Mark Steyn Has A Fool For A Client

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295 Responses

  1. Joe Schmoe says:

    But my review of the law suggests that Mann's counter-claims are, at a minimum, a very risky gambit. Perhaps there is some theory behind them with a sound basis in law; perhaps Mann is getting competent legal advice. But I am skeptical.

    I think you meant Steyn there.

  2. Matthew Cline says:

    Having read the filing, it seems to me that a large part of the counterclaims is Steyn asking the judge to sanction Mann's (alleged) procedural misconduct in other court cases. IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that you have to ask the judges handling those cases to sanction someone, not another judge altogether. And while on that issue, is Steyn even a defendant or plaintiff in all the cases he mentions in the counterclaims?

  3. Ken White says:

    Matthew, that would be one of the other many problems with the theory.

  4. Wick Deer says:

    Looking back to the original article, I think the phrase written by Steyn that gives me the most pause is "fraudulent hockey stick graph." That's an allegation that one particular instance of scientific misconduct.

    Maybe it's the lawyer in me, but I see fraud as being capable of being proved or disproved.

  5. PonyAdvocate says:

    The cartoon to which Mr. White apparently objects is, I think, a classic example of what Mr. White himself routinely describes as an opinion "expressed through vivid rhetoric and hyperbole".

  6. Ben Robinson says:

    I have seen two licensed attorneys file "I'm counterclaiming against you for suing me" claims in the last year. For the sake of their clients, I kind of wish this nonsense were strictly the province of pro ses.

  7. David says:

    Yeah, the comparisons with Jerry Sandusky, headline-grabbingly dumb though they are, are a red herring, I think; it's the underlying accusation of willful scientific fraud, and whether Steyn included any (truthful) justification for it or relied on unstated facts, that's important. Although the child-molester simile might help prove malice if it gets that far.

  8. central texas says:

    So… I presume that you also saw the AG of Virginia's investigation of Prof. Mann for fraud as a case of defending the right of climate change deniers not to be forced to cope with the results of a scientist's work? Seems to me that if there is an attempt to suppress an idea/opinion/facts, it is not Prof. Mann who is leading the charge.

  9. Ken White says:

    @PonyAdvocate: did I suggest that the cartoon is not protected by the First Amendment? I did not.

    I leave it to your imagination whether the NYT would print a cartoon about stabbing climate change advocates.

  10. Phil Plait says:

    My stance on climate change, Mann, and Steyn should already be clear, and I say this to be fair, given what I will say next. Mann is suing Steyn for defamation, because Steyn said his work was fraudulent, and compared him to a child molester. Both of these, I should think, are injurious to Mann's reputation as a scientist, and should fall under the category of defamation. If Steyn (or anyone else) simply disagreed with Mann's work or analysis or statements, that would be one thing – I agree that suing them for that would be censorship. But in this case it doesn't strike me as chilling to sue someone. Mann's reputation is what's being attacked here, and so Steyn's words are not as protected as he thinks.

  11. Jim Krehbiel says:

    Mr. White: Steyn is not trying to win this case (though I am sure he plans to win) – he is trying to change the "system" which is not accomplished by following your advice. You would have him propagate the corrupt system to insure his short term gain. I have nothing but respect for him and disdain for your advice!

  12. David says:

    If "the system" is corrupt, that corruption will not be cured by Mark Steyn going down in spectacular legal flames.

  13. Matthew Cline says:

    @Jim Krehbiel:

    Mr. White: Steyn is not trying to win this case (though I am sure he plans to win) – he is trying to change the "system" which is not accomplished by following your advice.

    Extending your campaign to change the legal system to the legal filings in a current defamation suit doesn't seem to be very productive.

    And what parts of the legal system is he trying to change? Make it legal to sue someone for suing you? Let a judge sanction someone for procedural misdeeds that happened in court cases that judge had nothing to do with?

  14. Rachel says:

    @central texas – The Michael Mann saga goes back a long, long time, and is very complicated. There is a great deal of "inside baseball" there. There is evidence of Mann making some eye-raising decisions, like splicing in data to "hide the decline" (called Mann's nature trick in the ClimateGate emails). http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/20/mikes-nature-trick/

    Mann also literally placed a series of data upside down and then published the results: http://climateaudit.org/2009/09/03/kaufmann-and-upside-down-mann/

    So there is a reason for concern, especially when Mann's results are being used to drive billions of dollars in government and indeed world policy.

    If Mann's research is perfect (which the aforementioned errors prove is not so) then providing his research documents and algorithms for the work he did on the taxpayer dime should not have been too much to ask. After all, we want to see if we are getting what we paid for…

    Again, this is a lot of inside baseball stuff, and I don't want to hijack Mr. White's comment thread, so I'll leave it at that.

  15. AlphaCentauri says:

    I leave it to your imagination whether the NYT would print a cartoon about stabbing climate change advocates.

    Up here in the Northeast, we're having batshit crazy weather and everyone is trying to find some humor in it. "What would you do/say to a climate change denier who gets up in your face with, 'See this proves there's no such thing as global warming?'" is kind of a running joke. That cartoon is more about frustration with the weather than frustration with climate change deniers, who are suffering sufficiently already on the icy roads down South.

  16. Will J. Richardson says:

    Some here are missing the point Steyn was making when referring to Sandusky in the offending article. Steyn was comparing the result of Penn State's investigation of Mann to the early investigations of Sandusky by Penn State which failed to expose Sandusky as a pedophile. Steyn's article does not directly compare Mann's actions to Sandusky's.

  17. JeffM says:

    I am pretty vociferous about what I consider a morally bankrupt legal system in the US, but it is crazy to think that the way to make it better is to ignore its mechanics while you are caught up in it.

    The primary point that I take from Ken's post is that there is a real risk of a bad precedent being set by Steyn's showboating. There is an old saying that hard cases make bad law. Bad representation is also likely to make bad law.

    As for the remark about Sandusky, that clearly was hyperbole and opinion about the quality of Penn State's investigations, not intended to be taken as literal fact. Furthermore, Mann is a public figure, and whatever the merits of the "hockey stick" dispute (which I do not know enough about to have a view on), it is almost impossible to prove malice or a reckless disregard for the truth about opining that it is fraudulent. Steyn has a decent, probably much better than decent, case at law, and Ken is worried that, nevertheless, it may result in a silly precedent because it is not being argued competently, let alone well.

    My reading of the post is that it has nothing to do with the merits of the scientific cases for and against AGW and nothing to do with the general state of the US legal system. It has everything to do with the practicalities of getting a sensible verdict out of the current system by someone who understands it.

  18. David says:

    On further review of the coverage, I believe the judge did rule that the Sandusky comment is opinion. It's all about the "fraud" comments.

  19. Wick Deer says:

    I've read a couple of the decisions in the case to date. It's not the link to Sandusky that kept the cases as viable defamation cases; it's the claims that Mann intentionally falsified his results to suit a political agenda.

  20. Mike Adamson says:

    As a non-lawyer I've learned a lot reading Popehat. I can appreciate that a difference exists between statements that are "opinions expressed through vivid rhetoric and hyperbole" and statements of literal fact. What I can't appreciate is where to draw the line between the two, particularly in this case where an important and influential article of research is described as "fraudulant." I suppose we could assume that a pundit paid to offer opinions never issues factual statements but that seems like a crazy way to run a railroad. Fascinating stuff.

  21. Noel Darlow says:

    While it may be important to allow some rhetoric and hyperbole as legitimate forms of expression, accusing a research scientist – whose livelihood depends on a reputation for scientific integrity – of deliberate fraud without any good reason steps beyond any reasonable limits on free speech.

    The character assassination aimed at Mann (and others) is itself a deliberate attack on free speech ie the freedom of scientific inquiry. This is what needs to be protected not the stubborn, wilful ignorance and spiteful narcissism of false skepticism.

    You really need to think again which side deserves your support. You might consider why there is such a huge volume of anti-scientific attacks on Mann in the media and on internet blogs but so few challenges are made in the proper arena for scientific debate: the major journals (virtually zero in fact).

  22. Ken White says:

    You really need to think again which side deserves your support.

    Or else?

  23. Rachel says:

    Mr. White, if I'm going too far off topic here, feel free to delete my comment.

    @Noel Darlow – if the freedom of scientific inquiry is free speech, then is it also true that the method of scientific inquiry (the research design, the data, the algorithms, the software, the code, etc.) used to generate the results subject to the same examination and weighing as actual speech is when considering whether speech is defamation or protected opinion?

    How can one judge whether or not Steyn and others' speech is defamatory if the actual speech (which you call the freedom of scientific inquiry) is not made available to be analyzed?

    There are examples of Mann et. al withholding from other researchers the data necessary to test and attempt to replicate results. That, in my estimation, is "anti-scientific," and withholding the information makes it virtually impossible to truly determine whether criticism of the results (in this case the Hockey Stick) is fraudulent, or not.

    Finally, there is a robust debate going on in the major journals. As evidence here is a link to 1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW.

  24. Jim Krehbiel says:

    He fixed a "corrupt" system in Canada, and can do the same here. Look at BIG picture!

  25. Noel Darlow says:

    @Rachel I can't believe you just gave me a link to that populartechnology site. I thought this was a serious blog?

    As for with-holding data: you do realise that Mann's ideas are proposed via formal, technical arguments openly published for all to see in major scientific journals? That's not a great method of hiding.

    If only his critics would do the same – of course they can't which is why we see all the character assassination.

  26. Jim Krehbiel says:

    He is trying to put "common sense" back into the system, as he did in Canada. Don't get hung up on the legal details, look at his effort re the big picture!

  27. Eli Rabett says:

    What Steyn is doing is simple. NRO and CEI have good lawyers. Steyn was paying his lawyer (same ones as NRO). NRO and CEI have to defend against the same charges. Steyn is also raising money independently for his defense as is NRO. IEHO, what he did was look at the balance sheet and see profit. If this is true, from his point of view the wilder he whips up the crowd the more donations he gets.

    Mann's motivations may be more interesting. For over a decade he has been the pinata that the denialist crowd whacked. A lot of the stuff that passes for "Mann did this. . ." is just wrong, or a strange take on what Mann did. After a while. . . .

  28. PonyAdvocate says:

    @Mr. White:

    did I suggest that the cartoon is not protected by the First Amendment? I did not.

    Nor did I suggest that you suggested such a thing. You seem, however, to have an uncharacteristically stern attitude towards this cartoon, perhaps because you may be taking it literally, and forgetting that, hey, it's just a cartoon. Your disapproval seems to me dissonant with what you've often said in this forum in the past.

    I leave it to your imagination whether the NYT would print a cartoon about stabbing climate change advocates.

    I don't know about the NYT, but I would be thoroughly UNsurprised to see a cartoon depiction of a climate change non-denier being stabbed with an icicle in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, on Fox News, or on the web sites or in the publications of Heritage, AEI, or the US Chamber of Commerce. And I would take those cartoons every bit as seriously as I take this one.

  29. lucia says:

    Wick Deer,

    The phrase that seems to have given the judge the most pause was "torture and molest data". This has been discussed at my blog and also climateaudit.com. It can be argued "torturing data" is a term of art, used widely and not really intimating fraud in any legal or academic sense. You can find
    ""If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything." and similar off shoots all over the place. For example:

    https://plus.google.com/+TimOReilly/posts/1uZspGucedT

    The turn of phrase seems to have an origin in a Ronald Coase quote from the 60s.

  30. Rachel says:

    @Noel Darlow, the link is an aggregation of peer-reviewed research articles. As they are a collection of climate science articles and not a collection of case law, they may not be appropriate for Mr. White's blog, but to call into question the credibility of 1350+ peer-reviewed articles without first reading them seems a bit premature.

    I agree that Mann's formal technical arguments are openly published for all to see. However, one of the UK's investigations that I *think* Mann is using as proof of his exoneration did criticize how the scientists handled FOIA requests and did find that raw data was withheld from skeptic scientists who wanted to replicate results.

    My point is that if the raw data is not easily made available to be tested, then the process of scientific inquiry, or what you are calling free speech (and I agree with you that it is speech), cannot be weighed to determine if criticism, comments, etc. about the speech (or what you are calling the results of the research) are truly defamatory.

  31. mk says:

    "Quite frankly I also think that the lawsuit is part of a larger effort to conduct the climate change debate by other means, including lawfare"

    You're talking about Steyn et. al. here, as the only valid way to conduct a scientific debate is via the scientific method.

    "I'm scientifically illiterate."

    Which means that you're so woefully uninformed on this subject that your opinion about the "effort" around the debate is irrelevant. You should read Mann's book.

  32. mk says:

    "However, one of the UK's investigations that I *think* Mann is using as proof of his exoneration did criticize how the scientists handled FOIA requests and did find that raw data was withheld from skeptic scientists who wanted to replicate results."

    This is utter nonsense. Mann isn't with the CRU and so isn't subject to any criticism of how those scientists handled FOIA requests, and his raw data is from public sources.

  33. mk says:

    "There is evidence of Mann making some eye-raising decisions, like splicing in data to "hide the decline" (called Mann's nature trick in the ClimateGate emails). "

    This, like everything you have posted here about Mann and climate change, is completely, utterly false. "hide the decline" and "Mike's Nature trick" are two quite different things, there was no "splicing in of data", and there is nothing at all "eye-raising" about these standard scientific techniques. These are all ignorant claims that are spread about by clueless and/or dishonest deniers. Stop reading garbage like WUWT and PopTech and try some truth: https://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm

  34. mk says:

    "Finally, there is a robust debate going on in the major journals. As evidence here is a link to 1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW."

    How do you know that there is a robust debate when you have never looked at any science journal and wouldn't understand a word if you did? What makes you think that PopTech's claims are accurate? They aren't … 97% of all peer reviewed articles that take a position accept the reality of AGW. There is overwhelming evidence from independent lines, including basic physics, in support of it. This is why *no* reputable scientific organization on the face of the planet rejects AGW.

  35. I'm a lawyer and know all too well that we lawyers (unsurprisingly) tend to see the world through our narrow legal prism.

    Even when a problem is not a subject of actual litigation, lawyers will tend to analyze the situation in legal terms and to suggest solutions based upon a legal analysis. For example, if you mention to a lawyer-friend that your neighbor's dog barking keeps you awake, your lawyer-friend will expound on the principles of common law nuisance and cite local ordinances. He will probably not mention earplugs or dog obedience school.

    This natural limitation of lawyers qua lawyers is not a bad thing. Indeed it is quite a good thing, most of the time, in that the natural limitation of the legal mind is the very thing that makes practical the "rule of law," which requires a stability that can exist only if the system is backstopped by the legal brotherhood's devotion to a relatively well-fixed and well-settled set of rules that is believed to be fairly dispositive, if need be, of most disputes.

    Enough philosophizing!

    Suffice to say that if we lawyers see legal solutions for problems that aren't even a subject of actual litigation, imagine how difficult it is for us lawyers to consider as plausible anything other than a conventional legalistic game-plan when a matter actually is a subject of ongoing litigation.

    Although the Mann v. Steyn dispute is a litigation matter, it is not only or even primarily a litigation matter. It is foremost a political matter.

    The trial is a political trial. In political trials, the normal legal rules, while they may ostensibly or actually apply to the legal questions, will not ultimately determine which side wins or loses politically or what is won and what is lost politically.

    Many lawyers, most especially conservative lawyers, feel a deep psychic distress when the legal system is "used" to accomplish extra-legal ends. We do not like to see the legal system "politicized." Most especially we do not like to see extra-legal techniques brought to bear upon the legal system. Yet in the hierarchy of human social order, politics is always above law and ultimately dictates to it. Steyn understands this reality. White does not.

  36. mk says:

    "Mann also literally placed a series of data upside down and then published the results: http://climateaudit.org/2009/09/03/kaufmann-and-upside-down-mann/"

    Why do you state this as fact? What is your scientific background to evaluate this claim? Mann claims it isn't true.

  37. mk says:

    "part of the effort to label certain viewpoints as so unacceptable that they do not deserve full legal protection. As an example of the tone I am talking about, consider a cartoon in today's New York Times"

    In what possible way does that cartoon suggest anything about what does or does not deserve legal protection? In fact the cartoon mostly illustrates the frustration that informed people have with a particular group of extraordinarily ignorant, foolish, and intellectually dishonest folk.

    "@PonyAdvocate: did I suggest that the cartoon is not protected by the First Amendment? I did not."

    Then what, exactly, are you suggesting, and how is it relevant? I wonder if you at all understand the cartoon and what specific real world facts motivated it, given your scientific illiteracy.

    "I leave it to your imagination whether the NYT would print a cartoon about stabbing climate change advocates."

    I can imagine that, but perhaps my imagination isn't so infected by ideology as to presuppose it to be impossible.

  38. Gabe says:

    I have very mixed feelings about this case. On the one hand, among actual experts there is about as much debate about AGW as there is among architectural engineers as to whether 9/11 was an inside job. Despite what the blog "popular technology" says, the debate is entirely among non-specialists. Also, declaring a scientist's work as fraudulent is really a statement of opinion and is massively damaging to his (in this case) reputation. However, Mark Steyn and the editors of NRO really seem to believe that his work is fraudulent so it is not like they were making those statements knowingly falsely. Also, a defamation lawsuit is not the way to handle hyperbolic criticism and can have a chilling effect. I think the best possible outcome here would be a ruling to the effect that the statements were false but not done with malicious intent. In short, I don't think it should be illegal to do what Steyn did, I just wish people would take it as seriously as David Icke's Reptoid conspiracy.

  39. Fred Z says:

    On what planet do you live to think that Steyn's pleadings and position were not prepared by counsel, almost certainly senior counsel?

    There are a thousand lawyers prepared to help. One did. And Steyn is not fighting a lawsuit, he is waging war.

    The court system, most lawyers, and most judges are rotten corrupt and/or incompetent and I say that as a retired lawyer.

  40. Dougal says:

    Steyn is now fighting as much in the court of public opinion as in the actual court room. I don't think he cares if he insults Combs Greene, annoys Judge Weisberg, upends courtroom decorum, etc. He feels he's emulating the free speech advocates of our revolutionary period and the consequences be damned. He calls himself a human rights activist and he may be the most important one working in that field. Because if we all lose the right to speak forcefully in public for fear of the oppressive nature of libel/defamation suits, then only those who can afford the privilege of suing someone for those alleged crimes will be victorious in the end. The rest of us will be cowed into silence.

    I believe Weisberg, by not applying the anti-SLAPP statute, showed he was prejudiced against the defendants in this case. If I may speculate, I believe that Steyn is looking at this as a long term process in which he will eventually be exonerated and the right to free expression in open debate will be affirmed. (My cursory readings in case law suggest he's right.) He's aware that given the Judge's proclivities, that he could very easily lose in the first round, but probably believes that he will win on appeal.

    I agree with him, and as long as you are going to lose, you might as well stir the emotions of the people in the court of public opinion.

    His behavior is not unlike the Yippies in the 60s, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Abby Hoffman et al. They lost in court in most cases, but they had a profound effect on the Larger Debate.

