How Weaver Ignored Corcoran’s Segue

Four of the incidents in J Burke’s background chronology in Weaver v National Post (the January 27, 2005, February 15, 2005, August 2006 and February 27, 2008 incidents) relate, either in whole or in part, to a dispute between Weaver and National Post on whether Weaver had dismissed our research as “rubbish” or “balderdash” or a like pejorative.

Substantively, I think that there is considerable evidence that Weaver’s opinion on our research was similar to Gavin Schmidt’s and that one can justify use of such a pejorative to describe Weaver’s opinion.  I plan to assess this evidence in a separate post, a post in which I’ll also begin considering Weaver as editor of Rutherford (Mann) et al 2005, an article that introduced various derogatory claims about our work into “the peer reviewed literature”.

But in today’s post, I’m going to look at a related, but different issue. While Weaver regularly complained about even slight supposed mischaracterizations of his opinions by National Post, his complaints were not necessarily valid. One has to carefully parse both the original article and the complaint to determine validity. In today’s post, I’ll show that Corcoran had segued his claim in the February 2005 and August 2006 incidents and that Weaver missed or ignored Corcoran’s segue.

In addition, while National Post published a Weaver letter setting out his side in August 2006, that didn’t mean that Weaver’s complaint had been vindicated or that National Post had “retracted”, despite Weaver’s later claim and the impression in J Burke’s chronology. In August 2006, Corcoran published a rebuttal that, in my opinion, fully refuted Weaver’s complaint, but this was not mentioned in J Burke’s chronology.  Curiously, although the issues were quite similar in respect to Weaver’s February 2008 complaint about a Foster opinion column,  on this occasion, National Post inconsistently published a correction, though, in my opinion, they could easily have taken a similar position to Corcoran’s earlier rebuttal.

Corcoran’s Segue

On or about January 27, 2005, National Post news reporter James Cowan (not Corcoran, as incorrectly stated by J Burke) had interviewed Weaver in connection with a news article on McIntyre and McKitrick 2005 (GRL), acceptance of which by GRL had just been announced. As at the time of the interview, Weaver had not read our article. (He later stated privately that he did “scan” the preprint on January 29 or 30 and read the publication version on February 12 or 13.) In the Cowan interview, Weaver stated that our research into the Mann reconstruction was “vindictive”. He also said that the IPCC 2001 report showed that there were “four” “independent” “hockey sticks” that yielded the same results and thus the idea that our research mattered to IPCC conclusions was “pure and unadulterated balderdash”  (see recent CA post here.) Subsequent to Cowan’s article, Weaver purported to distinguish between (1) the claim that our research mattered to IPCC conclusions was “pure and unadulterated balderdash”; and (2) the claim that our research was “pure and unadulterated balderdash”.   Weaver purported to be able to assert the first claim without reading our article, but not the second claim, and asked National Post to print a clarification, which they did (though in a very backhanded way).

Previously, in an interview about our earlier (2003) article (as previously discussed at CA here), Weaver had unequivocally  said that our article “would have been rejected” by a “science journal” and, according to the interpretation of “they” in my earlier post, that the journal that published our article let “random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense” and “absolute balderdash” get published. Weaver had also acted as editor of Rutherford (Mann) et al 2005.

Corcoran was well aware of the February 2  clarification/correction, and, as shown below, segued to Weaver’s comments about our 2003 (“earlier’ or “original”) research in his opinion columns of February 15, 2005 and August 23, 2006. However, Weaver either missed or ignored Corcoran’s segue and re-iterated his complaint about the supposed mischaracterization of his comments to Cowan, a mischaracterization that was incorrectly adopted in J Burke’s chronology.

Corcoran’s February 15, 2005 Opinion Column

In Corcoran’s opinion column of February 15, 2005, Corcoran included the following sentence: note the segue to “earlier research” (my bold):

When the National Post broke the McIntyre/McKitrick story last month, the science establishment dismissed their work. Andrew Weaver, Canadian research chair at the University of Victoria, said that he hadn’t read the McIntyre/McKitrick paper, but he generally condemned their earlier research as “rubbish.” [SM bold]

Weaver immediately complained about this sentence to National Post as follows:

As the National Post correctly noted in the retraction [SM – see here], what I noted was that to suggest that ‘the theory of global warming is reliant on research published by Dr. Mann is ‘unadulterated rubbish’”.

For all his insistence on attention to the letter of his own comments, Weaver failed to notice or ignored the segue by Corcoran noted above.   Corcoran’s comment about “rubbish” was based on Weaver’s condemnation of our “earlier research” (see above and here for discussion of Weaver’s comments to UBC Thunderbird in 2003) and was not based on the Cowan interview, the interpretation of which Weaver had contested.   To have been meticulously accurate, Corcoran ought not to have placed quotation marks around “rubbish”, since other pejoratives had been used in the 2003 interview.  However, in my opinion, it was entirely reasonable for Corcoran to say that Weaver had condemned our “earlier research” as rubbish – without the quotation marks.

In addition, contrary to Weaver’s assertion, the National Post clarification/correction” of February 2, 2005 did not constitute a retraction.  It placed considerable emphasis on Weaver’s assertion that he had not “read” our paper – a claim that was untrue by the time that the retraction was printed.

J Burke’s chronology more or less adopted Weaver’s omission of Corcoran’s segue as follows:

[48] Less than two weeks later, on February 15, 2005, Mr. Corcoran published an article in the National Post titled “Bre-X climate”, in which he referred to Mr. McIntyre and Mr. McKitrick’s article, noting the article found the statistical methods behind the famed hockey stick graph of world temperatures was flawed. Mr. Corcoran’s article noted:

When the National Post broke the McIntyre/McKitrick story last month, the science establishment dismissed their work. Andrew Weaver, Canadian research chair at the University of Victoria, said that he hadn’t read the McIntyre/McKitrick paper, but he generally condemned their earlier research as “rubbish.” 

[49] On that same day, Dr. Weaver again forwarded an email to Mr. Corcoran, complaining about incorrect attribution of quotes to him, despite the National Post’s retraction on February 2, 2005. Dr. Weaver wrote, “As the National Post correctly noted in the retraction, what I noted was that to suggest that ‘the theory of global warming is reliant on research published by Dr. Mann is ‘unadulterated rubbish’”.

Corcoran’s August 23, 2006 Opinion Column

Corcoran’s August 23, 2006 opinion column was also considered in J Burke’s chronology. It concerned several topics, including whether Weaver had lobbied for funding (see earlier CA discussion here). In today’s post, I’ll limit discussion to Weaver’s complaint about National Post’s characterization of his opinions about our article.

Much of Corcoran’s August 23 opinion column was responding to a Globe and Mail article on August 11, 2006 by Charles Montgomery, savaging Tim Ball.  Corcoran satirically observed of Montgomery:

Touring for his latest book, The Shark God, about life on islands in the South Pacific, Mr. Montgomery asks the big science questions: “Can a man convince a shark to eat his enemies?” He says he found himself believing in “the strangest things: rainmaking stones, magic walking sticks.”

Corcoran’s opinion column also relied on the then recent hearings of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at which the Wegman Report and NAS reports had been considered. Ross and I published a National Post op ed on August 23 summarizing the Wegman Report, that was referred to by Corcoran.  In his opinion column, Corcoran made the following claim which, like his previous column of February 2005, referred to Weaver’s dismissal of the “original” research:

Also in 2004, Mr. Weaver dismissed the original hockey-stick research debunking the 1,000-year claim as “simply pure and unadulterated rubbish.” We now know that Mr. Weaver’s dismissal was pure and unadulterated rubbish.

