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

Monday, December 6, 2010

Open Thread: By and/or About Trolls


This is an open thread. Comments about anything and everything are welcome. Moderation policy is looser than on other threads.



I am gratified to see In It reach new levels of popularity, but this seems to require a tighter comment policy. I don't really like reading sites where there are a lot of unmoderated comments. The noise tends to chase out the signal pretty quickly, and drive up the blood pressure.

John Mashey suggests a more complex moderation policy than thumbs-up vs thumbs-down. This requires new blog software. I am working on it, actually; I find the state of the art in blogware depressing. But that means I'm stuck with Blogger for a while yet, which is a crude device, though easy to use.

Specifically, the question has repeatedly come up about what to do about Tom Fuller's odd fascination with me and this site. In general, Fuller's comments are far below the level of quality I am hoping for from our conversations here. Some have expressed an interest in them as comic relief, and frankly I've been seeing them that way too, but Fuller is a real person. Laughing in someone's face seems cruel. But it also seems awfully smarmy to censor an opponent to protect them when they demand a platform to be foolish and thereby to discredit their cause.

In the end, my goal is to provide a venue that is interesting to my readers. Recently, a few people have expressed pro-Fuller views, but now I am seeing adamantly anti-Fuller positions as well. Certainly Fuller violates the usual rules of conduct here by a mile and I would be well within my stated policy to exclude him.

I will not always say and do exactly what keeps the customer most satisfied, but in this case that will be decisive. Please weigh in here if you like, and please keep these topics off the other threads. Many thanks.

mt

104 comments:

Michael Tobis said...

Tom Fuller writes on another thread:

Neven, as my co-author Steve Mosher has been known to point out, understanding the state of play in the climate debate requires acknowledging some things that are not part of either the skeptic or consensus-holder's favorite panoply of ideas.

What Phil Jones and the self-styled Hockey Team did was wrong. Part of it was illegal, part of it was unethical and a lot of it was just cheap schoolyard trash unbecoming of science. The context we provided in our book shows it for what it is.

The earth has warmed, it would be foolish not to suspect that human activity is involved in some of it, and as Steven Schneider thought 2.5 degrees was an acceptable low range and some skeptical scientists I have corresponded with have said it was acceptable at the high range, it seems like a good rough cut at it.

Although Tobis calls me a denialist, when he isn't calling me a crackpot or dumb, I am not (at least not the denialist--you'll have to form your own opinion about the rest--oh, wait--you're a consensus holder--just believe Tobis, then).

I supported a Cap and Trade until they larded it up and I still support a carbon tax starting at $12 a ton and re-evaluated decennially. I support the developed world paying for technology transfer of adaptation technology and mitigation infrastructure support, and $100 billion a year seems a good starting point.

Rachendra Pachauri abused his office and should be summarily dismissed. He attempted to get funds for TERI for studying the melt of Himalayan glaciers and delayed releasing news of the correction to estimated collapse times to assist his own organisation.


I support the EPA's regulation of large emitters of greenhouse gases.

I think Al Gore has done on a large scale what Pachauri did on a small scale and should end up in court.

I think solar power should be supported vigorously with tax rebates, feed in tariffs, research subsidies and more.

I think wind power should be abandoned except where it can be profitably used in conjunction with pumped hydropower storage or in especially favorable locations.

See how it works? You guys can yell at me for half this stuff and when I did guest posts at Watt's Up With That they yelled at me for the other half.

A foolish consistency, and all that...

Michael Tobis said...

Tom Fuller writes on another thread:


Neven, as my co-author Steve Mosher has been known to point out, understanding the state of play in the climate debate requires acknowledging some things that are not part of either the skeptic or consensus-holder's favorite panoply of ideas.

What Phil Jones and the self-styled Hockey Team did was wrong. Part of it was illegal, part of it was unethical and a lot of it was just cheap schoolyard trash unbecoming of science. The context we provided in our book shows it for what it is.

The earth has warmed, it would be foolish not to suspect that human activity is involved in some of it, and as Steven Schneider thought 2.5 degrees was an acceptable low range and some skeptical scientists I have corresponded with have said it was acceptable at the high range, it seems like a good rough cut at it.

Sadly for some of you, this is continued...

Michael Tobis said...

Tom Fuller writes on another thread:


Although Tobis calls me a denialist, when he isn't calling me a crackpot or dumb, I am not (at least not the denialist--you'll have to form your own opinion about the rest--oh, wait--you're a consensus holder--just believe Tobis, then).

I supported a Cap and Trade until they larded it up and I still support a carbon tax starting at $12 a ton and re-evaluated decennially. I support the developed world paying for technology transfer of adaptation technology and mitigation infrastructure support, and $100 billion a year seems a good starting point.

Rachendra Pachauri abused his office and should be summarily dismissed. He attempted to get funds for TERI for studying the melt of Himalayan glaciers and delayed releasing news of the correction to estimated collapse times to assist his own organisation.


I support the EPA's regulation of large emitters of greenhouse gases.

I think Al Gore has done on a large scale what Pachauri did on a small scale and should end up in court.

I think solar power should be supported vigorously with tax rebates, feed in tariffs, research subsidies and more.

I think wind power should be abandoned except where it can be profitably used in conjunction with pumped hydropower storage or in especially favorable locations.

See how it works? You guys can yell at me for half this stuff and when I did guest posts at Watt's Up With That they yelled at me for the other half.

A foolish consistency, and all that...

Michael Tobis said...

CAGW_skeptic writes on another thread:

So MT, Aaron, Frank, et al: I saw no response to a previous post and ask again.

People in the UK and the rest of Europe are having trouble paying for their heat because of cap and trade (carbon taxes) and subsidies for windmills and solar PV panels that are passed through to utility rate payers. You all know this and it reflects the policies you recommend. There were more references in the leaks post.

You are still playing dodge ball and pretending that the policies that you recommend that are intended to drive up the cost of carbon based fuels are not the cause of people having trouble paying the extra costs that you have lobbied so hard to have imposed on these people.

I mentioned the lack of electricity in Africa because your policies oppose charity funding for coal fired power plants, and Frank the swift hacker insulted me and belittled the need for electricity. I wonder whether Frank uses electricity in his home, especially when it is cold.

Y'all are very good at slinging insults and dodging the question and pretending like there are not real consequences to the policies that you explicitly recommend.

This is actually just typical leftist behavior and delineates a major difference between the left and the right. You are never in charge of anything and never accept responsibility for your recommendations. The right side is building the power plants and dealing with the issues and thinks you are a bunch of irresponsible loonies.

Dare you again to actually address the real, present time, suffering caused by your policies which anyone with a calculator can demonstrate will never make the slightest difference in global climate because the Chinese, Indians, Americans and the rest are only going to increase carbon emissions for the foreseeable future. China alone will increase emissions by amounts that dwarf all of Europe's carbon reductions.

Time for new studies on peak oil, coal liquification, genetic changes in snails due to warming, or anything other than addressing the products of your policy recommendations?

John Mashey said...

Good, I am pleased to hear someone is working on it.
lack of such software is one of the reasons I don't have a blog.

Ideally, instead of Accept or Reject, one would add X that sends it off to the shadow thread, leaving person's name, date, and a link behind. So if people want to go over there and look or argue, they can, and followups should go there automatically. Further, it would be nice to codify and tag reasons for doing this, easily selectable at that point, like Off Topic, or Don't Feed Trolls, or Long-Debunked Argument (maybe even giving a number from John Cook's fixed list. Admittedly, some posts could use a multiple numbers,but that may be too complex.

A great service would be to assemble and discuss a standard catalog of familiar action codes that might be seen to be useful and widely adopted. I would speculate that most actions could be covered in a handful of codes.

This is somewhat equivalent to the Journal of Irreproducible Results' ~1970s article showing that most graphs in science could be handled by a small set of curves, including rotations and reflections, and that if given standard numbers, need not be shown at all, thus saving many staff-years )(computed)/year of effort constructing foils for presentations.

