Climategate Update: Two Reports Down and One To Go

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climategate dog

Last November leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit suggested that prominent climate scientists were manipulating data and engaging in other skullduggery. Dubbed "Climategate" three different investigations into the affair were launched. At the end of March, a British parliamentary committee was first off the mark in issuing its report on the Climategate affair. That report found:

We believe that the focus on CRU and Professor Phil Jones, Director of CRU, in particular, has largely been misplaced. Whilst we are concerned that the disclosed e-mails suggest a blunt refusal to share scientific data and methodologies with others, we can sympathise with Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew—or perceived—were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.

In the context of the sharing of data and methodologies, we consider that Professor Jones's actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community. It is not standard practice in climate science to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. However, climate science is a matter of great importance and the quality of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data that support their work (including raw data) and full methodological workings (including the computer codes). Had both been available, many of the problems at UEA could have been avoided.

We are content that the phrases such as "trick" or "hiding the decline" were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead. Likewise the evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers.

In the context of Freedom of Information (FOIA), much of the responsibility should lie with UEA. The disclosed e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted, to avoid disclosure. We found prima facie evidence to suggest that the UEA found ways to support the culture at CRU of resisting disclosure of information to climate change sceptics. The failure of UEA to grasp fully the potential damage to CRU and UEA by the non-disclosure of FOIA requests was regrettable. UEA needs to review its policy towards FOIA and re-assess how it can support academics whose expertise in this area is limited.

Translation: Perhaps the folks at the CRU were a bit too secretive, but there's basically nothing to see here. Move along.

Now, a second Climategate report by the International Science Assessment Panel, a group of scientists organized by the University of East Anglia and the Royal Society came out yesterday. A lot of the panel's investigation involved reading various papers produced by CRU researchers and chatting with them. Apparently the panel did not talk with or read any of the literature that is critical of the CRU's work. The panel found with regard to tree ring data used to construct long term temperature trends:

With very noisy data sets a great deal of judgement has to be used. Decisions have to be made on whether to omit pieces of data that appear to be aberrant. These are all matters of experience and judgement. The potential for misleading results arising from selection bias is very great in this area. It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work because it is fundamentally statistical. Under such circumstances there must be an obligation on researchers to document the judgemental decisions they have made so that the work can in principle be replicated by others.

CRU accepts with hindsight that they should have devoted more attention in the past to archiving data and algorithms and recording exactly what they did.

OK then, I guess.

With regard to more recent historical temperature reconstructions, the panel found:

Like the work on tree rings this work is strongly dependent on statistical analysis and our comments are essentially the same. Although there are certainly different ways of handling the data, some of which might be superior, as far as we can judge the methods which CRU has employed are fair and satisfactory. Particular attention was given to records that seemed anomalous and to establishing whether the anomaly was an artefact or the result of some natural process. There was also the challenge of dealing with gaps in otherwise high quality data series. In detailed discussion with the researchers we found them to be objective and dispassionate in their view of the data and their results, and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda. Their sole aim was to establish as robust a record of temperatures in recent centuries as possible. All of the published work was accompanied by detailed descriptions of uncertainties and accompanied by appropriate caveats. The same was true in face to face discussions.

Well, it's certainly a relief to hear that face-to-face talks—no doubt over tea—found the CRU folks "objective and dispassionate."

Despite the CRU folks having the "sole aim" of establishing a "robust" record, the panel did note:

We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.

Indeed.

A third Climategate report from a committee headed up by Muir Russell, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow is expected shortly. Sad to say that group got off to pretty rocky start.

In any case, some commentators in the debates over climate change see these reports as amounting to little more than a "whitewash."

In other Climategate news, the police are reportedly investigating some of those who had the temerity to make Freedom of Information Act requests of the CRU researchers.

NEXT: Tonya Craft's Alleged Victim Reports How She Remembered Abuse: 'My Momma Told Me'

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  1. You don’t really except me to read all that, do you?

    Someone give me an executive summary.

  2. no one: Just innocent mistakes. 😉

    1. Fine reporting as always, Ron. But we are in an Election Year?, so Science must take a backseat to bumpkin bloviation, hayseed hysteria, vote-counts, what-ifs, but-thens, amorphous racism, proven-by-polls insurrections, violence that isn’t there but might be soon, lipstick lesbianism, awful alliteration…I’m sure there must be more. Anyone?

      1. under-the-bus-throwing, facts on the ground…

        1. “Dogs and cats…living together!!”, “giant twinkies”, trite expressions, glittering generalities, plain folks appeals, inapt analogies, Scotsman sightings galore…..