Once again, Corcoran’s segue was ignored by Weaver, who complained on this point as follows:

4) I never dismissed the original hockey stick research debunking the 1,000-year claim as “simply pure and unadulterated rubbish.” In fact your newspaper already published a retraction to the original quote on Feb. 2, 2005. To remind you, it says: “Andrew Weaver, a professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, has described the contention that the theory of global warming is reliant on research published by Dr. Michael Mann as ‘unadulterated rubbish,’ but he has not read a recent paper challenging Dr. Mann’s work, by Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre, published in Geophysical Research Letters. Incorrect information appeared in the National Post of Jan. 27. The Post regrets the error.”

Once again, Weaver’s rebuttal referred to the correction (not retraction) of National Post’s characterization of his comments to Cowan, not his previous remarks to UBC Thunderbird.  Corcoran’s response  (not mentioned by and seemingly ignored by J Burke) clearly and unequivocally shows Corcoran’s reliance on Weaver’s 2003 (not 2005) comments, as follows:

Of the hockey stick, Mr. Weaver reiterates that he never applied the phrase “unadulterated rubbish” to the work of Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre. They are the two Canadians who uncovered the flaws in the statistics behind the claim that the Earth is warmer today than at any time in the last 1,000 years. I must concede that he did not use those words in that context.

On the other hand, Mr. Weaver has said [SM – see here] that if the McKitrick/McIntyre research “had been submitted to a science journal, it would have been rejected.” After the Financial Post published a commentary supporting the McKitrick/McIntyre research, Mr. Weaver told a B.C. journalism magazine, Thunderbird, [SM – also here] that he believes giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters. “They let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published. They’re not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.”

I guess calling something “random diatribes” and “absolute, incorrect nonsense” isn’t the same as branding it “unadulterated rubbish.” In any case, whatever Mr. Weavers’ views, the McKitrick/McIntyre papers have been upheld by the highest statistical authority in the United States. It seems clear, though, that Mr. Weaver does not think much of any public process of debate over his version of the science of climate change.

Corcoran’s backhanded concession that calling “something “random diatribes” and “absolute, incorrect nonsense” isn’t the same as branding it “unadulterated rubbish”” hardly qualifies as a retraction or correction of a material “factual error”.  National Post published both Weaver’s letter and Corcoran’s rebuttal, but the latter cannot be reasonably characterized as a “retraction”.

In her chronology, J Burke uncritically adopted Weaver’s incorrect characterization of the incident, making no reference either to Corcoran’s segue or to the National Post rebuttal:

[50] On August 23, 2006, Mr. Corcoran published an article in the National Post entitled “Hockey sticks and hatchets: Inside the Globe’s 4,200-word hatchet job on climate skeptics”. The article made a number of factual assertions about Dr. Weaver and noted, “…in 2004, Dr. Weaver dismissed the original hockey-stick research debunking the 1,000-year claim as ‘simply pure and unadulterated rubbish’”.

[51] Dr. Weaver sought to correct a number of factual errors made by Mr. Corcoran in that article. By email, Dr. Weaver noted that he [ …other items…]  never dismissed the original hockey stick research debunking the 1,000-year claim as “simply pure and unadulterated rubbish”. Dr. Weaver again noted that the newspaper had already published a retraction to this original quote on February 2, 2005. This, as cited earlier, set out that incorrect information appeared in the National Post on January 27, 2005 and regretted the error. A letter from Dr. Weaver, which corrected factual errors by Mr. Corcoran, was published in the National Post on August 31, 2006.

February 27, 2008

The same original incident is also referred to in J Burke’s discussion of an opinion column of February 27, 2008 by Peter Foster, which, once again to a complaint from Weaver and a backhanded correction by National Post.

In February 2008, the opposition parties organized an Ottawa event honoring “Canadian scientists who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report on the latest peer-reviewed research on global warming”, reported on by National Post here.  On February 27, 2008, Peter Foster wrote an opinion column  which stated:

Moreover, the Ottawa reception which the Harper government has been castigated for missing (not least by the Post’s own Don Martin) looked far more like a political ambush than a celebration of science. It was organized by opposition parties to embarrass the government. One of the “honorees,” climate scientist Andrew Weaver, conspicuously boycotted the occasion because of the Tories’ unsurprising no show. Sounding suspiciously like Nature, he suggested: “It’s almost like a war on science is going on in government, which is very sad.”

Mr. Weaver, we might remember, is the level-headed scientist who declared that the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report wasn’t “a smoking gun.” Rather, climate was “a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles.”  He also unleashed a diatribe against the research of Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre, who inconveniently exploded the IPCC’s alarmist “hockey stick” graph of temperatures soaring in the past century after a millennium of stability. Mr. Weaver has even suggested that it is dangerous to allow skeptics a voice in scientific debate.

In this column, Foster has made a somewhat different claim than the one previously made by Corcoran: Foster used the term “diatribe”, a term not used by Corcoran.   While Foster’s column did not directly refer to the 2003 UBC Thunderbird interview, in my opinion, Weaver himself interpreted the closing sentence of the cited paragraph as an allusion to the UBC interview. In my opinion, Weaver’s comments in 2003 could reasonably be described as a “diatribe” against our research.  In addition to the UBC interview, according to an email from a University of Victoria faculty member to Ross, Weaver had also made a diatribe against our research in a discussion with him, though National Post would have been unaware of this at the time. However, Foster slightly mischaracterized Weaver’s views in this last sentence.  Weaver, a fierce critic of “false balance”, had said something slightly different: that it was “dangerous” to give “equal space to both sides in [the] dispute”.

Examined carefully, Weaver’s complaint is very technical. Weaver did not say that it was untrue that he had made a “diatribe” against our research, but challenged National Post to provide the “evidence” that he had done so.

Dear Mr. Foster,
I would like to ask you to please provide the evidence that I have “released a diatribe against the research of Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre”. Your newspaper has already formally retracted a statement to this effect twice before and I have no idea why you keep repeating this. Obviously the statement “The Post regrets the error” was insincere. It is now the third time the Financial Post has printed this incorrect assertion.

In addition, I would also ask that you provide evidence that I state “it is dangerous to allow skeptics a voice in scientific debate”. I have never made this statement. It makes no sense since by definition, real scientists are all skeptics. Being skeptical is precisely how one advances science. If you are referring to the interview I did many years ago with a UBC student that he published in the UBC journalism magazine “Thunderbird” then your statement is demonstrably incorrect.

Finally, the innuendo left by your statement “sounds suspiciously like Nature” implies that somehow I was involved in that Nature editorial. I knew nothing about it, was never contacted about it and only found out about it when an former graduate student now living in New Zealand sent it to me.

I am formally writing to ask you to retract these fallacies with an apology.

Weaver incorrectly complained that National Post had “already formally retracted” this claim on two previous occasions, though, as noted above, neither their February 2 correction or August 31 rebuttal directly or indirectly “retract” this particular claim.  On this occasion, National Post seems to have forgotten their August 2006 rebuttal and issued a short correction as follows:

In a column in Wednesday’s paper, Nature: Red in Tooth and Politics, Peter Foster incorrectly stated that climate scientist Andrew Weaver had “released a diatribe” against the research of Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre. Rather, Dr. Weaver has suggested that to believe that global warming theory depended on the work of Michael Mann, which was refuted by Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, was “unadulterated rubbish.” Also, Mr. Foster did not mean to imply that Mr. Weaver was in any way an author of the editorial in Nature magazine which was the subject of the column.

J Burke included both Weaver’s complaint and National Post’s correction in full in her summary of this incident .

Conclusion

The above incidents mainly show how quickly Weaver responded to even minor inaccuracies or mischaracterizations of his opinions by National Post.  I will refer to this in my forthcoming discussion of National Post’s news article and opinion columns about whether Weaver believed that the fossil fuel industry was responsible for break-ins at University of Victoria (where Weaver did not “correct” the original news article either in a timely fashion or at all.)

