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« Statistical literacy | Main | More Singh »
Monday
Feb072011

Gloves come off

Ryan O'Donnell, who always seemed to be the icy cool leader of the team behind the rebuttal of the Steig et al Antarctic paper, shows that he can be pushed too far. His response to Steig's latest posting at Real Climate is a withering rebuke, the likes of which I don't think I have ever seen before.

It's up at Climate Audit and WUWT. Take your pick.

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Reader Comments (58)

This is unbelievable. The saga would one day may a good book, if we could find a good author! ☺

It wll be another lesson in the corruption of science. History will judge this corruption. Let's hope that lessons are learned for the future.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The problem I have is that people are so naive.
Why did they expect those at RC to behave honourably when you could see from Climategate that they are simply untrustworthy.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

Read this earlier and I have to say that `withering' is a great word to describe it.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

That'll leave a mark.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

I don't pretend to understand the statistical methods that Ryan describes but do I need to when I am faced with someone who suggests an improved way of doing something and then rubbishes that very same method that he suggested?
There are times when I wonder which of us is not living in the real world.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

Sam -

Exactly the meat of the problem. Eric hid behind some misguided notion that the truth wouldn't come out. Now he looks the fool as does Andy Revkin of the NYT whom posted Eric's rebuttal on his blog and then defended the rubbish like he had a clue to what he was speaking of.

Feb 7, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJ Abrams

I'm glad it's been mirrored on WUWT rather than just linked. It deserves as much front-page exposure as it can get. You can't get more front-centre than WUWT. This is the NEW age of openness and transparency and I therefore absolutely support Ryan's decision to squeal fully on Steig.

Not just for the sake of openness and transparency, actually. More so because Steig's devious two-faced attempt to set up Ryan et al for a fall deserves to be laid bare, in all its filthy disgusting glory.

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I have been to read all this at CA, WUWT and at RC. In reply to poster #42 Vernon at RC I have replied as follows:

RE: Vernon at 42 says:

"Why are responses from one of the co-authors not being posted? That seems counter productive."

I replied:

Two of the authors RyanO and JeffID are posting at ClimateAudit.org and Wattsupwiththat.com

Hey Eric - why don't you go and debate this at ClimateAudit.org? At least then we will all know the comments are not being censored. And judging by the comments of RyanO at CA, which we all know you will have read by now, you have some serious explaining to do. Try doing that without RC moderation to hide behind.

I doubt it will make it through moderation but we can live in hope.

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Now he looks the fool as does Andy Revkin of the NYT whom posted Eric's rebuttal on his blog and then defended the rubbish like he had a clue to what he was speaking of.
I wonder how many times Revkin (and Moonbat as well) have to be screwed by the AGW mob until they decide that enough is enough?

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

thing is outside of the tiny (relative) world that is the pro/sceptical blogosphere....

Will anybody notice.... care ..... or undestand.

no...

the bandwagon and insane government policies will roll on and on...................

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Part of my comment made it to RC:

Hey Eric – why don’t you go and debate this at ClimateAudit.org? At least then we will all know the comments are not being censored.[edit for insulting remarks].

[Response:Know what? I have a day job. And those guys know perfectly well I do not read those sites without a good reason to, and telling me I have 'explaining to do' doesn't rise to that level. If they have scientific points to make, they should make them here.--eric]

Apparently Eric thinks the following constitute "insulting remarks":

And judging by the comments of RyanO at CA, which we all know you will have read by now, you have some serious explaining to do. Try doing that without RC moderation to hide behind.

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

[edit for insulting remarks]

As was made clear by "Gavingate", these precious flowers are very sensitive.

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Heh, and here I thought the most revealing claim was that Eric was Reviewer A!!!

Mailman

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Now posted the following:

================

Eric in reply to #62:

I am sure you do have a day job, as do many of us posting here and elsewhere. I am unsure what was insulting in the last post (I cross-posted in full at Bishophill by the way, so people may read it all there).

