Skeptic » Insight » Willie Soon Be Gone? » Skeptic

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


section banner graphic

Willie Soon Be Gone?

Posted on Mar. 06, 2015 by | Comments (77)

Screen-Shot-2015-02-21-at-2.21.21-PM-590x237
In the past few weeks, there has been a tremendous furor over the disclosure of the ethics of a noted climate denier, Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon. He has been one of the “stars” of the climate denial lobby, spending most of his time speaking to right-wing media and denialist groups, and being promoted by prominent denialist politicians like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Even though the problems with his research, and with his funding, were public knowledge for many years, it made news because of recent discoveries revealed by the New York Times of just how much money he was paid for his work. His situation is even more problematic because he failed to report this funding in his publications and signed “conflict of interest” statements that he then violated. Naturally, the denialist institutes and right-wing media have fought back and defended their man, and Soon himself made a statement (brilliantly dissected by Greg Laden) to the press in his own defense. But the facts of the case seems incontrovertible, no matter what you might think of the climate change debate, and it appears that serious consequences will be forthcoming.

First, some background. Soon is often hyped as a “noted climate change scientist”. He is nothing of the sort. His doctorate was in aerospace engineering, with a thesis on plasma physics, so he has no research experience or specialized training in the fields of climate science on which he so often writes, such as ice cores, tree rings, atmospheric chemistry, and even polar bears. As I have written many times, beware of people working outside their own field of training! A Ph.D. does not make you a universal expert, and if your doctorate is not in the appropriate field and you have no peer-reviewed publications in the relevant fields, your are no more qualified to write about climate science or evolutionary biology or any other specialized field than you are qualified to write a symphony or fix a car. Climate science, in particular, is plagued by the intrusion of people from other unrelated fields of science (especially unrelated areas of physics). They seem to think that they can do this research and know what it’s about when they’ve never studied an ice core, spent hours looking down the microscope at planktonic microfossils (as I have), run isotopes on a mass spectrometer (as I have), analyzed atmospheric gases or satellite images. These are the specialized research skills you must have to know enough about the primary data and its limitations to do this sort of work competently. If you don’t have this first-hand research experience, you’re just an outsider, an amateur dabbling in a field you don’t really understand. Yet Soon has written attacks on climate science in these very fields (but these papers are never published in respected peer-reviewed journals), even though his only relevant training is understanding the physics of the solar wind and solar radiation.

Second, supporters of Soon often tout his affiliation with the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, as proof he is legitimate because he works for respected institutions. In truth, Soon is not an employee of the SAO, nor an employee of Harvard, but merely an adjunct scientist, allowed to use the facilities and the institutional name, but not paid to work there; nor does the SAO endorse his research. This is a classic case of institutional credential-mongmering, where someone like Soon got his connection through noted climate denier and astrophysicist Robert Jastrow (who hired him right out of grad school to work at Mt. Wilson, where Jastrow was director) before moving on to SAO. When Soon started at SAO, his relevant research was about solar plasmas, which is a legitimate topic to study there. But since then, his work has stretched far beyond his training, and it shows. This is comparable to the famous case of Richard Sternberg, the creationist who held unpaid temporary associate position at the Smithsonian, which meant he had a small office and could use their affiliation for three years. But then he began using his affiliation to push his creationist agenda, and the Smithsonian disavowed Sternberg for his dishonest use of his temporary affiliation. His affiliation had expired anyway; they did not “fire him”, as creationists claim.

This is not the place to list all of Soon’s discredited science, but a few examples are illustrative. In 2003, he and Sallie Baliunas published a review paper (an invited paper to give an overview on a topic, which are normally not carefully reviewed nor rejected) in the journal Climate Research, where he falsely claimed that the twentieth century was not the warmest of the past millennium (based on data from tree rings, ice cores, and other data he is not trained to understand). The problems with the paper and its conclusions were many. Soon and Baliunas used data from changes in moisture, rather than temperature; they did not distinguish between regional and hemispheric mean temperature anomalies; and they reconstructed past temperatures from proxy evidence that does not have the resolution to distinguish decadal trends. This paper was torn to pieces by the scientific community for its slipshod methodology, misuse of statistics, and cherry-picking and deliberate misrepresentations, and 40% of the editorial board of the journal resigned from the board over the journal’s failure to conduct proper peer review.

In 2007, Soon published an unreviewed editorial letter in the journal Ecological Complexity, claiming that there was no decline in polar bear populations, a claim that is patently false. Most readers will not see the “Viewpoints” heading and realize that this claim is just an editorial, not a reviewed scientific paper, so it gets cited again and again by climate deniers despite the overwhelming evidence of the damage to the Arctic ecosystem.

In 2003, in anticipation of the 2004 IPCC report on climate change, Soon and his denialist buddies plotted an attack paper on a report that wasn’t even finished! In files released from Soon’s work, he wrote:

“Clearly they [the AR4 chapters] may be too much for any one of us to tackle them all … But, as A-team, we may for once give it our best shot to try to anticipate and counter some of the chapters, especially WG1—judging from our true expertise in the basic climate sciences … Even if we can tackle ONE single chapter down the road but forcefully and effectively … we will really accomplish A LOT! In all cases, I hope we can start discussing among ourselves to see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report or to re-direct attention back to science …”

This is not the writing of an objective scientist, waiting for results to be properly reviewed and published before critiquing them, but a “merchant of doubt” playing a PR game to create controversy and confusion about a scientific topic for ideological and political, not scientific reasons.

Despite Soon's claim that global warming is due to increased solar radiation, the actual data show that the radiation has been decreasing as the planet has warmed. (From http://skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm)

Despite Soon’s claim that global warming is due to increased solar radiation, the actual data show that the radiation has been decreasing as the planet has warmed. (From http://skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm)

Soon’s main claim to fame, however, is his interpretation of the historical data of solar radiation on the earth, and his argument that increased solar input explains global warming. This research has been thoroughly debunked many times, mostly because Soon has misinterpreted the data source, misused statistics, and cherry-picks the results that support his predetermined conclusions. More importantly, even if it were true that the solar input were increasing (when it has actually been decreasing for the past 45 years), the difference in the amount of solar radiation is minuscule. It would not make nearly enough difference in the global temperature compared to the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming. Yet Soon has testified many times that the warming of the earth is due to the sun, not man-made causes, and makes his living now claiming that anthropogenic climate change is not real.