  41. John says:

    It seems like MK came to a legal blog and read an opinion he didn't like. Ken wasn't commenting on the science of the whole thing, but the legal aspects. Whoever's science you believe is not the point. The point is using lawfare is bad and the results of a censorious lawsuit has ramifications for all of us in the end. The best way to show that you support free speech is to be able to defend speech you don't agree with.

  42. Deathpony says:

    @John

    Have to agree with you there, though I can kind of understand where mk is coming from.

    One of the problems that this is highlighting is the extent to which the climate change debate has become a primarily political one rather than scientific. Maybe this sounds strange, but as a scientist and knowing a lot of climatologists and hydrologists, I dont think any of them were truly ready for the extent to which what they are doing has morphed into being seen as qualitatively no different to other political speech. Thats a shock for any scientist, and not one that has been handled well by some.

    Part of that is because the reaction has been so over the top. I dont know what it's like in the USA but assume it is similar to here. Any climate scientist here gets hate mail daily, frequently including death threats. It has engendered a siege mentality and a degree of battle weariness that has made a lot of them fractious. Censoriousness is deplorable, but can be understandable in those circumstances, sort of an incoherent cry of "enough!".

    That said, not sure what Steyn is hoping to achieve. If you want to reform the legal system, making everyone want to cheer the system to stomp you like a bug because you are being an asshat and proposing courses of action that would be orders of magnitude worse is a weird way of going about it. Then again, departing company with reality is not new for pro se litigants.

    I just hope he still feels "the vibe"

  43. Demosthenes says:

    @ Noel Darlow:

    You might consider why there is such a huge volume of anti-scientific attacks on Mann in the media and on internet blogs but so few challenges are made in the proper arena for scientific debate: the major journals (virtually zero in fact).

    I can't speak for Ken, but I have considered it. My answer to you is roughly equivalent to the answer I would give if asked why Solzhenitsyn didn't publish very much in Pravda.

    @ PonyAdvocate

    …I would be thoroughly UNsurprised to see a cartoon depiction of a climate change non-denier being stabbed with an icicle in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, on Fox News, or on the web sites or in the publications of Heritage, AEI, or the US Chamber of Commerce.

    Really? I would be astonished to see any cartoon like that in any one of those outlets (especially the U.S. Chamber of Commerce). Please note that I am not saying my side doesn't have its fair share of extremists who would publish, and enjoy, such an awful piece of doodling. However, the news organizations and think tanks you mention are not run by such people. And they would be roughly as likely to publish such a cartoon as they would to publish the execrable pseudo-intellectual wankery that passes for cartoons from Tom Tomorrow — who, for the record, HAS been published in the Times.

  44. Rachel says:

    Here's the crux of this issue. If, as some have asserted here that Mann's scientific inquiry and the results of it are indeed speech, then discovery might be interesting. Indeed, I believe discovery may Steyn's ultimate goal.

    The only way to prove that Steyn's speech is defamatory is to prove that Mann's Hockey Stick is not fraudulent. And the only way that Steyn can prove that it is fraudulent is to get access to Mann's data, source code, notes, etc. In fact, access to such may have been the point of Cuccinelli's VA suit against UVA.

    Is Mann's Hockey Stick not fraudulent because HE says its not fraudulent? IANAL so I don't know how such things are determined. I'm wondering how Steyn can prove that his criticism was not defamatory without being granted access to everything and anything related to the Hockey Stick. If granted access to this, I believe it would be a first.

    It is not common practice for climate scientists to make available the raw data and source code in their publications, and not doing so makes it that much harder for anyone to replicate their results.

  45. Matthew Cline says:

    @The Astonishing FartMan :

    The trial is a political trial. In political trials, the normal legal rules, while they may ostensibly or actually apply to the legal questions, will not ultimately determine which side wins or loses politically or what is won and what is lost politically.

    and

    @Dougal:

    Steyn is now fighting as much in the court of public opinion as in the actual court room. I don't think he cares if he insults Combs Greene, annoys Judge Weisberg, upends courtroom decorum, etc.

    Then why not say that sort of stuff in press releases and interviews? Those are going to get more attention than court filings.

    @Fred Z:

    On what planet do you live to think that Steyn's pleadings and position were not prepared by counsel, almost certainly senior counsel?

    Then why, after firing his previous lawyer, didn't he substitute this new lawyer as his counsel in the suit? Also, why would would this counsel ask the judge to sanction Mann for conduct in lawsuits which that judge didn't preside over? I'm not a lawyer, and even I know things don't work that way.

  46. Poptech says:

    Noel Darlow • Feb 23, 2014 @6:26 pm

    @Rachel I can't believe you just gave me a link to that populartechnology site. I thought this was a serious blog?

    Every paper on the list is fully cited and source just like the other articles on the site. If you believe you have a valid criticism present it, just make sure to read the detailed "Rebuttals to Criticisms" section on the list before stating something that has long been refuted.

  47. Poptech says:

    mk • Feb 23, 2014 @7:35 pm

    This, like everything you have posted here about Mann and climate change, is completely, utterly false. "hide the decline" and "Mike's Nature trick" are two quite different things, there was no "splicing in of data", and there is nothing at all "eye-raising" about these standard scientific techniques. These are all ignorant claims that are spread about by clueless and/or dishonest deniers. Stop reading garbage like WUWT and PopTech and try some truth: https://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm

    You will not find the truth at a cartoonists blog. Here are better sources,

    Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline
    Climategate 'hide the decline' explained by Berkeley professor Richard A. Muller (Video) (5min)

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/20/mike%E2%80%99s-nature-trick/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/26/the-trick/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/

  48. Poptech says:

    mk • Feb 23, 2014 @7:40 pm

    How do you know that there is a robust debate when you have never looked at any science journal and wouldn't understand a word if you did? What makes you think that PopTech's claims are accurate? They aren't … 97% of all peer reviewed articles that take a position accept the reality of AGW.

    That is based on a fatally flawed study that falsely classified skeptic papers as "endorsing AGW",

    97% Study Falsely Classifies Scientists' Papers, according to the scientists that published them

    There is overwhelming evidence from independent lines, [...] This is why *no* reputable scientific organization on the face of the planet rejects AGW.

    How many members of those scientific organizations signed a position statement on climate change?

  49. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    While I don't take position on "Global Climate Change" since I will have to live with the result in any event. I do believe it has been politicized beyond rationalization.

  50. Dougal says:

    @ Rachel • Feb 23, 2014 @9:21 pm

    You write: "The only way to prove that Steyn's speech is defamatory is to prove that Mann's Hockey Stick is not fraudulent."

    That is not true, according to libel law. Mann has to prove malice, which means he has to prove that Steyn knew his statement saying the hockey stick graph was fraudulent was untrue and that he made the statement with reckless disregard for the truth.

    Regardless of whether the hockey stick may or may not be hocum, proving that Steyn did not believe the hockey stick to be hocum will be a Sisyphean task. He's been saying that it was hocum for years and he's been relying on expert opinion to make those statements.

  51. X says:

    @MK

    "In what possible way does that cartoon suggest anything about what does or does not deserve legal protection? In fact the cartoon mostly illustrates the frustration that informed people have with a particular group of extraordinarily ignorant, foolish, and intellectually dishonest folk. "

    That's a good question. Let's play Einstein and run a little thought experiment:

    Would you say that climate believers are superior to climate deniers?

    That deniers are dangerous, destructive, pernicious people?

    That the whole wide world would be better off without those nasty, stupid, disgusting deniers?

    So tell us then, MK, if you had a magic button that would instantly evaporate all those foul deniers, would you press it? For the sake of humanity? For truth, justice, and the American way?

    (And this is a rhetorical question: no one's interested in whatever face-saving lie you'd post here in public)

    So, realizing you're a bigot… does it sting a little?

  52. David C says:

    @Dougal: Rachel's statement is still true. Proving the speech is defamatory must include proving the statement is actually false. It's true that he must also show malice, but falsity is the number one most important thing, without which there can be no defamation. And the burden normally rests on the side filing the lawsuit.

    So it seems to me that the only way for Mann to avoid discovery on his data is for him to lose the case before it gets that far.

  53. Noel Darlow says:

    @Demosthenes

    An utterly ridiculous statement if you knew anything at all about the culture of science. The major journals do not operate any preferential policies for favoured climate theories. They do not actively suppress any valid science. I don't expect you have any evidence to support this claim…?

  54. Castaigne says:

    @Jim Krehbiel:

    Steyn is not trying to win this case (though I am sure he plans to win) – he is trying to change the "system" which is not accomplished by following your advice.

    Then he should try getting legislation passed that changes things, not attempting to use pseudolaw.


    @Rachel:

    If Mann's research is perfect (which the aforementioned errors prove is not so) then providing his research documents and algorithms for the work he did on the taxpayer dime should not have been too much to ask. After all, we want to see if we are getting what we paid for…

    Some of Mann's methodology in collecting pre-1600 temperatures has been criticized and there are still technical disagreements over various details, but the general trend of the hockey stick is accepted as part of the current consensus on global warming. See here.

    How can one judge whether or not Steyn and others' speech is defamatory if the actual speech (which you call the freedom of scientific inquiry) is not made available to be analyzed?

    Not to put too fine a point to it, the data Mann used is freely available to others to analyze. Check the original paper. You can request the data from the relevant scientific institutions and research groups and put it all together yourself. It's all from public sources. It should be noted that a number of climatologists published their own reconstructions of global temperatures from independent lines of research that vindicated Mann's research by showing similar if not identical trends in temperature.

    There are examples of Mann et. al withholding from other researchers the data necessary to test and attempt to replicate results. That, in my estimation, is "anti-scientific," and withholding the information makes it virtually impossible to truly determine whether criticism of the results (in this case the Hockey Stick) is fraudulent, or not.

    Except that Dr. Mann, regardless of one thinks of him, hasn't withheld anything, or massaged data, or lied about it. You see, he was cleared of those allegations. You can even read the investigation report yourself…unless you think that Penn State is also lying in their investigation, in which case I can't help you there.

    My point is that if the raw data is not easily made available to be tested

    The raw data IS easily available to be tested. As I stated previously, you can request it yourself. It's all from public sources.

    However, one of the UK's investigations that I *think* Mann is using as proof of his exoneration did criticize how the scientists handled FOIA requests and did find that raw data was withheld from skeptic scientists who wanted to replicate results.

    Actually, all such claims were retracted by the investigating media. But those claims did not apply and were never applied to Michael Mann. You are misinformed if you think so.

    The only way to prove that Steyn's speech is defamatory is to prove that Mann's Hockey Stick is not fraudulent. And the only way that Steyn can prove that it is fraudulent is to get access to Mann's data, source code, notes, etc.

    That's not true at all. Considering PUBLIC DATA was used, one can figure it themselves using the information presented in the original paper. So your argument there falls flat.

    Is Mann's Hockey Stick not fraudulent because HE says its not fraudulent?

    No, it's not fradulent because other climatologists doing independent verification with the same public data came up with verifying similar results. And if Steyn attempts to prove the Hockey Stick is fradulent, that's what will be introduced in court by Mann.

    IANAL so I don't know how such things are determined.

    It's 1) not a legal thing, 2) a few somethings called "scientific method" and "peer review".

    It is not common practice for climate scientists to make available the raw data and source code in their publications

    That is false. You are lying here.

    @TheAstonishingFartMan:

    Although the Mann v. Steyn dispute is a litigation matter, it is not only or even primarily a litigation matter. It is foremost a political matter.

    Strange, the skeptic community sees it as "Mann is tired of being called a fucking liar to his face and being harassed about his work."

    I mean, what political fight do you see here? Strong & Godly Conservatives versus the EVIL LIBERAL SCIENCE CONSPIRACY and their Liberal Lie "Science"? Inquiring minds and all.

    @Fred Z:

    There are a thousand lawyers prepared to help. One did. And Steyn is not fighting a lawsuit, he is waging war.

    A war against what, exactly?

  55. Bart says:

    @ Noel Darlow

    "The major journals do not operate any preferential policies for favoured climate theories."

    'So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”' – Michael Mann

  56. Damon says:

    I've always thought that it was best to win the case first, THEN go after the bastards. God forbid you set a bad precedent.

  57. Rachel says:

    @Castaigne, you wrote "Actually, all such claims were retracted by the investigating media. But those claims did not apply and were never applied to Michael Mann. You are misinformed if you think so."

    In fact, Mann DID use the CRU report as proof of his exoneration. It is on page 20 of his Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants National Review and Mark Steyn's Motion to Dismiss. Read it for yourself.

    @Castaigne wrote, "That is false. You are lying here" when I wrote that it is not standard practice to make the raw data available.

    Don't take my word for it, take the words from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, paragaph 6 of their report: "It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and computer code in academic papers." Or you can take the words from the committee chair, Phil Willis: "The committee chairman Phil Willis said that the "standard practice" in climate science generally of not routinely releasing all raw data and computer codes "needs to change and it needs to change quickly".

    I do not appreciate being called a liar when the proof is readily available for anyone choosing to look for it.

  58. lcs says:

    I think Steyn's trying to force Mann to the witness stand. He doesn't want to hold his tongue for years ala Tim Ball tossing money at his lawyers while Mann ties up discovery and whatever else suits his fancy. Steyn doesn't want to go through years of hell without achieving some or even any result.

    "Steyn's approach to this makes it significantly less likely that this case will produce a result favorable to free speech. That hurts not just him, but his codefendants and everyone who might face a censorious and politically motivated lawsuit."

    That's not Steyn's problem. That's the problem of the people who remain in this increasingly less free country. He'll move to Australia. If you want to stay here with Mann's supporters, knock yourself out.

  59. MikeN says:

    People wishing to contribute to legal defense can buy gift certificates at steynonline.com to be redeemed at a later date.

  60. Rachel says:

    Despite the vigorous protestations within this comment thread, Mann has never released and never published his post 1980 proxy data.

    If those here want to continue insisting that all the data is publicly available, then please kindly provide me a link to this post 1980 proxy data.

    And this is more than just a debate within a comment thread. The fact that the data is not easily accessible for skeptics to test is the crux of the matter for Steyn. Steyn can't prove Mann's graph to be fraudulent unless he has access to all the data, code, etc.

  61. Noel Darlow says:

    @Bart

    And here we go down the rabbit hole.. I can't believe people are still trying to get some mileage out of the "climategate" nonsense.

    Like every scientist, it is Mann's job to defend scientific integrity. If you knew anything at all about the context of the complaints you referred to, you would understand that Mann (and others) were perfectly correct to be concerned about the poor quality of the work in question and the failure of peer-review to weed it out. Their stance was vindicated by later events and numerous inquiries.

  62. Ray Toster says:

    You lawyers are a funny lot, the science is important so it should have crossed your minds that something odd is happening with the science if the "truth" is divided on political lines. Mann's 1999 hockey stick paper was shown to be erroneous in " Peer Review " by McIntyre and McKitick in 2005 and the hockey stick graph is not used in the IPCC reports now, the models are hopelessly out of whack with the actual temperatures and in normal times would be called "falsified". All that is left is lawfare and Secretaries of State making complete fools of themselves in foreign lectures of AGW being more dangerous than terrorism

    Ray

  63. Eli Rabett says:

    Well Rachel, that

    Despite the vigorous protestations within this comment thread, Mann has never released and never published his post 1980 proxy data

    Very lawyerly of you.

    First, Mann does not and did not ever go out into the field and take proxy data. It is not his data, but data he used that was almost all to be found in various data archives. Malcolm Hughes did/does but you never hear anything about him

    Second, the reason that 1980 was taken as a cut off date in the MBH papers is that there were a large number of available proxys extending to then and not so many afterwards.

    Third, how would you expect that such things as tree ring cores would magically grow in the lab. Most of the proxys were never resampled and certainly not on a regular basis.

    Fourth, if you want regular resampling, well, as we pointed out to Nigel Persaud Steve McIntyre when he raised the point, provide the money to do the field work.

  64. Noel Darlow says:

    @Rachel

    The "controversy" which you allege about hidden data and methods is not a scientific controversy. You don't seem to understand that nothing in science is taken at face value. Mann can't simply announce a hockey stick or etc. The culture of science requires that he must produce a formal, technical argument and supporting evidence. No serious person in the scientific community is accusing Mann of hiding data.

    This is a political controversy, one which is thoroughly dishonest and malicious. The constant hounding of scientists such as Mann amounts to an attack on free speech ie the freedom to carry out scientific inquiry without interference from political or commercial interests.

  65. Joe Blow says:

    Once a paper is peer reviewed, you can't question it and calling a scientist's integrity into question is defamation and a political controversy… right? Or maybe peer review isn't the sacrosanct test of truthfulness that we're being led to believe.

    http://retractionwatch.com/

  66. Gabe says:

    The truth is not divided on political lines. The debate, which is occurring among pundits and non-experts, is divided along political lines. Among actual scientists, the issue is basically settled. It's similar to the way that for a long time Marilyn vos Savant thought that the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem was invalid and this gave the impression to the lay-person that there was some issue with the proof whereas mathematicians working in arithmetic algebraic geometry were convinced of its validity. I must add the disclaimer that climatology is not my field but I do interact daily with people who do study this stuff. I am also aware that it would be impossible to perpetrate the sort of grand conspiracy that Steyn alleges; scientists are far too contrarian to go along with that. If you were in my department, you would immediately see the difficulties getting researchers to do anything.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with the question of whether a lawsuit is the correct way to deal with punditry, which is a pretty clear "no." While I hope the lawsuit fails, calling a scientist's work fraudulent is extremely serious and to do so without evidence (since the people criticizing Mann claim they don't even have access to his data, which isn't true) is unethical. While it shouldn't be defamation, I would hope that the social consequences for making such claims would be severe.

  67. Andrew says:

    Interesting topic. If only it didn't seem as though so much was riding on it that was not to do with libel law.

    @rachel @poptech

    For every rebuttal, it seems that there is another re-rebuttal: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/04/900-papers-part-two-using-our-paper-is-misleading

    @Gabe, thanks for your clear and calm statement.

  68. JeffM says:

    "The freedom to carry out scientific inquiry without interference from political or commercial interests" is mere code for justifying suppression of others' speech. First off, it assumes that politically or economically informed speech is somehow not worthy of protection. Second, it assumes that scientists do not have economic (or political) interests in what they say. So if economically informed statements are not worthy of protection, then most scientific statements are not worthy of protection.

    Those are minor points. They merely serve as introduction to an implied falsity. No one is denying Mann's "freedom" to inquire or to publish. What is being implicitly demanded is that others' freedom to disagree with what Mann publishes is to be considered illegitimate. Such disagreement is to be considered "interference."

  69. Demosthenes says:

    @ Noel Darlow:

    If you've never read the book "Shattered Consensus" (edited by Patrick Michaels), as I suspect you haven't, then you should do so. Somehow, I don't think you will.

    The constant hounding of scientists such as Mann amounts to an attack on free speech ie the freedom to carry out scientific inquiry without interference from political or commercial interests.