In this case, the codes might be more akin to those once proposed for standard jokes, so that one might just say "44" and all would laugh.

guthrie said...

John Mashey #42 - don't you mean 42?

Deech56 said...

As a start, any posts in which the guest calls the host names should not be here. Also, there are many venues that trash Phil Jones and Mike Mann, et al., this does not have to be one of them. Trolls crave attention, and when a poster engages in troll-like behavior, the host has every right to deny the poster a platform.

Rich Puchalsky said...

I've been banned as a troll on lots of blogs, so I have some rough guidelines:

1. Delete whatever you want to delete. It's your blog.

2. Don't gloat over it, though. If someone's banned, just tell them that they're banned. Don't indulge in self-justificatory trash-talking about how great you are and how bad the bannee is. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Making Light people.) Especially after they've been banned.

3. I think that simple deletion of comments and / or banning altogether is preferable to some kind of complicated scheme where you gradually lead the bannee down a path that is intended to warn them to change their style. They won't, and it's insulting.

4. Community rating schemes e.g. pile-ons can bring your community together, I guess, but it's tacky to make people feel good around ejecting someone else. If your blog is too big to moderate, then sure, go ahead, because you have to. If it isn't, don't.

Your whole post and quotes about Fuller seems to be to be edging towards point 2. above. If he's worth posting about, post about him. Don't use him as a poster boy for bad behavior without it ostensibly being about him. John Mashey's suggestions involve point 3 and possibly 4.

Andy said...

Perfect timing.
Could somebody remind me why anybody pays attention to Keith Kloor? Or how that started? He doesn't seem to have the influence of Pielke, Revkin or McI, or the popularity of WUWT, or the mystery of Curry, or the active aggression of Fuller.
Everybody else, from RC to you to Tamino to Yulsman, I've actually learned a thing or two from, or at least provided something intresting to disagree with.

PDA said...

Well, it's nice to see some content - even if it's recycled stuff - instead of iteration no. 56408 of "TOBIS R A SKUMBAGG!!1!"

Among adult children of alcoholics, we often talk about the typical roles children take within a dysfunctional family. Lukewarmers remind me of the kid who plays the middle game: sometimes taking sides with the "bad kid," sometimes taking sides with the "good kid."

There are doubtless good motivations among many of the people who say things like "Hey, sensitivity is hard, let's just split the difference. Doom talk is off-putting. There is an awful lot of uncertainty." And I'd gladly take a truce on those terms; I signed on to Tom's 2.5° proffer right away. I am inherently suspicious, though, of people who claim to have looked at the evidence and ended up in some arbitrarily chosen middle position between mainstream science and barking lunacy.

Nevertheless, if Fuller or Curry or Kloor or any of them can broker a deal, I'll be the first to put up cash for statues of them to be put on the National Mall. Progress to date is uninspiring, sadly.

Tom said...

Tobis, you cannot even cut and paste without mucking it up?

Michael Tobis said...

First of all, I genuinely like Keith Kloor, at least as far as I know from online interactions. (We haven't met personally.)

Also there's the fact that Keith seems to think I am important. In return I seem to think he is important.

It's an odd sort of a mutually beneficial relationship, since in some ways I think he is the very model of the problem. Also, unlike Revkin, he actually is willing to engage, blog-style, rather than just claiming some aura of grey lady superiority. Occasionally there is even a grudging sign of understanding.

I also think his heart is in the right place. Unfortunately there's also a clueless streak, probably wider than Revkin's. Oddly this makes me like him more than I like Revkin, of whom I'm always thinking he should have known better than to say that, for various values of that.

Also, he does teach journalism and he gets published in Nature News or something like that. He's not just an also-ran with a blog. He really represents the serious side of journalistic culture, heaven help us. But that makes him an appropriate person to whom to try to explain the problem.

The particular forms of deafness we see in response are well-described by Jay Rosen, and have nothing to do with venality or corruption.

Indeed they are based in something like an ethic, an ethic which ultimately, when pressed, finds that journalism not only is but should be a fundamentally trivial exercise. It's damned peculiar, and it's a key to our problems.

Michael Tobis said...

Rich, on points your 3 and 4, I think I see what you mean but I disagree.

What we desperately need, what nobody has invented yet, is a venue in which conversation can make some sort of progress.

This can only happen if there is a fairly complex reputation system. A person who is mostly a positive contributor but has a fringe opinion here and there (me, for instance) is more valuable than one who has a crack but won't leave it alone (AMac) who in turn is more valuable than a knee-jerk toxicity injector (raven). The system needs to find objective ways to tone AMac down about tree rings but still listen to his larger points, ignore raven, and pay a lot of attention to people like Bart Verheggen, who is almost impeccably a positive contributor.

Such a system needs to be both attractive and scalable. Far too little work has been done on this. It was easy to see the need when usenet started to disintegrate as a platform for intelligent conversation (you were there with me; you remember).

The gem of early 90s usenet has never entirely been replicated in areas of controversy. There has to be some way of approaching it at scale, and indeed of surpassing it.

Rich Puchalsky said...

"A fairly complex reputation system" already exists. It's called reputation. On a blog of this size, everyone knows who everyone is already, and people already see Amac and think "Oh no tree rings" just as they probably see me and think "Here comes another scold about something political."

So what you want isn't a reputation system, it's a moderation system. You want something that deletes and/or tones down and/or rates down certain people on certain topics so that you don't have to do it. Well, that doesn't exist, because AI doesn't exist.

The people who do this at scale, i.e. who can't or don't want to go through a huge number of comments, do it by community rate-up/rate-down, mostly. Which is fine if that's what you want to do, but it of course means that that community doesn't hear anything it doesn't want to hear, pretty much by definition.

Lastly, conversation is overvalued. If people aren't contributing in the way you want, just ban them. You're never going to carefully trim someone's commentslike a bonsai to fit into the exact shape that you want.

guthrie said...

Hmm, I hang out at making light, and have a slightly different view of it from Rich; but on the other hand I don't recall seeing him be banned and he'll have a different view than other people. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that Making Light has formed a very liberal community who want to understand everything, including why interactions went wrong and many of whome suffer some guilt over any such interaction which doesn't work out right. Therefore what to Rich is self justificationing trash talking looks to me more like people trying to work out what went wrong and soothe their confusion.

That said, his point 3 is I think the most useful way to go, if you are intending a useful blog which deals with definite topics. See for example Tamino who has a rather strict policy and at times has been a bit more agressive than I would have liked myself.

Regarding Tom, some of his posts the last few days I would have told him to fuck off and get a life, but it is your blog so...

hengist mcstone said...

Hi, I am an informed layman, I know a lot less than the scientists but a lot more than the man in the street. I have identified a gap in my knowledge which I'd like help with. What Don't We Know About Climate Science? We are told that the peer reviewed science is no longer debating seriously whether the climate is changing nor that it is man made. Great, well just so as we know, what is the peer reviewed science debating? (Excluding E&E's contrib pls). If I understand things correctly peer review is the top table in the debate,but I will never be smart enough to read the papers, so essentially I am relying on journalists to interpret that debate for me. It's an important point because the press are putting out a narrative here that the top table is debating one thing - veracity or some such thing and I cannot rebut that unless I am up to speed on where the scientific controversy is really at. In essence I am saying that scientists could do well to reclaim part of the narrative if only someone would give us a short precis of what they are debating instead of leaving that up to an untrustworthy media.

Michael Tobis said...

hengist, a good point indeed.

There are many debates on many issues, though, so it is hard to summarize. Further, many of the most scientifically interesting questions are not of immediate interest to the public.

However, I agree that neither the press nor the scientific community is doing a good job in expressing the cutting edge of science to the public. I believe we would do a service by debating in public, so that people could understand the difference between discourse as still practiced within science and verbal warfare as practiced elsewhere.

