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Discussion > BBC conveniently uses the word "trick". But was it innocent?

Martin, thanks for the book tip. Now I know where your earlier references to the 'Team' come from :-) The Amazon preview goes up to p23 only; unless there is a way around this...? Does this book have the missing emails or are you talking about the general political/scientific context at the time?

The thing is that someone most likely does have the missing emails. I mean, if you or I were inclined to steal data, would we break into a computer and then spend hours grepping (searching) around for incriminating emails? Or would we download the whole lot and clear up before we were detected and then search the emails off line? I'd go for the latter any time. So someone probably has a stash of the rest. I don't understand why they are not public: something is not right. I have to assume that the missing emails detract from skeptical arguments.

Another puzzle to me is that this fuss occurred in 2009 and yet the offending graph was published ten years earlier. You don't need more than a passing acquaintance with tree ring data (and I have no more than that) to see that the curves have been doctored. That must have been evident to everyone in 1999 so why the delay. Who cares whether Jones discussed hiding the decline - it is as plain as the nose on a face that it was hidden.

As you say, BH readers will be unimpressed with these comments and quite possibly abusive, but the readership has such diverse opinion that trying to impress more than a small fraction of them is a fool's errand.

James, "Clear those and you have a deal" - sorry, not in my power ;-)

Apr 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

It seems that the second set of stolen CRU emails was from the same period as the first. This makes me more certain that someone is sitting on a stash of the whole sequence of emails which they cannot release because it would discredit the argument they are trying to foment.

Apr 25, 2012 at 1:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Mann is now saying this:

The emails were deliberately edited...

The guy is slipping. No question about it.

Apr 25, 2012 at 3:02 AM | Registered Commentershub

BitBucket, you are entitled to come to those conclusions, but I believe you are wrong. You could use the same argument between CG1 and CG2... that he remaining emails told the "true story" and the only reason they weren't public was because they filled in an inconvenient "context gap" which doesn't suit the skeptic case. But then CG2 came out with far more of the email trails, more damning that the first lot, so that obviously wasn't the case then, and there's no reason to come to that conclusion now about the hidden ones.

In the last release of ClimateGate emails, there remains one encrypted file which is large enough to be the remaining emails. As yet we cannot decrypt it.

Amongst all the remaining ones there will be many run-of-the-mill private, boring ones which shed no light at all on proceedings, and if there are any really damning ones left in the remaining encrypted emails, then the leaker only has to publish the public key and we all have them - no more russian servers or risks of being caught.

Again, the Climategate emails are a sideshow for me. The science itself is shaky, how they conspitred and arrived at it is interesting to historians and armchair psychologists. We don't need to look at motivations and behaviours of the perpetartors in order to poke large holes in the theory, so let's not.

That said, seeing Mann squirm is always entertaining. I hope there is something really good in the remaining tranche.

Apr 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I got the impression that the CG2 emails were a non-event, but let us agree to disagree :-)

Just to get the last word, I'll point out that of all the enquiries into the emails exonerated the scientists. BH conspiracy theorists will dismiss this of course, but I believe you are not among them.

Apr 25, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I don't dismiss that they were exhonerated, but if you were following the story at the time, none of the emails were actually examined during any of those investigations. Muir Russell makes rulings on whether IPCC rules were breaches whilst actually not consulting them or presenting them. Only members from the CRU were interviewed, who obviously all said things were fine. None of the other ends of the email correspondences were interviewed to get their evidence on the exchanges.

Wahl and Briffa violated IPCC rules, it's clear from the correspondence. But this was not even included in the scope of the enquiries.

The exhonerations were a whitewash of the first degree, and seeing that doesn't make me a conspiracy nut. There's loads of stuff on this, if you acre to look.

Apr 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"'ll point out that of all the enquiries into the emails exonerated the scientists"

You don't know what you are talking about, do you?

