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Discussion > I have no idea what the skeptic cause is

"geronimo, so you've never skipped over an article you thought was flawed but didn't want to rock the boat by objecting or just couldn't be bothered? We certainly don't post all the stuff from the other side we agree with, which is bias, albeit a reasonable one. I take the view that we can't do the job of both sides."

I never object to articles, from either side. On the warmist front I never take an article that has used a model to get its results, or where the researchers have "interpolated" the data seriously. By and large my understanding of the "scientific" method is for people to write papers and put them out there to be tested by others, but there are now so many papers publsihed on climate science there aren't enough people to read and amend them.

There are people on both sides that grate with me personally, but I try to avoid being upset by them. You're letting Brandon drive the agenda with his views that sceptics don't think they're biassed, or don't speak out against bad papers from sceptics. He's got a bee in his bonnet and sees himself as someone who will criticise the side he agrees with if they do something wrong, and that's some sort of badge of honour that he's wearing and the rest of us aren't.

Oct 6, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

TinyCO2: They want to relabel us as contrarians. We should and have reject that.

'You are a contrarian!'

' No I'm not!'

'See?'


Sorry, couldn't resist.

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Just to broaden the discussion of the GHE (Greenhouse Effect), Clive Best has been thinking about this over the last few years and here are some thought-provoking posts. The temperature of Venus is determined by SO2 and Sulphuric acid clouds rather than CO2 or proximity to the sun:

http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4386

and that a purely gravitational explanation of the GHE is insufficient:

http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=6305

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

What I find amusing about this topic is how I've received a multitude of negative remarks about my person, yet at the same time, comments like this are made without any shame:

Tiny life is too short to solve the minutiae of Brandon's arguments. I don't know that I know what his argument is, but let's deal with the issue of bias. The vast majority of sceptics accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that it has increased in the atmosphere so some warming can be expected. Now what's biassed about that?

My last comment linked to a demonstration that Anthony Watts, one of the leading Skeptic bloggers, runs posts saying the greenhouse effect isn't real. If you look at the comments on those posts, none of his readers call seem bothered by this. No Skeptic anywhere else calls him out on it either.

The most popular Skeptic blog on the internet tells the world there is no greenhouse effect, and the reaction is to just shrug your shoulders and say, most Skeptics accept CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Oh, and to insult me because supposedly all I do is nitpick? Seems legit.

But sure, let's also pretend Richard Tol completely rewrote entire sections of the IPCC report to make them promote his own work simply because he wanted to, as geronimo put it, "provide the current state of the literature on the economic v. catastrophic impacts of increased warming." I'm sure him writing sections based solely upon his own work, without any external review of what he wrote, was perfectly okay.

Because why not? Skeptics apparently believe in the greenhouse effect and importance of unbiased work... except when they reject the greenhouse effect and support the subversion of review processes. And pointing that out is just nitpicking.

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon

I have had posts deleted at both Watts Up With That and here at Bishop Hill, when I disbelieved the GHE, I also had a post deleted here when I gave you the label you deserve.

Oct 6, 2015 at 7:05 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Brandon,

You ask "But I have no explanation for why any skeptic would run posts like these. I think it’s disgusting. No genuine skeptic denies the greenhouse effect, and no genuine skeptic would encourage others to deny the greenhouse effect. Yet for some reason, Watts is doing exactly that."

The answer to your question was given by J S Mill back in 1869 in his essay "Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion" in which he says:

The cessation, on one question after another, of serious controversy, is one of the necessary incidents of the consolidation of opinion; a consolidation as salutary in the case of true opinions, as it is dangerous and noxious when the opinions are erroneous. But though this gradual narrowing of the bounds of diversity of opinion is necessary in both senses of the term, being at once inevitable and indispensable, we are not therefore obliged to conclude that all its consequences must be beneficial. The loss of so important an aid to the intelligent and living apprehension of a truth, as is afforded by the necessity of explaining it to, or defending it against, opponents, though not sufficient to outweigh, is no trifling drawback from, the benefit of its universal recognition. Where this advantage can no longer be had, I confess I should like to see the teachers of mankind endeavouring to provide a substitute for it; some contrivance for making the difficulties of the question as present to the learner's consciousness, as if they were pressed upon him by a dissentient champion, eager for his conversion.