Michael Tobis said...

aaron writes

Dear, cag_skeptic99
Yes, it is my fault. I worked for Jay Forrester and D. Meadows in 1970, & thereafter stood up and told the truth which alienated many, and caused them to be less receptive to the message of global warming. If I had just done a better job of communicating, more people would have joined me in bicycling to work.

And, of course, I took a few years off of the global warming issue to work on the clean up of some very large hazardous and nuclear waste sites. Incidental to that work was the recycling of train loads of US DOE paper which reduced global warming and saved US DOE money. We recycled and reused train loads of metals and thereby reduced global warming and saved US DOE money. Over all these programs that reduced global warming saved US Taxpayers 5 billion dollars. That is reduced CO2 and cash in the bank circa 1994 to 1996. Do your numbers include this? If not, what else did you miss?

Now that we are having this little talk, what have you done with your life?

rustneversleeps said...

@ hengist mcstone re: uncertainties/"What Don't We Know About Climate Science?"

I'm pretty sure this is a link that I got from mt at some point, but here is an accessible synopsis from NASA:

Unresolved questions about Earth's climate

Patrick Mouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick Mouse said...

Tom said...
"Tobis, you cannot even cut and paste without mucking it up?"

I understand that Tom Fuller does not care for MT. He has a beef with the man. In the end it may have something to do with the perception that he has been treated in a high handed manner.

In other contexts I have run across the phrase "people and personalities." What was ment by that phrase was the idea that in any given organization or social sphere there will always be conflict, but that if there is some good to be found you might want to put up with some things, or find another location were the same good could be found, without the objectional folk.

While I am interested in hearing a variety of views on the climate issue, comments like the one which I quoted above don't add much to the conversation.

In comments to a previous essay regarding the mass balance for glacial ice in Antarctica Tom responded to a study which gave a range for the measures taken which had a large margin of error. In his comments (if I recall correctly) he seemed to be arguing that the acknowledged uncertainty was so large that no conclusion could be made from that study. If a civil conversation could have continued it seemed to me that some profit could have been gained. How we know what we know is always (to me) an interesting question. A detailed examination of the history of climate scientists thought on how Antarctica would behave, as well as an examination of how things are panning out as well as our expectations for the history (to cite but one issue) are of great interest to this reader.

Tom Fuller's opinions regarding Michael Tobis are not quite as interesting, except in so far as they emblematic of a larger problem.

In the end I'll have to second Rich Puchalsky's comment. Its your blog. Writing and moderating take a lot of time. If someone isn't adding to the conversation then bann them.

Rich also makes the point:

"Don't gloat over it, though. If someone's banned, just tell them that they're banned. Don't indulge in self-justificatory trash-talking about how great you are and how bad the bannee is. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Making Light people.) Especially after they've been banned."

Given the nature of the internet a person can always take their trade elsewhere.

hengist mcstone said...

Thanks for the NASA link. Yes we need more of that because it reflects the aspect of climate science obscured by the veracity narrative. It's frustrating that AGW proponents are spending so much energy rebutting deniers, thus the deniers are to some extent controlling the debate. BTW I think I am able to prove that a peer reviewed paper has ben misrepresented by the MSM http://bbcantigreenbias.blogspot.com/2010/09/bbc-misrepresented-empirical-paper-fact.html

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks to rust from me as well.

One thing that's nice about having readers, given that my long term memory has never been especially good, is that good things I have found or said in the past get remembered by proxy.

hengist your BBC story is interesting, and I have also featured your Science letter / photoshop controversy lament. I welcome and encourage your continued participation in the discussion and am pleased to make your virtual acquaintance.

John Mashey said...

Rich:

My claim is that the choice of Accept [possibly with inline comments, as at RC or Stoat] or Reject is unnecessarily restrictive, in something implemented in software.

Editors of newspapers/magazines make editorial decisions all of the time. They choose whether it run a story, and which section/page it goes on and how many column inches it gets in printed version, or these days, if it's only on a reporter's blog section.

They decided whether or not to print a letter-to-editor, possibly with editing, or offer the letter writer an OpEd slot, or maybe even send to a reporter to pursue a story. Sometimes, letters-to-editor are extremely valuable, even if they are totally wrong on facts, because they help one learn which people cannot get facts right. [For instance, I know of a certain article I didn't need to spend much time on, because I'd seen the author spout silliness in letters to editor in local papers.]

Unmoderated blogs fill up with junk, very low S/N ratio. Why should moderators never have any simple choices but Accept/Reject?
Some people seem to see how marginal they can make their comments, until they get rejected ... then complain they are censored.



After all, send to shadow thread (or maybe there should be multiples) alone does not mean "bad", it might mean:

1) Hopeless troll, but record their track record. In the old USENET days, it was easier to build records, *both* good and bad. It is *valuable* to me, when someone offers an opinion, to be able to back-check what they've written before ... even if a moderator sent many posts to a shadow to keep them from diluting a main thread.

2) Uselessly off-topic.
[This might even be applied to an otherwise valued contributor, as almost anybody does this sometime.)

3) Not all off-topic, but too much. [This is why having a simple code might help: the moderator may feel there is value to the post, but dilutes the main discussion too much.]

4) Off-topic, but in fact interesting. This is where one might promote it to a main post, or create an extra shadow thread, in effect mimicking newsreaders that kept track of subthreads, and gave simple options to display/hide subhreads, extremely valuable. Via some blogs, it is painful to read long-running discussions in which the original post has spawned half-a-dozen subthreads all intermingled.

5) RECOMMENDED - (some do this), just tags a comment as especially useful.

All this is simply to give the *moderator* a bit more flexibility. Moderators make choices all the time for various reasons.

This is completely orthogonal to any reader-rating system. Just as in choice of newspaper/magazine, as a reader, I prize not only good writing but good editorial, and good blogs combine both. A low S/N ratio drives me away from any blog, just as I finally gave up posting on USENET.

Some of this is only trying to get back attributes equivalent to USENET in the old days.

SO, say again, is there a problem with giving moderators a bit more flexibility? How to use it is an individual moderator's choice, but the existing policy options seem rather restrictive.

Michael Tobis said...

Individual blogs are as good as their authors and their audiences. Still, something is lost from the early usenet before the internet became a public commodity. Can it be restored? Perhaps; the smart people are still there. It all becomes a matter of better filtering. Can it be exceeded? Arguably, because everybody is here.

But it's not so simple as just getting to usenet quality in the first step and exceeding it in the second.

I am fascinated with the idea of collective intelligence for real. But the tool set is going to have to be subtle.

Bart said...

Hengist,

Some key uncertainties regarding AGW as I see them are:

- Regional climate effects
- Equilibrium climate sensitivity/feedbacks
- The role of aerosols and clouds
- Sea level rise

http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/climate-uncertainties/

Michael Tobis said...

On the matter of what is known and what is disputed in climate science, see also the Rpyal Society report here. h/t Belette

http://is.gd/imt7C

http://royalsociety.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294972963

John Mashey said...

MT writes:
"Individual blogs are as good as their authors and their audiences."

Yes, and if the one imagines the distribution of "good" as seen with existing tools, one would hope better tools would shift that distribution rightward (better), if only by automating tasks well enough that they become so trivial that people who want to do them easily can.


This is, after all, what we've done for decades in improving software tools - help experts do more and help everyone else do things they couldn't before.

Q (to large general audience): how many of you are programmers?
A: (very few hands go up)
Q: How many of you use Excel?
A: (most hands go up)
Q: then you are programmers doing things that would have needed lots of FORTRAN a few decades ago.

Right now, I still think it takes unnecessarily-much work to do a good job of moderation.

Tom said...

No matter how much you piss and moan about why I keep dropping by, it's to remind you that you acted like a scumbag wrt Judith Curry.

