Behind the SKS Curtain

As a preamble and reprise, I think that it is reasonable for Cowtan and Way to take exception with HadCRU’s failure to estimate temperature in Arctic gridcells and to propose methods for estimating this temperature. At a time when the climate community argued that differences between the major indices and accessibility to CRU data didn’t “matter”, I thought that both mattered. One of the reasons for transparency in CRU data and methods was so that interested parties could carry out their own assessments, as Cowtan and Way have done. They have diagnosed a downward bias in recent HadCRU results. On previous occasions, I’ve observed that the community is more alert to errors that go the “wrong way” than to errors that go the “right way” and this opinion remains unchanged. As noted in my previous post, it doesn’t appear to me that their slight upward revision in temperature estimates has a material impact on the discrepancy between models and observations – a discrepancy which remains, despite efforts to spin otherwise.

In today’s post, I’ve re-examined Robert Way’s contributions to the secret SKS forum, where both he and Cowtan (Kevin C) have been long-time contributors. In my first post, I took exception to Way calling me a “conspiracy wackjob”. However, relative to the tenor of other SKS posts in which their colleagues fantasize about “ripping” out Anthony Watts’ throat and Anthony and I being perp-walked in handcuffs, Way’s language was relatively mild.

In addition, re-reading the relevant threads, other than a couple of occasions (ones to which I had taken exception), Way’s language was mostly temperate and well-removed from the conspiratorial fantasies about the “Denial Machine” that pervade too much of the SKS forum. In addition, this re-reading showed that, on numerous occasions, Way had agreed with Climate Audit critiques, sometimes in very forceful terms and usually against SKS forum opposition. Way typically accompanied these agreements with sideswipes to evidence his disdain for Climate Audit, but seldom, if ever, contradicted things that I had actually said.

I think that readers will be surprised at the degree of Way’s endorsement of the Climate Audit critique of Team paleoclimate practices.

Steig Incident
Let me start this review with Way’s surprisingly temperate remarks (General Chat/2011-02-09-Antarctic Temperature Trends.html) regarding a dispute between Real Climate and Climate Audit arising over Steig’s efforts as a reviewer to prevent publication of O’Donnell et al 2010. As CA readers will recall, Steig, as an anonymous reviewer, did everything in his power to prevent publication of O’Donnell et al 2010, requiring changes that, in my opinion, diminished the article. Ryan O’Donnell published a post at CA that was expressed more angrily than I would have written, but Ryan was pretty mad. This prompted an exchange at Real Climate, with Steig consigning even technical criticisms to the Borehole, a practice that had been criticized by skeptics on other occasions, but which was particularly virulent. Way objected to Steig’s conduct, which he described as a lesson in what “NOT to do as a scientist”:

Hey all,

There’s a feud going on pertaining to this post on RC

followed by these two by climate audit:

I’m gonna be honest, this should be a lesson on what NOT to do as a scientist. Steig is refusing to read the criticism of his criticism and is refusing to engage the authors of the paper he is criticizing. In the “Borehole” at RC you can see some examples of comments by the others that are purely technical and include no *snark* that Steig calls snark and put in the Borehole. I know how ravenous the *auditors* can get but this type of non-response is exactly what gives skeptics momentum.

Way was immediately challenged by SKS forum participants, but re-iterated his objections to Steig’s conduct. He also observed that statistically Steig was “wrong” and CA was “right”. He also (in my opinion) accurately perceived the belittling character of Steig’s initial remarks and understood and sympathized with why Ryan O’Donnell (and others) fired back:

to be clear in all this, steig is wrong. CA is right in terms of their reconstruction and their subsequent response. They included way too much snark over at CA but that doesn’t detract from them being right statistically.

Personally I think that if you are curteous and deal with the guys like Ryan O and Jeff ID properly then they will respect you. I watched the initial response and I remember thinking that some of the comments steig made in response to Ryan O were snarky and belittling. I’m not shocked they fired back, not shocked at all.

As scientists aren’t we supposed to take the high ground and just go where the facts lead us?

After a SKS forum commenter defended Steig, Way concluded the thread as follows, expressing, among thing things, a “little shock to learn that Steig et al. made the same principal component mistake that Mann et al 1998 did”. Way tempered his criticism with a sideswipe at me for being unresponsive to a question from him about temperature data:

Having read Steig’s response I don’t really know what my opinion on the whole matter is. I think realistically both of the children need a time-out. That being said Mcintyre needs to learn to call off the attack dogs. If he wants to work on “bridging” the gap between scientists and skeptics then he has to learn to not act like a child himself. I remembered I had question on something to do with temperature data way back and I sent an email to Gavin Schmidt and one to Steve Mcintyre. I got two responses: One from Gavin with some detailed instructions and two publications to look at and one from Mc stating something like “I’m too busy for this, ask someone else”

What I find interesting about that is that if I were steve Mc I would post that exchange on my blog and use it as evidence that the other side was being dismissive… really shows the hypocrisy of it all.

Nevertheless I think that O’donnell and Codon and them are probably more right than Steig statistically and I’m a little shocked to learn that Steig et al. made the same principal component mistake that Mann et al 1998 did but nevertheless the statistics in all this aren’t the lesson to be learned.

What should be taken from this little issue is that tone is very important. If Steig et al remained curteous (even with the attacks) then for those watching on the sidelines it would be obvious that the science is in good hands. To react somewhat snarky just brings us down to their level. Keep talking the science and stay away from personal stuff and you will win in the hearts and minds.

Hide the Decline
Later in March 2011, the SKS forum discussed (General Chat/2011-03-25-Lunacy continues at WUWT and Climate Audit.html) a then current CA post about other incidents (besides the IPCC TAR and WMO cover) in which Briffa had deleted adverse data to hide the decline. Julian Brimelow (Albatross) claimed that I was trying to “brain wash” people and fantasized about Anthony or me being perp-walked in handcuffs:

McIntyre is losing it and with each day and passing is showing his true (and scary) colours, not to mention his incredible desperation. I have noted that WUWT and CA are working a lot more closely now, probably in an effort to brain wash as many people as possible, and to keep the converted convinced that this is all a conspiracy– despite the shit hitting the fan all around them.

I have no idea how one deals with this– to be candid, McIntyre or Watts in handcuffs is probably the only thing that will slow things down. Note that i did not say “stop”. These guys are relentless, and have many faithful followers.

After some equally intemperate commentary by other SKS forum participants, Way commented sensibly that he did not support the deletion of adverse data and, if I was right on this point (as I was), then Briffa has some “explaining to do”:

I’m not sure what my opinion on this subject is at this point. If Steve Mc is correct then I do think that Briffa has some explaining to do. Personally I’m not a fan of the deletion of data for a figure either way… I would get blitzed by my supervisor if I did it in any document so I don’t know why the same standards shouldn’t apply.

Either way though, it just goes to show that some tree ring datasets are probably too difficult to use and other proxies like ice cores…etc… will be better for reconstructions.

The discussion then veered into a discussion of the Mann’s upside-down Tiljander. Ross and I had pointed out this problem in a short comment published in PNAS (250 words max.) Mann denied the problem, calling the (correct) criticism “bizarre”. SKS forum participant grypo, like William Connolley and others, claimed that Mann’s failure should be blamed on Ross and me for not explaining the problem clearly enough:

Had he used a better phraseology that argument may have been settled one way or another, but Mann, apparently, had no idea what he was saying and called it ‘bizarre’.

Way then observed that I was “right” on the Tiljander issue, but, as elsewhere, accompanied this concession with a sideswipe, this time calling me a “conspiracy wackjob”:

The Tiljander debate showed that Mc was right on that issue. Kaufmann had to fix his series because he also used it upside down. Didn’t make too much of a difference but Mann’s response of “Bizarre” was pretty lazy if you ask me. The original Tiljander series people even said Mann and Kaufmann used it wrong. That being said Mc is a conspiracy wackjob…

“McIntyre’s New Target”
In September 2011, I did some posts on Andrew Dessler. Grypo started an SKS Forum thread (General Chat/2011-09-29-McIntyre’s new target.html) urging a response, mostly complaining about me, but with the following backhanded compliment:

Part of Mcintyre’s magic, is his ability to take his statistical ability (whether right or wrong) and transfer that into rhetoric that the normal person can understand.

Way observed that many of the points that I bring up are “valid” and commented that I was a “tough person to target… even for the experts”, again accompanying the concession with the obligatory sideswipe, claiming that I turned an ordinary mistake into a “conspiracy” (an allegation that I reject and do not believe to be supportable by the record):

McIntyre is a tough person to target… Even for the experts. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the points he brings up are valid the challenge is that he associates them with too much skepticism. He finds a mistake and suddenly its a conspiracy whereas a normal person would call it a reasonable mistake. But I wouldn’t want to go up against that group, between them there is a lot of statistical power to manipulate and make the data say what it needs to say.

Neal King, apparently agreeing with Way’s warning about the statistical power at Climate Audit, observed that he tried to stay away from real data and statistics as much as possible – doubtless a wise precaution for an SKS participant:

Real data and statistics are a subtle subject. I try to stay away from both, as far as possible.

SKS forum participant Julian Brimelow then wondered whether there were hackers who might attack me:

Make no mistake, there is some social networking going on here behind the scenes (does that group who hack mega corporations also hack emails of people like McIntyre?).

Grypo then returned to the “problem”, again making a backhanded compliment about my supposed ability to “form narratives”:

But McIntyre’s magic is in forming narratives that permeate through to the mainstream. I agree SkS has limited ability to do anything about this. Just brainstorming here.

Way then commented that I had “brought up some very good points” about the original Stick, agreeing that the original confidence had been “vastly overstated”, and that he didn’t like to talk about “the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS”:

I don’t mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I’ve personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. My personal experience has been that Moberg still has the best reconstruction and his one does show greater variability. That’s why I don’t like to talk the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS.

Just like we complain about skeptics like Pielke and Christy etc letting their work be miscontrued, Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn’t assign to it. They had just as much of a responsability to ensure their work was used to promote properly just as Christy et al do. It is a tight rope we must all walk afterall.

Pressed to explain further, Way provided a lengthy exposition forcefully stating that “the original hockey stick still used the wrong methods and these methods were defended over and over despite being wrong”.

Mann’s science is mostly good and I certainly think that his papers have discussed most of the caveats. However his reconstruction failed certain statistics (can’t remember if it was r2 or RE) and even his newest reconstruction doesn’t validate past 1400 if you don’t include disputed series (which I have no idea why he’s including them at all). Lets make this clear. There is a hockey stick shape in the data, but the original hockey stick still used the wrong methods and these methods were defended over and over despite being wrong. Just because a better analysis (Wahl and Amman 2007) using the same data shows very little difference doesn’t change the fact that the technique was wrong. PCA isn’t the best choice anyways… but that’s irrelevant.

Way then reviewed an exchange at Tamino’s where Tamino’s invocation of Ian Jolliffe as a supposed authority for de-centered PCA had resulted in Jolliffe himself disowning Mann’s application of the technique, as follows:

This is where my problem lies:

From RC

“Contrary to MM’s assertions, the use of non-centered PCA is well-established in the statistical literature, and in some cases is shown to give superior results to standard, centered PCA… For specific applications of non-centered PCA to climate data, consider this presentation provided by statistical climatologist Ian Jolliffe who specializes in applications of PCA in the atmospheric sciences, having written a widely used text book on PCA. In his presentation, Jollife explains that non-centered PCA is appropriate when the reference means are chosen to have some a priori meaningful interpretation for the problem at hand. In the case of the North American ITRDB data used by MBH98, the reference means were chosen to be the 20th century calibration period climatological means. Use of non-centered PCA thus emphasized, as was desired, changes in past centuries relative to the 20th century calibration period.”

I. T. Jolliffe, Principal Component Analysis, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1986.
Comment by Dr. Jolliffe at Tamino’s

“…It has recently come to my notice that on the following website, .. , my views have been misrepresented, and I would therefore like to correct any wrong impression that has been given… In reacting to Wegman’s criticism of ‘decentred’ PCA, the author says <>
It is flattering to be recognised as a world expert, and I’d like to think that the final sentence is true, though only ‘toy’ examples were given. However there is a strong implication that I have endorsed ‘decentred PCA’. This is ‘just plain wrong’.

…(my talk)…It certainly does not endorse decentred PCA. Indeed I had not understood what MBH (Mann 1998) had done until a few months ago. Furthermore, the talk is distinctly cool about anything other than the usual column-centred version of PCA. It gives situations where uncentred or doubly-centred versions might conceivably be of use, but especially for uncentred analyses, these are fairly restricted special cases. It is said that for all these different centrings ‘it’s less clear what we are optimising and how to interpret the results’.

I can’t claim to have read more than a tiny fraction of the vast amount written on the controversy surrounding decentred PCA (life is too short), but from what I’ve seen, this quote is entirely appropriate for that technique. There are an awful lot of red herrings, and a fair amount of bluster, out there in the discussion I’ve seen, but my main concern is that I don’t know how to interpret the results when such a strange centring is used? Does anyone? What are you optimising? A peculiar mixture of means and variances? An argument I’ve seen is that the standard PCA and decentred PCA are simply different ways of describing/decomposing the data, so decentring is OK. But equally, if both are OK, why be perverse and choose the technique whose results are hard to interpret? Of course, given that the data appear to be non-stationary, it’s arguable whether you should be using any type of PCA.

I am by no means a climate change denier. My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics. Misrepresenting the views of an independent scientist does little for their case either. It gives ammunition to those who wish to discredit climate change research more generally.


…distinguishing between the hockey stick and the MBH hockey stick is the key issue. The latter is where the problem lies because of what I deemed ‘dubious statistics’. It is this one particular paper, and in particular the defence of the technique used as recently as this year, which has caused so much grief…

The only reason I got involved is because the ‘dubious statistics’ were still being defended this year and my name was being used in support. “

Ian Jolliffe, PH.D Statistics

I. T. Jolliffe. Principal component analysis. In: Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science, (eds. B. S.Everitt and D. C. Howell), Vol. 3, 1580-1584, Wiley, New York, 2005.

“Dr. Jolliffe has convinced me that applying decentered PCA invalidates the selection rules which are applied when choosing which PCs to include in one’s model. But the “relevant” (hockey-stick shaped) PC would have been included anyway, applying valid selection rules to centered PCA. And the PCs which are omitted (because they’re suppressed by the method rather than the statistics) don’t seem to correlate with temperature in the calibration interval. Therefore it seems to me that the method is flawed, but the flaw has little or no impact on the final result.”

With respect to Steig,
I think he didn’t handle the whole issue well at all. He fed the fire. Truth is that his method did spill over some of the warming into places where it wasn’t. JeffID and them had their method prolly reduce the warming a bit. At the end of the day Steig really fed the fire with those posts at RC and so on… These guys really go for blood.

Neal King agreed that “Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed”. King also ventured the question about the tree ring “divergence problem” that bothers most skeptics, commenting that he guessed that there was an answer, but “no one has ever given it to me”:

– I don’t follow all the details, but my impression is that Mann and buddies have sometimes gone out on a limb when that was unnecessary and ill-advised. My impression is that Mann, for all his technical ability, is sometimes his own worst enemy.

– Similarly, with regard to “hiding the decline” in Climategate, I am left with the impression that the real question is, Why would you believe the tree-ring proxies at earlier times when you KNOW that they didn’t work properly in the 1990s? I guess there is a good answer to that, but no one has ever given it to me.

I believe a good 50% of the game is being able to avoid booby traps. Because the science is at the edge of ignorance, mistakes WILL be made. The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.

Way then briefly discussed the post-hoc selection bias that has been discussed from time to time on blogs(recently in connection with Gergis et al), referring to Jeff Id’s discussion in connection with Mann et al 2008. Way conceded that Jeff Id was right on this points, accompanying the concessions with the usual sideswipe, this time calling Jeff a “douche”:

So responding to other stuff.

Mann 2008 CPS

“As an exercise assume you start with 1000 sets of random very noisy set of data which swings up and down by 4 degrees C and you average them. You should get a relatively flat line with wiggles of a magnitude much smaller than any of the individual peaks.

If you take the same random data, calibrate its endpoint to today’s temperature (offset it so the end matches today’s temperature) and then sort it (throw data out) so that only data which correlate to a temperature rise at the end 5% of the dataset remains. Then you average the remaining data you would get a relatively flat line with an upward spike at the end. The averaged data would have an end spike which would almost certainly be of greater magnitude than the rest of the curve”

This is from JeffIDs site and although I do think he’s a douche he does bring up a good point. Even with a hockey stick in the dataset the method will result in excluding datasets which support the hockey stick the least.

I think that the challenge in this whole debate is that Mc et al are looking to find any excuse they can to distort the truth and milk and manipulate it as best as they can. Mann et al (and Steig et al) gave them excuses to quite often. Kill them with kindness or kill them with your brilliance, don’t leave yourself open to criticism when people are watching.

They then made the sensible observation that scientists should not insist on results that they cannot back up – a point on which we are in agreement:

I think all of us here at SkS are on Mann’s side, not McI’s. Nonetheless, it is necessary, if you want to improve, to admit that it is your own side that is sometimes falling down. Insisting on results that you cannot back up 100% is “leading with the chin”. One CANNOT do that sort of thing: One must pay McI et al. the acknowledgement that they will detect that error and go for the throat.

