).

    If you believe that people are lazy, then you will value policies that promote development of the individual, like good family values, discipline, repect for authority, and loyalty to country. This has typically been the position of the Right.

    If you believe that the system is oppressive, then you will value policies that progress the system, like promoting gay rights, cultural diversity, equal pay for women, and teaching people to question traditional authorities like the church.

    These two perspectives, the focus on the individual’s interior development, and the focus on society’s exterior structure, are Right and Left, or Interiorist and Exteriorist perspectives.

    It can be seen pretty starkly on issues like gun control. When a violent crime is commited like a school shooting, the Interiorist says the problem lies in the individual, that they didn’t learn good family values and respect for human life, and they probably had a damaged and unhealthy upbringing. The Exteriorist looks at the same event and instead sees the problem lying in the system, that there are too many guns freely available, and so favors strict gun control.

    In this light, I have the impression that, on the environment, the Exteriorists/Left focus on big business as being the oppressors of nature, trees and birds. The system is to blame so the system needs to be regulated. The big polluters must be restrained. Individuals are “small” and so only need to make small token cuts like driving smaller cars or not drinking mineral water. Never mind whether CO2 is such a big problem that none of us can afford to drive cars or turn on the lights. Somehow it’s always the big industries that are mostly to blame and the real problem. Big business has tried to suppress science before (tobacco), and even if the current science isn’t quite right, big business is at fault anyway.

    Meanwhile, these artifical blocks and restraints on the free flow of effort and reward through the system are very worrying to the Interiorist/Right. Certainly they want good quality of life and the environment is a big part of this. But how does Kyoto improve the quality of water and the air? How does it make the forests more beautiful or the wildlife more diverse? And how does it help honest hard working people to gain the fruits of their labor, if the company they work for is being taxed arbitrarally?

    The environmentalist Experiorist tends to reject the notion that there could be more money going into the AGW movement than there is going into the anti-AGW movement, because in their view it’s the “big system” that’s usually the problem and at fault. And the solutions tend to focus on putting restraints on big business, while promoting a new culture to educate individuals to care enough to help to put an end to these violent oppressions of Nature.

    These are broad generalisations but can be useful nonetheless. Personally I find the greatest disconnect is with the promotion of small token gestures like turning gadgets off, and not using the wasteful “standby” mode; somehow individuals only have to make token cuts while the system will magically be regulated to make major cuts. I can’t get my head around that.

    So I wonder what would happen if studies demonstrated that 70% of carbon emissions were actually under the direct control of inviduals, and that the quickest way to achieve national targets, requires individuals to cut their carbon footprint 50% immediately.

  113. EW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    I visited the Pharyngula comment and discussion about the awards and now I feel rather depressed. The aggressive style is all too familiar to me – apparently in the “holy war against infidels” any use of insults and expletives is permitted. Sad, indeed.

  114. Tony Edwards
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    Mrpete, if you ever get back to Tortola, look me up. I’m easily found, just ask any charter service, I do repairs for all of them.
    Again, how’s the tree ring work progressing?

  115. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    One of the lies that is told in the environmentalist camp, is that some of the people who oppose them are “pro-pollution”. Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY is pro-pollution. There are some people who put the trade off between environment and economic growth at a different point than you do, but that doesn’t make them pro-pollution.

    One of the things that disappoints me about so many people on the left these days, is that there is no such thing as honest disagreement anymore. If youdon’t agree with them, on every point, you are either evil, or stupid.

  116. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    Several people in the alarmist camp, including Al Gore, have stated that the things we need to do in response to global warming, are things we need to be doing anyway. I think that’s why so many people on the left are so eager for the alarmists to win. It’s because they back the solutions, not because they agree with the problem.

  117. MrPete
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    (Thanks, Tony! And on tree ring status: the lab is completing its computer-assisted/photographic ring-width analysis. I suspect the results should be in soon. Meanwhile, I’m working on unrelated “real world” issues and occasionally letting my computer do BCP photo-stitching in the background…)

  118. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:00 AM | Permalink


    I’m still trying to figure out how something can be both “valid” and “highly uncertain”. In my mind, the two concepts are for the most part, mutually exclusive.