You allow discussion of heretical ideas - even wrong ones - as a safeguard against falling into dogma, as an excuse and motivation to once again test your own arguments against a challenger, and as a defence against the charge of censorship, and the accusation that you lack any confidence that your ideas cannot win in a fair fight, but must silence and exclude all opposition to survive.

Go read the whole thing. It's the basis of the scientific method, as well as being a foundation stone of a free society.

"But sure, let's also pretend Richard Tol completely rewrote entire sections of the IPCC report to make them promote his own work simply because he wanted to"

I don't consider the IPCC reports to have been properly reviewed, anyway. They had Mikey Mann writing the chapter that promoted the Hockeystick, for heaven's sake! It's like complaining about poor journalistic standards in an article published at The Onion!

Nevertheless, I don't endorse anyone else doing it either. However, I'd hazard a guess that Tol is more likely to have done it because he considers his work to be the truth, and that given the well-known biases in the review process, this is likely to be the only way to get it into the report. In short, I would assume his motivation is politics rather than self-publicity - I can't imagine that his stance is doing his career any good! Or that it fools any of the academic community into thinking his opinions are not heretical. He's doing it to poke a finger in the eye of the political consensus, I'd say.

As a rule I pay no attention to people's motivations for presenting their arguments, only the content of the arguments themselves. I don't care if he's doing it to advance his career, or to advertise his business, or to promote his politics. The only thing that matters is whether his argument is technically correct.

So to this end, to publish it without an independent review being done would be a procedural shortcoming, if the IPCC reports did credible, independent reviews normally. The issue would be that people might think that to get it past the IPCC partisans, it would have had to be especially well supported with evidence, and I'm a little disappointed to hear that it wasn't. I'd also say that it was strategically unwise - the underdog always has to keep their dealings whiter-than-white, or the vulnerability created can be used to discredit the whole argument. You're right; it was a bad thing to do.

Nevertheless, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. The arena is already stuffed full with political maneuverings.

Oct 6, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

I will give Brandon the same advice I gave Dung when he got deleted. It's their blog, they can set any policy they want. You can complain but if they ignore you, you can shut up or move on. So if you don't like this site or WUWT then don't visit. Just as I no longer visit Real Science or ATTPs blog. And if it helps think of the bad articles at the equivalent of 'Are Wales being haunted by ghost of Henry VIII?' in the Telegraph.

Oct 6, 2015 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Your advice was taken on board and inwardly digested TinyCO2 ^.^

Oct 6, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Brandon strikes me as the sort of person who will go on line, declare that the Earth is flat, and then critique arguments of those who disagree.
IOW he is a waste of time.
What makes him notable is that he is willing to focus on particular victims over an extended period of time trying to deconstruct their position with great detail that when taken in its whole amounts to nothing.

Oct 6, 2015 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Nullius in Verba:

You allow discussion of heretical ideas - even wrong ones - as a safeguard against falling into dogma, as an excuse and motivation to once again test your own arguments against a challenger, and as a defence against the charge of censorship, and the accusation that you lack any confidence that your ideas cannot win in a fair fight, but must silence and exclude all opposition to survive.

Yeah... no. There's a world of difference between allowing discussion of a viewpoint and actively promoting a particular viewpoint. Years back, Anthony Watts decided he wouldn't run posts from Sky Dragons because he said skeptics needed to accept the greenhouse effect was real. That doesn't mean he deleted comments which talked about them. It just means he didn't run posts endorsing their views.

Nevertheless, I don't endorse anyone else doing it either. However, I'd hazard a guess that Tol is more likely to have done it because he considers his work to be the truth, and that given the well-known biases in the review process, this is likely to be the only way to get it into the report. In short, I would assume his motivation is politics rather than self-publicity

That's fine. I never said it was due to a desire for self-publicity. Other people may have jumped to that conclusion, but all I said is he made massive changes to promote his own work. If he did that because he felt his work was better than everyone else's, well... fine. He still did it to promote his own work.

You can talk about how you don't care about people's motivations, but I didn't say a word about Richard Tol's motivations. I just didn't bother to get into a discussion of the point with the people who said I did.

The only thing that matters is whether his argument is technically correct.