Apr 25, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Registered Commentershub

"You don't know what you are talking about"

I'm not a climate-science geek, so no, I have no in-depth knowledge of the subject. But when I see that enquiries in the UK by the UEA and the parliamentary tech committee found no wrong, I am reassured; I have no personal reason to doubt the integrity of the committee or the UEA. When I also see in the US that enquiries by Penn State University (where I guess Mann worked), the EPA, Department of Commerce Inspector General, and the NSF all failed to condem the scientists to purgatory, this confirms my first impression. To impugn the integrity of all of those involved seems rather dishonourable and would require one to be firmly in the conspiracy theory camp.

I'm still wondering why it took 10 years and a set of stolen emails for an obscure WMO-report graph to acquire such importance for the skeptic community.

Apr 25, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Bitbucket - and I therefore presume that you fully believe that Bush and Blair were totally convinced of WMD before the invasion of Iraq?

If you look at the terms of reference of the various enquiries into the hockeystick, you will see that the review panels failed to meet those terms and, on occasions, deliberately ignored certain issues. That said, NAS did condemn the way that Mann handled certain proxies in his reconstructions. Not that that stopped him from using them again in a later fabrication of proxy temperatures.

I also presume that you are unaware of the prevarication and stalling that went on for years. It took so long to expose the deceptions, deceit, bad maths and ignorant biology because the "scientists" refused to give anyone access to the "data" that they had supposedly used.

Apr 25, 2012 at 7:01 PM | Registered Commenterdiogenes

"NAS did condemn" - so does that mean the NAS are considered uncorrupted. What else do they have to say on the climate science? Does it support the skeptical view?

"prevarication and stalling" - look, I know next to nothing about tree ring analysis. But I know that the 'divergence problem' had been discussed in the 90s and I'm pretty sure the tree ring plots were common knowledge among the science/skeptic community. I also can see with only one eye that the WMO cover graph has all three lines going straight up in the late 20th century. This is not what the divergent tree ring plots show me. Don't tell me it took ten years for everyone else to notice what is obvious to anyone who cares to look. It doesn't wash!

Apr 25, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket have outed yourself as a troll, Bitbucket.

Your answer is incoherent - did you get input from Mann?

So, in turn:

"NAS did condemn" - so does that mean the NAS are considered uncorrupted. What else do they have to say on the climate science? Does it support the skeptical view?"

Answer - YES bthe record is onli ne for you to peruse.

Re the divergence, as a scientist (call me Mannlite) i propose that tree rings are a good proxy for temperatures.

We take a few limited and restricted samples of tree-rings. Strangely, very few of these empirical results are filed in any museum.

We select a few of these tree rings - not on an a priori basis...just based on what we think the answer ought to be - a posteriori. Might that that be suggestive that I am a bad boy?

We plot them for the many centuries they cover.

we then take the very uncertain thermometer records since about 1880 and compare the records that should overlap.

We find that the match between these overlapping records is very poor and that the tree records are going in the other direction from the thermometers for a period after about 1960.

We declare that tree rings are a good proxy for temperature.

We discuss this inconvenient divergence as briefly as poissible in the text.

we present a graphic - because a picture paints a 1000 words, as Telly Savalas told us - cut off the tree record when it diverges and splice on the thermometer record to show an unbroken record of incrreasing temperatures, when the trees have said otherwise.

Bad science?

You tell me, Bitbucket, you have all the answers but none of the knowledge.

Apr 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

"Answer - YES bthe record is onli ne for you to peruse."

I thought my text was quite clear, but maybe you are not a native English speaker (some latin there... french, italian?), so I'll explain. I did not question whether NAS condemned Mann. I assumed you were right and on that basis asked you whether you consider NAS to be uncorrupted. As you seem to set such store by their condemnation of Mann, I imagined that you take other things they say equally seriously. So my question continued: what else do they say on climate change and does it support skeptical views? It is an easy question I think.

Thanks for your primer on tree ring science; are you a climate scientist? But again, you may be let down by your comprehension of my text. The graph you are so upset about was produced in 1999 for the glossy cover of a WMO pamphlet. It is as clear as day that it doesn't match the data and this would have been blindingly obvious at the time. Was there outrage in 1999, 2000 that the science had been corrupted, that the graph was a fake etc? I have no idea but I have not heard of any such fuss until ten years later with the email saga in 2009. Why the delay? It makes no sense.

