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« Haunting the sickroom | Main | Diversionary tactics »

The Beddington challenge

Judith Curry has taken up Sir John Beddington's challenge to scientists to stand up and be counted in the battle against pseudoscience, with a long post on the subject of the Trick to Hide the Decline.

It is obvious that there has been deletion of adverse data in figures shown IPCC AR3 and AR4, and the 1999 WMO document.  Not only is this misleading, but it is dishonest (I agree with Muller on this one).  The authors defend themselves by stating that there has been no attempt to hide the divergence problem in the literature, and that the relevant paper was referenced.  I infer then that there is something in the IPCC process or the authors’ interpretation of the IPCC process  (i.e. don’t dilute the message) that corrupted the scientists into deleting the adverse data in these diagrams.

McIntyre’s analysis is sufficiently well documented that it is difficult to imagine that his analysis is incorrect in any significant way.  If his analysis is incorrect, it should be refuted.  I would like to know what the heck Mann, Briffa, Jones et al. were thinking when they did this and why they did this, and how they can defend this, although the emails provide pretty strong clues. Does the IPCC regard this as acceptable?  I sure don’t.

It's pretty interesting to see Sir John Beddington, Sir Paul Nurse and rest of the scientific establishment, as well as most of the sci-bloggers in the UK, all lining themselves up on the side of pseudoscience on the Climategate issue and Hide the Decline in particular. I wonder how long they can sustain the charade that everything is well in UK climatology?

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Reader Comments (116)

Time to refer to the hockey stick as "pop art"?

Feb 23, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

@ Mike Haseler

I think the rot really had set in as early as the 1980s when I was doing science.

I would tend to agree. My personal well of regard for science was poisoned at about the same time. When we did O-Level chemistry at school, we would be given a couple of chemicals and told to write up what happened when you mixed them together. So you mixed them, got a smoking green sludge, and were told you'd done it wrong and not to write up your actual results. Instead you would write up the result you were supposed to have got, i.e. that you had obtained an inert white precipitate, or whatever.

The fact that most people did not get the "right" answer was simply explained away, rather than explained. I can see how, if the reasons for non-agreement with dogma are obvious and simple, this migth make sense. If you controlled the materials and environment properly you could probably get your inert white precipitate every time. What baffled me then and concerns me now is at what point, at what level, you stop discarding your own observations and experimental debunkings of accepted models, and start arguing that, actually, your results are right and the accepted wisdom is wrong.

The answer in climate science would appear to be "never".

This scientific sloppiness didn't bother me all that much at the time, but it does now because we have an example of a handful of people voting on what the facts are, and then viciously attacking people who demonstrate that they're otherwise. My experience suggests that, far from being the aberrant behaviour of a minority of scientifically-trained people, this may actually quite normal - certainly for climate science.

As such, it renders the term "climate science" an oxymoron.

Feb 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Justice4Rinka, didn't Hubble famously leave of galaxies where the red-shift didn't fit the nice line he wanted? Somewhat before 1980's I think.

Feb 23, 2011 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Steve, I don't know, but what I do know about cosmology is that most of the matter is missing and several anomalous results have been observed; for instance, Voyager is 7,000 miles off course and nobody knows why.

One difference between cosmology and climate geomancy is that cosmologists don't want us to waste trillions wrecking our economy just in case a big asteroid turns up.

Another is that cosmologists don't get billions in funds firehosed at them as a reward for proposing such things.

It's possible there's a connection between these two differences.

Feb 23, 2011 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

They should have called it a composite hockey stick in the first place, I believe there're well suited to amateurs.

Feb 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Dreadnought - thanks for that, I did not know about Douglass. But using tree growth as a proxy for rainfall is only makes sense in semi-arid habitats. And I have just looked at the link and seen that his research was in Arizona. (Interesting - does this imply that the growth of the bristlecones in Arizona/Utah/Colorado may correlate more with rainfall patterns than temperature?). In any case the hockey team used dendrochronology as a proxy for temperature, a different kettle of fish, especially in the Boreal forests. So true, a climate connection, but I'm not so sure that pre Mannian dendrochronology can offer any validated correlation with any warming or cooling periods in the Holocene.