It isn't. His work is complete garbage. That's actually been the bigger focus of mine when discussing it than the IPCC nonsense.

Nevertheless, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. The arena is already stuffed full with political maneuverings.

And I'm sure you won't go around talking about it. I'm sure you won't go out of your way to criticize Tol for doing it. I'm sure you won't suggest to people they shouldn't rely on Tol as a figurehead given he engages in shady practices, the extent of which I've barely touched upon here. Because hey, "They do it too."

Of course, I might be wrong. I doubt it though. In my experience, people like Tol can get away with anything. The attitude you express is the basically the same one which allows people like Michael Mann to get away with everything. It's the one where people decide that even when they know a person does wrong things, they just won't care.

Oct 6, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

TinyCO2:

I will give Brandon the same advice I gave Dung when he got deleted. It's their blog, they can set any policy they want. You can complain but if they ignore you, you can shut up or move on. So if you don't like this site or WUWT then don't visit. Just as I no longer visit Real Science or ATTPs blog. And if it helps think of the bad articles at the equivalent of 'Are Wales being haunted by ghost of Henry VIII?' in the Telegraph.

That's not how it works. Think about how many times Skeptics have criticized climate scientists for not speaking out against Michael Mann and other members of the Team when they did wrong. That's this. I'm speaking up because Skeptics are behaving poorly. To the extent I've associated myself with Skeptics, I'm obligated to speak up.

Ideally, Skeptics might listen and not do stupid things like promote the idea the greenhouse effect isn't real. Or promote conspiracy theorists who think global warming is a ploy by the United Nations to create the New World Order as credible experts. I doubt it though. From what I see, it looks like the Skeptic community is jumping in bed with the loony fringe elements, and that doesn't seem likely to change. The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised to see Steven Goddard and the Sky Dragons welcomed back into the Skeptic community.

And that's something I will always speak up against. Ultimately, the reason is simple. Even if I can't change the Skeptic community, I want people to understand I may be a genuine skeptic, but I'm no Skeptic.

Oct 6, 2015 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

TinyCO2, I am a great admirer of yours, but I hope you now think that the original posit of the thread was ill-phrased, or should at least have avoided naming specific individuals.

Oct 7, 2015 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

No worry. No one is going to confuse Brandon with being anything other than Brandon.

Oct 7, 2015 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Brandon
You are speaking up "because sceptics are behaving poorly". I am speaking up because an entire industry is determined to lead mankind down a road that will inevitably end in world-wide poverty and probably the end of civilisation as we know it and on the flimsiest of evidence.
I'm not talking about the climate industry though it could do more to be seen to accept new interpretations of the likely effects of (eg) CO2 and other papers (whether peer-reviewed or not) that contradict some of the more extreme findings of what I'm inclined to call the "hyperactive period" when everything had to be worse than we thought and we only 15 seconds to save the polar bear and three months to save Prince Charles.
I am referring to the unholy alliance between politicians, environmentalists, financiers and energy producers who find the threat of global warming the perfect vehicle to push their own agendas. These are the people who give us the Summary for Policymakers which is not what appears in the IPCC documents but provides the basis for action to hike the price of energy and introduce all sorts of financial mechanisms to enrich people like Grantham at the expense of the poor of the world, or to drive us back to the "simplicity" of the 18th century ('us', you'll notice I said, not 'them').
In the US the EPA has been effectively suborned by the oil industry to make environmental laws which have the effect of destroying the coal industry.
The new head of the IPCC is ex-Exxon. For all I know he may be ex-Goldman Sachs as well.
And you're worried about whether we choose to debate the greenhouse effect or call out an economist who did no more than Santer did in re-writing whole chunks of an IPCC report specifically to create the impression that CAGW was real and was just around the corner when the original paper said nothing of the sort. And we are still suffering the fallout from that piece of chicanery 20 years later. Tol's "sin" pales into insignificance beside it.

Oct 7, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"Years back, Anthony Watts decided he wouldn't run posts from Sky Dragons because he said skeptics needed to accept the greenhouse effect was real. That doesn't mean he deleted comments which talked about them. It just means he didn't run posts endorsing their views."

You run posts with ideas worth discussing. And maybe he doesn't audit every line of every guest post for heresy.