          And a partridge in a pear tree.

          1. And at the end of the day, there was pushback.

    2. I’ve never cared that much about the accusations of intentionally misleading the public. Intent is hard to prove.

      But this report confirms their sloppy record-keeping. My college Physics professor would have given them an F and told them to do it all over with proper records.

      The only defense against this second, bigger concern that I have heard is that other groups have come to similar conclusions. Can somebody is familiar with the work of other climate research groups answer the questions:

      * Were those other groups more transparent and keep better records?

      * How independent was the other groups’ data analysis? Did they use any data that was tainted by the CRU’s sloppy work?

      1. Lol.

        You have no clue what you are talking about. Seriously. These guys would get an A-, and I am sure you would find the same kinds of issues in virtually any scientist’s work if you tried to dig through decades worth of work looking for dirt.

        For example, I probably no longer have accurate records of more than half of the material in my dissertation. That was three jobs and four moves ago. If I really desparate, I might be able to find a bit more of it here and there. God only knows and frankly, no one cares.

        1. If your dissertation was going to be used justify a major change in the way in which Western Civilization operates, I would care.

        2. Lessee, Chad telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’d say that pretty much affirms I know what I’m talking about.

          Chad, what scientific discipline are you trained in? What college or university did you attend where they taught you that your scientific methodology is just peachy keen even if you can’t explain to others how to replicate your experiment?

        3. Chad|4.15.10 @ 9:44PM|#
          “Lol.You have no clue what you are talking about. Seriously. These guys would get an A-, and I am sure you would find the same kinds of issues in virtually any scientist’s work…”

          Lol. You have no idea of which you post.
          The best that can be said is that you’re an ignoramus. That’s the best; the worst is probably closer to the truth.
          Gao away, asshole.

        4. In other Climategate news, the police are reportedly investigating some of those who had the temerity to make Freedom of Information Act requests of the CRU researchers.

          You okay with this, Chad?

        5. Chad, if you think it’s fine to toss out the data behind published works, you should be able to find a great job working in the pharma industry. They need stooges willing to ignore things like side effects and drug interactions, and it can be difficult to hide these things with adequate record-keeping.

      2. The NASA GISS most definitely derived some of their data from the CRU. It is not an independent dataset.

  3. A memo was missed.

    Bjorn Lomborg’s being a statistician specifically disqualifies him from understanding “climate,” as of last spin. And I agree. Math dudes are bad at theology.

    leaked emails

    And garbage data, and garbage-data-falsifying garbage code, ZIP DENIER.

  4. amounting to little more than a “whitewash.”

    That was going to be my entry for the caption contest, since the picture isn’t showing up for me.

    1. More like a greenwash.

      Hayoooo!

  5. “we can sympathise with Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew?or perceived?were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.”

    OMG! It would have harmed his self-esteem! And stuff….
    Where did this guy (and this ‘investigative body’) get the impression that science is some kindergarten recess activity where everybody gets a gold star?
    You’re work is *supposed* to be ripped apart.

    1. Their use of the word “sympathy” as an explanation for their excuse of his behavior renders everything they say as an unfathomable mound of horseshit.

      1. How swiftly you dismiss an entire scientific field’s work over the use of one word in one article. You must be totally objective on this issue.

        1. I am speaking solely of the report that discusses Professor Jones. Read my post again.

          But I “sympathize” with your ignorance.

    2. To me, this is the most infuriating line of the whole first report. Which is saying something.

      That and the claim that the sloppy record-keeping, refusing to let others look at their data, etc, are “common practice in the climate science community”. If that’s true, the whole community needs to be ignored.

      1. I agree. Science is all about having your theories ripped to shread and your procedure gone over with a fine tooth comb by those attempting to replicate your work.

        Your conclusion is dead on.

        1. Some would said that science is really all about being in the right place at the right time with a persuasive theory that captures the mind of a younger generation, and then waiting for the older generation to die off.

          1. And this applies, how?

          2. That’s pretty much what Marx thought of “science”.

          3. Unfortunately, Kuhn’s dismal take on how science really works is largely correct in practice. But Popper’s philosophy of science as a process by which hypotheses are continually subjected to tests that could falsify them is what scientists are supposed to be trying to support.

          4. I should add that that is how personal financial success in science operates. Once your theory is experimentally testable, it’s going to have a target on its back for every experimentalist hungry for recognition.