  119. Demesure
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    What ??? They use punch cards to decide who or BA or CA wins ?

  120. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    There’s an old joke:

    Q: What’s the difference between an environmentalist and a developer.

    A: The environmentalist already has a house in the woods.

  121. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    Myers is a professor at a liberal arts college.

    That explains a lot.

  122. MarkR
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:18 AM | Permalink


  123. MrPete
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

    Wow, I post one, calm and reasonable message on Phar*, and now I’m blocked from posting. Yup, they’re all about good science. Not.

  124. Robinson
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    MrPete I didn’t even bother. The tone of the discussion rather put me off, as I think it did for Dr Curry. The Bad Astronomy website seemed to be a much gentler place but alas they don’t seem to be much interested in fact either. If people would only take some time to study published work before commenting, the whole debate would be much more rational.

  125. PaddikJ
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    First, congrats once again to Steve. This is almost emabarrassing – how often he’s garnered congrats the last 6 months or so. Time once again to drop a 20 in the tip jar.

    It’s a politicized issue because it stokes the vanities of both leftists and rightists. One more reason why I remain a grouchy, pox-on-both-your-houses centrist. I know several good leftists who refused to hear the tinyest contrary fact to AGW, but were converted to doubters by Cockburn’s ascientific, “follow the money” criticisms.

  126. John Lish
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    What’s the betting on a joint award?

  127. MarkW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    127: MrPete: See my post number 125.

  128. Jason C
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    Check this out on a SEO blog I read. Just got this on RSS : Security Audit Of WLA.
    It appears their security was a smoke wall! … so lame

  129. Iain
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    What’s the betting on a joint award?

    I would doubt that, although it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Once the votebots and the late votes are discounted I hope that there’s a well defined outcome in favour of CA but if it should be in favour of BA then so be it.

    Much kudos to Steve for his hard work in creating a site that attracted more than twice the combined votes of the two leading sites of last years poll 🙂

  130. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    pretty confusing situation.

    congratulations anyway. while i disagree with a majority of your posts, i still believe that you re sometimes on good stuff. keep it going!

  131. dirac angestun
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Bob Meyer in #111 said: “If it seems strange that AGW could be a core belief that’s because it isn’t. However, it does fit into certain core beliefs and there are a lot of people who measure the truth of an idea by how well it reinforces their basic view of life.”

    It’s pretty much a core belief of a great many people that there are far too many of us using too many finite resources to produce too much waste, and that if we don’t do something about it pronto there’ll be an almighty crash. AGW slots very easily into that core belief system. If AGW were disproved, the core belief system would soon latch on to some other looming threat as its standard bearer – population explosion, epidemic, whatever. This core belief system is apocalyptic in character, expecting the world to end any day now. And if it doesn’t end today, then there’s always tomorrow. This core belief – that the world is about to come to an end – isn’t anything new. It’s always been around. Early Christianity is one exemplar. It’s a belief that becomes intense and near-universal in times of turmoil and war, and which fades away in times of tranquillity and peace. AGW is simply tapping into ancient human dreads.

    We could all do with another FDR who says: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

  132. James
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    #89, 75, and 72.

    Ad hominem remarks against PZ and snarky remarks against small colleges are disgusting and out of place, and put you in the same class as PZ.

    Excellent science is sometimes done at small liberal arts colleges, and quackery is sometimes practiced at large public and private universities, and vice versa. To demean all is “petty, annoying, and worthy of scorn”, to quote the American Heritage Dictionary.

    PZ’s remarks stand for themselves, and demonstrate that he is ill-informed about CA yet biased and close-minded (not a good combination for any scientist). But while that is true for PZ, his traits should not be used to demean other small college teachers, people from Minnesota, bearded males, or any other set of individuals.