    Let's say I accepted your characterization of the situation here. (Which I don't, because [as JeffM implies] there is no "freedom" to demand that other people not exercise their own freedoms just because it would make things more convenient for you. But let's ignore that for now.) It seems to me that there is an easy way for Mann to defuse the situation: release and/or clearly link to all raw data and computer models used in his work. Then there's nothing left to, err, hound for.

    This would not be burdensome on Mann — armed with competent instructions, a couple of graduate students could handle the grunt work of proper ordering and contextualization, which would leave Mann's time free for his research. And if you're worried about scientifically illiterate people, or people with a cause, getting hold of and "torturing" the data — remember that the data would also be available to scientifically literate people, and people who are disinterested in politics. It would therefore be possible for any erroneous or politically motivated case to be easily, thoroughly, and publicly rebutted.

    I can't think of a single reason why you shouldn't be pushing for this. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

  70. VinceClortho says:

    Ken,

    Can't you work some sort of sexual harassment at conventions angle in here to drive more comments? ;)

  71. Andrew says:

    @poptech Incidentally, the authors of the 97% study *did* ask authors to respond to whether they agreed with the categorising of their papers, and they found that of the authors that responded 97.2% self-characterized their papers as supporting AGW consensus. Now, from what I read, since only around half of the papers (2000 out of 4000) were self-rated by people responding, that is not quite the overwhelming support that they may have wished for, but the proportion is still good, especially since most respondents agreed with how their papers were characterized. The Pop Tech list, although impressive in length, has no similar check. Furthermore, their quoting of authors in the 97% list who say they were misquoted is not statistically significant, and falls within the conclusions based on a self-reported position.

    https://theconversation.com/its-true-97-of-research-papers-say-climate-change-is-happening-14051

    PS sorry about contributing to the hijack of the thread, but this does demonstrate why both sides think they have so much to play for.

  72. jdh says:

    Steyn is apparently one of a number of defendants. Perhaps he is showboating in his own defense in order to make a point, while assuming that the other defendants will take responsibility for the heavy lifting.

    Would it be possible for the other defendants to prevail during trial, with Steyn left holding the bag because of inept self-representation?

  73. giovanni da procida says:

    Rachel and Demosthenes,

    I'm confused by the claim that Mann has refused to release his data. On the Penn State webserver are links to the background data from a number of papers.

    The files specific to Mann et al. 1998 appear to be here:
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/research/MANNETAL98/

    I found this by following a link from http://www.realclimate.org, but the psu.edu site is featured prominently on Mann's webpage.

    Does the fact that Mann's code and data appear easily available online change the opinions you have expressed here? If not, why not?

    Thanks.

  74. Ernie Gordon says:

    @VinceClortho: Can't you work some sort of sexual harassment at conventions angle in here to drive more comments? ;)

    What? And have the sex-theme trolls descend here to argue the merits of S vs. M vs. S&M?

  75. palindrom says:

    An awful lot of folks on this site seem to be sure that the scientific community has been hijacked and is up to no good.

    None of these people appear to have the expertise to judge the science of global warming on its merits.

    They have, however, been fed opinions by propagandists and their few pet scientists; wingnut-welfare PR firms have expertly managed to obscure the actual issue, and to insinuate a level of duplicity in the scientific community which is frankly hilarious to anyone on the inside. The many on the right who have bought this crapola are the true "sheeple".

    Scientifically, Mann's original "hockey stick" is long since moot — it's been reproduced many times by independent researchers using independent data and methods. Look at the the Pages2k collaboration's 2000-year reconstruction of global temperatures as an example.

    It shows very, very clearly that the current warming is, by historical standards, shockingly abrupt.

    Mann is suing, I believe, because the politically-motivated attacks on the integrity of climate science became too much for him. He has had to put up with a tremendous amount of vicious abuse simply for taking his scientific responsibilities seriously.

  76. Poptech says:

    Andrew • Feb 24, 2014 @10:32 am

    @rachel @poptech

    For every rebuttal, it seems that there is another re-rebuttal: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/04/900-papers-part-two-using-our-paper-is-misleading

    You are correct, please read the Rebuttals to Criticism section,

    Rebuttal to The Carbon Brief – "Using our paper to support skepticism of anthropogenic global warming is misleading."

    None of those papers are on the list.

  77. Poptech says:

    Andrew • Feb 24, 2014 @11:01 am

    @poptech Incidentally, the authors of the 97% study *did* ask authors to respond to whether they agreed with the categorising of their papers, and they found that of the authors that responded 97.2% self-characterized their papers as supporting AGW consensus. Now, from what I read, since only around half of the papers (2000 out of 4000) were self-rated by people responding, that is not quite the overwhelming support that they may have wished for, but the proportion is still good, especially since most respondents agreed with how their papers were characterized. The Pop Tech list, although impressive in length, has no similar check.

    Please don't attempt to explain the paper to me as I am well aware of it. The self-ratings simply confirmed the criticisms that the abstract ratings were seriously flawed. The Cook et al. paper is worthless propaganda by falsely classifying skeptic papers as endorsing their "consensus" argument.

    The Popular Technology list has nothing to do with the authors but whether a paper can support a skeptic argument.

  78. David Appell says:

    So if calling Mann's work "fraudulent" is just "vivid rhetoric and hyperbole," what word would one use if you did in fact, want to call his work fraudulent?

  79. Maria says:

    As someone who believes AGW is absolutely real, the fact that people I agree with cannot take Ken's argument for what it is (a *legal* argument) and apparently think that Mann cannot be criticized for misusing the legal system is extremently disappointing.

  80. Bart says:

    @ Noel Darlow • Feb 24, 2014 @8:41 am

    Please do not piss on my boots, and tell me it is rain. You can fling up all the chaff you like, but there is nothing you can say which excuses the unethical behavior of the researchers captured in the Clmategate e-mails. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    There are several other water carriers on this message board. Do not allow them to get away with mere assertion in insisting that there is no problem, or that scientists are all united on this question. There is significant ferment behind the lines, and the battle is fierce. The Earth has not warmed for 17 years, and the state of the AGW hypothesis is crisis level.

    Even if their claims did hold water, it is immaterial. The remedy to bad speech is good speech, not suppression.

  81. A. Nagy says:

    I havn't kept up with the science Journals in the last few years. But when I was it's completely different from reading the politicized stuff from either camp. It tends to be alot less severe and less dramatic. Pretty much everyone goes yep it's warming, yep humans are partially at fault. There is argument over how much and when will it be a concern. Honestly the more I look into it the more of a down the line problem it is, considering that the increase in tempurature is actually good for the earth until like 2070 in some of the more dire predictions. Not to mention the increase in CO2 has actually been shown in lab environments to significantly improve plant life. Between all these factors I think we are good for at least another hundred years and let's be honest 100 years is a long time in terms of technology.

    I have no idea what the scientists were thinking with the hockey stick graph. I looked at that same data and noticed the 30 yearish pattern on up/down tempuature trends, which it completely failed to account for. It also made many worse case assumptions. Honestly I didn't think it was actually done by scientists I thought it was some political hack throwing it together to be more dramatic. For more details read the 30-40 page summary or however long it is of an IPCC report, then pick 2 areas and actually read the details and check the sources. The summary feels like it's written by a policitian the actual details feel like well science.(heck it's even where I got that 2070 number)

  82. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    If Mann's research is perfect (which the aforementioned errors prove is not so) then providing his research documents and algorithms for the work he did on the taxpayer dime should not have been too much to ask. After all, we want to see if we are getting what we paid for….

    Mann et al's data and methods have been available for years:

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/research/MANNETAL98/

  83. Dragoness Eclectic says:

    I wonder if the horde of astro-turfers that just descended are aware this is a legal blog, not a science or politics blog?

    It is not common practice for climate scientists to make available the raw data and source code in their publications, and not doing so makes it that much harder for anyone to replicate their results.

    Wow, this is so much utter bullshit in one sentence. I work with climate data–almost all of it comes from public sources, and all of it is in the gigabytes per day territory–not something you print in the appendices of your paper. Any actual scientist who works with climate data knows this–so all the astro-turfers claiming that the raw data isn't available are either (a) lying liars who lie, or (b) blitheringly ignorant idiots.

    I vote for (a).

  84. Devil's Advocate says:

    How does Steyn's description of the hockey stick as a "climate model[]", when it's actually a temperature reconstruction affect his case? It seems to my unlawyerly perspective like it would be hard to assert that Steyn did not have reckless disregard for the truth of whether Mann committed fraud and/or professional misconduct when he seems to have a reckless disregard for what the hockey stick is.

    Also, that seems like a good example of why lawyers advise their clients not to talk about ongoing cases.

  85. Gabe says:

    @Poptech

    You can't just take papers on the lower ends of projections and claim it supports skeptic arguments. It's akin to finding a bunch of quotes by physicists debating foundational interpretations of quantum mechanics and using them to argue that we must reject quantum mechanics entirely and return to Newtonian physics. Also, it completely strains credulity that you were able to read over 1350 papers and decide that these support your arguments. Since the vast majority of papers in fact support AGW, this would require reading tens of thousands of papers. It seems far more likely that the classification is solely based on the title.

  86. Rachel says:

    @Dragoness Eclectic wrote:

    "Wow, this is so much utter bullshit in one sentence. I work with climate data–almost all of it comes from public sources, and all of it is in the gigabytes per day territory–not something you print in the appendices of your paper. Any actual scientist who works with climate data knows this–so all the astro-turfers claiming that the raw data isn't available are either (a) lying liars who lie, or (b) blitheringly ignorant idiots.

    I vote for (a)."

    Dragoness, you are the second person on here today to boldly call me a liar.

    But don't believe me. We'll just take the words from the investigation at CRU at the University of East Anglia, paragaph 6 of their report: "It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and computer code in academic papers."

    Or you can take the words from the committee chair, Phil Willis: "The committee chairman Phil Willis said that the "standard practice" in climate science generally of not routinely releasing all raw data and computer codes "needs to change and it needs to change quickly".

    At this point I think you have some emailing to do. I suggest contacting the Climatic Research Unit and letting them know that the investigation was performed by "blitheringly ignorant idiots" and the results of the investigation are BS, and that they are lying liars (all your words, not mine).

    You do know this same investigation exonerated Jones et. al., correct? Do you disagree with his exoneration as much as you do with the fact that they chastised the scientists for not willingly sharing data and code?

  87. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    The Earth has not warmed for 17 years, and the state of the AGW hypothesis is crisis level.

    This is false — the surface, which is only a tiny sliver of the Earth's climate systen, has warmed in the last 17 years, just not as fast as it did in the 1980s and 1990s. A little more heat is lately going into the ocean, which has warmed enormously in the last 17 years:

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    The energy imbalance created by man's greenhouse gases is the major factor in this, and it shows that AGW is still happening (as does all the ice melt and sea level rise).

  88. Gabe says:

    @Rachel While I appreciate your enthusiasm for this issue, it is clear that you are not really familiar with scientific research. There's nothing wrong with that but you are unlikely to change my mind. It's same way that I'm not knowledgable enough about law to debate it here.

    It is pretty unusual to publish raw data in any field since there are often terabytes of data associated and researchers usually read results, not spreadsheets. This is standard because in most fields there aren't legions of people calling the data fraudulent. Climatologists are being held to a different standard for political reasons. This reminds me of the Lenski-Schlafly debacle. Also, if all the raw data is publicly available, then you do have access to it, though perhaps not in a convenient form.

  89. Poptech says:

    @ Gabe, since when did low climate sensitivity stop being a skeptic argument? Unless of course you do not consider Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Michaels skeptics. I suggest keeping up with their arguments.

    You also seem confused as you don't have to read tens of thousands of papers, as I know how to very efficiently locate information online.

    These papers are either explicit to their position, were written by a skeptic, or were already cited by and determined to be in support of a skeptic argument by highly credentialed scientists such as Dr. Idso and Dr. Michaels. There are many more papers I could easily add if I had more time.

    Again, from the "Rebuttals to Criticism" section,

    Criticism: All climate related papers not on the list endorse AGW.

    Rebuttal: While there are thousands of climate related papers, only a small percentage of these even mention "Anthropogenic Global Warming".

    Criticism: Papers were listed based only on their title.

    Rebuttal: Every paper's abstract and conclusion (when available) was read before it was listed. In cases where support of a skeptic argument was not explicit in the abstract, an independent summary by highly credentialed scientists, such as Sherwood B. Idso Ph.D. Research Scientist Emeritus, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory and Patrick J. Michaels Ph.D. Climatology was used or the paper was read in full.

    Hundreds of the papers have been read in full.

  90. Darryl says:

    For all those apologizing to "Mr. White" for hijacking "his" thread:

    1. Hijacked threads at Popehat are a feature, not a bug;
    2. Popehat is (as quite eloquently explained on the homepage) a "group complaint." Quit referring to this as "Mr. White's blog" or "Ken's blog." You are going to give Clark, Patrick, David, Angus, et al. a sad.

  91. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @12:59 pm

    "A little more heat is lately going into the ocean, which has warmed enormously in the last 17 years:"

    Handwaving BS. Even if that were the case (and, it isn't), the fact remains that it is not what the AGW hypothesis predicted. Given that the modelers got that wrong, why should anyone now trust them when they say they now know why they got it wrong?

  92. Gabe says:

    I appreciate the response but I'm not buying that just because a paper doesn't use a particular phrase, it supports your view. Also, if you really wanted to change minds, a massive unreadable list on a personal blog is really a bad idea. A well-cited peer-reviewed survey paper would be far more convincing. I'm sure you can find information much more efficiently than I can, but I doubt you can read orders of magnitude faster than the average person, so I doubt your claim about the abstracts as well.
    Finally, you can find mathematicians who don't believe that the number 2^1000 exists (they are called ultrafinitists). This doesn't mean there is an active debate among mathematicians as to whether big numbers exist. It's the same thing with any scientific topic so giving me two examples of people who don't believe the consensus isn't convincing.

    However, we are far away from the issue at hand, which is the legal merits of this case and Steyn's strategy for defending himself. I'll sign off here to stop lengthening this protracted diversion from Ken's post.

  93. CJK Fossman says:

    @Rachel

    Dragoness, you are the second person on here today to boldly call me a liar.

    My turn.

    When you write about the investigation of CRU, I think you really mean "The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review," published July 2010. Have you actually read it?

    I will admit I have not. I haven't had time today to read and digest a 160 page document. But I did take a look and what I saw leads me to believe you treated the document like a cherry tree. In your liberal references to it, you neglected to provide a fair and balanced impression of the report by omitting to mention some parts that, to you, are inconvenient.

    Here is one, quoted from the final sentence of paragraph 13 in section 1.6.

    On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt. emphasis theirs

    Here's another, paragraph 14.

    In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.

    I don't doubt that you will be able to find, read and report here on paragraph 15. Please do so. Then I will explain that failing to communicate with the public does not make the science faulty.

  94. Rachel says:

    Any one here who wants to try their hand at plotting global temperatures can do so via the site http://www.woodfortrees.org It is very easy to use.
    It took me about 5 seconds to create this graph for you
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/to:2014

  95. Matthew Cline says:

    @Dragoness Eclectic:

    I wonder if the horde of astro-turfers that just descended are aware this is a legal blog, not a science or politics blog?

    There are a number of people who doubt AGW and are quite passionate about it. There's no need to pay them to have to come here and talk about it.

  96. Darryl says:

    So? From 1895 to 2014 shows a consistent upward trend.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1895/to:2014

  97. Rachel says:

    @CJK I said that the data and code was not generally made publicly available, and the investigation criticized the scientists for this. I then quoted the relevant points from the investigation, which said the same thing. Why have you quoted portions that have nothing to do with dissemination of data?

    The issue here is that Mann cannot prove that Steyn is guilty of defamation unless he is willing to provide Steyn everything he used to make the Hockey Stick. Or at least I suspect that will be Steyn's argument.

    I'm not sure that presenting a fair and balanced picture of a report that_exonerated_climate_scientists is important. In fact, it seems redundant, but if it is important to you, okay.

  98. David Appell says:

    @Bart:
    About 93% of the heat trapped by manmade greenhouse gases goes into the ocean. Thus the ocean is by far the best barometer of a global energy imbalance, and the fact that it is warming strongly is very solid evidence that AGW continues. So too is the continuing ice melt and sea level rise.

    Surface temperatures are subject to a lot of fluctuations — mostly from El Ninos and La Ninas, but also by natural ocean cycles like the PDO and AMO. So picking short-term intervals like "17 years" does not give trends indicative of climate, but indicative of this oceanic weather.

    Naturally, knowledge and insights into how AGW works has progressed over recent decades. Of course this is true in every science — what we know now is more than we knew a few decades ago.

  99. David Appell says:

    So if calling Mann's work "fraudulent" is just "vivid rhetoric and hyperbole," what word would one use if one did in fact want to call his work fraudulent?

  100. wolfefan says:

    I remember when Jim Lindgren first started posting over at Volokh. In an early post he said spoke approvingly about the great pleasure that comes to a blogger from being able to link to an article by Mark Steyn. That was my first clue re: Prof. Lindgren…

  101. A. Nagy says:

    @Darryl

    That was probably in response to someone earlier saying that it is still increasing but slower, when it's pretty much just stalled out for a bit which you can see it has done before in the 1880s-1900s and in the 1940s-60s. So if that pattern holds true the stall should end in about 10 years but considering we really only have 2 past data points who knows.

  102. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    It took me about 5 seconds to create this graph for you
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/to:2014

    This is a "cherry pick" — you picked 1998 as your starting year only because it gave you a certain result (an apparent zero trend).

    Actually the trend isn't zero. A linear regression of the data since Jan-1998 finds 0.07 C of warming, statistically significant under an ordinary least squares analysis, but not when autocorrelation is included.

    1998 saw a very large El Nino. That boosted surface temperatures, which makes the trend smaller than once since, just a few years earlier. Thus the trend from 1998 is not representative of climate.

    (Also, the HadCRUT4 data has problems at the poles, where there is little coverage. A recent treatment by Cowtan & Way finds a significantly higher trend over the last decade or two.)

  103. Darryl says:

    @Nagy–No, the point was just what Appell says–Rachel is cherry-picking. Even the trend from the 1980's to today clearly shows a continuing increase.

    Ken probably hopes this increase in temp will kill off all the ponies. He's just like that.

  104. Jack B. says:

    @Fred Z

    And Steyn is not fighting a lawsuit, he is waging war.

    Shit, isn't that the pro se lawyerin' motto? Since he's waging a war, at least he won't be bringing up any gold-fringed flag arguments in the courtroom on the battlefield.

  105. jackn says:

    Boy if the whacks get their way, soon we will be voting on the value of gravitational acceleration or PI (which actually had an attempt to change the value, by a Science Denier).

  106. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @3:01 pm

    Oh, please. It is nothing of the kind, for many technical reasons which I won't go into here. It is moot, besides.

    Facts are facts: the current hiatus was unforeseen. If all you can do is post-dict the past, then your hypothesis has no value. As of this moment in time, your side has no track record of success at all, and you are asking people to take it on faith that you know the future.