            For instance, relativity and evolution were very glamorous theories for young scientists when they came out. As opposed to, say, the Big Bang, which met heavy resistance from scientists, because it was far messier than the steady state theory that predated it. Einstein even artificially altered his theory of general relativity to avoid lending credence to the idea of an expanding universe. The SST held sway until new observations forced cosmologists to accept the BBT about 30 years after Hubble proposed it.

            Plate tectonics is another now-accepted theory that was far uglier than its former competitors.

  6. Ron, if this doesn’t rescue you from the dark side, there is no hope for you.

  7. Likewise the evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers.

    Really?

    Let’s say I am reviewing the efficacy of a prototype drug and I happen to mention, informally, that there might be evidence that said drug could be dangerous to a segment of the of the population, say people with heart disease.

    Do you really think, should the drug be introduced to the population and cause harm, that that “informal remark” isn’t going to get someone into a heaping pile of trouble?

    And given the supposed “dire emergency” that AGW presents to the world’s population, I would think “informal remarks” are very germane to the veracity of the claims made, and especially the methodology employed.

    In short, “You say, you own it.”

    1. Indeed. If an academic makes “informal remarks” about sabotaging peer review, how is that not equivalent to a policeman making similar remarks about sabotaging some evidence?

    2. I made an analogous argument when this first broke- can you imagine if Merck or some other pharma company had researchers who tried to “hide the seizures” and behaved similarly to the CRU “researchers”?

      Sweet Jeebus, the howling from the usual quarters would still be echoing.

      1. They still are. Vioxx, anyone?

        1. Chantix is similar too.
          Pfizer petitioned (bribed) the FDA to fastrack approval. Later banned for drivers/pilots when it’s found it can amplify psychotic anti social behavior.
          Pharma cos have studies showing effectiveness or lack of side effects ‘ghost written’, and claim it as ‘independent research’.
          All the smoking ban/heart attack publications (Helena, etc, etc.)
          And they’re all CRAP.

          Having a similar position as Bailey that the basic premises are sound, it’s getting harder to accept that significant AGW is actually happening. Too much ‘noise’, not really enough ‘signal’ …. yet.
          Any reliable prediction is simply not possible.

          1. To the smoking ban comment: while I agree it is crap and likely motivated by douches it is the fundamental nature of epidemiological studies to be more craptastic than double blind controlled experiments. Not defending the inaccuracy just stating the nature of that branch of study. It is more statistical than controlled and a-priori is easier to fudge. This is why the best analogy to AGW bullshit is those smoking ban studies and not a pharma drug trial. Even without any malicious intent they can and are crap.

            Science is hard

            p.s. I am a fan of Tom Van Flandern’s work more for the methodology than the conclusions but still, a big fan.

  8. Did the studies, by chance, defend Jones’ contention that there’s been no statistical warming for the last fifteen years?

  9. While the Spanish Inquisition has yet to comment on Whatevergate , Fred Singer’s publisher of last resort, the not-so-learned journal of The John Birch Society, has sicced an Evangelical Bishop on the low church East Anglians, to accuse them, the IPCC, and Al Gore of , get ready for it ,

    The Pelagian Heresy :

    http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-fe…..d-the-ipcc

    Anybody know hoe to price a carbon offset for an Auto da Fe ?

  10. In Other News
    The ‘hockey stick’ that became emblematic of the threat posed by climate change exaggerated the rise in temperature because it was created using ‘inappropriate’ methods, according to the head of the Royal Statistical Society.

    1. That’s not other news. Hand was on the panel, but he called the “mistakes” isolated incidences.

    2. “it was created using ‘inappropriate’ methods”

      the evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process.

      That’s an interesting conclusion based on the previous admission of Jones using “inappropriate” methods. What exactly was he doing if NOT in fact trying to subvert the peer-review process? Just screwing around? Playing footsie with his assistant professors?

      What a complete waste of time this whole show-trial has been. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Jones and his buddies would get exonerated from this whole mess, but you would think that they would be a little more serious about how the entire scientific process was pretty much discarded by Jones and the rest.

  11. There’s a reason why very few statisticians were involved in the research.

  12. Here’s the money shot: With very noisy data sets a great deal of judgement has to be used. Decisions have to be made on whether to omit pieces of data that appear to be aberrant. These are all matters of experience and judgement

    There are people in the world who make their living studying data and statistics. They are not called Climatologers. That’s what struck me the most from these reports. “Oh, you had trouble with the data? That’s ok, you mean well. You can’t be expected to actually ask the experts how to do something. Just wing it.”

