Bengtsson and others reaction to The Times piece on the ‘damaging climate view’

Bengtsson_frontPageThere’s a lot of reaction to the front page story in The Times (UK) seen at left. Here is one from the Science Media Centre where they claim “science meets the headlines”. Indeed. But the reaction speaks more to tribalism than factual science, IMHO.

Professor Lennart Bengtsson, professorial research fellow at the University of Reading, said:

“I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”, as The Times front page suggests. I am worried by a wider trend that science is being gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact.

“I was concerned that the Environmental Research Letters reviewer’s comments suggested his or her opinion was not objective or based on an unbiased assessment of the scientific evidence. Science relies on having a transparent and robust peer review system so I welcome the Institute of Physics publishing the reviewers’ comments in full. I accept that Environmental Research Letters is entitled to its final decision not to publish this paper – that is part and parcel of academic life. The peer review process is imperfect but it is still the best way to assess academic work.

“I was surprised by the strong reaction from some scientists outside the UK to joining the Global Warming Policy Foundation this month. I had hoped that it would be platform to bring more common sense into the global climate debate.

“Academic freedom is a central aspect to life at University of Reading. It is a very open, positive and supportive environment to work in. I have always felt able to put forward my arguments and opinions without any prejudice.”

Source: http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-claims-climate-research-was-suppressed/

And there’s reaction from others there as well.

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

I agree that The Times went a bit overboard with the use of the words “cover-up” which really doesn’t apply since the issue is out in the open now. OTOH, that’s what all newspapers do. Just look at the overboard headlines and idiotic reactions (like Gov. Brown saying LAX would have to be moved). However, the phrase may apply if there’s an effort to prevent the names of the reviewers to come out, especially the one who said that Bengtsson’s paper would be “damaging”, never mind the science.

Professor Mike Hulme summed it up well in the SMC article:

“This episode tells us a lot about how deeply politicised climate science has become, but how some scientists remain blind to their own biases.”

Mostly what we witnessed so far is “science tribalism“. One tribe believe global warming is a serious and immediate problem that will affect their tribe, the other tribe believes global warming is a minor problem, and there is little to worry about, and what effects may be seen can be dealt with.

The tribe that believes it is a crisis works actively to suppress views of the other, something that is unsurprising and a basic human group reaction. The thing is though, scientists are supposed to be above such emotional actions. I thought this discussion of tribalism was interesting, especially for this:

In a group setting, will outcasting one member strengthen tribalism?

If the group is a tribe and if that member is of more trouble than he’s worth, it will strengthen the tribe.

Clearly, climate scientists aren’t free of tribal instincts, and even though he has “recanted”, Bengtsson will be branded by other members of the tribe until he dies. He’s not likely to be invited to participate in many activities he once was. I suspect funding will become harder to get or dry up completely and his papers henceforth will likely be him as the sole author.

One only has to look at the string of emotional outbursts and subterfuge we see from Mann, Gleick, Jones, Hansen, and others to know climate scientists aren’t operating on the professional level that scientists are expected to.

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49 thoughts on “Bengtsson and others reaction to The Times piece on the ‘damaging climate view’

  1. Yes, Groupthink, however, Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for knowledge, since they are untrained amateurs acting as censors and propagandists in far too many areas of knowledge from physics to Fukushima to the fiction of global warming and the lies about the dangers of neurotoxins in our water.

  2. “Cover-up” is a great way to describe what the climatocrats do on a fairly regular basis.

  3. One only has to look at the string of emotional outbursts and subterfuge we see from Mann, Gleick, Jones, Hansen, and others to know climate scientists aren’t operating on the professional level that scientists are expected to.

    ==================================================================
    It would seem that the “cover-up” is the rock these guys have chosen to do their work under.

  4. Reviewer 1 said, the paper is unoriginal, wrong, and also people will misuse it. The second reviewer just said it was wrong. The editor declined to publish (we. What else could she do?

