It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Herring Curry

Modified from comments I made at Keith Kloor's Collide-a-Scape:

To respond to the events since Nov 19 by calling for regrouping and examining the contents of the WG I report, as Judith Curry recommends, seems to me profoundly problematic.

Curry's point

There is something to be said for making lemonade of the lemons life hands you. The contrarian blogs can serve a constructive function.

It is a good thing that there is a burgeoning community of amateurs interested in WG I problems, and that an opportunity to improve the practice of science exists in their demand for openness. The amateurs are potential allies in moving science off a 19th century model based on tight social networks to a 21st century model based on openness and sharing of methods and data. On these matters I completely agree with their critique.

Retroactive Enforcement of New Principles

However, it makes no sense to enforce this model retroactively. We can't just impose hoped-for future norms on past behaviors. Various groups of practicing scientists have concluded that both Jones and Mann have behaved according to the extant norms of pure science. These norms evolved in different technical and social circumstances than exist now and may be somewhat maladaptive, but norms in an established discipline are not easy to change.

McIntyre, Hughes, Liljegren etc. may be perfectly sincere and well-intentioned. For all the damage they do, I believe that they are.

On the other hand Mann, Jones, etc. may not be saints or extraordinary geniuses, but they are also sincere and well-intentioned. The implication that anything revealed by the emails rises to gross malfeasance is persistent in the comments in their blogs and often insinuated in the articles at the amateur contrarian sites. This itself is an enormous problem in the amateur climatology blogs.

No Change in the Science

If we weren’t in such a mess, it would be amusing to note how, as the work is slowly replicated in amateur circles, the more serious amateurs find that station placement isn’t important, that the observational record is more or less as reported, and presumably once someone gets a serious millenial reconstruction together they will find it will fit right in the spaghetti diagram of AR4 with an unspectacular MWP (*).

(* That would be in contrast to the much-beloved-of-naysayers millenial doodle, which, ironically, seems to have originally been scribbled on a placemat by H H Lamb, the founder of CRU).

In other words, the old fashioned and clubby version of science (of which, I want to say, I am far from a beneficiary) indeed, for all its flaws, reliably manages to come up with the right results.

So, like it or not we are talking about 1) normal behavior constrained by existing ethical principles and 2) broadly correct results.

Grotesquely Incommensurate Damage to Science

Yet, we have this repulsive word “climategate”. We have press reports insinuating gross malpractive. We have lawsuits instigated at the gubernatorial level against EPA based on the purported malfeasance “revealed” by the CRU emails. And now we have retroactive investigations of some two bit grant (”almost half a million dollars” over seven years may sound like a lot to anyone who hasn’t put together science grant proposals; this might have been almost enough to support a grad student) by the Virginia state attorney general, egged on by the inexcusable Fred Singer.

And we have ” ‘Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,’ says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.”

Nothing in the actual record is used to support this repulsive witch hunt. There is merely “enough controversy”.

It is absolutely fine to try to reformulate the discussions of WG I matters in a less confrontational way. Zeke Hausfather is doing a good job of this over at Liljegren’s, for instance.

But it is absolutely irresponsible to take this moment, the moment when the excesses of the critics of climate scientists are reaching their most extreme crescendo, to be bending over backwards to make peace with them, as Judith Curry advises.

The Real Issues

We cannot possibly ignore the completely disproportionate damage they have done and are continuing to do. That is the issue that needs addressing now, not our relationship to the rather uncharitable but relatively serious corner of the contrarian blogs. We should welcome the increased attention to science in detail, and not try to shut it down in a misguided attempt at self-defense, but we shouldn’t allow that to distract us from the far more crucial and salient facts.

The serious issues raised by the CRU fiasco are:

  • 1) injustice to innocent individuals,
  • 2) an attack on scientific practice,
  • 3) the vulnerability of conventional science communication channels to deliberate distortion by political forces and
  • 4) fodder for potent propaganda from those who would like to distract us from the real open questions.

The Red Herring Attack

It is urgent and crucial that we discuss policy, adaptation and mitigation, about the future of civilization and the sustainability of the planet. If people want to spend years of their lives arguing about two paragraphs in an obscure journal about bristlecone pines, that is a peculiar hobby, but if that sort of thing is used to displace discussion about the enormous systemic problems we actually face, that is a deep and fundamental problem.

These are the “issues and questions we should be talking about” to pick up some of Curry's own words.

To first order, the work of WG I is done. The Charney sensitivity is around 3 C, with a range of 1.5 – 6 C. Even on the low side that is worth worrying about. Risk weighted that range is more than enough to require action.