    And these things read more like a fucking Twilight review in a high school newspaper than a scientific inquiry. I half expected them to call Mann sparkly and hansome.

  13. So there is a dead body in the middle of the street surrounded by witnesses and the police go into a meeting to talk to the guy found standing over the body with a bloody knife in his hand. After some talk amongst themselves and with the murderer they decide that the witnesses, who have been talking with the media, are hurting the murderer’s feelings.

    1. That’s a reasonable analogy. Murder = not publishing raw data. OK then…

  14. Any investigation that focuses on the emails is automatically a whitewash.

    The real story is not the snotty arrogant emails. The real story is the data, the computer code and comments about the code in the famous “Harry Readme.txt” file.

    Any “investigation” that says that the CRU software is acceptable in any way is either massively incompetent or is our right lying. The CRU software was written, updated, maintained and documented in a completely amateurish and sloppy manner. None of its output can be trusted.

    It is nearly impossible to convey to non-programmers how bad that code is. Suffice to say that if tried to foster that kind of code on a private client, you would be sued into atoms and if you tired to pass it to a bank or the military, you would end up in jail.

    Climatology code is today the most important software on the planet. If we don’t get it right ( if we overreact or under react to global warming) we will kill hundreds of millions of people. It follows that the software upon which we base such a momentous life or death decision should be of the highest quality, the best reviewed and the best documented. It should be written to standards of banking or military software and it should be as open as Open Source.

    There is no excuse for accepting a lower standard and there is no excuse for anyone to base policy on code that can’t meet that standard.

    1. That’s all true. But, to be fair, the commissions were simply supposed to investigate whether anything illegal or unethical was done. They weren’t there to judge the quality of the scientific work, although they do comment on it (and they’re defense of that quality is pretty weak).

  15. ” we can sympathise with Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew?or perceived?were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.”

    Uhm, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that how science is supposed to work? You’re supposed to release all data requests without prejudice as to the motivations of the requestors. Sometimes fierce academic competition is required to suss out the truth.

    1. oh shit, it was already commented upon up top. Worth repeating, though.

      1. Yes, it is and I hope others do so.

        1. Tulpa|4.15.10 @ 7:29PM|#
          “…the claim that the sloppy record-keeping, refusing to let others look at their data, etc, are “common practice in the climate science community”. If that’s true, the whole community needs to be ignored.”

          This also needs repetition.
          Is the ‘climate “science” community’ some sort of street-corner dope-dealing operation?
          As an individual, try telling the IRS that sloppy-record keeping is just part of your ‘community’.

      2. The process is supposed to be a brutal, nit picky and exacting.

        This boils down to, “Eh, we’ll assume all the fudge factors were used in good faith.
        This is ‘important’ work you know”.

  16. Investigating the FOIA requesters? Hope they used my service. LOL

    Jess
    http://www.whos-watching.es.tc

    1. smartertroll for 2

    2. Maybe sometimes he’s a real person and sometimes he’s a bot?

  17. Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew?or perceived?were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.

    Dude! What you call “undermining you work” other people call “the scientific method.”

    1. No, the scientific method is a search for the truth, not a search for a way to confirm your ideology, or obscure the truth when it conflicts with what you believe.

      1. Chad|4.15.10 @ 9:46PM|#
        “No, the scientific method is a search for the truth, not a search for a way to confirm your ideology, or obscure the truth when it conflicts with what you believe.”

        So you think it’s a white-wash also? Good.

        1. I’ll admit that I don’t know what all is required to comply with an FOIA request, but it’s probably comparable to building a data room for mergers and acquisition consideration. People have done such things.

          The thing that gets me, though, is that the reason that the CRU got so many FOIA requests was because they never complied! If you would give people the data they sought, they’d stop asking for it. Then you would not have this backlog of requests. It would be much more convincing to say, “We’ve fulfilled 4 requests already this year. That’s all the data we’ve got. Now stop bothering us.” than to say, “We’ve never fulfilled any request. Look at how many keep piling up.”

  18. Well, I guess that settles that. Everything wrapped up nicely.

    Oh, and I like how he Telegraph tells us in the last link:
    The university was cleared of scientific malpractice recently.

    Yep, nothing more to see here.

    1. There really isn’t. Things are certainly more wrapped up than the absolute faith in denialism that was placed as a result of a couple ridiculously overhyped emails.

      1. It was not the emails that was important, it was the reevaluation of the utterly amateurish and slipshod way they wrote, maintained and documented their computer code. The code is crap and that make its results wholly untrustworthy.