Tom Curtis then advanced the Real Climate party line that our criticisms didn’t matter and were merely “minor points”. Way firmly rebutted them, asserting that we had got “major points correct”, making as forceful defence of our position as can be imagined:

I don’t think these are minor points. I think they get major points correct. MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying “I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer” is no excuse. He never even said that but I’m just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren’t), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid. Of course someone was going to come along and slam it. In the defense of the HS method they published things on RC like what I showed above where they clearly misrepresented the views of the foremost expert on PCA in atmospheric sciences who basically says that Mann’s stats were dubious.

Way continued:

Mcl didn’t actually provide a reconstruction. They were just showing the difference with a different set of rules applied. They didn’t have the balls to do one themselves. Either way 2 pcs was probably too few but rationalizing the 5 that would have to be kept to get the HS shaped PC is also an interesting topic.

“As the proxies are chosen for a known, physically based covariance with temperature,”
In mann 2008 the relationship with temperature in the overlapping period that was used for a cutoff was r2 > 0.1

Do you think that only having 10% of the variance in a proxy explained by temperature changes is an appropriate cutoff? I really think that’s not exactly a “physically based covariance with temperature” that I would trust.

Julian Brimelow concluded the thread observing that “one can’t hand them stuff that is easy to critique”, but, more importantly, that I needed to “go down, it is quite that simple”.

McIntyre need to go down, it is quite that simple.

Mann et al 2008
Previously, in August 2010, Cook had (Authors/2010-08-10-List of rebuttals and who’s doing what) set out a list of rebuttals, eventually leading to this page. Way withdrew his previous “dibs” on Climate’s changed before. He warned potential authors to stay away from Mann et al 2008 since “much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one”:

I was going to do #2 Climate’s changed before but have now decided I will stay away from it for now. I was wondering if you could remove my dibs. Also I have to tell you that you should warn those doing that particular one to stay away from Mann’s 2008 paper if they take this topic as it seems it has actually been invalidated by climate audit (as much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one)

At the time, we had just learned (via a sly inline comment at RC by Gavin Schmidt) that Mann had already conceded that the Mann et 2008 no-dendro reconstruction did not pass his own verification methods. Way reported this as follows:

So what this means is that Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tijlander sediments. The tijlander sediments were used incorrectly and upside down from the original published version and a corrigendum by Kaufmann et al. (who also used it upside down) was issued pertaining to this.

I’m not one of those climate audit junkees and I certainly disagree with how Mcintyre handles a lot of the stuff but I’ve been shown before by even climatology profs in my university time that it might be best to stick clear of Mann’s reconstructions until the dust settles (although this debate has been going on for 10 years)

Despite Way’s warning, other SKS authors used the Mann et al 2008/2009 reconstruction in the SKS article on the Medieval period.

Cook’s Call to Action
As a last thread in today’s review, on March 3, 2011 (Climate Misinformers/2011-03-08-Call to action – help collect quotes on skeptics), Cook called on the SKS team to collect adverse quotes from targeted skeptics, including me in a list of five targets. (This enterprise appears to have led to their Skeptics page here):

So skeptics that I suggest we focus on, assuming we launch with 12 skeptics (welcome changes):

  • Pat Michaels
  • Fred Singer
  • Steve McIntyre
  • Roger Pielke Sr
  • Freeman Dyson
  • Chris de Freitas
  • Unless you think others are more deserving of being on the list.

    Way replied that it would not be easy to locate embarrassing quotes from me, observing that others had already tried without success, again with the usual sideswipe:

    McIntyre will be hard to pin down. Many before us have tried and not proven to be terribly successful. He is of the weasely type.

    A week later, Dana Nuccitelli observed that Michaels, Pielke Sr, de Freitas and I were still outstanding targets, adding that I was the “tough one”:

    I bet Gareth could get us some good de Freitas quotes. Michaels should be easy. The tough one is McIntyre.

    As noted above, except for the offensive sideswipes, Way’s language in the SKS forum is mostly temperate and a far cry from some of his bloodthirsty colleagues. While he re-assures his colleagues of his disdain for both me and Climate Audit, it is extremely hard to locate discrete points of disagreement.


    1. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      May the weasely words of this blog – aka real quality and precision – continue long after SKS is forgotten.

    2. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

      What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren’t), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid. Of course someone was going to come along and slam it. In the defense of the HS method they published things on RC like what I showed above where they clearly misrepresented the views of the foremost expert on PCA in atmospheric sciences who basically says that Mann’s stats were dubious.

      Welcome to the brotherhood, son. Would have been nice to hear from you back in the day, but I realize you’re in a field where this kind of talk can cost you.

      I’ve been shown before by even climatology profs in my university time that it might be best to stick clear of Mann’s reconstructions until the dust settles (although this debate has been going on for 10 years)

      Wise advice. But why don’t they share it with, say, the IPCC?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

        “I realize you’re in a field where this kind of talk can cost you.”

        It would be like cutting out from a position in the Church of Scientiology.

    3. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

      Sounds like he is trying to be honest – in a dishonest milieu.

    4. seanbrady
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

      McIntyre need to go down, it is quite that simple.

      I got chills when I read that. If anyone is “losing it and .. showing his true (and scary) colours, not to mention his incredible desperation” it’s Brimelow not McIntyre.

    5. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

      Q: What’s the source of Way’s antagonism toward you? My supposition, based on your past behavior, Way’s past and current behavior, and Way’s lack of noting any specific egregious event between you two is that there isn’t really a good reason for antagonism. It seems that Way believes you are simply playing for the wrong team. Which, if you think about the ultimate implications of that perspective, is very sad.

      It’s interesting that Way has not only reviewed your summaries of many of these major scientific issues as well as the original authors’ methods, and he’s agreed with your findings. He’s (sort of) publicly stated his agreement and has (sort of) publicly criticized the original authors. It’s not hard to imagine that these you and he have a great deal in common and might, in other circumstances, have gotten along quite well. Way’s ideological beliefs prevent him from even acting in a civil manner when discussing Steve.

      Your summary of Way’s response also shows once again that young scientists (and their faculty) feel they cannot publicly acknowledge and call out poor science. That’s not the way science is supposed to work. Science can’t be self correcting if one view isn’t tolerated on religious grounds.


      • DocMartyn
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

        It is a pity the English language hasn’t go a word to describe someone stating privately one thing and publicly something quite different.

        A collective name for a group of people secretly working together to smear individuals and support a greater cause, would also be very handy.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

          Try “duplicity”.

        • Manniac
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          It’s times like these that the Prussians come to the rescue with their flair for using several words all at once that captures the zeitgeist. Even now there is the sound of horses hooves approaching…

        • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

          Easy. It’s called “lying.” 🙂

        • Paul_K
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

          Interesting that the French word for this translates into “Versatility”.

    6. Paul Baverstock
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

      A remarkable piece of writing. I am stunned and might I suggest that this post be sent to a number of media outlets as well as the IPCC. It completely discredits the poster piece of the IPCC from the inside.

    7. igsy
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Permalink


    8. AndyL
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

      It’s interesting to compare Way’s comments above on Steig and O’Donnell with what he said on CA only yesterday, which is far more even-handed than what he apparently really believes:

      “I think that both papers were interesting contributions with Steig et al (2009) proposing a new method and O’Donnell et al (2011) trying to improve upon it. The debate over those two papers became rather silly with a lot of back and forth between the authors of their respective studies. “

    9. kim
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

      Jean S to Tamino who’d invoked Jolliffe in defense of Mann: ‘Garbage’.

      Those were the days my friends, I guess they’ll never end.

    10. Klaus
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

      Could someone explain for non native speakers what a wackjob is? Even my dictionary fails on this word. Thanks in advance.

      • James Smyth
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

        Wacko. Crazy.

      • Salamano
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

        It’s a combination of “Wacko” and “Nut-Job” … perhaps a pithier way of getting both in 😉

      • observa
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

        wackjob= weasely and hard to get a handle on scientifically so don’t go there- verboten- best left untouched- hands off- not just eggonyerface- etc

    11. Robert Way
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

      Once again – I must reiterate my disdain at finding more of my private discussions placed on the internet. Including instances where I disagreed with other scientists and individuals using language that is meant for private discussions. Do you feel that it is fair to do this to a grad student? To choose to highlight examples that may someday lead to negative repercussions for an individual? This is exactly why me and Steve Mc will never get along. I don’t believe in going out of my way to try and hurt people – and if you do not think that this type of behavior will not lead to adverse affects on my life then you are being naive.

      I don’t believe in publicizing someone’s stolen correspondence (even if it were to reflect well on the person), it is simply wrong. On a previous thread Steve lectured me on “honor”, well what is honorable about this? I was a co-author on a climate paper and I had my correspondence stolen so somehow that gives you the right to publicize it and have hundreds of people read through my personal commentary?

      Perhaps I am old fashioned but I judge people not only on what they say but how they say it. If you go about things in a considerate way then people will disagree with you but they will be reasonable back – this is my view on science as well, that if you have legitimate criticisms for the approach someone is using then you can bring them up without having the words in the criticism dripping with distain. This is why I do not participate at places like Climate Audit – the commentary (Statistically) could be reasonable and worth exploring but then you have to read all kinds of insinuations – not outright statements, but rather insinuations about impropriety from scientists – about the convenience of the results.

      It would be nice for one episode – one back and forth between scientists and members here to not escalate into insinuations or inappropriate behavior (which I think most people would consider publicizing stolen correspondence to be).

      I find it ironic because in this paper Kevin and I did everything you would have liked – we made our data and code freely accessible, we answered questions and immediately responded at blogs to help people better understand what was done – we provided an SI and an update testing various assumptions in the method. We made clear that this was a first step that we wanted to use to help improve things going forward and welcomed others to “audit” the method and to find better ways.

      How has climate audit responded? By discussing my stolen private correspondence even when I asked for it to stop. It is bad enough that my family has to read online hundreds of “contrarians” trashing me – but this – this goes beyond that. I would like to bridge the gap and come to a consensus (or discussion) on methods and science but there has to be two people willing to do so in good faith.

      • Michael Jankowski
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

        “… I don’t believe in going out of my way to try and hurt people…”

        Really? So trying to “pin down” McIntyre and noting how difficult it is didn’t require you going out of your way and wasn’t done with the intent of damaging him?

        If you want to be judged not only on what you say but how you say it, then how shall we judge you on the quotes provided here? Boo-hoo-hooing that correspondence you thought would remain between friends didn’t turn out to be so private after all? Haven’t you heard that “character is what you do when nobody is watching?” McIntyre didn’t “have the balls” to do a reconstruction, and you didn’t “haven’t the balls” to say some of these things in public – or have it posted in public.

        Does your family really “read online hundreds of ‘contrarians’ trashing you? Seriously? Did they also get to read you trashing ‘contrarians’ as well? Did they get to read you trashing McIntyre for doing nothing more than making points you agreed with?

        You’re not old-fashioned, you’re just well off-the-mark.

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

        If it is private, leave it off the internet, face-book, twitter, etc.
        My first recommendation is to get off the SKS weblog – solve problem one.

      • david eisenstadt
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

        while I understand your pique at having what you felt were private writings published…i can only add:
        1) you dont come off as too much of an arse, in fact you seem to be quite reasonable, especially when compared to the conspiracists you were communicating with,
        2) when you work with others to collect negative information about people with whom you disagree,
        3) when youre part of a cabal which acts to suppress dissent,
        3) when you use email to achieve those goals,
        you shouldnt be surprised when your writings come back to haunt you.
        maybe these guidelines will help you:
        1) dont say everything you think
        2) dont write everything you say
        3) assume that your writings will be made public at some point.

        • max
          Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

          I’m still trying to figure out the point of accusing someone of having a conspiracy fixation while taking part in the ‘secret’ conversation of a group of people trying to come up with ways to discredit him.

      • Robert Way
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

        I believe a series of the comments posted in response to my own comment violate this website’s own policies. I ask why is personal abuse being tolerated against me. As an author of the paper you were discussing and whose comments you are discussing I should not be forced to sustain personal abuse by appearing here.

        Steve: I’ve been offline for a while and edit after the fact. If you identify the comments that you believe to be abusive, I will examine and snip appropriately.

        • johnfpittman
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

          I appreciate your efforts to post and answer questions about your work here and elsewhere.

        • david eisenstadt
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

          I appreciate your comments on this blog, as well as your willingness to engage with individuals who post here. On the whole, the tenor of your writings excerpted here indicate that youre a pretty reasonable guy, and I empathize with your concerns.
          im sorry that you feel that you are being abused, that was not my intent.
          but still, a reasonable expectation of privacy in emails sent to a group discussing just how they should go about discrediting those they disagreed with?
          you may expect that your emails would remain private, im just sayin that its not a reasonable expectation….
          thank you for taking the time to read and respond to what is written here.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

          Suggest you vacate the field of “communicating the message” and immerse yourself in pure research. Warning – do not try to direct your research according to your beliefs. That is one of the biggest, most frequent no-nos we encounter.
          There are comments posted on this blog where readers are trying to do what you seek, namely comment on your work.
          You might not like the way that some comments are angled, but they are usually asked seriously on this blog. It’s a grown up word here and people are tired of saying things over and over in great detail, so a curt summary can replace a flowery salutation.

        • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

          Hey Way not everybody airs their personal views only in secret forums. Another learning point.

          I’ve explained the comparison already. Feel free to play the cheating husband professing innocence and future trustworthiness. What worries me is you don’t know who Speer was.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

            All these snips are meaningless. These guys think the worst of the author of this blog, and deserve protection from imaginary abuse as much as a rhino needs band-aids after stampeding through a china shop.

            Anyway, since … cannot be named and … cannot be named either, does anybody know of any historical figure that has been found to be secretly candid and publicly a follower of the party line? WIth 1933-1945 … impossible to mention, I shall presume the state with Moscow as capital is out of bounds as well.

            I would just like to know how people who behaved similarly in the past, went on to become great citizens and pinnacles of their profession, that’s all.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

            ‘All these snips’ are also the reason some of us return to this blog more than any other on the subject of climate. I never expect them to be optimal, for nobody has time for that. Nor have I ever seen them as protection for the guilty but for the innocent and time-poor, from too much noise and piling on.

            Robert Way is the focus here. Grandstanding isn’t the way. At the right time generosity is. A gift our host has earned the hard way. Watch and learn, I say to myself.

          • Mike B.
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

            I think some of you may be missing the point a bit here. I think Robert is (justifiably) more concerned about his criticisms of senior members of Team being made public than he is about his juvenile broadsides at Steve, Ryan, and Jeff seeing daylight.

            I seriously doubt he’s going to retract the insults, because then he can no longer claim, “Hey, at least I called them Wacko and Douche,” which I suppose is high-five worthy in the climate community.

            Steve, didn’t you end up alienating another young climatologist in similar fashion many years ago? Was it Caspar Amman?

            On a completely unrelated note, whatever happened to “bender”?

          • dalechant
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

            bender,…I miss you too.

          • sleeper
            Posted Nov 26, 2013 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

            Re: bender,
            My theory is that bender was simply one of Mosher’s multiple personalities.

          • Jeff Alberts
            Posted Nov 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

            No way. Bender could actually spell and form complete sentences.

          • Jeff Alberts
            Posted Nov 27, 2013 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

            Steve hasn’t alienated anyone. Their actions have caused their alienation.

          • thisisnotgoodtogo
            Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

            Give up your wedge, wood.

        • 3x2
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

          Dr. Way, Could I ask just one ‘impertinent’ question? …

          Why, on God’s green earth, would a professional, such as yourself, get involved with SKS?

          Surely you must have recognised, at an early stage, that participation with SKS was bound to ‘taint’ your work? They appear to me as a bunch of teenage ‘loons’ that, at 2am, imagine themselves (via the wonders of Photoshop) as WW2 tank commanders re-fighting “The Battle of Kursk”. That is when they are not ‘beavering away’ figuring out how to hire ‘private dicks'(or hit men in at least one case) to deal with Steve.

          Seriously, get out of the politics. Then we ‘sceptics’ will take your work seriously.

          I was busy examining your paper right up to the point that I realised that you were a regular contributor at SKS. Then the (Pdf) window closed with visions of ‘Dr. Way’ in a an SS tank commander uniform. Sorry, but your association with SKS led me to immediately suspect both you and your work.

          Don’t take this the wrong way … Steve’s post has actually persuaded me to re-open your paper.

          (But do dump the ‘affiliations’. One cannot, in my view, be SKS and a serious scientist simultaneously. ’tis one or the other.)

      • Salamano
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

        This is an unfortunate side-reason for trying to cache “scientific discourse” out of FOI …

        Are scientists free then to engage in ad-hominem (er ‘lockerroom’ behavior?) as part of their ‘discourse’? Apparently so. Notice how CA (to my estimation) never used your use of these side-swipes as a reason to reject your arguments. And yet, what else would the effect of actually utterng such phrases do to readers who are trying to evaluate multiple arguments “in good faith”– or furthermore, seeking them out on their own rather than seeing what the filtered translation is from the power-brokers above them in the field? It would be naturally (and artificially) stunting.

        I’m sure many a politician (etc) brought down by ‘stolen’ ‘hacked’ correspondence and all the like would wish they could simply bemoan that they were hacked rather than its substance.

        I think the larger point remains in all this is that perhaps the embarrassment stems from a realization that young scientists feel subconscious urge to ‘play ball’ to senior scientists– to the point that even the most obvious agreement with a ‘sparring-partner’ of sorts carried with it the obligatory need to side-swipe to maintain credibility (or membership). That’s embarrassing for the science itself, because it shows manifestations of budding group-think and ideological purification (or whatever else you want to call it). Seeing it discovered that you yourself may have fell pray to those urges to which subordinates are extremely vulnerable probably is embarrassing, and maybe it would give you more peace to see your reformed and more mature present commentary paper-over such a past. Furthermore, to have someone else (your target) implicitly recognize such growth and reward it by keeping the former self under-wraps or ‘in the family’ may be a bridge too far– and not something that should be used to change the subject. Perhaps a third-party this could be more reasonable… but not your direct target.

        Perhaps what you should feel is anger more than embarrassment. Maybe frustration is a better term. As a young scientist myself I felt the urge to ‘play-along’ in various contexts, then becoming upset at myself for having said things that I wish I could take back and that years later realized in no way reinforced the saliency of my points but instead my membership in the group– which was apparently pretty important back then. Instead, one gets angry that those conditions exist, and are fomented within the younger group we’re trying to grow to become the future. They instead become ideologues and sycophants, and it can taint their work.

        Whatever it is you do feel about your words said a while back, the negative emotions perhaps (again) are pointed at the wrong target.

      • Toby White
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

        +1, or at least +0.8 +/- 0.1.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

        Robert Way, in this comment you repeat your insistence McIntyre is misbehaving by using “stolen” communication, noting that communication includes “language that is meant for private discussions.”You further say you don’t “believe in going out of [your] way to try and hurt people” Finally, you say:

        Perhaps I am old fashioned but I judge people not only on what they say but how they say it.

        In doing so, you ignore the responses this sort of remark from you have generated. You even ignore the fact Steve McIntyre has directly responded to much of what you say, such as here. As such, let us consider each of the points I highlighted.

        1) You freely promoted discussions of stolen documents when they were from the Heartland Institute. You now complain when people discuss other “stolen” material.
        2) The stolen material from the Heartland Institute was directly used to attack and harm it. You supported this. You now say you don’t believe in going out of your way to try to harm people.
        3) You insulted Steve McIntyre in the Skeptical Science forums where he couldn’t possibly defend himself. You went out of the way to promote negative views of a McIntyre, including the view that he’s a lunatic. You did so while discussing the criticisms he raised of various things. You now say people can discuss criticisms without “dripping with distain.”

        You say you judge people not by what the say but by how they say it. Apply that standard to yourself. Even when you acknowledged McIntyre was right on points, you went out of your way to insult him. You went out of your way to lace your supportive comments of him “with distain” in order to maintain a negative image of him – to harm him. You say:

        This is exactly why me and Steve Mc will never get along.

        But by your standards, nobody should get along with you. You’re at least as guilty as McIntyre on every point you raise.

        • seanbrady
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          Hi Brandon, I don’t doubt your points, but can you post some link that shows that Robert really promoted the material stolen from Heartland?

          Although I love Climate Audit, I tended to agree with Robert that it is not fair to use his emails that he thought were private, even if they were not hacked but rather revealed.

          But if I found out that Robert thought it was OK to use material that was not only private but stolen, that would change my opinion 180 degrees.

          • Brandon Shollenberger
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

            seanbrady, there was a link to it in the inline response by Steve McIntyre I linked to, but here it is again. Robert Way has, since the time of my comment, said he was unaware the documents were stolen at the time.

            Mind you, he doesn’t claim he thought the documents were fairly released. It’s difficult to imagine how anyone could have. The documents were clearly internal documents, and they were released by an anonymous source. The only reasonable conclusion was they were an unauthorized disclosure. As such, whether or not Robert Way knew the documents were stolen is largely immaterial.

            If he feels private material should not be publicized in order to harm people, he should never have promoted the discussion of the Heartland Institute documents. The only way he could justify such is if he claims he believes it’s okay to use material leaked from an internal source but not okay to use material stolen from an outside source. I can’t believe anyone would seriously claim such.

            Moreover, even if one ignores that he promoted the material, there’s the fact he hasn’t distanced himself from Skeptical Science. He claims using stolen material (while refusing to prove the material was stolen) to harm people is bad enough he could never get along with someone who does it. However, that’s what Skeptical Science is doing in the first link of this comment.

            Robert is unquestionably aware Skeptical Science is continuing to use stolen material to attack the Heartland Institute. If that sort of (alleged) behavior on Steve McIntyre’s part means he can’t get along with McIntyre, why is he still a member of the Skeptical Science team? Why is he co-authoring papers with them? Why isn’t he publicly condemning them like he has McIntyre?

      • Ed Barbar
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

        and if you do not think that this type of behavior will not lead to adverse affects on my life then you are being naive.

        No one knows the path life will take them through. How do you know. Yes, you can optimize your chances, and perhaps congratulate yourself when you think it seems to be going well, but you will never know if another path would be better, even at this juncture you are so concerned about.

        This bothers me:

        “don’t leave yourself open to criticism when people are watching. ”

        Do you feel you unfairly characterized some others work behind their back? If not, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If so, then what was the purpose?

        How about unfairly characterizing someone? If not, you shouldn’t worry. If so, you should stop. It’s not fair to the person.

        If you are concerned it takes a certain belief set to get along with your folks, maybe its the wrong folks.

        • Tony Mach
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

          Robert Way: “if you do not think that this type of behavior will not lead to adverse affects on my life then you are being naive.”

          Considering how Robert Way’s fellow “real climate scientists” have no quarrel with badmouthing anybody critical of their work (“denier”, “in pay of oil companies and Koch brothers”, “misinformer”, and so on) without even so much hesitating and asking themselves whether they could even back up their badmouthing with evidence, considering how the Michael E. Mann posse even has no quarrels in trying to get people fired who disagree with them, I would advise the good Robert Way to first check the bedfellows of his chosen camp before dishing out advise about “adverse effects” to other people.

          Steve: I think that his worry arises precisely because of the Mann posse.

          • MikeN
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

            Yes, that is how people are interpreting this, but I wonder if that is what Mr Way meant. After all participating at that blog in that fashion should generate the same negative consequences.

          • RobB
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

            Robert appears to have been ‘outed’ as a closet objective skeptic (in the true sense of the word) hence his angst. It is sad that a young scientist should fear the consequences of speaking the truth.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

        Re: Robert Way (Nov 20 18:16),

        I agree with Brandon Shollenberger’s comments.

        I also disagree with your assertion that my characterization of your comments was “dripping with disdain”. On the contrary. I explicitly observed that, except for a couple of occasions, you avoided the conspiratorial language of your SKS associates. Nor did I express “disdain” for your comments on paleoclimate – on the contrary, I observed that, on numerous occasions, you endorsed and/or defended critiques advanced at Climate Audit, something that I approved of, rather than disdained.

        Rather than placing you in a bad light for readers of this blog, I thought that your comments showed you in a good light, especially to readers of this blog.

        You express concern about potential “negative repercussions”. I hope that circumstances in the climate community are not so dire that a young researcher like yourself would be punished by Mann and his acolytes for the having the temerity to criticize his reconstructions on matters where the criticism is deserved. If this is the case, then this is a problem that warrants the attention of the wider society. But I submit that your primary grievance ought to be with a “community” that would even think about punishing a young researcher for having independent views.

        • Robert Way
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

          I did not say that your direct comments in this post have been dripping with disdain, nor would I. I was speaking reflectively on the history of exchanges with climate scientists as a whole rather than this individual case. I feel that there are a great many comments in the discussion forums of many posts that tend to be very filled with disdain towards climate scientists. Would you call that a miss-characterization – I certainly wouldn’t. I would say the same about other blogs as well – the amount of insinuations and veiled commentary about the motivations of people involved in climate science is quite high on some posts. Just like there are a great many individuals who think that anti-climate science is driven completely by fossil fuel interests.

          There is a tendency in the blogosphere for selective reading and selective choosing of evidence which only supports a particular predefined world-view. I tend to get along well with individuals who are critical of hyperbole nowmatter which side it occurs on – I do not get along with people that you find sometimes here in the comments criticizing elaborate statistical techniques employed by scientists while in the same vein cheerleading the mathturbation you see in some posts at WUWT.

          And I agree – I have defended or endorsed critiques sometimes advanced on Climate Audit. This has occurred both professionally and in private. The difference is I feel I have the right to choose which critiques I would like to make fully public and when. The hacking removed that opportunity and I feel that we all have a right to discretion if we so choose without having our personal character questioned which some people have chosen to do (and ironically sometimes by those using pseudonyms).

          • Carrick
            Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

            Robert, while I admit a bit of distress that we can’t as a group move beyond the leaked SKS files and talk about substantive science issues, I think it’s important for you to realize that anything you write that goes out to anybody besides /dev/null should always be considered public.

            I had this attitude in the 1980s when I was working on a controversial problem for my Ph.D. I never expected my emails sent to a colleague to discuss issues with the paper, and even strategies for dealing with criticisms, to be given to a third party, especially not without my consent, but they were. I learned about this when the third party to whom they had been released contacted me for “formal consent” to publish them in a book…. that he had already written.

            Of course I complied, and didn’t even correct the author on his misinterpretation of one of my emails (the point was valid regardless of the erroneous use of my email exchange to demonstrate it), nor did I mention that he had received the emails without my consent. What was the point?

          • Carrick
            Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

            And by the way I am adamant that I won’t use the word “hacked” unless it has been authoritatively demonstrated that a hacking occurred. The files are obviously “leaked”, because they were disseminated without the consent of the group (that’s what I mean by “leaked” anyway).

            Claiming that a hacking had occurred, not even in good faith making claims based on information you have seen, does not serve as a proxy here. If you are not trained in computer security, things that look like a hack to you, can turn out to be innocuous and due to “operator error”.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

            Lest an extremely important point be lost, the history is very clear. Your comments were indeed placed on the internet, deliberately, by you. Those comments were made public, accidentally, by Cook. Nobody WAS “hacked”; rather, that “hack” SkS webmaster messed up. I use the term “hack” in the commonly understood sense that someone with (and as a result of) inadequate knowledge or training in internet security published your comments for us all to see. There is no reason WE should apologise for accessing information which is posted publicly on the internet.

            The truth is out, and you object to it being. Think about that.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

            What is this “hacking” you refer to? I thought Cook had acknowledged that the material you are so concerned had been released was the result of his failure to secure the information, which became available for all to see.

          • Tony Mach
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

            “The difference is I feel I have the right to choose which critiques I would like to make fully public and when.”

            I do note that while you wrote a lengthy reply to Steve, you (consciously?) did not take position about the behaviour of your fellow “real scientists”, who tried (more than once) to get people fired for being critical of their work (as Steve alluded to). Did you exercise your right not to criticize? Then forgive me, but then you are in for a penny, and in for a pound. Or do you want to claim that you know nothing about these issues? Then should we not tell you that you are (in your own words) a bit “naive” about “hurting people”?

            One more thing that puzzles me: The climate is an important public issue, isn’t it? Hasn’t the public then an right to know when “consent is being manufactured”, behind “closed doors”, while evading critique of shenanigans?

          • Brandon Shollenberger
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

            Robert Way, do you intend to address the responses to your criticisms of misbehavior on the part of Steve McIntyre? If McIntyre’s behavior is in line with yours, you have no basis for what you’ve said about him. That makes it important you show the distinction between your behavior and his.

            And so you know, you may get to choose what points you discuss in public, but people get to draw conclusions based upon those decisions.

          • Jeff Norman
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

            Over the years I have observed how Mr. McIntyre’s disdain has been earned by a very few scientists. Mr. McIntyre does not not preface his enquiries with disdain. It manifests after he has been treated churlishly by those who claim to know some truth.

            Mr. McIntyre here appears to be bending over backwards to enhance Mr. May’s reputation. Mr. May appears to be bending over backwards to undermine Mr. McIntyre’s efforts. Perhaps this will render him some sort of street cred in some sort of private forum somewhere. I pity Mr. May.

          • Jeff Id
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

            First thanks Steve for the memories. I’ve been very busy hadn’t realized that this was the good Robert Way of SKS. Reading it put a huge smile on my face.


            “There is a tendency in the blogosphere for selective reading and selective choosing of evidence which only supports a particular predefined world-view.”

            Absolutely true. For instance your comment regarding the hockey stick: “Mann’s science is mostly good and I certainly think that his papers have discussed most of the caveats.” Supports your extremist SKS worldview and is completely scientifically unsupportable.

            The problem with your worldview though is that it doesn’t just extend to SKS and Real Climate but across all of the government funded universities and government organizations across the world. There is very little real-world understanding among your colleagues at SKS, and we in the real world are faced with constant poorly-considered rulemaking of the authoritarian class. The problem is so severe that there still wasn’t even a recognition by the IPCC that models are running way too hot, even though they are statistically completely indefensible.

            As this was the key feature of the IPCC AR5 report and it is in gross error, no actual scientist can legitimately support the conclusions. Yet there we find those same government funded “scientists” of a certain worldview, lining up to support the unsubstantible.

          • Ed Barbar
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

            “This has occurred both professionally and in private. The difference is I feel I have the right to choose which critiques I would like to make fully public and when. The hacking removed that opportunity and I feel that we all have a right to discretion if we so choose without having our personal character questioned which some people have chosen to do (and ironically sometimes by those using pseudonyms).”

            I’m going to say it again. Email has only one major difference from gossiping behind someone’s back. You can point to the actual text. Gossip partners can not “read in” their own interpretations to magnify, distort, etc.

            If you are going to talk about others research behind their back, or others personality behind their back, don’t say anything you would feel ashamed about later. Unless it’s your wife and you are frustrated.

            Consider the damage you can cause to people by these techniques. It’s wrong.

            I’ll say it again, if that’s what you feel you need to do to advance your career, then you are working with the wrong people. No one has a monopoly on the truth.

      • Chuck L
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

        Dr. Way, Your paper has been treated fairly and many “deniers” have given you props for it. “Stolen” emails or not, your language is/should be embarrassing for you and is grossly intemperate. However, I can see how you are in a delicate position; disagreeing with and criticizing members of the “climate establishment” could, realistically, be detrimental to your career, a state of affairs that is unfortunate and damaging not only to climate science but to science in general.

      • Douglas Foss
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

        It’s a credit to you that you come by and speak. I’m turning 60 and essentially write for a living. If what is quoted in the piece above is accurately presented, you are a remarkable young person. The measure that appears in your writings, and your respect for where thinking can take you, mark you as uncommon. You say and ask, “Do you feel that it is fair to do this to a grad student? To choose to highlight examples that may someday lead to negative repercussions for an individual?” Toward the latter part of life, you will see that there are only the ideas; all the personal stuff drops away, and those who disagree with you; you find they can’t really touch you. I encourage you to read “Dune”. Fear is the mind killer, and you should never be afraid to move forward based only, even merely, on your own certainty. You have spoken, and unless you care to retract what you said as improvident or wrong, then stay with it. You will never regret a life of taking a position you think, that you feel in your heart, is right. I once had a dinner with a Navy Seal team, and the simplicity and elegance of lives devoid of fear of what others might think, or even what might happen to them individually, was truly eye opening. There was not a hint of ego at the table. Everything to them devolved to “duty” and “honor,” and they lived a life true to themselves and to those with whom they served. Follow the truth, as you discern it and can speak it. Such a course always leads to fulfillment, even if you don’t win the clapper claw hurrahs of those who prefer being a member of the pack. I understand your fear, but I also know with absolute certainty that your worth as a person is not measured by the extent to which others accept you.

        • Scott Basinger
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

          Douglas Foss: Beautifully written comment.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          “If what is quoted in the piece above is accurately presented, you are a remarkable young person.”

          he is.

        • seanbrady
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

          Beautiful comment. Quite aside from the matter under discussion, this is good advice to any young person. In fact, if you don’t mind I’m going to copy it and send it to my neice.

      • Steve Reynolds
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

        I sympathize with your position, especially since I don’t see much wrong with your exposed comments when coming from a student.

        The real shame is that you need to fear the effect of their impact on your career, presumably because of not following the party line. The fault for that though, lies with the people that think following the party line is more important than the science.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:15 AM | Permalink


        • Paul_K
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:12 AM | Permalink


        • ThinkingScientist
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:15 AM | Permalink


        • scf
          Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

          I see much wrong with Way’s comments. Nobody should be called a wackjob and told to stop acting like a child simply because he is challenging scientific publications. I also think that this should be abundantly clear to any student that is past the high school level (any adult, in other words).
          It is clear to see from the comments that Way was far from being the most unreasonable critic. While that may be true, I would have more respect for Way if he owned up to just a single one of those back-handed insults of Mcintyre and said that any one of them was inappropriate, which he has not done.

      • DGH
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM | Permalink


        Do you object to this posting at SKS which is based on stolen documents and fabrications?


      • MikeN
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

        >and if you do not think that this type of behavior will not lead to adverse affects on my life then you are being naive.

