the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

RC Correctness Censors

Posted by Jeff Id on July 31, 2009

This morning I received a comment from Laymen Lurker calling my attention to a conversation about moderation on RC.  He indicated this post by Steve Fish discussing the non-response to Ryan’s post tAV to REALCLIMATE: YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE. A significant number of questions and attempts to post on RC were deleted from the current thread at the time regarding this post.  It didn’t go unnoticed by those who regularly peruse blogland and is still being questioned by alert readers.

Steve Fish wrote:

Steve Reynolds #218. I checked out the Rank Exploits Blackboard link (same one I tried previously) and found your posts regarding censorship. You referred to a discussion on the Air Vent (tAV) as a worst case example entitled- “tAV to RealClimate, you can’t get there from here.” Several posters complained that posts on RC didn’t get through. These folks claimed that their posts were relatively simple and polite, and the discussion there was relatively low key so I have no reason to doubt them. On the other hand, some of their posts did get through and they, and examples of what didn’t, were so innocuous that I don’t see any reason to think RC would care, much less prevent them from appearing on their site.

What the whole issue was about was the RC article by Eric Steig, “On Overfitting,” and the following posts there by RyanO regarding his amateure (I didn’t see any credentials) reanalysis of Eric’s data that he presented on tAV. This was also a polite discussion and Eric gave RyanO a lot of help, encouragement, and advice regarding his desire to publish his version of the analysis. Eric’s inline responses were as comprehensive as many research article reviewers comments I have seen, so the actual topic under discussion was not controversial and comments were not heated. One of the posters complained in an Overfitting post about not getting through and Eric said he didn’t know why. Would this happen if there was censorship?

I have had one post to RC not make it and it was just a simple comment and question. I didn’t take this as censorship and just assumed that some of the glitchy behavior of the RC site (changes, spam filter, CAPTCHA) was responsible. When making a claim that information is being suppressed, one should consider what the information is and ask the question – to what aim? We all think that our own ideas are important and I suspect that some of the Air Vent guys were just hyperventilating a little. Steve Reynolds, like RyanO, post what you think is important and see what you get. Be persistent.

My bold.

Since I cannot respond to Steve’s post on RC with any degree of certainty, I chose to do it here.  Let’s start with the ‘credentials’ issue.  The math of this paper isn’t the simplest thing in the world but it isn’t that severely complex.  I’ve run into worse and typically do more complex math for my own job in optics.  Ryan’s background is in physics and he’s also been exposed to very complex forms of math which likely exceed the detail of this paper.  However, he, myself, SteveM, Ross M and Lucia are not climatologists so that may make us laypeople, however amateur is an unfair characterization of the level of work Ryan put forth.  I understand that non-technical individuals  cannot tell the difference in work quality of technical folk so it’s no offense for myself or I suspect Ryan, it just needs to be said.

Jon P  put a short one or two sentence comment up on the RC thread which initially passed moderation.  I thought I had a copy somewhere but can’t find it.  It showed up in the thread and was deleted in minutes, I suspect a grad student passed it through and someone overrode the decision.  Clearly the post had to be on topic and polite to be allowed through moderation the first time (it was), the thing we need to remember is there was a reason for the deletions.

Laymen lurker tried this comment which also didn’t make the cut for moderation.

Dr. Steig’s Antarctic warming paper is an example of recent work overturning conventional views Antarctic climate trends.

Ryan O, has just completed an alternative Antarctic climate reconstruction based on iterative truncated SVD rather than RegEM. Some objections raised by Dr. Steig on Ryan’s previous analysis included 1. the affect of calibrating AVHRR and surface station data and 2. overfitting due to inclusion of additional AVHRR PC’s. The latest analysis eliminates calibration and demonstrates improved verification with the inclusion of additional AVHRR PC’s.

So the question Steve alludes to is the correct one from above.  Why wouldn’t RC take questions about Ryan’s work?  It’s also the same question you should ask yourself as to why the RC thread in reply to Ryan was closed down so quickly.  That thread had legs if you look at the number of comments which came in one day and a number of things were going on.  I disagree with Seve’s interpretation of ‘encouragement and help’ but you have to understand the detail of what was being said to get that interpretation.  Dr. Steig was polite and didn’t insist that I take any Matlab classes from him so it gave some hope for a reasonable discussion, however it was cut amazingly short.

Ryan’s work since then has been an even more dramatic improvement over the previous reconstructions which came through ever deeper understanding of the mathematics.  He actually ended up re-inventing Dr. Beckers work on the DINEOF algorithm simply by making one improvement at a time until he converged to the same result.   This happens to engineers more often than you can imagine but it also demonstrates the superior quality of the work Ryan is doing.  At the same time it validates the work by Dr. Beckers.

Mann made claims of victory on another thread after the fact pointing out again that the verification stats Ryan presented weren’t correctly calculated, ignoring repeated explanations that everyone understood the nuance it had been done both ways and it made no difference.  I believe Mann knows it would make no difference. In the end it resulted in another post which has been the topic of this thread.

Ryan’s work is incredibly clean, you can understand it by reading the code which is cleaner than RegEM, works better than RegEM for most things and is being thoroughly vetted by him and NicL in the background on a daily basis.  Nic is another professional of some sort who also does careful fantastic work.

So as a professional non-climatologist (thank god!) I’ll answer the question above now.  Why doesn’t RC answer?

The reason the posts were deleted is very clear to me…. Ryan’s right!

Everything points to the same answer, better verification statistics, good match to simple area weighted methods, no Chiladni patterns being mistaken for weather.  Everything about it points to the same thing.  If you want to understand why RC won’t let comments about this be discussed, just ask yourself:

What do they have to gain if Ryan’s right?

and the opposite question as a test of the theory,

What would they have to gain if Ryan’s wrong?

There are many excuses they can use for not replying to work that is an improvement on their own  (i.e. time, publish it, not a climatologist,… whatever) however, which of the above fit’s the facts?

Dr. Steig’s Antarctic warming paper is an example of recent work overturning conventional views Antarctic climate trends.

Ryan O, has just completed an alternative Antarctic climate reconstruction based on iterative truncated SVD rather than RegEM. Some objections raised by Dr. Steig on Ryan’s previous analysis included 1. the affect of calibrating AVHRR and surface station data and 2. overfitting due to inclusion of additional AVHRR PC’s. The latest analysis eliminates calibration and demonstrates improved verification with the inclusion of additional AVHRR PC’s.

100 Responses to “RC Correctness Censors”

  1. Jeff Id said

    My comment in reply to some of the BS on RC was snipped again.

  2. Gerald Machnee said

    I have had normal posts deleted at RC. So I do not post there anymore. It seems like there was an automatic delete attached to my posts even though I was never extreme in my comments. But I likely made the mistake of questioning the regulars.

  3. curious said

    Jeff – good post. In my opinion RC shut down the thread to avoid answering the criticisms Ryan was raising. If the subject was being discussed with advancement of knowledge as the objective then they would have let it run. There are plenty of threads at RC which go on far longer. However they could not allow the shortcomings of their work to be discussed and clarified because the paper’s conclusion had been that the climatic influence of CO2 was the only reasonable explanation for the results they presented. To have to then concede their results were invalidated by Ryan’s work and that no significant warming trend is present throws this CO2 explanation into doubt. Continued good luck with publication.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3 I agree completely, especially when you consider they won’t let continued discussion on new issues occur on any threads.

  5. Charlie said

    I have a much simpler story about overmoderation at Real Climate.

    Rahmstorf was justifying a revised caption to a graph he supplied to the Copenhagen synthesis report by saying that even though it used 31 years of data for the smoothing, that it was common for filters to be characterized by their half power width.

    On Lucia’s Blackboard and Niche Modeling another poster had shown the half power width to be something over 45 years.
    I posted this, and asked Rahmstorf what he calculated as the half power width. The comment got stuck in moderation.

    Figuring that the comment had been censored because it had a link to a blog that Real Climate didn’t like, I posted again, leaving out the link. It disappeared again. I went a couple days later to try a third time and the thread had been closed.

    One possible interpretation is that Rahmstorf was embarrassed vy the question and preferred to just censor the question rather than reply with that he agreed with the 46 year number half power width; or even more embarrassing response of being unaware of the characteristics of his smoothing operator.

    No personal insults, snide remarks, or “gotcha’s” were in the comments that were killed in moderation. Just a simple “Here’s what Hu McCulloch calculates, what does your calculation say?”.

  6. Steve Reynolds said

    From RC comment 308Layman Lurker: “You mentioned that some of the comments got through. If you are talking specifically of the “you can’t get there from here” thread I don’t think anyone got through (if I’m missing something point it out to me). Jon P posted a comment that I saw got through initially, but it later disappeared or was removed. I think most of us had links in our comments to the tAV thread which may have been the reason they did not get through…”

    I specifically avoided links and even any mention of tAV in my original comment for precisely that reason. Apparently any mention of RyanO in a comment that day was enough to be deleted.

  7. Balance said

    A good question to asked is what would happen if RC did not delete posts. They would quickly be overwhelmed by skeptical comments. You know it, I know it and, more importantly, they know it. The only way they can hide the predominace of skeptism is by moderating dissenting opinions … which pretty much makes them worthless in any scientific sense. Kind of humorous when you think about it.

  8. Jeff Id said

    Steve,

    I don’t think anyone got through that day, also it is always difficult to get a real question through. The day that Steig was answering questions, I asked the most innocuous thing I could think of and even emailed Ryan that it was apparently second Christmas and was hoping to be non-confrontational on the thread. Ryan’s comments were very direct and to the point, so they packed up and went home declaring victory for all RC.. I actually expected them to close the thread quickly.