Apr 26, 2012 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Why does dishonesty get support? I find it astonishing that there are people, who with all their might, support something dishonest, just because admitting to dishonesty will bring down their case.

Guess what? That is worse than admitting to dishonesty.

How is it that bitbucket doesn't understand any of the issues but is yet simply ready to accept the pronouncements of inquiry panels?

Your rhetorical question is meaningless. Steve McIntyre, as expert reviewer for the IPCC, asked the very same questions you are asking about. "Bring the proxies up to date". Guess what happened? It makes no sense to *you* because you don't know anything about what has actually happened, and you have a version of events in your head that doesn't correspond to reality.

There are people here who have followed the issues from day one, and know the details better than any Oxburgh or Russell or whoever and they are, according to you, conspiracy theorists. You don't know anything about the issues concerned, but apparently you deem yourself to be very reasonable.

Apr 26, 2012 at 4:18 AM | Registered Commentershub

So seven panels looked into the issue and there is only one condemnation of how Mann dealt with some proxy data among them. But I am dishonest and ignorant for accepting their word. Skeptics are honourable, principled and decent in their dismissal of the seven organisations and their members as being liars and cheats or incompetent fools. The NAS, the source of the condemnation of Mann, is trusted to provide this one criticism, but only that; no-one can bring themselves to accept that other things it has to say might also be true because they support the scientific view.

My question is meaningless to you because you dislike the obvious answer: the doctored graph was and is irrelevant. No-one cared then and no-one except you cares now. And the fuss over the emails about the graph was a storm in a teacup. McIntyre would not waste his time getting stewed up over a glossy front cover that was obviously a collage of sorts. Such things are not peer reviewed by expert panels.

Call me an ignorant and dishonest all you like - as that is skeptics' standard claim against anyone who disputes their paranoia, I feel in good company.

Apr 26, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BitBucket, you came here with a smirking condescension that you were going to explain the obvious to the natives, don't be angry some of them stick a spear into you. Not all of them are as nice as me.

I know your emotions will rebel against this, but the hockeystick has been thoroughly debunked. Remember, most of us here were once like you - I was once an avid believer, after all.. it's science. It's what all three of my degrees are in, it's my life. No way was I going to let a bunch of moon-landing-denier creationists side-track me onto their conspiracy theories....

Did you know that if you feed random red noise into Mann's PC technique it comes up with a hockey stick? The statistical technique he uses positively weights hockeysticks, to suck an extent where it can pick a few random hockeystick samples out of hundreds without and give them such prominence that the output is a hockeystick. Red noise does it - random walk data. Try it.

Try it yourself, all the data you need is here, in the Bish's book, and at ClimateAudit. Use the same samples, the raw data (or as much of it as Mann will give out / hasn't lost / pretended was asked for in Excel - another very poor story for another day) and the same PC analysis technique. You can do it relatively simply in R or even Excel if you have time (although personally speaking, doing principal components in Excel drove me up the wall). There are peer reviewed papers on this, look for the one in Geophysical Research Letters. Everyone knows it's crap, even the Team, in the CG1 emails admit that Mann forcing them all to cling to MM98 is dragging them all down - they are embarrassed.

If you look, you will see. If you value your emotional investment in the 'cause' and avoid looking at this stuff because you are prejudiced against any view which challenges scientific orthodoxy, then you are a lost cause.

Apr 26, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Thanks James I'll try not to smirk so much in my condescension ;-) You are wrong though: I am not at all angry or emotional. You have to give a damn for that, and I don't. I believe the AGW case but I also believe that nothing will be done about it until it is much too late. There are too many vested interests and the challenge is simply too big. The MacKay book on making our economy carbon-free makes that clear.

I'm not trying to explain things to the locals as you suggest, because I don't have the answers. I just try to point out things that I see as wrong (in my small minded way) and question what I don't understand. That is all I've been doing here but there don't seem to be good answers. OK, sometimes I might tease a bit too...