        I’m being naive. What effects are you suggesting?

      • geronimo
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

        Robert I’m not following you, perhaps you could enlighten me. Do you believe that you have anything to be ashamed of in the extracts quoted on this blog? If you do, why did you write them? Actually you don’t come across as anything other than a potentially good scientist willing to take on board criticism, and indeed eager to engage with your critics, apart that is for the name calling.

        I think, rather than ruin your reputation, Steve has done you a favour in showing your concern, even amongst the den of fanatics that comprises SkS, for the scientific truth. You have behaved admirably in handling criticism of your recent paper, and indeed have provided all the data and SI material. Well done, you may be a young undergrad, but you and you co-writer are giving lessons in science to your elders, but not betters.

        Just continue to follow this precept, there are no sides in science, so don’t take a side, follow the truth, you appear to have a problem of conscience in that you have joined a side, and a not very savoury one at that, but you want the truth to be what that side says it is and, admirably, when it isn’t your conscience pricks you. That’s good, now leave the side and join the science.

      • jeff taylor
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

        “To choose to highlight examples that may someday lead to negative repercussions for an individual?”

        Is this not what the SKS list was for?

      • observer
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

        I sympathize with your discomfort regarding the publication of materials that were intended to be private. However,once the cat is out of the bag, it is hard to get back in. If you are unhappy, think how NSA feels.

        But, a word of advice, develop a thick skin. When I was younger I had a much thinner skin than I do now. The first time I got sharp criticism of a position that I had taken on a public policy issue (I was right), I got upset.

        I was a graduate student at the time. I asked a faculty member who I happened to know who had recently been the subject of strong public criticism how he dealt with it. He replied along the lines of “Well, I assess who the critic is and why they are saying what they are saying. If they are dolts or if they are just trying make a buck, I ignore them. If they are people I respect, I reflect on their criticism and try to see if I should change my views. Either way, it does not bother me.” Well, I’ve been criticized a lot since then but it no longer bothers me.

        Some years later, in another policy dispute, an activist characterized me on his blog in most unpleasant terms. I printed out his criticism and brought it to the dinner table to show my kids. The point I tried to make with them was that the guy was that such criticism can be ignored or even found to be amusing.

        I also dropped the blog site operator a polite note in which I tried to explain the basis for my views. He made a subsequent post in which, with some wonderment, he commented on my note—I had not changed his views but he seemed to accept that there might be some rationality on the other side.

        So, lighten up, ignore the critics that are wrong, learn from the ones that are right.


      • John
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

        To Robert Way: Robert, I very much sympathize with you. The problem is that you are caught up in an issue that is highly political, in which huge sums of money are involved on both sides, and in which science has been debased, time and time again.

        It is more war than science, at times.

        I admire what you said in the comments Steve called out, I admire that you had the bravery — because that is what it unfortunately takes these days — to call a spade a spade, in a crowd that doesn’t want to hear it, in a crowd that includes people like Albatross, with his attempts to possibly incentivize people to hack Steve’s website, and perhaps do him bodily harm.

        Since you appear to be one of very few people who participate in SKS who is both capable of understanding the technical issues and also willing to talk about them in a forum where what you say isn’t going to be popular, I’ll reterate: I admire you for what have said in the SKS forum.

        I’m sorry that you object so strongly to Steve’s review of what you said in the forum. All I can say is that climate change has been a war for quite a time, on both sides, and it is quite important when someone on “the other side” fairly continually has said that Steve has been right all along on many technical points. This confirmation is too important to not show to the world, as it validates Steve’s technical work in a way that is unmistakable.

        No, you aren’t in graduate school any more. You have chosen a field that makes you a public figure, and you will have to deal with all that being a public figure entails. Look at what abuse Steve and Judith Curry and others have to take, day in a day out. Hopefully the abuse you may have to take at SKS is considerably less.

        It can’t feel good to you that you are a public figure now, you are clearly reluctant about that, but you no longer have choice in the matter, just as Steve and Judith and others never had a choice.

      • Mickey Reno
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

        Robert, please consider the possibility that your words being summarized here at Climate Audit, to the degree that they set you apart from hateful alarmist dogmatists advances your scientific credibility, and maybe your career in the not too distant future. Except for a few bones you throw to your SKS fellows, feeding their hatred of McIntyre, I think your positions generally do you credit.

        Now, if your real complaint is that Steve making it known that you agree with him on substantive statistical issues hurts your career because your career path is bounded and controlled by people who despise Steve, and have an interest in defeating Steve’s work, a priori, then that’s akin to non-scientific bullying, and you should welcome opening up that rat’s nest to the light of day, so that someday you can enjoy unfettered and fully scientific truth-telling.

    12. Don Monfort
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      Way suppresses his honest streak for the good of the cause.

      • kim
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

        Actually, he dramatically flourishes his honest streak, then quickly wraps back up in his comfort coat.

        • Carrick
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

          How does one dramatically flourish one’s honest streak?

          I’d like to learn that trick.

          • kim
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

            Robert Way exposed himself courageously trying to bring sense to that mad crowd.

          • Carrick
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

            That is shear madness.

        • kim
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

          He grabbed the clear vinyl raincoat instead of the Russian Grade Overcoat.

    13. pyromancer76
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

      I, too, felt a chill: “McIntyre need to go down”. At the same time, I felt deep gratitude for your courage in the face of this vicious opposition, even from someone who is forced by the evidence to agree with you.

      But, then, when you work with the truths of the scientific method and mathematics, you have their protections at your back. More power to you, Steve McIntyre, and I feel pride in “knowing you” way back when almost at the time the “battle” was enjoined. You, ever gentlemanly and persistent, kept (and keep) them honest — and vividly display their flaming dishonesty.

      I, too, hope you will send this piece far and wide. You have the gift of narrative in addition to a gifted mind. Thanks again.

    14. Manfred
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

      Is the content of that secret forum still available anywhere on the internet ?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

        Not on “The Waybackthen Machine”.

    15. Jon P
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Permalink


      On the science, why would your private conversations be different from your public ones? Why do your own words offend you so much?

      Other than that, you having some sense that posting conversations on a Weblog will remain private is an astonishing admission of being very naïve with technology. Perhaps in your continued private conversation with SKS you will raise your anger/disappointment with them.

    16. pyromancer76
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

      I wish Robert Way had (and had had) the courage of his convictions, especially as a grad student. If we don’t develop scientists of courage, we won’t have any science anymore. And if one’s supervisors (lead professors) have no scientific integrity, then it is time to find others.

      “Private discussions placed on the internet”?!? Anyone of any intelligence knows that you do not put in emails anything that you aren’t ready for the world to read. It’s a simple truth born of years, now, of experience.

      I feel someone weeping.

    17. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

      Is there any past example of good science coming from extremely partisan scientists, unable to air their actual views in public?

      • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

        You’re touching on the real unprecedented, my friend.

    18. Walter Manny
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

      Way has been guilty of nothing but doing what one must do to remain in good standing with his tribe while attempting to pursue science as it should be pursued. He has defended the indefensible (McIntyre’s work), and while the perfect would be to do so without the sideswipes, it’s understandable that the good would include those. Again, owning that and moving away from the SkS crowd would be a great step towards authenticity.

      • DocMartyn
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

        You do know that you can work in science even if you antagonize ones peers?

        It is more difficult and they do judge your grants on panel, but if you suck up and allow unethical practices to continue without comment, they will continue.

    19. JEM
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

      What’s the quote? “For evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to say nothing”?

    20. Patrick M.
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

      Robert Way,

      I think Steve has deliberately selected quotes from you that lend balance to the other quotes that have been posted here. You seem to have a strong sense of being true to the science even when in the company of those who may not see science as the top priority. That takes guts.

      You said some things in that forum that I’m sure, being more mature as you have pointed out, you would no longer say. There’s an easy way to fix that, but it takes guts too.

      I wouldn’t have taken the time to post this if I didn’t think you were worth talking to.

      Take care,

    21. Maggie
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

      Robert – it is clear this to-and-fro is distressing you and that is unfortunate as a sad fact of life is that we get more timid as we get older. Fear as the determining factor in how honest you are or how you should engage with people will damage you far more than anyone else’s actions ever could.

    22. Watcher
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

      It has to be a good five or six years since I’ve been following this blog, along with Real Climate and a handful of others. Other than being old enough to remember Scientific American discussing the difficulties of teasing out a Global Cooling signal from a noisy and incomplete data set (!! Yes, that was the 70’s) I went into the “Climate Wars” without preconceptions, armed only with a few decades of experience in academic and industrial research and development work.

      What I saw when I started reading was a deep, deep divide with a level of vitriol that was simply gobsmacking. In my opinion the worst offenders were probably Tamino’s followed by WUWT or Real Climate — kind of dead heat there — with CA a distant Nth. Given the provocation Steve received over the MBH fiasco and much following I thought he was pretty restrained, and I have to admit also damn funny at the expense of some of the towering egos in the field. The attitude of supposedly eminent scientists at RC fed my scepticism of what I can only call the prevailing IPCC dogma at least as much as the considered analysis found at CA [Though I must hasten to exempt some of the RC folks, especially the ones active lately].

      That said, I understand and can appreciate Way’s concerns. If it’s one thing Climategate underscored it was that the intense back-biting evident in the blogs is part and parcel of what goes on behind the scenes. I really do have a day job and never found time or interest to look at the SkS stuff at the time. As a result I found Steve’s mining of the SkS archives extremely illuminating. For what it’s worth, I think it paints Way in a very good light, and in a “normal” field of research his attitude would be as commendable as it would be unremarkable.

      The trouble is that it’s not a “normal” field of research, as evidenced by what’s going on in Warsaw at this very moment. Huge sums of money and shifts of political power hinge on the interpretation of the science, and for that reason the behind the scenes suppression of criticism shown up by Climategate and the SkS excerpts in this thread are everybody’s concern.

      This background appears to have fuelled the self-importance and sense of entitlement of those who back the IPCC line to the point where yes, I do agree there is a very real chance that circulation of Way’s comments could cause harm to his career. This is extremely regrettable; but again as an old dog I will say it’s probably nowhere near as bleak as it may appear to him now. It never is. However, I think it’s incumbent on the responsible folks here to recognise the validity of his concern and cut the man some slack.

      • kim
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

        Truly, his already demonstrated honesty marks him out from much of the rest of climate science. He is fearful, but perhaps only of his strength.

        Now, about that hodgepodge of an Arctic article.

        • michael hart
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

          Other Menn have probably said more heated things in such straits.

    23. John Francis
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

      I have read every word of Climate Audit for years now. Except when sorely provoked on a few occasions, I defy anyone to find Steve’s writing to be anything but courteous, principled, and topic-related, as opposed to the ad-hominems frequently used against him. Any fair-minded person can see who is the gentleman and scholar, and who is not.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

        Right on, John. I’ve been reading CA since 2003. Steve M. has invariably been acutely analytical, restrained and civil in his comments and rejoinders, and even in the face of grotesque attacks has always bent over backwards to be polite and fair; sometimes to a fault IMO.

        It’s also become quite clear that he has worked harder and more successfully than most of the practitioners in the field, to understand paleo-temperature reconstructions and the mathematics used therein.

        For all of that honesty and for his real contributions to good science, he has received a steady stream of opprobrium from AGW-consensus scientists. By that response they have shown themselves to have abandoned integrity for activism.

        Robert Way had no reasonable basis to call Steve M. a “wackjob” or JeffID a “douche.” This is especially true after arguing that their critical output was fully justified as regards MBH98/99, the Tiljander sediments, and the Steig Antarctic fiasco. That is, Robert Way’s scientific evaluations contradicted his personal derogations. He should have realized that. Instead, peer approval apparently seduced him into making the casual communitarian slanders of a good-ole-boy club. From the experience of my own youthful mistakes, the only way out of that situation is to own the words and apologize for them.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

          Apologizing to Steve McIntyre would not boost a young man’s career in the climate science. He is in enough trouble, already.

          • Ian H
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

            Once the dust settles perhaps Way will notice that he has come out of this quite well.

            Dr Way – your paper has survived being audited on climate audit with its conclusions remaining essentially intact. That is a rare distinction and one that you should be proud of. You need not defer to the likes of Mann and his posse. After all when Mann’s papers were audited here they ended up being absolutely shredded. The verdict of this blog at least is that you are the better scientist.

            As to the unfortunate comments on SKS; I think most of us understand the social pressures on that blog that made you feel obliged to make those “sideswipes”. Understandably Steve seems a bit annoyed at you for calling him a “wackjob”. However I suspect he ultimately cares more about what you had to say about his work.

            You criticise Steve for quoting at length the comments you made on SKS. But you were involved, were you not, in a discussion on SKS where quotes from Steve that might portray him in an unfavorable light were actively being solicited. Surely turn about is fair play.

          • scf
            Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

            It is not wrong to do the right thing.

    24. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

      Quick recap – scientist joins secret partisan forum where he repeatedly reassures the troops of his commitment to and conviction about the cause. Then gets upset when the secret forum isn’t secret any longer.

      (a) What was he thinking when he subordinated his scientific stance to looking good in the eyes of fellow partisans?

      (b) Why isn’t he mad at the incompetence among the same fellow partisans, that has caused the secret forum to be secret no longer?

      (c) When is he going to draw the most logical conclusion about the partisan forum and its participants?

      (d) When is he going to wake up to the reality of the internet, with the now-old saying about not writing anything one wouldn’t want to see printed front page news the next day?

      (e) How can we tell the impact of all the naivety displayed above on the scientific output of an author who has just been hailed on RC as the discoverer of the missing heat?

    25. Buzz Fledderjohn
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

      Steve McI… Can you please send me several years of your private emails so that I can go through and publicize what you say in your private correspondences.

      I’d be much obliged.

      • Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

        Buzz tries a very flawed argument. Way’s messages weren’t private emails, rather statements publicly available to all participants of the secret forum. Furthermore, it was a secret forum, and by making what appear to be very sincere utterances on that forum, Way implicitly trusted the forum’s managers to be clever enough to keep all the information secret, plus acknowledged the information had to be kept secret because non-participants were interested in it. He should therefore be surprised not a jot about people going through the same information when the forum’s managers were shown to be not so clever after all.

        For those who can’t read more than 11 words: secret private.

        • Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

          oops…the last bit should be “secret is different from private”

        • Buzz Fledderjohn
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

          Ah, I see. So, private emails aren’t secret. Is that your contention? Or are you saying that secret correspondences aren’t private?

          I actually think the argument I’m making, though rhetorical since Steve not likely to give me anything, is quite appropriate in this case. Steve believes it’s okay to trot everyone else’s private/secret (whichever way you want to define it) conversations before the public, but he’s unwilling to divulge is own.

          My question is, are Steve’s private/secret conversations on climate issues any different in tone or intent than any he presents here?

          Is Steve telling us that he would never ever act similar to those he “exposes” here?

          Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Manfred
            Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

            I think you are missing the point, which is that climate scientists say very different things in private than they do in public about important scientific issues, and that not telling that message resulted in a costly burden for (almost) everyone on the planet.

            What would be the alternative ? Wait another 10 years to speak up, hoping the dust may have settled by then ?

          • kim
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

            You don’t need a dustman to see what’s burnt to ashes,
            For the times, they are a changin’.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

            Re: Buzz Fledderjohn (Nov 20 20:33),

            You miss a major point. 99% of the “private” emails and correspondence discussed on this site are PUBLICLY funded emails subject to sunshine laws and FOI requests and in no way private. They are the publicly owned work product of publicly employed researchers. That these PUBLIC emails are discussed is not a violation of any kind of ethics. The fact that the Climategate emails were leaked is irrelevant to the moral issue of examining them. If you are government employee you have no moral or ethical right to privacy in any correspondence using work resources.

            The Gleick affair and the leaking of the SS forum are the two exceptions here. Gleick admitted to wire fraud and our lovely Feds refuse to prosecute. The SS forum was leaked by unknowns, but it’s out there. They are proven putz’s and I personally have no issues with calling them on their own conspiracy theories and juvenile behavior.

          • Douglas Foss
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

            You, sir, have not the slightest idea of how many e-mails become public involuntarily every single day of the year. There are whole industries involved in that process – it is literally “industrial”. It’s called litigation “discovery”. I’d say from my corner of the litigation world that many, many millions of e-mails written privately become public every single day. If anyone in American (and Canadian, as far as I know) society writes an e-mail without thinking the world will see it, that person is incredibly naive. Which, by the way, is a good thing. It forces one to be temperate in their language, compels consideration of how others will perceive issues, and generally leads to more thoughtful and constructive expression. If you wouldn’t say something publicly for fear of how another would react, then you should withhold comment, and, having chosen your words anyway, don’t whine when you later find yourself having to explain those words.

          • Speed
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

            Douglas Foss wrote …

            You, sir, have not the slightest idea of how many e-mails become public involuntarily every single day of the year. There are whole industries involved in that process – it is literally “industrial”. It’s called litigation “discovery”.

            There’s nothing quite so breathtaking as walking into a room full of lawyers and seeing piles and boxes of your emails — emails you thought private and confidential.

            Don’t do, say or write anything you don’t want printed on the front page of your hometown newspaper.

          • scf
            Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:17 AM | Permalink

            How many people must join a forum for it to transition from secret/private to public? What is the magic number? If the SKS forum were thousands of participants, would you you still sat that it is secret? If you insult someone to thousands of people, is that acceptable, whether secret or not? Is behaviour that is unflattering in public suddenly harmless when exhibited to select individuals?

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

          We have a similar situation in Australia where our new Prime Minister was ambushed by publication of some hacked messages about surveillance of the Indonesian PM & wife, via Edward Snowden, courtesy of the US Government not having adequate security around its spy documents.
          It happens.

      • kim
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

        Circumspection such as his generally encompasses the whole ore body, public and private, that is drill holes and interstitially krigged stuff.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

        I finally get a notion of how Lewandowsky got on his conspiracy theory hobby horse: SKS’s secret forum for one. The IPCC might be another.

    26. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

      The extremely one-sided jaundiced view of climate science is able to be promoted by such a venue as Skepticalscience because of the Ways and the Curtises who hide their own dissenting opinions from public view.

      Cook and Marriott, both bloggers in climate land, carried out real-time harvesting of their fellow bloggers and commenters’ content for their personal publication. How many skepticalscience commenters have stepped out to defend or support people whose commenters were exploited in this manner?

      The genetically isolated walled-off community encourages polarization. This spills out into ‘moderation’ of offered comments and suspicion of motive. This is still ongoing. Such close-minded cultivation of brooding suspicion carries consequences. For instances, for all practical purposes, interaction between climate audit and skepticalscience, via the channels of openly offered blog comments, blog posts and replies, was minimal to none. What intrinsic reason was there to view McIntyre as a mortal enemy who “has to go down”?

      Would it be far off if it was inferred, that since according to Skepticalscience McIntyre “had to go down”, John Cook and his associates wrote a paper characterizing him as a conspiracy theorist?

      With Anthony Watts the story is worse. When the forum contents were leaked, Watts refused to publish them. Yet, behind the curtain, the worst invective was reserved for him, in large part owing to the fact that his website gets high traffic, and no better reason.

      • Anthony Watts
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

        “With Anthony Watts the story is worse. When the forum contents were leaked, Watts refused to publish them. Yet, behind the curtain, the worst invective was reserved for him, in large part owing to the fact that his website gets high traffic, and no better reason.”

        Indeed. I decided to take the high road at the time, but then I gradually realized through other interactions with members of the SkS community that they held me in contempt, even though I had refused to do what many other bloggers at the time were doing; publishing the SkS forum contents.

        Around that time, they had petitioned me to stop WUWT commenters from using the distasteful abbreviation “SS” to refer to the incongruously named “Skeptical Science” website. For obvious reasons. I agreed to do so, something that continues to this day but I also asked for a favor in return: “stop labeling people they disagreed with as ‘deniers’ on SkS” It got run up the flagpole there, and was roundly refused. They couldn’t let go of their need for a hateful label. Yet, while at the same time they were asking not to be referred to by abbreviation as “SS”, these clowns were playing dressing themselves up as Nazis with imagery like this one: This sort of behavior makes me wonder why I ever bothered to instruct my readers not to use the “SS” abbreviation.

        After all that history, I haven’t found much reason to grant any additional favors, especially since I learned that while taking the high ground and changing the way they were abbreviated in comments (enforcing SkS and not SS), they were secretly looking for Steve and I to be “perp walked” and fantasizing about “ripping” out my throat.

        It’s tribalism of the worst kind at SkS. And it got even worse with the associations with Lewandowsky where the same set of people who didn’t want to be referred to as “SS” by abbreviation, askign for exceptions in abreviation (CA, RC, and WUWT are all commonly acceptable and well used letter abbreviations, and by those examples “SS” would be too), were perfectly fine with helping get papers published on labeling climate skeptics as “moon landing deniers” without actually polling most skeptic blogs (because they knew they wouldn’t be able to use the data) and colluding to create 97% consensus claims by having a pal-review of published papers.

        Upthread, the word “duplicity” was suggested as the right word to describe this sort of behavior. Technically, that’s the right word, but I don’t think it captures the invective that we have observed. The phrase “mendacious duplicity” might be more applicable.

        Sadly, Steve has actually done something gracious here for Robert Way, yet now Robert seems too blinded by the tribalism we’ve seen on display at SkS to realize it. I’m not at all surprised though, while Robert has been reasonable and even courageous on some occasions as demonstrated by Steve’s post today, he’s caught up in the tribalism trap.

        C.S. Lewis once wrote: — ‘Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.’ I submit that SkS would have far less of an integrity problem and far less tribalism if they didn’t have that secret forum.

        • Robert Way
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

          All these comments about these discussions aside I find it curious that you’re criticizing me Anthony when I should be criticizing you for allowing erroneous statements about our paper to be headlined at your blog.

          In particular the David Whitehouse commentary on our paper which states

          “No infilling technique was consistently the best performer [FALSE]. The hybrid method was the best when there was no data [FALSE], in general kriging was better for the rest of the world [FALSE]. However, looking more carefully shows that the hybrid system was generally best for land whilst neither of them showed any predictive skill over Antarctica [FALSE]. It is slightly worrying that the researchers then picked the best reconstruction method for various parts of the Earth to create a mosaic of methods to represent global reality [FALSE and ?????????]…”

          If you want to critique the paper go right ahead – but it is best that you ensure the person doing the critique has not misread the paper.

          For those of you unaware the Hybrid method was overall a much better performer in the cross validation process, particularly in the presence of nearby data but also outperformed kriging for the most isolated regions. The error associated with the Hybrid method was overall much lower than both the Null and Kriging methods and I have no idea how someone reading the paper and the associated online materials could conclude that “no…technique was consistently the best…”.

          The hybrid method also performed fairly well in Antarctica during cross-validation and subsequent tests against Byrd station’s reconciled record suggest the same. Furthermore the relatively agreement with the ERA-I reanalysis leads credence to those results as Screen et al (2012) showed that system and Merra performed well for spatial reconstructions in Antarctica. Is the method perfect for Antarctica? No. And we will be further investigating the issue so that we can better estimate temperature in isolated regions. However there is no reason at all to conclude that the method showed no predictive skill over antarctica (Figure 3 will show that well). I have no idea where this claim arises “It is slightly worrying that the researchers then picked the best reconstruction method for various parts of the Earth to create a mosaic of methods to represent global reality”. That one puzzles me… ?

          Now of course this all leaves out the other headline which was
          “An ‘Uh Oh’ for Cowtan and Way? Arctic temperatures peaked before 1950, declining since” based on data that ended in 1998… I wonder what has happened in the Arctic since then… you were rightly called out on by Mosher and Zeke – though it appears Mosher’s comments have somehow disappeared… and the title has changed according to google cache…

          I think it would be worthwhile for you to both change the initial title for this story which is misleadingly labeled and also to have Whitehouse provide a correction to the statements above he made about the paper. I haven’t parsed through his discussion – nor will I when it appears he clearly misread the paper. Thank you for your help with this Anthony – I’m sure you’ll make every effort to clear those issues up 😉

          • Anthony Watts
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:36 AM | Permalink

            Robert pulls a switcheroo here, and instead of addressing the points I bring up, goes off on a distraction.

            Apparently he was unable to read this note at the bottom of this post:



            [Note: this original post was written during my workday and making a comparison to the Cowtan and Way paper, and like sometimes happens during my day, I got interrupted, and then got off on a tangent that wasn’t correct. To correct my mistake, I’ve republished this post sans that tangent. Later I’ll get back to my original idea when I have more time. – Anthony]

            You see, unlike the SkS, I’m able to make changes and admit a mistake based on critiques. Rather than let the mistake fester, I republished the story minus my mistake and left a note about it. It is a new post, minus my erroneous tangent which also made it into the title. Zeke’s comments were never in the original post, and Mosher’s comment went out with the old post. The corrected post was republished within the hour, as per WUWT policy where it states:

            – Stories that have been posted may get edited in the first hour after they first appear. Sometimes errors or mistakes (particularly in formatting) aren’t seen until the post is published. If something doesn’t look right and the post is brand-new, try refreshing in a few minutes. Of course, after an hour if something is still wrong, don’t hesitate to leave a comment to point it out.

            So per policy, I fixed a mistake and left a public note. Has SkS ever done that? I’m not sure, but I am sure SkS has retroactively made changes to comments months later to change their meaning with no notice of any kind. How do you justify that?

            And this: “I haven’t parsed through his discussion – nor will I when it appears he clearly misread the paper.” My goodness, pronouncements from on high, no need to read it.

            As for Dr. Whitehouse, take it up with him on The GWPF where the post originates, if he issues a change, I’ll certainly follow.

            Now, once again I’ve made changes to accommodate. What are you going to do? Will it be as before – all take and no give? Seems so. Will you ever address the failings of your tribal forum here?

            Or will you go back to the secret forum that has caused you and the tribe so much trouble and join in some new condemnation behind closed doors?

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

            There is an obvious desire to engage/reply to Mr Way. I am not sure it’s anything else than a waste of time though. For all we know, he has just published a post to some other secret forum, praising Anthony and David Whitehouse.

            Trust isn’t an easily exchanged currency. Trust is like the use of one’s legs: once it lost, it is usually a long journey to get it back.

          • Jake Haye
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

            For those of you unaware the Hybrid method was overall a much better performer in the cross validation process, particularly in the presence of nearby data but also outperformed kriging for the most isolated regions.

            Surely a validation process is predicated on the assumption that the methodology has not been tuned to pass it?

          • RB
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Permalink


          • Steven Mosher
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

            I was kinda wondering where my comment went and if my comment had anything to do with the new post, in which case a hat tip would be in order.

            Steve: what comment? But no. In response to my previous post, Way said that the “conspiracy wackjob” slur was not representative of his SKS forum commentary. I therefore re-examined his SKS commentary to see if that was true and it was. Indeed, I was very surprised at the degree to which he had exactly understood the points in our various critiques – much more accurately than many “supporters”. The present post documented that. It was certainly not intended as a slur on Way, but the exact opposite. I fear that I may have seriously under-estimated the continuing threat of retaliation to any young researcher who has the temerity to disagree with Mann and associates on the wonders of Mannian statistics. I had hoped that this had attenuated post-Climategate, but was probably too optimistic on this count. I was also put into a somewhat awkward spot by Robert’s incorrect and unwise suggestion that I had made an “implied threat or blackmail” of writing about the SKS forum if I didn’t get an apology. The two were unrelated in my mind. In addition, I have enough experience not to make threats. I either do something or don’t do it; I don’t threaten to do it. Nor was I going to bargain about what I was going to write about. But once Robert had framed the issue this way, I wasn’t prepared to leave the matter outstanding and thus wrote the post.

          • Bob K.
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

            “I fear that I may have seriously under-estimated the continuing threat of retaliation to any young researcher who has the temerity to disagree with Mann and associates on the wonders of Mannian statistics.”
            If that is true then he ran afoul of the deities when he made his SkS posts, irrespective of whether they were supposedly secret or not.

          • kim
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

            Steve, moshe’s comment was at Antnee’s joint.

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

            Let me join meny others on Climate Audit in commending you for your courage in being willing to discuss your c&W13 paper here in this forum. You are to be congratulated on your attempts to be fair minded and level headed — coupled with a willingness to share your research openly in full detail.
            It will not have escaped your notice that SM has reacted positively to your attempts to improve our understandomg of the Earth’s temperature behaviour over the last 15 years or so. In particulsr SM has spoken favourably about your attempts to use kriging and other methods to achieve this objectoive.

            However, right near the beginning of this doscussion Steve says with refernce to C&W13 that::
            “It doesn’t appear to me that their slight upward revision in temperature estimates has a material impact on the discrepancy between models and observations – a discrepancy which remains, despite efforts to spin otherwise”
            It would be improper of me to suggest that you are responsible for the spin that has followed in the wake of the publication of C&W13. But,the nature of the spin is available for all to see and its focus is quite clearly on the notion that C&W13 has provied a boost to the claim that computer modelling forecasts are in much better shape than might at first sight seem to be the case.

            Do you not think you have an obligation to affirm — on all the forums where you participate –that you regard this spin as overblown? As Steve rightly says your results have little “material impact” on the extent to which the models diverge from reality. If you were to do this I am sure it would greatly facilitate a more constructive interaction between you and SM.

        • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

          Anthony Watts:

          C.S. Lewis once wrote: — ‘Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.’

          My brother, who has read every published word of Lewis, including the voluminous letters, thins he practised what he preached more than most. And tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the great literary scholar’s passing, a death, with Aldous Huxley’s, that has always taken second place in the world’s attention to another, more violent one the same day.

    27. Walter Manny
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

      I hope most here will have the decency to let the W&C paper stand or fall on its merits and avoid the temptation to infer Mr. Way has sought to tease out data favorable to an agenda. Mr. McIntyre has gone out of his way to let us know of this young man’s imperfect courage. It’s hard to see how any responsible person would not welcome his [Way’s] scientific contributions, now or in the future.

      • Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

        it’s a field that eats its young. Remember Marcott? Wagner? Gergis?

        • Watcher
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

          “it’s a field that eats its young. Remember Marcott? Wagner? Gergis?”

          Well said.

          • kim
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

            Steve dips this one by the heel, and not into Rooster Sauce.

          • michael hart
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

            And it may well save him later in his career, despite the Hectoring he will receive.

          • thisisnotgoodtogo
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

            “Steve dips this one by the heel, and not into Rooster Sauce.”
            It’s no Shakun bake.

        • Manniac
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

          They forgot the rules for Intelectuals:

          1. Don’t think.
          2. If you think, then don’t speak.
          3. If you speak, then don’t write.
          4. If you write, then don’t sign.
          5. If you think, speak, write and sign, then don’t be surprised.

    28. Paul Baverstock
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

      I believe most of the comments on here have been supportive of Mr Way in telling the truth to colleagues who appeared to be quite willing to turn their eyes and ears away from tose truths. His protesting is perhaps to maintain his membership of the secret forum and defend his own “dishonest” support of the aims of that forum. His honesty in private does him much credit but to transfer that honesty to a public forum would bring much more – integrity.

    29. Political Junkie
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

      Robert Way,

      This devoted Climate Audit lurker would find it shocking and totally inexcusable to learn about Steve McIntyre participating in a secret forum, assuming privacy and making cheap shot snide comments to others about people with contrary views.

      Perhaps you should revive Michael Mann’s proposed project to get a private investigator to dig out some dirt on Steve to prove me wrong.


      • Buzz Fledderjohn
        Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

        Oh! Then Steve will surely be willing to show us his correspondences to prove to us all that he has never engaged in similar activities.

        • John M
          Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Permalink


          Having exchanged some e-mails with Steve on how to respond to some things that had been written about him, I can assure you that he is as professional and measured in his e-mails as he is on his blog.

          I am also quite sure that folks like you would love to get a hold of his e-mails in order to “take down” folks like me and others who have corresponded with him.

        • TerryS
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

          Buzz, how can Steve prove a negative?
          He could publicise every email he has ever sent and you would simply claim that he has filtered out the ones that engage in similar activities.

    30. Political Junkie
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

      Oh crap, I just got snipped.

      I understand why, but if Robert Way saw what got cut, and also saw why, he’d better understand why many of us respect the integrity of the moderation policies on this site!

      • kim
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

        Your scalp may be scraped to the bone, but your hat has a feather in it.

    31. Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

      I hadn’t remembered Robert Way was a co-author on the Skeptical Science consensus paper. Given he was fair-minded about many of the criticisms raised by Steve McIntyre, I wonder what he has said about that paper in private. It’s hard to miss the fact the entire PR campaign behind the paper (and arguably the paper itself) was based upon conflating support for the idea humans cause some amount of global warming with the idea humans have caused most global warming.

      I don’t see how he could have missed it, and if he didn’t, I don’t know how he could justify being a co-author of the paper.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

        Since Mr. Way objects so strenuously to Anthony’s site carrying what he considers errors regarding his works, how much more must Mr. way have objected to the President of the United States announcement that Mr. Way’s work found that the consensus said the projected warming was dangerous.

        No doubt the letter of correction was sent. Tout suite.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

          It wasn’t actually Barack Obama or the White House which made that tweet (it was a group Obama has authorized to speak for him), and I wouldn’t expect Robert Way to send a letter to anyone about it. However, I’d certainly expect him to complain that Skeptical Science repeatedly promoted the endorsement (even falsely claiming it was from the president itself).

          Not correcting exaggerations of what one’s work shows is bad but understandable. Intentionally promoting those exaggerations is not. It’s just bad. More specifically, it’s dishonest.

    32. Brian H
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

      Way, you’d sound less curt and more courteous if you learned to spell it. \;p

    33. John Norris
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

      Robert Way: “I would like to bridge the gap and come to a consensus (or discussion) on methods and science but there has to be two people willing to do so in good faith.”

      Robert Way, I am pretty sure I read Steve McIntyre gave you an out for this in his post on the 18th.

      Steve McIntyre: “I said that he ought to withdraw the untrue remarks, presuming that an honorable person would withdraw untrue remarks voluntarily. This was not a “an implied threat or some form of blackmail”, but a simple request that someone do the right thing.”

      So go retract the bad things you said about him, apologize and he’ll move on. Everyone of your responses starts off with blaming him for the secret communications not being secret. Go back to the core issue, you insulted him. Take care of that first.

      – snip –

      You can walk back the ‘wackjob’ insult now or you can go on complaining about how the secret internet conversation turned out to be not so secret. You have the ability to bridge the gap. Turns out it is a trivial effort on your part to build that bridge.

    34. Ed Snack
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

      This surely was a cruel post, highlighting Way’s dissent from the groupthink of SKS apart from the obligatory snipes to prove his group loyalty. This is in general a very positive post from Steve on Robert, and as such deeply damaging to Robert’s future grant application viability.

      • Joe Goodacre
        Posted Nov 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

        This post is detrimental to people hoping for normalcy to return to the scientific debate.

        To those thinking that Steve’s post was to Robert’s benefit, that may have been true if it had been posted after the climate wars passed and Robert was looking for affirmation that he was a scientist with integrity, working within a difficult intellectual climate.

        Steve’s post now, has exposed Way for what he was – a independent thinking person and people like Mann will see that as dangerous in the tribal nature of climate research. Robert Way is too young and inexperienced to be able to change the intellectual climate. Of course Robert would throw the obligatory comments against Climate Audit.

        Steve has thrown him to the wolves. Steve could have seen Robert’s comments and been comforted that in the years ahead, when the tribalism died down a bit that there were independent thinkers who would have been able to escape from the distortion that exists there now.

        Robert will now be watched, his every words scrutinised and his funding applications questioned. This post has made it a fraction more likely that in the years ahead, we’ll only be left with group think scientists, not ones who are able to think for themselves.

        I suspect Steve may regret this post at a later date. Given the indoctrination in the climate community, to throw any young, independent thinkers to the wolves is a massive loss – what was the benefit of this expose?

        • scf
          Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

          Firstly, repeating what someone said in an internet forum is “throwing someone to the wolves”? I disagree.

          Secondly, Mcintyre does not deserve the abuse hurled in his direction. According to your argument, the proper course of action is for Way to continue to hurl abuse and to continue to support the group-think at SkS and to continue to publish papers that are just another drop in the groupthink bucket. Exactly how does that benefit anyone?

          • Joe Goodacre
            Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

            Steve has carefully dissected and linked a number of Way’s comments together, over a period of time which indicate that Way doesn’t truly see Climate Audit as the real enemy, rather that anti-scientific practices are the enemy. Regular readers of the diatribe from Mann and members of SKS etc will see that Steve has highlighted precisely how Way is not like them. How well has that worked out for Judith Curry? Though she is respected by many independent observers, she has also become a target for Mann and Sks and his general bigotry.

            Way faces two options:

            a) keep quiet when the alarmist members defend the un-defendable and redouble his efforts to convince the alarmists that he truly believes Climate Audit is the enemy; or
            b) fall into relative obscurity if members of the AGW religion think he is one good nights sleep from becoming a climate denier.

            Either way a voice behind the scenes that could have overtime, influenced alarmists as to the damage their ad hominem attacks and shoddy practices are doing to the integrity of climate science.

            What should Steve have done? Steve is clearly more capable, more balanced and less influenced by ideology. In one word, he’s wiser. Chuck in a little more life experience too. He should have done what any elder person would do, when encountering a young whipper snapper who doesn’t know their ass from their elbow – take note of their potential, and ignore their personal attacks. He got called a conspiracy wackjob by a PHD student – so what, any independent person looking in can see that’s a kid talking. A kid though, who with a little maturity, would see who in the debate had integrity. Steve probably would have found Way the easiest to convince overtime, had they met personally and Way was able to see for himself that Steve didn’t see shadows everywhere. Instead, Steve’s probably pushed Way to ensure there’s no doubt he’s keen to keep drinking the Kool aid.

        • Peter Dunford
          Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

          Robert Way has been on the watch list ever since he started espousing independant thought about the quality of Mann’s statistics. He knows that. His problems didn’t start with this post. It is simply not credible that posts on the SKS private forum would not make it back to the Mann.
          Am I imagining, or do any others also detect a somewhat miserable quality to his comments in this thread (and others). Cowtan and Way might not be enough for him to atone, Steve’s post is irrelevant to that.

        • TYoke
          Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

          Mr. Goodacre,
          This is more “soft bigotry of low expectations”. As I read your post, we are now supposed to Bowdlerize our criticisms out of fear that honesty will cause team scientists to go berserk and eat their young.

          Surely it is proper to treat one’s scientific critics as adults, even if they’re not acting that way.

          • Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

            TYoke – funny that you ask for Way to be treated as an adult but cannot fail to insert the seemingly obligatory condescending remark.

            I think very few people have treated him as an adult, here or elsewhere. That might give him pause to think, unless a sudden career plan change will get in the…way.

          • TYoke
            Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

            Boy did you misunderstand my point. My “condescending remark” was directed at Robert Way’s colleagues, not at Robert. The shocking aspect of this post is Robert’s obvious apprehension about the blowback he anticipates receiving from his Team colleagues. Joe Goodacre is so concerned about that possibility that he says it is improper for that reason to publish Robert Way’s comments.

            My point is that the fault here lies not with Steve Mc., but with Team colleagues who would behave that badly, if in fact they do behave that badly.

        • Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

          Could be why Robert got so defensive.

    35. Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

      Mr. Way,

      I can assure you Mr. McIntyre has done you a tremendous favor. (Perhaps Steve’s paternal instinct kicked in 🙂 ) He has taken the time to read through the postings and using your own words painted a picture of a young man who has good grasp of math, much courage and good judgment but perhaps hanging with the wrong crowd.

      You need not fear for your future. Indeed, these are the exact qualities I look for when I’m hiring.

      You need not be embarrassed that your family and colleagues may read the post. If I were your father and I think I’m old enough to be one, I would be most proud that my son spoke truth when others didn’t.

      Congratulation on publication of your paper.

      • kim
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM | Permalink


      • Joe Goodacre
        Posted Nov 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

        Unfortunately, you are probably not hiring in the area of Robert Way’s research. In the area of his research, group think is valued and Steve has exposed him as being an independent thinker. Steve certainly got this young fellow back – it probably wasn’t his intention to get him back in this manner, however what’s unfolded is not a win for those looking to encourage independent thinking amongst young, vulnerable entrants to the climate wars.

    36. Pat Frank
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

      “Queen of Space Unicorns”

      How do I meet her? 🙂

    37. miker613
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

      What a remarkable post. Hate to say it, but Skeptical Science sounds like an awful place, where you can disagree in private but never out loud.

      I have to admit that I share Robert Way’s distress about publication of private correspondence, especially where it is so embarrassing and maybe harmful to him. All I can tell him is that this is the world we live in today, and no one has any defense against it. It doesn’t help some politician one bit to claim that no one had any right to his intimate whatever – his career will still be destroyed, and no news source thinks twice any more about publishing and re-publishing it. It’s news, and that’s all.

      In other words, Dr. Way, though I basically agree with you, you’re beating a dead horse. You will gain nothing by demanding that people stop re-publishing these things, as hardly anyone agrees with us.

    38. pottereaton
      Posted Nov 20, 2013 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

      I agree with Steve’s conclusion. If there is a hero in that SKS “secret” group it is Robert Way. The rest of what is written there is symptomatic of “extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds,” to quote the title of the book by Charles Mackay. Way occasionally had to add sideswipes to forfend accusations of disloyalty to the crowd, but the lion’s share of his comments is/are a credit to his integrity.

      • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:44 AM | Permalink


        Definitely not. Coward? Most assuredly, otherwise Way would stand his ground and not add sound bite insults so he can keep his chummy chums.

        Since the first posting of C&W’s paper by Steve, Way has not faced up to legitimate criticism. It’s almost as if he’d prefer to swoon publicly about his oh so secret ‘private’ messages he placed on a public web page rather than forcefully stick to discussing his paper. That would be a heroic action.

        Own up to his ‘birds of a feather flock together’ adolescent activities and grow up, be a man, apologize to Steve and others, then ask for forgiveness. That would be a more heroic action.

        At this point, more than just Climate Audit is looking over the C&W paper. If the main defense is going to be ‘how shabby’ Way was treated for his past indelicacies, C&W 2013 will go the way of other sks research papers.

        • scf
          Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:40 AM | Permalink


    39. Rick Bradford
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

      It is very telling that Way attacks the post-hoc selection bias, and urges an end to its use, saying it will help McIntyre and others ‘distort the truth’.

      What is post-hoc selection bias if it isn’t distorting the truth?

      An incredible lack of self-awareness from Way.

    40. David Young
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

      Richard Way, I am sympathetic with your plight. I don’t think your comments posted here are that embarrassing and generally put you in a fairly favorable light, at least in the eyes of most reasonable people. If other scientists punish you, distance yourself from them too. People like that don’t deserve your respect.

      The problem here is the extremely partisan nature of climate science and the extremes that this causes scientists to go to defend their own.

      You will find if you look at the climate blogosphere much worse examples of plain shoddy and unfair treatment, particularly of skeptics. You will do yourself and science a favor by distancing yourself from SkS and its very dishonest approach to science.

      • sue
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

        It’s ROBERT Way, and I’m so impressed by his willingness to engage. Robert, you must be true and honest as a scientist at ALL times… You can do it in now and in the future and it will pay off…

    41. thisisnotgoodtogo
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

      I’ve been pondering Way’s thoughts and thinking now for hours.

      This is what I find:
      1. That he scorns what he thinks are McIntyre’s suggestions of conspiracy of silence within the field.

      2. That he is aware that his own professors warn to stay away from openly supporting Mann’s shonky work.

      3. That he is aware that his confederates at SkS openly support Mann’s shonky work and deny any weaknesses in it that they can, and further lambaste with “denier’ and “conspiracist” those who call it shonky work.

      4. That it doesn’t even take a conspiracy to keep the word of Mann’s shonky work from being widely publically recognized as such(IPCC).

      These being the case, wouldn’t that mean that the field is corrupted inside out?

      Gangsters hardly have to tell their confederates to keep their mouths shut in court about their fellows’ crimes; it’s understood.

      What’s the difference between an understood, and wordlessly threatening rule of silence and a conspiracy of silence – and why would he be so very angered at some outsider not clearly differentiating between the two?

    42. john robertson
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

      Very interesting post.
      Credit to Mr Way for engaging, thats does show flashes of courage, quite rare in the consensus delusion.
      Also it is very kind of you, Steve McIntyre to point out that young Mr Way,in past and assumed secret comments,shows himself to be a cut above the rather odious company that he then was keeping.
      The quotes you show, make it seem, the boy insults you merely as an adaptive feature, to be seen as one of the SKS crew.
      The kindness you show to the follies of youth, impresses the heck out of me.
      Richard Way, you have done very little to be ashamed of in these examples Steve McIntyre shows, as you develop confidence in your own judgement, I hope you will learn to avoid group think and stand up for integrity in science.
      Any employer who would hold being young and conflicted about the theories of climate science against you, is not worth working for.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

        Happy Valley beckoned?

        • JCM
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

          Or perhaps Rigolet

    43. bernie1815
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

      Robert, I do not understand what you are trying to accomplish by harping on the repeating of some of your dubious comments. On the SkS forum you said over an extended period of time some good things i.e., scientifically accurate though unpopular and you also said some bad things, i.e., sophomoric insults, in what you took to be a semi-private conversation. You now protest that those bad things should not be made public yet again because they were said in semi-private, This strikes me as being absurdly naïve – given that the context for some of your remarks was the planning on how to “get” the target of many of your own nasty and gratuitous comments.

      As I see it, you are in an ethical and political bind or Catch-22 largely of your own making. You cannot apologize for your intemperate and groundless remarks without further alienating your SkS co-conspirators. You cannot even acknowledge the positive spin that SM and others have put on your comments without antagonizing your SkS co-conspirators. Instead you have chosen to try to bluster your way out by complaining that your comments have been made public without your permission. But in so doing you actually cause a full blown re-iteration of the bad things you said and you appear weak and duplicitous to boot.

      Perhaps now that you have found yourself in a hole that you dug for yourself, you should stop digging. Restricting yourself to answering technical questions and adding technical information is the only sensible thing to do.

      • Terry
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

        Best advice I have read on this entire thread. Robert, you need to focus on the stuff you are good at, not the ad-hominem stuff. Steve McI is a pretty tolerant guy and Im sure will just put it behind him and get on with the important stuff. As a soon to retire scientist I can assure you that the trvia ad-hominem stuff will long be forgotten while good science will always prevail. Move on. Im sure most others here will allow you to do just that. All the best for the PhD

    44. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

      -snip –

      this comment and its responses have been deleted

      • kim
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

        There is a schism. Mebbe it’s just the cognitive dissonance, expressed most passionately in the younger researchers. Way’s passion(way?) is an improvement on Mann’s, ferinstance.

      • kim
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

        Voila! Less friction after the Zamboni run.

    45. Bernd Palmer
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

      Robert Way, why did you feel it necessary to hide your admiration for Steve’s statistical skills by keeping it in a secret forum? What prevented you to participate actively in the discussions at CA and to maybe hone your own skills? You could probably further your reputation as a scientist and find some admirers of yourself here at CA, and find admirers not for your snarks, but for your skills.
      By howling with the wolfs you certainly gain their admiration, but what if one day you come to scientific conclusions that don’t chime in with their howling? Will you keep quiet or distort your findings to keep your place in the pack, or will you come clean?

      I also found Steve’s remarks regarding your factual remarks rather flattering.

      Steve: Robert has posted at CA from time to time and his remarks did not always attract attention.

    46. Tony Mach
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

      My impression is, when the good people at SkS write things like “He finds a mistake and suddenly its a conspiracy whereas a normal person would call it a reasonable mistake.” that they did not meant “a conspiracy”, but that they meant “malice” – they use words and data a bit carelessly, it seems to me.

      (Funny that they write about “conspiracy theories”, considering that the SkS forum might meet some definitions of a “conspiracy”…)

      And with regards to “malice vs. mistake” question on these many issues you write about: It has to be either one, if they want to claim innocence and say it is all honest mistakes (even if if some mistakes have a very strong smell of being made consciously), that is fine by me: but then they risk being viewed as rather large fools, as it seems to me that “real climate scientists” make some really awful mistakes, and care little about correcting them publicly.

      • Tony Mach
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

        Lest I forget: My impression is that you never take an open position on the “malice vs. mistake” question (and they are wrong to claim otherwise). But if there is good evidence that certain choices were deliberate (which is too often the case), then you go on and add “snark” in the form of slight and very specific sarcasm, to make sure to “rub that point in” – quite frankly, I can’t blame you, because writing about these shenanigans without adding some form of comment would drive any thinking person mad.

        They are right though that “snark” makes “bridging the gap” a bit difficult on their part, as nobody wants to be at the receiving end of sarcastic comments, whether rightly or wrongly directed at them – the result usually is that they circle the wagons. I have no solution to offer – and after all their “scientific” shenanigans are at the root of the problem, and it is their duty to stop them. I would not enjoy reading about these things without the occasional “snark”, so I hesitate to write: “lay low the snark”. However we must get over this “us vs. them”, as the aim must be to better reconstruct the reality of climate (past and present) – but I fear that as long as there are people with an “alarmist” mindset on the “other” side, this will be next to impossible to “bridge the gap” anyway, as the alarmism will always trump and hinder any rational discussion.

        As I said, I have no solution, but only one final remark: If they are really interested in bridging the gap, they are welcome to stop the sideswipes anytime.

    47. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

      @Robert Way: You wrote

      Perhaps I am old fashioned but I judge people not only on what they say but how they say it.

      I completely agree. I also very strongly believe that people should take ownership of and responsibility for their very own words. That being the case, perhaps you would care to explain why you continue to go to such lengths to divert from your own failure to take any responsibility for your obvious disrespectful and unwarranted sideswipes at one with whose arguments you presumably agree.

      You also wrote:

      How has climate audit responded? By discussing my stolen private correspondence even when I asked for it to stop. It is bad enough that my family has to read online hundreds of “contrarians” trashing me – but this – this goes beyond that. I would like to bridge the gap and come to a consensus (or discussion) on methods and science but there has to be two people willing to do so in good faith.

      What “stolen private correspondence” are you talking about? Is this a convenient line you picked up from Mann? It certainly has echoes of such an unsubstantiated and unproven whine!

      Ever heard of the maxim, “loose lips sink ships”?! Well, whether you have or not, I suppose it’s possible that your contributions to SkS’ far from secure forum were via E-mail. But this does not in any way, shape or form magically convert such contributions into “private correspondence”.

      Furthermore, as others have noted, SkS’ lack of security does not magically render the (probably inadvertent) public disclosure of any such contributions as deserving the label of “stolen”. Gleick most definitely did steal – and went to great lengths to do so. We “contrarians”, however, do not steal.

      And neither you nor anyone else (including the Norfolk Constabulary) has provided a scintilla of evidence that any “contrarian” has done so.

      That aside, perhaps, in good faith, you’d like to substantiate your claim that “hundred of ‘contrarians’ [are] trashing [you]”. Your failure to do so would strongly suggest that you have redefined the word “trashing” merely to play the “Poor Robert” card!