Just so you don't forget.

John Mashey said...

As an example of why it is sometimes good to record something for posterity, but not have it clutter a main thread, consider Deep Climate's handling of Donald Rapp's comments a year ago.
DC posted an edited version of Rapp's original. It would have been sad if the original 2-pager and its "Braying donkeys" and "Taliban of the Internet" had just been rejected and lost to posterity, but one would not have wanted to fill up a thread with it either.

guthrie said...

Tom if that is your reason for coming here, you are wasting your time, because Michael has not acted in such a way to Curry, and any attempt to blame him for her shortcomings just makes you look a fool. Besides, can't she fight her own battles?
(Why is it you think Curry needs support? Why do you think she's been labelled as jumping the shark by every intelligent climate blogger out there?)

PDA said...

Tom, the compulsive drive-by spamming makes no sense if it's about Curry. It makes all the sense in the world if it's about you.

Ask Tobis for an apology, man. You don't even have to stop hating him. It might, though, at least let you move on.

Tom said...

I don't hate Tobis. I don't think Curry should have to ask for an apology. I think Tobis should man up and do the right thing.

I don't believe Curry is believed to have jumped the shark by anyone except hysterics fretting about 'large scale population declines' from imaginary 10 degree temperature rises and imaginary 20 foot sea level rises that exist nowhere outside of their fever dreams and the occasional absurdist science fiction flick.

I have no desire to move on. Tobis knows that what he did is without excuse--it's obvious by his inability to respond even to me, let alone to Curry, despite her follow-up post.

Instead, he calls me dumb, crackpot and denier. This is what passes for intellectual firepower from the Fire Brigade in the closing days of 2010.

Tobis can boot me off the site any time he wants. I can make these criticisms off his campus as easily as on. But until he does, he's not going to quit hearing from me on this subject.

Michael Tobis said...

I remember an old joke from a stage comedy called "You Don't Have to be Jewish, "The Reading of the Will"... "to the synagogue (generous bequest)... to my children ( stipends and trusts) ...to my wife (remainder of fortune)... and to my freeloading brother in law Louie, who always said I'd never remember him in my will, hello Louie!")

So to Tom, who says

"Tobis knows that what he did is without excuse--it's obvious by his inability to respond even to me, let alone to Curry, despite her follow-up post. "

"Hi Tom!"

I regret that I said what everybody is thinking about Curry out loud in the sense that I wish somebody else had done it. But it needed saying.

It's a shame. She's a nice person, and not a complete fool. What she's doing in general is highly dubious, but her claim to seat at the table on uncertainty management is ridiculous and she ought to know it.

Sorry. I'm sorry it's true and I'm sorry it had to be said and I wish somebody else had said it. But she hasn't provided me with any route to back down. And I'm sorry you lack the sophistication to see all that, Tom. My argument was pretty elementary.

Given that neither Curry nor you has engaged the substance of my elementary critique, I have no option of backing down. Given that you lack the skill to address the matter in substance, I don't see why I or anyone else should take your word on what is or isn't a plausible scientific prognosis.

You are just blowing smoke. You really ought to stick to things you are capable of understanding.

Yes, I was rude about the flag business. Somebody needed to be rude. I regret the necessity and I wish someone else had done it instead of me, but I see no way to back down.

Steve Bloom said...

Everything about Fuller is explained by him having entered this "debate" as a conscious propagandist. Even the "liberal" bit is obvious fiction. I've never seen a liberal think or behave like that. Neo-cons, you betcha.

Tom said...

If rudeness is required to show error then you have no beef with me.

If your incorrect assessment using your tired old Viaduct analogy is all you have to attack her preliminary explication of the Italian Flag construct is proof of your scientifc expertise, it's back to grade school for you.

Using artificial constructs and metaphors as a means to attack someone is as old as Thucydides.

You see no way to back down because of your ego and false pride, not because you still think you are correct.

If you thought you were correct you would have trundled your fat Texan ass over to her site and engaged with her when she made her more recent post on the issue.

The fact is you were wrong on the facts and used her preliminary post on a simple logic problem to attack her knowledge of climate science and her position in academia.

It was more than just insulting, uncalled for, malicious and evidence of something dark and slimy in your personality. It was a deliberate hatchet job. You didn't go after her command of relevant science at all. You called her incompetent based on a logic box that has nothing to do with climate science.

The fact that you have been on your best behaviour since to me indicates that you are aware of the magnitude of your--well, error is far too charitable--your scummy behaviour.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, she said nothing of substance in her latest posting on the subject. There was nothing to engage with.

If she is offering a real substantive way to think about uncertainty she needs to provide clear and coherent examples. Summarizing her sources doesn't change that.

The thing is, elementary reasoning DOES have something to do with climate science. People who can't reason at an elementary level on a subject where they claim expertise cannot help but cast a shadow on their other work.

Given that she is already rushing to say things in a broader context that don't seem to most scientists to make any sense, this is a big deal. She has ducked the question. So I have, for now, no follow-up.

Tom said...

Too weak, Tobis. So weak as to be laughable, were it not pathetic.

Apologise for what you wrote. Post it at the top of this blog. Leave it up for a week. Go over to her blog and apologise for what you wrote. Feel free to say you still disagree with her on many things including her explanation of the Italian Flag construct. But emphasize that you were completely wrong to use it as an excuse to call her out of touch and incompetent.

Do it, Tobis. You know it is the correct thing to do.

Michael Tobis said...

But Tom, there's the rub. It seems likely that she really is out of touch and scientifically incompetent.

Most people are scientifically incompetent. That's a long way from not being able to tie your shoelaces or balance your checkbook. It's not a terrible thing. But if a person is trying to take on a leadership role in science, it's a bit, um, disqualifying.

So if there is some question, it needs to be raised.

If the truth is otherwise, she is at liberty to try to make the case. Or anyone else can take it up on her behalf. So far, nothing. You'd think McIntyre would say something in her defense if there were something to say. After all, this is on his turf.

But so far, what little she has said recently that had any quantitative reasoning in it that I know about has appeared to me to be disastrously, irredeemably confused. If I am wrong, please explain to me or someone whose intellectual judgment I trust how it can be otherwise. Use mathematics.

Or forget it. She is wrong. A great thing about science is that it is falsifiable. Some people forget that this means that while nothing is absolutely true in science, a great many things are actually absolutely false.

Tom said...

That's the same crap you pulled with me, Tobis.

For months you accused me of being scientifically illiterate, but you refused to provide any examples, despite repeated requests. I even provided a list of things you could say I didn't understand.

You refused. Now you're doing the same thing with Curry.


Be specific or be silent.

Michael Tobis said...

The critique was here.

The core of it was this:

"The issue is that Judith Curry, in unveiling her new intellectual tool with great fanfare and off-key notes of false modesty, conflates confidence in a hypothesis with weighting.

This leads to an unambiguous contradiction."

Which contradiction I proceeded to demonstrate at the level of about two weeks into an undergrad probability and statistics course.

Lots of people understood my critique and nobody has answered it. The ball is emphatically in Curry's court, or of someone who can actually resolve the contradiction.

PDA said...

Tom, you wrote in the thread at my place that your "argument is that based on Tobis’ previous actions, this is a cold-blooded and premeditated political attack on Judith Curry using an Italian flag as a pretext."

Which of "Tobis' previous actions," in specific, are you referring to?

PDA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

Tobis, your critique is based on a duck. The Italian Flag has nothing to do with climate science.

You wrote: "We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with? That's the only question any of this burbling raises."

That's a hatchet job. If you wanted to know what she understood about climate science you could read her published papers--on that subject.

You wrote: "Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing."

When I asked which of her writings you based that on you were silent.

Her Italian Flag is considerably better as a metaphor than your duck. Having myself been the subject of your attacks in the past, I have no doubt of what you are doing.