Going back to physical science is a perfect delaying tactic for those who are motivated by ideology or financial interest (often both) to want to delay, but the chances that S is much less than 1.5, which the delayers need to be nearly certain in order to support their strategy, remain small enough to be negligible. Of course, science is never so "settled" that new evidence can't change things, but at this point people are asking us to bet the farm, really the whole dang world, on a very long shot.

My Point, Lest it be Missed Yet Again

The biosphere is a biological, chemical and physical system in space, whose properties humans are grossly altering without plan or purpose, to our own peril. We need to get a grip on these issues, CO2 among them. Let me reaffirm my point here since so many people seem to be missing it.

The main lesson of the CRU fiasco is that the crucial conversation of our time is easily derailed by narrow interests, nitpicking, hairsplitting, and misdirected outrage. This is a big problem. We need to fix it. Journalists are not passive observers in this dynamic; the role of journalism is crucial.

Curry buys the Red Herring

Attacking the messengers for not dotting our i’s is, I suppose, one way to react. It may even have some value. But taken as a substitute for getting a planetary perspective that is respectful of quantitative evidence, the approach taken in the blogs most critical of climate science and echoed by the press is dangerous even if not deliberately malicious.

As is plain to see, some people use that position as a camouflage for extreme malice that is hard to see as less than deliberate and calculated. Ignoring that aspect of the situation would have been wrongheaded even before the direct attacks from politicians on science began, but now it's obviously foolhardy.

Dr Curry’s responding by saying, OK, we’ll go back and dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s and so on, is not helpful, given that time is of the essence. She has expanded her horizon from the scientific community to the scientific community plus the more technically competent hobbyists, but that is a very dangerous, if seductive, place to draw the line. The context is much larger than that.

Engaging the amateurs on their own terms is one thing. It has many possible benefits.

On the other hand, since the amateur community emerged largely out of suspicion of the scientific community, accepting their definition of the social and political context is something else entirely. Given their connections to communities that are implacably, viciously and irresponsibly hostile to the inconvenient truth, it's very naive to do so.

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

The dominant uncertainties in climate policy are in impacts, adaptation and mitigation strategies, economics, policy, and interaction with other long-term sustainability problems. Even under WG I topics, geochemistry and emissions scenarios carry the bulk of the uncertainty. None of these fall under the remit of climate science, which isn't "settled" but is a whole lot more clear than any of the other crucial questions.

How and why the debate centers on the easiest part is interesting and peculiar, but it's mostly a problem. Picking up on the obsessions of the amateur statisticians wing is really not the place to put our attentions. We need to understand and cope with the obsessions of the press, and of the people who are bound and determined to put climate physics into an ideological frame. That's the CRU fiasco.

Curry has had a red herring dangled in front of her and has lost track of the real story. Let's not fall into the trap with her. The real story is that there is no story at all at CRU or PSU. No malfeasance, no manipulation of data, no evidence of poorly supported conclusions, no pattern of behavior outside existing scientific norms, no change in the broad scientific picture, nothing scandalous except for the scandal itself and the hacking that precipitated it.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. And all that to do about nothing, that's something.


39 comments:

mothincarnate said...

I couldn't agree more - well put!
I've become a believer that academic groups need to be more engaging with their local communities; it is the first step to bridge the gap and help understanding of what science is about (as you know, there's a big difference between what science is and what the community at large think it is) and to build trust that can go on to adapting policies and practices.
As you said, if it wasn't for the urgency of the situation, this would all be somewhat amusing, but the longer we can with this current approach, the bigger the mess.
Tim

S said...

"the chances that S" ... I couldn't read this bit at the end of the Red Herring Attack part.
You seem to speak in terms of principles (and I agree with most of them), but I comprehend better in terms of scenarios.

Tom said...

I agree with everything you have said about the Michael Mann / UVA investigation. I disagree with everything you have said about Judith Curry and the context in which you attempt to place her comments.

As the Michael Mann controversy is possible of more immediate consequence, perhaps we should focus on that. Do you want to write the letter or do you want someone else to?

Horatio Algeranon said...

So far, we're not doing any better than cyanobacteria.- Ray Pierrehumbert

Any better?

Do cyanobacteria listen to the "skeptics"?

Dirk said...

A quite brilliant post that made my Sunday morning. Thank you, Mike.

This should be put in the "The Best of In It" roll on the side.

Michael Tobis said...

S: A paste error due to the angle brackets having some associated html weirdness. Fixed.