        You can’t condemn millions of people to death based on sloppy code.

      2. Tony|4.15.10 @ 11:33PM|#
        “There really isn’t. Things are certainly more wrapped up than the absolute faith in denialism that was placed as a result of a couple ridiculously overhyped emails.”

        Good goin, Chony! A totally irrelevant post!
        Cho Momma, too!
        Asshole.

      3. As opposed to the absolute faith of AGW, Tony?

  19. Is anyone even remotely surprised at an exoneration? Anyone?

    1. Well, because you concluded a long time ago that “they’re all in the fix” on this one. If they exonerated then you can say “a-ha, just what we would expect given this nefarious cabal.” If they had not you would say “a-ha, we told you this nefarious cabal was up to something, now some of them even admit it!”

      Once you toss out deference to the experts anything is game, there is no neutral way of deciding these things. Ideology just gets into that crack and boogies the night away.

      1. In climate science, “expert” is a relative term. There is, as yet, no ultimate authority on the subject.

        1. I’m not sure what you are getting at. By expert I mean a person with many, many more years of training and experience in the relevant field than Joe Blogger. There certainly are many of those people, and more of them support AGW than deny it.

          Of course there is no “ultimate authority” on what is true or not in climate science, that’s true for any science…

          1. So, what are the experts’ credentials? In which way have they demonstrated that they know what they are talking about? Did they perhaps develop a sophisticated model that was confirmed by observations? MNG, you trust your experts so much. But why?

            1. Grrizzly I doubt that you or I are qualified to judge their models. The credentials which I seek are things like doctorate degrees in the relevant fields (btw even a cursory reading of something like the IPCC demonstrates people with degrees in all kinds of things-geology, oceanography, etc., not just “climate science”) and things like indicators of scientific achievement (holding certain posts, publishing certain papers, etc). I assume that people who have engaged in much more intense, guided and lengthy study of an issue probably have a better sense of it than you or I, and I defer to their judgment as long as it is not telling me something that sounds too fantastical. And nothing I’m currently being told sounds too fantastical.

              1. Grrizzly I doubt that you or I are qualified to judge their models.

                How about them simply predicting future temperature as they claim they can? This doesn’t take ANY scientific expertise to judge. They claim they have a scientific model that predicts future temperature. To date, they have failed to predict temperature in the near future but claim their predictions of the distant future’s temperature is precise.

                And you used the word “denialist” earlier.

              2. MNG, you are very wrong. I don’t know about you but I can very well understand whether predictions by AGW scientists were confirmed by observations.

                See, for example, Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides, On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53 (4), 671?684, 2008.
                http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/864/

                And I am not in any way a climate scientist. But millions of people with decent grasp of statistics can see whether the observations fell into, say, a 95% confidence interval projected by a model. If a model isn’t capable of making such predictions, then it’s junk. No amount of doctorate degrees can compensate for that. Trofim Lysenko was the head of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the Soviet Union.

      2. MNG|4.15.10 @ 10:28PM|#
        “Once you toss out deference to the experts anything is game, there is no neutral way of deciding these things.”

        Horseshit, asshole.
        If you believe science is to be decided by “experts” you have no claim to being other than some medieval priest.
        And I’m gonna guess that your ignorance tells you that’s true.

        1. Scientific truth is not to be “declared” by experts; it’s just that certainly people with more training and experience in a field have a better chance of understanding and finding said truth than say angry ideologically motivated laymen. Would anyone dispute this as a general rule in life?

          1. I do

            If the experts are angry ideologically motivated experts they are no more capable of coming to a reasoned conclusion then anyone else

  20. Some of you thought the deniars were nuts before, but were a little skeptical that carbon taxes would really fix the climate. This deliberate cover up should be the final piece of evidence to prove that the goal is decieve the public, to increase power, saving the earth is irrelevant, the science is irrelevant, the only important thing is that a lot of people want to get rich and powerful by creating huge new tax revenue streams.

    The most damning proof of a conspiracy comes int he whitewash commission stage…they use the same formula. Bring in the foxes to inspect the scene of the crime at the henhouse and then have them declare that it was suicide.