Weaver’s complaints about the three opinion columns discussed today did not allege that the opinion columns misrepresented his actual views, only whether he had explicitly expressed his views in his January 2005 interview with news reporter Cowan.  In my opinion, Weaver had a very derogatory opinion about our research and, in that sense, there was no fundamental misrepresentation of his actual opinions. In addition, in his February 2005 and August 2006 opinion columns, Corcoran referred to Weaver’s comments on our “earlier” or “original” research – a segue that was missed/overlooked in Weaver’s complaints, which continued to harp on the supposed mischaracterization of his later (2005) comments to Cowan.

Nor do I believe that the February 2005 or August 2006 comments on this topic – even if stipulated to be incorrect – were defamatory to Weaver.  After all, Gavin Schmidt held similar views, so the attribution of such views to Weaver cannot reasonably be considered defamation per se nor could the attribution of such views to Weaver have caused him any actual damage.  The only somewhat derogatory comment of this type was the February 2008 claim that Weaver had made a “diatribe”, but, in this case, had this been a defamation issue, it could have been argued that it was true and/or that there was a basis in the proven facts for holding such a belief.

None of the incidents discussed today were included in the specific counts in the defamation claim, but J Burke’s handling of these incidents in her chronology gave me the impression that the incidents supported a belief that National Post had repeatedly defamed Weaver – an impression that I do not believe to be supported by closer analysis of these incidents.

This is not to say that National Post was blameless.  Anyone dealing with climate activists should know that any inaccuracy will be seized upon. The above incidents are merely further examples.  It would only have taken a little extra effort for Corcoran and Foster to have ensured that the language of their opinion columns exactly tracked the language of the source articles and thereby made their opinion columns bulletproof.


82 Comments

  1. MikeN
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    >It is now the third time the Financial Post has printed this incorrect assertion.

    Looks like Weaver is saying it is untrue.

  2. MikeN
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    diatribe: an angry and usually long speech or piece of writing that strongly criticizes.

    rubbish: words or ideas that are foolish or untrue

    unadulterated: : not having anything added

    Webster uses the same definition for nonsense and rubbish
    and an alternate definition of unadulterated is total, so absolute nonsense is equivalent to unadulterated rubbish.

  3. MikeN
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    A diatribe is targeted at someone or something, so random diatribe is not possible, unless he wished to claim that the target, Mann or the hockey stick, was picked at random.

    For some reason climate scientists always have trouble with statistical terminology.

  4. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    When dealing with people like Weaver and Gavin, the media should use direct quotes. The media do not like to send an article to the interviewee for verification, but sometimes this would help. I personally preferred to say as little as possible to avoid misinterpretation.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

      For what it’s worth Gerald Machnee, plenty of journalists read/send parts of their articles to people they quote so that those people can give feedback on how they’re being represented. I know I would. If I do an interview with a person, I want to make sure I get things right. Giving them a chance to point out any errors they think may exist can only help me. Even if I don’t agree with what the feedback I give, at least I know what their views will be in advance so I can know how they might respond.

      To be honest, I think the biggest problem here is the National Post has terrible standards. Plenty of what I’ve seen in this case makes it seem like they’re on the level of a gossip rag, not an actual newspaper. I get people say they understand how such and such author might believe such and such person meant X so the suit shouldn’t have been possible, but that’s not how journalism is supposed to work. Even if the lawsuit should have been dismissed, the paper still deserves heavy criticism.

      Steve: actually National post is a very literate newspaper. Have you ever even seen a copy? It seems like you are saying things that you don’t know anything about.

  5. António Barreto (JR)
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    More importante than Weaver strugles, is, urgently necessary to get public discussion on de média all over the world, showing the results of your work, joinning with other cientists. Billions of USD and EURO, are burned on the renovation of industrial equipment, my be, without acceptable reason.

    Best regards

  6. Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    J Burke’s handling of these incidents in her chronology gave me the impression that the incidents supported a belief that National Post had repeatedly defamed Weaver

    The ineptness of the judge is much clearer on reading this post.

  7. AndyL
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    I have read all these posts about Weaver, yet still have no idea who he is or why he is important. On the right hand side of the pond he is completely unknown.

    Obviously he must be a major player because 10 of the last 14 posts on CA are about him, with the promise of more to come.

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

      He is quoted a lot in Canada. They go to him as he was Chair of a department.

    • Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

      Steve’s hardly mentioned him in ten years of Climate Audit. It’s the judgement of J Burke in his favour in this libel case that is important, because of its chilling effect on free speech, if not successfully appealed.

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

        I did not mean Steve, I meant the “media” go there as they look up someone in charge and assume they are “experts”. I know better.

        • Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, I was responding to your:

          I have read all these posts about Weaver, yet still have no idea who he is or why he is important. On the right hand side of the pond he is completely unknown.

          Obviously he must be a major player because 10 of the last 14 posts on CA are about him, with the promise of more to come.

          I took this to be about CA’s focus on Weaver and the implications of that. I don’t think the recent posts imply that he’s important, in and of himself, only that his recent libel case is.

        • Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

          Apologies, the words quoted were by AndyL. I wasn’t responding to your comment at all!

    • MikeN
      Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

      I’d first heard of him at ClimateSight, where is he was listed high on the credibility chart, just ahead of Al Gore.

  8. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    I’m curious about something. Did everyone read:

    For instance, Patterson describes Energy and Environment as a “prestigious British journal,” while global warming proponent Weaver disagrees with this characterization. “It’s not a science journal,” he says, pointing to the fact that the paper was written by an economics professor and a Toronto-based analyst, not climate scientists. “If that paper had been submitted to a science journal, it would have been rejected.” …

    Weaver believes that giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters. “They [SM: Energy and Environment ?] let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published,” he says. “They’re not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.”

    As all referring to the 2003 McIntyre and McKitrick paper? I did at first, but then I checked the source and read what the quote would be without a paragraph removed:

    For instance, Patterson describes Energy and Environment as a “prestigious British journal,” while global warming proponent Weaver disagrees with this characterization. “It’s not a science journal,” he says, pointing to the fact that the paper was written by an economics professor and a Toronto-based analyst, not climate scientists. “If that paper had been submitted to a science journal, it would have been rejected.”

    CBC-TV science reporter Eve Savory said journalists will write stories with the traditional, he-said, she-said formula, when they don’t have enough context and information to make sense of a complex issue like climate change. “We say we’re allowing the public or the viewer or the reader to make up his or her mind, and we are, but we’re not really giving them the tools to make up their minds,” she says. “It’s not really fair, but it’s also understandable why we do that because we don’t have the tools.”

    Weaver believes that giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters. “They let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published,” he says. “They’re not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.”

    The second paragraph is clearly not referring to Energy & Environment. It’s referring to journalists writing news stories. That’s a discussion of the popular (within some crowds) idea of “false balance.” With that as context, I don’t see why we should assume Weaver’s phrases “random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense” and “absolute balderdash” were references to the 2003 McIntyre & McKitrick article. It seems to me Weaver could have been discussing a much more general issue.

    What this point jump out at me when reading this post is in the previous post I linked to, the quote was given with the addition [SM: Energy and Environment ?]. That suggests to me our host wasn’t certain just how to interpret the quote. Remembering that, I was surprised when this post said:

    Previously, in an interview about our earlier (2003) article (as previously discussed at CA here), Weaver had unequivocally said that our article “would have been rejected” by a “science journal” and that the journal that published our article let “random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense” and “absolute balderdash” get published.

    Where that uncertainty has vanished.

    Plus, it is kind of amusing a post titled “How Weaver Ignored Corcoran’s Segue” seems like it may have missed or ignored a segue in some text it relies on.