Again, you make vicious and unwarranted attacks and refuse to be back them up with any specifics.

What you do is both vile and vicious, and is done not from any concern about science or even protecting fragile internet surfers from contamination from heinous error.

It's a simple hit job based on expedient politics. It served your base political purposes to label me as scientifically illiterate without ever citing even one instance or example. As we are both bit players, I protested against your tactics three or four times and then dropped it.

Now you do the same to Curry. You have nothing at all to say about her climate science. Hell you never have anything to say about climate science at all--do you understand it?

But Curry is more than a bit player. What you are doing is wrong and I hope it follows you the rest of your life.

Michael Tobis said...

I agree that Curry is more than a bit player. Given the quality of her reasoning displayed in the topic at hand, this is a matter for concern. That's the point.

It does make sense to look at her publication record, but there are few papers on which she is sole author.

Her most recent first authorship is 2004 with a couple of BAMS pieces. BAMS doesn't count as peer review. Prior to that she has a first authorship on an EOS piece and finally something peer reviewed in JGR:

Curry, J.A., J.L. Schramm, A. Alam, R. Reeder, T.E. Arbetter, P. Guest, 2002: Evaluation of data sets used to force sea ice models in the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys Res., 107, art. no 3102. (pdf)

Nothing particularly influential to my knowledge. None of it had crossed my purview, admittedly an eccentric one, until her recent prominence.

I have looked at several of her papers since, focusing on ones where she has first authorship. They all seem empirical and strikingly avoidant of mathematics or physical theory. I would be interested in any counterexamples.

Anna Haynes said...

Interesting. When most of these fellows get in their Huff, they drive away. The transmission seems to be out with this one.

IMO the canonical Fuller-and-Tobis discourse can be found at Fullergate.

MT, to ban creates precedent, which creates cover for less honorable bloggers. I'd say until Blogger/Google has the sense to listen to Mashey and create Shadow Threads, make a once-a-week open thread sandbox; and let your trolls comment there with whatever level of civility they desire.

Anna Haynes said...

Q re Curry - I recall someone saying that her (sub)field is extreme-weather, not climate. Is this correct? and if so, would she be better described as a meteorologist then?

(I'm asking with an eye toward her SourceWatch page, and the accuracy thereof.)

Tom said...

Anna, is that you downstairs? I'll alert the receptionist.

Tom said...

I notice you cite without giving any indication of having read. I doubt if that's a coincidence.

On that basis you trashed her?

Scum.

rustneversleeps said...

Tom, since it seems that you have taken it upon yourself to defend Dr. Curry's honour, maybe you can help defend the Italian Flag as well. No ducks involved!

Read the sub-thread linked below where Gavin and Judy are participating. It is about Pat Michaels' contention that the contribution of CO2 alone to the extant greenhouse effect on the planet is about 2.5C instead of the long-established ~ 7C... The discussion has nothing to do with the "flag", but then Judith somewhat inexplicably pipes in here with:
Italian flag analysis here:
evidence for Gavin’s assertion: >90%
evidence against Gavin’s assertion: <0.1%
uncertainty (r.t codes, some model inputs, whatever): <9.9%


Seriously, can you tell us, Tom?: What the hell does that even mean? From something resembling a statistical point-of-view, not some stream-of-consciousness musing. It's gobbledy-gook as far as I can tell. Why, pray tell, do the numbers add up to 100%? Etc., etc. And her subsequent post clarified nothing whatsoever.

Michael is correct - there was nothing of substance for him or anyone else to engage with in her rejoinder. And if what "The Italian Flag" leads her to is incoherent nonsense like the above, then that is quite concerning.

Tom said...

rustneversleeps,

I am not Judith Curry and don't want to put words in her mouth. However, if I had written this:

Italian flag analysis here:
evidence for Gavin’s assertion: >90%
evidence against Gavin’s assertion: <0.1%
uncertainty (r.t codes, some model inputs, whatever): <9.9%

What it would mean (to me, if not readers) is:

1. 90% of my opinion/belief/understanding of this issue is formed by evidence that backs Gavin's assertion.

2. Because nothing in science is ever settled, like a gadfly reminding a prince that he is ever mortal, I ritually assign that asterisk part of my belief/opinion an 0.1% value. I haven't seen credible evidence attacking Gavin's assertion, but I am aware of claims from people such as Michaels who has been right on some things in the past. I'm pretty sure he's wrong on this, but it's not only Michaels who is human and subject to error--so am I and so is Gavin.

Lastly, my reading in the field leads me to believe that there is enough uncertainty in measurements and models to never assign more than a 90% probability to basically anything involved with greenhouse gases, at this point. Discovered errors in both make it prudent to caveat all statements at roughly a 90% level of confidence, even if I am not yet aware of any specific errors.

I have used rough analogues for this in the past and it has led to satisfactory results. I would suggest you ask Curry about it for a more definitive explanation.

Steve Bloom said...

Michael, don't forget her recent screw-up (as second author) on that sea ice paper. That was entirely within her expertise.

Steve Bloom said...

Just to add regarding the sea ice that a particular irony arises from the paper Michael cited.

Michael Tobis said...

Unfortunately, Fuller really believes he has answered the question.

Or at least he should get partial credit, maybe a B+ if not full points.

This is the problem.

He doesn't seem to understand who is being responsive and who isn't. It seems to go by word count and possibly by grammar and polite mannerisms.

This, ultimately, is Tom Fuller's superpower. He is immune to argument. He is the Monty Python Black Knight of debate.

Michael Tobis said...

Steve, what screw-up on the ice paper?

Steve Bloom said...

But I don't recall seeing him offer to call it a draw.

Weasels ripped Curry's paper here, Michael. Grumbine was Stoat-for-a-Day.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, yawn, purged. We get it.

me = scummy.

Try to do something besides repeating yourself. You are no longer entertaining the customers and I may be forced to engage the services of another troll.

Michael Tobis said...

John, OT about Excel; not everybody using it is doing the equivalent of programming. Most users "don't use formulas". Excel is seen by many as a tabular word processor and/or a graphing utility.

dhogaza said...

MT, try this.

She was second author, one of her grad students was first author.

Money quote from Conelley's tear-down linked above could well be this one: "The main problem with the paper is the uncritical use of invalid data."

There are apparently also questions about how this paper adds anything to a previous paper published years ago (Manabe 1992), given the press exposure the Liu/Curry umm curried.

Here's a question asked by Hank Roberts, which never got answered.

She does answer over at Conelley's, check out point three, followed by a pithy comment and link by William.

Perhaps all this will jog your memory ...

Tom said...

Note that you are reacting with surprise and delight that the usual hyenas are picking around at Curry's work. Note that you obviously haven't read them. Note that you slimed her without having read her work.

And you call me a troll?

Michael Tobis said...

What delight?

Tom said...

Missing the point, are we?

Michael Tobis said...

The point that it doesn't bother you whether your evidence is imaginary?

I spotted that, actually.

Tom said...

The evidence is all over your blog. Pretty hard to miss, actually.

Michael Tobis said...

OK, where is the evidence to support the following?

"Note that you are reacting with surprise and delight that the usual hyenas are picking around at Curry's work."

In particular, where did I express delight?

PDA said...

Tom's kind of become the Brett Favre of "In It:" something to see, once, but now erratic, played-out, and stalkery. If Tom sends a text message with a photo attachment, perhaps it's best to delete it unread.

Tom said...

Tobis, given your haste and long denunciation of the Italian Flag, I see two possibilities:

1. You have read Curry's scientific work and found no errors

2. You have not read Curry's scientific work

Both alternatives are repugnant--one would mean that you disregarded her professional work and slimed her because of a blog post about something else. The other means that you were on a mission from God to destroy Curry anointed by the saints in heaven to preserve the alarmist flag, and her life's work didn't matter.

