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Discussion > Greening?

Golf Charlie

I would not dream of suggesting that you are naive, madame.

Nexertheless, you may be unaware of the practice of submitting a large number of FOI requests to CRU, designed to generate the maximum nuisance value and waste the time of their staff.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office has published five criteria for judging whether or not a request is vexatious:

• Can the request fairly be seen as obsessive?

• Is the request harassing the authority or causing distress to staff?

• Would complying with the request impose a significant burden?

• Is the request designed to cause disruption or annoyance?

• Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?

Can you assure me that none of the many requests for information from Steve McIntyre and others met the above definitions of vexatious?

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM. As both of us know we are referring to the specific case of McIntyre's requests for data. In that case the request was refused even before they knew,anything about the person making the request. It was only after McIntyre became more persistent that CRU began to demonize him.

In any case my advice was specific to Mark. I restate my view that any reasonable author would be absolutely delighted to receive a communication from someone like him. I would have been.

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Martin A

I wonder how ACK would react to repeated vexatious requests for his full dating information from a group of young Earth creationists?

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Martin A. You may be correct, however did you prove your bona fides in the manner I suggested Mark do? If you did and were still unsuccessful then I am very saddened. It would mean that climate science has moved even further away from the norms of scientific norms. I would feel ashamed on behalf of my "scientific" brethren.

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

EM your question to MartinA is deliberately vexatious. It bears no comparison to 1) how CRU behaved, nor 2) the advice I proffered to Mark.

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Martin A

Why does everybody assume I am trying to fiddle the data?

EM - I can't speak for "everybody". I myself do not think you are trying to fiddle the data. However, I did think that you drawing conclusions that are unwarranted because of the fact that the mode tells you nothing unless you make and verify various assumptions about the statistics involved.

I can believe that desiring to see a certain result can mean that the need to understand what those assumptions are gets overlooked.

Is fiddling the data normal practice among sceptics?

Unlikely in the extreme. I don't know why you should ask such a question.

I am familiar with the problem you describe.

The probability distributions in Zhu et al Figure 1d are not symmetrical. They are right-skewed,weighted towards the right. The mean has a larger value than the mode.

In such cases one can compare means or compare modes. Since I do not know the means, but could pull the modes off the graph, I compared the modes.

Yes, indeed. I gave a simple example of such a distribution, skewed to the right, and how looking at its mode could lead to completely wrong assumption.

I could have given several distributions, all with mode = 0, but with means differing by large quantities. Looking only at the mode would lead to the conclusion there were all much the same thing.

Climate sensitivity curves are also right-skewed. For example, see this guest post by Nic Lewis at Bishop Hill.

Nic Lewis is comparing different determinations of climate sensitivity using their modes. Martin, are you going to tell Mr Lewis he is wrong?

Well, I have all sort of reservations about Nic Lewis's work, in particular the assumptions (often implicit) that he makes that there is a causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric mean temperature and that such relationships can be identified from existing observations. I have commented in the past that it seems ironic that sceptics (some at least) seem to accept climate sensitivity work uncritically.

However, in the paper you give a link to, wasn't he saying that usng the mode is a bit dodgy and that using the median might be better? I would not disagree with Nic Lewis on that point - at least that using the mode is dodgy.

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I wonder how ACK would react to repeated vexatious requests for his full dating information from a group of young Earth creationists?
Oct 29, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - I would hope that he would give it to them, assuming that there are others to whom he *would* be willing to disclose it.

But asking for "full dating information" is a different thing from asking for a reprint of a paper which is available to all except those who do not have library facilities nor a budget. A single request for a reprint can hardly be described as 'vexatious'. In the past it was completely normal to send reprints on request, irrespective of from where the request came.

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:53 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

EM 2:23 your post is strewn with factual errors.

Steve McIntyre had requested CRU data. CRU invented reasons not to release it, including confidentiality, time etc.

Commenters at Climate Audit then took it upon themselves to request data from 4 (?) countries each, from CRU. This was not perfectly coordinated, and hence data for some countries was requested more than once. This was the "inundation" of requests.

If CRU had cooperated in the first place ......

Search "Climate Audit" "CRU" "2009" Some data was erased/went missing. Very topical. Clearly CRU did not have sufficient competent staff. So they tried lying and bluffing. The multiple attempts to "cover-up" bad working methods, caused more damage.

Then ClimateGate happened.

Oct 29, 2016 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

ACK, if I remember correctly, the Hockey Team advised CRU not to "assist" McIntyre.

EM

Climate Scientists are Vexatious Deniers.

If the multiple requests for information made to CRU had been "carefully coordinated", there would not have been so many.

Oct 29, 2016 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

We are in peril of wandering off topic; the important point is that any published author should be only too delighted to recieve a request for access to their work. When such a request comes from someone with a genuine interest and abilities to exercise critical judgment that delight is much heightened.
One success Mark and you can use this to substantiate further requests from others. If you follow up a success with an honest email appreciation I can see you being very successful, building up a network. All success to you.

Oct 29, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

https://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/#comment-350536

This was CRU, located at UEA, and NOT a fair reflection of UEA!

The top tiers of UEA then cast a shadow over UEA by covering up for CRU after ClimateGate.

Oct 29, 2016 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Is fiddling the data normal practice among sceptics?
As scepticism should be the default setting for every and any scientists or person of scientific thinking, you should be able to answer that question yourself.
If you knew that the person requesting your paper or data was going to use it to craft a propoganda [sic] attack on your work, would you still be keen to give it to them?
Again, every and any scientist or person of scientific thinking would accept that the reason anyone is requesting your paper or data is so that they can prove you wrong. It is one of the penalties of being in the scientific community – whatever paper you produce will be subject to a barrage of attacks to prove whatever theory you are expounding to be wrong. It is only when such attacks fail that your paper and theory gain any credence. This is one area where climate “science” has failed, big time – there can be NO questioning of papers or theories in climate “science”; those who attempt to do so are slammed down, and denounced as “deniers”, even though they may show little sign of denying anything.

Other than that, GC has your argument bang to rights – the rabid defence of climate “science” smacks more of defending the indefensible, than protection of scientific principles. Quite why you, who makes such claims to be a scientist, object to the scientific questioning surrounding climate remains a mystery to me (and others, I suspect).

(By the way, what point were you trying to make, Martin A, with your two points?)

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Another tactic that sometimes works is to go to the websites of the institutions of the authors of a paper you wish to read. Consulting the sites devoted to the individuals involved reveals their publication lists and not uncommonly the paper you want may come associated with a downloadable PDF. Finally, just putting the paper into a Google Search sometimes works wonders. I tried for days to get the PAGES paper, only to find it one day suddenly available.

These methods are not as satisfactory as successfully contacting the original author with your request.

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

RR. "Again, every and any scientist or person of scientific thinking would accept that the reason anyone is requesting your paper or data is so that they can prove you wrong."

Sorry, but I totally disagree. Most requests are for difficult of access papers, most are also to buildup libraries of papers that you might wish to quote from (mostly because you agree) when writing your next paper. They are papers that have stimulated you, that have made you reevaluate your own interpretations. In the best situations you might even share data or discuss interpretations. That's why we go to scientific meetings- to share, not to hide.

The more I read about interactions between climate scientists and between some medical scientists the weirder they seem.

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Well done, EM, in highlighting that the UK Information Commissioner Office can only create guidelines on vexatious enquiry that are totally subjective: obsessive? Well, there are many who are obsessive about facts, and that they should be held paramount. Harassed or distressed? At what point does any enquiry become harassment or distressing to staff? Significant burden? Again, an utterly subjective argument. Disruption or annoyance? Another subjective response. Serious purpose? Oh, come on – this is just getting silly!

To answer your last question, it could be that any and all of the requests from Steve McIntyre could meet those criteria, right from the very first one (“You only want this information to try to prove me wrong” – each and every point covered in one statement.)

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

(By the way, what point were you trying to make, Martin A, with your two points?)
Oct 29, 2016 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


RR - I was not trying to make any point.

I was composing my comment and, in trying to format a column, I hit some combination of keys that squarespace interpreted as a "Create Post" command. Once a post has been created, squarespace allows you to edit it but not to delete it, nor to edit it so that it contains no characters. So the nearest I could get to deleting my half-composed comment was to edit it so that only a single full stop (decimal point, call it what you will) remained.

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:53 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

• Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?

Oct 29, 2016 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Interesting, because in making FOI requests and in appealing to the Scottish Information Commissioner (appeal upheld) I remember that the purpose of a request is specifically forbidden to be considered as a reason for refusing it.

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:58 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Q: When did the pressure grow most severe?

Phil .Jones.: In July 2009 we received 60 Freedom of Information requests in a few days--each request was for five countries' worth of data.

Q: But a sticking point with some of your critics has been how much of the data isn't available.

P.J.: We've been, with the Met office, canvassing the stations to see what versions of the data that we have we can release. A lot of countries have said yes, but a few countries have said no. But we've been putting up more of the data online on the Met office site. Up on the site now is 80% of the stations we use. You can download the data; you can download the program we use to produce the datasets. It's 80% of the data rather than a full 100%. When you do that, you find that 80% of the stations almost reproduce exactly the 100% of stations for the global averages. I've got a  diagram here that shows that.

Q: You're a widely published scientist and with a lot more prestige than your critics. Why then were you reticent to share the data with these outsiders?