    1. “This deliberate cover up should be the final piece of evidence to prove that the goal is decieve the public”

      But that’s just the thing. We don’t assume it was a deliberate cover-up. And the fact that investigations are exonerating them should, in Non-Bizarro world, be evidence it was not a cover-up, not, as you profess, evidence it was one. Here we witness the nonfalsifiable technique of the true paranoid: cover-ups and scames stacked on cover-ups and scames, as far as the eye can see…

      1. MNG|4.15.10 @ 10:31PM|#
        “But that’s just the thing. We don’t assume it was a deliberate cover-up….”

        You’ve already shown that your non-existent ability to choose between what’s demonstrated and what’s claimed by “experts” means you have no credibility.
        And now you wish to make some clever distinction between what was intended and what was just plain a lie?
        If your mommy told you that your were smart, she lied. Ditto anyone else.
        Go away.

        1. Actually braniac it was the person that I replied to who used the term “deliberate cover-up” thus invoking intentions. But my point stands, I didn’t see one of those before these exonerations, and now my conclusion is more supported than it was.

          Of course all of this is pretty moot as AGW is supported by hundreds of findings by hundreds of scientists with little or no affiliation or reliance upon the CRU Crew. Even were they exposed as total charlatans it would reverse the consensus on AGW no more than the exposure of the fraud of Pilt-down man reversed the consensus on human evolution.

          1. I still haven’t seen any references at all to your constant barrage of claims to consensus, or even overwhelming majority. Of course, Even were you to find that, I’m sure that I can find the same for the coming ice age that scientists were telling us about in the 70s. If their models keep failing to predict temperature trends, than they’re wrong. Regardless of years of supposed expertise.

          2. Can I point out one annoying little fact (I can’t believe I am addressing MNG, must be the coffee this morning)…There is an old saying in the world of research: “It only takes One brown cow”. This is the principle of counterexample. I don’t give a shit how many instnaces you have. Consensus is not science it is politics.

            I’d rather be a hammer than a climate researcher nail

  21. The more I think about this, the more it pisses me off:
    “…were in line with common practice in the climate science community…”
    Bullshit. There is no ‘climate science community’ any more than (Godwin warning!) there is ‘Jewish Physics’; either it’s science or it isn’t.

    And then this supposed ‘community’ is held to standards that wouldn’t pass muster at an 8th grade science fair (‘gee I’m sorry, I lost the records, but that one sure *looks* like it’s growing faster than that one!’)

    It won’t happen given the source of funding, but scientists world wide should raise holy hell about the trivializing of their efforts.

    1. Dude, I think all that was meant by that phrase is the people who study in the area of climate science. Like the “community of economists” would be what is standard practice in most economic journals, conferences, etc.

      “And then this supposed ‘community’ is held to standards that wouldn’t pass muster at an 8th grade science fair”

      Yeah, I imagine you can lecture the world on what the standards of science should be…I smell a bachelors degree here tops.

      “It won’t happen given the source of funding”

      Ah, the “source of funding” argument. Got to love it. It admits no defeat. See, even if they provided their data we could say “well, we can’t trust the data, consider the source of the funding…”

      1. I smell arrogance and a graduate degree from the pretty side of campus.

        1. I’m not sure how I’m the arrogant one when my position here is deference to those better qualified to know about this issue while your side’s position is that any Joe Blogger may have exposed the Greatest Scientific Cover Up of All Time. Now who is arrogant there? I do maintain that usually when we are lectured about how “science really is supposed to be” one need not dig too far to find a person pretty unqualified to decide what “science really is supposed to be.”

      2. MNG|4.15.10 @ 10:25PM|#
        “Dude, I think…”

        Doooooooooooooooooood,
        you’ve proven that isn ‘t true. Go awa

      3. MNG|4.15.10 @ 10:25PM|#
        “…I smell a bachelors degree here tops….”

        Oops missed this!
        Naah, just a GED.
        Don;t your wish you were as capable of thinking……………
        Asshole.

      4. I smell a bachelors degree here tops.

        And why would that matter, considering that a third grader can understand the simple concept that a scientist must be able to explain exactly how he or she came to a conclusion.

  22. In any case, some commentators in the debates over climate change see these reports as amounting to little more than a “whitewash.”

    Well, I expect that there were also some commenters who said that the reports were “a complete exoneration.” It would be kind of interesting if maybe you could venture an opinion on all of this sometime, Ron, instead of just cherrypicking some anonymous commenters, who, for all we know, could be a tiny minority.

    As for me, I’m in total agreement with “Some Dude.” The idea that you don’t have to share your data with people you “perceive” to be out to undermine your work is laughable.

    1. How do you feel about the claim that a certain ‘community’ of ‘scientists’ is somehow held to lower standard than actual, real scientists?

    2. “There are those who say . . .”