I'm posting here because I'm bored out of my socks and these are the most interesting discussions I've had in months. Tell me to get a life by all means. I'll probably get bored in due course anyway.

Apr 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

James, thanks for the ref to R - I'd not come across it. I think I'll try it out as you suggest. Is there a concise definition of Mann's PC technique that a numpty like me can follow and implement. Ad btw what is MM98? Google gives me nothing relevant.

Apr 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

"So seven panels looked into the issue and there is only one condemnation of how Mann dealt with some proxy data among them. But I am dishonest and ignorant for accepting their word."

Yes. If you don't examine an argument but swallow it whole.

It doesn't matter whether seven panels looked at the case or seven thousand panels looked at it.

Apr 26, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Registered Commentershub

Seven or seven thousand... well clearly if you have already decided upon someone's guilt, any number of enquiries will not convince you. But like most of the population, I have neither the time (until recently) or the desire to examine the whole argument. And, shame on me, I believe in general that the people involved are of good faith. My guess is that a fair proportion of the population are similarly ill-informed and are equally trusting. But presumably according to you they are also 'dishonest' (arguably we really are ignorant). That is some claim! I'm sure the population is grateful to have you honourable and truthful skeptical protectors to care for their lying, ignorant souls ;-)

Apr 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Martin, thanks for the book tip. Now I know where your earlier references to the 'Team' come from :-) The Amazon preview goes up to p23 only; unless there is a way around this...?

If you use "search inside this book" it will normally give you links to pages referring to the topic.

You give the impression you are interested in scoring debating points, rather than convincing people of the validity of your views or learning about viewpoints different from yours. So unlikely I'll respond in future.


Apr 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Thanks Martin. I'll search. I'm not sure what you mean by 'debating points', but I somehow doubt I can score any. It is a hostile audience. In any case, I just enjoy debating (or arguing maybe) with people with whom I disagree. I have tried it with like minds, but it is dull. Baiting socialists is usually enjoyable too, and they often get as wound-up as skeptics ;-) Always makes me think they are unsure of their own beliefs.

Anyway it has been interesting chatting with you. See you around I'm sure. Bye.

Apr 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Hey James, if you are there, regarding your red noise comments, have you actually tried that? I only ask because according to the hockey sticks produced from red noise are cherry picked. The subject matter is unfamiliar to me and I have trouble digesting the page (it is long) but you would probably manage better. Your thoughts appreciated.

Apr 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


it would not have taken 10 years if "science" had carried out its function. If you could push aside your scruples and read the emails released by the 2 climategates, then you would see that a lot of the key players in the "science" thought that Mann and his reconstructions were far from rigorously examples of numerical manipulation..

The chances of you being disingenuous? Zero

The chances of you taking evidence into your meagre cerebellum? meagre

But have fun while you try to work out what your thumb is for.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

"The chances of you being disingenuous? Zero"

Thanks, that's the nicest thing anyone has said to me for weeks. But check your dictionary just in case you didn't mean it. While you are doing that, perhaps look up 'cerebellum' too; mine says it coordinates motor activity and so has little use for evidence.

But really, I would stick to the easy words for your insults if I were you - until you learn what things mean. Still, for a foreigner, not a bad effort.

Apr 27, 2012 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

James, when you said "Did you know that if you feed random red noise into Mann's PC technique it comes up with a hockey stick?" I'm assuming you were pulling my leg. At least I hope you were, as I want to think you know more about the subject than I have learned in the few hours since I found out that 'Mann's PC analysis' didn't just mean he used a personal computer.

What I find is that this red noise story is a sham. Take a random noise source, generate 10000 data sets from it and then select the 100 that most resemble an upward pointing hockey stick (remember they are random so they might also resemble a space ship), rejecting the equal number that represent a downward pointing stick. Then plot a few of the best and hey presto! A myth is born.

Lies, damn lies and statistics - I never realised how true that was.

Apr 27, 2012 at 4:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket