Skeptical Science’s John Cook – Making **** Up

Guest essay by Brandon Shollenberger

Last week, John Cook published a piece in the Europhysics News magazine in which he, quite literally, fabricates a quote.  You can see the details here, but basically, he took the old quote about a campaign to “reposition global warming as theory (rather than fact)” and changed it to “reposition fact as theory.”  It’s mind-boggling.

Cook_fabr

Even if John Cook didn’t make the image himself, it’s hosted on Skeptical Science.  He chose to publish it in this article.  He is fully responsible for publishing a fabricated quote whether or not he created the fabrication.

In my first post here, I accused John Cook (the propietor of Skeptical Science) of lying about evidence. He had written an article which misrepresented multiple sources and even fabricated a quote. To this day, that fabricated quote remains in the piece. John cook has made no indication he thinks it needs to be changed (though he has fixed the quote elsewhere). This led me to observe:

Additionally, you have not apologized for fabricating the quote or explained how it happened. That is troubling. One may reasonably wonder what would have happened had I not happened to randomly read this piece and check your reference (something you apparently didn’t do). Had I not caught the mistake, would it ever have been fixed? Nobody will ever know.

Being accurate with facts, quotes and references is a fundamental aspect of reporting. If you are as apathetic toward such glaring failures in this regard as you seem to be, why should anyone trust what you say? Why should anyone trust you the next time you “quote” a source?

I can now confirm the answer to my question is, “We shouldn’t.” Almost exactly one month after that piece was published, John Cook published another article with a fabricated quote. Figure 2 of that piece includes a this blurb:

Western Fuels Association
$510,000 campaign to
“reposition fact as theory”

This quote is apparently a bastardization of an actual quote which suggested people “reposition global warming as theory (rather than fact).” A Google search for John Cook’s exact quote finds two results. A Google search for the actual quote finds tens of thousands of results, including a paper Cook was the lead author for. This shows Cook is aware of the actual quote, and had he done anything to check his figure, he’d have seen his version was wrong.

Cook fabricating two quotes in two months is bad enough, but nobody is catching him. I don’t read everything he writes, and I’m the only one who caught either of these. How many fabrications have I not caught? There’s no way to know.

And this isn’t a trivial matter like Cook claimed his last misquotation was. The difference between the quotes is enormous. Many people don’t believe global warming is a fact (by definition, it isn’t one). If they’re right, repositioning global warming as a theory rather than fact is a good thing because its true. Even if one doesn’t agree with those people, their behavior is still honest and well-intentioned.

John Cook’s quote requires the opposite. A person cannot seek to “reposition fact as theory” without seeking to intentionally mislead people. That means Cook accuses those people of being lying bastards by making **** up.

And it doesn’t end there. Cook’s piece says:

The result is a significant “consensus gap” between public
perception and the actual 97% scientific consensus (see Figure 3). Public polls have found that nearly half of the American public think climate scientists are still in disagreement [6]. In my own research, when I asked Americans what percentage of climate scientists agree on human-caused global
warming, the average answer was 55%.

Reference six links to this document. A figure on its seventh page and a data table on its eighteenth page provide data for how many people believe:

There is a lot of disagreement among scientists about GW

In both cases, the value given is 36%. This must be what Cook was referring to as no other part of the document discusses anything close to what he said, but 36% is not “nearly half.” 1/3rd is not 1/2th. Cook is, once again, making **** up.

Not only is that inexcusable, it should make wonder skeptical when Cook refers to what he found, “In [his] own research.” This skepticism should be further fueled by the fact Cook didn’t provide a reference for his work. Why would someone refer to work without any providing any reference for it? How can they get away with it?

I can’t answer the latter question. The former question is easy to answer though. John Cook didn’t provide a reference for his work because no reference exists. A copy of the Figure 3 can be found here on Skeptical Science. This is said about it:

Public perception (55%) comes from a survey conducted by John Cook on a representative USA sample, asking the question “How many climate experts agree that the global warming we are witnessing is a direct consequence of the burning of fossil fuels by humans?” Participants were requested through professional survey firm Qualtrics.

That’s it. No publication information. No link or reference. No data or supporting documentation. Nothing at all other than John Cook’s word.

I can’t imagine a world in which that should that be enough from anyone. I certainly can’t imagine why anyone should be expected to trust Cook’s description when he makes **** up time and time again, even in this one piece.


Two last observations. First, while these accusations of fabricating quotes are relatively new, I’ve accused Cook of lying before. Second, at the bottom of the piece’s first page, there’s an unmatched right parenthesis where it says:

As scientific consensus strengthened, efforts to confuse the
public about the level of agreement in the scientific community intensified as documented in Figure 2).

===============================================================

UPDATE/CORRECTION:   Brandon Schollenberger writes in comments.

Welp, this is awkward. It turns out while criticizing Cook for getting the quotation wrong, I got it wrong too. The parenthetical should say “not fact” instead of “rather than fact.” A little time with Google shows this is a common mistake, and it’s even made in Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth. I saw the phrasing I used on Wikipedia (which has had that phrasing for six years), used Google to search for it, found dozens of sources using it (including Al Gore’s), and copied and pasted.

This doesn’t change anything I said, and it is certainly understandable how I made the mistake. Still, it’s embarrassing.

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94 Responses to Skeptical Science’s John Cook – Making **** Up

  1. gopal panicker says:

    best way to deal with Cook is to ignore him…..very few people read his blog

  2. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    For what it’s worth, this is more of a republication than a guest essay. That’s why the third paragraph sounds a little weird when it refers to “my first post here.” That paragraph is actually the start of a post I wrote on another blog. You might notice other stylistic oddities for the same reason.

  3. David, UK says:

    Thank you for the article. as unshocking as it is. I won’t harp on about my pet hate of replacing words with **** when we all know what the word is (just use the word, okay?) but still. thanks for the research!

  4. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    David, UK, I did that because I don’t feel comfortable cursing. When I use that phrase out loud, I censor the word as well. Plus there’s the matter of language filters and search results to consider.

    On another note, I probably should have linked to an earlier post I wrote on this blog, titled, Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook – making things up. Not only is it a great example of similar behavior, it ultimately led to a paper John Cook co-authored being pulled from its journal’s website for over half a year now (though it isn’t formally withdrawn). That shows sometimes there are consequences to making things up.

  5. KNR says:

    When all you can make is BS , that is all you have to sell .
    The poor cartoonist is ridding ‘the cause ‘ because what else has he got ?

  6. Greg says:

    “best way to deal with Cook is to ignore him…..very few people read his blog”

    I agree. The internet is full of **** , especially about climate. I’m sure WUWT does more to promote his BS non-skeptical science propaganda site , than anything else, with all the articles here.

    As they say, there’s not such thing as bad publicity. Unless there’s something much more damning (like their implication in propagating the Gleick fraud) , I’d say just ignore them, don’t link them and drive them traffic. Just ignore them.

  7. Tucci78 says:

    At 12:21 AM on 18 December, David, UK had written:

    Thank you for the article. as unshocking as it is. I won’t harp on about my pet hate of replacing words with **** when we all know what the word is (just use the word, okay?) but still. thanks for the research!

    …to which Brandon Shollenberger at 12:28 AM on 18 December had responded:

    …I did that because I don’t feel comfortable cursing. When I use that phrase out loud, I censor the word as well. Plus there’s the matter of language filters and search results to consider.

    My suggestion is to use pungent euphemism – such as “crap” or “guano” or “gorepuckey” – if euphemism must be employed in lieu of that obvious four-letter word which the pecksniffs invest with magical powers.

    The substitution of an asterisk-string is frickin’ contemptible.

    Sheesh.

  8. Greg says:

    “it ultimately led to a paper John Cook co-authored being pulled from its journal’s website for over half a year now (though it isn’t formally withdrawn).”

    That is a result. And one worth following up on. It should be formally retracted.

  9. papiertigre says:

    I’ve had sceptical science on my email since about 2007-8. Once it was a mighty torrent of propaganda feeding my in box. Now the waters have slowed. Cut way back. Just a babbling brook now. Cooks reaching. He’s all in. As good as it gets.

    I mean what if western fuels association did say yadda ya? Is that some sort of earth shattering thing? THere have been many years for alarmists slip past the whiley to show the world the facts.

    That was 95, right around when global warming stopped. Steve Young passed for a record six touchdowns, and the 49ers became the first team to win five Super Bowls when they routed the Chargers.

    Young, the game’s most valuable player, directed an explosive offense that generated seven touchdowns, 28 first downs, and 455 total yards. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 325 yards, and broke the record of five touchdown passes set by former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIV.

    San Francisco wasted little time scoring, taking the lead for good on Young’s 44-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice only three plays and 1:24 into the game. The next time they had the ball, the 49ers marched 79 yards in four plays, taking a 14-0 lead when Young teamed with running back Ricky Watters on a 51-yard touchdown pass with 10:05 still to play in the opening period.

    Them’s the facts.

  10. TinyCO2 says:

    Awww be fair. In two decades (and the half decade Cook missed) he can only come up with nine ‘attacks’ and one outcome. If it’s stealth warfare, it’s stealthy to the point of being invisible. Bless. He’s trying sooo hard, with so little to work with. I haven’t read the article yet but I bet he doesn’t mention the decline in belief of CAGW only started mid noughties and flourished under WUWT, Climate Audit, Climategate and global boring.

    But seriously – well spotted. Cook shouldn’t get away with this kind of ****.

  11. DirkH says:

    TinyCO2 says:
    December 18, 2013 at 12:58 am
    “But seriously – well spotted. Cook shouldn’t get away with this kind of ****.”

    He’s a Climate Change Communications Fellow or somesuch at the Oz university where Lewandowsky operated; so he is simply an operative of the modern Western warmist ultrastate. Whether Abott’s reign has an effect on Cook’s employment remains to be seen; the Deep State of bureaucrats following the deeper agenda (Agenda 21) has mafia like structures and is not easily changed by an elected leader.

    Cook will get away with this until he doesn’t; that will be when the Deep State drops the CO2AGW campaign for good. They probably prepare the switch to an Ice Age scare right now. They might have to position new talking heads for this; the warmists are too well known now.

  12. rogerknights says:

    There ought to be a convention to use something other than quotation marks when paraphrasing. Any suggestions? How about double backslashes?

  13. Brandon, consider the alternate Universe in which Cook dwells. Gleick lives in that same Universe. Gleick translated Heartland’s effort to create curriculum to supplement to schools’ AGW curriculum into this in his forged Strategy Memo.

    His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science

    Despite the distortion, I bet Cook and Gleick believe their respective phrases as written. So when you call Cook on it, a part of him acknowledges what you are saying, but since to him they mean the same thing, it is a trivial complaint and can be ignored with only the fleeting wisp of guilt. And Gleick can tell himself that forging the document wasn’t really an ethical lapse, because it allowed him to get the truth out.

    Noble Cause Corruption is one of the most insidious forces at work today.

    This quote does not get repeated often enough.

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

  14. Steve Case says:

    It’s been a year now since Skeptical Science kicked me off their web site. All I get now is a terse little message, “Unable to connect to site” Saved by the Internet Archives WayBack Machine, The post that got me kicked off was a comment on this article: The Greenhouse Gas Effect All-Star Fan Club.My Post #30 said they had set up a straw man argument. They have a very thin skin.

  15. William Astley says:

    In reply to:
    gopal panicker says:
    December 18, 2013 at 12:13 am
    best way to deal with Cook is to ignore him…..very few people read his blog

    William:
    I agree that few people read John Cook’s blog, in comparison to ‘WUWT’ for example, I disagree that we should ignore what is stated on Cook’s blog.

    It is a cardinal, fundamental rule in journalism: that quotes of speech and of written material, must be absolutely accurate. Respect, trust is earned from actions.

    I also note the answer to the scientific question: ‘Is there or is there not ‘dangerous’ warming due to the rise in atmospheric CO2?’; is important to our countries, as we have run out of money to spend.

    Billions upon billions dollars has been wasted on green scams, that has resulted in only minor reductions in CO2 emission in the countries were the scams were installed and has definitely had no significant affect on world CO2 emissions. The money spent on green scams has had absolutely no affect on ‘climate’ change.

    The leaches that are profiting from the green scams are working undercover of the miss-truths and exaggerations that has been pushed from blogs and from the IPCC concerning the observations and whether the observations do or do not support extreme AGW.

  16. Alan the Brit says:

    Brandon: A v good post. However, if you were British you would be much more comfortable with profanity, after all, we seem to have so many more idiots than the Virginian Colonies have!!! ;-) The British are renowned for it, during the 100 years War with France, they considered les Englais obstinate, crude, vulgar, & course!!! Something to be proud of in my humble opinion, especially as a nation who has stood up against bullies & tyranny in the last 200 years of European history! (Although I hasten to add that we couldn’t have managed the disturbances of the last 100 years without the help of said Virginian Colonies) – blast it we should have never let you go, all that silly nonsense about independence & no taxation without representation, & all that piffle!!!!! BTW, are you chaps & chapesses getting along ok without us?

  17. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    I wrote my post on a silly little blog I created as an online journal of sorts. If I had thought it was going to be read by more than a couple people, I’d have done more proof-reading. I’ve found three errors (including using “wonder” instead of “one” somehow) since it went up here. Oh well. That’s what I get for being lazy.

    KNR, I’m embarrassed to admit it took me about 30 seconds to realize you weren’t referring to me when you said BS.

    charles the moderator, that’s what I’ve always assumed (and I love that quote). I only start using the word “lie” when someone shows they know what they said was wrong but stand by it.

    TinyCO2, thanks! To be fair, we wouldn’t expect every incident to be listed in a timeline like that one. We’d only expect the most damning examples to be listed. The silliness isn’t the number of examples, but the lack of importance they hold. The overall “campaign” that timeline shows is weaker than most governor reelection campaigns, and it’s spread out over a far longer time period.

    Anyway, what you say cannot be emphasized enough.

    Cook shouldn’t get away with this kind of ****.

    Sadly, he will.

  18. Mike McMillan says:

    “12 Responses to Skeptical Science’s John Cook – Making **** Up”

    “Stuff” is spelled *****, not ****.

  19. izen says:

    @- “reposition fact as theory”
    This quote is apparently a bastardization of an actual quote which suggested people
    “reposition global warming as theory (rather than fact).”
    Part of a Western Fuels Association $510,000 campaign.

    It is clear that John Cook changed the wording of the quote.
    It is not clear that he has changed the meaning of the quote.

    Global warming is self evidently a FACT.
    The measured rise from land, sea and satellite instruments all confirm that along with the rise in sea level from thermal expansion and ice melt it is unprecedented for thousands of years and well beyond unforced natural variation.
    The fact of global warming requires a theory to explain the observations.

    It is a matter of motes and beams to attack Cook for altering a quote when the quote is nonsense in either form.

  20. Greg says:

    Greg says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

    oops, I used the F-word.

    What Glieck (admits) doing is called wire frawd [for benefit of filter]. It is not, as commonly mis-stated, the much less serious offence of theft. Copies of documents obtained by usurping the identity of someone else are not stolen because the rightful owner still has his original. The frawd happens in convincing him to release a copy (or whatever else you coerce him/her to do).

    Why (certain) scientists are apparently immune from prosecution after admitting a serious criminal offence needs to be explained.

    mods, pls unblock my post of 12:39 am, Thx.

  21. Greg says:

    charlesthemod: “Gleick translated Heartland’s effort to create curriculum to supplement to schools’ AGW curriculum into this in his forged Strategy Memo.”

    allegedly forged ;) He has not admitted that part of his criminal behaviour, yet.

    If there’s a change of team at the White House, he may find his immunity evaporates which may result in a plea bargain where he comes clean to prevent a later prosecution for the second offence.

  22. Henry Galt. says:

    Must agree with Brandon and most comments so far (esp CtM).

    This very much needs to be done because the web is polluted beyond imagining by links to the SS idiots and their idiocy. Quoted by every activist, deluded dramagreen and vested interest as gospel.

    “It’s on SS … it must be true … those guys wouldn’t lie to us … would they?”

    It appears they have and do. They will continue to do so for many non-scientific, psychological reasons.

  23. SandyInLimousin says:

    Alan The Brit,
    The French still think that and with the current batch of English invaders in France one has to agree. It’s a moot point as to which nation has caused most disruption in European history; the Auld Alliance/Vieille Alliance wasn’t created without reason and nor did it last for the time it did for no reason.

    Any with regard to the use of * I prefer that to gratuitous profanity.

  24. Don K says:

    I think I’ve found the source. See this image:
    http://ustednoselocree.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/westernfuels.png
    It seems to be from Oreskes. She attributes it to WFA, but I don’t know how she got it.

  25. hunter says:

    I am clearly not a fan of the sks kooks, but what is the substantive issue between what they squeezed into the little box and what the actual statement was? Look at what they are demonstrating in the graph, not how they abbreviate stuff. It is far more entertaining that they are conspiracy kooks, along with being climate kooks. Their graphic is worthy of a Glen Beck rant. The nazi clothes, the backing of Peter Gleick, the phonied up science articles, and now intricate complicated master conspiracy: sks has it all. Don’t gag on gnats. Enjoy the big picture: sks is now doing self parodies.

  26. izen says:

    @- Brandon Shollenberger
    “Many people don’t believe global warming is a fact (by definition, it isn’t one).”

    I await with considerable interest your definition of a fact that excludes the objective measurement of the global temperature.

    @- “If they’re right, repositioning global warming as a theory rather than fact is a good thing because its true.”

    No, if the measured global warming is in error, and the sea level rise, satellite energy balance measurements, growing season and region changes are all wrong then global warming would still be a fact, just an erroneous one. It still would NOT be a theory.
    Descriptions of reality, like rises in temperature are FACTS
    Explanations of those facts are theories.

    @-”Even if one doesn’t agree with those people, their behavior is still honest and well-intentioned.”

    But ignorant, mistaken and stupid.

  27. Bill Marsh says:

    izen

    “The measured rise from land, sea and satellite instruments all confirm that along with the rise in sea level from thermal expansion and ice melt it is unprecedented for thousands of years and well beyond unforced natural variation.”

    Your statement is NOT a factual one. In fact ;), there are multiple non-factual ‘statements’ in it. The use of “unprecedented’ is a dead give away. What exactly is ‘unforced natural variation’? How have we managed to measure it and to what degree of accuracy are we able to do this?

  28. markstoval says:

    The wisdom of the ages tells us that if a man will lie in small matters then he will lie about anything, and hence you can’t trust him at all. To lie is to knowingly mislead others.

    I have trouble believing that the vast majority of climate “scientists” are not liars. They mislead others by fudging the data, cherry-picking endpoints, making claims from models as if it were data, suppressing data that goes against their theory, suppress skeptical papers in journals, help news-outlets mislead the public, and play politics rather than science. I believe that if the “John Does” in the street knew about the shenanigans played by the “Team” and most climate “scientists” they would distrust anyone calling themselves a scientist for generations to come.

    I also believe that government funded “science” will always turn out this way. The grant-seekers always find things that please the grant-givers.

  29. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    izen, I suggest you look up what the definition of “fact” is. I also suggest you consider the myriad ways the phrase “global warming” is used.

    Don K, if you compare the quote in that image to the quote highlighted in this post, you’ll see the two are not the same. John Cook has somehow morphed the quote you’ve found (which is referred to in this post) into a dramatically different quote.

    hunter, the substantive difference in the quotations is explained in the post. You’re welcome to argue the explanation is wrong, but it’s strange to ignore an explanation while asking for one.

    markstoval, while you’re free to believe thousands of scientists are intentionally deceiving people, I think that sounds silly. I suspect so will many others. You’re likely to be listened to more if you apply Hanlon’s razor judicially..

  30. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    I just saw Tucci78′s comment upthread. It must have been held in moderation. I have to say, I don’t get it. Specifically:

    The substitution of an asterisk-string is frickin’ contemptible.

    Sheesh.

    There’s no explanation given as to why it “is frickin’ contemptible” to use asterisks to censors words. It’s done all the time. Many places automatically censor words that way. That allows people to express their sentiments without “polluting” the discussion.

    (Also, that should have been judciously not judically in my above comment.)

  31. Tim says:

    “He is fully responsible for publishing a fabricated quote whether or not he created the fabrication.”
    If this were a criminal offense, we would have a lot fewer journalists.

  32. Leo Geiger says:

    It is going to be difficult to maintain a position as defenders of accuracy when just over a week ago Anthony Watts was saying this in another blog post about an inaccurate quotation of Jonathon Overpeck:

    “…it’s a summation or a paraphrase of a long quote, something that happens a lot in history…The conversion to a paraphrase maintains the meaning.”

    Maybe John Cook was using the Anthony Watts rule of paraphrase.

  33. izen says:

    @- Bill Marsh
    “Your statement is NOT a factual one. In fact ;), there are multiple non-factual ‘statements’ in it. The use of “unprecedented’ is a dead give away. ”

    But the rise in sea level measured over the last decades IS unprecedented over the last few thousand years.
    It is a fact established by archeological and observational eclipse records that sea level was static by comparison until around 1900.

    “What exactly is ‘unforced natural variation’? How have we managed to measure it and to what degree of accuracy are we able to do this?”

    Internet search engines are your friend. A brief foray will teach you what an unforced natural variation is in climate science and how accurately it can be measured and by what methods.

    http://www.ncas.ac.uk/index.php/en/documents/doc_download/566-science-highlight-andrew-schurer
    Forced variations include changes from greenhouse gases, volcanic eruptions and solar activity; unforced variations arise from internal changes in the Earth’s climate.

  34. philjourdan says:

    Dirk is correct. Until Cook suffers some sort of penalty for his dishonesty, he will continue to do it. Those who have made the science into their religion will do anything to further it. Including slander, libel and lying.

  35. izen says:

    @- Brandon Shollenberger
    ” I suggest you look up what the definition of “fact” is.”

    I already had, -
    something that actually exists; reality; truth:
    something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
    a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

    I am still wondering what your definition is that excludes the objectively measured and experienced increase in global temperatures.

    @- “I also suggest you consider the myriad ways the phrase “global warming” is used.”

    Including the misuse when it is incorrectly asserted to be a theory instead of an observed reality?

  36. Martin A says:

    I’m with David UK (12:21 am). Either type a word out in full, or use a word you don’t feel shy about. Don’t use ******* asterisks.

  37. jai mitchell says:

    here is the actual quote from the leaked document:

    “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)”

    the actual document can be found here:
    http://www.aip.org/history/powerpoints/GlobalWarming_Oreskes.ppt

    IT is obvious that the “repositioning” is from “fact” to “theory”
    so the quote is accurate.

    for more information on the PR organization that was contracted to perform this function, see here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Council_on_the_Environment

  38. hunter says:

    Tim,
    You hit the nail on the head. This blog post is much ado about very little. sks is a self-parody that is getting far more attention than it deserves.

  39. JohnWho says:

    … basically, he took the old quote about a campaign to “reposition global warming as theory (rather than fact)” and changed it to “reposition fact as theory.” It’s mind-boggling.

    “Mind-boggling”? Perhaps not.

    More like “typical”.

    As said before: one should be very skeptical of the science on the apt-named “skepticalscience” site.

    Oh, FWIW, I’m OK with “****”, but might have preferred “#%&$”. Much more descriptive.

    :)

  40. tom0mason says:

    John Cook?
    Who?
    Why am I supposed to care about the babbling of this person?

  41. izen says:

    Why did the Western Fuels Association spend over half a million dollars trying to call observed factual data {global rising temperature} a ‘theory’?

    This is a business association that believes so strongly in the democratic process that it has contributed millions to candidates to enable them to run for office.
    And all without any expectation that those politicians will then favor their position in any conflict between the public good and the business interests of Western Fuels!

  42. Frank K. says:

    tom0mason says:
    December 18, 2013 at 5:14 am

    “John Cook?
    Who?
    Why am I supposed to care about the babbling of this person?”

    No. I don’t care about these people either. They are delusional and paranoid, living their lives in abject fear of the climate change bogeyman. I’d rather not live like them…

  43. rogerknights says:

    Henry Galt. says:
    December 18, 2013 at 2:45 am

    This very much needs to be done because the web is polluted beyond imagining by links to the SS idiots and their idiocy. Quoted by every activist, deluded dramagreen and vested interest as gospel. “It’s on SS … it must be true … those guys wouldn’t lie to us … would they?”

    If only some of that Big Oil funding would go to creating a point-by-point rebuttal of SkS material (as I’ve repeatedly lamented)!
    ===========

    rogerknights says:
    December 18, 2013 at 1:22 am

    There ought to be a convention to use something other than quotation marks when paraphrasing. Any suggestions? How about double backslashes?

    On second thought, double ^^carets^^ (carats?) would be a better choice.

  44. rogerknights says:

    Brandon Shollenberger says:
    December 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

    The silliness isn’t the number of examples, but the lack of importance they hold. The overall “campaign” that timeline shows is weaker than most governor reelection campaigns, and it’s spread out over a far longer time period.

    For more on the weakness of the claim that climate contrarians are ‘well-organized and well-funded,” see my one-year-old guest thread here, “Notes from Skull Island”:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/16/notes-from-skull-island-why-skeptics-arent-well-funded-and-well-organized/

  45. dmacleo says:

    I get so tired of that 97% figure.
    75 people out of 77 surveyed is 97%, yet for some reason (snark) they never say 75 scientists and instead say 97%…

  46. Mark Bofill says:

    Thanks Brandon.

  47. Gary from Arkansas says:

    That was rather a large response. I understand that people get tired of debating the unscrupulous, but long-winded and heartfelt sermons are rarely as successful as short, quick, direct statements. Each rebuttal keep it the same. Don’t play into games. Leave that to the children. The choir doth tire of the preacher ;-) Peace and light hearts!

  48. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    I’ve noticed a strange trend in a number of comments where people basically suggest we shouldn’t really care what John Cook publishes. For example:

    best way to deal with Cook is to ignore him…..very few people read his blog

    Henry Galt. expresses my contrary view:

    This very much needs to be done because the web is polluted beyond imagining by links to the SS idiots and their idiocy. Quoted by every activist, deluded dramagreen and vested interest as gospel.

    Skeptical Science may not have the readership of WUWT, but it is used as a resource by many people. John Cook is well-known in global warming discussions. He has received quite a bit of respect and attention. He gets media coverage on a regular basis, and his work is commonly accepted as diminishing the skeptical position.

    Ignoring his work is a terrible idea, but letting him get away with things like what this post describes is absurd. What would have happened if this attitude had been adopted with Recursive Fury? The behavior this post highlights is the same as what led to that paper being withdrawn.

    Like it or not, people are listening to John Cook and Skeptical Science. Far fewer would if they knew he serially misrepresents his sources.

  49. Leo Geiger says:

    An earlier comment may have been lost or is held in moderation. To rephrase:

    A blog post here a little over a week ago discussed another instance of inaccurate quotation:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/08/the-truth-about-we-have-to-get-rid-of-the-medieval-warm-period/

    It was suggested in that instance that “a paraphrase” of a quotation was acceptable. It is difficult to reconcile that post with this one, making the objection to perceived misrepresentation here less credible.

  50. starzmom says:

    The most unfortunate part about this is that once these statements hit publication, they are out there, and most people, even academics will do nothing to follow a quote back to the source. My pet peeve is law reviews. Even highly respected professors use quotes that help them, no matter the source or the validity, and the only checking that is done by the student editors is to verify that the quote is accurate at the point at which it is quoted. So a mis-quote is perpetuated. This is the real problem.

  51. Juice says:

    How dare anyone make scientific certainty a primary issue!

  52. izen says:

    @- Brandon Shollenberger
    “Like it or not, people are listening to John Cook and Skeptical Science. Far fewer would if they knew he serially misrepresents his sources.”

    You have yet to establish that the paraphrase he used is a misrepresentation of the source quote.
    There is also the little matter that the original quote is apparently the sort of mis-characterisation of the science that the tobacco industry has used in the past to reject unwelcome science. And it parallels the debate in biology where evolution is a fact, the Darwinian theory of natural selection is the theory that explains it.

    However misrepresenting the source will degrade the trust people have in the claims a person makes. It is what has damaged Lord Monckton’s reputation and reduced him to fringe crank.

  53. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Leo Geiger, I fail to see how that post diminishes this one. That post does not argue the misquotation in question was okay. It does nothing to say presenting a paraphrase as a quotation is appropriate. Aside from pointing out posts here make mistakes too, I don’t see what point you could be making.

    That post argues a misquotation did not cause a significant difference in meaning. It also points out the misquotation is a relatively common one so it’s understandable someone might get it wrong. Neither of those is true in the case discussed in this post. As such, I can’t see what is supposed to diminish this post’s credibility.

    But if it makes you feel better, I wrote this post on a different blog, never actually submitted it here (though I told Anthony he was welcome to use what I wrote, an offer I’d extend to anyone), and am a critic of the person responsible for the misquotation. Your concern could not possibly apply to my posting.

  54. J. Bob says:

    Anthony,
    here’s an interesting item from the CryoSat people. Oct 2013 ice volume is about 9000 km3, up from 6000, in 2012.
    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Arctic_sea_ice_up_from_record_low

    Watching the 2010-2013 Oct. data presentation, it looks like it’s the highest in the 4 years of taking data.

    Also definitely higher then the PIOMAS model predicts.

    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/CryoSat_reveals_major_loss_of_Arctic_sea_ice

    This might put a kink in the Arctic ice “death spiral”.

  55. Box of Rocks says:

    What???
    I don’t understand.

    Somebody lying to enrich themselves??

  56. juan slayton says:

    rogerknights: There ought to be a convention to use something other than quotation marks when paraphrasing.

    Roger, old boy, day before yesterday I had the interesting task of explaining to a class of 5th graders how to use quotation marks to distinguish direct and indirect quotes. A very interesting task–you should try it some time. And now you want to create more punctuation to set off the indirect quotes?!!! I can only say, “@!!%###!.” But don’t quote me.
    : > )

  57. Admad says:

    It appears fantasy trumps science in the Church of Climate Change (TM)

  58. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Welp, this is awkward. It turns out while criticizing Cook for getting the quotation wrong, I got it wrong too. The parenthetical should say “not fact” instead of “rather than fact.” A little time with Google shows this is a common mistake, and it’s even made in Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth. I saw the phrasing I used on Wikipedia (which has had that phrasing for six years), used Google to search for it, found dozens of sources using it (including Al Gore’s), and copied and pasted.

    This doesn’t change anything I said, and it is certainly understandable how I made the mistake. Still, it’s embarrassing.

  59. Craig says:

    The author writes,
    “This quote is apparently a bastardization of an actual quote which suggested people “reposition global warming as theory (rather than fact).” A Google search for John Cook’s exact quote finds two results. A Google search for the actual quote finds tens of thousands of results, including a paper Cook was the lead author for. This shows Cook is aware of the actual quote, and had he done anything to check his figure, he’d have seen his version was wrong.”

    Not only did Cook cite the actual quote in a previous article, he cites in the very Europhysics News that is the basis of your essay here – the same article he fabricated the quote! (Halfway through the second to last paragraph on p26).

    [CAGW] is a theory fraudulently presented as fact by the likes of Cook, and it’s is entirely proper to try to recast it as such. In this example, Cook is not only trying twist the meaning of the actual quote to reinforce the lie that CAGW is a fact, but he is also using both to promote the idea that special interests are trying to deceive people into believing its not a fact. This is a typical strategy of people like Cook when they know they are on the wrong side – point your finger at the other side and accuse them of exactly what you are doing. They do precisely because they know the media won’t call them out for “making **** up.” If anything, the media will back them up.

    Cook knows exactly what he is doing, however given the myriad of examples of fraud by the promoters of CAGW, it’s hardly surprising behavior. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating though. What is mind-boggling is that such a large group of people are this dishonest.

  60. wws says:

    I’m starting to think that most of the hard-core warmists suffer from some sort of personality disorder. The stuff they’re doing isn’t even rational anymore, not on any level.

    A rational person, even if he meant ill, would realize that publicly telling easily discredited lies would destroy his own effectiveness. But I suspect that many of them, especially those like Cook, are now driven solely by their hatred. There’s nothing else left for them.

  61. Bob Greene says:

    Alan the Brit: I’m not sure the colonies have been forgiven for that tea thing and the late 18th century unpleasantness. After all, you’ve exiled Piers Morgan over here.

    Excellent post, Brandon. I gave up on Cook and skeptical science long ago because it read like a propaganda blog. I suppose we need to keep up with them because our leaders seem to pick up quotes from them. Otherwise “who is John Cook and why should I know who he is?”

  62. john robertson says:

    But the Americans said Bagdad Bob was executed.
    Who knew he survived and has a career as an obscure cartoon on a joke web site in Australia?
    Thanks Brandon but persons using SS as a reference are self accused.
    CAGW is an intelligence test, some have to fail.

  63. En Passant says:

    As an Oz taxpayer (who contributes to Cook’s salary) I want to know what value I get for my money. With the exception of our halls of higher learning, lies and propaganda (aka ‘universities’) all other sheltered workshops are funded by charitable donations. Time to set Cook free from the public teat. Perhaps we could use him as a labrat in psychological studies into post-modern scientific thinking?

  64. marlolewisjr says:

    “Repositioning global warming as theory (rather than fact)” was scientifically legitimate and even necessary in 1992. The satellite temperature record maintained by John Christy and Roy Spencer showed a global cooling trend from late 1978 into 1998. When others persuaded them that orbital drift and decay had injected a cooling bias in their data, Spencer and Christy corrected the record, revealing a long-term warming trend of about 0.14C/decade. But in 1992, the most comprehensive dataset — and the only one not exposed to contamination by heat islands and other local factors — showed no warming. At that time, the empirical evidence for global warming was conflicted. It was still theory rather than fact.

  65. Guys…. I’ve already covered this at length on several occasions. The original Western Fuels Association Information Council on the Environment (ICE) PR campaign memo phrase was “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)”, but it was cleaned up a bit by right off the bat in a 1991 NY Times article (3rd paragraph http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/08/business/pro-coal-ad-campaign-disputes-warming-idea.html ), and was ultimately streamlined and made famous by anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan as “Reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=326).

    As I’ve detailed at my GelbspanFiles.com blog and in online articles since 2010 (now collected here http://gelbspanfiles.com/?page_id=86 ), that the “reposition global warming” phrase was taken out of context and has numerous fatal faults within it as the a smoking gun indictment that’s supposed to prove skeptic climate scientists are paid to lie by ‘big coal & oil’. John Cook (no relation to me, thank God) is just one more in an endless string of people (Oreskes, Gore, Hoggan, Suzuki, Monbiot, Newsweek’s Sharon Begley, etc, etc) who derive that accusation straight from Gelbspan.

  66. Tucci78 says:

    At 4:23 AM on 18 December, Brandon Shollenberger had responded to my observation that the substitution of an asterisk-string for a commonplace scatalogical pungency is frelkin’ contemptible with a whine:

    There’s no explanation given as to why it “is frickin’ contemptible” to use asterisks to censors words. It’s done all the time. Many places automatically censor words that way. That allows people to express their sentiments without “polluting” the discussion.

    Well, I might as well hold this guy’s hand (daintily) and guide him explicitly through the reasoning. Ahem.

    Mr. Shollenberger, your “asterisk-string” namby-pambiness concedes to the mutilators of language (not to mention the castrators of public discourse) a power over the speech of men which they usurp without either right or even effort at justification. Simply because they feel offended by the plain speech of folks who are not as spastic-sphincter’d – or utterly gutless – as they.

    If one must deal with the Comstockian crapola of automatic Net Nanny software designed to utterly obliterate (or “moderate”) plainly expressive language, it’s better by far to do so in a manner expressive of proper contempt for these craven critters and their cowardly impositions on the liberties of their betters.

    Your riskless asterisking satisfies these chicken-chokers, and that’s aid and comfort rendered the enemies of free minds in the marketplace of ideas

    Thus the use of bippies-en-brochette is best (by far) eschewed in favor of substitutions which impart all the scatalogical significances without giving these fumducks a feculent femtometer.

    Or do you lack language skills necessary for such exercises?

    Tsk.

  67. @jai mitchell December 18, 2013 at 5:06 am “… for more information on the PR organization that was contracted to perform this function, see ..wikipedia.org …”

    Wikipedia, as a source of accurate information on global warming, can be trusted about as far as you can throw it. As it turns out, I’ve learned a decent amount about the PR agency that handled Western Fuels’ ICE campaign, and just how short and virtually unmemorable that it was. The sheer shortness of the ICE campaign and how limited it was ought to be the first clue to open minded journalists that there has been a MASSIVE problem in the way the “reposition global warming” phrase was so heavily pushed for around two decades as a means to smear the credibility of skeptic climate scientists.

  68. RaiderDingo says:

    Since when is 74 people out of 3000 a consensus?

  69. jorgekafkazar says:

    “Cook, v.: To alter or adjust accounting or other records (“books”), evidence, statements, etc., usually fraudulently or unethically, in such a way as to make them take on a different meaning or appearance.”

    Just wanted to make that clear, if anyone should be so foolish as to waste time on so-called keptical cience

  70. Scott Basinger says:

    Jai Mitchell writes: “IT is obvious that the “repositioning” is from “fact” to “theory”
    so the quote is accurate.”

    Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, is it? First of all, in order to use quotation marks you need to get the quotation correct. Paraphrasing like you’ve noted changes the meaning completely. The repositioning is from _perceived fact_ based upon individuals’ biases back to theory, which is correct. This repositioning is even more correct given the temperature record for the last 17 years…

  71. philjourdan says:

    @Bob Greene – if we pay the Brits for the tea, do you think they would take back Piers Morgan? ;-)

  72. philjourdan says:

    @jai mitchell

    IT is obvious that the “repositioning” is from “fact” to “theory”
    so the quote is accurate.

    Not if the language is English. Clearly AGW is not a fact. Clearly facts are facts. So you can say you are playing Robin Hood by robbing from the poor to give to the rich. But that is your own language, not English.

  73. hunter says:

    @ izen December 18, 2013 at 2:23 am ,
    Climate of today is not more dangerous, slr is not more extreme, weather is not more extreme and temperatures are not higher than they have been in the recent past. Confusing your assertion with incontrovertible established fact is pathological in many of the climate obsessed. Perhaps you can get some professional counseling?

  74. Hans Erren says:

    Papertigre:
    “Steve Young passed for a record six touchdowns, and the 49ers became the first team to win five Super Bowls when they routed the Chargers”
    American football is not football, that is a fact.

  75. Policycritic says:

    You do need to correct it. For the record. Ten years from now, the correction will offer a heads-up for researchers.

  76. Mario Lento says:

    izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 2:23 am
    Global warming is self evidently a FACT.
    The measured rise from land, sea and satellite instruments all confirm that along with the rise in sea level from thermal expansion and ice melt it is unprecedented for thousands of years and well beyond unforced natural variation.
    The fact of global warming requires a theory to explain the observations.
    +++++++++
    I beg to differ. And of course, the warmists agree with me to the point that they have largely replaced the term “global warming” with “climate change”. The latter term is not falsifiable, but I digress.
    Time scales matter. Yes over some time scales the globe has apparently warmed. It’s also cooled over some time frames, and may continue to cool until it warms again. Using a term like “global warming” implies it will continue. The vast majority of “models” are programmed to only warm, so the models seem to agree with you and they may for some time to come, I predict.

    Using what I believe is your logic, the last 5, 10, 15 years have warmed because you say it is a fact.

    So pick a time and make your factual claim.

  77. Mike Haseler says:

    “Welp, this is awkward. It turns out while criticizing Cook for getting the quotation wrong”

    We all do it, but take heart … according to marxist revisionalist conspiracy ideationism theories it doesn’t matter.

  78. Mario Lento says:

    izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 6:45 am
    @- Brandon Shollenberger
    “Like it or not, people are listening to John Cook and Skeptical Science. Far fewer would if they knew he serially misrepresents his sources.”

    You have yet to establish that the paraphrase he used is a misrepresentation of the source quote.
    ++++++++++
    Changing words is NOT misrepresentation –not even a little bit in your opinion? Why change words otherwise? Answer: because words matter. And that’s a fact (in many people’s opinion). Now I digress again. If two people see the same thing and disagree with its meaning, then the meaning becomes by definition subjective. Something that’s subjective moves it away from the certainty column… and becomes less of a fact, subjectively speaking. So your version of the fact is not in fact, factual, in my opinion.

    Now we can all agree that whether or not people listen to JCook, he has factually misled at least many people by a misrepresentation –in many people’s opinion.

  79. Jeff Alberts says:

    izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 3:33 am

    I await with considerable interest your definition of a fact that excludes the objective measurement of the global temperature.

    There is no “global temperature”. It’s so tedious having to repeat this over and over again.

    Averaging intensive variables (temperature) from disparate locations does not return a physically meaningful result.

  80. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Russell Cook, could you explain what you mean when you say you’ve “covered this at length on several occasions”? I didn’t see anything in any of the links you provided which discusses what this post discusses.

    Tucci78, your latest comment seems unhinged to me. I think it’s best we don’t try to communicate any further.

    Scott Basinger, philjourdan, thanks. I have no idea how jai mitchell can think a “quote is accurate” if is different than what was actually said. My quote was inaccurate too. The difference is my quote came from a good faith effort to find an accurate quote and its inaccuracy did not change the meaning of the quote.

    izen, this quote indicates why discussion with you is pointless:

    No, if the measured global warming is in error, and the sea level rise, satellite energy balance measurements, growing season and region changes are all wrong then global warming would still be a fact

    You’re insisting global warming would be fact even if all evidence for it was wrong. The reality is facts cannot be wrong. Given that, I suggest you look in the mirror before saying other people are:

    ignorant, mistaken and stupid.

  81. JamesNV says:

    SkS also said that David Rose “invented” the pause in global warming.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_more_years_of_global_warming.html

  82. rogerknights says:

    juan slayton says:
    December 18, 2013 at 7:05 am

    rogerknights: There ought to be a convention to use something other than quotation marks when paraphrasing.

    Roger, old boy, day before yesterday I had the interesting task of explaining to a class of 5th graders how to use quotation marks to distinguish direct and indirect quotes. A very interesting task–you should try it some time. And now you want to create more punctuation to set off the indirect quotes?!!! I can only say, “@!!%###!.” But don’t quote me.
    : > )

    Thanks for the smile. I sympathize. (A bit.) But for us grownups, who understand the concept of paraphrasing, a new punctuation mark would not be a burden.

    (I’m not proposing something complicated for adults, like compound punctuation marks, as best-selling author Nicholas Baker has done.)

  83. rogerknights says:

    izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Global warming is self evidently a FACT.
    The measured rise from land, sea and satellite instruments all confirm that along with the rise in sea level from thermal expansion and ice melt it is unprecedented for thousands of years and well beyond unforced natural variation.
    The fact of global warming requires a theory to explain the observations.

    “Reposition global warming” was shorthand for “reposition the global warming meme,” IMO.

  84. ferdberple says:

    izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 2:23 am
    The measured rise from land, sea and satellite instruments all confirm that along with the rise in sea level from thermal expansion and ice melt it is unprecedented for thousands of years and well beyond unforced natural variation.
    =============
    Go buy yourself a British Admiralty Nautical Chart for the ocean near where you live. The Chart will have been drawn sometime around 1800. It will not have any datum sea level correction for “global sea level rise”, though it will have a lat long correction for WGS84.

    Now go down to the beach, a rocky shoreline is best, with your chart and the local tide tables. The chart will be drawn to 1 foot resolution within the first fathom. Read the chart datum to see when the depths are accurate. MLLW or something of the sort. Now consult your tide tables for MLLW. Tell us how much the ocean has covered up the rocks shown along the shoreline in the past 200 years.

    Oh wait, you can’t see any change! But how can this be. Everyone tells us how much the oceans are rising, how much danger we are in. Surely there must be some mistake, how did the chart makers 200 years ago manage to predict where the oceans would end up today?

  85. ferdberple says:

    To put sea level rise into perspective, have a look at sea level rise for the past 20 thousand years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

    As can be seen, sea level rise 10 thousand years ago was very rapid. However, for the past 6 thousand years sea levels have been rising very slowly.

    Thus, today’s sea level rise is nothing more than a process that have been going on for many thousands of years. We can measure it, but it so slow that we can barely see it within 1 lifetime.

  86. rogerknights says:

    Carets would also be useful markers of facetious quotes, like:

    Her disdain for the ^^great unwashed^^ is clear.

    And they’d be useful for sneer quotes too:

    The accused seems to be implying that he’s the victim of a ^^vast conspiracy.^^

  87. Mario Lento says:

    ferdberple says:

    December 19, 2013 at 7:15 am
    +++++++++

    Great post Ferdberple! Facts annoy the crap out of people who choose what information they want to claim as fact. We’ll go back in time in the next 200 years and wonder about the crap science that we spent so much money on. This generation is so full of itself, it can’t see how ignorant it has become.

    Izen, please question if mind control from the media into people’s heads to identify themselves for willful thought implantation could be the cause. I try to remove the filter and let all the information in. Try it sometime.

  88. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    rogerknights:

    “Reposition global warming” was shorthand for “reposition the global warming meme,” IMO.

    I don’t think so. Consider how Wikipedia defines global warming:

    Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation.

    That is not a fact. At the very least, a projection cannot be fact. Warming is not a fact because it involves a continual process. Facts are things which have actually happened, not things that may (or will happen).

    People like to present global warming as fact because it simplifies things. If you convince a group of people something is fact, they’ll be dismissive of anyone who disagrees about it. After all, if something is fact, it can’t be untrue.

    Repositioning global warming as theory is appropriate. It’s wrong to tell people things like global warming or evolution are fact. They aren’t. Evolution is unquesitonably true, but it is not fact. Global warming, depending on how you define it, can be unquestionably true, but it is not fact either. Presenting either of these as fact is misleading.

    It’s possible the people responsible for that quote meant more than this. It’s possible they’re evil deniers intentionally deceiving people. We can’t know. All we can know is they said something that is absolutely appropriate.

    And John Cook fabricated a quote which paints them as evil, lying bastards for it.

  89. @Brandon Shollenberger December 19, 2013 at 1:12 am: “Russell Cook, could you explain what you mean when you say you’ve “covered this at length on several occasions”?…

    You might be interpreting my response too literally. I’ve not covered this specific John “SkS” Cook incident. However, his other Aussie friend Stephan Lewandowsky is among ‘researchers’ who are enslaved to that same effort, as I detailed in my own 9/11/12 WUWT guest post ( http://ow.ly/nXXny ), where I repeated the “reposition global warming” phrase 4 times to illustrate my point.

    Please have another detailed look at the link I referred you to ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=326 ). If you include the two screencapture photos I showed, I quoted 11 separate instances of the “reposition global warming” phrase to tell how it is the central thing AGW’ers have in their arsenal to claim skeptic climate scientists are paid industry shills. In my Western Fuels blog pieces ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/?cat=7 ), I quoted that phrase one or more times in each separate one. And, the results from a basic google search simply of my name and that partial phrase ( https://www.google.com/search?q=“russell+cook”+”reposition+global+warming” ) will lead you to many of my various other online articles over the last several years when I quoted it to tell how it is mischaracterized as some sinister industry directive. On top of that, my mega-notes file on the smear of skeptics has links to numerous other times when AGW promoters use it and/or misquoting it in various ways to insinuate that skeptic scientists are unworthy of consideration.

    As I concluded in my first 6/25/11 WUWT guest post ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/25/the-end-is-near-for-faith-in-agw/ ), where I quoted that phrase twice, we collectively need to ask what happens when all faith in the mantra about corrupt skeptic climate scientists falls apart. Your effort at uncovering what John Cook did is very good, but it is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg illustrating the manner in which he and so many other ‘cogs in the wheel’ of AGW promotion are enslaved to that phrase in an effort to marginalize skeptics. Wipe out the overall ‘corrupt skeptics mantra’, and AGW itself finds itself in serious peril when the public sees no valid reason to ignore science assessments from skeptics.

  90. Tim Clark says:

    { izen says:
    December 18, 2013 at 3:33 am
    I await with considerable interest your definition of a fact that excludes the objective measurement of the global temperature. }

    Regardless of your juvenile obsession with temperature, the necessary parameter that matters in globull warming is {ENERGY}. Without including humidity, we have no knowledge of retained solar energy.

    The addition of water molecules, or any other molecules, to a gas, without removal of an equal number of other molecules, will necessarily require a change in temperature, pressure, or total volume; that is, a change in at least one of these three parameters.

    FYI, data indicates that humidity is dropping.

  91. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Russel Cook, I did interpret your comment literally, but I think that’s because of how you wrote your comment. I don’t see how I could have interpreted it otherwise.

    That said, I think you should expand the scope of your commentary some. The misuse of a quote is a pretty narrow topic. You can only say so much about it. As I suggested at my site, I think you’ll get more people to listen and care if you discuss the misuse of that quote shows the very conspiratorial ideation those people claim to have found in skeptics.

    It’d be more work, but I think it’d be worthwhile.

  92. Brian H says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    December 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

    during the 100 years War with France, they considered les Englais obstinate, crude, vulgar, & course!!!

    Coarse, even. And malorthographic!

  93. @Brandon Shollenberger, December 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm” “… I did interpret your comment literally, but I think that’s because of how you wrote your comment … I think you should expand the scope of your commentary some …”

    My first comment was for the wider audience of the other commenters here who seemingly had little or no familiarity with the phrase at all. I will also respectfully submit that I have already expanded my scope throughout my nearly four years of online articles about the smear of skeptics and what it is literally based on, and am continually expanding on it at GelbspanFiles.com with the objective being to build a body of evidence showing when and how it was first questionably leaked, who circulated those leaked memos, how they ended up in Gore’s Senate office despite his later claim that Gelbspan discovered them, and myriad problems surrounding specific efforts by specific people to turn it into the ‘industry directive’ it never was in the first place.

    No offense, John “SkS” Cook, with his quote variation twist, is merely another cog in the wheel in the ‘conspiratorial misuse of that quote’. Commenters Don K & jai mitchell pointed to Naomi Oreskes’ quote of it and her PPT slide of the page where it is seen, but I already mentioned her citation of Gelbspan over that very page here (8th paragraph) http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=865 Trust me on this, a future GelbspanFiles blog of mine will deal with one particularly massive problem Oreskes has with her involvement in this specific “reposition global warming” memo problem. Stay tuned. The key to imploding the smear of skeptics is less about sycophants repeating and more on who planted and pushed the phrase in the first place.

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