If you're telling me he allowed an entire post through the entire topic of which was an absence of greenhouse effect, after saying he wouldn't, that would be a broken promise. (Let's see it.) If you mean he accepted posts on other topics from people who didn't believe in the greenhouse effect, who might have slipped in the odd allusion to their own beliefs in passing, well, I'm capable of ignoring that sort of stuff and I assume other people are too.

The same would apply if a strong CAGW believer was to guest post at WUWT. You can make a certain limited allowance for their right to free expression, so long as the rest of the article is interesting.


"That's fine. I never said it was due to a desire for self-publicity. Other people may have jumped to that conclusion, but all I said is he made massive changes to promote his own work."

I think that's how a lot of people would read the words "to promote his own work". I certainly did. Maybe it's a conflict of idioms.

"It isn't. His work is complete garbage. That's actually been the bigger focus of mine when discussing it than the IPCC nonsense."

Then I'd pay more attention to what you're saying if it was your focus here. I've long regarded the IPCC reports as a nakedly political process and am unable to get worked up about the news that yet another scientist has been involved. I'm only interested in whether it's right or not. If you're saying it's not, and we sceptics have selectively ignored that, then that's a far more serious charge than us ignoring a bit of political fluff.

"And I'm sure you won't go around talking about it. I'm sure you won't go out of your way to criticize Tol for doing it."

It depends. If the topic of IPCC shenanigans comes up, I might mention it in balance. If I know both sides indulge in some bit of partisan misbehaviour, I will usually say so. If you mean will I bring it up spontaneously, then no, probably not.

"The attitude you express is the basically the same one which allows people like Michael Mann to get away with everything. It's the one where people decide that even when they know a person does wrong things, they just won't care."

We do care, we just don't care as much.

There are two schools of thought on this: the 'reciprocity' principle and what I'll call the 'turn-the-other-cheek' principle.

Reciprocity argues that social rules are enforced through a reciprocal exchange: saying "We will follow the rule if you do." Without reciprocity, there is no motivation for a ruthless opponent to abide by the rule. Rule-breakers have an advantage, which encourages more people to break the rules, leading to an eventual breakdown of the social order. Reciprocity gives the advantage to the rule-followers, who gain from cooperation with each other, and punishes rule-breakers. The good of society outweighs the evil done individually to maintain it.

The 'turn-the-other-cheek' principle says "we will follow the rules even if you don't, because it is the right thing to do." It argues that a tit-for-tat society can get trapped in a rule-breaking state, as each party punishes the other for the last round of rule-breaking with yet more rule-breaking, in an endless chain. It takes the moral high ground, casting the supporters in the role of good against evil. That in turn recruits support from outsiders, those who see the advantages to the rule. That feeling of being more virtuous, and on the side of right, can outweigh a considerable amount of more material gain when it comes to the utilitarian balance. The good done by individuals outweighs the evils of the society they live in.

The game theorists have tested both strategies in simulations, and tit-for-tat generally wins. But life is more complicated than the mathematical models, and there are circumstances where a broader perspective is needed.

On the political side of life, it depends who I'm arguing against. When it's one of the dirty-fighting climate warriors, I'm not inclined to enter a situation where we spend half our time attacking our own side while they spend all of their time doing so. As far as I'm concerned, policing wrongdoing on our side is their job, and I'll help by not defending somebody I think is in the wrong. If I'm talking to someone who seems more fair-minded and less partisan, then I'm more inclined to be critical where it's needed. Politics demands reciprocity.

On the science side of life, I will very definitely argue against 'my own side' if I think they're wrong on a technical level, and I make no exceptions to that. Obviously, I've only got a finite amount of time and I can't argue with the entire internet. But I've been quite active in arguing the technical case with skydragons. I've also argued with people like Nic, Lucia, Willis, Roy Spencer, and Doug Keenan when I disagreed.

So I don't agree that my attitude is quite the same as what allows Mann to get away with it. Even if I was 'on the other side', I might not care as much, but I'd not defend him politically, and I'd likely acknowledge the point if I was debating with someone like Steve McIntyre as opposed to a Marc Morano. I'd be entirely open about his technical errors.