    Steve: Weaver’s diction can wrongfoot even the most careful. 🙂 I think that the interpretation offered here makes the most sense, but I agree that it was offered more cautiously in the previous post. I’ve amended the language in the post to reflect your comment. However, I don’t see how your gloss impacts anything in this post.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

      Steve, I’d say it is relevant if Weaver failed to notice a segue in which Corcoran misunderstood what Weaver had said because Corcoran missed a segue in what was being discussed by Weaver 😉

  9. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    There’s something kind of strange here. This post says:

    To have been meticulously accurate, Corcoran ought not to have placed quotation marks around “rubbish”, since other pejoratives had been used in the 2003 interview. However, in my opinion, it was entirely reasonable for Corcoran to say that Weaver had condemned our “earlier research” as rubbish – without the quotation marks.

    I find it weird this portrays getting quotes correct as a matter of being “meticulously accurate,” but if we’re discussing Weaver’s failure to notice a segue from the 2005 to 2003 paper, it is certainly relevant a quotation for the 2005 paper was used. Similarly, Weaver may have missed the segue from the 2005 to 2003 paper, but Corcoran’s response said:

    Of the hockey stick, Mr. Weaver reiterates that he never applied the phrase “unadulterated rubbish” to the work of Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre. They are the two Canadians who uncovered the flaws in the statistics behind the claim that the Earth is warmer today than at any time in the last 1,000 years. I must concede that he did not use those words in that context.

    On the other hand, Mr. Weaver has said that if the McKitrick/McIntyre research “had been submitted to a science journal, it would have been rejected.”

    Which also fails to distinguish between the two papers. This posts says Corcoran knew about the correction Weaver referred to. That would mean he knew the correction was in regard to a remark about the 2005 paper. That would mean Corcoran intentionally chose not to point out the distinction between the 2003 and 2005 paper when Weaver conflated the two.

    I agree with this post in that remarks about the 2003 and 2005 papers should be distinguished from one another, but it isn’t just Weaver who failed to do so. Corcoran did as well, at least to some extent.

  10. AntonyIndia
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    “Anyone dealing with climate activists should know that any inaccuracy will be seized upon.” That is anyone from outside the group. Inside inaccuracies in data collection, processing and displaying are mostly condoned, glossed over and even defended, to support the political “cause”.

  11. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    Brandon, Robson Fletcher, the author of the UBC Thunderbird story interpolated Eve Savory’s comment in between two comments by Weaver.

    That interpolation is an editorial choice. There is no reason to suppose Eve Savory’s comments share context with Weaver’s. Nor is there any reason to think that Weaver’s second comment should be qualified by Savory’s admission of limited journalistic understanding.

    Your conflation of the two as though they are serially related is a very suspect inference.

    It’s much more sensible to rejoin Weaver’s separated comments, as Steve McI did, in order to understand Weaver’s point.

    It seems quite clear that Weaver is denigrating Energy & Environment as one of a number of non-science journals that, “let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published [and that are] not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.”

    After all, any competent journalist writing a climate-related story is unlikely to publish “random diatribes, or “absolute incorrect nonsense.” Asserting so, as your interpretation has Weaver doing, insults journalists as incapable of quality-control.

    Your interpretation is far less likely than that Weaver had journals such as E&E in mind. In fact, Weaver is clearly insulting certain journals by suggesting that they are, “not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.” Apparently, none but Weaver-approved journals are capable of finding competent peer-reviewers.

    Regarding E&E, Weaver either set aside the fact, or didn’t know, that E&E employs peer-reviewers for its research articles. When he made those comments, Weaver had no idea of the quality of review to which Steve’s and Ross’ 2003 article was subjected. So, Weaver was speaking from ignorance, knew he was speaking from ignorance, and was nevertheless unwisely immoderate in his speech.

    It’s also ironic, in light of Weaver’s grand declarations about the importance of scientific review, that climate modelers apparently do not meet the standard of scientific review.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

      Pat Frank, we have no reason to believe Andrew Weaver’s quotations had anything to do with one another. Separate quotes from the same person in an article can come from entirely different portions of an interview. Quotes don’t even have to be presented in order. It is the author’s decision how to frame quotations in order to convey a particular meaning. You say:

      Brandon, Robson Fletcher, the author of the UBC Thunderbird story interpolated Eve Savory’s comment in between two comments by Weaver.

      That interpolation is an editorial choice. There is no reason to suppose Eve Savory’s comments share context with Weaver’s. Nor is there any reason to think that Weaver’s second comment should be qualified by Savory’s admission of limited journalistic understanding.

      Your conflation of the two as though they are serially related is a very suspect inference.

      But there is every reason to believe Weaver’s second comment should be qualified by what Eve Savory said. The author of the piece specifically chose to include Savory’s remarks in order to frame Weaver’s latter remarks. We know that because that is how writing works. It does not work like you suggest:

      It’s much more sensible to rejoin Weaver’s separated comments, as Steve McI did, in order to understand Weaver’s point.

      Because there is no way to know what Weaver’s “separated comments” were separated by. They could have been separated by a few words or ten minutes of conversation. We have no way to know. All we can know is the author of the piece feels the quotations, with the context the author adds, are accurate portrayals of what Andrew Weaver said in an interview.

      As for your claim:

      After all, any competent journalist writing a climate-related story is unlikely to publish “random diatribes, or “absolute incorrect nonsense.” Asserting so, as your interpretation has Weaver doing, insults journalists as incapable of quality-control.

      You ignore the fact the article clearly provides a reason journalists would do what you say they wouldn’t do:

      CBC-TV science reporter Eve Savory said journalists will write stories with the traditional, he-said, she-said formula, when they don’t have enough context and information to make sense of a complex issue like climate change. “We say we’re allowing the public or the viewer or the reader to make up his or her mind, and we are, but we’re not really giving them the tools to make up their minds,” she says. “It’s not really fair, but it’s also understandable why we do that because we don’t have the tools.”

      Which in my experience, is completely true. When journalists don’t know which side of a disagreement is correct, they’ll often quote both sides even if one side is completely wrong.

      The more I look at it, the less plausible the interpretation suggested by our host seems. I just can’t see how anyone could justify it short of simply ignoring the intervening paragraph and just baselessly assuming the quotations were regarding the same thing.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

        Brandon, there is no rational reason why Weaver’s quote should be qualified by Eve Savory’s quote, for the simple reason that Weaver provided the context for his own words in Savory’s absence.

        Eve Savory provided zero context for Weaver when he spoke to the issue. The interpolation was purely editorial. There is no factual or reasonable cause to suppose a native relation.

        Further, your interpretation requires equating Savory’s “traditional he-said, she-said formula” to mean “random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense” and “absolute balderdash.”

        That is, you’re forcing an extreme meaning onto a temperate formulation. Your logic is rather like supposing ‘he’s a careless dresser‘ to actually mean ‘he’s a filthy homeless drunk.’

        Look at it as you like, but it seems clear to me that your entire line of argument is factually insupportable and strained well beyond credulity.

        It seems the link I provided to the 2003 UBC article is broken. This should work.

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

          Pat, Weaver’s statement makes sense. He is claiming that the journalist can’t differentiate comments between a reputable scientist and ‘absolute, incorrect nonsense’. They would just treat it as a he-said she-said and publish absolute balderdash.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

          Pat Frank, I don’t see why you continue to insist the quotations from Andrew Weaver must be assumed to have been related to one another. We have no reason to believe that. As I said before, and as you keep ignoring, that is not how quotations work. That two quotations come from the same source in no way indicates they are taken from the exact same spot. It is perfectly common to do things like quote page 100 of a book, write a paragraph segueing into a different subject then quote page 250 of the same book. Nobody would claim we should combine those two quotes to understand what they’re saying. This case with what Weaver said is no different. You can keep saying things like:

          Look at it as you like, but it seems clear to me that your entire line of argument is factually insupportable and strained well beyond credulity.

          But the reality is you’re providing absolutely no reason anyone should believe what you say makes sense, much less that it is correct.