    The Times published their selected quote, but not the substantive reasons for rejection. I don’t think Bengtsson’s statement will make the front page. And the paper itself is still under wraps.

    But I think you’re right that Bengtsson’s reputation will suffer a hit. That can happen.

  5. The motive for non-scientific behavior like this is quite apparent – these are self-entered folks who believe that they are important. If they admitted that their scientific arguments have become
    overtaken by events, and no climate disaster looms, that would make them less important. That explains their lack of logic. On the other hand, perhaps they are actually as dumb as their arguments show them to be.

  6. Yeah right, reminds of this Python skit;

    Interviewer What had you done?
    Beng.. Er… Well he never told me that. But he gave me his word that it was the case, and that’s good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn’t want to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. There’s nothing Dinsdale wouldn’t do for you.
    Interviewer And you don’t bear him any grudge?
    Beng… A grudge! Old Dinsy? He was a real darling.

  7. It is all very well for Prof. Mike Hulme to sound so reasonable, but in real life he isn’t quite like that.
    1. He is not a scientist per se – he’s a geographer.
    2. He gives talks whereby he classifies (oh so sweetly) sceptics as psychologically flawed. I’ve attended such a talk where he carefully manoevers the audience into perceiving any sceptical question as a purely psychological issue. A naive audience immediately understands that the quesioner is one of ‘them’. It’s very well done and grossly dishonest.
    [That is what his book is all about: 'Why we disagree about climate change']

  8. “How deeply politicised climate science has become…..”

    And that, boys and girls, is why climate science is rotten to the core. The overflowing troughs of money provided by left wing politicians have so corrupted climate science that it has now become almost universally mistrusted, especially by those able to judge and think for themselves.

  9. there is a striking similarity between the treatment of Professor Bengtsonn and my treatment at the hands of the Institute of Physics in 2009. I was asked as founder of the energy and climate group at the IOP to do an article on climate change. when they realised my article would be on scientifically highlighting that global warming was ending and global cooling is arriving my article was quickly withdrawn. (see report in Times Educational august 2009, also now on my blog. It was also at that time when the invitation for lord Lawson to speak in the Institute of Physics was withdrawn. A massive controversy in 2009 totally ignored by the biased UK mainline press.

  10. The are not dumb this is attempt to control energy and human population in one move.They well unleash untold misery apoen mankind and gain control on a global scale

  11. Nick Stokes says:
    May 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm
    Reviewer 1 said, the paper is unoriginal, wrong, and also people will misuse it. The second reviewer just said it was wrong. The editor declined to publish (we. What else could she do?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Same answer as in the Mann thread which I reproduce here for your reference:

    I’ve read both reviews. The first amounts to a smear job I could discredit paragraph by paragraph if I had the time. The second review raises some concrete issues, but the issues it raises as “wrong” are actually quite debatable. Insisting that ECS is the right metric rather than TCS for example is not an issue of right or wrong as the reviewer suggests. Reality is that both metrics have merit. Labeling one as being completely wrong for this purpose would, BTW, invalidate an enormous number of papers supportive of the global warming meme.

    But all that is immaterial. If we accept your premise that the second review is “devastating”, then by the standards of that review, not a single thing that Michael Mann has ever published should have passed peer review. Not to mention swaths of other papers by other authors that anyone with 1st year physics and/or stats could see through.

    If you’re going to apply quality peer review standards Nick, by all means do so. But do it fairly, do it across the board. My prediction is you won’t, because your side of the debate would have precious little left to refer to.

  12. Nick, you can defend the vicious and unethical behavior of the crowd all you want, but it only confirms what we know: this industry is corrupt and the “science” weak or it would otherwise easily handle the numerous logical challenges to its tenets. Shunning, blacklisting, bullying are not the tools of the side with the “winning” intellectual hand.