Tom: Please elaborate re Curry. Re UVA, I'm not sure my name carries much weight. I presume that the scientific community in Virginia is gearing up to make a response, and that's what matters. It would be surprising and horrible if they didn't.

Dirk, thanks! :-)

Tom said...

Michael, I'm a bit on deadline so it's much easier for me to segment the discussion and deal with the Curry part of it later. As for Mann and UVA, I intend to write a letter of objection to Cuccinelli's proposed investigation--I'm hoping that my co-authorship of a book about the subject might at least get the letter read. However, I think this is one of the rare occasions when a mass letter of support might actually be useful and I would be happy to sign one such, if it gets created and circulated.

Michael Tobis said...

Ah, Mr. Fuller. You know, when you sign yourself Tom, I'm not sure it's you.

Cosigning a letter with you, Tom, would certainly make my life interesting. So far, though, your grasp of the nuances of the mainstream, never mind my points of departure from it, has been inadequate, and it's been impossible for me to support you wholeheartedly, e.g., on your poll which appeared to many of us as a push poll.

I am very far from forgiving your role in promoting the controversy in the first place. But if you come up with a letter I could imagine signing, I would certainly be interested.

Tom said...

Hi Michael, it's your Google account verification that's calling me Tom, as opposed to Satan's Spawn, which I am sure you would prefer. I'm not asking for forgiveness for my part in bringing this to light--and I'm not even sure I'm done yet, for that matter. But what Mann and his colleagues did, in my opinion, was wrong, not criminal, except for Jones' role in evading/avoiding UK FOI laws.

At any rate, you misunderstand me (what a surprise.) I will be writing a single letter, probably to a Virginian online newspaper. What I was hoping to find some evidence of is an attempt to write a mass letter, which I would also like to sign. I'm under no illusion that any letter I might write would be acceptable to those on your side of the fence, just because of issues of provenance.

Tom said...

I submitted this to an online newspaper in Virginia and have also emailed this to Mr. Cuccinelli.

Open Letter to Mr. Cuccinelli, Attorney General

Sir, As co-author of a book (Climategate: The CRUtape Letters) that was harshly critical of the performance of Michael Mann and his colleagues, I write in criticism of your decision to investigate Mr. Mann for potential violations of state laws on fraudulent payment of claims.

Mr. Mann has been extensively investigated regarding his work product, and although I consider his actions to be often unprofessional and politically oriented, neither I nor any of the people interviewed for our book have any doubt whatsoever that Mann performed the scientific work he has been commissioned to do, or that he engaged in any fraudulent actions.

No matter what has prompted your investigation, there is no doubt that it will be interpreted as a witch hunt. If you are in fact investigating a credentialed scientist for results that do not suit your political opinion, that interpretation is correct. Unless you can reveal to the public prima facie evidence that shows cause for this investigation, I beg you to reconsider. There are ample avenues of professional and academic recourse for people like me who think he has done something wrong. But being wrong is not a crime, and intimidating scientists not a path that this country, including I presume Virginians, should ever pursue. You may consult with colleagues in Salem to determine how long it takes to live this type of thing down.

Sincerely,

Thomas Fuller

manuelg said...

Quoting original Tobis post:

> Going back to physical science is a perfect delaying tactic for those who are motivated by ideology or financial interest (often both) to want to delay, but the chances that S is much less than 1.5, which the delayers need to be nearly certain in order to support their strategy, remain small enough to be negligible. Of course, science is never so "settled" that new evidence can't change things, but at this point people are asking us to bet the farm, really the whole dang world, on a very long shot.

I have nothing to add, but this little paragraph is the beginning and the end of the whole issue. One has to ignore so much, to make the situation different from lingering on the railroad tracks as the freight train whistle whines. One has to ignore so much data about the inability of the atmosphere to absorb carbon without risking a climate disruption.

And it is uninteresting to speculate on Curry's motives. Simpler to note Curry's becoming a gadfly is impressingly convenient to motivated denialists (except for the most reprehensible denialists who take absolutely no stock in book learnin'). It is convenient because the different sides are treated, by Curry, now, without symmetry. Those boggled minds that cannot comprehend this convenience, show that they can call themselves allies, but will always be a day late and a dollar short. (Even Kloor began to see the strange asymmetry between what Curry asked from the mainstream and what she asked from the gadflies, with regards to arguing under a burden of only allowing statements of certainty.)