      The bottom line – or the view from here, so to speak – Robert, is that if you sincerely want to engage in “good faith” dialogue, the very first step you need to walk is to take ownership of – and, more importantly, apologize for – your disrespectful, unwarranted sideswipes at Steve McIntyre and other “contrarians”.

      Steve: Hilary, I, for one, don’t “know” that the Climategate emails weren’t hacked.

    48. Paul_K
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

      Robert Way,
      However it may appear to you, SM’s article does not put you in a particularly bad light. The remarks he has highlighted reveal scientific integrity and intellectual courage on your part. I can also readily believe (like a number of other commenters here) that you saw the gratuitous insults to SM and Jeff Condon, as a necessary payment to retain your tribal membership, and am willing to discount them as such. (If I were Steve or Jeff, I might feel very differently about this!)

      This article does nothing to damage your reputation as a young scientist. I don’t doubt that it has caused you some anguish; however, I do doubt that your anguish stems from your concern that your “family has to read online hundreds of contrarians trashing [you]”.

      Aesop tells a fable about a stork which is caught up in a net set for crows. You need to make a clear decision in your own mind about whether you wish to stand for scientific integrity or you wish to be an active propagandist for something. A propagandist to be true to his cause is ALWAYS forced to shun objective truth; it goes with the territory. So make a decision about where you wish to stand, be clear in your own mind about that decision, and then don’t whine about the consequences. Whatever that decision is, don’t expect to be popular with everyone; it is just not possible. Most importantly, if you are a stork, then don’t sleep with the crows.

    49. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

      a by the way observation,
      Why was Robert Way too shy to put his affiliation with SkS on the Cook et a Consensus paper.

      he is a regular author, contributor and inner forum member

      All the authors of the Cook97% paper, had a role at Skeptical Science, being authors/contributors there and/or part of the inner forum,
      but Robert Way, Sarah Green, Mark Richardson & Peter Jacobs did not declare it.. Robert Way for example has more article written by himself, than I do for Watts Up With That.

      Were they simply hiding from the peer reviewers that they wear ALL involved at Skeptical Science, or was there some other reason.
      (thus by not declaring their affiliations with SkS giving the peer reviewers the impression, that at least 4 outside academics were involved with the paper)

    50. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

      Imagine that PhD discussion…a large room with a giant desk, a small army of stern-looking professors sitting as if to surround Candidate Way.

      A balding, goatee-sporting professor starts roaring with an even sterner voice: “Tell me, boy…what do you agree with MCINTIYRE on?”

      A sound of thunder fails to break the icy silence. In the boy’s mind, a portion of fries, and a customer to serve…

    51. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

      I have one comment in moderation. Apologies if I have offended trans fats.

      Now THAT sounds very wrong too 😉

    52. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

      I can understand Robert Ways concern, as someone who works at a university, abit in the Professional Services IT area… you have to be careful to uphold your institutions reputation.

      However i’ve always stood by the age old advice of never write in a e-mail or on the internet anything that you wouldn’t want plastered across the front pages of a New Paper, IT Systems admins have complete access to e-mail accounts, work logs etc. etc. we have to abide by professional standards.

      Climate Science is a huge political arena, whos policies impact EVEYONE in the UK and EVERYONE in the developed world

      £100 a year in green taxes on my electricity bills for example. My Car tax is based around its CO2 emissions based on the AGW theory.

      This work HAS to be correct due to its implications around public policy.

      If i was to cock up a systems upgrade, there would be serious results, payroll going wrong for thousands, suppliers not being able to be paid etc.

      This is local / national newspaper headline material see RBS and Nat West IT cockups for example.

      In my opinion researchers in climate science have it comparatively easy, they can make mistakes in papers, do bad maths, it doesn’t affect them, i can’t afford those mistakes. Thats why climatologists get it in the neck from engineers, and computer scientists very hard… we are seemingly held to much much higher standards, and can’t afford the mistakes that climate scientists seemingly are allowed.

      But if i was to cock up in that scale and do upgrades that went seriously wrong, you can be sure i’d be brought into senior managers offices pretty quickly.

      • John
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Permalink


    53. Walter Manny
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

      Here’s an example of why we see so little progress, in my opinion, in advancing the science in this field. A young scientist appears to defend his paper in a blog which is in general opposition to CAGW as a working theory, even if its moderator, notably, is not. The moderator has a beef with that scientist’s slight misbehavior but even so lauds his courage for having not followed the “in” crowd down the line, hook and sinker. But then the thread, which one would hope ended up encouraging a joint effort of kinds, instead devolves into the sort of snark-fest we deplore at RC-Borehole, for instance. And all because Way can’t bring himself to a small apology. He should, yes, but he’s not going to, at least not until he’s older, so how about dropping it and moving on to the merits of that paper, for those capable of analyzing it.

      • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

        There is something more profound behind this all than a scientific paper: is it worthwhile to analyse the scientific output of somebody so extremely partisan in public compared to his secret persona?

        After all the paper is public so we should reasonably expect the public Way not the secret one.

        • Walter Manny
          Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          I would argue that it is not more profound as much as it is more entertaining to focus on the sideswipes. It’s obvious what needs to happen there — many of us have made that point repeatedly by now — but it has nothing to do with studying the climate. Either the paper has a contribution to make to our understanding of averaged global anomalies or it does not. Imputing motives is fun, no doubt — I’ve been guilty of it many a time, and you could argue that it’s all that’s left to those of us who don’t have the time, inclination or ability to do the math. -snip – Is the infilling valid or is it not?

          • Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

            no Walter the issue is at the heart of epistemology, and can be summarized as the age old problem of how to separate the scientist from the science. If such a separation is at all possible, that is.

          • kim
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

            I resemble that time, inclination, or ability remark.

          • Walter Manny
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

            To the -snip-, I’ll rephrase, see if it passes muster, if it’s a point worth making: Speculating about what Way’s motives might have been, or about what outcome might have been desired by those who desire outcomes, has nothing to do with the paper’s conclusions.

            Steve: this post was not about Cowtan and Way 2013, but about the surprising amount of agreement between Way and myself on paleoclimate statistics. I had not appreciated this until Way challenged me on my characterization of his forum remarks. As I observed in my preamble, that CRU analysis should be flawed should not be a surprise to Climate Audit readers.

          • Walter Manny
            Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

            Thanks for that correction. I was indeed commenting as though I were on the previous thread, where there is still action, I see.

    54. Bernd Palmer
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

      Robert Way, you say: ” I feel that there are a great many comments in the discussion forums of many posts that tend to be very filled with disdain towards climate scientists.”
      Yet, you are fostering this kind of behavior among your pals in the SkS discussion forum (be it semi-private or semi-public). Now you complain about others showing the same behavior in a public forum.

      If you felt that Steve was technically right on certain important issues (as recalled here by Steve), why didn’t you come out, why was it so difficult to admit it publicly? After all, it’s about science and about climate, isn’t that what you are interested in?

      You could have discussed the issues openly in CA and you would have gained enormous respect in the scientific community, for your knowledge, for your courage (although I don’t understand why it should need courage to defend the truth?) and for your integrity. You clearly missed an opportunity there.

    55. Dave L.
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

      Advice to Robert Way and other young scientists in this day of the not-so-private Internet:

      There is an old Malagasy proverb which states:
      “When you lay on your back and spit into the air, it will fall back on you.”

    56. chris y
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

      Mr. Way-

      After reading the PR blather regarding your recent paper, I was very suspicious that the results were either wrong or wildly exaggerated, based on a plethora of bitter past experiences with the CACC movement.
      When I found out you are strongly coupled with SkepticalScience, I pretty much dismissed your paper as conclusion-based evidence-making.
      When I found out you were a co-author of the Cook et al. garbage paper on 97% consensus, I pretty much decided you were a buffoon.

      Mr. McIntyre’s post highlighting some of the technical comments you made at the security-free SkepticalScience super-secret chat room has actually made me reconsider my initial dismissal of your integrity and expertise.

      For what it’s worth.

    57. miker613
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

      It is slowly occurring to me that perhaps there is more going on here than McIntyre publishing comments that contain some silly personal swipes, and Way demanding that he stop because it’s personally embarrassing. Maybe Dr. Way will comment on this, since he is sometimes responding:

      Are you mostly upset about the dumb personal swipes being published, or are you mostly upset over your agreement with McIntyre being published?

      The latter, after all, is a potent weapon now in the hands of the Enemy. From now on, if anyone makes the claim that Dumb Scientist has been doing here – which I see a lot – defending the Hockey Stick, anyone can quote Robert Way from Skeptical Science doing a really effective job of breaking it into pieces. If anyone makes the claim that Dumb Scientist has been doing that McIntyre has been constantly refuted – which I see a lot – anyone can quote Robert Way from Skeptical Science saying that he is usually right and making important points. If anyone thinks that Skeptical Science or Real Climate etc. are impartial scientific sites, there’s Way again telling that they are making a big mistake doing propaganda, insisting on defending parts of the science that are turning out to be false.

      Most supporters of AGW never seemed to understand the most important public image impact of Climategate. It was things like this: the revelation of the false front that certain climate scientists were holding up.

      I would be upset too. I’m sure people from the NSA are upset that so much of their stuff was revealed – it is a victory for the other side and makes their job much harder.
      But in the same token, it makes the complaints about revealing the information irrelevant. If Skeptical Science is fighting an information war – and I have Robert Way to testify to it – they cannot complain if they lose a battle. All’s fair in war.

    58. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      I guess comments like this below(accidentally made viewable I believe – Cook thought his mistake, I believe with admins permissions)
      are perhaps not good for a young climate scientists career if they got back to a certain man……… or men

      “I think Romm does more harm than good sometimes to be honest…
      Oh and while we’re on the topic of these sort of counterproductive activities look at this bombshell

      Does he not realize how much gasoline this will throw on the fire. Dumb…” Robert Way

      Are we sure he is not a sceptic, under deepcover (my little joke)

    59. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

      Robert Way

      Someone above said

      ‘He has taken the time to read through the postings and using your own words painted a picture of a young man who has good grasp of math, much courage and good judgment but perhaps hanging with the wrong crowd.’

      I agree. I thought you came over rather well and are someone to look out for in the future provided you can continue to develop the integrity, objectivity and ‘scepticism’ of a true scientist.

      I am inclined to agree that there is too much ‘private’ correspondence posted at times. I suppose the lesson is that if its on the internet its become a matter of public record. Personally, If I have private correspondence with anyone-including climate scientists-I will ask if it is Ok to make it public.

      I hope your career prospers and I think of all the good tips people here have made to you the best one is to distance yourself from Sks.


      Steve: I also thought he came over rather well in these comments. I didn’t post the remarks because he looked bad in them, but because he looked good and the sideswipes, in context, were just that, sideswipes.

    60. mpainter
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

      “Tribalism ‘, yes, but the term “cult” fits very well, also. Bobert Way strives to adhere to good rigorous science but is handicapped by his devotion to a cult that does not.

    61. b4llzofsteel
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

      Gentlemen, Gentleman! Can we pls go back to science? Thank you!

    62. Walter Manny
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

      Off topic, but I note that Muller has had the temerity to claim there are fewer severe tornadoes of late. For a different thread, here or elsewhere:

    63. fredmoolten
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

      Since this discussion seems to enjoy a wide audience, I’ll seize the opportunity to use it for a scientific question, but first, a brief comment on my own impressions of the above exchanges. For what it’s worth, I think Steve M should probably have omitted some of the more personal elements in the quoted material to spare Robert Way embarrassment. I would hate to live in a world where I can’t make intemperate personal remarks privately because I wouldn’t or shouldn’t make them publicly. Still, I think Robert Way has been overly sensitive and has overreacted, particularly since both his scientific acumen and personal courage have been commended. Now for the science.

      In his post, Steve said, regarding CW13: “It doesn’t appear to me that their slight upward revision in temperature estimates has a material impact on the discrepancy between models and observations – a discrepancy which remains, despite efforts to spin otherwise.” Well, model imperfections are well known, but here’s the point I’d like to explore. The model projections for the past 15 years or so clearly overstate surface warming. However, ocean heat content appears to have been rising at a fairly unabated pace – i.e., the surface temperature hasn’t risen much but the world has accumulated considerable heat. One apparent reason for the discrepancy is a change in the vertical distribution of heat gain within the oceans, with disproportionately more accumulating at depth compared with the earlier decades. If this redistribution had not occurred, what would have happened to surface temperature? How serious a flaw is it for models not to have anticipated this type of redistribution? More particularly, how long can this type of discordance between planetary heat gain and surface warming persist? My guess is that at some point, the surface must begin to catch up, and this will cause model projections at multidecadal intervals perhaps to conform better to observations than they have when only one or two decades are considered. There are certainly other problems with models, but is this particular failure to match observations as serious as it is sometimes made out to be?

      • David Young
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

        Fred, This is an interesting question. In my experience in a complex nonlinear system all scales effect all other scales. So, if models don’t reproduce the recent climate system changes, this may effect the longer time scales too. My years of experience since our last discussions at Judith’s have convinced me that simple models constrained with good data may be more accurate than complex ones with many parameters.

        One common way of arguing about the models is “they don’t simulate weather, but they get the long term right.” If so, are they any better than simple conservation of energy models? Unphysical dissipation means details are smeared and damped and subtle effects are just lost. But the overall energy balance might still be right.

      • Paul_K
        Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

        The models do not just overestimate surface temperature gain; they overestimate tropospheric temperature gain and simultaneously overestimate ocean heat gain. See (Troy) Masters 2013 for a simple comparison of observational data with CMIP5 models. No place to hide there.

    64. JEM
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

      I’d argue that Way doth protest too much.

      The remarks that Steve extracted from a semi-public (or semi-private, depending on your view of the world) environment and posted here represent what I think most of us would term a voice of reason.

      We have seen, through the Climategate release and elsewhere, that there have been others in the climate-science field who have been similarly, I won’t say skeptical because that’s a bit of a loaded word in itself, but I will say honest and careful.

      And, almost to a man, they kept their concerns mostly to themselves and a very narrow collection of others while the activists ran wild and took the agenda in directions largely unsubstantiated by valid experimental, experiential, and mathematical analysis.

      I’m sure they all have their reasons for staying clear of all of the high-sticking going on, but the lack of effective defense over the past decade has left the whole league discredited.

    65. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

      The only grandstanding is by those blessed innocents who clamor a return to debating ‘science’. If things were that simple, there’d be no need for declarations of interests for example.

      Scientific articles can’t be decoupled from the scientist’s prejudice. What can a scientist study but the world he/she believes to be living in?

      You ought only amaze at how scientific sounding DiCaprio’s phrenology lesson in Django Unchained is.

      What guarantees us that our science is no phrenology? What makes our scientists better than one or two centuries ago? And so back to Ways worldview…his strongly held beliefs aren’t foreign to his findings. Everything else is a nice illusion.

    66. TomRude
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

      “McIntyre need to go down, it is quite that simple”
      So much for kindness…

    67. clipe
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Permalink


      They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid.

      While the federal government ignored Kyoto commitments after signing on, some provincial governments bought, not only the hockey stick, but “An Inconvient Truth” and an article in Time Magazine, lock, stock and barrel. (I’m looking at you McGuinty)

      As an Ontario tax payer – and rate payer – why was this sort of discussion being kept secret from me?

    68. Don Monfort
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

      I took a quick look at Way’s writings on SkS, outside the secret forum with the little plastic decoder ring. He seems to sing a different tune, or talks out of the other side of his mouth:

      38. robert way at 12:41 PM on 27 August, 2010
      I disagree with steve’s take on Moberg versus loehle. Loehle was clearly flawed whereas Moberg brought something new to the field with his novel wavelet technique. I think anyone who would give loehle’s analysis the same credibility as Moberg’s clearly has an agenda as methodologically the difference is clear.

      18. robert way at 15:14 PM on 29 November, 2010
      Steig et al (2009) has not been “put in the trash bin” the methods were fine. Just because Hu and them over at CA found that they forgot to correct for autocorrelation doesn’t mean it was trash. They submitted their correction and the correction was published without any noticeable difference.

      • CG
        Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

        Well, at least one of those statements was accurate…

      • JamesG
        Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

        I’ve seen critiques by confirmed warmists which convincingly argued that Loehle pre-1930 and Mann09 without Tiljander or bristlecones are practically identical.

        So which is it? Flawed compared to Mann or confirming Mann? They can’t make up their mind! Loehle’s reconstruction at least had the virtue that all proxies had been a priori reconciled to local temps but it just reaffirmed that the proxies are too sparse for a true reconstruction.

        All other reconstructions just ignore this fundamental problem by throwing a mathematical cloak around wild extrapolations and over-weighting of individual proxies. Paleos seem dazzled by the fancy maths and few are qualified to do a proper review. They merely wish to believe current climate is unprecedented because it confirms their bias.

    69. CG
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

      It seems like a shame to alienate Mr. Way when he is clearly a good scientist by the purest definition (as Steve Mc is as well in the auditor/replication role).

      It is true that the forum comments in this post may affect his career, but, that in itself is a problem that shows something is wrong in this area of climate science. I do expect that Way agrees with this, but, I also sympathize with his desire to handle this his own way, on his own terms, to avoid immediate attack from Mann’s cohorts. Whenever someone is working within “the system” to fight for the right thing, blowing their cover may not always be the smartest thing to do, even if they shouldn’t have to have “cover”.