    It’s fine really, I just get tweaked when the RC regulars pretend that the censorship of real points doesn’t happen. From my experience, it’s actually the difficult and relevant questions they censor most.

  9. Matt Y. said

    The most effective argument that climate alarmists have is the alleged “consensus” of climate scientists. Bloggers in particular are routinely mocked as cranks, goofballs, and liars. So having somebody outside the official climate scientist club prove them wrong on a significant point would be a major blow. Having a blogger one up them would be too much to take. The infalibility of climate scientists must be defended.

  10. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Guys, I am just saying, but I think if you consider what RC is and its rather transparent motives and goals, it is not very difficult to understand why they do things the way they do.

    RC has some very articulate and versed academics running the show there. The purpose of their blog though is to show evidence for the necessity of immediate mitigation of AGW and the academics who blog there and introduce threads are very much in that advocacy camp. I would surmise from what I read there that they see their efforts, not so much a science endeavor, but a counter effort to what they see as efforts on the part of the “industrialists/capitalists”, and most of us as their ideological dupes, and its being based on a public relations battle.

    Think of how the IPCC works and than think how they would operate if they were doing their work via the blogosphere. They are convinced that the scientific evidence is well in place and has been for some time to make the case for immediate mitigation of AGW and therefore their battles are no longer scientifically based but more PR and advocacy oriented. Like the IPCC uses weak excuses for not showing the other side, RC uses selective censorship. The observation that the obviously inane and scientifically pointless comments from their side of the advocacy issues are not cut gives you a big clue as to motivation.

    The Steig over fitting episode is rather a compelling example of what RC is all about. Steig’s introduction was a clumsy attempt by an academician at PR. While he showed a good understanding of what he had done with the methods in the Steig reconstructions, his knowledge of the methods appeared limited to the reconstruction and much thinner when discussing the more general aspects of them. I suspect that RC allowed Steig to initiate this discussion with “someone called Ryan” because they were not at all prepared for what some called Ryan understood about the methods and the amount of analyses he had under his belt. RC was thinking of a PR slam dunk. Deeper into the discussion, the scientist instincts of RC probably said we need to regroup and rethink some of the issues raised by someone called Ryan and would do better handling that matter in the peer review process. Meanwhile, the advocacy instinct said, since we do not have reasonable replies, we can do what we do best and merely ignore (censor) the hard questions and do it with the clear conscious that what we do is for the good of all mankind.

  11. Jeff Id said

    Kenneth pretty well laid out my thoughts on RC. I see the IPCC more as a necessarily self-expanding organization however.

    I knew Ryan would tear up the boys over there because I had a chance to read his work and ask any questions required and make suggestions before even posting it here. I tried to get him to hold back and let it develop a bit slower when RC first put the thread up. It didn’t work out though…hahaha I was convinced that Mann was probably the wizard behind the curtain after that thread however.

  12. Steve Reynolds said

    “…it’s actually the difficult and relevant questions they censor most.”

    [I wrote this before seeing the previous 2 comments, probably saying much of the same]
    While it may appear that way, I imagine there is a huge amount of crud that deserves to be blocked to preserve what they call ‘signal to noise ratio’. Unfortunately, they let through a lot of cheer-leading and attacks against non-believers anyway.

    I sometimes wonder if they let through a few easy questions just to make it seem the ‘difficult and relevant questions’ do not exist.

  13. Jeff Id said

    #12,

    They won’t let my questions through on Steig et al. There aren’t many details I don’t think I understand at this point. Ryan’s done all of the work lately as running the company and my family have taken over all of my time but there are several questions I had asked which have gone unpublished.

    The crappy thing about it is that Steig’s paper was clever and fun and it would be a great time to work with the boys instead of against them. Unfortunately, it seems like the true temp trends don’t support the warming trend they found and their result turned out to be mostly an artifact of the math. Maybe there’s still a chance to work with them but they’ll need to change their attitudes.

  14. Matt Y. said

    Maybe there’s still a chance to work with them but they’ll need to change their attitudes.

    Never happen. To work with a blogger, in their eyes, would be to lend credibility to you and bloggers in general. Something they will absolutely not do. Discrediting the dissenters is much more important than any insights you might be able to contribute.

    I took Steig’s abrupt stop to the RC thread, telling Ryan to “publish, then we’ll talk” as a challenge more than a helpful suggestion. As in, “Good luck! Guess who the reviewers will be!” But maybe that’s overly cynical. Anyways, it was a cop out at best. It’s not like he was being asked to respond to a half-ass 2 paragraph post or anything. Ryan clearly invested a lot of time to clearly and thoroughly explain exactly what he did… with plots and turn-key code to back it up. More than Steig can claim for his peer reviewed cover story.

  15. Jeff Id said

    #14–I wish you weren’t right.

  16. Smokey said

    One of the realclimate censors is Harald Korneliussen.

    Korneliussen explained, in a completely unbelievable post, why RC bans skeptical comments:

    “About the banning policy on RealClimate. RealClimate is a science blog, not a political discussion blog, and they are quite clear on that. Unlike many of their opponents, they are not paid to promote a certain agenda, and that limits how much time they can afford to use on answering comments… To evaluate claims, or to distinguish signal from noise, we apply networks of trust to decide who we should use our limited time to listen to. It’s not unlike google’s algorithm, where a link from an important site carries more weight than from an unimportant one. Everyone does it, but in science it’s institutionalized in the peer review process: a respected peer gets to set the agenda more, decide which results are important, which paths should rather be explored.”

    Korneliussen is either ignorant or lying when he states that RC is not a political blog. It certainly is. And he is being dishonest when he states that RC is not paid to promote an AGW agenda. In fact, they are paid to advance the AGW hypothesis by outside interests: realclimate is funded by none other than George Soros, as is James Hansen. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and those with an AGW agenda are calling the realclimate tune.

    Korneliussen’s statements are dishonest. I’m not the only one to be censored by RC. Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t mention on WUWT that their polite, reasonable – but skeptical – comment was censored out.

    Furthermore, since the people running realclimate are all on the government payroll, what they are doing is censorship. Private blogs like this, or WUWT, which are run by volunteers, can not be said to censor anything. Censorship is a government activity, and realclimate qualifies.

    Maybe this will make it clear:

    NASA/GISS Director: James Hansen

    Hansen’s subordinate: Gavin Schmidt

    NASA web site contributors: Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann

    GISS Modeler: Gavin Schmidt

    RealClimate is run by Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann; contributor: William Connolley

    Wikipedia editor: William Connolley

    Hansen alone has pocketed upwards of a million dollars [that we know of] from individuals and organizations with a heavy AGW/Leftist agenda. By accepting their outside loot, Hansen is deliberately cheating the taxpayers. He should work for one or the other; you cannot serve two masters. And from the wacked out statements Hansen makes, it’s clear that he’s not representing taxpayers. He is representing George Soros and others of that ilk.

  17. Steve Reynolds said

    #16-Smokey, I don’t want to debate your comments, but if we want (as I do) to get a few RC regular commenters to look at the censorship evidence on this thread, it might be best to keep the personal accusations somewhere else.

  18. Layman Lurker said

    #17

    I’m with you Steve. While I get frustrated with RC’s moderation, I try not to speculate to much on their motives. It is what it is. I think that any open minded commenters, readers, lurkers, etc. can find their way to other sites and understand that RC does not have a monopoly on climate science. For the others not so open to alternatives, it does not really matter anyway.

  19. Demesure said

    @16
    The “not a political blog” pretext is at best hypocritical, at worse stupid. Who does he think he is kidding ? If it held true, most of the comments from their blog would be deleted because of the blatantly political and activist AGW propaganda they let in for the AGW clique of commenters while censoring any critical pov.

    I have ceased long to even try to post at RC, it’s like pissing in a violin (French expression). Worse than that, it would be an encouragement to their con game: they publish your first comment to give a semblance of debate, then let loose the usual hysterics on you with some scientific nonsense and tons of adhominem. And when you try to reply to bring the debate back to some rationality, your comment are “moderated” (post-modern PC term for “censured”).
    So to viewers, you’re an idiot because you’ve been widely “discredited” (they love such kind of parlance just like “unprecedented”, “consistent with”…) and the debate is over.

    That’s how RealClimate considers dissenting views on their blog: as a tool for their propaganda plateform, not for genuine debate and even less for the advancement of science.

  20. Dave said

    Two things got me interested in the topic of global warming. The constant use of the phrase ‘scientific consensus’ and Al Gore getting a Nobel Prize. Being a scientist (medicine), my suspicions were aroused to say the least. So, I decided to ‘educate’ myself. Googled ‘global warming’- visited RC, and rather quickly came to the conclusion that an open discussion of the science and a free exchange of ideas was not available there. So I’ve never been back. I assume any other open-minded person of reasonable intellect would also come to the same conclusion. The question is- Are the important decisions being made by open-minded people of reasonable intellect?

  21. Jeff Id said

    #20

    Answer,

    No. They are not being decided by open minded people.

    But I recommend everyone discover that for themselves.

  22. MikeN said

    RC’s latest:

    One requirement for successful scientific progress in general, is that new explanations or proposed mechanisms must fit within the big picture, as well as being consistent with other observations. They must also be able to explain other relevant aspects. A thorough understanding of the broader subject is therefore often necessary to put the new pieces in the larger context. It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.