The mainstream should be held to a higher standard, because that is right burden of the mainstream, but if the critics are perpetually infinitely indulged in their shabby arguments, then measured action born from consideration is infinitely postponed. And if we are dedicated to infinitely postponing measured action born from consideration, how can this be distinguished from tiddlywinks?

manuelg said...

Quoting TF's letter:

> Mr. Mann has been extensively investigated regarding his work product, and although I consider his actions to be often unprofessional and politically oriented, neither I nor any of the people interviewed for our book have any doubt whatsoever that Mann performed the scientific work he has been commissioned to do, or that he engaged in any fraudulent actions.

Becomes, stripping out dependent clauses and phrases:

> I don't doubt that Mann performed the scientific work OR he engaged in fraudulent actions.

Which seems harsh to Mann, and cheering to AG Cuccinelli.

I would change the final 'or that' to 'nor do we think that'.

But, then, I got a 'D' in high school English, so I am probably blind to the correct reading. Carry on.

Steve Bloom said...

Moe, Curry has made it clear that she thinks it's unlikely that anything very bad will happen. Her sensitivity argument doesn't support that view since she says she doesn't dispute the high end, so to all appearances she's not relying on anything more than her intuition about what the climate system is capable of doing.

Of course rather a lot of scientists have had to adjust their intuition about the climate system over the last 10-15 years, although in the other direction, so what makes Curry different? Is it just another case of libertarian hubris?

(I should note that I think enviros display similar hubris, or rather would if their views didn't tend in the same direction as the science. The libertarian version is much more apparent since it swims against such a strong tide.)

S said...

I think I can respect the effort that Tom has put into his letter. Not bad for someone with your prejudices. A simple suggestion is to call Michael Mann "Dr" instead of "Mr". I don't think it actually matters, but it is interesting to me that most of the places where Mann is attacked, he is often called "Mr" rather than "Dr".

Marion Delgado said...

Don't let the fake journalist on the fake news site get any of it on you, Michael. That's a dreadful idea.

Please at least check for yourself what I've said about xxx.examiner.com - that it's not a news venue whatsoever. You sign up, and you may have a nut, but it pays you for hits. If you say Queen Elizabeth is a lizard, and that gets you more hits, then you're a good "Examiner.com" poster.

This is not like George Will or something - this is a nonentity AT a nonentity. Any attention or respect coming from a scientist is just playing Fuller's demented game.

mmghosh said...

S

I think it depends to some extent whether the person doing the attacking are themselves a "Dr" or a "Mr".

Hank Roberts said...

> neither I nor any of the people
> interviewed for our book have
> any doubt whatsoever that Mann
> performed ... or engaged in
> any fraudulent actions.

-- Tom Fuller

Alas.

Michael Tobis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Tobis said...

I don't mean to pile on, but yeah, the language was ambiguous at best.

I don't think that's what Fuller meant. Let's leave it at that for now.

Tom said...

Hank Roberts: "Joe Romm is... Joe McCarthy."

Alas

Tom said...

Where the heck are you guys? You're picking apart the grammar in my open letter to Cuccinelli protesting what he did and doing nothing at all yourselves. Steve McIntyre has condemned it. Roger Pielke Jr. has condemned it. Jeff Id has condemned it. Steve Mosher has condemned it.

And you idiots are playing word games. You really deserve what's happening to you out there in the real world.

Are you cowards or idiots?

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, point taken.

Jeff Id wasn't particularly gracious, but we should take note of the surprisingly decent behavior of the rest of the what-you-may-call-them community.

However, "where the heck are you guys" is over the top. It's not as if we aren't objecting. And to the extent we're not, we're just catching our breath. It's not as if we aren't stunned, yet again, by the viciousness of the attacks.

It's not as if you guys didn't leave the barn doors open in the first place.

Tom said...

If we left the barn door open it's because you all stole the horses.

Want some well meaning advice?

Write a letter today and get it into circulation for signatures. Get it delivered to Cuccinelli and a couple of Virginia newspapers tomorrow.

Follow it up. There is a US head of the state district attorneys. Get it to him/her. You guys have the in with Romm--get CAP to push Maddow and Olberman to get on this. How come Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias are not writing about this?

It's been days and you don't even have this on the agenda. You don't need a 'right wing echo chamber' to get your story out there.

Get on the case.

Steve Bloom said...

Keeping it simple: This little fishing expedition will come to nothing. Publicizing it will simply reinforce in the minds of the dull the Mann-fraud meme. Tom knows this. Mike is entirely capable of passing the word about the need for a public campaign, and as far as I'm aware hasn't done so.