      That being said, as Steve surmised above, the commentary highlighted in this post does 100% paint Way in a good, even great, light. I will remember the name in the future.

      Finally, Steve, given Way’s age and private nature of Way’s comments, would you be willing to drop your expectation of an apology, even if receiving one would be nice? Way clearly respects your work, at least, and that’s more important than personal comments made in private. And, I might add that those comments very well may have been throw-ins to give himself some cover. If my boss has a disagrement with somebody, but I think my boss is wrong, I may say to my boss (in private correspondence) “yeah that guy’s a jerk, but, he has a point”, without necessarily meaning the “jerk” part most of the time.

      Steve: I wasn’t especially worried about an apology from a young guy, but I did want him to realize that the comments were inappropriate. Given the general tenour of his other remarks, I suspect that he realizes this. When I reviewed his SKS comments, I was genuinely surprised by their acuity: thus the post, which, in my opinion, placed Way in a very favorable light and minimized the sideswipes. I’ve removed a number of blogposts hectoring Way theoretically on my behalf but for matters where the point’s been made.

    70. Ed_B
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

      I think Steve held out an olive branch here. I admire his extra effort to persuade a young and talented scientist to “move on” and join those that are truly doing the science. That means apologizing for past snipes, and being public, not private, about the warts in climate science.

      Sadly, the olive branch is still waiting. We are all poorer for it.

    71. Man Bearpig
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

      Mr Way’s complaint about his private and public opinions do nothing for science. If you approve of a theory in public but disagree in private, how can science ever advance ?

    72. Jeff Id
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

      I find Robert’s offhand degradations of the stats here interesting. Of course it could simply be genuflecting to the context of the people whom he was writing to. Still, I would challenge him or others to find any claim that was done wrong that hasn’t already been contested – there is nothing I know of, but from the volume of data there probably is something wrong somewhere. Robert lives in a strange world, caught between the reality of statistics and the subculture of popular climate.

      The believers truly see the skeptic commentary as denial and extremism and many of the non-ordained see the same from them. It is relevant to me that the primary IPCC modeled warming argument has statistically failed, yet SKS “scientists” cover it up like it was some kind of moon-landing conspiracy. Science is science and we cannot deny that models are running too hot to be reasonably explained by statistical variance. An honest broker would be speaking out about that particularly important bit of reality.

    73. Beta Blocker
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

      A Miranda warning needs to be embossed on every computer keyboard:

      Anything you type can and will be used against you.

    74. Paul Monaghan
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

      Enjoyable read Steve, obviously took a lot of work.

      Dr. Way, if you are reading, it seems to me that Occam’s Razor would tell you almost immediately whether Steve Mc. and Co. or Mann and Co. are the activists, and who the real scientists are.


    75. Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

      Reblogged this on CraigM350.

    76. Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

      Re disturbances during the course of a scientific career.
      I seldom discuss these matters. It was years ago and it’s rarely useful for helping others. Might be a help here.
      Age 21. I’m 6 ft 4 inches, 200 lb, very fit and muscled. Twice in 6 months I use force on a person stealing from me. Each is dead within a week of my rough-up. I resolve to progress through life with a ‘gentle giant’ philosophy.
      Age 30-35. I’m a minor public figure for pro-nuclear. People I have never met seek to silence me. The next 4 acts are on the record.
      a. A car is let loose to roll down my driveway, smashing into a son’s bedroom. Reported to local police.
      b. A device of electronic parts, wires & batteries is left on a BBQ table next to our home. Police called. Was it a bomb? (No).
      c. My wife in Sydney receives several sinister phone calls when I’m a thousand miles away in the bush. Police step up home patrols.
      d. My private car is stolen. When looking for it, I’m accused wrongly of impersonating a policeman and spend $000s defending charges.
      Age 36. I fly alone to a remote Aborigine community to negotiate a uranium contract. While walking in, I hear the crowd of 100 being warmed up by a known activist. I’m terrified for my life, a rare feeling.
      Age 37. Working at a middle-east country airport on a project involving uranium, I was marched by machine gun to a filthy cell filled with wretches and held there for several hours. I chose not to turn it into an international diplomacy incident.
      Three suggested lessons.
      1. At an early age, decide on a life course. Be ambitious. Try to become notable. A country of people with like motivations is powerfully good to live in.
      2. There is a whole industry filled with dissidents who work to cut the legs off tall poppies. Deal with them with means available at the time then move on rapidly.
      3. It is easier to tell the truth, in general life and in science, than to manage the complexity of lies upon lies. (So I am told.)

    77. MrPete
      Posted Nov 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

      Robert Way (Nov 20 22:09),

      The difference is I feel I have the right to choose which critiques I would like to make fully public and when.

      Wouldn’t that be nice?

      Robert, I can easily commiserate. Yet I’d like to affirm what others have advised here, based on decades of real-world experience. The fact that I use “MrPete” here is really just for fun. My own real name is quite well known… and it is impossible for me to hide what I have written for for close to 30 years online (yikes!)… even though much of it was never imagined to have any longevity or widespread visibility.

      A few sobering examples from distant past, recent past, and easily forseen future:

      * The first online group discussions (30 years ago) were in UseNet. NOBODY, not even the biggest high tech companies, had the disk space or resources to retain more than a few weeks of the discussion. Thus, whatever we wrote was quite ephemeral… or so we thought. Imagine our surprise twenty years later when a comprehensive UseNet archive going all the way back to the beginning, was made public as a permanent archive on what is now called Google Groups.

      * I could give many examples over the last decade of truly private group email discussions, not even online, that were silently and purposely exposed to public view by a well-meaning member of the group who decided that this great conversation should be posted. Suddenly, everyone’s email address was harvested by spammers, and their discussion was indexed…

      * Near future: all the big search companies are working on, or have even released, tools that index the spoken words from an audio or video recording. So the participant in a long-forgotten poster talk at a scientific gathering, who placed their recording in an obscure online folder on the departmental website… will have enabled that discussion to suddenly be fully indexed and accessible to anyone worldwide. And not just to those who have the patience to listen to the whole thing. The one snarky mention of Prof XYZ’s name in the middle of the discussion will be easily found and brought to light.

      Bottom line: it’s going to get worse, not better.

      Having a permanent personal Mea Culpa web page is probably not a bad idea.

    78. thisisnotgoodtogo
      Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

      Your profs were not wrong

      Now Mann says

      “Among other areas of the science where the evidence has become ever more compelling, is the so-called “Hockey Stick” curve — a graph my co-authors and I published a decade and a half ago”

      Is a paper an area of science now?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

        A curve is an area of science?
        If it goes down an area of science goes down?

    79. Mike Mangan
      Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

      Well, one thing the SkS crowd can pat themselves on the back for. Every minute Mr. McIntyre spends on them and their shenanigans is one less minute spent probing the soft under belly of “climate science.”

    80. A. Scott
      Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

      Robert Way – I think Anthony Watt’s comment sums things up excellently:

      “Steve has actually done something gracious here for Robert Way, yet now Robert seems too blinded by the tribalism we’ve seen on display at SkS to realize it. I’m not at all surprised though, while Robert has been reasonable and even courageous on some occasions as demonstrated by Steve’s post today, he’s caught up in the tribalism trap.”

      I read Steve McI’s post here. I took it as a complimentary commentary on you and your actions. That he would take this time is pretty highly complimentary in itself.

      I think you would be well served to more graciously accept the compliments and take his advice to heart. Let your comments pro or con stand on their own and lose the gratuitous sniping.

      Read the comments toward you here – again – most are relatively complimentary.

      One thing the skeptic community in my experience embraces and respects is the willingness to participate. Most certainly there are passionate people, as well as idiots – ignore them. Instead of complain here about a post at WUWT simply go there and rebut.

      You acknowledge there is significant positive contribution from the skeptic community – that they are often correct. Support that and engage – participate.

      THAT is what will advance communication and advance the science.

    81. Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

      I think that the point in this post has been made and there are now too many pontificating comments. So I’m going to close comments on this thread.

    82. Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

      Way’s sane comment on the CLimategate emails:

      Im gonna be honest I’m dissapointed in some of the emails. I have heard behind the scenes about some of this stuff and apparently the opinions of some were more widespread then I had thought.

      I urge us all to consider it is about the right science not about just being on the side of the consensus. Some of the reconstruction work we have talked about SHOULD be re-evaluated and perhaps some wording changed.

      here’s an example:
      Raymond Bradley

      I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should
      never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

      Remember, he is the B in MBH 1998… so maybe we should see if we talk about the paper anywhere?

    83. Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

      Steve –

      Stupendous and very clear exposition of part of what was going on at SKS. There is so much to it, and yet, it all follows well. LOL – Way’s praise of your ability to convey what your message is – good stuff.

      Picking ONE item out, I liked this from Neal King:

      “Because the science is at the edge of ignorance, mistakes WILL be made. The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.”

      This addresses part of my own POV, that the science of reconstructions IS new and on the frontier, and of COURSE it will have mistakes – and that everyone involved should acknowledge that and have some kindness to those who make the mistakes. But also, those who make the mistakes should have simply accepted the observations of their errors and corrected them as best they could.

      It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that part of it – the human part: Admit errors with dignity and respect and then move on.

      Mann himself – his personality – I’ve seen in scientists before, and in industrial bosses, too. I’ve always put it down to insecurities – sometimes people somewhat over their heads.

      That Mann and Stiljander and Steig used data wrongly, it strongly does imply that in some statistical areas they were over their heads.

      Instead of stonewalling and being impervious to correcting their errors – this seems to be a large part of the entire conflict.

      But when Mann’s HS became such an icon, how the hell was he supposed to go to the IPCC and admit, “Well, you know that graph you’ve got plastered all over? The one from my thesis? I had some mistakes there, so can you retract it?” The guy was so exposed; his gonads were out there, hanging: He was a poster boy who – because of his mistakes – was underneath it all a bit of a fraud. But what was he supposed to do?

      I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Mann’s shoes. Especially having McIntyre on his trail. But – and did he ever realize it at all? – that is what auditors do, isn’t it?

      The guy must have felt as insecure and exposed as is possible in science. And I think that his insecurity is still there, given his stonewalling of his papers from UVA and his attack dog demeanor still.

      In addition, as we’ve seen along the way and continue to see, others on HIS side recognized all along how bad a job he’d made of it.

      He seems to have made enemies all over the place and lost the respect of many around him.

      But that was typical of the insecure scientists and bosses I worked with: Over time no one wanted to work with them. Their behavior tended to burn bridges. If Mann hadn’t become such a grant magnet, how many would be working with him, then or now?

    84. Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

      As someone who was in a similar position to Mr. McIntyre in the recent past, perhaps my thoughts might be useful to some. When the Climategate emails were released, Steve Mosher gave me a CD with them. I was at the time writing for on climate issues.

      I refused to publish them at the time for various reasons, explained in posts on Examiner. However they did end up being published. When some of the individuals whose emails were published began commenting on them publicly and referring to their internet locations (On Real Climate) I assumed that they were then fair game. I later co-authored a book with Steve Mosher about them.

      It is my observation that Mr. McIntyre, who has not quoted from the SkS releases extensively before now, has acted properly. He didn’t grab the SkS forum. He hasn’t been dining out on their revelations. When something in them is germane to a point he is making he uses them.

      The ethics and legality of their release become a different issue from their contents very quickly.

      Perhaps equally important and perhaps also of some future comfort to Mr. Way, the personal comments in the Climategate emails have quickly faded from public memory and ongoing discussion. The substance was more important and is still a matter for discussion, as it should be. But the catty and malicious behaviour exhibited in many of the emails just doesn’t seem to have any staying power. And that perhaps is also as it should be.

      Your dilemma is that not all who are on your side are your friends. Not all on the opposing side are your enemies. The science still lies in the No Man’s Land in between the two sides. You are embarrassed because you have given credit where it is due and accompanied that credit with personal comments meant to assure your side that you are still part of the team. Perhaps now you fear that the McIntyre brigade will only remember your personal comments and the SkS tribe only the credit you gave to your opponent. I don’t think you need to worry about that overmuch.

      Let it go and stick with the science.

      Tom: at the time that the SKS stuff came out, I had barely heard of SKS. Not using the material was not so much a matter of virtue or policy, but a lack of priority in minor players. What has pushed me to re-examine it as much as anything is the prominence subsequently achieved by Cook and Lewandowsky for their highly derogatory conspiracy theory. While I have not yet touched on it, the SKS forum was a cesspool of conspiracy theory, a topic that I have work in progress.

    85. MrPete
      Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joe Goodacre (Nov 24 05:47),

      …take note of their potential, and ignore their personal attacks.

      Sometimes the path of wisdom and even love is to respond. Steve did not respond in kind: he did not disparage. He only pointed out the other person’s own rash words.

      I would hope that both Way and McIntyre can continue to build a healthy relationship in private, perhaps beginning with a meal or a game on the courts :).

      One of the hardest — and best — things ever said to me by a mentor in my younger years: “Pete, you’re smart and eventually will have a lot to contribute. But for now, why don’t you just shut up for a few years and learn a few things from these people?” OUCH. That stung. But he was right, and I became all the better for it.

    86. Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

      Hmm, groupthink indeed (mentioned twice in the comments)I would strongly recommend, or even urge, Robert Way to take notice of this phenomenon.

      I don’t think that there are cases in Irving Janis’ work that do even come remotely close to the extreme groupthink as displayed at SKS.

      It also shows a negative element of internet, the ability for extremists and scientivists to find each other, form a group and fall in the trap of escalating extreme group behavior.

      Maybe somebody should write a book about that.

    87. Brian H
      Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

      Can you please fix the CA Assistant? See my request in that blogsite. Settings is blank and hence can’t be changed, etc. in FF.

    88. cd
      Posted Nov 26, 2013 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

      These guys sound paranoid. I think the main problem for them is that they are fighting every battle on the low ground – they presume to know the answer before they’ve even got the results.

    89. Rick
      Posted Nov 27, 2013 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

      Interesting post. Jeff Id has inadvertently summarized in a few words the dilemma the world faces on the climate issue:
      “Robert lives in a strange world, caught between the reality of statistics and the subculture of popular climate”
      Is that not the shoal we all have foundered upon, because I can’t imagine what the nature of the discussion would look like otherwise?

    90. westcoasttiger
      Posted Dec 1, 2013 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

      I’m giving this comment a shot despite Steve saying he would be shutting this thread down. I’m new to this blog and a skeptic. I had a discussion with a top scientist cousin of mine and he described the HS (and even the IPCC) as just one card in a house of cards that correctly demonstrates AGW – the HS is just that, a single mistaken card among innumerable cards that validate AGW. There is mention in the original post that other “hockey sticks” validate the final result of fallible Mann’s HS. Can Steve or someone point me in the right direction to read about criticism or validation of other so-called hockey sticks. I worry that CA and WUWT spend too much time correctly pointing out the danger of the HS and Climategate e-mails; can skeptics correctly correctly the claims of the other “cards”?

    91. Posted Dec 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

      I detest people who use a sideswipe to try to soften the reaction from others, it is a cowardly tactic. (Perhaps they use it because the gullible – such as many alarmists – will be conned by it.)

      Another slippery tactic to soften the reaction from others is to flap around, spouting words erratically, quoting out of context, not making solid substantiated points. My impression in this thread is that’s what your protagonist is doing. OTOH while Judith Curry deals with alarmists she doesn’t do the same.

      As for trash talkers, that seems to be the nature of alarmists. One reason may be that the root of alarmist beliefs is in ideologies that treat words as causative rather than a means of communication. Another is that people who do not have a sound method of acquiring knowledge get frustrated when they realize they cannot win a debate rationally. (I encounter foul language from jerks on the street – when they are called on their behaviour their tactics resemble those of alarmists, IMO they have psychological problems.) Because they’ve been using their approaches for so long and are so wrapped up in the belief systems they adopted long ago they are unlikely to go back and try a better method. (A few have in climate debate, and I know of a few neo-Marxists who have changed sides as a result of respectful debate when they realized they couldn’t rationally support their beliefs.)

    92. MikeN
      Posted Feb 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

      I always found it surprising that SS has no entry on upside-down Tiljander. Was it really that minor? Now I think we have the reason.

    93. miker613
      Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

      Where are these comments found? I know that they were on the SkS forum, but is there a place where we can see them ourselves? Steve McIntyre usually provides good references, but I didn’t see anything here except relative urls like General Chat/2011-02-09-Antarctic Temperature Trends.html.

    6 Trackbacks

    1. By Of Conspiracies | Jay Currie on Nov 20, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      […] Like many of the other loony things the hysterics maintain, this is principally a reflection of their own behaviour. Which is confirmed by the remarks made on the open Skeptical Science Web Forum. Steve McIntyre, one of the identified targets, has a selection of the remarks on that forum. […]

    2. […] […]

    3. […] thought of this problem while reading Steve McIntyre’s latest post on the Cowtan and Way paper, in which he discusses some of Robert Way’s contributions to the […]

    4. […] of gnawing of teeth by newly-famous heat-discoverer Robert Way, having been found out as a McIntyre Supporter, or rather, as a singularly scientifically […]

    5. […] Behind the SKS Curtain ( […]

    6. […] ici et ici […]

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