  23. Layman Lurker said

    A little OT. Speaking of RC. Rasmus Benestad has today posted a response to Svensmark’s latest paper in August 2009 GRL:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/still-not-convincing/

    Lubos Motl has posted an article on this paper as well, along with a link to a pdf of the paper:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/07/forbush-events-confirm-cosmoclimatology.html

    The paper shows a link between Forbush decreases (FD’s) in cosmic rays (which follow solar coronal mass ejections) and lagged minimums in fine aerosols, cloud water content, liquid water cloud fraction, and low level clouds.

    The theory is that decreased cosmic rays lead to a reduction in fine aerosols which in turn reduces cloud condensation nuclei. There is an intersting discussion in the paper on how inclusion of weak FD’s (done by Kristjnsson in 2008) in an analysis allows the meteorlogical noise to conceal the FD signal.

    Signal vs. noise analysis. Hmmmm, sounds right up your alley Jeff.

  24. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “About the banning policy on RealClimate. RealClimate is a science blog, not a political discussion blog, and they are quite clear on that. Unlike many of their opponents, they are not paid to promote a certain agenda, and that limits how much time they can afford to use on answering comments… To evaluate claims, or to distinguish signal from noise, we apply networks of trust to decide who we should use our limited time to listen to. It’s not unlike google’s algorithm, where a link from an important site carries more weight than from an unimportant one. Everyone does it, but in science it’s institutionalized in the peer review process: a respected peer gets to set the agenda more, decide which results are important, which paths should rather be explored.”

    Believe your lying eyes: “a respected peer gets to set the agenda”. Can you figured out for yourself what that agenda might be? RC uses a self constructed equivalency of peer review and blogging for the sake of rationalizing censorship. How clever of them.

    “One requirement for successful scientific progress in general, is that new explanations or proposed mechanisms must fit within the big picture, as well as being consistent with other observations. They must also be able to explain other relevant aspects. A thorough understanding of the broader subject is therefore often necessary to put the new pieces in the larger context. It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.”

    If this layperson puts what his lying eyes see at RC together with the above statement, I would suggest the “bigger picture” is that sufficient evidence for AGW and its extent has been shown to call for and require immediate mitigation. All that follows must fit into that “bigger picture”. The experts (those of the scientific consensus, if you will) recognize the all important “bigger picture” and the skeptics (the amateurs shilling for the fossil fuel corporatists) do not.

    If you cannot approach RC for posting in straightforward manner and get posted, you are better for not attempting to post there than to go there with hat in hand, head bowed and a shuffling of your feet with the suggestion that you are addressing your masters. Under those circumstances you may not be addressed as “boy”, but I doubt that you will get much respect – from either side of the issues.

  25. Layman Lurker said

    Steve R., you did well to carry the on with the conversation on RC as long as you did. Here is Steve’s last comment which was uhmm….his last comment:

    #343 Steve Reynolds

    338Martin Vermeer: “I pointed out an obviously libelous comment to the moderators, and it (and mine, left dangling) disappeared. Censorship? No, editorial oversight based on law.”

    Yes, I once pointed out a similar comment, with the same result. That kind of ‘editorial oversight’ is fine.

    However, in this case a posted comment about an independent analysis of Antartic [edit - trolls gets moderated out. There are other sites that thrive on ad hom, bad faith, unfounded claims, charges of fraud, dishonesty, etc. Take it over there, but don't complain if we're not buying it here. This thread is over now. Come back when you have something constructive to contribute.]

  26. Layman Lurker said

    #24 Kenneth Fritsch

    And the irony in all of this is that the condescending attitude Dr. Steig had toward “someone called Ryan 0″ and Jeff “enroll in my matlab class” Id, has played (IMO) a part in the paper that is now being prepared for publication.

  27. Layman Lurker said

    Screwed up with the blockquote again.

  28. Dave said

    It was plainly obvious to me after one visit that RC was a closed- minded AGW promotion site. I don’t understand why you guys keep trying to engage them in something they’re clearly not interested in- i.e. an open discussion of the science. You give them too much credit. Ignore them. Do your own thing.

  29. Jeff Id said

    #25

    First, I need to say that their reaction is based at least a bit, on fear. Their paper is going down as having an error and they know it. They should have known it from just checking something as simple as an area weighted reconstruction to make sure nothing was insane, but they didn’t.

    [snip - don't need to say it again]

    Also, consider that their own comments you highlighted are a backhanded ad-hom against tAV.

    Disgust is the best word I have for RC right now.

  30. Steve Reynolds said

    25.Layman Lurker: “Here is Steve’s last comment…”

    For the record, here is my complete last comment including what was edited (in case anyone thinks I wrote something nasty):

    “Steve Reynolds says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    1 August 2009 at 10:22 AM
    338Martin Vermeer: “I pointed out an obviously libelous comment to the moderators, and it (and mine, left dangling) disappeared. Censorship? No, editorial oversight based on law.”

    Yes, I once pointed out a similar comment, with the same result. That kind of ‘editorial oversight’ is fine.

    However, in this case a posted comment about an independent analysis of Antartic data was deleted for no justifiable reason (IMO).”

  31. Layman Lurker said

    #29

    Keep that Id in check there big guy. RC is just doing the same things that people have complained of for years. Work like your analysis of Mann 08 and Steig 09 is the best way to take out your frustrations IMO.

    #30 Steve Reynolds

    Ooooh, that was a bad one. No wonder you got clipped. ;)

  32. Jeff Id said

    hahaha, The id is difficult to contain but I do my best. I don’t think folks who don’t read here often realize I ain’t fakin’ being mad. It’s not my natural state by any stretch but in blogland, I’m often genuinely pissed.

    Look at what Steve wrote, it didn’t need trimming (censoring) by any stretch, yet that’s exactly what they did.

  33. wattsupwiththat said

    I made several attempts to post questions on RC about Steig et al, all were deleted.

    Direct emails to Gavin (who was moderator at the time, as witnessed by inline comments from him) would not reply even though Gavin has replied before.

    I tried again the next day. Same effect, then a new thread showed up asking for suggestions for new blog posts. I made a suggestion, it immediately vaporized, but then I went to my wife’s PC and using here email account posted another suggestion…it posted immediately, by Gavin who made an inline comment nearby.

    I saved screencaps of all this. I suggest you folks do the same. The one day we’ll have a big post where everyone can show their own experiences.

    – Anthony

  34. wattsupwiththat said

    BTW I should add that both my comments coming from my PC and from my wife’s PC shared a common IP address, the gateway of our home router. So it was not any network issue. It was Gavin.

  35. Ryan O said

    The one that really irritated me is when my response to Steig in the “Overfitting” thread was deleted. But the kicker was that I had saved it and posted it here, suspecting that it might not get through. About an hour or so later, my comment reappeared at RC, but with different formatting (italics, bold). This meant someone from there saw it here, re-thought the plan to delete it, and copied-and-pasted (which caused the formatting differences) it to resurrect it.
    .
    For the most part, I don’t mind them over-moderating and deleting things. It’s their blog, and most of the important missing posts are reposted at other blogs. It’s not like any of us will convince the rank-and-file reader there of anything; for the most part, it’s an echo chamber. I read the articles and pretty much ignore the comments anyway. There’s only so much Hank Roberts and John P. Reissman (OSS Foundation) that I can take. But I do think that if you are going to dedicate an article to counter a specific claim, then it is really bad form not to allow the claimant to respond (and Jeff is included in that, since a lot of the Antarctic stuff was a combo effort).
    .
    For you, Anthony, it’s a badge of honor. They’ve spent so much time deriding the Surface Stations project – before it’s even published in a peer-reviewed format, no less – that it indicates they are honestly a bit nervous about what it will say. If the NOAA talking points memo is any indication, they are unlikely to have much scientific ammunition to battle it.

  36. curious said

    Ryan – maybe it has become an echo chamber but they position themselves as a public information service offering “context” and discussion of “scientific topics”:

    “About
    Filed under: Extras— group @ 1 December 2004 – ()
    RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum.”

    (cut and paste from the site today)

    Their censorship (lets face it – it’s not moderation) of valid critiques and scientific questions makes a nonsense of this statement.

  37. John F. Pittman said

    If you go back to older threads, there are some good open discussions. However, the recent threads seem to be so heavily moderated. It appears that when the climate change advocates pushed at the skeptics to publish, the CC adv’s did not think it could be done. Now that it has been done, and is being done, the facade of “settled” lies shattered. There are some interesting re-evaluations occurring such as http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1132#.

    One of the intersting aspects of this is the role that Mann’s hockeysticks played in the claim of the IPCC and modellers that they could only get the modern period with CO2. Jerry’s comments 8 and 9 and potential changes to our understanding of climate senstivity indicate the Mann reconstructions can’t capture the natural variability.

  38. Kenneth Fritsch said

    RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum.”

    Now as far as this statement goes it is, in my view, in accordance with what RC does. I would agree that they do not argue the case for AGW and mitigation directly at the political level, but rather at the evidentiary level. Like the IPCC, though, the presentation of evidence tends to be very much one-sided. The commentary is sufficiently non-scientific at times to allow one to rather conclusively establish the prevailing political biases of the climate scientists posting there and running the show. Like the IPCC, RC, or for that matter, almost all organizations that censor opposing and alternative ideas, will not come out directly and say that their filtering algorithm is a form of censorship or at least a form of restrictions on the presentations of countervailing ideas and arguments.

    To make other analogies, what RC does and admits to is like advertisements, partisan politics and adversarial court cases in the US. Those participants do not come out and say that they are only presenting one side of the issue. They instead are attempting to make it appear that they alone are showing the truth. My only issue is when an adversarial group claims to be an unbiased and neutral seeker of the truth. In the end, the thinking person knows that they need to go to many sources in an attempt to find the truth or a reasonable approximation thereof.