  13. The science of studying climate has proven to be so attractive to people with an anti mainstream western society bent, those of the me, me, me 60’s generation and the the inheritors of and adherents to its memes that “climate science” is virtually an oxymoron. Studying climate in any official capacity has, with a few notable exceptions such as Judith Curry and the like, in my opinion become the almost exclusive preserve of a cadre of cowardly, politicised apparatchiks. Their work is now so tainted that given proper cross examination I doubt if any proper court would accept their testimony as either honest or competent. No wonder they hide like outhouse rats to avoid scrutiny.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a plague of intellectual vermin upon us.

  14. Stokes and Foster
    Stokes- the papers that have been been totally discredited (Mann etc.) should have been career-ending. But, no, they are still high priests of the order. Why should Bengtsson’s reputation be lessened by a paper or joining an open organization.
    Foster- physical geographers are very much “scientist”, many of whom have subsidiary majors in other sciences. Their advantage is that they often pay attention to history, the missing element of many “physics” and “computer” scientists who totally lack any concepts of the history of climate. Fancy formula can never replace common sense.

  15. “If you’re going to apply quality peer review standards Nick, by all means do so. But do it fairly, do it across the board”

    So what’s happening here. Times has a front page article screaming “Cover-up”. WUWT relays it as
    “Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists”

    But the reviews emerge. They gave good reasons why they thought it was a crummy paper. Bengtsson isn’t letting us see the original. But he does come back with
    “I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”, as The Times front page suggests.”

    The Times isn’t reporting that (tho the Tele did).

    So then it comes down to, well, OK it was a crummy paper, but IMO Mann has published some too.

    Is that a front page story?

  16. If being an outcast and having your professional life circumscribed is the reward for recanting (or at least not providing active support to the contrarians), one wonders why he should “recant” at all? Or is it better to be avoided than to be shunned?

    For the intellectual man, there is no difference between active and passive removal from the village. For the physical man, who still wants and needs community and work, the difference is significant. I get it. You can return from exile, but you can’t return from the goblet of hemlock.

  17. Nick Stokes;
    But the reviews emerge. They gave good reasons why they thought it was a crummy paper. Bengtsson isn’t letting us see the original. But he does come back with
    “I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”, as The Times front page suggests.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Nice job trying to obfuscate the facts. We start out with the poor guy joining the GWPF, then resigning because he came under intense personal and professional attack, feared for his safety and his ability to continue doing research, and now says there’s no systematic suppression of the science after all. I feel sorry for the guy, but one can only ask:

    Was he lying then, or is he lying now?

    You also changed the subject from the point I raised earlier, trying to draw attention away from it. If this paper should be rejected on the grounds raised on those reviews, then the vast bulk of what passes for climate science should be similarly rejected, they are far more deeply flawed than this one.

    In answer to your question, YES! that should be on the front page of not just the Times, but every news paper on the planet.

    CO2 is logarithmic in combination. Understanding that and Stefan Boltzmann Law is all one needs to crush the CAGW meme in the first place. The rush to publish paper after paper trumpeting some minor measurement of everything from tree rings to ice extent is a distraction from the fact that the known physics (which you referred to in another recent thread) does not, and never did, support the CAGW meme. So your entire community remains fascinated with the conjuring up of, and justification of, evidence based on anything but the physics.

  18. This is the difference between collectivists and individualists. Like minded collectivists are a tribe and a part of tribalism is protecting each other for (their) common good. Skeptics are a little different. We don’t want their tribe telling us who do not belong to their tribe telling us what is good for us and taking away our money and our lifestyle.
    Professor Lennart Bengtsson is essentially a coward since he now realizes he has been expelled from the tribe. He will find out that the tribe will not welcome him back.

  19. In the context of Environmentalism as religion, I consider CAGW a moral crisis. Unlike most that apply to humanity, CAGW is trying to save the planet. The whole religion is a based on the anthropomorphism of Earth as a living being under threat by technology and capitalism. Green religion corrupts the earth sciences, just like creationism does.

    BTW, Spiked Online interviews Patrick Moore today: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/environmentalism-has-become-a-religion/15033

  20. 1. Professor Mike Hulme summed it up well inaccurately.

    Equating the Human CO2 Cult and its unsupported conjecture and speculation
    with
    Science Realists who rest their case on data and evidence

    is inaccurate to the point of distortion.

    ************************************************

    2. Re: Dr. Bengtsson’s mealy mouthed statement on Reading’s behalf,
    here is, NO DOUBT, what happened:

    Reading Administrator: The public is glaring at us, Bengtsson. They think Reading is just another East Anglia. Can’t have that, Bengtsson. Planning to do something about that, Bengtsson?

    Bengtsson: I… uh, well… .

    RA: Yes, Bengtsson, you are. Here. (hands him sheet of paper) You are going to say this.

    B: (reading it) Oh, but, this isn’t exactly accurate, RA, I’m not sure… .

    RA: Are you sure you want to keep your job?

    B: (heavy sigh) Hand me the phone.

    Publisher of Above Statement: (phone rings) Hello?

    B: This is Lennart Bengtsson. “… {and finally} Academic freedom is a central aspect to life at University of Reading. It is a very open, positive and supportive environment to work in. I have always felt able to put forward my arguments and opinions without any prejudice.” Click.

  21. Nick Stokes should supply us the titles of two articles already published.

    One by Michael Mann that, in Mr. Stokes’ opinion, was actually too “crummy” to publish.

    One by Lennart Bengtsson that, in his opinion, wasn’t so “crummy” that it shouldn’t have been published.

    By the way, editors are perfectly capable of selecting reviewers who they know with considerable foresight will love or hate a particular manuscript.

  22. I haven’t lived in UK since 1965, but the primary universities were Oxford, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, and probably Exeter, as it is old. And Liverpool especially for Veterinary Science. Never heard of University of Reading, that’s near London. Some colleges like Balliol had prospective students sit entrance exams, in the 50s.
    I don’t see many alarmists reports coming from them, do you?

  23. she calls the cops cuz her spouse beat her.
    the cops come. “what’s this, then?”
    she tells them he’s really a great guy and he really respects her and go away.
    [trimmed], Bengtsson.
    or else.

  24. re: Bengsston Affair

    One aspect which has surfaced occasiovnally is whether comparisons of observational data with models, etc. are significant or worthy for a journal. The flashiest journals such as Nature and Science seem most given to favoring what seems hype-worthy, “innovative” and “original” “novel” etc. so long as it serves a favored messaging. We have now seen ERL do the same in disparaging interest in model-observation comparisons.

    If I may repeat some observations I made at CA, I think scientists in various fields (especially climate-related) need to look for ways to push back against the shallow tyranny of novel-innovative-original.

    To make a couple of broad observations about how many scientific journals, including ERL, seem to operate:

    There seems to be (often) far too great an emphasis upon innovation and originality in determining what gets published.

    While there are evident appeals to original and/or innovative papers which (may seem to) help to advance a field,

    the very first requirement for any journal and any work of science should be ACCURACY and PRECISION. Congruence with known EMPIRICAL data should come before all attempts at innovation and originality.

    Thus, a paper comparing empirical observations with models and/or hypotheses and/or theory should, in general, be regarded as a potentially valuable contribution. Whether a paper finds a good fit or a bad fit between model/theory and data (or anything debateable in between), this kind of comparison needs to be regarded as valuable and worthy of the space in any journal claiming to be scientific.

    Similarly, this kind of issue also arises when people like Steve Mc and Ross, et al. seek to publish comments and criticisms regarding published papers…. any paper or COMMENT(s) providing criticism and corrections for a paper already published should be considered MORE important not less, if the corrections or updates are accurate.

    How can editors and reviewers be brought to see that maintaining an accurate scientific record is the FIRST responsibility of any journal?

    …. and if a journal has already published a certain paper then they have the highest responsibility to bring into the published record any corrections, controversies, or updates about said paper.

  25. to know the child of c02 hysteria you have to know the fathers and in the uk at least the Met who do the models for ipcc is dominated by a christian doctrine of ‘saving things’ ie a saviour complex. where co2 is seen as a ‘sin’. and a ‘moral problem’ by those middle class people who have enough in the bank to hand wring and feel guilty about it.

    “As a Christian I believe we have been put on the earth to care for it yet we’re not doing this. However, there is an enormous moral imperative for everybody, not just Christians, to face up to climate change. ……So I think we have to begin to change the way we think and the way we do things in order to have much more sharing in the world……..The imperative for Christians is to do something about this situation” Sir John Houghton http://www.ecostreet.com/ecospeak-an-interview-with-ex-ipcc-co-chairman-sir-john-houghton/

    so if your boss thinks like that then you have to play monkey . Further he can choose staff who do think like that. Houghton is now at the climate model centre. So expect no change soon.

  26. “dominated by a christian doctrine of ‘saving things’ ie a saviour complex.”

    Saviour complex is not a Christian doctrine. It is an Atheistic doctrine since many (not all) feel inadequate with life so they go around saving things to make themselves feel better.

  27. The situation is more than just tribalism. Because the hardcore that is close attached to UNEP UNFCCC, IPCC, WWF, Greenpeace etc..are well aware that they have to told the whole truth. Their “cause” is an international political agenda based on policy based climate information/propaganda(UNEP, UNFCCC, IPCC)
    Those that have made a living of this scheme is also aware that the whole truth has not been told to the public. And they are afraid of losing their jobs if this comes out?

  28. bushbunny says:
    May 19, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I haven’t lived in UK since 1965, but the primary universities were Oxford, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, and probably Exeter, as it is old. And Liverpool especially for Veterinary Science. Never heard of University of Reading, that’s near London. Some colleges like Balliol had prospective students sit entrance exams, in the 50s.
    I don’t see many alarmists reports coming from them, do you?

    =======================================
    In the 1970s lots of extremely attractive girls went to Reading University, and they had really good parties as well.

    Dunno about the academic prowess though.

  29. As I recently posted at BH …

    [...] set aside, for a moment, the fact that the oh-so-noble journal in question, i.e. the IOP’s Environmental Research Letters (ERL), has no problem with Gleick on its “Executive Board”, this is the very same esteemed journal (and/or Executive/Editorial Board thereof) which saw fit to declare Cook et al’s “97%” paper – riddled with mediocrity, as it indisputably is – as “ERL’s ‘Best article of 2013’”

    If readers will forgive me for a self-serving “plug”, as I had concluded my own post earlier today, the view from here, so to speak is …

    Can you even begin to imagine what might happen to the IPCC/UNFCCC edifice (not to mention the profits of publishers such as ERL), if [what I have deemed to be] Bengtsson’s “red letter” claims – noted at the top of [my] post – were to gain further hold in the higher profile discussions in the blogosphere and elsewhere?

    [These "red letter" claims from Bengtsson:]

    I do not believe that the IPCC machinery is what is best for science in the long term.

    [and]

    The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong.

    [Source: Something missing in the “critiques” of Bengtsson’s choice]

  30. Janice, Reading is just another East Anglia. They were on the UK TV last night spouting their ‘give me money’ meme. Summer heatwaves will be more frequent, winter cold will be more frequent, we are not going to have an ice age because of AGW but that’s not good because we will all die from the heat. Oh yes, they are sucking from the same teat. UK TAXPAYERS TAKE NOTE.

  31. Steve B says:

    May 20, 2014 at 12:04 am
    “dominated by a christian doctrine of ‘saving things’ ie a saviour complex.”