  107. Rachel says:

    @David Appell
    Of course I cherry picked it!
    Hey, what do the thermometers say the surface temperatures were before 1895? ;)

  108. wolfefan says:

    @Ken –

    IANAL but I think David Appel asks a good question. If calling Mann's work fraudulent is hyperbole, how would one actually call it fraudulent in a non-hyperbolic way?

    @Rachel –

    There have been a couple of links to Mann's data and methods. What else does Steyn need to defend himself in your opinion?

  109. Rachel says:

    @David Appell wrote, "Thus the trend from 1998 is not representative of climate."

    So what is it representative of? If climate isn't climate then what is it? Should we just call it "The Rather Uncomfortable 16 Years When Climate Scientists Watched Their Models Fail"?

  110. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @3:10 pm

    "Actually the trend isn't zero. A linear regression of the data since Jan-1998 finds 0.07 C of warming, statistically significant under an ordinary least squares analysis, but not when autocorrelation is included."

    More handwaving. Even if 0.07C of warming were statistically significant (and, evaluation of said significance depends very much on the statistical model used, of which there is no verifiably realistic one available), it is not significant at all overall. It amounts to 0.07/16 X 100 = 0.4 C/century, way, way below the level needed to produce catastrophic scenarios.

    "A recent treatment by Cowtan & Way finds a significantly higher trend over the last decade or two."

    More BS.

  111. Bart says:

    @ wolfefan • Feb 24, 2014 @3:22 pm

    "…how would one actually call it fraudulent in a non-hyperbolic way?"

    If I told you, I might be opening myself to legal action.

    "What else does Steyn need to defend himself in your opinion?"

    Say, "I believed and believe what I stated." That is all. You cannot police peoples' thoughts.

  112. jackn says:

    @ Bart

    Thanks for letting us know you are BS at the outset. Saves a lot time.

  113. David Appell says:

    @Bart:
    Scientists now recognize ocean warming as the best metric of the kind of global energy imbalance caused by greenhouse gases. As well as macro-indicators like ice melt and sea level rise.

    The hiatus — which isn't much of one with Cowtan & Way's methodology — wasn't forseen in part because it is in part a product of volcanic eruptions and a weaker sun, which can't be foreseen.

    But so what? Comparing theory to observations is, in science, always how theory gets better. It's no different here, and what's being learned now will make the modeling better still.

    And while this time the unforseen "surprise" happened to lead to slightly surface temperatures, there's no guarantee the next unseen surprise won't lead to higher temperatures. Climate modeling is a boundary value problem, and so not nearly as good as is the initial value problem of looking only a decade or two into the future.

  114. Marconi Darwin says:

    Never mind, Appel has the same question

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @3:03 pm

    So if calling Mann's work "fraudulent" is just "vivid rhetoric and hyperbole," what word would one use if one did in fact want to call his work fraudulent?

    Forget "word", is there a specific example of sentence(s) that would constitute defamation?

  115. Mike Adamson says:

    I expect that the use of "fraudulent" by a scientist would be taken more seriously than that of a political pundit or entertainer.

  116. Rachel says:

    Serious question: If temperatures had not stopped rising, would Mann be suing anyone?

    I don't think he would need to as his Hockey Stick model would have been proven to be valid and reliable by comparing real observations against the models' predicted values.

    Another serious question – how long do temperatures have to be paused or on hiatus before they prove Steyn's point? Mann's models dealt with surface/atmospheric temperatures, so the "missing heat is hiding in the oceans" routine does not apply. Perhaps if Steyn can drag this thing out a decade or two the climate will plead his case for him.

  117. Ken White says:

    I linked the Cox post, which linked a worthwhile recent Ninth Circuit decision on the subject. Also instructive is the recent D.C. Circuit case rejecting WorldNet Daily's defamation claim.

    In brief, Steyn's comments would be more likely to be taken as assertions of objective fact if they were not posted on a site known for polemics and not laden with agitated language and hyperbole.

  118. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @3:34 pm

    "Scientists now recognize ocean warming as the best metric of the kind of global energy imbalance caused by greenhouse gases."

    That's rich, because the establishment fought Pielke, Sr. tooth and nail to deny that when he first proposed it. They didn't want to acknowledge it, because it told a different story, and atmospheric temperatures were going their way at the time. Now, they have nothing left to hang their hats on, so they obscure the fact that A) the energy measured is still much lower than the predicted accumulation from the AGW hypothesis, B) there is no practical pathway for the heat to enter the lower oceans while leaving no trace of its passage in the upper waters (I call this looney hypothesis the Immaculate Convection – every good religion needs a miracle or two), and C) the oceans can never raise the temperature of the atmosphere higher than the differential between the two, due to the laws of thermodynamics, and the measured temperature rise of the deep oceans is miniscule.

    This is going way off topic. The question being argued on this board is wisdom of Mark Steyn's countersuit, and the case between him and Michael Mann.

  119. Poptech says:

    @Gabe

    Strawman, I never claimed that the lack of a phrase means it supports a certain view, only that the absence of a phrase means it cannot be claimed to explicitly support AGW.

    The list is a resource that is fully cited and sourced not a survey paper. I have no idea what you mean by "unreadable", all the titles are in English. You appear to be making claims that I am not.

    You claim it is a bad idea yet the massive amount of web traffic says otherwise. I have changed minds as next to no one says there are no peer-reviewed papers that support skeptic arguments anymore.

    I have never seen any evidence of any such consensus. Last I checked all the scientists on the planet were never polled to determine this.

    I read fairly fast and without much effort can add 50 papers in a day and the list has been around since October 2009.

    Making the libelous claim I didn't read all the abstracts is a new one.

  120. Jon says:

    @Rachel
    "It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and computer code in academic papers."

    True — note the key phrase "in academic papers." The raw data and computer code are too voluminous to print in the actual papers. However, such data is often available to other researchers — e.g., by putting them on the web. See the link "giovanni da procida" provided.

    I would also quote the following from the Russell review :

    Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data. … The required computer code is straightforward and easily written by a competent researcher."

    (Section 6.4, paragraph 20)

    The report seems to find the researchers' methodology to be generally sound, though their communication skills are a bit lacking — however, they were also the target of "an organised campaign" of a flood of information requests. Given such an externally imposed attack, I can see their reluctance to waste time on it.

    Note that this review also found that reproducing the results, within a reasonable margin of error, was almost trivial; writing the computer code took only 2 days.

    I couldn't find Rachel's exact quote, but she may have been paraphrasing paragraph 52 from the House of Commons report, where I note this key passage:

    Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.

    (Section 2, paragraph 51)

    In other words, while they found that it would have been nice if the data had been published, it really wasn't essential.

    I would ask Rachel to provide proper citations and links for any further allegations.

    (Apologies if someone beat me to my points; my two links mean this comment has to be approved by a moderator.)

  121. David Appell says:

    @Bart:
    Who fought Pielke Sr tooth and nail?

    Here is what he told me last year:

    “This means this heat is not being sampled by the global average surface temperature trend,” he says. “Since that metric is being used as the icon to report to policymakers on climate change, it illustrates a defect in using the two-dimensional field of surface temperature to diagnose global warming.”

    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/05/wither-global-warming-has-it-slowed-down/

  122. Darryl says:

    So let me see if I get this right: if a paper supporting AGW has a sentence or two in it that Poptech thinks is "critical" of the theory, that paper gets put on their list as a paper that "supports skeptic arguments"? I wonder if they even realize the difference between "critical of A" and "supportive of and evidence for Not A"?

  123. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    there is no practical pathway for the heat to enter the lower oceans while leaving no trace of its passage in the upper waters.

    First, upper waters are also warming.
    Second, ocean currents like the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) dive downward in the north Atlantic, carrying heat, and it carries over 100 Sv (1 Sverdrup = 1 M cubic meters a second).

  124. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:08 pm

    From your link:

    '“Until we understand how this fundamental shift in the climate system occurred,” says Pielke, “and if this change in vertical heat transfer really happened, and is not just due to the different areal coverage and data quality in the earlier years, we have a large gap in our understanding of the climate system.”'

    I am going to say this one more time. Facts are facts: the current hiatus was unforeseen. If all you can do is post-dict the past, then your hypothesis has no value. As of this moment in time, your side has no track record of success at all, and you are asking people to take it on faith that you know the future.

  125. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    I don’t think he wouldn’t need to as his Hockey Stick model would have been proven to be valid and reliable by comparing real observations against the models’ predicted values.

    The hockey stick doesn't extend past about 1970, because tree rings aren't good proxies after that — what's called the "divergence problem" is a breakdown in the functional relationships between northern latitude tree ring properties and temperature. (The breakdown might be due to global warming itself, or pollution, or something else not understood.)

  126. Gabe says:

    @PopTech
    I had to come out to say this. You think saying "I doubt your claim about the abstracts as well" is libelous? Seriously?

  127. David Appell says:

    Steyn has described Mann's work as fraudulent at least three times over the years. That strikes me as more than rhetoric, but instead something Steyn seems to believe.

  128. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:11 pm

    "First, upper waters are also warming."

    Not at any level of significance.

    "…ocean currents like the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) dive downward in the north Atlantic, carrying heat…"

    The upper layers of the ocean are not warming, and heat cannot pass through one layer without leaving a significant portion in its wake. This isn't an insulated pipeline, it is a free current.

  129. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:17 pm

    "That strikes me as more than rhetoric, but instead something Steyn seems to believe."

    At last, something on topic. Yes and, if he truly believes it, then it is not actionable as libel against a public figure.

  130. David Appell says:

    Rachek wrote:
    So what is it representative of?

    Trends since 1998 are representative of weather, not climate — specifically, weather in the ocean, i.e. El Ninos and La Ninas. These can cause surface temperature swings of up to 0.3 C….. 1998 was an exceptionally large El Nino, and the last 4 years have seen two La Ninas, the first of them substantial. Both distort the trend.

    Since we're still at the point where AGW is causing, on average, surface temperatures to increase about 0.15 – 0.20 C/decade, a good El Nino can easily distort trends for a decade or two. That's why climate scientists almost never use intervals shorter than 3 decades when trying to diagnose climate change.

    You can bet that if we get a good El Nino later this year, as some researchers are forecasting, contrarians will be the ones pointing out that you need to adjust downward for an El Nino.

  131. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:15 pm

    "The hockey stick doesn't extend past about 1970, because tree rings aren't good proxies after that…"

    Then, how do you know they are good proxies before that??? Because the results agree with what you want to see?

  132. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    Yes and, if he truly believes it, then it is not actionable as libel against a public figure.

    It must also depend on why he believes it. I can't go around saying "X is a child molester" with my only defense being "Well, *I* believe it." Why? "Because I do, and that's all I need." Otherwise defamation has no meaning…..

    Steyn believes it because his tribe believes it, because McIntyre and McKitrick once wrote a paper claiming to find problems with the hockey stick. (BTW, McIntyre has said explicitedly that his papers did not accuse MBH of fraud.) But this same tribe ignores all the other studies that by now have essentially replicated MBH's work, some of them using completely independent mathematical techniques (like Tingley & Huybers).

  133. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:29 pm

    "It must also depend on why he believes it."

    I'm sure the attorneys present here can address that question more rigorously than you or I, but personally, I do not see it. If his reasons are entirely frivolous, then they could be brushed aside as the ravings of a lunatic. It's a Catch 22: if he believes if for good reasons, then there is no case against him, if for poor reasons, then there is no injury.

    "…some of them using completely independent mathematical techniques…"

    But, the same data. GIGO.

  134. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    Not at any level of significance.

    Yes they are. The 24-year NOAA dataset of ocean surface temperatures finds 0.070 C/decade of warming, very significant (OLS 95% C.L. = 0.006 C/decade).

    data:
    http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=oiv2.ctl&varlist=on&new_window=on&lite=&ptype=ts&dir=

    Likewise the 0-100 m region of the ocean and the 0-700 m region both show statistically significant warming; data here:

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

  135. Darryl says:

    @Bart–Not quite. If he is held to the malice standard, Mann would have to show that Steyn made factual statements about Mann that were false and Steyn either knew they were false or had reckless disregard about whether the factual statements were true or not. Merely saying "I believe it" does not give one a free pass to defame others.

  136. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    heat cannot pass through one layer without leaving a significant portion in its wake.

    With large ocean currents, heat isn't being passed down layer-by-layer, but carried down deeply. And, not surprisingly, all regions of the ocean are warming, as Balmaseda, Trenberth and Källén found last year:

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/03/missing-energy-claimed-to-be-found.html

  137. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    Then, how do you know they are good proxies before that???

    If you aren't familar with the science of dendrochronology, you should study some of it. Here is a list of some of the many books on it that offer the details:

    Reading about Dendrochronology
    http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/references.htm

  138. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    But, the same data. GIGO.

    You haven't proved that. Nor has anyone else. As far as I've ever seen, you never prove anything, nor are you familar with the data. Nonetheless, you always have a lot of assertions.

  139. Bart says:

    @ David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:40 pm

    "With large ocean currents, heat isn't being passed down layer-by-layer, but carried down deeply."

    I.e., convected, not conducted.

    It still has to leave heat behind as it goes. That is why I call this hypothesis the Immaculate Convection.

    "…as Balmaseda, Trenberth and Källén found last year…"

    Funny how one can always find what one is looking for in pursuit of a noble cause. If only they had thought of it before the climate diverged from their prognostications, it might carry some weight. Once again, if all you can do is post-dict the past, then your hypothesis has no value. As of this moment in time, your side has no track record of success at all, and you are asking people to take it on faith that you know the future.

    @ Darryl • Feb 24, 2014 @4:40 pm

    Do you think Steyn "knew" they were false? Is it possible to believe something, knowing it isn't true? Do you think he has no reason to believe his statements were true? Who gets to decide what one can believe, and what one cannot?

    I must depart. For any future replies From David, please refer to the opening argument of Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny.

  140. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    Going back to the legal issue, the Dan Farber article linked to in the OP ends with:

    If so, Mann’s lawsuit will ultimately fail. Under our Constitution, you’re entitled to say anything you want about a public figure, if you’re dumb enough or crazy enough to believe it yourself.

    Doesn't this create a privileged speaker problem? That someone sufficiently whack that they believe anything at all is therefore judgement proof when it comes to defamation? That, because the speaker's opinion of the truth is determinative, the actual truth becomes irrelevant?

    And doesn't that put those of us who have tried to be personally responsible and moderate in our speech at a disadvantage, since we lack a pattern and practice of outrageous hyperbole to bolster our defense of total gullibility?

  141. Poptech says:

    Darryl • Feb 24, 2014 @4:08 pm

    So let me see if I get this right: if a paper supporting AGW has a sentence or two in it that Poptech thinks is "critical" of the theory, that paper gets put on their list as a paper that "supports skeptic arguments"?

    Incorrect, papers are are either explicit to their position, were written by a skeptic, or were already cited by and determined to be in support of a skeptic argument by highly credentialed scientists such as Dr. Idso and Dr. Michaels.

  142. Darryl says:

    @Bart–I think it does not matter for Mann's suit. All he has to show is that Steyn recklessly disregarded whether the statements were true or not. Again, saying merely "I thought it was true" does not give you the win.

  143. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    Facts are facts: the current hiatus was unforeseen.

    Climate models don't make predictions about the next several years.

    Do you know the difference between an initial value problem and a boundary value problem?

    Weather models solve the first one, and their predictions are only good for a few days.

    Climate model predictions solve the second one, which pertains to the long-term behavior of climate (technically speaking, the climate system's restricted path in phase space).

    Finally: so what? Modelers like from NASA GISS are already using this mild hiatus to make better models:

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-useful-paper-on-one-models-results.html

    Until some future breakthrough, models are the only way to project (not predict; they can't predict) future climate and climate change. They do a good job of reproducing the 20th century, so obviously they have some skill.

    This is exactly how models get better, and it always has been how they get better. As modelers say, "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

  144. Poptech says:

    Gabe • Feb 24, 2014 @4:15 pm

    @PopTech
    I had to come out to say this. You think saying "I doubt your claim about the abstracts as well" is libelous? Seriously?

    Yes, I've explained in detail that I've read every abstract (at least) yet you continue to imply baseless allegations. Even if I read one paper a day since October 2009 that is over 1400 papers. You have failed to present any rational argument for your so called "doubt" and thus I believe it to be libel.

  145. Poptech says:

    David Appell, can a climate model be programmed to get any result that you wish?

  146. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    It still has to leave heat behind as it goes.

    And the data show that this is happening.

    Since the ARGO network has allowed data collection down to 2000 meters (1Q2005), the 0-700 meter region has gained 3.1 e22 Joules of heat, and the 0-2000 m region has gained 7.7 e22 Joules.

    The latter region is about 3 times larger than the former, so on a per-volume basis the 0-700 m region is gaining heat faster than the 0-2000 m region.

    Data here:
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/basin_data.html

  147. Kratoklastes says:

    @David Appell wrote that some parameter he estimated was "statistically significant under an ordinary least squares analysis, but not when autocorrelation is included".

    Unless residuals are IID (i.e., there is no autocorrelation and no heteroskedasticity), you can not use standard tests of statistical significance for parameters obtained by OLS: OLS is not BLUE except when the Gauss-Markov criteria are satisfied.

    It is disingenuous (bordering on dishonest) to refer to statistical inference based on OLS (I'm betting you're referring to a standard Student's-t) when the sampling distribution of the parameter is not known (but can be said with near-certainty to NOT be distributed "t{2}").

    I can tell – by eyeball – that there is both autocorrelation AND heteroscedasticity in the data in @Rachel 's graph: I suggest that you perform the regression again, with a correction for both AR residuals and heteroskedasticity… and viola! The null for a simple parameter test is not rejected (i.e., the parameter is not statistically different from zero).

    You might also want to Chow-test that puppy, to see if the parameter's statistical properties change in subsets of the data… ruh-roh, they do. So now you've got some good tendency evidence that the model is mis-specified.

    @Rachel – I think that when you refer to the "underlying data" (and other words and phrases to that effect), you really ought to be talking about the original unexpurgated code (model) and data files used in the construction of the "hockey stick".

    In some sense, the data itself is not material if the model includes equations that materially alter the inputs, e.g., if there is an equation of the form

    if(thisYear>=1955)
    {thisTemp[thisYear] <- thisTemp[1955]*1.005^(thisYear-1955) + rnorm(1, mean=0, sd=2);}

    or, more relevantly, an inherent property of the equation system that generates a similar result endogenously.

    That single line of code will generate an exponential rate of growth of 0.5% a year, with sufficient noise to make it non-obvious. Folks who understand how systems of equations work (like me) could generate precisely that outcome, obfuscated within the code, without raising a sweat.