For that matter, I don't actually care all that much about Mann promoting his own work in the IPCC report the way he did. Ambitious career-minded people naturally do that - that's why they're so keen to get onto the committees and panels. I don't like it, but it's human nature and there's not a lot I can do to change that. No, the failure here was on the part of the IPCC and the rest of the scientific community, not stopping him. They were supposed to have multiple layers of review precisely to stop that sort of thing happening, and their badly-designed, unenforced processes failed abysmally. What I would condemn Mann himself for is doing that when he already knew that the work was technically flawed. That's a bit different.

Oct 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

Nullius in Verba:

If you're telling me he allowed an entire post through the entire topic of which was an absence of greenhouse effect, after saying he wouldn't, that would be a broken promise. (Let's see it.)

Uh... that's what my entire discussion was about. Just a few days ago, WUWT ran a post whose entire point was to say Hansen proved the greenhouse effect isn't real. I gave you a link and discussion and everything.

Then I'd pay more attention to what you're saying if it was your focus here. I've long regarded the IPCC reports as a nakedly political process and am unable to get worked up about the news that yet another scientist has been involved. I'm only interested in whether it's right or not. If you're saying it's not, and we sceptics have selectively ignored that, then that's a far more serious charge than us ignoring a bit of political fluff.

Are you saying you'd not care if a person rewrites entire sections so they're based entirely upon his work, ensuring there's no external review of what he writes, but you'd start caring if you found out what he slipped in was wrong? That's... terrible. Even if what Tol had slipped into the report happened to have been right, the fact nobody could have possibly verified that it was right should bother you.

On the political side of life, it depends who I'm arguing against. When it's one of the dirty-fighting climate warriors, I'm not inclined to enter a situation where we spend half our time attacking our own side while they spend all of their time doing so. As far as I'm concerned, policing wrongdoing on our side is their job

This is the very essence of what I'm criticizing Skeptics for. Your comments openly acknowledge you won't hold people on your "side" to the same standards as people on the other "side." That's wrong. Not only is it wrong on principle, it's wrong because it's hypocritical. Skeptics routinely criticized climate scientists for not policing their own, yet Skeptics then turn around and refuse to police their own.

They were supposed to have multiple layers of review precisely to stop that sort of thing happening, and their badly-designed, unenforced processes failed abysmally. What I would condemn Mann himself for is doing that when he already knew that the work was technically flawed. That's a bit different.

I suppose there wouldn't be much point in pointing out Richard Tol acknowledged fundamental problems with his approach when questioned then turned around and published work explicitly denying those problems. After all, Skeptics aren't going to police their own, so why should I talk to Skeptics about wrongdoings by Skeptics? Apparently if I want to point out wrongdoings by someone like Michael Mann, I should talk to Skeptics, but if I want to point out wrongdoings by someone like Richard Tol, I should talk to Warmists.

It's not like anyone even denies that's the case. It's like everyone agrees people are being completely partisan, and they think that's perfectly okay. I don't get it. That's the very antithesis of skepticism.

Oct 7, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon

Just a few days ago, WUWT ran a post whose entire point was to say Hansen proved the greenhouse effect isn't real.
You're not referring to this article by Tim Ball, are you, by any chance? If you are I'm afraid I'm forced to the conclusion that somewhere along the line you have either not bothered to read it or you've suffered a sense of humour failure.
If this isn't the article you mean then perhaps you wouldn't mind humouring me and giving me the link because I can't find it anywhere.
Thanks.

Oct 7, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Shock horror!

Brandon you made a point that I agree with: on just one issue I disagree with NIV
As far as I'm concerned, policing wrongdoing on our side is their job
allowing wrong doing from our side just gives ammunition to the other side.

Oct 7, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Registered CommenterDung

No worry. No one is going to confuse Brandon with being anything other than Brandon.

Oct 7, 2015 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Thanks, Hunter. I came back to this thread feeling bad about having posted that. I have been accused of the same, and it may be true.

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Policing wrongdoing on any side is everybody's job. But whereas I understand the issues around Mann and the hockeystick thanks to Steve and the Bishop, the Tol thing is different. First, I don't really get the issue except that if IPPC standards were not followed by Tol this is obviously a problem. And it has been raised by Brandon and argued by Tol and I find nothing to do here. That is reinforced by my rejection of the whole area of economic forecasting, discount rates and all as applied to climate. It's a sideshow. It's a conflict of opinions. I might even go as far as to say economic forecasting is a pseudo-science. Nothing there for me to do. It would only be piling-on anyway.