  133. _Jim
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Jon posted:

    You don’t read a lot of science sites, I guess?

    I think the case is, Jon, that some of us have never seen a link to BA in listed in the likes of EDN, RF Design, Microwave Journal -or- at RF Cafe …

    Nothing against BA, but some of us have other very specific interests and responsibilities, like investigating the anomolous S12 response of a 4-stage S-band tower-top amplifier due to the internal, interstage ‘feedback’ on the T/R control lines involving the input GaAs switch and the Vcc lines further up the amplifier chain …

  134. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    #132 Jason C

    Thanks for that link. I think that pretty much invalidates the whole poll. Now I know why not to use Flash for such types of web applications.


  135. PabloM
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    This posts states that there is causal effect between political identification and global warming belief (or skepticism) – that the left believes because they are leftists and the right disbelieves because they are rightists.

    For me, it was the other way around. I was once left-leaning and a believer in AGW because I fell prey to the conventional wisdom that “everybody knows” AGW is true. Once I took the time to understand the issue, I realized the conventional wisdom was at least deeply flaw if not completely bogus. This in turn caused me to question many other beliefs that I had accepted based on the conventional wisdom. I did my own research rather than relying on others (namely the news media) to tell me about issues. Over time my views on many things shifted right, not just on AGW (not that I accept skepticism of AGW as truly a right-wing position). But the shock that I experienced when I finally realized I was being misled on AGW initiated this change in me.

    Anyway, the simplest answer to your question is answered in #120. It is about the solutions, not the problem. You will see this when you debate a left-wing type. If you make a strong stand against AGW alarmism, eventually you learn that they don’t really care about whether AGW is true or not – it just doesn’t matter. But it is forcing us to “do the right thing.” The “right thing” always involves governments or the UN to seize money and power.

    From a former Democrat Senator (now with the UN):
    “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy. ” – Timothy Wirth quoted in Science Under Siege by Michael Fumento, 1993

    I don’t think deception to incite panic can be part of doing the right thing.

  136. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    Really? That’s pretty sad. A lot of every day scientists knew about Bad Astronomy from a while back, before attacking Jim Hansen was popular, even “Newsbusters”. You don’t read a lot of science sites, I guess?

    A lot of every day scientists knew that “attacking Jim Hansen was popular” long before the website Bad Astronomy existed. My every day scientists were apparently years ahead of your every day scientists.

  137. Nick
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think it matters if one side or the othe snarked the system. That’s bad – but it doesn’t reflect on Steve or the BA guy. It gave me (and others) the opportunity to see some more blogs. My response? I won’t be visiting Phylumagumadnasdfndfaswatever again. Disturbing. I just don’t get the desire to use obscenities and rant. BA, I might visit for a little bit, if he concetrates on astronomy. Now I’m sure isn’t the right time to judge him – he’s still very angry at the denialists, but not as unhinged as Phlowergumadominatrix. And, as I mentioned yesterday, web voting is about as statistically poor a method as you could hope to use. CA readers really shouldn’t care about it at all. THe big win is getting some more people interested.

    As to the left right divide – I’m a PhD in engineering who works in the environmental field. I do my job, and keep the science to the science, and no one I work with suspects I am an evil conservative. I became interested in the issue of GW when I read about the correlation of sunspot activity trends to temperature trends, and felt there must be more to it than CO2 alone. Friends used the Hockey Stick to beat me for quite a while, and then Steve did his assessment. Good for him, and good for me, I had something that I could use to fight back with!

    I’ve been a avid reader of the site since Steve took on the Y2K issue at Nasa, and have tried to get GW friends to read the site – and was rewarded in one case by being compared to a 911 conspiracist. SO now I keep my mouth shut now and don’t talk about it – I like to pretend my friends are still somewhat reasonable humans, and so I won’t needlessly provoke them into making me erase their phone number from my cell. From someone who has been there, its not the evil right wing who work to keep people in their place. And, because I actually care about my career, I won’t make waves.