    As an economic modeller myself, it makes me giggle with delight to see the Left – normally so vituperative regarding the 'modelling paradigm' as applied to economics – braying in full-throated joint support of yet another bunch of research-grant funded World Improvers and anti-Industrialists… this time telling /gov that they must ram their tentacles further into taxpayers' pockets (surprise!). And of course the pyres on which to burn the heretics…

    I am also – by dint of my training – more aware than most about what it takes to properly evaluate whether a model is being used in a "disinterested" way (scientifically 'neutral' and not at all in furtherance of the research-grant gravy train): a model's performance depends – in addition to a requirement that it be theoretically well-sepcified – on

    * the closure (which variables in the model are treated as exogenous – i.e., "given" – in the estimation, base-case validation, and forecast phases [they will generally not be the same set for each);
    * the shocks (which of the set of exogenous variables are perturbed from their base case levels when the model is used in forecasting);
    * the sensitivity of the model to key parameters (and the extent to which a given parameter set lies within "epsilon" of some other putative parameter set); and
    * the fudge factors (there is no polite way to put it) that inhere in all models, to drive the historical validation ("fit in simulation") process.

    We economic modellers know full well that a single data set can be made to forecast diametrically-opposite outcomes for key variables of interest – using the same model but a different closure or set of shocks (or a different set of statistically-defensible values for key parameters). And that's why Steyn's quest – while probably Quixotic – has merit.

    I detest Steyn (because he supported the illegal aggressive wars waged by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, the FATA and elsewhere), but if he forces Mann to hand over all his notes from the development phase of the hockey stick, we will get to see how that particular sausage was made.

  148. David Appell says:

    Poptech wrote:
    David Appell, can a climate model be programmed to get any result that you wish?

    Anything can be programmed to give any result you wish.

    Climate models are numerical solutions to the underlying partial differential equations that describe the physics of climate.

    The fact that they reproduce the 20th century is a strong indicator they have some validity:

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-useful-paper-on-one-models-results.html

    Besides, we don't really need climate models — paleoclimate studies to know that climate sensitivity is a dangerous 2-4 C, and that is enough to know we are facing a huge problem.

    PS: Are you really affiliated with the annual Poptech conference in Maine?

  149. David Appell says:

    @Kratoklastes: I totally agree. This is why climate scientists do not consider short-term trends under 30 years — there is too much autocorrelation and too much noise in the climate system.

  150. Poptech says:

    "Anything can be programmed to give any result you wish." – David Appell

    Thanks for making my point.

    PS: Are you really affiliated with the annual Poptech conference in Maine?

    No.

  151. Captain Obvious says:

    So if calling Mann's work "fraudulent" is just "vivid rhetoric and hyperbole," what word would one use if one did in fact want to call his work fraudulent?"

    David Appell's question is fraudulently premised on the absurd notion that there is no common understanding of the everyday English language outside of a courtroom. That doesn't mean he should be indicted for criminal fraud, it just means he should pick up a dictionary every now and then.

  152. David Appell says:

    Poptech wrote:
    Thanks for making my point.

    What does your model project for 21st century warming?

    Do you honestly think the entire world community of climate modelers — about two dozen groups — are all in a conspiracy to get results somehow agreed upon beforehand?

    Do you have evidence of such a conspiracy? Anything at all?

    Anyone who reads the history of science would strongly doubt such a claim — science has time and time again show itself to be both competitive and self-correcting.

    Frankly, your position looks like extreme desperation, taken solely because you cannot point to better science.

  153. giovanni da procida says:

    @Poptech said
    " 'Anything can be programmed to give any result you wish.'

    Thanks for making my point."

    Yes, if only there were some way to check the model code. To see if someone had programmed them to give the result desired.

    It's funny, I pointed out before that Mann's code and data are available at his Penn State site.

    Realclimate offers a page of data and code at
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    Surely if someone reads at a rate that allows them to add 50 papers a day to a list, it should be trivial for them to read through code fast enough to see if it has been programmed to give a desired result. Also the google skills demonstrated by the aforementioned list should make the discovery of freely-available climate code trivial.

    Would it be libelous to suggest that Poptech's rhetorical skills equal his demonstrated level of reading comprehension with respect to scientific articles?

  154. David Appell says:

    Captain Obvious wrote:
    David Appell’s question is fraudulently premised on the absurd notion that there is no common understanding of the everyday English language outside of a courtroom. That doesn’t mean he should be indicted for criminal fraud, it just means he should pick up a dictionary every now and then.

    I'll merely note that you didn't answer my question: So if calling Mann’s work “fraudulent” is just “vivid rhetoric and hyperbole,” what word would one use if one did in fact want to call his work fraudulent?”

  155. David Appell says:

    Poptech wrote:
    …in support of a skeptic argument by highly credentialed scientists such as Dr. Idso and Dr. Michaels.

    Can you point to the last peer reviewed publication of Idso and of Michaels?

    To their last presentation at a scientific conference?

    To the last time they revealed who funds their research?

  156. Captain Obvious says:

    I would suggest to David Appell that it takes a rather negligent level of reading comprehension to overlook the answer to his question that was, in fact, within the block of text he quoted back. It's not like he should be charged with criminal negligence, but perhaps he should consult his optometrist.

  157. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    As of this moment in time, your side has no track record of success at all, and you are asking people to take it on faith that you know the future.

    Bart: When are you ever going to prove something, with data and evidence, instead of merely making assertions?

    Now would be a good time to start. How about with Hansen et al Science 1981? Hansen et al JGR 1988? Arrhenius 1896? Schneider and Thompson JGR 1981?

  158. lcs says:

    Appell asks:

    "So if calling Mann's work "fraudulent" is just "vivid rhetoric and hyperbole," what word would one use if one did in fact want to call his work fraudulent?"

    He would write something like, that paper is pure SCIENTIFIC FRAUD. No question there of what the accusation is. See? Not so tough Appell. I suggest you refer to Mann's twitter feed for other obvious and actionable libels.

  159. Rachel says:

    @Kratoklastes wrote – "@Rachel I think that when you refer to the "underlying data" (and other words and phrases to that effect), you really ought to be talking about the original unexpurgated code (model) and data files used in the construction of the "hockey stick"."

    Yes, that is exactly what I mean. My background is similar to yours in that I model the financial markets.

    When I first became interested in climate, it was because I realized that these climate models being created were infinitely more complex than the models we were creating for financial instruments. We say that the trend is your friend until it bends, in the end. The climate modelers have not quite figured this out yet. What I mean is that we build into our models a kill switch which automatically kills the model when certain parameters are met which lead to a high likelihood of the model not performing as it should. Because other people's money is on the line, this is a must. If clients go broke, so do we. Unfortunately for the taxpayer, there is no such kill switch built into these models, even though the taxpayer is taken to the cleaner to pay for all the policies being developed because of what the climate models have projected.

    The climate scientists are very smart and there is a great deal of money being poured into the research. The financial modelers and system builders are also very smart and also have a lot of money and fancy computers to play with. Most of the models from both groups are able to correctly project only a few years before the real-time observations no longer match the model projections. The difference with the finance group is that most are smart enough to shut the models down before everyone goes broke. I'm not sure there is a similar motivation with the climate modelers.

    There is a reason that the models do a good job modeling the 20th century. I can create you a stock trading system that would make you the richest man in the world, in 20 years time, in the 20th century. Why? Because we build the models with the data and inputs that we already have using the relationships that were actually observed.

    Climate and the ecology of a planet with billions of inhabitants have many unknowns, and the scientists don't even know what they don't know until they know it…like Trenberth's missing heat and the oceans. At least with financial modelers, when we are wrong and are too stubborn to admit that we are wrong, we go broke. The climate modelers just apply for another grant.

  160. David Appell says:

    Ics wrote:
    He would write something like, that paper is pure SCIENTIFIC FRAUD.

    So he needs to include the words "pure scientific?" Merely writing "fraud" doesn't mean fraud?

    Does it matter if Steyn has by now made the fraudulent claim three times:
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2014/02/if-fraudulent-isnt-accusation-of-fraud.html

  161. AlphaCentauri says:

    We could ignore the question of whether climate change is due to human activity. Then we could look at the fact that there used to be a lot more white surface on the earth, and that it reflected more sunlight than it does now. So regardless of how that happened, it's pretty likely it's going to get warmer in the future. It's also pretty likely that all the melted ice from glaciers that were formerly over land is going to raise the ocean levels and cause people in populous coastline areas to have to migrate to higher land, and that in the past, mass migrations have been very disruptive, politically and economically.

    If there were a meteor coming toward the earth that would change the climate like that, we'd all be spending billions of dollars figuring out how to deflect or destroy it. If we have reason to believe that lowering CO2 levels could avoid the problems we can see coming at us due to melting glaciers, isn't it worth trying to intervene, even if CO2 might not be the cause of the problem in the first place?

  162. J.R. Ford says:

    On the legal front:

    http://www.principia-scientific.org/michael-mann-faces-bankruptcy-as-his-courtroom-climate-capers-collapse.html

    A quote, "Mann refused to to disclose his ‘hockey stick’ graph metadata in the British Columbia Supreme Court"

    That statement renders about 50 posts in this comment thread as false. If the data was so easily available, it would not have been an issue.

    Mann filed suit to stifle critics. Vexatious litigation. When called on it he folded. In this case it was with Ball. Steyn could very well be next.

    Mann even claimed to have been a Nobel Prize winner in an earlier finding but changed his tune when even the Nobel Prize Committee said it wasn't so.

    Come on folks. He deserves to have his butt handed to him in court. And, it would even be sweeter if it was done pro se.

  163. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    Most of the models from both groups are able to correctly project only a few years before the real-time observations no longer match the model projections.

    Prove this.

  164. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    "Mann refused to to disclose his ‘hockey stick’ graph metadata in the British Columbia Supreme Court"

    Mann et al's data and methods have been available since at least 2005 (and, if I recall correctly, before that on his Web site at UVA).

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/research/MANNETAL98/

    Where can we see the data and methodology by which Steyn determined Mann et al's work is fraudulent?

  165. lcs says:

    @David Appell: You'll have to ask Mann how many times he's accused McIntyre of fraud before I give a crap. You're the one into the use of the gov't to silence Mann's critics. I'm not. Mann will be forced to take the stand. He can explain why he didn't object Steyn's previous uses of the word fraud to describe his dubious stick (no Sandusky to get his idiot fans all worked up?) and why he didn't object to briffa's hiding his decline using Mann's trick. I can't wait to hear it. And I can't wait for your rationalizations.

  166. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    Mann filed suit to stifle critics.

    If Mann was interested in stifling critics, why didn't he file a suit ten years ago in order to stifle McIintyre and McKitrick?

    Hmm……..?

  167. J.R. Ford says:

    David Appell. Follow the link I posted and read it. Read it slowly. The metadata was not public information or he would not have been required to produce it in court. When asked to do so he declined.

    How stupid do you think the readers of this blog are?

    You are on a legal website and most of the people who are reading this are not going to be swayed by your bullshit.

    Try again.

  168. I simply hope that no matter which case(s) make it to court, that the judge has the ability to comprehend the scientific method and to be tough on any attempts by either side at grandstanding, diversions or obfuscation.

  169. David Appell says:

    Ics wrote:
    You’ll have to ask Mann how many times he’s accused McIntyre of fraud before I give a crap.

    If he did, is there some reason McIntyre is denied the ability to file a lawsuit over it?

  170. David Appell says:

    Ics wrote:
    …why he didn’t object to briffa’s hiding his decline using his trick.

    That email was from Jones, not Briffa.

    Do you know what "decline" they were hiding? Decline in what?

  171. J.R. Ford says:

    Graham,

    In a way, the justice system and the real scientific system work somewhat similar. Documentation, documentation, …..

    In a jury trial consensus is the point. (The science is settled.) However, in reality old decisions and settled jurisprudence are constantly pondered. Much like the Theory of Relativity is still debated today.

    "The science is settled." and "The law is settled." are both nonsensical statements. Both make me exhale remorse.

  172. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    David Appell. Follow the link I posted and read it.

    If you have a point to make, then make it.

    Principia-scientific doens't even understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics — they have absolutely no credibility among serious people.

  173. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    I can create you a stock trading system that would make you the richest man in the world, in 20 years time, in the 20th century. Why? Because we build the models with the data and inputs that we already have using the relationships that were actually observed.

    Oh please. You don't know the laws of financial markets to anything like the accuracy to which scientists know the laws of nature.

    The very idea is preposterous.

    Economics isn't anything like the science of physics. When physics knows equations, they have been tested by many experimental results. Financial models aren't anything like that at all, but mostly the theoretical musings of theorists who couldn't find jobs in academia.

  174. lcs says:

    @David Appell: Because McIntyre isn't a spineless little dweeb? Because he doesn't run home to mommy everytime some music critic insults him? Because he's not a baby? You tell me. I wonder who else uses Mann's trick besides Jones (this is supposed to impress me? Jones is the guy who hid Briffa's decline?) on Briffa's data? Finance swindlers selling FastRisngCantMiss to little old ladies? That's quite a trick. Care to tell us who besides some cheat trying to swindle some rube politician would want to use it?

  175. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    “The science is settled.”

    Who said that? Who?

    The IPCC hasn't said it. In their ARs they are very careful to give the confidence with which they judge various results.

    I have never read a scientific paper that said "the science is settled."

    What science? What does "settled mean?"

  176. J.R. Ford says:

    Ken,

    It appears Steyn is reasonably sure that Mann will never relent to discovery on his metadata used to create the hockey stick. He's bull headed and willing to stand his ground.

    Kinda reminds me of a first amendment lawyer that has a blog I read on occasion. (I wish it were more frequent but I check it every day.)

    I can understand your anguish however, I have to admire the man and find contempt for the Mann. Mark might very well be better off without the corporate lawyers making trades "on his behalf."

    By the way, I would be totally happy if you gave up your day job and committed to first amendment advocacy spread through the internet. I also understand that the day job pays for the pixels. That sucks.

  177. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    @Poptech said
    " 'Anything can be programmed to give any result you wish.'

    Thanks for making my point."

    That you think you've made a point is a demonstration of your misunderstanding.

    Climate models – which must be programmed – are not special kinds of models, and particularly not any kind of special scientific model.

    The "law of gravity" is also a scientific model, which scientific people have embodied in various formula, one of the most important of which is F = Gm1m2/r**2 (the gravitational force between body 1 and body 2 is equal to G – a measured constant – times the mass of body 1 times the mass of body 2, divided by the square of the distance between them). There is absolutely nothing to prevent someone from making up a different formula. And people have.

    In fact, we know that our model, embodied by that formula above, is "wrong". First, G is a bit difficult to measure accurately here on earth, and there's very reason to believe its an infinitely long number that we for practical purposes use an approximation of. Second, the model above was developed by a guy named Isaac Newton, and a guy named Albert Einstein has produced a better model and a different formula.

    Nonetheless, we use that "wrong" model every day in science and engineering. It's wrong but it's useful – it's simpler, and unless you're dealing with the very tiny (atomic-ish) or the very large and near (the orbit of Mercury around the sun), it's close enough for practical purposes. That model, plus some data, got us to the moon and back. We could have used Einstein's model instead, but the differences aren't significant to celestial mechanics on a trip like that.

    With climate models too, we know they're wrong, but the current ones are useful because they best fit the data at the moment. We'll toss 'em when we get better ones. The fact that someone can create a wrong-and-not-useful one doesn't tell us anything about the wrong-but-useful-for-now ones. And the measure of "useful" is "best fits the data".

  178. Captain Obvious says:

    David Appell showed a reckless disregard for my reply, instead cherry-picking the weaker response to bully. That doesn't mean he was exhibiting criminal malice, just what one must assume is run-of-the-mill intellectual cowardice.

    If one wanted to opine the work is fraudulent, then it is easily called fraudulent, as it was.

    If one wanted to claim "Mann has committed criminal fraud," then one would claim exactly that.

    That the former claim automatically implies the latter, as Mann has claimed in his suit, would require torturing and molesting the English language.

    Outside the world of legalese, the word fraudulent is far more often understood by its non-legalese definition: "False." This tautology should be obvious to all but the most willfully obtuse.

    This is not a particularly difficult distinction for any jury to grasp, yet David seems to think repetition of his fallacious question will be persuasive as opposed to self-humiliating.

  179. J.R. Ford says:

    David Appell,

    So the fact that Mann refuses to make his metadata public doesn't invalidate your point that it is public?

    Do you actually expect to be taken seriously?

    You are a joke.

  180. David Appell says:

    Ics:
    So McIntyre didn't think whatever Mann said was actionable.

    Point taken.

    Now, explain the context of the words "trick" and "decline."

  181. Wick Deer says:

    @J.R. Ford Accepting Mr. O'Sullivan's characterization of the BC legal proceedings is, to put it kindly, potentially problematic, given O'Sullivan's bias and qualifications.

    Are you aware if the actual court documents upon which O'Sullivan bases these claims are available online?

  182. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    It appears Steyn is reasonably sure that Mann will never relent to discovery on his metadata used to create the hockey stick.

    Absurd. If Mann were afraid of discovery, why would he have ever filed suit in the first place.

    And if Steyn is so anxious to do discovery, why did he file to dismiss the suit?

    The fact is, Steyn and NR did a lot of big boasting about how anxious they were to do discovery, then when the judge ruled against their appeals they turned tail and sought to dismiss.

  183. J.R. Ford says:

    Sure would be nice to know if the David Appell poster is coming from an individual account or an organizational, governmental, or educational account.

    Trying to attack everyone and the sources they use but never actually addressing the gist of a matter. Looks political instead of scientific. Can't address a single point.

  184. David Appell says:

    Obvious: I have no idea what your response means, except that, like Ken White, you think the word "fraudulent" doesn't mean "fraudulent."

    That's twice now I haven't been able to parse your logic. I'm not trying again.

  185. David Appell says:

    So the fact that Mann refuses to make his metadata public doesn’t invalidate your point that it is public?

    Mann's data and methods have been available for over 10 years.

    What more do you want, his birth certificate too?

    Is there something preventing any researcher from gathering the proxy data from its original sources, just as Mann et al did?

  186. lcs says:

    @appell: "that paper is pure scientific fraud" isn't actionable and yet "fraudulent hockey-stick" is. Point taken. Mann's a baby. Mann's going to have to explain what his trick is. Not me. During his 2 week deposition and his 2 weeks of testomony on the stand. I hope he has it straight in his own mind. I'm sure you can help him with that. Decline is what the concept of free speech in America is in thanks to Mann apologists like you.

  187. Bart says:

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:43 pm

    "If you aren't familar with the science of dendrochronology…"

    Bzzzzt! Wrong answer. If you get to arbitrarily pick and choose when it is working, and when it isn't, then you've reduced it to not very much of a science.

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @4:55 pm

    "…climate models don't make predictions about the next several years. "

    Bzzzzt! Wrong again. Climate models don't make predictions at all, but they do project current conditions forward based on a variety of parameterizations to encompass likely scenarios given the scientific basis for the models. Clearly, as the actual climate numbers have come in way under 97% of projections, that underlying basis is flawed.

    "Finally: so what? Modelers like from NASA GISS are already using this mild hiatus to make better models."