However, I really do not see that I need to police what stories Anthony puts up. I know where he stands. I know he puts up items he doesn't agree with or endorse. Some folks think anything which might provide ammunition for the other side should be suppressed. That's why we are encouraged to go along with GHG theory and become lukewarmers. I don't mind returning to proving the link between radiative gases (which I don't reject) and CAGW, which I do. I've never seen the chain of logic adequately explained, even right here in Discussion by NiV.

Nothing much is happening, and if it does we can adapt.

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Another +1 for that, rhoda.

I've never seen the chain of logic adequately explained
NiV is one of the posters I always read but I get so far along the route of following the argument until suddenly there is a clause or a sentence which I read two or three times and I conclude that there is a gap somewhere.
And I go back and try very hard to find where I am going wrong because I have to assume it's me that doesn't understand.
And I'm beginning to realise that the reason I don't understand is that there are floating around several conflicting (or perhaps complentary, who knows?) hypotheses about CO2 and about the "greenhouse effect" and what it is and how it works and the intransigence shown by the Climateers faced with a query about their hypotheses is as nothing compared to the entrenched stance taken by the other side while we fail to see that we are (as someone accused Brandon of the other day) counting angels on the head of a pin while the UN is trying to implement Agenda 2030 and the activists are heading to Paris to cobble together some sort of agreement which will mean nothing but will give our lords and masters yet more wiggle room to impose more burdens on us.
So thankyou again, rhoda:
Nothing much is happening — like for the last several thousand years.
If it does we can adapt — like for the last several thousand years.
Now can we all call a truce and try to get that message out.
And if you are looking for a "cause", that's it!

Oct 7, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

This is a typical Brandon thread. In the whole scheme of things Tol changing the wording of AR5 isn't a big deal. Brandon dealt with this in a post on WUWT, where the overwhelming number of commentators agreed wholeheartedly with Brandon that changes shouldn't be made to any document that purports to be quality controlled without explaining why the changes took place. Somehow he's translated that into sceptics ignoring Tol's wrongdoing.

In fact one of the commentators on the thread was Tol himself who said that the changes made very little difference to the conclusions previously presented before the edit. As I recollect Brandon begged to differ and said there were substantive changes, but frankly I couldn't see them, but that's not to say Brandon is wrong.

This isn't a personal attack Brandon, but you appear to have a different way of thinking, from me at least, and the minutiae gains an importance in your mind that it doesn't in mine, and I suggest most people. This results in us "arguing" past each other.

Brendan's self-image is as a person of impeccable probity, and no doubt he is, but look at this from his blog of 20th August 2015. Steyn had just published is book "A Disgrace to the Profession" and had used a quote from Richard Muller;

"I was flipping through Mark Steyn’s new book, and a passage happened to catch my eye. Steyn references a YouTube video of a presentation given by Richard Muller, now best known as the head of the Berkeley Earth (BEST) group. Steyn says:

What Professor Muller could not have foreseen was that hockey-stick science was not just “phony” but corrupt. Six years later he wrote:

Now this was a speech, but there was a Powerpoint presentation with text on the screen, so that does make sense. What followed, however, is wrong:

What they did was, and there’s a quote… “Let’s use Mike’s trick to hide the decline.”

There’s quite a bit more text, but that wasn’t anything Muller wrote on his presentation. That’s something Muller said, out loud. It’s understandable he might not include the ellipsis while speaking because he wasn’t necessarily using quotation marks while speaking, but when Muller wrote it on the screen, he wrote:

as published, using “Mike’s trick” to “hide the decline”

So Steyn did get the quote wrong, by creating a transcript of Muller’s speech that created a false quote then claiming it was written text by Muller rather than spoken words. Judith Curry may well have copied the text straight from Steyn’s book, trusting that he would have gotten the quote correct."

Am I alone in not finding anything sufficiently materially different to the two quotes above to be shocked at the use of the wrong one?