  23. I couldn’t tell if this was a Ron Bailey post or something by Marvell’s Coy Mistress. Respect for Bailey can rise and fall with this kind of thing observed over the years. I guess it’s kind of the dilemma one is put in when they make a living writing for publications which have as a target audience to a large extent wingnuts who want red meat on this subject while also trying to be a “science correspondent” who won’t be laughed out of any serious science event…But this is too coy by half…The nearly lol moment is this quote: “In any case, some commentators in the debates over climate change see these reports as amounting to little more than a “whitewash.”” Ron just “reports” the fact that “some” people see these as whitewashs after a lengthy post where he places pseudo-snark in the “right” places which allow one to draw the inference that the reports are bogus while never quite saying he concludes so himself.

    I mean, come on Ron. You talk to scientists for a living. Is the use of the word “trick” not colloquial (hell we use the word in demographic research)? You read scientific journals. Do you find nefarious motives lurking behind the (found to be standard) non-publication of computer code or raw data in academic publications?

    1. Very few science writers have the theoretical foundations to cover any particular story. Nobody could cover them all. I’m not a big Bailey fan, but he’s actually less ideological than a lot of writers for pseudo-science magazines like National Geographic. How Popular Mechanics pulls it off is above my pay grade.

    2. MNG|4.15.10 @ 10:20PM|#
      “I couldn’t tell if this was a Ron Bailey post or something by Marvell’s Coy Mistress.”

      I couldn’t tell if this was an MNG post or just some random cat poop.
      I’m going with the later.

      I see, MNG, that you’ve managed to avoid addressing any of the specific arguments.
      But then, given your status as a run of the mill ignoramus, that’s not surprising.

      1. You doofus, I specifically addressed several of your (none-mental or developmental) “issues” in my last paragraph, namely that use of terms like trick and not publishing raw data/computer code in academic publications, far from being nefarious signs of International Cabal of Scientific Socialism, are actually quite common and normal when understood by the standards of the feild. Ron knows that, his non-statement is just coyness; my guess is it derives from him wants the rabid deniers to keep their subscription while not being tied to a committal statement that would get him laughed off the internet and respectable scientific gatherings.

        1. In re coyness: Waiting to see what the 3rd report says. Also hoping to see that some outside statisticians have combed through the data and procedures used by CRU and other groups.

    3. “Trick,” colloquial or not, was not the most damning part of the statement. “Hide the decline” was.

    4. “Trick”, I can let slide, but “hide the decline” there is no excuse for. This is not science. It is not clear what it is.

      1. Do you work as a practicing scientists in any field? So you wouldn’t know how damning a phrase like “hide the decline” in an informal email between two co-researchers would be, would you? See, these investigators ARE practicing and successful scientists, they looked at the evidence, they talked to the principals, and they say that kind of talk is no sign of nefariousness.

        But yeah, I should accept your conclusion, seeing as how you likely have little expertise and experience and access to very little of the relevant factual data the investigators did…Whatever.

        1. Bullshit, there is only so much you can investigate after the fact. Not to mention that these panels are finding that the science was done sloppily, and we don’t even have the original data used in many cases, only the adjusted data. This is really just a white wash. I don’t trust scientists when they have opinions that seem terribly unscientific.

        2. By this standard of deference, the emails could have contained the phrase “isn’t it hilarious how we keep bilking these dumb bastards out of billions with this hoodoo voodoo” and we should let it slide because we don’t have the right degree to interpret the possible complex meaning.

          Is it even worth mentioning that one of the findings of these reports is that none of these scientists are particularly qualified to interpret this data either.

          Other than the flowery kiss-ass language in these reports, it’s hard for me to see how anyone considers them an exoneration.

          1. “Hide the decline” was game, set and match. All the whitewashes in the world won’t return credibility to the “climate science community”.

        3. Depsite colloquial use of the “n-word” in an email to a colleague about LaShawnda Jenkins, we find no racist motives.

    5. I agree that “trick” is not a damning word in this case. In math we use it to describe approaching a problem in a non-intuitive way that makes it simpler to solve — it looks like a magic trick because it was such an indirect method, but everyone agrees the conclusion has to be valid. Even in ordinary English it does not always imply deception — “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t talking about getting a dog to deceive people.

      However, “very artificial correction to hide the decline” is pretty hard to classify as a mere colloquialism.

  24. I’m sure all you reasonoids will retract the sweeping claims you made about an entire field of science based on this one incident, which has been shown to be an overblown kernel for propaganda more than an indictment of scientists, by a long shot. No way you’d take the exonerating review’s verdict as further evidence of your pet conspiracy because of the fact that it disagrees with you.