    A) You don't know if they are better or not, yet. Obviously, they thought the current batches were good, and were wrong. Why should anyone believe they've got it right now?

    B) That's all fine and good to pursue as a theoretical exercise. However, right now, the world is acting as if the science were mature, and pouring trillions of $$$ into unnecessary and inefficient, pie-in-the-sky alternative energy schemes which are generating tons of virulent pollutants (solar cell manufacture), devastating rare bird and bat species (windmills), diverting food from starving mouths (biofuel), and preventing economic progress for billions of the world's most vulnerable populations. And, producing a relative thimblefull of power.

    For what? For something you can't even say at this time is a genuine problem?

    Not good enough, David. This is serious business. The opportunity costs for all this misdirected funding are staggering, and have real world and dire and tragic consequences.

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @5:04 pm

    "Since the ARGO network has allowed data collection down to 2000 meters (1Q2005), the 0-700 meter region has gained 3.1 e22 Joules of heat, and the 0-2000 m region has gained 7.7 e22 Joules. The latter region is about 3 times larger than the former, so on a per-volume basis the 0-700 m region is gaining heat faster than the 0-2000 m region."

    Nice double booking. The latter region is included in the former region. The 700-2000m region volume to 0-700m volume ratio is roughly 9:5. The ratio of heat is 7.7/3.1 := 5:2. The ratio per volume is thus about (9/5):(5/2) := 4:5. Not significantly different.

    But, this is just to showcase your disingenuousness. It's worse than that when you look at the plots and see how you cherry picked your time interval. From 2005-2010, 0-700m was essentially flat, while 0-2000 was zooming right along. Causality, amigo. It had to rise first in 0-700m before 700-2000m for your hypothesis to hold water.

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @5:49 pm

    "Do you have evidence of such a conspiracy? Anything at all?"

    As much as your side has evidence of a vast conspiracy consisting of Big Oil and the Koch brothers to oppose the AGW meme. Talk about desperation!

    Big Oil loves AGW – it allows them to put their coal competitors out of business, while they sit back safe and secure, knowing that so-called "renewables" will never rise to more than a trifling share of the market.

  188. J.R. Ford says:

    "JR Ford wrote:
    It appears Steyn is reasonably sure that Mann will never relent to discovery on his metadata used to create the hockey stick.

    Absurd. If Mann were afraid of discovery, why would he have ever filed suit in the first place."

    That is easy. He only relented when he would not proceed with discovery. But then, you claimed the information was easily available. Discovery would not have been necessary then, would it?

    He filed suit because he is a scared little mann who had fame for a while but his bluster exploded in his face due to lack of scientific validation. My opinion.

    When all of this "easily available data," according to you, had to be supplied to prove his calculations, he couldn't step up to the plate. He effectively reached the legal point of "put up or shut up" and chose to shut up. What am I supposed to think?

    "And if Steyn is so anxious to do discovery, why did he file to dismiss the suit?"

    You have obviously never been involved with legal filings have you? Why are you even bothering to post on a legal blogsite? Are you really that stupid? (See, that is not an actionable statement. Check it with your handlers but, I don't think they will want to waste any money on it.) A motion to dismiss is not really a rare document.

    "The fact is, Steyn and NR did a lot of big boasting about how anxious they were to do discovery, then when the judge ruled against their appeals they turned tail and sought to dismiss."

    But, that is the Steyn case which started later than the one I linked to where Mann refused to release the metadata. If Steyn, pro se, goes for the metadata under discovery do you really think Mann will finally relent? Again, are you really that stupid?

    Frankly, you should go back to one of your echo chamber websites where you are a god. Here, you just ain't cutting it. This place is full of lawyers who see through your crap.

    Give it a rest.

  189. Captain Obvious says:

    David Appell wrote:

    Oh please. You don't know the laws of financial markets to anything like the accuracy to which scientists know the laws of nature.

    The very idea is preposterous.

    Economics isn't anything like the science of physics. When physics knows equations, they have been tested by many experimental results. Financial models aren't anything like that at all, but mostly the theoretical musings of theorists who couldn't find jobs in academia.

    And yet these worthless unemployable second rate intellectuals are David Appell's appeal to authority, when it suits him:

    David's own words

    Funny that economists can "[cut] through all the crap that is out there and [get] to the heart of the matter" David says they are too inept to understand… wait, what?

    "Who has ever said this better in as many words?" Apparently an economist and financial modeler said it.

    Shorter David: Economists are either climate change geniuses or idiots who don't know math, depending on what day of the week it might be. Very persuasive!

  190. Rachel says:

    Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance
    Stephen McIntyre
    Ross McKitrick
    Received 14 October 2004; revised 22 December 2004; accepted 17 January 2005; published 12 February 2005.

    "PC analyses are sensitive to linear transformations of data, even if such transformations only appear to be ‘‘standardizations’’. Here we have shown, in the case of MBH98, that a ‘‘standardization’’ step (that the authors did not even consider sufficiently important to disclose at the time of their study) significantly affected the resulting PC series. Indeed, the effect of the transformation is so strong that a hockey-stick shaped PC1 is nearly always generated from (trendless) red noise with the persistence properties of the North American tree ring network. This result is disquieting, given that the NOAMER PC1 has been reported to be essential to the shape of the MBH98 Northern
    Hemisphere temperature reconstruction."

    The paragraph following this one discusses the r2 issue which has recently been brought up in previous comments.

    http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/mcintyre-grl-2005.pdf

  191. David Appell says:

    Ics wrote:
    Mann’s going to have to explain what his trick is.

    He has. Many times.

    Have you ever studied any science? I have, lots of it. "Trick" is a word scientists use to mean to describe a clever shortcut in obtaining a result.

    I explained its meaning above. Countless others have over recent years. I'm not explaining it again. Learn some science.

  192. Captain Obvious says:

    Captain Obvious wrote:

    Outside the world of legalese, the word fraudulent is far more often understood by its non-legalese definition: "False." This tautology should be obvious to all but the most willfully obtuse.

    David Appell wrote:

    That's twice now I haven't been able to parse your logic.

    Don't think we didn't all notice the trouble you were having…
    Res ipsa loquitur.

  193. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance

    What makes you think McKitrick is an unbiased observer in the debate?

    Simple question: who funded his salary at the time this document was produced?

  194. lcs says:

    @appell: this time he's going to have to do it under oath to people who aren't quite as gullible as you.

  195. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    I know "metadata" has become a buzzword used as shorthand for certain types of data in the NSA kerfuffles (where it's technically just data, as it is not now and never was wrapped around other data), but I have absolutely no clue what it could mean in the context of Dr. Mann's research. Anyone care to enlighten me?

    Unless we're talking about a forensic examination of things like computer file creation and last modified dates, I can only imagine scientific "data" being relevant and using the word "metadata" strikes me as a "black helicopter"-style of appeal or a misreporting somewhere.

    If some has a link to the court papers, I can figure it out for myself.

  196. J.R. Ford says:

    David Appell stuck out his tongue and sneered this:

    "Have you ever studied any science? I have, lots of it."

    You really are becoming an amusing pull toy. Please keep it up.

  197. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    He only relented when he would not proceed with discovery.

    Relented what? MANN FILED THE LAWSUIT, not Steyn. He surely knows the possibilities of discovery. And he seems quite willing for it to happen.

    Your comment makes no sense.

  198. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    Are you really that stupid?

    If you expect any further replies, you'll have to stop the ad homs.

    Last warning.

  199. Rachel says:

    This speaks to my point about climate models needing a kill switch. It is only two paragraphs from an excellent article – highly recommended.

    "It would take me, in my comparative ignorance, around five minutes to throw out all but the best 10% of the GCMs (which are still diverging from the empirical data, but arguably are well within the expected fluctuation range on the DATA side), sort the remainder into top-half models that should probably be kept around and possibly improved, and bottom half models whose continued use I would defund as a waste of time. That wouldn’t make them actually disappear, of course, only mothball them. If the future climate ever magically popped back up to agree with them, it is a matter of a few seconds to retrieve them from the archives and put them back into use.

    Of course if one does this, the GCM predicted climate sensitivity plunges from the totally statistically fraudulent 2.5 C/century to a far more plausible and still possibly wrong ~1 C/century, which — surprise — more or less continues the post-LIA warming trend with a small possible anthropogenic contribution. This large a change would bring out pitchforks and torches as people realize just how badly they’ve been used by a small group of scientists and politicians, how much they are the victims of indefensible abuse of statistics to average in the terrible with the merely poor as if they are all equally likely to be true with randomly distributed differences."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/18/the-ensemble-of-models-is-completely-meaningless-statistically/

  200. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    If you get to arbitrarily pick and choose when it is working,

    The science of dendrochronology doesn't make arbitrary choices. Which paper is this claim based on?

  201. J.R. Ford says:

    Basil,

    I believe, in this case, it means the exact database that was fed to the program. Some believe the data was massaged prior to entry. Others have written papers where it would not make a difference because the algorithms used produced a hockey stick when random numbers were input.

    Either way, the asshole did it on the taxpayers dime and he is being evasive. It stinks.

  202. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    …the GCM predicted climate sensitivity plunges from the totally statistically fraudulent 2.5 C/century to a far more plausible and still possibly wrong ~1 C/century

    You don't even have the units right. Climate sensitivity is not measured in degrees per unit time, but just in degrees (per CO2 doubling).

  203. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    Some believe the data was massaged prior to entry.

    What is the specific evidence for this claim?

  204. Rachel says:

    @David Appell
    So I supply you with a peer-reviewed research article which finds that Mann's Hockey Stick model nearly always creates hockey sticks, even when fed trendless red noise. You were undoubtedly aware of this article before I posted it.

    Your response? "…who funded his salary at the time this document was produced?"

    Classic! Conspiracy theory much? David, you ask people to prove things, until they do, then you say, "BIG MINING/OIL."

  205. Captain Obvious says:

    J.R. Ford wrote:

    On the legal front:

    http://www.principia-scientific.org/michael-mann-faces-bankruptcy-as-his-courtroom-climate-capers-collapse.html

    A quote, "Mann refused to to disclose his ‘hockey stick’ graph metadata in the British Columbia Supreme Court"

    J.R. Ford wrote:

    He only relented when he would not proceed with discovery.

    David Appell wrote:

    Relented what? MANN FILED THE LAWSUIT, not Steyn. He surely knows the possibilities of discovery. And he seems quite willing for it to happen.

    Your comment makes no sense.

    It only makes no sense if you haven't been paying attention: Mann filed a similar nuisance lawsuit in B.C. (nothing to do with Steyn) that he abandoned to avoid discovery. This isn't speculation, this already happened.

  206. J.R. Ford says:

    David,

    In the case I linked to Mann let the case drop because he refused the discovery of the metadata. You still have not read the article, have you.

    Ad Hom? Really? If you had read the article all the way through when I first linked it you could have saved a bunch of posts. What am I supposed to think? "Oh, wow!! Great intellect.!! Too bad they don't have reading comprehension."

    Most of the points you made were pled and reconciled in court. Are you a greater authority than the Canadian Courts? Mann lost his case because he refused to comply with discovery of the very data you claim is public. You insist they are public.

    Ignore me if you must. Frankly, I wouldn't have wasted my time with you other than to show your refusal to ignore facts in light of eminent predictions. And, that is the problem. The public has been hearing predictions of total gloom for 20 years and not a damn one of them has come true. Keep harping and guess who will be ignored in the future.

  207. David Appell says:

    Rachel: Yes, that's my question. McKitrick is a dogged denier who even wrote a paper claiming it makes no sense to speak of an average global temperature.

    Can you think of anything more absurd?

    Real scientists don't hide their funding. Why did McKitrick?

  208. David Appell says:

    @Rachel: And why have no papers replicated M&M's results?

    Meanwhile, a lot of studies have replicated Mann et al's results:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1198.abstract

    "Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia," PAGES 2k Consortium, Nature Geosciences, April 21, 2013
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/abs/ngeo1797.html

    A confirmation using a different statistical technique was Tingley and Huybers, reported on here:

    "Novel Analysis Confirms Climate "Hockey Stick" Graph," Scientific American, November 2009, pp 21-22.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=still-hotter-than-ever

  209. Gabe says:

    @Poptech

    We are posting on a legal blog that often addresses whether statements are libelous. It might be helpful to read some of the other posts on this issue here before saying the equivalent of "you are wrong and you are libel."

    It's really ironic that you are arguing for the side that wants the right to call a scientists work "fraudulent" (as I believe you have the right to do), but you think that it is libel for a commenter to express doubts that a blog author is the speed-reader and expert he or she claims to be.

    When I state my opinion, such as "I don't think the papers you've posted really support the positions you claim," I don't need evidence in order for that to be protected by the First Amendment. If I were to further state "In my opinion, PopTech has made claims that he or she has read an enormous amount of technical material while making claims that most people versed in this subject would not," I am not making false accusations with reckless disregard for the truth; I am stating my beliefs. I could even go so far and say that "I believe that Poptech is not familiar with how mathematical modeling works and has made a poorly designed website designed to list thousands of titles out of context in a poor attempt at argument by intimidation so I suspect they are not an expert." I don't need to give you evidence for this to all be legal.
    As to my "evidence," I don't have the background to evaluate claims in climatology, but I do have practice spotting bogus research in my own field. I'm not impressed by a list of boatloads of papers; it's unreadable for any practical purpose and not how scientific consensus is built. Statements by large scientific bodies are far more useful. When I see every single major scientific body in the world saying one thing and a random blog saying another while listing titles, it appears to fall into a trend with which I am quite familiar.

  210. David Appell says:

    Obvious wrote:
    Mann filed a similar nuisance lawsuit in B.C. (nothing to do with Steyn) that he abandoned to avoid discovery.

    Abandoned? Where is that court document? Honestly — I'd like to read that document. Please provide a link. Or at least a document number. Thanks.

  211. David Appell says:

    JR Ford wrote:
    Mann let the case drop because he refused the discovery of the metadata.

    1) Please define what you mean by "metadata."
    2) Please provide a link to the court document where Mann agreed to drop the case.

  212. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    @ JR Ford

    Steve McIntyre says that Tim Ball says the lawsuit is still going on.

    Here:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/comments-on-mann-continued/#comment-124923

  213. J.R. Ford says:

    David Appell pegged the irony meter when he wrote:

    "Real scientists don't hide their funding. Why did McKitrick?"

    Actually, David, if you are really interested in science, why would the funding matter? That said, the truth of the matter is that real scientists don't hide their data. That way, tests can be reconstructed. Remember "Cold Fusion?"

    Who the hell cares who funds it if it is true? Address the damn problem and quit changing the damn subject.

    Why won't your hero, David Mann, release the metadata in a court case he frikkin' started where doing so would absolve him of all problems? If he was sure of prevailing he would have fought to the end based on that data. We probably both know the answer, don't we?

    The court case was a ploy to silence opposition. Wow, backfire!

    I have no clue how the Steyn case will come out but I have hit the tip jar so to speak. If a litigious little government funded twerp like Mann can silence a journalist with baseless lawsuits I will not sit idly by.

  214. David Appell says:

    JR Ford:
    Again — who funds McKitrick?

    He's written some very dubious papers — such as his claim that there is no such thing as an average global temperature.

    So who's paying him to write such nonsense?

  215. David Appell says:

    Why won’t your hero, David Mann, release the metadata in a court case

    Please, once and for all, define "metadata."

    Mann et al's data and methods have been available for years:

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/research/MANNETAL98/

  216. Noel Darlow says:

    The most peculiar thing about all these "hiatus" comments isn't just that they are wrong but that the people making them (very obviously) don't have any expertise in the field of climate science and yet attempt to make detailed, technical arguments.

    It's really not difficult to find out what real scientists think about the alleged pause – so why don't you?

    In brief, year-to-year and even decade-to-decade variability is quite large compared to the long-term trend. It's also utterly irrelevant (by definition) because the long-term trend is an average: what's left after all the short-term variability cancels out.

    Talking about a 15 year period as if it were in any way meaningful wrt the climate trend, is terribly, terribly naive. It's a real schoolboy howler of an error. Anyone who knew the least thing about climate science would not do that.

    This kind of surface temp trend we've seen recently crops up all the time in model runs. There is nothing unusual about it and , as mentioned, global termperatures, including the oceans, have not flatlined during this period.

    All of this information is easily available to anyone who makes an honest effort to learn. What is wrong with you people that you do not?

  217. Rachel says:

    @David Appell

    Please tell, who is paying you? Just kidding. I don't care as it doesn't make what you have said any more or less true or false. If only that was as clear to you as it is to me.

    And for the people who are still reading this comment thread for the legal stuff, "this who is paying whom argument" is the climate discussion equivalent of Godwin's Law.

    Congrats to David Appell for getting us there so quickly and saving me the rest of my evening.

  218. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    A comment on another blog has led me to the BC Court website, where one can find the case file for Mann v. Ball; it hasn't been updated since 2013, so no dismissal has happened yet.

    The comment I followed is here:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/comments-on-mann-continued/#comment-124932

    If you want to confirm the file activity yourself, note the file number of the case in the comment, follow the link to the court site, do an e-search for the file number, see for yourself.

    There's a $6 fee to get the file itself, I didn't.

  219. J.R. Ford says:

    David Appell,

    Who funds you? You have written some very dubious posts such as your claim that the metadata is publicly available to validate the Mann Hockey Stick even though Michael Mann refuses to release that data to a court of law. Who is paying you to write such nonsense?

    All you can do here is infer that funding equals bad intentions. Well, how about this? Who funds Michael Mann?

    Why should it make a difference in science?

    The only thing in science that matters is provable facts. Facts are proven with observed data. Empirical data reigns over assumptions. We are far enough into the global gloom and doom that was "global warming" and is now "climate change" to be able to compare predictions versus reality. The difference between the projections of the "climate change" crowd and reality is stark. You can call it science but the rest of the science community is laughing at you while getting pissed off about looking like fools in complicity. It won't last forever.

    So, who funds who? Who cares? I am only looking for the truth. Something you don't seem to be too familiar with.

  220. Rachel says:

    @Noel Darlow

    Who is paying you? :)

  221. J.R. Ford says:

    Ken,

    Respectfully, I was behaving. Or, at least, behaving as I should. The twit was attacking people rather than the data presented. Hell, I think I reacted a lot more pleasantly than some of your posts. I didn't call him an asshat or censorious clown even though he was clearly trying to be one.

    That being said, it is your house. I respect that.

    I will sit quietly by from now on and let other people have fun with the pull-toy.

  222. Poptech says:

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @5:49 pm

    What does your model project for 21st century warming?

    Do you honestly think the entire world community of climate modelers — about two dozen groups — are all in a conspiracy to get results somehow agreed upon beforehand?

    Do you have evidence of such a conspiracy? Anything at all?

    I don't have a climate model.

    Strawman, I made no claims of "conspiracy". However, the models are programmed to get the results that they want by subjectively accepting one climate physic's equation/theory as "correct" over another. This does not have to be malicious, yet the biased result is the same.

    The existence of two dozen climate models is evidence the science is not settled, it is was you would only need one model.