There's also a bigger picture, Mann has form in taking people to court for defamation with not the slightest intention of going to trial, with the intention of silencing and/or bankrupting his critics. Steyn can't be in contempt of court if he quotes other people, and it is highly unlikely that anyone can prove "misquotes" are deliberate, so Mann has two choices, go to court, or sit it out. As Steyn wants nothing more than getting Mann to go to court where he can be questioned under oath Mann is more likely to sit it out. Meanwhile Steyn is planning two other books using quotes from Mann's colleagues, my guess is to goad Mann into going to court.

Oct 7, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Just stumbled across this on Steyn's blog:

"It started with a lawsuit, when the creator of the global-warming "hockey stick" decided to sue me for defamation. That suit over a 270-word blog post is now in its fourth year in the fetid choked toilet of the District of Columbia court system: if I lose at trial, it will be the most consequential setback for the First Amendment for 50 years. If I win, it would be a big defeat for the climate mullahs and a rare victory for sanity in the ongoing climate wars.

But a chap can't sit around forever waiting for the disgracefully lethargic jurists of a dysfunctional courthouse to get their act together, so I figured I might as well put some of the mountain of case research clogging up my rec room into a brand new book."

"The Big Climate enforcers' plan was to sue me into silence. I leave it to others to assess how well that's working out. However, as Barack Obama likes to say, this isn't just about me. It's also about the perversion of science and the damage done by the Big Climate enforcers and the cartoon science of the hockey stick. Mann's graph told the simplest of stories: climate-wise nothing happened for nine hundred years until suddenly, in the 20th century, the mercury took off and shot up through the top right-hand corner of the graph - and now we're all gonna fry."

For all I know it could be that Steyn has planted the misquotes to get Mann riled enough to get into the courtroom.

Oct 7, 2015 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Geronimo,
Brandon specializes in gagging on gnats. And hijacking threads to obsess over his gnat collection- a well behaved troll.

Oct 7, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

rhoda:

First, I don't really get the issue except that if IPPC standards were not followed by Tol this is obviously a problem. And it has been raised by Brandon and argued by Tol and I find nothing to do here.

It is absolutely beyond dispute the chapter of the IPCC Report for which Richard Tol was the lead author underwent significant changes after the last round of reviews, including the addition of a section which depended almost entirely upon Tol's own work.

If this hadn't been done by Richard Tol and/or the changes hadn't been ones which favored the Skeptic cause, I am certain plenty of people here would have complained about them. Instead, mums the word. We do get comments like geronimo's:

This is a typical Brandon thread. In the whole scheme of things Tol changing the wording of AR5 isn't a big deal. Brandon dealt with this in a post on WUWT, where the overwhelming number of commentators agreed wholeheartedly with Brandon that changes shouldn't be made to any document that purports to be quality controlled without explaining why the changes took place. Somehow he's translated that into sceptics ignoring Tol's wrongdoing.

But this ignores the fact the post he refers to has absolutely nothing to do with any of the changes I've referred to. The post he refers to was in regard to an additional set of changes made even later on, changes which had nothing to do with the central issue which he calls "changing the wording of AR5." Most people would not call writing entire sections from scratch "changing the wording" of a report, but to each their own.

This isn't a personal attack Brandon, but you appear to have a different way of thinking, from me at least, and the minutiae gains an importance in your mind that it doesn't in mine, and I suggest most people. This results in us "arguing" past each other.

It apparently also results in you not reading what I write, because your descriptions of what I've said in regards to the IPCC issues have been way off.

Am I alone in not finding anything sufficiently materially different to the two quotes above to be shocked at the use of the wrong one?

I can't speak to whether or not people should be shocked at misquotations, but I do find it telling nobody seems to mind them. It's particularly amusing because Skeptics took delight in John Cook doing much the same thing, but there, they thought it was a problem. Funny that.

For all I know it could be that Steyn has planted the misquotes to get Mann riled enough to get into the courtroom.

That would be intentional dishonesty, demonstrating more than reckless disregard for the truth. That'd mean Steyn's book easily meets the requirements for a libel lawsuit to be successful. You're suggesting Steyn wrote a book to defend himself from a libel lawsuit in which he intentionally libeled the person who sued him.

And that doesn't seem to bother you. Which should bother you.

Oct 7, 2015 at 7:55 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger