12 December 2009

Requested Correction in Daily Mail Article

In The Daily Mail, David Rose has a hard-hitting critique of the CRU email situation. His summary of the debate in the emails over how to handle the Briffa curve is well done. However, he focuses more than I would on the science rather than the science policy, and this shows up in how I am quoted or referred to in several places. Recognizing that it is his story, there is a misquote of my comments that I think needs to be corrected. Here is what I sent David asking for a correction:
Dear David-

I just saw your story in the Daily Mail and a small correction is needed. You quote me as saying:

"These emails open up the possibility that big scientific questions we’ve regarded as settled may need another look."

What I said was:

"While these emails open up the possibility that some scientific questions we’ve regarded as settled may need another look, time will tell and the implications for science are not the most important aspect of the emails."

The point was that while I am agnostic about the implications for science, leaving that to others, I am certain that the emails have broader implications for the credibility and legitimacy of certain quarters of climate science. Based on what I've seen, I do not believe that any "big scientific questions" are implicated by the emails.

Many thanks,

[UPDATE 12/13: I received a reply from David Rose who said he would forward my request to the appropriate editor.]


  1. "Based on what I've seen, I do not believe that any "big scientific questions" are implicated by the emails.

    Well, I respectively disagree to the utmost! I should not have to tell you that the absolutely biggest scientific question in this whole "game" is whether or not the current warming (if, indeed, there really is one!) is due to natural climate variations or some variations caused by mankind. Steve McIntyre and friends have shown that all the "spagetti graphs" are nonsense worthy of the most severe condemnation posssible, and these "climategate" emails completely vindicate all that Mc and friends have documented for 4 years. At this stage, December, 2009, there is absolutely not one shred of empirical evidence that mankind has altered the "climate." Lots of nice "theories," but absolutely no demonstrated evidence, including evidencde that there is an "atmospheric greenhouse effect." If you think there is some real evidence, please produce it for us all, Roger!

  2. BTW, Roger, I generally appreciate your posts, but this one is simply crazy. You usually make a big point of the fact that you are not a scientist. Then WHY THE HELL do you ASSESS THE SCIENCE in this post?

  3. -2-jae

    I don't assess the science in this post -- did you catch this part?

    "I am agnostic about the implications for science, leaving that to others"

  4. With all due respect, I too am having a hard time squaring Roger's last sentence to David Rose with the previous ones. The point of assuring the "credibility and legitimacy of certain quarters of climate science" is so that the results throughout the body of the scientific work won't come into question.

    The point is about trust, which perversely rests at the center of otherwise objective considerations. One cannot usually stand at the bench and peer over the shoulders. How can you trust the results that you have seen or haven't seen if you cannot trust the methods and the people producing them? And they most certainly have produced stuff that bear on "big scientific questions," haven't they? And in some cases seem to have guarded the media of reproducible results as well!

  5. Sounds like a non sequitur to me.

  6. Roger, I believe you are basically correct about the science. The trick regarding proxies is trivial compared with Wegeman's demolition

    Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on MBH98/99. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.



    The Daily Mail is the main, right wing object of scorn for British liberals. Like Palin, Fox news in the USA.

    The split is basically

    Guardian, upper middle class readership, supports multiculturalism (cheap labour). Users of au pairs, home cleaners, wine waiters, plumbers.

    Daily Mail, working class readership, opposes multiculturalism (cheap labour). Readers are au pairs, cleaners, wine waiters, plumbers.

    There are obviously no left wing newspapers or political parties in Britain these days. So tabloids are universally very right wing.

  7. eric:
    Surely, you jest - Has the Daily Mirror changed its affiliations?

  8. Roger: It just lools to me that your agnosticism is cancelled by your last sentence. :)

  9. -8-jae

    You can interpret that as a statement about where the burden of proof lies.

  10. Could it be that it is not the questions but the answers which are compromised?

  11. bernie

    Do you mean the Daily Mirror which was owned by mega criminal, Mossad connected, Captain Bob Maxwell who stole the pensions of his employees, then 'fell overboard' from his yacht.

    The one that (I assume) like every other tabloid is obsessed with soap operas and celebrities and has almost no news.

    Yes, here we are.


    As for being a Labour supporter.

    Let's be clear that Blair deleted clause 4 (socialism) from the party manifesto and that using PFI to fund public works is not left wing politics, it's a banking scam. Privatisation isn't left wing either. There is no left, left.