All of these examples of incompetent and politicized science should have led to Soon’s dismissal long ago, but somehow the SAO is either very tolerant of his freedom of speech and freedom to do bad science, or else reluctant to deal with him for fear of the controversy over “censorship.” But this time Soon has done something worse that conducting bad science: he committed ethics violations. It has been well known for years that all of Soon’s funding comes from energy companies like ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, and from the denialist fronts that they fund. This is itself is serious problem, because it clearly presents “conflict of interest” problems if Soon is cranking out research that is biased to please his funders. But even more shocking is what the New York Times reported:

He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work. The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress.

This is very serious. Nearly every scientific journal requires that you clearly disclose any sources of funding, and most also require that you sign a statement about “conflict of interest” to prove that you have not biased your results to please the funder. This is not a simple slip-up by Soon, but a deliberate effort to not reveal the obscene amounts of money he was getting paid, and where it came from. Such an ethics violation, if proven, would typically lead to a strong action (such as dismissal) by any university or research institute in the country, no matter how famous you were, and how good your previous reputation might have been. In particular his description of his work as “deliverables,” something bought and paid for by his funders, clearly shows his intent to act as a “hired gun” and give his funding sources what they paid for—not following the data wherever they may lead, and interpreting them honestly and in an unbiased fashion, as a real scientist must do.

I’m not saying that taking money from energy companies automatically taints your research or disqualifies you from being relevant to climate change science. A great counter-example is UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller, who was initially a climate doubter. As I blogged about previously, he accepted funding from ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, and other denialist sources to re-examine the global temperature data compiled by NOAA, the Goddard Institute of Space Science, and the Hadley Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. He did so, and then in March 2011 shocked the GOP members of the House Science and Technology Committee, who called him as a sympathetic expert witness to debunk the temperature data. Instead, Muller behaved like a real scientist: he realized that the data from the other three institutes were indeed valid, and told the hearing so. It says a lot about Muller that he kept his scientific integrity and followed the data wherever they might lead, rather than bias his results to please those who paid him.

The Soon affair has actually blown up in the climate denialists’ faces. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has just announced a congressional investigation of science funding by the denialist lobby:

“For years, fossil fuel interests and front groups have attacked climate scientists and legislation to cut carbon pollution using junk science and debunked arguments,” Markey said in a statement. “The American public deserve an honest debate that isn’t polluted by the best junk science fossil fuel interests can buy. That’s why I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal.”

So what will happen to Willie Soon? Now that the Soon affair has exploded in controversy over his ethics violations, expect the bosses at the SAO to terminate his connection to them. According to the New York Times:

Charles R. Alcock, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, acknowledged on Friday that Dr. Soon had violated the disclosure standards of some journals. “I think that’s inappropriate behavior,” Dr. Alcock said. “This frankly becomes a personnel matter, which we have to handle with Dr. Soon internally.” “I am aware of the situation with Willie Soon, and I’m very concerned about it,” W. John Kress, interim under secretary for science at the Smithsonian in Washington, said on Friday. “We are checking into this ourselves.”

The Smithsonian just released the following statement:

The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research.
The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue: Acting Secretary Albert Horvath has asked the Smithsonian Inspector General to review the matter. Horvath will also lead a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards. Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon is a part-time researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. He was hired to conduct research on long-term stellar and solar variability. The Smithsonian does not fund Dr. Soon; he pursues external grants to fund his research.
The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.

Bye, bye, Willie. We in the scientific community are not sorry to see you go.

Donald Prothero

Dr. Donald Prothero taught college geology and paleontology for 35 years, at Caltech, Columbia, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He earned his B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, College Award) from University of California Riverside in 1976, and his M.A. (1978), M.Phil. (1979), and Ph.D. (1982) in geological sciences from Columbia University. He is the author of over 35 books. Read Donald’s full bio or his other posts on this blog.

77 Comments

  1. Max says:

    $1.2 million over a decade, so $120,000 a year? Had he disclosed it, there wouldn’t be any ethics issues?
    How much funding do GMO and pharmaceutical researchers receive from companies?
    Does funding from foundations like the Rockefeller Foundation present a conflict of interests?

    • Canman says:

      According to Christopher Monckton, he gets less than $60,000 a year of it.

      The Center deducts 30-40% of any external grant to cover its own overhead costs. Indeed, the director of the Center has recently admitted that Dr Soon ends up with less than half of each grant. Much has been made of the fact that he has brought in some $1.2 million in grants over ten years. That means he received an average of less than $60,000 a year, out of which he had to pay his research costs, including travel, equipment, materials, publications and research assistance. On what little was left, he has managed to feed his young family. In some years, he’d have been better off flipping burgers.

      http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/02/28/dr-willie-soon-a-scientist-in-the-humble-quest-for-truth/

      • Greg Laden says:

        You are using co-conspirator Chrisopher Monckton cited on a major climate science denialist site to make a claim about Willie Soon’s “innocence”? Very funny.

        • Canman says:

          The point I was making was not about Dr Soon’s Guilt or innocence, but about the size of his grants. Christopher Monckton and Matt Briggs, who are coauthors on a recent paper with Soon (and are not co-conspirators with Soon regarding disclosure of his past funding) claim they are doing this on their own time and at their own expense.

          I don’t like these which hunts over past expenses and that includes Cuccinelli’s probe of Michael Mann. If they’re going to investigate something, it should be something important and relevant like the findings and quality of the paper, just like when the NAS panel and Ed Wegman investigated the serious allegations about the quality of Michael Mann’s hockey stick.

          • Greg Laden says:

            Canman: I suppose by “conspirators” I assumed it would be understood as “co-authors on the offending paper.” But yes, it would make sense that Monckton would not have been paid to do any of this science because who would.

            But no, one or two million dollars over several years is not a huge amount of money. But there isn’t a rule that says “disclose your industry funding unless it is below some threshold that some people may not think is important.”!

            This is where you just misunderstand: “. If they’re going to investigate something, it should be something important and relevant like the findings and quality of the paper”

            If the issue is failure to disclose, and it is, then the issue is failure to disclose, not the quality of the paper.

            The quality of the paper can also be questioned, but not by investigation funding sources, but rather, as part of the overall process of publication and commentary in the peer reviewed literature. But that is not what is being done by those looking at disclosure. They really are two different things, and repeated conflation and confusion will never, ever, make them the same thing.

            There has already been healthy critique of the paper in question in the grey literature. It will obviously take time for critiques to develop in the peer reviewed lit because that takes time. I fully expect that, though.

          • Canman says:

            With all your convoluted verbiage, you appear to be making my points.

          • deminthon says:

            Denier liar Canman of course ignores the investigation of Wegman.

