the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Liars and Knucklehead Reviewers

Posted by Jeff Id on February 13, 2011

When Steig went off the deep end the other day, I told people I wasn’t going to let it go.  Not after all that time work and abuse we took in getting this paper done.  He’s actually screaming that we are liars, and the reviewers that let our math pass are Knuckleheads.  Let’s see if he has the grace to apologize!!!

His words are those of an enraged man who’s famous work is being made more famous by extended unique claims as to what is reality and the quality of the reviewers. In my opinion, there was only one reviewer who actively worked against a scientific analysis based on his preferred results.  He made his recommendations to force us closer to S09 at every angle.  At every angle he tried to push us to say we agreed with this or that of S09, never understanding or choosing to grasp that his results are random noise more than anything else. Peninsular warming smeared through 2.5 pc’s across the Antarctic, does not constitute data which you can accurately use for anything. NOTHING.But there was plenty of warming in it for the cover of Nature.

Anyway, Steve McIntyre has a post up which our group has reviewed lightly and I wholeheartedly agree with. I’m tired of the games at RC. I’m tired of them calling me, Steve or any of our group liars while hiding the truth and never apologizing for their own mistakes. Ever seen RC apologize? Know why?

You don’t need to hear my rants though, Steve’s post is long enough. Check it out here.


I wonder what the KNUCKLEHEADED REVIEWERS think of Steig’s skill set.

33 Responses to “Liars and Knucklehead Reviewers”

  1. Brian H said

    At this point, IMO the only interesting question is what’s driving Steig’s (near-?)psychotic break. Is it infinite confidence in the power of The Team to shield him? Or is it nightmares about loss of all his laboriously built-up status, on which his entire ego-structure now rests?

    IAC, his thrashings look like they may bring down substantive sections of the IPCC/AGW edifice.

  2. Jeff C. said

    To quote Guido the pimp in the movie Risky Business:

    “Let me give you a little advice so you know. In times of economic uncertainty, never ever %$&* with another man’s livelihood.”

    In the academic world, it is rare for one academic to call BS on another. Those of us in professions that are required to turn a profit aren’t afforded that luxury. In my first design review; I tried to BS my way through something where I hadn’t done my homework. The graybeards mercilessly ripped me to shreds in front of a hundred people. It was a hard lesson to learn, but fortunately I got it out of the way when I was young.

    If Steig’s (and Mann before him) paper was simply addressing an issue of academic curiosity, no one would have given it a second thought. But that is not the case; these papers are being used by advocates (including the scientists themselves) to call for a virtual repeal of the Industrial Revolution. By doing that, they %$&* with other people’s livelihood. To think there would be no scrutiny was incredibly myopic.

    For the first time in his career, Dr. Steig probably sees his status and future funding threatened. It’s not a pleasant place to be.

  3. Philemon said

    Jeff, I’m not sure what Steig thinks about his status or future funding. However, in many parts of the academic world, calling BS is normal and expected, in my experience.

  4. Jeff C. said

    Philemon – it probably happens at a personal level, but I can think of few papers that flat out said another paper was wrong. There is always some tortured narrative that attempts to explain away differing results. Seems like it’s a professional courtesy, akin to cops not giving each other tickets.

    I get told I’m full of it fairy regularly. Glad to hear I’m not alone! 🙂

  5. Jeff C. said

    Not to belabor the point, but the Chladni patterns and O10 are a good example. S09 justified using only 3 PCs by claiming the spatial patterns of the 3 PC loadings resembled known Antarctic atmospheric patterns. Steve M demonstrated conclusively that random data distributed over a disc shaped like Antarctica gave the same patterns. The “Castles in the Sand” post pointed out earlier writing specifically warning against doing exactly what S09 did.

    The rationale for using three PCs was BS. The first draft of O10 called them on it, it is absent from the final accepted manuscript.

  6. Carrick said

    Jeff C, it happens. I’ve published a few papers demonstrating other people’s errors. The editors of the journal don’t like it, because it makes them look bad. In my experience, that’s the main impediment, not “playing nice” with other scientists. Most scientists (in my area) revel at the opportunity to poke each other in the eye.

  7. Steve McIntyre said

    Jeff C, Steig aka Reviewer A asked that the discussion on Chladni patterns be removed. As a matter of expediency given the requirement for “major revision”, Ryan removed the section.

    It is one big reason why I think that the First Submission should be read by parties interested in this debate, as, in my opinion, the original article was worthy of publication (as agreed by unconflicted reviewers) and, as Ryan observed in his Response to the First Review A, the iridge alternative was a topic for future work. In fact, the “future work” ended up being the results that were published.

  8. Jeff C. said

    Carrick – thanks for explaining, I figured there had to be some reason, your explanation makes more sense.

  9. M Simon said

    The graybeards mercilessly ripped me to shreds in front of a hundred people.

    I LOVE design reviews. Giving and receiving.

    Where did I learn my lesson? In Nuke Power School at the final qual interview/interrogation. They got their best guys together and went at me for over 3 hours (normally a 2 hour job) and I knew it all. And then one of my interrogators took a stab and asked me something I had failed to study adequately. Dang. Of course they were happy to have finally tripped me up. I still got the highest qual marks of anybody for the last two or three years they told me.

    I NEVER made that mistake again.


    Steig doesn’t get it. It is his and his friend’s job/prestige vs all of ours. He is outnumbered and there are bound to be people in the larger group smarter and more knowledgeable than he is. There is always some one smarter and who knows more.

    In the old system before the Internet (BTI) he could have covered it up. Now a days not so much.

  10. Jeff C. said

    Steve – thanks for the history. I had seen an early version of the paper and was disappointed that the Chladni stuff was missing in the Journal version.

    Mea Culpa, the post was “Castles in the Clouds” discussing Buell’s work from 1975. Castles Made of Sand was Hendrix’s work from 1968. Both are quite good.

  11. Derek said

    Good to see you all “back”, so to speak.

    I think your onto a winner with this.
    Sterling (if not historical) work.

  12. Jeff Id said

    I kept the blog going for months for the Antarctic, then this stuff happens right after I close it. I’m still quitting due to lack of time but others will have a post or two in coming days.

  13. Derek said

    Thanks for the clarification Jeff.

    Quibbling the figures does seem to be getting results,
    as does questioning the principles.

  14. Don B said

    Thanks, Jeff Id and everyone. This controversy will help advance the science in climate science.

  15. Jeremy said

    Don’t let Steig troll you Jeff. Whether he knows it or not, he’s very much in the wrong here. His words should just be recorded and repectfully questioned. Your readers aren’t stupid, you have no reason to feel like we can’t see what is going on

  16. Derek said

    Jeff something rather obvious has occurred to me,
    in regards to the whole meaning and context of this episode.
    Please check the posts (particularly post 3) in the link given in post 11.

  17. apl said

    A question for Ryan O:
    You confirmed you gave your word to Steig that you would not reveal he was Reviewer A and you fully intended to keep to this, before changing your mind (for what seemed good reasons). Can you clarify, did you give your word to Steig before or after he confirmed his identity? While the answer doesn’t change the fact you didn’t keep your word, it does impact the degree of irritation Steig is entitled to hold.

  18. kim said

    Steig illegitimately spread Palmer Peninsula warming temporally and spatially over the rest of Antarctica. Who is going to apologize to the readers of Nature for this probably deliberate deception? And who is going to apologize for the utter lack of curiosity among the Nature readers who’ve swallowed this sheer propaganda hooked peninsula, line of statistical lies, and concrete chladni’d sinkers?

  19. Steve McIntyre said

    #17. I’ve reviewed the correspondence in light of the dispute and can confirm that the assurance was given after Steig had revealed himself as Reviewer A and not as a precondition for disclosure – a point that Lucia has also drawn attention to.

  20. Ruhroh said

    Another Timing Question;

    Somewhere I read (but cannot now find) the remarkably coincident timing of comments by ES at AV or ?, each not long after submission of a draft of the paper.
    Could one of you smart fellers repost that info?

  21. Jeff Id said

    After each review, Eric Steig would stop by and make a comment.

  22. Ruhroh said

    Did this occur after the submission of the response to the third review?

  23. Jeff Id said

    His submission.

  24. Ruhroh said

    If I am understanding you correctly, he made comments after his review of the first submission original paper (aka Rev 1), his (second) review of the modified paper ( aka Rev 2), and his (third) review of the re-modified paper (aka Rev 3).

    Is it also correct that he did not post anything with similar timing after you guys made the cosmetic edits for the final version (aka Rev 4)?

    I think it is important to keep those contemporary ES posts ‘front and center’, to tie the whole thing together for the peanut gallery…

    I didn’t see this in Steve M reprise of the chain of events, and I think it is an important part of the story.

    Thanks, Jeff!
    Going cold turkey on my AirVent withdrawal was tough…
    Life Beckons!


  25. Ruhroh said

    I put in a request at the long knucklehead thread at CA for SM to reconnect this part of the story.
    Perhaps he will find the time to do that.
    Carpe Dinero

  26. Derek said

    kim said Post 18
    February 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Steig illegitimately spread Palmer Peninsula warming temporally and spatially over the rest of Antarctica.

    This is what I am trying to get at in Post 16 Jeff.
    Steig took localised volcanic activity and spread it using the algorithm (you and Steve McIntyre have shown is incorrect), incorrectly across Antarctica.
    Presumably the “resulting” Western Antarctic warming is supposed to “justify” man made global warming causing the collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf. In Steig’s world.

    Steig has literally taken,
    the locally significant, but globally insignificant,
    and turned it into,
    the locally insignificant, yet globally significant,
    using incorrectly a dodgy algorithm.

  27. Ruhroh said

    Ryan answered over at the blackboard.

    Steig’s only 4 posts of the year, have a very strong relationship to the review cycle.

    Easy to see how Ryan assumed the 4th timely (drive-by) post implied he had seen Rev 4 of the paper. I’d have made the same conclusion.

    Anyway, thanx for the cameo…

  28. conard said

    Click to access 1%2020100325%20SI%20Revised.pdf

    Wondering where this file went?


  29. Kan said

    Eric also posted here on a thread that had devolved into a discussion about/with Miskolczi during this time frame. Can’t remember the thread (or Month).

  30. conard said

    Click to access 1%2020100325%20SI%20Revised.pdf

    Click to access 2%2020100419%20Submission.pdf

    Click to access 2%2020100426%20Cover%20Letter.pdf

    Click to access 2%2020100522%20correspondence%20re%20first%20review.pdf

    After double and triple checking there are a total of four files I had links to that are no longer present.


  31. boballab said

    Conrad try these links:

    Click to access 1%2020100325%20SI%20Revised%20working%20.pdf

    Click to access 1%2020100426%20Cover%20Letter.pdf

    Click to access 1%2020100522%20correspondence%20re%20first%20review.pdf

    As to the link with the number 2020100419 Submission.pdf it looks as if the number should have been 2020100429 Submission.Pdf (closest one I could find that matches what you got all the other submission Pdf’s have numbers of 209, 810 and 126 on the end) and here is it’s link:

    I guessing that here but it looks like you linked to the data file in the early days when Ryan first put the reviews out. However over time Ryan has been adding more and more files into it. Matter of fact the latest addition was 15 Feb. So with that being the case the easiest thing to do is the link to the parent directory:

  32. conard said


    29April is not the same as 19April.
    Additions to the folder are not the same as subtractions.

    Thanks for going to the trouble of trying to make sense of this.

  33. Pat Frank said

    I wonder if the other O10 reviewer know Steig called them knuckleheaded. He doesn’t know who they are, of course, but they know who he is. Maybe he should hope that none of them are ever recruited to review one of his manuscripts.

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