          MikeN, having read the full context, not just the elided version provided, that’s the only interpretation I can see anymore. I can’t even see how anyone justifies the other interpretation at this point.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          I understand but disagree with you, MikeN. Weaver said what he said. The interpolation of Savory’s comment to imply Weaver meant journalists, rather than journals such as E&E, was purely the artifact of an editorial choice about ordering text to promote a meaning.

          Brandon followed that editorial invitation, going on to equate Weaver’s “balderdash” with Savory’s “he-said, she-said,” so as to imply an admission by Savory and an observation by Weaver that journalists regularly publish scientific balderdash.

          On the face of the available evidence, this last is an editorially stitched-up meaning.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, you wrote, “That two quotations come from the same source in no way indicates they are taken from the exact same spot.

          And at the same time you insist that Savory’s statement, made at a different time by a different source in a different interview, should be the talisman that illuminates Weaver’s meaning.

          Your two positions are self-contradictory.

          You also wrote that I am, “providing absolutely no reason anyone should believe what you say makes sense, much less that it is correct.,” when my clear meaning was and is that Weaver’s meaning should be judged by what Weaver actually said. That is reason enough for anyone, or should be.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

          Pat Frank, I get the impression you just aren’t bothering to read what I write. You say:

          Brandon, you wrote, “That two quotations come from the same source in no way indicates they are taken from the exact same spot.”

          And at the same time you insist that Savory’s statement, made at a different time by a different source in a different interview, should be the talisman that illuminates Weaver’s meaning.

          Your two positions are self-contradictory.

          But that is completely insane. There is no reason to think Savory’s statement had any direct connection with anything Weaver said in his interview. The two most likely did not influence one another. But that doesn’t mean anything. As I clearly stated:

          Because there is no way to know what Weaver’s “separated comments” were separated by. They could have been separated by a few words or ten minutes of conversation. We have no way to know. All we can know is the author of the piece feels the quotations, with the context the author adds, are accurate portrayals of what Andrew Weaver said in an interview.

          Which is quite simple. The author of the article used Savory’s statement to provide a framework for the quotation which came next. By doing so, the author clearly indicated he wanted the two quotations to be viewed as referring to the same issue.

          Your entire line of argument rests upon ignoring how quotations work, to the point where you consistently ignore my explanations of how quotations work. It would be trivially easy to find numerous examples showing you are wrong. All one would have to do is look at some recent posts on this site.

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          The author of the> article used Savory’s statement to provide a framework for the quotation which came next. By doing so, the author clearly indicated he wanted the two quotations to be viewed as referring to the same issue.

          That doesn’t mean the author was correct in doing so. Your whole point with another of Weaver’s claims against NP is that they did this incorrectly.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you wrote, “The author of the article used Savory’s statement to provide a framework for the quotation which came next. By doing so, the author clearly indicated he wanted the two quotations to be viewed as referring to the same issue.

          But that’s exactly my point throughout, isn’t it. I originally wrote, “the author of the UBC Thunderbird story interpolated Eve Savory’s comment in between two comments by Weaver.

          That interpolation is an editorial choice.

          That has been my consistent point; one you just re-iterated as though it were your point, which it is not. So, who is it that is, “not bothering to read what I write“?

          Your point from the start has been that the editorial interpolation provides a native interpretative context of Weaver’s comment. Quoting you: “The second paragraph is clearly not referring to Energy & Environment. It’s referring to journalists writing news stories.

          You’ve allowed the editorial insertion of Savory’s external comment to govern how Weaver’s meaning is to be understood.

          It doesn’t matter whether this is how, “quotations work.” The bad habits of editors in manufacturing a desired meaning is not cause to accept their artefactual meaning as native to the case. This last is what you are insisting be done. You have chosen to insist upon the least likely interpretation of Weaver’s meaning, when Weaver’s words themselves are considered in their apparently unbroken context.

          You are correct, however, that “there is no way to know what Weaver’s “separated comments” were separated by. They could have been separated by a few words or ten minutes of conversation. We have no way to know.

          We do not know the true flow of Weaver’s thoughts during his interview. The UBC author did not provide them. Who knows, the author may even have inverted their order. “We have no way to know,” right?

          If, as you note, we are to suppose that the author need not have been faithful to the flow of Weaver’s thoughts, then we also do not know whether the author was faithful to Weaver’s meaning when he inserted Savory’s comment.

          Your own logic therefore requires that the entire Thunderbird article be considered untrustworthy. That being your fundamental case, one wonders on what basis you could initially suppose that Savory’s comment could illustrate anything of Weaver’s thought.

          That is, your own logic about editorially whimsical ordering of quotes entirely removes any force from your initial supposition that Savory modified Weaver.

          Honestly, it seems as though you’re not reading your own posts.

      • MikeN
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

        >Weaver believes that giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters. “They let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published,” he says.

        The first sentence is also an interpolated comment by the author of the article. Only then does the quote come in to support it.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

      brandon and pat,
      speaking of Weaver and peer review, I’m working on something interesting on Rutherford et al on an issue that Brandon is interested in. Brandon, Rutherford et al 2005 contains assertions by Mann and Rutherford about the “wrong” dataset – an issue arising from Mann’s fabrications about excel spreadsheets. This topic was not raised in the initial Rutherford submission, but reviewers requested that they comment on the McMc controversy. What I’m wondering – and I have no way of knowing – is whether the original reviews were treated as “major” and thus requiring re-review or ‘minor’ and thus only a return to the editor. If the latter, then the statements about Mc-Mc in Rutherford et al 2005 would not have been reviewed by anyone other than Weaver in his capacity as editor.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Mar 22, 2015 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

        Steve, do you have a copy of the original submission? I don’t know what changes were made between it and the final version. The text that was added on this issue definitely doesn’t seem like it’d be considered “major,” so unless there’s some significant change I don’t know about, I’d say Andrew Weaver was the only one responsible for reviewing that change.

        steve: no. My information that it was added came from correspondence with Weaver in 2005. DO you recall the email that got passed through to the Penn State Investigation Committee about the fabricated story about excel spreadsheets. That email was sent to Journal of Climate about Rutherford et al and was handled by Weaver. I’d like to see the original submission: it might explain where pcproxy.mat came from.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

        Is there any reason to suppose that Weaver, at that time, suspected that Mann’s reference to Excel spreadsheets was a fabrication? If not, and if Weaver provided the sole review for the 2005 Rutherford, et al. revision, then Weaver could have been yet again hoodwinked by his colleagues.

        • Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

          There has to be a Lady Bracknell threshold here, where to be hoodwinked n times is a misfortune but n+1 carelessness.

    • MikeN
      Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

      Journals publish, TV networks broadcast, newspapers publish. People interviewed by reporters ‘say’ while scientists who submit papers ‘write’.
      TV networks are not likely to broadcast diatribes, and newspapers are unlikely to publish them since they are long, but Weaver may be ignoring that part.
      Now if Steve McIntyre submits an article to a journal, is one likely to say ‘McIntyre wrote’, or ‘McIntyre said’?

      • Jeff Norman
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

        MikeN,

        I was about to say pretty much the same thing.

    • MikeN
      Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

      Brandon, earlier in the article we have this:

      Peer-reviewed, academic journals, are the primary method that scientists to communicate their findings and express their opinions. Journalists tend to look to the respected ones for their background information on scientific issues like climate change. The issues arise when journalists go to journals that aren’t vetted by reputable scientists knowledgeable about the debate.

  12. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    I have to say, after reading the full remarks from the people involved, I can’t find anything which indicates Andrew Weaver said anything (in public or in interviews) which justifies saying he used any rhetoric to criticize the work by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. Maybe he did miss a segue between the 2005 and 2003 papers like this post says, but I can’t really fault him for that. It’s pretty easy to not catch all the specific details of the mistakes people make.