    So – in the end, Steve, you can struggle with this demon. But the minds of almost everyone I know are made up – to the point where they are willing to embrace the most uneconomic measures to stop it. Its going to play havoc on our economy. And the results will be nill. I’m all for getting off foreign oil. But the right way to do that is to build nuclear plants, have them produce hydrogen from electrolysis, combine the hydrogen with a carbon source to make an easily usable fuel, and walla! Freedom and CO2 reduction! SO – where are the BA and PhylHendriesguminations on nuclear. If they are pro-science, they will say “Hell yes!” and by the way, lets reprocess the fuel so that we don’t have so much to store in Yucca. But I’m guessing that they would be aghast at the suggestion, and say that conservation is what we need. Sure – my house is filled with cfl’s. I insulated it, and put a solar barrier on it when I rebuilt it. But my and other’s conservation won’t supply the power needed by the rest of the world.

    By the way, if we did go the nuclear/hydrogen/carbon reformulated fuel route – we could compete with the big oil producing countries and bring millions of well paying jobs here. Economically, building industry is always a plus. But it won’t happen.

    OK – enough of this rant. Off to work.

  138. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    It has never occurred to me to consider this site as left or right wing. Is this a semantic misconception on my part, a difference of perspective this side of the pond? For myself, I guess I’m left wing, afterall there is our islander background. But that doesn’t mean I am blinkered to bad practice on the part of those who should know better.
    As I said yesterday, well done Steve M – my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

  139. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    I’ve never seen a site draw down party lines down the issue like this one has. “Why is this left and right?” … because people like you ask such assuming questions. The benefit of drawing people with political ploys is that one can start the fire with such a question.. play all nice and innocent.. and let the ideology of your followers lay the dirty smackdown for you with the dirty accusations, ad hominems, sneers & jeers, etc.

    Smooth Politics 101

  140. EW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 9:59 AM | Permalink


    And, because I actually care about my career, I won’t make waves.

    That’s what everybody sane in my country did when Communists were ruling. I somehow thought that this attitude would become obsolete, but alas, better not to forget my old ways. Could come in handy again.

  141. Brent Brouwer
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    I am quite conservative politically but before I read Steves work I was much more the ideological denier than I am now. I think it was in response to Anthony Watt’s work that Steve wrote something along the lines…Yeah maybe there is AGW, maybe it is worse than we think but with what passes for climate science how can we know? Like a hot kiss from a wet fist it put things in perspective for me. That is what this extended cross-word puzzle is about. If that means I have moved left so be it.

    If Lomborg is a leftist, there is probably much I would disagree with him about. But clearly he is correct that the only way to lower COO significantly would be to gut the world’s economic health. The devastation that would result would please those who think humankind is a plague and the world would be better off without us.I don’t see them voting with their feet though.

    Kudos to regulars here who posted to BA and Pharalingualitis. Especially Ms. Byrnes stood out on BA’s comments measured and goodhearted.

  142. BarryW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    RE 139

    One thing about AGW, all of the hype implies negative outcomes. What if the reverse were true. One of the reasons that MWP is denied is that the climate was benign which would imply that global warming is a good thing. People who have an emotional attachment to an issue can rationalize their actions (however imoral they are) for what they see as the common good.

  143. Larry
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    At 5:00 pm EST, Steve writes:

    OK, the voting is over. The vote (at closing) was CA 20,242; BA 18,993, but scrutinizing is still taking place.

    Silly man. Something was still going on, but it wasn’t scrutinizing.

  144. Nick
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    #146 – I know. I’m married to a woman from Eastern Europe. Its for her sake and my kids that I don’t open my mouth at work, and don’t open my mouth among my friends. She understands. I understand your position also. But sadly, #142 moondancer is with the majority of scientists out there. Believe me, I was a pretty open mouthed guy for a long time. But I’ve changed jobs, and I’m in an area where unemployment and a mortgage don’t go well together. I don’t like it – but my reality is making “dadda!” noises right now.