  223. Poptech says:

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @6:13 pm

    Can you point to the last peer reviewed publication of Idso and of Michaels?

    You could just check my list,

    A reconstruction of annual Greenland ice melt extent, 1784–2009
    (Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 116, Issue D8, April 2011)
    - Oliver W. Frauenfeld, Paul C. Knappenberger, Patrick J. Michaels

    Sour orange fine root distribution after seventeen years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment
    (Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volumes 162–163, pp. 85–90, September 2012)
    - S. A. Prior, G. B. Runion, H. A. Torbert, Sherwood B. Idso, Bruce A. Kimball

    * A 2007 paper Dr. Michael's co-authored with Dr. McKitrick was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

    * Funding for Idso's 2012 paper came from a National Research Institute USDA grant.

    I don't keep track of conference attendances but Dr. Michaels presented at ICCC7 in 2012.

  224. Poptech says:

    Gabe • Feb 24, 2014 @8:34 pm

    It's really ironic that you are arguing for the side that wants the right to call a scientists work "fraudulent" (as I believe you have the right to do), but you think that it is libel for a commenter to express doubts that a blog author is the speed-reader and expert he or she claims to be.

    I think it is ridiculous that you believe someone would have to be a "speed reader" to read one paragraph long abstract a day.

    How slow do you read?

    "I believe that Poptech is not familiar with how mathematical modeling works and has made a poorly designed website designed to list thousands of titles out of context in a poor attempt at argument by intimidation so I suspect they are not an expert."

    I am very familiar with computer models as I have worked with engineers and scientists on them at a university.

    Please explain what is "poorly designed" about my website.

    Where have I listed thousands of titles out of context? The list only has over 1350 papers not "thousands".

    Which title is listed out of context, surely you can name one?

    Why are you "intimidated" by the peer-reviewed literature?

    I do have practice spotting bogus research in my own field. I'm not impressed by a list of boatloads of papers; it's unreadable for any practical purpose and not how scientific consensus is built.

    You apparently are not very good at it then as you lied that I did not read all the abstracts and claim it is impossible to read one a day.

    So bibliographic resources are unreadable?

    Where am I making any claims of consensus?

    Statements by large scientific bodies are far more useful. When I see every single major scientific body in the world saying one thing and a random blog saying another while listing titles, it appears to fall into a trend with which I am quite familiar.

    Why are statements signed only by the president of an organization or a handful of their council members more useful?

    How many members of those scientific organizations signed a position statement on climate change?

    What does my website say about the list? Please quote and tell us.

  225. Poptech says:

    @ David Appell,

    I thought you knew how to look these things up?

    If you read McKitrick & Michaels (2007) or McKitrick & Nierenberg (2010) ect… they clearly say they were funded by the "Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada."

  226. Poptech says:

    Noel Darlow • Feb 24, 2014 @9:08 pm

    The most peculiar thing about all these "hiatus" comments isn't just that they are wrong but that the people making them (very obviously) don't have any expertise in the field of climate science and yet attempt to make detailed, technical arguments.

    It's really not difficult to find out what real scientists think about the alleged pause – so why don't you?

    I agree not hard at all,

    "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." – Kevin Trenberth

  227. Noel Darlow says:

    @Rachel

    No-one is paying me.

    Why won't you read some books? I don't know where you're getting your misinformation from but it's really not difficult to find out what real climate scientists think about climate.

  228. Noel Darlow says:

    @Ken White

    Have you ever considered an Ars Technica style moderation policy for climate science topics? Anti-scientific trolls are quickly removed from discussions there which helps enormously. It's ridiculous to keep having to go through the same tired, old climategate crap years after it has been shown to be false. It would be OK if people would learn something from the discussion but they don't. It's like trying to explain evolution to creationists: you can't argue with a closed mind. No amount of facts or evidence will ever penetrate their firmly held convictions.

  229. Ken White says:

    Have you ever considered an Ars Technica style moderation policy for climate science topics? Anti-scientific trolls are quickly removed from discussions there which helps enormously. It's ridiculous to keep having to go through the same tired, old climategate crap years after it has been shown to be false. It would be OK if people would learn something from the discussion but they don't. It's like trying to explain evolution to creationists: you can't argue with a closed mind. No amount of facts or evidence will ever penetrate their firmly held convictions.

    You understand that you are under no obligation to read or respond to any of it, right?

  230. Poptech says:

    @Noel, good to see your tolerance of those who scientifically disagree with you. Have you ever considered that your arguments might just be poor? It gets ridiculous to be constantly libeled as a creationist and a troll. You can't argue with an ideologue, no amount of facts or evidence will ever penetrate their firmly held convictions.

  231. Gabe says:

    But Ken, someone is wrong on the internet.
    https://xkcd.com/386/

  232. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    Coming back to the original blog point (as I saw it) of the merits of the lawsuit Mann brought against various parties…

    This comment thread has become a kind of microsm of the way climate science is being engaged outside of the conventional scientific channels. There's a stunning array of misinformation here and its really tempting to try and join in and fix the details of actual science. But that's somewhat off-topic.

    My concern is this: I think that statements like:

    However, the models are programmed to get the results that they want by subjectively accepting one climate physic's equation/theory as "correct" over another. [Poptech]

    ought to be treated differently from statements like:

    Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change “hockey-stick” graph, [Mark Steyn]

    Both are an indication of bizarrely counterfactual notions in relation to climate science. But the latter is libelous (it seems to me!) in a way the the former is not.

    Isn't it? I love popehat, but in this instance I'm finding it hard to follow why Ken takes the line that this suit is censorious. Sure: there's nothing illegal about making blisteringly silly statements about how climate models work (as in the first quote) or about objecting to the merits of the hockey stick graph without any reference to the multiple replications that confirm the hockey stick shape as a real feature of global temperature over the last thousand years. Litigating that would be terrible — but that isn't happening.

    Shouldn't statements about "fraudulent" be treated differently?

    I'm not confident that I grasp how one defines "public figure" or what difference it makes legally; but it also seems to me that it should be a consideration that the major reason Dr Mann is a public figure is because of how he was attacked. He's a public figure primarily because he's being held up for attack, and he has stood up to it in public. If it wasn't for the accusations, he'd not be nearly so public!

    It's relevant, I suspect, that the actual fraud allegations are utterly without merit. Not going to debate that here; but if it comes up in the court case I am pretty sure that will be able to be shown (yet again) without needing a lot of detailed science analysis.

    It's a hot button topic, to be sure. IMO opinion, the best comparison is not abortion or gun control: but creationism.

  233. Matthew Cline says:

    @J.R. Ford:

    Basil,

    I believe, in this case, it means the exact database that was fed to the program.

    Interesting. Seems to me that the much clearer and better term would be "raw data". I wonder why anyone used the term "metadata", and why it caught on.

  234. Levi says:

    @David

    Ah, Tingley & Huybers, which obtains its hockey stick largely by incorporating instrumental data in the modern period alongside proxies. The dominating influence of MXD prior to the instrumental period (~1850) is particularly visible in the top line of S.35. This chart also illustrates the divergence of MXD over about 25% of the potential calibration period (35 of ~144 years), which they overcome by heavily weighting instrumental after 1960. And despite your cavalier response earlier on divergence basically saying "go read up on the subject", I am not familiar with any papers that conclusively determine that the speculated factors causing the modern divergence for 35+ years could not have occurred for any similar or longer period prior to the instrumental period, calling the close fit of the historical part of their reconstruction to MXD (i.e. the handle of the hockey stick) into question. Can you be more specific?

  235. Rachel says:

    @Noel Darlow wrote "Have you ever considered an Ars Technica style moderation policy for climate science topics? Anti-scientific trolls are quickly removed from discussions there which helps enormously."

    Ahhhh…I love the smell of censorship in the morning! Funny that Noel comes to a blog that trumpets the 1st amendment and asks for…censorship!!! Lovely my dear. Lovely…

    How does this sound, Noel? From a scientist speaking about Mann when he didn't think Mann would find out? Good thing there are not more Noel Darlows, or Mr. Way's words may have never found the light of day.

    Robert Way:

    MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying "I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer" is no excuse. He never even said that but I'm just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren't), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren't rock solid.

  236. Wick Deer says:

    The irony of someone asking Ken to censor the comment thread is pretty rich.

  237. wolfefan says:

    Hi Rachel –

    Just an FYI that Ken and others of the group complaint do ban posters from time to time, without notice and sometimes on what seems to me to be a whim. This is Ken's living room and he reserves the right to kick you out of it if you behave in a way he doesn't like. It has nothing to do with the first amendment.

    Edited to add that they also do censor the comment threads by removing posts on occasion. I have had one post removed on the Carl David Ceder thread (a wise decision, I might add. I was regretting that I had posted it.) Posts are also sometimes edited to add paste.

  238. J says:

    This is priceless, a bunch of not-scientists recanting political messages they don't understand. I don't understand them either, but at least I don't feel the need to pretend otherwise.

    Now in all seriousness: every time politicians ask scientists about climate change, the answer is a different one. The republican party, the democratic party, the white house, the European parliament, the UK government. Every result can be reproduced and can't be reproduced, is peer reviewed by experts and peer reviewed by non-experts, is true and is false. But a few people on the internet know better? Oh come on….

  239. palindrom says:

    A lengthy deconstruction of PopTech's list of papers that supposedly are skeptical of global warming can be found here.

    Also: I don't think Mann is afraid of discovery – he was actually right all along, and the endless kerfluffle over his original "hockey stick" is, scientifically at least, entirely moot.

  240. J.R. Ford says:

    " J • Feb 25, 2014 @6:19 am

    This is priceless, a bunch of not-scientists recanting political messages they don't understand. I don't understand them either, but at least I don't feel the need to pretend otherwise."

    Just who has "recanted" political messages in this thread? After that statement it is pretty easy to believe you don't understand the messages.

    That's pretty precious. Although it does explain a lot of the reading comprehension problems you seem to have.

  241. Darryl says:

    JR–I have read the link. The article merely states Mann let his lawsuit be dismissed for want of prosecution. That means nothing. Moreover, I can't find anything in the Canadian Rules of Civil Procedure that require disclosure and production of documents without a request. If a request was made and was proper and limited in scope as required, the Defendant could have simply moved to compel the production of the documents. Also, 29.2.03(1)(e) of the Rules make clear that you do not have to produce information when "(e) the information or the document is readily available to the party requesting it from another source." This is similar to discovery limitations in Texas (and I am sure throughout the United States). So, if Mann simply said "The information is readily available to him from another source", that is a legitimate response. This has been stated numerous times in this thread–the data is readily available to anyone from sources other than Mann.

  242. PonyAdvocate says:

    @David Appell

    Sir, I salute you. Your comments here have been uniformly sensible, rooted in the best available science, and backed up by the record. You have responded to criticism in a mature and intelligent way, and, long after I would have given up, tried to engage your critics in a way that assumes their own good faith. Through it all, and in the face of provocation, you have maintained a civil and courteous tone.

    As demonstrated here, there are those who want so badly for AGW not to be true that they are impervious to fact or logic on the matter. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

    To you, sir, I say: Bravo!

  243. Mu says:

    From a scientists point of view the only truly problematic word is fraud. You can accuse a scientist of shoddy methodology, insufficient data, loony conclusions not backed by the data; all of these happen (mostly in "polite but nevertheless direct" form) in many peer reviews.
    But fraud means the scientist in question deliberately falsified data, which is a huge step from all of the above. The one thing you rarely question on review is the raw data input into a paper, because everything in science depends on the integrity of the raw data. So, independently of the truth or fiction of AWG (I have a PhD in natural science, and I don't understand the science to a degree of having an opinion based on understanding the methodology), the fraud allegation is something Mann has to stand up against, not because of censorship against an unpleasant opinion but because it attacks the very being of his science.

  244. Dictatortot says:

    I'm not particularly interested in the global-warming subject, and am thoroughly unconversant with the science. However, this thread pretty clearly shows that a non-trivial number of cognitively normal people have a problem with the prevailing scientific consensus, as embodied by the likes of Mann. Their opposition could be totally wrong-headed and false in every aspect, and their arguments might not hold together at all–I don't know. However, those arguments seem at least as coherent as those that support a number of other mainstream opinions–even at worst, holding them doesn't necessarily suggest bad faith or a more-than-average level of ignorance. (Sorry about about the whole "damning with faint praise" business, folks.)

    So you can dismiss these views as stupid if you like … but not as more than ordinarily stupid, nor as necessarily malicious or ulterior in nature. In light of that, there's every reason to think that Steyn's stated opinion is sincere, and it's neither so outrageous nor so foreign to intelligent opinion as to meet the "reckless disregard" standard.

  245. palindrom says:

    Dictatortot —

    a non-trivial number of cognitively normal people have a problem with the prevailing scientific consensus,

    "Cognitively normal" would seem to be a pretty low bar.

    I, and a few other folks on this thread, have long experience in science and real expertise that significantly overlaps with the scientific basis of climatology. Science is not a democracy, and it's very seldom a game for amateurs.

    The many people on this thread and others shouting about how shoddy and politicized Mann's work (and the work of other climatologists) are, with essentially no exceptions, not in a position to judge this question independently. I am in such a position.

    The people who "have a problem" may be "cognitively normal", but they are incapable by training or temperament of seeing just how badly they are being misled by professional PR firms (often masquerading as "think tanks") and their few pet scientists.

    In the real world of the scientific literature, where evidentiary standards are extremely stringent, no serious debate remains about the general outlines of this issue. Global warming is happening; it is happening at a historically unprecedented rate; the main cause of this global warming is human activity; and the potential for severe disruption of many of the ecosystems people have come to rely on is very worrying.

    Over the last few years, not a single decent paper has been published that offers a viable alternative to the prevailing consensus. This is not because of some kind of awful conspiracy among publishers — it's because no one has discovered an alternative argument that holds up. The whole global warming brouhaha is a manufactuversy, kept alive by a small army of folks serving business and libertarian interests who stand to lose if the theory is acted on.

  246. Darryl says:

    "manufactuversy" wins the internet.

  247. Dictatortot says:

    Even if every word of your post should be correct, Palindrom, that affects nothing about what a reasonable layman can believe and say in good faith, or is entitled to believe and say. No matter the bone of contention, no matter how infuriating the concept of disputing a given issue is to the cognoscenti, the rule of law is not reserved to people "in a position to judge this question independently."

  248. Darryl says:

    @Dictatortor–The relevant legal standard would be whether the statement that Mann engaged in fraud was false and whether Steyn either knew or was recklessly disregarding whether it was true or false. I think a good argument could be made for reckless disregard by simply arguing the following: "Steyn has no evidence Mann did anything that would be considered "fraudulent" in the relevant scientific community. To the extent his "fraud" allegation refers to Mann's allegation that the science supports the existence of AGW, Steyn's statement is simply false and Steyn consciously disregarded the substantial scientific evidence and consensus."

  249. Devil's Advocate says:

    A few questions about how the law applies:

    1) I can't imagine that Steyn will deign to use the argument that no one takes what he says seriously. Is the hyperbole defense the kind of thing that a judge can rule applies even if the defendant doesn't assert it?

    2) How exactly do the standards of knowing that the accusation is false and having a reckless disregard for the truth apply here, where Steyn almost certainly doesn't have personal knowledge of what happened, the results of official in-depth investigations support no accusations of fraud, but there are some dubious arguments made by some that would support such an accusation? My layman's view would be that saying he believed the dubious arguments is enough to satisfy the actual knowledge test, but that it's reckless to make an accusation that would be utterly career-wrecking if true in light of the considerable evidence to the contrary. How close is that to being correct?

  250. palindrom says:

    @Dictatortor –

    the rule of law is not reserved to people "in a position to judge this question independently."

    I never suggested that the rule of law was reserved for experts, and I don't see how my post could be construed as suggesting this.

    My meaning, which I thought was clear, was that when it comes to highly technical scientific issues, the judgment of experts carries vastly more weight than the judgment of non-experts.

    In the present case, global warming, non-experts have been persuaded that the experts have it all wrong, by an extremely clever disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about expert opinion.

    The accusation that Mann and his ilk have "politicized" the science is richly ironic. The PR campaigners have expertly exploited the political sympathies of right-of-center folks, and made this a matter of tribal identity to the point that you simply cannot be one of the cool kids in conservative circles unless you assert that the entire scientific community has been hijacked by leftist greenies. This assertion is, frankly, lunacy.

  251. Bart says:

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @8:32 pm

    "McKitrick is a dogged denier who even wrote a paper claiming it makes no sense to speak of an average global temperature."

    Obviously, this is a different person than David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @3:34 pm, who stated

    "Scientists now recognize ocean warming as the best metric of the kind of global energy imbalance caused by greenhouse gases."

    These two points are in conflict. I will explain for those who are interested. Why is ocean warming the best metric? Because it actually makes little sense to speak of an average global surface temperature. Temperature is an intensive variable, and varies from place to place according to local heat capacity. It does not generally represent actual energy stored, and energy is the important extensive variable. The heat capacity of the ocean is much more uniform, and so ocean temperature better represents stored energy.

    David Appell • Feb 24, 2014 @8:53 pm again contradicts himself on this.

    Noel Darlow • Feb 24, 2014 @9:08 pm

    Utter hogwash. The pause has the whole climate establishment in a tizzy. The time limit proffered for a pause to be considered significant has been ratcheted up every time the length of the pause has exceeded the previously proffered limit. Seventeen years of a pause does NOT show up commonly in model runs at all.

    Noel Darlow • Feb 24, 2014 @11:01 pm

    "Anti-scientific trolls are quickly removed from discussions there which helps enormously."

    No doubt it does! Res ipsa loquitur. These are the kinds of people we are dealing with.

    These guys wouldn't know science if it walked up and bit them on the tuckus. They simply like to put on airs. Don't let it bamboozle you.

    There is a great Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert is having an argument with Dan the Illogical Scientist, which goes something like this:

    Dan: That design will never work.
    Dilbert: You haven't even looked at it.
    Dan: I should know, because I'm a scientist, and scientists have done many wonderful things.
    Dilbert: But, those were other scientists. Not you.
    Dan: Apparently, you do not understand science.

    They assume the mantle of Science as the old Church assumed the mantle of God. And, for the same reason: to put their biases and judgments beyond criticism by appeal to an infallible diety. Meet the new God, same as the old God. When they are confronted by real scientists, they scurry and hide and shout "Blasphemer! Heretic!" and seek to cast the other as Not of the Body. It is so typical, it is banal.

    The climate always changes. Human nature does not.

    Don't take anything these guys say at face value. It has been carefully cherry picked, sliced, diced, folded, spindled, and mutilated for consumption by the unknowning.

  252. Poptech says:

    Chris Ho-Stuart • Feb 24, 2014 @11:39 pm

    My concern is this: I think that statements like:

    However, the models are programmed to get the results that they want by subjectively accepting one climate physic's equation/theory as "correct" over another. [Poptech]

    [...] Sure: there's nothing illegal about making blisteringly silly statements about how climate models work

    Please explain how my statement is inaccurate or are you not actually aware of how climate modeling works? Wait did you think there was some sort of "scientific method" for determining their construction? LOL.

