Second BEST

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Professor Muller of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project is always interesting, but he just keeps digging his personal hole deeper. He recently gave an interview titled “Scientists Often Pigeonholed By Political Debates” and answered questions on NPR. To his credit, he is standing up straight and tall for science, for full transparency, for the scientific method. I like that. He is also one of the few mainstream scientists who has publicly said that Climategate showed horrible behavior and scientific malfeasance, and he repeated that on NPR:

CONAN: And that’s, you would say, would be at the heart of the so-called Climategate story, where emails from some scientists seemed to be working to prevent the work of other scientists from appearing in peer-reviewed journals.

Prof. MULLER: That really shook me up when I learned about that. I think that Climategate is a very unfortunate thing that happened, that the scientists who were involved in that, from what I’ve read, didn’t trust the public, didn’t even trust the scientific public. They were not showing the discordant data. That’s something that – as a scientist I was trained you always have to show the negative data, the data that disagrees with you, and then make the case that your case is stronger. And they were hiding the data, and a whole discussion of suppressing publications, I thought, was really unfortunate. It was not at a high point for science.

And I really get even more upset when some other people say, Oh, science is just a human activity. This is the way it happens. You have to recognize, these are people. No, no, no, no. These are not scientific standards. You don’t hide the data. You don’t play with the peer review system.

I wholeheartedly agree. I only fear that Muller doesn’t realize the full extent of the problem. I’m afraid he hasn’t noticed how that whole “we’re on a noble mission to save the world from itself” mentality has deeply infiltrated and corrupted an entire field of scientific inquiry.

I also found his comments on “pigeonholing” quite revealing. In the interview he divides people into “deniers”, “skeptics”, and “exaggerators”, and discusses what he sees as the characteristic claims of his neatly pigeonholed groups … and then he claims he doesn’t like pigeonholing?

Here’s a pro-tip, Dr. Muller.

A man who dislikes pigeonholing doesn’t use the term “denier”. It makes people doubt both your sincerity and your goodwill. You’ve been told many times that I and many other people out here find that term insulting. You continue to use it. Is that stupidity, or do you just not care that you are insulting people, or are you insisting that you have the right to insult people? Whichever way … it’s not good.

Next, he wants to play both sides of the street, viz:

CONAN: How much of that [warming] is attributable to humans? But do you agree that at least – does the data show that at least some part of it is attributable to humans?

Prof. MULLER: Yes, yes. It’s us. People call me a skeptic, because I drew attention to many of the exaggerations that in – is in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie. But I think a scientist has to recognize when there are exaggerations and settle down on what is solidly known.

OK. That’s clear. Regarding the warming, “It’s us.” He’s not a skeptic, he says he’s talking about what is “solidly known”. However, he continues …

Temperature has been rising over the last 100 years. That’s pretty clear. How much is due to varying solar activity and how much due to humans is a scientific issue that we’re trying to address.

Huh? How can he say “It’s us” so confidently, how can it be “solidly known” as he claims, if it is still “a scientific issue that we’re trying to address.” ?? Make up your mind, Dr. Muller, because clearly the Olympic back flip-flop isn’t your best event …

I did greatly enjoy Dr. Muller’s indirect takedown of Jerome Ravetz, however, viz:

CONAN: Well, given the analysis that you reached, aren’t there urgent policy decisions that need to be made?

Prof. MULLER: Oh, that’s the irony. The policy decisions are so urgent that people tend to abandon the scientific method. It’s ironic that when something’s important, they sometimes feel they have to not be so candid and unbiased because it’s urgent. I think just the opposite. When things are urgent, that’s the time the scientist has to settle down and show – do things using the unbiased methods that they’ve been taught.

Thank you, Professor Muller. Jerome Ravetz keeps pushing “Post-Normal Science”, the idea that when the stakes are high and decisions are urgent, we should change the way we do science. I agree with Muller that when things are urgent is the time when we need the full rigor of the tried-and-true scientific method even more than ever.

Next, Muller says:

CONAN: Urgency, though, is the critical word here, is it not?

Prof. MULLER: Well, I think one of the things we’re trying to do at Berkeley Earth is determine how urgent it is. The global warming attributed by the IPCC, the big U.N. Council that makes this consensus report, attributes about half a degree, half a degree Celsius of warming to humans. But is it .4? Is it .3? If so, we have a lot more time. Is it .6 or.7? If so, we’re in a big rush.

I find this curious. Does anyone know where he gets that “half a degree” of anthropogenic warming from the IPCC report? (And I love his description of the IPCC report as a “consensus report”, he must not have twigged that “consensus” is what you get when you squash all opposition. But I digress.)

In any case, I don’t see how his work with BEST relates to any urgency. Does he really believe that BEST finding a difference of 0.1°C or 0.2°C in the observational record will suddenly make the situation “urgent”? As he points out, the issue is not whether the world is warming, it is whether humans are the cause. His work will not elucidate that question in the slightest.

Finally, I emphatically did not like his dig at Anthony Watts.

CONAN: You mentioned Anthony Watts. He runs a website for climate deniers, said he was prepared to accept whatever result your group produced, even if it proves my premise wrong. After your testimony, he said the hearing was post-normal science political theater.

Prof. MULLER: Well, I think Anthony can be forgiven for his ups and downs. I think he has done a great job, a real contribution, and I think his work has proved really essential.

Professor Muller thinks he is entitled to advise us to forgive Anthony for his “ups and downs” because of the great weight of Anthony’s contribution to science? Man, the good Doc’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds, it’s been far too long in the ivory tower for that boy. Having transgressed badly himself, he now wants to lecture us on proper behavior as though we were his college students?

Now, that comes close to undoing all the good Prof. Muller did above with his defense of honest science. Here’s my take-home message for Professor Muller:

Professor Muller, there’s a lot of folks like me out here who are deciding whether or not to forgive you for your un-necessary public attack on Anthony, using data he had given you in confidence. Your arrogant and patronizing attitude in this interview merely helps us make up our minds whether you are worth forgiving or not.

My vote is still yes, Dr. Muller, we should forgive you. But that’s based on your profound but probably curable naiveté about climate science and your general likability, and not based on your contrition or probity, because you seem woefully short on both of the latter. The good news is that at least you stand revealed. From here out any man who tells you anything in confidence is a fool. You have shown us that you won’t shirk to first publicly betray the man’s confidence, and then to top it off you’ll advise us to forgive the man for being so crude as to get upset at your betrayal …

Again, let me say that none of this says anything about whether the BEST results will be good, bad, or meaningless. That is a totally separate question, about which to date we know far too little to comment.

w.

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135 thoughts on “Second BEST

  1. How can he say “it’s been warming for a hundred years” and leave out it’s been warming since the LIA? If you are going with a statistic, don’t shade with this way. It is a half-truth, everybody knows it, and he’s left looking like a shill. This guy is just not serious, or he’s the wrong front man for the job. I’m from Berkeley – I recognize the institutionalization in his approach and style. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and worse, he’s the only one who doesn’t know this. That is the definition of clueless, btw. Nice enough guy but needs to avoid the spotlight.

  2. “CONAN: You mentioned Anthony Watts. He runs a website for climate deniers”

    I just checked “About WUWT” where there is no such statement. In fact, my reading is that credible studies on both sides of the debate are published here. Conan’s statement, therefore, is defamatory.

  3. The word “Denier” has to be expunged from their vocabulary before any forgiveness is possible. The word was deliberately chosen to be offensive. It is remotely possible that some who continue its use are doing so without recognition of that choice. That doesn’t matter any more.

    Any media person who uses it has instantly lost any claim to impartiality that may be trying to make.

    Any scientist using it is abandoning their right to respect.

    The climate is changing now. The climate has changed in the past. Naturally, humans do their damnedest to influence the climate around them for comfort, health, and productivity. So does any animal, bird, insect, plant or other living thing that wants an evolutionary advantage, or just a way to survive the winter.

  4. BEST will be limited by the same problems that are present in all the station data, poor and sporadic coverage. Station data simply does not have the resolution needed to accomplish its task.

    Muller is an acedemic. Few of them are practical people and those that are have experience outside of university life. At least he holds people accountable for bad behavior.

    I no longer care about BEST because the source of the data doesn’t provide enough spatial coverage to matter. If it matches the other station methods then they are off the hook, but it changes nothing.

  5. I really don’t get the point of this post. I listened to Muller’s interview and I found his point of view worthwhile and refreshing. His comments are all expressed from the point of view of an open mind, someone who is waiting for the data to guide his thoughts.

    He was openly critical of the ‘alarmist’ scientists who have allowed their thoughts to be taken in one direction and are fudging the data to fit it. There was a brilliant quote in it where he contrasts the difference between a layman and a scientist. Something like, ‘a layman is someone who can believe foolish things, while a scientist is someone who can believe foolish things but knows it.’

    He praised Anthony’s work and called him a ‘real hero’. Anthony’s criticism of Muller’s testimony before Congress was unfortunate, it said more about Anthony than Muller.

    I am afraid this post says more of the poster again than of Muller. It demonstrates intolerance to any view that is not his own view. Surely, more than anything else, the WUWT blog stands up for a minority view that was being unjustifiably repressed.

    WUWT should welcome a new voice in the debate. Especially a new voice that is different from all other voices!

    Paul

  6. I am undecided about BEST – and only the ‘results’ and the transparent data/method publication will define whether it has been a worthwhile exercise. I strongly suspect that it will be seen to be a further ‘fudging’ of basic raw data.
    Mullers claim to be unbiased cannot really be true in the light of his statements, and it strikes me that he has sought nothing but publicity from this venture, though that may just be me being cynical. The point being that he hasn’t been sat in a backroom somewhere quitely reworking the data! – he has been presenting it as some kind of be-all and end-all quest with a public Fanfare to boot! No doubt, he and his team will be right royally ‘courted’ by various others to perhaps alter the tone of any presentations, if not the actual ‘results’ themselves!
    As a scientist, I don’t like being cynical of the motives, but the ‘output’ from Muller certainly seems to follow the expected line from mainstream climate ‘science’ – and that is worrying.

  7. Dr Muller is an academic. He relies on government salary and grants. Natuarally he will toe the government sponsored ‘concencus’ line.

    John Gorter

  8. Willis,

    I would expand on your statement “As he points out, the issue is not whether the world is warming, it is whether humans are the cause. and add ‘and what difference will it make?’.

    If one accepts that there has been a rise on global temps since the LIA then, surely, one must also accept that the global climate has improved since then (eg, no more River Thames ice fairs).

    Why is it that the climate improvement due to rising temps since the LIA is OK but any further rises, caused by us or not, are going to be disastrous?

  9. Paul says: (April 14, 2011 at 12:10 am)
            Surely, more than anything else, the WUWT blog stands up for a minority view that was being unjustifiably repressed.

    If you check the number of those who have signed some petitions*, Paul, you may consider changing the above sentence to read: “…a majority view that was being unjustifiably repressed.”

    *30,000 Scientists Sign Petition on Global Warming

  10. Does anyone know where he gets that “half a degree” of anthropogenic warming from the IPCC report
    ==========================================================
    The IPCC (AR4) guess that most of the warming since 1950 (~ 0.7°C) is most probably due to human GHGs.

    I’m guessing that’s where the .3, .4, .6 and .7 come from.

    In any case it’s only about 0.5 – 1.1°C/century, hardly enough to run through the streets in a panic about and well below IPCC projections.

  11. Looks like I’ll have to be alone defending Ravetz again.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of post-normal science. But I think much of the criticism of it misses the mark.

    First: climate change is not urgent. And I know you agree with that, Willis. Or if we choose alarmist premises: with the kind of uncertainties involved, we’d have no chance of discovering that it was urgent if it were. It’s highly unlikely to be urgent, since the “urgent” window is a short one on the timeline. Before that, it’s not yet urgent, and after that it’s too late. (Of course alarmists never discuss “too late”, except for James Lovelock.)

    Second: Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ravetz has not said that climate change is urgent. He has said that urgency is one of the reasons we might need post-normal science. Others have made the connection from that to AGW.

    Third: I agree with Ravetz that urgency sometimes requires a different approach. His favorite example is an epidemic. In other words, a situation where urgency may be a real factor rather than a politically motivated mass psychosis. In such a case, there may not be time to conduct the scientific studies we would like, and we may have to decide and respond anyway.

    There seems to be a confusion between “urgent” and “important”. Muller uses both as if they were synonyms, but they aren’t. If the issue is importance rather than urgency, then of course I agree with Muller that there is all the more reason to be thorough and careful.

  12. Paul says: (April 14, 2011 at 12:10 am)
            I am afraid this post says more of the poster again than of Muller. It demonstrates intolerance to any view that is not his own view.

    The views of Willis Eschenbach are legion, Paul, and it is that wide, wide spread which attracts some study of what he writes. Of course he has personal views; he must or he would not be worth considering, but I do not believe he trips over his views like two left feet.
        I do believe he uses his personal views as his foundation; but that he then extends them to encompass an argument in a much wider context. Willis is not a loose cannon firing at random as it rumbles across the deck, unchecked; but he does certainly have the philosophy of a freebooter…

  13. Willis, I am not as forgiving as you. Prof. Muller is a fellow traveler of the warmist crowd. He may think he is doing good science, but little things like what he said in this NPR interview lead me to believe that he is prepared to cram a whole lot of round conclusions into square pegs, or to use the Procrustean bed to stretch data to fit to his versions of the truth. I hope I am wrong about that, but I am not so forgiving at the moment. I wouldn’t take this if I were you, Anthony.

  14. “Well, I think Anthony can be forgiven for his ups and downs. I think he has done a great job, a real contribution, and I think his work has proved really essential.”

    All of us have our ups and downs for which we need forgiveness. I thought the good professor was actually being quite gracious all considered.

  15. I think you’re a bit hard on him. I don’t think his comment on Anthony wad insulting.

    What I don’t get is his presentation. He seems to imply that if BEST agrees with GISS more than satellites, this somehow suggests GW is all man made and catastrophic.

    Whether AGW is .12C per decade and declining, .1C per decade and declining or is .08C and declining, it’s no catastrophe. It’s probably beneficially.

  16. Christopher Hanley says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Does anyone know where he gets that “half a degree” of anthropogenic warming from the IPCC report

    The IPCC (AR4) guess that most of the warming since 1950 (~ 0.7°C) is most probably due to human GHGs.

    I’m guessing that’s where the .3, .4, .6 and .7 come from

    .

    Yeah, but … the IPCC says:

    Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

    However, according to the trend 1950-1999 in the GISTEMP data, the temperature only rose 0.4°C during that period … so I ask again:

    Where is he getting the claim of half a degree of anthropogenic warming?

    Because I can’t find that number anywhere in the IPCC report.

    w.

  17. Muller also seems to know what audience is important and how to address it. He must pander a bit to keep his audience from getting defensive and writing him off.

    Posts like this give “exaggeraters” exactly what they need to pigeonhole non-believers.

  18. willis, in 2007 or I recall you attributed a portion of the warming to humans.

    Care to recall for us what % you put us down for?

    10%, 30% 60% 90%

    Dunno, but I recall that conversation

  19. Willis,

    I think you have distorted the sense of Dr. Muller’s comments about Anthony. Dr. Muller is clearly a big supporter of Anthony’s efforts to improve climate data collection in the US. He overlooked Anthony’s criticism of his testimony to Congress and focused on what he felt were the positive aspects of Anthony’s work. Remember that many on the “mainstream” dismissed Anthony’s work as irrelevant, while people like Dr. Muller went out of the mainstream and recognized that his work on site quality was indeed important. If you think that he has attacked Anthony’s work in this regard, then you should be regarded as paranoid. I am confident that Anthony, the quality person that he is, would be pleased of the good word Richard Muller has given him.

  20. Paul says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I really don’t get the point of this post. I listened to Muller’s interview and I found his point of view worthwhile and refreshing. His comments are all expressed from the point of view of an open mind, someone who is waiting for the data to guide his thoughts.

    I have lauded Muller for some things that he said, and I disagreed with others. However, “open mind”? A person with an open mind doesn’t call someone who disagrees with them a “denier”. And “waiting for the data”? No, he said “It’s us”, and that’s “settled science”. A person waiting for the data … well, they wait for the data.

    And a person with a shred of decency doesn’t continue to call people by a name they find insulting, particularly when asked not to do so.

    He was openly critical of the ‘alarmist’ scientists who have allowed their thoughts to be taken in one direction and are fudging the data to fit it. There was a brilliant quote in it where he contrasts the difference between a layman and a scientist. Something like, ‘a layman is someone who can believe foolish things, while a scientist is someone who can believe foolish things but knows it.’

    Indeed, he said some interesting and good things. And I praised him for it … so what is your point?

    He praised Anthony’s work and called him a ‘real hero’. Anthony’s criticism of Muller’s testimony before Congress was unfortunate, it said more about Anthony than Muller.

    He used data which Anthony had given him in confidence to attack Anthony in front of Congress. Perhaps this kind of thing means nothing to you, but some of us actually expect people to act honorably. It is an old-fashioned notion, I admit that, but there are those of us who think keeping a confidence is important. Perhaps you are not one of those that value honor … or perhaps you simply haven’t understood the issues in what Muller did. I’ll vote for “doesn’t understand the issues”, the other option is not pretty.

    I am afraid this post says more of the poster again than of Muller. It demonstrates intolerance to any view that is not his own view. Surely, more than anything else, the WUWT blog stands up for a minority view that was being unjustifiably repressed.

    Oh, puh-leeze, that’s way over the top. Yes, I know you couldn’t find a single thing not to like about his interview. Me, I praised a number of things he did, I disagreed with others, and I said I’d still forgive him for his stupidity.

    What do you want me to do, blow in his ear, decide “it’s us”, and start claiming that’s “settled science”? I liked specific things he has said and done, and I disliked others. So sue me.

    WUWT should welcome a new voice in the debate. Especially a new voice that is different from all other voices!

    Paul

    WUWT is quite unusual in that it welcomes all kinds of voices, Paul. Heck, if you want to write a spirited defense of Muller’s use of his analysis of confidential data to attack the man who gave the data to him in friendship, go right ahead. I’d be fascinated to hear how you explain that one … here’s your chance to be “different from all other voices!”

    w.

  21. steven mosher says:
    April 14, 2011 at 1:28 am

    willis, in 2007 or I recall you attributed a portion of the warming to humans.

    Care to recall for us what % you put us down for?

    10%, 30% 60% 90%

    Dunno, but I recall that conversation

    Can’t recall, but I’d say a small number, and due mostly to black carbon and LU/LC, not CO2. However, that’s not even a SWAG, just a WAG.

    w.

  22. Hi

    I’m a long term reader of this blog with a confirmed skeptical mindset and I didn’t find his comments about Anthony at all disconcerting.

    Regards

    Michael

  23. John Tofflemire says:
    April 14, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Willis,

    I think you have distorted the sense of Dr. Muller’s comments about Anthony. Dr. Muller is clearly a big supporter of Anthony’s efforts to improve climate data collection in the US. He overlooked Anthony’s criticism of his testimony to Congress and focused on what he felt were the positive aspects of Anthony’s work.

    Like Paul above, you’re not following the story. Anthony gave Dr. Muller the results from the Surfacestations work of himself and the volunteers, with Muller’s agreement to keep it confidential until Anthony had published his results.

    Muller, far from keeping it confidential, announced the results of his analysis of Anthony’s confidential data in front of Congress.

    Now, before we go any further, do you approve of Muller doing that? Because I think it sucks, and I don’t care what else Muller said about Anthony, that’s coverup. Yes, Muller said some good things otherwise, and he has the right take on Climategate … so? That doesn’t excuse betraying a confidence.

    And when Anthony was upset that his confidence was betrayed, you are 100% correct that Muller “overlooked Anthony’s criticism”. He not only overlooked it, he ignored the issue of his betrayal of Anthony’s confidence entirely, and has continued to pretend that it doesn’t exist, so yes—he overlooked Anthony’s criticism of his testimony to Congress.

    You seem to see this as a point in Muller’s favor … you might want to reconsider that interpretation.

    w.

  24. Even Willis drifted:

    “the issue is not whether the world is warming, it is whether humans are the cause.”

    No, the issue is Catastrophic Anthropogenic GW not Anthropogenic GW.
    Only the Catastrophic part is an issue.
    Warming is Good, increased CO2 is Good.

  25. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Like Paul above, you’re not following the story. Anthony gave Dr. Muller the results from the Surfacestations work of himself and the volunteers, with Muller’s agreement to keep it confidential until Anthony had published his results.

    Willis, you are making assumption about me before the data is in :)

    I have followed the Muller story, I just disagree with your & Anthony’s take on it. Muller did not reveal Anthony’s results to Congress, he made comment on a 2% of the data that he had tested. Steven Mosher, among others, provided a contrasting explanation on the Muller testimony which I agree with. I think it was on Judy’s site.

    When I said your post said more about you than Muller, I mean that the surface temperature dataset is something you (like Anthony) feel strongly about. Hence your reaction to the first project that has offered to revise the dataset from scratch.

    I am waiting for the BEST project to actually publish results before drawing conclusions. I will be interested in the trend since 1957 & the comparison in the post 1957 trend with previous warming trends of the 20th century. I will be interested in how data contamination is accounted for in these trends. I will also be interested in the comment & criticism the BEST results attract.

    I think you learn a lot about the other person when you disagree with them :)

    Paul

  26. Excellent as usual, Willis! I agree with most of what you say. Although I cannot be quite so forgiving, q.v. below,

    dp says:
    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    This is classic smoke & mirrors stuff. Never tell a complete lie & never tell the whole truth, the conman’s motto. That way everyone is confused & too busy trying to work out what has gone on until it’s too late to realise that it’s happened anyway! IMHO. Prof Muller seems nice enough, but this could be a fron, especially when he says the things he does that conflict & contradict!

  27. Standard operating procedure for the modern left.

    “I am above politics and labels. You can’t judge me! You can’t label me! You dirty Bushitler! You Halliburtonist! You nasty Bigoilist! Don’t you dare label me, you unspeakable intolerant Labelist!”

  28. Muller says-
    “Temperature has been rising over the last 100 years. That’s pretty clear. How much is due to varying solar activity and how much due to humans is a scientific issue that we’re trying to address.”
    So to be fair he could be uncertain about a range of anthroprogenic possibilities such as greenhouse in general (including Gore’s last admissions re soot), UHI and land clearing in general, the latter perhaps exacerbated by rather silly policies to ameliorate AGW via biodiesel and ethanol production. That may well be ‘the scientific issue that we’re [he is] trying to address’. In other words Muller may well take the view that CO2 is a very minor issue in the big scheme of things and we should all be open to the evolving science on that.

  29. Prof. Muller’s “Yes, yes, it’s us” knee-jerk reaction is pure cowardice.

    What makes you think that this particular (and typical) representative of the corrupt Academia will stand up for the scientific truth if and when it will put at risk his tenure and comfortable existence?

    Please, don’t try to sell to me as a “likable fellow” a person who had no guts to tell the Congress that he cannot make any conclusions before the study is finished.

  30. Hi Willis.

    I didn’t follow the Congress testimony in detail, but my impression was that Muller gave some preliminary results which had not undergone any adjustments for the various station siting biases. In my mind, Anthony’s surface station data would come into use only if these adjustments were applied to the BEST data. This didn’t seem to be the case. Or was it? Had Muller used the results of Anthony’s work to come to these preliminary figures? I would agree with you that if Muller had agreed to confidentiality and confidentiality was broken then I would certainly side with Anthony in this case and would also find the ‘forgiven for his ups and downs’ statement to be a fairly low blow.

    Also, could this have been a case of miscommunication or misunderstanding?

  31. Using material given in confidence to assist your research to attack the giver in front of the law makers of your country, makes this man a bounder, regardless of syrupy after thoughts. This BEST program is likely the final assault to convince the peons to blindly follow. Not to be trusted I feel.

  32. And just to remind us all of Gore’s latter uncertainty about CO2 induced warming-

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/al-gore-admits-co2-does-not-cause-majority-of-global-warming.html

    which backs up a reasonable interpretaion of Muller’s stance generally, whereby The Team can’t have it both ways with one of their chief spruikers- ie Gore was right about the certainty of our CO2 hockey stick but, well.. umm.. err.. you know how it is with his sudden enthusiasm about soot folks?

  33. Paul

    You did not get it. Willis’ criticism was not about the 2% data Prof.Muller talked about. Willis’ criticism was about Prof.Muller dissing Anthony’s surfacestations work about station siting, saying that there was no difference observed due to station siting, without explaining how he arrived at that conclusion, what methods he used etc. That was what Willis always has been criticising about Muller’s testimony.

    You should read the testimony, read Willis’ comments and get the whole picture.

  34. According to polls a significan proportion of the US population are ‘deniers.’ We are not alone.

  35. Trust is central to human relationships and nowhere more so than in scientific enquiry, which IS about a search for truth to data, regardless of how tentative must be our conclusions. Professor Muller, all scientists should play fair.

  36. @Willis

    The reaction you and Anthony showed to Berkeley team’s work after Muller’s testimony was over the top. This piece even is so full of indignation. For what, I’m still not certain.

    “The lady doth protest too much”, comes to mind. We all have our ups and downs.

  37. There are immense benefits from a few degrees of warming, however I don’t believe it is at present, at least for the last dozen years anyway. Cold is a killer. Well written, Willis and I agree 100%.

  38. Let’s see.

    BEST Objectives

    “5. To provide an open platform for further analysis by publishing our complete data and software code as well as tools to aid both professional and amateur exploration of the data”

    BEST Data Set

    “We hope to be able to make the data set publicly available on this site by the first half of 2011.”

    BEST Initial Findings

    “All of these results are preliminary, and the Berkeley Earth team would be more comfortable sharing them after they had been published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, Dr. Richard Muller was called to testify before congress on 31 March 2011. We did not solicit this presentation, but understand that congress needs our best testimony. For this reason we have shared some preliminary results.”

    None of their objectives are met so far, especially the one about going entirely public by providing an open platform. This babble about getting “more comfortable” after stuff being published in a peer-reviewed journal has nothing to do with genuine openness. To learn about that, they should read Larry Sanger’s essay.

    How open collaboration works: an introduction for scholars by Lawrence Mark Sanger, founder of Citizendium.

    In an open project there are no unpublished preliminary results. They should have started with publishing everything they had immediately with no peer review whatsoever. That comes later.

    They should apply Eric Steven Raymond‘s famous maxim “Release Early, Release Often” unconditionally as it is expressed and explained in The Cathedral and the Bazaar (ver. 1.57).

    Until it is done, no matter if the Congress of the U.S. of A. needs their best testimony or not, they have simply no testimony of any quality to give. Beyond that there’s nothing to be understood.

    Therefore in advance of letting anyone give a testimony, solicited or not, they should install a distributed version control system and put all their stuff under it. Then we can start discussing the issues. That “we” of course includes Congress (as a minor player).

  39. A warmer world could cause less flooding in severe flood prone regions, or more rainfall in severe drought prone regions, less snow in subarctic and mountainous areas and more snow in polar regions, and possibly rainfall in the driest deserts. What’s not to like? The early Greeks, Romans and Vikings liked it by all appearances.

  40. I am still waiting for the hard proven facts that will show that ANY of the warming is due to humans.
    All I can hear right now is the “it must be us – because there is no other explanation” and “it seems” and “it is plausible”.
    for me it deeply saddening seeing scientists regress to religion.
    Well. maybe that is because I am a denier – I do read this blog constantly, don’t I?

  41. Good job, Willis! You are doing your best to help Muller recover his honesty and his scientific integrity. At this time, I am beginning to wonder if the old boy is still all there.

  42. I don’t think the word “denier” should be used, because the people that use it are referring to legitimately skeptical people, and it connotes “Holocaust denier.” But I do think there are “skeptics” who deserve to be called by some pejorative name. Those are the people who have little or no idea of what they are talking about, but belligerently dismiss the possibility of serious AGW. They deserve it, but, on the other hand, they wouldn’t receive any notice in a sane world, so there ought to be little occasion for speaking of them pejoratively or otherwise. The important problem is that legitimately skeptical people are being called “deniers.”

  43. Paul

    His comments are all expressed from the point of view of an open mind, someone who is waiting for the data to guide his thoughts.

    I suggest you research the phrase “open mind” and then re-read Willis’ article. Open mind — NO pre-conceived ideas and NO assumptions.

  44. I wasn’t too fazed by Muller. It seemed to me he was picking his words to suit the audience, albeit he was a little clumsy.
    As Voltaire said on his deathbed, when he was asked to renounce the devil
    ‘Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies’

    EO

  45. Venter says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Paul…You should read the testimony, read Willis’ comments and get the whole picture.

    Thanks for the advice. I watched the whole testimony & listened to the whole radio broadcast & read must of the criticism for & against.

    The criticism are Much Ado About Nothing, many of the fears expressed in this blog thread are prejudging something that has not yet happened. What has not happened? BEST haven’t finished their project or published any results!

    As I say, I will be interested in the results & the criticisms of BEST ONCE they have published!

    :-)

    Paul

  46. Paul says:

    “I am waiting for the BEST project to actually publish results before drawing conclusions.”

    Sorry, you didn’t get your wish. And that highlights a serious problem. Based on only 2% of the data, Muller draws his conclusions – and surprise, surprise, they’re right in line with the IPCC. Throwing out baseless numbers like .6 or .7 [out of a .4°C increase!] shows where he’s headed: “Choco rations have been increased to 25 grams per week, up from 30 grams per week.” [G. Orwell, 1984]

    I notice Muller never discussed the very real possibility that AGW is insignificant, and that per the null hypothesis, there is no discernable difference at all between current global temperatures, trends or parameters, and the temperatures, trends and parameters over the past ten millennia. But then, pointing that out wouldn’t fit the narrantive. It’s pretty clear that BEST is looking for conclusions that support the IPCC, and ignoring other likely possibilities that contradict the “consensus.”

    Muller is chomping at the bit to complete his assignment. His reward will be job security, and it will cement his reputation among the alarmist clique as someone who can be trusted. But despite his soothing words about the scientific method, where are BEST’s true scientific skeptics with unimpeachable credentials, such as Dr. Richard Lindzen? To be credible on this issue, BEST requires an equal number of CAGW skeptics. Where are they? There are certainly plenty available. And just as certainly, Muller is no scientific skeptic, as his premature conclusion – with 98% of the data missing – makes clear. He’s simply setting the stage.

    And finally, Willis hit the nail on the head regarding Muller’s lack of ethics. Promising confidentiality, then disclosing the confidential information in the most public of places – on the Congrssional record – is indefensible. Deliberately breaking confidentiality seems to be a recurring pattern among climate alarmist scientists. But hey, it’s only Anthony Watts who was promised confidentiality. It’s OK to stick it to someone like him, right? He’s just a denier.

    Muller is a part of the alarmist crowd; that’s how he makes his living. And that’s why he was chosen for BEST, by the people who are paying the piper. That, and the fact that Muller is a good chameleon who sounds like a scientific skeptic.

    Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “Men are bad unless compelled to be good.” Nothing in BEST requires that they will strictly adhere to the scientific method, so they won’t. Therefore, their conclusions are predictable.

  47. I think alot of closet alarmists have self identified in these comments …

    To all commentors (like me) who have contributed nothing to the science of this debate other that typing snarky comments at WUWT …. I would say this, when you do real serious work on your own dime and someone reneges on a promise about that work THEN and only then can you comment on Anthonys reaction … until then what you think about his reaction should remain in your own mind …

  48. No Paul, you did not get it still. You haven’t understood or have deliberately skipped over Wills’ arguments about Muller using Anthony’s confidentially released information on station siting and making negative statements about that in front of Congress.

    Willis’ comment and complaint about Muller was on that specific point, not on the 2% data of BEST. Got it?

  49. “Muller is a part of the alarmist crowd; that’s how he makes his living. ” says Smokey.

    Sure. He became part of the alarmist crowd only a couple of weeks ago when he discovered scientific integrity :)

  50. Layne Blanchard says:
    April 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    “We’re on a mission from God”

    Ha ha. I have a metalized poster of Jake and Elwood over my computer captioned:
    They’ll never get caught. They’re on a mission from God.”

    On the other hand, when Jake’s abandoned fiance catches up with him she delivers the classic line “You look fine down there slithering in the mud like vermin” and “You contemptible pig! I remained celibate for you. I stood at the back of a cathedral, waiting in celibacy for you, with 300 friends and relatives in attendance.”

    One might very well imagine Muller as Jake and Watts as the abandoned fiance.

    Just sayin… :-)

  51. How far back is BEST trying to go? If it only goes back to mid-20thC then that doesn’t even cover a complete PDO cycle. If it doesn’t cover at least a full PDO cycle then it is of very little use for helping to determine the drivers of temperature change (you can’t find a CO2 signal in the temperature data if you can’t identify and quantify major factors like the PDO).

    If BEST is trying to go back a reasonable length of time, then it is going back to a time when data is thinner. I understand part of their strategy to be to try to fill in missing station data from neighbouring stations.

    To give you an idea of the scale of the problem wrt Australia, equal in size to the “lower 48″ and quite a significant proportion of the Southern Hemisphere land area:-

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) lists 174 “long record temperature sites”. These are defined as “more than 50y of data and 80% complete record”.

    More than half of those 174 stations (98) are over 50 miles (~80.5km) from their nearest neighbour, 38 are over 100 miles, and, believe it or not, 4 are ~1,000 miles or more from their nearest neighbour. And we haven’t even started to look at factors like altitude.

    But of the 174 stations, only 47 even cover the period 1940-2000, ie. approx one PDO cycle. Within those 47, only 10 are within 50 miles of their nearest neighbour, only 16 are within 100 miles, and 1 is over 1,000 miles. (Note: 13 of the 47 stations appear to have closed after 2000).

    The idea that “neighbouring stations” can be used to fill in missing data – in Australia at least – is, to me, bordering on the absurd.

  52. Willis,
    As you know I recently proposed an alternative assessment of climate science to compete with upcoming AR5. One of the exclusion criteria to partaking in the alternative assessment is to have defended the indefensible (MBH98, Climategate, etc). On this score, Muller is one of the few warmists in the public’s eye who have not disqualified himself. Other warmists who agree with Muller include Hans von Storch, Eduardo Zorita and Judith Curry.

    While your criticisms of Muller may be accurate, I think it is helpful to not be too critical because it will be easier to win them with science if the personal animosity is not too high.

  53. I’ll agree with Willis 100%. I support Anthony in all he does here, and I agree that Dr. Muller betrayed Anthony’s confidence. Betraying a trust is about as bad as it gets. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Accordingly, not a good start to the BEST project.

    Further, the noble-cause aspect of the alarmist cabal is the root problem, and it is far graver than any claim of the alarmists (or claims from other sides). The alarmists are fundamentalists. They have taken the leap of faith. They are in it to the bitter end. They are destroying all that science stands for. I can only hope that science survives. It may already be dead in the collective conscience of the masses, those who subconsciously and instinctively know they, too, have been betrayed.

  54. PAUL,

    I listened to Dr. Muller for ten hours on San Francisco KGO radio with Dr. Wattenburg.
    I expected a reasonable discourse.

    I have read this site for two years.
    Dr. Muller leaves me very disappointed!

  55. rberteig says:
    April 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm
    The word “Denier” has to be expunged from their vocabulary before any forgiveness is possible. The word was deliberately chosen to be offensive. It is remotely possible that some who continue its use are doing so without recognition of that choice. That doesn’t matter any more.

    Any media person who uses it has instantly lost any claim to impartiality that may be trying to make.

    Any scientist using it is abandoning their right to respect. . .

    Exactly right. The label ‘denier’ attempts to paint the object with the vile penumbra of Holocaust denial. As such it is as objectionable as any ethnic slur. But the slur ‘denier’ is allowed, even encouraged, by the fanatical eco-zealots who have elevated the myth of catastrophic man-made ‘global warming’ to a badge of religious belief and far-left political orthodoxy. The ‘denier’ is therefore a heretic, someone to be shunned, ostracized, and vilified.

    In a day not far distant, the punishments for heresy were the rack, and burning at the stake. More recently, in the Soviet Union, it was ‘re-education’ in forced labor camps. What do you think the militant Alarmists would like to visit upon the ‘Climate-Change Deniers’ today?

    If Professor Muller wants to engage with individuals who are skeptical of the science behind CAGW, on terms of mutual respect and comity, he owes them an apology for using the term ‘denier’.

    He also owes Anthony an apology for leaping to an unjustified conclusion about the significance of Surface Stations data, just to have something to say to a congressional committee. He should immediately submit an emendation to the committee’s record correcting his error.

    /Mr Lynn

  56. Willis: awesome work. I think those who think that you (and Anthony) are being too harsh on Muller, are missing several points. First, as you rightly emphasize, Muller betrayed a confidence. Second, he damaged Anthony’s own case (by apparently arguing to Congress that BEST’s findings, while “preliminary,” showed no meaningful effect on temperature from siting issues). So that when Surfacestations does publish in a few months, it will have to make its case against the prior expectation that Muller has worked to create. In military terms, that’s called a “spoiling attack;” pre-empt the adversary and, in this case, try to turn his own guns against him. Third, Muller didn’t need to go to Congress. At the best of times, Congress is a circus and its hearings are clown shows. Muller is a grown-up and must be charged with knowledge of this fact. He’s apparently also a scientist, and one who knows where his bread is buttered, so he certainly should have known how Congress would (mis)appropriate his testimony, how it would affect his career and his project. Bright lights, big city. My read of the Muller/BEST fiasco is that, at best, he’s dangerously naive and will hurt the cause of science by overselling and getting blindsided in this highly charged area; but, at worst (and for me the more likely interpretation), he is just playing this for all he can get. He burned Anthony, and put a lot of dust in the air. When it settles out, and the real work gets done and published, Muller will have a lot to answer for.

    In the meantime, let’s do some science.

    PS: agree on the distinction between “significant” and “urgent.” Note that the latter also implies a third, independent, criterion: “actionable.” Right now we don’t know enough about whether the planet is warming; whether any such warming is significant; whether there is anything we can do about it; whether what we might do is too expensive relative to the avoided costs (with huge error bars around the whole affair); whether what we might do, if effective and efficient, needs to be done yesterday or maybe started when our grandchildren get around to it. We just don’t know. And Muller isn’t helping much.

  57. “We see that in every single instance of comparison, the Theory of the Greenhouse Effect appears to contradict what the Laws of Thermodynamics have to say about the exact same physical situation.”

    “The conclusion of this article is very simple: there is no such thing as a radiative Theory of the Greenhouse Effect, not in real greenhouses, and certainly not in any planetary atmosphere known to man. The true role of the atmosphere, on Earth, is that it cools the ground, not warms it. Therefore, there is no such thing as Anthropogenic Global Warming or anthropogenic-CO2 induced climate change, because that supposition is based on the false Theory of the Greenhouse Effect. Any monetary expenditure or political debate on this issue can therefore stop. Now. Or, those can exist only in so far as they are directed to eradicate the false science.”

    See “Understanding the Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect” (Joseph E. Postma) (in Observatorio ARVAL) http://www.oarval.org/ThermoAtmos.htm

  58. Willis, thanks for keeping a summary of the back-and-forth of Muller-Watts-CongressCritters-NPR before us. However, I do not agree with your conclusion: “My vote is still yes, Dr. Muller, we should forgive you”. No, I don’t think so. His “hole” is a scientific hole, not a personal hole. Forgive him for subverting the scientific method while he says he is protecting it?! Look at the data (direction of focus intended — with what data is BEST doing its “science” — anyone can be “unbiased” if the data is cooked), Willis, in your excellent post.
    1. Muller: “Climategate is a very unfortunate thing that happened.” Unfortunate! Unfortunate! That’s the BEST he can come up with? Climategate was one of the most egregious falsifications of scientific data and method that pseudo-scientists — a small group backing political policy changes — have conspired to comit.
    2. Willis: ‘In the interview he divides people into “deniers”, “skeptics”, and “exaggerators”’. And we are supposed to believe that Muller is interested in the scientific outcome of a study??? I think this is the standard name-calling in support of a belief, not science. How does he know in advance who is who?
    3. Muller: ” Yes, yes. It’s us.” Give me a break. Can this man be trusted to “do” science.
    4. Muller: ” The global warming attributed by the IPCC, the big U.N. Council that makes this consensus report, attributes about half a degree, half a degree Celsius of warming to humans.” Can he read reports?
    5. Notice the softball question Muller was asked. Conan: ” He runs a website for CLIMATE DENIERS—- After your testimony, he said the hearing was POST-NORMAL SCIENCE POLITICAL THEATER.” Notice there are no details, just name-calling. Muller: ” Well, I think Anthony can be forgiven for his ups and downs.” Anthony, your reputation is being shredded in a nice, sweet way. How do you like being called “bipolar” on NPR? Let’s see. How large an audience does the government’s station have?

    This man is not a scientist. He is out to put serious doubts into the minds of the public about the credibility of Anthony Watts’ scientific study. Why do you think “they” approached you, fairminded you, Anthony?

    Finally, he tells us what he and his fellow pseudo-scientists are up to at Berkeley. “When things are urgent, that’s the time the scientist has to settle down and show – do things using the unbiased methods that they’ve been taught.” Anyone want to believe this man can be “unbiased”. Anthony, Willis, anyone?

  59. “In the interview he divides people into “deniers”, “skeptics”, and “exaggerators”…”

    What are the chances that Muller, et al, are trying to set things up for himself, Dr Curry, and a few others, to be the skeptics, who eventually will see the error of their ways? Then when they rejoin the consensus of true believers, that will leave only the deniers and other “nutcases” who easily can be (further) ignored

  60. “Third: I agree with Ravetz that urgency sometimes requires a different approach. His favorite example is an epidemic. In other words, a situation where urgency may be a real factor rather than a politically motivated mass psychosis.”

    An epidemic would be the last place to throw away the scientific method for expediency as it would almost certianly result in an increased death rate. The only reason you would throw away the scientific method is political. The rush to “do something” even if it is the wrong thing.

    Ravetz is playing foul, equating regulation with the scientific method. Regulation say you do not do front line testing on human subjects. However, in an epidemic, you may wish to throw some of these regulations out of the window, as they are time consuming.

    For example, a new vaccine is available but is not yet tested for safety in humans. In an epidemic you might waive the regulations and conduct trials on infected humans without first going through safety trials. The scientific method will tell you if the results are effective. However, regulations may prevent your from using the untested vaccine.

    In the case of an epidemic, it is the regulations you are seeking to bypass, not the scientific method.

  61. I really don’t need to consider Muller any further than his jumping at the chance to present his lack of knowledge to Congress. It showed a complete lack of integrity. Once lost it is hard to recover.

    Of course, his other antics are now supporting that view of him as well. He is not to be taken seriously as he is only promoting himself.

  62. Muller is a product of the liberal culture that excludes all other ideas and dominates all levels of education in the US. He like many others is declaring a climate disaster in the face of actual good climate for humans.

    State governments have oversight authority on education but do nothing about the loss of academic freedom because they agree. Free expression and objectivity will not return to the educational system until the forces that support the restrictive behavior changes.

    It might be good for academics to work outside the university system to gain experience from time to time where their students are expected to work. The experience might be good and improve performance and attitude.

  63. Alan the Brit says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Excellent as usual, Willis! I agree with most of what you say. Although I cannot be quite so forgiving, q.v. below,

    dp says:
    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    At this point people might expect to read what I said, but instead they get what you heard. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind clarifying for these good people where my part ends and your part begins. I always like it better when the words attributed to me actually come from me. Surely you understand.

  64. I am with Anthony on this one regarding BEST. From what I have seen at various forums and blogs, people on both sides of the imaginary debate* are waiting for the conclusions of BEST before making up their minds about whether it is good science or not without really examining the science. The alarmists are waiting to see if they come out against a strong warming signature since 1900, in which case they will oppose the conclusions. The other strident and more dogmatic end of the non-believer side, likewise will never accept any conclusion which confirms warming.

    I will wait to see what they actually publish and more importantly, what they also publish by way of corroborating data and method as their conclusions and what working out they show, what methods, assumptions and if they publish any counter or alternatives to their conclusion and then argue why their conclusion should be considered the correct one.

    If their science and method is correct, full, open, honest and beyond reproach, then the conclusion will be too, whatever the conclusion. If they “show their work” and it is riddled with errors, false assumptions, or they fail to show their work then I shall not be able to concur with their conclusions.

    This is where many of the contributing scientists to IPCC fail, and where the Hockey Team failed. They are conclusion led science, instead of method led. They have decided the conclusion and look for supportive evidence and dismiss that which does not fit. It is cherry picking, not science.

  65. I am more concerned about the false narrative the LA Times is perpetuating than Muller’s condescension and over-reaching in drawing conclusions from his preliminary analysis (which even complete cannot support some of his assertions).

    Muller’s public appearances aren’t very bad themselves, but the way they are being spun is a downright lie. Muller should respond to the LA Times articles and dispel the falsehoods in the article. The LA Time should somehow be accountable. I don’t think a highly visible public rebuttal is even enough.

  66. When Muller says “Climategate is a very unfortunate thing that happened.” his choice of words leaves me wondering did he mean it was unfortunate that the scientists ignored, breached and trampled scientific due process or did Muller find it unfortunate that Climategate revealed these machinations? Interesting choice of words.

    My own interpretation is that when the video of his lecture castigating the CRU et al. went viral and he began to see himself lumped in with the ‘deniers’ he developed severely cold feet. Probably he got a lot of negative feedback from within various scientific circles. So now he’s trying to redeem his reputation with the climate in crowd, while still also criticizing breaches of scientific conduct in as temperate (academic) a fashion as possible. This will assist his reputation for posterity whilst still allowing him the perks of current recognition by the scientistas. In common parlance, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it.

    Right on, Willis!

  67. Nice deconstruction of the usual Progressive gibberish, Willis! In effect, always staying as far behind the curve as possible so as to avoid an imperfect, messy, and “inferior” Reality, eventually means the Progressive mind must disintegrate into an agglomeration of vaporous nonsense.

  68. I’d just like to note that Mr. Watts’ granting access to data should not in any way be considered conditional on ‘appropriate’ research results.

    To expect this is to act no differently than the Hockey team.

    While there are many things to be unhappy about regarding Dr. Muller’s testimony in front of Congress – particularly the over-presentation of the actual state of his study and therefore any possible results – nonetheless open access is exactly what the climate science community needs.

  69. 55. RR Kampen,

    Muller has always been–not an alarmist– in the alarmist camp. It doesn’t mean his work isn’t objective, though his presentation may be.

    Anyway, he’s not a “convert”. He set out to confirm the trend and make the data and analysis public so that both criticisms can be addressed/reduced and so that more, better analysis can be done to understand differences in at surface monitors and satellite data. It should give us a better idea of land use impacts on climate and how on the ground weather changes affect global weather (farming, urbanization, population growth, affect on the ground readings while not affecting the global weather much).

  70. ferd berple says: “Ravetz is playing foul, equating regulation with the scientific method.”

    Well, he seems to be, and it’s his own fault. Probably the worst problem with “post-normal science” is the word “science”. It’s highly misleading, and I think if you read what he actually wrote you’ll see that he doesn’t propose throwing out the scientific method.

  71. What Willis’s main gripe is that he publicly discussed Anthony’s data and analysis, which he assembled at great expense to himself, before he published.

    If you’ve followed Anthony, you know that he doesn’t expect a major change. He wants a more objective and useful data set.

  72. Meh, it’s not really up to us to forgive Muller or not. That’s up to Anthony.

    Muller seems to be a form of “Paris Hilton” of climate science at this point, angling for as much attention as he can get while providing us with lurid glimpses at his own nature. Best to ignore such attention-*#!$s and pay attention to results. BEST has no results yet, so in the words of a confused youtube blogger, “LEAVE MULLER ALONE!” and wait until he has anything of substance to say. Based on the amount of self-promotion to this point, I’m betting the final published works wont be any better than a reality show.

  73. c1ue says:

    “I’d just like to note that Mr. Watts’ granting access to data should not in any way be considered conditional on ‘appropriate’ research results.”

    Where did you get that idea??

    # # #

    RR Kampen says: April 14, 2011 at 5:08 am [ ... ]

    Folks should know two things:

    1. Kampen is part of BEST, and

    2. Kampen is a climate alarmist who has swallowed the IPCC Kool Aid, as his regular propaganda posts here demonstrate. He is a typical part of the problem.

    BEST needs to have an equal representation of skeptical scientists [the only honest kind of scientist] on board. The fact that alarmists like Kampen got an invite shows BEST’s agenda. And that agenda is to reinforce the CAGW meme – as Muller has clearly stated, his pre-ordained conclusion is that human activity is responsible for global warming ["Yes, yes. It’s us."]. If anything, Kampen is even more of a True Believer.

    The problem is that these jokers always ignore the scientific method. That makes BEST just another CAGW propaganda megaphone, funded by organizations that promote the “carbon” scare.

    REPLY: I’ve met the BEST team in person, and AFAIK RR Kampen, whoever that is, isn’t a member. Also, when Kampen posts here, his IP address traces to an ISP in the Netherlands, so it seems doubly unlikely. Smokey needs to retract that statement. – Anthony

  74. Berkeley is what Berkeley does.

    Nothing new here.

    Find the facts.

    Facts win every time.

  75. I am not a fan of post normal science. The argument that we need to act now “just in case” is absurd. The problem is that acting now, without really knowing all the feedbacks, forcings and their effects, could result in unhelpful changes to the climate as well. Its a darned if you do, darned if you don’t problem for which there will be no answer until we understand the systems involved better. The cure could be worse than the disease. If they don’t know how the system really works, they can’t really say what will happen if we cut back on CO2. If we trigger an ice age by climate engineering to stop warming, that would be catastrophic for millions of people. The cautionary principle works both ways.

    As Westley (Princess Bride) would say: “Well if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.” The battle of wits has begun…

  76. Dear Dr. Muller;

    We AGW skeptics have never, nor will we ever, ask for forgiveness for adhering adamantly to the scientific method and eviscerating those who abandon it.

    We are skeptics NOT deniers. Please do not refer to us as such. All good scientists are skeptics and open to changing their position if the FACTS change.

  77. Paul says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Like Paul above, you’re not following the story. Anthony gave Dr. Muller the results from the Surfacestations work of himself and the volunteers, with Muller’s agreement to keep it confidential until Anthony had published his results.

    Willis, you are making assumption about me before the data is in :)

    I have followed the Muller story, I just disagree with your & Anthony’s take on it. Muller did not reveal Anthony’s results to Congress, he made comment on a 2% of the data that he had tested. Steven Mosher, among others, provided a contrasting explanation on the Muller testimony which I agree with. I think it was on Judy’s site.

    You’re talking about Muller’s statements about the 2% data. As I have not said a word about that, I haven’t a clue what you are on about there. And while your carefully crafted and lawyerly statement is true (“Muller did not reveal Anthony’s results to Congress”), Muller certainly did reveal his analysis of Anthony’s results, which he had agreed not to do until Anthony published his results.

    How is that not a huge ethical problem in your world?

    Me, I was enraged about Muller’s betrayal when I first heard about it. And I wrote about that. But I was a bit worried that I might not have understood the situation, or that Anthony’s agreement with Muller might not be as I understood it, or that it might have changed without me knowing about the change.

    Then I read what Anthony had written about Muller’s actions, and he was even angrier than I was.

    And now you tell us that Muller reporting his analysis of confidential data is all a misunderstanding, and that there’s a “contrasting explanation” for Muller’s actions (that you conveniently can’t find)???

    Bro’, on this one, if you’re not angry, you’re not following the bouncing ball …

    When I said your post said more about you than Muller, I mean that the surface temperature dataset is something you (like Anthony) feel strongly about. Hence your reaction to the first project that has offered to revise the dataset from scratch.

    My reaction to the project? I’ve been a supporter of the project from day 1, read what I have written. But again, the BEST project has nothing to do with my objection to Muller’s unethical actions. You still are not reading what I wrote.

    I am waiting for the BEST project to actually publish results before drawing conclusions. I will be interested in the trend since 1957 & the comparison in the post 1957 trend with previous warming trends of the 20th century. I will be interested in how data contamination is accounted for in these trends. I will also be interested in the comment & criticism the BEST results attract.

    Well duh, and so am I and every other honest scientist waiting for results before commenting, and I have never said any different. What on earth are you on about here? READ WHAT I WROTE!!! In everything I’ve written about BEST, I’ve been clear that I’ve not commented about results because BEST hasn’t published any. In this very paper I wrote:

    Again, let me say that none of this says anything about whether the BEST results will be good, bad, or meaningless. That is a totally separate question, about which to date we know far too little to comment.

    Is that clear enough for you, or do I have to say it again? Sheesh …

    I think you learn a lot about the other person when you disagree with them :)

    Paul

    Well, so far what I’ve learned is that you like to comment without reading what you are commenting about, that you fancy you have an understanding of the situation that you don’t possess, and that your comments have very little to do with the issues under discussion.

    Which I suppose is interesting, but not all that helpful …

    w.

  78. Alexander Feht says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Prof. Muller’s “Yes, yes, it’s us” knee-jerk reaction is pure cowardice.

    What makes you think that this particular (and typical) representative of the corrupt Academia will stand up for the scientific truth if and when it will put at risk his tenure and comfortable existence?

    I don’t think he will or won’t do a good job with the BEST project, we have no data on that. And regarding “stand[ing] up for scientific truth”, he’s done that to some regard in this very interview.

    My issues with Muller to date are ethical, not scientific. And although you are right that they may not bode well, I’m not all that into omens, I’ll wait and see how he actually does.

    w.

  79. sHx says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:40 am

    @Willis

    The reaction you and Anthony showed to Berkeley team’s work after Muller’s testimony was over the top. This piece even is so full of indignation. For what, I’m still not certain.

    “The lady doth protest too much”, comes to mind. We all have our ups and downs.

    We all have our ups and downs, it’s true. However, we don’t all testify to Congress and attack someone using data given to us in confidence … perhaps you don’t understand the difference, but some of us do, and we find it important.

    Am I indignant? Yes indeedy I am, as you point out even in this paper I was waxing wroth, and if you’re not indignant, I suppose it means you truly don’t know the difference between “ups and downs” and betraying a colleague in front of Congress.

    “The lady’s too innocent to know she should protest” comes to mind.

    w.

  80. Paul says:
    April 14, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Venter says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Paul…You should read the testimony, read Willis’ comments and get the whole picture.

    Thanks for the advice. I watched the whole testimony & listened to the whole radio broadcast & read must of the criticism for & against.

    The criticism are Much Ado About Nothing, many of the fears expressed in this blog thread are prejudging something that has not yet happened. What has not happened? BEST haven’t finished their project or published any results!

    As I say, I will be interested in the results & the criticisms of BEST ONCE they have published!

    :-)

    Paul

    Paul, you continue to amaze me. Is that really your position, that we should wait to discuss Muller’s ethical lapses until the BEST results are published?

    Because I haven’t said a word about the results, and I don’t have a clue why you want to put off discussing Muller actions until the results are published.

    What do the results have to do with Muller betraying someone who gave him data in confidence? And why can’t his betrayal be discussed now?

    w.

  81. aaron says:
    April 14, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Willis, I see your points and agree, but your reaction seems over the top. A bit too emotional.

    Well, I’m a passionate guy. And most people get passionate about betrayal.

    Me, I think on this issue people haven’t been passionate enough, so between the two of us I guess the world stays in balance …

    Thanks,

    w.

  82. Smokey, “Kampen is part of BEST” ?

    They seem to have neglected him on their website, poor chap: http://www.berkeleyearth.org/aboutus

    Oddly enough, neither Mosher nor myself nor Anthony, for that matter, are “part of BEST”, though we have all provided constructive criticism and/or passed along data that might be useful for them.

    REPLY: I agree, I don’t know where Smokey got this idea. RR Kampen is clearly not part of BEST – Anthony

  83. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 10:17 am
    “We all have our ups and downs, it’s true. However, we don’t all testify to Congress and attack someone using data given to us in confidence … perhaps you don’t understand the difference, but some of us do, and we find it important.”

    Spot on. Your intuitions about ethics and your reasoning about ethics are completely sound. It is a shame that the ordinary American no longer has the moral courage that you do. Keep up the great work.

  84. Zeke Hausfather,

    IIRC, RR Kampen was listed somewhere in connection with BEST. Maybe Kampen can clear it up. Your link doesn’t list staff members. If I’m wrong, I apologize for the error. Next, you go on to say: “Oddly enough, neither Mosher nor myself nor Anthony, for that matter, are “part of BEST”, though we have all provided constructive criticism and/or passed along data that might be useful for them.” What does that have to do with anything?

    Also, when clicking on your name I noticed your GISS chart. The GISS y-axis is quite exaggerated, isn’t it? And the chart itself is scary – until it becomes apparent that the scary part is mostly future model predictions. For a real world chart of what is actually occurring, see here [chart by Bill Illis].

  85. Willis says
    I’m afraid he hasn’t noticed how that whole “we’re on a noble mission to save the world from itself” mentality has deeply infiltrated and corrupted an entire field of scientific inquiry.

    No, no, no, Willis, it is (irony) much, much worse than you thought. Not sarcasm, irony. This PC has corrupted not only meteorology and climate “science;” it has also corrupted biology, agriculture, economics, ecology and energy engineering. These corruptions have killed tens to hundreds of thousands of people in the middle East, and could cause a war that could kill billions.

  86. The nice thing about posting code and data is once we do that we have turned over our power.

    Let me explain. Hansen refused to turn over his code. That gave him all the power in answering questions about it. That gave him all the power in testing certain things with that code, like different metadata for urbanity.

    When CRU refused to release their data that gave them power over Willis’ desire to look at how they handled UHI.

    When they refused to share power, people, myself included, became rightly suspicious of their ethics, their politics, and their motives. note, the refusal to release is not Proof of wrong doing, it adds weight to our mistrust.

    Now that the data and code are released, those questions don’t matter anymore. I have Hansens power over the code. I can run it. I can change it. I can examine it in detail. True, I dont have his power to make pronouncments, but I have the ability to check his work and do my own work. I have the power to check and see for myself.

    That’s why I share my code. I don’t want anybody speculating that my politics, or my ethics changed the way I do things.

    The situation with Anthony And Muller is quite unfortunate. For some time people have been waiting for Anthony to share his data with everyone. He is waiting to publish a paper. But during that time people have made claims about his findings. Claims nobody has the power to check. Now, Anthony has shared that data with Muller. Anthony shared his power with Muller.

    We don’t know what agreement took place. We have reports of recollections.
    I take it that Anthony thought Muller would SAY NOTHING and PUBLISH NOTHING until Anthony published in peer review first. But Anthony cant control when or if he publishes. I take it that Muller believes he promised to PUBLISH NOTHING IN PEER review.

    Willis and others see Muller’s actions as an ethical lapse. Anthony had one conception of the agreement, Muller apparently either…..
    A. had a different notion of the agreement
    B. had the same notion of the agreement and broke it.

    Before I passed ethical judgement on somebody I would

    1. Ask myself, was I there? did I OBSERVE the discussion
    2. Ask myself if there was a written agreement reporting the discussion
    3. Ask both sides.
    4. Give a charitable reading for both sides.
    5. Make MEASURED and non emotional assessments.

    Or I could pour gas on the fire and make moshpit the center of attention. woohoo, done that before, so I’m in no position to criticize pot stirring. The pot won’t call Willis black.

    In the end, Muller either will or will not share his data and code. Until such time
    it is pointless to discuss his ethics. If he doesnt release the data and code, I give the work no credit. No points. thank you for playing. If he does release the data and code, I dont care if he clubbed baby seals, and neither should you.

    Until he is finished let the circus continue.

  87. Prof. MULLER: “Well, I think one of the things we’re trying to do at Berkeley Earth is determine how urgent it is. The global warming attributed by the IPCC, the big U.N. Council that makes this consensus report, attributes about half a degree, half a degree Celsius of warming to humans. But is it .4? Is it .3? If so, we have a lot more time. Is it .6 or.7? If so, we’re in a big rush.”
    ====
    Most of my hardest lessons were learned when I was in a “big rush”, now, when in a rush, I try to slow down to a crawl. And double check my work.

  88. Smokey

    “Also, when clicking on your name I noticed your GISS chart. The GISS y-axis is quite exaggerated, isn’t it? And the chart itself is scary – until it becomes apparent that the scary part is mostly future model predictions. For a real world chart of what is actually occurring, see here [chart by Bill Illis].”

    1. Read the chart. It was produced by Lucia.
    2. the chart compares model means with observations, the scale is immaterial to the POINT of the graphic which is that the model means run higher than the observations.
    3. Illis chart is not an accurate representation of “what is happening”; CLIMATE is the long term average of of the weather.

    So, you didnt understand that Zeke chart was actually Lucia’s, you didnt understand that the POINT of that chart was to note how the models and the observations have diverged over a LONG period, and your reccomendation is to look at recent weather.

  89. steven mosher says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    … We don’t know what agreement took place. We have reports of recollections.
    I take it that Anthony thought Muller would SAY NOTHING and PUBLISH NOTHING until Anthony published in peer review first. But Anthony cant control when or if he publishes. I take it that Muller believes he promised to PUBLISH NOTHING IN PEER review.

    Willis and others see Muller’s actions as an ethical lapse. Anthony had one conception of the agreement, Muller apparently either…..
    A. had a different notion of the agreement
    B. had the same notion of the agreement and broke it.

    Before I passed ethical judgement on somebody I would

    1. Ask myself, was I there? did I OBSERVE the discussion
    2. Ask myself if there was a written agreement reporting the discussion
    3. Ask both sides.
    4. Give a charitable reading for both sides.
    5. Make MEASURED and non emotional assessments.

    Mosh, I fear that while your path is likely the best, at times I’m happy to act upon circumstantial evidence. The famous example is Thoreau’s:

    Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

    The trout is circumstantial evidence, but nonetheless we can conclude that the batch of milk has likely been watered down to increase the profits …

    In this case, you are asking us to imagine that someone thought they were agreeing to the following:

    You can take my data to study, and you can’t publish your analysis in a peer-reviewed journal until I do, but it’s OK for you to announce the results of your analysis to Congress in front of the TV cameras before I publish.

    I’m sorry, Mosh, but that’s up there with the trout and the milk. You’re trying to convince me that that interpretation was what Muller thought he was agreeing to.

    There is no conceivable confidentiality agreement that would have an escape clause about testifying to Congress. So I simply don’t buy it.

    Finally, Anthony had given the data to Muller as an act of friendship. Regardless of any agreement, Muller’s actions were a shabby way to repay a friend.

    Now, once you have done your five steps you listed above, I will certainly be very interested in what you find out, and your measured and non-emotional assessments.

    Until then, I will draw my conclusions from the fish in the milk … for me, there’s no escape clause for testifying before Congress. I see it as a breach of both faith and friendship … YMMV.

    w.

  90. Mosh, you also say:

    In the end, Muller either will or will not share his data and code. Until such time it is pointless to discuss his ethics.

    Hogwash. What, you think he should get a free pass for any actions prior to some future date? Not on my planet. He is accountable for his actions, as we all are.

    w.

  91. mosh says:

    “1. Read the chart. It was produced by Lucia.
    2. the chart compares model means with observations, the scale is immaterial to the POINT of the graphic which is that the model means run higher than the observations.
    3. Illis chart is not an accurate representation of “what is happening”; CLIMATE is the long term average of of the weather.

    So, you didnt understand that Zeke chart was actually Lucia’s…” & etc.

    Why are you raggin’ on me? You’re making baseless assumptions. Of course I knew it was a chart from Lucia’s blog – it says so right on it. And clicking on Zeke’s name brought up Lucia’s site, where I got the chart from.

    You do this because you’re avoiding my point: the GISS chart is extremely alarmist, deliberately so. At first glance, the reaction is “Yikes!!” But on closer scrutiny, we see that it’s only a model projection, and we know how inaccurate computer models have been.

    You can argue with Bill Illis if you don’t like his chart, but he’s pretty careful. And his chart is based on the real world, not on GCMs.

  92. Are you all serious ?? RR Kampen is part of BEST ??

    This the guy who swore that he knew that Arctic ice volume was decreasing but couldn’t put numbers to the equation:

    a – b = c

    Posted right on here many months ago, probably on a Catlin “three stooges” expedition thread ??

    After about 20 of his obfuscating (actually moronic responses), I gave up.

    I suspect he still can’t grasp the principles of a – b = c even.

    Any more mathematical midgets on the BEST program ??

    REPLY: I’ve met the BEST team in person, and AFAIK RR Kampen, whoever that is, isn’t a member. Also, when Kampen posts here, his IP address traces to an ISP in the Netherlands, so it seems doubly unlikely. Smokey needs to retract that statement. – Anthony

  93. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm
    “Mosh, you also say:
    ‘In the end, Muller either will or will not share his data and code. Until such time it is pointless to discuss his ethics.’
    Hogwash. What, you think he should get a free pass for any actions prior to some future date? Not on my planet. He is accountable for his actions, as we all are.”

    Spot on, Willis. An action is right or wrong when it is committed. Apparently, Mosher holds the view that an action becomes right or wrong as time passes. A moment’s thought would reveal that if Mosher’s view were true then whenever a person undertook an action he would not know at that time whether the action is right or wrong. Surely, I don’t have to say that on such a view our knowledge of right and wrong is never timely and, for that reason, cannot guide our conduct. “Reductio Ad Absurdum.”

  94. Also, when clicking on your name I noticed your GISS chart. The GISS y-axis is quite exaggerated, isn’t it? And the chart itself is scary – until it becomes apparent that the scary part is mostly future model predictions. For a real world chart of what is actually occurring, see here [chart by Bill Illis].

    Smokey. As I pointed out this is NOT ZEKES CHART. so why call it his chart?
    Further its not a Giss chart. Finally, its not scary at all. I’m objecting to your characterization because its innacurate, emotional, and non factual.
    You cannot compare one chart which is intended to show model projections and another chart which does not. Apples meet oranges. Finally, how do you expect to test a model without GRAPHING THE NUMBERS IT SHOWS.

    But you had nothing better to do than to try to slam zeke. fail.

  95. it’s pointless to discuss his ethics. unless you were there, unless the agreement was recorded, you have no facts willis. you have what we call hearsay.

    I’ll return to this later and we can draw some analogies or get further into the nitty gritty.

  96. steven mosher says:
    April 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm
    “it’s pointless to discuss his ethics. unless you were there, unless the agreement was recorded, you have no facts willis. you have what we call hearsay.”

    Muller attended a Congressional hearing that was public and in that hearing he rendered the judgements that Anthony’s surfacestations.org and Anthony’s not yet published article have no consequences for climate science. To render a judgement in public on an article that is under review is to willingly embrace responsibility for the failure or success of the article before it has seen the light of day. That action is morally wrong. There is nothing that could have happened between Muller and Anthony that would excuse that action. If Anthony had given Muller written permission to judge the article, that fact would make no difference to the rightness or wrongness of Muller’s action. Muller freely chose to assert his opinion about the article and, in so doing, he bears responsibility for whatever untoward results follow from his assertion. If nothing untoward follows from his assertion, that fact does not make it excusable; rather, it means that Muller is lucky and does not owe Anthony for additional harm suffered by Anthony. At minimum, Muller’s assertion alerted the Warmista and the world that Anthony’s article should not be treated as important. That is a concrete act of harm for which Muller and only Muller bears moral responsibility. Finally, we must keep in mind that Muller was speaking to Congress and the world. This was not a case of scientists talking shop with other scientists. The moral standards that are appropriate are the standards that apply to any testimony before Congress that is not under oath.

  97. I’m willing to give Dr Muller the benefit of the doubt. He is really caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to public appearances: i would suggest that he needs to appear to be at least a luke-warmer for the BEST efforts to be taken seriously.

    I will wait until BEST presents their results and judge them on their science. I dont think its helpful to call out Dr Muller just yet, in fact it may make him reluctant to discuss his methodology with us.

  98. “IIRC…” Not, I guess. I was wrong about Kampen being part of BEST. My apologies, I was mistaken.

    steven mosher says:

    “As I pointed out this is NOT ZEKES CHART. so why call it his chart?
    Further its not a Giss chart. Finally, its not scary at all. I’m objecting to your characterization because its innacurate, emotional, and non factual.”

    When I post a chart [and I post a lot of them], people often refer them as to “your chart.” They’re simply referring to the chart I posted, so in this case I think you’re just nitpicking.

    Furthermore, I commented to Zeke: “I noticed your GISS chart…” Obviously, I meant the chart that Zeke had posted, which was based on GISS data, because right on the chart it reads: GIStemp Land and Sea Temperature Anomaly Trend. And it notes the source of the GISS data that was used to construct the chart. Like I said, nitpicking.

    Finally, I stand by my opinion that the GISS chart was constructed to have a scary y-axis. My comment was not “innacurate, emotional, and non factual.” That is only your opinion, based on something which you cannot possibly know.

    With a normal y-axis, the chart would have been more like this than like this.

    Not using a zero axis makes the apparent trend sharply higher – and scarier.

  99. Anthony has clearly said what he agreed that Muller was not respected when Muller gave his testimony. That is evidence enough. Don’t know what Mosher is waffling about on this. But for sure, I trust Anthony and Willis’ words and ethics. I have no such trust on Mosher’s words, in this subject.

  100. Willis writes: “The famous example is Thoreau’s”: “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

    Owe you for that, Willis… had never seen it before. Sweet!

  101. Prof. MULLER: Well, I think Anthony can be forgiven for his ups and downs. I think he has done a great job, a real contribution, and I think his work has proved really essential.
    —————————————————————————-

    ‘Damned with faint praise’ is the expression that comes to mind. This is typical of academics – it is so snide and slimy because one cannot attack it but bear it with what dignity is left for you. Ii is a loathsome put down. I would never trust a person who uses it.

    Douglas

  102. steven mosher says:
    April 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    it’s pointless to discuss his ethics. unless you were there, unless the agreement was recorded, you have no facts willis. you have what we call hearsay.

    Maybe that’s all you have, and if so, you’re missing half the picture, you’re throwing out half the evidence. There’s a whole lot more that isn’t hearsay. I also have Muller’s actions. I have Muller’s responses after the fact. I have Anthony’s actions and responses.

    And I have the knowledge that in a court of law is called the “reasonable man” standard, that no reasonable man would knowingly agree to give Muller the data if he knew that Muller was going to parade it before Congress.

    And no reasonable man would take confidential data and conclude “I’m free to testify to Congress about this” unless that was a specific clause in the agreement … and neither man has claimed that.

    There’s not a whole lot of conclusions that I can draw from that, Mosh. Your unwillingness to draw them speaks well for your desire for true justice in some perfect ideal world, but it speaks poorly for your real-world judgement.

    We discuss the actions and the morality of people who have been dead for years. Your idea that we had to be the fly on the wall and have seen and recorded everything, in order to determine whether someone transgressed ethical boundaries, is simply nonsense. Juries assign guilt or innocence all the time, based on not much different information than we have here – visible actions and concrete facts allow us to infer conclusions and hidden facts, just like with the trout in the milk. You are right, it’s circumstantial … but very damning just the same.

    I don’t understand how you explain the situation. Is your contention that Muller truly believed he couldn’t publish his analysis, but despite that he was free to discuss his analysis with Congress?

    Because if you think Muller honestly signed on to the agreement with that in mind and just honestly forgot to mention it … well, I just don’t know what to say, but it doesn’t pass the reasonable man test.

    My problem, Mosh, is that I can’t construct a realistic scenario that fits the facts except the scenarios where Muller is way out of line … what is your scenario that does that?

    I don’t buy that Muller believed he was free to testify before Congress. That doesn’t pass the “reasonable man” test. Muller would have to be an idiot to believe that any confidentiality agreement would allow that, and he’s not an idiot.

    Now, you can wait until 2035 for Muller to write his memoirs and reveal all before you make your judgement. That’s OK with me. I, on the other hand, will judge him now on the basis that he has given us to date — his actions and his words.

    For example, he has not claimed he was right to testify about his Surfacestation analysis, nor has he apologized in any sense. One or the other of these are generally the response of an honest man who is accused of something … again, Mosh, you can wait until he deigns to explains himself.

    For me, the fact that at the end of the day and after all Muller has done and said, he is unwilling to either defend or explain his actions speaks plenty loud enough for me.

    At this point, a reasonable man adds up all of the evidence and concludes that Muller is not an honest man … which doesn’t mean he does bad science, or that his conclusions are wrong.

    It just means that at this point the fabled “reasonable man” wouldn’t trust Muller with a sharpened popsicle stick, much less confidential information.

    w.

  103. pete says:
    April 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I’m willing to give Dr Muller the benefit of the doubt. He is really caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to public appearances: i would suggest that he needs to appear to be at least a luke-warmer for the BEST efforts to be taken seriously.

    I gave Dr. Muller the benefit of the doubt until he proved himself untrustworthy. Continuing to give someone the “benefit of the doubt” after that is called “enabling behavior”, and is generally not recommended in the better circles.

    I will wait until BEST presents their results and judge them on their science. I dont think its helpful to call out Dr Muller just yet, in fact it may make him reluctant to discuss his methodology with us.

    Ooooh, right, I’d forgotten, we wouldn’t want to make him “reluctant to discuss his methodology”, that would never do, so we should just not make any waves and not say anything, because he might not share his wisdom with us …

    pete, are you aware who you sound like? Because Neville Chamberlain comes to mind …

    w.

    PS – No, he’s not “caught between a rock and a hard place” regarding discussing his work. If he has nothing to discuss, he should not discuss it. If he has confidential data, he should not discuss it. How is that so freakin’ hard?

    The problem is that, like many mainstream climate scientists, his mouth is physically unable to shape the words “We don’t know” or “I can’t say.” It’s a congenital oral problem, as far as I can see, it’s known to pass genetically from a Professor to his post-doc students.

  104. Muller was picked for BEST based on the same criteria that Muir Russell was picked to head the Oxburgh inquiry: they could both be counted on to play the piper’s tune that they were being paid to play. Ethics was never a consideration. In fact, ethical behavior was an obstacle to the agenda.

    I’m looking forward the BEST’s assurance of complete transparency by the middle of this year. That means no later than June 30th. Transparency doesn’t just mean publicly archiving data and methods. It means fully and completely answering all questions about its data and methods, including follow-up questions.

    I don’t believe that will happen, because it will necessarily get into MBH98/99, the IPCC, etc., and the cat will be out of the bag. Dr Muller has 2 1/2 months to prove me wrong.

  105. John Trigge says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Willis,

    I would expand on your statement “As he points out, the issue is not whether the world is warming, it is whether humans are the cause. and add ‘and what difference will it make?’.

    If one accepts that there has been a rise on global temps since the LIA then, surely, one must also accept that the global climate has improved since then (eg, no more River Thames ice fairs).

    Why is it that the climate improvement due to rising temps since the LIA is OK but any further rises, caused by us or not, are going to be disastrous?

    The answer to your question is obvious. The world is non linear.
    Some foods like sugars in small amounts are good for you, but eat too much of it and you get obesity and diabetes!

    There comes a point where rising temperatures hurt more people than they help. We haven’t reached that point yet, but it is not correct to rule out the possibility that if temperatures rise significantly beyond where we are that problems will result. Climate scientists who have studied this find that this will be the case.

  106. It seems like this is all about the use of the D-word by Muller, but there is no reason to get terribly upset. Actually categorization is an important technique in science, especially in biology and psychology.

    I am sure that Dr. Muller believes Anthony Watts is in the “properly skeptical” category. That is why he launched the BEST project in the first place. Anthony should feel honored, to have his surface stations project be the catalyst, that got the BEST project launched by a (sort of) bonafide climate scientist.

    Let the scientific chips fall where they may, as the BEST project concludes its analysis. Of course we should be “properly skeptical” of the results when they come out, especially if they disagree with the other temperature data sets, all of which say that the global average temperature has increased about 0.75C in the last century.

  107. Venter says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Paul

    You did not get it. Willis’ criticism was not about the 2% data Prof.Muller talked about. Willis’ criticism was about Prof.Muller dissing Anthony’s surfacestations work about station siting, saying that there was no difference observed due to station siting, without explaining how he arrived at that conclusion, what methods he used etc. That was what Willis always has been criticising about Muller’s testimony.

    You should read the testimony, read Willis’ comments and get the whole picture.
    Muller was very specific about what was done with the surface stations data, and did not “dis” Anthony’s work as you claim.

    http://www.berkeleyearth.org/findings

    The Berkeley Earth team has been working very hard over the past two weeks, and has now also taken an in-depth look at the issue of station quality. This analysis has been done on 100% of the stations that have been ranked by the Watts team – and is therefore distinct from the 2% results. All of the sites ranked by Watts are located in the United States.

    In the testimony Muller says the following about Anthony’s temperature stations data.

    http://www.berkeleyearth.org/Resources/Muller_Testimony_31_March_2011

    Many temperature stations in the U.S. are located near buildings, in parking lots, or close
    to heat sources. Anthony Watts and his team has shown that most of the current stations
    in the US Historical Climatology Network would be ranked “poor” by NOAA’s own
    standards, with error uncertainties up to 5 degrees C.
    Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming? We’ve
    studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.
    The Berkeley Earth analysis shows that over the past 50 years the poor stations in the
    U.S. network do not show greater warming than do the good stations.
    Thus, although poor station quality might affect absolute temperature, it does not appear
    to affect trends, and for global warming estimates, the trend is what is important.

    It seems that he recognizes that the poor stations have absolute values of temperature that are way off, and that Anthony is right to call these stations poor. However he finds that the temperature trend, ie change over time, is unaffected by these problems.

  108. eadler says:
    April 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    “Many temperature stations in the U.S. are located near buildings, in parking lots, or close
    to heat sources. Anthony Watts and his team has shown that most of the current stations
    in the US Historical Climatology Network would be ranked “poor” by NOAA’s own
    standards, with error uncertainties up to 5 degrees C.
    Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming? We’ve
    studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.
    The Berkeley Earth analysis shows that over the past 50 years the poor stations in the
    U.S. network do not show greater warming than do the good stations.
    Thus, although poor station quality might affect absolute temperature, it does not appear
    to affect trends, and for global warming estimates, the trend is what is important.”

    What Muller says is a Red Herring and he knew it. Anthony never claimed that the purpose of his work was to show that the poor stations reported temperatures that are too high. That was not his claim at all. Anthony’s claim was that the observable conditions of the stations made it obvious that they were poorly managed to such a degree that data from them should be thrown out.

    Red Herring. You know what that is, right? It is when you substitute a claim that sounds similar to the claim under discussion but is really a very different claim that changes the topic. That is what Muller did and he knew it.

  109. eadler says:
    April 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    “It seems that he recognizes that the poor stations have absolute values of temperature that are way off, and that Anthony is right to call these stations poor. However he finds that the temperature trend, ie change over time, is unaffected by these problems.”

    This is merely an excuse to dismiss Anthony’s work on surface stations. According to Muller, all that is wrong is that the poor stations reported temperatures that were higher and Muller has the ability to take all the bazillions of records and remove exactly the right amount of excess with his magical statistical wand. Stop the BS. Why would anyone think that the bad siting of the poor stations produced merely higher readings? It produced Wildly Strange readings that are worthless and that should be tossed.

    We must get the big picture here. The photos of poor stations on surfacestations.org are irrefutable evidence of the stupidity and carelessness of the people who installed and managed the stations. To use the reports from those people as definitive evidence for changes of one tenth of a degree per decade is truly insane.

  110. Utter tosh, eadler. You’re obfuscating and throwing a red herring like Theo said. Read Anthony’s and Willis’s reasons which they explained for why they criticise Muller. What you’re waffling about is nothing related to that.

  111. Theo Goodwin says:
    April 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    eadler says:
    April 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    Professor Muller says:
    “Many temperature stations in the U.S. are located near buildings, in parking lots, or close
    to heat sources. Anthony Watts and his team has shown that most of the current stations
    in the US Historical Climatology Network would be ranked “poor” by NOAA’s own
    standards, with error uncertainties up to 5 degrees C.
    Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming? We’ve
    studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.
    The Berkeley Earth analysis shows that over the past 50 years the poor stations in the
    U.S. network do not show greater warming than do the good stations.
    Thus, although poor station quality might affect absolute temperature, it does not appear
    to affect trends, and for global warming estimates, the trend is what is important.”

    What Muller says is a Red Herring and he knew it. Anthony never claimed that the purpose of his work was to show that the poor stations reported temperatures that are too high. That was not his claim at all. Anthony’s claim was that the observable conditions of the stations made it obvious that they were poorly managed to such a degree that data from them should be thrown out.

    Red Herring. You know what that is, right? It is when you substitute a claim that sounds similar to the claim under discussion but is really a very different claim that changes the topic. That is what Muller did and he knew it.

    There is no red herring here. I find it odd that Anthony Watts or anyone one else would not expect the BEST team to use Anthony’s data the way they did.
    The whole purpose of the BEST project is to determine whether the analysis of the global temperature thermometer data done by GISS, NCDC and CRU was falsely indicating that the earth has been getting warmer. The thermometer data was called into question by the work of Anthony Watts surface stations group showing that most of the weather stations in the US were substandard. Some of Anthony’s data had already been analysed by NOAA to determine whether the temperature trend from good and bad stations was different. BEST found that their was no difference in the temperature trends, in agreement with NOAA.

    The answer may not be what you were expecting, but the type of analysis was certainly part of BEST’s charter and was certainly what would be expected of them given the charter that they have. No one is denying the correctness of Anthony’s work.

  112. eadler says:

    “I find it odd that Anthony Watts or anyone one else would not expect the BEST team to use Anthony’s data the way they did.”

    Spoken like someone who is also completely lacking in professional ethics.

  113. eadler says:
    April 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    It seems like this is all about the use of the D-word by Muller, but there is no reason to get terribly upset.

    Miss the point much?

    w.

  114. Eadler,

    Like all good Warmista, you just cannot get it. The purpose of surfacestations.org is to get the Warmista’s noses out of their computers for one minute and into the real world. The real world shows sitings with surface stations next to window air conditioners. Have you never seen or operated a window air conditioner? Can you predict when it will be on and when it will not be on? Of course, you cannot. It is on and off at the whim of the owner and depending on the owner’s financial condition, luck, and a million other things. One cannot adjust for such behavior and come up with a rational TREND that enables use of the temperature reports.

    Let me see you deny what I have just said. You cannot do it without contradicting yourself.

    Let me say it again: the main benefit of surfacestations.org is not to improve Warmista calculations of TRENDS; rather, it is to show the world the worthlessness of the data used to calculate TRENDS.

  115. eadler says:

    “I find it odd that Anthony Watts or anyone one else would not expect the BEST team to use Anthony’s data the way they did.”

    Well, that says it all. You have no concept of moral behavior whatsoever.

  116. eadler says:
    April 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    … There is no red herring here. I find it odd that Anthony Watts or anyone one else would not expect the BEST team to use Anthony’s data the way they did.

    See, eadler, there’s this concept called “in confidence”. If you give someone data “in confidence”, as Anthony did with Muller, most people would assume that testifying in front of Congress about your analysis of that confidential data is not …

    Aw, never mind, eadler, I give up on your edification. If you haven’t gotten it yet, all the hand-holding and one-on-one instruction is useless. Since you clearly don’t understand the issues, despite numerous people explaining them at a level that befits the listener, how about you just watch for a while and stop flaunting your obstinance?

    Because I can’t make it any simpler for you, and I can’t lower the educational level. The main problem is that folks here have already already tried using just one-syllable words to get the meaning across to you, that hasn’t worked, and there are no half-syllable words …

    w.

  117. Re my post above, April 14, 2011 at 6:06 am,

    has Prof. Muller apologized for using the term ‘denier’?

    And has he apologized to Anthony for violating his agreement?

    I came back and read all the comments, but don’t see anything from Prof. Muller.

    Just askin’.

    /Mr Lynn

  118. Mr Lynn, Muller has not (to my knowledge) publicly commented on the issues other than in the interview that is the subject of this thread.

    w.

  119. Mr Lynn says:
    April 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Re my post above, April 14, 2011 at 6:06 am,

    has Prof. Muller apologized for using the term ‘denier’?

    And has he apologized to Anthony for violating his agreement?

    I came back and read all the comments, but don’t see anything from Prof. Muller.

    Just askin’.

    /Mr Lynn/
    Mr Lynn,

    Professor Muller doesn’t have to beg for permission from Anthony Watts to use whatever word he chooses. Outside of the comments section he is free to use whatever word he wants to, to describe and categorize the various opinions he finds regarding global warming.

  120. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 16, 2011 at 11:08 am

    eadler says:
    April 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    … There is no red herring here. I find it odd that Anthony Watts or anyone one else would not expect the BEST team to use Anthony’s data the way they did.

    See, eadler, there’s this concept called “in confidence”. If you give someone data “in confidence”, as Anthony did with Muller, most people would assume that testifying in front of Congress about your analysis of that confidential data is not …

    Aw, never mind, eadler, I give up on your edification. If you haven’t gotten it yet, all the hand-holding and one-on-one instruction is useless. Since you clearly don’t understand the issues, despite numerous people explaining them at a level that befits the listener, how about you just watch for a while and stop flaunting your obstinance?

    Because I can’t make it any simpler for you, and I can’t lower the educational level. The main problem is that folks here have already already tried using just one-syllable words to get the meaning across to you, that hasn’t worked, and there are no half-syllable words …

    w.
    Willis,
    I don’t see the point of taking sides with respect to the private personal agreements or disagreements between Anthony Watts and Richard Muller. I wasn’t there, and no enforceable written contract was produced, as far as I have read. I suspect that the general public, outside of those who frequent this blog, would agree with me. Furthermore, Anthony provided some data on surface stations to NOAA, and the data analysis they did was similar to what BEST did. The analysis was totally legitimate and didn’t misrepresent the data. I haven’t heard anything which challenges the conclusion that the bad stations show the same trend in temperature as the good stations, on this blog or anywhere else.

    Finally, I thought that Anthony Watts and you object to keeping scientific data a proprietary secret. I thought that science is not well served by this. Access to data and algorithms should be made public to ensure honesty.

    I suspect that if the BEST team found that the bad stations showed a larger warming trend than the good stations, we wouldn’t be hearing allegations of unethical behavior against Prof Muller.

  121. eadler says:
    April 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Willis,
    I don’t see the point of taking sides with respect to the private personal agreements or disagreements between Anthony Watts and Richard Muller. I wasn’t there, and no enforceable written contract was produced, as far as I have read.

    For a man who is not taking sides, you sure have put a lot of effort into this whole discussion, eadler. A man who isn’t taking sides keeps his mouth shut, on my planet at least.

    And when a man testifies before Congress his words are no longer a private personal matter.

    I suspect that the general public, outside of those who frequent this blog, would agree with me.

    The general public knows that testifying to Congress about your analysis of confidential data is reprehensible. Why do you think all the ink is being spilled?

    Furthermore, Anthony provided some data on surface stations to NOAA, and the data analysis they did was similar to what BEST did. The analysis was totally legitimate and didn’t misrepresent the data. I haven’t heard anything which challenges the conclusion that the bad stations show the same trend in temperature as the good stations, on this blog or anywhere else.

    The issue is not the results, and never has been. It is the impropriety of Muller’s actions.

    Finally, I thought that Anthony Watts and you object to keeping scientific data a proprietary secret. I thought that science is not well served by this. Access to data and algorithms should be made public to ensure honesty.

    Anthony has long held that the data and the algorithms need to be published with the results of the study. Since the results are not published, your analogy doesn’t hold.

    I suspect that if the BEST team found that the bad stations showed a larger warming trend than the good stations, we wouldn’t be hearing allegations of unethical behavior against Prof Muller.

    Your suspicions are unfounded. I’ll say it again, real slow this time.

    The. Results. Are. Not. The. Issue.

    They never have been the issue. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE NO RESULTS YET. All we have is authoritative handwaving on Muller’s part. Which is why I have not said a single word about results.

    The issue is Muller’s underhanded actions.

    w.

  122. A great piece, works very well with morning coffee! Conan’s ignorance on this issue, calling WUWT a deniers’ web site, is unacceptable. I mean, he did go to Harvard, didn’t he? Maybe he spent all his time at the Hasty Pudding!

  123. Willis

    Eadler will spin, spin and spin every issue dishonestly with intent as it is the standard modus operandi of the true believers of AGW. They can’t read anything which is against their religion, it’s church or bishops. They will refuse to acknowledge that there can be anything wrong with anything associated with their religion. And Eadler has consistently demonstrated this every single time he posts here, that his intention is to obfuscate, spin, throw red herrings and generally behave as what is expected of a mindless AGW acolyte.

  124. Venter says:
    April 19, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Willis

    Eadler will spin, spin and spin every issue dishonestly with intent as it is the standard modus operandi of the true believers of AGW. They can’t read anything which is against their religion, it’s church or bishops. They will refuse to acknowledge that there can be anything wrong with anything associated with their religion. And Eadler has consistently demonstrated this every single time he posts here, that his intention is to obfuscate, spin, throw red herrings and generally behave as what is expected of a mindless AGW acolyte.

    Indeed he is marvelously reliable in that way, which is why it is important that he posts here. He does more to bring folks to take a hard look at the AGW claims than anything I could do.

    w.

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