    1. Tony|4.15.10 @ 11:20PM|#
      “I’m sure all you reasonoids will retract the sweeping claims you made about an entire field of science based on this one incident, which has been shown to be an overblown kernel for propaganda…”

      I’m sure mng and chony will try to claim that all has been resolved.
      Hey, chony, what is that tune you whistle while passing the graveyard?
      Go away.

  25. “The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t mislead you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know. There’s not a mechanic or scientist or technician who hasn’t suffered from that one so much that he’s not instinctively on guard. That’s the main reason why so much scientific and mechanical information sounds so dull and so cautious. If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool of you.”

    – Robert Pirsig
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    These guys gave things a bit more than a “flourish”. So is it any surprise that they are being exposed for the romantic fools they are?

    1. Awesome quote. Going to find my tattered paperback.

      1. “Zen” is one of my favorites. I pick it up every few years for a re-read. This time around the sections on the popular misinterpretation of the scientific method really hit home.

  26. As someone who measures shit for a living and has also dealt with “very noisy data,” let me say that this is horseshit. I save, document, and make available all of my raw data. Also, I know why I’m removing anomalous points because I do it for a living and can (and do) provide detailed explanations. When these guys are throwing out tree ring measurements (that some 23yo grad student made), I’ve seen nothing to suggest their reasons were more than “heh, didn’t make sense so I discarded it forever.”

    1. Oh, I see, you’re an expert on the subject. That would change things were it true.

      Can you list any of your academic or professional publications so I don’t have to take your assertion of expertise on faith? I simply want to make sure you are a practicing researcher and not, say a mid or low level technician on a project actually designed and run by actual experts.

      OK, sorry for the snark, I don’t expect validating answers here as if you were a qualified expert on this subject you probably would be addressing it in a better forum than this casual blog thread…

      BTW-I have no expertise here myself. But of course since my position is one of deference to those who do that’s not relevant. I’m not claiming that I know what I’m talking about, I’m claiming that the experts do. So my assertion is backed up by pointing to THEIR qualifications. You deniers of the experts though need to provide some evidence you know what the hell you are talking about before anyone should take you seriously. After all you could just be spouting ideological prattle based on reading some right wing blogs and magazines…

      1. Trust in a techno-scientific elite that is often not unbiased or impartial. I love how we are supposed to take it at face value that these “scientists” should get to make policy for the rest of the world. The real affect of climategate was not that the science was completely wrong, but that scientists themselves were anything but impartial.

      2. There are plenty of scientists across a large spectrum of fields who don’t see completely eye to eye with these guys. You just want to hear what reinforces a previously arrived at opinion.

      3. Here goes MNG with his argument to authority again.

        I don’t need an expert to tell me that selectively throwing out data that doesn’t agree with what you think the conclusion should be is a violation of the scientific method and should result in your conclusion being dismissed.

        And I won’t mention that I’m published in multiple hard science journals, because credentials aren’t necessary for such an obvious proposition, and because I’m not giving you the citations since you’d then know my real name, smart guy.

        1. I think he was set off by my “measure shit for a living.” Being a dumbass, he assumes I titrate pool samples or something.

      4. MNG, do you realize that there’s a lot of scientists and engineers? We’re not an elite group at all.

        And my point was that they are not experts. They are experts in “climate science,” and that’s it. They’re not tree experts or temperature-taking experts or programming experts. Got it, dumbass?

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  28. Basically, it seems like the report is confirming that climate science isn’t real science. Its SOP to not publish your data or code, and no one expects you to submit your work for serious critical review.

    Good to know. I will classify further output from the “community” appropriately.

    1. appropriately = ignored?

      I’ve been following the climate discussion for quite some time now, and despite MNG’s assertion that he’s just deferring to the experts, he’s not. There are experts on both sides of this, and many many experts, essentially in the middle. Middle being that there does seem to be significant warming, but there isn’t enough certainty in what’s causing it, or even that it is abnormal or unprecedented enough, to require major changes to world law and habits.

      I tend to be biased towards wanting to protect the environment. However AGW theory has shown itself fairly clearly to not be about the environment. It’s ideological and political. Science welcomes questioning. Real scientists are only after the truth. These scientists seem to be more about protecting their niche, and paycheck. And anyone who truly believes that CO2 is a pollutant, is wrong, as real science shows that increased levels of CO2 increases growth rates, and resistance to drought of plant life. Real science has never shown with any certainty, that CO2 increases global temperatures at anything approaching dangerous or irreversible rates.

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