          • Canman says:

            Ah yes, I did bring up Wegman. Some of his helpers got lazy and copied from wikipedia. John Mashey wrote a lengthy report that included color coded diagrams that exposed the diabolically paraphrased reference material from sources listed in the bibliography. Wegman had his emails subpoenaed. As far as I know they did not include any requests to pass along orders to delete emails to people not on the rolodex who were then contacted ASAP and later told federal investigators that they complied. I’ve never heard anyone challenge Wegman’s actual conclusions.

          • JW says:

            What an odd thing to say, Canman. It sounds like the Wegman Report has been thoroughly discredited by this point. If you haven’t “heard anyone challenge Wegman’s actual conclusions”, perhaps that’s because you haven’t bothered?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegman_Report

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Wegman_Report

            http://www.csicop.org/si/show/strange_problems_in_the_wegman_report/

            Or are you referring to the material which was plagiarized? Lots of people “challenge” what has been put out by McIntyre and McKitrick. You’re going to have to be more specific. Do you have a specific “conclusion” that you think has not be disputed?

            I’ve noticed that you have quite a long (and searchable) history of bad-mouthing Michael Mann. Don’t think I’ll simply take your word for anything on this subject. Back it up.

          • Canman says:

            JW, skimming through your links, and all I find is stuff about the plagiarism. That was certainly a mistake and shouldn’t have been done, but I don’t see any claims of any miscopied reference having an effect on the results.

          • Canman says:

            Jw, you note that I have a history of badmouthing Michael Mann, You Bet! I think he’s a menace to free speech and in amici briefs, the ACLU and a whole bunch of news organizations agree with me. Nobody thought Mann’s hurt feelings were worth filing an amicus brief against this precious right. I strongly urge anyone reading this to watch the late Christopher Hitchens passionate defense of free speech and particularly the right to offend:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyoOfRog1EM

            If you prefer to read it:

            http://genius.com/Christopher-hitchens-on-free-speech-annotated

          • JW says:

            No, Canman, Michael Mann is not a threat to free speech. He may be a threat to those who attempt to defame others by calling them pedophiles, perhaps with the intent to shut them up and ruin their careers. We’ll see how the courts decide that one, but I do not see why even someone who makes up stuff about Michael Mann to the extent that you do should feel threatened by this.

            The Wegman report is a perfect example, actually. You keep asserting that its conclusions are valid, but there’s no good reason to accept that. It’s not even clear to me what exactly you think the conclusions are. If the Wegman Report concluded that the moon was made of blue cheese, would you then assert that this is true, because although a good chunk of the report was plagiarized, that alone does not contradict the claim that the moon is not made of blue cheese?

            Again, which conclusions do you think have not been debunked? Is it the social network analysis component? You said that you skimmed over what I linked before, so I guess you must have missed this:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegman_Report#Peer_review:_social_network_analysis

            “In John Quiggin’s opinion, the social network analysis was not based on meaningful criteria, did not prove a conflict of interest and did not apply at the time of the 1998 and 1999 publications. Such a network of co-authorship is not unusual in narrowly defined areas of science.”

            For brevity, I picked just that part out. You really ought to read the entire thing. Alternatively, here’s Eli’s take on it. You read his blog, yes?

            http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2010/10/dummies-guide-to-strange-scholarship-in.html

            “The Wegman Panel restricted the social network of climate scientists to Michael Mann’s coauthors forcing him to the center of the network. They then mislead the reader by claiming this as evidence of collusive and poor peer review. Incompetence or design?”

            Or are you referring to McIntyre and McKitrick’s work that was echoed in the report? As I said before, this has been disputed elsewhere. However, if that’s what you require a rebuttal for, I’ll be happy to point out various other papers that refute them. Mind you, some of this is already mentioned in the wikipedia article on the Wegman Report. Did you miss that too?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegman_Report#Critiques_of_MBH98_and_MBH99_by_McIntyre_and_McKitrick

            Once again, precisely which results of the Wegman Report do you think still stand up to scrutiny? What evidence do you have to back that up? I fully intend to continue with this line of questioning if you choose not to provide a straight answer.

          • JW says:

            Sorry, accidentally put in a double-negative in that blue-cheese segment there. That should have read as: “…because although a good chunk of the report was plagiarized, that alone does not contradict the claim that the moon is made of blue cheese?”

            Also, probably should have broken up that entire thing into two sentences.

          • JW says:

            Sorry, once again. I’m triple-posting, but my previous comment is a correction to another comment that is currently under moderation. IF they appear in order, it’ll make more sense.

            In the meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to more closely read the Wikipedia article that I referenced earlier? You really should, in fact. It does contain counter-arguments to every result of the Wegman Report that I’d imagine you might think are valid. Then again, you don’t seem to want to specify which among them you think those are, so who knows?

          • Canman says:

            I read the whole Wiki and I can’t find anything that contradicts the fact that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks and mined one from some invalid bristlecone pines. There are a bunch of minor allegations, such as the random red noise being tweaked to mine bigger hockey sticks from Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks. I see nothing that contradicts the fact that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks. Many so called confirming studies use the same invalid bristlecone pines.

            The closest thing I see to a criticism of conclusions, is a claim by a network analyst that the claim of “close colaboration between scientist leading to peer review abuse” was opinion and not supported with data, which BTW is not the same thing as saying it is not true.

          • Canman says:

            JW,

            “Michael Mann is not a threat to free speech. He may be a threat to those who attempt to defame others by calling them pedophiles”.

            Rand Simberg did not call mann a pedophile. He compared him to one, and while it may be over the top, as Mark Steyn implies in his post, it most definitely is free speech and it is not what Simberg is being sued for. He’s being sued for saying Mann “molested and tortured data”, implying manipulation. You can judge for yourself: Among other things, Man used a hockey stick shaped series from Gaspe twice and extended it by a few years at the beginning so he could use it in a crucial calculation, all without disclosure, of course.

            “… but I do not see why even someone who makes up stuff about Michael Mann…”

            Now that’s irritating! Go and search my “long (and searchable) history of bad-mouthing Michael Mann” and find something that can be construed as having been made up, with the exception of jokes and parodies, of course.

            “The Wegman report is a perfect example, actually. You keep asserting that its conclusions are valid, but there’s no good reason to accept that.”

            Well, from your Wiki-link: “Gerald North gave testimony that “Dr. Wegman’s criticisms of the statistical methodology in the papers by Mann et al. were consistent with our findings””.

            ” It’s not even clear to me what exactly you think the conclusions are.”

            Did I mention that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks?

            “Again, which conclusions do you think have not been debunked?”

            Did I mention that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks?

            “Once again, precisely which results of the Wegman Report do you think still stand up to scrutiny?”

            Did I mention that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks?

            “What evidence do you have to back that up?”

            McIntyre’s two papers (people often overlook a longer one in “Energy and Environment”), which show that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks.

            Oh, and BTW, did I mention that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks?

          • Canman says:

            JW. Most college English departments offer a class in logic. I’ve heard it said that the students tend to divide up into two groups. One group tends to find the class trivially easy, while the other finds it to be a difficult challenge. When I took this class, I was definitely skewed towards the former. I mean no offense, but I get the impression that you would be in the latter. If you feel logically overmatched and don’t want to pursue this line of questioning, perhaps Greg Laden might want to take it up, if he hasn’t fallen asleep while laying in wait.

          • JW says:

            Oh good. As I thought, you WERE falsely claiming that the McIntyre and McKitrick’s work is valid somehow. I’ll point out a couple references to those who have refuted their work in the past…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy#McIntyre_and_McKitrick_2003
            http://nldr.library.ucar.edu/repository/assets/osgc/OSGC-000-000-011-900.pdf
            http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

            …but let’s be honest: you’re just going to ignore everything that contradicts your blind faith in their work, just as you have in the past. I guess you must think that if you repeat “mines hockey sticks” or similar enough times, someone might fall for it?

            As for your numerous lies about Michael Mann, well, where to start? Here’s an example of you lying about his “lack of transparency when dealing with his critics” on an Amazon book review:

            http://www.amazon.com/review/R1AO5RBZ2IMYKG/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0072N4U6S&linkCode&nodeID&tag#wasThisHelpful

            Here’s an entire thread of you making false claims about the hockey stick being bad science. Oh look! The Wegman Report even comes up again. You do like to assert that it’s valid somehow:

            http://www.skepticblog.org/2013/10/16/hockey-brawls/

            From the above, here’s an excerpt of you lying about Michael Mann’s character:

            “Mann will not admit that short centering is wrong. In fact he has the chutzpah to call it “modern centering” in his book. When reading a book by someone tooting his own horn, you should seek out alternate views for balance, especially for someone with Mann’s vindictiveness, whininess and reputation for selective disclosure.”

            Wow, he’s a vindictive, whiny guy, is he?

            Fun aside: I’ve largely been getting into the climate change debate in reaction to things that individuals such as yourself and markx have posted over the years over at the old skepticblog site. Look! Your efforts are bearing fruit!

            Here’s an example of you demanding that Michael Mann go into obscurity for some reason:

            http://www.desmogblog.com/call-support-michael-mann

            Here’s an example where you claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to think he was a fraud:

            http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2014/01/mann-vs-steyn-lurches-forward.html

            Here’s yet another Amazon review where you say a ton of nasty things about Michael Mann. Paranoid and egotistical, eh?

            http://www.amazon.com/review/R1P95Y1ZG8FEGR/183-2554393-1549409/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

            Here you are calling Michael Mann a “delusional corner cutting opportunist”. Plus the free speech nonsense from before. Love the responses from others to your comment.

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/desmogblog/who_is_michael_mann_and_why_do_the_deniers_hate_him/#comment-1897837442

            And of course, there’s everything you’ve claimed about him in this thread. I do not accept a single thing you say about Michael Mann or his Hockey Stick graph, fanatic.

          • JW says:

            Oh, you’ve taken a post-secondary level course in critical thinking and/or logic, have you? You forgot to mention another group that you’re most definitely in: those who abuse what they learn in order to construct arguments that mislead and defraud others.

            You know that your claims are false and/or irrelevant, yet you keep repeating them anyway.

          • JW says:

            Hmm…defraud is too harsh of a term. I am not aware of any activity where you are engaged in that. Making false claims and then ignoring counter-evidence to construct misleading arguments that might otherwise seem legitimate, on the other hand, is definitely something that you do. Or try to, at least.

          • Canman says:

            JW @3-10=15 7:51pm. I wish you could disagree with me without believing I have nefarious motives. I think people commenting on blogs that are skeptical of the paranormal should be suspicious of mind reading.

            I want to thank you for compiling this collection of my web writings in one place. While I won’t say that I have never written anything that I might not later cringe at, I am very satisfied with everything here and maybe even a little overly pleased with myself over it.

            Your post contains more things than I can probably respond to. Eugenie Scott coined a term for this named after a prominent creationist. But I will address a few points.

            ” I guess you must think that if you repeat “mines hockey sticks” or similar enough times, someone might fall for it?”

            Do you want to state or do you know anyone, who is serious, who will state that it does not mine hockey sticks?

            “Here’s an example where you claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to think he was a fraud:”

            I thought I defended that assertion pretty well. Anyone can follow the link and go see.

            “Here’s yet another Amazon review where you say a ton of nasty things about Michael Mann. Paranoid and egotistical, eh?”

            You forgot the misspelled “Bafoon”. ;-)

            “Here you are calling Michael Mann a “delusional corner cutting opportunist”. Plus the free speech nonsense from before. Love the responses from others to your comment.”

            Oh come on! While BBD is willing to politely discuss climate issues, I can’t believe anyone could love the responses of DeSmogBlog’s two fixtured bookends, AnOilMan and Ian Forrester. When I first encounterd these two, I sent an email to DeSmogBlog, saying that I thought they were planted there to make their side look bad!

            I would also like to thank Skeptic Insight for publishing all my comments after putting them in moderation. In fact, I’m kinda happy you did put them in moderation. It means you actually took the time and effort to read them. As someone who used to dread writing classes, I did put considerable effort into them.

          • JW says:

            “I wish you could disagree with me without believing I have nefarious motives. I think people commenting on blogs that are skeptical of the paranormal should be suspicious of mind reading.”

            It’s hardly “mind reading” to notice that you seem to be on a personal crusade against Michael Mann, and that all of your arguments against his work rest on the blind acceptance of whatever McIntyre and McKitrick say.

            And please, spare me the rhetorical tricks.

            You really just don’t get it, do you? Your behaviour, your duplicitous arguments, and your endless pursuit of Michael Mann (plus “Climategate” in general) are essentially why I hold the views that I now do. You, specifically. I lurked around the old skepticblog site for years before posting anything. What’s more, you would have noticed the same effect elsewhere when you received negative responses, had you not been so busy calling them tribal or whatever. (Hypocrite.)

            Keep up the good work! May your shenanigans continue to convince others to view climate change deniers the way that yours have convinced me.

          • JW says:

            Oh, and by all means, feel free to take the last shot, if you like. Trying to look good is far more important than recognizing and acknowledging the discrepancy between your efforts and your results, I presume?

          • Canman says:

            “And please, spare me the rhetorical tricks.”

            Sorry, but as the late great Christopher Hitchen’s mom told him, “The one unforgivable sin is to be boring”

            “Trying to look good is far more important than recognizing and acknowledging the discrepancy between your efforts and your results, I presume?”

            You bring up an interesting point. Am I getting any results? On posts about Michael Mann’s book in forums, such as the comments for Amazon reviews, I have been encouraging readers to also read “The Hockey Stick Illusion”. Recently, when I went over my list of reviews, I noticed that the ratio of likes for HSI was slightly less than half. This seemed odd, since positive reviews generally tend to have high ratios and I wrote a 5 star review. Negative reviews tend to get lower ratios. At least I find this to be true for books on either side of a polarized issue like climate. So I wondered, “was there something strange about my review?” So I checked the other recent reviews of HSI and found that the other positive ones had middle range ratios instead of high ones too. Then I remembered this post at Bishop Hill, where Mann is accused of soliciting negative reviews for HSI:

            http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2014/9/7/manndacity-integrity-and-amazon-reviews.html

            I don’t know if my efforts had anything to do with this, but I suppose they could have.

            Hey Greg Laden. You wrote a negative review. What do you think?

          • Canman says:

            Oh, and I just found this quote from Mann on his Facebook page linked to from the Bish:

            “Oh, and you might want to both review & rate existing reviews for this book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1906768358/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

            The link in it is for HSI.

          • Brad Keyes says:

            Climate science (unique among the sciences) is about credibility, authority and personal reputation.

            Canman cites an academic study by a team of professional statisticians under the leadership of the highly decorated Professor Edward Wegman and tabled before the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

            JW cites blogscience.

            Who to believe, who to believe, who to believe…

          • deminthon says:

            “I read the whole Wiki and I can’t find anything that contradicts the fact that Mann’s method, which mines hockey sticks, mines hockey sticks and mined one from some invalid bristlecone pines. ”

            How surprising of a denier liar.

        • Smokey says:

          I have to laugh every time I see the name ‘Greg Laden’.

          Do a search, and you will find he is so thoroughly unethical that commenting on Dr. Soon will bring a smile to your lips. Where does someone like Laden get off criticizing anyone??

          It is amusing that reprobates like Laden presume to question what is not even a mote in a researcher’s eye, when they are unaware of the beam in their own eye.

        • deminthon says:

          Canman: “I’ve never heard anyone challenge Wegman’s actual conclusions.”

          How surprising of a denier liar.

    • Greg Laden says:

      Max, this is one of those situations where one needs to get up to speed on the issues since this is not normally part of the casual internet chatter. When you do that you’ll probably rephrase or even withdraw your question.

      The simple version: Soon is being looked at for a number of different instances of failure to disclose funding. Just to be clear Imma say that again but with emphasis. Failure, failure to disclose. It would not matter if Ghandi had funded the work, or Greenpeace, or The Grinch or his Grandmother. If you’ve gotta disclose and you don’t, and this is a journal by journal thing, then that is failure to disclose. Period. End of story.

      Except of course the story does include two other major elements (address by Don) which are also important but NOT PART OF THE FAILUR TO DISCLOSE THING.

      First, we can ask, and perhaps should ask, who is funding what. EG most mainstream climate science is funded by government agencies around the world with transparency and multiple levels and angles of oversight. Meanwhile, most of the denialist research is funded by Big Fossil; sometimes there is the appearance of bought and paid for deliverables (like when the funders get to see and approve drafts of the papers) etc., and transparency is not the rule.

      Second, we can ask, despite funding or disclosure or ethics or lack there of, is a given piece of research good research or sucky research or something in between. This is a separate question.

      • Dallas says:

        The thought that government science does not contain biases in favor of increasing that agency’s power or give the answers the political bosses want is false in many environmental areas I have looked into. It can also be very far from transparent.

        For example, note that the “biological opinion” on the delta smelt issue in California covers a time line of 60’s to present day, making a correlation with the crash of the delta smelt populations and water extraction changes, but left out the changes in fish eating bird populations as a result of baning DDT in this time period. By excluding fish eating birds from the model they forced and tortured the data into blaming the farmers and giving them control over billions of dollars worth of water. By including bird predation, they would have had endangered fish eating birds (cormorants) vs small mid water endangered fish fall out of a principal component analysis and that wouldn’t be PC.

        Check out the models for the salmon on the Columbia that don’t include bird predation (endangered terns) or protected seals in their model while including a “junk” variable of “delayed transportation mortality” to cover the data fit problem. It isn’t PC to say endangered birds and protected seals eat threatened salmon and you can’t maximize all three in the same environment.

  2. Stacy McGaugh says:

    Of course physicists are qualified to comment on topics outside their expertise. They’re the smartest people in the world. Just ask them, they’ll tell you!

  3. Greg Laden says:

    Stacy, I know, right!?!?

    But actually, I do think that it is normal for people to get their PhD in a given subfield and then move into other, usually related, subfields, honestly and intelligently. Soon seems to have shifted from one area to another without fully grasping what he go into, or possibly not caring too much.

  4. Palmer says:

    This is very helpful post for a non-scientist like myself to get a handle on this controversy and the backstory. I also appreciate Greg’s summery in the comment section. It is always edifying when a blogger can entice a robo-troll to make a comment from Breitbart when Greg Laden is lying in wait.

  5. Greg Laden says:

    Canman, there is very little practical difference between a Luke Warmer and a denier. A denier says [any number of unsupported stupid things about climate science]. A luke warmer says, no the denier is wrong, but it really doesn’t matter much, when those back wheels of the bus run your children over it won’t hurt much.

    • Canman says:

      It’s good to hear you spell it out. When you hear Chris Mooney or Eugenie Scott claim “deniers” are prone to black/white thinking, you might want to tell them it’s actually a good thing and that it’s your side that is possesses it.

      • Canman says:

        Whatever the meaning of “is” is, it doesn’t belong near the end of my last sentence.

      • deminthon says:

        ” your side”

        This is composed of the people who aren’t trolls, idiots, ignoramuses, and liars.

        • Canman says:

          But it does apparently include a lot of name callers.

        • Smokey says:

          @deminthon:

          For someone who labeled a polite commenter as “Liar denialist Canman”, you are hardly in a position to call others a ‘troll’.

          I am quite surprised that such vicious, ad hominem pejoratives are permitted here. Is there no moderation?

    • deminthon says:

      They’re all deniers in that they deny accumulated scientific evidence. And they almost all are motivated by libertarian economic ideology to deny the need for action.