Martin said...

Steve Bloom: seems you're the only one that 'got' this. McIntyre, Pielke, Mosher, Fuller and Id are not company honest folks want to be seen in. Michael Tobis, take note. They're not being decent, they're being tactical.

I'd love to get my sticky fingers on the internal communications of this gang, co-ordinating the hammering of their respective nails into the Overton window. Showing off how reasonable they are, how supportive of sound science, how concerned about the freedom of inquiry in the great Commonwealth of Virginia... and more of that crap. I almost hear them curse at Anthony being so slow in the uptake...

There is no difference between Cuccinelli and Fuller et al. All are climate science -- i.e., as a legitimate, honest, non-political activity -- denialists. But I find Cuccinelli's blunt honesty refreshing ;-)

dhogaza said...

"although I consider his actions to be often unprofessional and politically oriented, neither I nor any of the people interviewed for our book have any doubt whatsoever that Mann performed the scientific work he has been commissioned to do".

Beyond the ambiguity mentioned by others, this snippet is contradictory.

Tom, either he performed the scientific work he has been commissioned to do, or his actions are unprofessional.

They can't be both.

"You're picking apart the grammar in my open letter to Cuccinelli "

You claim to be a journalist and writer, Tom. Let's see some proof. Internal contradiction and a misleading ambiguity, both in one short note.

Not good.

"Steve Bloom: seems you're the only one that 'got' this. McIntyre, Pielke, Mosher, Fuller and Id are not company honest folks want to be seen in. Michael Tobis, take note. They're not being decent, they're being tactical."

Martin, that's my read, too. A couple of days ago I commented elsewhere that folks like McI are jumping on this because the AG's action is so beyond being reasonable that they fear a backlash.

They're busy trying to stake out turf in world of reasonableness, after having been the source of much of the dishonest smearing that's led to this action on the part of the AG.

Too late. Those folks are pegged, and that includes you, Fuller.

manuelg said...

I was going to post that Martin put it a little too strongly...

But then I re-read the whole comment thread.

Martin and Steve Bloom called it. We see bad actors that desperately need to demonstrate their "reasonableness" so they can effectively work to keep the alleged controversy chugging and keep meaningful action from taking place. So they leap into action against the clown Cuccinelli.

But anyone able to bat down this clown Cuccinelli deserves a frosty beer. In the spirit of compromise and accommodation.

Nosmo said...

While on a basic level I agree with Steve, dhogaza, Martin and Manuelg, I really don't think the motivation, intelligence or honesty of McIntyre, Pielke, Mosher, Fuller and Id are close to the same. They are guilty of different things.

Michael Tobis said...

I agree with what Nosmo said.

I think it's wrong to presume that everyone opposing you, even on matters where they may be demonstrably substantively wrong, is insincere or malign.

It's equally wrong to assume that everyone supporting you, even on matters where you may be demonstrably substantively right, is sincere or well-intentioned.

We're a complicated species. Even though there's basically a correct way and basically an incorrect way of thinking about this problem, I think it turns out there are good people and bad people, honest people and dishonest people, selfish people and generous people, kind people and cruel people, on both sides.

There's a hell of a lot more Dunning-Kruger Effect on the side that gets it wrong, of course. But that's not the same thing as ethics.

Horatio Algeranon said...

"there are good people and bad people, honest people and dishonest people, selfish people and generous people, kind people and cruel people...'

...black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones...I dreamed I was in a Hollywood movie

That's quite a few possible combinations, although some of them would seem to be mutually exclusive.

dhogaza said...

I wouldn't put either pielke on that list.

I have no problem equating McI, Mosher, and JeffId, though. McI and Mosher have worked together in the field, coring ancient bristlecone pines (with or without federal permits, that's what I've always wondered). They're on the same page.

Fuller doesn't have the knowledge or chops to be on that list (sorry, Tom). I think he's in it mostly for the page hits, since that's how the examiner.com bloggers are paid.

dhogaza said...

MT says:

"There's a hell of a lot more Dunning-Kruger Effect on the side that gets it wrong, of course. But that's not the same thing as ethics."

I'll bite ... how about one example of ethical behavior by each of McI, Mosher, and Fuller?

I've already rejected their attack on the Virginia AG as being done for tactical reasons (the fact that they're reacting in unison and immediately supports that conclusion, IMO).

Any other candidates? Did one of them help an old woman across the street in public or somesuch?

Michael Tobis said...

dhogaza, I strongly disagree.