As for delight, it is the suppressed delight of the undertaker, noted only by speed of response and welcome of those who provide you with your soft porn for the evening, the fact that some other alarmist didn't like her work--what a grateful and pleasant surprise.

nawagadj said...

My problem with Curry's blog is that she goes far outside her expertise to make damning claims. All this stuff about uncertainty and better ways to deal with it; any sign of her using these approaches in her own publications? - none that I can see. Any papers on these topics that are suddenly so important? - none.

There's some interesting and relevant work on expertise - basically if you go outside your own immediate feild, even to closely related ones, your expertise evaporates, and you're just as likely to make basic errors as a novice.

This is pretty apparent with Curry. Her intellectual tic for false dichotomies and slogans has exposed some woefully shallow thinking (ie. 'ideology', 'indoctrination', heck she's even been toying with 'propaganda').

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, you missed at least one possibility. I have perused Curry's publication record and found nothing relevant to the Italian flag, so I don't think reading any of it is relevant.

Nothing repugnant about that. I just determine that we are at least on equal terms. To be honest, having studied some statistics myself, I feel as if I am criticizing an overconfident undergraduate.

Are you suggesting that it is impossible to criticize a given scientist without reading everything he or she has written?

I guess you are. That is not how science works. Try to understand the concept of "falsifiable" and why people think it is so important.

Tom said...

Michael Tobis is an incompetent software engineer by his own reasoning.

He does not understand online market research, including logic and loops defined by software parameters. He has shown himself laughably ignorant about best practice, the strengths and weaknesses of online research. Hence he is incompetent.


One wonders how mediocrity can rise to the top?

By his own logic, Michael Tobis is still an incompetent software engineer.

He exhibits laughably poor comprehension of journalism, while using a software driven Web 2.0 mediating platform for collecting and organising input received via the Internet. He does not know what journalists do, yet he not only criticizes them, he attempts to do it himself, with laughably poor results.

As with market research, he does not understand the guidelines professionals use, nor what is best practice. He violates the canons of journalism frequently--and an egregious example of it is what he wrote about Curry, making claims about her competence and intelligence and her fitness for duty in field A based on what she wrote regarding field B.

This is absurd, no? What I wrote about your ignorance of market research and journalism is not only true, it screams its way off of every post you write regarding or using either subject. You are functionally an idiot on these matters.

But only another idiot would say this bears on your ability to perform limited and well-supervised work in the domain you currently work in.

You have not read her work. You called her incompetent and stupid. You slimed her because it advances your political position.

Tom said...

As for your puerile hand-waving justification, no I do not think it is necessary to read everything a scientist has written before criticizing a particular work product--even including a blog post.

But before you call her incompetent and intellectually deficient you certainly should.

Your self-justifying whines are getting loopier and loopier.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, what self-justifying whines? An example please?

To go with the example of my delight at attacks on a recent Curry paper that I'm still waiting for?

Anyway, you really ought to leave this Curry business alone. There is plenty of trolling you can do here on our prior disagreements, and you are obviously able to manufacture new ones easily enough.

By keeping the question of Curry's scientific abilities going, you are doing her no favors. I'm willing to drop it. I've always been willing to make amends if refuted, or even if Curry comes up with a cogent retraction.

I'm not willing to say that an uncorrected very elementary error in a very public writing by a scientist is a small issue, though.

So failing Curry's coming up with something that reasonably educated people could consider a "flag" calculus, you are best off changing the subject.

Also, "He does not understand online market research, including logic and loops defined by software parameters." huh?

Tom said...

The 'huh' says it all.

I'll drop it when you do the following:

1. Delete the post where you slimed Curry
2. Write a post with a short and unconditional apology to Curry.
3. Post that apology on her weblog

Do that and you will never hear from me again. You will also show the world that you have some vestige of moral sense.

I apologized to Joe Romm. You can apologize to Judith Curry.

PDA said...

Tom's current justification for his ringing denunciations of Dr. Tobis seem to center around the idea that "he disregarded [Curry's] professional work and slimed her because of a blog post about something else." This appears to be related to the statements in "Beyond the Shark" that it's "impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in," because she is "capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing."

Tom seems to think this specific critique has to do with the Italian flag. That's the only conclusion one can draw from his accusation that MT is "making claims about her competence and intelligence and her fitness for duty in field A based on what she wrote regarding field B." This conclusion is bolstered to his response to the "vapid illogical" etc writings quote: "When I asked which of her writings you based that on you were silent."

Tom obviously did not read the words directly above those words, the ones Dr. Tobis helpfully put in bold:

Danley Wolfe:...There are many forcings and some are known to be underrepresented in the modeling such as aerosols / clouds and black soot.

curryja: Danley, very true, same goes for solar also.


This is the kind of nonsense you expect to see a random lay blogger spouting off on a website, not the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. And it's abundantly clear from context that it's this kind of stuff to which MT was referring with his accusation that it's "impossible to judge that she's in touch" with climate science.

The reason why Tom avoids specifics is increasingly clear to me: every time he makes a specific claim, on this matter or on something like GRACE, he shows the same basic failure in reading comprehension. This is compounded by a rather breathtaking ability to pivoting away from the specific claim when he's caught out, changing the subject to something else or merely resorting to colorful ad hominems.

In any regard, this is much more like the Tom of old, so I'm glad at least that he's taken time off of client work - or else is billing for this flame war - ahead of the weekend to return to form in this manner.

"I'll bite your legs off!"

guthrie said...

To judge by Tom's behaviour, what journalists do is go to the blogs of people they disagree with and insult them repeatedly, using whatever they think of as their best insults.
Is this the kind of behaviour you want your children to get up to? Of course not.

Are you feeling better yet, Tom?

Tom said...

PDA, you have managed the impossible--you have one-upped Tobis for opacity of thought.

Whereas Tobis calls for the excommunication of Curry because of her third ever blog post on a subject that is not climate science, you judge her and find her wanting because, not of a comment, but because of a response to a comment.


If Tobis developed software to the same rigorous standards used here at Only In It For The Gold, his applications would fall over and twitch feebly on the ground. But neither you nor anyone else judges Tobis as an engineer based on this weblog.

I have no idea what you do for a living, PDA, but if you had some of your comments tattoed on your forehead at work it would not bode well for you.

You impose a publication-standard delivery on Curry's weblog ex post facto and think you can judge her intelligence and her science based on a set of standards that she did not sign up to and almost certainly does not agree to.

It certainly does not seem to bother either of you jerks that Eli Rabett adheres to a far different standard than that of publication quality for his blog and comments. It certainly does not bother either of you that you do not adhere to publication quality for your blogs and comments.

But Tobis has labeled Curry as stupid and incompetent based on a blog post that was not about climate science. You back him up based on her response to a commenter.

Or rather, you are both looking to slime her and have seized upon this ridiculous mechanisms to get your crap on the Internet where it will live forever.

Tom said...

And PDA, I'm not pivoting away from previous claims. Perhaps you find it uncomfortable that there are multiple lines of argument that lead to the conclusion that Tobis performed a political hatchet job on Curry and cobbled up a pathetic excuse to drive his attack, but that is what happened.

dhogaza said...

"You impose a publication-standard delivery on Curry's weblog ex post facto and think you can judge her intelligence and her science based on a set of standards that she did not sign up to and almost certainly does not agree to."

Nah, we just demand a minimal level of accuracy on Curry's part. Claims such that models don't adequately account for solar inputs shows she simply doesn't know what she's talking about in regard to models. When she doesn't know what she's talking about, she should either 1) study first, answer later or 2) simply admit she doesn't know.

The fact that you don't hold her to such standards is ... unsurprising.

PDA said...

Tom, if I had said - at a client site, to as colleague, on a bus or in a text message - that the power density of an electromagnetic wave is proportional to the inverse of the distance from the source, it would be a boner of the magnitude Curry pulled. It wouldn't matter what the context was: the remark would belie a misunderstanding of the fundamentals of my field so profound that it would lead people to the impression that I didn't know what I was talking about.