P.J.: I was pointing them to where they could get the same data and they could do their own analysis. They are intent on repeating the analyses of others. They are of course entitled to do whatever they want to, it's a free world, but they just don't seem intent on wanting to do their own work. They just seem intent on wanting to repeat what others have done. They're trying to slow us down, and waste time.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2010/02/17/327.5968.934.DC1

Oct 29, 2016 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Surely you are not saying I could be wrong, yet again, are you, Minty?! True, there will be a lot of requests from those who merely want more information on a subject that they have an interest in either by fascination, respect for the author or desire for more information for their own research. Such is the nature of humans that this is what they desire from the requests for their papers; unfortunately, such is the nature of Science that it is rarely possible to prove a point, so the only way forward is to disprove it – hence, it should be logical to accept that others want your paper in their desire to find faults in it; the fewer faults that can be found, the stronger becomes the theory. Thus, there is not even the slightest suggestion that my statement was incorrect – though perhaps I should have phrased it: “…every and any scientist or person of scientific thinking would should accept that the reason anyone is requesting your paper or data is so that they can prove you wrong.” That is also the point of scientific meetings, so that others might share with you their own interpretations of your work, good or bad; while I might josh (hey, hey! – see what I did there?) about never being wrong, I accept that I am rarely right, but it is only by airing my own views to others, for them (e.g. you) to praise me for my remarkable insight, or – and more likely – to correct my stupidity, that I am able to increase my knowledge and understanding.

Mr A: ah. That makes it clear. I thought it was some kind of joke, which I wanted to be part of.

Oct 29, 2016 at 7:30 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Phil Clarke 7:14 suggest you read Climate Audit for yourself, rather than depend on second hand versions produced by those that are professional Deniers.

FOI stands for Freedom of Information, not Falsehood Obfuscation Inaccuracy, perhaps this was never explained to Climate Scientists and their devoted disciples.

Oct 29, 2016 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The more I read about interactions between climate scientists and between some medical scientists the weirder they seem.

Oct 29, 2016 at 5:39 PM | ACK

ACK, the mind boggles! Please elaborate!

Are Medical Scientists looking for signs of intelligent life in unlikely places, or are climate scientists seeking evidence of expansion/contraction in the human form due to global warming?

Oct 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golfCharlie in the case of much medical research the pressure to perform is probably at its peak. Competition is intense, rewards for success can be immense, whereas coming in second.... An early version of this came with the publication of The Double Helix, that ripped open the inner machinations of highly competitive science.

Oct 29, 2016 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

"....but they just don't seem intent on wanting to do their own work. They just seem intent on wanting to repeat what others have done. "

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2010/02/17/327.5968.934.DC1

Oct 29, 2016 at 7:14 PM | Phil Clarke

Phil Clarke, isn't it lucky that honest people like Steve McIntyre et al actually do Climate Science Peer Review for free for Climate Science, because the professional Peer Reviewers in Climate Science are so incompetent?

Does Phil Clarke want to be reminded of how many reports, including Gergis confirmed the Hockey Stick was not based on science, as all attempts at replication have failed aswell?

Why has it been necessary to try and replicate the Hockey Stick, when Phil Jones is stating that his critics don't want to do their own work, but repeat what has been done? Yet everytime, Hockey Stick replications get approved by Climate Science Peer Review, they fall to pieces once looked at properly.

Phil Clarke makes the case for scrapping 97% of Climate Science, including Jones infamous missing Chinese data UHI report.

Oct 29, 2016 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

ACK ok! Yes I remember Crick and Watson!

I can appreciate the staggering profits to be made in developing pharmaceuticals.

Perhaps if we had some form of "I'm a Celebrity Climate Scientist, Get'em Out of Here" TV spectacular, taxpayers could vote for who doesn't get funding?

TV Rights would sell well in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand etc, in fact most of the English speaking world.

Oct 29, 2016 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

RR. Still disagree (but this doesn't make you wrong)
"such is the nature of Science that it is rarely possible to prove a point, so the only way forward is to disprove it – hence, it should be logical to accept that others want your paper in their desire to find faults in it; the fewer faults that can be found, the stronger becomes the theory. Thus, there is not even the slightest suggestion that my statement was incorrect – though perhaps I should have phrased it: “…every and any scientist or person of scientific thinking would should accept that the reason anyone is requesting your paper or data is so that they can prove you wrong.”

Most science is not proving previous interpretations wrong (what an utterly destructive exercise that would be). It is to add support for what is currently accepted, cementing together loose strands adding bridges to other parts. Scientific revolutions, where what has gone before is pulled down and rearranged, are very uncommon and not part of "normal" science.

Oct 29, 2016 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK