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« The crony capitalism candidate? | Main | Quote of the day »
Wednesday
Aug062014

Thingummydoodle noodle

Brandon Shollenberger has a lovely post up looking at some recent comments by Skeptical Science insider Tom Curtis and Anders Thingummydoodle from the "And Then There's Physics" blog. Readers will remember Anders as the chap who berated me about one of my posts on Doug Keenan's work, saying that it was a physical model you needed in order to understand what was causing global warming. This despite my having said almost precisely that in the blog post.

Anyway, Anders has been sounding off about the Hockey Stick, accusing McIntyre and McKitrick of all manner of sins and demonstrating in the process that he has absolutely no idea of how Mann got from his raw data through to his final reconstruction. His allegations are therefore completely and utterly wrong.

This paper is five pages long. It is completely impossible anyone would look at it and think ten cherry-picked graphs were included in it. It might take all of thirty seconds to scroll through the paper and see such graphs aren’t in it.

And Tom Curtis's defence is little better

Curtis refers to the simulations McIntyre ran as creating “pseudo reconstructions.” That is wrong. These are pseudo proxies. Reconstructions are created by combining multiple proxies. Mixing such things up suggests a poor grasp of the issues at hand.

Bit of a car crash really. But read the whole thing. These guys are climate's very own Keystone Kops.

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Reader Comments (64)

Carrick,
I really not that keen to start this discussion again. Didn't go well last time.


You seem to be gobsmacked that anybody would even think that is important. And of course, as is your wont, you impute the motives of people who ask questions that you don' see as important.

I'm not gobsmacked that people think it's important. I'm gobsmacked that people seem quite comfortable throwing around accusations of nefarious behaviour. If anything, I think I've been quite careful to not comment on the motives of why people choose to do so, I've just disagreed with the rather liberal way in which some people do so. Those are two different things.


And I do expect them, if they claim to be practicing scientists, to understand the philosophy of science well enough to understand why ethics in human subjects research is important and ethics codes on responsible conduct in research are issues that should be explored.

I do understand this. Two things. Just because I disagree with you about a particular study doesn't mean I don't. Just because I disagree agree with you about one particular study doesn't mean I don't think it's important. Just because you think it's important and that it's something you understand, doesn't give some kind of all-knowing right to state that something is unethical. It's not that simple. You can believe it's unethical, but you can't force others to agree with you.


Regarding confidence bias… gee there's nothing arrogant about the way you asked that question, is there? (I wonder if you even realize what a putz you are.)

I may well be a putz. Do you at least understand why I may have been somewhat insulting to you in my last comment?


of course I generated it.

You haven't really explained why it appears to differ from those in the most recent IPCC report.


It is not a valid reconstruction.

And you wonder why I accused you of being arrogant (or, maybe, a little too certain of one's own views).

Aug 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnd Then There's Physics

Hypocrisy Qed. Anders has an entire site of people throwing accusations at anybody on sight, yet he is gobsmacked when anybody else has the temerity to remotely suggest not everybody is an angel

Aug 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Omnologos,


throwing accusations at anybody on sight

Anybody on sight? Are you sure you're not exaggerating.


gobsmacked when anybody else has the temerity to remotely suggest not everybody is an angel

I don't think it was remotely suggest. My issue is not so much that someone might suggest it. It's that someone states it as an incontrovertible fact and that anyone who disagrees is lacking in integrity. There is a difference you know.

Aug 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnd Then There's Physics

Anders:

I'm not gobsmacked that people think it's important. I'm gobsmacked that people seem quite comfortable throwing around accusations of nefarious behaviour.

You mean like you do on a daily basis?

And I totally disagree that you don't impute people's motives. That's pretty much your modus operandi.

Anyway, what I talk about with Cook is an apparent problem in obtaining proper ethics clearance. Given that the most recent FOI documents do not include a copy of an ethics approval request from Cook, and given Tom Curtis's commentso on the matter, I think we can conclude that there was a failure to do so a tthis point.

That's not imputation of nefarious behavior, that's asking a proper science question about the practices of a researcher and noting when that didn't occur.

Also, noting that Cook failed to release all relevant data then lied about releasing it isn't imputing behavior, it's noticing it
happened.

I may well be a putz. Do you at least understand why I may have been somewhat insulting to you in my last comment?