  253. palindrom says:

    One more thing: Steyn's right to publish risible opinions about global warming, or to dispute Mann's work, is not in dispute.

    The issue, as the Judge made clear, is the accusation that Mann's work is "fraudulent".

    And it's weird that it's come to this, because the basic conclusions of Mann's work — that there have been no episodes of warming over the last thousand years or more that even come close to the current episode in amplitude or rapidity — have been verified over and over by other researchers using independent methods, for more than a decade.

    But Mann certainly does make a convenient target for the Two Minute Hate. Only Al Gore gets more guff.

  254. Poptech says:

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @6:36 am

    A lengthy deconstruction of PopTech's list of papers that supposedly are skeptical of global warming can be found here.

    Poor Palindrom, did you not actually read the "Rebuttals to Criticisms" section?

    Rebuttal to "Poptech's list of Confusion"

    "An alarmist spammer who comments at Jo Nova's site by the screen name "Blimey" and around the Internet as "itsnotnova" continues doubling down on his insanity. After having his original blog post completely refuted he decided to add new lies, misinformation and strawman arguments to it. He is so incompetent that he did not even read the list correctly (Lie #4) or understands that "Letters" is a term used to describe a type of peer-reviewed scientific document format in certain scholarly journals such as Nature (Lie #13)."

    Which one of those idiotic points do you believe is "valid" so I can refute it here for you in extensive detail?

    I love when people spam links they either did not read or do not understand.

  255. Rachel says:

    @Palindrome

    "Global warming is happening" Yep, agreed.

    "it is happening at a historically unprecedented rate" Maybe so. This is something that will never be able to be proved definitively. How many thermometers were around 10,000 years ago? You can attempt to splice proxy after proxy after proxy together, but you will never definitively be able to prove that it is historically unprecedented.

    "the main cause of this global warming is human activity;" Again, maybe. Because you can't prove it is historically unprecedented, you cannot prove that the main cause is human activity.

    "and the potential for severe disruption of many of the ecosystems people have come to rely on is very worrying. " Well, sort of. There is the potential for many things to happen. But because you can't prove it is unprecedented and you can't prove it is due mainly to humans then you have to accept that it may be just the natural processes of our planet's ecology.

    So yes, most serious people agree the Earth has been warming, relatively recently, as compared to the cooling during the Little Ice Age.

  256. Bart says:

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @11:58 am

    'One more thing: Steyn's right to publish risible opinions about global warming, or to dispute Mann's work, is not in dispute.

    The issue, as the Judge made clear, is the accusation that Mann's work is "fraudulent". '

    If his opinions are risible, then why make a fuss? Who cares what an idiot has to say?

    You are caught in the illogic of your position. Only if Steyn's opinions can be considered to carry weight can they be considered damaging.

  257. Gabe says:

    @PopTech
    With all due respect, no one with a science background is going to actually read your website. It's long, tedious and reactionary and you've made statements in these comments that show you to not be a credible source and quick to allege libel. It's the same way I wouldn't sit down to read Zim mathematics.

  258. palindrom says:

    Poptech -

    I love when people spam links they either did not read or do not understand.

    My irony meter just exploded.

  259. palindrom says:

    Bart – Mann has been subject to an unending torrent of abuse, including death threats, because of the falsehoods that have been published about him.

    Evidently, there are far too many who listen to Steyn.

  260. Poptech says:

    @Gabe Why do you continue to make libelous claims about my website? Scientists and those with scientific backgrounds read my website all the time, as I get the emails thanking me.

    Quote a single comment I made that shows me not to be a credible source.

    Everyone can clearly see you failed to answer any of my previous questions and instead are resorting in desperate attempts to poison the well.

  261. Poptech says:

    @palindrom

    Surely you have a single valid criticism from your spam? You seemed so sure about posting it.

  262. palindrom says:

    Rachel —

    Nonsense. You are completely dismissive of paleoclimatology — you suggest that practioners "splice together proxy after proxy", which suggests that the proxies do not corroborate each other. And then you follow with a long string of non sequiters, in which you build on your apparently uninformed perception that the case cannot be proven "definitively".

    Here's a real question: Let n be the percent likelihood that we're heading for a very rough time due to anthropogenic climate change. How large would n have to be before you would be in favor of trying to mitigate it?

  263. palindrom says:

    PT – I long ago learned that engaging with cranks is a waste of time.

  264. Poptech says:

    @ palindrom

    Why did you spam a link to a blog post that does not contain a single valid criticism? Did you not read it before spamming it? I would be embarrassed if I did that too.

    Deflecting your embarrassment with personal attacks does not save you.

  265. Darryl says:

    @Poptech complaining about someone "spam[ing] a link to a blog post." That is pure hilarity. Maybe we should move this conversation on to, I don't know, ponies (or, to comply with Godwin's Law, Nazis and their take on AGW).

  266. Bart says:

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @12:41 pm

    Death threats go with the territory. I do not mean to minimize what is a very serious and nerve-jangling experience, but if you are a public figure who does not receive death threats, you are not in the Big Leagues. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts Steyn receives death threats every day.

    Steyn is not responsible for death threats toward Mann unless he specifically exhorts his followers to violence. Not any more than the Beatles were responsible for the Manson murders.

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @12:48 pm

    "How large would n have to be before you would be in favor of trying to mitigate it?"

    A) greater than 50/50. As I have stated previously, the alarmist position, at this point in time, has zero track record of success in divining the future. Why, then, should one take on faith that they know what is going to happen now?

    B) When mitigation is less harmful than the alternative. There are real and serious costs to declining economic activity brought on by an OCD fetish in tackling every threat, real or imagined. The cost/benefit balance must weigh more heavily on the mitigation side before action is taken. Otherwise, you risk doing more harm than good, and having the cure worse than the disease.

  267. Poptech says:

    @Darryl, no need to try and defend palindrom's spam with more deflections.

  268. Ken White says:

    This derail is beginning to irritate me. Perhaps its participants could take a break.

  269. palindrom says:

    Rachel – I did not mean to imply that Steyn is responsible for death threats, but the incredible vilification of an honest scientist doing honest work has consequences.

    And how can you be so certain that the risk actually is less than 50/50? Pretty much every single scientific organization on the planet is telling you it's bad, along with every credible expert in the field.

    Of course mitigation measures must do less harm than good. The debate should be moving to what measures we can undertake that will actually be helpful, not pointless thrashing about basic facts that have long since been regarded as beyond dispute among experts.

  270. palindrom says:

    Ken – Agreed. Time to go get some exercise, or maybe even do some real work! And Darryl, thanks for your support.

  271. Dictatortot says:

    I never suggested that the rule of law was reserved for experts, and I don't see how my post could be construed as suggesting this.

    My meaning, which I thought was clear, was that when it comes to highly technical scientific issues, the judgment of experts carries vastly more weight than the judgment of non-experts.

    That's fair enough, Palindrom, but that's a truism that doesn't really respond to anything I myself was arguing–hence my confusion.

    The relevant legal standard would be whether the statement that Mann engaged in fraud was false and whether Steyn either knew or was recklessly disregarding whether it was true or false. I think a good argument could be made for reckless disregard by simply arguing the following: "Steyn has no evidence Mann did anything that would be considered "fraudulent" in the relevant scientific community. To the extent his "fraud" allegation refers to Mann's allegation that the science supports the existence of AGW, Steyn's statement is simply false and Steyn consciously disregarded the substantial scientific evidence and consensus."

    An even better responding argument, Darryl, would be: "An observation by a layman, one which is considered defensible among a substantial number of reasonable laymen, does not meet the 'reckless disregard' test. The uniformity–indeed, the unanimity–of mandarin opinion within a field does not set the standard for what an outsider may believe & say in good faith about the apparent conduct of practitioners in that field."

  272. babaganusz says:

    How many thermometers were around 10,000 years ago?

    um… that's probably why the phrase isn't "prehistorically unprecedented". still, you do seem to properly presuppose that history is about actual recorded stuff. though i cannot say i'm confident that many usages will retain coherence/integrity (any better than usage of literally has) in ~this day 'n' age~.

    as with your previous confusion as to the difference between {raw data being publicly available} and {raw data not being published in its entirety within the paper(s) interpreting it}, perhaps you are processing your information a bit prematurely rather than letting things sink in; or maybe it's just the clashes of vocabulary with which we each struggle sooner or later. ("…i do not think it means what you think it means.")

    but it doesn't speak well of your [dis]ingenuity that you even drop 'historically' from the phrase a few sentences later… maybe you were just in a hurry, yeah?

    "this who is paying whom argument" is the climate discussion equivalent of Godwin's Law.

    well, you must have rushed to get that one out; that statement doesn't technically make sense, though it's easily parsed (assuming you meant that predicting the argument is said equivalent). that aside, i don't find it at all particular to the climate change arena, but more particular to, well, any subject, touching on policy, with which corporate interests are known to engage. (e.g. "GMO" kerfuffles would be another glaring one.) the argumentum ad corporation (please excuse my lack of Latin) may very well be a red herring on many occasions, but once more i feel it necessary to assert that the real significance of Godwin's Law (trying to ignore its sad abuse as an in-joke) is in recognizing desensitization and hyperbole; corporations tend to have measures at their disposal to counter jaded attitudes, in ways that many people who worry about history repeating itself in certain ways do not.

    bah, tangent.

  273. Ken White says:

    ::tap, tap:: is this thing on?

  274. Matthew Cline says:

    @Ken:

    What was that, sonny? SPEAK UP, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

  275. Bart says:

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @1:22 pm

    "Pretty much every single scientific organization on the planet is telling you it's bad, along with every credible expert in the field."

    Sorry, Ken, but one last OT if you will. If you won't, then no hard feelings. I simply wish to say that I disagree with this statement. I disagree first of all that the people stoking panic are "experts", in the sense of actually knowing what they are talking about, i.e., in being credible. I will leave that as my statement of opinion rather than going further afield.

    Secondly, "pretty much" is meaningless. Pretty much every physicist before Einstein thought time flowed uniformly across the universe. Pretty much every qualified person in geology rejected Continental Drift. Pretty much every expert in gastroenterology believed stomach ulcers were caused by stress. Science does not advance by taking a vote.

    Thirdly, I reject the validity of polls which claim absurd numbers like "97% consensus". Even third world dictators know better than to claim such margins. Again, I leave that as a statement of my opinion. Those interested may consult ample resources on the web to debunk those surveys.

  276. Noel Darlow says:

    @Ken White

    That's what happens when you don't insist that opinions on scientific subjects must respect real science. All the cranks come out of the woodwork and spoil things for anyone trying to have a serious discussion.

  277. Matthew Cline says:

    @Noel Darlow:

    I think Ken means everyone talking about AGW in general rather than the lawsuit in particular. And though it's not my living room, I too find it annoying. I can read the AGW debate pretty much anywhere on the net; I come here for the legal discussions.

  278. Ken White says:

    That's what happens when you don't insist that opinions on scientific subjects must respect real science. All the cranks come out of the woodwork and spoil things for anyone trying to have a serious discussion.

    You're so completely insufferable that you make me want to rethink gravity, let alone global warming. I'm not going to run my blog the way some socially maladjusted stranger tells me to. Fuck off.

    I'm close to locking the thread because the tangential argument is now seriously irritating me from both sides.

  279. Poptech says:

    Bart • Feb 25, 2014 @2:07 pm

    palindrom • Feb 25, 2014 @1:22 pm

    "Pretty much every single scientific organization on the planet is telling you it's bad, along with every credible expert in the field."

    [...] I simply wish to say that I disagree with this statement. I disagree first of all that the people stoking panic are "experts", in the sense of actually knowing what they are talking about, i.e., in being credible. I will leave that as my statement of opinion rather than going further afield.

    Secondly, "pretty much" is meaningless.

    Bart, it is even more meaningless than you know. Not a single scientific organization can claim membership support (tens of thousands of members) for those position statements. Which is why they refuse to answer this question,

    How many members of those scientific organizations signed a position statement on climate change?

  280. HandOfGod137 says:

    To my non-lawyer eyes, this thread gives a good suggestion for why Mann has chosen to follow the path he has. He is a scientist who saw evidence of a global issue: his work wasn't without fault, but the errors have been corrected and his general results confirmed by independent means. In response he (and others) have been subject to the sort of invective and vituperation seen here (only extending into calls for prosecution and death threats).

    A scientist's reputation is the ultimate metric of his standing. By accusing Mann of fraud, Steyn has attacked that, and surely he could have verified that Mann has been cleared of all the charges laid against him before making his accusation? Why not say that he doubted his methodology, or conclusions? Fraud is an entirely different thing for a scientist.

    I have no understanding of the fine details of free-speech legislation apart from what I've read in this blog, and I can certainly understand the fears of a slippery slope from this action. That being said, the way to attack science is with better data and theories, not by accusing a scientist of making up his data in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.

  281. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    I totally get how an apparent statement of fact can, in context, be clear hyperbole and not a real statement of fact.

    For example, in Completely Libelous Review of Universal Combat(actual article title and free clue #1), we have the apparent statement of fact

    When he was convicted of bank fraud…

    but the rest of the sentence sows immediate doubt upon the notion that that was intended to convey a true fact, and further widening the context to the rest of the paragraph, the article as a whole, and the forum generally, all confirm that the intent of that phrase is to ludicrously ridicule a game designer.

    And when the phrase was flagged in a nastygram by the victim, it was "corrected" to:

    When he was convicted of bank fraud and raping an entire petting zoo in 1994…

    Perfect.

    Yet when I read Steyn, I cannot find any way to read it that does lead me to conclude that he wants his readers to believe that Mann intentionally committed scientific fraud.

    To me, the gist of the article is "Because we know Penn State screwed the pooch investigating Sandusky, we can conclude that Mann's fraud was similarly covered up by Penn State". While wrapped in fun rhetoric and hyperbole, "Mann's fraud" is the beating heart of the gist, to my non-lawyerly eyes.

  282. David Appell says:

    Levi wrote:
    Ah, Tingley & Huybers, which obtains its hockey stick largely by incorporating instrumental data in the modern period alongside proxies.

    Of course. Why use proxies when you have instrumental data?

  283. David Appell says:

    Bart wrote:
    Science does not advance by taking a vote.

    No, but it does advance by better science. Which contrarians have failed to provide, instead making arguments about when science was unsettled.

    One sure thing would disprove AGW: better science. Contrarians have failed to provide it.

    BTW, the structure of space(time) was in great flux right before Einstein. No one really knew what to think, or why — there was no good experimental data before Michaelson & Morley's experiment.

    By contrast, there is a huge amount of observational evidence for manmade global warming.

  284. David Appell says:

    "this who is paying whom argument" is the climate discussion equivalent of Godwin's Law.

    Unfortunately, the history of the tobacco/smoking research/controversy shows there are certain subsets of scientists who WILL say what their funders want, regardless of what the science shows.

    In fact, some of those scientists and organizations are the ones who are today denying climate science.

  285. David Appell says:

    Rachel wrote:
    And in the end he [Mann] never admitted that the entire method was a mistake.

    Because no one has shown it was a mistake.

    In fact, it's just the opposite — many studies have by not replicated MBH's essential findings, some of them using completely independent mathematical techniques. I gave links up above.

    This is strong evidence MBH isn't fundamentally flawed.

  286. Darryl says:

    Ken, the children appear to not be listening to you.

  287. William says:

    I admit I have no expertise in anti-SLAPP issues. It is very far removed from my practice. Reading through Steyn's filing did make me cringe at times, though it was not as amateurish as many pro se documents I have had the misfortune to see. Still, I'm not sure I really see the danger of an anti-SLAPP motion against his counterclaims causing an issue. The counter"claims", such as they were, may have each failed to state a claim and therefore be subject to dismissal, but they didn't seem to be aimed at anything Mann has done covered by SLAPP.

    Perhaps it is simply my unfamiliarity with the topic. I understand why you would have no interest in providing a thorough roadmap to such a motion, but I just wanted to note that it didn't strike me as a grave problem. I guess time will prove the point one way or the other.

  288. Noel Darlow says:

    You're so completely insufferable that you make me want to rethink gravity, let alone global warming. I'm not going to run my blog the way some socially maladjusted stranger tells me to. Fuck off.

    Okaaay… I take it you're on the crank side of the climate "debate" then? I didn't know that but it's impossible to understand the Mann v Steyn issue without having a clear understanding of the context, ie the state of play in climate science, and it's impossible to understand that if you allow anti-scientific cranks to confuse the issue with nonsense from the blogosphere.

  289. Ken White says:

    Okaaay… I take it you're on the crank side of the climate "debate" then? I didn't know that but it's impossible to understand the Mann v Steyn issue without having a clear understanding of the context, ie the state of play in climate science, and it's impossible to understand that if you give allow anti-scientific cranks to muddy the waters.

    No. In my untutored and scientifically illiterate view I'm convinced by the articulations of evidence for AGW.

    I'm saying your a terrible advocate for it, you're trying to tell me how to run by blog, and you're obnoxious. Go away.

  290. Bart says:

    David Appell • Feb 25, 2014 @4:04 pm

    "Contrarians have failed to provide it."

    It is a given that I disagree with you. I just want to take the opportunity to thank you for refraining from characterizing them as on a par with apologists for genocide, a.k.a, the D-word.

    HandOfGod137 • Feb 25, 2014 @3:12 pm

    "Steyn has attacked that, and surely he could have verified that Mann has been cleared of all the charges laid against him before making his accusation?"

    A) The 'clearance' granted is not as comprehensive as you appear to believe. See here.

    B) Is it incumbent upon individuals to accept official pronouncements on what they may and may not believe? Should the abolitionists have abandoned their cause because of Dred Scott? Should the civil rights protesters of the 60's likewise ave refrained from agitating for reform because of Plessy v. Ferguson?

    Basil. Forthrightly • Feb 25, 2014 @3:47 pm

    "While wrapped in fun rhetoric and hyperbole, "Mann's fraud" is the beating heart of the gist, to my non-lawyerly eyes."

    Whether or no, what does it matter? If Steyn is wrong, Mann has wide access to public platforms to rebut the charge. If it is as slam-dunk as many people here believe, why does what Steyn thinks matter at all?

    We really cannot pretend that there is not a political divide on this issue. Conservatives are more likely to be skeptical, and liberals not. I like to ask liberals opining on this if they believe G.W. Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. When, of course, they inevitably answer in the affirmative, I ask them if they think that statement should be actionable, and they should be subject to being put through ruinous legal proceedings to defend themselves for having made it. After all, Bush was cleared by Congressional testimony on the matter, so that should be the end of it.

  291. Ken White says:

    Since people don't want to listen to my request and want to persist with the derail, I am locking the thread.

  1. April 4, 2014

    […] Review and fired my lawyers on Boxing Day, the endlessly reprised refrain has been that "Mark Steyn has a fool for a client". As I wrote […]