If, in Curry's case, it was a one-off comment typed in haste, perhaps, and worded poorly, that would be somewhat less of an issue, but she's made the statement about solar numerous times in comments and in main posts.

We've all been waiting for any of your "multiple lines of argument" other than Tobis was mean to me and he was mean to Curry. Merely asserting that what was done to you and to Curry was a "hatchet job" doesn't make it so. Was the argument incorrect? In which respects? Be specific. Evidence obtained by mindreading is not admissible. Show your work.

Tom said...

Danley Wolfe:...There are many forcings and some are known to be underrepresented in the modeling such as aerosols / clouds and black soot.

curryja: Danley, very true, same goes for solar also.

"The key processes in this influence are still mostly unclear. This is why the present climate models probably do not include the full effect of solar activity", says Raimund Muscheler.
Raimund Muscheler is a researcher at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University in Sweden.

"The relationship between the Sun's variability and its influence on climate remain open questions," according to Cliff Jacobs, program director in NSF's division of atmospheric sciences, which funded the research. "This study adds another piece to the puzzle and will spur efforts to unravel this complex relationship."

Are you going to start a witch hunt?

Øystein said...

People,

Tom is trolling here. Has been for his last, I don't know, 60-70 comments or so.

So leave him alone. If mt doesn't want to censor him, that's his decision. I'm not entirely convinced not censoring him is a good idea, as Tom is human. And since he is and has been making an enormous fool of himself, he should perhaps be protected from himself.

However, whether mt mutes him or not, the golden rule of internet debating remains: do not feed the trolls.

Steve Bloom said...

Nothing at all about James Annan's comments on Curry, Fuller? Note that James is a first-rank scientist (although still a bit junior) with regard to the subject matter of Judy's forays into both Bayesian logic and climate sensitivity, and explicitly endorsed Michael's comments.

From my own experience, the last time I asked Judy a question she gave me an incorrect answer (misrepresenting Knutti & Hegerl [2008] as being supportive of her views on the paleoclimate bases for estimating sensitivity -- it isn't).

But by all means keep defending her.

Michael Tobis said...

Øystein, it's an experiment.

"I'm not entirely convinced not censoring him is a good idea, as Tom is human. And since he is and has been making an enormous fool of himself, he should perhaps be protected from himself."

This is a real issue. I don't know that we are "improving on silence" even when it is funny. Comic relief in fiction is comedy. In real life it can cross into cruelty when the person is actually trying to be serious.

Yet, the "open thread" idea does appear to leave the other threads to stay on topic. I think people expect an open thread to be very permissive.

I'm still seeking input on this.

dhogaza said...

In other words, Tom, they might be *overrepresented* ... her statement that solar forcing is known to be underrepresented is *false*.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, Muscheler did say "probably".

Curry is acting as a scientist in a public role. When she says something with certainty that is not actually certain she oversteps scientific propriety severely.

Consider how much grief the rest of us get from her for underplaying uncertainty, even when we don't.

Tom said...

You guys are pathetic. "Curry is acting as a scientist in a public role. When she says something with certainty that is not actually certain she oversteps scientific propriety severely."

First, that is total bullshit. She's a blogger, same as you, when she writes on Climate Etc. You claim to be a scientist, but that doesn't stop you from spewing all sorts of crap.

Second, the fact is that solar variation is not successfully captured in models at this time. Her noting this does not warrant you calling her stupid and incompetent. Nor does your idiotic strawman duck analogy.

Third, who died and made you judge of scientific propriety, jury for the severity of violations, and executioner of your demented conclusions? Are you actually saying that she is incompetent and stupid because she noted that solar variation is not well captured in climate models?

As for the rest of you yapping hyenas, maybe you'll convince Bupkes (sorry-Tobkes) to pull the plug on his experiment. Which is cool--I can pull a 'dhose' and follow him around the internet.

But you're all full of it. You haven't even come close to making any kind of justification for Michael Tobis defaming a scientist, other than the simple fact that you don't agree with her.

Look at what you've come up with. It's pathetic.

Michael Tobis said...

Has anybody read Tom's little book? I wonder what he says about Phil Jones.

Tom said...

I quote him. Pretty damning, huh?

Tom said...

Actually, Tobkes, I will post quotes when I get home of what we said about Jones, but I know at one point we said that we couldn't speculate about motives but that his behaviour resembled a well-chronicled phenomenon known as 'noble cause corruption' where people convinced of the rightness of their cause might let the ends justify the means.

Oooh, weren't we vicious...

Tom said...

"Our criticism should not be construed as criticism of the majority of scientists
investigating our climate, its effects and possible changes to it in the future. We have
communicated with a large number of climate scientists, and they are not at all like The
Team in either attitude or behavior."

"Phillip Jones (born 1952) is the director of CRU and, according to his biography on CRU‘s
website, is a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at East Anglia in Norwich. His
research interests include instrumental climate change and paleoclimatology, the study of
historical and pre historical climate. His papers on the Urban Heat Island (UHI) from the 1980‘s
to present play a vital role, not only in the IPCC understanding of the climate, but also in the
Climategate controversy. His work in paleoclimatology, specifically work with Michael Mann
and Keith Briffa is also central to the scandal. It‘s no understatement to say that almost every
major paper written about the issue of the Urban Heat Island and every reconstruction of the
climate of the past has relied on the foundational work of Phillip Jones. It‘s a cornerstone of
climate science. Jones is also a key contributor to many of the publications of the IPCC.

The emails of Climategate also reveal that Jones wanted to play an active role in shaping the
policy of the IPCC with regards to disclosing the data behind the science. That is, he wanted his
experience in dealing with critics‘ requests for data to shape and inform IPCC policies. In the
following email Jones discusses the next assessment report (AR5) of the IPCC. In this time
frame, late July 2009, Jones and the climate scientists who worked on AR4 had just been through
Freedom of Information requests pertaining to Chapter 6 of AR4, a chapter on the climate of the
past.

Mail from Phil Jones to Tom Peterson of NCDC (1249045162.txt)

On something positive - attached is the outlines for the proposed {Chapters] in AR5/
WG1 [Working Group 1]. … I have got the IPCC Secretariat and Thomas to raise the
FOI [Freedom of Information] issues with
 the full IPCC Plenary, which meets in Bali in

September or October. Thomas
 is fully aware of all the issues we've had here wrt [with
regard to] Ch 6 last
 time, and others in
 the US have had.


Cheers
 Phil

Jones is a member of the standing committee on data archiving and accessibility for the US
Department of Commerce‘s NOAA. This appointment allows Jones to advise a division of the US
government on the issue of archiving and data access. The mails will certainly raise questions
about his ability to serve the public interest when it comes to the issues of data archiving and data
access. Under his direction, East Anglia University‘s Climate Research Unit lost vital data,
protected data at considerable cost to his organization, and Jones personally threatened to delete
data if the law required him to turn it over.

In addition to compiling the global temperature index, the staff at CRU are dedicated to
understanding the climate of the past. One claim underlying the founding of the IPCC, it should
be recalled, is that the climate change we are seeing is unprecedented in human history.
Supporting that claim is the work of paleoclimatologist Keith Briffa. Together with Jones, Briffa
sought to paint a picture of the climate of the past that removed any doubts we may have about
the unusual changes we see in the climate today. Briffa‘s work and the work of other
paleoclimatologists is covered in Chapter 6 of the AR4, referenced in Jones‘ mail above."

Want more?

Tom said...

"Our criticism should not be construed as criticism of the majority of scientists
investigating our climate, its effects and possible changes to it in the future. We have
communicated with a large number of climate scientists, and they are not at all like The
Team in either attitude or behavior."