Feb 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Justice4Rinka @2:19 and others - let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. If it were indeed true that chemists never had any clue about what would happen when mixing two liquids, and that the random appearance of a green sludge could always be simply explained away while ignoring its inconvenient presence, then we would simply not be able to make the petrol in our cars, the synthetic chemicals in our paints, our plastics, our pharmaceuticals, etc. Part of the fun of science is about working out what went 'wrong' with the experiment, and the scientific method is the way to find out. Its not always easy to practice under the time and conceptual constraints of a school classroom.

I'm not denying that profoundly dysfunctional things happen in science - but they don't happen all the time. As a rule of thumb, I would say that you can these simple rules to guess when people are going to come up with poor science that is inconsistent with observations: that would happen if the theory they were defending was one that appealed to them (consciously or subconsciously) for ideological or financial reasons. Or it might also happen if they perceived that defending that theory would give them more prestige or other non-financial rewards. Another factor that could favour people obtaining twisted results is if they knew that the quality of the independent testing of their observations was going to be low. I think things happening in climate science may be due to a combination of these factors. There have been examples of each of these factors leading to poor science for a long time, not just since the 80s. It's not easy to decide if things are worse now.

Feb 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterj

Here is a great comment about Bish at Climateetc

soreron | February 23, 2011 at 8:02 am | Reply

As a rational environmentalist I have to say that this single issue has damaged the environmental agenda more than anything. It will set back the cause of looking after the environment more than any other event in the history of the environmental movement.

I was not really interested in climate as an issue before this broke as I was too busy earning a living. I like to look at both sides of a debate before comint to a decision. I read ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ by AW Montford. I was concerned by its content, particularly by the manipulation of publication dates of scientific papers in order to marshall an argument for the IPCC reports ( I refer those interested to montford’s site and read the link to ‘Casper and the Jesus paper’.)
I then went to the Real climate website and asked in a perfectly civil manner if anybody had done a crique of the arguments put forward in Montfords book. Remember, this is the site created by Mann et al.
I was met with abuse and condescention.
All I asked was if somebody could point me to a critique of the book ! They said why should we read this book it has not been authored by anybody in the climate science arena. (It cost £6.50 at the time)

I tried to convince them that this book was going to ‘bite them in the ass’ if they didn’t read it.
I remember saying the Real Climate site felt like a junior common room.
They said I should read about atmospheric physics and don’t let the door hit my ass on the way out.

This last, was alarming. I thought if they can do this to a ‘friend’ , one who was looking for guidance to support their position, I’d hate to be on the other side.

I would encourage more scientists to actually take the time to read Montfords book. It not only points out flaws in the Real Climate version of the science, but also shows the depth to which this science has been manipulated towards a particular agenda.

This alone would cause people to take a second look at ‘RealClimate Science’ and see it for what it is.

When climategate came along…well…

The only looser here can be bad science, but I fear for the loss of funding for real environmental issues, and the loss of the general publics support.

If AGW is proved to be merely a political movement, it may well have killed millions. The production of biofuels alone, has forced millions into poverty.

The destruction of rainforests for palm oil. The diversion of resources both financial and scientific to a mirage. I could go on..

Well done Judith. for taking a stand.

Feb 23, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I must admit I really feel like Judith Curry's post yesterday could be a pivotal moment in this debate. It feels as if (and I'm now going to wax lyrical) the Bishop has shouted on the field of Waterloo: "Now, Curry, Now's your chance!"....for those of you who are familiar with the famous Wellington quote (and painting).

I'm hoping now to see various other cohorts emerge from the shadows and support her. She damn well deserves it!

Feb 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSaaad

Yes, all we need now is for the next tranche of emails to be released and it would be game over.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobB

Saad: You could be right. It has gone viral and there are an incredible number of scientists who are coming out and condemning the "hide the decline" Team.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Gavin is becoming a liability for Soros.
He will be written off.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

I agree with those saying that the Judith Curry post and its response may mark a turning point.

It seems amazing that it has taken so long for the "Hide the decline" scandal to hit home, but, given that Gavin has had all that time, his response to Judith is surprisingly unconvincing. I have not seen him contributing to blog debates where he isn't also in control of moderation before. I suspect he won't be doing it again in a hurry. Bit of a Ceausescu moment for him.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Oh and full marks to the Bish for pressing on exactly this question in the climate science v climate pseudo science debate.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Nicholas. I think this may be the second time Gavin has mixed it in open debate at Climate Etc. It wasn't a happy experience for him last time. I wonder why none of his Team help him out?

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The Hockey Team has Dictated climate science, with pal reviewed papers and Diktats via Real Climate.

2011 has not been a good year for despotic Dictators

Reading recent proclamations by Ghadaffi, or was it Gavin, suggests he is losing it

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I confident it was "The Hockey Stick Illusion" that was most instrumental in starting Dr. Curry on this trajectory. The Bishops gripping story of the abuse of the scientific process with the chronology and references all plainly laid out was a compelling indictment of political and partisan involvement in paleoclimatology.

Feb 23, 2011 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Austin

Buried deep in the comments at 10:11 Gavin sets out the "norms of scientific dialogue" as he sees it:

"The point is that scientific dialogue has evolved a number of standards to ensure that scientific disputes can get resolved as objectively as possible. One of those norms is that you assume good faith when discussing technical details. Another is that you stick to the science and avoid personalising issues. And yet another is that you stay away from attributing motive and malice to people who disagree with you. "

These are of course the same guiding principles that have been driving climate research at UEA and elsewhere, as is abundantly clear from the leaked emails.

Feb 23, 2011 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

modern climate science = research into the practical limits of 'justifiable disingenuousness' (i.e. lying)

Feb 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT


Armchair criticism is easy - criticising from a 'non-consensus' position within a scientific community, as Judith has done, takes courage.

Exactly so. And much credit must go to the Bish for lighting the blue touchpaper in a wholly justified comment on John Beddington and hide the decline.

Feb 23, 2011 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake


don't care about how long..

I imagine CRU and RC are imagining the future.

Things along the lines of how to answer a congresional inquiry question, of why did you conspire to 'hide the decline' in an attempt (that succeded) to influence policymakers, on decsions that will cost the USA billions?

Why did you not present evidence to policy makers that conflicted with your theories?

The politicans have an OUT, they will dump all over the scientists involved.

That is where that this type article will ultimately (it might take a while) lead..

you can see Gavin and warmist acolytes completely lose grip in the comments..

Feb 23, 2011 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

@ j

If it were indeed true that chemists never had any clue about what would happen when mixing two liquids, and that the random appearance of a green sludge could always be simply explained away while ignoring its inconvenient presence, then we would simply not be able to make the petrol in our cars, the synthetic chemicals in our paints, our plastics, our pharmaceuticals, etc.

Indeed, but my point is simply that, while it is probably OK to write off your own results as aberrant in such cases, it's only OK because the right answer is so well-documented and, given the right kit, reproducible.

However, 2 years later, there you are with three Bs at A Level doing a climate science degree at UEA. You're thoroughly inculcated with the habit of discarding results that don't agree with what you've been previously told the answer is. As many have now shown, the "right answer" has been established not by rigorous empirical testing of hypotheses, but by a vote held among a little cabal. The Team have decided what the answer is, and give a great deal of effort and time to concealing and destroying results and data that don't accord with the view they want to adopt.

At what point did your science education teach and equip you to be distrustful of answers you couldn't reproduce? Probably never.