I have no idea what motivated you to be insulting. You will need to explain if you want me to understand.

If you had a technical question and wanted a real answer, you should ask the technical question. Without venom.

You haven't really explained why it appears to differ from those in the most recent IPCC report.

Because it's not my responsibility to explain what is or isn't in the IPCC report or why. If you think it's important you figure it out.

The responsibility I have as an author and you as a reader is to decide if the information I provided is accurate first. What appears in a politicized document is way downstream of there.

If this were a technically demanding task, I might say "let me cross-reference" this. Linear regression is not technically demanding. I don't need a host of people to hold my hand while I do it.

YES I'M JUST THAT ARROGANT TO THINK I CAN DO LINEAR REGRESSION ON MY OWN.

[Oops caps.]

And you wonder why I accused you of being arrogant (or, maybe, a little too certain of one's own views).

Right. I'm "arrogant" because I show that MBH 98 is as many as 11 sigmas away from the ensemble of modern reconstructions and conclude from the observation that there was a loss of low frequency information in MBH98 that it's not a valid reconstruction. Yeah that makes me really arrogant.

You on the other hand have just seen a few things I've done and can conclude that I obviously no reasonable basis for making the conclusions I make and am "too certain of my view". From little to no effort on your part, marginal understanding of the problem space here, and no information or inquiry about on what basis I made an assertion, you just "know" [™].

And that makes me arrogant and a know-it-all. Heh.

[Note the point of these reconstructions is to preserve low frequency information. Failure to preserve low frequency information would make such a reconstruction "invalid".]

Aug 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

Carrick,
It seems that this discussion has got to the point where continuing would be rather pointless. You may enjoy spending your Friday evenings arguing with someone for whom you clearly have no respect. I don't.

Aug 8, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnd Then There's Physics

Anders, ever the adult, aren't we?

What you think about me doesn't matter a wit to me. What I think about you shouldn't matter a wit to you. Whether you respect or like a person is not important.

It is whether what that person has things to say that can increase yours and others understanding of a problem that matters.

The truth is you can't even carry on a marginally technical conversation. You raise issues that you don't understand and find truths that you don't like so you go marching back to your little carefully guarded warren.

TTFN.

Aug 8, 2014 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

Dear lord. Anders really doesn't know what he's talking about. Upthread, he said:

Also, the MBH shaft only goes back to 1400, so - apart from maybe some blip (non-technical term, I admit) at the beginning, it really seems pretty much the same as the profile in Fig 5.7. Given that the IPCC appears to have defined the MWA as from 950 - 1250, MBH98 doesn't seem to steamroller it out of existence, it seems to not be considering that period at all. Given that the LIA seems to be partly defined in terms of being lower than the MWA, this is presumably not evident in MBH98 simply because their reconstruction doesn't go far enough back to make the actual comparison.

Notice how he switches from "MBH" to "MBH98." The two are not the same thing. There were two papers, MBH98 and MBH99. They are, collectively, called MBH as MBH99 extended MBH98's temperature reconstruction by another 400 years. This naming convention has been around for a decade, and the "hockey stick" everyone refers to is the one which goes back to 1000AD. Anyone with the slightest genuine interest in this topic would know this.

Leaving aside the incredible nature of Anders's ignorance and what it might indicate about his involvement in this topic, there's another huge problem. Anders said all that in response to igsy. Not long after, igsy responded by saying:

Anders

I appreciate your reasonable tone in response to me, but I must qualify my appreciation by saying it is disappointing you felt the need to play the conspiracy card in your reply to NiV's excellent post.

You might note that I referred to MBH; I guess that there's a kind of unstated convention that when we talk of MBH, we really mean MBH98/99. The 99 paper extended the 98 paper - with basically the same techniques etc - back to the year 1000AD, so it self-evidently does cover the MWP.

And Anders responded to this, quoting:

saying it is disappointing you felt the need to play the conspiracy card in your reply to NiV's excellent post.

But failing to address his fundamental mistake about the paper. He made a huge mistake that showed he had little idea what he was talking about, read a comment which pointed it out, responded to that comment and simply ignored his colossal screw up.

The strangest part is while he apparently standing by his rampant ignorance, Anders has the audacity to call other people arrogant. Oh, and he accuses people of acting in bad faith. I mean, that's how he justifies banning me. Because I clearly do things like, cherry-pick what I respond to in order to avoid admitting I don't know the most basic facts about the topic I discuss.

No wait. That's what he did. I was banned because I pointed it out.

Aug 8, 2014 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon:

The strangest part is while he apparently standing by his rampant ignorance, Anders has the audacity to call other people arrogant. Oh, and he accuses people of acting in bad faith. I mean, that's how he justifies banning me. Because I clearly do things like, cherry-pick what I respond to in order to avoid admitting I don't know the most basic facts about the topic I discuss.

LOL yes indeed.

I am very arrogant for example for stating that two results that disagree at the 11-sigma level don't measure the same thing.

And very arrogant for not considering every peripheral side issue he wanted to raise.

And suddenly we have to have a cozy little room where everybody likes, respects and gets along with each other, before we can do science. I don't know anywhere where that is an accepted practice in science. Liking each other too much isn't a luxury you can really afford. It gets in the way of being objective about that persons's claims.

Because apparently if you don't like or respect somebody that's, a legitimate queue card for taking your toys home and not playing anymore.

When he attacks people for being arrogant, when he accuses them of bad faith, and so forth… there's this pattern. I suppose people have noticed it:

It's only people who he disagrees with (what he thinks is) their politics that he singles out.

Is there anybody here besides me that thinks that Michael E Mann is a tad on the arrogant side? Possibly a tad guilty of being "a little too certain of his own views?

Haven't seen that missive from Anders on that one perhaps I've missed it.

Aug 8, 2014 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

A lovely little dual purpose shaft. First, it shafted the old historical narrative and set up a false one. Now, because of the things that Anders is finally tumbling too, it has shafted the false narrative. Mother Nature, AKA natural variability, didn't read MBH and can't hear the false narrative, too busy as she is proclaiming the truth.

Anders, I dare you to read the Bish's book, to understand the critique coming from Steve and from other skeptics. If you have any idea how many skeptics have been created by the discovery of the false narrative, you'd hesitate to take the dare.
========================

Aug 8, 2014 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Brandon's first comment in this thread (it is on the previous page) pretty much sums it up. AndyPhysics' commentary is usually marked by an ignorance of the issues combined, nonetheless, with an enthusiasm to take sides.

Aug 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

shub, I think you missed "and a certainty that he knows more than the people he is critiquing".

I will allow that sometimes he does, but I will not give him that as an automatic assumption.

Aug 8, 2014 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

Carrick

I would like to thank you for that graph comparing the various temp reconstructions. I have used it in a number of discussions here, always referencing you as the author, and it is invariably greeted with incredulity by those whose main motives appear to be either a visceral need to discredit Steve McIntyre or an equally visceral need to proclaim Michael Mann as the prophet pf the global warming religion. Either way, they refuse to engage with the substance of the graph - they prefer to ask technical questions about confidence limits etc.

Aug 10, 2014 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

diogenes, I'm glad you found it useful. I think it just confirms something that any neutral observer would have noticed immediately about the MBH hockey stick… the shaft is just too flat.

I've worked with various types of noise processes for over 30 years now (since I was a graduate student), and the first thing I thought when I saw that graph was "oh that's just wrong… the shaft looks like filtered red noise."

And then I was gobsmacked that people were taking the blade to mean anything… it's just the consequence of fitting a set of basis functions a given function (the temperature distribution). As long as the basis functions approximately "cover" the variability inherent in the physical system (a series of red noise curves would), you can fit almost any shape to them.

Jeff Condon has some nice example on that here

So beyond verifying that the reconstruction is able to reproduce the temperature series (which means the proxies are worse than useless if they can't…the requirements for replication are much weaker than being physically meaningful temperature proxies).

Perhaps the figure with the z-scores (number of standard deviations of separation) will be helpful. Of course I generated the the other two figures showing confidence levels contemporaneously with the other graph, but the point about loss of low-frequency information is obvious enough than anybody who can intellectually let go of the primacy of MBH would do so upon viewing the first graph, and wouldn't need to view z-scores.

Aug 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

Carrick

I guess you have noticed that Anders is unable to get the point...sadly. But thanks, your z-score graph is even more illustrative. However, SkS continues to peddle the line that the MBH stick has been replicated by thousands of studies....failing to note that they come up with totally dissimilar graphs. The dishonesty is not appealing.

Aug 11, 2014 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

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