    Saviour complex is not a Christian doctrine. It is an Atheistic doctrine since many (not all) feel inadequate with life so they go around saving things to make themselves feel better.

    Sorry Steve but you are fundamentally wrong. I cannot speak for all atheists and neither, I believe, can you. I am fundamentally a scientist and I see little or no proof either for AGW or for Gods. I am not responsible for death and destruction through the ages or for poverty and high birth rates. I am all for educating all chidren to the highest possible standards without the imposition of any religion whether it be AGW or not. The wish to save the planet and it’s analysios should be left to the likes of people like Lewandowski.

  32. “The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it” — H L Mencken

  33. JunkPsychology says

    “By the way, editors are perfectly capable of selecting reviewers who they know with considerable foresight will love or hate a particular manuscript.”

    How true. That is why the words “peer-reviewed” should always be taken with a liberal pinch of salt. Some years ago the editor of a scientific journal sent a paper for review to two academics on opposite sides of a theory. One passed it with minor criticisms and suggestions for improvement, the second rejected almost every word and was very rude about the author’s competence.
    The editor was anxious to publish so she sent the draft paper and the reviewers’ comments to me for a third opinion. She knew that, although I had never published with the author, we shared the same views. The paper was published.
    Had she not wanted it published she could have invited a third reviewer known to be antipathetic to the author rather than myself or even enlisted one as the first reviewer instead of trying to select one from each camp.
    If and when the paper is published by Bengsston and his four colleagues we will be better able to judge whether the reviewers’ comments were reasonable or not. .

  34. Bengtsson says the “peer review process is imperfect but it is still the best way to assess academic work.” I disagree. Public review is better in terms of assessing the science. Peer review is too narrow and subject to sample size bias. The internet now makes it possible, practical, and desirable to publish for a broad audience of varying expertise that can find deficiencies much better than a couple of hand-picked and time-pressed peer reviewers. The latest examples are Nic Lewis’ and Brandon Shollenberger’s public reviews of papers that passed the peer review but show questionable results. Mosher says to free the code, Eschenbach says to free the data. Climate Science needs to free the review process too.

  35. Is a comparison of the actual Earth’s energy budget and temperature trends versus the climate models and the theory worthy of being published.

    There have only been a few done. For the most part, the pro-warming ones are so obscure that you cannot figure out what they are talking about or how the conclusions were arrived at. The skeptical ones come up with results of 1.0C to 2.0C per doubling.

    What is the Earth’s energy budget balance doing versus what the models predict? What does that imply about how much temperatures will increase?

    The Earth is accumulating 0.535 W/m2/year right now while the total forcing is 2.29 W/m2/year (according to the IPCC AR5). Very interesting difference in the numbers. We have a lot of missing energy and/or a large Planck negative radiative feedback (which seems to never be taken into account as a feedback even though it is the biggest one at -3.2 W/m2/K).

    This all needs to be brought out into the open.

  36. “to know climate scientists aren’t operating on the professional level that scientists are expected to.”

    Very few scientists are scientists at least in anything other than physics.

    So no, I can’t agree with this. This is exactly how I expect “scientists” to think and behave. They’ve always been like this, haven’t they?

  37. I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”,

    So true. Until he could not believe that colleagues whom he had known for years were withdrawing their co-authorships etc. LOL. Get with the program Mr.

    Phil Jones re-defining what the peer review process is.

    Keeping that paper out somehow.

    Talking to the editor etc.

    [Sorry no direct references but it's now hard to find.]

    There has been an UN-systematic AND systematic scheme going on.

  38. Last year the ANU Canberra sacked or terminated 100 academics as they hadn’t published any article in scholarly papers or written a book. It is well known that one publishes or you are damned. The thing I thought was lecturers were there to teach and their success was judged on how many students passed or failed their courses, rather than what they got published? Seems universities or rather some don’t agree. I have met some lousy on line coordinators of on line courses who leave the marking of essays to Ph.D candidates. That means they only have an MA.

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