  6. Kathy Moyd says:

    I ran across Soon’s “peer-reviewed” paper while taking an on-line climate change course. Even I could see that his paper had faults and should not have been published. Several editors of the journal felt the same way about the paper and resigned.

    • Smokey says:

      Kathy,

      Harvard saw fit to publish Dr. Soon’s paper. The Smithsonian saw fit to use Dr. Soon’s expertise to enhance their bottom line by more than a million dollars.

      You have your opinion, to which you are entitled. Perhaps you could apply to be a peer reviewer? Then your opinion would carry some weight.

  7. Thomas Fuller says:

    Mr. Laden, one hopes that your knowledge of other topics is greater than your knowledge of lukewarmers.

    As for Soon, do the math. His funding institution got 40% of that $1.2 million over 10 years time (and knew about the funding sources–why aren’t you going after them for non-disclosure?) That left Soon with about $72K a year.

    I don’t think Soon is right. I strongly advocate complete disclosure of funding sources, including yours. But I think going after Soon right now is completely political. These are the same arguments that have been circulating about Soon since 1997 and were published on DeSmog Blog in 2007.

    This appears to be a concerted effort to get Rajendra Pachauri off the front pages. Which is understandable–but a bit sad.

  8. Canman says:

    “Making false claims and then ignoring counter-evidence to construct misleading arguments that might otherwise seem legitimate”

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I just find the climate and energy debate ..er issue to be extremely interesting and I’ve done a lot of reading on it from various sources. Most of the claims I’ve made about Mann’s hockey stick come from Andrew Montford’s book, “The Hockey Stick Illusion”. I’ve read it and every review and article about it I could find. I find it convincing and I have not seen any major point convincingly refuted. I don’t think Greg Laden would like to argue with any of the points I have made, because he has also read this book. I didn’t think he had read it when I blasted him in the first comment of his Amazon review of it. In a later comment he convinced me that he had read it when he said reading it was “painful”. Do you think a firebrand like him is going to let a little pain stop him from defending Michael Mann (who is probably his freind) on any and all points? No, what I think he meant by “painful” is that it broke his heart.

    I would just like to emphasize that there is nothing about the hockey stick controversy that disproves AGW. While I hold a lukewarmer position, I am not for doing nothing. I think nuclear electricity should be prioritized. I strongly recomend the movie “Pandora’s Promise”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBMj-96hols

    When sites like Climate Progress and Climate Crock of the Week run breathless posts on renewables, I would recomend that people check out the posts at Climate Etc by “Planning Engineer” and Rud Ivstan. I’d also recomend their comments along with Peter Lang’s.

    I also like Bjorn Lomborg’s Idea of more research. I find CalTech chemistry professor Nate Lewis’s proposal to make hydrocarbon fuel from sunlight to be fascinating. His YouTube lectures are very good at explaining the scale of energy. As someone who skipped and slept through a lot of lectures, they held my attention:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1sYmBX7rNA

  9. Greg Laden says:

    By the way, there is a really good book, just out, by Dana Nuccitelli, that covers the larger issue in a strong historical and scientific framework (and yes, even though the book was completed before the NYT ramped up the Willie Soon story causing everyone to pay attention, Willie is in there because he has been there all along). I just put up my review of it:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/03/11/climatology-versus-pseudoscience-exposing-the-failed-predictions-of-global-warming-skeptics/

    • Brad Keyes says:

      If you’re looking for a work of science fiction detailing a vast conspiracy similar to Naomi Oreskes’ ‘Merchants of Doubt’, this may be the book for you. 

      The only problem is that this book claims to be non-fiction. Nuccitelli weaves a crazy tale of data manipulation and vast conspiracies which have very little semblance to what actually happens with regards to the infamous ‘climate debate.’ 

      As long as you don’t take the book seriously it makes for an entertaining read. Just think of the book as another Oreskes story, sit back, and enjoy a fun conspiracy theory. 

      The only problem is that the story claims to be true, but is filled with misinformation, lies, and nonsense. And for that, I can only give it 1 star. 

      • deminthon says:

        Brad repeats the lies that he posted as a review at Amazon. he was repeatedly challenged to substantiate his claims with specifics from the book but never did. In response to claims that he didn’t read the book, he didn’t deny them, he merely asked what sort of person would review a book without reading it. But anyone familiar with Brad from his many years of trolling climate science sites knows just what sort of person he is (along with Smokey, Canman, and the rest of this sociopathic crowd).

  10. Mark says:

    Warming of the earth, or climate change is caused by sun cycles not fossel fuels, we are going into a cooling cycle. Another mini Ice age. I can see it by looking out the window. Polar caps might be moving or changing, That has happened before, Based on sun cycles, not on how much firewood people burned at the time. Global warming crap was bought and paid for. I would like to have clean air, don’t get me wrong, But science picks an idea and is paid to run with it, Kind of like religion, it’s all above how you all think. Chemo is a great cure for cancer, until you understand it’s a stupid thing to do. Some idiot expert says it’s great because he was bought and paid to agree with the idea. Gmo food does not cause cancer, because A few experts were bought and paid to say that. Use some common sense. You seem to be a very large group of very educated stupid people. I don’t know how to explain yourselves to your selves, and yea, you all try to defend how stupid you really are not, You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. but you do, I could pay off a weatherman to have it blow exactly any way like you think you want, and you would beleive it, Don’t you get it? No you don’t. Observe reality. I enjoy this site, however sometime I get the feeling that a large majority of you were all taught to think, and follow some sort of thinking rules, where you were taught to think a like. Not that you all forced to come up with the same ideas. Some kind of creativity loss seems to happen when you are told what to think.

    • Ken Farnsworth says:

      What the … ?

    • deminthon says:

      “Warming of the earth, or climate change is caused by sun cycles not fossel fuels, we are going into a cooling cycle.”

      What is appalling ignorance of the entirety of climate science caused by?

  11. Dallas says:

    It is a poor article without any numbers. Statements about solar energy change being insignificant relative to CO2 forcing should give numbers and references.

    Without that, I have not idea whether I am reading pure spin or a factual analysis.

    If you always count funding source as making something suspect, we need to keep in mind that eNGO and governments also fund people who give them the answers they want and don’t fund those that don’t support their agendas. Look at the eNGO funded anti-aquaculture de-marketing campaign including junk science papers slipped into top journals. See: for the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile some of these same eNGO’s support bottom trawling’s massive destruction and the larges source of man made suspended solids pollution on this planet. DUH! They have an agenda.