    From the excerpt above we have the comment: “We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.” This statement pretty well tells you what RC is about and only requires a little modification to explain in one sentence what they do. Try: We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories by showing the evidence through analyses favoring immediate AGW mitigation and provide the context of the consensus on AGW that is sometimes missing in mainstream commentary that we hold is not as biased toward the AGW consensus as some skeptics, in the grips of the fossil fuel industrialists, would want others to believe.

  39. Layman Lurker said

    In the grand scheme of things RC’s moderation does not concern me that much. In fact for me, how RC and Mike Mann handled Steve McIntyre’s hockey stick citicisms have a lot to do with why I became skeptical of AGW.

    What concerns me the most is that these are high profile people – leaders – within the AGW scientific community. If you think back not just about the moderation, but about the many shenanigans that have gone on (how Gavin handled the “Harry” incident still astounds me) do we see honesty and integrity? If it was just a case of weighing their scientific opinions against competing ideas, then it would not be a big deal. But these guys have their hands on a lot of levers. If integrity is not demonstrated in how they handle dissent through RC, then can they be trusted in something like peer review?

  40. Ryan O said

    #39 I became aware of Anthony’s work – and then CA – through criticism at RC about Anthony. Funny how that works, eh?

  41. Page48 said

    RE: #’s 39, 40

    I hesitate to post on threads like this because I’m not a statistician and I probably bore people, but here’s my story.

    RC was the first legitimate GW website I found when I first got interested in AGW a couple of years ago.

    The TAR was the first thing I read about AGW; the ’98 hockey stick was the first thing I studied. I didn’t try to address the statistics in the graph, but I did read up on botany and specifically on the proxies used, especially the bristlecones. I read that the trees were chosen because of the arid conditions in which they grow – that the scientists didn’t want water to interfere with the temp influence on growth. I thought this was nuts and that the opposite – that trees in an arid area would be exquisitely sensitive to changes in precipitation – would be true.

    Anyway, I very politely posed a question about the choice of proxy over at RC and the question never appeared.

    It was a simple question from a layperson that I thought deserved an honest answer. I am just a layperson, after all. They could have used the opportunity to educate me, but they ignored me. I suppose they thought it was a stupid question (it wasn’t).

    I haven’t been back much since – why bother?

  42. Smokey said

    Excellent post, #41:

    “…They could have used the opportunity to educate me, but they ignored me.”

    The best thing about sites like tAV, WUWT, ClimateAudit, and similar skeptics’ sites is the huge amount of info available. Unlike RC, these are truly educational sites. Who hasn’t learned a lot about the subject by simply reading the comments – both comments from skeptics, and comments from climate alarmists [who occasionally make good points]? The truth gets sifted out by the point/counterpoint discussions. Posters aren’t deleted like they are at RC simply because they asked an uncomfortable question, or made a point that wasn’t politically correct.

    And the public generally agrees; WUWT slaughtered RC in this year’s Weblog Awards, beating them by 10 – 1.

    Also, RC occasionally has a lot of posts on a single thread, but a handful of posters often contribute 40% of the comments. It’s a warmist echo chamber, where they miss out on the opportunity to get to the truth of the matter by only allowing their CO2=AGW point of view, and by censoring comments made by well meaning skeptics.

  43. Carrick said

    About the banning policy on RealClimate. RealClimate is a science blog, not a political discussion blog.

    Which explains why snarky pro-global warming commentary makes it through the censorship, right?

    Page:

    I haven’t been back much since – why bother?

    Exactly my attitude.

    Censorship has no place in science.

    Period.

  44. Layman Lurker said

    #40

    Funny indeed. Not two years ago, it did not even occur to me to question AGW. I thought Al Gore was a great man who was championing a worthy cause. When I first heard about this Steve McIntyre guy, I tracked down CA to read up on what this was all about. Then I turned to RC fully expecting the critical points to dealt with one by one. After several weeks of reading and observing not just the substance but the tone and nuance – spin, ad homs, etc, I became more and more skeptical.

  45. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said

    humm.
    A.W. good idea u have…. very good!
    TX Jeff

    Looks like 2-3 years left of cycle 24! lol

    where are my thermals??????

  46. rcrejects said

    Great thread Jeff. Just letting you know that I am putting a post up directing my many readers :-) to your thread.

  47. Kenneth Fritsch said

    What concerns me the most is that these are high profile people – leaders – within the AGW scientific community. If you think back not just about the moderation, but about the many shenanigans that have gone on (how Gavin handled the “Harry” incident still astounds me) do we see honesty and integrity? If it was just a case of weighing their scientific opinions against competing ideas, then it would not be a big deal. But these guys have their hands on a lot of levers. If integrity is not demonstrated in how they handle dissent through RC, then can they be trusted in something like peer review?

    Ah yes, Layman Lurker, the human frailties and foibles lurk in the soul of the climate scientist as much as they do in us laypersons and others. When they get in the way of the science content these weaknesses should be pointed to, but I was opining on what I see as the intentions of RC and how it explains their actions/reactions. Most of the continuing complaints I hear at blogs, like Air Vent and Climate Audit, are about access to and termination of discussions at RC.

    Layman, when you say “If it was just a case of weighing their scientific opinions against competing ideas, then it would not be a big deal”, I would counter that by stating that “weighing the scientific opinions and evidence is not only a big deal, for my part it is the only deal”. The rest is noise that needs to be filtered out in getting at the truth.

  48. Jeff Id said

    Thanks for the support everyone, we’ve all had similar experiences with RC and I intend to keep bringing it up as the site needs to be exposed for what it is. By their own inline comments they clearly hate tAV and until they clean up their act, I’m perfectly happy with that.

    RC has the option at any time of allowing reasonable criticism and discussion which IMO would quickly lead to an acceptance of their site as the premier authority of AGW. They seem content now with the transparent facade they’re projecting.

    Tinfoil hat time – Someone off line suggested a connection to Soros for indirect funding of RC. It was pointed out that you can connect associated non-scientist RC individuals to Soros. I wonder about that now because the censorship fits the mode of operations for Soros’s ‘climate progress’ and other Soros projects. It may be that Tamino’s blog is also be the same thing just by his behavior but his censorship is a bit less severe.

    Is it just a coincidence that all the main stream advocate sites are so heavily censored? Maybe but I wonder. Deep Climate’s site also is heavily censored but is small and non-mainstream and therefore non-Soros funded. Therefore Soros could be unrelated and we may just be seeing the various proprietors leftism showing through.

  49. John F. Pittman said

    It will be intersting to see what censoring will be done at RC with Scafetta replying to B&S critique. Maybe they can get Tamino in on it too.

    http://climatesci.org/2009/08/03/nicola-scafetta-comments-on-solar-trends-and-global-warming-by-benestad-and-schmidt/

  50. Layman Lurker said

    #49 John Pittman

    John, do you have a link to the Scafetta paper? I did not see one at Pielke’s site.

  51. curious said

    48 – Jeff – FWIW I don’t think there is an “authority” on AGW. IMO there is still a long way to go before there is even a consistent hypothesis. If RC had any balls they’d recognise that and embrace the type of work done by you, Ryan, Anthony, Steve and many other contributors in the blogosphere.

  52. Page48 said

    RE: #51, “If RC had any balls they’d recognise that and embrace the type of work done by you, Ryan, Anthony, Steve and many other contributors in the blogosphere.”

    Don’t hold your breath!

  53. Dean said

    I, like many people who run RC, do not see blogs as a good place to debate technical scientific issues. I think that RC exists to explain the AGW issue as they see it, not as an open forum to debate issues or defend their point of view. They do some of that, but have limited time and patience for it on the blog. Quite clearly, they see debate on the more technical issues as belonging in the journals that have a history of dealing with that debate.

    The fact that RC often goes a week without a new entry demonstrates that it really is a second-tier priority for them. Eric Steig clearly cut off the responses on that thread because he didn’t want to spend the time. You might remember that his original post there mentioned that somebody had told him that his paper had caused a ruckus in the blogosphere. He wasn’t even aware of it.

    I can understand that many of you want to use RC to challenge their perspective, but that isn’t why they created it. They want to do their real debating in the journals and repeatedly invite those who disagree with them to take it there. Once you start responding to somebody, you have to follow through. It is very time-consuming.

  54. Jeff Id said

    I can’t seem to let this one go despite several seconds of trying. First, thanks for coming over RC reads here more often than people realize but it takes guts to step into the evil lair. Of course I have to disagree with your point about the reasons the thread was cut short but in reality the reason for the disagreement is simply due to my understanding of the intricacies Steig et al.

    Eric Steig clearly cut off the responses on that thread because he didn’t want to spend the time.

    Eric Steig cut off the responses because Ryan stuck an ugly knife in his argument. He demonstrated several primary weaknesses of the paper with a short post on the issues. Dr. Steig had no benefit to keep it going and realized that Ryan would rip it up. As mentioned above, I actually requested Ryan to hold back a bit because I wanted to hear RC’s views and had a good idea what would happen.

    I do understand your other points though, certainly RC cannot discuss with everyone their views, however there are a few of us who should make the bar for tough questions. My own intent isn’t to challenge their views but to understand, however far too often RC’s views appear to be advocacy of AGW rather than open minded science. Michael Mann is a perfect example. I’m convinced that he would write any math to make a HS, completely unabashed from the quality or reality of the result.

    I don’t yet see Gavin or Eric in Michael’s mold but the lack of interaction combined with the ridiculous aloofness makes me wonder if I should.

    BTW, I will get a lot more respect for the climate Journals if Nature publishes the coming rebuttal of Steig et al. There are several issues which have been dramatically improved on that reverse the warming conclusion of the Antarctic. The lack of measured warming is something Steig should have realized from simple analysis of surface station data. If it doesn’t make the cut, I promise to attempt a ‘ruckus’ the likes of which RC has never seen. hehe

    For sure though, they cannot respond to everyone.

  55. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I think Dean has provided a large hint as to why those of you who post here and are interested in analyzing climate science papers should stick to forums like Air Vent, CA and Lucia’s blog and avoid RC. RC is a defender of the status quo and the consensus and does not take well to laypeople analyzing technical papers. The RC layperson’s time is better spent participating in the amen chorus.

  56. curious said

    “BTW, I will get a lot more respect for the climate Journals if Nature publishes the coming rebuttal of Steig et al.”

    For what it’s worth – if you and Ryan (et al?) submit there I think they’ll have to publish it. If they don’t and it comes out elsewhere and stands up it effectively shreds their cred. as journal. If they publish and it stands up it reinforces/reestablishes their cred. It won’t do the same for the authors of the preceeding paper though…

    It’ll be interesting to see how Hu’s enquiry on the Corrigendum is answered. I think Nature ought to be more than a bit peeved at the way that cover story has worked out. It’s sort of time for them to choose where their loyalties lie – either to their favoured authors/topic or to their journal and science.

    I reckon they should give it top slot and, like Geoff suggested, tile the front cover!

  57. Mark T said

    ^Dean

    While I understand your sentiment, I think it is likewise complete and utter bull****. The guys that operate over there are supposed to be “respected scientists” not babies that can’t take a little heat when their own pet theories are under fire. They are cowards accepting government money and then selectively censoring any argument that casts their cash cow, AGW theory, in a bad light. Yeah, it’s their site and their right to express their beliefs as they see fit, but they’re supposed to be scientists, which implies honesty and integrity. By behaving in the childish manner which is so common with these guys, how exactly can anyone ever trust anything they say or write? And to think these guys spend half of their time arguing the credibility of everyone else. It is their site, but it is also our right to call their actions shameful.

    Mark

  58. curious said

    Dean – from “About” at RC 30 seconds ago:

    “About
    Filed under: Extras— group @ 1 December 2004 – ()
    RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum.”

    They should replace “moderated” with “censored” or run it with comments off.

  59. Ryan O said

    The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.

    .
    I tried to reconcile this stated purpose of RC with the first paragraph of Dean’s quote, but the result was a computational singularity.
    .
    Also, with respect to Jeff’s comment, I, too, have opinions about the “degree of advocacy” displayed by the scientists at RC, and I would count Gavin and Eric as being two of the more forthright. Gavin took plenty of time to respond to my posts in the “Antarctic Warming is Robust” thread when the simplest and easiest course of action would have been to simply moderate my posts into nonexistence. Eric has been cooperative with respect to information requests about his Antarctic study.
    .
    Others at RC, however, seem to make a habit of behaving in a manner that is less than impressive.

  60. Mark T said

    Yes, sort of like 0/0 or something similar.

    Mark

  61. curious said

    I’m sure you’ll all see this soon enough but maybe there is a chance of the tiled cover after all!:

    “Nature Reports on CRU Stonewalling”

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6797#comment-352685

  62. Mark T said

    Makes me think that maybe Nature is seeing the problem with the profit motive on these issues. People are going to be less than likely to sign up, and existing subscribers are going to be less than likely to renew, should such occurrences continue in the “climate science” realm. The fact they kowtow to these buffoons in the first place can’t help their bottom line, either.

    Or, maybe not… who knows.

    Mark

  63. Dean said

    Jeff,

    I just went back and reviewed the final comment in Steig’s RC blog post in question. It was a back-and-forth between him and Ryan O that seemed quite friendly to me, and Ryan O has commented here that Eric has been cooperative. It is very time-consuming to monitor blogs and type in detailed and substantive responses. I inferred that he didn’t want to do that any more on that issue.

    To suggest that “Eric Steig cut off the responses because Ryan stuck an ugly knife in his argument” as you do seems completely at odds with that final exchange. In fact, the last thing that Ryan O said prior to Eric closing the thread was “You and I both know that it is much easier to put together some fancy plots for a blog; the wicket for publication is much more difficult and forces more critical thought than blogging.If you do not wish to discuss this until/unless a peer-reviewed paper is forthcoming, I respect that.” So Eric followed up by doing that. Hardly the knife in the gut.

    It’s not my intent to defend every moderation decision that they have made at RC, nor the tone of every response. I’ve seen some that seemed over the top to me. But when I read the responses and the outright anger and rudeness towards them that I see here, I think that most people would not have the patience to deal with that. Also, I see again and again and again (I think you get the idea) a lot of the same arguments that have already been responded to. Somebody recently told me on Pielke’s blog that the IPCC dropped or ignored MBH 1999 (the “hockey stick”) in the fourth IPCC report. So I went there and found it within 10 minutes. Of course this person did not respond when I pointed out their mistake, but I’m sure I’ll hear the same claim many times again.

  64. Jeff Id said

    Dean,

    Thanks again for taking the time, I understand that if you miss the detail of the conversation you will not understand the exchange.

    Second, as far as verification statistics are concerned, the improvement in both calibration and verification using additional PCs is quite significant. This obviates the concern that the calibration period improvement is due to overfitting. I have provided fully documented, turnkey code if you wish to verify this yourself (or, alternatively, find errors in the code). The code also allows you to run reconstructions without the satellite calibration being performed to demonstrate that the improvement in verification skill has nothing do to whatsoever with the satellite calibration. The skill is nearly identical; and, in either case, significantly exceeds the skill of the 3-PC reconstruction. The purpose of the satellite calibration is something else entirely (something that I will not discuss here).

    While polite, this paragraph contains the bulk of the sharp edge I was discussing. This is what kept the post in moderation for basically an entire workday before it’s release. It’s not worth explaining because the math needs to be understood. Once you get the math the meaning is clear.

    But when I read the responses and the outright anger and rudeness towards them that I see here,

    I did let angry posts through toward RC above. I have snipped some of them in the past although fewer than twenty posts of 7400 (other than my own) have ever been snipped here. Look at what Dhog is allowed to say about me, most of the above is tame in comparison.

    Recently RC scientists even took it outside of blogland making false accusations to professional institutions about me. How unprofessional is that? I would never intentionally misrepresent RC scientists to a professional institution or anyone else. They are doing everything possible to discredit tAV but it won’t work because I won’t let it.

    By the way, how do you recommend I react when I request the code and data politely for the fourth time from Dr. Steig and publicly receive what can only be described as a lie saying the code was available followed by an unbelievably cocky recommendation to take Matlab? My own programming experience is likely vastly superior to his own. By vastly I mean vastly to put it moderately.

    I was honestly interested in this paper. It’s very clever and has interesting math. Perhaps I should have begged further for Steig’s help, perhaps kneel down in his presence while asking? I’m no fool, the boys just had to figure that out. Their tone has changed since then BTW.

    I guess my point is— the anger I see has been justifiable. I’ve recently sent some emails as well as others by which we hope the tone will settle down. Why is it up to a blogger to settle down the alleged professionals?

    Honestly, I’ve never seen scientists unwilling to produce data and code before climatology. Usually, they are quite happy someone is interested in learning and helping. The boys take their fame too seriously and assume superior intellect to all passers by, maybe they’re right and RC climatologists actually are the ultimate form of human brilliance.

    BTW: If you don’t see the problems with the hockey sticks, you should read the links above. If you still don’t understand, ask questions.

  65. Dean said

    1. I don’t know what to say about the issue of release of data. If Steig or anybody else are not meeting standards, the issue will eventually be resolved by pressure on them, but these things take time. Didn’t the NRC say that Mann did nothing improper in response to requests for his data?

    2. Saying that RC moderators don’t debate some issues because people are rude to them doesn’t mean that it is your responsibility to resolve the issue. This is why blogs can be bad for discussion, and journals can be much better. The seas get poisoned and arguing over who was rude first is pointless.

    3. I’m aware that there were problems with MBH 1999. I know that they didn’t use the most recommended statistical methods. I also know that other methods did not change the result qualitatively. A dozen subsequent studies had similar results. Mann et al have revised their temperature reconstruction more recently. It doesn’t really look like a hockey stick now, but the basic conclusion that temperatures in the late 20th C were warmer than at least the previous 1000 years still stands as a plausible conclusion. Isn’t this how its supposed to work? The first effort gets revised by following efforts – but none of them found fundamentally different results. The hockey stick now looks like its gone through some industrial gear-works. But it was not demolished, or debunked, or anything like that. It was revised and perfected, and the IPCC never stepped away from it.

  66. Jeff Id said

    #1, I only addressed the issues of Steig09. There are no real standards except by the journals. Recently the journal needed to be used to get action on the release of the data which prompted an improper accusation against me.

    #2, It isn’t my responsibility to resolve the problem but I and others have taken it anyhow. Strange for a lowly blogger?! I believe blogs are far superior in some aspects for discussion however you are correct for the more technical issues which should form the head posts.

    Dr. Steig killed his thread because of the threat Ryan presented, I respect that because he would have been foolish not to. That’s why my prediction and request for Ryan to hold back were so obvious of me. Ryan clearly had gotten a handle on the algorithm and identified the issues. My own point was slow down don’t stick the knife in but it was too late.

    #3, My caluclations do indirectly address MBH 1999 however the primary post is regarding M08 however it does address many others. The point is the basic math of correlation and calibration used in climatology guarantees unprecedented signal in the calibration period (read recently).

    The same error has been repeated dozens of times in climatology by other professors so the claim that others did it is something we agree on and does not discount my work. Instead it supports my work and conclusions.

    Before you say — publish it, I should point out that I had 3 requests from PhD’s in the climatology business to co-author. Also, I found that others had already published similar work excepting the historic temperature reduction caused by the calibration and sorting portion of the algorithms.

    By the way, there has not EVER been one serious criticism of my demonstrations. Read the comment threads!

    The lack of fundamentally different results is EXACTLY my point.

    Would you mind disclosing your math background, I would like to explain what was done here. If I know the basic knowledge level of whom I’m addressing, I think we can get it done because the math is simple. You will be able to find my error in logic or perhaps even see my point.

  67. Dean said

    I only read your description of why so many papers give the same or similar result after the previous post. Sorry, I should have read it before. But your criticism is not just of Mann, but of the entire field of paleoclimatology.

    No – my math background is not up to this. I have no choice but to resort to an argument of authority. If you want to prove that an entire discipline uses false methods, you’re going to have to get a decent chunk of the scientific community behind you to convince me.

    Don’t expect it to be easy to prove that an entire discipline has fooled itself.

  68. Jeff Id said

    It’s not the entire dicipline, it is only the multiproxy calibration studies that use correlation sorting that messed up.

  69. Mark T said

    Actually, you need to study up on logic, too, Dean. He is not saying the entire field of paleoclimatology is using false methods, but that the false methods have been repeated dozens of times. Your argument from authority is failed, not only because it is logically unsound, but also because you’re actually siding with the wrong authority. The methods Jeff criticizes have been shown to be flawed by statistical authorities. That you do not understand is fine, that you refuse to recognize the evidence when it is placed plainly in front of you is, well, disingenuous.

    Don’t expect it to be easy to prove that an entire discipline has fooled itself.

    The entire discipline has not fooled itself, only a small, albeit a very vocal, subset has fooled itself. This has been proven, repeatedly. There’s a reason there aren’t many (if any) statistical authorities co-authoring papers with the Team. Given that you’re into authority arguments, if I were you, I’d wonder why.

    Mark

  70. Jeff Id said

    By the way, there have been multiple papers published that demonstrate the same thing including some by Ross and Steve which caused a bit of a Ruckus. hehe

    It was these posts which caught SteveM’s attention originally.

    The code is R which is free and turnkey. — all data and code ready to go and Nary a single criticism on any thread!!!!

    Assume for a moment we were right and ask yourself the meaning. — I’m not looking for a reply, there’s no need.

  71. Mark T said

    It’s not the entire dicipline, it is only the multiproxy calibration studies that use correlation sorting that messed up.

    I’d buy that. I was going to point out anyone that uses techniques that require linearity, stationarity, and uncorrelated sources to extract non-linear, non-stationary, and correlated (by hypothesis no less) signals is clearly on the minority side of any statistical authority argument.

    Mark

  72. Mark T said

    Jeff Id said
    August 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Dr. Steig killed his thread because of the threat Ryan presented, I respect that because he would have been foolish not to.

    While I understand why he did that, I do not respect his decision. He acted in a most unscientific manner yet wants to be treated as if he is a scientist. “Publish and we’ll talk” was the cowards way out. If he believed in his work, and cared about getting the right answer, as a scientist should, rather than the answer he and his colleagues wanted, he would have welcomed Ryan’s analysis. His integrity was on the line and he had an opportunity to provide us the evidence by which we could judge it. The judgement did not go in his favor, I’m sorry to say.

    Mark

  73. Dean said

    “Assume for a moment we were right and ask yourself the meaning.”

    Maybe you’re not asking for a response, but I’ll give you one. The meaning is that these reconstructions would be proven wrong and one aspect (and not one of the more important ones) of the proof of AGW would be gone, but many others exist.

    In another thread, you mention that there is no conclusive or overwhelming preponderance of evidence on a few specific issues. What constitutes overwhelming preponderance? Clearly some who study the issue think the preponderance is strong enough, on some key issues. I don’t know whether they would use the qualifier “overwhelming” or not. Obviously you disagree with them.

    One of the challenges with making public policy is that you are never have good enough evidence – at least as good as you want. It’s not just AGW – national security, health, etc. Some people place a too-high threshold as a tactic to block action. At some levels of proof, you simply ensure that nothing can be done to head off a problem or impact since with complex systems, you can’t be sure until after the fact.

    As to paleoclimatology, my mistake for characterizing the issue as applying to the entire discipline. But I have seen many times that people with modest knowledge on a subject can be convinced of almost anything. It takes a lot of strong background in a subject to see subtle weaknesses in arguments that can undermine the entire claim. I’m not saying that you’re wrong and they are right, absolutely. I’m saying that despite getting as far as calculus and having some modest signal-processing background, I am not qualified to be a judge of this issue.

    Apparently papers are being published in reviewed journals both supporting and criticizing these methods. So it’s still in play. Hell, even Pielke Jr said that the NRC review of the issue was a “near complete vindication” of Mann, and he is hardly a fan. So as I see it, the preponderance, though not overwhelming, still lies in favor of these techniques. But if you’re right, in time that will win out.

  74. Jeff Id said

    With a calc background you can figure this out, if you’re willing. It’s actually very simple.

    CPS is

    Take noisy data and sort by correlation throwing away data which doesn’t fit,

    Scale noisy data to match temp.

    Average.

    The problem occurs because when you add noise to a slope the effect on correlation isn’t linear. The accepted vs rejected noise is not balanced in the calibration range and more positive noise is accepted than negative noise — yet in history (pre-calibration) the random noise isn’t sorted and is therefore perfectly balanced.

    That’s it.

  75. Mark T said

    Dean said
    August 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

    The meaning is that these reconstructions would be proven wrong and one aspect (and not one of the more important ones) of the proof of AGW would be gone, but many others exist.

    That many others exist means what? You need to think about this one for a bit.

    The reconstructions serve two purposes:
    1) They are required to show that current temperatures are “unprecedented.”
    2) By virtue of number 1, they provide a long-term correlation between CO2 and temperature.

    If the reconstructions have been falsified repeatedly, which rules out 1, at least from the perspective of the length of time in which we can claim “unprecedented” temperatures. That immediately shuts off the correlation in 2, which was weak to begin with (CO2 does not correlate well with temperature).

    You should note that the NAS panel scaled back Mann’s timeline from over 1000 years to 400 years. 400 years ago was the depths of the little ice age, so it is hardly a surprise that temperatures now are higher. Pielke Jr.’s assessment of the conclusions is wholly incorrect. Perhaps if you had a better understanding of the statistics used you would understand what was wrong with his analysis and what it means for his “unprecedented” claim of the past 1000 or more years to be unsupportable.

    So as I see it, the preponderance, though not overwhelming, still lies in favor of these techniques.

    Um, no. First, you’re making another logically flawed argument. It doesn’t matter how many of the same paleoclimatologists publish the same flawed method, it does not make them right. And, yes, it is the same folks publishing the same method over and over. The preponderance of evidence is that using PCA for non-linear, non-stationary data with correlated sources can not work. These three assumptions are required to be met FIRST before proceeding. You, with “some modest signal-processing background” should understand that.

    Mark

  76. Mark T said

    Heck, I wasn’t even considering the CPS stuff…

    That was a joke that had me laughing for months. And Mann criticizes everyone else for their lack of statistical knowledge. Sheesh!

    Mark

  77. Carrick said

    Dean, my problems with Mann lie in two places.

    First I don’t think he vets his methods nearly well enough, which leaves him open to criticism.

    Secondly, I think he seriously needs to work harder on documenting exactly what he has done at each step, and to improve the transparency of this to the outside world, and again this leaves him open to criticism.

    Neither of these comments have anything to do with the verity of Mann’s work, they have to do with the process itself.

    He may will turn out to be right, but that is a different issue entirely than whether his methodology could stand for improvement.

  78. Jeff Id said

    #76 Unfortunately it wasn’t a lack of knowledge IMO, it’s too simple.

    EIV is actually the scale portion of CPS but is identical in every other way. I haven’t taken the time to replicate it but SteveM has repeatedly made the point that our work on Steig et al has the big payoff on temp reconstructions.

    Figuring out Steig, I now understand why Mann08 EIV creates an unprecedented signal as well. I just didn’t take the time to blog on it yet.

    Carrick,

    When you say Mann could be right, are you implying that the temp reconstructions might be accurate?

  79. Dean said

    Mark,

    Clearly you have an opinion that the reconstructions have been falsified. Clearly others who are qualified have a different opinion. You say that Pielke’s conclusions are wholly incorrect. Well, that’s the kind of absolute judgement that kind of closes off debate, isn’t it? There are very qualified people who disagree with you and Jeff on this.

    “You should note that the NAS panel scaled back Mann’s timeline from over 1000 years to 400 years.”

    They scaled back the “highly certain” period to 400 years. They said that “less confidence” can be placed in the same conclusion for 1100 years. Less confidence does not mean falsified or no confidence. They also said regarding the conclusions for the last 1000 “This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence . . .”

    So I think you’re simplifying their conclusions.

  80. Jeff Id said

    “There are very qualified people who disagree with you and Jeff on this.”

    There is not one statistician on earth you can find which will ever disagree on CPS. Honestly, not one. If I’m wrong, I’d sure as hell like to know why because I’ll apologize and change every post.

    Really Dean, you CAN figure this out if you try.

  81. Mark T said

    Dean said

    Clearly you have an opinion that the reconstructions have been falsified.

    Clearly others who are qualified have a different opinion.

    Who that is qualified disagrees with me? Certainly not any statistical or signal processing authorities. Sorry, but the dendroclimatologists are not qualified, at least, based on the very simple mistakes they made they have demonstrated a lack of understanding of the methods they are using.

    You say that Pielke’s conclusions are wholly incorrect. Well, that’s the kind of absolute judgement that kind of closes off debate, isn’t it?

    No, not at all, and I demonstrated why his conclusions were incorrect. His comments were directed at the statements that the reconstructions were accurate to 400 years, as if that is “vindication.” The key claim of the reconstructions is that there was no MWP, which was shot down as unsupportable by the NAS panel. That’s not a vindication, that’s falsification, making Pielke Jr.’s “vindication” wholly incorrect. The panel also said that reconstructions should not use bristlecone pines since they are not temperature proxies, yet they are a key component of Mann’s work (the work they were reviewing.) That’s not vindication, that’s falsification.

    Pielke Jr. is not a scientist, btw. Given that you continue to harp the authority argument, perhaps you should pick another? Quite frankly, I would recommend that you drop the authority nonsense and read into what is actually going on. The math is not difficult.

    There are very qualified people who disagree with you and Jeff on this.

    Who? I’ve never seen or read them.

    You need to pick new authorities, Dean.

    Mark

  82. Carrick said

    Jeff ID:

    When you say Mann could be right, are you implying that the temp reconstructions might be accurate?

    Basically yes, though being right doesn’t mean your methods are necessarily sound (sometimes the result is robust enough to survive a lot of error on the part of the experimenter).

    But then I don’t have a lot invested in whether the recent warming is “unprecedented” or not.

    Even if it’s “unprecedented” that begs the question of why that is so:

    The fundamental mistake many pro AGW proponents make, and I would be interested to hear where Dean weighs in on this, is that they assume that the warming prior to circa 1975 can be explained in terms of human activity.

    The reality is it can’t, at least according to global climate model studies. Prior to circa 1980, the effects of anthropogenic CO2 were nearly balanced by anthropogenic sulfate emissions, as you can clearly see here.

    Even if you attributed all of the warming post 1975 to human activity, that only accounts for approximately 0.3°C of warming, with 0.5°C left to natural explanations. I’d be willing to bet at least 1/3 of the warming since 1980 is from natural cause, which leaves us with maybe only 25% of the warming explained from human causes.

  83. Mark T said

    Jeff Id said
    August 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Unfortunately it wasn’t a lack of knowledge IMO, it’s too simple.

    Who’s lack of knowledge? I’m not so sure Mann actually realized that by sorting based on pattern matching from a random data set would automatically provide the results he wanted. Now that he’s been informed of this, he continues to argue the point, too. Either he doesn’t understand, or he’s intentionally looking for the data he wants. Take your pick: an incompetent or a liar.

    When you say Mann could be right, are you implying that the temp reconstructions might be accurate?

    I could draw a line on some paper and I might be accurate. That doesn’t make it believable, however.

    Mark

  84. Mark T said

    Divergence post 1980s in the BCPs alone falsifies their use as a proxy for temperature. I’ll let Dean sit and think about why that may be.

    Mark

  85. Carrick said

    I should mention the other problem I have with comments like “unprecedented” is if you compare the proxy reconstructions to the spliced-in temperature reconstructions, the temperature reconstructions have a much higher frequency content (the band-stop period of the reconstructions appears to be about 50 years).

    At best this is misleading, at worst this is outright dishonest.

    At the least, you need to low-pass the temperature data so that you are comparing apples-to-apples. If you filter the recent data with a band-stop frequency of 1/50-years to match your proxy data, the effect isn’t nearly as visually dramatic as it is when you to an apple-to-oranges comparison.

    This is an important issue because if proxy data weren’t so strongly filtered, you may find similar naturally occurring spikes in the past. At the least, you can’t discount that they didn’t happen, using data that are incapable of sensing them.

  86. Ryan O said

    Dean,

    I’m glad that you chose to spend some time here. It really is nice to see RC folks dropping by and posting.

    My concerns with the Hockey Stick are twofold. One is physical, the other is processing. Both are incontrovertible (as I believe you will see).

    First, physical. There is no possible way that the methods in MBH98, 99, or Mann 2008 can isolate collinear influences on the proxies during the calibration period. Indeed, there is no attempt to do so. Mann sorts the proxies that contain valid temperature signals using simple correlation, which cannot distinguish collinear signals. During the calibration period, CO2 and temperature are collinear. Nor will the cross-validation statistics used be able to distinguish between collinear signals, as these influences remain collinear during the verification period. Might Mann have captured the temperature signal? Sure. Might he have captured a CO2 signal? Equally possible – and in the case of some of the proxies (like bristlecones) it is a certainty. Might he have captured some unknown combination of precipitation, temperature, and C02 fertilization? Undoubtedly.

    So the question becomes . . . what is the Hockey Stick actually a reconstruction of?

    It cannot wholly be a reconstruction of temperature. Even Wahl and Ammann recognize this and both WA & AW defenses of Mann explicitly state this. I encourage you to read them in detail. The justification that they use is that Mann is really reconstructing a “climate field” that contains various interrelated climatic influences. If this is the case, then these individual influences must be separated such that a calibration to temperature can be performed. This is never done. It is not done by Mann. It is not done by Briffa. It is not done by Jones. You cannot take a series that is admittedly a combination of various factors (with the contribution of each unknown), all of which are nominally expressed in different units, and all of which affect the proxy in a unique, non-linear fashion, and simply express them in terms of temperature based on a simple correlation test in the calibration period.

    Additionally, the fact that all of these factors are positively correlated is a fundamental (and unstated) assumption behind all of these reconstructions. The math does not work if any one of the factors is negatively correlated to any other factor. They must be positively correlated in order to even attempt to sort “true” proxies from “false” proxies based on correlation to one of the factors (in this case, temperature). They also must be linearly related, which is an assumption violated by all of the dendro series. The effects of precipitation, CO2 fertilization, and temperature are all non linear with respect to ring width and are all non linear with respect to their relationship to each other. And, in the case of precipitation and temperature, many species exhibit local maxima for a particular combination of precipitation and temperature . . . meaning if both precipitation and temperature are not known, then the validity of an extrapolation based on correlation to either factor cannot be determined. Precipitation and temperature are by definition unknown during the reconstruction period – else we would not be doing the reconstruction in the first place.

    None of these factors are accounted for in the confidence intervals. None. Zero. Zilch. The only thing that can be stated with certainty about the published confidence intervals are that the real ones are much, much larger.

    The second major problem I have is with the arbitrary nature of many of the processing choices. For an outstanding example of what happens when sensitivity analysis is performed on the arbitrary choices (and by arbitrary I mean they cannot be justified by any physical effect; they are purely a processing choice), please see Burger and Cubasch (2005). There is a vast range of possible results using the MBH98/99 proxies and processing methods. There is no physical criteria with which to select the “right” one.

    The most interesting aspect is that the versions that have the highest verification statistics show a MWP.

    Also, I encourage you to read Mann’s replies to BC05, which essentially boil down to “they used a different range of settings; therefore, their test is bad.” Of course, that is exactly what a sensitivity test is. Note that Mann never explains why this test is bad, he never shows how to justify his particular choices with any physical reasoning, and he refers to statements in the NAS panel documentation that were never made in that documentation. He also claims the NAS report says things that are the exact opposite of what the report says – such as the statistical validity of subjecting the reconstruction process to a known error in order to evaluate whether the process can detect and sort out a known error.

    I encourage you to read BC05, Mann’s replies, the NAS panel report, and the Wegman report with an open mind. Look for inconsistencies. Look for faulty reasoning. Do not go into it with a presupposition about which is right.

    In fact, as an exercise, you could go through them and write down everything you see from each that is inconsistent, specious, a straw man, or fails to answer the question. If you do this with a truly open mind, you might be surprised at the final tally.

    The last thing I’d like to say about this is that no one that I know of has done any Monte Carlo simulation dating errors in proxies to determine the degree to which time domain uncertainties result in a reduction of amplitude for reconstructed temperatures. The effect is not trivial.

    Perhaps, after I am done with Antarctica, I will do that one myself, eh?

  87. Jeff Id said

    I’d like to second Ryan’s appreciation of Dean stopping by. It takes guts and in this case it seems integrity to talk to a bunch of people who have generally different opinions.

  88. Dean said

    “I’m glad that you chose to spend some time here. It really is nice to see RC folks dropping by and posting.”

    Well, it’s rather boring only talking to people you agree with. If only more people thought that. On a broader scale, I think that the political ghettoization these days in which people only watch and read news from sources that tell them what they want to hear is a huge problem across the board. I try to look for climate sites with interesting skeptical viewpoints, but too often run into people who deny that CO2 can even cause warming, or are only interested in conspiracy theories.

    But getting back to this subject, I saw this in the NRC review, in the section dealing with temperature reconstructions:

    The connections between proxy records and environmental variables are well justified in terms of physical, chemical, and biological processes.

    Tree rings, the dominant data source in many reconstructions, are derived from regional networks with extensive replication, and they are a good indicator of environmental variables at the regional scale. Regional tree ring series are highly correlated with measures of temperature and drought.

    The same general temperature trends emerge from different reconstructions.

    One reconstruction does not use tree ring networks at all for century-scale and longer changes, but instead relies on a combination of geochemical and sedimentary proxies

    As such, I’m not convinced by comments from Jeff that proxies cannot identify temperature records. And it seems that the datasets do vary.