"Phillip Jones (born 1952) is the director of CRU and, according to his biography on CRU‘s
website, is a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at East Anglia in Norwich. His
research interests include instrumental climate change and paleoclimatology, the study of
historical and pre historical climate. His papers on the Urban Heat Island (UHI) from the 1980‘s
to present play a vital role, not only in the IPCC understanding of the climate, but also in the
Climategate controversy. His work in paleoclimatology, specifically work with Michael Mann
and Keith Briffa is also central to the scandal. It‘s no understatement to say that almost every
major paper written about the issue of the Urban Heat Island and every reconstruction of the
climate of the past has relied on the foundational work of Phillip Jones. It‘s a cornerstone of
climate science. Jones is also a key contributor to many of the publications of the IPCC.

The emails of Climategate also reveal that Jones wanted to play an active role in shaping the
policy of the IPCC with regards to disclosing the data behind the science. That is, he wanted his
experience in dealing with critics‘ requests for data to shape and inform IPCC policies. In the
following email Jones discusses the next assessment report (AR5) of the IPCC. In this time
frame, late July 2009, Jones and the climate scientists who worked on AR4 had just been through
Freedom of Information requests pertaining to Chapter 6 of AR4, a chapter on the climate of the
past.

Mail from Phil Jones to Tom Peterson of NCDC (1249045162.txt)

On something positive - attached is the outlines for the proposed {Chapters] in AR5/
WG1 [Working Group 1]. … I have got the IPCC Secretariat and Thomas to raise the
FOI [Freedom of Information] issues with
 the full IPCC Plenary, which meets in Bali in

September or October. Thomas
 is fully aware of all the issues we've had here wrt [with
regard to] Ch 6 last
 time, and others in
 the US have had.


Cheers
 Phil

Jones is a member of the standing committee on data archiving and accessibility for the US
Department of Commerce‘s NOAA. This appointment allows Jones to advise a division of the US
government on the issue of archiving and data access. The mails will certainly raise questions
about his ability to serve the public interest when it comes to the issues of data archiving and data
access. Under his direction, East Anglia University‘s Climate Research Unit lost vital data,
protected data at considerable cost to his organization, and Jones personally threatened to delete
data if the law required him to turn it over.

In addition to compiling the global temperature index, the staff at CRU are dedicated to
understanding the climate of the past. One claim underlying the founding of the IPCC, it should
be recalled, is that the climate change we are seeing is unprecedented in human history.
Supporting that claim is the work of paleoclimatologist Keith Briffa. Together with Jones, Briffa
sought to paint a picture of the climate of the past that removed any doubts we may have about
the unusual changes we see in the climate today. Briffa‘s work and the work of other
paleoclimatologists is covered in Chapter 6 of the AR4, referenced in Jones‘ mail above."

Want more?

Michael Tobis said...

That all seems harmless on both your account and Phil's except for the "corruption" bit. But I wasn't asking Tom to pick. That would make very very very little sense.

Tom said...

Courtesy of Google Docs:

Possible Motives

The motives that drove the scientists to this behavior are probably varied and are still unknown, but some pressures that influence these motives are clear.
In academic life, funding is a perpetual worry for senior academics and administrators. Institutions of higher education are very concerned with receiving outside funding for departments and projects, and academics are under continuous pressure to apply successfully for grants that will fund, not just their research, but elements of the academic infrastructure that supports that research. Grant-writing is one of the supreme academic skills.
Getting government funding for a longitudinal research project is the Holy Grail, and one doesn’t have to think a scientist is a crook to understand that writing proposals directed to areas of government interest is a natural consequence of these pressures. And government interest in climate change has been growing for twenty years. So, for example, Phil Jones’ ability to win significant funding from the United States Department of Energy for continuing research programs at the UK’s East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit is a windfall that is hugely beneficial to the University as a whole.
The role that money and finances play in Climategate is not the role that money typically plays in corruption cases. There is no question of individuals presenting scientific views merely for personal gain. Nothing in the files remotely suggests science for hire. The influence of money is more subtle than that. To be sure, there are ironic mails that indicate that CRU and other organizations benefitted from the largess of corporations, in fact the same corporations that Mann had imagined were funding Climate Audit were actually contributing to CRU: major oil companies:
(Cont.)

Dirk said...

mt:

Yet, the "open thread" idea does appear to leave the other threads to stay on topic. I think people expect an open thread to be very permissive.

...which is why consigning Fuller to his own thread is a brilliant idea. I don't see other trolls driving by, however - maybe that's a good thing(?). IMO this post should be renamed, ala Deltoid, to the "Tom Fuller Thread." :-)

Tom said...

There is nothing in the mails to suggest that the climate science created with funding from corporate interests is necessarily wrong. The science should stand or fall on its own regardless of the source of funding. The same of course should hold true for skeptical views funded by other sources. The point is this. If there is transparency in the science, if the data and methods are made available to be checked, then the motives of the funding source becomes a non-issue. Drug companies make money from their science. The fact that they make a profit doesn’t make their medicines ineffective or unsafe. The check against the profit motive is, of course independent checking of the results. Specifically those results are check by people with different motives. Climate science needs such a review.
The funding does however appear to play a role in the selection of which science is done. Funding changes the questions you ask. That is, the science is focused on proving the case of global warming rather than challenging it and so there is the ever present danger of confirmation bias.

Cont.

Tom said...

"As to other motives—fame, ambition, ego, etc., we choose not to speculate. People differ, and are different at different times. The likeliest guess is that most of them thought they were doing the best they could at any given moment, but their best simply wasn’t good enough to meet the demands of a global policy issue."

Tom said...

So maybe you see a difference between how you can deal ethically with scientists you disagree with and how you chose to act yourself.

Tom said...

Oh, and Oystein--go look up what a troll is on the internet. This is a fight. Nobody is hiding anything or pretending to be something he isn't.

If you don't want to watch, there's an insipid video of McKibben vs. Revkin that can entertain you right here on this very website.

PDA said...

the fact is that solar variation is not successfully captured in models at this time

The assertion was that solar is "known to be underrepresented," not anything about "not adequately captured." Again, Tom's reading comprehension problems got the better of him.

In any regard, in AR4 WGI chapter 8.3.4.3 it says "In comparison to global surface observations, Wild (2005) concluded that many climate models overestimate surface absorption of solar radiation" (my emphasis). In other words, as far as what is "known," she got it ass-backwards.

At a given point, I have to wonder about a developmental reading disorder, which is not a laughing matter at all.

Tom said...

PDA: Yap, yap, yap.

Fuller: "This is why the present climate models probably do not include the full effect of solar activity", says Raimund Muscheler."

PDA: Yap, yap, yap.

Tubkes, since it's just us chickens here, why don't you turn off moderation? I think I have two or three comments pending.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom sends along some relatively innocuous quotes from his book. Again, I don't think he's the person to do the picking. Here's the Amazon blurb that decided me against paying money for it:

"For those who have heard that the emails were taken out of context--we provide that context and show it is worse when context is provided. For those who have heard that this is a tempest in a teacup--we show why it will swamp the conventional wisdom on climate change. And for those who have heard that this scandal is just 'boys being boys'--well, boy. It's as seamy as what happened on Wall Street."

As for videos, I know it's long but I wish everybody with any interest in this climate scandal stuff would watch what Santer has to say about his experience of it (warning: it's long).

Tom said...

Oh, this is how climate science works.

Tobis asks how Fuller treats Phil Jones in his book.

Fuller sends quotes from the book.

Tobis refuses to publish quotes.

No wonder you think Climategate is nothing to worry about.

Data is not important!

Tom said...

Tobis, if you want to keep me walled up here in your little laager, publish my comments. Otherwise I will do as has been done to me by your sycophants and follow you all around the intertubes.

Michael Tobis said...

I think the blackmail is pretty distasteful and bizarre.

Tom, I don't think this is doing either of us any good.

The thread is closed. Consider yourself the victor. Now go find another hobby.