Perhaps you could answer some questions which arise from this post and the subsequent response by RyanO at CA:

(a) Would you consider it normal practice to be a reviewer of the O'Donnell et al paper when it critiques your own? Do you consider that to be a conflict of interest?
(b) How come you are now criticising a method in O'Donnell et al which as a reviewer you recommended and preferred?

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I am sure that Sir Paul Nurse and Simon Singh would agree that Ryan O must be wrong, because he is not part of the Hockey Team.

They still believe the science is settled, whilst maintaining that technically it is not, which is obviously a logical fact, even if the logic is flawed.

"But apart from the lies, falsehoods, deceits, exaggerations etc, how did you enjoy the science, Sir Paul?"


"The science?" exclaimed Sir Paul, "is settled! The science proves it!. Where's my cheque?"

Feb 7, 2011 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Hoi Polloi. I sense that the Moonbat has had enough. He's leaving it to Damian Carrington to screw up. After all Jones is still there at CRU, grain is still being converted to bio-fuel and photo-voltaic is still being pushed. He must be wondering why he bothered.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Hoi Polloi. I sense that the Moonbat has had enough. He's leaving it to Damian Carrington to screw up. After all Jones is still there at CRU, grain is still being converted to bio-fuel and photo-voltaic is still being pushed. He must be wondering why he bothered.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

"[Response:Know what? I have a day job. And those guys know perfectly well I do not read those sites without a good reason to"

He could atleast pop over there on his lunchbreak to find out how to use R.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterStu

Obviously Eric's day job does not stop him from writing his smears over at RC. As we speak he is highly active in non stop moderating his RC thread to his liking, deleting all unpleasant or critical remarks. Seems that he prefers to spend his time hiding in his self moderated echo chamber over at RC rather than debating his opponents in a fair and open manner. IMHO his reputation is now in tatters, much thanks to his own actions.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgeGR

I find it incredible that intelligent people like Gavin et al at RC do not seem to grasp that in the age of blogging any attempt to censor or remove comments will backfire as they will still appear at other sites.

Everytime they do this their credibility slips a little more.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Is it just me, or have the comments at RC stopped at 62?

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Robinson at 9:39 pm,
Are you suggesting this is withering fights?

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Thinking -

Why bother? Seriously? This will play itself out, but it will be on other blogs, not RC.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJ Abrams

They didnt make it to Lisbon, clearly.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

RE: AJ Abrams

Because its so much fun posting at RC and seeing which bit they will leave out or object to. And every time they do it, or add the snarky put-downs, they make themselves look foolish and less credible.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I'm wondering how many other papers Team members have used this review trick on. It would make rebuttal somewhat easier if you can set up a paper and criticise it for using the 'wrong' method as Steig appears to have done. This looks highly unethical and worth a formal complaint rather than just a blog spat.

ps, dont forget it's the Norway thing and webcast tomorrow!

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

This would be a really good example to bring up at the new Parliamentary Enquiry into peer review.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

May I second that remark from Simon. I am currently drafting evidence for the HoC S&T Committee on peer review and will include this as an example.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Andy Revkin claims credit to the entire field of science for O'Donnell et al 2010, being published

What’s really worth noting is that both developments are the result of that remarkable process called the scientific method, together with the relatively modern innovation called peer review

On McIntyre and Jeff:

The critique’s lead authors were Ryan O’Donnell and Nicholas Lewis (you can read more about them below). But they are joined in the paper by Steve McIntyre, the creator of Climateaudit.org and perhaps the dominant figure among those who have attempted to take ownership of an implicit scientific trait, skepticism, and make it a personal badge of honor...

One wonders who gave Andy Revkin the right to make his understanding of peer-review a badge of honor for all of science.

More on McIntyre and peer-review

In 2009, McIntyre told me he saw little merit in stepping beyond his auditing role and diving directly into the peer review process.

I’m glad he decided to take the plunge. Still, he finds much to gripe about, spending much of his initial post on the Journal of Climate paper alleging that the journal had recruited reviewers whose goal was “to suppress the article.” ...