This was the main reason I dropped laboratory-type science when it came to A Levels. You were required to absorb a large volume not of data, but of dogma. Being taught science badly thus laid the perfect groundwork for the Phil Jones generation to invent climate "science".

Feb 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I see JC has posted a link she's received from a Dr PC Matthews, containing his submission to the CRU review re. (inter alia) hiding the decline.

Interesting stuff, not sure I'd seen it before.

Feb 23, 2011 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

I can't wait for the BBC to pick up this very important story! ☺

Feb 23, 2011 at 7:25 AM | Phillip Bratby

Yeah , right. In some parrallel universe, far far away. :)

Feb 23, 2011 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderland steve

@Justice4Rinka, 8:58pm, you're right that being taught science as dogma is crazy, and it does happen quite a bit. I can understand it turned you off. Was I taught to think critically and be distrustful of things I could not reproduce? Well, science degrees have a lot of learning stuff in them - as Kuhn wrote, they are in some respects similar to scholastic theological training - there's a lot of things you just need to learn before you can make a contribution. So that takes up a lot of time, and critical thinking can take a bit of a back seat. But I guess I was lucky to have had good teachers at school, at university, and good role models during my PhD and thereafter. As a teacher, I also try and encourage students to learn critical thinking. That's not always so easy either - a more passive learning experience sometimes really seems to be more comfortable ("So, do I need to memorize this for the exam?").

My point was more in my second paragraph, though: bias and prejudice can get introduced through all sorts of means, conscious and subconscious. Fighting off one's gut instinct can be hard at the best of times - when you've got a financial, ideological or other motivation that encourages you to go with your gut instinct, it can get even harder. I work in a science with much less in the way of perverse incentives than climate science. Yet there are lots of cases I've experienced where people believed things to be true that were patently not. Its tempting to think they were being evil or wilfully stupid. But that's very rare, in my experience. My impression is that even the Schmidts of this world are not out and out dishonest in the sense of having a deliberate aim to introduce falsehood. They've convinced themselves something is true, and then think that the end justifies the means, so they may be strategically dishonest in what they feel is an honest cause. He was compared to Gaddafi above - probably even Gaddafi believes what he's doing is for the good of the Libyan people, in some bizarrely warped kind of way.

Feb 23, 2011 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterj

People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It's not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

However, "hide the decline" is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don't know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren't speaking for me.

I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it. The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.

Judy's decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it's too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.

If you're wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.

Feb 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jones

Well I did wonder....

And you are perhaps to modest? unlike some 'climate scientists'

Is it you.

picture without the beard is much better ;)

Feb 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

it has always been a political issue...

Who were they 'hiding the decline' from?

That is the question that should be asked and why.

The answer is of course the policy makers...

even policy makers can understand if the proxies for temperature don't match thermometers, for some unkonwn reason.... HOW THE HELL can they be used to reconstruct past temperature reliably.

Thus, unprecedented global warming, the claim that reconstruction show this, and it must (argument from ignorance) be due to humans.. GOes completely out of the window..

Politicians, CAN understand this...

The politicians also have a perfect OUT now....

I imagine CRU and RC are imagining the future.

Think along the lines of how to answer a congresional inquiry question of,

Why did you conspire to 'hide the decline' in an attempt (that succeded) to influence policymakers, on decsions that will cost the USA billions?

Why did you not present evidence to policy makers that conflicted with your theories?

Why did you conspire to do so.?

Why did you conspire and feel the NEED to ask colleagues to delet emails relating to the IPCC process? (that dictates how future policy be made on, costing the taxpayers billions)?

The politicans have an (especially in the USA) OUT now, they will dump all over the scientists involved.
Lest the public blame them.

That is where that article will ultimately lead.. imho of course!

The video that Judith links to should be sent to Professor Beddington and Professor Nurse.

Feb 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods


"I have not seen him contributing to blog debates where he isn't also in control of moderation before. I suspect he won't be doing it again in a hurry. Bit of a Ceausescu moment for him."