  12. daniel gautreau says:

    Stop diverting yourselves over the AMOUNT of money. Non-disclosure is a serious breach of research ethics. Also, and obviously, MISTER Soon accepted funding for research in a field where he has no competence, and his “results” have been completely refuted. He is like a hockey player on a baseball team, batting .000 , thinking that he’s good at it.

    • Smokey says:

      As we see in the reply from MISTER G above, his mind is made up and closed tighter than a drumskin. Facts do not matter to him. He is a political partisan, nothing more.

      It is a fact that DOCTOR Soon is an acknowledged expert on Solar/Terrestrial physics. His expertise brought in plenty of grant money to the Smithsonian — which is now frantically backing and filling, trying to claim complete ignorance of anything related to this grant.

      Does anyone really believe the Smithsonian’s denials?

    • Brad Keyes says:

      Daniel,

      it’s so interesting to hear you say:

      “Non-disclosure is a serious breach of research ethics.”

      That almost sounds like an affirmation of the scientific method.

      One cannot help think of Michael Mann’s outburst in serious breach of research ethics,

      “Giving them the algorithm would be giving in to the intimidation tactics these people are engaged in.”

      Let’s not forget Mike’s Nature trick to… er, fail to disclose the decline, a serious breach of research ethics if ever there was one.

      Or how about Phil Jones’ serious breaches of research ethics:

      “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”



      “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear 
there 
is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than
 send
 to anyone.”



      “The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We 
also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried 
email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that.”



      “I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station
temperature data.
Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information
Act !…
From: Keith Briffa
Subject: Fwd: CCNet: PRESSURE GROWING ON CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCHER TO
DISCLOSE SECRET DATA”



      “At that time, I hid behind the fact that some of the data had been received from individuals and not directly from Met(eorological) Services through the Global Tele-communications Service (GTS) or through the Global Climate Observing System.”



      “I wouldn’t worry about the computer programs. If the Freedom Of Information Act does ever get used by anyone, there is also Intellectual Property Rights to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.”



      “My concern was if Sarah is/was still employed by the University of East Anglia. I guess she could claim that she had only written one tenth of the programs, and therefore only release every tenth line of the programs.”



      Jones isn’t as polished. He seemed very nervous.



      He was all over the place on his answers regarding the question of if data was withheld and why, but he did end up admitting that he had withheld some scientific data about global temperatures.



      Why would he not want to release it?

      Well, for one thing, even though he said it would be a good idea, it was “not standard practice.”

      Following up, Labour MP Graham Stringer asked him: “If that’s not standard practice, how can science progress?”

      “He also said, “because all he [a skeptic] wants to do is find something wrong with it.” 



      To which Mr. Stringer again challenged Jones: “But scientists make a name by proving and disproving things, don’t they? The statement seems to be anti-scientific. It is an absolutely clear denial of the man’s attempt to get at what you were doing. He wanted your information and you refused to give it to him? Why?”

      “I know I probably don’t need to mention this, but just to insure absolutely clarity on
this, I’m providing these for your own personal use, since you’re a trusted colleague. So
please don’t pass this along to others without checking w/ me first. This is the sort of
”dirty laundry” one doesn’t want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try
to distort things…”



      Or Ben Santer’s history of seriously breaching research ethics:

      “After reading Steven McIntyre’s discussion of our paper on climateaudit.com (and reading about my failure to provide McIntyre with the data he requested), an official at Department Of Energy headquarters has written to Cherry Murray at LLNL, claiming that my behaviour is bringing LLNL’s good name into disrepute.”



      ——————————

      Please let me know where to find your comments condemning these soi-disant scientists for their serious breaches of research ethics, Daniel.

      Brad

  13. Rev Billy Jack says:

    Most people couldn’t care less about all this. All anybody cares about is whether he or she will be able to continue his/her mindless shopping and that gas will be available for their cars. People are concerned about the near future since they could be gone from this life tomorrow. The greedy 1% makes all the rules. Climate change Believers and Deniers don’t matter to “The Greedy Bunch” – it will always be about The Golden Rule – they who have the gold make all the rules!

  14. Thomas Fuller says:

    What those of us involved in the debate over climate policy should be concerned about is whether the research we rely on is accurate. If we judge it only by who helped pay for it, we begin to wonder why Shell is helping fun the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia, why Exxon contributed $100 million to Stanford’s Environmental Research units, why the Sierra Club accepted $10 million from fossil fuel companies, etc.

    I don’t think Soon is right in the conclusions he draws from his research. I don’t give a tinker’s damn about him getting about $72K a year from fossil fuels. As I said above, his institution was aware of it and had partial responsibility for any failure to disclose that occurred.

    As for your surprising lack of energy, Mr. Laden, it’s certainly convenient for you to be able to lump all your opponents together, regardless of any differences that might exist.

    But you’ve been choosing the convenient path for some time now, haven’t you?

  15. Smokey says:

    As Tom Fuller knows, he and I have had differences in the past. We have a different point of view on many things. As a respected journalist I trust that he understands those differences, even if he may not agree.

    I will say this: Mr. Fuller has always been impartial. He values the truth, and he is certainly an asset to a site that claims to represent skeptics. His comments above hit home.

    When Mr. Fuller calls Greg Laden to account, it is worth considering. Laden is a self-promoter who has taken political partisanship to a new low. In a world of self-aggrandizing bloggers, he sets the standard for unthinking, emotional rants. Science has nothing to do with his comments; he craves the idea of destroying a Harvard prof. That is hardly something to admire, and he does it using flimsy innuendo.

    Laden is going to be disappointed, like the rest of the ankle-biters. If charges cannot be clearly explaind in an ‘elevator speech’, then they are merely ginned-up political attacks. Those reading Sr. Soon’s considered response can see that he did noting illegal.

    And if disclosure is really a problem, then what about Michal Mann’s accepting of $millions for a ‘study’ of mosquitos?? Mann is not a biloogist, or an epidemiologist. Why was he handed all that loot? And there has never been a resulting paper to justify all that money. What about THAT disclosure?

    Or do Dr. Soon’s critics limit their attacks only to scientific skeptics of man-made global warming?

    • Thomas Fuller says:

      Hiya Smokey, how are you?

      Hey–I’m very much an ex-journalist these days. Gotta keep the record straight.

    • Brad Keyes says:

      “Or do Dr. Soon’s critics limit their attacks only to scientific skeptics of man-made global warming?”

      Really?

      That’s a question?

  16. Canman says:

    Hey! Is it just me, or did someone dial up the level of intellectual discourse?

    • Brad Keyes says:

      It’s not just you! I’ve also been dialing it up since 2012 or so. Google me.