These complaints somehow ring hollow from a man whose Web site sometimes seems to be a celebration of verbiage, numbers and contestation.

Feb 7, 2011 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Ohhh.. that's gonna sting Revkin! SOOOO bad!

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Only one other post seems to have appeared at RC:

63 cagw_skeptic99 says:
7 Feb 2011 at 7:02 PM
[Edit. Resulting to threats of personal intimidation against scientists eh? Was only a matter of time frankly. Thanks for including your name in your email address.--Jim]

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I am going to "threaten" scientists now.

Boo!

:) :P

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Just so we can all be clear what seem to be the facts re:Steig and the O'Donnell paper:

1. Steig was an anonymous reviewer of a paper that was critical of one of his own papers. This is clear conflict of interest and he should only have been given a right of reply after review and acceptance - this is the normal procedure in my experience.
2. The review was tortuous and prompted JeffID to write "The review process unfortunately took longer than expected, primarily due to one reviewer in particular. The total number of pages dedicated by just that reviewer alone and our subsequent responses – was 88 single-spaced pages, or more than 10 times the length of the paper.” RyanO has confirmed that reviewer was Reviewer A, aka Steig.
3. Steig as reviewer criticised a method in O'Donnell et al and recommended a different approach which was adopted by the authors. Steig has subsequently posted at RC criticising the method he himself asked the authors to change to.

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Thinking -

Yep that sums it up nicely. Throw in some nasty adjectives for the kind of person I think that makes Eric, and you have my thoughts.

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAJ Abrams

I was just browsing through the RC borehole and this deleted message bought a smile...

"
In a Physics Today essay linked in the Wikipedia entry on Judith Curry, she states that Steve McIntyre was unable to post on Real Climate when he was trying to defend his critiques of the hockey stick. I was wondering if this is true, and if so what the rationale was.

Comment by Richard Palm — 5 Feb 2011 @ 11:51 PM"

Haha, I guess that person got their answer... ;)

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterStu

My innocuous single sentence statement at 59 made it past the cut minus the link to WUWT. The immediate follow-up below didn't :-(

"OK, Eric. Can you confirm for us O'Donnell's claim that you were the original peer-reviewer of the paper in question? The review that allegedly ran 88 pages?

O'Donnell et al, resisted the urge to disclose the identity of their paper's chief reviewer and critic.

Don't you think you should have come forward and disclosed yourself as that reviewer?

I wonder whether your readers ought to have been provided with the full circumstances of this particular scientific debate. O'Donnell seems to think they should have been. That's all."

Feb 8, 2011 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Feb 8, 2011 at 12:15 AM | ThinkingScientist

You can read skeptic99's "threat" here. He just posted it.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/rcs-duplicity-prods-jeff-id-out-of-retirement/#comment-593691

Feb 8, 2011 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Rather frenzied sounding.

Feb 8, 2011 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterbigcitylib

Yes, Steig's post was.

Feb 8, 2011 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Back when Ryan O had written comments at RC, I said something like “I encourage you to submit this work for publication.” I’d glad to see that this work has gone through the peer review process, and I look forward to reading it.

-Eric Steig

Feb 8, 2011 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Threat text posted elsewhere so you don't have to go looking for it:

There were comments # 63 and 64 at RC that referred to my text without quoting it.
Here are the comments that were at RC. They weren’t there long, and they initially published my name and IP address, although those were quickly deleted.

#63
cagw_skeptic99 says:
7 Feb 2011 at 7:02 PM

[Edit. Resorting to threats of personal intimidation against scientists eh? Was only a matter of time frankly. Thanks for including your name in your email address.--Jim]
#64
cagw_skeptic99 says:
7 Feb 2011 at 7:33 PM

If suggesting that you will have issues testifying under oath is a threat of personal intimidation, why don’t you have the guts to publish what I said? Your house of cards is crumbling, and I am enjoying the process. You wouldn’t have perceived the suggestion that you would need to take the fifth amendment as a threat if you and your cronies weren’t quivering in your boots while waiting for your subpoenas.

cagw_skeptic99

Here is the ‘threatening’ text that they commented on, but didn’t publish, before they deleted the comments altogether:

Eric, It seems that the authors have both scientific and ethical points that have been very well made on the referenced blog posts. I am one of many who are eagerly awaiting your response, although we have no expectation that you will actually choose to do so. Your “Team” will be changing the subject, creating straw men, ducking and weaving, and hiding behind moderation on this site.
There is a pretty good chance that you and your Team will get invitations from the new House committees which investigate matters like this. I wonder if your moderation works in front of a CSPAN camera? I wonder if you will speak openly or take the fifth?

Feb 8, 2011 at 2:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAGW_Skeptic00

BCL - nothing frenzied at all about the frequency of posts at RC on this. They appear to have ceased. Perhaps the team has "moved on".

Hubris Rules OK.

Feb 8, 2011 at 2:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Re: ThinkingScientist

3. Steig as reviewer criticised a method in O'Donnell et al and recommended a different approach which was adopted by the authors. Steig has subsequently posted at RC criticising the method he himself asked the authors to change to.

You forgot that the approach O'Donnell et al originally used (but changed at Steig's insistence) is the one that Steig is now claiming is superior.

Feb 8, 2011 at 2:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Presumably Booker and Delingpole know about this.

Feb 8, 2011 at 3:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Matt Ridley will definitely be on this, and I suspect so will be Andrew Revkin and Fred Pearce, and many more. In terms of the credibility of peer-review process within the field of climate science, these recent revelations will be more damaging than those in the climategate emails.

BTW, I just did a round in dogmasphere and it all seems so quiet. No drama, it seems. Maybe nobody saw it. Who reads WUWT, CA, tAV, anyway?

RC has a post about Freeman Dyson, and Eric took off time from his day job to comment about it. It looks good so far... only, so far.

Feb 8, 2011 at 3:15 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

I guess we won't hear the other shoe drop, it's the one with "stuff" on it.

Feb 8, 2011 at 4:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Why do I suspect that in about a year, RC will (very quietly, mind you) claim that Antarctic temperatures aren't really important anyway?

Feb 8, 2011 at 4:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

And, just in case anyone is wondering, blatant conflicts of interest and blatant skulduggery just do not occur in normal scientific fields. This is one reason that people like Simon Singh (etc.) are taken in by the climatological line.

Recently, in a similar example of Team peer review naughtiness on Climate Audit (here) someone came to the defense of the climatologists, saying that peer review could be challenging (or words to that effect). When asked what field of science this person was in the reply was "I’m in the social sciences." (!)

Meanwhile, other comments on the Climate Audit thread linked above say things like: "This whole episode is extraordinary. I am a reviewer for a major international journal in my field (thank God, its not Climate Science), so am more than familiar with peer review in my profession. Other close relatives of mine also hold similar positions. I have never in my life come across such as tainted process as Ross has described. This is not science. Its the mafia."

I conclude that a lot of the madness in climatology is caused by physical scientists and engineers assuming that standard scientific practices such as honest peer review, and not futzing with raw data, are being employed by climatologists. And as is often the case, problems begin with assumptions.

Feb 8, 2011 at 4:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Comments at RC appear to have been closed. When this happened before it seemed to me that all the major players at RC got together to review the offending piece and settle on a going forward policy. I suspect they are all reading through Ryan's piece and figurig out how to salvage Steig. I expect Gavin to step forward and take the heat - or at least that is what has happened before.

Feb 8, 2011 at 5:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

Re Simon Hopkinson

Ohhh.. that's gonna sting Revkin! SOOOO bad!

I think Revkin may be in Norway for the Carbonumbskulls event along with a pile of other climate journalists, so may take the MSM a while to respond to this.

Webcast's running here-

http://webcastevents.net/events/view_webcast/%7B18C35CF2-AF9F-3069-93D8-5070397035A6%7D

and think Bob's up next. Make sure your breakfast is settled before tuning in.

Feb 8, 2011 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

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