    The worst I can see that Weaver said about either paper is he said the 2003 paper would not have been published if it were in a “real” science journal (whatever that means). That might be a criticism of the paper, but it’s also true. With what we’ve seen of gate-keeping in journals, there’s pretty much no chance the paper would have been published in any journal people like Weaver approve of.

    Steve: Had Weaver not entered into litigation and adduced these incidents, then I wouldnt have paid any attention to Weaver missing the segue (nor did I pay any attention to it at the time.) But once Weaver entered into litigation and adduced this in his litany, then it is entirely reasonable to closely examine what happened and observe that Weaver missed the segue. As to Weaver saying nasty things about us, what about this report from a UVic faculty member:

    I had a chance to speak to Andrew Weaver today, which resulted in a lot of heat and not much light, though we ended on an adequately polite note, more due to my efforts than his. He explained, for instance, that he didn’t want to debate global warming with me because I am ignorant of the science. I suggested that demonstrating my ignorance to one and all would therefore be a good thing, to which he replied that the mere fact that he discussed anything with me would increase my credibility. I said I didn’t see how having my ignorance demonstrated could possibly increase my credibility — but gave him a way out by moving on to discuss your and McIntyre’s work. He hadn’t seen the Nat Post. As it happened, there was a copy handy, and I showed him the article. He checked directly for the bit quoting him, and, ignoring the rest, went on to say some things about you and McIntyre that were not, to put it politely, very nice. Something about being so ignorant as not to know the difference between radians and degrees, and so dishonest as to not recognize your error after the fact, and other things of the same sort. He explained how all of us, me included, will have a lot to answer for when the world meets its doom later in the century. I didn’t kiss his ring as we parted, though it seems pretty clear to me that he wants to speak with unquestioned authority on matters concerning his own field, just like the Pope. I trust this doesn’t take any of the glow off of your day of triumph.

    • MikeN
      Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

      I think the full article context at UBC shows the meaning Steve suggests.

      Within his article, the author has a subpoint of
      The issues arise when journalists go to journals that aren’t vetted by reputable scientists…
      Followed by supporting points:
      For instance, Patterson describes Energy and Environment as a “prestigious British journal,” while global warming proponent Weaver disagrees with this characterization. “It’s not a science journal,” he …

      CBC-TV science reporter Eve Savory said journalists will write stories with the traditional, he-said, she-said formula,…

      Weaver believes that giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters…

      And then the author goes on to his next subpoint for his overall article

      “Beyond the editorial desire for balance, climate change sceptics often make the news because they understand how the media works…”

      I see the same structure give in this article by the same author

      http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/1318302/arts-development-and-economic-development-increasingly-overlapping-in-calgary/

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

      That gate-keeping would remove those journals from the arena of science. They would no longer be science journals. Weaver was wrong.

      The definition of a “real” science journal is simple: one in which articles are published on the basis of their disciplinary relevance and objective merit.

      That standard is not always met for reasons of fallibility, but the standard itself should be always consciously held.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

      Steve, I specifically said “(in public or in interviews)”. Of course a person might say harsher things in interpersonal communication, communication they don’t intend to “get out.” That a person may say something in private does not justify a newspaper article claiming he said it in public. There are lots of guidelines about how a journalist should (or should not) use hearsay like you describe.

      As for examining this, I think that is perfectly fine. I have no problem with that. The only times I have a problem are when the examination of these issues either leave out relevant points (e.g. Corcoran conflated the 2003 and 2005 papers) or make misleading remarks (this is a reference to previous issues that I don’t intend to rehash here). That’s it though. In fact, I did much the same you did in this case. Here is a sequence of events I envisioned:

      Weaver did not use any rhetoric to criticize the 2003 paper. Corcoran missed the segue from the 2003 paper to journalism in general in the UBC Thunderbird piece, and as such, incorrectly came to believe Weaver had said the 2003 paper was “absolute balderdash” and things like that.

      Weaver later dismissed the idea the 2005 paper disproved IPCC conclusions as “rubbish.” This was misinterpreted as him saying the 2005 paper was “rubbish.” Corcoran then wrote a piece, using the word “rubbish” in quotation marks, in which he incorrectly said Weaver had dismissed the 2003 paper as “rubbish.”

      Weaver failed to notice the distinction between the 2003 and 2005 paper (in part because of Corcoran’s use of “rubbish” in quotation marks) and complained. Corcoran responded by failing to distinguish between the 2003 and 2005 paper and doubling down on his incorrect intrepretation of the UBC Thunderbird piece.

      That would seem to explain each person’s actions and commentary. I’d have no problem if people wanted to discuss that. I’d have no problem if people wanted to discuss alternative scenarios.

      I just think it’s relevant for people to look at the whole picture, not just what Weaver did or did not do.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

        Er, I’m not sure why the italics disappeared for that second paragraph. That’s weird.

        Anyway, I’ll try to look at it more closely later today MikeN. I meant to look at it as soon as I saw your comment, but I’ve been distracted by “breaking news” about a skeptic supposedly being censored on Twitter. I don’t want to divert things by being more specific, but I got caught up in that and now I need to go run some errands and whatnot.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

        Brandon, there’s something that unsettles me about Weaver’s january 29 email to National Post that I’m writing up separately. As to your sequence:

        Weaver did not use any rhetoric to criticize the 2003 paper. Corcoran missed the segue from the 2003 paper to journalism in general in the UBC Thunderbird piece, and as such, incorrectly came to believe Weaver had said the 2003 paper was “absolute balderdash” and things like that.

        I think that it is more accurate to say that there may or may not be a seque from the 2003 paper to journalism in general. Personally, as others have observed, I think that it is more reasonable to presume that Weaver’s incendiary phrases were directed at E&E than at journalism in general. On the other hand, I realize (as noted in my first post on this) that the pronoun in the article is not clearly referenced. Even if Weaver had a subtle segue, I think that it is entirely fair to compare Weaver’s technique to Karl Rove’s – as i did in my first post on this – and to say that, at a minimum, Weaver intended to imply that our research was “balderdash”.

        Weaver later dismissed the idea the 2005 paper disproved IPCC conclusions as “rubbish.” This was misinterpreted as him saying the 2005 paper was “rubbish.” Corcoran then wrote a piece, using the word “rubbish” in quotation marks, in which he incorrectly said Weaver had dismissed the 2003 paper as “rubbish.”

        You’re not being careful here. In connection with Weaver’s statements about the 2005 paper, Weaver’s term was “pure and unadulterated balderdash”, not “rubbish”. As to the 2003 paper, as i observed before, it is my view that it was correct to say that Weaver dismissed it as rubbish, but not as “rubbish” in quotation marks.

        Weaver failed to notice the distinction between the 2003 and 2005 paper (in part because of Corcoran’s use of “rubbish” in quotation marks) and complained. Corcoran responded by failing to distinguish between the 2003 and 2005 paper and doubling down on his incorrect intrepretation of the UBC Thunderbird piece.

        At all times, Corcoran clearly distinguished between the 2003 and 2005 papers. You’re wrong here. Corcoran re-iterated his interpretation of the UBC piece, but I do not agree that he had interpreted it “incorrectly” – see para 1.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

          I also interpreted this as referring to E&E and similar contrarian-permitting journals, not to the press.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

          “I think this sort of behavior is a large part of why discussions go bad. People get frustrated at others for not agreeing with them regardless of who is correct, then they won’t admit their mistakes in anything resembling a full and honest manner.”

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

          I think this sort of behavior is a large part of why discussions go bad. People get frustrated at others for not agreeing with them regardless of who is correct, then they won’t admit their mistakes in anything resembling a full and honest manner.

          That’s why engagement with Nick Stokes is so annoying. He throws spitballs against the wall and concedes nothing.