    However, there is also this:

    The observed discrepancy between some tree ring variables that are thought to be sensitive to temperature and the temperature changes observed in the late 20th century (Jacoby and D’Arrigo 1995, Briffa et al. 1998) reduces confidence that the correlation between these proxies and temperature has been consistent over time.

    Unfortunately the time I spend on blogs and these issues really doesn’t allow a detailed comparison of the NRC report, Wegman committee, etc. And I will be away from my computer all of next week. Clearly there are limitations to what these reconstructions can accomplish, but it really is just one small part of the overall AGW picture.

    One extra question for Jeff and/or Ryan – do you think that the same or similar problems exist in the ice core reconstructions?

  89. Ryan O said

    Dean,

    I honestly do not know. My knowledge of ice cores is superficial – and that’s putting it mildly.

    I will say – since we’re talking about various types of proxies – that while I have many problems with the dendro proxies, I regard land borehole proxies as utterly and completely useless.

  90. Jeff Id said

    Thanks again Dean,

    I try not to say Proxies cannot identify temp records, if I did somewhere I was mistaken. Proxies certainly can, however the calibration methods used guarantee hockey sticks which are actually distortions in the iso-temp lines of the graphs rather than the nice linear grids presented.

    Also, there aren’t many around here who will say CO2 doesn’t cause warming. It’s typically a more technical crowd of grumpy engineers, biologists and physicists. The climatologists stop by too but typcially flinch away at my political rants :)

    I have no doubt that CO2 causes warming, I only doubt how much warming and how bad that actually is.

  91. Jeff Id said

    On the ice core reconstructions, my own opinion is that features on the hundred year scale are muted due to diffusion. The vertical scaling of the graphs is in question so the absolute magnitude of the change is probably not perfect but to be honest they scare the hell out of me.

    Boreholes should only be used for attaching toilet seats.

  92. Mark T said

    Jeff Id said
    August 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I try not to say Proxies cannot identify temp records, if I did somewhere I was mistaken.

    The flaw in Dean’s argument is that while temperatures may be reflected in proxies, it is not done so reliably. Ryan pointed this out with his detailed analysis and I hinted at it. So if you say “proxies cannot identify temp records,” you would not be wrong, though there is more to the story.

    The use of proxies for reconstructions all hedges on the three things I mentioned, and Ryan detailed a bit better: linearity, stationarity, and correlatedness. Why do these things matter? Here is why:

    1) Linearity: if the relationships are non-linear, that means the cause-effect changes over time. In other words, maybe the proxies do match to temperature well now, but because of non-linearity, you don’t know how well they matched 1000 years ago and hence, you cannot make any claims regarding their validity. This is what the divergence problem is all about, btw: the “match” to temperature 25 years ago no longer exists today. All of the methods used for extracting the climate signals (to date) require linear relationships between the sources.

    2) Stationarity: similar to linearity, but now we’re talking about the statistical, rather than algebraic, relationship. Basically, the statistics change over time, which violates the explicitly stated assumption of stationary statistics (typically only the mean and variance, i.e., wide sense stationarity, are required.) There are ways around this, btw, but there are issues with these, too.

    3) Correlatedness: basically collinearity as Ryan mentions. This means that the input sources are correlated with one another. They are simply by hypothesis, e.g., the hypothesis is that CO2 is driving temperature, but it is also well known that CO2 and plant growth are correlated. The processing methods used to extract a temperature signal will also extract the CO2 signal in the tree-rings. They cannot be separated without a known relationship between CO2 and temperature, but that’s what the reconstruction is attempting to show in the first place. This is a circular argument.

    It is no surprise that when Amman finally published the r2 (verification statistics) values they were near 0 prior to the calibration period. They published their results AFTER the NAS panel discussion, I should add, so they actually falsified their own results.

    Dean, you should also stay away from ice core reconstructions because they reverse cause and effect, i.e., they show temperature causing CO2 increase, not the other way around. You’re not going to help your cause if you stay there.

    Mark

  93. Mark T said

    but it really is just one small part of the overall AGW picture.

    Back to the cop-out. None of you AGW alarmists wants to admit that it’s not really a “small part,” it is essential to proving precedence. If it turns out that previous times were as warm, or even warmer, than now, so much for the claim that “it can’t be due to natural variability.” Sleight of hand. Shift the argument away from the failure to “other lines of evidence.”

    What a weak argument.

    Mark

  94. Jeff Id said

    I agree with the linearity and stationarity points. I think what was missing from Ryan and Mark’s posts was the point I’m trying to make that the math distorts the signal.

    If the trees were perfect thermometers and temps were twice as high 1000 years ago as today, my analysis shows Mann’s method would still shrink that 2X today temp to about 0.8 and we would still have unprecedented temps today.

  95. Mark T said

    I don’t disagree with your exaggeration point, btw, I just don’t need it to invalidate the results.

    Note, btw, I’m saying that the methods cannot be used to support the claim, not that the claim itself is incorrect. This is another of Dean’s failures, he does not understand what he is arguing agains. It could very well be that temperatures are warmer now than 1000 years ago. Whether they were or not is immaterial. The multiproxy reconstructions simply aren’t valid means for providing such information (not yet, at least).

    Mark

  96. Ryan O said

    Jeff,

    I left the math part to you, since you’ve done the most out of any of that in playing with the CPS method. ;)

    Mark – exactly. I don’t know whether temperatures 1000 years ago were warmer than today – or if they were much colder. For all I know, the reconstructed temperatures Mann has produced may be right. However, if they are right, they are right out of pure coincidence because the method used to arrive at them is fraught with problems.

    (And Mr. Monte Carlo tells us the odds of them being right out of pure coincidence is vanishingly small).

  97. Mark T said

    As I recally, r2 in the 1800 range was taken out to the 5th decimal place just to get a non-zero digit. Given that, I’m not sure how the NAS panel could now conclude that even 400 years is legit, and we have records that go back that far!

    From my standpoint, simply knowing what assumptions are required to do PCA (any variance-based method, actually) immediately invalidated the results. The whole CPS fiasco was a joke. I mean, using the result to pick the inputs? C’mon, man, how dishonest do you need to be to make a straight-faced claim that such a practice is legitimate?

    Mark

  98. Ryan O said

    Dean,

    Back to philosophizing about the RC issue, I figured I’d write down a few of my thoughts. You can take them or leave them.

    If you end up spending any significant amount of time out here in the “denialosphere”, I think you will find that the moniker is hardly accurate when it comes to the proprietors of the blogs. Most of us believe that AGW is real. The question in our minds comes down to magnitude and forecasting ability.

    Most of us also believe that taking action to limit the production of greenhouse gasses is a good idea. We may differ on the best way to accomplish that – I prefer to let incentives work in a free market setting, for example, but there are many, many actions that you, I, Jeff, Mark, Gavin, Eric, and a whole host of others would agree should be taken.

    So we’re not a bunch of blind idiots in the pockets of oil companies deliberately spreading false information. In fact, as far as I know, none of us are getting any paychecks from oil. I know I certainly am not. There are legitimate reasons for believing that AGW is not – to illicitly use a Rahmstorf quote – “worse then we thought”. There are a multitude of reasons for believing it’s not as bad as we thought. Because much of the information we need to decide is simply not available and must be inferred rather than measured, it is difficult to understand how the science can be considered settled.

    And given that the science is not settled, I am perfectly comfortable admitting that it may be as bad as we thought. What I cannot understand is how someone could refuse to admit that it also might not be as bad as we thought.

    With that as background, the resentment on this side of the fence over RC’s policies boils down to the constant, unchecked insinuation and accusations by both RC regulars (and a couple of the scientists) that those who do not accept the AGW party line as being Big Oil saps and being fraudulent, disingenuous, stupid, unscientific, and any number of other, similar labels.

    This is especially irksome as many of us have gone out of our way to chastise posters on our blogs who accuse legitimate scientists of fraud or dishonesty. This is not reciprocated at RC. Many of us have acknowledged – and will continue to acknowledge – when RC scientists are right. This is not reciprocated at RC. Many of us have criticized – and will continue to criticize – when skeptics and anti-AGW individuals make ridiculous or unsupportable claims (McLean et al., George Will, Monckton, Singer, etc.). This is not reciprocated at RC (De’ath et al., Mote, and countless op-eds attributing everything from erectile dysfunction to bumpy airplane rides to global warming).

    If you are truly interested in minimizing the blog-wars, then RC really needs to take a lesson from some of the skeptic blogs it despises so much. If your opponent is right, admit it. If you are wrong, admit it.

    This is one of the reasons why I like Gavin (though I disagree with him on some things). Gavin does admit when he has made a mistake.

    The problem is . . . he never does so on RC.

  99. Jeff Id said

    To add to Ryan’s post, I happen to own a green company myself. That’s what I do with my days. Our company has probably saved more CO2 than any individual bloggers out there.

    How’s that for ironic. The evil Id saves more greenhouse gas than RC proprietors ever will. No oil checks yet, although we sold $9K of product to Saudi Arabia – that felt good.

  100. Layman Lurker said

    Here is an interesting response by Gavin to commenter san quintin at RC today.

    This is a moderated site, and always has been. We do screen out a lot of the random squawk of the blogosphere and the baseless accusations of malfeasance that are commonplace on open forums. We do that unapologetically in order to maximise the signal-to-noise ratio in threads. When there are technical issues that we aren’t qualified to judge, we often ask people more involved to comment – and these comments appear inline with the questions so that the answers are not lost and are provided at the same time as the question appears. This leaves a record for later readers that is much easier to follow. We don’t screen out comments just because they disagree with us (as is evident in any comment thread). – gavin

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