  145. EW
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:14 AM | Permalink


    A quote from a theatre play seen years ago comes to my mind: “Cleon, when you say, what you think, think a bit about what you are saying..”

  146. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    I imagine the people who exposed the piltdown man were anti evolutionists?

    [snip – Nov 28] The fraud didnt make evolution
    a false theory, but it did lead some down the wrong path for some time.


  147. RomanM
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    #147 Miguel Picanco.

    You seem to be laboring under some misconceptions. You call them “assuming questions,” but you are the one who is assuming a particular answer. In contradiction of your conclusion – there is no common “ideology” on this blog. After hanging out here for quite a while reading, and sometimes posting, I still don’t know the exact political leanings of many of the participants, nor do I care. I suspect that a lot of them are like myself and find themselves in different camps on various political issues because we are more likely to evaluate the issue on its merits as opposed to following a predigested ideology.

    What “smackdowns” are you talking about? Ad hominems, dirty accusations? Are you sure you clicked the right link to get here and not Pharyngula? This is not the typical modus operandi here.

  148. Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink


    Confidence also comes from the weak, shoddy and highly selective arguments presented by Realclimate. If theirs represent some of the strongest arguments for AGW, then we don’t have a lot to fear from AGW. (Classic example: ‘Great Global Warming Swindle film was: biased, distorted, misleading, supported by oil producers, etc; Al Gore’s film well he didn’t get everything right, but most things were right and the basic message was right – a ‘nice’ film that we should show in all our schools).

    Where they turfed me because there were more cat3+ hurricanes in the 50’s than 90’s, LOL.

  149. aeronathan
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Comparing the differences in responses between PZ, BA and here told me everything I needed to know. Here we have a reasonable thoughtful response. There you see vitriol and attacks (moreso at PZ than BA but still there). No true scientist would ever oppose further examination of the available evidence just because the examiner may not completely agree with the initial conclusions.

  150. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    I’ve said on many occasions that, if I had a big policy job, I would be guided by the views expressed by large institutions. Unlike some “skeptics”, I don’t argue that decisions should be deferred pending perfect certainty. I have business experience and know that people make decisions all the time with uncertainty – you have to. At the same time, if you’re going to make effective decisions, you need to have the best possible information. And I vehemently disagree that scientists can use the “big picture” as a justification for being careless with their details. People should try their hardest to get the details right as well as the big picture.

    If one could divide the opposing camps by science and politics, I judge that the political issue would divide along the lines of whether and how big a mess one thinks that government imposed attempts at mitigating AGW would cause, while for those who can completely keep their political inclinations out of their arguments, I judge the divide would occur along the lines of how well we think we can quantify the uncertainty of AGW forecasts/predictions/scenarios/proxies/models.

    I am a self-admitted libertarian whose views on the AGW issue are certainly related to my views on how well I judge government attempts at mitigation would succeed. I would need more convincing evidence than those who see a very large and expanding role for government in these issues, regardless of the uncertainties in the science findings that would be used to instigate such actions.

    My view, when I attempt to exclude my political inclinations, comes down to seeing climate science having a long way to go before we can make predictions with reasonably small uncertainty limits in either the direction of little or large changes in future climate. My doubts increase exponentially when it comes to predicting the beneficial versus detrimental effects of a climate with increasing average global temperatures and doing it for relatively localized areas of the globe. The push as a consensus to see only the detrimental effects of climate change gives me great pause in accepting these generalized conclusions.

    Back when views on Iraq were more evenly divided, I sometimes compared what I do to being a CIA analyst arguing that sometimes an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube and not evidence of WMD. That wouldn’t mean that proponents of the war couldn’t argue the matter using different arguments or that the war was or wasn’t justified, or that the subsequent occupation of Iraq was or wasn’t botched. All it means is that policy-makers shouldn’t be basing their decisions on questionable information about aluminum tubes. This was a line of argument that used to rub right-wing people who liked part of my message the wrong way, but I hope that it says something about me.