          I’ve noticed some of your comments at Judy’s about blog discussions and was going to comment but was working on other things. You argued that stokes-type food fights attracted volume. I don’t think that that’s true. The largest traffic here is seldom to that type of thread. Commenters tend to be a small fraction of readers at these blogs and my impression is that the silent readers are not particularly interested in food fights.

          Nor do I agree that visiting academic scientists have been harshly treated here. Too often, visiting academics expected to have rose petals strewn in their path and got sullen if challenged. And while there was some readers used such opportunities to pile on, from very early on, I was pretty firm editorially in removing such comments. The greater engagement problem in my opinion was that such people – i’m thinking of, say, Juckes – much preferred engagement with the least knowledgeable commenter than with myself or Jean S, for example. It got to be almost a joke.

          The other engagement issue that you didn’t discuss at Judy’s was the fatwa against participation at CA. When someone as even-tempered as Rob Wilson commented here, he’d get into trouble with the Mann crowd who tried to maintain the boycott.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          Steve, I actually meant to comment on the claim you refer to:

          On the other hand, I realize (as noted in my first post on this) that the pronoun in the article is not clearly referenced. Even if Weaver had a subtle segue, I think that it is entirely fair to compare Weaver’s technique to Karl Rove’s – as i did in my first post on this – and to say that, at a minimum, Weaver intended to imply that our research was “balderdash”.

          To say something to the effect of, “What are you talking about?” Andrew Weaver didn’t write that article. He didn’t get to choose which quotes of his would be used or how they would be framed. For all you can show, those comments were said 20 minutes apart and with no connection to one another.

          How in the world do you justify blaming a person being quoted for how their quotes are used? If I pick and choose remarks of your to publish in a post and frame them in a particular way, should people blame you for my framing? Of course not. Nobody here would insist you’re relying upon a “subtle segue” based solely upon how other people chose to frame your remarks. Why should they do it with Weaver?

          You’re not being careful here. In connection with Weaver’s statements about the 2005 paper, Weaver’s term was “pure and unadulterated balderdash”, not “rubbish”. As to the 2003 paper, as i observed before, it is my view that it was correct to say that Weaver dismissed it as rubbish, but not as “rubbish” in quotation marks.

          No, it was not. Weaver’s phrase on the 2005 paper issue was “pure and unadulterated rubbish.” You yourself have quoted this, specifically highlighting the distinction between what was said for the 2003 and 2005 papers:

          To the extent that this article attracted attention, it has been because of the phrase “pure and unadulterated rubbish” – a phrase that seems not to fall too far from the phrases used in connection with our earlier article: “random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense” and “absolute balderdash”

          I don’t mind mistakes, but I do very much mind people dismissing what I say out-of-hand rather than providing evidence to support what they say. If you had given me the respect of actually supporting your claims I am wrong, you’d have found I am actually right. Instead, you’ve just made a boneheaded mistake and used it to say I am wrong. Sort of like how you say:

          At all times, Corcoran clearly distinguished between the 2003 and 2005 papers. You’re wrong here. Corcoran re-iterated his interpretation of the UBC piece, but I do not agree that he had interpreted it “incorrectly” – see para 1.

          Even though I gave a specific reason for this point when I made it above. You didn’t respond to me to then. It seems strange to respond to me now to tell me I am wrong. Even if the previous comment didn’t seem to merit response at the time, surely the reasoning I offered in it merits a response now that you’re responding to the point I made in it.

          I am finding it very difficult to repress my snark at this point.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

          Steve, I think you misinterpreted Mosher’s comment. That’s not surprising given the cryptic style he likes to comment with, but it is important. You’ll note there were quotation marks around what he said. Those are there because he was quoting me. Over at Judith Curry’s blog, I discussed a case where Gavin Schmidt complained about people discussing the Tiljander proxies and how they impacted Mann 2008. I then said:

          It’s also worth pointing out not too long after that comment thread, Gavin Schmidt admitted what people had been saying about the Tiljander issue in a couple inline remarks at his blog then completely stopped discussing the issue. He never went back and corrected his previous mistakes. He never drew any attention to the fact he was wrong. He never tried to do anything to make amends after having practically ranted at people for not believing his when he was obviously wrong.

          I think this sort of behavior is a large part of why discussions go bad. People get frustrated at others for not agreeing with them regardless of who is correct, then they won’t admit their mistakes in anything resembling a full and honest manner.

          I presume Mosher quoted my words to suggest I am refusing to admit mistakes, though I wouldn’t care to guess just what mistakes he thinks I’ve made.

          Steve: I replied to your comment at Judy’s. While the others over there were praising the Kloor exchanges, you were the only one who correctly pointed out Gavin’s schtick versus his later walkbalk at Realclimate without correcting his disinformation.

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

          At least you’re understanding him this time. #charity

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

          Wrong again.

        • davideisenstadt
          Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

          mosh:
          your post reads like something from “the argument clinic”.
          or, its reminiscent of dan ackroyd saying “Jane, you ignorant slut”
          really, youre better than this.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

          Welp, I’m baffled. Our host told me I was wrong on a point, but to do so, he misquoted Andrew Weaver. I pointed this out and said some other things, but I got no response. I then suggested he had misunderstood who had said the words in Steven Mosher’s comment, and he responded. I have no idea why such a trivial issue would get a response but more substantive ones, like ones about how he misquoted a person, would not.

          Even worse, I don’t get the response:

          Steve: I replied to your comment at Judy’s. While the others over there were praising the Kloor exchanges, you were the only one who correctly pointed out Gavin’s schtick versus his later walkbalk at Realclimate without correcting his disinformation.

          While I think what this response says is fine on its own, it does nothing to address what I said in my comment. It doesn’t clarify who our host was addressing his comment to. It does nothing to resolve anything. It is a fine thing to say in and of itself, but why make a Word of God response to not address what is being discussed?

          I’m completely baffled. I feel like it’s pointless to point out anything here at this point.

          Steve: I’m not online all the time and am often working on other topics. Sometimes it takes me a while to look at comments.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          david its actually quite simple. surprised no one has got it yet.

        • davideisenstadt
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

          I figured it out. but your schtick is tired sieve…why not not less, and direct your thoughts to people who will read them, instead of issuing g yoda like pronouncements.
          Hers one for you…
          there is no try, only do.
          geez steve, I can imagine that its difficult to be surrounded by critics, in wildeian way, but really?
          “wrong”?
          thats helps everyone? anyone?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          David, when Mosher gets exasperated by whatever, he adopts a blog persona that combines characteristics of the Riddler and the Cheshire Cat. He knows that it’s annoying and this he enjoys. Don’t feed the Cat.

        • Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

          Annoying to some. For some reason I never find the guy an irritant, however cryptic. Worst case: I add the latest output to that long – some would say infinite – list of what I don’t understand in (and about) the universe. At least it doesn’t take long.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

          I also don’t get irritated by Mosher, Richard. He has redeeming qualities. He gets frustrated when the rest of us can’t keep up. I was being somewhat facetious in my last comment. An alternate explanation of Mosher’s motivation for going into cryptic mode is that he is trying to get us to think harder. We don’t know if that is presumptuous. Mosher may be the smartest guy in the world. We will know more, if he learns to change his tactics.

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

        “Steve, I specifically said “(in public or in interviews)”. Of course a person might say harsher things in interpersonal communication, communication they don’t intend to “get out.” That a person may say something in private does not justify a newspaper article claiming he said it in public.”
        Once you blurt something it is public as young people and others are finding out when being stupid on social media. Politicians have found out the hard way that even if you say it is off the record, the news person may have a tape recorder going. Then it is public as soon as he prints it. I took a media course – they told me it is legal as long as one of the people know it. So what Weaver may have mumbled about M&M is public and assigned to him.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

          Gerald Machnee, in a number of states, if you tape a conversation without both parties being aware of the fact, you’ve committed a crime. And if a news person publishes something that was said “off the record,” they might get fired. They certainly can’t expect to have much of a job if people find out what they did. Nobody is going to trust them if they quote “off the record” statements.