  12. I'm a bit confused as to how you define yourself re science. You are saying now quite often that you are not a scientist and can't comment on the science, just the policies and politics.

    But you have published a number of articles in peer review journals, have been cited in the IPCC, and have said that you were not cited in other cases where you thought you should have been.

    If you're not a scientist who can comment on the science, then why should the IPCC cite you at all? Or are you just a scientist when it comes to hurricanes and there trends (or lack thereof)?

    If the latter, then shouldn't you stop saying that you aren't a scientist? There's nothing wrong with scientists refusing to comment on areas outside of their expertise.

  13. There's more to the Darwin temp records then Rose reports.



    His language seems freighted towards building the climatology/environmentalism as new religion meme: "Now, in line with CRU and IPCC orthodoxy..."

  14. -12-Dean

    When I was at NCAR my job title was "Scientist";-)

    Many social scientists like to be called "scientists" -- I'm not so worried about that. I do know that the colloquial use of "scientist" means "physical scientist."

    There are some topics on which I am by any definition an "expert" and some topics just an observer/commenter and others (most stuff) I am just ignorant as everyone else. I have no qualms commenting on certain aspects of "the science" and in other areas I don't feel comfortable doing so and try to make that clear also. That said, I don't think that a category like "the science" means very much.

    I do try to be very clear about what subjects I consider myself to be expert in and which I am not. Having a look at me publications is a good way to tell the difference. I'd much prefer people to evaluate my claims based on my arguments rather than my job title or departmental affiliation.

    I hope this helps to clarify, but if not, ask.

  15. @ eric144 said...

    "Guardian, upper middle class readership,..."

    "Daily Mail, working class readership..."

    Rotfl...that characterisation is about as far off the mark as you could get. No cigar for you today.

  16. Jabba the Cat

    Daily Mail

    Bingo, showbiz Celebrities, TV, Bingo, more celebrities, Bingo, footballer's wives, hot pants for Christmas, BINGO !



    Main advertiser today. Hermes of Paris, haute couture. Typical car adverts for large SUV's. Very exotic travel section, comprehensive arts coverage. An environment section bigger than the entire NY times. Media, society and education sections. No BINGO. No showbiz.

    The Guardian is very similar to the NY Times in many ways.


  17. @ eric144

    Lol...you obviously don't live here in the UK.

    The Daily Mail is firmly conservative middle class, the Daily Mail is commonly taken in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph. The Guardian is firmly chattering classes and those who occupy non-jobs like government(national and local) and the arts. The Guardian is not like the NYT, with which I am also familiar. The "upper" class, what remains of it, reads the Times. There is also the Independent whose readership is somewhat elusive, bit like the people who write for it.

    The "working" class read the conservative Sun or the left wing Daily Mirror. There was also the communist Morning Star, but I'm not sure if they are still around printing their particular brand of horse manure in the absence of Soviet funding, though they may have switched to handouts from the EUSSR.


  18. Jabba the Cat

    I have lived in Scotland all my life. I am not right wing. I think that may be where we have the little cultural problem.

    The Guardian is indeed aimed at chattering class liberals, but the advertising is very up market indeed. They are upper middle class, no question. Despite the liberal bias, the journalists are predominantly Oxford/Cambridge, most of them privately educated like Monbiot.

    Bingo, knickers, soap operas, bingo, hot pants and footballer's wives tell me the Daily Mail is a working class tabloid. It was a respectable newspaper 30/40 years ago, now it is a tabloid.

    It is the subject of eternal ridicule in the Guardian as a right wing, racist, homophobic tabloid. I believe it greatly admired Herr Hitler in the 1930s.

    Anyone can look for him/her self. That is my last word.

  19. Roger,

    The emails most certainly call into question the 'big questions'. Anyone trained in the sciences or engineering knows it all hinges on the data. Faulty or incomplete data immediately invalidates any conclusions using the same as basis.

    The scientific method is completely open and these emails suggest the climate change science is completely contrary to that principle.

  20. @ eric144

    "Anyone can look for him/her self. That is my last word."

    With the exception of the Sun, Mirror and Star, I read all those other papers daily...

  21. "I should not have to tell you that the absolutely biggest scientific question in this whole "game" is whether or not the current warming (if, indeed, there really is one!) is due to natural climate variations or some variations caused by mankind."

    I don't agree. I think the absolutely biggest scientific question in this whole "game" is what the global temperature will be in 2030, 2070, and 2100.

    It's the future that's the biggest and most important scientific question. (And also most difficult.)