    And this is where I see a contradiction in the political division on AGW. When the example is Iraq, many, who would appear to be in hurry to have government attempts at mitigation of AGW, see the folly in the rush to military action and nation building in Iraq, but appear less clear-sighted, at least from my perspective, in their views of AGW and particularly of attempts at mitigation. On the other hand, many of those, who would want more certainty in the issue of AGW before proceeding, do not appear to have, or have had, the same reservations about the Iraq issues.

  151. Larry Sheldon
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    Have they stopped “adjusting” the votes yet? Who “won”?

  152. David
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I can answer your question quite easily with a few observations/questions:

    1. Why does the communist party in America call itself the “Green Party”?
    2. Why are the Sierra Club, WWF, and Greenpeace all left wing organizations?
    3. Who formed “earth day” in the 1970s?
    4. Who was behind the Inconvenient Truth movie?
    5. Who wants nothing more than for the UN to usurp power?
    6. Who controls the Universities and teacher’s unions?
    7. Who makes up the majority of main stream media organizations?

    The right wing care about the environment, but they also believe in truth, God, freedom, and Capitalism. The left wing are always looking for a way to blame everything on consumerism, capitalism, and evil white anglo-saxon men. Your site is about finding truth rather than assigning blame or promoting an agenda, which is a good thing to people who care about truth.

  153. beng
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Steve_M, sorry for being just a lurker of late — too many good & faster posters here at CA now. But congratulations are in order, regardless of what the final poll results are (I don’t care & don’t think you do either). Bottom line is CA is getting more exposure & credibility, as it deserves.

    PS The “response” by PZ Myer is ugly and revealing. And I’m disappointed by P Plait’s responses — he undermines his own purposes on BA.

  154. John Muir
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Sorry to inject a bit of sanity and reason into this discussion, but you guys are apparently sitting in a cave convincing yourselves that the earth is the center of the universe. This is the most bizarre, frat-hug, ego boosting website that I’ve ever seen. Wow – you are actually twisting reality enough to make you the “skeptics”… don’t you understand anything?? – You are supporting the world’s largest hegemonic system -ha! you’re not skeptical… you’re sheep! Its the scientists, those who understand science and who trust scientists, we are the skeptics of this system because we are skeptical of the myth (which you all seem to believe) that our actions have no real consequences…. you’re idiots…. you think you’re skeptical of some big popular panic, but in reality, you’re just brainwashed under a predominant cultural hegemony. – I don’t know anyone who’s in a panic over climate change – and I work for an environmental lawfirm. But we are doing things to change our impact – riding bikes, using less elelctricity, etc. This is a reasonable response – where’s the panic? You yourselves are creating the boogy man of a panic – apparently just so you can be “skeptical” of it.

    Um – so what percent of the world’s climate scientists have to endorse the IPCC for you to question your beliefs? And what percent of the IPCC climate change models will have to pan out accurately for your to realize that the globe is changing in some unprecedented ways?

    What you need to do is get out of your cave (you’re limiting yourselves in so many ways) and travel around a bit. Go ahead – don’t be scared of the increasingly extreme weather patterns – see for yourselves how our climate is changing. How are farmers in africa dealing with prolonged droughts?…you might have trouble getting into Chad at the moment. How are slum dwellers in india dealing with more frequent floods? How are islanders dealing with their warming waters and devistating algi blooms? How are artic indigenous dealing with the deteriorating ecoysystems?

    You understand, of course, that climate change isn’t a 1:1 ratio, right? No boys, this is what we in science call “exponential growth” – meaning that a small change in one variable can lead to large changes in outcomes, as well as triggering a series of unpredicted results as well.

    It would be nice to think that our actions have no consequences. Unfortunately, that’s not our reality. Someday, you might realize how wrong you are… I hope we still have time to correct our behavior.

  155. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    OK, everybody’s vented. I’ve deleted a few posts; I should have deleted more.

2 Trackbacks

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