      You’re not alone.

      There are two of us.

  17. Smokey says:

    Three. Four, if you count Tom Fuller. Six, with Dallas and Mark.

    So as usual, scientific skeptics of MMGW have the major ‘consensus’. The alarmists are noisy, and they do a lot of name-calling [“denialists”, etc.]. But they’re a relatively small clique of like-minded head nodders.

    Science depends on empirical, testable evidence and facts, and on verifiable measurements. But so far, there are no measurements quantifying MMGW. Thus, AGW is merely a conjecture.

    Human emissions may have had an effect, but if so, that effect is too small to measure. That really makes it a non-problem. And that is why skeptics are subjected to constant name-calling and abuse: the alarmist crowd doesn’t have anything else. They certainly have no credible measurements quantifying AGW.

    They have no ethics, either. Just look at their derogatory comments, leveled at folks who simply have a different scientific point of view.

    • JW says:

      Oh, so your comment is not derogatory, then?

      By all means, double check the claims and assertions made everyone commenting here. Especially those who have a “different scientific point of view”.

      • deminthon says:

        Smokey, Canman, and Keyes are well known to be completely devoid of intellectual honesty.

  18. Smokey says:

    JW,

    I see it as merely an objective comment. I also note that in the constant appeals to the ‘consensus’ [whatever that could mean in science], the climate alarmists are not in a majority.

    Take the OISM Petition, from way back in the Kyoto days. Even then, more than thrity thousand scientists and engineers [all with degrees in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s], took a stand and co-signed their individual names to the statement saying that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.

    That goes straight to the heart of this debate. The alarmist clique has never been able to get a list equal to even one percent of those names!

    Thus, the true ‘consensus’ is heavily on the side of skeptics of MMGW. Most scientists and engineers know that AGW [MMGW] has never been quantified, despite nearly a century of investigation.

    So the media propaganda claiming that ‘the science is settled’ is just pablum for the masses. Planet Earth is busy deconstructing the man-made global warming scare. It is not based on science, but rather, it is based entirely on alarmist propaganda.

    That’s why there is the constant name-calling [‘contrarians’, denialists’, flat-earthers’, deniers’, etc., etc.] from JW’s side. That crowd has lost the scientific argument. All they have left is their ad hominem anti-science.

    If we delete all those derogatory pejoratives from the alarmists’ arguments, they are really left with nothing. But they keep arguing and name-calling anyway [see Laden’s comments]. That is simply arguing in bad faith.

    MMGW is simply an eco-religion; no more and no less. That is why they will never debate rationally. Their arguments are faith-based and thus, scientific skeptics can make no more headway than we could arguing with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    • JW says:

      Are you not aware that there are a huge number of problems with trying to use the OISM petition as some sort of proof of scientific consensus? Among others:

      * Only 39 of the petitioners specialize in climate science. Why didn’t all the other scientists in this field join the petition?

      * there were 10.6 million science graduates as defined by the OISM since the 1970-71 school year (conservative estimate). Why have only 32,000 signed this petition? Are you sure this isn’t an attempt at misrepresenting what scientists actually think?

      * the Pew Research Center occasionally takes surveys of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 87% of their members agree that climate change is mostly due to human activity. If you apply that figure to the estimate of science graduates, that’s roughly 9.2 million since 1970. If you’d prefer to be more conservative and apply that to just the study population of AAAS members (120,000), that’s 104,400 in total. Even if we ignore all the other non-AAAS scientists in the US and around the world, there seem to be far more scientists that think that climate change is an issue, than your Oregon petition would seem to suggest.

      http://membercentral.aaas.org/membership
      http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/29/public-and-scientists-views-on-science-and-society/

      I’ve got to run, but there’s more if you care to read about this subject:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/OISM-Petition-Project-basic.htm
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/OISM-Petition-Project-intermediate.htm

      Are you sure that your arguments are not “faith-based”? Did you not just uncritically accept the claims of the OISM petition as the absolute truth, and not investigate further?

      In addition, I agree with you that calling people liars and trolls is not ideal, but are you sure that you are not essentially doing the same? That is, are you not trying to deny the legitimacy of your opponents’ arguments, simply because some of them get fed up and start making the same kind of “objective comments” about deniers that you do about “alarmists”? Can you not even see the hypocrisy in your statements?

      No, if we delete all those bad comments, that does not mean that nothing is left. You ARE mischaracterizing the people you argue with, and are committing derogatory ad hominems yourself.

  19. Canman says:

    In response to these three links posted by JW:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy#McIntyre_and_McKitrick_2003
    http://nldr.library.ucar.edu/repository/assets/osgc/OSGC-000-000-011-900.pdf
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

    The first one is a long Wikipedia entry that contains a large amount of spin. For an entry that spends a considerable amount of verbiage on PCA, one name is conspicuously absent. Ian Jolliffe is an expert and was a peer reviewer on at least one of the papers involved. This is what he said about Mann’s method of PCA:

    “I am by no means a climate change denier. My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics. Misrepresenting the views of an independent scientist does little for their case either. It gives ammunition to those who wish to discredit climate change research more generally.”

    The whole thing is at this post:

    http://climateaudit.org/2008/09/08/ian-jolliffe-comments-at-tamino/

    Sometimes zealous activists get a hold of Wiki entries. One person who became well known for this is William Connolly who has a blog called Stoat. He edited thousands of climate entries before having his editing status downgraded.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/category/wiki-wars/

    One thing that caught my eye, is that it says Mann’s assistant sent McIntyre data as a “text file” which is true. What this entry on the “hockey stick controversy” did not deem worthy to include was that David Appell’s article falsely claimed McIntyre had requested the data as a spreadsheet and that it had been mistakenly copied. Mann leaked this to Appell right after McIntyre and McKitrick’s first paper came out.

    JW, about your second link. This is sometimes referred to as the “Jesus paper”. You can read an excellent account here:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

    The third link is to Skeptical Science, which is thought by many to be run by biased activists. I tend to find their summaries on subjects I’m familiar with to be rather short. Something that is not widely known outside climate circles is that someone who follows the climate blogs went through the sites pages that were open to the public and found some of its editors (including founder John Cook) admitting they thought the ’98 hockey stick paper was invalid:

    http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/

Get eSkeptic

Science in your inbox every Wednesday!

eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, event announcements, and more to your inbox once a week.

Sign me up!

Donate to Skeptic

Please support the work of the Skeptics Society. Make the world a more rational place and help us defend the role of science in society.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

Copyright © 1992–2017. All rights reserved. The Skeptics Society | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. Privacy Policy.