The fact that they have acted in unison indicates they communicate with each other, and in this case came to quick agreement.

There's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't mean Morano sat Cuccinelli and McIntyre in a room and laid out the whole script which they proceeded to implement. I don't think Morano is THAT clever and I don't think McIntyre would put up with it. (I have no insight into a creature like Coochie.)

I haven't read Mosher and Fuller's book (and it's looking like I may have to despite not wanting to). I have interacted with both of them a little as well as McIntyre and have so far seen no sign of insincerity.

Others see it differently, but as I see it their case against the McIntyre gang is no more compelling than these guys' case against the intentions and ethics of Jones and Mann. A peculiar symmetry!

Of course, the problem is that they are doing enormous damage, while at worst Jones and Mann are not making huge contributions. The Cuccinelli phenomenon is largely their fault, and their eagerness to separate themselves from it is telling. But to my eye what it tells is not actually conspiracy.

Catastrophic outcome aside, some of their complaints about the system at large have merit. I think they have done some good amidst all the harm, but the harm prevails.

It's unfortunately more urgent to deal with the harm, and this is my main objection to what Curry is doing. About her main points I have some quibbles, but her timing is execrable. The main issue is what the press and the public THINK they are saying and why.

That doesn't revolve around anything serious they are saying, and turns into dangerous words like "corruption" which the Coochies of the world take as license to attack the whole of science.

dhogaza said...

"The Cuccinelli phenomenon is largely their fault, and their eagerness to separate themselves from it is telling. But to my eye what it tells is not actually conspiracy."

One needn't cry "conspiracy" in order to understand that they immediately saw the Virginia AG's action as being counterproductive, and reached the conclusion that vigorous disapproval was the proper tactical move.

It's not like I think that McI and Mosher are dumb. They'd have to be dumb not to understand the potential for the AG's action to backfire. They're doing the right thing by distancing themselves from it. You think they're doing it out of good faith. I don't, I think it's calculated.

"I have interacted with both of them a little as well as McIntyre and have so far seen no sign of insincerity."

No sign of insincerity on Fuller's part? You buy his bit about being a liberal who believes in global warming and that action needs to be taken, and that he just has this itty-bitty little problem with supposed fraud by Jones and Mann?

You believe that Mosher's telling the truth when he claims that his only motivation is to expose the "bad, fraudulent scientists" like Jones and Mann so we can put them aside, and get on with the necessary task of combating global warming?

OK. Wanna play poker? With my deck of cards?

As far as McIntyre's sincerity, for years he claimed that his work was not meant to expose Jones, Briffa, and Mann as frauds.

Yet, since "Climategate", his blog has moved from a supposed focus on "auditing science" to a stream of abusive and very personal attacks on climate scientists. He no longer pretends that he's not claiming that those and others are guilty of fraud.

How does one contrast McIntyre's previously coy innuendo with his open accusations today and come up with the word "sincere"?

Michael Tobis said...

Let's hear less outrage and more specifics.

I used to give the benefit of the doubt to Lomborg and I don't anymore. Same with Wegman.

I've heard nothing compelling regarding the intent of these tree-ring obsession guys. That doesn't mean it isn't there, but for all I have seen, on their screwed-up reading of the situation their behavior makes sense. That is exactly why they are such a problem.

Tom said...

You guys border on the truly bizarre. You spend your day picking apart our motives (and getting it 100% wrong) and refuse to do one thing yourselves. It would be humorous if it weren't so pathetic. You spend your lives bitching about us and a real threat to your livelihood appears and you... do... nothing.

Martin said...

Of course, the problem is that they are doing enormous damage, [...]. The Cuccinelli phenomenon is largely their fault, and their eagerness to separate themselves from it is telling. But to my eye what it tells is not actually conspiracy.

Michael, yes, this is a take I could agree with. Good summary. You're still missing the Overton window aspect though. At least Fuller is a gifted communicator and he understands this, Pielke surely too.

Martin said...

They're doing the right thing by distancing themselves from it. You think they're doing it out of good faith. I don't, I think it's calculated.

dhogaza, yes and no. I think their distancing themselves from this train wreck is both rational and, for what it is worth, sincere. I'm not gonna berate them for it, because -- heck, they are doing the right thing for once.

The fakeness is in their failure to acknowledge their role in creating this monster. As Michael said. We need to keep rubbing this in. These folks are, as we say in the business, 'pieces of work'.

ourchangingclimate said...

Tom,

I hope your open letter gets published. I applaud your efforts to distance yourself from the more extreme voices out there.

Bart