I think I remember an appearance at Collide-a-scape a few months ago. It was during the heat of that debate that he seemed to announce that temperatures were irrelevent to global warming theory. That really took my breath away.

Feb 23, 2011 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Jonathan Jones

Thank you for that.

Unfortunately, it is not just those involved in "climate" science, that are going to lose public credibility, and government funding

Feb 23, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

@ Feb 23, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby " Nicholas. I think this may be the second time Gavin has mixed it in open debate at Climate Etc. It wasn't a happy experience for him last time. I wonder why none of his Team help him out?"

Phillip, several of Gavin's attack trained chihuahuas did show up. I am sure that PETA would be appalled at the reception that they received.

Feb 24, 2011 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRayG

A truly biblical post by Judith

And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. John 2:15

Feb 24, 2011 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Curry is fighting her own battle to get 'climate science' to save itself, lest it go in the bin with cold fusion and eugenics.

Frankly, I think she and others of similar bent would have much more influence if the money is turned off. Housecleaning is needed, whether from within or without, and so long as certain high-profile individuals still have political leverage that's going to be difficult.

A few years in the wilderness would be a good thing.

Feb 24, 2011 at 12:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

I'm sure that Bish's book HSI is responsible for helping Judith to see the endemic corruption of aspects of climate science but my understanding is that she started to realise something was fundamentally wrong much earlier, when one of her (and, I think, Peter Webster's) papers was embraced - after Katrina - by a significant group of scientists who betrayed to her their political/ideological activism to the exclusion of scientific integrity.

It's so tempting to view Judith's Hide The Decline post as a seminal moment in climate science and, if you read the post and weigh the balance of comments, it's certainly easy to do. But the battle against pseudo-science is not won or lost in confrontation with Gavin in the comments. That battle is only going to be won in academic institutions, with a deep and extensive purge of those who entertain or practice pseudo-scientific breaches of the Scientific Method to advance their agendas.

We are not there yet, but we are most certainly a few steps further along that road.

Feb 24, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Gavin Singh at Realclimate is attempting to recruit Simon Singh and Ben Singh to his cause against E&E.

Can you believe this?

Gavin believes he should be allowed the right to speak his mind and say whatever he feels like (including false things). How many chances to prevent the same thing of others has he passed up?

He *knows* E&E is peer-reviewed. Doug Keenan paper detailing fraud charges against the Albany professor went to Phil Jones for peer-review.

Jones, just as was suspected in Steig's recent case, sent the paper to Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth. Trenberth who appears to have read the paper, offers to Jones, suggestions better than Jones himself. Michael Mann says he has 'taken the liberty of discussing with Gavin'. Does this violate confidentiality of the peer review process? Who cares!

Gavin, in addition, having been never in his life used to anyone making direct statements (as his shock with Judith Curry currently shows), cries out (guess what):


I did take the liberty of discussing w/ Gavin, who can of course be trusted to maintain the confidentiality of this. We're in agreement that Keenan has wandered his way into dangerous territory here, and that in its current form this is clearly libellous; there is not even a pretense that he is only investigating the evidence. Furthermore, while many of us fall under the category of 'limited public figures' and therefore the threshold for proving libel is quite high, this is *not* the case for Wei-Chyung. He is not a public figure. I believe they have made a major miscalculation here in treating him as if he is. In the UK, where E&E is published, the threshold is even lower than it is in the states for proving libel. We both think he should seek legal advice on this, as soon as possible.

With respect to Peiser's guest editing of E&E and your review, following up on Kevin's suggestions, we think there are two key points. First, if there are factual errors (other than the fraud allegation) it is very important that you point them out now. If not, Keenan could later allege that he made the claims in good faith, as he provided you an opportunity to respond and you did now. Secondly, we think you need to also focus on the legal implications. In particular, you should mention that the publisher of a libel is also liable for damages - that might make Sonja B-C be a little wary. Of course, if it does get published, maybe the resulting settlement would shut down E&E and Benny and Sonja all together! We can only hope, anyway. So maybe in an odd way its actually win-win for us, not them. Lets see how this plays out...

Feb 24, 2011 at 3:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Jonathan Jones:
I appreciate your difficult position in regards to not wishing to criticize scientists in a field outside your own expertise and applaud your taking a stand on an issue which, as you say, is clear cut. However I fear that the newish and incestuous area of climate science needs a massive clear out if it is not to do massive damage to the reputation of blameless scientists in other areas.
As the reception to Judith Curry's, until now, relatively tentative criticisms has shown it is very difficult for a relative insider to go it alone. I also suspect that there are few scientists of Judith Curry's status in the Climate field who aren't up to their necks in the mire and many of the more junior scientist's careers have depended on the patronage of the alarmists. In fact many who entered the field in the last couple of decades probably did so largely because of the "saving the planet" hype. It is going to be very difficult for them suddenly to become objective now of their own accord.
When the house of cards collapses, as it surely eventually will, it will either be with the publicly visible help of outside scientists such as yourself - which would help to soften the blow to science in general - or without. In the case of the latter I think we all fear for the boost this would be for irrationality, charlatanism and unthinking anti-science.

Feb 24, 2011 at 6:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

RayG. I realise his acolytes such as dhogaza turned up. But there is no support from the Team (Mann, Steig and all the RC lead guys).

Feb 24, 2011 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Philip - maybe their lawyers have advised them to invoke the 5th amendment.

Feb 24, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

@Barry Woods, that is me. The photograph on that page is, I think, the most recent one of the various photos of me on the web.

@Golf Charley, agreed.

@JEM, I share your assessment of what Judy is trying to do. I understand your point of view, but I don't think it is helpful for me to lecture her on how she should fight her battles.

@Artwest, thank you. Your general view may well be correct, and your final paragraph pretty much explains why I am speaking out now.

Feb 24, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jones

Hi Jonathon..
Have you just 'outed yourself' ;)

Thought you might appreciate my very first comment on my blog, about my intent.
Like Judith, I am concerned about how ALL science may become perceived because of all this..
I have a BSc Applied Chemistry, and an MSc IS engineering (Cybernetics) and a career in corpotate IT


"Climate Science is important to us all:

The politicisation and hype of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) over the last 30 years that created the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) delusion and panic, could result in a backlash from the public, politicians and media that damages the reputation of all sciences.

“When ‘the chickens come home to roost’ the politicians and the media won’t say, “It was all our fault”. They will say, “It was the scientists’ fault”

Perhaps it is time for all scientists to look more closely at AGW theory in the interest of science.

The quote is from the comments at Climate Etc.

The politicians in the USA have an OUT should the bandwagon tip in the other direction, they can just point to a group of scientists, that 'conspired' to 'hide' relevant information from policy makers. I don't feel that the policy makers should get off quite so easily though.

Feb 24, 2011 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

@ Professor Jones and @ Professor Dennis:

thank you for your contributions here.

I fully understand that you and others would hesitate to criticise research papers in Climate Science because they fall outside your area of expertise.
However, as your comments show, you do see the fundamental difference between criticising research outside one's area of interest and this hockey stick/divergence.
Any scientist worth his or her calling can surely not help but see that this is not about arcane debates about tree rings, proxies and statistics - it is about the fundamental honesty in research which dictates that one cannot pick, choose and torture data to reach a pre-set result.

For me personally, it is even of secondary importance what this hockey stick 'science' was used for - they point is that this is not how scientific research is done, and those who abuse this position of trust (and it is about trust: how can we accept research results when we aren't shown all data, all methods, and when graphs are manipulated to actually cover up a lack of results?) must surely now be held publicly accountable by scientists like you and Prof Dennis - and all those who work and teach at our universities.

Regardless of GW, regardless of how big the 'A' in it is - this hockey stick must be publicly shown up for what it is: an attack on and abuse of the scientific method.

Feb 24, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

You;ve almost got to feel sorry for Gavin Schmidt. But even my boundless compassion for the weak and feeble and those incapacitated by mental illness doesn't stretch that far.

A master of the universe (at least in his own estimation) just eighteen short months ago. And now, look at his problems:

A blog that only existed in the last six months is totally eviscerating the cherished work on 'hide the decline' and the Hockey Stick. Run by one he would previously have called 'ally'. And his fly-by defence over there being ridiculed and ignored. A few of his chums turned up, but ran away after a post or two. Maybe they found it too hot when there wasn't any heavy moderation to keep them safe and unchallenged.

And he is being threatened with a libel suit by the E&E guys.

Congress aren't acting the way he wants. Just voted to b...r up the IPCC funding. And I guess nobody reads Real Climate any more. Its reputation and credibility are in tatters.

I can hardly spell 'schadenfreude', but it just seems so appropriate in this case.

Feb 24, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

"And I guess nobody reads Real Climate any more. Its reputation and credibility are in tatters."

Latimer Adler-

The Bore Hole is useful and entertaining. Best bit of that blog, IMO.

Feb 24, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrkneygal

I agree with Barry, all scientists will take the flak for this, not just those in the hockey team. It will not be pretty, especially once the media realise that they have been exposed as the gullible clowns they are. The UK press are generally subservient to their political masters due to the lobby system, and to their corporate sponsors and advertisers without whom their salaries would not be paid. However, journalists are not beholden to science, and they can be vicious when they do decide to run with a story, as the expense-fiddling MPs found out.

I appreciate that it is more of a step for a non climate scientist like Prof (Jonathan) Jones to criticise the Hockey Team than it is for Judith and Prof Dennis. But it should only take a good physicist about 5 seconds to look at the GISP and Vostok ice core data to realise that AGW is bollocks, irrespective of Beer-Lambert Law diminishing CO2's effect above 300ppm, and Prof. Roy Spencer's work on increased water vapour and clouds being a negative rather than positive feedback.

It's time for non-climate scientists to speak out, not just on the antics of the hockey team but on the fallacy of CO2 induced AGW. Kudos to Judith, Paul and Jonathan, I hope many others follow. That said, I still think there needs to be a multi-discipline re-think of pal-review, journals and funding, as it is not just climate science that has been compromised.

Feb 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Latimer: "And he is being threatened with a libel suit by the E&E guys."

It's a small but notable point.. he's not been threatened with a libel suit by the E&E guys, but they have pointed out that what he said is libellous. They've asked for an amicable solution, be it a retraction or a joint statement, but they haven't intimated at all that they're considering action. Like I say, not necessarily more than a small point.

What's interesting, though, is Gavin's misinformation regarding E&E's request, stating that they HAVE threatened to sue. Gavin just doesn't seem to be able to keep things in context or in proportion these days. One has to wonder if his problems are related to the orders to NASA to turn their attention back to (and, one assumes, spend their funding on) the space programme. I remember how stressed I used to get when the end of work contracts loomed large...

Feb 24, 2011 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Matt Ridley has run with it:

Feb 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Thanks for info and link, Barry!

@ Barry Woods, Feb 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Feb 24, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

lapogus. Don't forget that concerning pal review you can provide evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. You have till 12th March.


This also applies to anyone else here (especially our esteemed academic friends who are much more aufait with peer review).

Feb 24, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Continuing a riff from CA,
Gavin's a scientist manque.
(Or should that be Mann-que?
It's right either way.)
Oy vey.

Feb 24, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterCrusty the Clown

Of course, the really scary thing about this whole farce is that it doesn’t disprove CAGW! However, it does mean that the people who matter are far more likely to disbelieve any future real-world evidence that would ‘scientifically’ verify the hypothesis… cry wolf, indeed.

Feb 24, 2011 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

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