          Not that any of that matters. Even if Andrew Weaver said things to other people, the reporters had no idea of that. You can’t justify a story which reports a guy said something in one case by saying in another case, one which the journalist had no awareness of, the guy said something sort of like it. If a reporter published an article which claims I went off on a racist rant despite having no evidence I did, what he did was wrong. That’s true even if I really did happen to go off on a racist rant at some point.

  13. Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc to Mosh:

    I’ve noticed some of your comments at Judy’s about blog discussions and was going to comment but was working on other things. You argued that stokes-type food fights attracted volume. I don’t think that that’s true.

    I strongly agree with that and with everything you write beyond, prickly visiting academics, fatwas and all. Just my best guess on the first of course.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

      In one sense it is trivially true. A food fight between say Joshua and me can go on for dozens and dozens of comments, with more and more people returning to watch the jello fly and to toss a few mashed potatoes.

      There are two ways to measure the volume: comments and page views.

      Now, imagine a thread on UHI at Judiths.
      recall that a typical thread on that site on a related matter.. adjustments.. might get well over 500 even 1000 comments.

      What would you wager a UHI thread would draw in terms of audience comments and page views?

      case A: one with a battle between both sides
      case B: one where there is no battle.

      would you bet case B would be below 100?

      Second, there was this

      “I think this sort of behavior is a large part of why discussions go bad. People get frustrated at others for not agreeing with them regardless of who is correct, then they won’t admit their mistakes in anything resembling a full and honest manner.”

      Think about that…

      • kim
        Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

        Rule Number One of Foodfights is no lobs sallied until everyone’s sated. Maybe it’s no salads lobbed until everyone’s salted, I fergit.
        ========================

      • Posted Mar 26, 2015 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

        Mosh: the larger issue has to do with culture. Occasional foodfights can be fun but when every meal begins and ends that way, including Grandma’s birthday, something has been lost.

      • Hoi Polloi
        Posted Mar 27, 2015 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

        I wonder whether much people read the zillions of comments on Judy’s. Except for the commenters themselves. I stopped long time ago. It’s like watching a hamsterwheel. I feel sorry for Judy because the subjects are always interesting and I wonder if she has to struggle through them all, what a waste of her valuable time….

        • Posted Mar 27, 2015 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

          I seldom read many of the comments either but when I do I pick up this about the host: she’s liberal in a rather deep way. The ‘waste of valuable time’ point was also thrown at Margaret Thatcher, who as Prime Minister used to read all mail sent to her from a grateful (or enraged) public, often replying by hand, or underlining parts she found convincing to show her bemused civil servants, or both. Someone who didn’t know the value of her own time or someone who hadn’t forgotten why she was there?

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 27, 2015 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

          Yogi Berra said of a restaurant,”No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

  14. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    Steve, “…the [hockey team] fatwa against participation at CA. When someone as even-tempered as Rob Wilson commented here, he’d get into trouble with the Mann crowd who tried to maintain the boycott.

    In that is the indisputable evidence of their intellectual bankruptcy, in spades. Not to say, ultimately, their intellectual cowardice.

    Brandon, re. your recent comments ending in, “surely the reasoning I offered in it merits a response now that you’re responding to the point I made in it.

    I am finding it very difficult to repress my snark at this point.

    … simply incredible.

  15. Paul Courtney
    Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    FWIW, Weaver’s “giving equal space…can be dangerous” is very telling, whether he was referring to M&M or journalism in general. Don’t know about press in Canada, but in the US the press has had a liberal bias for decades, particularly on environmental issues. (Brief aside-IMO the environment movement in the beginning was a fine example of how a grassroots group with a valid point could succeed in US against all odds, opposed by business and politicians but helped by the press-it lost those roots long ago.) Enviros here can issue a press release and count on news wires etc. to re-print the release with no comment or recognition of an opposing view. As conservatives pointed this out, the press began to add a line buried at end of articles to “give balance”. For Mr. Weaver, CAGW based on CO2 is so well established that it’s “dangerous” to give equal space to an opposing view, even if that view is “what’s your proof of CAGW?”, or “what’s the certainty that CO2 emissions will cause catastrophe?” To me, Weaver’s view is more funny than dangerous because the public has refused to go all in with the call to action, we’re not reducing our carbon footprint to zero no matter how shrill these folks get, no matter how the press reports it. Even folks who say they believe in CAGW still drive cars, heat or AC their homes and offices, and won’t lift a finger to stop construction of coal-fired electricity in China and India (as if). This has unhinged the Weavers to the point where the other view is not merely undeserving of equal space, it’s “dangerous”. What exactly is the danger of information in a news article? And how can a journalist listen to that and not tell him he’s crazy?

  16. EdeF
    Posted Mar 24, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    I would comment on the chilling effect this case has on freedom of
    speech………..but I first need to clear my comments with the Canadian Gov’t.

  17. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for this being off topic, but I don’t see an off-topic thread, and I thought this was an issue worth drawing attention to here. My attention was just drawn to a new paper by Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, Scott Rutherford and a number of others due to a post at Judith Curry’s blog. It appears this paper shamelessly uses Mann 2008’s results, Tiljander proxies and all. I’m copying the comment I left there (last word redacted due to this site’s filter):

    Wait, RealClimates authors are using the Mann 2008 proxy set (which was also used in Mann 2009) in a new paper? Without noting their hockey-stick shape depends entirely upon uncalibratable, double-counted, upside down proxies and bristlecone tree ring data? Or acknowledging over a hundred proxies used in the Mann 2008 data set use instrumental data? As in, the proxies were truncated to remove data then had instrumental data spliced in instead?

    They are! They actually have the audacity to say:

    To obtain a long-term reconstruction of the AMOC index requires long-term reconstructions of both the Northern Hemisphere mean temperature and SST of the subpolar gyre. For the Northern Hemisphere mean, Mann et al.12 produced reconstructions using two different methods, composite-plus-scale (CPS) and errors in variables (EIV). Here we use the land-and-ocean reconstruction with the EIV method using all the available proxies, which is the reconstruction for which the best validation results were achieved (see Supplementary Methods of Mann et al.12).

    Meaning they’re not even pretending to address the fact they used uncalibratable data with the opposite orientation designated by the authors! How is this science? Or honest?

    Heck, I don’t use the word lightly, but how is that not *****?

    Steve: yes, it’s unbelievable. I had a post in progress – now online.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

      Nice catch, Brandon. Nobody else would have spotted that they had used Mann’s proxies. This should solidify your position in the climate debate.

      • MikeN
        Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

        I can think of someone else who would have spotted it.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

          Any minute now.
          ==========

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

          Mike: Shhhh! I am trying to bolster Brandon’s self-confidence.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

          Heh, his post is 3:29.
          ============

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

          Not Steve.

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 26, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

          Tiljander and AMOC are practically synonymous.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 26, 2015 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

          AMac’s busy elsewhere, though within the last month he lighted briefly @ Judy’s, giving me the opportunity to thank him for the definitive(scare quotes optional) scholarship on Tiljander’s Mann-handled varves. I consider it a personal triumph to have gotten a grin out of him for some of my doggerel.
          =============

        • kim
          Posted Mar 26, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

          Here ’tis, and it’s apt. It was on the occasion of Brune, who hired Mann at Penn State visiting Colorado University to give a speech in an auditorium, the Kettle.

          Brune in the Kettle,
          Clouds hot with obfuscation;
          Tiljander tea leaves.
          ==============

    • kim
      Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

      I think he was double down dared to do so and was foolish enough to dare. Worse, the one daring him was himself.
      =========================

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 25, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

      Steve: yes, it’s unbelievable. I had a post in progress – now online.

      Cool. I’ll take any discussion of it there.

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